Dissecting the free agent options

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

To go in conjunction with this story I wrote for the main site today, I thought it would be worth taking a deeper look into the numbers of some of the potential free agent starting pitching targets that were mentioned in the story.

And this is where you get involved, too. Take a look at the data and feel free to chime in with what you would do if you were GM this offseason. Remember, you have to work within the same parameters that Neal Huntington does — meaning that you can’t spend $100 million on free agents. Be realistic.

What I think you’ll see is the conundrum that the Pirates are in. How many of these options really look all that good when you factor in each of their demands (which are high given the thin market)? Which would you gamble on? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Jorge de la Rosa, 29 years old

2008: 10-8 with 4.92 ERA; 28 games (23 starts); 130 IP, 62 BB, 128 K, 1.462 WHIP
2009: 16-9 with 4.38 ERA; 33 games (32 starts); 185 IP, 83 BB, 193 K, 1.378 WHIP 
2010: 8-7 with 4.22 ERA; 20 starts; 121.2 IP, 55 BB, 113 K, 1.315 WHIP 
Career: 49-47 with 5.02 ERA; 178 games (116 starts); 710.2 IP, 359 BB, 630 K, 1.523 WHIP 
Other notes: Type A free agent (would cost Pirates second-round Draft pick); reportedly looking for more than three-year deal; reportedly been offered three-year contract from Rockies; missed two months in 2010 due to torn flexor tendon in left finger.

Carl Pavano, 34 years old

2008: 4-2 with 5.77 ERA; 7 starts; 34.1 IP, 10 BB, 15 K, 1.485 WHIP
2009: 14-12 with 5.10 ERA; 33 starts; 199.1 IP, 39 BB, 147 K, 1.375 WHIP
2010: 17-11 with 3.75 ERA; 32 starts; 221 IP, 37 BB, 117 K, 1.195 WHIP
Career: 97-89 with 4.34 ERA; 258 games (240 starts); 1503.2 IP, 377 BB, 956 K, 1.334 WHIP
Other notes: 2010 win total and innings pitched both highest since 2004; reportedly seeking contract close to three-year, $33 million Ted Lilly received; at least a half dozen interested teams already.

Jon Garland, 31 years old

2008: 14-8 with 4.90 ERA; 32 starts; 196.2 IP, 59 BB, 90 K, 1.505 WHIP
2009: 11-13 with 4.01 ERA; 33 starts; 204 IP, 61 BB, 109 K, 1.402 WHIP 
2010: 14-12 with 3.47 ERA; 33 starts; 200 IP, 87 BB, 136 K, 1.315 WHIP
Career: 131-114 with 4.32 ERA; 344 games (321 starts); 2029.1 IP, 680 BB, 1096 K, 1.380 WHIP
Other notes: Declined $6.75 million mutual option at end of season; likely seeking multi-year deal; Type B free agent; at least half dozen interested teams already. 

Javier Vazquez, 34 years old

2008: 12-16 with 4.67 ERA; 33 starts; 208.1 IP, 61 BB, 200 K, 1.320 WHIP
2009: 15-10 with 2.87 ERA; 32 starts; 219.1 IP, 44 BB, 238 K, 1.026 WHIP
2010: 10-10 with 5.32 ERA; 31 games (26 starts); 157.1 IP, 65 BB, 121 K, 1.398 WHIP
Career: 152-149 with 4.26 ERA; 418 games (411 starts); 2647.1 IP, 713 BB, 2374 K, 1.254 WHIP 
Other notes: Stark contrast in results from 2009 to 2010; second-most innings pitched and second-highest strikeout total since 2000; could command just one-year deal; prefers to pitch on East Coast, as it is closer to family in Puerto Rico. 

Kevin Millwood, 35 years old

2008: 9-10 with 5.07 ERA; 29 starts; 168.2 IP, 49 BB, 125 K, 1.595 WHIP
2009: 13-10 with 3.67 ERA; 31 starts; 198.2 IP, 71 BB, 123 K, 1.339 WHIP 
2010: 4-16 with 5.10 ERA; 31 starts; 190.2 IP, 65 BB, 132 K, 1.510 WHIP
Career: 159-137 with 4.11 ERA; 414 games (406 starts); 2505 IP, 779 BB, 1940 K, 1.327 WHIP
Other notes: Led AL in losses in 2010; made $12 million last season; Type B free agent, though the Orioles are unlikely to offer Millwood arbitration; a move out of AL East could be beneficial.

Brandon Webb, 31 years old

2008: 22-7 with 3.30 ERA; 34 starts; 226.2 IP; 65 BB, 183 K, 1.196 WHIP
2009: 0-0 with 13.50 ERA; 1 start; 2 BB; 2 K; 2.00 WHIP
2010: Did not pitch
Career: 87-62 with 3.27 ERA; 199 games (198 starts); 1319.2 IP, 435 BB, 1065 K, 1.239 WHIP
Other notes: Hasn’t pitched since Opening Day 2009, when right shoulder injury shut him down; made three appearances during fall instructional league; would likely command incentive-laden deal.

