Pavano and Pineiro

The Minnesota Twins locked up the top remaining free agent on the market yesterday when they agreed to a two-year, $16.5 million contract with right-handed pitcher Carl Pavano. I'm not really here to go into too much detail on the quality of that deal from Minnesota's perspective; it seems like a reasonable deal, although you wonder how guys like Aaron Harang and Jeff Francis had to settle for one-year deals at $3 million or less in guaranteed money.

But one thing has struck me, and it's the apparent common traits between Pavano this offseason and a similar pitcher who signed a comparable deal last offseason, Angels righty Joel Pineiro. Both pitchers basically agreed to the same contract: two years and roughly $16 million, with that salary essentially split between the two seasons. And both pitchers were remarkably similar over their final season preceding free agency, turning into low-walk groundball machines. You have to wonder if Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, was using Pineiro as a key point in his arguments for getting Pavano a multi-year deal.

Take a look at their numbers, side-by-side, for those two respective seasons:

Pineiro 2009: 214 IP, 3.49 ERA, 3.68 xFIP, 4.4 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 3.9 K/BB 61% GB rate, 4.8 fWAR

Pavano 2010: 221 IP, 3.75 ERA, 4.01 xFIP, 4.8 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 3.2 K/BB, 51% GB rate, 3.2 fWAR

Pavano missed more bats and ate a few more innings, but Pineiro put up stronger overall numbers thanks to an elite groundball rate and command. Both pitchers kind of came out of nowhere to put up strong numbers; from 2005 through 2008, it seemed like both pitchers were watching their careers fall apart: Pavano made just 26 starts during that period, while Pineiro managed to pitch 600 innings to the tune of a ghastly 5.50 ERA.

When you see all of these similarities, followed up by the reality that they both signed essentially the same contract one year apart, you have to imagine that Pavano's agent was using Pineiro's two-year deal as a baseline for pretty much any negotiations. Teams presumably tried to knock down Pavano's price by pointing out that he's already 35 while Pineiro was just 31 when he signed his deal, although O'Connell probably counterpointed by noting that Pineiro's success came in the NL after struggling a great deal in the AL. And when you're talking about a two-year deal, rather than a three- or four-year pact, age isn't nearly the factor that it would otherwise be.

It's tough to know exactly how the market came together for Pavano given that he's a pretty polarizing pitcher, but I wouldn't be surprised if O'Connell was telling his client at the beginning of the offseason that he'd get at least a Pineiro-like deal.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Beyond the Box Score

You must be a member of Beyond the Box Score to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Beyond the Box Score. You should read them.

Join Beyond the Box Score

You must be a member of Beyond the Box Score to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Beyond the Box Score. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker