Here are the career pitching lines for two pitchers. Both pitchers have pitched 10 years in the major leagues.
Pitcher A: 30-years-old, a career record of 117-102 with a 4.42 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and a 44.5 percent groundball rate.
Pitcher B: 31-years-old, a career record of 87-79 with a 4.39 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP, and a 48.6 percent groundball rate.
Pitcher B is a year older and hasn’t enjoyed the same success throughout his career as Pitcher A. However, there was a “sweepstakes” for Pitcher B and Pitcher A didn’t have much of a market.
Both pitchers recently signed contracts. Pitcher A signed a one-year, $4.75 million contract with a mutual option for 2011. Pitcher B signed a two-year, $16 million contract.
Pitcher A is Jon Garland and Pitcher B is Joel Pineiro.
Pineiro went into this offseason as the second or third best starting pitcher on the market and Garland was an afterthought. Can someone explain to me why?
Oh wait, I know why. Pineiro had a career year in his walk year and Garland didn’t. Instead of looking at a pitcher’s overall success, teams usually sign a guy off of their performance in their walk-year. It’s a mistake that teams–and especially the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim–make time and time again.
While Pineiro had the better year in 2009, Garland throughout his career has been the better pitcher. I know Garland gives up a lot of hits and peripherals aren’t sexy. But the bottom line is, this guy knows how to win games.
From 2005-20008, Garland is 60-38 with a 4.12 ERA. His 60-38 record equals a .612 winning percentage. That is pretty impressive.
I know wins for a pitcher is becoming less relevant in this day and age of advanced statistics, but Garland knows how to win baseball games. Jack Morris (I am not comparing Garland to Morris. I just using him as a reference) didn’t have the greatest peripherals, but he knew how to win games.
Sometimes we and myself included, forget the bottom-line is winning.
Will Garland help the San Diego Padres win the National League West? Not a chance. The Padres are still a couple of years away from really competing for a NL West crown.
But Garland will give them innings (averages 208 innings over the last five years) and just as good of a performance as Joel Pineiro, for less money. Best case scenario? Garland pitches like he normally does and the Padres flip him for prospects at the trading deadline.
The Padres got a great bargain in Garland.
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