Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tom Not-So-Terrific

So, Tom Glavine bombed again Wednesday, to the surprise of no one, and he hasn’t been good all season. His two good performances were against the Anemic Astros and the Free Singing Nationals both at Shea. He’s no longer a viable number 2, and I don’t think he’s a viable anything but number 5. The problem is that he’s being paid approximately $9.63 million dollars this year with a triggering option for the same amount for next year.

The Mets no longer need him and don’t want him, but almost no team would be willing to take him with that option. He needs 140 innings more this season to trigger it. Unless he’s a fifth starter, it’s likely that Glavine will get 29 or 30 more starts this year, which would mean he would need to average only 4 2/3 innings per start. If he goes on the DL and misses three starts, he would need about 5 1/3 innings per start. That also seems unlikely. Over the past year and a month, Glavine has averaged 6 1/3 innings per start. To fail to meet the goal of his contract he would have to make 22 or fewer more starts this season. That’s possible, but would require about 40 days of DL time or a reduced role in an expanded rotation later in the season.

If we assume Glavine is signed for two years and 18.5 million, he is almost untradeable. The Yankees might be willing to take him on if Brown implodes, which looks like a real possibility, but other than that, the Mets would have to probably pay over 10 million. Then there’s the problem that not many teams would have interest in Glavine at all. He’s an aging, former star, who lost it when umpires were instructed to keep a tighter strike zone. Even if someone would take him, the Mets wouldn’t get a prospect in return. Maybe they’d get someone for their bullpen, but no one better than the in house options. Still, getting out from under any amount of the contract should be the goal. The Mets don’t need him at all.

Expecting Pedro to be healthy and good, or else thinking about this year is ridiculous, here’s how the other Mets rotation candidates stack up.

PECOTA eqERA

Kris Benson

4.86

Tom Glavine

4.99

Jae Seo

5.22

Aaron Heilman

5.06

Kaz Ishii

5.56

Steve Trachsel

5.12

Yusmeiro Petit

3.72

Bob Keppel

5.21

The difference between Ishii and Glavine is ten runs over 150 innings, between anyone else and Glavine less than five runs. Also, both Seo and Heilman have a chance to better that mark, while no one would be surprised to see Glavine miss his. As soon as Ishii comes back there’s no reason to hold on to Glavine anymore.

Part II: Hall Of Fame

Everyone, especially the Braves announcers, loves Tom Glavine’s HOF chances. I think he’ll get in, but I also think he’s a borderline candidate at best. He’s always had poor K/9 and K/BB rates and that’s with a lot of gift strikeouts from the umpires.

His ERA+ is 121, good, but lower than Smoltz, Mussina, Saberhagen, and far below the four sure fire Hall of Famers who are his contemporaries. David Cone and Kevin Appier are the players with the closest ERA+ to Glavine, recently and no one wants them in the Hall.

His top ten similar pitchers include three easy Hall choices (Feller, Gibson and Palmer), Burleigh Grimes who’s in, but doesn’t look like he should be, and six guys who aren’t good enough. (Vida Blue, Jerry Koosman, Dennis Martinez, Jack Morris, Jerry Reuss and Luis Tiant)

His HOF standards score is 45.0, which is below the 50 that’s supposed to be the average.

He also doesn’t have the high peak to compensate for his lack of career stats. His best two seasons were 7 years apart in 1991 and 1998. Although, he was a solid contributor for over ten years, that shouldn’t be enough.

It’s hard to gauge how many pitchers with 1980s debuts will get into the hall. There’s only one with a 70s debut, 11 who debut in the 60s and 7 who debut in the 50s. I would put Glavine behind definitely behind Johnson, Maddux, Clemens, Schilling, Smoltz, and Mussina and in a class with Saberhagen, Appier, Cone, Jimmy Key and David Wells.

EqERA comes from Baseball Prospectus

HOF Monitor and Similarity Scores are from Baseball-Reference.Com

Baseball Musings’ Day to Day Database was used to find the average innings per start for Glavine

Dugout Dollars was used for contract information

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