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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