Last night, the Nationals walked away from Tim Redding, who earned $1 million last year and probably would have been due something like maybe $2 million in arbitration (Sheinen and the Denver Post is saying as much as $3 million, but that seems high to me). I've posted now three times in 24 hours disagreeing with this move, but I promise I'll drop it after this one.
Redding last year tied for the team lead in innings pitched with 182 and posted a respectable ERA of 4.95, while the NL average ERA for starting pitchers was 4.41. Next year, Bill James projects 168 innings at 5.01, while Marcels sees 159 innings at 4.61.
To drive home the point of what a value Redding is for that money, I thought it would be interesting to look at Redding versus the typical $2 million starting pitcher in free agency. Over the last two off seasons, there have been 8 pitchers who signed one-year contracts of $1.5-3.5 million. Here's what they did in the years after signing those deals:
Shawn Chacon (85 IP, 5.04 ERA)
Matt Clement (0 IP)
Mark Hendrickson (133.2 IP, 5.45)
Tony Armas (8.1 IP, 7.58)
Wade Miller (13.2 IP, 10.54)
Tomo Ohka (56 IP, 5.79)
Steve Trachsel (158 IP, 4.90)
David Wells (157.1 IP, 5.43)
So I think it's fair to say that it's darn near impossible to do better than Tim Redding in free agency for the money he would have cost. Why this team thought it wasn't worth tendering him a contract and locking him into one of our starting five now is beyond me.
And in case you're hoping they re-sign him and save a few pennies by avoiding arbitration, don't count on it. The Rox are already getting ready to make an offer.