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The old reliables

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Combing through the waiver wire to dig up a starting pitcher to round out your staff can be quite frustrating.

I mean, how many players carrying 5.00 ERAs with no upside whatsoever can you consider before you truly lose your mind?

Once you've unearthed a few useful options, it really comes down to one question: old bull or young calf?

Among the more widely available players who can provide value, most are either veterans who have been around the block a few thousand times or newcomers who have yet to scratch the surface of their potential.

And while these players couldn't be farther apart in terms of date of birth and MLB experience, they are more similar than one would think.

For one, neither group has much job security.

Since they aren't costing a team a boatload of cash, 38-year-old veterans and 23-year-old newbies are just a few poor starts away from taking a trip.

Their destinations will be quite different, as the youngsters will be riding the bus back to the minors while the vets will be packing up their car and heading home to a lifetime of helping with housework and homework, but they'll both be hitting the road nevertheless.

Each group also is going to be quite erratic, seamlessly mixing solid outing with shellacking until their managers, and fantasy owners, go mad.

And both are good bets to wear down over the course of the season, as the veterans can no longer handle a 200-inning workload while the rookies are used to hovering around 100 IP.

Choosing between AARP-card toting old-timers such as Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon, Derek Lowe, Jamie Moyer and Andy Pettitte and neophytes who are not too far removed from trying their first legal alcoholic beverage is not easy.

But if you have to do it, I'd look past the razzle dazzle of young flamethrowers like the Kansas City Royals' Danny Duffy and go with the old reliables.

To date, Millwood, Colon, Lowe and Moyer have combined to go 5-3 with a 3.41 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. Pettitte, meanwhile, is on track for a mid-May return.

Several young pitchers have had success too this season. Duffy and Seattle Mariners righty Blake Beavan (a 2007 first-round draft pick by Texas) have dazzled, going 2-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 26 innings combined.

But Colorado Rockies 23-year-old lefty Drew Pomeranz struggled in his first start, giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings on Sunday.

And other highly touted pitchers such as Arizona's Trevor Bauer and Atlanta's Julio Teheran started the season in the minors.

There's no shame in owning the grumpy old men.

While adding Moyer or Colon isn't likely to impress any of your league mates, watching them pile up reliable ratios thanks to pinpoint control will be all the justification you need.

These players know how to pitch, and they know how to win baseball games at the major league level, something that cannot be said for Duffy, Beavan, Pomeranz, Bauer or Teheran.

And while those five may pepper in some high-strikeout dominance in 2012, a string of six-inning, two-run, three-strikeout performances from your veterans will be just as valuable despite being much-less visibly intriguing.

So go with the experience of the elder statemen.

Because like your late '90s two-door sedan that never made people gawk in amazement but always got you to and from work, there's something uniquely satisfying about good ol' reliability.



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