The guys over at Cardinals GM asked whether the Cards should look into resigning Joel Piniero. After some initial research into the topic I think I’ve come up with some parameters for what would make a profitable deal for the Cardinals. This quick look analysis will be fairly simplified to only include the next year and not years 2 and 3 of a potential deal (in other words not exactly looking at reality). First some projections for two of the key players in the discussion, Joel and John Smoltz. For these “projections I just used a 5/4/3 weighted average of the last 3 years of xFIP.
While these projections are not as robust as those that will come out in the near future from various sites, they are a place to start the conversation. We could easily take Piniero’s projection and conclude that he’d be worth ~11M next year on the open market; however, why should we pay market value when we have other needs to address (i.e. left field). With that in mind let’s look at two scenarios that could play out. Option 1 would be to sign Smoltz to be the 4th starter and spend the rest on LF. Option 2 would be to sign Piniero and spend the rest on LF. For the sake of this analysis we’ll assume Smoltz will sign for the same 5.5M he did last year. We’ll also assume the Cards haev 25M to spend between these two positions (any number would suffice here, 25 seemed nice and round). Under those working assumptions, and tinkering a little with the IP on the projections I can generate the following WAR chart
The 200 Projected Piniero line takes the Piniero projection and pushes it to 200 innings. The 3.5 WAR line assumes less regression for Piniero, and performance that is a little closer to this years, only still nowhere as good as this years. The numbers in front of Smoltz are the numbers of innings assumed for Smoltz. Clearly the higher the line the more WAR that combination produces (it assumes paying market value for a LFer with the remaining dollars). So if you take a leap of faith that Smoltz can pitch 130 innings then projected Piniero is only a better value at 6.5M. If we assume less of a regression of Piniero than he is the better value up until ~11M. Anyway, just a little more info for the conversation. I’ll save the charts and maybe update them with ZIPs and CHONE at a later date.