i ran some more numbers to get a comparative basis for assessing the looper signing. this time went back three seasons, 2003-2005, and looked at four guys: looper tavarez farnsworth and howry. (howry hardly pitched in 2003, so i swapped in 2002 to get his 3-year set.) this survey did not change my mind about the merits of this contract. looper looks for all the world to me like a slightly weaker version of julian tavarez. looper yields a higher batting avg than julian, strikes guys out at about the same rate, and had a higher era in each of the three seasons in question. his ops allowed is 40 points higher than julian's -- and 55 points higher than brad thompson's, for that matter. despite the high-90s fastball, looper is no power pitcher -- no more so than tavarez was. he yields more than a hit per inning, and that's no aberration born of his sore shoulder last year -- he yielded more than a hit per inning in all three seasons. the data:
remember, these are three-year totals --- they include looper's healthy and effective 03 and 04 seasons. la russa/dunc will prob'y improve looper's stat line by shielding him from left-handed hitters -- but if a guy is only a partial setup reliever, why pay him the full-time rate? they're paying bobby howry money for a pitcher who's only equipped to do 2/3 of howry's job. it's safe to project that looper will more or less match tavarez's numbers, which is good -- he'll be rendering a much-needed service. but as i said at the outset, this is about the money. if jocketty had re-signed tavarez for 3 yrs / $13.5m, who would have applauded that deal? not many of you, i bet. but that's essentially what the cardinals have done.