Pay up

DMZ · January 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I remembered to go back and look at an old post today: “Here’s the Bet

This off-season, at least one free agent pitcher who has superior numbers to Washburn will sign a one-year deal for under Washburn’s 2010 salary of $10m. And here, I mean numbers indicative of a pitcher’s ability:
* Strikeout rate
* Walk rate
* Line drive rate (and HR rate)
* Ground ball/fly ball split
I predict this year we’ll see at least one pitcher who is clearly superior enough to Washburn to make arguing moot, but here’s our specific criteria: at least 180 IP in 2008, K rate equal or better than Washburn’s, walk rate equal or better than Washburn, LD/HR rate equal or better than Washburn’s. They will sign a deal for one year for less than $10m. Bonus points for 2y under $10m.

Oh, there were skeptics. Dave was one. But I claim my rightful victory.

Randy Johnson pitched 184 innings in 2008. He struck out 22% of hitters who faced him, Washburn got 13%. Randy walked 6% of hitters, Washburn 7% (I knew this would be the toughest hurdle). Randy’s line drive rate was 18%, Washburn’s 23%. Randy’s ground ball rate was 40%, Washburn’s 36%. And they’re both lefties, so there you are.

Randy signed a one-year, $8m deal with the Giants. Sure he wouldn’t have signed here but that’s not at all the point. We were right back in August when we were screaming about what a dumb move Armstrong made to veto his interim GM because he wanted “value” back.

Here’s the value you’re not getting, at current market value: for the money Washburn will cost next year, your new GM could have gone out and signed Daniel Cabrera, Tim Redding, and Brad Penny for next year’s rotation. There’s some potential value for your dollar.

Or, to view this another way, given current market prices to replace Washburn, that move’s value was -$2.5m at the very least. Given what we’ve already seen them do, we know the front office would have been able to spend that bringing in a host of quality minor league free agents, non-roster guys, rehab projects… whatever.



21 Responses to “Pay up”

  1. Coolalvin206 on January 13th, 2009 8:03 pm

    Shouldn’t it be “Dave was one” ?

  2. Breadbaker on January 13th, 2009 8:20 pm

    that move’s value was -$2.5m at the very least.

    Does that include the foregone salary at the end of 2008? I think you’re being conservative.

  3. Adam S on January 13th, 2009 8:21 pm

    Wow, DMZ is so fired up about this he made about five typos/grammatical errors.

    Add vetoing the Washburn trade to the list of Mariners’ moves that were not only bad but indefensible.

  4. philosofool on January 13th, 2009 8:56 pm

    You point is entirely well taken. However, in Dave’s defense, I would argue that this has been a buyer’s market. It’s hard to say for sure now, but I think that $$/WAR of MLB free agents is actually smaller this off season than last, which would be the first time that has happened in several years.

    Also, this is probably the last time Randy Johnson (among the all time great lefties) will ever be compared to Jarrod Washburn (to be forgotten by all but the chagrined Mariners faithful.)

    However, if you are simply arguing that Washburn blows and we should have traded him, and still should, I’m not arguing in the slightest.

  5. DMZ on January 13th, 2009 9:01 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t realize I published this early. My fault, I’ll fix the errors.

  6. patnmic on January 13th, 2009 9:52 pm

    We all need to take a deep breath and remember this is the Mariners of the past. It is only a matter of time before all of these moves eventually come of the books and by then I hope (and I really have reasons to hope) that we will be watching post season baseball again in the NorthWest.

  7. SonOfZavaras on January 13th, 2009 10:15 pm

    I for one am still most royally irked Washrag’s STILL on the team. It’s like chewing tinfoil type of irritating.

  8. HerseyChris on January 13th, 2009 10:26 pm

    Obviously I’d like to see us have that $10 million dollars to spend on someone else other than Washburn, but I can definitely stomach him for another year. It’s 3 more years of Silva that I really can’t stand to bear.

  9. TomTuttle on January 13th, 2009 10:44 pm

    I for one am still most royally irked Washrag’s STILL on the team. It’s like chewing tinfoil type of irritating.

    One more year and your rid of Washburn and Batista. Look at it that way.

    And on top of that, if the Mariners are to re-sign Bedard, I would think and hope that Z will be smart enough to make sure that its a contract that makes sense in terms of years and salary.

    It’s 3 more years of Silva that I really can’t stand to bear.

    That’s a lot to pay for a glorified long reliever who eats a lot, I’ll give you that.

