Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lazy Snowy Sunday

After the DiaperTribe’s 1st birthday party, multiple shoveling excursions in this Winter Wonderland, and watching YOUR Cleveland Browns win a game that puts them squarely in the drivers’ seat for a playoff berth, it’s finally time to make the rounds on a Lazy Sunday.

The ever-steady Terry Pluto checks in with thoughts on Josh Barfield, Jamey Carroll, and Dan Haren. Since we’ve covered most of the other topics in the past week or so, the most notable passage going forward remains the one regarding the effect of FA signings on the trade market:
The Indians say that they continue to work very hard on deals. They believe more trades will happen as free agents continue to sign -- meaning other teams have holes to fill. They don't advertise it, but the Tribe knows it must get better in some areas if it plans to repeat in the Central Division.

In particular, Pluto is referring to the FA market being set for starting pitchers by a signing that would assign values for the remaining FA pitchers and those who may be available via trade. Well, as of yesterday, consider the market set as Hiroki Kuroda’s plane from Japan landed in LAX en route to Chavez Ravine which immediately allows the lesser FA pitchers to slot in with the remainder of the starters as well as establishing a value for starting pitchers still under contract, but perhaps available via trade.

Which brings us to the two FA names being most talked about in terms of starting pitchers – Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse – who, you say?
Exactly. The FA market is embarrassingly thin, to the point that both of these middle-of-the-rotation starters are likely looking at 3 to 4 year deals (at least) with annual salaries in the 8 digits, as ridiculous as that sounds to anyone with gray matter.

Who cares, right?
We’re set in the rotation, and if anything have some depth to make a move. Speaking of that depth, how would…oh, I don’t know…let’s just throw a name out there…Cliff Lee compare to Silva and Lohse in terms of performance in the past 3 years?
Carlos Silva 2005-2007
33-37, 4.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 570 2/3 IP, 230 K, 77 BB

Kyle Lohse 2005-2007
23-35, 4.77 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 498 IP, 305 K, 145 BB

Cliff Lee 2005-2007
37-24, 4.52 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 500 IP, 338 K, 146 BB

Obviously that includes Lee’s 2005 season, in which he went 18-5 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP, and he has certainly trended downward since 2005 to his downright awful 2007 season; but it serves as a reminder that Silva and Lohse are considered the top FA starters left on the market and each is looking for a multi-year deal in the range of $9M to $11M annually. Considering that Lee is owed $9.5M over the next two years with a $8M club option for 2010 (with a $1M buyout), one would have to think that Lee (even with his dreadful 2007 season) would be seen as more desirable than the dregs available on the FA market in terms of financial commitments and potential.

Taking into account the dollars and guaranteed years associated with Lee vs. Silva/Lohse, now that Kuroda has signed, the teams still looking for rotation help (Seattle, Arizona, etc.) could come calling for Lee. And because the Indians didn’t part with any young pitchers (Miller, Laffey, or Sowers) to acquire Haren, the depth would still remain if Lee is dealt.

To me, dealing Lee makes more sense than keeping him, though the Tribe would be selling extremely low on him. If Lee stays on the roster, he’s guaranteed a spot on the 25-man as his last option was burned after the infamous hat-tip; that means that he’d have to stay in the rotation (which means that Laffey AND Sowers start 2008 in Buffalo) or he’d take a bullpen spot away from someone like Tom Mastny or Jenny Lewis.

Throw in the fact that Lee’s agent has stated that Lee wants to be a starter…somewhere, that he’s been characterized as stubborn and difficult to coach, and that he tussled with one of the unquestioned leaders of the team in Victor last year, and it seems that the path that Lee is greasing out of town may be taken before the flight to Winter Haven touches down.

By the way, pitchers and catchers report in 60 days.
Thought you might need that as the snow continues to fall.


t-bone said...

It is now 5 hours after getting home from the Browns game, and I'm still not completely thawed out...

Unknown said...

that picture says it all. excellent.