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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Sources: Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reach 4-year, $72M deal

The Philadelphia Phillies and right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker have reached agreement on a four-year, $72 million contract, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday.

A day after reaching a blockbuster deal with shortstop Trea Turner, the Phillies add to their rotation with one of the top pitcher left on the free agent market.

Walker joins Philadelphia after one of the strongest seasons of his career in 2022, when he started 29 games for the New York Mets and posted a 3.49 ERA, 2.6 bWAR and a 1.19 WHIP in 157 innings pitched, striking out 132 batters while walking 45.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 06, 2022 at 09:37 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies, taijuan walker

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   1. JRVJ Posted: December 06, 2022 at 09:51 PM (#6108401)
The Phillies have remembered when they were an elite franchise, and are acting accordingly.
   2. The Duke Posted: December 06, 2022 at 09:52 PM (#6108402)
Well, I think as a cardinals fan, I'm of the view to stay put. Trade for Murphy if possible and sign no free agents. Walker for 4/72 is crazy
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 06, 2022 at 10:19 PM (#6108412)
That's a weird contract. AAV is low, but years are kind of long.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 06, 2022 at 10:21 PM (#6108413)
I love Walker, but this about double what I thought he'd get.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: December 06, 2022 at 10:36 PM (#6108416)
Well, I think as a cardinals fan, I'm of the view to stay put. Trade for Murphy if possible and sign no free agents. Walker for 4/72 is crazy


I'm pretty certain that is the Cardinals plan, get a catcher preferably Contreras since he costs no prospects, but if necessary Murphy. Sign a couple of pitchers off the trash heap and a couple of bench bats. If something major might be possible, they'll pursue it, but aren't going to be spending wild money just to spend wild money.

   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 07, 2022 at 12:28 AM (#6108423)
In this market Contreras is going to cost $175 million or something.
   7. The Duke Posted: December 07, 2022 at 08:51 AM (#6108448)
I actually think Contreras is going to struggle. He'll get a good deal but it's not going to blow the doors off. There's something teams don't seem to like about his style.
   8. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: December 07, 2022 at 09:03 AM (#6108451)
it's more than i expected, but only a little - i thought 15m per, he got 18m. he's young for a non-premier fa (30), which helps explain the 4 years.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 07, 2022 at 09:15 AM (#6108454)

I actually think Contreras is going to struggle. He'll get a good deal but it's not going to blow the doors off. There's something teams don't seem to like about his style.


Also Sean Murphy is available and the Jays can dangle some young catchers, although you'll have to pay with prospects.
   10. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2022 at 09:20 AM (#6108458)
$$/WAR for pitching is trending a lot higher than for other positions.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: December 07, 2022 at 03:46 PM (#6108575)
That's a weird contract. AAV is low, but years are kind of long.

That's an odd reaction. As you know, not a lot of difference between 3/$60-63 and 4/$72. The AAV is "low" because of the "extra" year. In some ways with pitchers, you might want that extra year -- chances are he will miss most/all of at least one of those seasons but you don't know if it's year 1, 2, 3 or 4. If he missed year 1, year 2 was the struggling rehab year and year 3 he was back to normal, at least now you'd have him for year 4. I suspect that a 4-year deal has a higher probability of delivering 2+ good years than the 3-year deal. (Obviously best if you could get him on a 1-2 year deal but that wasn't happening.)

If that's not clear, my speculation is (a) on any long-term deal for a pitcher, you can't project more than maybe 25 starts a year on average but (b) "on average" is kinda meaningless for pitchers becasue they're either healthy or under the knife. So the Phils might safely expect 90 starts from Walker but that's more likely to be in a pattern like 30, 5, 25, 30 than 23, 23, 23, 23. Obviously if you knew the pattern was going to be 30, 30, 25, 5 you'd rather have him on the 3-year contract but of course you don't know that. But possibly if it works out to 30, 30, 5, 25 you might still prefer the 3-year contract if that 4th year is a struggling rehab year. It would be interesting to take some sample of solid but unspectacular SPs from ages 31-34 say and see which you'd rather have had for the next 3 years or the next 4. (And yes obviously the 4th year raises the risk of missing at least one year.)
   12. Walt Davis Posted: December 07, 2022 at 04:18 PM (#6108578)
$$/WAR for pitching is trending a lot higher than for other positions.

I've never quite trusted pitcher WAR to the degree I have batter WAR. I've never put my finger on it, some of it is that so much of the value gets tied up in park effects, defensive estimates, quality of opponents estimates -- on the one hand, that's unavoidable; on the other, it requires a lot of faith. But also because pitcher usage is constantly in flux and, for a while now, it seems like team spending hasn't lined up that well with how we think about pitching.

Most succinctly there's the issue that an average performing pitcher needs something like 220-240 IP to reach 2.2 WAR in a season -- what we think of as average. We don't see that anymore, haven't seen it for a very long time for most "average" pitchers. Yet we can express surprise that Quintana gets only 2/$26 -- a pitcher who will be lucky to give you 1.5 WAR -- shock that a reliever gets as much as $7 M for his 0.5 WAR in 50-60 IP and maybe think Walker's AAV is low although he's produced at a 1 WAR per 90 IP pace so, given today's usage, is probably only gonna produce 1.5 WAR in his 150 innings. And the reduced usage for SPs (which is happening at the elite SP level too) also means they are pitching even fewer med-high leverage innings but their AAVs seem to keep going up.

For several years now we've seen pitchers get big AAVs -- Scherzer, Bauer, Verlander, Cole, Strasburg -- with Schherzer and Verlander having done it for years. And it's not like Bauer, Cole or Strasburg were re-writing record books.

It might just be the years though. Cole and Strasburg aside (a very big aside), many of these pitcher deals are for few years -- especially the relievers and the old starters. This is more the on-demand WAR market, not a lot of deferring by adding extra years for pitchers. But still, why does a 0.5 WAR reliever command 2/$14 while a 1-WAR IF will be lucky to get 1/$5.

So somebody's missing something. Maybe WAR is undervaluing Carlos Estevez ... but can it undervalue him AND top starters AND Taijuan Walker? That would mean it undervalues pitching as a whole -- theoretically possible but hard to conclude that in real life. Maybe replacement-level pitching is set too high -- certainy teams will pay good money to keep the AAA guys off the field for innings 1-5 and the hi-leverage innings 6-9.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 07, 2022 at 04:38 PM (#6108586)
That's an odd reaction. As you know, not a lot of difference between 3/$60-63 and 4/$72.

I was thinking more that a guy who's only worth $18M shouldn't get more than two years. If you think he's averagish, which Walker is, the odds are he's worse than that in years 3-4.

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