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Friday, February 21, 2014

Fangraphs (Cameron)—Best and Worst Transactions of the 2014 Offseason

Worst Transactions of the 2014 Offseason.

Best transaction:

1. The Nationals acquire Doug Fister.
Cost: Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol.

You probably knew this was coming. I’m going to guess that this move will show up at the top of every best-transactions-of-2014 list, as the Nationals basically stole Doug Fister from the Tigers in a trade that no one still understands very well. When you look at the prices being commanded for quality starting pitchers, getting Fister — who will make less than $20 million over the next two years, most likely — for a trio of bit pieces is a huge theft. We haven’t seen a player this good get traded for this little in years, and it’s mystifying how Mike Rizzo managed to get Fister for this price. This deal put the Nationals right back in playoff contention, and it did so for such a low cost that I still haven’t found anyone who thinks the Tigers made a good trade. When a deal is universally accepted as a heist, you’ve done something very right.

Worst transaction:

1. Tigers acquire Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol.
Cost: Doug Fister.

There are basically two options here:

1. Everyone is wrong about Robbie Ray. The Tigers actually just acquired one of the best young left-handed pitching prospects in the game, the kind of guy who could step into their rotation in 2015 and provide years of quality innings before he ever makes any kind of real money.

2. Dave Dombrowski screwed up. Because if Robbie Ray isn’t a quality, high-end pitching prospect, the Tigers sold a pitcher as good or better than Masahiro Tanaka, who will make less than $20 million over the next two years, for the kind of return that a team should expect when trading a decent role player.

Pitching prospects are hard to predict, and there are plenty of scenarios where it turns out that #1 is actually true, and this deal works out for the Tigers. If Ray turns into something, swapping two years of Fister for six years of a good young arm won’t look like a bad idea at all, especially given the Tigers current pitching depth. But the consensus among other teams and prospect experts is that Ray is not that kind of prospect, and that this is the most lopsided trade we’ve seen in years. For two bargain years of Doug Fister, the Tigers should have gotten a really strong return, and very few people think this qualifies. Maybe Ray will prove everyone wrong. Or maybe a good GM just whiffed.

At this point my karmic anntenae are telling me that the most likely outcome is that Robbie Ray becomes the next Justin Verlander, and Doug Fister gets accidentally run over by a zamboni on his first visit to a Capitals game next month.

” cols=“100” rows=“20”>

The above link is to the “Best Transactions.”  Here is the Worst Transactions of the 2014 Offseason.

Best transaction:

1. The Nationals acquire Doug Fister.
Cost: Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol.

You probably knew this was coming. I’m going to guess that this move will show up at the top of every best-transactions-of-2014 list, as the Nationals basically stole Doug Fister from the Tigers in a trade that no one still understands very well. When you look at the prices being commanded for quality starting pitchers, getting Fister — who will make less than $20 million over the next two years, most likely — for a trio of bit pieces is a huge theft. We haven’t seen a player this good get traded for this little in years, and it’s mystifying how Mike Rizzo managed to get Fister for this price. This deal put the Nationals right back in playoff contention, and it did so for such a low cost that I still haven’t found anyone who thinks the Tigers made a good trade. When a deal is universally accepted as a heist, you’ve done something very right.

Worst transaction:

1. Tigers acquire Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol.
Cost: Doug Fister.

There are basically two options here:

1. Everyone is wrong about Robbie Ray. The Tigers actually just acquired one of the best young left-handed pitching prospects in the game, the kind of guy who could step into their rotation in 2015 and provide years of quality innings before he ever makes any kind of real money.

2. Dave Dombrowski screwed up. Because if Robbie Ray isn’t a quality, high-end pitching prospect, the Tigers sold a pitcher as good or better than Masahiro Tanaka, who will make less than $20 million over the next two years, for the kind of return that a team should expect when trading a decent role player.

