When the Minnesota Twins signed starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey last off-season to a one-year four million dollar deal, it was a “win-win” situation for all parties involved. The Twins were in need of a starting pitcher who could fill in to the middle of their rotation and not break the bank. Pelfrey, on the other hand, was coming off Tommy John surgery and needed a chance to prove that he could still pitch in the majors. The match seemed perfect and so far this year, Pelfrey has been worth the investment.
If you look at Pelfrey’s statistics, they do not overwhelm you; but if you consider all of the factors that Pelfrey has been dealing with—coming back from injury, playing on one of the worst teams in baseball with little run support and adjusting to a much more difficult league—his statistics don’t seem that bad, certainly not for four million dollars. On the year, Pelfrey is 5-11 with a 4.97 ERA over 26 starts with a 1.500 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9 and a 1.83 SO/BB ratio. During his career with the New York Mets, Pelfrey averaged a 4.36 ERA and a 1.458 WHIP over seven seasons so 2013 isn’t far from Pelfrey’s career averages.
The issue the Twins are facing is whether or not to sign Pelfrey to an extension this off-season or move on to find another journeyman starter to fill out the rotation until some of the younger starters are ready to come up to the majors and contribute. Pitchers like Alex Meyer, Trevor May, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley will be competing for rotation spots next season and each of them will come at a much cheaper rate then Pelfrey will; but would Pelfrey be more productive than the majority of those pictures next season? That is the question that the Twins must ask themselves.
According to ESPN 1500 Darren Wolfson, Pelfrey hopes to stay in Minnesota, but his agent Scott Boras will ask for more than 4.5 million dollars per year to make that a reality. Wolfson also states in another tweet that some club will give the 29-year-old that kind of money, though he believes the Twins would be best to cut ties with Pelfrey instead of bringing him back for another year. I tend to agree with Wolfson as I believe the Twins can find someone out on the market for a much cheaper value and can still get the same type of production. I’d still be willing to give Pelfrey three or four million to pitch another year with the team, but I wouldn’t spend a penny over that amount. With numerous youngsters needing a chance at the majors and the team in no position to compete at this time, signing Pelfrey to eat up innings isn’t something the Twins should spend money on. If Pelfrey was a candidate to be traded sometime next year for some value, I’d say resign him; but as this year showed, Pelfrey’s value isn’t appealing to any teams.
Who knows, maybe the money the Twins save by not resigning Pelfrey could go towards the “bring back Justin Morneau to Minnesota” fund? That’s certainly a long-shot, but a columnist can dream right?