A Few More Minor Signings
The San Francisco Giants signed Chad Gaudin to a minor league contract today. It seems like Gaudin has been around forever (he’s already a ten year major league veteran (he has a little over seven and half seasons of service time), but he’ll still be only 30 years old in 2013.
For years I thought that Gaudin would eventually put it together and become a highly valuable major league pitcher. He’s always had good stuff, but he’s never had the command to become a star. At age 30, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll finally turn that corner.
Nevertheless, it’s a good move for the Giants. Gaudin almost certainly received an invitation to Spring Training, but the odds are heavy that he’ll start the 2013 season at AAA Fresno. I’m fairly confident he’ll pitch well there, whether as a starter or out of the bullpen, and he’ll be a good fill-in if someone gets hurt on the major league staff.
Leftie Doug Slaten is going to South Korea. He just signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization (“KBO”). Wikipedia says that Slaten will be used as a starter there. That’s an interesting decision, since Slaten has exactly one career start above the A+ level in a 13 year professional career.
However, Slaten is a better pitcher than most of the pitchers who sign with KBO teams, and I expect he’ll be an effective starter there. If not, one would have to think he’ll become a top KBO reliever, since he’s coming off a 2012 season in which he posted a 2.11 ERA at AAA Indianapolis and a 2.77 ERA in ten appearances (13 IP) for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Slaten signing is another indication of how fast KBO is growing. Slaten is pitcher who should have drawn interest from a Japanese NPB team at a substantially higher salary. Even so, he will likely be paid at least in the top 15 of KBO players in 2013, although I have not yet seen any reports regarding his 2013 salary. For a KBO team to be able to sign a pitcher as good as Doug Slaten suggests that KBO team revenues are increasing by leaps and bounds.
Meanwhile former New York Mets right-handed reliever Manny Acosta just signed with the Yomiuri Giants for a guaranteed $1.65 million with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses. Acosta posted a dreadful 6.46 ERA for the Mets in 2012, but his other numbers were nearly identical to 2011 when he had a 3.45, except for the fact that he issued a lot more walks in 2012.
Acosta is a year younger than Slaten (32 compared to 33 in 2013), but I doubt that Acosta has any more value to a major league club this off-season, since left-handed short men are always in great demand in MLB. However, their career major league numbers suggest that Acosta has better stuff, and that is likely the reason he’ll probably be making three times as much money playing for the Yomiuri Giants in 2013 than Slaten will make playing for the SK Wyverns. No one ever said that life if fair.