Starting Pitchers Linked Entering 2011

Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Garza, Chad Billingsley and John Danks all went to arbitration for the first time before last season and all settled for contracts in the $3-4MM range. The four pitchers went to arbitration again this offseason and settled for contracts within the $5.75-$6.3MM range. A year from now, they will become points of reference for the class of pitchers just behind them (those currently entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible players). Here's a list of pitchers who could be compared to the quartet above after the 2011 season:

  • Mike Pelfrey$3.925MM in 2011 - Pelfrey already has a tremendous amount of big league experience and a fourth consecutive season of 30-plus starts could push his 2012 asking price past the $6.28MM Billingsley will earn in 2011, especially considering Pelfrey's high 2011 salary. Pelfrey doesn't have particularly impressive strikeout numbers or ERAs, however, which will help the Mets keep the right-hander's salary in check.
  • Dallas Braden$3.35MM in 2011 - Garza was working from the same base salary in 2010 and he earned a $2.6MM raise after logging 204 2/3 innings of 3.91 ERA ball in the AL East with a 2.4 K/BB ratio. If Braden wants to match Garza's raise, he'll have to earn it with another big year.
  • Jair Jurrjens, $3.25MM in 2011 - Jurrjens is well-positioned to ask for a salary in the $6MM range next year if he returns to his 2008-09 level of productivity.

Guthrie, Garza, Billingsley and Danks all had relatively healthy, productive seasons in 2010, which kept their 2011 salaries within a $600K range. A poor performance would have disrupted the pattern and the same applies to this year's class. They have to pitch well and stay healthy to earn raises to the $6MM range. Meanwhile, others will have the chance to prove they belong in the same discussion as Pelfrey, Jurrjens and Braden if they have big years.

  • Phil Hughes$2.7MM in 2011 - Hughes, who has just one full season as a Major League starter, is starting from a lower base salary than the others, so he'd likely need a standout season to approach $6MM in 2012.
  • Brandon Morrow$2.3MM in 2011 - Morrow doesn't have the bulk numbers his peers do, so he's at a disadvantage. But he has flashed dominant stuff and if he continues pitching the way he did from June on last year, he could justify asking for a larger-than-usual raise.

Other starters, including Edinson Volquez and Kevin Slowey, are also entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible pitchers, but raises to the $6MM range seem extremely improbable given their current salaries and career numbers. The same goes for super two players Armando Galarraga, Kyle Kendrick, Ross Ohlendorf and Luke Hochevar.


24 Responses to Starting Pitchers Linked Entering 2011 Leave a Reply

  1. bleedDODGERblue 4 years ago

    Is the title suppose to say “Linked?” Not sure, didn’t read it.

  2. Ferrariman 4 years ago

    Jaime Garcia is a super-two. Danks seems like a fair comparison i suppose.

    • $1519287 4 years ago

      He’s not a super two. He’ll be first time arb eligible after 2011, so he’s a year behind Morrow, Hughes, Pelfrey etc.

      – BNS

      • Ferrariman 4 years ago

        but if 2010 was his first full year, wouldn’t being arb eligible after 2011 be only 2 full years of service? He had a little time in 08 but i’m pretty sure he didn’t start the season on the 25man roster. Or does all of 2009 count even though he was out?

      • Ferrariman 4 years ago

        on baseball reference’s, it also says Garcia is a super 2.

        • $1519287 4 years ago

          Garcia has 2.047 in Service Time. The 2010 Cards media guide mistakenly listed his ST as 1.147, not 1.047, which led to the confusion.

          – BNS

  3. So Heres a Question for Next Year, If JJ has a bounce back year, Do You Trade Him at the end of the Year to maximize his value at the trade market with Teheran waiting? You could get alot back in return for his skill set.

    • Absolutely, assuming Teheran and at least one of Vizcaino and Delgado continue to dominate. I’m a Braves fan, but I just don’t see much in Jurrjens. I’d be shocked with he gets back to his 2.60-3.25 ERA range this season. I’d like to see it, just don’t think it’s likely.

      While I don’t think the return will be great, I think it’s best to trade him in the off season, regardless of performance. He’s a Boras client, and an overrated one at that. Best case scenario is he bounces back and the Braves can get a legitimate LF for him, since Prado will be at 3B in 2012. Regardless, I have a feeling this is Jurrjens last year with the Braves.

      • NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

        not 100% sure Chipper will retire, but Prado would probably spend more time @ 3B next year than any other position combined if not. A LF would be great, but pending on how our Minor Leaguers go, we might be able to rent a LFer while netting a big prospect return for Jair. BTW, I’m 85% sure he will retire, good year or bad.

