David Price and the Rays have a top notch rotation, but are they the most valuable rotation in baseball?
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.
Justin Verlander is one of baseball's best pitchers, and even at $20 million, he provides good value.
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.
Stephen Strasburg is a front-of-the-rotation pitcher and one of the top-end pitchers Washington has on their roster.
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.
Can Yu Darvish become the ace that Texas paid for?
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.
The addition of Trevor Cahill makes this young rotation even better. But, he will have to adjust from being in pitcher-friendly Oakland.
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?
Matt Moore burst onto the scene at the end of last season. Now Tampa needs to figure out if he can do that for a whole year.
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.