After what appeared to be some back and forth negotiations, lefty specialist Joe Beimel signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies on Monday. This must be a disappointing development for Beimel, who made nearly $4 million over the last two years.
Beimel is a LOOGY, plain and simple. Over the course of his career, Beimel has performed well against left handed pitchers, with an FIP of 3.62. When forced to face right handers, his production plummets, as his FIP rises over a full run to 4.75. This is due to an increase in walk rate and a complete inability to strike batters out. Against right handed batters, Beimel’s K/BB is an abysmal 0.90.
Despite this poor performance against righties, Beimel has put up 1.9 WAR since 2007. Even at age 33, CHONE projects Beimel to be worth about half a win in 2010. If Colorado can limit his exposure to right handers, then there’s a good chance that he can reproduce his 2007 and 2008 numbers with the Dodgers, in which Beimel averaged 0.8 WAR per season. There is, of course, some risk with any 33 year old reliever, but that risk is far outweighed by the potential reward in this case.
I find it hard to believe that there weren’t other teams willing to bid against the Rockies to raise Beimel’s price to at least some guaranteed money. At 33, the aging process may be taking hold of Beimel, but he’s still a good bet to be a major-league quality LOOGY, and that’s worth at least $1 million dollars in this market, if not more. The Rockies got a steal here, and especially with Huston Street to miss time, this move could have an impact on a tight NL West race.
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