Free agent reviews: Jason Schmidt

DMZ · November 6, 2006 at 4:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Heyyyy, Jason Schmidt. That guy’s supposed to be pretty good, right?

Nope. There’ve been a number of good write-ups on this I’ll point you to, particularly Jeff Sullivan’s writeup on this at but to sum up: he’s not a #1 starter. He hasn’t been in years. The last really good season he had was 2004. Since then, he’s been an average pitcher.

The bait many, many people are biting on – is that his raw stats from last year look just fine. 3.59 ERA, 180 K, 80 walks, only 21 home runs allowed? That’s pretty good. Part of the problem is that, like Jarrod Washburn, he got really lucky with runners on, which made his ERA look good. Some supporters of him pick up on this as some kind of skill but, as we discovered with Jarrod Washburn, it’s not.

Plus, as Jeff mentions, he’s not a spring chicken. You’d be giving a power pitcher clearly on the decline a huge long-term deal that will probably pay out $10m+ for his age 38 and 39 seasons.

Or, they’re trying to make arguments that he’s got some magic glow, that somehow Schmidt is special, that his stuff will translate well, or… or whatever. The argument that he’s somehow the exception is lazy. We can go to every pitcher and by hand-picking our statistics or our scouting reports find a way to support the contention that that pitcher is special, and will be awesome forever. And maybe one of them pans out. And maybe the Mariners have scouted this all out and have reason to believe he’ll succeed in Safeco, so they give him his money, Schmidt comes to Seattle and he’s an ace for five years and we look dumb (hey, look at Raul Ibanez). The point isn’t that that can’t happen – but it’s whether it’s a good gamble or even, as I put this last year, he’s the least bad free agent choice available. For a reasonable amount of money, I’d take the chance, but I’m with Dave (and Jeff) – I wouldn’t bet more than $10m a year, and on a fairly short contract. That won’t land him.

Schmidt’s going to demand ace money and he’s not going to be worth it. Do we really want another Jarrod Washburn on the roster, being paid far more than his contributions warrant? We should hope that the Mets or some other team with even more money than sense makes Schmidt a ridiculous 5/$50m offer and the M’s let him go.


21 Responses to “Free agent reviews: Jason Schmidt”

  1. Dave on November 6th, 2006 4:10 pm

    To clarify, neither Derek nor I (or Jeff Sullivan for that matter) think Schmidt = Washburn. Clearly, he’s better. That’s not even an argument.

    But he’s not nearly as good as people think, and he’s almost certainly going to be paid far more money than he’s worth.

  2. Mr. Egaas on November 6th, 2006 4:14 pm

    I think General consensus on free agent pitchers is that “He’s almost certainly going to be paid far more money than he’s worth” applies. Unless you ink a guy like Oswalt or Santana or whoever you’re extending.

    No Matsuzaka, no Schmidt, no Zito, then who?

    The Mariners have some money to spend and holes to fill. So, who do they get?

  3. Mr. Egaas on November 6th, 2006 4:19 pm

    I’ll say this right now.

    If this M’s come away with Ted Lilly and Adam Eaton to longterm deals and fill the 5th hole with Cha Baek I’m going to be downright pissed.

  4. Dave on November 6th, 2006 4:21 pm

    Hitters. Experienced pitching is overpriced. The Nationals signed a slew of minor league free agents today, and several of them are probably good for around 85-90% of the production most free agent pitchers are likely to give.

    The difference between someone like Tim Redding and Jeff Suppan isn’t particularly large. One of them is going to get something like 4/32, while the other one gets a non-guaranteed invite to spring training. That’s stupid.

  5. ChrisK on November 6th, 2006 4:28 pm

    But..he’s from WA state! And he pitched in a World Series at one point in his life. That should trump all, right?

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but you know the hometown angle is what the local media will talk about, and the “veteran winner” angle is what Bavasi will talk about. Sigh…

  6. Evan on November 6th, 2006 4:29 pm

    But isn’t Jarrod Washburn evidence that Bavasi likes guys whose raw stats look good?

  7. JMB on November 6th, 2006 4:36 pm

    That’s actually a pretty impressive haul for the Nats, all things considered.

  8. mntr on November 6th, 2006 4:49 pm

    One thing about the free agent market that Baseball Prospectus has been harping on: marginal wins. Basically, increasing marginal wins exponentially increases revenue, and so adding a player who will get you mean the difference between the playoffs and not can be worth more to a team than adding a player who will get them from, say, the cellar to 4th place.

  9. Dave on November 6th, 2006 4:50 pm

    Yea, Jim Bowden signed almost every interesting minor league free agent on the market. It’s amazing that they all signed with one organization. I’m guessing their standard NRI contract is better than every other club’s standard offer.

  10. eponymous coward on November 6th, 2006 4:52 pm

    The problem is I see the way Bavasi deals with this without resorting to the FA market is by doing something like dealing for Carl Pavano- which, while better than Schmidt for 4/50 (which is actually more like what I see him going for, something around what Millwood made last year, maybe with one less year), is pretty “eh”…though if it got Sexson over to the Bronx orelsewhere, there’d be some upside there.

  11. terry on November 6th, 2006 4:53 pm

    #9: nope…..its those leather pants….. 😛

  12. Bender on November 6th, 2006 5:14 pm

    So our only hope is that some other stupider team out bids us.


  13. spokane dude on November 6th, 2006 5:16 pm

    Since ec mentioned Carl Pavano…what if the M’s somehow agreed to take Pavano off the Yankees’ hands if they agree to pay about $15 M of the $20 M outstanding on Pavano’s contract? Is he worth the chance for two years and about $5 M?

  14. spokane dude on November 6th, 2006 5:17 pm

    Addendum to 13…I meant..what if the Yanks agree to take on $15 M of Pavano’s contract?

  15. DMZ on November 6th, 2006 5:18 pm

    As long as I’m posting constantly, I’ll write up the Nationals’ haul.

  16. bat guano on November 6th, 2006 5:33 pm

    I haven’t checked the numbers in earnest, but it’s my impression that Lilly would actually be a pretty good fit if you assume we’re not going to pay ace money for somebody who isn’t really an ace. Tell me I’m wrong guys….

  17. eponymous coward on November 6th, 2006 5:33 pm

    I don’t see why they’d eat $15 million of Pavano’s contract if we’re sending Sexson. That would make more sense if we were just sending low-salary guys.

  18. Grizz on November 6th, 2006 5:38 pm

    If Pavano is in the trade discussion, would Bavasi’s other swing-and-misses on free agent pitchers from the recent past be too? Jaret Wright? Hector “Brushback” Carrasco?

    Too bad Matt Clement got hurt because he would have been potentially interesting with only a one-year commitment.

  19. Mere Tantalisers on November 6th, 2006 6:26 pm

    It seems they will be going after Schmidt pretty hard if they’re not even submitting a bid on Daisuke. I really think that’s OK. He may be declining, but he’s still pretty good, and if he ends up making 12 million in four years while pitching like Gil Meche, it’s not ideal, but…

    You know, I think of all the millions the Mariners have paid out in the last few years for players to NOT play on this team, and it doesn’t seem that bad. Everett, Spezio, Boone, oh Jarvis – Kevin effin Jarvis. If and when Bavasi signs Schmidt for more and longer than we would like to see, its important to remember how much worse it could be. It could be Washburn. Oh, wait…

  20. msb on November 6th, 2006 6:48 pm

    speaking of local guys, why the heck is Marques still standing there holding a clipboard?

  21. Dobbs on November 8th, 2006 1:02 pm

    So how many #1 starters exist in the major leagues currently?

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