Pitching prospects are hard to predict, and there are plenty of scenarios where it turns out that #1 is actually true, and this deal works out for the Tigers. If Ray turns into something, swapping two years of Fister for six years of a good young arm won’t look like a bad idea at all, especially given the Tigers current pitching depth. But the consensus among other teams and prospect experts is that Ray is not that kind of prospect, and that this is the most lopsided trade we’ve seen in years. For two bargain years of Doug Fister, the Tigers should have gotten a really strong return, and very few people think this qualifies. Maybe Ray will prove everyone wrong. Or maybe a good GM just whiffed.

At this point my karmic anntenae are telling me that the most likely outcome is that Robbie Ray becomes the next Justin Verlander, and Doug Fister gets accidentally run over by a zamboni on his first visit to a Capitals game next month.

Depressoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hot stove

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   1. Depressoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4660267)
Dammit, how did the formatting get so bollocksed up here? Arrgh.
   2. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4660275)
Dammit, how did the formatting get so bollocksed up here? Arrgh.


I am afeared of the article submission form, which is why all my articles end up being very minimalist. Someday I should learn how it all works.
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4660276)
   4. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4660278)
The Dodgers are making a similar bet on Haren as the Padres are on Johnson, only Haren’s downside is even lower, since he’s been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball over the past decade.

Nitpick alert: Am I the only one who finds "downside is even lower" to be a rather awkward choice of words?
   5. GregD Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4660282)
Nitpick alert: Am I the only one who finds "downside is even lower" to be a rather awkward choice of words?
+1
   6. Depressoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4660283)
Even worse: I misspelled "antennae." That's a legit embarrassment, right there.
   7. BDC Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4660286)
Is the best list just the worst one from the other perspective? Would seem logical.
   8. Depressoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4660289)
Is the best list just the worst one from the other perspective? Would seem logical.
Not at all, because both lists include free agent signings. In fact, it's really only the Fister trade that is fully mirrored at the same spot (#1, no less) on both lists, which is precisely why I posted them dually like this. The Dexter Fowler trade also makes both lists, albeit at different spots.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4660294)
Edit:

/ buying diet Sunkist
   10. Depressoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4660295)
In lieu of a Coke, I'd prefer a Diet Sunkist. ;-)
   11. zonk Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4660306)
I suppose if you have to fill out a top 10 list, sometimes you can't be choosy... but how does this work on the "best" list?

9. The Dodgers sign Dan Haren.
Cost: One year, $10 million.


How is 10 million - even if only for one year - a "best" for a pitcher that has posted ERA+ of 88 and 81 the past two seasons -- WAR sees him as -0.4 in 2012, exactly 0.0 last year. Supposedly he's durable, but haven't their whispers if not outright issues with his health going on a couple years now? Dude looks cooked to me... Maybe Dodger stadium holds down the gopher balls. But the 1.5 million to Paul Maholm was a better deal than Haren. Josh Johnson (at #10) was at least a 3.3 WAR player before last year's debacle, and you can also hope for an injury bounceback at least.... I think there's a decent shot Haren is gone by mid-summer and the Dodgers end up eating a good chunk of that 10 million. Fail.

   12. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4660307)
#6TRANSACTION

(Obligatory.)
   13. zonk Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4660308)
Nitpick alert: Am I the only one who finds "downside is even lower" to be a rather awkward choice of words?


No - though, I think he's wrong even about the inartfully phrased sentiment... I mean, Haren has now been pretty dreadful - exactly replacement level last year, worse than that the year before, and also had lots of ink about his health that's put in him 2 consecutive offseasons of one-year deal territory. Haren's downside is that he's a complete waste of 10 million dollars - and that seems to be a pretty decent proposition whether he throws 18 innings or 180 innings.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4660310)
I would now be surprised if Ray doesn't turn into a good starting pitcher.
   15. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4660312)
Kazmir is an interesting case.

On one hand, he was terrific for about the last four months of 2013. OTOH, he had a bunch of starts against terrible teams and I'm happy I'm not the guy gambling eight figures that he's stopped doing whatever it was that scragged his shoulder the first time.

It has a lot of potential upside and I wish him well, but it seems like that deal is as likely to be the equivalent of setting $22M on fire as it is a great move.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4660314)
Kazmir last put up a 1.5 rWAR season when George W. Bush was President.
   17. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4660357)
I'm guessing from the leadin esoteric has quite a hardon for the Fister deal?

