The Failures of Others Accentuate Our Own Successes


I speak, surprisingly, of this:

You probably think I’m crazy for denouncing the Braves for signing Billy Wagner.  Even sabermetrically, Wagner’s an absolute beast.   He boasts a career 2.79 FIP and 11.79 K/9.  For reference, Mariano Rivera’s are 2.78 and 8.31.  But for a 38-year old who missed most of last season due to injury, 7 million is a pretty steep price.

This signing can go one of four ways.  Wagner could put up his usual numbers and pitch for most of if not all of the season.  He could put up his usual numbers but spend a lot of time on the disabled list, which would certainly prevent him from aiding his team.  He could pitch poorly and not be injured.  Or he could pitch poorly and get injured.  Only one of these outcomes is particularly desirable for the people paying Wagner 7 million dollars.

Now, Wagner is a pitcher, and pitchers get injured pretty frequently.  The risk of injury is present in any pitcher.  But Wagner is 38 years old.  He pitched 15.2 innings last year.  This signing isn’t actually a failure on the part of the Braves, but it has the potential to be one.  This signing is just a pleasant reminder to Mariner fans of why Jack Zduriencik would never make that move.  The Mariners got their closer in a trade in which they gave up virtually nothing.  The Braves are getting their closer for 7 million, and there’s a huge chance he doesn’t even pitch well or stay off the disabled list.

If Wagner pitches like it’s 1998, I won’t necessarily be surprised.  It’s a legitimate possibility that Wagner posts his usual 10+ K/9 rate and sub-3 FIP.  It’s just extremely unlikely, for a number of reasons, and a big risk.


Hopefully we’ll have some Mariners news sometime soon.  I’m sick of analyzing other teams that I hate!