Mussina, Pettitte headline AL Type A free agents

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Over the summer, Eddie Bajek at Detroit Tigers Thoughts managed to reverse engineer the Elias Sports Bureau formula for ranking free agents. He’s been providing us with tidbits ever since. Now that the season is over, though, we can be more sure about where each player will land. Today, Eddie takes a look at the AL pitchers and where they rank.

Pettitte was actually the ninth-highest rated overall starter in the AL. Ahead of him are, from one through eight, Roy Halladay, John Lackey, A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and King Felix. Pettitte is well within the Type A bounds. After him come Javier Vazquez and Fausto Carmona, followed by Mike Mussina. The Type As end five spots after Mussina with Erik Bedard. Strangely enough, Chien-Ming Wang checks in as a Type B. I guess missing half the season hurt his ranking. Jon Garland and Paul Byrd are the only other AL free agent starters to garner even Type B status.

Over on the NL side, obviously CC Sabathia tops the rankings. He’s joined in his Type A status by four other hurlers: Ben Sheets (14), Oliver Perez (16), Derek Lowe (17), and Jamie Moyer (18). So it looks like when Jon Heyman says the Yankees will pick two of the available starters, they’re selecting from among the Type As. Thankfully, this is in a year where the Yankees have at least one protected first-round pick (not that losing a pick should stop you from signing a guy like CC). Brad Penney, John Smoltz, Randy Wolf, Greg Maddux, and, surprisingly, Braden Looper garner Type B status.

It’s interesting to see how these players are ranked. Some of it seems rather strange. A.J. Burnett as the third highest rated pitcher in the AL? Pettitte as the ninth highest? I know the stats are based on multiple years, but still, it seems odd in some places. In any case, I’ll be sure to post the future rankings as they come in.

Just for shits ‘n’ giggles: The last ranked pitchers in each league were Mark Prior in the NL, and Andrew Brackman in the AL.

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  • Ben K.

    Last ranked pitcher? I knew Brackman was a bust, but I didn’t think he was that bad.

    • UWS

      Busty McBusterson, I’m tellin’ ya!

      • jsbrendog

        trade him for zambrano! oh wait….we already have zambrano

    • Mike A.

      Cashman is teh suck.

  • steve (different one)

    is it true that the maximum number of Type A free agents any team (not counting their own players) can sign is 3?

    • UWS


    • Rafi

      Not exactly. This is from cot’s:
      “A club may sign as many type A and B free agents as it has lost, regardless of the limits above. “

      • Chris

        If Mussina retires instead of signing somewhere else does that count as losing him?

  • Accent Shallow

    If the Yankees can land CC, I’d hope they prioritize Mussina and Pettitte above Burnett and Lowe, since both of those signings seem like they’ll be wastes of money.

    • Steve

      I agree, and it poses an interesting question. Lets assume Moose retires (likely) and Lowe is way down on the Yanks wish list.

      If you have to CHOOSE between Pettitte and Burnett, which one do you want?

      Burnett has better stuff, will strike out more batters (which bodes well for the post season) and pitches to a 4ish ERA. He has only breached 200 IP three times, 2 of which were contract years. Has a rep for going on the DL for ticky tack injuries.

      Pettitte is a proven NY pitcher, proven post season performer who will reliably give you 200+ IP annually and will give you an ERA in the low/mid-4s most years.

      To me, its an easy choice. I go with Andy. Not for sentimental reasons, but because I know he’s going to give me innings. Burnett can be a far superior pitcher, but if he doesn’t show up its worthless. I also have serious questions about his ability to adjust to NY and desire to compete on a consistent basis. No one will be surprised if Burnett turns into another Pavano, we all know Andy will never be that.

  • D

    What if

    Mussina Signs With an Nl club in an attempt to make a run at 300 wins. (Mets or Phillies)

    Pettite Signs with Houston.
    Stranger things have happen.

    That would mean a whole lot of draft picks and Abreu slightly more attractive to the Yankees.

  • Ed

    The rankings value playing time and counting stats highly.

    Innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins mean a lot for pitchers. Pettitte pitches a ton of innings every year and has fairly high strikeout totals, and always turns in a respectable win total.

    Wang pitched a lot last year and had a good win total, but he didn’t strike out a ton of guys. This year he just didn’t pitch a lot, and when he did, he wasn’t as good as last year. Wang’s strikeout total for the last two years combined was equal to Pettitte’s for just this season.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Mark Prior: Oh how the mighty have fallen…

  • Tripp

    So what do the Yanks do?

