Free agent classification: Type A
2010 basic stats: 17-11, 3.75 ERA (full stats here)
2010 salary: $7 million
The Outsider's verdict: Yes
The free agent field for starting pitchers this offseason can be divided into two parts. There's Cliff Lee, and then there's everybody else.
doesn't display the
moustache that made
him a folk hero in 2010.
The ideal outcome here for the Twins would be for somebody else to step up with the multi-year deal Pavano sought last winter and concluded wasn't forthcoming.
In 2009, Pavano struck out 6.6 men per nine innings. In 2010, his K-rate fell to 4.8. That's a red flag. It tells us his arrow is pointing down.
A three-year deal at $10 million at year -- and that's the kind of figure that's been tossed about -- with a 35-year-old with his injury history and a declining K-rate is bad thinking.
The risk of offering arbitration here, especially considering that most teams that would consider signing such a veteran would have to surrender their first-round draft pick, is that Pavano could reach the same conclusion he reached last winter and accept it. I suspect that somebody is going to take the 17 wins and 3.75 ERA more seriously than the strikeout rate and outbid the Twins for him.
Which would be fine with me. I'd rather see the Twins with an extra draft pick next June than Pavano in the rotation.