Yesterday we looked at Mike Hampton and his many injuries, and so it only made sense to today take a look at another member of the FIP—Fraternity for the Injury Prone—Carl Pavano. Prior to the 2005 season Yankees GM Brian Cashman inked Pavano to a four-year deal worth around 39.95 million dollars. The signing came on the heels of two very solid seasons from the righty once traded for Pedro Martinez. Aside from W-L and ERA, Pavano had decreased his BB/9, WHIP, HR/9, BAA, BABIP, and FIP each year from 2001-2004, leading to a rise in his K/BB and LOB%.
Unfortunately, his K/9 also took hits in each of these years. All told, the Yankees looked like they might have been getting a good #4 starter albeit at a steep price. Now, at the end of that contract, the deal looks like one of the worst ever handed out, not just because Pavano’s pinstripes performance lacked quality for the most part, but because those performances were so few and far between.
Since signing with the Yankees, Pavano has made 19 starts, pitched in 111.1 innings, with an FIP upwards of 4.70. He missed the 2006 season completely, made just two of those nineteen starts in 2007, and Cashman seems to believe that he won’t recover from his latest surgery in time to pitch this year, meaning the Yankees would have paid 40 million dollars for 17 starts of below average pitching in 2005, and two relatively meaningless starts in 2007.
Pavano’s contract bothered the players, as well, never the more evident than in the book Living On the Black in which Mike Mussina scoffed at a contract offer from the Yankees that there was no way he would accept less money than Carl Pavano.
He also took criticism for withholding injury information from the Yankees, after breaking his ribs in a car crash. He didn’t tell the team until he was scheduled to come off the disabled list for a different injury. I cannot imagine how that conversation went down.
Cashman: Well, Carl, we’re activating you and will schedule you in the rotation.
Pavano: Oh wait, I forgot to tell you…
Cashman: (sighs) What now?
Pavano: I actually have broken ribs.
Cashman: How long have you forgotten to tell us?
Pavano: A few weeks.
Cashman: Were you planning on telling us?
Pavano: Well… not really… but now that they hurt alot…
What the future holds for this once promising prospect is yet to be seen, but just like Mike Hampton will likely forever be remembered for his injuries, Carl Pavano will likely go down in baseball lore as one of the worst retrospective contract signings in the history of the game. Since Pavano signed, he has made 19 starts… in that same span, Roy Halladay has 23 complete games.