Originally Posted by NJReds
One thing about pitchers' salaries. The Reds need to take some of the blame here. They overpaid Eric Milton, and that helped set the stage for average pitchers getting higher-than-average salaries.
Of course, that was the past regime, but I did a little research and the Reds weren't alone that offseason. Here's a little blurb from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal about that year's free agent pitching staff:
The New York Mets set the market for established starting pitchers early in the off-season when they re-signed Kris Benson to a three-year, $22.5 million contract. This for an injury-prone pitcher with a career record of 47-53 and a 4.28 earned run average.
That deal set the stage for Jon Lieber and Jaret Wright to get three-year contracts worth $21 million from the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, respectively. Lieber and Wright have injury-riddled pasts and are not exactly world-beaters, with a combined record of 152-136 and a 4.62 ERA.
Matt Clement, owner of a 69-75 career record and 4.34 ERA, received $25.5 million for three years from Boston. Cincinnati gave the same deal to lefty Eric Milton, who has a 4.76 career ERA.
The real stunner came out of Los Angeles, where the Dodgers gave Derek Lowe a four-year deal for $36 million. Imagine what Lowe might have gotten had he not compiled a 5.42 ERA with the Red Sox last season.
The Brewers hoped to pick off one of those free-agent pitchers but quickly found the bidding too rich for their blood. A year from now, they could be grateful for staying out of that overpriced market.
"Not many pitchers are consistent over the length of a long contract," Melvin said. "It shows you some clubs were willing to take risks this winter. There are a lot of multi-year contracts out there."