Contemplating Jorge de la Rosa

Rob Biertempfel reported Tuesday that the Pirates are targeting free agent pitcher Jorge de la Rosa this offseason.

I’ve heard from a couple sources, inside and outside of the team, that left-hander Jorge de la Rosa is atop the Pirates’ free-agent shopping list this winter.

I shared my thoughts on this via Twitter.

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/MBandi/status/4586963554275328"]


I also discussed this in an article on November 2.

De La Rosa will be one of the most sought after free agent pitchers, behind [Cliff] Lee. The Rockies seem intent on bringing him back to Colorado. I would rather stay out of a bidding war for a guy who walks more than four hitters per nine innings. He is also a Type A free agent, meaning the Pirates would lose their second round draft pick if they somehow signed him. I would pass on De La Rosa.

I didn’t mention the fact that de la Rosa has also struggled to stay healthy. My main issue with a potential deal is that it will take at least three years (possibly more) of an eight-figure annual salary to become a serious option for de la Rosa. That is a large commitment to someone who is not a top of the rotation starter, particularly for a low-revenue team that is still a few years from competing. If de la Rosa turns out to be a flop, the Pirates are going to be in trouble.

I tend to shy away from long-term commitments to pitchers, because their performance can be very hard to predict. So I decided to look at some of the pitchers who signed similar deals to the one we should expect for de la Rosa. Here is what I found.

* option year

Dan Haren
Signed 8/5/2008
4 years, $44.75 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $7.5 229.1 3.23 6.1
2010 $8.25 235.0 3.71 4.5
2011 $12.75 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $12.75 ——- ——- ——-
2013 $15.5 * ——- ——- ——-
Scott Kazmir
Signed 5/14/2008
3 years, $28.5 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $6.0 147.1 4.26 2.3
2010 $8.0 150.0 5.83 -0.8
2011 $12.0 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $13.5 * ——- ——- ——-
Ervin Santana
Signed 2/14/2009
4 years, $30 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $3.8 139.2 5.02 1.1
2010 $6.0 222.2 4.28 2.5
2011 $8.0 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $11.2 ——- ——- ——-
2013 $13.0 * ——- ——- ——-
Derek Lowe
Signed 1/15/2009
4 years, $60 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $15.0 194.2 4.06 2.6
2010 $15.0 193.2 3.89 2.7
2011 $15.0 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $15.0 ——- ——- ——-
Chris Carpenter
Signed 12/2006
5 years, $63.5 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2007 $8.5 6.0 3.24 0.2
2008 $10.5 15.1 3.00 0.4
2009 $14.0 192.2 2.78 5.6
2010 $14.5 235.0 3.69 3.7
2011 $15.0 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $15.0 * ——- ——- ——-
Kyle Lohse
Signed 9/28/2008
4 years, $41 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $7.125 117.2 4.55 0.8
2010 $8.875 92.0 4.42 0.7
2011 $11.875 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $11.875 ——- ——- ——-
Ryan Dempster
Signed 11/18/2008
4 years, $52 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $8.0 200.0 3.87 3.8
2010 $12.5 215.1 3.99 3.5
2011 $13.5 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $14.0 ——- ——- ——-
Carlos Silva
Signed 12/20/2007
4 years, $48 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2008 $7.0 153.1 4.63 1.4
2009 $11.0 30.1 5.97 -0.1
2010 $11.5 113.0 3.75 2.1
2011 $11.5 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $12.0 * ——- ——- ——-
Oliver Perez
Signed 2/2/2009
3 years, $36 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $12.0 66.0 6.40 -0.8
2010 $12.0 46.1 6.99 -1.1
2011 $12.0 ——- ——- ——-
Roy Oswalt
Signed 8/2006
5 years, $73 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2007 $13.0 212.0 3.59 4.6
2008 $13.0 208.2 3.80 3.5
2009 $14.0 181.1 3.76 3.0
2010 $15.0 211.2 3.27 4.7
2011 $16.0 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $16.0 * ——- ——- ——-
Josh Beckett
Signed 7/2006
3 years, $30 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2007 $6.0 200.2 3.08 6.5
2008 $9.5 174.1 3.24 5.1
2009 $10.5 212.1 3.63 5.4
2010 $12.0 * 127.2 4.54 1.4
Aaron Cook
Signed 12/11/2007
3 years, $30 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2009 $8.75 158.0 4.60 2.0
2010 $9.0 127.2 4.54 1.5
2011 $9.25 ——- ——- ——-
2012 $11.0 * ——- ——- ——-
Gil Meche
Signed 12/2006
5 years, $55 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2007 $7.0 216.0 4.02 4.4
2008 $11.0 210.1 3.61 5.0
2009 $11.0 129.0 4.76 1.6
2010 $12.0 61.2 5.59 -0.2
2011 $12.0 ——- ——- ——-
Mark Buehrle
Signed 7/8/2007
4 years, $56 million
Year Salary (M) IP FIP WAR
2008 14.0 218.2 3.94 4.6
2009 14.0 213.1 4.46 3.4
2010 14.0 210.1 3.90 ——-
2011 14.0 ——- ——- ——-

Obviously, some of these deals worked out well. But a significant number of them ended up being the type of major mistake that could ruin a team like the Pirates.

De la Rosa is a major risk. He misses bats, but he has always posted below average walk rates. He will turn 30 in April. He has only thrown more than 130 innings once in his career. He will probably be overpaid this offseason, because there is little pitching available in the free agent market.

Put it this way. De la Rosa, at best, has been about as productive as Paul Maholm over the past three or four years. He is a year older than Maholm. Would you commit three-plus years of eight-figure salary to Maholm right now, while forfeiting a second round draft pick? I wouldn’t.

Author: Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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  • http://centralvolkswagen.com Josh Rosenberg

    Matt it won’t happen, they would be better served by going after Brandon Webb or Jeff Francis before this guy. both may come a little cheaper and both have had past better sucess than Jorge has.