Starting pitcher extensions?
OK, so Howard Kendrick has already agreed to terms on a four-year extension (physical pending), and general manager Jerry Dipoto previously indicated that he’d also like to lock up Kendrick’s middle-infield partner, Erick Aybar.
But what about the starting pitchers? More specifically, what about Dan Haren and Ervin Santana?
The Angels have some leeway with both because they hold 2013 club options in each case. But as you all know, teams love locking up quality starting pitchers long term (though the Angels may not be able to fit that into their agenda this offseason). So let’s take a closer look at each of their cases …
Basics: He won’t be 32 until Sept. 17 and is heading into the final guaranteed season of a four-year, $44.75 million contract. For next year, the Angels hold a $15.5 million option — nearly $3 million more than what he’ll make in 2012 — with a $3.5 million buyout.
Numbers: Haren has been remarkably consistent and durable in his first seven full seasons, averaging 226 innings, 34 starts, 14 wins and a 3.49 ERA while making three All-Star teams and finishing Top 5 in Cy Young voting once (in 2009). In that 2005-11 span, the Monterey Park, Calif., native ranks sixth among qualifiers in WHIP (1.15, just ahead of Jered Weaver‘s 1.16 mark) and second in strikeouts (1,368, trailing only CC Sabathia‘s 1,417). He does allow a lot of fly balls — his groundball-to-flyball rate was tied for 57th in that same span — but Haren has never been on the disabled list. Not once!
Comparables: We’re probably looking at a five-year deal here — the same thing Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, John Lackey and C.J. Wilson got at around the same age. Wilson got $77.5 million last month and had only been a starter for two years. Burnett and Lackey each signed for $82.5 million (Burnett heading into ’09, Lackey heading into ’10), but Haren’s numbers and durability have topped both. Then there’s Lee, who got a $120 million contract to return to the Phillies last offseason. Lee already had a Cy Young Award in his back pocket by that point, but his cumulative numbers paled in comparison to Haren’s — 99-57, 3.88 ERA, 1,346 1/3 innings, 1.258 WHIP and 1,035 strikeouts over the previous seven-year span.
Basics: He turned 29 on Dec. 12 and is heading into the final guaranteed season of a four-year, $30 million contract (signed just before his fifth season). The Angels hold a club option for 2013 at $13 million — nearly $2 million more than he’ll make in 2012 — with a $1 million buyout. They have not yet begun extension talks with Santana, a source said.
Numbers: Santana has been rather inconsistent through his first seven seasons, which has seen him combine for an 87-67 record, a 4.22 ERA, a 1.305 WHIP and an average of 185 innings and 148 strikeouts per season. In that span, he ranks 38th among qualifiers in strikeout-to-walk ratio and 85th in groundball-to-flyball rate. His walk total has been up the last two years, but Santana is coming off one of his best season in 2011, when he threw a no-hitter, posted a career-low 3.38 ERA, his second-lowest WHIP (1.220), his second-highest strikeout total (178) and his most ever innings (228 2/3).
Comparables: The four-year, $56 million contract Mark Buehrle signed with the White Sox in July 2007 (which paid him $14 million every year from 2008-11) may be a good gauge here. Buehrle had a bit better numbers through his first seven full seasons — 103 wins and a 3.79 ERA while averaging 225 innings and 129 strikeouts — but the rise in starting-pitcher contracts since that time may put Santana’s on par, or perhaps even slightly higher.