Free agent reviews: Jason Schmidt
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.