I hate to be one of those cliche writers/artists — you know, the ones who smoke cigarettes and sometimes drink more whiskey than they probably ought to, trying to lessen some of the pains of existing — but yeah, that’s the way I innately happen to be. A spade is a spade. I call it how it is, even if I’m evaluating the person I see in the mirror every day. Plus, I like to look at myself, so it works out. I find myself to be fairly average guy, and I think a lot of people would agree; the only truths certain about me are (a) how, when I’m playing (or when I used to play) sports, I perform at my best when I am angry. Maybe it’s because I’m passive-agressive. (b) And when I write — using the medium of a computer, a pen and a pad of paper, or on the wall with a can of paint — I’m at my best when I’m a little depressed. Maybe I just don’t mind the feeling anymore.
There’s a specific give and take with the state of happiness, and it’s a product of nature I do not yet believe I’ve fully submitted to. When I’m happy, I don’t have an edge; I can’t muster the same palpable creativity as when I’m upset about things most people don’t even think or care about. I’ll be turning 23 in two weeks, and in all that time I’ve yet to find a balance. The problem is, I’m afraid if I ever do meet an equilibrium with regards to my ecstatic joy and skittishly sorrow-filled relationship with the universe, that it in turn means I will have lost my edge and creative juices. That’s a pretty substantial sacrifice for someone like myself, who already likes the way he is.
With that said, even though it pains me to mention the Rangers’ signing of RHP Derek Lowe, it’s not the type of pain where I could reel off a thousand words in a half-hour. So that’s good.
If Lowe makes the Major League roster (which at this point appears like a certainty), he will earn $1.25 million in 2013 (per Jeff Wilson’s Twitter), and incentives could push that figure up to nearly $3 million (per Evan Grant’s Twitter). However, even though Martin Perez was recently injured, it’s believed that Derek Lowe is on the roster to be in the bullpen. To that end, he’s probably a decent investment, because Justin Grimm — if he is to be the 5th starter — probably shouldn’t be banked on for very many “quality” starts.
From a WAR perspective, even if Lowe manages to earn the entirety of his incentives ($1.7 million + 1.25 million salary = $2.95 million), that’s the FIP-wins equivalent to +0.6 WAR. It’s doable. (And that’s given that each Win Above Replacement is worth $5 million.) Anything over that would generate surplus value in the WAR/$ paradigm.
Was I thrilled with the $1.25 million base salary? Not particularly. I may be splitting hairs — because in the broader scope what is $1.25 million out of a $130 million budget? — but Derek Lowe was not a sought-after commodity. Like Kyle Lohse, it was March 6th, and Lowe remained unsigned. The difference between the two pitchers is that Lohse probably has a couple decent seasons left in him, and Lowe should have kicked the bucket on his baseball career years ago.
With Lowe on roster, it effectively ends the Rangers’ pursuits of either Kyle Lohse or Rick Porcello. I can’t say I’m all that disappointed, but Derek Lowe doesn’t exactly excite me, either. At all. The Rangers appear committed to using a scrub in the 5th rotation spot until Colby Lewis returns from injury.
To sum this article up in a sentence: “Rangers make another boring, cost-effective signing that will probably help the team.”