Let’s sign Carl Pavano

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.


4 responses to “Let’s sign Carl Pavano

  1. While Pavano had a great year, are you confident enough to sign him with his injury history?

    This smells of a possible Erik Bedard like back-fire to me to the team that decides to sign him. He will go 15 starts and then go down with his back strain and be done for the year after having setbacks in his rehab.

  2. The only way the Brewers can afford a pitcher with the upside of an impact starter is if it’s one with some sort of blemish to keep his price and contract length down. I want to avoid another Suppan contract at all costs; therefore I’m not interested in signing any free agent pitcher for more than two years (the only ones I’d give more than two are the ones who will get four or five like Lackey).

    I think Bedard is the bigger risk. Pavano threw more innings last year than Bedard ever has. Bedard is recovering from a torn labrum. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he doesn’t pitch at all in 2010.

    The Brewers gave Braden Looper six million last season. It was the equivalent of giving six mil to a pitcher who was injured all season, because he was around replacement level anyway. At least with Pavano there’s upside of getting a number 2/3 starter for your money–a possibility that never existed with Looper.

  3. I wasn’t comparing Bedard to Pavano this season. Just comparing picking up Bedard prior to the beginning of last season.

    If Carl Pavano makes 30 starts… I won’t know what to say. Let’s just say I think the world has a better chance of ending in 2012 then Pavano making 30 starts in 2 straight seasons.

    I personally don’t think the Brewers have an answer to competiveness in regards to their rotation. If they sign Pavano, get used to another minor league veteran (Probably Mike Burns version 1.5) getting 15-20 big league starts around June.

    If I am Milwaukee, I look at cheap signings. Guys like Livan Hernandez, Rich Hill, Noah Lowry, Odalis Perez, Sidney Ponson, Horacio Ramirez, Brett Tomko, Todd Wellemeyer or Kip Wells.

    Any of those guys sexy? No. Any of these guys riskier then Pavano? Yea, all of them. They will likely sign for a minor league deal with an invite to spring training though.

    But, by making spring training a tryout for those guys above, 1 of them has to break through and be a solid starter for the league minimum. And, if not, then you can reallocate the money you would have spent on Pavano into your draft budget and try to keep improving.

    Also, by doing something like this, the Brewers would be a player (at least salary wise) on some of those potential no options remaining type players (Mitch Talbot?)

  4. Let’s keep these Twins/Brewers trade routes open; Pavano for the Diamond Dancers. STR8T UP.

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