Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Definition: Lieber-contract

I realized that I twice suggested a "Lieber contract" recently without much explanation. For those of you who don't remember, the Yanks signed Lieber to a two year deal knowing he would not pitch the first year. He then returned the year after and was pretty darn good.

He missed the entire 2003 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2002. Lieber signed a two-year contract with the Yankees following the 2002 season. After recovering from the surgery, Lieber rewarded the Yankees' investment in 2004 by winning 14 games (tied for the team lead) and becoming the team's most consistent pitcher down the stretch.
I'm a big proponent of this sort of thing with a club like the Yanks who can afford to take the financial risks required to possibly capture the upside of a recovering proven commodity. I would not recommend this for a mid-/small-market team who can't readily write off such an expense.

Other Lieber contract candidates: Jason Schmidt, Mark Mulder. However, something about those two make me more nervous. Age, timing of recent surgeries, etc.

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