The Mets and Twins Should Remember Joakim Soria

Glen Perkins has, somewhat quietly, become a dominating relief pitcher. He currently sits 5th among qualified relievers in FIP (1.84), 4th in xFIP (2.21), and he has 14 shutdowns against just two meltdowns. He’s into advanced statistics and knows what FIP and xFIP are. He’s going to represent the Twins in the All-Star Game next week, the team he grew up watching as a kid in Minnesota. And he’s signed to a well below market contract, one that pays him just $2.5 million this year, $3.75 million for the following two years, and then gives the Twins a $4.5 million option on his 2016 season. Because of all these things — okay, probably not the nerd part — the Twins are reportedly not willing to trade Perkins, as their preference is to keep him while they rebuild a new core of young players around him.

The Mets might do a similar thing with Bobby Parnell. He has also been excellent (2.16 FIP, 3.16 xFIP) since moving into their closer role, and as a 28-year-old under team control via arbitration for the next two seasons, the Mets are apparently disinclined to trade him. Neither team wants to send the message that their rebuilds are going to take years, and both are showing a preference to retain their young, cost controlled assets and simply move older pieces on larger contracts instead.

Here’s the problem. Closers — relief pitchers in general, really — are simply not worth building around. Today’s asset is tomorrow’s liability, and the Twins and Mets should learn from the mistake that the Royals made with Joakim Soria.

From 2007 to 2010, Soria was one of the game’s true elite relievers. He became the Royals closer in 2008, saving 42 games, and the Royals had the foresight to sign him to an extension in May of that season, getting him under team control at bargain prices and getting several team options that gave them cost certainty without the risk of guaranteed salaries. Combined with his performance, Soria’s contract made him highly valuable as a trade chip, but Kansas City preferred to build around him. As Ken Rosenthal tweeted in 2010:

During their period of rebuilding, the Royals put some bad teams on the field, but they had a dominating closer to finish out the games they did manage to win. In 2011, Soria regressed, seeing his strikeout rate fall while his hit and home run rates jumped. In the spring of 2012, doctors examined Soria and found that he needed Tommy John Surgery, which sidelined him for the entire season. After the year ended, the Royals declined their final two options on Soria’s contract, making him a free agent. When he signed with Texas, the Royals had nothing to show for letting Soria leave besides the memories of some good saves for some bad teams.

Soria is not the exception. Soria is the rule.

Let’s just look at where the top 10 under-30 relievers from the 2010 season are now, just for fun? Remember, this is good young relievers, most of whom were under club control for many years.

Carlos Marmol, +2.8 WAR: DFA’d, traded in salary dump, in minors
Brian Wilson, +2.5 WAR: Surgery, hasn’t pitched since start of last year
Hong-Chih Kuo, +2.3 WAR: Surgery, inability to throw strikes, out of baseball
Neftali Feliz, +2.0 WAR: Surgery, hasn’t pitched in 2013
Sean Marshall, +1.9 WAR: Has pitched 7 innings this year due to sore shoulder
Joakim Soria, +1.9 WAR: Surgery, hasn’t pitched since 2011
John Axford, +1.8 WAR: Lost closer job, pitching middle relief, likely non-tender
Daniel Bard, +1.6 WAR: Lost strike zone, sent to AA, now on DL
Jonny Venters, +1.6 WAR: Surgery, out for the season
Juan Oviedo, +1.4 WAR: Surgery, out for the season

This isn’t a cherry picked list of guys who were good and then washed out. This is the top 10 under-30 relievers by WAR just a couple of years ago. There isn’t a single pitcher on that list that has any real value in 2013. The Brewers are likely to trade Axford for a pittance, as some team takes a shot on him finishing strong as a setup guy, but everyone else is either rehabbing or trying to get back to the big leagues in some form. John Axford is the success story of the group.

Relievers, even really good young relievers, should be viewed as ripe fruit. They are great for a while, but you don’t store ripe fruit for the future planning on having a healthy snack later. You consume it now or waste it.

I get that Perkins is a very popular player in Minnesota. He’s a local boy who pitched at the University of Minnesota. He’s a former first round pick who has turned himself into a really great reliever, is extremely active on Twitter, and is a great representation of the Twins franchise. He hardly costs them anything to keep around, and he helps them win games.

But he’s also their most valuable trade chip, and there’s a real opportunity cost to not cashing in that chip. The same goes for Parnell in New York. If approached by another club about swapping a prospect from their system for a bullpen upgrade, both teams would immediately say no thank you. Retaining Perkins and Parnell is the equivalent of making a prospect-for-reliever trade, as they’re choosing the closer over the young player they could get by putting them on the market.

It’s almost certainly a mistake. As good as Perkins and Parnell have been this year, they’re not likely to keep this up for much longer. Relievers just don’t last. They are depreciating assets, and while their cheap contracts might look appealing, those assets can turn into liabilities very quickly.

Perkins and Parnell are good, they are young, and they are cheap, but they are not pieces to rebuild around. Both the Twins and Mets should cash in while there is still something to cash in.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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rustydude
Member
rustydude
3 years 1 month ago

Wonder what Glen Perkins is thinking once he reads this piece, assuming Fangraphs is a common site that he reads.

bob
Guest
bob
3 years 1 month ago

“Thank God Terry is the GM”

matt w
Guest
matt w
3 years 1 month ago

The question is, which commenter is he? I say Well-Beered Englishman.

Well-Beered Aussie
Guest
Well-Beered Aussie
3 years 1 month ago

I’m Grant Balfour.

JCA
Guest
JCA
3 years 1 month ago

didn’t know Perkins was well beered.

Or English.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 1 month ago

I drink two Crispin ciders before every save and we’re right next to Canada, which is basically England. So it didn’t take much effort to create this persona.

bob
Guest
bob
3 years 1 month ago

Amen

Chris
Guest
Chris
3 years 1 month ago

Great article and I agree. Same thing goes for signing relievers to big contracts. Not a great investment, typically.
One update…Joakim Soria has been called up (July 7th) and pitched a couple games now.

Jim
Guest
Jim
3 years 1 month ago

You never want to trade the next Mariano Rivera for the next Terrmel Sledge.

Tanned Tom
Guest
Tanned Tom
3 years 1 month ago

There is no “next Mariano Rivera”.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
3 years 1 month ago

A Mets-Twins combo would be a future powerhouse. Mets loaded with arms and no position talent while the Twins are loaded with position talent and few arms.

