The Risk of Signing Carl Pavano to a Multi-Year Deal

Thomas BallingerContributor IDecember 23, 2010

FT. MYERS, FL - MARCH 01:  Carl Pavano #48 of the Minnesota Twins poses during photo day at Hammond Stadium on March 1, 2010 in Ft. Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The signing of Cliff Lee last week leaves Carl Pavano as arguably the most sought-after free agent starting pitcher left this offseason.

Apologies to the rumored to retire Andy Pettitte since it would be a shocker for Pettitte to sign with any team other than the Yankees.

Speaking of the Yankees, ask any Yankee fan, and he or she can tell you the risk of signing Pavano to a multi-year deal. His four-year, $39.95 million deal signed with the Yankees before the 2005 season can be characterized in one word: DISASTROUS!

In Pavano’s four injury-riddled seasons with the Yankees, he logged only 145.2 innings while posting an ERA just over 5.00. Just mention the rumored asking price of three years, $30 million to any Yankee fan, and you are sure to get a priceless reaction.

The laundry list of Pavano's past injuries includes his right shoulder, bruised buttocks, elbow strain and two broken ribs from an automobile accident he failed to report to the Yankees until 13 days after it happened in August of 2006.

Sure, Pavano posted tantalizing numbers in 2010 with 17 wins, a 3.75 ERA and 1.195 WHIP. But consider that Pavano pitched 221 innings in 2010, only his second season of 125-plus innings since 2004, when he was 28. Pavano will be 35 in 2011 with a lot more mileage on his oft-injured body.

Every baseball fan knows the value of good pitching, but the prospect of paying Pavano $30 million over three years seems too risky.

If Pavano can come close to duplicating his 2010 production over the next three years, $30 million will be a bargain. But with his past history, $30 million over three years seems like an enormous risk to the team that decides to sign him.