There’s an old adage that says there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal.
What often goes unsaid is that sometimes a one-year deal can turn out really well.
In the case of Mike Pelfrey, who signed a $4 million deal with the Minnesota Twins (according to Bruce Brothers of TwinCities.com), this is a great example of why teams should always look for someone willing to take a one-year contract.
Yes, I know, Pelfrey is coming off of a Tommy John surgery, but now much-hyped prospect Kyle Gibson can have a something-from-my-leg-is-in-my-arm buddy.
And yes, despite being 6’7” and throwing in the 92 to 94 MPH range (pre-surgery), he’s considered a ground-ball pitcher, but that’s all right; we love those guys.
Instead of focusing on potential negatives, as fans of a struggling team tend to do, let’s look at how sweet this signing could potentially be.
For starters, Pelfrey is in the prime of his career. He will be 29 in January and if all goes well, he’s got plenty of great baseball left in him.
Secondly, he has a lot of potential.
A first-round pick of Wichita State University in 2005, Pelfrey could have gone higher, but as a Scott Boras client, he scared a couple of the more parsimonious teams in the league into choosing other players. The New York Mets selected him ninth overall.
From 2008 to 2010, he recorded double-digit wins, going 13-11, 10-12 and 15-9, respectively. He struggled to put wins on the board in 2011, however, going 7-13. But then again, he was playing for the Mets.
Finally, there’s a chance that he comes back and throws even harder than he did before, as some pitchers do after undergoing Tommy John surgery. It’s not hard to see how a player as tall as he is can pitch in the mid-90s.
A sinkerball pitcher by trade (don’t freak out; it’s not Nick Blackburn in disguise), Pelfrey worked on adding a curveball to his repertoire two years ago and will not have to lean on his fastball if he has trouble with it while recovering from surgery.
In the end, it’s a one-year deal.
The pessimist will say that he’ll have a phenomenal year and then cost too much to keep around, but the increased revenue from the new park should give them the financial clout to keep him around if he takes off this year.
If he struggles, his contract is up at the end of the year.
And that, sports fans, is the joy of the one-year deal.
Tom Schreier covers the Twins for Bleacher Report and writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.