This is what I said on December 13, 2013.
“I would definitely like to know what's going on inside the minds of the Rockies front office. I do understand why they would like to have Boone Logan as a left-handed specialist in their bullpen. They do have Rex Brothers and Josh Outman from the left side already, both of whom are already pretty tough on left-handers, Brothers, especially.
But Logan is a nice piece to add to any bullpen. He's been worth 3.2 WAR over the past four years (with the Yankees!), so he's actually been a bit underrated. But $16.5 million for a guy you don't REALLY need? Aren't the Rockies supposedly on a tight budget? Lefty specialists are overpaid enough already. Now we have one making over $5 million a year. The Rockies needed to get another cheap starter, not a guy who will throw about 150 innings over three years!
Good for Boone, though.”
A couple days later, I provided some much more in-depth analysis:
“Boone Logan is a perfectly good left-handed reliever. Yes, he's really only good against lefties. In his career, lefties have batted only .243/.312/.378 while right-handers have hit .297/.379/.475. Those numbers against right-handed batters are awfully awful. Fortunately, Logan has been even more effective against lefties recently (.221/.274/.377 in 2013). Oddly, he was actually WORSE against lefties in 2011: .789 OPS from left-handed batters and only a .673 OPS from right-handed batters. Even then, he was still effective overall. He's just been a solid pitcher for the past four seasons with New York.
Understandably, a good number of teams had interest in the left-hander. He's been worth an average of 0.8 WAR over the past four years, so a deal worth about $8-10 million over a couple of years made some sense. But the Colorado Rockies apparently wanted him more than everyone else, because they threw $16.5 million and three years at him. Let us ponder that contract for a moment. That is $5 million plus to a pitcher who will throw about 50-60 innings in each of the next three seasons. He could be worth about 80 percent of that. He could also get smacked around in games at Coors Field and become essentially replacement level. It's not like this guy is some sort of elite. Heck, he got more money than Joe Smith, and Smith is a better reliever. Smith has been worth 1.4 WAR on average in the past four seasons. From a WAR to dollars perspective, Smith may actually earn the $5 million a year he was given. That's going to be much more of a stretch for Logan.
What's more puzzling about this situation is that apparently Rockies director of baseball operations Bill Geivett was intent on signing a left-handed reliever. Reportedly, the Rockies were in on J.P. Howell, who is also a better pitcher than Logan. Howell, in fact, is just as good against lefties and is slightly better against right-handers. Howell is still available and a slightly inferior pitcher gets signed to a bigger deal that several superior relievers (including Javier Lopez) have already signed.
This is a major win for Boone Logan and his agent. The Rockies didn't need him since they had both Rex Brothers and Josh Outman who are already better than him against lefties. Brothers is actually ridiculous against lefties (career .549 OPS against lefties) and Outman is even better (career .523 OPS against). Logan will probably pitch just fine, but this is an incredibly curious use of money after signing a bargain in LaTroy Hawkins and acquiring a high-upside starter in Brett Anderson. Sometimes, their plans are simply never clear.”
To be fair, it’s probably a good thing that the Rockies signed Logan. Rex Brothers blew up, and besides having some good results in 2015, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since. Outman hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014 after having some serious issues with walks.
But Logan had a very rough 2014. Despite getting plenty of strikeouts, he also gave up a lot of home runs. In 2015, he was at least passable. His 2016, however, was very solid. After posting WAR marks of -0.4 and 0.3 in his first two seasons, he put up 0.8 WAR in 2016. Essentially he was worth 0.7 WAR over 3 seasons. While that’s not terrible for a reliever, really, that’s definitely not worth $16.5 million.
So I was right. This wasn’t a very smart move financially. But baseball wise, it wasn’t all too horrible. In any case, it worked out extremely well for Boone Logan!