If you’re still on the fence about whether this offseason is proving that a few major league GMs are just terrible at their jobs or if this is some kind of market correction where players are getting paid what they’re worth, well, the Danys Baez signing should pretty much end that discussion.
Take a look at this comparison (walk rates exclude intentional base on balls)
Danny Baez, 2006: 59 2/3 IP, 2.11 BB/9, 5.88 K/9, 0.45 HR/9, 4.20 FIP
Julio Mateo, 2006: 53 2/3 IP, 2.34 BB/9, 5.20 K/9, 1.01 HR/9, 4.90 FIP
Baez is clearly better. His walk rate is a little better, his K rate is a little better, and his home run rate is significantly better, though Baez’s low HR rate probably isn’t sustainable, given his career track record. The difference between the two, over the course of 60 innings pitched, is about five runs. And Baez’s trends aren’t exactly promising – his groundball rate and strikeout rate are both in steady decline, indicating a deterioration in the quality of his stuff.
Julio Mateo is the essence of a replacement level relief pitcher. He’s being paid $1 million in 2007, and most of us feel that he’s overpaid. Danys Baez signed with the Orioles for $19 million over three years!
The Orioles are paying $6 million per year on a three year contract for a reliever who is worth about five runs more than a replacement level reliever over the course of a season. That’s a million dollars per marginal run.