Meet and greet Carl Pavano

This morning the Twins acquired Carl Pavano from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later (probably a minor leaguer).

A few days ago here, I identified Pavano as a real trade target for the Twins' rotation; however, I had reservations that the Twins will trade within the division. As I indicated in the above liked post, Pavano is one of the two potentially available pitchers (the other being Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds) who is pitching much better than the average AL pitcher. His PE this season is 17.52, second to that of Scott Baker (24.72) among the current Twins' starters. His xPE (factoring in his high .328 BABIP) is a very solid 19.82.

Of, course, his ERA (5.37) does not tell the story. Looking at his FIP (which is flawed by better than ERA), his 4.26 FIP is ahead of both Glen Perkins' (4.63) and Fransisco Liriano's (4.78)

This season, Pavano is: 3-0, 1.93 ERA, 23.1 IP, 5 ER, 1 BB, 13K against the Tigers and 2-1, 2.42 ERA, 22.1 IP, 6 ER, 2 BB, 15K against the White Sox. Like Orlando Cabrera, he has post-season experience and a World Series ring. He was the main player in Boston's package to Montreal, which put Pedro Martinez in a Red Sox' uniform in 2003.

Let's look closer at the 33 year old version of Carl Pavano. He has 4 pitches: A fastball averaging 90.5 mph, which he throws about 60% of the time, A slider averaging 82.7 mph, which he throws about 16% of the time, a change up averaging 81.0 mph, which he throws about 24% of the time and an occasional split-finger fastball. What is making the 2009 version of Pavano more effective than the 2008 version?

  • His velocity is higher in 2009. All his pitches are about 3 mph faster on average

  • His least effective pitch is his fastball (-1.47 runs above average per 100; wFB/C), his slider (2.02 wSL/C) and change up (0.59 wCH/C) have been effective and been thrown often (40% of the time)

  • He is striking out more batters (3.9 K/9 in 2008 vs. 6.3 K/9 in 2009) and walking fewer (2.6 BB/9 in 2008 vs. 1.3 BB/9 in 2009) resulting to a great 3.83 K/BB in 2009 (vs. just 1.50 K/BB in 2008)

To make room to the 25 man roster, the Twins optioned R.A. Dickey to Rochester. As a result of the trade either Fransisco Liriano or Glen Perkins will move to the pen. Based on their performance as starters this season, Perkins would be the logical choice to move to the pen; however, Liriano might be the emotional choice.

All in all it was a great move by Bill Smith that is helping fill a true need in the system. I expect at least another arm either from outside or inside the organization in the 25-man roster and the eventual move of Duensing and Keppel to the minors.

Pavano started against the Tigers last Sunday pitching for 8 innings allowing just one run on six hits. He struck out four and walked one. His turn is today. Will he take the mount against the team he recently dominated tonight?

He should, if not tonight, at least in this series.

Update: To make room for Pavano on the Twins 40-man roster, Boof Bonser moved to the 60 day DL, which means that any potential comeback this September is probably unlikely

Update:. The Twins' payroll responsibility for Carl Pavano:

From Cot's Baseball Contracts:

Base contract: 1 year, $1.5 M (about $600K left)

$5.3M in performance bonuses:

$0.1M each for 18, 20, 22;
$0.2M each for 24, 26, 28;
$0.25M for 30;
$0.3M for 32;
$0.35M each for 33, 34;
$0.4M for 35

He has 21 starts. If he gets to 32, the Twins will be responsible for $1.05 M

$0.1M each for 130, 140, 150;
$0.15M each for 160, 170;
$0.2M for 180;
$0.25M each for 190, 200, 210;
$0.3M for 215;
$0.4M for 225;
$0.5M for 235

He has 125.2 IP; based on projected 32 starts and his average 6 IP/start, that will give him 192 IP and the Twins will be responsible for another $1.05M

Total projected cost for the Twins: $2.7M

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