I thought maybe some sleep would help. I thought that a little bit of rest would change the fact that the Astros Offseason of Change and Hope lasted about 56 hours. But it didn't. The Astros have indeed picked up Moehler's option.
“We informed Moehler today that we want to pick up his option,” Ed Wade said. “He has the right to decline. We’re optimistic that Brian is going to be back with us next year.”
Here were Wade's options:
1) Pay Moehler $250,000 to find another job next season and open up the rotation to younger, cheaper pitchers
2) Pick up his option, pay him the $3 million, and go into the offseason with a rotation of Roy, Wandy, Norris, and Moehler.
Oh yes (/drippingsarcasm), this was the best decision.
In 2009, Moehler posted an 8-12 record with a 5.47 ERA. In 154.2IP, Moehler gave up 21 home runs, struck out just 91 batters, and walked 51. Batters hit .300 against Moehler in 2009, when the league average was .263. His 1.54 was higher than the 1.39 league average, though he was unluckier than most as the BABIP for the league was .303, and Moehler's was a stacked .325.
Still, FanGraphs put Moehler's value at $4.1 million this year, approximately $1.6 million higher than his salary.
Yet I remain ridiculously angry about this. Was Moehler dealing with a knee injury all year long? Probably. Was he doing the Astros any favors by continuing to pitch? Not really. He put together the most underwhelming series of quality starts that I can remember, rarely made it out of the 6th (He was pulled before the end of the 6th in 15 of 29 starts). He also had eight Disaster Starts, compared to 11 Quality Starts, and his line in September? 6GS, 0-3, 6.37 ERA/1.65 WHIP, 14K:12BB, .303/.366/.508 against.
Where could that $3 million have gone? Anywhere else. LaHawk. Arbitration raises for Bourn or Pence. Can all this be attributed to a bum knee that was fixed yesterday? Maybe. But in an off-season where Ed and Drayton promised to get younger and cheaper, the first chance they had to hold up their end just went right out the window, and on a team where payroll is expected to be "slashed," giving $3 million to Brian Moehler looks like a poor decision.
The mutual option says that Moehler can decline the option and become a free agent, but why would he?