Monday, October 09, 2006

Paper Thin

I really am an advocate against signing free agent pitchers in general. Sometimes there are good deals - see Mike Mussina. However, very often free agency is not a place to find good pitchers. Teams end up overpaying in both cash and years, and are often left with albatross contracts that hurt their pitching staff. In fact, it is tough to find a lot of good free agent signings over the past few years. The market simply is simply very hard to control for pitchers.

This year's crop is incredibly thin. I previously had thought that Mark Buerhle was a free agent (and would have been a good buy low candidate), but unfortunately Chicago has a team option on him.

Free agents worth naming:

Barry Zito
Jason Schmidt
Jamie Moyer
Gil Meche
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Mike Mussina*
B-K Kim
Cory Lidle
Greg Maddux
Woody Williams
Mark Mulder
Vicente Padilla
Randy Wolf

Yeah. That is one weak list. The only four truely effective pitchers on that list are Clemens, Mussina, Zito, and Schmitty. So if we want to upgrade via free agency, Zito and Schmitty are the only obvious that we possess. And you can get that 29 other teams are saying the same thing.

I would say that there is too much risk involved in choosing one of these pitchers. That leaves us two options: promote from within or bring a pitcher in via trade. The problem is, we don't have a lot of moveable trading chips. Trading young pitching for a pitcher doesn't make a lot of sense. On the field, we certainly aren't going to try to rid ourselves of a 23 year old hitting .340 at 2nd base. Pretty much everyone else is locked in to a no-trade or oversized contract.

Could Alex Rodriguez be our only trading chip? Maybe. Melky Cabrera certainly has value, although I am not sure how much. I suggested getting Ervin Santana and Mark Teahen or Arod the other day, and today I am going to amend that suggestion. Bartolo Colon was the (undeserving, but still good) Cy Young winner in 2005. He spent much of the 2006 season batting injury. Colon is owed 14 million in 2007. The 33 year old carries only a one year burden on his contract, and is has ace stuff. He is a buy-low candidate, which is one thing that I will be stressing throughout the offseason.

Could Colon potentially be thrown in to a deal for Alex Rodriguez to encourage the Angels to give up a guy like Brandon Wood or Howie Kendrick? Maybe. The salary relief will essentially cancel out Arod's contract for a year. The downside is that Colon's injury may delay his start to the season, and the Yankees have not had much luck with injury prone pitchers lately.

I could very well see a deal like this go down: Alex Rodriguez for Brandon Wood, Bartolo Colon, and Jeff Mathis. I think the Yankees would have to take it. I would prefer Ervin Santana (who I think could be a good middle of the rotation type starter) or even Weaver (who ain't going nowhere) .

A gamble? Yep.

Tomorrow I'll add on to this my projections for possible farmhands that could fill starting roles next season. Of course, my projections actually squat, considering that I am no PECOTA. It'll be fun though.

Hopefully by then we'll actually have some news on Torre.