I'll take the bait on this contract debate. I'll bust a rhyme while I'm wasting time. I'll defend Pat Gillick ... um ... and make Doyle look ... idiotic?
But before I begin, I'm sounding the biter alert. Doyle's homoerotic KT post is totally a ripoff of my homoerotic Gillick-fluffing post from last year, right after he traded Thome. With Hawaiian Sophie fame, you kept my name in your blog posts.
So I can see that it is not working, and by "it," I mean my ploy to deflect attention away from the Adam Eaton signing -- I'm finally beginning to accept that it was an iffy move, though I would argue it for different reasons than just the salary -- and toward Vicente Padilla, whose contract is roughly equivalent to somebody paying a "retired" journalist lots of cheddar and a sweet-ass new car in order to, like, manage property or whatever.
I like the Maddux signing. Not sure it's as groundbreaking as you seem to believe, but it's pretty much unquestionably a good deal. I still maintain that if we look at the major recent pitching deals (the calculating guys notwithstanding, since we don't know anything about them [because they're mysterious by nature, those ones]), Eaton is far from the worst move.
Let's take a look at the ones we've already mentioned in terms of pros/cons:
1. Padilla -- Absolutely heinous. Almost $12 milly a year for 3 years for a guy nobody else really wanted who's three years removed from his two-year flirt with above-averageness. He's 29 in Nicaraguan years, which are sort of like dog years, only adjusted for machetes, kidnappings, and gasoline attacks. He's also an alcoholic. Speaking of dangerous Latin American countries, alcohol, machetes, kidnappings, and gasoline attacks, where's Ugueth Urbina these days? Oh, right, in a Venezuelan prison, waiting for a cellmate. Don't count out Padilla for that role; 36 milly buys a lot of Toña. But I don't think anybody's really debating the badness of this signing. The last contract he signed with the Phils was one year, $4.4 million. Apparently one decent year and a DUI earns you a pay raise of 200% (or would it be 300%? I don't know these things.)
At least the Rangers were desperate for starting pitching, which makes it slightly less bad. Slightly.
2. Wolf -- $8M for a starter who's averaged 90 innings pitched in the last three years, just came back from Tommy John surgery, and grossly underperformed the last time he was signed to a big contract. Best year was four years ago. Only reason it's not a very bad signing is because it's a one-year deal. But what if he has a good season? Are they going to pay him much more than that?
Actually, don't answer. The way this offseason is going, he might make $15M in 2008. Worth noting that the Phillies chose to sign Adam Eaton instead of paying Wolf. That either says something about the Phillies talent evaluation, or it says something about Wolf. We'll see.
3. Maddux -- $10M for a one-season rental of one of the greatest pitchers ever. He's on the downslope of his career, but he's a reliable starter who eats innings, doesn't walk many batters, and has lots of postseason experience. He also provides what amounts to a second pitching coach and will help a couple of good young pitchers develop. Hell, he may even help turn Jake Peavy into the kind of pitcher Doyle thinks he already is. Could put the Padres over the hump. Pretty good signing, all around -- by far the best of the bunch.
4. Eaton -- I initially thought this was a good move. I heard that the Phils signed Adam Eaton and thought, "Hey, didn't he used to be good for the Padres?" Then I took a cursory look at his career stats and realized that the answer was, "not really."
My beef isn't with the salary. Amazingly enough, $8M/year for a mediocre starter doesn't seem all that outrageous anymore. He's a mostly disappointing former high draft pick by the Phillies, is 29 years old, and has missed a lot of time to injuries and arm surgery. In other words, he's Randy Wolf, but right-handed. Which means Gillick & Co. essentially took a look at Wolf and Eaton and said they'd rather have Eaton for the same price. They know both of them pretty well -- both came up in the organization -- so I'm willing to believe that they know something I don't. Maybe it was just that Wolf's arm surgery was last year, while Eaton's was five years ago. I have no problem viewing the two as interchangeable (for now), which means that the Phils actually shaved some money off their payroll, since they paid Wolfy more than $9M per the last two years to start a grand total of 25 games.
Would I have rather gotten Maddux? Of course. I'd also just as easily take Wolf instead. But the sad reality of being the Philadelphia Phillies -- the losingest franchise in professional sports history, in a miserable city known for its hostile fans -- is that not everybody wants to play here. Supposedly the Wolf deal came down to him wanting to go to SoCal, where he's from. How much more do you think a 41-year-old Maddux would have wanted to go to Philadelphia instead of San Diego? Don't answer that -- it's rhetorical (seriously, how great was that rhetoric conference?). I'd also have preferred Lilly or Meche, except it sounds like they're looking for 4 years/$40M. If I had my pick, I'd have paid double for Jason Schmidt. But I don't think Philly has that kind of spending power until and unless Burrell's gone. We might have gotten an Ohka or a Weaver for a little cheaper, but then again, that would leave us with an Ohka or a Weaver.
So, all options considered, I don't think Eaton was that bad of a signing.
My primary issue is that fifth starter should have been about the fourth priority for this team. We have no middle relief to speak of, no starting catcher, a subpar outfield and (still) nobody to protect Howard in the lineup. Adam Eaton ain't helping any of that.
UPDATE: Apparently Schmidt just signed with the Dodgers, which means Brad Penny might be available for a bat. Hey Coletti -- I know just the guy: