Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Padres Sign Jon Garland

Tuesday January 26, 2009

Padres sign Jon Garland

If you were wondering what was next for rookie Padres GM Jed Hoyer, then you have your answer today.

As was reported by Corey Brock of MLB.com and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports via Twitter, the San Diego Padres signed southpaw starting pitcher Jon Garland to a one year deal for $4.7 million with a mutual option for 2011 that includes a $600,000 option. Basically 1 year, $5.3 million deal.

Garland split the 2009 season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers while posting a 4.01 ERA and 204 IP over 33 starts.

It certainly looks like the Padres got the inning eating veteran pitcher they have been saying they were looking for since Garland has averaged over 200 IP per season since 2002. In my eyes Garland and his career 4.42 ERA, 4.72 FIP and matching K/9 is not a big improvement over the pitchers he would be displacing with the exception of proven durabilty.

Prior to this signing the Padres rotation was shaping up to be Chris Young, Kevin Correia, Mat Latos, Clayton Richard and 6 young pitchers fighting it out for the #5 slot..

With the addition of Garland to a sure spot in the rotation you have 7 young pitchers fighting for one spot on the roster instead of two.

Sure Spots in the rotation:
RHP Chris Young
RHP Jon Garland
RHP Kevin Correia
RHP Mat Latos

Fighting for #5 slot:
LHP Clayton Richard
RHP Tim Stauffer
LHP Wade LeBlanc
RHP Cesar Carrillo
LHP Cesar Ramos
RHP Sean Gallagher
LHP Aaron Poreda

If its any consolation, with a WAR of around 2.0 the last 3 seasons according to Fangraphs (which is worth about a $7 million in the FA market according to Tom Tango), the Padres did get Garland at a very fair price and the Padres AAA Portland Beavers squad may have the best pitching staff in the minor leagues.

So what does this mean for the Padres rotation in 2010 and going forward?

1) The staff has incredible depth with 7 guys including two former top 100 prospects (Poreda & Gallagher) and three former Padres 1st round draft picks (Stauffer, Carrillo and Ramos) fighting it out for just one spot in the rotation.

2) For the first time since 2007 the Padres staff has at least two guys in Garland and Correia that are likely to throw about 200 innings. If he wins a spot and stays healthy, Richard may also approach 200 IP.

3)  The Padres signed Garland to what is essentially a 1 year, $5.3 million deal so it does not block any of the young pitchers long term.

4) If Chris Young pitches up to the level we have seen when he was healthy in years past and some of the young pitchers like Latos, Richard, Poreda, Sean Gallagher and former first round pick Tim Stauffer step it up this season, then the Padres have a choice of trading either Chris Young or Garland after the All Star break to pick up even more prospects.

Conversely, if CY does not pitch well and the team is stuggling as they near the All Star break, we may see Garland, CY and Bell all traded away along with franchise player Adrian Gonzalez before the trading deadline on July 31, 2010.

All in all, while he not the high upside impact pitcher signing I was hoping for, Garland is a solid inning eating veteran pitcher the Padres have said they wanted for the middle of their rotation and he signed for much less than they would have had to spend for an injury prone high upside guy like Sheets or Bedard.

With this signing of Garland and a $2.9 million salary for Scott Hairston (who has not come to terms with the Padres yet), the Padres 2010 Payroll stands at $37.725 million.

While Corey Brock is claiming on a Twitter post that the Padres have nothing left to spend, by my estimation they still have $2.275 million left just to GET to the $40 million Moorad and Hoyer have claimed was the minimum they were going to spend.

Do you get the feeling that someone on the Padres is not being totally honest about their 2010 payroll? If it stays as it is it will be the smallest payroll in MLB. And now they seem to be hedging on even keeping their promise to the fans to have it "start with a 4".

For some reason I don't think they are done. I think Hoyer and Moorad are playing this close to the vest and have their hand in on other players. After all, there were no rumors of the Padres being in on Garland until after they already had an agreement in hand.

So hold on to your hats, we may all be surprised by the next signing.

I have had my say. Now tell us what do you think of the Padres signing Jon Garland?