Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is going on with the price of relievers this winter?

The thing that really got me was Eric Gagne, who signed a 1-year contract with the Brewers for $10 million. This is the same guy that was spectacularly ineffective the last couple of months of the season with the Red Sox. Except for his implosion in game 2 of the ALCS, Francona wouldn't dare use him in the postseason without about a seven run lead.

Admittedly, he pitched pretty well for the Rangers prior to coming to Boston. There was some speculation that he didn't adapt well to the pressure put on him by Red Sox Nation, or that he was uncomfortable in a setup role. Perhaps the more relaxed atmosphere of Milwaukee and easier lineups in the National League will be more to his liking.

Keep the weekend of May 16-18 circled on your calendar. It's the weekend the Brewers visit Fenway for an interleague series. I can hardly wait to see what kind of reception the Fenway Faithful give to Gagne.

The crazy money doesn't stop with Gagne. Francisco Cordero has had some pretty good years, including 44 saves for the Brewers last season, but four years, $46 million for him? 3 years, $13 million for David Riske? Even J.C. Romero, who was released by the Red Sox in June, got a three year, $12 million extension from the Phillies.

I understand the need to have a solid bullpen if you want to compete, but it seems like there is a lot of money being thrown at mediocre pitchers. As Bill Veeck once said, “It isn't the high price of stars that's expensive, it's the high price of mediocrity.”


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