Welcome to the Orioles Nation Forums! Like most online communities, you must register to post on our message board. However, posting is free--it always will be--and registration is a simple process. Become part of the growing Orioles Nation community and register now!

That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #1 by Tucker Blair » February 27th, 2012, 1:54 pm

That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP
The Orioles went into the 2007 off-season with one main priority. The Orioles bullpen ranked near the bottom of the league, posting a 19-25 record with a 5.27 ERA (29th) and a 5.45 FIP (30th). It was clear that they needed to somehow, someway, bolster the pen. Orioles management went on to sign three relief pitchers.

The first, Chad Bradford, had been a strong asset to the Athletics and Mets bullpens' in years past. He was given a 3-year $10M deal. the second, Jamie Walker, had also been a formidable bullpen arm throughout his career with the Tigers. He was given a 3-year $12M deal. The third pitcher, Danys Baez, had been a strong closer for the Rays before getting traded to the Dodgers and struggling a little. He was given a 3-year $19M deal. Overall, the Orioles shelled out a total of $41M on three relief pitchers. None of them were closers. Take a look at their numbers the year before their deal, and the year(s) after:

Image
These statistics do not look terrible at first glance. Bradford went on to pitch at a respectable performance, possibly warranting his $10M deal an asset instead of a sunk cost. However, the Walker and Baez numbers are far less impressive. Walker essentially pitched one above-average season before plummeting below a respectable level of performance. That means he was paid $12M for one above-average season out of the bullpen in a non-closer role. The Baez contract is even worse. He had a horrific first season with the Orioles and then missed the entire 2008 season due to injury. He had an average season in 2009, but it did not nearly make up for the terrible contract he was given. The Phillies then went on to sign Baez, and it was the same story all over again. below-average numbers and a decent amount of money spent on him.

So why do teams bother spending such a high amount of money on relief pitchers if they usually tend to backfire or not live up to their expectations? The 2007 Orioles are a prime example of why it is not a good idea to throw around silly amounts of money to them. Funny enough, it seems even the Orioles did not learn from their mistakes. Take at look at the next two pitchers on this dubious list:

Image
Most Orioles fans know the deal with Gonzalez and Gregg. Gonzalez was given a 2-year $12M deal, while Gregg was given a 2-year $10M contract with a $6M club option. Both were supposed to become the closer. Both pitchers lost the closer role and have now become painful memories for the fans. It's never been a good idea to overpay for a relief pitcher, and it probably never will be. Of course there are exceptions like Mariano Rivera, and even some other low-risk guys such as Ryan Madson on his 1-year deal this year with the Reds. I think most fans would not have a problem with that since the Reds made significant gains this off-season and could compete in their division this year. Take a look at a few AL East signings that have potentially come to bite them in the rear-end recently:

Image
Obviously the Soriano deal brought plenty of backlash from the fans. His 3-year $35M deal looks to be a huge overpay. This is for a setup man. Obviously the Yankees have the luxury of making a signing like this, but that does not mean it was a good signing by any means. I will assume Soriano pitches better this season, but recent history shows that these expensive relief pitcher deals rarely work out. The Jenks deal has been a disaster for the Red Sox. After a decent season in 2010, he went on to pitch a measly 15.2 innings for them. He has already been placed on the 60-day DL for the 2012 season. I put Rauch on this list because of the type of team he signed with. The Jays were a lot like the Orioles last year in an aspect. They had enough hitting to compete, but the pitching was a work-in-progress. Of course they had the luxury of a front-line pitcher in Ricky Romero, but they had little depth at the major league level after him. Rauch was a veteran arm coming off a good season with the Twins, and he presumably was figured to solidify the back-end of the pen. Of course as the numbers indicate above, he had a poor season. At $3.5M it was not a terrible signing, but not exactly the best use of money for a team still a little bit away from truly contending.

In conclusion, relief pitching is a tough water to tread through during free agency. Teams such as the Orioles are probably better off going after guys with upside or cheaper options, such as Pedro Strop, Darren O'day, and even Luis Ayala to an extent. These guys might not light the world on fire, but they are cheaper, can be just as effective, and don't limit the teams' spending in other areas like a Kevin Gregg type signing does. Other clubs have made similar signings as well. The Red Sox found a gem in Alfredo Aceves last season. They paid triple the amount for Bobby Jenks, and probably got triple the value out of Aceves. The Rays found a gem in Kyle Farnsworth at $2.6M, which was cheaper than guys such as Jenks, Gregg, and Gonzalez in 2011. Maybe the Orioles have finally realized that spending more is not always the best idea, as Dan Duquette spent much less on the pen than the Orioles have in years past (although he did trade for Lindstrom and take on his $3.6M salary). In the future, it probably is not a good idea to go overboard on relief pitching.

http://entoriole.blogspot.com/2012/02/t ... -sign.html

It's kind of sad as an Orioles fan to read this, but it's what they did for a large part of the past decade.
User avatar
Tucker Blair
Orioles Nation Staff
Executive Editor
 
Posts: 1574
Joined: October 2011
Location: Elkridge, MD
Reputation Score: 43

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #2 by Shorebirdfan » February 27th, 2012, 9:43 pm

These players all have one thing in common. Some team developed them through the minors and gave them a chance in the majors where they performed well enough to warrant a free agent contract. Want to save money and develop a bullpen? Grow the bullpen arms!

