In the first installment of Free Agent Spotlight
we will examine the value of SP/RP Justin Duchscherer who last pitched in 2008 with the Oakland Athletics, but sat out all of last season battling Clinical Depression. Clinical Depression and other anxiety disorders has become a common occurence in the MLB with recent battlers being Dontrelle Willis and Zack Greinke. When looking at Willis and Greinke you see exact opposites one who has only ad 14 starts the last 2 seasons with an ERA of about 8.00 and the other the 2009 AL Cy Young winner. So where exactly to you put Duchscherer? Willis had a few good seasons but his actually skill had been doubted, and Greinke has been seen for years as a talent who was just waiting to blossom. Duchscherer’s career numbers look great and all of it has been done in the AL which has become important when lookin at performances by a pitcher (for instance Willis was great in the NL, but crumbled in the AL). I can also give Duchscherer a little break when diagnosing how worrysome his depression is on the fact his anxiety/depression was in large part because he did not want to be away from his son.
If he has truely gotten himself in a good place mentally he can be a huge FA steal along with Ben Sheets and Rich Harden if they stay healthy. Duchscherer has even more value because of the fact he had three very successful seasons as a reliever and then was a shut down starter in 2008 with the Athletics. In fact Justin Duchscherer may just fit perfectly into the Yankees plans. They could most likely get away with paying him much under his value and he is a slot guy who can pitch in relief or start depending on what happens with Hughes and Chamberlain. Overall I think Duchscherer will come away with about a 6MM contract filled with incentives that could make his deal worth up to about double whatever the contract ends up being for (if 6MM then 12MM). Duchscherer will be 32 at the start of the 2010 season and definitely has the potential to be the Zack Greinke of 2010. After all he has gone through I wish him much luck, unless he signs with Boston of course.