The time has come to do something about Wilfredo Ledezma. He is not a competitive major-league starter. This year, he has nine starts and eight disasters. His one quality start — and you can interpret “quality start” either philosophically or statistically — was his first start of the year, in April, against a Cleveland team that hadn’t yet brought its bats up from Spring Training. Leaving out that game, in which the Tigers jumped all over Cleveland for eleven runs, Ledezma hasn’t reached the seventh inning, has only given up fewer than four runs one time (and he left that game at the beginning of the sixth), and has only struck out more than three batters twice. All his outings are short, labored, inefficient, and ineffective.
But what to do? Ledezma has always had tantalizing stuff — a live fastball and a legitimate change. When he spent much of 2003 with the Tigers as a Rule V pick from the Red Sox, it looked like he might turn into a major-league pitcher some day, though he was clearly inefficient, clearly wild, and clearly prone to the long ball. It doesn’t appear he’s gotten any better.
Should he be sent down to the minors? He’s not quite so young anymore — 24 — and he dominated AA last year. Could he use some seasoning in AAA? Perhaps, but I’m not sure what the point is, though I suppose he could use the innings
Should he be dangled as trade bait? Maybe. It’s easy to see some team like the Devil Rays that gets themselves enamored of toolsy prospects thinking they can fix Ledezma. (By the way, aren’t the Devil Rays an amazing collection of failed prospects? Ben Grieve, Travis Lee, Alex Gonzalez, Josh Phelps, etc.)
Should he be put in the bullpen? Probably. He’s got two dominant pitches, and throws hard. If the Tigers have any aspirations to contend, the Ledezma starting pitching experiment has to end, and soon. He can be allowed to work out his kinks in a lower-leverage role, and perhaps find a niche.
Sound the horns. Prepare the feasts. Send out the banns. Let the Sean Douglass era begin.