San Diego Adds Jon Garland

The Jon Garland deal makes sense financially. For the cost of a little more than a win, the Padres get, well, a pitcher who will produce more than a win. I’m just not sure it’s the best usage of money given their roster construction.

First, Garland. He’s a rubber-armed back-of-the-rotation arm through and through. His career xFIP is 4.61 and in every season since 2002 he’s amassed at least 190 innings. Nothing is wowing or awe-inspiring about his game. Rarely will he strike a batter out and even rarer is a walk. He works the zone with a low-90s fastball and has a garden variety of secondary pitches to choose from.

The problem is that the Padres really don’t need another back-end starter. If the season started tomorrow, they would have Chris Young, Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, and Kevin Correia guaranteed rotation slots with a whole host of arms fighting for the fifth spot including Sean Gallagher, Cesar Carrillo, Wade LeBlanc, and even Aaron Poreda. Is Garland better than those options? Probably. Is he worth $4M more to a team that doesn’t figure to have playoff aspirations? It wouldn’t seem so.

Obviously the Padres could cash him in at the deadline to a team looking for a stretch-run starter with ultra-valuable and rare post-season experience. That would be exactly what Arizona did last season with Garland, who wound up being traded in late August to the Dodgers for a player to be named later. Petco should deflate some of his metrics and I guess that could help with the return, although it’s not like the other general managers are going to be hoodwinked here.

The Padres add a league average starter at a league average price. It’s just not a sexy move and maybe even an unnecessary one.

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28 Responses to “San Diego Adds Jon Garland”

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  1. Xeifrank says:

    I think he becomes their 2nd best starter (behind Correia). The Padres need Garland’s best skillset and that is that of an innings eater. With the likes of Chris Young in the rotation, the Padres could find themselves throwing out a lot of innings of “sucktitude” like they did last year. If you look at the Padres 2009 roster on Fangraphs, and click on the “Value” tab of their pitching staff – you will see that they had negative 6.9 WAR. The Padres will improve by not only securing around 200 innings of league average innings, but will also improve by cutting back on “sucktitude” with the Garland signing.
    vr, Xei

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    • maestro876 says:

      A lot of those “suckitude” innings can be attributed to players like Josh Geer, Chad Gaudin, and Walter Silva. Eliminate those, replace them with league average innings thrown by Garland, and I don’t think their staff will be as bad.

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  2. maestro876 says:

    I think the Padres were hesitant to depend on a rookie to throw out 200 innings. As RJ brings up, there’s the significant probability he gets traded at the deadline and one of the young kids gets to pitch a bunch anyway.

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  3. CircleChange11 says:

    Here’s a few reasons FOR Garland …

    [1] Innings Pitched. It doesn’t seem to be as valued here as it is in MLB, but guys that save bullpen innings (Marquis, for example) are valuable (to a degree).

    [2] His contract is worthwhile. $4M for a guy who has never had a season less than 1.8 WAR.

    [3] I’ve mentioned this before, but Garland is one of those guys that takes young pitchers under his wing, and shows them the routine, walks them around the clubhouse, talks to them about pitching tweaks and strategy, and guides them around the city. SD has a young staff, and can use a Garland.

    No, they’re not expecting him to lead them to the playoffs. But they are expecting him to eat some innings, save the bullpen, and help some of their young talent adjust and find comfort so they can stay in MLB, and not bounce up and down from ML and AAA, trying to figure out some of the things garland can help them with. I think this aspect is under-valued at a site like this because it’s impact cannot be measured. Listen to what young ML pitchers say about their peer mentors (if you will).

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  4. Joel says:

    Like the A’s with Sheets, I think the Garland signing is more about holding trade value than anything else.

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  5. mickeykoke says:

    This is a great sign for the Padres. It allows the youngsters to ease into the rotation (Richard and Latos not exactly established innings guys) and it also allows the Padres to have an “innings eater” which they desperately needed.

