DMZ · November 5, 2008 at 8:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

As you probably know from reading for a while, I’m a bit of a geek for the roster-construction aspect of teams: how a team is built, how the pieces fit, finding spaces to make the most of players, platooning, all that good stuff. I’m one of the people who sits around wondering whether it’s worthwhile to assemble a first-base defensive platoon, or what 4th outfielder best suits the particular talents of a team.

And I love my rehab projects and back-end roster gambles, which brings me to Pavano. I saw today that the Yankees opted out of their deal, which makes him a free agent.

First, the disclaimer: I don’t know Pavano. I don’t know if he’s been a slacker, if he really wants to play, if he’s been a crybaby and not all that injured. I don’t know if he’s inherently fragile. These are all issues that have to be weighed by those with better information than myself. In particular, how well he can still throw and whether his injuries have sapped him of talent is a question for people who see him pitch.

And really, for all the advances in sports medicine, I can’t think of another player that’s missed so much time for so long and come back to be as effective as their height. That said…

This may be a really interesting gamble contract. He’s coming off a massive mistake contract with New York, where they paid him $40m over 4 years and produced essentially nothing. There’s almost certainly going to be a repulsion effect where GMs will be reluctant to get into the press signing someone coming off a bust contract.

But he’ll be 33 next year. That’s not so old. He’s a flyballer, and Safeco Field supports flyballers (as would an upgraded defense in the outfield). In 2003-2004 he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, and his contract with the Yankees didn’t look all that crazy in the context of other deals at the time.

I don’t know. Heck, Esteban Loaiza looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2003. And again, I certainly don’t know what he looks like right now, and I don’t have answers to the other questions. But I’m extremely interested to see how this turns out. Giving Pavano a short cheap deal may be money wasted and it may end up being the bargain of the off-season.

Manny? The M’s don’t need Manny right now. They need reclamation projects like Pavano to work out. They need to find a couple really good marginal pickups to get the team to respectability next year. And this is why I’m a roster construction geek.


16 Responses to “Pavano”

  1. Thoan on November 5th, 2008 9:07 am

    What really makes me question Pavano is how hard Bavasi chased after him. Given Bavasi’s demonstrated ability to evaluate talent, Pavano’s got to be a bad fit here. Look for Bavasi to land Pavano for the Reds — GMs and managers never seem to recover from these obsessions (which served Gillick pretty well in Philly, btw).

  2. bakomariner on November 5th, 2008 9:22 am

    Pavano would be interesting on a one-year experiment, but unless they dump Washburn, Silva or Bautista, there really isn’t room.

    A rotation of Felix, Bedard, Morrow, RRS, and Pavano would be pretty good.

    I hope Z has the power to dump all three of them if given the chance.

    Eat the money, release them if you can’t trade them, and pick up Pavano for one year.

  3. Benne on November 5th, 2008 10:27 am

    I don’t see how he would fit in the rotation with Washburn and Silva still taking up space. That said, signing Pavano to something like a 1Y/3M deal loaded with incentives is the kind of low-risk, high-reward move that good teams make.

    Manny? Who’s talking about Manny? I want to find this person and slap the stupid out of him.

  4. Swungonandbelted on November 5th, 2008 10:40 am

    If we could get Pavano on a 1 year deal for 4 mil plus escalator incentives for innings pitched, (toss in a club option for a second year with a minimal buyout), it might be an interesting pickup. If he’s effective, great. If he’s a bust, he’s at least not a Sexon/ Silva money level bust…

  5. joser on November 5th, 2008 11:02 am

    There’s no way you get Pavano for less than what, say, Weaver got. It’s going to be $8M base at least

    I’m one of the people who sits around wondering whether it’s worthwhile to assemble a first-base defensive platoon, or what 4th outfielder best suits the particular talents of a team.

    And you write science fiction, too. And yet somebody was still willing to marry you.

