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Pitching and Playoffs: Through the Farm System, Free Agency, or Trades?

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After seeing the David Price post fly around concerning trading a lot of Prospects for him - which made me quiver and get the sweats to even entertain such a thought when the names of Buxton/Sano and 3-4 other prospects were thrown around so lightly.

Then other posts still say, "Free Agency" the Twins need to spend to 'be competitive' or to 'be a winner' they need to spend.

Well, how did the most successful teams of 2013 make it to the playoffs?

Side Poll:
  1. Who's your pick to win the WS this year?
  2. Related Question - Did the starting rotation play the biggest factor in your choice?


Was it through the Farm System/Draft, Free Agency, or Trades?

Any guesses which was the most expensive of the 3 areas?
Which was the most successful (regardless of salary)?

Below are the 2013 rotations, of which, I ordered by Post Season rotation order and then secondarily, mostly for the #4 & #5 starters, by their contributions during the regular season.

Boston Red Sox

  1. Jon Lester – Farm system – $11.625M – 15-8 W-L 3.75 ERA 213.1 IP 177 SO
  2. John Lackey – FA - $16.5M – 10-13 W-L 3.52 ERA 189.1 IP 161 SO
  3. Clay Buchholz – Farm system – $5.5M – 12-1 W-L 1.74 ERA 108.1 IP 96 SO
  4. Felix Doubront – Farm system – $519K – 11-6 W-L 4.32 ERA 162.1 IP 139 SO
  5. Ryan Dempster – FA – $13.25M – 8-9 W-L 4.57 ERA 171.1 IP 157 SO

Detroit Tigers

  1. Justin Verlander – Farm System - $20M 13-12 W-L 3.46 ERA 218.1 IP 217 SO
  2. Max Scherzer – Trade - $6.7M – 21-3 W-L 2.90 ERA 214.1 IP 240 SO
  3. Anibal Sanchez – Trade - $8.8M – 14-8 W-L 2.57 ERA 182 IP 202 SO
  4. Doug Fister – Trade - $4M – 14-9 W-L 3.67 ERA 208.2 IP 159 SO
  5. Rick Porcello – Farm System - $5.1M 13-8 W-L 4.32 ERA 177 IP 142 SO

Oakland Athletics

  1. Bartolo Colon – FA - $3M – 18-6 W-L 2.65 ERA 190.1 IP 117
  2. Sonny Gray – Farm system - $490K – 5-3 W-L 2.67 ERA 64 IP 67 SO
  3. Jarrod Parker – Farm System (trade w/ ARZ as Class AA, #26 Overall Prospect) - $495K

12-8 W-L 3.97 ERA 197 IP 134 SO

  1. AJ Griffin – Farm System - $493K – 14-10 W-L 3.83 ERA 200 IP 171 SO
  2. Dan Straily – Farm System - $493K – 10-8 W-L 3.96 ERA 152.1 IP 124 SO

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. David Price – Farm System – $10.1m – 10-8 W-L 3.33 ERA 186.2 IP 151 SO
  2. Matt Moore – Farm System – $1M – 17-4 W-L 3.29 ERA 150.1 IP 143 SO
  3. Alex Cobb – Farm System – $502K – 11-3 W-L 2.76 143.1 IP 134 SO
  4. Jeremy Hellickson – Farm System – $503K – 12-10 W-L 5.17 ERA 174 IP 135 SO
  5. Chris Archer – Farm System - $500K – 9-7 W-L 3.22 ERA 128.2 IP 101 SO

Atlanta Braves

  1. Kris Medlen – Farm System - $505K – 13-9 W-L 3.21 ERA 204.2 IP 181 SO
  2. Mike Minor – Farm System - $2.6M – 15-12 W-L 3.11 ERA 197 IP 157 SO
  3. Julio Teheran – Farm System - $490K – 14-8 W-L 3.20 ERA 185.2 IP 170 SO
  4. Paul Maholm – Trade - $6.5M – 10-11 W-L 4.41 ERA 153 IP 105 SO
  5. Tim Hudson – Trade - $9M – 8-7 W-L 3.97 ERA 131.1 IP 95 SO

Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Farm System - $11M – 16-9 W-L 1.83 ERA 236 IP 232 SO
  2. Zack Greinke – FA - $19M – 15-4 W-L 2.63 ERA 177.2 IP 148 SO
  3. Hyun-jin Ryu FA - $6M – 14-8 W-L 3.00 ERA 192 IP 154 SO
  4. Ricky Nolasco – Trade - $11.5M – 13-11 W-L 3.70 ERA 199.1 IP 165 SO
  5. Chris Capuano – FA - $6M – 4-7 W-L 4.26 ERA 105.2 IP 81 SO

