Jake Westbrook signed a 3 year contract extension worth 33 million. 11 million dollars a year for the most consistent Indians pitcher over the past few seasons. Money well spent. Actually, it's not really 11 million dollars a year. Cleveland has front-loaded the deal so that he'll receive some of that money this season. There are certainly benefits to that down the road.
When you compare Westbrook's 11 million a year average to this year's free agent crop of pitchers, and you can't help but think that Cleveland got off with a bargain. Miguel Batista signed a 3 year, 25 million dollar deal with Arizona. Adam Eaton signed a 3 year, 24.5 million dollar deal with Philadelphia. Tom Glavine signed a 1 year, 10.5 million dollar deal. Ted Lilly signed a 4 year, 40 million dollar deal with the Cubs. Greg Maddux signed a 1 year deal for 10 million with San Diego. Jason Marquis signed a 3 year deal with Chicago for 21 million. Gil Meche signed a 5 year, 55 million dollar deal with Kansas City. Mike Mussina signed a 2 year deal with the Yankees for 23 million. Andy Pettitte signed a 1 year deal with the Yankees for 16 million. Jason Schmidt signed a 3 year, 47 million dollar deal with the Dodgers. Jeff Suppan signed a 4 year deal worth 42 million dollars with Milwaukee. And finally, Barry Zito and his 7 year, 128 million dollar deal.
Here's a look at their stats over the past three years:
You can see he stacks up very well with the folks making a ton more. In most cases, he's better. His ERA is fourth on that list, behind Schmidt, Pettitte and Glavine, who all have less innings pitched, and were all pitching in the NL, a much easier league for a pitcher. He's tied with Maddux for the lead in wins, with 44. He is first in Complete Games of the group listed, with 10. The closest to him is Schmidt, with 7. Everyone else had 5 or less. Westbrook is second on the list in innings, with 625, behind the workhorse Greg Maddux. Only one person on the list has less home runs given up, and that's Batista, who also happens to have nearly half the innings pitched.
You look over those stats, and you literally do a double take. Westbrook would have made a lot more than 11 million a year next season. As a matter of fact, Jake Westbrook would have made THE #1 free agent pitcher next off-season, assuming the Cubs aren't stupid with Carlos Zambrano. I really don't think that it's to far off to think that he COULD have commanded a 4 or 5 year deal, in the neighborhood of 15 million a year.
Cleveland dodged a bullet, and for the first time, we may have a sign that people may stick around for a bit, here in Cleveland.
So the question remains...does this signing mean that CC Sabathia and Pronk are GOING to sign? Or does it mean that one of the two are gonzo.
Those questions are for later...because...
Pronk won't talk contract until the off-season. I totally get his decision. The only reason why Westbrook continued was because it looked good. I think you'll see Cleveland sign Pronk to a big time deal. He will be first on the agenda when the year is over, along with, I'm guessing, a closer. But that's for a later discussion.
Cleveland remains in first place in the AL Central, and has the best record in the American League. Of course, they are 3ish games behind in games played to everyone else, because of their lost series. There has been little time for consistency, and it's early yet, but I like the way their starters look. Sabathia has looked flat out electric. Westbrook has been off, but you wonder if the contract talks have anything to do with it. Sowers has been Sowers. Nothing special, but good enough to win. The surprise here, has been Paul Byrd. He had that no-hitter washed away, and looked good over the weekend. If their starters continue to do well, and the hitting continues to improve...this could be a special year.
6-3 isn't spectacular, but compared to other April's, it's downright exciting.
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