  6. TomG on November 5th, 2008 12:08 pm

    What the Mariners need, as they sit stagnating between not having enough major league talent to be a contender and not enough minor league talent to effect a full-on youth movement, is exactly the kind of risk-reward a player like Pavano represents. The kind of player that you can flip to a team in the middle of a pennant chase or opt to sit back and accrue the compensatory picks when they sign elsewhere. The problem is, like joser points out, these players still cost a pretty penny on the free market. I really don’t see Pavano taking a cheap ($4-5MM) one-year contract, even if it is incentive-laden, to pitch for an also-ran like the Mariners. I think there will be a team foolish enough to bank on his relative youth and past glories to give him a multi-year deal for a back-of-the-rotation spot.

    I mean, sure, if he were willing to come here on the short and cheap, I certainly wouldn’t be against it. It’s the kind of move a team like the Mariners should be making.

  7. msb on November 5th, 2008 12:39 pm

    of course, Cashman hasn’t ruled out bringing him back to NY….

  8. Swungonandbelted on November 5th, 2008 12:56 pm

    I think there will be a team foolish enough to bank on his relative youth and past glories to give him a multi-year deal for a back-of-the-rotation spot.

    This hopefully doesn’t describe the M’s anymore…

  9. jouish on November 5th, 2008 2:12 pm

    I have no idea on the medicals on Penny, but a short contract with him would seem to be along the same lines as Pavano, no?

  10. Brent on November 5th, 2008 2:29 pm

    Penny would likely cost more, but if Pavano wouldn’t accept a small amount, he can take a hike. He’s been injury riddled with very little exception, going back to his days in Montreal after the Pedro Martinez trade.

  11. Brent on November 5th, 2008 4:33 pm

    I also disagree with the Weaver comparison. Weaver was baaad for years before, but did so happen to catch lightning in a bottle and have a good playoff run for St. Louis, leading to the World Series title. I guess he should have listened to Scott Spiezio and stayed in STL.

    I like the thought of Pavano. He should be low cost with tons of incentives, and in a best case scenario, he plays 1/2 a year in Seattle, gets dealt for a shiny prospect or two, and then Texas, Anaheim, or some other team shells out a big contract to him again and he reverts to his Yankee form.

  12. marinerfaninvenice on November 5th, 2008 6:44 pm

    Move Washburn to the Mets and sign Pavano to a decent deal at anything < Wash’s salary and this makes sense.

  13. Steve Nelson on November 5th, 2008 8:35 pm

    I think the key point is that every winter the crop of free agent pitchers include some guys who are overrated and get undeservedly large contracts, and there are some guys who are underrated and get signed for significantly less than their true value.

    Given Pavano’s history, which group do you think he is more likely to fit into??

    I think perceptions of him from his time in New York have sufficiently poisoned his image that he’s far more likely to be undervalued.

  14. sympathetic oriolesfan on November 5th, 2008 8:52 pm

    Derek could you explain why the m’s would need to take on any

    more starting pitchers. They already have bedard, felix, RRS,…

    Wouldn’t it be a better idea for them to go after underrated, cheap

    hitters? maybe like a Josh Phelps

  15. DaveValleDrinkNight on November 6th, 2008 2:05 am

    I’ve got to agree with S-O’sfan. We’ve got several great young arms coming through the system, if you’re going to go for a reclamation project why not a young hitter?
    Hey, anybody know how that Hamilton kid is doing for the Rangers?
    All-Star Team?
    But hey, we can always call Blackley right?

  16. TomG on November 6th, 2008 6:57 am

    I think it’s because, to a certain extent, hitters are easier to project than pitchers so the chances of finding that diamond-in-the-rough hitter is going to be a lot smaller than a pitcher.

    Hamilton is a bad comp; he was an incredible talent whose promising career was derailed early on by drug addiction. The Reds took a Rule 5 chance on him (via the Cubs, I do believe), hoping he turned his life around. It wasn’t a situation where years of underperformance or a debilitating baseball injury made teams give up on him.

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