Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hermanson becomes first Sox signing

Dustin Hermanson became the first free agent to sign with the White Sox when he inked a 2-year, $5.5 million contract on Tuesday. The Sox also have a $3.5 million option for 2007.

Thumbs up. But, only slightly. In fact, call it one thumb up, one thumb down.

Of course, even though many are inclined to point to Hermanson’s ERA and say he’s simply the benefactor of a lot of saves, let’s take a look at his peripheral numbers in each role.















Like a lot of minor league pitchers that shift roles, Hermanson’s peripherals looked a little better. Not a lot – mind you sample-size issues apply – but enough to think he’ll be a better reliever than a starter.

And he wasn’t a bad starter. Granted, he was at best a league-average starter, but he wasn’t bad. His ERA+ from his last four years as a starter have been 114, 131, 112 and 104. And even though those years are 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2003, that’s still better than anything Jaret Wright can boast – and he just signed for three years and $23 million.

Now, Hermanson isn’t going to morph into Dennis Eckersley or anything. But he will be a decent swingman, sliding from the bullpen to the fifth starter spot should the Sox fail to land another pitcher. He wouldn’t be a great fifth starter (like Esteban Loaiza two years ago), but as we’ve covered before… getting anything close to league average at that spot will be a huge improvement.

Could the Sox have manufactured a guy like this out of a minor league free agent and saved some money? Sure. They could have, but that’s always a dicey proposition. Especially for a team like the Sox that has a hard time luring free agents, major or minor.

So this hole could have been filled cheaper, or with a better player. But it’s still not a bad move.

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