Wandy's Got a Brand New Bag

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Wandy Rodriguez is one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game. Seriously, he is. But don’t worry, I’ll back that claim up later. The point is he’s now being paid like one of the best southpaw starters in the game. The Astros have announced their avoidance of arbitration with Wandy by agreeing on a 3 year, $34 million with a $10.5 million option for 2014. Let’s compare his numbers the past 3 seasons with those of some left-handed peers:

2008-2010
Sabathia:  3.07 ERA   1.15 WHIP   720.2 IP   645 K   142 ERA+
Lee:           2.98 ERA   1.12 WHIP   667.1 IP    536 K   142 ERA+
Wandy:      3.36 ERA   1.28 WHIP   538 IP       502 K   121 ERA+
Lilly:            3.63 ERA   1.13 WHIP   575.1 IP    501 K   121 ERA+
Lester:       3.29 ERA   1.24 WHIP   621.2 IP    602 K    139 ERA+
Hamels:    3.46 ERA   1.18 WHIP   629.2 IP    575 K    122 ERA+

Wandy is clearly not in the upper-echelon of left-handed starters like C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, or Jon Lester. And he’s probably not with David Price although Price only has one full season under his belt. However, he’s as good as anyone after those few and his contract looks right in line with market value.

C.C. Sabathia: 29 years old, 7 yrs, $152 million (given at age 28)
Cliff Lee: 32 years old, 5 yr, $120 million
Jon Lester: 27 years old, 5 yr, $30 million (given at age 26) 

Wandy: 32 years old, 3 yr, $34 million
Ted Lilly: 34 years old, 3 yr, $33 million
Cole Hamels: 26 years old, 3 yr, $20.5 million

I’m not normally a fan of teams signing veterans to long term, big money deals before they have a real chance of contending. Let alone a pitcher entering his age 33 season. But in this case, it’s not as bad. A deserving player got a reasonable contract at market value which barely exceeded likely arbitration settlements. For the first time in a few years, Wandy Rodriguez is receiving a salary equal to his contribution. And it’ll be nice to have that contribution in a year or two when Jordan Lyles and Houston’s other prospects are ready to help this team contend for division titles.

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