    John Garland is also an insurance policy to some degree because of the question of Chris Young and to some degree even Kevin Correia, coming off a career year. Gallagher and the other youngsters can continue tutelage in AAA and Garland can bring some VET presence to spacious Petco were he should flourish.

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  6. Facebook Status says:

    Minaya could be hoodwinked.

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    • bender says:

      Garland is certainly better than Victor Zambrano.

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      • The question is whether Garland and his career 4.42 ERA, 4.72 FIP and matching K/9 is a big enough improvement over the promising young pitchers he will relegate to AAA. I think he is, but that is still the big question mark.

        Richard, Gallagher, Poreda, Stauffer, LeBlanc, Carrillo, and Ramos will all be fighting for one spot on the roster now. Four 1st round picks and a couple of BA top 100 prospects in that group. Is Garland much better than those pitchers? Probably not.

        But the advantage Garland brings to the Padres is proven durability. Along with Correia, he will give the team 2 starters who will likely start about 200 innings for the 1st time since 2007. That is huge for a very young pitching staff.

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    • Steve says:

      apparently not quick enough to sign Garland himself. the Mets could really use another reliable starter. the price was right.

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  7. Gricomet says:

    Honestly, I don’t see the point of the signing. Garland is worth the salary given but the Padres have a nice core of young SPs and alot of potentially interesting 5th starter candidates without him. I don’t think the Padres are close enough to being a contender for it to be worth going for old, solid but unspectacular over young and higher upside. He’ll provide WAR at a discount price and maybe someone to flip at the deadline but young SP development would likely have been more beneficial in the long-run.

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    • maestro876 says:

      Honestly, a lot of those potentially interesting 5th starter candidates aren’t really big league material. LeBlanc and Stauffer aren’t. Poreda has massive control problems. Gallagher may or may not be ready. Given CY’s injury history, and the likelihood of a trade at the deadline, one or more of those guys will likely get a bunch of innings anyway.

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  8. Scottwood says:

    Garland projects as a league average starter next year. If he is a back end guy, then he’s not a typical one b/c CHONE projects him for 2.2 WAR. I don’t see anything wrong with the pickup.

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  9. Adam W says:

    Garland has to be the frontrunner to become this year’s Jarrod Washburn.

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    • MorneauVP says:

      Except that Garland doesn’t have a historically incredible defense behind him, like the flyball-happy Washburn did with Endy/Guti/Ichiro.

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  10. fanofdefenseagain says:

    Why dump on Tim Stauffer?

    His projected FIP more or less equals that of Garland. Of course, his projected inning totals are significantly lower, but I say roll the dice.

    Bad teams need to accept that high variance moves are their optimal strategies.

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  11. HarbingerOfMonotony says:

    What are the odds that between Correia (coming off a career year), Chris Young (coming off yet another injury-riddled year), Clayton Richard (who has never pitched more than 160-odd innings in a season), and Mat Latos (coming off a 200% increase in innings from ’08 to ’09) there won’t be any injuries or missed starts?

    You have a better shot of winning the lottery, being struck by lightning, and drawing a royal flush all in one day.

    Garland adds much needed stability to the rotation, in addition to giving the bullpen a lesser workload, which should help to maximize their already impressive production.

    Those above mentioned prospects and spot-starters — Gallagher, LeBlanc, Poreda, et al — will find their fair share of starts throughout the year as a group. But for just about market value, I think Hoyer should make this move any day of the week.

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  12. JayCee says:

    Minaya has some explaining to do.

    Garland is exactly what the Mets needed- someone healthy and professional enough to throw 200 innings, however mediocre they are.

    The Mets may finish in last place.

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  13. Joe R says:

    Want a good reason why Jack Morris shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame:

    Morris: 105 ERA+
    Garland: 104 ERA+

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    • NEPP says:

      That’s also a strong argument against using ERA+ (or any other single statistic) in a vacuum to make a point.

      Not that I think Jack Morris deserves to be a HoFer.

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      • Eric R says:

        Jon Garland through age 29, 20.7 WAR
        Jack Morris though age 29, 18.9 WAR

        Garland also has 10 more wins :)

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