Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Edinson Volquez Goes To Miami
The Miami Marlins signed Edinson Volquez to a contract, a pitcher that the Pirates had interest in signing. The deal reunites Volquez with former Piraets front office employees. The former employees are Marc Delpiano (Vice President of Player Development) and Jim Benedict (Vice President of Pitching Development).
A week ago, writer Marty Leap asked if the Pirates should consider a reunion with the 33-year-old right hander. This was based on of what a baseball source told us, with that source saying:
"The Pirates are looking to add at least two viable starting pitchers this off-season. They would love to add a veteran via free agency and a potential younger, but proven arm in a trade. I believe they are definitely interested in retaining Ivan Nova. if Nova’s bidding gets to rich they will likely pursue a reunion with Edison Volquez. Volquez has proven that he can pitch in PNC and the NL Central and would likely be a cheap one year deal around 7-8 million."
The Marlins signed Edinson to a two-year deal worth $22 million according to Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer, both of the Miami Herald. This deal is a year more and $14 million more than what our source theorized. The length and amount were probably a deterrent for the Pirates. The Bucs have younger and cheaper options already in the system.
Volquez is currently 33 years old, and he turns 34 on July 3. The deal he signed runs through his age 34 season. Half of his final season coming when Volquez will be 35. Pitchers with the age 32 season that Volquez post do not usually find success in their 33-34 seasons.
Since 2000, there have been 19 starters to post an ERA+ less than 90 with a minimum of 100 inning. Of those 19, three occurred this year in Volquez, Doug Fister, and Anibal Sanchez. That leaves 16 pitchers this century to collect data on their ages 33 and 34 season. Of the 16 pitchers, only 13 threw at least 150 innings, and only 12 of the 16 threw 150 innings as a starter. Of those 12 starters, only John Lackey (16 percent), Jose Contreras (15 percent), and Kevin Millwood (6 percent) were better than league average in ERA-.
The odds are not in favor for Volquez to be an above average starter. Consider that he had a strikeout rate of 16.3 percent in 2016. Volquez has been a horse, pitching mire than 170 innings each of the last five seasons. However, in those fives years, he’s had only two years (2013 and 2014) in which his ERA- has been better than average, and only one year (2014) in which his FIP- has been better than average. Factor in his 2017 steamer projections of a 4.40 ERA and a 4.34 FIP, a two-year deal with an annual average value of $11 million seems like a hefty price for a team that can get similar production from internal options.
*Numbers from fangraphs and a search using baseball-reference