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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Padres - Signed Maddux

San Diego Padres - Signed P Greg Maddux to a 1-year, $10 million contract.

Given the state of the free agent market, I think this is a terrific signing.  Some may scoff about his 98 ERA+ but that’s actually slightly on the plus side of average, his peripherals were a bit better, and the nature of the park prevents him from having a huge downside without injury.  Just to illustrate the less-than-special market out there, here are the free agent starters, ranked by 2007 ERA+:

Schilling - 122
Pettitte - 110
Lopez - 108
Rogers - 103
Silva - 103
Lohse - 100
Lieber -98
Maddux - 98
Fogg - 97
Wolf - 97
Glavine - 96
Livan - 95
Trachsel - 94
Milton - 90
Perez - 84
Ortiz - 81
Tomko - 80
Kim - 79
Both Wellses - 77
Armas - 72
Colon - 72
Weaver - 70
Jennings - 68
Maroth - 65
Redman - 59
Seo - 56
Zambrano 45
Benson - Missed Season
Clement - Missed Season
Thomson - 2 MLB starts and scattered minor league starts
Wright - Missed most of season

That’s a horrible group of pitchers.  Available in the free agent market this offseason are a total of 11 pitchers that were league-average or better this season and only 6 of them are not in their 40s and not announcing that they’ll probably retire if they don’t return to the Yankees.  When the class of the market is Rodrigo Lopez, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse, Jon Lieber, Josh Fogg, and Randy Wolf, I might as well not even bother reporting transactions this offseason; just assume that any long-term deal for a starting pitcher is unbelievably awful.

Seriously, who on that list would you prefer and can get at that price?  I don’t see anyone who would probably be willing to sign a one-year contract for $10 million who is anywhere near as desirable as Maddux.

Paul Byrd could be added to the list and if he does, he becomes one of the elite of the free agent class, which is not only quite sad but also suggests that the Indians better be picking up the club option if plan B involves a signing.

For those that don’t remember, ZiPS projects Maddux at 14-11, 3.91 (I don’t have my template handy at the moment).

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 06, 2007 at 04:40 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DosRafaels Posted: November 06, 2007 at 07:42 AM (#2606303)
There is no way in hell that Shapiro doesn't pick up Byrd's option, if only just to trade him to an NL team for a pretty good prospect. This FA market is just plain awful giving me hope that instead of trading Byrd we might be able to get more than filler for Cliff Lee.
   2. flournoy Posted: November 06, 2007 at 07:59 AM (#2606306)
I'm pretty sure that Rodrigo Lopez will miss all or most of '08 after having Tommy John surgery.

There goes the top free agent!
   3. DL from MN Posted: November 06, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2606402)
Is Livan really 32 as listed? If so, I'd take him over pretty much anyone else on a 3 year deal.
   4. JPWF13 Posted: November 06, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2606604)
That’s a horrible group of pitchers. Available in the free agent market this offseason


I'm sure a couple of minor league FAs will turn out to have better 2008s, 2009s etc than most guys on that list.

Unfortunately I don;t know who they might be :-)
   5. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 06, 2007 at 04:59 PM (#2606688)
So Kyle Lohse is worth 5/$50MM?
   6. SouthSideRyan Posted: November 06, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2606707)
I'd be hesitant to give Livan a 1 year deal, let alone 3.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 06, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2606877)
So Kyle Lohse is worth 5/$50MM?

Don't laugh.

He's been fully healthy for 6 straight years, averaged 180 IP a year -- would be higher if he hadn't gotten stuck in the pen for 2 months in 06 -- with about a league-average ERA and will be just 29. That's got value. I wouldn't give any pitcher, much less one like Lohse, a 5-year contract, but 3/$27 kinda looks "reasonable" for him in today's market. (I know, I can't believe it either)

I was discussing Silva the other day and projecting that he wouldn't sign for mega-millions. This will be an interesting comparison. Based on performance, you'd have to give Silva the edge over Lohse. And they're the same age. But teams are smart enough to be wary of ultra-low K rates -- Lohse's K-rate isn't great but it's better than Silva's. So I'll predict that Lohse will sign for more than Silva.
   8. Sparkles Peterson Posted: November 06, 2007 at 10:21 PM (#2607158)
It's hard for me to accept that teams are willing to pay over $300K per start for a pitcher with no real upside. Even as the pitching market exploded, over-40 mediocrities seemed to be the one place teams could turn for a price break.

