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Relievers Are Inherently Fungible Newsbeat

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Josh Hader loses salary arbitration hearing

The Brewers defeated ace reliever Josh Hader in their salary arbitration hearing, according to multiple reports (including MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand). Hader will make $4.1 million instead of the $6.4 million figure he filed at. The case appears to continue the precedent that saves are what are heavily valued for relievers in salary arbitration.

That, of course, is heavily outdated thinking. Hader has been one of the most valuable relief pitchers in the game since he first stepped foot in the big leagues. Milwaukee deployed him as a sort of tactical nuke for his first two seasons, throwing him into high-leverage situations regardless of when they arose. He assumed regular closing duties in 2019 and racked up 37 saves, a second consecutive All-Star appearance, and a second NL Reliever of the Year award.

Alternatively, it could be an admission as for just how interchangable relief pitchers are in practical terms.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, josh hader, relievers are inherently fungible

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cubs looking to unearth core relievers with low-cost, high-upside acquisitions

The Cubs bullpen is going to look a whole lot different this season.

Gone are the reliable Steve Cishek (signed with White Sox) and Brandon Kintzler (reportedly signed with Marlins). Pedro Strop remains a free agent, though a recent report said the race to sign him is down to the Marlins and Rangers.

Assuming Strop doesn’t return, the Cubs will have lost three of their four most frequently used relievers from 2019. Replacing the trio will be no small task, considering a bulk of their appearances came in late-inning, high-leverage spots.

Cishek and Kintzler didn’t sign back-breaking deals (one-year, $6 million; reported one-year, $3.25 million), but the luxury tax has been a factor in the Cubs offseason. They aren’t in a position to commit big money to top-of-the-market arms and have instead been stockpiling low-cost relievers with upside.

An imponderable for all of you: Why is it that, in an era so filled with advanced analysis, do baseball teams continue to heavily overrate relievers?

 

QLE Posted: January 29, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, relievers are inherently fungible

Monday, November 25, 2019

MLB free agency: How post-Will Smith bullpen market looks for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO—The best reliever on the market came very close to being a Giant in 2020.

Will Smith told teams that he would sign the one-year qualifying offer and return to San Francisco if they did not come up with better offers, and he came pretty close to holding true to that statement. Ultimately the Atlanta Braves stepped in, giving Smith a three-year deal just before the deadline to accept the qualifying offer.

That move left the Giants with a massive hole in the ninth inning, but the bullpen issues go beyond the closer role.

The Giants had one of the National League’s best bullpens in the first half last season, but Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz were traded and Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta got hurt. Of the six Giants who made at least 40 appearances out of the bullpen last year, only Gott and Tony Watson will be on the active roster on Opening Day.

Mind you, given that Will Smith basically came out of nowhere, is there a reason the Giants couldn’t do well just pulling in relievers from out of nowhere?

 

QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 04:22 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpens, free agency, giants, relievers are inherently fungible, will smith

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

How closer Edwin Diaz went from MLB saves leader to bullpen liability

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With each hit, walk, and homer, the aura of invincibility that once surrounded Edwin Diaz has eroded, turning a former relief ace into a giant question mark.

When the New York Mets acquired Diaz last December, team officials boasted about the acquisition. Nine months later, it looks like they made the mistake of buying high off one elite season, failing to recognize the volatility that defines relief pitching.

Diaz, who saved 57 games in 2018, is no longer superhuman. He’s quite vulnerable. The Mets know it. Opponents know it. And, fans at Citi Field and in road stadiums know it, too.

Sources tell Yahoo Sports that Diaz has been affected by the boos that come with failing in New York, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of how a reliever with his stuff goes from elite closer to owning a 5.32 ERA in the middle of August.

And the Never-Ending Story repeats itself one more time….

 

QLE Posted: August 20, 2019 at 04:29 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: edwin diaz, mets being mets, relievers are inherently fungible

 

 

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