The bar has been set in baseball.
The standard for a new, cheap pitcher is $5 million.
That’s what the Pittsburgh Pirates will give Edinson Volquez for one year.
Volquez, 30, who had a breakthrough season in 2008 with the Reds, went 9-12 last year with a 5.71 ERA pitching for the Dodgers and Padres.
Since that 2008 season when he went 17-6 with 206 strikeouts, Volquez is 33-35 with a 4.94 ERA. He’s also had to deal with injuries and had a drug suspension.
I’m guessing that GM Neal Huntington thinks lightning will strike a third time after successful rehab projects with A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano.
On the surface, this might seem like a no-lose situation. While $5 million seems like the market for an over-the-hill pitcher, $5 million to the Pirates is another thing.
This could mean Burnett won’t be back, but it also means the Pirates have $5 million less to upgrade an offense.
They’ll have even less money after they earlier threw around some more cash, signing Charlie Morton to a three-year, $21 million extension. With incentives, the deal could be worth $30 million.
Morton is another pitcher with an injury history.
The Pirates seem confident Morton is about to breakout, although he has a career 30-49 record with a 4.70 ERA.
In his return from injury last season, Morton gave the Pirates a look at what he could be: a strong starter. He went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 116 innings.
It wasn’t a full season, but if he has a full season like that, it could be a bargain.
Unfortunately, it’s another roll of the dice with a pitcher with an injury history.
Maybe the Pirates will strike it rich again with these two deals.
I’d still like to see some offense.
Here’s another take on the moves:
– Rick Green