Carl Pavano Will Turn Down Arbitration


via Ken Rosenthal, Carl Pavano is turning down arbitration and will be a free agent. Probably a smart move for him considering that he is the second best free agent pitcher on the market, and is likely to get a pretty big deal.

I’m horrible at predicting what kind of contracts players will get, especially pitchers, but it looks like Pavano is in like for around a 3 year, 30 million dollar deal.

Some Twins fans/bloggers are expressing happiness that Pavano isn’t accepting arbitration, saying they don’t want to pay him 11 million next year. Is this correct? Let’s take a look:

The average cost per marginal win in 2010 was roughly 3 million, so for simplicity’s sake let’s stick with that:

To project crudely, Pavano will be worth 7.5 wins over the next three years, regressing for age and the possibility of injury. If he gets 33 million dollars, he will be paid 4.4 million per win. However, two things make this not exactly a bad deal: cost per win is usually higher for pitchers, and it makes sense to pay a higher cost per win when you are a ~90 win team like the Twins are with Pavano on the roster (although revenue wise this isn’t necessarily the case).

Secondly, if he accepts arbitration you aren’t paying him 33 million for ~7.5 wins,  you’re paying him roughly 11 million for around 3 wins, or just $3.66 million per win. For the second best pitcher on the market, this isn’t bad at all.

To finish, a quick comparison of last year’s staff with next year’s projected staff (since I like charts so much)



Note: I didn’t really do a uniform system of projecting 2011 WARs. Some guys I have more faith in improving/staying the same (e.g. Baker), and some guys I think will regress more (e.g. Liriano). Feel free to voice any disagreements on twitter.

Also pay no attention to the order. I don’t think Blackburn will be the #2 starter, I just did that for simplicity’s sake.

And also, please note that I am awful at estimating how much people will make through arb, so deal with me there por favor.

So as you can see, taking Pavano out increases their cost per win only a slight amount, but more importantly they lose roughly 4 wins in value. And if you want an even simpler way to look at it:

Pavano would be worth ~3 wins for about 11 million dollars

His replacement, Nick Blackburn, will be worth roughly 1 win for 3 million dollars. The marginal value is lower, but the absolute value is higher, and that is what the Twins need to be concerned about.