The Rockies gave up Huston Street for a player to be named later from the Padres. The Padres will reportedly pick up almost all of Street's salary. This is curious because the Padres are always toward the bottom in league payroll and Street will make 7.5 million in 2012. Can the Padres afford to pay that much for a reliever? The obvious answer is no. The Padres had just 45 million dollars in payroll in 2011, meaning they can only afford just above a million dollars per WAR if they expect to make the playoffs. So Street would be expected to make a 7.5 WAR in 2012 right? It is impossible for a reliever to put up that kind of WAR, and only the elite starting pitchers accomplish this. In fact, over the past 3 years, Street has a WAR average of 1.13, worth just over a million dollars to the salary (and 3.4 million according to the Halladay Standard). There has also been some regression on Street's part as these statistics show (hattip to High Heat Stats, the order is 09/10/11):
ERA+: 154 / 129 / 117 K/9: 10.2 / 8.6 / 8.5 WHIP: 0.908 / 1.056 / 1.217 HR/9: 1.0 / 1.0 / 1.5
This is further shown by PE: in 2011, his PE was -.07 compared to a career PE
of -2.75. The latter is much closer to the elite relief pitchers, but he pitched like an
average competent reliever in 2011. One may scream "Coors!", but that doesn't
explain the smaller strikeout rate. He did have a SIERA of 2.76 in 2011, and in the
Padres very spacious park, there is a chance he could have an ERA of even lower
in 2012. However, he certainly isn't worth that kind of money.
Along with being able to dump salary, the Rockies also got Nick Schmidt as the
player to be named later. Schmidt has never even been to AA, so it is hard to
project where he will be according to our metrics, but he has had a serviceable
.66 PE as a starter in his minor league career. He is a little old though at 26,
but the big thing is that the Rockies got rid of that terrible contract, and that is
why they are winners in this deal.