Cole McCurry, Sean Gleason, Dan Klein, Ashur Tolliver, Clay Schrader and Jacob Pettit all have the potential to develop into a MLB pen. Invest the time and effort into them.
Shorebirdfan
GCL Orioles
 
Posts: 559
Joined: September 2010
Reputation Score: 15

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #3 by Ampontan » February 28th, 2012, 12:06 am

One thing to remember was that Walker was overused by Trembley one year, which probably finished off his career. Not fair to Walker, but on the other hand the bullpen had imploded and Walker was one of Trembley's few reliable options. Notice that he went from 48 innings pitched to 61, a 27% increase. That would be hard on any pitcher, particularly an older one.
Ampontan
DSL Orioles
 
Posts: 180
Joined: February 2012
Reputation Score: 10

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #4 by Tucker Blair » February 28th, 2012, 12:12 am

Ampontan wrote:One thing to remember was that Walker was overused by Trembley one year, which probably finished off his career. Not fair to Walker, but on the other hand the bullpen had imploded and Walker was one of Trembley's few reliable options. Notice that he went from 48 innings pitched to 61, a 27% increase. That would be hard on any pitcher, particularly an older one.

I agree, a lot of varying reasons for a pitchers' effectiveness.
But it does bring up another good reason as to why a bullpen shouldn't be spent on, but the rotation should be.
User avatar
Tucker Blair
Orioles Nation Staff
Executive Editor
 
Posts: 1574
Joined: October 2011
Location: Elkridge, MD
Reputation Score: 43

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #5 by Matt P » February 28th, 2012, 12:14 am

The organization simply has no eye for talent.
Matt P
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 1717
Joined: October 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Reputation Score: 37

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #6 by birdwatcher55 » March 1st, 2012, 1:05 pm

Ideally the best way to get pitching is to develop it. Unfortunately we have little to show for after 14 years of losing and getting all those premium draft picks. Now we're reaching overseas for guys with a lot of questions who have never pitched in the major leagues. I would call that a stop-gap measure. To stop the bleeding, we need to start drafting intelligently - something we didn't do very much of under Demacio and Jordan. 8-)
birdwatcher55
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 1624
Joined: November 2011
Reputation Score: 11

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #7 by ofahn » March 1st, 2012, 2:09 pm

birdwatcher55 wrote:Ideally the best way to get pitching is to develop it. Unfortunately we have little to show for after 14 years of losing and getting all those premium draft picks. Now we're reaching overseas for guys with a lot of questions who have never pitched in the major leagues. I would call that a stop-gap measure. To stop the bleeding, we need to start drafting intelligently - something we didn't do very much of under Demacio and Jordan. 8-)


Clearly, the train wreck of of our farm system over the past fourteen years is a pile of smoking ruins but I'm more inclined to place the blame on development than draft selection.
User avatar
ofahn
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 4371
Joined: May 2011
Reputation Score: 85

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #8 by Tucker Blair » March 1st, 2012, 2:29 pm

ofahn wrote:
birdwatcher55 wrote:Ideally the best way to get pitching is to develop it. Unfortunately we have little to show for after 14 years of losing and getting all those premium draft picks. Now we're reaching overseas for guys with a lot of questions who have never pitched in the major leagues. I would call that a stop-gap measure. To stop the bleeding, we need to start drafting intelligently - something we didn't do very much of under Demacio and Jordan. 8-)


Clearly, the train wreck of of our farm system over the past fourteen years is a pile of smoking ruins but I'm more inclined to place the blame on development than draft selection.


I agree, it's more on development if anything.

Another thing that bothers me is how the Orioles trade away potential bullpen pieces. I mean Randy Henry and Jarret Martin were not huge prospects, but they are both valuable bullpen guys in my eyes. And they traded both of them away for, at best, replacement guys.