        Jair had 2 good years and 1 injured bad year with minimal starts, so i wont give up on him just yet. I do agree he is over-hyped and wont re-sign with the Braves, but I don’t think that means ship him off just yet. Wren will play it smart and field the best team this year (each year) and trust our farm to keep producing.

        • Jeff 4 years ago

          I’m not giving up on him either , he’s a good pitcher- but it’s quite possible by the time he hits FA- he could be just the 4th, 5th, or maybe even 6th best pitcher on the staff.

          Hanson is likely to become an Ace, Medlen will likely always be undervalued, Minor could be better, Beachy around as good, and then you’ve got the prospects (the Braves have 4 guys who are projecting as #1 or #2s). I could see him being traded next offesason, or maybe even trade deadline, as you’ve also got Lowe for two more years, and by the deadling Medlen should be bear ready.

    • NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

      I believe that is a last option. Braves brass have mentioned moving him. If Jair bounces back, those guaranteed spots are: Hudson, Hanson, Jair, Teheran. The 5th spot would go to one of: Lowe, Beachy, Minor, Medlen, Delgado, etc. Delgado should be ready by then and would make a decent 5th starter or a platoon starter with Minor.

      You have to think they would season Delgado while he hasn’t hit Major League Service. That leaves you with Lowe & Minor with Medlen being a spot starter LR. I would venture to guess that Beachy and Lowe would be shopped. If Lowe has a good year, Braves could trade either away and trust a rotation of: Hanson, Teheran, Hudson, Delgado, Minor/Vizcaino for 2013 without needing a high price Jair there.

      • NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

        In other words, I don’t think Braves will want to trade Jair away, but if their only other option is having Lowe pitch 5th with his pay, they might trade him away for his return while they still have enough starters that it wont hurt their rotation.

      • Actually, I think Teheran is closer to the bigs than Delgado. I know Delgado was placed on the 40 man roster and Teheran wasn’t, but it was only to prevent the possibility of losing him.

        • NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

          Out of curiousness (since my spell checker keeps flagging curiousity) where did I say that Teheran wasn’t closer? I had Teheran as a lock next year while Delgado may stay in the Minors for part of the year to keep him locked up.

  4. William S 4 years ago

    The first couple sentences of this article are phrased in quite a confusing manner.

  5. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    i still don’t know what this post is about

    • NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

      my guess: a group of pitchers that are similar are linked to one another by their similarities. Now, let’s compare the same above with some just like them, but a year younger. Now, let’s add in some guys who have a chance at being similar.

  6. I think Jurrjens 2008 numbers are more along the lines of what he really is, not his 2009 numbers. That ERA is completely unsustainable. I think he’s a solid bet to consistently put up an ERA around 3.80-4.00, but there’s this misconception amongst a lot of Braves fans that he’s this ace-caliber starter. He’s, in my eyes, merely an adequate #2 or a solid #3 starter. So I’d be shocked to see him and the Braves come to terms for $6 million.

    I can’t believe how many viable starters the Braves have right now. Hanson, Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens, Minor, Beachy, Kawakami. And Medlen’s supposed to return around late August.

    Then there’s Teheran and Delgado who could see action this year, and it wouldn’t totally surprise me to see Vizcaino get a September callup. I like him more than Delgado, actually. Kid’s got unbelievable control for his age and has been throwing 96-97 frequently so far this spring. In fact, in terms of raw stuff……I say Vizcaino tops Teheran. Even though the Braves had to endure Melky for a full season, I’m thrilled with that Vazquez trade. Landed the Braves Vizcaino and Mike Dunn, who they later flipped along with Omar Infante to the Marlins for Dan Uggla.

    • NL_East_Rivalry 4 years ago

      Love your insight. I see Jair more around 3.20-3.40 getting 5.88 next year. You never know with Boras.

      Although I love their depth in starters, people like Beachy, KK, Minor, & Medlen still have a lot of questions. For Instance, KK & Medlen were similar, but one the Braves scored for and the other they didn’t.

      • Jeff 4 years ago

        Medlen the question is durability I think. Other then that I really like him, he’s my favorite pitcher (not the best, but I like him the best). Worst case he’ll be a valuable bullpen piece.

        Beachy I”m not particularly sold on, but I think he’ll be ok. Minor could be a left-handed guy of similar quality to JJ. Worst case they’re 4th starter material on the cheap.

        KK is done as a Brave. No idea why they hate him so much, but it’s obvious.

  7. Guest 4 years ago

    So Clayton Kershaw might by himself, bankrupt McCourt when he starts ARB?

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