The Twins look a little closer to contention than the Mets. It’s just silly to think a doormat would hang onto a closer when you can sign RPing in the winter. Contending teams don’t have the ability to just sign a FA during the season and so are forced to the trade market in order to upgrade their roster. That simple set of circumstances flips the leverage over to the selling teams as contenders chase those marginal wins in order to get into the playoffs. Got to take advantage when opportunities like that come around.

Julian
Guest
Julian
3 years 1 month ago

Watch out for the MeTwins in 2015, then

Joe
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

If Parnell is dominate for four years, I’ll take that in a heartbeat. This would be his first year. So, we are supposed to use him as trade bait for question marks after years of effort making him into a very good closer and the mixed at best line of closers the team had over the last decade? Why? Soria if anything counsels keeping him & using other pieces and the cash available to get the pieces we need.

Marc
Guest
Marc
3 years 1 month ago

If you read this and got that conclusion, you’re reading it wrong. Reliever attrition is a very, very real.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 1 month ago

Does this suggest that relievers are more vulnerable to injury than starters? Just the very nature of pitching on consecutive days or in a short period, getting up and throwing even when not actually brought into the game, etc.? It seems to point to the repeat usage, and not total innings pitched is the key. Starters can plan out a strict regiment every 5-6 days.

Or maybe starters are just the bigger guys (generally) and better pitchers.

JH
Guest
JH
3 years 1 month ago

Impossible to prove which factors are causative, but if reliever attrition is really higher than starter attrition (and I don’t really know if that’s the case), I’m guessing it’s some combination of both of those things, along with the fact that relievers are more likely to go max effort.

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 1 month ago

I think as a whole you’ve got to be a better and more durable pitcher to make it as a starter in the first place.

Relievers are often guys who already had their careers as starters derailed by injury.

Also, they throw max effort. Starters pace themselves.

I think all of those things could go into it.

Preston
Guest
Preston
3 years 1 month ago

Also, velocity is more important to relievers and velocity peaks very early.

jfree
Member
jfree
3 years 1 month ago

I think your points re game appearances are right on. Over the last decade or two, MLB has gotten completely obsessed with filling out their roster with these one-inning or one-out pitchers. Not seeming to understand that there is a fixed overhead cost to every game appearance (the warmup pitches) and to every reliever on the roster (the occasional useless warmup) and a fixed price (muscle/ligament recovery from stress) that every pitcher needs to pay (either in time off or directly to a doctor). Nothing has changed the long long history of injury risk following any season with more than 60 or so appearances

Combine that with the other stupid MLB obsession – the holy 5 man rotation (with its constipated focus on #1,#2,#3,#4,#5) and the holy closer – and it is no wonder that pitcher attrition (and wasted contract money) is so high.

There is a real opportunity for a team to realize how valuable the old “reliever” role actually is – a guy who can eat low-leverage innings, start games, finish games

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 1 month ago

As JH says, attrit factors for relievers are difficult to isolate. But none of this is new. Since the modern reliever was perfected as a usage concept/roster position in the late 70s, the great majority of relievers flame out very, very quickly. For every Goose Gossge, there are four or five Jim Kerns.

I put it down to two factors, one mentioned here and one not. Relivers typically only have one, or at most two good pitches. That leaves them _very little margin for error or erosion_. A starter may lose a few mph, or have trouble locating his curve and have to go more to his change-up. A reliever has nothing to fall back on.

And as mentioned here, dominant late men throw high leverage pitches, all the time, every time. That typically involves max effort in their motion. Injury chances seem _likely_ to increase if every pitch is an effortful pitch. But then too, relievers don’t get practice in moving their pitches and pace around to set guys up. If things aren’t going well they’re more likey to have to go _with more effort_ rather than changing their pitch sequence; there isn’t much to change.

In assessing whether to move a dominating young reliever, the issue which would be at the front of my mind is this: Is his success because of ‘stuff,’ regardless of what kind, or is consistent location an important part of his repertoire? If he’s a stuff guy, and most dominant relievers are, then Dave’s cautionary example pretty much holds, yeah. If a guy is effective in significant part because of location as well as stuff, I’d be more tempted to hold onto him. The latter guy may be no less prone to flame out, but has more potential to last at the top, to me, and more potential to bounce back. Lee Smith, Dan Quisenberry, Dennis Eckersley out of the pen, and Rivera all located the ball in the right part of the zone year after year for what they were throwing. I like that chance a lot more than a dude who just has one unhittable pitch this season.

cs3
Member
cs3
3 years 1 month ago

Also starters are just better pitchers in general. Its a lot easier to get lucky over 60 innings, than it is to get lucky over 200 innings.

Joe
Guest
Joe
3 years 1 month ago

Soria is provided as a prime example and it is cited that he was an elite reliever for four years. Parnell is only now in his prime. Applying the principle, Parnell has a few more good years left. What are the Mets going to get for giving up three years of an elite reliever? Some question mark.

Preston
Guest
Preston
3 years 1 month ago

You’re missing the point. Reliever attrition isn’t linear. It could literally happen any second. Velocity declines at a young age and giving max effort on every pitch leads to injuries. Parnell is a commodity now, he might not be next season. The Mets are not likely to compete in either season. So yes, you’re trading a current commodity for a future question mark. But the future question mark could be around when the Met’s can actually compete.

That Guy
Guest
That Guy
3 years 1 month ago

That’s exactly what Royals Fan said in 2010. Why give up an asset when Soria’s contract extends through 2014?

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 1 month ago

Latroy Hawkins, Carlos Torres and Burke have been almost as good as Parnell (whose k% has dropped), and even Aardsma has been a “closer” albeit not great.

Not sure I’d deal Parnell just for a C+ prospect but depends. He is a groundball machine. Who needs BP help. The Red Sox? maybe someone like Almanzar for Parnell. Just throwing darts here. Almanzar is a 3b but maybe he can play left field. Not that Mets switching infielders to left has been a great idea.

