Last week, I asked whether the Twins should try to re-sign Jim Thome. That poll is now closed, thanks to all who took the time to vote (and leave a comment on the post). As you can see, an overwhelming majority support bringing the slugger back:
Should the Twins bring Jim Thome back?
- Hells yeah, what's $3 million to the Pohlads? (71%, 162 Votes)
- Yes, but not for more money than he made last year (20%, 45 Votes)
- No, the Twins don't need an aging, one-dimensional slugger (9%, 22 Votes)
Total Voters: 229
I gotta say, I agree. If nothing else, watching the 40 year-old chase 600 home runs will be a lot of fun. There is no guarantee he will come back, and it probably won’t be any big loss if he doesn’t, but it definitely sounds like Thome would prefer to re-sign with the Twins.
Of course, Thome isn’t the only free agent the Twins are considering bringing back. We will probably know as early as Monday whether Carl Pavano will be a Twin next year (or for the net three years), so I thought this would make a great poll question. Do you guys think the Twins should bring Pavano back? The pros and cons of re-signing the righty, after the jump.
- The rotation behind Francisco Liriano looks pretty anemic without him. Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing, and Nick Blackburn/Glen Perkins isn’t terrible, but it’s not exactly the rotation of a serious World Series contender. Sure, he had a rough stretch with the Yankees, but Pavano has put up some very, very good numbers most of his career, particularly the past couple of seasons. He’s got a 4.34 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 4.11 xFIP, and 2.54 K/BB ratio, and such production won’t be easy to replace for less than $30 million.
- 3-years, $30 million is still a relative bargain for a pitcher worth 22.0 fWAR (or, if you prefer, 14.5 rWAR) over the course of his career. The marginal cost per win has been about $4 million the last couple of seasons, and if that holds true, Pavano only needs to be worth a minimum of 2.5 WAR per season to justify his salary. Of course, a deal for Pavstache would be even better if, instead of three years, the Twins can get him to agree to 2 years with either a vesting option or a high-buyout.
- He gets lots of ground balls, which plays to the strengths of both Target Field and the defense behind him. Last season, his 1.66 GB/FB% was second only to Francisco Liriano (1.96) in the rotation, and the 8th-highest in the league. He isn’t particularly homer-prone either, with a career 10.3 HR/FB% and 1.01 HR/9. With a defense that can scoop up ground balls like a vacuum, and a home park that tends to suppress home runs, Pavstache seems a perfect fit for Minnesota.
- His age. Pavano is 35 and is seeking a 3-year deal. It does not take a mathematician or particularly brilliant sabreist (that’s totally a word, isn’t it?) to figure out that a 38 year-old Pavano probably won’t be worth $10 million.
- His health. Though he’s been remarkably durable the past couple of seasons, his overall health history is dubious at best. The likelihood that Pavstache will pitch 200 innings a season over the next three years is slim to none (though it’s also probably not likely he will crash his car and break a couple of ribs again, either).
- The infield defense may be significantly worse next year. I say “may be” because the infield isn’t exactly set in stone yet. The Twins recently traded away the defensively above-average J. J. Hardy, but they are rumored to be in talks to acquire defensive whiz Brendan Ryan from the Cardinals. [EDIT: Nevermind]. Even with an improved infield D behind him, however, it’s unlikely Pavano will repeat his 2010 success. Whatever you think of DIPs theory, we can all probably agree that a .286 BABIP is unsustainable, particularly for a pitcher whose career mark is .308. Coupled with his declining strikeout rate, the ‘Stache will almost certainly see an increase in bleeders turn into hits next year.
So, readers, what do you think? The poll is in the sidebar, and will be open through next Sunday.