You might be wondering, if you're at all like me, why the first-place Dodgers might possibly be interested in last-place Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kevin Correia. After all, hasn't everyone been telling us all season that the Dodgers have the best starting pitchers in the National League?
Actually, the Dodgers are more than interested. Saturday, they traded for Correia. Which makes the question suddenly very real.
The answer is simple: Correia isn't terrible. In fact, he's probably as good as a modern pitcher who ranks dead last in the majors in strikeout rate can be. One great thing about Correia: He's highly predictable, having fundamentally been a 4.50 ERA pitcher in each of these last three seasons. Which makes him just a tick above replacement level. And with Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm both out for a while, and not a single hot prospect in the upper reaches of the minors, Correia serves as insurance. Roberto Hernandez, just acquired last week, is currently the Dodgers' No. 5 starter. But if anyone else gets hurt, Correia can step in without embarrassing anyone.
That's what "replacement level" means, after all.