Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lilly's in for $40 million

When the Texas Rangers resigned Vicente Padilla for a hefty sum of $34 million/3 years it was a direct response to the contract the Phillies offered frequent DLer Adam Eaton ($24.5 million/3 ars). These transactions sent the price for adequate arms higher than Snoop Dogg's tour bus. What transpired next was the unreasonable domino effect in which clubs with a ton of cash - desperate for pitching - buy anything that sounds legit. This is what explains the Lilly signing. When the Chicago Cubs purchasing lefty Ted Lilly for $40 million/4 years, Chicago was a team in dire need to reduce the number of runs allowed. Nobody has informed Chicago that Lilly has the unlikely probability of reducing the number of runs Chicago gives up then Bono has for eradicating hunger in Africa. The Lilly contract isn't as unreasonable as some of the other budget-busting acquisitions that Tribune Company has been involved in this off-season (see: Soriano, Alfonso) but this one proves that no one is taking any careful consideration either. The problem is, the same money could have been used to buy an equivalent starting pitcher or pitchers for same amount; minus the name recognition. At the turn of the last century, the Cubs had the best starting trio in Zombrano, Wood and Prior since Hudson, Mulder and Zito of the Oakland A's. Wrigley is built for power pitchers. Lilly is not a power pitcher. The overpaying for a 30 year old starting pitcher who spent his career with an ERA (4.60) higher than the combined league average from 1999-2006 (4.56) for $1o million a season is unjustifiable. Of course, any stathead knows that judging a pitcher by his ERA is like judging a Beauty Pageant by the talent portion. Unfortunately for Lilly, his talent isn't necessarily pitching. For the past three seasons with a higher walks per 9 innings than the league average in addition to offering the third highest walks total in the AL last season. Base runners at a place hitters' park like Wrigley isn't really the right direction to go for a pitcher trying to bring his career ERA below the league average. The past six season Lilly dished out more than the league's average of Home Runs per 9 innings. Last season he average 1.4 home runs a game while the Cubs averaged 1.3 staff-wide in the homer friendly confines of Wrigley. A higher walks and home run frequency added to the rotation? How is that suppose to improve your pitching staff?