Phillies Sign Jamie Moyer, Chan Ho Park
Chan Ho Park is 35 and will be 36 at the end of June 2009. He looks like a newborn child compared to Jamie Moyer, who turned 46 in mid-November. Both were signed by the Phillies today in what continues to be a perplexing offseason by new GM Ruben Amaro.
I’ve mentioned a couple times in the past couple weeks that I don’t expect Moyer to be anything like his 2008 self. Moyer was one of the beneficiaries of the Phillies’ miraculously overachieving defense that was +74 according to John Dewan’s Fielding Bible. He doesn’t strike anyone out, so he depends on his fielders converting the excessive amounts of balls in play into outs. It’s much more likely that the Phillies are closer to the +18 defense they had in ’07 as opposed to last year’s version. If this holds true, Moyer’s production will sag as well.
The Park signing also makes little sense. Before last season, he hadn’t put up good numbers since 2001 at the end of his first stint in Los Angeles. Last year, when he was used primarily as a reliever by the Dodgers, he put up a 125 ERA+ in 95 and one-third innings. His home/road splits told the story: 2.18 ERA at home, 4.50 on the road. Dodger Stadium had a 95/94 batting/pitching park factor according to Baseball Reference.
From the Phillies’ official website:
According to The Korea Times, the deal is a one-year, $2.5 million contract with performance bonuses that could push it to $5 million.[...]
“…they considered me a starter, I signed with Philadelphia.”
2.5-to-5 million dollars. It may be a pittance to Alex Rodriguez, but it’s not chump change when you’re talking about a #5 starter or a mop-up reliever. Unfortunately, the article informs us that Park is under the impression that he will be a starter. Hopefully, the Phillies have made no official promises to him and he has to compete for it in spring training with J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick, and Carlos Carrasco.
There is no question that someone like Kendrick could have done the same job Park will be doing for 10-20% of the price. The Park signing is superfluous.
Assuming Moyer’s two-year contract is in the neighborhood of $9 million annually, this would bring the Phils’ payroll to around $135 million, a steep increase from last season. And it would essentially put a lid on the Phillies’ ability to acquire any more players unless through trade. At this point, the Phillies don’t have too much to offer besides scrap nobody else wants, like Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins, Kendrick, and Chris Coste.
It seems it would have been a better use of money to have simply signed Derek Lowe instead and shed some payroll by trading Eaton and Jenkins for next-to-nothing provided that the other team(s) take on the salary (a common occurrence). Maybe this thought is why I am not and will never be a general manager of anything, but it just doesn’t make sense.
Amaro started off well enough by making two slight improvements in trading Greg Golson for John Mayberry, and Jason Jaramillo for Ronny Paulino. Then, he essentially lost two first-round draft picks by complementing non-arbitration to Pat Burrell (a Type A free agent*) with the signing of Raul Ibanez (a Type A free agent). And today, he spent between $10-15 million on two old, average pitchers who are much more likely to fail miserably than to succeed greatly.
* Information on compensation for Type A free agents can be found here.
Since you asked (you obviously didn’t), how would I grade Amaro’s moves thus far? On a scale of 1-to-10 with 10 being great and 1 being awful…
- Golson for Mayberry: 5
- Jaramillo for Paulino: 5
- No arbitration to Moyer*: 8
- No arbitration to Burrell*: 8
- Signed Ibanez: 2
- Signed Park: 1
- Signed Moyer: 4
* This is without the hindsight of later dealings.
World F-king Champions. Pfft. These are moves that the Kansas City Royals would make.