FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. Where does Darren Oliver fit? Despite his age, he seems to be one of the top LHR options.

    Comment by Tanner Scheppers — October 25, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  2. To put him in context of the names mentioned, his WAR over the past two seasons (the common stat of the article) is right in line with K-Rod, Heath Bell, and Ryan Madson at 2.9

    Comment by Tanner Scheppers — October 25, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  3. Um, Jonathon Broxton?

    Comment by Chair — October 25, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  4. He is 41, but honestly he has been (emphasis on been) one of the better lefty options over the past couple of years. There is no denying his past performance, but I’m not sure which category a 41YO reliever that throws in the mid-high 80s belongs. It’s a great question, I wish I had the answer.

    Comment by Noah Isaacs — October 25, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  5. be careful with the following.
    You said:
    “In addition to his three WAR, he had a career best 1.53 FIP.”

    This above is a mistaken statement. He had 3 WAR because he had 1.53 FIP in his innings pitched.

    Doesn’t Fangraphs base WAR on FIP?

    Comment by Josh — October 25, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  6. Could be a sleeper, but last year was very concerning. His velocity was way down, and coming off of elbow surgery, it is hard to trust him until we see him pitch again.

    Comment by Noah Isaacs — October 25, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  7. He had a 3 WAR because he was able to sustain a 1.53 FIP over 67 innings. Romo had a .96 FIP this year, but was less valuable because he didn’t pitch as much. FIP does not equal WAR. Also, I think WAR is any easier stat to internalize, but both are important in evaluating pitchers.

    Comment by Noah Isaacs — October 25, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  8. Point is, you mentioned nearly everyone, so why not be thorough and mention Broxton?

    Comment by Chair — October 25, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

  9. Seriously…u say there are 55 free agents, but leave out 5 of them????? What were you thinking?

    Comment by Chair — October 25, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  10. Point taken – see bottom note.

    Comment by Noah Isaacs — October 25, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  11. “[Joe Nathan] could prove to be a steal for some team.” Uh, no. The Twins are closer obsessed. They will probably resign him and two other closer for a grand total of $25M/yr.

    Comment by barkey Walker — October 25, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

  12. Why any team would spend a massive sum of money on an individual relief pitcher after witnessing Tampa Bay throw together a cost-effective and overall effective bullpen is beyond me, but it will surely happen. All owners of MLB teams should be pointing to what Tampa Bay is doing on a small budget and ask management, “Why can’t we do that?”

    Comment by Robbie G. — October 25, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  13. Chair, please try harder to not embarrass yourself.

    Comment by Ivorytower212 — October 25, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  14. Teams are getting better about overpaying for relievers. Heath Bell didn’t even get traded in his walk year.

    Comment by Dekker — October 25, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  15. I’m pleasantly surprised that Brian Tallet got a mention, because it was a mention of ineptitude. That guy has cursed the Jays long enough!

    Comment by SC2GG — October 25, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  16. I would prefer that to the White Sox anti-closer approach, which resulted in a number of blown saves to start the season and set the tone for a disastrous season.

    Comment by James — October 25, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  17. Sorry if I seem too critical. I like how everything else in this article was formatted and organized. Makes sense to split up the left handed and right handed relievers, since that’s how interested teams are going to be looking at them. I would have done the same for the outfield free agent piece, as most of the free agents are no more than 4th outfielders/platoon men, teams are going to be paying attention to their handedness.

    Comment by Chair — October 25, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  18. What evidence is there that Madson won’t sustain his current production over a reasonable multi-year contract? Since this seems to be the only thing that separates Madson from Papelbon in your analysis, it would help if you gave an explicit reason (especially since Madson’s FIP is better than Papelbon’s over the last 3 years). Is it just that Madson has gone from being a mid-90s thrower who occasionally hit the upper-90s to a mid-90s thrower who doesn’t get any higher?

    Comment by LTG — October 25, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  19. Is Koji Uehara a free agent? He could make for a fantastic acquisition for somebody, especially a team in a big ballpark where his FB tendencies would be less dangerous.

    Comment by Aaron — October 25, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

  20. Robbie, the difficult part is figuring out if TB is really good at putting together a cheap bullpen, or if they just got lucky. Every year there are scrap-heap relievers that do well. Hit on 2-3 of them, and you look great. Don’t hit on them, and you look like fools.

    Some deals are downright stupid, like paying good money for average relievers. But I can see why a contender would pay a premium for a known quantity.

    Comment by vivalajeter — October 25, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  21. He has a vesting option for 2012 based on games finished. I think (based on the fact that he is not listed on some Free Agent lists) that his option vested and that he will not be a free agent in 2012.

