Kyle Lohse. Image Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

TBOH Debate - 1/9/2014

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As the offseason grows older, there are still a few pretty good starting pitchers on the market.  Assuming that the price tag for all of them comes down (similar to what happened with Kyle Lohse last year), which (if any) of them would you pursue?

Spencer

I went into this question with an open mind, considering pitchers with a qualifying offer despite it being against my inclinations.

Looking at Ervin Santana‘s numbers, he’s a 4.36 FIP pitcher, with a career 2.8/7.1 BB/SO/9, and he has, for his career, a bit of a problem allowing home runs (8.5% HR/FB, and allows an above average number of fly balls as is). There are similar figures with Ubaldo Jimenez (a lot of inconsistency as well), both will likely cost over $10 million a season, and cost a draft pick.

I wouldn’t hate a relatively cheap Bronson Arroyo acquisition, but as I’d rather the team focus on the long-term, I might focus on offering Matt Garza an extra year in exchange for a lower AAV. He’s had a sub-4.00 ERA every season but his first, has a nice 3.0 BB/9 for his career, and he would slide in nicely as a number 3 starter. He doesn’t cost a draft pick, and assuming his cost comes down some as he waits, he could be a nice guy to pencil in the rotation for a few seasons as the team re-builds.

That being said, I doubt Garza would be very interested in sitting through a re-build, and I doubt Ruben Amaro & Co. have the flexibility remaining this offseason (without some kind of Papelbon-induced salary dump) to make a move of this caliber. A more reasonable expectation would be signing some upside arms to incentive-laden minor-league deals (AKA Jair Jurrjens, etc.).

Emily

I would like the Phillies to pursue Ervin Santana and Matt Garza.

Mike

I’ve been in favor of going after Garza all offseason, mostly because I think he’s the best guy out there and wouldn’t require giving up the draft pick.  None of the other guys excite me at all.  I suppose I could see going with a steady, but unspectacular guy like Arroyo or Burnett, because they’d at least be reliable enough #3 guys, but anything more than a relatively cheap three-year deal would be detrimental.

Brett Gardner. Image Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to Peter Gammons, the Phillies have inquired about Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner.  While Gardner would be a solid addition to the outfield, he’s also set to be a free agent after next season.  Would you want Gardner?  If so, what would you trade for him?

Spencer

Gardner for Jonathan Papelbon? The Yankees need a new closer, the Phillies need OF depth, it makes sense, do it.

Otherwise? Nope. Gardner’s a great player on a low salary, but for a team that knows they won’t “win 100 games” in 2014, that guy on a one-year deal is like a luxury car in the garage of a decrepit house. He doesn’t help the team long-term, and if prospects are required to acquire him, that’s just dumb. Congratulations, you’ve gotten up to 82 wins.

Woo-hoo.

If you can get him, and it provides salary relief (AKA Papelbon), that’s a good deal. If you can get an extension out of him, even better. But he’s going to have the highest WAR and lowest salary of any Yankees outfielder. Trading him unless they are VERY incentivized doesn’t make much sense. Given his salary, and their holes in the rotation, I don’t know if Papelbon is that kind of an incentive.

Emily

Yes, I’ll take Brett Gardner for a few years, but keep in mind that he is 30. I would be fine with giving up a few utility/role players for Gardner, but it depends what the Yankees want in return; I don’t want to give up too much.

Mike

It would depend how motivated the Yankees are to save money.  The Phillies certainly seem capable of absorbing Gardner’s full salary if they choose.  Would the Yankees settle for a middling prospect if the Phillies didn’t make them eat any money?  In that case, I’d make the deal, as Gardner would be an upgrade over Ben Revere in center.

If it’s going to cost them a prospect of any value, why bother?  Gardner isn’t that much of an upgrade, and based on recent free agent signings, he’ll probably get a sizeable contract in free agency at the end of the season.

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