Posted by Steve
When discussing potential targets for the Brewers’ rotation, I’ve overlooked what is probably the best match: Carl Pavano. I knew Pavano had something of a bounceback season (that fact that he pitched all year after his injury history is an accomplishment in and of itself), but I for some reason never looked at his numbers.
Here they are.
199.1 innings, 5.10 ERA, 235 hits, 147 strikeouts, 39 walks.
Alright, so those stats may not jump out at you. A closer look, however, reveals that Pavano was actually a very good starting pitcher last season.
235 hits is not a pretty number. But remember, hits are not one of the three true outcomes that are not affected by defense. One look at his batting average on balls in play indicates that his defense/Lady Luck did him no favors in 2009. His BABIP was .335, well above his career norm.
And then there’s my favorite stat, k/bb. Pavano very quietly posted a 3.77 ratio last season! I was shocked to see this. That was 13th in the majors among starting pitchers!
Add that with his decent home run rate of 1.17, and you come up with an FIP of 4.0 in the American League–a very impressive number.
If Pavano performed similarly for the Brewers next season, he’d probably challenge Yovani Gallardo as the best starter on the team (believe it or not, Pavano was actually the more valuable pitcher last season). A move to the National League would only help him. Like he did with me, Pavano is flying a bit under the radar. John Lackey is the big prize, and then more attention seems to be on people like Randy Wolf, Rich Harden, Erik Bedard and even Doug Davis or Jon Garland.
Pavano would be a smart signing for the Brewers at likely an affordable price. I’d expect something along the lines of two years, $10-14 million to get it done. If you’re a fan of Fangraphs’ dollar value, Pavano was worth $16.5 mil last year alone.
Signing Pavano and trading prospects for a similar pitcher would go a long way to repairing the Brewers’ pitching staff, and it’s a safer alternative to throwing big bucks and a lot of years at John Lackey.