Overpaying for Relief pitching

Posted: January 14, 2011 in Braves, Free Agent, Rays, Yankees

I believe you can take a great arm and convert them into a closer. The best example of this was Jason Isringhausen who went from a middle of the pack starting pitcher, to all-star closer.  Its seems Billy Beane is credited with this idea, and I sure thinks it makes sense especially for teams who need to get creative.

The Orioles have just signed reliever Kevin Gregg for 5 million a year. Yes, this is the failed closer of the Cubs, Marlins, Jays, and now most likely the Orioles. As bad as this signing sounds, the Yankees just did something worse than this. You see, whoever signs Rafael Soriano not only has to pay him a big contract, they have to surrender a high end draft pick to the Rays. Soriano did have a breakout season in 2011 with the Rays and is said to have been the best closer in the American league in 2010.  The Braves precisely got rid of Soriano not so much for his talent. There were concerns about his erratic ability to stay  healthy, along with how much money he would make in arbitration. They basically did a salary dump trade on the Rays who were willing to take a gamble on him. His great season priced him out of the Rays plans for 2011, and he was looking to cash in on his performance.

It just seems that there were limited options of where Soriano would be a fit. His choices seemed to be the Yankees, or the Yankees, or the Yankees.  Soriano and his agent were clearly looking for a payday, and it didn’t matter what role they would get with a new team. The Yankees GM initially stated that he would not give up a first round selection for anyone but a Cliff Lee. I started to think that was a wise decision on Cashman’s behalf.  It seems like something new Mets GM won’t be doing anytime soon.  However, this is New York and Yankees are more so going for buzz, much more than fit.

The Yankees seemed like they bid against themselves for Soriano’s services. He will be a set up man for the next three years at about 35 million. Jake Larsen made a good point in that MFIKY has never been healthy for three years in a row.  Well, you can do the math on your own, but it will be interesting seeing if Soriano can stay healthy in 2011.

On a side note, we know about the numerous draft picks the Rays are accumulating with these free agent signings.  I wonder how much cash will be handed out to the Rays free agents in total. You are talking about a boat load  of money!


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