Justin Duchscherer, 33 years old

2008: 10-8 with 2.54 ERA; 22 starts; 141.2 IP, 34 BB, 95 K, 0.995 WHIP
2009: Did not pitch
2010: 2-1 with 2.89 ERA; five starts; 28 IP, 12 BB, 18 K, 1.367 WHIP 
Career: 33-25 with 3.13 ERA; 224 games (32 starts); 454.2 IP, 121 BB, 347 K, 1.137 WHIP 
Other notes: Underwent season-ending hip surgery in June 2010; has had elbow surgically repaired and fought through clinical depression; could command only Minor League deal or minimal contract with incentives based on innings pitched. 

Jeff Francis, 29 years old

2008: 4-10 with 5.01 ERA; 24 starts; 143.2 IP, 49 BB, 94 K, 1.483 WHIP
2009: Did not pitch
2010: 4-6 with 5.00 ERA; 20 games (19 starts); 104.1 IP, 23 BB, 67 K, 1.361 WHIP
Career: 55-50 with 4.77 ERA; 150 games (149 starts); 882.2 IP, 287 BB, 603 K, 1.429 WHIP 
Other notes: Has previous relationship with Clint Hurdle; missed 2009 due to shoulder surgery; likely to sign incentive-laden deal, possibly for just one year. 

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10 Comments

Jorge de la Rosa would be a great addition, but would it be worth the risk of giving up a 2nd round pick? My personal favorite is de la Rosa, Garland is close second.

-@daveplavi

pass on all of them.

We need to trade for Greinke!

i think i might try and get brandon webb depending on how healthy his arm is, he could give the pirates a true #1 and would give the pitching rotation a chance to learn, and if not i would go after de la rosa and or jeff francis that would give them at least a # 1 or 2 guy who would give them a chance to improve, but it all depends if they cna stay healthy adn produce like they can

There is not one player from this list that will be able to make a big difference. Why just spend to spend. Use the money in the draft,to keep the young core we have together and to make an important signing when someone becomes available that could make a difference, To many people want to see the team spend money just to spend money. Not very wise at this point in time!

I like Garland more than anyone on this list, and he seems to slide under the radar a bit. I believe management should try to get a jump on him early to get a bit of an advantage if things with de la Rosa fall through.

Francis, Ducsherer, and Webb could all be signed on the cheap if the Pirates move aggressively they could potentially land one or two of them.

As for losing the second pick, I don’t think it’s a huge deal since it’s unlikely we’d land such a great pick like Allie again.

To comment on a previous comment above, shifting the infield around would do nothing but shake guys’ confidence. People often lsoe sight that these guys out there are college age or near it and are in no way seasoned vets. If you move Pedro or Walker you lose crucial developmental time at their current positions.

I don’t think losing a 2nd round pick hurts at all next year, considering we’ll have to spend $9mm on the 1st pick.

I steer clear of those with the labrum problems and go with de la Rosa for sure. For a second pitcher signing I’d go with Chris Young on a 1 year deal.

Second most pressing need is improvement in infield defense. Move Alvarez to 1b and either pick up a FA or trade for 2b or 3b. If we’re able to get a 2b, move Walker to 3rd.

JMB1972- I completely agree with you. Lets go for Grienke. But to the question, I would go after Garland and maybe Francis depending on what he was looking for. Webb would be perfect for the staff, but I would only give him a one to two year deal. Too risky for a long term contract.

I think that in this market de la rosa is overpriced. If I were the pirates I would definitely go after Justin Duchscherer. The second pitcher I would go after would depend on what hurdle has to say regarding Francis. Spending 11-13 million on a number 2-3 pitcher like de la rosa at this point in their youth movement does not make any sense to me. Given that this might be the last year that they will be able to go over-slot for players in the draft. I would load up on as many expensive draft picks that they can afford. I would also save the rest of the cash for when they actually need to add a ace or a top flight bat.

Wow, that is kind of a graveyard there. I don’t think we should bring in guys in their thirties and pay big money for them. If we are finally spending money, i would rather bring in a couple of number two or three type starters. bring in some young arms, spend the money on legitmate bat.

I agree with most comments here. There’s no reason to pay big money to these guys. So, I’d go with incentive laden deals like Webb/Duchscherer. If they flop it’s not a big deal. If you pay these other guys around $10million per year and they flop (which is possible from everyone on the list) it’s a big deal. The Pirates should be improved in 2011, but not ready to compete for the playoffs even if they got a couple of guys on the list. Stay the course and continue to develop young talent. The young AA arms from last year are getting closer. As to Grienke, it would be great to have him, but it’s not going to happen. The Pirates would have to give up a lot of young talent to get him and they won’t/shouldn’t do that. Do you think we can get Grienke for Doumit? Not gonna happen.

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