Brandon Webb will be facing a busy offseason this winter, or will he? It is still unclear as to how teams will value his Webb’s worth. The 2006 Cy Young Award winner has pitched only four innings over the course of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Webb underwent shoulder surgery and has faced several setbacks in trying to return to the hill. It was believed last year that he would be a possible starter for opening day, but he pushed maybe a little too hard during spring training and didn’t throw a pitch in 2010. The Diamondbacks took a huge risk in picking up his option worth about $8.5 million to retain him, when he didn’t even throw. So that raises the question as to what type of value Brand Webb has on the free agent market this winter.
According to MLBTradeRumors, Brandon Webb will not be signing cheap this offseason. He is looking for the type of deal that the A’s gave to Ben Sheets last winter that was worth about $10 million. Sheets and Webb are very similar in that they both, in my opinion at least, are high risk, high reward types of players. Sheets didn’t exactly turn out as planned for the A’s as he ended up being hurt during a large part of the season. Webb is in the same position, but is he really able to ask for such a high base salary.
The reality of today’s baseball landscape is that teams are in trying to save money. Spending upwards of $10 million is not in the cards for a lot of teams anymore excluding the exceptions of a few select clubs. Webb may be seeking huge contract, but I think he may end up accepting an incentives-laden deal with a base salary of about $4-5 million. Then the signing club would be able to minimize the risk while maximizing the reward. For example a 150+ innings pitch incentive that increases his money. Apart from his first season in 2003, and the seasons since the injury, he has never dipped below 200 innings, but expecting that much out of him is unfair, because he has to work up to it. So I think both the bidding clubs and Webb’s camp may face a compromise.
But it will certainly be interesting to see which club’s will take the risk of signing the former ace.