The Winter of Pitching’s Discontent

Looking back on it, the winter of 2006 might go down as the worst offseason of all time concerning free agent pitchers. A smattering of the contracts signed that winter:

Danys Baez – 3 years, $19 million. Produced -0.5 WAR.
Miguel Batista – 3 years, $25 million. Produced 1.3 WAR.
Adam Eaton – 3 years, $24.5 million. Produced 0 WAR.
Keith Foulke – 1 year, $5 million. Didn’t throw a pitch.
Orlando Hernandez – 2 years, $12 million. Produced 0.9 WAR.
Kei Igawa – 5 years, $20 million plus $26 million posting fee. Produced -0.2 WAR so far.
Daisuke Matsuzaka – 6 years, $52 million plus $51 million posting fee. Produced 7.7 WAR so far.
Guillermo Mota – 2 years, $5 million. Produced 0.1 WAR.
Mark Mulder – 2 years, $13 million. Produced -0.4 WAR.
Vicente Padilla – 3 years, $34 million. Produced 4.5 WAR.
Jason Schmidt – 3 years, $47 million. Produced 0 WAR.
Scott Schoeneweis – 3 years, $10.8 million. Produced -1.5 WAR.
Justin Speier – 4 years, $18 million. Produced -0.2 WAR, released in 2009.
Jeff Suppan – 4 years, $42 million. Produced 1.6 WAR so far.
Jamie Walker – 3 years, $12 million. Produced -0.6 WAR.
Jeff Weaver – 1 year, $8.5 million. Produced 1 WAR.
Woody Williams – 2 years, $12.5 million. Produced -0.1 WAR.
Barry Zito – 7 years , $126 million, full no trade clause. Produced 5.3 WAR so far.

Kudos to the Cubs for Ted Lilly, and half kudos I guess to the Royals for Gil Meche. Though based on their subsequent track record, and given the information known at the time, I’m betting that they simply got lucky with Meche’s 2007 and 2008.

That’s a grand total of 18.9 wins, thanks in large part to Barry Zito and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who have produced 13 WAR so far. For that, teams have paid roughly $440 million dollars in contract value so far, with Zito, Igawa, Matsuzaka and Suppan still active. That’s a whopping $23 million per marginal win. If you take out Zito and Daisuke then you’re left with 5.9 wins and about $314 million spent for an earth-shattering $53 million per win.



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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


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Nick
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Nick

The Royals would have had another good year of Meche if not for Hillman Dustying his arm.

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