• How Much Is It Worth To Twins To Avoid Multi-Year Contracts?


    Jon Heyman notes the Angels are looking to trade Dan Haren and/or Ervin Santana.

    Both have option years for 2013, and if their options are picked up both are fairly pricey: Haren's is for $15.5 million and Santana $13 million. Neither had fantastic years (Santana in particular, who also experienced a drop in velocity), but both have a track record of success and both are still fairly young.

    If they can't trade them, everyone expects the Angels to buy both of them out (a combined cost of a little over $4 million).

    So why would anyone give the Angels anything for these guys they don't want?

    Because a team could offer a bag of buttons to the Angels (saving them a little cash in the process for their Greinke offer), instead of signing a pitcher in FA long term in 2012/13 and having to pay him 3 or 4 years from now. TThey'd pay steep for 2013 but then be done (if they so chose).

    Almost every year, dating back to his run as GM in the early 2000s, Terry Rya has maintained that the Twins don't necessarily have an issue with the salary of free agent pitchers. Their issue is they aren't comfortable (probably justified) with the commitment in years, which of course not only add cost, but also, given pitchers can go off a cliff at the drop of a hat due to injury, a lot of risk.

    Now, I have no idea what their opinion might be on Haren or Santana, but here's an opportunity, at least, to add a relatively "name" pitcher to fill in one of 4 open rotation spots, literally without any longterm commitment after next year. The Angels aren't in position to ask for anything serious in a trade, either.

    The alternative for these two is things unfold as most expect and they're bought out and become free agents. But I'm fairly confident Haren would get paid on a multi-year contract. Santana? Not as sure. But a top-of-the-head comp might be Edwin Jackson (similar age, pedigree last year), who signed 1 year, $11 million. Fairly close to Santana's option.
    This article was originally published in blog: Don't Want to Pay Long Years for a Starter? started by jianfu
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Bill Petti at Fangraphs has an interesting series on velocity trends and age. The gist of it is that pitchers who lose 1mph or more year over year are at a higher risk for further velocity loss and ineffectualness in year 3. Petti used as his sample all pitchers who pitched in 3 consecutive seasons between 2002 and 2011 in the same role (either SP or RP):

      91% of pitchers that do finish a season down at least 1 mph compared to the previous season will lose additional velocity the following season (average decline of 1.6 mph), with only 7% regaining some (but, likely, not all) of that velocity back.
      Haren and Santana both fall into this group, having lost 1.3 and 1.0 mph off their fastballs, respectively.

      By contrast, James Shields has actually gained a full 1.0 mph on his fastball year over year, and there's a very good chance he maintains some or all of that gain next year. He is a much more appealing trade target I think.

      I'm sure Haren would never have it, but I'd be tempted to put him into a fireman role. With his splitter, he has virtually no lefty-righty split and a move to the pen would almost guarantee a velocity gain more or less equivalent to what he lost last year. Give him ~40 7th or 8th inning leads and just let him close out the game, finish the year around 100 IP. One quick shot through the batting order.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I'm all for trading something small for Haren. He had some back issues last season which likely are the cause of this velocity decrease. If he comes back healthy I think he can be a good #2. If he has a good season then the Twins can at least give him a qualifying offer or try to work out an extension.
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