I left this out of Tuesday’s column because it wasn’t quite official, but Vicente Padilla is now tied to the Rangers for the next three years. As many of us have noted, it’s hard to recalibrate the internal scale by which we judge these things. Nate calculated that what teams are paying for a marginal win has jumped as much as 70% over last year. It’s the baseball equivalent of one of those currency devaluations that used to happen every few months in developing nations, and as much as you might understand that rationally, the idea that Vicente Padilla is being paid $11 million per year rings false, like a typo in the agate.
Padilla at least has some kind of record of success. Never an innings guy–fewer than six innings per start in his career, almost exactly six last year, a career high of 6 2/3 IP/GS–in 2006 Padilla posted the best Stuff score (17) and second-best translated ERA of his career. In fact, if you just squint in the right way, Padilla’s work in 2003 and 2006 looks like development over a period of years. He’s just 29 and he hasn’t been worked that hard in the majors, and by the standards of his peer group, may be a fairly safe bet to throw 600 innings with an translated ERA of 4.20 over the next three years. I’m fairly surprised to have reached this conclusion, I have to say; it’s a bit the converse of the Chris Carpenter signing, which I loved at first and grew increasingly disenchanted with over time, before panning it this morning. Padilla looks to be a league-average starter for at least the next couple of years, and those guys are now $11 million players.
I stand by the idea that Miguel Batista is going to be a huge bargain relative to this class of pitchers, the Padilla/Adam Eaton/Gil Meche group. He’s older and he’s not sexy, but he provides innings with a low home-run rate, and that’s valuable.
Nate touched on the high points of the J.D. Drew deal. I’ll cover that, and the rest of Tuesday night’s action, in Wednesday’s Prospectus Today.