Joe
Guest
Joe
3 years 1 month ago

Parnell has been a very good closer this year. Burke was a mixed bag. Hawkins was overall okay, but few would trust him with a closer role. Torres has been good for a short period in a different role. A. has not been a closer for major league team except in special cases. The Mets need a lot of things. One of the few things they have many here want to give up. That seems somewhat curious to me.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah, i don’t think they’re as trustworthy as Parnell, but you can get by with a mixed bag. Catch a Rodney or Mujica career year, etc.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 1 month ago

You’re asking why trade Parnell? It’s obvious you didn’t read the post.

If you’ve ever heard the expression, “buy low, sell high”…that’s why.

Joe
Guest
Joe
3 years 1 month ago

What are you going to get for him? No one other than Wright and Harvey are locks, but giving up someone who can be an elite reliever for years is a big deal. He isn’t some 30 something guy on the downhill slide. The fact I disagree with you or even if I’m wrong doesn’t mean I didn’t read the post. This is fairly “obvious” except to those who assume things.

Justin
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

None of those guys were 30+ guys either. The Mets have a really deep farm system when it comes to pitching, but lack impact bats. If they get a fat offer for Parnell, they should take it. Especially considering the fact that his contribution isn’t going to make the difference between them making the playoffs or not, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Guest
Guest
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

Hey Joe; check out Dan the Mets Fan’s post just below yours. He says the exact same thing you are saying. There is no point in trading Parnell for the not much you are going to get for him.

But for some reason people think you didnt read the article.

People are crazy.

Id trade him cause I dont think he’s elite level and the Mets need some series OF help that can hit. The Mets have some very good young arms in the system so they arent as far away as people think. But if you think he has become an elite RP that will convert ~95% of save opps in the near future, dont give him away for nothing

Dan the Mets Fan
Guest
Dan the Mets Fan
3 years 1 month ago

As a Mets fan, I agree with the general concept. However, I also would want to get real value from the deal. It’s also a bit dicey with relievers because I get the sense 95 percent of teams have come to realize that paying top prospects or top dollar for a reliever is not a great idea. I’m disinclined to believe, for example, that anyone is going to trade for Jonathan Papelbon considering how little market there was for a similar price, similar talent player in Rafael Soriano who would not have also cost prospects during last off-season. If I’m Sandy Alderson I’m definitely trying to market Parnell and try to get someone to bite with a big offer, but I’m not sure I’d take average to slightly above average prospects for him. Sure he probably burns out in 2-3 years, but he’s good enough that he’s not easy to replace right away for cheap either. It makes me think there will not be a deal – if I were a GM I would not offer really good prospects for Parnell or Perkins and if I were the Mets or Twins GM I would not trade either unless I got at least one really good prospect.

Richie
Member
Richie
3 years 1 month ago

What this guy says. The market for ‘closers!’ seems to be quite fair. Where’s the evidence that anybody would give much for Parnell or Perkins? When and what was the last time a closer was moved for an actual good haul?

When a player is as cheap, effective and yes, locally beloved as Perkins is, no you don’t move him unless someone knocks your socks off. Parnell I can see. Tho’ again, depending upon actually getting something nice for him. Which I don’t see that they necessarily would.

cartographer
Guest
cartographer
3 years 1 month ago

The Dodgers sent Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes to the Reds for Jeff Shaw in July 1998. Of course, Konerko had much more value for his next team than the Reds and Shaw was pretty good for the Dodgers for three more years after the trade. But I would do the deal again if I were the Reds.

Gob
Guest
Gob
3 years 1 month ago

I’d make the trade for a player to be named later. And then, eight years later when the Dodgers drafted Kershaw, I’d say “Him.”

Time traveler 1, Fred CLaire 0.

Aaron (UK)
Member
Aaron (UK)
3 years 1 month ago

Wilson Ramos was a pretty decent return for Matt Capps.

Sadly for Minnesota, they can’t trade with themselves.

Nick O
Guest
Nick O
3 years 1 month ago

The Sox traded Josh Reddick (and others) for Andrew Bailey + Ryan Sweeney and also traded Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon last year.

Dan
Guest
Dan
3 years 1 month ago

Not closers, but the Orioles got Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Uehara. The Padres also got two of their top ten prospects for Mike Adams.

MLB Rainmaker
Guest
MLB Rainmaker
3 years 1 month ago

Think you need to look at value at the time of the trade. Davis sported a .245 AVG at the MLB level and looked like a strict platoon 1B as he only hit .150 AVG vs. LHPs and 21 of 26 HR from 2009-2011 came off of RHPs.

The Rangers would have given him away for a firm handshake at the time.

BenRevereDoesSteroids
Member
BenRevereDoesSteroids
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah, and Davis would have been out of options with the Rangers the next year. Meaning that if he didn’t flat out beat fellow left handed 1st baseman of the same age, Mitch Moreland, for the starting job he would have been lost to the rule 5 draft. And there was really NO reason to believe that he was going to beat out Moreland at the time.

jpg
Guest
jpg
3 years 1 month ago

No that’s how it works. If a player is out of options, the team has to either keep him on the major league roster or pass him through irrevocable waivers to send him down to the minors. If you place the player on waivers, he can’t be pulled back, hence the irrevocable part. As for the Rule V draft, any player on the 40 man roster is protected. Since Davis was on Texas’ 40 man roster, has wasnt draft eligible. That said your point still stands in that they were likely to lose him for nothing anyway.

Jonny's Bananas
Member
Member
Jonny's Bananas
3 years 1 month ago

The Marlins traded Adrian Gonzalez (#31 on Baseball America’s pre-season top 100 list in 2003, 3 years removed from being the #1 overall pick in the draft) AND two other prospects for Ugueth Urbina.

That said, they probably wouldn’t have won the 2003 World Series if they don’t make that trade. Something to point to for GM’s on both sides of the table?

Richie
Member
Richie
3 years 1 month ago

The ‘2003’ date is it in a nutshell. Yes, I’d trade even Perkins for the #31 prospect. Ain’t gonna happen in 2013. Baseball GMs have grown up.

Justin
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

Brian Sabean hasn’t. Drayton Moore hasn’t. Ruben Amaro hasn’t. There’s still a lot of crappy GMs.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 1 month ago

So Richie, I agree with your general concept, though not your conclusion here. Moving Perkins for somebody’s Grade B prospect because of the risk of reliver attrition is stupid smarts; the return just isn’t good enough. Moving Perkins for a high Grade A prospect a la Adrian Gonzalez in 03 is more the ticket. Most GMs are less likely to do that deal nowadays—straight up. So the point is to make a package that seems to balance out better. Perkins and Hicks for Bradley and a low Grade B arm is more the ticket. Would Boston do that? Maybe not that package, but the point is to find something similar that takes the sting out of giving up that Grade A prospect, since Boston (or Detroit) manifestly needs a boost in the pen.

