The 31-year old RHP was a 1st round draft pick in 1997 by the Cubs and has been in the majors since 2000, has made 30+ starts every year since 2002, and averaged 200+ innings a year. He’s one of two pitchers (M Buehrle) that has thrown 190+ innings every year since 2002. He has signed three consecutive one-year deals; in 2008 he signed a one year deal with Arizona for 7.25 million. 2009 he signed for 5.3 million with the Padres, and this off-season he re-signed with the Dodgers for 5 million. He is considered a “league-average-innings-eater”. His comps are Kyle Lohse and Jason Marquis. For his career, he's 132-116, with a 4.32 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. Last year, in the comfy confines of Petco Park, he had a very good statistical year, with a 3.47 ERA, the lowest of his career. But in Petco/on the Padres, he benefited from outstanding infield defense (BAPIP on his ground balls was .215, when league average was .235), and he also wasn't afraid of elevating his fastball and allowing home runs due to the dimensions of Petco, which allowed him to post the best K/9 numbers of his career (6.1).
He throws a fastball (90 mph) 55% of the time, both two and four-seam, a slider (84 mph), cutter (15% of time), an occasional curve-ball (76 mph) and an improved change-up (80 mph). He has added a split-finger this year, and throws it 14% of the time. He's decreased his cutter use to 6% (small sample size so far in 2011), and increased his curveball usage (14%). He throws first pitch strike 63% of the time, and as noted with his K/9 rate being below average, he doesn't generate a lot of swings and misses (7.7% this year, 7% career average). On an 0-2 or 1-2 count, he tries to use his splitter as his strike-out pitch.
This season he's made 4 starts, and is 1-2, with the 1 win being a complete game versus the Braves, and a 3.81 ERA and shiny 1.04 WHIP (due to an unsustainable .219 BAPIP). His K/9 rate is similar to last year (6.2), and he's lowered his BB/9 (2.4).
He’s started against the Mets four times in his career, threw 27 innings and is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA, and 1.29 WHIP. Last year he faced the Mets once and took the loss, going 6 innings, and let up 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, while striking out only 2.
He's still the "league average innings-eater", which isn't an insult, but he's not the pitcher that had a sub 3.50 ERA last year. He is valuable as few pitchers can guarantee to toe the rubber 30+ starts and throw 200 innings year in and year out.