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July 29, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Padres Get A Street Deal

by R.J. Anderson

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SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Re-signed RHP Huston Street to a two-year extension worth $14 million with a club option for the 2015 season worth $7 million. [7/29]

Josh Byrnes took over the Padres last winter and got right to work in locking up his team’s brightest young players. The awry seasons experienced by Cameron Maybin, Nick Hundley, and Cory Luebke have not deterred Byrnes from further contract extensions. Instead, Byrnes has simply shifted his focus to his best veteran players on expiring deals. A week ago, Byrnes struck a deal with Carlos Quentin. Now it’s Street, and boy is it a dandy.

The flaw in Street’s game is his durability. Street has missed at least three weeks in each of the past four seasons. There are a few too many “right shoulder inflammation” entries on his injury report for comfort’s sake, but the Padres have the best and most recent medical information available. You have to assume—until proven otherwise—that Byrnes is acting rationally. Further, compare Street’s numbers and contract to those accrued and signed by last winter’s crop of big closers—Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell, and Ryan Madson—and you can excuse Byrnes even if he is gambling a bit.

Street Versus Last Winter’s Closer Crop, 2009-12

Pitcher

IP

SV

ERA

K/BB

AAV

Street

197

101

3.11

5.1

$7m

Bell

243

151

2.93

2.6

$9m

Papelbon

240.1

128

2.96

4.1

$12.5m

Madson

191

47

2.78

4.0

$8.5m

The big kicker about Street’s extension is that he will make less money next season than he did this season (assuming both years are worth $7 million). Factor in that Street had a $9 million mutual option for next season, with a $0.5 million buyout, and it’s possible—perhaps probable—that he could’ve walked away with more money had he just played the string out.  But Street seemingly prioritized staying in San Diego—and who can blame him for that, besides the union?

Keep in mind that Street is in the midst of a marketable season. He made the All-Star team and currently sports a 405 ERA+. Yet he took a haircut and less than his previously established market value, all for the added security. Kudos to Street for knowing what he wanted and making it happen.

Because of the length and the money, the only downside from the Padres’ perspective is that, again, this is an injury-prone veteran on a club that might not compete for another year or two. But, shy of relocation, there is no benefit for a new ownership to tank. The Padres were going to spend money, so why not spend the money on players you already have, know, and value. Especially those willing to take less than what they’re worth.


R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Huston Street

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Richard Bergstrom

"You have to assume—until proven otherwise—that Byrnes is acting rationally."

Um, no I don't have to assume it.

Aren't these the kinds of contracts that prices a Mat Latos or a Adrian Gonzalez out of the Padres' price range?

If you have that kind of money available, why not just keep it for a hitter, or a starter?

If you absolutely must have a closer, why not just take one of the many starting pitching prospects the Padres have and grow a Heath Bell as they did in the past?

Jul 29, 2012 10:00 AM
rating: 4
 
jedjethro

Agreed on all counts.

A bad team locking up injury-prone non-stars, one of them a second- or third-tier closer, at that. At least Street's taking less money than those other guys, but the Padres could have spent that $7M annually.

From this GM's perspective, it's probably time to get Volquez locked up long-term.

Jul 29, 2012 10:10 AM
rating: 1
 
jedjethro

Oops ... sentenced should have said, "but the Padres could have spent that $7 million annually in a far more constructive fashion."

Jul 29, 2012 11:56 AM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Agreed. Awful deal. Why would anygive give Street a long term deal? Wow.

Jul 29, 2012 15:04 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

its the kind of stupid deal the Rockies would do... oh wait they already did that once and regretted it. they kept switching from Street to Corpas(!) and eventually Betancourt.

Jul 29, 2012 18:32 PM
rating: 0
 
lmarighi

Now, hold on just one second. I certainly think there is a lot of merit to arguing whether signing Street or any RP to that kind of contract is a good deal, but the sentence you quoted is out of context for the rest of your reply. It's pretty clear that R.J. is talking about assuming rationality in reference to medical history, i.e. that since he has more information about Street's current health than anyone else, we should assume that he thinks Street can stay (relatively) healthy. That is a separate question from whether he's worth the contract based on his performance.

Jul 30, 2012 06:24 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Note that he had the most recent medical information available when he offered the aforementioned Luebke a multiyear contract just for Luebke to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Then, RJ builds upon that medical report and says "Further..." and compares Street to other closers as if to indicate that Street is of comparable value "even if he is gambling a bit". But, that list could've contained a half dozen other closers who are paid near the league minimum and perform as well as Street. It didn't, but it should have, and judging by the reaction in the comments there are others agree that there are players similar to Street's value who are less expensive.

So, I can question whether Byrnes is acting rationally based on the information he has. And I don't think the quote is taken out of context since we are questioning the validity of whether Byrnes is making sound decisions based on the information available to him.

Jul 30, 2012 08:14 AM
rating: -1
 
juiced

7 million a year for a 1 warp player is roughly FA market value, however teams like the Padres shouldnt be paying FA market value for closers as the 7 million represents 1/8th of their entire payroll and righty relievers are the easiest commodity to find off the minimum salary minor league/Rule 5 scrap heap. Bad move.

Jul 29, 2012 10:44 AM
rating: 3
 
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