A wise man once said, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” With that being said, I thought we should take a minute to look at one of the few bright spots the 2014 Phillies have blessed us with: Jerome Williams. As a Phillie, Williams is 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA. Over eight starts, he’s averaging right around 6.1 innings per start with a slim 1.09 WHIP. He’s also limited opponents to a batting average just above the Mendoza line at .216. In fact, before Saturday’s start against the Athletics, Williams’ WAR as a Phillie, according to baseball-reference was at 1.1, his highest since 2005.
So what should that mean going forward? Williams is a free agent after the season and the Phillies will need arms until the likes of Nola, Biddle, etc. are deemed ready. So should the Phillies commit? Let’s look a little deeper. First off, Williams’ Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, is hovering right around 4.00, almost double his ERA. Secondly, opposing hitters’ Batting Average of Balls In Play, or BABIP, is .252, a career low. This tells us that opposing hitters have been very “unlucky”, hitting balls well within range of even our defensively challenged players.
While Williams has appeared to be more impressive than he actually is, we also need to take into account one other thing. Pitchers in general, tend to have more success when switching from the American League to the National League. They no longer have to face a designated hitter and, for the most part, they face hitters that they generally have little-to-no experience against. Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate everything Williams has done, but I don’t think he’s an “all in” option this winter.
I’d easily offer Williams a heavily incentive laden deal of one year at $3M. The incentives would be based on innings pitched, $1M at 125, 150, and 175 innings each. At 185 innings, a number Williams has never achieved, a vesting option for 2016 would kick in with a base of $5M with same incentives as 2015. That would max Williams out at two years and $14M if he were to hit all his incentives.
With that being said, I do think it’s very possible that National League teams look at his final ten starts or so, ignore the peripheral stats, and offer Scott Kazmir money (2 years/$20M). Hopefully Ruben Amaro Jr is not in place as GM, because you know he’ll end up in a bidding war with himself and end up being the fool parted with his money.
Tags: 2015 Phillies, Free Agency, Jerome Williams