Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Carl Pavano Problem

Recent reports indicate that the Mets are interested in signing Carl Pavano and that shockingly Pavano is in talks with five other teams. Seriously? C'mon. At this point the only explanation is that I have somehow traveled to the bizzaro world in which being bad at pitching is a coveted trait.

Pavano is so old he pitched for the Expos. He has a career hr/9 of over 1.00 and has posted an ERA over 5.00 six times in his fourteen season career. That is just awful. You may remember last year we examined The Joe Blanton Paradox that explored why Joe Blanton, a sub par pitcher, remained a valued commodity. Pavano shares some of the same traits Blanton does:

1) He won a World Series: Any pitcher that is a part of a World Series winning team, especially if they have a good start in said World Series get an exemption from being valued properly. It's kind of like how winning a Major gives you a guaranteed ten years on the PGA tour.
2) He had some good years: In Pavano's case he had three years spread over his 14 in which he posted sub 4.00 ERA's and lots of innings pitched.
3) Subject of Media Speculation: For the second year running Pavano remains one of the last available "name" starters and therefore gets an inordinate amount of time devoted by the 24 hour baseball press to covering where he might go. This lead to an inflated idea of Pavano's actual worth.
4) He accrues Wins: Pavano has over 100 career wins including 18 and 17 win seasons. People love pitcher Wins despite the logical case against them, kind of like how people enjoy CBS sitcoms.

Blanton's other point was that he was an A which Pavano does not have going for him. I have identified two other aspects that lead to Pavano's over hype.

5) He was an All Star: Pavano made one All Star team in 2004. At best this indicates his skill in the 2003-2004 season which was, ya know, 8 years ago. Mostly this just allows announcers to say "here comes former all star Carl Pavano" whenever he comes in further making us believe the myth of the good Carl.
6) He has a clear identifiable skill: Pavano does not walk many people. It is a perfect skill for sports talk shows because someone can throw this out there in a quick conversation and it makes him sound great. The problem is Pavano also does not strike anyone out (career k/9 of 5.49) having once pitched a whole season with a k/9 of 3.18. Also he doesn't walk a lot of batters because he gives up a lot of hits.

Wouldn't it just be the height of absurdity if we sent away our brilliant 37 year old pitcher with several years ahead of him and replaced with a broken down 37 year old pitcher who has almost never been good. It would be the Metsian thing to do in this situation.

1 comment:

  1. Also Pavono has name recognition. When he was with the Yankees, the press would not stop talking about him (for the wrong reasons, but still).