While working on the DRaybay Season Guide(coming soon if you haven't heard), I almost missed another young pitcher signing an extension with comparable numbers to our own Matt Garza. Last Friday, the Pirates locked up Paul Maholm to a 3 year deal worth $14.5 million dollars. There is an option year that could push the deal to 4 years, $24.25 million. Even further, there is a performance incentive that would max out the deal at 4 years $25.55 million.
A few differences before we get to the similarities. One, Maholm is left handed and there is always a premium on left handed pitching. Two, Garza will be a super 2 arbitration player meaning his service time will be less than that of Maholm's at time of first arbitration eligibility. Maholm has 96 career starts and just over 600 career innings. If we pencil in Garza for another 30 starts and 185 innings, he'll go into arbitration with 84 starts and 502.2 innings, so that will skew the numbers slightly. Maholm was also 26 for most of his arb-eligible season while Garza will be 25.
Now to the similarities in numbers. If you look at Marcels projections he has Garza putting up very similar numbers to 2008 and that's with a near 20 point increase in BABIP. Marcels has Garza's ERA jumping from 3.70 to 3.94, but his FIP lowering from 4.14 to 4.10 because of a slight increase in K/9 and a slight decrease in HR/9. So let's assume that Garza's 2008 will be pretty close to his 2009. If that is the case then we have a bench mark for a deal. Look at the numbers for each pitcher in 2008
That is an amazing comparison. The biggest discrepancy is a 0.04 difference in K/BB ratio. Now we're assuming Garza is going to put up similar numbers in 2009 so he might have a better case to argue since this is Maholm's best season and Garza might have two of these seasons in his back pocket. Even if we go a little higher than Maholm's 4/$25.55 mill max contract or Ubaldo Jimenez's 6/$23.75 mil max, we have a pretty good idea of the framework for a Garza extension. Since the Dioner Navarro long-term negotiations have stalled, I think maybe the Matt Garza negotiations should start, and soon.