MLB: ALCS-Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees

That Boone Logan just signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Colorado Rockies is proof of two things. Number one: we continually need to adjust our expectations for what makes a bad contract. Number two: this is a bad contract.

It isn’t that Boone Logan is a bad pitcher. Quite the opposite, he’s an excellent pitcher. He’s one of the finest left-handed relievers in baseball, mowing down lefty batters at an uncommon rate. No other left-handed reliever has more strikeouts against arm-sided batters over the last two years.

Logan’s greatest strength as a relief pitch is he isn’t a strict LOOGY, facing just only 11 more LHB in 2013 (out of 159 total batters faced.) In 2012, Joe Girardi‘s binder called upon Boone Logan more than any other reliever in baseball, appearing in a league-leading 80 games that season.

If you’re a Yankees fan, you don’t need me to demonstrate Boone Logan’s utility right now. He’s good at his job, however limited his job might be in the grand scheme of things.

Which is what makes this contract sort of bad. Logan isn’t overpaid compared to the market, he’s overpaid compared to his utility to the Rockies. The Rockies have a decent pen, if we’re being honest. Some nice pieces including the recently signed LaTroy Hawkins, Rex Brothers (another lefty), and Matt Belisle. (Worth noting – the Rockies pen now features three players in the top ten for most meltdowns over the last four years.)

Decent pieces on a team that, thanks to a ballpark that turns most starting pitchers into simpering infants after five innings, needs a lot of bullpen depth. But do they need an expensive bullpen? The way the Rockies spent money this offseason suggests they’re bound and determined to be less awful without worrying about actually being good.

Bringing in Brett Anderson is a good start but signings like Justin Morneau, Hawkins, and Logan don’t change the fate of this team in the foreseeable future. The farm might produce some nice arms in the future but the Rockies are nearing the low end of the ebb. There climb up towards competitiveness cannot begin until the descent completes.

They might be headed in the right direction but this seems like an expensive luxury for a team that doesn’t really need it. Is Boone Logan the difference between Colorado winning 75 games or 78 games? Not even.

The market dictates even medium-leverage relievers end up with three-year deals worth $16M dollars. Unless money is suddenly no object for anyone, I don’t see how the Rockies truly benefit from this signing. Maybe they can trade him at the deadline next year?

Good for Boone Logan on getting paid and good on the Rockies for…not being the Astros? Have to hope their new player development setup starts paying dividends soon lest they squander the peak of their well-paid relievers.