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Is Drew Pomeranz worth $34 million?

Similar salaried players suggest the answer is no

MLB: San Diego Padres at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres signed Drew Pomeranz to a 4 year, eyebrow raising 34 Million dollar contract. Ok... cool.

A.J. Preller has played this game before. It’s the deferred salary game.

Pomeranz has an $8 Million signing bonus deferred between 2020-2023. No matter how you spin it, the contract is worth $8.5 million a year on average. Let’s look at other players in the league with similar salaries.

**2019 Salary**

$7.4 Million

Brad Hand: 1.2 WAR 6-4 3.30 ERA 34 Saves in 2019

$9 Million

Jacob deGrom: 7.9 WAR 11-8 2.43 ERA 204 IP in 2019

$9 Million

Adam Ottavino: 2.2 WAR 6-5 1.90 ERA 66.1 IP in 2019

$8.6 Million

James Paxton: 2.1 WAR 15-6 3.82 ERA in 2019

Drew Pomeranz: 0.2 WAR 2-10 4.85 ERA

(Jose Altuve has a salary in the same range.)

Hmph.

So, maybe the argument is the guy won 17 games that one time in 2017. However, that’s like saying Brady Anderson once hit 50 homers for the Orioles. He never hit more than 24 before or after that season.

This one doesn’t pass the smell test. The elite Padres bullpens of the last 15 years never had a middle relief guy that demanded $4+ million a year, let alone $8+ million. It’s not that I’m opposed to it, but we’re not talking about Adam Ottavino. We’re talking about a guy with a career ERA over 4. It’s just odd.

The team has talked about getting to the middle of the pack in payroll, but I’m sure everyone thought the next player making that kind of money would be a legitimate stud. Not the slightly sexier version of Matt Strahm.

Drew Pomeranz could prove to be a very productive reliever for the Padres. Will he ever live up to the money he’s being paid? Time will tell, but probably not.

AJ Preller has never been risk averse. He acquired big money guys like James Shields, Matt Kemp, Eric Hosmer amongst others. He grabbed Phil Hughes off waivers for a few months effectively eating his $7 million salary. I guess what they say is true. Always play with other people’s money.

Nobody will argue making the bullpen a priority this offseason. It was a major pain point for the 2019 squad. Spending double what your elite, all-star closer makes for a guy who’s had a pretty mediocre career is what causes fans to collectively throw their arms up in confusion.

Hopefully the success Pomeranz had in the 2nd half was legit. Otherwise, we may have witnessed another Preller snafu.