It certainly is the most interesting and thought provoking trade of the year. I'm very curious to see Dombrowski's hidden strategy for making this a winner for Detroit. If it was Dayton Moore or Towers I'd just assume it was done out of excessive alcohol intake or a paucity of brain cells, but every time I doubt Dombrowski he slam dunks a winner right in my face, and high fives spectators as I'm lying on the court.
   18. MikeTorrez Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4660361)
There should be a best and worst BBTF formatted post list.
   19. Depressoteric Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4660364)
I'm guessing from the leadin esoteric has quite a hardon for the Fister deal?
Well as a Nats fan I'm obviously an interested party. But even if I wasn't, it really does seem (superficially at least) to be quite the odd trade. I posted another article today where Dombrowski is interviewed and offers his rationale, but that rationale (basically "we had to reduce payroll, we have a lot of pitching options internally, and we also like Ray a lot more than everyone else in baseball does") still doesn't offer a lot of justification.

Again, sorry about the formatting. Swear to god it looked normal when I hit submit. I usually don't screw up like this!
   20. BDC Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4660365)
Sometimes you just want to economize, right? The Tigers have a lot of money, and though $7M isn't what it used to be, but it's not yet an absolutely negligible sum in baseball. They wanted to fund the Prince Fielder departure, etc.
   21. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 21, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4660367)
Even if they didn’t see Davidson as a long term piece to build around given their roster and his defensive skills, he’s still a property of some real value; Marc Hulet ranked him #62 on his Top 100, while Baseball America came in at #72. This isn’t a guy to just give away for a minor bullpen upgrade


Dave doesn't get the genius of Kevin Towers.

He is a bullpen vampire, he keeps the pen strong by sucking the blood out of the farm system.

   22. Davo Dozier Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4660395)
My favorite quote from the FanGraphs comments:

I half expect Fister’s arm to fall off or we find out he’s the reason for Detroit’s high murder rate or something.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4660409)
Dave doesn't get the genius of Kevin Towers.


Speaking of which, where is the Trumbo trade on the worst list? That struck me as extraordinarily stupid. You have a low OBA guy with no position, and you can't use the DH, and you give up a really good pitching prospect and a decent OF prospect for him?
   24. The District Attorney Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4660411)
Sometimes you just want to economize, right? The Tigers have a lot of money, and though $7M isn't what it used to be, but it's not yet an absolutely negligible sum in baseball.
They almost immediately spent the $7M (and $2M more) on Joe Nathan.

I can totally believe that they figured we have five starters even without Fister, our closers kill us every year in the playoffs, so let's essentially trade a starter for one of the best closers in history. I think it's overwhelmingly likely that that's how the thought process went. I just think that line of thinking overrates the value of closers relative to starters.
   25. Davo Dozier Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4660415)
23--He had part of the Trumbo trade listed under his "Best Transactions" list:

6. The White Sox acquire Adam Eaton.
Cost: Hector Santiago and Brandon Jacobs.
   26. JL Posted: February 21, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4660473)
I can totally believe that they figured we have five starters even without Fister, our closers kill us every year in the playoffs, so let's essentially trade a starter for one of the best closers in history. I think it's overwhelmingly likely that that's how the thought process went. I just think that line of thinking overrates the value of closers relative to starters.


And it does not help in figuring out this trade. Assuming all of the above is true, you still would think Dave D. should have gotten more in return for Fister. Additional prospects on top of what he got, especially since no one else seems to think that Ray is all that. Even if he thinks he is a great prospect, be quite and ask for him and more.

As a Tigers fan, I think Dombrowski has been a pretty good GM , but I think he really whiffed here.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: February 21, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4660487)
I've got to disagree on Kazmir. At the time it was signed it seemed probably OK if not great. But I'd rather gamble on Josh Johnson at 1/$8. But more importantly, we saw Garza go at 4/$50 and Jimenez fairly cheap, etc. Those guys are risks as well and the longer commitment is obviously not preferred but they're both more reliable than Kazmir, fewer years removed from their peak and Ubaldo was probably better at his peak. The Kazmir deal is kinda like the Liriano one last year except for a lot more money. Obviously if Kazmir has a season like Liriano then it will have worked out pretty well for the A's.

