by Tyler Wasserman | @tylerwasserman | email@example.com |
During the Winter Meetings, we saw both Heath Bell and Frank Francisco sign free agent deals to close games in new cities, although these moves were overshadowed by the Pujols and Reyes signings. Let’s take a look at the overall condition of the relief pitcher market.
Obviously, closers are being paid quite a large premium over setup men. But is this warranted? It seems as if many GMs are paying for saves; a very misleading stat. Rafael Soriano got a three-year deal in excess of $30 million last year because he had the brand name of an elite closer. However, as the Yankees experienced in 2011, relievers are very volatile, and even “elite closers” like Soriano tend to have sub-par years. Francisco Rodriguez, who recently accepted arbitration from the Brewers, will also be paid at least $12 million to be a setup man in 2012.