Approximately 15-20 minutes after my weekly column posted to More Than a Fan: Cleveland yesterday afternoon, The Cleveland Indians announced that they had signed RHP Gavin Floyd to a 1 year/$4 million deal with the ability to reach $6 million if Floyd reaches certain performance incentives.
Gavin’s career spans roughly 11 years with stints in Philadelphia, Chicago (White Sox) and Atlanta.
He has 196 starts under his belt, a career ERA of 4.40 with a 72-72 record (.500) and a career FIP (a statistic that strips away the role defense and luck play to more accurately shoe pitcher performance over a given period of time) of 4.36 (which unfortunately ranks between “Poor” and “Awful” according to fangraphs.com).
Floyd’s best season over the course of his career was his 2008 campaign.
In 2008, Floyd posted a 17-8 record while accumulating a 3.84 ERA (his best mark in the seasons in which he had more than 10 starts). He posted above average K/9 & BB/9 ratios (6.3 & 3.1 respectively. His WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) of 1.26 was a 2nd best in his career. Unfortunately, his FIP was 4.77 during that same season, which is a pretty awful number.
Most recently, in 2014, Floyd went 2-2 in 9 starts before packing it in due to injury. In that time, he racked up a 2.65 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. His 7.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9; considered great and excellent per fangraphs.com.
I like the signing, but I have to admit, I needed a day to come around with it.
After writing about how the Indians stood pat while their AL Central foes added serious talent, I felt as if the front office visited the island misfit toys to see how they could stay relevant on a budget. When I found out Floyd was coming off elbow surgery, I became even more upset.
But then something changed.
I listened to the highlights of the press conference regarding Floyd led by Chris Antonetti and, according to him, Floyd’s fastball velocity is actually higher than what it was in 2014 before his season-ending elbow injury (See an analysis MLB.com’s Matt Waymire & Jeff Nelson here).
I was also surprised that Floyd immediately has a spot in the 2015 rotation.
Scott Kazmir had to work and prove himself to get into the bottom of the 2013 rotation. Granted, Kaz was came in from playing in a semi-professional league. Floyd pitched in the majors last year and has pitched in the majors for the last 11 years. I guess I felt that some of our younger guys who have put in the time deserved a shot at the rotation before just giving it to a veteran journeyman.
Either way, the Indians have improved the roster with Floyd’s signing. Hopefully, Floyd can channel his inner Scott Kazmir and have a great season for great value. If he does, we need to seriously never distrust the front office ever again. They obviously have an eye for talent (young and old).
I guess we’ll see when pitchers and catchers report (under 65 days if my calculations are correct)!