ZONER’S HOT STOVE: PHILS HAVE SOME CASH TO SPEND
Billy Wagner heads to the Mets for 4 years. And B.J. Ryan gets 5 years and $47 mill from Ricciardi in Toronto. Toronto Fire Department did indeed confirm that the fire in his pockets is now out. Wagner gets 43 mill to go to Shea. Balls, Sticks & Stuff and his readers seem happy Pat Gillick didn’t throw that kind of money at Wagner. I’m guessing that happiness will be validated by the next move or two that Gillick makes.
Apparently Gillick now has Flash Gordon in his sights. Sounds good initially, but depending on the terms that could be a very bad move. Nothing is more aggravating than having money tied up in an old, injured player. While that’s not certain to be the case with Gordon, the buyer beware sign is flashing.
Gordon has had trouble staying healthy. He missed almost all of ’99 and all of 2000. He pitched in only 40+ games in 2001 and only 34 in 2002. He did have a great workload the last 3 seasons pitching 74, 90 and 81 innings. But Flash turned 38 this month and with his injury history, it’s a very risky deal if you plan on offering him a deal to a) be your closer and b) be it for 3 years.
The other problem I see in this is that Gillick has money to blow from Billy Wagner’s departure. This might lead him to rationalize that it is OK to throw a kindly sum at Gordon, overpaying him, oversigning him and overestimating his ability as a 38-yr. old closer. I would offer him 1 year plus and option, option kicks in after X amount of appearances. Anything more than 2 years is insane, even if it is someone else’s money.
In the last 3 years, Gordon has converted only 18-36 save opportunites. That might not be fair since he was not given a consistent opportunity to save games–but that might also be the point. He hasn’t been a true closer since 2001 with the Cubs. He had 27 saves that year. He had the outstanding 46 save season with Boston in 1998. And those are the only 2 seasons he has saved more than 11 games.
They have Fultz, Geary and Madson in their pen now. Flash would be a nice addition. But that all depends on the length and value of the deal.