SCRAP HEAP STARTERS Do Wounded Pitchers Represent an Opportunity for Value in Free Agency? HEALTHY PITCHERS ARE EXPENSIVE • Examples of market prices for healthy free agent starters at each tier: • +1 WAR: Chen (2/9M), Harang (2/12M) • +2 WAR: Kuroda (1/10M), Pavano (2/16M) • +3 WAR: Buehrle (4/58M), Dempster (4/52) • +4 WAR: Wilson (5/77M), Lackey (5/83) • +5 WAR: Lee (5/120M), Sabathia (7/161M) ADVANTAGES OF SIGNING PITCHERS WITH MEDICAL QUESTION MARKS • Short Term Contracts • Lower Cost • Mid-Season Trade Chips • Delay Service Time for Top Prospects • Create Spring Training Competition DISADVANTAGES OF SIGNING PITCHERS WITH MEDICAL QUESTION MARKS • Larger Variance • Unpredictable Availability • Limited Long Term Benefit • Increased Workload for Training Staff 2011 STARTERS WHO SIGNED ONE YEAR FREE AGENT CONTRACTS LAST WINTER BREAKDOWN OF PITCHERS IN SAMPLE • Hiroki Kuroda Excluded – Special Circumstance • Brandon Webb, Justin Duchscherer, and Ryan Rowland-Smith don’t appear on the list – they didn’t pitch in the Majors last year • 19 total starters signed one year MLB deals • Base salaries estimated at $41 million • Incentives push actual payout to ~$50 million PRODUCTION OF PITCHERS IN SAMPLE • 350 Starts, 2,073 Innings Pitched, 5.93 IP/GS • 6.8% BB%, 15.9% K%, 42.7% GB% • 103 ERA-, 105 FIP-, 104 xFIP- • +23.7 WAR • $2.11 Million Per WAR • +1.8 WAR per Roster Spot Absorbed 2011 MLB STARTING PITCHER AVERAGES • 6.03 IP/GS: -0.10 difference • 7.5% BB%: +0.7 difference • 17.5% K%: -1.6 difference • 44.4% GB%: -1.7 difference • 103 ERA-, 101 FIP-, 100 xFIP• +2.5 WAR per Roster Spot : -0.7 difference • $4.5 Million Per War: -2.4M difference ONE YEAR CONCLUSIONS • SPs on one year deals were the best value proposition in free agency of any player type in baseball in 2011. • Brandon McCarthy provided the highest return on investment of any player signed last winter, and the A’s still have him for 2012 as well. • Only 8 of 19 (42%) were “busts”, and they cost a grand total of $17 million between them. • Two Year Contract Guys: Pavano, Correia, de la Rosa, and Westbrook cost $59M combined. WHAT ABOUT PREVIOUS YEARS? • Injury Information is Imperfect and Difficult to Obtain • Not All Injuries Are Created Equal • Reporting on Incentives is Inconsistent • Effects of Global Economic Struggles In 2009 • Shift in Run Environment • Went Back to 2006-2007 Offseason 2006 OFFSEASON • Six pitchers signed one year MLB deals after spending at least 15 days on the disabled list during 2006 season: David Wells, Randy Wolf, Wade Miller, John Thomson, Tomo Ohka, Tony Armas • Wells was going into age 44 season, so he’s something of an outlier • Six pitchers combined for +2.1 WAR and $18M salary • Wolf was 44% of that total by himself RANDY WOLF • 2006 numbers were atrocious • 57 IP, 12.6% BB%, 16.4% K%, 37.3% GB% • 121 ERA-, 139 FIP-, 119 xFIP- • -0.3 WAR • $8 million contract from the Dodgers • He performed much better in ’07 (+1.7 WAR), but only in 103 innings pitched MARK MULDER AND WOODY WILLIAMS • Mulder got 2/13 from Cardinals despite injury plagued 2006 season (93 IP with 7.14 ERA). • Williams got 2/12.5 from Astros at age 40 to leave Petco Park. Huge gap between ERA (3.65) and xFIP (5.09) suggested trouble. • Mulder pitched 12 innings in 2007-2008. • Williams threw 188 replacement level innings in 2007, was released, and didn’t pitch in 2008. 2007 OFFSEASON • Five pitchers signed one year MLB deal after spending 15+ days on DL in 2007: Randy Wolf, Kenny Rogers, Mark Redman, Matt Clement, Mark Prior :( • Those five combined for +3.2 WAR and $16M salary • Wolf took a 40% pay cut despite a bounce back season • Kenny Rogers threw 63 innings at age 42, then got $8 million guaranteed for his age 43 season. • Only multi-year deal given to SP that winter: Carlos Silva… 2008 OFFSEASON • Nine pitchers signed one year MLB deal after spending 15+ days on DL in 2008: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Andy Pettitte, Brad Penny, Daniel Cabrera, Mike Hampton, Carl Pavano, Tom Glavine, Bartolo Colon • Those nine combined: +12.5 WAR and $32.5M salary • Remove Pettitte: +8.8 WAR for $27M • Durable starters Burnett ($83M) and Lowe ($60M) were handsomely rewarded. 2009 OFFSEASON • Nine pitchers signed one year MLB deal after spending 15+ days on DL in 2009: Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, Brett Myers, Vicente Padilla, Chien-Ming Wang, Justin Duchscherer, Scott Olsen, Erik Bedard, Claudio Vargas • Those nine combined for +5.0 WAR and $35M salary • Durable starters Pineiro and Marquis got 2/15M each. Durable starter Lackey got 6/83M • Randy Wolf finally earned multi-year deal and successfully made it on every slide in this presentation WHAT ABOUT THIS PAST WINTER? • Paul Maholm (4.75M), Erik Bedard (4.5M), Freddy Garcia (4M), and Chien-Ming Wang (4M) set market for wounded starters • Roy Oswalt didn’t like that price, still sitting at home • Mark Buehrle rode durability to 4/58 from Miami • Jeff Francis (MILB deal) and Chris Capuano (2/10M) show how market values strikeouts. If your arm is going to hurt, miss bats when it doesn’t. CAN WE DRAW ANY CONCLUSIONS? • Price of damaged goods SPs certainly lower in 20112012 than in prior years • These pitchers were generally not very good from 2007-2009, and were rarely worth the contracts they were given • Price drop suggests a market correction as a reaction to recent failures. • Despite success of damaged pitchers in 2011, no positive reaction to pursue this pitcher type for 2012. WHO SHOULD PURSUE WOUNDED STARTERS? • Contenders with large ability to absorb risk • Non-contenders who could use significant value pieces • Teams with top prospects who may be ready by May • Teams in pitcher’s parks who can offer comfortable place to rehab and re-establish value • In short – almost every team in baseball. • Wounded starters are lottery tickets, but ones worth buying at current prices.