Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kevin Correia Rage

The local Minnesota Twins finally signed a starting pitcher!  Fans have been clamoring for the team to do this very thing, and then do it again, and then perhaps do it once more.  However, if this first signing is any indication toward future free agent signings, fans might be better off clamoring for more important things like earth, fire, wind, water and heart.  The Twins have signed Kevin Correia to a 2 year, 10 million dollar contract.  Kevin Correia, owner of a 4.54 ERA in about 1066 career innings, is now a Twin.  I can confirm that he knows how to pitch.  Beyond that, not sure.


Normally, I am levelheaded about things the Twins do.  On the surface, this move makes some sense.  The Twins need 2 or 3 starting pitchers to fill out their 2013 rotation.  The Twins are terrible, and therefore, many good free agents are not going to want to pitch here next year.  The Twins are not the type of team that hands out huge free agent contracts.  All these factors make Kevin Correia a logical target.  He is a starting pitcher, he is not good, and he did not get a huge contract.  Check, check, check.

For fun, let's look at the many reasons why Kevin Correia is not good.
  • ·         Depending on whether you prefer fWAR (FanGraphs.com) or bWAR (BaseballReference.com), Correia either has a 5.5 career WAR or a 2.2 career WAR.  For the purposes of my intense hatred for this deal, I choose to use bWAR (I am a baby).
  • ·         Kevin Correia has a strikeout rate around 12% over the past two seasons, league average is 17.6%.
  • ·         He isn't even an innings eater, as he has averaged just 147 innings pitched over the past six seasons.
  • ·         His career xFIP is 4.44 - which sucks.
  • ·         He added a cutter about 3 years ago, with terrible results.
  • ·         He is 32 years old
  • ·         He has zero career saves.
  • ·         lol.  

Regardless of these facts, 2 years, 10 million, whatever.  It isn't that big of a deal.  I have two major issues with this deal though.  I'd like to address them below, if it is all the same. 

1.  What a difference a year makes!

You could tell me that the Twins signed Joe Mays for one year, 5 million and I would be cool.  I'd be all, "whatever, NBD."  A one year deal for any player for any price barely bothers me.  When a bad team signs a player to a one year deal, they just need a body.  If things break positively, they might just get a trade chip.  A savvy trade might even net a bad team a shiny new prospect.  If things go poorly, the team just releases said bad player.  See:  Ramon Ortiz or Jason Marquis or Livan Hernandez or Tony Batista or Mike Lamb or...  you get the point.

Ok.  One year deal = cool, or at the very least, whatevs.

A TWO YEAR DEAL??!?!?!?!?1?!?!??2?!?@??@/???

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?1@!?@??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?exclaim

Signing Kevin Correia for two years just doesn't make sense.  Why give a bad pitcher a 2 year contract?  Were the Twins really worried that Correia was going to get a better one year offer?  Is Kevin Correia the type of pitcher that you just can't miss out on?  If he isn't, aren't there plenty of other below average starting pitchers available, basically pleading to be signed? 


Those pitchers are of varying quality, but each could give the Twins roughly what they will get from Correia this year.  BUT THAT DOESN'T EVEN ADDRESS 2014!   

By 2014, Alex Meyer could be ready for a MLB rotation spot.  Trevor May as well.  Kyle Gibson and Liam Hendriks almost certainly will be.  Scott Diamond and Vance Worley will be there.  This doesn't even address the fact that the Twins still have available money to add to the payroll.  Do you see where I am going here?  Where does Correia even fit in 2014?  If the Twins really feel they will need him in 2014, they are clearly stating that they have a pessimistic view of the development of their young pitchers.  At least two will be failures or behind in development, if Correia is needed for the 2014 rotation. 

Diamond and Worley would have to regress to be out of the 2014 rotation.  Gibson and Hendriks would have to implode (or in Liam's case, continue to implode).  Meyer and May would have to struggle in the minors.  New starters that aren't signed yet would have to be signed to one year deals, or be worse than Correia.  Are you with me?

So, all fans thinking the Twins are going to follow this signing up with two more starters that are better than Correia, you might want to think again.  Why would they take two more spots away from the 2014 rotation, when they traded valuable assets for AA starters who could be ready by next season?  Why would they sign good pitchers to one year deals, with 2013 contention a pipe dream at best?  Correia might actually prove to be their best signing, which is scary.

2.  Timing is everything

The timing of this trade makes no sense to me.  Many experts said that Zack Greinke would be the domino that started the rally.  This may be true, but Kevin Correia is so far off of the Domino Rally that he might as well be a chess piece. 

If the Dominoes looked like this:


Kevin Correia was somewhere down here:


Just completely off the board. 

Now, I have no doubts the Twins reached out to players like Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson and Shaun Marcum.  They likely were rebuffed due to the Twins being a bad team with little to offer in the ol' money department.  However, this still does not address the fact that the Twins could wait a month or so, see who gets signed from the list of crap I provided above and then pick out their fave(s).  Isn't it entirely possible that Kevin Correia's lost domino is still sitting there, 200 feet from the rally, ready to be knocked down?

So, if this had nothing to do with the Zack Greinke Domino Rally, then why sign Correia right now?  My feelings are that the Twins wanted to prove that they were going to do something.  They thought they could sneak another Nick Blackburn past us, but we are too smart these days.  Some fans will be happy they spent some money, but most will wish they had spent the money better.  It is a shame, as the two trades make in the previous weeks seemed to indicate that the team was heading in a specific direction.  This signing does not fit with those trades.

This may end up being an isolated incident that doesn't reflect the positive progress that was being made in the off-season.  Or, the Twins will compound this mistake with another free agent signing that baffles more than impresses.  The next move will be a key indicator.  I personally think this signing might be a misguided attempt to build a contending team for 2013.  If that is the case, the move will backfire with explosive results.  If this was just a way to get a body on the roster for the next two years, then whatever.  Either way, the move is confusing at best.  

1 comment:

  1. This analysis looks less than solid in hindsight...