Originally Posted by M2
Bingo. Hopefully, he shows up looking real hot and boozy, making everyone else jealous.
Sheehan thinks the same.
He’s not in any danger of ending up in Cooperstown, but the best remaining free agent by far is right-hander Jeff Weaver. Unable to reach an agreement with the Dodgers last month, Weaver hit the market at a time when league-average starters are getting three-year deals, or better, simply on the hope that they’ll be healthy and effective. Consider the five starting pitchers who have signed the biggest contracts this offseason, listed here with their 2003-05 records:
Age W-L ERA IP BB SO HR SNLVAR WARP
A.J. Burnett 28 12-12 3.61 352.0 135 332 23 8.2 9.1
Kevin Millwood 32 32-29 3.83 555.0 171 440 53 12.8 13.1
Jarrod Washburn 31 29-31 4.08 534.0 145 298 73 13.0 14.5
Matt Morris 31 40-28 4.22 567.0 132 368 77 10.5 9.9
Esteban Loaiza 34 43-26 4.02 626.1 182 497 67 14.9 18.9
Jeff Weaver 29 34-33 4.61 603.1 157 403 70 10.4 12.1
Weaver has the worst single-season performance in this crowd, his awful ’03 for the Yankees, and that drives up his overall ERA. Looking at everything else, though, you can see he stands firmly in the middle of the crowd in Support-Neutral and WARP terms, in peripherals, and he’s been second only to Loaiza in durability. (This chart, by the way, reinforces the notion that Loaiza’s contract is a bargain.) If you’d looked at these six pitchers just one year ago, you might well have concluded that Weaver was the best of the bunch, as he led the six in SNLVAR in 2004.
Weaver should get the kind of money that’s been doled out to Jarrod Washburn and Matt Morris, because he’s been just as good a pitcher. If a team can bring him into the fold for less, and especially if they can limit their commitment to two years, they will have picked up a significant edge on the teams that have paid mid-rotation starters like aces all winter long. Look for Weaver to be the 2006 version of Millwood or Loaiza, the late signing, the forgotten one, who has a significant impact on the season and makes big money next winter.