Wells, Meche Giving Home Team Consideration

It’s a common refrain among impending free agents: "I’ll give my current team every chance to re-sign me before hitting the open market."  Recently, it’s been Vernon Wells and Gil Meche singing that particular tune.

Here’s the thing about Wells: he’s not an impending free agent.  He’ll be a free agent after 2007; he’ll earn $5.6MM next year.  The standard superstar practice is to start the contract negotiations a year early.  Almost as if the Blue Jays owe Wells something because he’s playing at a below-market price in 2007.  Which is silly, because it was the Jays taking on the risk of giving Wells a five-year, $14.7MM contract after one full season in the bigs.

Then there’s Gil Meche, whose career year should earn him the big bucks.  Among free agent starters, Meche has had the 15th best overall season so far according to Baseball Prospectus.  He owns the 7th best strikeout rate, 9th best ERA, and 13th best WHIP.  It’s the solid K rate and the fact that he just turned 28 that places Meche among the cream of the free agent starter crop.  The downside is that he’s yet to pitch 200 innings in a season.

In case you were curious, here are the top fifteen free agent starters ranked by 2006 VORP:

1. Jason Schmidt
2. Barry Zito
3. Mike Mussina
4. Roger Clemens
5. Tom Glavine
6. Andy Pettitte
7. Miguel Batista
8. Jamie Moyer
9. Vicente Padilla
10. Greg Maddux
11. Woody Williams
12. Ted Lilly
13. Brad Radke
14. Jeff Suppan
15. Gil Meche

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