Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New name for the bullpen

The money pit (I'm thinking Tom Hanks would gladly surrender the name) and it's pretty easy to see why - Farnsworth, Yabuta, and Cruz are making about 8 million more than the trio of JP Howell, Ramon Ramirez, and Leo Nunez. There is also another 6+ million committed to Bale and Mahay. I have continually given Moore a pass on the Howell/Gathright trade but given his penchant for trading effective relief pitchers for below average everyday players I would bet that had Howell been in the 'pen in KC he still would have been traded.

Moore's reputation as a bullpen genius has been compromised this season - a 5.11 ERA and 1.51 WHIP will do that. Joakim Soria is the only relief pitcher with an ERA below 4 (2.97) and he is just 5th among relievers in innings pitched trailing Jamey Wright (64 IP, 4.50 ERA), Juan Cruz (46.2, 6.17), Robinson Tejeda (42, 4.07), and Ron Mahay (41.1, 4.79). He has pitched only 6 more innings than Roman Colon (6.21) which is either sad or funny, depending on your point of view.

Cruz' disappointing season was a surprise but everybody knew that Farnsworth was going to bomb - everybody but the guy calling the shots apparently. If Moore hadn't traded Ramirez and Nunez then he wouldn't have needed to sign Farnsworth and Cruz. It's said that due to the nature of inconsistency among middle relievers that trading them for everyday players is good business but Moore busted that myth wide open. Those two trades weakened the bullpen thus making the team worse not to mention that Crisp and Jacobs failed to be the difference makers on offense that Moore had envisioned.
Well KC's misfortune (or Moore's incompetence) has strengthened the bullpen of three teams making a playoff push. I asked some of my fellow Baseball Bloggers Alliance members their thoughts on the trades that brought them relief help.

Christine from Boston Red Thoughts on the Ramirez/Crisp trade:
My 1st thought when I heard that Coco Crisp was going to KC for Ramon Ramirez was "who the heck is Ramon Ramirez?"  Then I did some research, and saw that he was a good pitcher, and since Coco has pretty much become a gaping hole in the lineup (he never really had the same level of success he had when he was with Cleveland....)

I think it was a very good trade for the Sox--they got a good pitcher (although its seems like he lets a lot of inherited runners score, which is a pet peeve of mine) and since the Sox are only paying him $441K, and Coco, who is on the DL (He did that when he was with the Sox too...;-) is being paid $6 million plus, its a good thing.

Michael from Marlin Maniac on the Nunez/Jacobs trade:
I thought the Jacobs/Nunez deal was good for the Marlins then and I think it's good now. I'm of the opinion that bullpen arms are very replaceable, but I'm also of the opinion that first baseman who can't get on base and are terrible on defense are a dime a dozen, if not more. I was happy the Marlins got somebody even close to Leo Nunez, who is an average reliever and thus not particularly valuable but, if used the right way, won't hurt or help your team all that much. Jacobs, on the other hand, has very good potential to hurt your team if you use him in ANY way, as the only thing he can do is hit home runs. Especially for a first baseman, you need to be well above average offensively to be better than replacement level, and that doesn't even factor the fact that Jacobs is a terrible defensive first baseman.

All in all, neither team came out much better in terms of value, as Nunez has been OK and at times troublesome as a reliever, which isn't worth much if anything, and Jacobs has been a terrible DH for the Royals, which is definitely worth nothing. The difference here is the Royals are stuck fitting Jacobs arbitration bill, while Nunez makes the rookie rate in Florida. And that's probably the best advantage the Marlins got in the deal.

Devon from Rays All Day on the Howell/Gathright trade:
My initial reaction was a decent outfielder for a minor league starting pitcher who has a little potential but probably would not amount to anything. He started out bad as a starter, so the Rays got smart and sent him to the bullpen. Nobody thought he would be as good as he is now, but he is like our savior in our bullpen. The Rays bullpen without JP Howell would not be nearly as good. 
There's a fun little piece at Hardball Cooperative on the best baseball movies of all time (Field of Dreams in my opinion, and there's not even a close second) that you should check out here

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