Stone on free agent pitching

DMZ · October 1, 2006 at 9:43 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Larry Stone, voice of reason in an irrational world.

Baseball’s general managers, in their eternal lust for starting pitching, will convince themselves that a small group of mostly pedestrian hurlers are absolutely essential to the well-being of their ballclub.

This is a nice, well-written, well-reasoned, well-supported article.


12 Responses to “Stone on free agent pitching”

  1. joser on October 1st, 2006 10:16 am

    Listening to Bavasi’s interview on KOMO after the game, it was clear he completely understood this. And yet he went out last year and got Washburn for way too much money. Whether that was because of pressure from above, or because he couldn’t find anything in the trade market and farm system, or because he overvalues the Angels’ talent, or because he simply lost his mind and self-discipline like everybody else, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, it doesn’t bode well for the offseason: he may read Stone’s article, nodding his head all the way and agreeing with the voices here, and then go out and hoist the M’s budget on yet another duece-arm-for-ace’s-money petard nonetheless.

  2. Livengood on October 1st, 2006 10:40 am

    I think Washburn may serve as the very recent reminder/cuationary tale for Bavasi.

    Taking a page out of the Moneyball playbook, I wonder if he won’t look for what is undervalued this winter. Yes, go out hard for Matsuzaka, but after that, if everybody is busy bidding up and spending big $$ on pitchers, pursue offense with your “second pitcher” money. Ichiro’s move to CF makes that more possible than in any recent year. If you land something interesting, you have lots of trade chips, and might be able to get that second pitcher via that route, much more cheaply.

    Great article by Stone. It is nice to read this sort of reasoned analysis in the mainstream media – or really, anywhere other than on USSM or LL.

  3. junglist215 on October 1st, 2006 10:55 am

    Washburn signing was due in part to the pressure from the front office and the fanbase to get back to the glory days. However, you seem to be forgetting the minor moves he made acquiring Carjaval, Luis Gonzalez, Cruceta, Bazardo, and so forth. Most of them have yet to pan out or found themselves in other organizations, but my point is Bavasi has been focused on trying to make low cost high risk/high reward moves in the past. If he keeps at it something is bound to stick.

  4. Dave on October 1st, 2006 11:32 am

    This is interesting:

    But they should chew on this: Arizona Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes and his staff recently compiled a list of the top 20 pitchers in baseball, based on a variety of statistical factors. They discovered only one — the Yankees’ Mike Mussina — was acquired in free agency. All the others came via trades or a team’s own farm system.

    I wonder what kind of system the D’Backs used that doesn’t rank Chris Carpenter as one of the 20 best pitchers in baseball.

  5. PositivePaul on October 1st, 2006 11:40 am

    This is a nice, well-written, well-reasoned, well-supported article.

    I agree, except on one point:

    It’s often said that you can’t trade for good pitching. Patently false. Here’s a list of pitchers who came to their current team via trade, with 2006 record in parentheses: Josh Beckett (16-11), Curt Schilling (15-7), Bronson Arroyo (14-10), Chris Young (11-5), Aaron Harang (16-11), Dontrelle Willis (12-12), Jeremy Bonderman (14-8), Chris Capuano (11-12), Dan Haren (14-13), Jose Contreras (13-9), Jake Westbrook (14-10), Cliff Lee (13-11) and Brad Penny (16-9). There are more, but you get the point.

    Since when is it well-reasoned to declare a pitcher “good” based solely on their Win-Loss record? Certainly there’s some good pitchers in that list, but to me, anyone who judges pitchers on their Win-Loss totals has a whole heck of a lot to learn. Of course, he may be writing that to a different audience, but I would think Stone could educate folks a little bit more by using something other than Win-Loss record to support his thesis.

    Picking nits, perhaps, but it still caught my eye…

    (oops — forgot a bracket on my blockquote tag: where’d that ‘preview’ button go again?)

  6. eponymous coward on October 1st, 2006 11:46 am

    Compare and contrast that list to the one of 2005 free agent pitchers, Paul (Washburn, Millwood, Loaiza, Weaver, and so on). I bet Stone’s list wins.

  7. Josh on October 1st, 2006 11:52 am

    Not all the W-L records were actually good, anyway. Maybe he simply wanted to put some results next to the names. Not really necessary, but it was just an add-on, I guess.

  8. The Ancient Mariner on October 1st, 2006 12:01 pm

    Re #4: Dave, I expect the D-Backs use a system that doesn’t rank a player released by another team as a player signed in free agency. If that’s the case, then I see their point.

  9. bedir on October 1st, 2006 1:07 pm

    Or they could use consider that he was resigned by his current team. Only including how acquired under current contractual agreement.

  10. Dave on October 1st, 2006 1:18 pm

    He was released, was eligible to sign with any club, and then signed with the Cardinals as a free agent. Considering the whole point of the study, drawing some kind of weird difference between contract expired free agents and released free agents is pretty meaningless.

    Carpenter belongs on any list of the top 20 pitchers in baseball, and the Cardinals acquired him via free agency.

  11. The Ancient Mariner on October 1st, 2006 1:59 pm

    I think, if that’s the distinction drawn, then it would be to draw a contrast between those players who were pursued by teams and those who were pursuing teams. After all, prior to ’04, Carpenter had had one good year in four seasons (of which he’d only spent 2 1/2 in the majors).

  12. Jerry on October 1st, 2006 4:04 pm


    I would imagine that it was long-term deals, like the analysis you posted a few weeks ago.

    I would think that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite would be likely candidates for that list as well. And Derek Lowe and Jason Schmidt should be in that conversation.


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