Over time, you stock up players of this nature. The more the better. The Orioles simply do not have enough guys of this talent to be trading them away. They could have easily just gone with Ronny Paulino or Brian Ward as backup catcher instead of trading for Teagarden
User avatar
Tucker Blair
Orioles Nation Staff
Executive Editor
 
Posts: 1574
Joined: October 2011
Location: Elkridge, MD
Reputation Score: 43

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #9 by Old Sneakers » March 1st, 2012, 5:03 pm

100% agreed with shorebirdfan's statement. We can develop our own arms for the bullpen and save a huge amount of money!
User avatar
Old Sneakers
GCL Orioles
 
Posts: 752
Joined: March 2011
Reputation Score: 32

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #10 by ofahn » March 2nd, 2012, 8:54 am

TuckerBlair89 wrote:Another thing that bothers me is how the Orioles trade away potential bullpen pieces. I mean Randy Henry and Jarret Martin were not huge prospects, but they are both valuable bullpen guys in my eyes. And they traded both of them away for, at best, replacement guys.


I have a different POV on this. While I see Randy Henry as a potential ML pitcher I also see at least three others just like him from the same 2009 draft and three more from the 2010 draft. That's Joe Jordan at his best.

I don't want to speak for Buck Showalter but I can see him taking this approach. He doesn't want to use Wieters as a C in more than about 120 games (with the remainder as DH). That leaves a young pitching staff in the hands of another C for more than 40 games. He just wanted to get a backup that he felt was almost as good behind the plate as Wieters and saw Teagarden as that guy.

Brian Ward may spend years on a ML roster as a backup but I don't see him as ready yet. I also think there might be a credibility question between some headstrong young pitchers and a C that jumped from A ball. IMO this was the right move but it should also be the exception to the rule of stockpiling and developing as much young pitching as possible.
User avatar
ofahn
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 4371
Joined: May 2011
Reputation Score: 85

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #11 by birdwatcher55 » March 2nd, 2012, 2:55 pm

ofahn wrote:
birdwatcher55 wrote:Ideally the best way to get pitching is to develop it. Unfortunately we have little to show for after 14 years of losing and getting all those premium draft picks. Now we're reaching overseas for guys with a lot of questions who have never pitched in the major leagues. I would call that a stop-gap measure. To stop the bleeding, we need to start drafting intelligently - something we didn't do very much of under Demacio and Jordan. 8-)


Clearly, the train wreck of of our farm system over the past fourteen years is a pile of smoking ruins but I'm more inclined to place the blame on development than draft selection.

Snyder .. Rowell ... Stahl ... Erbe ... Hobgood ... Townsend .. Smith ... Loewen .. On and on the list of premium round busts goes on.. Still got no problem with "draft selection"???? 8-)
birdwatcher55
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 1624
Joined: November 2011
Reputation Score: 11

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #12 by ofahn » March 2nd, 2012, 4:05 pm

Snyder .. Rowell ... Stahl ... Erbe ... Hobgood ... Townsend .. Smith ... Loewen .. On and on the list of premium round busts goes on.. Still got no problem with "draft selection"????


Demacio and Jordan


Perhaps you could do some research and re post this.
User avatar
ofahn
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 4371
Joined: May 2011
Reputation Score: 85

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #13 by birdwatcher55 » March 3rd, 2012, 8:24 am

ofahn wrote:
Snyder .. Rowell ... Stahl ... Erbe ... Hobgood ... Townsend .. Smith ... Loewen .. On and on the list of premium round busts goes on.. Still got no problem with "draft selection"????


Demacio and Jordan


Perhaps you could do some research and re post this.

You've identified the culprits. Ready to admit they've made just a few indescretions with their premium picks?? 8-)
birdwatcher55
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 1624
Joined: November 2011
Reputation Score: 11

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #14 by ofahn » March 3rd, 2012, 10:00 am

birdwatcher55 wrote:
ofahn wrote:
Snyder .. Rowell ... Stahl ... Erbe ... Hobgood ... Townsend .. Smith ... Loewen .. On and on the list of premium round busts goes on.. Still got no problem with "draft selection"????


Demacio and Jordan


Perhaps you could do some research and re post this.

You've identified the culprits. Ready to admit they've made just a few indescretions with their premium picks?? 8-)


Perhaps you could do some research and re post this.
User avatar
ofahn
Aberdeen IronBirds
 
Posts: 4371
Joined: May 2011
Reputation Score: 85

Re: That Awkward Moment When They Sign an Expensive RP

PostPost #15 by Ampontan » March 3rd, 2012, 11:42 am

Yeah, I guess the people drafting really screwed up by drafting people like Stahl, Erbe, Hobgood, Townsend, Smith, and Loewen who got injured after they were drafted.

Maybe they should have hired Carnak the Magnificent instead of Rajsich.
Ampontan
DSL Orioles
 
Posts: 180
Joined: February 2012
Reputation Score: 10


Next

Return to Baltimore Orioles

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests