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A review of recent big contracts given to pitchers


Frobby

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THIS POST WAS AMENDED 10/11

As a public service, I've tried to put together a list of the richest existing pitching contracts, by total value (this includes a few that have just expired). The ones in boldface I consider to be busts, either due to injuries or poor performance. I count 13 busts out of 47 contracts. There are at least a couple where I gave the contract the benefit of the doubt. Feel free to agree or disagree with my characterization of which ones are or are not busts.

$137 mm/6 - Santana

$126 mm/7 - Zito

$121 mm/8 - Hampton

$91 mm/5 - Zambrano

$73 mm/5 - Oswalt

$63 mm/5 - Carpenter

$60 mm/5 - Millwood

$56 mm/4 - Buehrle

$55 mm/5 - Meche

$55 mm/5 - Burnett

$53 mm/4 - Martinez

$52 mm/3* - Peavy

$52 mm/6 - Matsusaka

$48 mm/4 - Silva

$47 mm/3 - Schmidt

$47 mm/4 - Hudson

$47 mm/4 - Nathan

$47 mm/5 - Ryan

$46 mm/4 - Cordero

$45 mm/3 - Rivera

$45mm/4*- Haren

$43 mm/4 - Wagner

$42 mm/4 - Suppan

$40 mm/3 - Halladay

$40 mm/4 - Lilly

$40 mm/4 - Pavano

$38 mm/4 - Sheets

$38 mm/4 - Bonderman

$37 mm/3* - Lidge

$37 mm/4 - Washburn

$36 mm/4 - Harang

$36 mm/4 - Lowe

$35 mm/3 - Kuroda

$35 mm/3 - Vazquez

$34 mm/3 - Padilla

$33 mm/3 - Westbrook

$30 mm/3 - Beckett

$30 mm/3 - Cook

$29 mm/3 - Garland

$29 mm/3 - Contreras

$29 mm/3 - Kazmir

$29 mm/3 - Willis

$28 mm/3 - Escobar

$26 mm/3 - Myers

$26 mm/3 - Isringhausen

$26 mm/3 - Penny

$25 mm/2 - Arroyo (I include his because it was signed a year in advance, so in effect it was a 3-year deal).

Those marked with an * do not go into effect until after 2008

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I wouldn't call Harang a bust just yet. He signed a 4 yr $36.5M contract for 2007-2010 plus a 2011 option. 2007 was a very strong year (231.2 IP, 16-6, 3.73, 218 Ks). This year wasn't so good (184.1 IP, 6-17, 4.78, 153 Ks), but he was injured part way through May and he came back pretty strong in September after a rocky first few starts in August. I think it's way too early to call him a bust, esp since he's making on average $9M per (backloaded).

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I was just about to mention the Harang contract but you guys beat me to it. Harang was fourth overall in Cy Young voting last year and unfortunately had a rough and partially injured year this year. He's usually consistant and strong (he's the workhorse for the Reds) so I think he'll come back better next year once he's totally healthy again. His starts in September were much more the norm for him and he's just a great pitcher to watch. I've seen him pitch a few times and not much fazes him out there. :)

I think that Zito one still wins for me as far as really bad contracts. :eek:

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I wouldn't call Harang a bust just yet. He signed a 4 yr $36.5M contract for 2007-2010 plus a 2011 option. 2007 was a very strong year (231.2 IP, 16-6, 3.73, 218 Ks). This year wasn't so good (184.1 IP, 6-17, 4.78, 153 Ks), but he was injured part way through May and he came back pretty strong in September after a rocky first few starts in August. I think it's way too early to call him a bust, esp since he's making on average $9M per (backloaded).

Beyond name only, I had never noticed Harang. Not even in fantasy, not once.

His stats, and age, sound like a young man who has matured. "I'm 30 now and this is my career." He's got 30+ starts (in all effect) five years in a row. This guy is a horse!

What are the possibilities of us trading for him? I'd give up a medium+ sized MiL prospect for him. Maybe much more.

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I'd also like to add that many on this board predicted a few of those contracts would be regretted. These are the contracts I personally would not have given at the time they were signed (only looking at the ones in bold):

Zito

Hampton (wouldn't necessarily have a had a problem signing - just not to an 8 yr deal)

Millwood (I think many on here would have given him this deal, but I wouldn't have)

Pedro (this one would have depended on the type of team. Was probably worth the risk for the Mets at the time)

Silva

Schmidt

Pavano (I have to admit that part of me wanted the Orioles to sign him, but the fourth year would have been the deal breaker for me)

Washburn

Padilla

Willis

Frobby, I see you didn't include BJ Ryan on the list. Would he have been in bold on your list? He wouldn't be for me.

Wouldn't be for me either, even considering the TJ surgery. It was a crazy contract, at the time. The O's never got a chance to even counter that. It just was unthinkable anyways. But the Jays saw something they wanted and BLEW AWAY the field. Signed him. Done.

And TOR still has two years left for one of the best closers in baseball. BJ already has, and now will continue to, produce for that team. If I were the Jays, I'd talk extension.

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I wouldn't call Harang a bust just yet. He signed a 4 yr $36.5M contract for 2007-2010 plus a 2011 option. 2007 was a very strong year (231.2 IP, 16-6, 3.73, 218 Ks). This year wasn't so good (184.1 IP, 6-17, 4.78, 153 Ks), but he was injured part way through May and he came back pretty strong in September after a rocky first few starts in August. I think it's way too early to call him a bust, esp since he's making on average $9M per (backloaded).
Frobby, I see you didn't include BJ Ryan on the list. Would he have been in bold on your list? He wouldn't be for me.

OK, I won't call Harang a bust, and I wouldn't call Ryan a bust yet either. One more poor or injured season for either and they'd be busts, though.

On a second review, I left off the following:

$47mm/5 - Ryan

$45mm/4*- Haren

$42mm/4 - Suppan

$37mm/3* - Lidge

$35mm/3 - Kuroda

$30mm/3 - Cook

$29mm/3 - Kazmir

$28mm/3 - Escobar

$26mm/3 - Isringhausen

$26 mm/3 - Penny

$25 mm/2 - Arroyo (I include his because it was signed a year in advance, so in effect it was a 3-year deal).

Of those, I only consider Suppan a bust, though Escobar could turn out to be busts if he isn't fully healthy next year.

I will go back now and amend my original list.

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