Will
Guest
Will
3 years 1 month ago

Red Sox just traded Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan De Jesus and Jerry Sands for Joel Hanrahan.

Pretty good haul for a year of (an injured) Hanrahan.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
3 years 1 month ago

trading just for the sake of trading or just for a shakeup isn’t the idea.

The Truth
Guest
The Truth
3 years 1 month ago

Two years ago the Rangers gave up two borderline top 100 prospects in Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland for 1.5 years of Mike Adams. The return for 2.5 years of Parnell or 3.5 years of Perkins would be greater than this, especially considering their age and the fact that they are both “closers.” No reason not to expect a top 100 prospect plus 1-2 other org top 10 guys in return.

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 1 month ago

This article is a little ironic, as you could say many of the same things about the “prospects” you argue they should trade these guys for.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 1 month ago

You get prospects (typically) in bulk though.

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
3 years 1 month ago

Relievers are a fungible commodity in today’s game. It’s pretty apparent there is an almost endless supply of humans that can throw 95+ MPH for 25 pitches, reflecting the huge amount of turnover in bullpens these days.

Kimbrel is probably the best in the game today but if the Braves could somehow flip him for a quality position player, I’d do that trade every day of the week.

Teams at the bottom of the success curve need to flip every semi-decent reliever they have for prospects.

Trotter76
Guest
Trotter76
3 years 1 month ago

If there’s “an almost endless supply of humans that can throw 95+ MPH for 25 pitches” why have the Mets given so many innings to Lyon and Rice and Burke, etc? Maybe the Cardinals can find a new flamethrowing reliever around every corner but that hasn’t been the Mets recent history. I think I agree with the concensus that if a great prospect is dangled, then take it; but don’t just flip him for a marginal prospect. After all, there are Mariano’s and Trevor Hoffman’s that do close successfully for a decade or more. Not every reliever has a 4 year shelf life, even if many do.

Chummy Z
Guest
Chummy Z
3 years 1 month ago

This! Watching the Mets bullpen is just so painful. Parnell is the only traditionally saber talent (High Ks, low BBs). Their rest range from middling to awful.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 1 month ago

The Mets have a ton of arms in the minors but want to see if they can expand their repertoire and be starters. The cards think nothing of using Rosenthal, Martinez in the pen but they can win now. Tapia, Montero, Mazzoni, Degrom, Mateo, Ynoa, Matz, Lara, Bowman, Fulmer, Syndergaard could replace Parnell in a year or two if need be but they’d rather see if they can start. Closer is about 15th on the needs list. Syndergaard should be good enough to start but many of the rest will end up in the pen.

Tanned Tom
Guest
Tanned Tom
3 years 1 month ago

You named the 2 best closers of all time and think that supports your argument? That’s like me saying a team should dump their current CF because Mantle and Mays were CFs.

Yippie
Guest
Yippie
3 years 1 month ago

Do relievers get injured/fail at a larger rate than prospects? You’re not gonna get an Oscar Taveras/Byron Buxton type prospect for these RP, so prospects do carry risk too. Maybe the 1-2 Wins provided by Perkins, plus the added hometown aspect are more valueable even on a losing team, than giving that up and watching the guy you traded for him become a AAAA guy.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 1 month ago

Even if the injury/failure rate of prospects and relievers is the same, that’s not the only factor to consider. The main additional factor to consider is upside possibility of the prospects and the relievers. A prospect’s ceiling is very likely much higher than Parnell’s or Perkins’ so even if they’re likely to flame out at the same rate, the team is likely to get much more from the prospect if he works out than it would from Parnell or Perkins.

Other factors to consider include contract status and years of team control. Though neither Parnell nor Perkins make a ton of money, they still make much more than the prospect, thus limiting the teams’ ability to add another valuable piece. Moreover, they’re only going to get more expensive over the next couple of years before they become free agents whereas the prospects would have 6 years of team control.

Nelson Harper
Guest
Nelson Harper
3 years 1 month ago

Uehera for Davis and Hunter

MLB Rainmaker
Guest
MLB Rainmaker
3 years 1 month ago

Think you need to look at value at the time of the trade. Davis sported a .245 AVG at the MLB level and looked like a strict platoon 1B as he only hit .150 AVG vs. LHPs and 21 of 26 HR from 2009-2011 came off of RHPs.

The Rangers would have given him away for a firm handshake at the time.

The Truth
Guest
The Truth
3 years 1 month ago

Then shame on the Rangers. Giving up on a 23-25 year old top prospect who has struggled over 600 PA spread out over several seasons, while still raking at AAA when getting regular playing time, smacks of impatience and shortsightedness.

Preston
Guest
Preston
3 years 1 month ago

Don’t look now but Smoak and Hosmer are starting to heat up. We’ve always known that 1b types sometimes take longer to make the adjustment. Yet we just don’t seem to apply that knowledge to those players when they struggle. Some smart GM will probably get Jesus Montero as a throw in to a trade this off-season and get the plus bat he was once promised to be.

MLB Rainmaker
Guest
MLB Rainmaker
3 years 1 month ago

First of all, picking the top relievers from one year that serves the purpose of your argument is the definition of cherry-picking. I can’t fathom the logic that lead you to write that comment directly after making that list. Its like using the 1983 NFL draft for your argument that 1st round QB picks always work out.

Second, what exactly are they supposed to get back in return? The recent history for closers changing hands doesn’t show a ton of value coming back for the Seller. There have been a good number of late inning guys exhanged and very little prospect value changing hands. Hanrahan, Walden, Neshek, Lyons, Myers, Frieri, Marshall, Santos, Adams, Ziegler, K-Rod, Fuentes, Qualls, Farnsworth, Capps. Of all of those Capps is the only one that moved in a deal for a Top-100 prospect and that was the Twins trading to get Capps.

I have no doubt that if the Orioles offered Gausman (or even Bundy), D-Backs offered Bradley, or Tigers offered Castellanos, the Twins would take the deal, but we know that is never going to happen — so why make the deal? Best case Casey Fien steps in and keeps the gig, then you have to watch his Arb numbers go up as he starts to collect saves.

