I paid $39.95M, and all I got was a t-shirt

Rivera out with sore shoulder, could need surgery
Palmer: Moose might retire

It’s amazing what $39.95 million can buy in these troubled economic times. For their pretty penny, the Yanks got 26 starts and nine wins. That’s just $4.43 million a win. Act now; supplies are going fast.

In a rather inglorious fashion, the Carl Pavano Era in the Bronx likely ended last night when Pavano and a bunch of Yankee farmhands lost to the Blue Jays 8-2. Roy Halladay threw a complete game, giving up six hits and a walk in the process, and if it seemed like the fifth time this year the Yanks have lost to Hallday, well, that’s because it was. Only once did the Yanks beat the AL Cy Young candidate, and that was a way back on Opening Day when Chien-Ming Wang outdueled Halladay.

For Pavano, today was hardly a stellar start in his effort to find himself a job for next year. He lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out one.

On the season, Pavano made seven starts for the Yanks and has thrown 34.1 innings. He has a 4-2 record with a 5.77 ERA, and he struck out 15 while walking 10. While we’ve debated the merits of picking up Pavano’s option for 2009 to ensure some pitching depth, the truth is that Pavano just hasn’t offered up much. He hasn’t shown much control; his breaking pitches are doing much breaking. It seems as though, after three season of inactivity, Pavano has turned from a pitcher into a thrower.

What Pavano and his failed tenure symbolize for the Yanks is up for debate. It could stand for the frustrations of the last few seasons. It could stand for an era of decadence in which the Yanks tried to grab every big-name free agent out of there regardless of numbers of make-up. Or it could just have been a high-profile mistake that, today, doesn’t even seem that expensive.

At some point, another Carl Pavano will come along. In fact, Carl wasn’t the first of his kind – Darren Dreifort and Mike Hampton come to mind — and he won’t be the last. But as Pavano heads for greener pastures, perhaps the Yanks have learned their lessons about signing pitchers that just aren’t that good. Good bye, Carl. We hardly knew ye.

Rivera out with sore shoulder, could need surgery
Palmer: Moose might retire
  • roger p.

    Lesson learned here is to never again go after 2nd tier starting pitchers, meaning NO MORE pavanos wrights igawas vazquez contreras weavers….good starting pitching is SO scarce and fragile that we shouldn’t risk on 2nd tier SP while pass on the elite…..

    For the future, ONLY go for the elites: the santanas, hudsons, sabathias, becketts and the peavys, webbs, oswalts, halladays should they become available

    This mindset is essential if this organization cares about becoming a championship contender again.

    • pat

      well unfortunately this isnt a video game where you can have a rotation of santana peavy oswalt halladay and scott kair. Nobody thought carl pavano was going to be an ace when we signed him. He was signed to be a solid #3 type pitcher. Sorry dude but you cant have a rotation full of aces you gotta have those dreaded 2nd tier pitchers somewhere.

      • pat

        kazmir…. whoops

      • Roger P.

        This is a team with unlimited resources that has chosen to build “video game” lineups right after the dynasty and started with the signing of Jason Giambi in 2001. This switch in philosophy came after a long run of being serious World Series contenders while doing it with imposing starting pitching 1-5. It has been well-known fact for over a century that you can only win championships through pitching and defense with offense being a minimal factor. The first round exits of recent years are no surprise, this team hasn’t pitched at all since 2003.

        Half of the guys I mentioned above were available in the past 4 years. Back in 2001, you probably would have told me there was no way we could have arod,giambi,matsui,sheffield,posada,jeter,damon,abreu,pudge on the same team because that would be “video game-ish”.

    • RollingWave

      Vazquez was definately not a second tier pitcher before 04. neither was Contreras (precieved as anyway)

      • Roger P.

        Vazquez had only 2-3 years of good play while with the Montreal Expos while in the NL…..the guys I’ve mentioned above that we’ve passed on are higher tiered than Vazquez (some of them even had championship pedigree)….but yeah I do agree Vazquez was probably the best possible pitching talent that was acquired in the last 8 years…..sadly, it didn’t work out….

