Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What To Do - Jon Garland

Part two in the series I'm shamelessly stealing from the Rev.

Another toughie, in that there's no obvious replacement in the organization. There are candidates, but none are particularly trustworthy in a fifth starter role. I'm not Steve Green is ready for a regular rotation spot. I'm more sure that Nick Adenhart isn't ready. I'm not sure Dustin Moseley will ever be ready. All three are potential sixth starters, but none jump out at me as rotation regulars at this point. Escobar looks like a mid-season bullpen guy at this point.

Not having a capable replacement in line presents a problem for a pitcher like Garland. I'm not sure the market knows what he worth, though I suspect it's not the $12MM he earned last year. So let's say they re-sign him at $7MM per, maybe $8MM. That takes them out of the market for C.C. Sabathia, unless they're willing to sign both and deal with it later. But there's no guarantee they end up with C.C. or even a solid middle rotation starter in free agency. If you wait to see what you can get on the market, you may end up waiting too long, at which point even Garland is gone.

I think the prudent thing to do is offer him arbitration (to preserve the compensation). Then they make a run at a front line starter. If they land one, they don't re-sign Garland and hope he doesn't accept arbitration. If they don't, they re-up with Garland for a short term deal. If they fail to land a good starter AND Garland leaves, they go after a Garland comparable, or try to land one via trade.

Key point about arbitration, awards are for one year contracts. Worse case scenario, they sign a guy like Sabathia, and Garland accept arbitration. In that case, the Garland deal is only one year, and the Angels go into spring with six starters. Someone's likely to get hurt (remember when Santana and Saunders were battling for one rotation spot?), or you deal Weaver or Saunders for a big bat. I don't want to see either of those guys traded, but I'd do it for the right return.


bly-lovin said...

You bring up a number of good points.

I agree that they shouldn't bring back Garland unless they have to, but it would probably be prudent to offer him arbitration so that they can get the compensatory draft pick(s) if he signs with someone else. Someone will want him - he eats innings and his ERA is inflated due to a handful of horrific games, just looking at his game logs this year shows he is pretty decent most of the time: And like you say, if they end up getting another starting pitcher and Garland accepts arbitration, then they just have six starters, and they can trade one. Who knows, if we sign a starter before Garland accepts arbitration, maybe we can tell him upfront that he will be wasting a prime year in his career sitting in the bullpen for the entire year or cleaning the grounds with GMJ in order to dissuade him from accepting arbitration.

Whether they should pursue a frontline starter is a very interesting question. I myself haven't given it much thought because their number one priority should be signing Tex - if they manage to do that, then we won't have enough money to pursue someone like Sabathia. Should they pursue Sabathia at all? I'd think about it if I felt that we couldn't bring back John Lackey. I'd try to sign Lackey to an extension before pursuing Sabathia. One of the real problems facing Tony R and the front office crew is that a lot of their plans depend on whether or not they can bring back Tex, and Boras always drags out negotiations. Can we afford to wait until January for Tex to make up his mind if he and Boras drag out the negotiations? Sabathia has said he wants to get his situation settled early, and other attractive free agents may feel the same way.

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to get your (and others) opinion on a couple of pitchers. If we don't bring back Garland and don't get Sabathia, would you be interested in Ben Sheets? I know this is just agent talk, but his agent claims that MRIs show Sheets doesn't have any structural damage in his arm, that his recent problem was just a forearm strain, and that he should be 100% in a month: I don't know what kind of contract he would want, but maybe he would come cheaper due to his injury history and we can sign him to a two year deal with a third year that vests if conditions are met. We have the depth in our rotation to baby him quite a bit, and there's a chance he could give us stellar work for 170 innings a year. And of course there's the chance this could blow up in our face like Jason Schmidt did with the Dodgers...

I see that I've written a book so I'll just conclude by saying we should seriously consider Hitoki Iwase if he decides to come here - great lefty reliever from Japan with closer experience - maybe we should just focus on another shutdown reliever since we will probably still win the West with our front four and Arte pitching every fifth day.

Seitz said...

I'll respond more later, but quickly, they'll have enough to sign CC and Teixeira. There's close to $35MM-$40MM coming off the payroll if they don't re-sign Frankie. And Arte will increase the payroll for the right guys.