Tuesday, January 6

What the heck do I know? Tribe sign Pavano.

Let's examine something I wrote on this blog a few days ago.

The one spot left untouched is starting pitching. Shapiro has a tendency to not want to rely on unknown or untested rookies. He likes having them as an insurance policy, but scrap heap players have always been his bread and butter. However, the numbers show that the Tribe doesn't have more than $8M to deal with and that's before Shoppach gets his well-deserved raise. I'm not panicking without a starter being added and suspect something will be done, but it could take a while for some guys to get a little desperate closer to spring training to take the Indians' one-year offer.

Obviously by "closer to spring training" I didn't mean two days. But I was correct about something getting done and that pitcher being a total reclamation project. With that, ladies and gentlemen, I give you a part of the Cleveland Indians starting rotation, if he remains healthy: Carl Pavano. Yes, he of the 17 games in 2005, 0 in 2006, 2 in 2007, and 7 in 2008. You could argue that maybe the Yankees didn't get their money's worth for the 4-year, $40 million contract Carl signed with them, but hey maybe they deserved it. Word on the street has Carl's deal this time as guaranteed $1.5 million for 2009 and the chance to add another $5.3 million in performance-based incentives. Lucky for us, those incentives supposedly don't kick in until start number 18. So he will have to start more games in 2009 than he has in four years to sniff anything above a mil and a half. For those of you who can't get enough of this contract talk Castovince has this for you:

If you're incredibly curious about this contract, it breaks down as follows, according to a Major League source. Pavano gets $100,000 each for reaching 18, 20 and 22 starts, $200,000 each for reaching 24, 26 and 28 starts, $250,000 for 30 starts, $300,000 for 32 starts, $350,000 each for 33 and 34 starts and $400,000 for 35 starts.

He gets $100,000 each for reaching 130, 140 and 150 innings pitched, $150,000 each for 160 and 170 innings, $200,000 for 180, $250,000 for 190, $250,000 for 200, $300,000 for 215, $400,000 for 225 and $500,000 for 235.

All and all a very reasonable contract for a guy who in 2004 went 18-8 and had an ERA+ of 137. Shapiro says the righthander is guaranteed a spot in the rotation if he's healthy. I'm always tempted by the promise of younger pitchers, but seeing Laffey flounder after a terrific start was hard to take. Is Carl Pavano head and shoulders better than any of the other pitchers the Tribe might trot out to the mound in April? No, but he has experience and if he's ever to regain any part of his previous form this is the year to do it. Don't be confused - this isn't Kevin Millwood 2.0, and it's probably not as bad as Juan Gonzalez (that second time) either, but Pavano brings something to this team our AAAA arms couldn't, the experience of knowing what it is like to pitch like a winner for an entire season.

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