    Offer Arbitration to both Pettitte and Mussina?

    If they offer arbitration to Pettitte and he accepts then he would have to remain at the same salary correct? So that would be good for Pettitte and bad for the Yanks.

    Maybe they should offer it just to Mussina if they are 100% sure he will retire.

    Of course he could always pull a Clemens and go pitch for Philly.

    • Mike Pop

      We’d have to throw him a retirement party first and give him a hummer

      • UWS

        Who do you nominate as the hummer-giver?

        • Mike Pop


          • UWS

            Oh come on. Obviously it has to be Ponson.

            • jsbrendog

              pavano. but then he’d get injured so no one would sign him

    • Mr. Faded Glory

      Negative. I believe the type of arbitration you are thinking of is the type where a player is not yet eligible for free agency. Those types are guaranteed a minimum amount based on the prior salary.

      For arbitration for a free agent, there is no minimum or maximum.

      Plus I believe the Yankees and Pettitte would never go that far – they’d have a handshake deal with a wink at the arbitration request.

  • Ryan

    i was just watching yankees classics (cone’s PG) and the little ticker on the bottom said something about a Cano for Beltran swap

    • radnom


      *checks internet*

      You bastard, what did it say?

      I didn’t really expect this to have any truth to it, but the only thing I found was this

      “Newsday – Carlos Beltran and his wife Jessica renewed their wedding vows along with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony on Sunday in Las Vegas”

  • radnom

    “It’s interesting to see how these players are ranked.”

    There was an attempt to reverse engineer the rankings over at tigers-thoughts, I’m not sure how accurate this is but here is what they had

    • radnom

      hmm weird, my comment got messed up. Anyway, if you scroll down a bit on that link they have an actual example with Sabbathia this year.

      • Joseph P.

        If you’ll notice, that’s the site I linked to above.

        • radnom

          I didn’t notice actually, and for some reason I read the quoted line as “it would be interesting to see how these players are ranked.”
          My bad.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    *waits for bottom of YES to scroll by*

  • BG

    I think we’ve all read the statements that the Yankees will attempt to sign two free agent pitchers. I’ve never seen it clarified whether Andy Pettite or Mike Mussina if brought back would count against that number. Technically, they are both free agents. I’ve read that the Yankees have already informed Pettite that they’d like him back if he still wants to play and everyone’s best guess seems to be that he’ll come back. Heyman and others have reported that NYY will attempt to sign two out of Sabathia, Lowe and Burnett. If that’s in addition to Pettite or Mussina returning, it means there’s no spot for Hughes in the rotation unless someone gets injured. I think Heyman has the right three in addition to Pettite and Mussina, but I’d guess that they don’t mean that they’d bring back Pettite and sign two more free agents. I know Hughes has to earn a spot in the rotation but I’m not sure that they want to block him either with a couple of long term contracts. I guess they could trade him but that doesn’t seem like something Cashman wants to do. Thoughts?

  • Lanny

    Hughes should have to earn that spot at AAA.

    What is the problem with having a huge inventory of talented starters in the minors ready to contribute?

    Isn’t it better than having Ponson, Pavano, Rasner, etc?

  • BG

    For better or worse, we chose not to trade him for Santana so I think we need to give him a shot to make the team and not block him with an expensive free agent signing. I agree he has to earn that spot but I’d let him battle with Aceves, Kennedy and maybe even Coke for the fifth starter spot and hope that Hughes wins it.

    I also agree its better to have legitimate prospects in the AAA rotation ready to fill in when there are injuries but as Chad Jennings points out we are likely looking at a AAA rotation that will include five of the following: Kennedy, Aceves, Marquez, Horne, Coke, Chase Wright and Igawa. That’s the deepest AAA rotation the team has started a year with in a long time. Barring trades, injury and Hughes, Aceves and Coke all making the Yankees, at least one from that list isn’t going to be a AAA starter. If we fill the rotation with free agents that just makes the AAA roster that much more crowded. Kontos has earned a promotion but is already likely blocked.

    I’m all for signing CC if he’ll come to NY. I think they need to add at least two starters via free agency or trade (including Pettite and/or Mussina). I think it would be a mistake to assume that you’ll get two starters out of Hughes, Kennedy and Aceves but can’t we assume that one of them can hold down the fifth starter role?