Friday, December 29, 2006

Did the Royals really overpay Meche?

Barry Zito signed a 7-year, $126 million deal with the Giants yesterday, continuing the trend of overpriced starting pitching. The two top starters in the free agent market pulled over $15 million a year. But, they are clearly the two best starters available and will fill the ace role nicely for any team willing to spend the money.

Here's a list of the contracts given to the top free agent starters this offseason. The dashed line separates the two tiers of starters.

Ranked in terms of cost:
1. Barry Zito, 28 (7 years at $18 million/yr, total: $126 million)
2. Jason Schmidt, 33 (3 years at $15.7 million/yr, total $47 million)
3. Gil Meche, 28 (5 years at $11 million/yr, total: $55 million)
4. Jeff Suppan, 31 (4 years at $10.5 million/yr, total: $42 million)
5. Ted Lilly, 30 (4 years at $10 million/yr, total: $40 million)
6. Miguel Bautista, 35 (3 years at $8.33 million/yr, total: $25 million)
7. Adam Eaton, 29 (3 years at $8.17 million/yr, total $24.5 million)

Meche was the most expensive pitcher out of the second-tier of starters in terms of contract length and cost per year. Was this justified by his market value or did the Royals overpay?


Meche is the youngest of the free agent starters listed above. That certainly increases his market value. Meche also has the most upside of the second-tier starters, although Eaton is close. Eaton had a poor year which hurt his market value considerably. Suppan and Bautista are considerably older and are league-average starters, so there's no upside there. In terms of upside, age, and recent performance, Meche is the best available pitcher.


The main downside to Meche is his past injury problems. Giving a 5-year contract to an injury prone player is certainly risky business. Meche also struggled in 2004 and 2005, most likely because of injury problems. He had a good season last year, with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.86 K/BB. Will his success continue or was it just an anomaly?

Conclusion: The Royals signed Meche for a deal that was reasonable for the market.


At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong! He was overpaid!

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Gil Meche said...

You STILL think I'm overpaid? All I did was just 14 games with a team that can't hit its plate with a fork!


Post a Comment

<< Home