Sep. 20 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings (15) delivers a pitch during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

San Diego Padres sign Micah Owings


The San Diego Padres have added some pitching depth by signing former Arizona Diamondbacks starter Micah Owings to a one-year deal worth $1 million. Initial reports said that this deal was a minor-league contract, but it was later reported to be a one-year pact between the Padres and Owings. The top hitting pitcher had his first season out of the negatives since 2008 with a 0.1 WAR in 2011, but he has not been worth 1 WAR since then. The 2008 season was his last with the Diamondbacks, and he was worth exactly 1 WAR after a career-high 1.7 WAR rookie year in 2007.

Owings owns a career 4.91 ERA in 473.1 innings, and his ERA is right in line with his predictive, DIPS. He doesn’t generate many groundballs, and he strikes out under seven batters per inning, while also managing to walk more than three per nine. Owings doesn’t allow a high BABIP, but he has a career HR/9 rate of 1.20. PETCO will help him out in this regard, but pitchers who don’t get grounders or strikeout hitters are usually useless. Owings is a replacement-level pitcher, and his role with the Padres will be just that. He is a decent depth player who can hit well for a pitcher, but Owings is nothing more than that.

Back in 2009, his first season with the Cincinnati Reds, Micah Owings was worth -0.4 WAR in 119.2 innings of terrible baseball.  He had a 5.67 FIP and struck out just 5.11 hitters per nine with an unsightly 4.81 BB/9. He allowed home runs in bunches, and Owings was a huge liability.

Last season yielded Owings’s career low 4.21 SIERA, but all is not well for the 29-year-old right-hander. He allowed a line drive on just 16.6% of his at-bats, but line drive rates fluctuate leaving him looking at a lucky outcome in 2011. His line drive rate against will most likely creep back up to his career- and normal- 20% average.

Micah Owings has traded his declining fastball for a solid cutter, and this new pitch is his best one. Things could change after 63 innings of tape on him, but his cutter is the closest thing to a legitimate pitch for him. Owings change-up is well below-average, and his slider isn’t the greatest out-pitch in the world either.

$1 million players are worth 0.2 WAR, and Micah Owings isn’t even worth an MLB contract. Usually these types of low-risk, dirt cheap signings are good for ballclubs, but this was an unnecessary signing. It is impossible for this to be a terrible move, but Owings is more of a liability than a depth piece at this point. He might even be below the replacement level, and he will receive a couple of spot starts this season in an ideal scenario. The Padres have more pitching depth, but this wasn’t exactly a good signing for them.

 

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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Cincinnati Reds Micah Owings San Diego Padres

  • ChickenFriars

    Joe, sorry I ddn’t get to this yesterday. I had meant to. I like your take. It differs from most (including mine). Artificially or not, Owings should hit at least 0.2 WAR with San Diego. I’d bet he hits anywhere between 0.4-0.8 WAR. PETCO Park is obviously the reason. I doubt he will make the rotation, so he will likely be used as a situational guy from the pen. With Bud Black’s pitching background, his understanding of PETCO’s effect, and his ability to use guys in the right spot, I doubt Owings will even have the opportunity to fail. Obviously he could just collapse, but used properly, Owings should reduce his ERA, his HR/9 ratio, and increase his K% with San Diego. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t outperform his $1 million contract, but you make a compelling argument.

  • ChickenFriars

    Joe, sorry I ddn’t get to this yesterday. I had meant to. I like your take. It differs from most (including mine). Artificially or not, Owings should hit at least 0.2 WAR with San Diego. I’d bet he hits anywhere between 0.4-0.8 WAR. PETCO Park is obviously the reason. I doubt he will make the rotation, so he will likely be used as a situational guy from the pen. With Bud Black’s pitching background, his understanding of PETCO’s effect, and his ability to use guys in the right spot, I doubt Owings will even have the opportunity to fail. Obviously he could just collapse, but used properly, Owings should reduce his ERA, his HR/9 ratio, and increase his K% with San Diego. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t outperform his $1 million contract, but you make a compelling argument.

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  • http://calltothepen.com/ SorianoJoe

    @ChickenFriars It does differ, and your argument is more rational and much more compelling. I am going under the presumption that Owings is a replacement-level pitcher no matter the ballpark or set-up, but I agree that it isn’t that hard to outperform a $1 million contract. However, the Padres basically wasted a roster space when this rebuilding squad could just promote somebody to see what they have. You have more knowledge of this team than I do, so take my opinion lightly. This is one of those “well, it ain’t bad but I wish you didn’t do it” kind of deals. You know, the moves the Dodgers have been making for most of the offseason.

  • ChickenFriars

    @SorianoJoe The wasting of a roster spot that could otherwise be filled internally is a valid point. However, I’m guessing the team uses roster expansion in September to try out prospects like Robbie Erlin and Joe Weiland. Of course we may see them sooner if anyone gets hurt. You make valid arguments and the signing was probably not a necessary one.

  • http://calltothepen.com/ SorianoJoe

    @ChickenFriars It does differ, and your argument is more rational and much more compelling. I am going under the presumption that Owings is a replacement-level pitcher no matter the ballpark or set-up, but I agree that it isn’t that hard to outperform a $1 million contract. However, the Padres basically wasted a roster space when this rebuilding squad could just promote somebody to see what they have. You have more knowledge of this team than I do, so take my opinion lightly. This is one of those “well, it ain’t bad but I wish you didn’t do it” kind of deals. You know, the moves the Dodgers have been making for most of the offseason.

  • ChickenFriars

    @SorianoJoe The wasting of a roster spot that could otherwise be filled internally is a valid point. However, I’m guessing the team uses roster expansion in September to try out prospects like Robbie Erlin and Joe Weiland. Of course we may see them sooner if anyone gets hurt. You make valid arguments and the signing was probably not a necessary one.

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