Continuing a series of diary postings/polls centering on specific players and if the good folks here at RR believe the Royals should stick with them or relieve them/us of their/our misery.
The players I will focus on are those which the Royals can retain, but who can demand more than minimum salary.
Previous Entries and the consensus opinion of the RR management:
Runelvys Hernandez - RR management says: "Cut him loose"
Emil Brown - RR management says: "Short term commitment" Offer arbitration
Jimmy Gobble - RR management says: "We like him but not yet fully sold." Arbitration only.
The biggest decision the Royals have to make in the near future is what to do about Mark Redman. Redman has reached his free agency eligibility which puts the pressure on the Royals. Before December 10th (I think) they have to decide if they are going to offer him a contract. If they do so the ball is in his court. Redman can accept or decline. If he accepts the two parties either negotiate a one year or long term contract, or take the numbers into the arbitration process. If either he or the Royals declines, than Redman becomes a free agent and can sign with whomever he pleases. If the Royals do not offer a contract he can sign with any team except the Royals. If the Royals do not offer Redman a contract by the deadline they will not be able to talk with him again until something like May 1st 2007. (Disclaimer, I think I have this all right, but maybe I don't understand it all as well as I think I do.)
Thus, if the Royals and Redman want to join forces again, at minimum the Royals will have to pay him one year at market rate, or negotiate a long term contract with him. I expect he will want the latter option.
It is very difficult to calculate what type of money Redman will demand as each year the Free Agency price tag of a player is not only determined by his actual performance but also by the glut or scarcity of other similar players also on the market. In general there are never enough starting pitchers to go around so I expect it will be a players market again this year.
These numbers can be categorized as very rough guesses, but I expect this is what Redman will cost.
1 year at $3.25M (He probably will not return to the Royals for this figure.)
2 years at $6M (He might resign with the Royals for this figure)
3 years at $9M (This should get the job done.)
Why will he cost so much? It's insane! But probably these numbers are about right
His numbers for the last three years.
Year, Team, Innings, ERA, (K/9, B/9, HR/9), WHIP, W-L
2004, Oak, 191.0, 4.71, (4.8, 3.2, 1.3), 1.50, 11-12
2005, Pit, 178.1, 4.90, (5.1, 2.8, 0.9), 1.37, 5-15
2006, KC, 167.0, 5.71, (4.1, 3.4, 1.0), 1.59, 11-10
Year, BA against, OBA, SLUG, OPS
2004 .292 / .351 / .481 / .832
2005 .278 / .328 / .431 / .759
2006 .307 / .372 / .472 / .844
What do these numbers tell us? Well, the bad, Redman is very hittable. The last two years in the AL batters have posted OPS' against him well above .800, and that is terrible. His numbers are not so high because of walk allowed (he actually does a decent job of not walking too many players), and not because he gives up too many homeruns (another aspect of his game which is pretty good,) his problem is that he gives up a ton of hits, hits to everyone who bothers to swing in anger. A huge number of balls are put in play against him. And finally, he has very little ability to strike out batters. Good MLB pitchers strike out about 15% of the batters they face. Anything below 12% is a problem. Last year Redman struck out 8.6%. Couple the lack of K's with the high rate of balls put in play and then mix in the Royals below average defense and the problem is obvious. Redman is a pitcher best suited to play for a team with a very solid defense and with a power throwing bullpen, i.e. a non-KC area team. Redman does not have the tools to overcome the weaknesses found in Kansas City and the Royals do not have the tools to overcome Redman's weak areas. It is a match made in hell. A match that might lead to something like an ERA of 5.71.
What else do his numbers tell us? That he is not getting better. The Redman we had last year is probably the best Redman we will see. His ERA might come down next year but most likely not due to skill or improved play on his part, just due to dumb luck or the death of Angel Berroa.
Speaking of dumb luck, why are we even considering paying this man so much to bring him back? Simple answer is that he won eleven games last year and was the All-Star representative. Redman had a much better year in 2005 with the Pirates in almost all categories but because luck didn't bounce his way he struggled to a 5-15 record instead of an 11-10 record. If Redman had won only five games this year and if he had not been offered that bizarre roster spot on the All-Star team he probably would be available for about $1.5M a year now instead of $3M. Luck.
Redman will be 33 next year. Traditionally players start to fall off pretty dramatically in their mid-30's. Power pitchers hold on longer for some reason, finesse pitchers go to an earlier grave. It looks to me like the grave is calling Redman in the near future.
OK, now the good. Redman is steady. He has pitched solid innings now for five consecutive years and there does not seem to be any arm problems to worry about. His numbers, when looked at in the whole, actually may make him look like a worse pitcher than he is. Redman does pitch pretty well about half the time, but when he is bad, he is a nightmare. Using ESPN's GameScore system, in which a score of 50 equals pretty good performance, Redman's starts break down like this:
Terrible (below 30) - 6
Poor (30-39) - 8
OK (40-49) - 4
Decent (50-59) - 4
Good (60-69) - 5
Great (70+) - 2
The guy is all over the place, clustering in the muck and filth part of the scale (14 starts), but just as likely to give the team a fair effort (11 starts). You just never know what you are going to get. Redman might win the Royals a few 3-1 decisions each year, but he will also deliver more than his share of 12-3 whippings. Grotesquely, I find this a positive quality given the state of the Royals pitching staff. If I think a pitcher has a 30% of being completely non-effective, but a 15% chance of showing up with special material, I'll take those odds if my team is in Kansas City.
Also on the good side, really by default here, is the fact that the Royals don't have any young arms pushing Redman for starting time. If he is gone, no one better is likely to replace him in 2007, or maybe even in 2008. That is a sad statement but I doubt anyone would dispute it. Keeping Redman doesn't seem like it is hurting the development of pitching in the Royals organization, and it might actually be benefiting it by allowing young arms to stay in the minors throughout their development rather than being tempted to rush them up to the pounding they will receive in the majors. In a grand sense, you could look at Redman as the guy we're paying to "taking one for the team," only not for the odd game that gets out of hand, but rather for the next season or two that most likely will get out of hand by mid-June.
So, decision time. If the Royals try to offer only a one year contract at the rates above, Redman probably will find a home elsewhere. If they offer the two year deal, he might stay, but just as likely he'll leave. If the Royals commit three years to him, he'll probably stay. This is just guess work on my part, but let's go with it for the sake of this exercise. When you vote, if you really want Redman to stay, you should vote for the two or three year deals. If you vote for the one year deal, you really are voting to not pursue him seriously. That is the way I expect this whole negotiating session to shake down in the end.
I think the Royals want to keep Redman. If they didn't, they would have dealt him last July. Surely there were some suitors out there. They probably were not offering very much in return for two months of Redman's service, but since he was going to be a free agent in September there would be no reason for the Royals to keep him unless they planned on making a real effort to resign him.