Dave Cameron at FanGraphs asks us to compare two sets of anonymous numbers (I've snipped the quotes):
The numbers are from 2010.
Player A: 215 IP, 2.46 BB/9, 5.05 K/9, 43.4% GB%, 4.60 xFIP, 88.0 MPH FBv
Player B: 200 IP, 2.52 BB/9, 5.22 K/9, 37.6% GB%, 4.70 xFIP, 88.2 MPH FBv
[...] I’m going to go with Still Very Similar for $200, Alex. They certainly weren’t treated as equals this winter, though.
Player A is Bronson Arroyo, who signed a three year, $35 million contract despite already being under team control for 2011. Player B is Rodrigo Lopez, who signed a non-guaranteed, minor league contract with an invite to spring training yesterday.
[...] A one-to-two win gap between similar-ish pitchers just does not justify an extra $11 million per season with an additional two year commitment. The Braves essentially got Bronson Arroyo Lite for free, while Bronson Arroyo Home Premium cost as much as Paul Konerko. That just doesn’t make sense.
Good article by Cameron, who is realistic about Lopez as a pitcher, but makes a good case that he's worth more than we as fans are giving him credit for, and probably more than we'd be paying him. This is the kind of signing that the Braves have built a lot of successful teams on -- discarded players whose stats look off on the surface. I like Cameron's approach of using advanced stats -- and not just the shocking ERA and HR totals (like I did) -- to make the case that the Braves front office knows something most fans don't.
I'm still pessimistic about Lopez, and I'd much rather see Mike Minor and/or Brandon Beachy in the fifth spot in the rotation, but as a veteran waiting at the wings at triple-A in case of injury in the Majors, we could do a lot worse.
(hat tip: Undocorkscrew)