Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meet the Unsigned Free Agents: Mitchell Boggs, Roy Oswalt, Mike Gonzalez, Rich Hill

Mitchell Boggs:

Where He's Been:

He had a few good seasons in St. Louis but 2013 was an utter disaster. After getting off to a start that was beyond terrible in St. Louis he ended up with the Rockies where he had a decent ERA+ in nine appearances but still had some underlying red flags such as a 1 SO/BB Ratio.

What 2014 Has In Store:

 Probably going to be signed to a minor-league deal. The positive is that he's still relatively young (he turns 30 in February) and he's not that far off from a very strong 2012 season (173 ERA+). Could provide a good return as his value has pretty much bottomed out.

Comparison Analysis:

His closest comparison through age 29 was Burke Badenhop. He's coming off his age 30 season which he spent with the Brewers. While the Brewers were very reluctant to put him in the game when it was close, he did put up decent numbers when he played. Boggs probably gets different results as the two players are on different trajectories. While Boggs had one great season and 2013 results bottomed out, Badenhop has been consistently about an average pitcher without the extreme peaks and valleys that Boggs has gone through the last couple years.

Roy Oswalt:

Where He's Been:

Oswalt's free agency status would have been a much bigger deal if it was 10 years ago or even five. However, his on the field production has taken a very sharp nosedive over the last couple seasons.

What 2014 Has In Store:

Somebody may take a chance on him but primarily because of the brand name and his performance from seemingly years ago. Maybe he can recapture some of his past greatness but it seems doubtful at this point.

Comparison Analysis:

His most similar pitcher through age 35 is Bret Saberhagen. After his age 35 season he made three underwhelming starts for the 2001 Red Sox. I think the rest of Oswalt's career has a similar outcome. Someone will give him some starts hoping he has something left in the tank but getting very little in return.

Mike Gonzalez:

Where He's Been:

Whatever team he ends up with, it will be the seventh of his career. When he pitched for other teams, I would always be distracted by the motion he used when he threw the ball. When he pitched for the Brewers last year, I would get distracted by how mediocre the results were more often than not.

What 2014 Has In Store:

Despite staggering to a 85 ERA+ last year, he should still get bullpen spot somewhere. There would be concern in that  he has been less effective as he's gotten older than early in his career (he still sports a 134 career ERA+) and his SO/BB ratio is still within career ranges, but it doesn't help that he's on the wrong side of 35.

Comparison Analysis:

His most similar player through age 35 is Steve Mingori. He also under-acheived during his age 35 season pulling in a 74 ERA+ and never pitc
hed in bigs again after that season. I think Gonzalez probably gets himself a couple more years in the league but anything beyond that would be surprising.

Rich Hill:

Where He's Been:

He had some success with the Cubs in '06 & '07 but has drifted around from team to team.

What 2014 Has In Store:

Somehow, he got 63 appearances with a pretty good Indians team despite not coming close to pitching well (60 ERA+). That combined with age (33) could make it pretty difficult to find regular work for 2014.

Comparison Analysis:

His most similar player through age 33 is Brian Tallet. Like Hill, Tallet had a terrible age 33 season and hasn't pitched in the bigs since. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happens for Hill's career.

All numbers, comparisons, etc. found on baseball-reference.com