Of course it's also Arroyo money and at this stage I'd rather gamble on Kazmir.

McCann seems to have too high a flop potential to put that high ... but without reviewing all transactions, I won't say it's wrong (i.e. I think it was a decent signing by FA standards). The Bourjos deal is ranked too high. Bourjos is probably a fine player but it's not clear he's anything more than a 400 PA a year flycatcher. Didn't the A's get the same thing in Gentry -- is Choice more highly regarded than I think?

From the worst list ... I understand why he doesn't like #6 (Addison Reed who I didn't know had been traded) but, c'mon, 6th worst deal of the offseason? It's a very standard, very blah trade. And the notion that the DBacks will eventually just non-tender an effective Reed because he's getting too much in arb is silly -- if he's effective in AZ, he'll have plenty of trade value. It's nice having the #72 on BA's list ... but then Reed was #66 just two years ago.

Of course now ... wow, Reed's been a lot less successful than I realized. Good peripherals but the results are not impessive.

The Granderson write-up also seems a bit much. It is a bad deal but (a) c'mon, assuming he's healthy again, he blows Murphy, DeJesus and McLouth out of the water and (b) 4/$60 is not "impact" player money in today's market. No doubt the Mets are hoping for more but if his WAR goes 3/2.5/2/1.5 then this contract is fine.

The tanaka write-up is very good I think. The point about signing two of the Garza types for 4 years at the same money is a good take.

He over-reacts to Franklin being "displaced" by Cano. Franklin will play somewhere. But I agree the contract is too long for too high a price at the wrong time.

If he's double-listing transactions, the Rangers belong on the worst list for the Fielder trade. I'm not sure he's including extensions/re-signs but since he mentions Pence -- 5/$90? Terrible.

   28. cardsfanboy Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4660507)
The Bourjos deal is ranked too high. Bourjos is probably a fine player but it's not clear he's anything more than a 400 PA a year flycatcher. Didn't the A's get the same thing in Gentry -- is Choice more highly regarded than I think?


He's ranking it mostly because of the overall change it created for the Cardinal team. Getting rid of Freese allows Carpenter to move to his more natural position (I don't think anyone really thought Carpenter was going to repeat his defensive performance at second again.) Improves the outfield defense and ultimately the Cardinals won't feel any pain from the transaction as they still have Jay giving the team more outfield flexibility. He's also one of those guys who think Burjous one good year of offense is his true talent level....(he commented that "a guy who is a better offensive player than credited.")

Mind you, I think Bourjos is exactly what people think he is offensively an at best .310 obp 100 ops+ hitter with good speed.

Ultimately if I ranked that particular transaction, I would probably agree with you. I don't even think that is the best transaction the Cardinals have done this off season. And we are talking about a team that didn't do much this offseason. (Peralta signing is a much bigger and important signing to think that the Bourjos trade was a bigger deal is utterly nuts.)
   29. SteveM. Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4660512)
I wouldn't rate the Bronson Arroyo signing among the worst. Sure he is average or even mediocre, but 200 innings isn't something to sneer at. You can never have enough pitching.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4660514)
Just looked at the "worst" list...and basically it boiled down to "Did a team sign a player for over 15mil per year...if so bad signing."

Cameron is a total hack. Seriously that worst list had about 4-5 smart and good transactions on it. I mean Marlon Byrd at 8 mil is a bad signing, but Haren at 10mil is a good signing? Arroyo at 2 for 23 is a bad deal? How could anyone think that? And his cost analysis of the Tanaka deal shows a pretty big lack of knowledge of the way baseball money works. I can see not liking the Choo deal..but one of the worst four of the year? Again the Kazmir and Haren deal both look worse, as those deals should have been with a NRI with option if they make the team. And of course the Cano deal was a GREAT deal....not the second worst of the off season. (on the Cano...noting that it wasn't a bargain but it wasn't nearly as expensive as some projected...obviously when you sign a big name item, you are paying a premium, and it's always going to be a risk, but there is a legitimate chance he'll put up two to three mvp quality seasons during that contract)
   31. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4660534)
Well....