    Comment by Noah Isaacs — October 25, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  22. So, I take it Brandon League falls into the “near replacement level” bin. Or middle of the road?

    Comment by gus — October 25, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

  23. As a NATS fan since day one, it is sad to see Luis Ayala listed as replacement level. Prior to the fist WBC he was an outstanding reliever, but he injured his arm at the WBC. We could have one a game or two more most of the last 5 seasons had he stayed healthy.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — October 25, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  24. fist = first

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — October 25, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  25. This is correct. Option for $4mm in 2012 kicked in after his 55th appearance this year.

    Comment by Tanner Scheppers — October 25, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

  26. Brandon League is not a free agent, at least not at this time. He’s headed into his final arbitration season, and will almost certainly be tendered by Seattle.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — October 25, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

  27. very good article and I agree closers and Bull pens are very hard to get right
    plainly though Papelbon is a good choice–Broxton could be a sleeper also for the right price and maybe Krod but I would have to see that he is ok mentally as well as phisically and no more than 2 years @ 5 million per year at the most-Madson could be good but about 5.5 million at 2 years also–Bull pen is tuff and sometimes its better to go with rookies and no-names–After you have a good closer and setup guy it is a crapshoot–I would consult everyone of my coaches and GM to

    Comment by ray — October 25, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  28. You think I’m joking but the Twins payed $17.5 M in 2011 for 29 saves from Capps and Nathan and then thought about trading Denard Span for the second best relief pitcher on the Nats who was, “a closer”.

    Comment by barkey Walker — October 25, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

  29. Chuck Norris abides.

    Comment by Choo — October 26, 2011 @ 2:32 am

  30. Didn’t the playoffs show why contenders like to overpay for relievers? Relievers matter more in the post-season than they do in the regular season, and if you’re a contender it might be a good idea to get a few top-tier relievers.

    Also a lot of teams have no idea how to build an effective bullpen. Those teams tend to also spend a bunch of money on bullpen arms. These teams are also usually small-market and bad (*cough* Houston *cough*)

    Comment by valencia — October 26, 2011 @ 4:30 am

  31. According to Cots both the Rockies pitchers you mentioned are not free agents.

    Comment by Silencio — October 26, 2011 @ 6:17 am

  32. I read an article here one time about this very situation. Relievers are freely available. A team like Tampa will throw them out to pitch and if they aren’t any good, they go with another cheap asset and hope it works out. Eventually, they will assemble a pretty good bullpen. The problem is that they could lose a lot of games before they get to this point. A team like New York does not want to lose these games because, with their team salary, they can throw away money on relievers if only to get relievers that have an increased chance of being good.

    A team like Baltimore or KC has no business buying relievers as losing a few more games while building their bullpen is not really a problem.

    Comment by Bill — October 26, 2011 @ 6:58 am

  33. The only reason relievers matter so much this year is because the team’s with good starting pitching got knocked out early. What worked this year will not necessarily be a template of success next season.

    Comment by gu03alum — October 26, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  34. It appears that you are correct. Sorry for the mix-up. They’re both set to be Free Agents in ’13, I must’ve jumped the gun – I won’t let that happen again, but good catch.

    Comment by Noah Isaacs — October 26, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  35. Bill, I agree with you on that. It doesn’t make sense for a bad, low-budget team to overpay for a closer. For a contender it’s another story.

    Comment by vivalajeter — October 26, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  36. His option vested and the Orioles are picking up $2M of his salary next year as part of the trade deal.

    Comment by t ball — October 26, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  37. Spending money on elite relivers is smart spending much of anything on average->barely good relievers is retarded. Growing them is far more logical, look what the padre’s do they constantly have among the best bullpens put together by spare parts and arb eligible players. The plan they run is not “luck” either since towers went to Arizona and put together a pretty good bullpen after the huge mess Arizona’s was last year. Hell if you grow enough you can trade a few of your extra’s to desperate teams for players like Maybin or (Nats traded for him) Ramos.

    Step 1 collect live arms(usually flawed ones teams undervalue), step 2 run them as starters til upper minors then let them loose in ml bullpen, or convert failed starters with good stuff to relievers. step 3 collect nearly free above replacement lvl bullpen work.

    Like honestly if i was a team i would take a shot on Kyle Davies from the royals put him in the pen and see if it works, guy has decent stuff im sure he would be replacement level atleast. Pretty sure he’ll get non tendered this offseason too.

    Comment by aj — October 26, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  38. Best thing about the entire “plan” if you fail on 10+players in this mold you will still spend millions less then the O’s are paying for Gregg and his “closer mentality”.

    Comment by aj — October 26, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

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