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.