Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meet the Unsigned Free Agents: Brandon Lyon, Eric Bedard, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

Brandon Lyon:

Where He's Been:

In his career, he's been with 7 different teams going on team number 8. His career rhythm has him having one or two good seasons followed by a terrible season, something that can't repeat forever.

What 2014 Has In Store:

He's coming off one of those terrible seasons with the Mets (72 ERA+), and he's 34 years old. In other words, his value is at an all-time low as he was released twice within a month last year. I'm not sure if he'll get even a minor-league invite to spring training and have the chance to prove that his 1.63 WHIP was a fluke.

Comparative Analysis:

His closest comparison through age 33 is Stan Belinda. Belinda's best years were literally behind him at this point as he had a 72 ERA+ with the 2000 Rockies & Braves and he never pitched in the MLB again. For Lyon, there is a reasonable chance we have seen the last of him and probably has an uphill battle to climb to having a bounce back season in 2014.

Eric Bedard:

Where He's Been:

Several different places but primarily the disabled list. He had a promising start to his career in Baltimore but much of that promise has been derailed by injuries. The last three seasons he has pitched 125+ innings but his effectiveness has been decreasing.

What 2014 Has In Store:

He'll probably be lucky to start the season in the bigs. He's coming off his worst two seasons in his career and he's not getting any younger (34). Last year, he was struggling to stay in the Astros rotation and that team is beyond bad. It's likely a minor-league deal for him.

Comparative Analysis:

His most similar player through age 34 is Chris Capuano who is in fact coming off his age 34 season and is also currently a free agent after pitching the last couple seasons for the Dodgers. The end of Bedard's career is likely to come sooner rather than later.

Matt Guerrier:

Where He's Been:

He's had a nice run as an effective reliever, primarily with the Twins. Though he has been closer to an average pitcher as he's moved into his early-30s.

What 2014 Has In Store:

I think he's got a good shot to still pitch productively out of the bullpen. He got moved from the Dodgers to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol last year. While he did struggle with the Dodgers, he pitched very strongly in 15 appearances for the Cubs. Unlike, Marmol there are things in the numbers such as a WHIP close to his career average and no fluctuations in control that indicate he could be a low-risk/medium-reward signing.


Comparative Analysis:

His most similar player through age 34 is Jason Frasor. His story is still continuing as his age 35 season (2013) with Texas was a very strong one (161 ERA+) which was his second best season in his career. I think Guerrier sticks around for at least a few more years of close to league average production.

Jon Garland:

Where He's Been:

After a decent stretch of production with the White Sox, he's been bouncing from team to team since 2008 and his 2013 season ended in early June when he got released by the Rockies.

What 2014 Has In Store:

 Probably not on a major league roster. He may get a minor-league deal from someone if they have enough injury/effectiveness issues from their starters but nothing seems like a guarantee.

Comparative Analysis:

His most similar pitcher through age 33 was Scott Erickson who missed his age 33 season due to injury.
While he did get in 58 games over four seasons after this point, he wasn't particularly good and the numbers indicate he was a shell of his former self. If Garland gets similar opportunity this year, my guess is that he would have similar results.