Thursday, May 17, 2012

More on Middle Relievers

Zucchini Boy read my conclusions about free agent pitchers last week and wondered about the sanity of paying for middle relievers:
Regarding middle relievers, isn’t it always a little tricky to find the right guy to drip, drip, drip your way to earnings? i.e. With around 10 innings…under their belts, guys like Fernando Salas, Antonio Bastardo, and Eric O’Flaherty are having rough starts, and others like Mitchell Boggs, Sean Burnett, and Logan Ondrusek are having fantastic starts (but weren’t phenomenal last year).
I'm not advocating paying full freight for middle relievers. In fact, this one of the places where owners can - and should - try to save their money. I'm simply saying that middle relievers shouldn't be overlooked when you're putting your roster together.

Zucchini's reasoning is sound (though Sean Marshall, Mike Adams, Scott Downs, and Tyler Clippard all were examples of pitchers who carried over their success from one year to the next quite seamlessly). Last year's middle relief king can be this year's bust. More importantly, why pay $3-4 for last year's stats when there are plenty of $1-2 pitchers floating around at the end that will possibly provide value? The free agent tables I included in last week's piece were meant to emphasize exactly that point: middle relievers are fungible, so don't pay for them. But do make sure that you have a couple on your roster throughout the season...even if it takes some time for you to eventually find the "right" ones.

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