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Francisco Liriano – FA - $1M – 16-8 W-L 3.02 ERA 161 IP 163 SO
  2. AJ Burnett – FA - $16.5M – 10-11 W-L 3.30 ERA 191 IP 209 SO
  3. Gerrit Cole – Farm System - $490K 10-7 W-L 3.22 ERA 117.1 IP 100 SO
  4. Jeff Locke – Farm System (Trade w/ Braves when in Class A) - $498K – 10-7 W-L 3.52 ERA 166.1 IP 125 SO
  5. Charlie Morton – Trade - $2M – 7-4 W-L 3.26 ERA 116 IP 85 SO

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Adam Wainwright – Farm System (trade w/ Braves as Class AA, #18 Overall Prospect) - $12M

19-9 W-L 2.94 ERA 241.2 IP 219 SO

  1. Shelby Miller – Farm System - $490K 15-9 W-L 3.06 ERA 173.1 IP 169 SO
  2. Michael Wacha – Farm System - $490K 4-1 W-L 2.78 ERA 64.2 IP 65 SO
  3. Joe Kelly – Farm System $493K – 10-5 W-L 2.69 ERA 124 IP 79 SO
  4. Lance Lynn – Farm System - $513K – 15-10 W-L 3.97 ERA 201.2 IP 198 SO



So if you were paying attention closely, you would get this breakdown of the rotations by team:
Name:  2013 Playoff Starting Rotations Breakdown.jpg
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All but two staffs had their Ace of the rotation come through their farm system. Bartolo Colon and Francisco Liarino have proved to be one year wonders. Add at $3M and $1M respectively, they were steals, but hardly predictable contributors.

Apart from those two Free Agent finds, six Free Agents pitchers combined for a 61-52 W-L record while having a combined price tag of $77.25M. And Liriano and Colon back to the mix and it's 95-66.

A look over the past 4 years of FA of Starting Pitcher to back up the Post-Season numbers from this year.
Name:  Free Agency - Pitchers Breakdown.jpg
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A little optimization application here would be in order to figure out the optimal price to pay for Free Agent Pitching. (I'll run this later)

Lesson: Don't overpay for Free Agents. Only in 2011 did the highest paid free agent starting pitcher, Cliff Lee, have the most wins.

So what's the best strategy for the Twins in 2014 (and beyond)?
  • Farm System
  • Cheap FA flyers
  • Continue to add more power arms via 2014 MLB Draft
  • Trades that yield prospects


Maybe, just maybe, Terry Ryan doesn't sound like such a stooge anymore.

Updated 10-08-2013 at 12:55 AM by twinsfan34

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Comments

  1. The Wise One's Avatar
    Not to be nit picky but Burnett, Parker, Cobb and Achter, this just off the top of my head, were traded to their teams
  2. twinsfan34's Avatar
    Ah good Call!! No, let's get it right. So one less FA, but rather in a Trade. [Strengthens the case of staying away from FA as a way to acquire pitching ]

    Burnett was traded from the Yankees.


    Archer was indeed traded, however, he was still a minor leaguer. So I put him in the development stage as he came to the big league club on a minor league contract and had to advance up two levels (AA & AAA, 2 years total) before he made it to the major leagues. So I don't count that as a 'trade' as it was not a 'sure thing' and development was the major factor.




    Cobb was drafted by the Rays...
    Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 4th round of the 2006 amateur draft. (All Transactions)


    Updated 10-08-2013 at 12:57 PM by twinsfan34
  3. twinsfan34's Avatar
    The Wise One,

    I'm sorry about not disclosing the classification distinction I had made . I thought I had a disclaimer in there that I counted guys who despite being involved in a trade, if they were in the minors, AA or below I considered them to be "from the Farm"...as they would have to do half of their development in that system (arguably the most important) half at that, in actually getting that prospect to the Big Leagues.
    Updated 10-08-2013 at 01:40 PM by twinsfan34
  4. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
    Not to derail the thread, but idenitfying ptiching prospects early comes down to scouting. Scouting is an area that the Twins value and feel is a strength (I'm not objecting). The problem is that until recently the Twins have not pursued this avenue for acquiring young pitching prospects. The A's do this better than ANYBODY. Trade off a good looking veteran at their peak value for high upside, low minors pitching. Terry Ryan has gotten off to a good start with the Meyer and May trades, but he needs to continue doing this ever off-season.
  5. ND-Fan's Avatar
    The Twins have shown this past three seasons that farm system is bare of pitching ready for the Majors. If they were ready we would have seen them up during the year. Trading I don't feel is option right now why would you trade away prospects that are needed to fill whole in this offense and defense at major league level. I think Free Agency is best bet in that can bring some major league arms that are ready and can make a impact. It would allow some young talent to develop and with Free Agents make credible big league staff. The only player left to bring quality prospects and number of them is Joe Mauer if he can demonstrate he's healthy. I think it should be looked at because by time Twins are ready to compete Joe will be way past his prime and will be declining. His value is now and Twins are probably years away from making big run in playoffs. Unless Twins spend some serious money building up the depth and lineup with Free Agency. My guess is that Twins will continue to loose as they rebuild through farm system.
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