Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pirates Sign Kevin Correia

The Pirates signed another pitcher yesterday. This time inking Kevin Correia to a 2 year, $8 million contract.

Correia has had an up and down career, but has been fairly solid at some points in his career. His two best seasons were spent in the San Fran bullpen in 2006 and 2007, but he also posted a 3.91 ERA as a starter in 2009 with the Padres.

Last season was a big step back for Correia as he went 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA.

Oddly enough he had his highest HR/FB last season (9.5%), that is probably an anomaly because the previous four years he averaged 5.9%. Still the fact that he gave up so many homers last year is a bit concerning because he is coming from arguably the best pitcher's park in the league.

In general he struggled overall, but especially after the tragic death of his brother last season.

His SO numbers are second in the rotation to only James McDonald. Alot of his other numbers are more similar to Zach Duke. His career WHIP is 1.441, Duke's is 1.484. His career ERA+ is 90, Duke's in 94. His ERA is 4.57, Duke's is 4.54. Add in the fact that Correia pitched mostly at Petco, and this move doesn't look like a huge upgrade.

Correia isn't exactly an inning's eater either, having only pitched more than 145.0 inning once (198 in 2009, which was his best year as a starter).

I can't say I'm in love with the deal. Correia doesn't have great stuff, and has three pretty average pitches in general. His two best pitches are his fastball (low 90's) and a decent, mid 80's, slider. Reasonably he is a fourth starter. Maybe if he regains his form he is a low end third starter.

This is more of what the Pirates already have. Back of the rotation stuff. He has little upside left, and his best season on record wouldn't even put him as an average number 2 or a solid number 3.

He is just as likely to end up in the bullpen by the end of the season as he is to get more than 10 wins in my opinion.

In my opinion this is basically a neutral signing. The Pirates basically signed a cheaper, right handed version of Duke (results-wise) for less than Duke would have cost.

I look at these two moves like this. The Pirates traded Duke for Correia, Olsen, and a PTBNL. Money is basically even for what it would cost to keep Duke. If you look at it that way I still wouldn't say the Pirates are a substantially better team than they were at the end of last year, but Correia does miss bats, something Duke could not do. He won't have to rely on the atrocious Bucco defense to get outs, which absolutely killed Duke. If Correia can keep the ball in the park, he should be better than Duke was.

So there is hope. If one of Olsen or Correia can give the Pirates 160 innings and post an ERA better than 5.72, they will be ahead of Duke's performance last year. In reality I think at least one of them will pitch at about that level, and/or be in the bullpen. The rotation is starting to get overcrowded with the same player at this point, so I really don't know if the Buccos will pick up another starting pitcher.

Not a bad move, but not the impact starter this team desperately needs. The only way this team is going to get a higher end starter is to stop hoarding prospects and make a bold move.

No free agent worth their salt is going to play here for what they're worth, and in my opinion even the one's not worth their salt will play here for what they're worth. Correia got a bit more than he is worth at this point in his career. If the Pirates are going to make a splash, and they are rigid on their internal valuations, they need to make a trade.

Fourth Starters and scrap heap scrubs are not going to turn this around.

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