While the 2012 MLB Offseason is coming to an end and Opening Day is fast approaching, it's never too early to take a look at the 2013 MLB Offseason.
As we take a look at the upcoming offseason, we'll focus on the most important part of building a championship team, a solid corps of pitchers. But instead of looking at the guys your team should hope to acquire, let's take a look at the pitchers who teams should stay away from.
Joe Saunders was a 2008 All-Star but he is a far cry from his former self. Previously a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the current Diamondbacks' lefty has been struggling.
Saunders went 9-17 in 2010 when he split the season between Anaheim and Arizona, finding little success in either setting. In 2011, he put together a better campaign with a 12-13 record and a 3.69 ERA. While he could put together a solid season in 2012, the NL West is a fairly week offensive division with only a hand-full of offensive talents.
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie may be the Colorado Rockies' Opening Day starter, but that shouldn't make him a hot commodity in 2013.
Guthrie will turn 34 just around Opening Day in 2013 and has never won more than 11 games while losing as many as 17 games in one season. Granted, those numbers were put up with the hapless Baltimore Orioles, but they were still fairly unimpressive as his lifetime ERA sits at 4.19.
Derek Lowe may be a pretty big name after playing a pivotal role in the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series title, but that was 2004.
The righty's last All-Star appearance was in 2002 and while he has been very reliable at starting over 30 games a season, his production has gone down. Last season in Atlanta he went 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA. This season he is with the Cleveland Indians at the age of 38.
Dan Haren is set to make $12.75 million this season and has a club option for $15.5 million in 2013. He has been a great asset in the Angels' rotation, going 16-10 last season and has never had a winning percentage lower than .500.
But assuming the Angels pick up his club option, that means next season he'll be making more money than C.J. Wilson ($11 million) and only $.5 million less than their ace, Jered Weaver ($16 million). Both Wilson and Weaver are slated to be ahead of Haren in the rotation. That seems like a lot of money to spend on a third starter. That being said, it would be a very formidable playoff rotation.
After the Dodgers gave up on Edwin Jackson in 2006 and traded him to Tampa Bay, he has put together a nice career that includes an All-Star appearance, a no hitter and a World Series title.
This offseason, he signed a one year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $11 million; a very nice payday for the 28 year old righty. But that's a lot of money to pay the fourth man in your rotation for a team that is poised to breakout and make the playoffs—but will they actually put together a solid season in the tough NL East?
If they do, the Nats will likely have to overpay for Jackson again to lock him up long-term or lose him to free agency where it is highly likely that a struggling team will overpay to make him their ace, a title I think is too lofty for Edwin Jackson.
Jose Valverde has been a pretty consistent closer throughout his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers. Over the years, he has led the league in saves and been an All-Star three times each. He even finished fifth in 2011's Cy Young ballot.
Valverde is currently under the final year of his contract with the Tigers, making $9 million. He is likely going to be signed to a multi-year deal after the conclusion of the season given that he is still going strong and led the league in saves last season.
But how often have big contracts worked out for closers? Just look at Brad Lidge, Francisco Rodriguez, B.J. Ryan and Joe Nathan.
Former Rookie of the Year Huston Street has bounced around from the Oakland Athletics to the Colorado Rockies and now the San Diego Padres. Last season, the closer saved 29 games with an ERA of 3.86.
The funny thing is, he actually posted better stats, including a better ERA, during his time in the American League than his time in the National League. In his new gig with the Padres, he has a club option worth $9 million. Assuming that they do pick it up, that's the same amount of money that Jose Valverde is getting paid in 2012, but with much less production than Valverde.
Yes, Street is younger, but he hasn't been as good as Valverde and $9 million is a lot of money for a struggling team like the Padres to use on a closer.
Ervin Santana is the second Angel on this list and it's mostly for his club option, much like Dan Haren.
If the Angels were to pick up his $13 million club option, they would be crazy. Santana is slated to be the fourth man in the Angels' rotation and that is far too much money to spend on him. Granted, he is probably one of the best starters in the fourth spot of a Major League rotation, but it doesn't make him worth $13 million.
A buyout from the Angels would cost them $1 million and it would likely lead to a bidding war between teams who would look to "steal" Santana. But in the end, his new contract and $1 million buyout will probably leave him as an overpaid third starter on a contender or a default ace on a terrible team.
Brandon McCarthy has been injured for most of him Major League career but he re-invented himself in 2011.
In his first season with the Oakland Athletics, he started 25 games and posted a record of 9-9 after not pitching at all in 2010. With his new identity as a ground ball pitcher, McCarthy posted the lowest FIP in all of baseball. If he can repeat those numbers, he will likely be a hot commodity among contenders to be a back-of-the-rotation starter. But can a guy with really only one healthy and productive year be trusted?
Then again, he may not repeat or improve off of his 2011 which would make him a cheap pick-up. So far he's off to a good start after only giving up six hits and one earned run in seven innings on Opening Day against the Seattle Mariners.
Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time and he's the greatest relief pitcher of all time.
But he will be overrated in the 2013 offseason.
Yes, he has 603 saves, the most ever, and 12 All-Star appearances but he's going to be 42 this season while making $15 million. Any team other than the Yankees will have to pay a pretty penny to get him to leave New York. Meanwhile, the Yankees will have to put him at a premium to keep him in New York so he can retire a Yankee, as he should. But that sentiment could mean that the Bronx Bombers will overpay Rivera.
Of course, he may take his amazing cutter away from the game and retire after this season.