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July 29, 2012
Padres Get A Street Deal
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
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.