I was going to write a blog entry about this today, but while doing the research, I came across this article, which pretty much makes anything I was going to write moot:
I think this article makes it pretty clear the Angels should avoid a five-year contract like the plague.
• Twenty-two free-agent starting pitchers have signed a long-term deal (four or more years) since 2000. Only half of them have had winning records so far.
• Of the 79 seasons by those pitchers in that time, in only 31 has the pitcher had an ERA+ of 100 -- that's considered average -- or better. That means that about 61 percent of the time those pitchers have been below-average.
• Twenty-two times in those 79 seasons -- about 28 percent of the time -- the pitcher has made 15 or fewer starts. Eight entire seasons have been lost. A pitcher has made 10 or fewer starts 18 times.
• Of those 22 pitchers, only eight have averaged 30 starts over the seasons they've completed in their contracts. (Nine pitchers have yet to complete their contracts, and a 10th -- A.J. Burnett --just opted out of his.)
• Eight of the 22 pitchers have appeared in a postseason game during their contracts. Four of them (Kevin Appier, Mussina, Jason Schmidt and Matsuzaka) have appeared in a World Series. And the only two to win a World Series ring are Matsuzaka, as a rookie with the Red Sox in 2007, and Appier -- after the team that signed him before the '01 season, the Mets, traded him to the Angels, who won the Series in '02.
You don't have to bring up Denny Neagle or Darren Dreifort to prove that, most of the time, signing pitchers to a long-term deal is extremely risky business. Neagle (who signed a five-year, $51 million deal with the Rockies before the '01 season) and Dreifort (five years, $55 million with the Dodgers that same year) remain two of the worst deals. But there's Jarrod Washburn, too, and Mike Hampton and Chan Ho Park and Bartolo Colon and Martinez. Barry Zito's deal (seven years, $126 million) isn't looking good. Neither is Kei Igawa's (five years, $20 million, plus a $26 million posting fee). The people in Seattle already are regretting the signing of Carlos Silva (4-15, 6.46 ERA in 28 starts in '08) to a four-year, $48 million deal last winter.
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