the dump's sportslog - baseball analysis
Escobar to Anaheim
You could do worse with $18.75 million than to secure the services of Kelvim Escobar for three years, but there's reason to question the move. There's been an awful lot of talk about how the market is taking a downturn (or about to do so) in terms of player salaries, but how much could a pitcher with Escobar's credentials have expected to get in the most free spending, player-friendly of times? I suppose the days of Darren Dreifort getting $11 million a year are in the past, but this still seems like a lot of money. Escobar's signing seems largely based on potential (you wouldn't pay this much for, say, his numbers from last season over the next three years)...which is a little strange for a guy who's going to be 28 at the beginning of the 2004 season.
While he's certainly got a chance to be an effective #3 or #4 starter in a rotation headed by Jarrod Washburn, Ramon Ortiz and John Lackey (I'm assuming he'll slot in somewhere there), what has he done so far in his career? It's worth noting that he's been jerked around a ton over the course of his time in Toronto, perhaps more than anyone else in recent days, but looking at his career overall, he's been a pretty mediocre pitcher with flashes of brilliance thrown in. The Angels can't have any firm idea of what they're getting here other than a guy who has looked great at times in the past. Seems like a sketchy proposition to me, and not a guy I'd want to guarantee significant money.
On the plus side, the contract will cover Escobar's age 28-30 seasons, so it's not like the Angels are locking up Tom Glavine at big money here. Also, the Angels have stated that they're willing to spend some money this offseason, so perhaps this isn't the only significant move we'll see from them. Additionally, I think we can be pretty sure that Escobar's going to be planted in the rotation and left alone (the Angels have a nice bullpen already and aren't paying him to relieve), so we'll finally get a chance to see what he's able to do with it. He's certainly capable of pitching well enough to warrant this kind of cash, but the Angels spending this kind of money to bring in a player with Escobar's track record doesn't strike me as a terribly sound decision.