Ken Rosenthal reports that, barring a last minute change, the Mariners are expected to sign Miguel Batista to a deal expected to be for more than 3 years and $24 million.
This one is tough for me. I like Miguel Batista as a pitcher. I lobbied for the M’s to sign him several years ago, and he’s consistently underrated. He’s better than most of the guys who were on the market this winter. If you had forced me to sign free agent starting pitchers this winter, he’d have been near the top of the list of guys I would have gone after.
But context is also important, and in the case of the roster the Mariners have built, Miguel Batista is not what this team needs. He’s a durable guy that turns 36 in February who keeps the ball in the yard and won’t get you blown out of ballgames, but he doesn’t miss bats and has mediocre command. That package makes him a #4 starter on a team with a good rotation, but now, he’s the Mariners #2 starter. A three year contract would wrap him up through his age 38 season.
If the Batista signing comes through, the rotation will be Felix and four guys who profile as back of the rotation arms. They’ll be paying in excess of $20 million for Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, and Horacio Ramirez. That’s just poor roster construction, and the opportunity cost is just as large as the salary.
The M’s had a great opportunity to pick up undervalued pitching this winter. John Thomson, Rodrigo Lopez, and Angel Guzman could have provided the M’s with 90% of what they’ll get from Batista, Ramirez, and Baek and done so for 25% of the cost.
After a promising start to the offseason, with the Guillen signing, the avoidance of the crazy contracts being given out to bad pitchers, and the rumors of a John Thomson deal, this winter has gone to hell in a handbasket. And it only took about four days.
Antonetti in ’08.