Justin
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

Most of those guys suck and some of them had onerous contracts that the trading team was trying to get out of (ahem – K-Rod).

Ed Stohs
Guest
Ed Stohs
3 years 1 month ago

I wish Terry Ryan would follow this thought process. The game passed him by years ago and now he is nothing more than the President of the Polad Pocket Protectors.

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
3 years 1 month ago

I think relievers are more like donuts than ripe fruit. Fresh out of the fryer they are awesome, otherworldly, fun – but something of an indulgence. As they age they are a serviceable snack for a little while but eventually you only want that day old donut if you are really desperate for a sweet snack and nothing else is available. Pretty soon after that, nobody wants it under any circumstances and it gets thrown away.

This from a person who just ate a donut and a peach for lunch. They were both fresh and good.

Philip Christy
Guest
Philip Christy
3 years 1 month ago

This is the same mistake the A’s DIDN’T make with Andrew Bailey, getting Josh Reddick and two prospects for him (and Ryan Sweeney), receiving a hell of a lot of future value for a closer who has turned un-dominant with injuries.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 1 month ago

Great example, much better than some of the dated ones mentioned above.

Will
Guest
Will
3 years 1 month ago

Pirates didn’t make the same mistake with Hanrahan too, fleecing the Sox too.

The Twins and Mets should call up the Red Sox. They’re always looking to give away young talent for injury-prone relievers.

marlins12
Guest
marlins12
3 years 1 month ago

The same could be said for other non-contending teams too, not just the Twins and Mets. The Marlins, for example, seem like they have no intentions of trading their best asset, Steve Cishek.

Also, I think small market teams in contention should do the same. I think the A’s should consider trading Balfour and the Rays should consider trading Rodney, especially since they’re both free agents after the year.

Jason B
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Jason B
3 years 1 month ago

Steve Cishek is their best asset?!

Giancarlo says hai!!!

Tim A
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Tim A
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah trade the guy who just set a new franchise record for consecutive saves(Still getting longer), who has yet too blow one all season, when you also happen to have the second best record in the AL. Are you nuts? I mean I could see trading Milone, who is struggling, and the lowest upside arm on a staff that might not have room for him, if you get back something that helps this season, but trading away the most consistent closer in baseball this season with a 1/2 game lead over 1st, I mean really WTF.

Tim A
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Tim A
3 years 1 month ago

Guess Marlin’s fans take after their owner. Are you and Loria smoking the same pipe?

marlins12
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marlins12
3 years 1 month ago

Because they would be so much worth with Ryan Cook or Sean Doolittle as their closer, right? Lol. Balfour is leaving after the year, anyway. Also, GM’s probably care more about the future than the past. Even for this year, Balfour is probably due for some regression at some point. While the 24/24 is nice, all of his peripherals point to him being rather fortunate. Cook and Doolittle are actually superior pitchers.

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
3 years 1 month ago

Is it just me or are closers tailor made for inflated stats? Blow the lead but the team wins in the bottom half? Win. Have a 3 run lead and give up 2 runs? Save. Not the best stuff? Lucky you, just one inning, nobody on basem and the 6-8 hitters are up. I think beane had a market inefficiency thing going on trading closers.

Tanned Tom
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Tanned Tom
3 years 1 month ago

Here’s WTF, a closer is completely useless for a last place team. They won’t win enough games for it to matter. The difference between Rivera and some average closer might be 5 games when you’re winning 95, but when you only win 75 the diff might be 1 or 2 games. In other words who cares?
They’re wasting their money on a closer.

Fircoal
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Fircoal
3 years 1 month ago

The problem is they are in contention. It’s important to have a solid closer. They need to keep winning.

attgig
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attgig
3 years 1 month ago

as a mets fan….YES! TRADE PARNELL for a good prospect, AND don’t sign anyone like Frank Francisco EVER again!

FMelius
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FMelius
3 years 1 month ago

Man… Reading this is:
1. exciting, given my fervent hope for the Twins to contend sooner rather than later, and the likelihood they could extract serious future value for Perkins; and:
2. depressing, because I have very little confidence that Terry Ryan & Company will be able to optimally leverage Perkins’ value.
Sigh…

MH
Guest
MH
3 years 1 month ago

I think some people here are missing Dave’s point. It’s not that the Twins and Mets have an opportunity to rob someone blind, it’s that they have an opportunity to make a deal with a team where both sides get added value. No, the Tigers are not giving up Castellanos, but they might give up someone like Avisial Garcia or Jake Thompson. Players like this carry similar absolute value to a high end reliever like Perkins or Parnell, but much greater risk/reward. Having or not having a high end reliever does little to effect the short or long term outlooks of teams like the Mets and Twins. Having a guy with x% chance of becoming an everyday position player or starting pitcher, even if not a star, within the next few years does improve their longterm outlook. If the cost is a reliever, which does not effect their short term outlook, they’ve gained value.

lesmash
Member
Member
lesmash
3 years 1 month ago

I think certain teams might be willing to give up a solid B or B+ prospect for Glen Perkins or Bobby Parnell. It has everything to do with where these teams are on the win-now cycle, and how dicey their closers are at the moment.

For instance, maybe Baltimore sees Perkins as a worthwhile add given that Jim Johnson is 2-7 with 6 blown saves and the Orioles are 2 games out of a playoff spot. Maybe Arizona is tired of the Heath Bell experiment (8 HRs in 34 IP) and they feel like Perkins is enough to help them fend off the Dodgers and/or Rockies.

The ‘value’ of Perkins or Parnell to these teams may well be a lot more than what traditional metrics suggest.

AdamJ
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AdamJ
3 years 1 month ago

I unfortunately don’t have the link, but I recall reading on MLBTR that Terry Ryan was considering trading Glen Perkins for the right price. I agree with the MLB Rainmaker–if someone offered Ryan a top 50 prospect, he’d take the deal. However, without that, I think he’s right to hold onto Perkins for all the aforementioned reasons you mentioned. I also find it odd that you advocate this deal, yet panned Ryan for making a similar trade in November, when they gained the type of prospect you’re looking for them to gain now by trading Denard Span for Alex Meyer.

