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Bang for Your Buck: The 5 Best Value Rotations in MLB

Brandon TrippContributor IIIApril 9, 2012

Bang for Your Buck: The 5 Best Value Rotations in MLB

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    The Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels have some of the best rotations in baseball, but they paid heavily for them. 

    Statistically, you would never say the Arizona Diamondbacks have the most valuable starting rotation in baseball. But, when you consider how much they spend on their rotation, you would have to say they get great "bang-for-your-buck" value. 

    Here are the top-five most valuable rotations in the MLB.

5. Detroit Tigers

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    Total Rotations Salary: $27.752 Million

    Justin Verlander: $20 Million

    Max Scherzer: $3.75 Million

    Rick Porcello: $3.1 Million

    Doug Fister: $502,000

    Drew Smyly: Not Available (Under 500K) 

     

    Detroit is the only team on this list that spends well over $20 million on its rotation, and there is good reason why—Justin Verlander.

    Verlander is a good value even at $20 million. He not only goes out there and wins games by dominating, but he eats up innings better than just about any pitcher in the majors. Couple that with Max Scherzer, who while inconsistent has very good stuff and had a brilliant start against New York in the playoffs, and Doug Fister, who was great when he came over from Seattle, and the Tigers are paying around $24 million for a very good top-three starters group.

    Porcello is serviceable, and at $3.1 million, his salary is about on par with what you would expect. 

4. Washington Nationals

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    Total Rotation Salary: $20.035 Million

    Edwin Jackson: $11 Million

    Gio Gonzalez: $3.25 Million

    Stephen Strasburg: $3 Million

    Jordan Zimmerman: $2.3 Million

    Ross Detwiler: $485,000

     

    Two names: Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

    Washington has two of the top young arms in the game and pays $3 million for each of them. That is value.

    If Strasburg can stay healthy and give 200-plus innings this season, Washington will be in good shape. Edwin Jackson is a bit overpaid at $11 million, even though he has good stuff. Teams just keep paying him, hoping he will figure out how to be consistent.

    Even with a K/BB ratio of four, Jordan Zimmerman still has room to improve, and at $2.3 million he provides excellent value at the back end of the rotation.

3. Texas Rangers

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    Total Rotation Salary: $13.202 Million

    Yu Darvish: $5.5 million

    Colby Lewis: $3.25 Million

    Matt Harrison: $2.95 Million

    Derek Holland: $1 million

    Neftali Feliz: $502,000

     

    The Rangers have built a top-three farm system since general manager Jon Daniels got to Texas.

    The farm system produced great young pitching that comes cheaply. Derek Holland just signed a new deal that only brings his salary to $1 million this season and Harrison got $2.95 million in a pre-arbitration deal with the Rangers.

    Yu Darvish is the wild card on this staff, financially speaking. There is no doubt he has incredible stuff, but he struggled with command at times in spring training. Will he be worth the $5.5 million they are shelling out this year? Probably. And Lewis is a good veteran pitcher. He provides stability to this rotation and at just over $3 million is good value as well.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Total Rotation Salary: $11.009 Million

    Joe Saunders: $6 Million

    Trevor Cahill: $3.5 Million

    Ian Kennedy: $519,000

    Daniel Hudson: $504,000

    Josh Collementer: $486,000

     

    The Diamondbacks have a great young rotation with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collementer and now Trevor Cahill.

    Joe Saunders is probably not great value at $6 million, but it is not outrageous for a very serviceable pitcher. If you take out Saunders, the Diamondbacks are paying just $5.009 million for a group that could be a top-five overall rotation by the end of this season.

    The biggest question is how will Cahill adjust to Arizona coming from a big-time pitcher's ballpark in Oakland?

1. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Total Rotation Salary: $14.94 Million

    James Shields: $7.5 Million

    David Price: $4.35 Million

    Matt Moore: $1.1 Million

    Wade Davis: $1.5 Million

    Jeremy Hellickson: $489,500

     

    Could it have been anyone else? The Rays have one of the deepest, youngest staffs in baseball. David Price is a steal at just over $4 million and James Shields proved last year that he is worth the $7.5 million he is getting. Jeremy Hellickson will probably see a slight drop off from last season, but considering his ERA was 2.95, I think at less than a half million dollars, he is still a great value.

    Matt Moore has incredible stuff. The question is can he give you 200 innings? Even if he doesn’t, at just over $1 million, half a season of what he did last year would be good. 

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