Fister gave up more hits and struck out fewer batters in 2013 than he did in 2012. He doesn't have a lot of margin for error or loss of a little bit of stuff. He's turning 30. There's some risk in his profile, even if he is relatively cheap by pitcher standards.

This might be one of those "better to trade the guy a year too soon than a year too late" deals.

-- MWE
   32. PreservedFish Posted: February 21, 2014 at 07:56 PM (#4660564)
Every defense of the Fister trade runs up against the "but he could have got a better package" argument, which then runs up against the "maybe Dombrowski loves Robbie Ray and he did get the best package possible" argument.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: February 21, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4660601)
I wouldn't rate the Bronson Arroyo signing among the worst. Sure he is average or even mediocre, but 200 innings isn't something to sneer at. You can never have enough pitching.

Well, I'm not going to go through every deal and rank them so I won't say it's among the worst but I think it's a bad signing. This is Arroyo age 37-38 so those 200 innings aren't guaranteed. In an earlier thread I found 24 comps for Arroyo aged 34-36. Three returned great value (all three from about 30 years ago), 8 returned between 1 and a bit over 3 WAR and 13 returned less than 1 WAR at ages 37-38.

I didn't look at those in great detail -- e.g. some might have been good at 34-35 but fell apart at 36 so maybe not good comps -- so I ain't swearing by it. One good recent comp I turned up was Lieber -- he pitched fine at 37-38 but wasn't healthy. Lowe was better at 34-35, worse at 36 -- he stayed healthy and was average at 37, awful at 38. Since 2000, there have been 17 pitchers with at least 3 WAR at 37-38 but they were almost all much better pitchers than Arroyo -- as in 2 new HoFers, Clemmens, Johnson, Schilling, Mussina, Brown just to start. The two reasonably similar 34-36 to Arroyo are Wells and Rick Reed.

He simply can't project well. ZiPS put him at 1.5 WAR this year, presumably fewer next year.

It's just 2/$23 so it's obviously not a crippling deal but he doesn't have the upside of a Haren or Johnson but he's got probably at least as good a chance of pumpkining. (I'm stealing that from somebody.)

Haren -- remember, Cameron loves him some xFIP. 2013 xFIP of 3.69 and, over the last three months, an actual ERA under 3.50 so there's reason to think xFIP isn't nuts. I can't find his ZiPS but Steamer puts him at 3.55 while Oliver puts him just over 4 (not so good).

   34. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 21, 2014 at 10:53 PM (#4660620)
I completely agree with Mike Emeigh about Fister, and while I think it would be nice if Dombrowski had been able to get more in return, if people on the internet (albeit, in Emeigh's case, people who are nevertheless expert talent evaluators) can think Fister is about to fall off a cliff, maybe a lot of GM's think it, too. It's possible that Fister wasn't valued that highly both for that reason and because demand for starters wasn't very high this winter--there were, after all, several fairly good starters on the market for "only" money and a draft pick not particularly likely to turn into a better prospect than Robbie Ray, and they didn't get signed till the past couple of weeks.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: February 21, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4660637)
It's just 2/$23 so it's obviously not a crippling deal but he doesn't have the upside of a Haren or Johnson but he's got probably at least as good a chance of pumpkining. (I'm stealing that from somebody.)


I'm sorry...but no way is Haren at 10mil for a one year deal is as good of a deal as Arroyo at two for 23(and heck imagine if haren manages to put up 180 ip at his expected 85 era+...they get the privilege of keeping him again). Haren might have more upside, but here is a guy who has pitched 30 starts each of the past two years, put up an 85 era+, vs a guy who has put up 105 era+ over the same time span. While putting up a better whip, more innings, and a positive war, but Haren is the better investment? That is utterly nuts. Haren is the type of guy a contending team might take as a 4th/5th starter and hope that things pan out, but if not, their offense can cover. Arroyo is about as known of a quantity as there is at that position. He'll post 200 innings at about 105 era+. Heck in the last 9 years, he's had 9 seasons with over 199 ip.