BookWorm
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BookWorm
3 years 1 month ago

I wouldn’t compare trading Span with a potential trade of Perkins. The reason Dave argues that trading Perkins right now would be good is that there is serious risk that a 20-something relief pitcher may not have many good seasons left.

Trading a twenty-something centerfielder is a different story — as a position player, Span may just be hitting his stride. Not to mention they traded their other centerfieder, Ben Revere, at the same time.

AdamJ
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AdamJ
3 years 1 month ago

The point you’re making is essentially that if everyone bought into WAR and the concept of the expected value of future WAR, then the Span trade was a bad one and a possible Perkins trade would be a good one. While that’s a valid argument, I think it ignores the fact that plenty of major league GMs (and Terry Ryan is probably on this list) don’t evaluate players along those lines. If that were true, Bill Smith would never have traded Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps (ugh). Of course, Smith is no longer employed in a capacity in which he can make those types of decisions.

Brandon
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Brandon
3 years 1 month ago

Whoa whoa whoa. Trade Parnell? He is “The Centerpiece” of that bullpen. Untradeable. Check his wikipedia page, it says so right there, and the internet doesn’t lie.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Parnell

Loop D
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Loop D
3 years 1 month ago

No deal. Parnell=New Jeff Reardon

Brandon
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Brandon
3 years 1 month ago
Rufus T. Firefly
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Rufus T. Firefly
3 years 1 month ago

Just to see it written out again:

The Red Sox got Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek from the M’s for Heathcliff Slocumb. Nice.

Preston
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Preston
3 years 1 month ago

I think in another year or two the worst rental reliever mid-season trade will be Koji Uehara to Texas.

PackBob
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PackBob
3 years 1 month ago

That’s a pretty crazy list of 70% injury-related washouts, with 6 of 7 needing surgery. All pitchers are prone to injury, but it would seem from this list that pitchers throwing as hard as they can for short bursts are higher injury risks than starting or long relief pitchers. If that holds true these guys are being somewhat abused with not much choice in the matter.

If throwing at maximum effort means a slight uptick in velocity and improved odds of getting to the big leagues, then young pitchers are going to do it. And I’d guess that most young relievers believe they will be the one who doesn’t blow up. Rock and a hard place.

Phantom Stranger
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Phantom Stranger
3 years 1 month ago

In some cases, the pitcher’s own success leads a team to over use them. Venters was run into the ground by the Braves, over a couple of incredible seasons by him.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
3 years 1 month ago

And you could argue that they did the same thing to Eric O’Flaherty, though in his case he did have some pre-existing arm issues that eventually flared up. Of course, set-up men are probably more prone to this type of systematic overuse than closers, since there’s pre-approved conditions that have to be met before most managers will use their closer.

Bad Bill
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Bad Bill
3 years 1 month ago

Contrary to what Dave says, there is some cherry picking going on here, and it has to do with the year, not the players. Look at the comparable list of top under-30 relievers for, say, 2009, and one gets a very different view of medium-term value. Yes, there have been some bombouts on that list. There are also some pitchers who remain excellent to this day (C. J. Wilson, Rafael Soriano, maybe Luke Gregerson), and others that were valuable last year (Papelbon, Broxton), the service equivalent of the way a 2010 top-under-30 pitcher looks this year. A little methodological honesty is needed here, involving checking top-under-30 relievers for, say, the last 10 years, rather than just picking the year that supports one’s point.

Josh M
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Josh M
3 years 1 month ago

While I agree with the overall point, you say “This isn’t a cherry picked list of guys who were good and then washed out.” Isn’t top relievers under 30 from the 2010 season completely arbitrary and likely cherry picked to fit your argument?

Preston
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Preston
3 years 1 month ago

Okay, let’s not cherry pick then. Look at the top 30 relievers with no qualifiers in 2010 http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2010&month=0&season1=2010&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0
Rivera, Soriano, Benoit, Clippard and Betancourt are still elite, plus K-Rod who has come back from the dead this season. Other than that there is only a handful of guys who are even still pitching in the bigs.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
3 years 1 month ago

I think the point is that the year might be a tad cherry-picked. If you look at 2009, for example, there’s some interesting names. C.J. Wilson and Phil Hughes have become full time starters. Rafael Soriano and Jonathon Papelbon remain full time closers who’ve produced some value. Luke Gregerson’s value has diminished but hasn’t completely disappeared. And 2011, while of course that’s a significantly shorter timeframe, includes Papelbon, along with Perkins as well as Craig Kimbrel.

I mean, it’s not like other years produced completely flowery outlooks, but the 2010 crop of under 30 relievers looks extra bleak.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 1 month ago

I included the Top 10 under 30 from 2008, 2009 and 2011 in a post below. You may find the results interesting.

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
3 years 1 month ago

It could just be that the Mets WILL trade Parnell, but they are artificially increasing his value by proclaiming him untouchable. They said last offseason that they were willing to hold on to Dickey, but clearly that was just a ploy to get a team (like the Blue Jays) to overpay.

Del B. Vista
Member
Del B. Vista
3 years 1 month ago

So, is Cameron suggesting some sort of dehydrator to help preserve relievers?

Joebrady
Guest
3 years 1 month ago

If it were this clear-cut RPs would be churned at the speed of light.

There have been any number of RPs that have pitched well for their teams through the end of their contracts. Papelbon, Nathan, Valverde, KRod, Wilson, and as any RS fan hoping that the NYY would trade their closer, Rivera.

In addition, as many, many others have pointed out, it can’t be a yes or know until we see the price. Gardenhire could be adopting Perkins, and he’ll still find time to drive him to the airport if he gets a top-50 prospect in return. OTOH, if the offer is a fringy SP, destined to be in the BP, are you going to hope to be able to develop a prospect just to replace the player you traded him for?

Shauntell
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Shauntell
3 years 1 month ago

Basically, what Dave is saying, is that you’re trading a RP who has, let’s say a 10-15% (very arbitrary, I know) chance to be a 1-1.5 win guy in 2-3 years, when you could contend, for a prospect who probably has about the same probability to become a 2-2.5 win player and this at a cheaper cost and for a longer period of time. I’m no prospect expert, but I think a B prospect should have at least a ceiling of 3 WAR. The nature of a prospect, from what I gather, is that his ceiling is above league average (approx. 2 WAR).

