Transaction Analysis

Rockies sign Denny Neagle for 5 years, $51.5 million

There are two questions to ask regarding the Rockies' signing of Neagle: 1) is it smart to give Neagle a five year deal worth over $10 million a year?, and 2) is it smart for the Rockies to give Neagle a five year deal worth over $10 million a year?  Let's tackle a corollary to the second question - is it a particularly good or bad move for the Rockies to make, as compared to another team?  There are two important things to consider with Neagle - he allowed the most fly balls of any pitcher last season, but he doesn't rely on movement to a very large degree, like Darryl Kile.  Certainly, any fly-ball pitcher could have a very tough time in Colorado, but Neagle does have a good changeup, which won't really be affected by the thin air.  Personally, I think those things will balance out in the sense that Neagle's numbers will be affected by Coors Field by an average amount - he'll give up about 60% more runs in Colorado than on the road.

So I don't think it's a bad move for the Rockies in particular.  I'm less sure that it was a good move, period.  Neagle is 32 years old, and is clearly in the decline phase of his career.  Neagle's best season was in 1997, at age 28, and he's been steadily giving up more and more runs since then (except for the big jump at the end of last season, which I suspect is a fluke more than a severe decline).  Last season, Neagle gave up 10% fewer runs than a league average pitcher, if you adjust for the parks he played in. 5 years from now, he won't be an average pitcher anymore.

Of course, the Rockies might not be playing for the future - with the Hampton signing, and talks of signing Dreifort, perhaps they are trying to get it done as soon as possible.  That fact alone saves this move from being a big mistake.

Triple Steal Rating: Single

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TripleSteal Rating Scale:
Grand Slam - A can't miss move; automatically makes the team considerably better.
Home Run -
A great move; will help the team now and down the road.
Triple -
A good move; plugs a temporary hole or will help in the future.
Double -
An average move; team will get what they paid for.
Single -
A head-scratcher; could help, but we definitely don't see how.
Out -
A panic move; tells fans "hey, we're trying..."
Double Play -
A disaster; will make fans angry just thinking about it.© 2000 JBaseball

"How can you not be romantic about baseball?" - Moneyball.