  10. waitin_4_series on January 13th, 2009 10:53 pm

    Good catch, but aren’t we fudging on the $5M in performance and award bonuses a bit? $8M base + up to $5M in bonuses.

  11. joser on January 13th, 2009 10:56 pm

    Nice. I’d forgotten about that bet, though of course I remember it now that you bring it up.

    However: Let’s all prepare ourselves, because when the new outfield defense “rejuvenates” Mr. Extreme Flyballer, we’re going to be hearing from a bunch of result-aholics who will be insisting on what a good thing it was that they held on to him. Also look forward once again to hearing about Washburn’s college pitching coach, or whatever other hokum he comes up with to explain his return to the land of non-suck.

    And then expect to hear a lot of outrage when the new FO cleverly flips him at the trade deadline to some other team that hasn’t been paying attention. (Gee it’s nice to think that the M’s might be on the smart end of deals again). That’s the only silver lining here: it’s possible — if the right situation develops mid-season, with some desperate team in a tight race with an injured starter — that this FO might break even on half a year’s salary and a middling prospect vs letting him go in a salary dump last year.

    (Hey, a guy can dream, right? Though I’d rather they were forced to hang on to him in July because the Mariners were in tight race for the AL West)

  12. vj on January 14th, 2009 12:22 am

    I keep wondering why Johnson did not stay with the Diamondbacks. In fact, there have been a few odd changes of players long tenured or otherwise tied to one franchise. Besides Johnson, I am thinking of John Smoltz and Trevor Hoffman.

  13. spliffbowl on January 14th, 2009 4:09 am

    Johnson did not stay with the D’Backs because they were only offering him like 3-4 million. Hoffman left because he felt insulted that the owner would not meet him personally to discuss a contract for next year, plus they were not offering him as much money as he ended up getting from Milwaukee. Smoltz pretty much left for more guaranteed money, and probably a better chance at winning.

  14. pshmidget on January 14th, 2009 8:38 am

    Oh please, get a life! Washburn’s “deal” was never going to happen. The Twins were only going to pull the trigger on that deal to keep the Whitesox from snagging him – and when it looked like the deal wasn’t going to happen the Twins eased off the panic button.
    And to compare stats with a pitcher who was NEVER EVER going to come here of his own free will is just a phony arguement for the sake of stirring things up. Let’s move on, shall we?

  15. DMZ on January 14th, 2009 8:53 am

    You’re provably wrong. The Twins claimed him on waivers. There was no way for them to back out of the “deal” had the M’s decided to let the claim go through.

    Also: it’s a follow-up on a bet with pretty specific parameters. If you want to argue with the bet term, or with us trying to follow up on predictions, that’s one thing. Accusations of bad faith are unwelcome.

  16. Alex on January 14th, 2009 8:55 am

    While it is annoying that we are overpaying for mediocre pitchers, at least now we know that those kinds of mistakes arent going to be made anymore in the future. Having those contracts just means it’ll take until 2010 or 2011 to get good instead of sooner. But whats important is that once the Mariners get good, they’ll stay good.

  17. coasty141 on January 14th, 2009 9:05 am

    “Sure he wouldn’t have signed here but that’s not at all the point.” – Why isn’t that revelant?

  18. DMZ on January 14th, 2009 9:10 am

    It wasn’t part of the bet conditions. The bet was about setting a bunch of pretty high bars for standards and predicting there’d still be someone who got well under it.

  19. coasty141 on January 14th, 2009 9:11 am

    Fair enough

  20. terry on January 14th, 2009 9:37 am

    Anyone can get lucky once…where is the position player? 😛

  21. joser on January 14th, 2009 10:03 am

    While it is annoying that we are overpaying for mediocre pitchers, at least now we know that those kinds of mistakes arent going to be made anymore in the future.

    While I generally agree, let’s not assume things are now going to be perfect forever. The new regime seems far less likely to be fooled, but they can still make the occasional mistake; more to the point, they can make smart decisions that still don’t work out. Guys get hurt, things happen (just ask Tampa Bay about Josh Hamilton). And if they don’t bring the team back into contention fast enough and attendance plummets, the ownership group could panic and clean house yet again.

    I’m heartened: even a losing team that’s making smart decisions leaves me more optimistic than a wining team that clearly doesn’t understand what’s going on (see 2007). I think the team may be in the best hands in its history, in fact, but “anymore” is a mighty long time. Though maybe I’m just allergic to rose-colored glasses.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.