In the world of starting pitching, it feels as though free agents earn roughly $1 million per win they produce.
Is that fair to say?
Earlier this winter, CJ Wilson signed a five-year, $77.5 million contract. The average annual salary for that equates to $15.5 million per season. This coming after Wilson won 15 games for the Rangers in 2010 and 16 in 2011.
Mark Buehrle signed a deal worth $58 million over the next four years. The average annual salary for that equates to $14.5 million. Buehrle won 13 games each of the last three seasons, but his career average is 15 wins per season.
With that in mind, Roy Oswalt could demand $16 million per season (though, he isn't), and Edwin Jackson could ask for $11 million.
Enter Red Sox veteran Tim Wakefield.
Wake has not hidden his desire to return to the Sox in 2012. Even though the new skipper, Bobby Valentine, has gone on record stating that he can't imagine Tim Wakefield competing for a spot on his team in 2012, in reality, it may be a rationale decision.
In 2011, Wakefield earned just $2 million pitching for the Red Sox. During that season, he posted a record of 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA and 1.358 WHIP in 154.2 innings of work. It is worth noting that he started 23 games while appearing in relief on 10 more occasions.
True, this is not an ideal option. However, with the St. Louis Cardinals hot on the heels of Roy Oswalt, and the Edwin Jackson camp relatively quiet, the Red Sox are still without a solidified starting rotation. There is no reason to believe that Wakefield could not be signed for $1 million or less and be a contributor to the 2012 Sox—at the very least until Daisuke Matsuzaka returns this summer.
With that in mind, if Wake provided more than one win, in the free-agent market, that would be considered a solid investment by the Red Sox. Anything over that could be looked at as a bonus.
No, signing a pitcher to obtain just one win is not the idea here. However, does anyone think that even if pitching for just half a season in the starting rotation, Wakefield wouldn't be able to rack up anywhere from four to six wins? Bobby Jenks will earn $6 million in 2012 and he may not even pick up a baseball for the team.
At this point in the winter, I don't find it completely out of the realm of possibility to see the Red Sox work out a deal with Wakefield. Worst-case scenario, the team has a seasoned veteran with tons of American League East experience. He may only rack up a couple of wins for the team in the first half of the season, but he would fill the fifth spot in the rotation.
Best-case scenario, Wakefield wins six or more games and eats up innings for the team, providing some stability at the back end of the rotation for around a $1 million investment.
Comparing apples to apples, it would make a lot of sense.