Tagged: Mike Adams

Break It Down: Relief Pitcher Free Agent Pool

Moving on in the 3U3D breakdown of the 2012 free agent crop to the relievers.  You can check out the starters here.  Let’s get right into it.

The Big Catch

Rafael Soriano turned down his option with the Yankees in order to test the free agent market. How could you blame him after taking over the closer’s role for the Yankees and running with it in Mariano Rivera’s absence. He wants a place he can be the closer and can get a long-term contract. Would not be surprised if he lands on the team that knocked him from the 2012 playoffs in Detroit. I will not include Rivera on this list sure he’s a “free agent”, but you’re kidding yourself if he’s going anywhere that doesn’t start with “B” and end in “ronx” in 2013.

The “Big” Catch

I know, I know I made a fat pun, but Broxton is the only other healthy player that has been a solid closer in the past.  Unless you want to deal with the mess that is Jose Valverde.  He may not close though if he stays in Cincinnati, which he is open to doing.

The Tommy John Tier

Two pitchers that have been solid closers in the past. Two pitchers that missed all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. I think I would be more comfortable taking a chance on Madson who is a little more advanced in his recovery. I doubt Madson will get the same amount of money that he got in the one-year deal from the Reds. If healthy though, these closers could be a steal for a team looking for one.

The Mystery Tier

We’ve seen a lot of success in Japanese closers coming over and being effective MLB relievers;  Kaz Sasaki, Koji Uehara, Hideki Okajima (at least for a little while), and Takashi Saito all come to mind.  Kyuji Fujikawa might be next in the lineage. He’s never had an ERA over 2.01 in his eight years in Japan.  If he lands on the right team in a closer role, he’ll be a trendy fantasy baseball sleeper.

Top Set-up Tier: Right-Handed Edition

The Rangers have a lot of the bullpen to rebuild if both Mike Adams and Koji Uehara take their services elsewhere.  That might be why the rumors are flying that they’re in on Fujikawa.  Adams has been one of the top set-up men for years now and should get a good contract if teams aren’t worried about his surgery for thoratic outlet syndrome. Uehara is coming off his best season and will expect more than the $4 million he made in 2012.  The same goes for Jason Grilli who found his niche finally in a set-up role in Pittsburgh with a 2.76 ERA and 1.16 WHIP the past two seasons.  He’ll get a raise over the $1.1 million he made last season.

Top Set-up Tier: Left-Handed Edition

Jeremy Affeldt is going to get paid after his perfect postseason performance for the Giants.  In my opinion, he’s been one of the most underrated relievers in the game.  Sean Burnett and J.P. Howell both picked good times to bounce back after worse 2011’s, especially in Howell’s case.  I would prefer Burnett to Howell because of the lesser injury risk, but both are good signings in the $3-5 million a year range.

What relievers would you want your team to go after this offseason?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Oswalt is Now a Texas Ranger

By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the news. The latest transaction to hit Major League Baseball is that Roy Oswalt has signed a contract with the Texas Rangers.

The only specifics released by the Rangers so far is that it is a one year deal pending his physical.

The deal will allow the Rangers to move some pieces around and his experience could become very useful but at what cost?

The Rangers have been one of the forefront teams all season to sign Oswalt. With the recent injury to starter Neftali Feliz this move makes a lot of sense right now. What about in a month when Feliz is scheduled to be back?

This deal could present a problem for the Rangers rotation. Or could this be a blessing in disguise?

When Feliz comes back there could be another rotation spot that he can slide into. The Rangers have a lot of young arms that don’t have necessarily a lot of miles on them. The problem with them though is the increased work load they were subjected to last season.

Players like Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, in the rotation, saw their innings drastically increase over previous seasons. So at some point this season they both may need some time off and having a team that features 6 starters (7 if you include Scott Feldman) really becomes quite useful.

Alexi Ogando was moved into the bullpen in the postseason last season and he remains there now. He was moved out of the starting role because he grew tired towards the end of the season. As a starter though he was dominant enough to make the AL All-Star team. A similar fate may be in store for Feliz.

Feliz being moved back into the bullpen would be a scary thought for the rest of the American League. If they had that many quality arms in the bullpen the Rangers starters would only need to go about 5 or 6 innings and just keep the game close. With a bullpen that features Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, lightly used Koji Uehara, and Joe Nathan closing things out. Add Feliz in there and that is a daunting task for any offense that has to face them.

Oswalt could however anchor this rotation if they make the postseason. Colby Lewis has been a beast in the last two seasons when the calendar turns to October. Behind him however the starts have been spotty to say the least by the rest of the rotation. With a veteran like Oswalt who has postseason experience from when he was with the Astros and the Phillies this could be a formidable rotation.

He could also become a mentor for some of the younger pitchers as they do not have an established long tenured pitcher necessarily.

The longest tenured starter is Colby Lewis and he is only in his third year since coming back from Japan. This new and improved Lewis is suspect during the season and lights out in the postseason. He can not however guide some of the younger players through the season as he himself has to be watched with an extremely close eye for much of the season.

Oswalt will begin his time with the Rangers this weekend as he will make a AAA start and see if he is ready to be moved up.

Coming off the heels of the latest defeat I don’t know if Ranger fans can take too many more starts from Scott Feldman.

– Brian Boynton