Nor Perkins or Parnell will be the difference between a playoff spot or not (I know it’s already been said, but). Such are the limits of a bullpen arm…

MLB Rainmaker
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MLB Rainmaker
3 years 1 month ago

Good work, I think that is a better way to frame the argument, though I still think it is a flawed argument

#1 – The argument assumes WAR is a relevant metric for valuing a relief pitcher, and specifically a closer. For every other position there is a positional adjustment, but there is none for RP vs. SP. While you can argue that the value of an IP is the same, it can’t be argued that a 3.50 FIP is good enough to rank in the Top 20 SPs, but not even the Top 75 RPs. Considering a closer only comes in the game when the game is close, the value of each run they surrender or don’t surrender has a greater impact on winning. Hence to start, we probably can’t compare RP WAR to say 3B WAR on an apples to apples basis.

#2 – What the WAR argument doesn’t address in this case is the true dollar savings the deal will provide. A GM still has to field a team with a closer. For the next 3 years they’d have to pay Perkins $12M; If you just took the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year Arb averages from 2012 for RPs, the Twins would need to pay $6M for that mysterious replacement level player, and that doesn’t account for what happens if he gets a dozen or more saves. Its not unreasonable to expect those numbers to increase by 50% in that case.

Shauntell
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Shauntell
3 years 1 month ago

#1: You’re arguing that a closer pitches in a lot of high leverage situations, thus increasing his value. Yet most closers come into the game w/ no men on and a 1-3 run lead, when the leverage isn’t “that” high. So I do not feel like they have a much greater impact on winning. Anybody can throw a 1-2-3 inning. Concerning FIP values for RP vs SP, RPs only face 4-5 batters a night, thus they can throw harder and batters don’t face them more than once, therefore RP should have lower FIPs to be the best of their peers.

#2: You don’t have to have the same closer over the course of 3 years. Odds are, he gets injured at some point anyway, so you don’t have to pay extra for saves. Plus money is not the main motive for this possible trade.

NATS Fan
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NATS Fan
3 years 1 month ago

My bet is that all the GMs in baseball know about your list and are more reluctant to trade for relievers. Thus the value is down for Perkins. Trding a loved guy for little will get a Gm Yelled at by fans, so it is in the GMs interest to keep perkins.

Shauntell
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Shauntell
3 years 1 month ago

First of all, I’m positive that there are still GMs out there who overestimate the value of relievers and specifically closers. The Mets/ Twins aren’t the only ones.

Second of all, I’m sure there’d be enough demand for these guys to drive the price up if the Mets/Twins clearly stated that they were open to trading them. Any team would trade a sizeable part of its future for a chance at a ring

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
3 years 1 month ago

I happen to disagree with the entire foundation of this article. The article assumes that the Mets will not trade Parnell. And yes, there’s a link to a one-month old article that says they’re not shopping him. The reality is that the Mets have had few good trade chips since Alderson came on board, but he netted far more talent in his trades than anybody thought. The week they traded Beltran, there were unnamed sources indicating that the Mets wouldn’t get much for him. Even the day of the trade, there was speculation about them receiving Gary Brown or Jonathan Sanchez. When the trade happened, they wound up getting an elite pitching prospect.

With Dickey, there was talk about Bourjos, Olt, and other decent-not-great young players. When people started mentioning D’Arnaud, there was skepticism that the Mets would get that level prospect for Dickey. Next thing you know, they get a great pitching prospect on top of D’Arnaud.

When all is said and done, I have no reason to believe that Alderson would actually turn down a very good OF prospect for Parnell. If he doesn’t trade Parnell, it’s likely because he didn’t get a worthy off – it’s not because he turned down a great offer.

Craig Kimbrel
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Craig Kimbrel
3 years 1 month ago

I agree.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
3 years 1 month ago

Where do you draw the line on untouchable assets? Tommy Hanson was once a golden coin not to be sniffed at, he was moved for a reliever. Dustin McGowan made jaws drop, he’s been DFA’ed and brought back more times than he can count. I’m sure I could go on and on with promising young arms that were “untouchable”, more so than you can with relievers who were deemed untouchable. If teams plan for injuries they will never have any success. They simply wouldn’t sign any pitchers and would avoid guys over the age of 31.

And cherry picked samples are always dangerous.

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
3 years 1 month ago

When you have inside information on a guys health. Hanson and Pineda come to mind for me.

sam
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sam
3 years 1 month ago

great piece

Dallen
Member
Dallen
3 years 1 month ago

I think the Cubs trade of Marshall is a prime example of the type of value a team could expect by trading a great reliever. Wouldn’t any Mets or Twins fan be ecstatic to get back a 2-3 WAR 26 year old SP, a ?1 WAR 4th OF, and a promising 2B prospect?

AdamJ
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AdamJ
3 years 1 month ago

Absolutely I would. But if the offer doesn’t approach that, then why bother?

Dirck
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Dirck
3 years 1 month ago

I think the next big step in efficient management of pitching will come when someone has the nerve and intelligence to break out of the LaRussa mold of strictly defined pitching roles. Having a pitcher that can ONLY be used in the 7th inning ,another one that can only be used in the 8th ,and then the high exalted closer for the 9th is pure stupidity .

Mike
Guest
Mike
3 years 1 month ago

Exactly what I’ve been telling my mets fan brother for a week. Hard to find a Rivera this day and age closers just don’t last. Great analogy with the ripe fruit. Also I think with the abundance of young live arms compared to the pitching of say 5-10 years ago it’s much easier to find a closer. To me it’s a no brainer to make a team like the tigers or d-backs give up a couple big prospects for Parnell or Perkins. A lot of failed starters make great transitions to the bullpen (i.e Luke Hochevar, Drew Smyly) and it’s way easier to replace the value of Parnell and Perkins than to acquire big prospects. The twins seem to have some young batting talent in guys like Buxton, Hicks and Sano but the mets really don’t have alot in terms of young hitters if Ike and Duda continue to struggle. Like I said it seems like a no brainer

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
3 years 1 month ago

Yea, the Mets also have some young fireballers who don’t necesarily project as starters, so they should find a replacement when the team is ready to contend. If they get a worthwhile deal I think they pull the trigger. However, I think it’s a big “if”. The league has finally come around to the idea that closers are overvalued. So much perhaps that I think the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction; that some GMs almost think closers grow on trees and that any RP can handle the role. So, the Mets are taking the right strategy by playing “hard to get” with Parnell. Realistically, his value is something like AT MOST a B grade prospect, but probably something more like a C+ prospect.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
3 years 1 month ago

This article really is a strawman argument. The Mets have said that they need to be “blown away” to trade Parnell. First off, there is clearly some poker going on in this statement, I am not sure the Mets value Parnell as highly as they claim they do. I’m not saying the Mets don’t like him, but they aren’t going to trade him away for something that won’t help the team in the long term. I believe that if the Mets can get a top 50-100 position player prospect, they will pull the trigger in a second. Anything less than that and I think you keep your young cost controlled closer. Perhaps closers are overvalued, I wont get into the weeds on this one, but that doesn’t mean you trade them away for nothing.

