Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 13, 2009

Derek Lowe has reportedly signed with the Braves for 4 years and $60 million. The Braves can use a durable rotation anchor, and Lowe has averaged 212 innings a year in his four years in LA, so this isn't entirely a terrible idea. But it's not a good one. The Dodgers got a lot of value out of their 4-year, $36 million deal with Lowe, but signing an extreme groundball pitcher without great strikeout rates from age 32-35 is one thing; signing him from age 36-39 is another. Lowe benefitted tremendously from Dodger Stadium; he has a 4.68 ERA on the road over the past six seasons, with 2005 being the only year below 4.10 in that period. Even if you just look at his Dodger years, Lowe averaged a 4.03 ERA on the road (4.89 runs per 9 - Lowe always allows a lot of unearned runs), 5.69 K/9, 2.68 BB/9, and 0.75 HR/9, not bad on any count none of those particularly impressive enough numbers to suggest a guy who will be worth $15 million a year when he's 38. The signing turns the screws on the Mets by raising the market price for Oliver Perez, but if they end up with Perez instead of Lowe, I'll be happy.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:23 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

I think once the number of years starts climbing, I'd rather have Perez than Lowe. Ollie's arm is a better investment, even if his head isn't.

Posted by: Jerry at January 13, 2009 9:07 PM

I'd be shocked if Lowe ever had an ERA under 4.50 again.

Posted by: Linus at January 13, 2009 11:40 PM

We can't afford Teixeria, but we can afford to overpay a moderate-to-decent starter? Ugh.
I see 80 wins. Max. If we don't get Abreu, 74.

Posted by: RW at January 14, 2009 6:48 AM

Why not Sheets?

Posted by: dch at January 14, 2009 10:05 AM

Perez , for what the market will bear, is the better buy. The Lowe deal was one year too long and about 3 million per annum too pricey. 3 at 36, which had been mentioned in earlier Mets rumors, would have been an acceptable , not great, contract for Lowe. Ollie at 2 for 16 is a risk worth taking.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at January 14, 2009 12:18 PM

Ollie at 2 for 16 is a risk worth taking

It would be, except he won't go for anything remotely that little. He probably will go for no less than what was initially offered Lowe (3 and 36), and probably will get a bit more.

Right now I'd target Sheets. He'll be cheaper than Perez, and he will surely outperform him. Everybody treats Sheets as though he's Prior, but he pitched more innings than Perez last year, and has only had one year where he's really missed substantial time. Even if he misses 8-10 starts, you can plug in Niese or someone else to make up for it. I'd rather have 24 starts of Sheets and 10 of Niese than 34 of Perez.

Posted by: crankycon at January 14, 2009 4:14 PM

I'd like to give Sheets a deal that would guarantee him about $12 million, but would pay him a lot more if he's able to pitch full time. I'd be willing to take the risk of a three-year guarantee on those terms.

Posted by: Jerry at January 14, 2009 5:04 PM

I agree with cranky that Sheets is a better pitcher than Ollie , but disagree that he'll go for cheaper. Even if they command the same dollar though Sheets has the better performance history.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at January 14, 2009 5:31 PM

No way Perez gets 3/36. Mark it down.

Posted by: robert at January 15, 2009 5:16 PM

I seem to remember comments earlier this year that Perez had been foolish not to re-up at the beginning of the year since his performance was going to cost him money. Left handed starters who can get guys out, strike guys out and seem to have more potential than what they currently bring out to the mound get big paydays. I said he's get mid-8 figures and I still think he does.

Posted by: jim at January 16, 2009 11:56 AM
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