I know the Padres are looking for guys like Maddux to stabilize their rotations, but is the price on a Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine really going to be driven up by the Kansas Cities and Cincinnatis of the league flooding the free agent market with their new revenue? There just aren't that many teams on which Greg Maddux makes sense.
   9. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 06, 2007 at 10:31 PM (#2607181)
I know the Padres are looking for guys like Maddux to stabilize their rotations, but is the price on a Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine really going to be driven up by the Kansas Cities and Cincinnatis of the league flooding the free agent market with their new revenue?

What's the point of saving the money? The "elite" guys are going to be paid much more than Cincinnati and KC can offer them so it's not like money not used this year will be spent next season and one year deals don't hurt teams long term. I'd rather the players get it than the owners pocket it.
   10. rfloh Posted: November 06, 2007 at 10:42 PM (#2607198)
#8

There just aren't that many teams on which Greg Maddux makes sense.


Oh? How about the Mets? Phillies? Braves? Yankees? Mariners? Tigers? The Cards, who gave Pineiro $12M? Even the A's?

Would you prefer to Maddux $10M or Carlos Silva $40-$50M? Would you prefer to be on the hook for $10M to Maddux or $40M+ for Jeff Suppan? And I ask this as someone who likes Suppan.
   11. JPWF13 Posted: November 06, 2007 at 11:00 PM (#2607228)
but is the price on a Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine really going to be driven up by the Kansas Cities and Cincinnatis of the league flooding the free agent market with their new revenue? There just aren't that many teams on which Greg Maddux makes sense.


Personally I think Maddux is good bet to replicate 2006, Glavine is good bet to replicate Warren Spahn circa 1964.
   12. Sparkles Peterson Posted: November 06, 2007 at 11:45 PM (#2607286)
Oh? How about the Mets? Phillies? Braves? Yankees? Mariners? Tigers? The Cards, who gave Pineiro $12M? Even the A's?


Mets and Phillies, yes. Braves, not until the bidding got stupidly low. Yankees, no. They have youngsters who will put up the same numbers and have upside. Mariners, sure. Tigers, only if they soured on their young pitchers awfully fast. Cardinals possibly, but only if they expect Carpenter and Mulder to be back in the rotation by August or so (Which they don't seem to). The Pineiro signing was stupidity of another kind. They misread a terrible starter as a mediocre starter, and they wanted a mediocre stopgap in the rotation for the rebuilding years. Oakland, again, only when the bidding gets down ridiculously low.

Would you prefer to Maddux $10M or Carlos Silva $40-$50M? Would you prefer to be on the hook for $10M to Maddux or $40M+ for Jeff Suppan? And I ask this as someone who likes Suppan.


Depends on the team. If I'm a contender next year who needs a rotation spot filled out for a season, Maddux. If I'm conceivably on the fringes of contention in a year or two and I need a rotation anchor, I'm going to gamble on someone like Gil Meche and then I'm probably going to settle on someone like Silva or Suppan, if have to spend the money on the free agent market and I can't land someone with the impressive upside. The one thing I'm not going to do is devote a large chunk of my payroll to a veteran who'll be retired before I get a chance to crawl out of third or fourth place.
   13. harrball Posted: November 07, 2007 at 03:27 AM (#2607432)
Byrd's option got picked-up.

Silva is going to get Meche money, at least. 5/60 isn't out of the question.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:23 AM (#2607575)
Yankees, no. They have youngsters who will put up the same numbers and have upside. Mariners, sure.