Way too many people fret about a pitchers age..if he is over 35 and not a Cy Young guy, then nobody should ever pay them market?..that concept is one of the least realistic concepts that the saber community keeps saying. Yes of course there are flameouts, but there are also Moyer's and Colon's. Arroyo is by any reasonable estimate a 15-20mil per year player based on what he did the last two years and current market trends, and yet people are saying he doesn't deserve what is roughly 2/3rds - 1/2 of that amount? While the guy who in the last two years is a 4-7mil a year player and is a good signing at 10mil?
   36. shoewizard Posted: February 22, 2014 at 05:50 AM (#4660666)
One out of every 3 years arroyo really sucks. He's due again.
   37. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 22, 2014 at 08:22 AM (#4660667)
eso

the submission process stinks. Don't kill yourself on the output above

Arroyo could pull out a randy wolf 2011 based on his guile and some luck or he could be wolf of 2012 (or worse)

his margin between ok and disaster is thinner than Johnny weir's degree of masculinity

   38. cardsfanboy Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4660687)
One out of every 3 years arroyo really sucks. He's due again.

It's very possible he might pitch like a typical Haren season of the last two years...yes I agree. (with the exception that he'll probably put out 40 more innings)

But Arroyo is about the definition of constant when it comes to starting pitching. Arroyo could or could not suck. Can't that be said of anyone? The thing is that Haren has had two complete seasons recently (30 gs each) and has sucked both of them. People want to give Haren the benefit of the doubt, while not the guy who has been more successful more recently? Just because he pitched decently for half of one of those seasons? It just sounds like fanboy wish thinking. Again....they got basically the same contract,(Haren gets a vesting option if he somehow manages to pitch 180ip) meanwhile Arroyo put up 400+ innings in the past two seasons at 105 era+ while Haren pitched roughly 350 innings at 84 era+. (not to mention that Haren has larger number of unearned runs in that time frame) Arroyo gets the nod on better allowed hits, walks and hrs, while Haren gets the nod on strikeouts.(I almost said Haren gets the nod on walks also...but that is because I sillily had looked at bb/9 instead of bb% in a rush to make sure I was quoting correct numbers)

   39. Walt Davis Posted: February 22, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4660851)
CFB -- sorry, you are completely wrong about Arroyo and his projection. And of course his age matters.

Yes, he might be Moyer or Colon although both of those guys spent their careers as much better pitchers than Arroyo (and from 34-36, Moyer had a 125 ERA+). But chances are he is done as an average starter. He is Jeff Suppan. He is Derek Lowe (a much better pitcher at his peak). He is Tewksbury and Lieber and Burkett and Byrd and Contreras and Woody Williams and Millwood and dozens of other pitchers hanging to average by a thread. And yes he's also Rick Reed who managed to hang on for age 37 before fading.

His FIP last year was 4.50. He's projected to an ERA in the 4-4.40 range. Oliver, which generally seems more optimistic than ZiPS or Steamer, projects the next two years at 2.9 WAR although projecting him to 64 starts and 400 IP (dumb no matter who the pitcher is).

And that's exactly how he's being paid. To suggest he's being underpaid is just silly. I happen to think that even that is overly optimistic.

And I didn't say Haren at 1/$10 was a good deal, I said I'd rather have that deal than Arroyo at 2/$23. The peripherals are fine and the last half-season was good. The projection systems disagree a bit (Oliver pessimistic here) but he basically projects the same as Arroyo and you get him at 1/10 not 2/23.

Both are hot potatoes. You can't completely avoid being the one caught holding the hot potato when the clock runs out, especially when it comes to pitching. Bit if I'm going to be holding a hot potato, I'd rather have the 1/10 one with better chance of being above-average than the 2/23 one. But then I'm more a sour cream and pepper guy than a butter and salt guy, your taste may vary.

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