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A New Years Resolution and A Starting Pitcher

As the title suggests, this is a 2 part post. The 1st part is a New Years Resolution that is very important to me and I hope to any faithful reader of Hitting The Eephus. I realize that I’ve become basically irrelevant in the Twins blogosphere. My New Years Revolution is to write a minimum of one blog post every week. I think that is an attainable goal and it will bring Hitting The Eephus back to where it should be. As my good friend John T. Meyer recently wrote that we need to write down our goals for the public to see so we are held more accountable. I think this especially entails to improving this blog.

The second part of this post is much more typical of what will be normal for this blog. As many reports have suggested, the Twins are indeed a favorite to re-sign Carl Pavano. It just seems like it makes sense for Pavano to want to return to Minnesota. The only other team that has any rumors suggesting that they want him is the Washington Nationals. If I were Pavano I’d want to steer clear of Washington. I don’t have anything against the franchise personally, it actually does look like a promising young franchise with the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and many more players either just reaching the big leagues or still to come in the coming years. And of course their free agent signing of Jason Werth must not be forgotten. I just don’t think they have a real shot of being good for a few years, and Pavano will be gone by the time that happens. This is why it makes sense for Pavano to want to return to the Twins who are contenders.

It only makes sense for the Twins to bring back Pavano on the right deal. There is no way he should be given the three  year deal he seeks. I would be most comfortable with a one year deal, but I don’t see how he signs a deal for any less than 2 years. I still think that he does indeed re-sign with the Twins, but there do need to be alternate plans in the case that signs with the Nationals or any other team that could very well suddenly decide they are in need of Pavano’s services.

One player that I see as a relatively low risk-high reward replacement to Pavano is Justin Duchscherer. Duchscherer is an injury prone pitcher. There is no getting around that. That being said he can still bring good value. Since he has been hurt his price tag won’t be very high. Last year he was given a $1.75 million contract. He only pitched 5 games before having season-ending left hip surgery. After that I can’t see his price tag going up. The one thing he wants is to be signed as a starter and not to be put into the bullpen. I think that if the Twins can see him as Pavano’s replacement they can offer him that.

Kyle Terada/US Presswire

Luckily for him he has been hurt with injuries to various parts of his body instead of always re-injuring one part such as an elbow or a shoulder. This has given Duchscherer the feeling that he can be healthy. He says “I don’t feel anything’s wrong with me anymore,” and he “…can’t imagine what else could go wrong.”

Duchscherer has shown that when healthy he can be a very good pitcher. In the years that he has thrown at least 50 innings Duchscherer has never had an ERA above 3.27. Only once did it ever reach 3.00. In the other 3 seasons it was it’s highest at a mark of 2.91.

Of course, ERA is a flawed statistic. FIP and xFIP do not nearly say as many good things about Duchscherer as ERA does. Only once did he have a FIP lower than his ERA in a year where he threw at least 50 innings. That was in 2006 when he had a 2.79 FIP and a 2.91 ERA. Never did he have an xFIP lower than his ERA. Some could argue that these numbers suggest that he is outperforming what he is capable of and that it is not likely to continue. I do not think this is the case. He has put up a trend of his ERA being lower than his FIP and xFIP. It is something he has shown he can do.

Duchscherer’s WAR shows again that he would be a good investment. Out of all of the years that he has put up at least 50 innings only once has he had a WAR lower than 1.6, and that was his first year throwing at least that many innings. Being as a win is worth ≈ $5 million if he can be had from anywhere from $1-2 million he should be a good bargain. If he can put up a 1.6 WAR he’d be worth ≈ $8 million. If he can put up more than 1.6 WAR he’d be worth even more. In 2008 he was worth 2.9 WAR which at the time was worth ≈ $13 million and would be worth even more now.

In short I think Duchscherer would be a nice fairly low risk-high reward signing for the Twins. If it works out you’ve added a pretty decent pitcher and if it doesn’t it’s only a minor loss.

Happy New Year!

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