At the moment, the Yanks have one starter on the roster they can count on for 180 IP (Wang). They have only 2 starters who pitched over 100 IP (Wang and Mussina, and Mussina ain't bragging about it). The idea that Chamberlain, Hughes, and Kennedy are all going to step up is a stretch. Even with Hughes, Kennedy, Rasner, and Clemens joining for about 215 very good IP, Pettitte's 215 good IP, and two OK starts by Pavano, the Yanks still gave 30 starts to pitchers with ERA+ of 72 or worse.

There isn't a team in baseball that doesn't "need" Greg Maddux. There is no team with enough established starters and enough young starting pitching depth that having a Maddux around would harm development. (OK, there might be 1 or 2 of those) And 1/$10 is a perfectly good price for it. I'm OK with the idea that there might be some teams who have a better use of that $10 M ... but not many of them.

Really, it's almost a bargain. Last year Mussina signed for 2/$23. I think it was 3 years ago that David Wells got 2/$9 with $9 in incentives if he stayed healthy (I think he ended up making $13.5 or so). Kenny Rogers got 2/$16 two years ago. Glavine got 1/$10.5 last year.

It's hard for me to accept that teams are willing to pay over $300K per start for a pitcher with no real upside.

I thought you were about to diss my man Kyle Lohse! :-)

Silva is going to get Meche money, at least. 5/60 isn't out of the question.

Curious as to why you believe this. His track record is solid but everyone knows he has no upside and the Twins were on the verge of moving him out of the rotation this season.
   15. rfloh Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:48 AM (#2607592)
#12

#14 has covered the Yankees.

For the Tigers, who are these youngsters that the Tigers might sour on? Verlander is great. Bonderman had a bad year. Robertson had a year that was similar to Maddux's. Kenny Rogers is an FA. Andrew Miller will probably be a good pitcher someday, but probably not next year.

For Oakland, firstly, they are no longer the small market team that they once were. They have shown a willingness to spend some money. And they do need Maddux. Outside of Haren, Cupcakes and Gaudin, there's no one. Harden doesn't count. DiNardo, Meyer, Braden are fine, as 5th starters.

All the teams I listed, with the exception of the Cardinals maybe, are considered contenders are see themselves as contenders.
   16. Mike Green Posted: November 07, 2007 at 03:31 PM (#2607852)
Maddux was 41 this year. Great pitchers of roughly his type can have good seasons at age 42 (Warren Spahn), but he has reached the age where the attrition rate is high (Alexander, Perry). Counting on him for 200 innings is not realistic.

Just about every team can use a starter with an expected ERA+ of 95 and 160 innings. That's Maddux. Whether that is worth $10 million, I have no idea.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2607906)
"Unfortunately I don;t know who they might be :-)"

The names that jump out at me: Trey Hodges, Ben Howard, Dennis Tankersley, Zach Day, Ben Hendrickson, Ben Kozlowski, Mike Tejera, Mike Thompson, Sun Woo Kim, Matt Kinney, Ezequiel Astacio, and Brandon Claussen.
   18. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:18 PM (#2608280)
The names that jump out at me: Trey Hodges, Ben Howard, Dennis Tankersley, Zach Day, Ben Hendrickson, Ben Kozlowski, Mike Tejera, Mike Thompson, Sun Woo Kim, Matt Kinney, Ezequiel Astacio, and Brandon Claussen.


None of those guys would be likely to post an expected ERA+ of 95 and give you 160 innings. They might do that at their best, but the likely range is more like mid-80s, and you run the significant risk of the guy that you do sign flaming out entirely.

-- MWE
   19. Rodder Posted: November 07, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2608572)
From espn.com's headlining survey of 15 baseball GM's:

"Would you choose Bartolo Colon, Josh Fogg, Livan Hernandez, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Silva or Jeff Weaver?

Responses: Silva, 4; Lohse, 4; Hernandez, 3; Colon, 3.

One NL general manager declined to pick from the list. "For the money they're going to get, none of them work for me," he said. "
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:53 PM (#2608626)
"They might do that at their best, but the likely range is more like mid-80s, and you run the significant risk of the guy that you do sign flaming out entirely."

Very true. I was just saying that if one of the 6YFAs does bust out with a big year, I'd be less surprised if it were one of those guys than if it were someone else; they seem like the best of the bunch to me.

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