Jarrod Parker Rumors
The Oakland Athletics have made a habit of extending pre-arbitration eligible starting pitching in the last decade or so. General manager Billy Beane has negotiated multiyear deals with many players, from Tim Hudson and Barry Zito ten-plus years ago, to Rich Harden and Dan Haren midway through the last decade, to current A's starter Brett Anderson.
Here’s the template Beane has used most often: offer a promising, young starter a four-year contract covering his remaining pre-arbitration years and some arbitration years. The deals, typically valued in the $9-13MM range, tend to include club options for future arbitration and/or free agent seasons. The A’s take on the risk that the starters won’t be able to replicate their early-career successes in exchange for potentially discounted arbitration seasons and extended control of the players. Meanwhile, the players get substantial security in exchange for capping their earning potential for a period of four-plus seasons.
Should the A’s look to replicate past deals again this winter, the agents for Tommy Milone (pictured) and Jarrod Parker could soon be getting calls from Beane. Both starters were acquired in trades last offseason and both spent a full season at the MLB level for the first time in 2012, succeeding in prominent roles for the eventual AL West winners.
Milone, a Praver/Shapiro client, pitched to a 3.74 ERA in 190 innings with Oakland in 2012. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out 6.5 batters per nine innings while walking 1.7 per nine and posting a 38.1% ground ball rate.
Parker, a 24-year-old Reynolds Sports Management client, posted a 3.47 ERA in 181 1/3 innings. A much harder thrower than Milone, Parker generated a few more strikeouts (6.9 K/9) and many more ground balls (44.3% ground ball rate) while allowing more walks (3.1 BB/9).
Opposing hitters would tell you that the right-handed Parker is a different type of pitcher than Milone, and the two took markedly different paths on their way to the Oakland’s rotation. Still, they’re on track to be comparables in arbitration given their service time and basic statistics. In the context of extension talks that matters a great deal. Both pitchers are on track for arbitration eligibility after the 2014 season and free agency after the 2017 season.
As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, there's considerable precedent for contract extensions of four years or more for starting pitchers with between one and two years of MLB service. Anderson, Cory Luebke and Wade Davis all obtained $12-12.6MM for four-year deals that included multiple club options. Both A’s starters have more innings pitched than Luebke did at the time of his deal and better ERAs than Davis did at the time of his deal. Furthermore, both Milone and Parker have more innings and a better ERA than Anderson did at the time of his deal. It appears that Milone and Parker could obtain four-year deals worth more than $12.6MM, especially when taking inflation into account. In my view $14MM would be a more reasonable target for four guaranteed years.
To this point in the offseason, there haven’t been any rumors about the pair of A’s starters. But January, February and March tend to be active months for contract extensions, and Beane has shown repeated interest in extending successful young starters on multiyear deals. It won’t be surprising if the club discusses similar contracts with Milone and/or Parker in the coming months.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
SATURDAY: Slusser reports that the cash considerations going to the Diamondbacks will be "a couple of hundred thousand dollars."
FRIDAY: As was rumored earlier today, the Diamondbacks have acquired pitchers Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow from the Athletics for minor leaguers Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) and Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter). The Diamondbacks will also receive cash from Oakland, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
The centerpiece of the trade for Arizona is Cahill, a right-handed starter who has logged more than 175 innings in each of his three seasons as a Major Leaguer. The groundballer (53.3% career rate) is under team control at least through 2015 and perhaps through 2017, depending on two club options. He'll join Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the D'Backs' rotation, with Josh Collmenter and perhaps (or not) Joe Saunders at the back end.
On a conference call with reporters on Friday night, D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said the timing was right to make a move of this nature:
“A lot of it is just the depth that we have in the system. Certainly, Jarrod Parker was a tough piece to give up, but with Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Charles Brewer, we feel we’ve got depth in the starting rotation - also, Wade Miley. We see a window here, specifically in the NL West. We’re kind of in a go-for-it mode.”
Clearly, Cahill will be counted on as one of the mainstays of the D'Backs' rotation, but it wasn't long ago he seemed destined to remain in Oakland after inking a multiyear extension in April:
"I defintely thought I’d be with them a bit longer. But their history is, they usually keep guys when they don’t make too much, then trade them off for prospects. I thought I’d be there longer, but I'm glad to be part of a team that’s headed in the right direction."
Breslow, a lefty reliever, kicked around earlier in his career before latching on with the A's the past three seasons. He's posted a career 3.80 FIP, and with no significant lefty/righty splits, Towers said Breslow will likely be used as a swing lefty out of Kirk Gibson's bullpen in 2012. He is eligible for free agency after 2013.
In Parker, Cowgill and Cook, the A's get three prospects who all have far less than a full season of service time. Of them, Parker, a right-handed starter, is regarded by scouts as having the highest ceiling. Now 24, Parker pitched mostly in the minors in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He was ranked No. 19 in Keith Law's top 50 minor league prospects in July.
Cowgill is a 25-year-old outfielder who made his Major League debut in 2011 after posting a .383 career on-base percentage in parts of four minor league seasons. Cook was a starter in the minors before being converted to relief work in 2011. He has a "strong arm, chance for a good slider," tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix first tweeted the rumored trade, and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Piecoro, Slusser and Gilbert all filled in with details.