Giants’ Bullpen Extensions, Part 2

Not content with just one contract extension with a relief pitcher, the Giants nabbed another on Friday with a deal for Jeremy Affeldt that tacked on another guaranteed year plus a club option. Affeldt was originally under contract for 2010 at $4 million and then scheduled to become a free agent but under his new deal will make $4.5 million both this year and next and the Giants hold a team option for 2012 at $5 million with a $500,000 buyout.

The thirty-year-old was flat out terrific for the Giants last year as long as all you care about is ERA. 1.73 was the number in question and it’s hard to get over just how low and good that is until you notice the 12.5% walk rate and .240 BABIP. Affeldt’s FIP was 3.59 which is still decent and actually the best mark of his career, but hardly earth-moving in it’s wonderfulness.

One thing he did do was become even more of an extreme ground ball pitcher. His 65% ground ball rate ranked second in the majors for qualified relievers behind only Sean Green‘s 66.2%. The thing is that with such a high ground ball rate, it makes the deflated BABIP all the more lucky and unlikely to repeat itself. 2008 Jeremy Affeldt did a superb job on limiting his walks and generating strikeouts. If he could combine that with his 2009 level of ground balls and average home run prevention, he’d be a star.

That’s a lot of wishful thinking though and in reality what is expected him from his by nearly unanimous consent of the various projections systems is about 65 innings pitches with a maintained strikeout rate, barely decreased walk rate and twice as many home runs allowed. That’s a receipe for a worse season than the one he just threw and the one he just threw made him worth about a single win, or roughly $3.5 million in value. The Giants just gave him a half million dollar pay rise up to $4.5 million and tacked on some extra years.

No, it’s not the best extension deal out there but at least it’s not an awful one either. It looks to be an overpay by about $1 million or so, but Affeldt does have his uses and it is a relatively short commitment. Call me unenthused but overly uncaring.




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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


16 Responses to “Giants’ Bullpen Extensions, Part 2”

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  1. DrBGiantsfan says:

    Now you can write another one about Matt Cain as his extension was announced this morning also. So much for Cainer being gone after 2011!!!!

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    • JH says:

      I’ve never seen someone so excited by the news that 6 players will comprise nearly 80% of his team’s payroll 3 years from now, and 4 of them are pitchers.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        You are assuming it will be 80% of the payroll. You really have no idea what their total payroll will be in 2012 now, do you?

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      • JH says:

        I know that it’s never been higher than $90million and baseball revenues are lower than at any point in a decade. That 80% figure was actually giving the Giants the benefit of the doubt that they’ll increase payroll back to 2005-2007 levels.

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      • JH says:

        I hit a wrong key. 5 of them are pitchers. And now that the terms have been released, Cain’s actually making $5 million more in 2012 than I was guessing. Cain may very well be worth that salary come 2012, but he’s not a good bet to be worth much more. The Giants can’t keep making expensive moves to pay guys roughly market value. They don’t have the budget for it.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Hey, aren’t you the guy who was so sure Cain would be gone completely after 2011? Just what exactly do you know about what the Giants can afford and what they can’t? The Giants can well afford to keep or sign what they need. They have a well-heeled ownership group, a great stadium situation and a great TV deal. They have a great core of young players and are obviously willing to do what it takes to keep intact. Yes, I do think that they have a lot of confidence in their farm system and that is playing a role in the decision making. They have an excellent farm system with a great scouting staff to keep in replenished. The Giants are as well positioned for the future as any team in baseball!

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      • JH says:

        Actually, I said if he’s there post-2011 it will be at or near market value, which is exactly what has happened. Matt Cain at $15 million 3 years from now is a significantly less valuable asset than Matt Cain at $4.25 million this year. In 2012, Matt Cain will be an expensive veteran, not part of a cost-controlled young core.

        You can try all you want, but there’s no way to spin it so that the $75 million the Giants will be spending on 6 players in 2012 isn’t a lot of money.

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      • B says:

        “That 80% figure was actually giving the Giants the benefit of the doubt that they’ll increase payroll back to 2005-2007 levels.”

        They already have increased their payroll back to those levels, they have a great tv deal signed in the last year or two, they have some aspects of their ballpark financing situation that are favorable now and in the near future…..the financial situation of a private business that doesn’t open its books for anyone are hard to pin down exactly, but all the rumors, whispers, and other tidbits that come out seem to point in the direction of “up” with the payroll. The Giants might not be the Yankees, but they’re in a huge market (both in terms of income and population), and have some nice business deals. Make no mistake about it, they’re a big market team that’s capable of spending with just about anyone.

        The real question isn’t about payroll, the real question is about whether they develop players worth spending that money on, and whether they spend their money intelligently or not going forward.

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      • JH says:

        Yeah, just looking at who will be eligible for arbitration I’ve pretty much assumed the payroll will go up. It’s a physical impossibility for them to not raise payroll, even if they just want to keep Sandoval and Sanchez and then fill out the roster with prospects and scrubs. I’m just worried that with the $ already locked up, they’ll need to increase it to at least around $110 million to have any real degree of financial flexibility.

        I have no doubt that the Giants will increase payroll. I’m a little less confident they’ll go so far as to increase payroll by over 20% of its previous all-time high.

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  2. Dave says:

    In an interview recently, Affeldt said he just started throwing a 2-seamer last year, which led to the increased GB%. If his increased BB% was due to the new pitch, that might regress to his career average this year as he gains better control of it, while maintaining the high GB%. Just a (homerish) thought…

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  3. Cwhit says:

    But, but, but, he got an MVP vote last season. He MUST be good!

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  4. SF 55 for life says:

    compared to the other deals the Giants have made in the past this is a steal.

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  5. SharksRog says:

    Given how much Matt Cain was going to be underpaid the next two seasons at $10.5 million, adding another year to Cain at $17 million wasn’t a bad deal IMO. I wish they had made it a 4/$44 million or a a 5/$60 million deal. Of course a five-year deal would have butted heads with the 5/$78 and 5/$80 million deals for Felix Hernandez and especially Justin Verlander.

    There is one intangible to these deals that should be noted. The Giants young pitching staff seems excited to stay together. Given how expensive they could become, that could become very important. The Giants could use some hometown discounts for a pitching staff that may be one of the best for several more seasons.

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  6. Steve says:

    hey JH, try 2 keep in mind that a giants fan must be a glass is half full kind of person to avoid getting depressed. only under BS its more of a “glass is one quarter full” kind of thing.

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    • JH says:

      I know you’d never expect it from my writing here, but I’m actually a Giants fan. They’ve always been my NL team, second in baseball only to the Mariners (I’m a bay area resident transplanted from Seattle). I just really, really don’t like what Sabean’s doing with their resources.

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