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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bullpens, free agency, giants, relievers are inherently fungible, will smith

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   1. caspian88 Posted: November 26, 2019 at 01:50 AM (#5903940)
The Giants did pretty much pull relievers out of nowhere after trading away Dyson and Melancon (plus Holland and Pomeranz).

They won't go into 2020 with a solid five man core like they did last year (Smith, Moronta, Dyson, Watson, Melancon), but they do have options (Watson, Gotta, Coonrod, Rogers, Gustave, Selman, Anderson/Beede, plus more than a few other lesser options). I think they can cobble together a good pen, adding a few minor league contracts, NRIs, maybe a Rule 5 pick, trades, and the waiver wire. No reason to spend real money, especially with the offense likely to be weak again and make it hard to compete.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 26, 2019 at 02:54 AM (#5903942)
It’s always possible to cobble together a good pen.
It’s always possible that your cobbled-together pen will be a disaster.
It’s always possible to put together a solid, proven five-man core.
It’s always possible that your solid, proven five-man core will be a disaster.
   3. Fancy Crazy Handle on Altuve's Buzzer Posted: November 26, 2019 at 03:07 AM (#5903943)
The Giants have like 2 and a half good players. Maybe one of which is still reasonably an all star. Maybe. Their lineup had a 84 OPS+. Their starting pitchers allowed an ERA of 4.77 (NL average 4.33) in one of the most pitching friendly parks there is. The bullpen was about the only good thing about last years team. And they have a bunch of old and overpaid guys, severely limiting any payroll flexibility...

So sure, lets worry about not being able to pay a "proven closer" almost 20m per year...
   4. flournoy Posted: November 26, 2019 at 08:47 AM (#5903955)
It is my utterly untested hypothesis that the stronger the bullpen, the more likely it is for each member to perform up to his potential. In other words, a bullpen with a solid, proven core is not only less likely to implode as a whole than a cobbled together one, but that extends to the individual relievers as well.

To wit: if you only have one good reliever, he becomes your go-to option in every tough situation, even if it isn't his optimal use. So you aren't using him where he's most effective (and you're probably overusing him), and his performance suffers. Put a lot of good relievers together in the same bullpen, and you can be picky about when you use each one of them, and only deploy them in situations to their advantage.

In other words, the Braves have the right approach with Melancon, Smith, Martin, Greene, O'Day, Jackson, etc.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: November 26, 2019 at 09:10 AM (#5903961)
"Cobble" is an interesting word. How are peach cobbler, cobblestone, a cobbler of shoes, and a cobbled-together bullpen all related?
   6. PreservedFish Posted: November 26, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5903963)
It's really the shoemaker that sticks out. A cobbled-biscuit topping can resemble cobblestone, which, like the bullpen, may be an amalgamation of unlike parts, rocks of varying sizes placed here and there. But the shoemaker, he is a craftsman, he's not just throwing random #### together and hoping it sticks. Unless the first shoes were all ad hoc, jury-rigged, slapped together things.
   7. flournoy Posted: November 26, 2019 at 09:24 AM (#5903966)
I think a cobbler was someone who mended shoes, not necessarily someone who made them. So there would have been more call for piecing together things that weren't really meant to go together.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: November 26, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5903969)
It's times like this that I rue my local library's careless decision not to grant me free OED access.
   9. Zonk Hasn't Learned his Aspirational Lesson Posted: November 26, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5903970)
Cobble is also the French "le Cobb" in pig latin.... so there's that.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: November 26, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5903979)
It is my utterly untested hypothesis that the stronger the bullpen, the more likely it is for each member to perform up to his potential. In other words, a bullpen with a solid, proven core is not only less likely to implode as a whole than a cobbled together one, but that extends to the individual relievers as well.

To wit: if you only have one good reliever, he becomes your go-to option in every tough situation, even if it isn't his optimal use. So you aren't using him where he's most effective (and you're probably overusing him), and his performance suffers. Put a lot of good relievers together in the same bullpen, and you can be picky about when you use each one of them, and only deploy them in situations to their advantage.
Maybe. But isn't it kind of a revisionist self-fulfilling thing. I.E. a bullpen that had members perform up to their potential retroactively looks strong/proven because ... the performed up to their potential.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: November 26, 2019 at 10:28 AM (#5903985)
Cobble is also the French "le Cobb" in pig latin.... so there's that.


No, it's Obblecay.
   12. flournoy Posted: November 26, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5903988)
Maybe. But isn't it kind of a revisionist self-fulfilling thing.


Sure. Hence the untested part. Players don't have knowable "potentials."
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 26, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5903989)
Since he was a recent Giants reliever, it's probably worth mentioning here: Sam Dyson's girlfriend just accused him of domestic violence, via a post on the Instagram account that she runs for the couple's cat (I know that sounds like a joke, but it's actually serious). From the post, whose wording is kind of challenging to parse since it's written from the cat's POV, it sounds like the cat had a little cardboard pet house that it liked to sit inside, that Dyson threw the house at the girlfriend while the cat was inside of it, that he has a history of throwing things at her in the past, and that she finally decided to leave in this case because she was concerned about the cat's well-being, above and beyond her own.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 26, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5903993)
Since he was a recent Giants reliever, it's probably worth mentioning here: Sam Dyson's girlfriend just accused him of domestic violence, via a post on the Instagram account that she runs for the couple's cat (I know that sounds like a joke, but it's actually serious). From the post, whose wording is kind of challenging to parse since it's written from the cat's POV, it sounds like the cat had a little cardboard pet house that it liked to sit inside, that Dyson threw the house at the girlfriend while the cat was inside of it, that he has a history of throwing things at her in the past, and that she finally decided to leave in this case because she was concerned about the cat's well-being, above and beyond her own.

That's bad if it's true, but the medium makes me a little concerned that the girlfriend is not a reliable narrator.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 26, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5903997)
That's bad if it's true, but the medium makes me a little concerned that the girlfriend is not a reliable narrator.


I think she was maybe just dissociating a bit because she was freaked out. It happens.

It looks like she did obliquely comment on it on her personal Instagram account a couple of days ago.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 26, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5904009)
I think she was maybe just dissociating a bit because she was freaked out. It happens.

It looks like she did obliquely comment on it on her personal Instagram account a couple of days ago.


Sure, that's possible. I'm just deeply uncomfortable with public accusations of criminality without reporting it to the police. If he's guilty, he doesn't get punished and will likely just do it again, if he's innocent his name is tarred, and he has no means of exoneration.

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