Entering his 15th year in the Major Leagues, starting pitcher Carl Pavano has had his share of bad luck through a vast array of injuries but has always managed to stay employed. And his pain and suffering has not been just your everyday more common ailments, but bizarre and freakish ones that continued to sideline him throughout his career.
He got his start in professional ball when he was selected in the 13th round of the 1994 amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox. In one of the Red Sox’ more famous trades, Pavano, along with Tony Armas Jr. were dealt to the then Montreal Expos for one Pedro Martinez. He made his debut on May 23, 1998 and went on to pitch for 4 1/2 seasons with the Expos, ending up with a dismal record of 24-35 in only 78 starts. His ERA was a meager 4.83. The only memorable thing that he did in 1998 was give up home run number 70 to a juiced up Mark McGwire.
In mid-season of 2002, he was traded to the Florida Marlins and it was there that the onset of his injury plagued career began. After the Marlins won the World Series in 2003, Pavano went on to have his best season in the majors in ’04 when he went 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA. It was off of that performance that the Yankees decided to sign him to a four year $39.95 million dollar contract, which, as it turned out, was one of the worst deals that the Bombers ever made. It rivaled the disastrous trade of SP Ed Whitson from the San Diego Padres back in the 80′s.. one of the worst in Yankee history, but that’s another story.
Amazingly, Boston, Cleveland, and Cincinnati actually offered Pavano bigger deals but he decided to accept the Yankees offer feeling that he would have a better opportunity to get to the Post Season in New York. And then the barrage of injuries began to overcome Pavano and further frustrate Yankee management as well as the fans. In June of 2005 he injured his right shoulder and went on the DL. He finished that season making only 17 starts and finishing 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA.
In 2006 he began the season by injuring his buttocks in Spring Training. He remained on the DL and only made a few minor leagues starts before returning to the DL in August when he broke 2 ribs in an automobile accident. He did not make one start in the majors in 2006. After he was named as the starting pitcher opening up the 2007 season (Chien-Ming Wang had injured his right hamstring), our man Pavano once again returned to the DL on April 15th with what was described as an “elbow strain”. On May 23, 2007, it was reported that Pavano would opt for Tommy John Surgery in his elbow.
He wouldn’t make his next start until August of 2008. On September 14th, after allowing just three earned runs over six innings, and after a visit from Joe Giradi, Pavano walked off the field with what was a left hip injury. He was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Stadium fans.
He was traded to Cleveland in 2009, and then to the Twins where he remains to this day. He is back in the news once again as earlier this week Pavano damaged his Spleen while shoveling snow outside his Vermont home. He will remain out, for what has been reported, 6-8 weeks. And the hits just keep on coming…
Point is he has had a great deal of financial success over his career, amassing over $50 million in salaries (not including incentives) over his 14 year career; one that has seen him win just 108 games or about an average of 8 games a season, while losing 107 with a career 4.39 ERA. Injuries notwithstanding, he has always been employed even with his long history of injuries which begs the question, ” Why?” Just lucky I guess…