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Contract Comparisons: Matt Garza & Ubaldo Jimenez

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Yesterday we learned that Ubaldo Jimenez signed a 4 year, $10 million dollar extension with the Rockies. There are two additional option years that could push the deal to 6 years, $22.75 million. Anyway you look at it, it's an absolute steal for the Rockies. Even with the deflated free agent market, a young starter who has plus stuff is going to command a lot more than an average of $3.8 million a year.

Jimenez is a 25 year old hard throwing right handed pitcher who has tremendous upside and is just scratching the surface as a pitcher. Does that sound familiar?  The Rays have their own 25 year old right hander with a blazing fastball, trememdous potential and is staring at arbitration after the 2009 season. Like I wrote last week about B.J. Upton and Nick Markakis, could the Jimenez deal be an benchmark for Matt Garza?

Let's look at the facts. Both pitchers are 25 years old(Garza will be 26 in November). Both work with similar stuff, leading with a plus fastball in the mid 90s. They both feature a slider as their secondary pitch and a change up and curveball to round out their repertoire.  The similarities don't end with their stuff. Here is a look at career numbers for both

Career

GS

IP

W-L

ERA

FIP

K/BB

HR/9

Garza

54

317.2

19-22

4.02

4.22

2.04

0.93

Jimenez

50

288.1

16-16

4.06

4.12

1.7

0.69

*Service Time per Cot's: Garza 1.149, Jimenez 1.087

Garza has a very slight edge in ERA, but Jimenez has the better FIP. Garza has the better K/BB rate, but even pitching in Coors Field, Jimenez has the lower HR/9. This is because Jimenez is a ground ball pitcher and Garza is pretty neutral.

Let's narrow down the comparison to 2008 for "what have you done for me lately" negotiation purposes.

2008

GS

IP

W-L

ERA

FIP

K/BB

HR/9

Garza

30

184.2

11-9

3.7

4.14

2.17

0.93

Jimenez

34

198.2

12-12

3.99

3.83

1.67

0.5

Pretty much the same story; Garza has the better ERA and K/BB while Jimenez beats him in FIP and HR/9.

It seems that Friedman and Co. would have good frame work for a deal here. As a matter of fact, Friedman could argue that over their careers Jimenez has been worth more. In terms of value, Garza has been worth 5 wins or $21.2 million dollars since 2006 while Jimenez  is at 5.6 wins or $24.6 million. If the Rays could sign Garza to the same deal, less or even slighly more, I think we all would first jump for joy and second agree it would be a great deal.