        All Boston acquires are top flight starters with playoff/championship predigree such as Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling that have won championships and World Series MVPs before they got to Boston…all we do is watch them and then go ahead and acquire Igawa

        If you slot Contreras (or any other import) to be your first tier pitcher, you aren’t a good enough team…..

    • steve (different one)

      Vazquez was not a “2nd tier” pitcher when the Yankees acquired him.

      you could argue that Weaver wasn’t either, but i don’t have the energy to argue on his behalf.

      Vazquez was exactly the type of pitcher you want your team to target: young, extremely durable, good ERA, very good K rates, etc.

      go check out his season in 2003. it was an ace level season. and he was 26.

      • Roger P.

        Yeah Weaver was a 2nd tier pitcher….go look it up, he only had one good season with the tigers….definetly not elite status

        Vazquez had only 2-3 years of good play while with the Montreal Expos while in the NL…..the guys I’ve mentioned above that we’ve passed on are higher tiered than Vazquez (some of them even had championship pedigree)….but yeah I do agree Vazquez was probably the best possible pitching talent that was acquired in the last 8 years…..sadly, it didn’t work out….

  • Phil McCracken

    Yankees have two more chances to sign a new injury prone pitcher in the off season with Sheets and Burnett.

  • ortforshort

    I’m just curious as to how this lesson we just learned is to be applied.
    Do the Yankees spend $150m on Sabbathia? I say yes. He’s a first tier pitcher anyway. If you don’t get sabbathia, do you still spend a bundle on Burnett or Sheets? They’re first tier talents, but really second tier prospects because of their injury history. If you don’t get those three, do you sign an Oliver Perez who’s clearly not first tier? I say why not. The Yankees always draft at the bottom of the first round and will never be up for the big time prospects. The only way for the Yankees to bring in the top talent is to spend big. If they lose out on the top tier guy (Sabbathia), then roll the dice with Burnett, Sheets or Perez. Nothing wrong with that. Getting back to Pavano, it was a good signing at the time that didn’t work out. Move on.

  • Yank Crank 20

    To be honest, the Yanks didn’t really have a choice in 2005. After Rocket, Pettitte and Wells took off after 2003 the team was left with no starters and what was collected in 2004 didn’t work. I don’t think there was a Yankee fan out there who wasn’t excited when we had Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano and Mike Mussina as a top 3 to start the 2005 season. It just didn’t work out…we knew Pavano wasn’t to be an ace because of his career record but nobody could have predicted a complete breakdown.

    • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

      Johnson was unfortunate because he just didn’t fit in. His body language always suggested he’d rather be having his gums scraped than be pitching here.

      I just hope we don’t get the same thing with Sabathia, as he’s hinted in the past about wanting to stay in a smaller market.

  • dkidd

    if mussina retires, any chance the yanks keep pavano? you could do worse than a rotation of cc/wang/hughes/pettite/pavano until joba is ready to start

  • ortforshort

    2009 is getting off to a flying start. Rivera hurt, Mussina retiring. The Yankees need to get younger, but losing your most productive old guys is not the best way.

    • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

      I suspect Mo will be fine by Opening Day, and the Palmer thing is sooooo far off the spectrum of crazy rumors it’s laughable.

      Just because Jim Palmer said it? Meh.

  • Glen L

    I’m not sure about picking up an 11mm option on the guy, but would anyone really be that upset if we signed him for 1 year 5mm next year?

    He’ll be that much further removed from TJ surgery and for that amount of money can probably provide fine numbers for a 4th-6th starter

    • steve (different one)

      i would be down with that.

      however, it is my own feeling that if the yankees don’t pick up his option, he will flee so fast to the NL you won’t know where he went.

      that is my guess.

      that a 1 year, $5M contract is not going to happen with the Yankees.

      i bet he is a Marlin next year.

      • Yank Crank 20

        I bet he’s a cardinal next year

        • Yank Crank 20

          Those Cards love them some damaged goods

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

            Where’s Rick Peterson when you need him?

        • Glen L

          outstanding call

          Steve – probably right about 1/5mm not enough to keep him in a) in the AL b) in NY

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

    “I paid $39.95M, and all I got was a t-shirt.”

    Damn, son, Save The Big Three t-shirts are thay expensive now? That’s highway robbery!