When the Twins waited and waited this offseason to sign Carl Pavano I was all for it. I was not a fan of a three year commitment worth anywhere near the $30 million that was originally rumored. I think the Twins new darn well he wouldn’t pitch well enough to be worth $30 million and now I am starting to wonder if he is worth the two years and $16.5 million he ended up getting paid. Okay, well, his current contract is pretty standard for a veteran of his level, as guys like Brett Myers, Randy Wolf and Joel Pineiro all make roughly the same type of money this season as Pavano does. So he is probably making the industry standard, but I am starting to wonder if the Twins made a bad move giving him that money.
A team with a payroll stretched as thin as the Twins’ was this offseason can’t afford to make big salary mistakes and Pavano is starting to look like that. Kevin Slowey, who makes about a third of Pavano’s salary could easily be doing as well as Pavano if he were out there every fifth day. Shoot, Glen Perkins has been extremely good out of the ‘pen, perhaps he should have been given a chance to start? If the Twins had not decided to pay Pavano, perhaps they could have spent money a little better in the bullpen or the middle infield, two areas of severe need for the Twins so far. Maybe they could have made a mid-season push for Jose Reyes? Just a thought. Who knows, maybe they still will, haha.
I think the money would have been better spent on Jesse Crain than Carl Pavano. Crain has been pretty good so far for the White Sox and with the state of the 2011 Minnesota Twins’ bullpen, he would be the best arm out there, or darn close to it. Crain will earn $4 million dollars this season, half of Pavano’s take. It is hard to compare the salary of a reliever to a starter because they aren’t the same position really, but with what we have seen so far it would have made more sense to keep Crain. I know, it is easy to say that now because back in January Pavano was coming off of a great 2010 season and no one(except maybe me haha) was expecting anything from Scott Baker. So re-signing Pavano made a lot of sense and at the time I was all for it. I never expected him to pitch to the 3.75 ERA he had in 2010, but I definitely didn’t expect to see him sitting around 6 at this point in the season. I would be beyond excited if he could come back to his career ERA of 4.38. And I have to think he will smooth things out soon. But at the same time he has been pretty bad in the past, shoot, his ERA was above five when the Twins traded for him in 2009. And I know ERA doesn’t tell the entire story, but he has given up 50 hits in just 42 innings this season and the league is hitting .294 off him, compared to the .266 from last season.
There was a lot of talk about keeping Pavano around because he was a solid veteran, but I really hate hearing the argument that the Twins needed a veteran arm. Every one of the pitchers on this staff is a veteran at this point, so that argument just doesn’t stick with me. At the time, maybe it made sense for the Twins to pay Pavano and keep him around. But hindsight being what it is, it sure would look better having Jesse Crain than Carl Pavano. I truly hope Pavano turns it around and becomes a solid investment for the Twins because this organization has an extremely small margin for error when it comes to finances.