Garland a great bargain for Diamondbacks

January, 28, 2009
From AZCentral's Nick Piecoro on Arizona's new starting pitcher:

    The Diamondbacks and free agent right-hander Jon Garland have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with an option for 2010, according to major league sources.

    It appears the contract is similar to one of the proposals the sides discussed two weeks ago, in which the deal would include an option that could be exercised by either the player or team. The value of the buyout would change depending on which side declines the option.

    The specifics of the deal are not known, but Garland's guaranteed money is believed to be in the $6 million to $8 million range.

    The deal is pending a physical.

    That Garland is available at a price that's manageable for the Diamondbacks is likely a result of the sluggish economy [and] a down year in 2008 for Garland. Last season with the Los Angeles Angels -- his first year away from the Chicago White Sox -- he posted a 4.90 ERA and saw an increase in base runners allowed and a decrease in his strikeout rate.

    Given that, his decision to decline arbitration from the Angels was viewed as a surprise in the industry. In arbitration, he only would have received a one-year contract, but it would have been worth more than the $12 million he made in 2008.

Snap judgment: This is a great deal for the Diamondbacks. Given average luck, Garland should give the Diamondbacks 200 innings and an ERA somewhat better than National League average. That's worth more than $6 million, and it's worth more than $8 million.

Granted, we don't yet have all the information we need. It's certainly possible that Garland's deal will pay him more if he reaches a certain number of innings. And considering Garland has made 32 or 33 starts in each of the past seven seasons, he's likely to meet any reasonable innings incentive.

But this is exactly the sort of deal a team like the Diamondbacks should be doing. They finished in first place in 2007 and in second place in 2008, and in 2009 they figure to be highly competitive in what figures to be a weak division. They have two excellent starters (Brandon Webb and Dan Haren), one decent veteran (Doug Davis) and two talented-but-unproven kids (Max Scherzer and Yusmeiro Petit). That could be enough … but usually isn't. Adding a durable, league-average starter -- whether he slots in at No. 3 or No. 6 -- is just good sense for a contender.


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