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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Pavano to the Yanks -- 4 years, $44 million 

Another unbelievable contract.

Pavano was 7th in the N.L. in ERA last season, but also had one of the highest ratios of DIPS ERA to actual ERA in the league, a sign that Pavano was benefitted from very good luck and/or very good defense last season.

In a career plagued by injury after he was sent to the Expos with Tony Armas Jr. by the BoSox for Pedro Martinez, Pavano has been consistently disappointing, posting a career ERA+ of 100; before this season's 137 ERA+, he'd only had one season in six where he posted an ERA+ of better than 100.

Pavano sports a low walk rate, a mediocre strikeout rate (he ranked 31st out of 45 eligible N.L. pitchers in K/9, squeezing right between Paul Wilson and Cory Lidle), and a track record of not being able to stay healthy, nor of being terribly effective when he is healthy.

Yet, one strong season, along with scouting reports commending his tremendous stuff, was enough to get the Yanks to commit to a bigger contract than the one they awarded Javier Vazquez -- a guy with a much stronger track record than Pavano, and a guy that they now want to unload.

I thought Russ Ortiz's 4 year, $33 million deal -- on the heels of three straight average seasons, and with little to recommend him other than durability and the good fortune of pitching in great pitcher's parks with lots of run support -- was the worst deal of the offseason. This one, however, surpasses it, no question.

The Yankees are going to be trying to unload Pavano and his contract in 18 months, I guarantee.


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