KCDaveInLA
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KCDaveInLA
3 years 1 month ago

Great closers are kind of like NBA centers. In the 80’s and 90’s, it seemed like every team had one and hung on to him for dear life. Now both seem kinda rare; one major difference is that baseball’s best closer isn’t a 7-foot 12-year-old, unlike the NBA’s “best center”.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 1 month ago

What happens if we look at other years, I wonder?

2009, Top 10 Relievers Under 30 (Or 30):

Jonathon Broxton: Injured, 1.5 WAR since 2009.
Andrew Bailey: Injured, but has totaled 2.1 WAR since 2009 or, in innings terms, 2.1 WAR in 133 2/3rds innings, so arguably still value.
Brian Wilson: See article.
Phil Hughes: Injured, became starter after 2009, 6.6 WAR since 2009 (2.2 WAR average per year)
Jonathon Papelbon: Was under 30 back in 2009! 6.2 WAR since 2009.
C.J. Wilson: Became starter after 2009, 14.1 WAR since 2009.
Rafael Soriano: Soriano is 33 now, so yup, he was below 30 back then! 4.1 WAR since 2009.
David Aardsma: Tommy John surgey, -0.1 WAR since 2009.
Luke Gregerson: 2.4 WAR since 2009.
Joakim Soria: See article. Soria HAS had 3.0 WAR since 2009, though.

From this, we can see a mix of sucesses (Papelbon, Soriano, arguably Gregerson), Failures (Aardsma, Soria, Broxton, Wilson…Wilson is somewhat arguable), successful starter conversions (C.J. Wilson, Phil Hughes) and the arguable (Andrew Bailey, Brian Wilson). A good mix.

2008, Top 10 Relievers under 30 (Or 30):

Jonathon Papelbon: See above.
Grant Balfour: 4.2 WAR since 2008 (0.84 WAR per year…though this year is not over, so that could go up)
Hong-Chih Kuo: See article. Kuo put up fairly good value from 2007-2010, though (An average of 1.3 WAR per year)
Jonathon Broxton: See above.
Ramon Ramirez: Totaled a mere 1.3 WAR since 2008 (0.26 per season).
Chad Qualls: Positively pathetic 0.2 WAR since 2008.
Francisco Rodríguez: 3.7 WAR since 2008 (0.74 WAR per season)
Frank Francisco: 2.8 WAR (0.7 per played season) since 2008, was injured last year)
Joakim Soria: See article.
Carlos Marmol: See article

2008 tells a similiar story, with a bad worse: Some flameouts (Qualls is the poster boy here), somce success stories (Balfour arguably, Papelbon, IMO Kuo if you consider 2007-2010 his peak years, K-Rod put up two good years after 2008) and some that is middlingly average. No converted starters. (Also, I just want to mention Thornton here, due to appearing on both the 2008/2009 lists high but being over 30: Since his 0.9 WAR 30 YO year, he has put up 9.2 WAR, good for 1.53 WAR per year. Underrated!)

And although I was originally going to ignore it due to being so recent…

2011, Top 10 Relievers Under 30 (or 30):

Craig Kimbrel: 4.3 WAR since 2011
David Robertson: 2.7 WAR since 2011
Sean Marshall: 1.9 WAR since 2011
Greg Holland: 3.8 WAR since 2011
John Axford: -0.2 WAR since 2011 / See article
Glen Perkins: 2.4 WAR since 2011
Joel Hanrahan: Fit the criteria in 2011. -1.0 WAR since 2011.
Daniel Bard: Failed starter conversion. -0.4 WAR since 2011.
Tyler Clippard: 1.6 WAR since 2011.
Sergio Santos: -0.2 WAR since 2011.

Ah, 2011 paints a vastly different picture. The vast majority (Kimbrel, Holland, Robertson, Perkins…arguably even Marshall and Clippard) have been excellent since 2011, with some flameouts (Hanrahan is particularly spectacular).

I don’t have time to keep going back to 2007 and later…but personally, I don’t think that banking on relievers is a WRONG choice, it is just a somewhat risky one, but it can have a lot of reward. I also am not sure how much riskier it is compared to, say, Starters (How did the TOp 10 Starters under 30 do?) and Hitters (How did the Top 10 Hitters under 30 do?). The risk needs to be compared to the risk of a standard baseball player, after all, since your team NEEDS players on it to be, well, a team…

miffleball
Guest
miffleball
3 years 1 month ago

What this article ignores is that if you use the same 2010 list for starting pitchers under thirty you get:
Ubaldo Jimenez 6.5 WAR – Injured traded and barely replacement level since
Justin Verlander 6.3 WAR – best pitcher in baseball since
Josh Johnson 6.1 WAR – injured, traded, ineffective
Francisco Liriano 5.7 WAR – spent two years on the DL, traded, doing better this season
Jered Weaver 5.7 WAR – declining output each year since, currently injured
Adam Wainwright 5.6 WAR – missed a season with tommy john, now back strong
Felix Hernandez 5.5 WAR – been fantastic over the last three years
John Lester 5.4 WAR – declining WAR ever since
CC Sabathia 4.9 WAR – just keeps chugging along
Colby Lewis 4.9 WAR – ineffective, now in the minors

So basically, all that we know is that young pitching comes with serious risks of flame outs and injuries. Sure, Verlander and Hernandez and Sabathia have been great from that list, but the other seven all come with serious caveats. don’t make this out to be a RP issue. it a pitcher issue, we just see it more with RPs, at least i believe, because of the small sample sizes that can hide a pitchers true ability in any one season and make him look better than he really is

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