CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Future Shock: San Dieg... (12/13)
<< Previous Column
The BP First Take: Giv... (12/13)
Next Column >>
The BP First Take: Thu... (12/15)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The BP Broadside: Cott... (12/14)

December 14, 2011

The BP First Take

Wednesday, December 14

by Daniel Rathman

All general managers have strengths and weaknesses, some of which are easier to observe than others. When it comes to the Diamondbacks’ Kevin Towers, the ability to construct a solid bullpen without breaking the bank is clearly the feather in his cap.  Towers first worked that magic during his 15-year tenure with the Padres, before bringing it with him to Arizona in September 2010. Last offseason—while the Tigers and Yankees were busy dishing out expensive, three-year deals to Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano—Towers bolstered the Diamondbacks’ pen with three low-cost moves.

J.J. Putz inked a two-year, $10 million hitch with Arizona, and outperformed both Benoit and Soriano with a 1.1 WARP effort as the closer. David Hernandez, acquired from the Orioles in the Mark Reynolds deal, posted a 2.91 FIP as Putz’s primary set-up man. And Joe Paterson, a shrewd Rule 5 pick from the division-rival Giants, blossomed into an elite LOOGY, holding opposing lefty batters to a .205/.292/.242 triple-slash.

In 2010, the D’backs ranked dead last in the league with a putrid 5.72 bullpen ERA. One year of the Kevin Towers treatment pared that mark down to 3.71, good for 14th. And Towers’ two most recent moves have Arizona’s relief corps looking deeper and stronger for 2012—at a combined cost of about $2 million.

On Monday, the Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal with Takashi Saito. Saito will be 42 by Opening Day, but he was very effective for the Brewers last season, particularly against right-handed batters, and could form a deadly seventh-inning platoon with Paterson. On Tuesday, Arizona brought in Jonathan Albaladejo—once a promising relief prospect who bounced around the Nationals, Pirates, and Yankees farm systems before making his way to Japan last year—on a minor-league deal. The 29-year-old Albaladejo pitched 63 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton in 2010, and struck out 82 batters while walking just 18. He was similarly effective for the Yomiuri Giants in 2011, and appears to have finally turned a corner.

 Barring any significant moves in the coming weeks, the Diamondbacks will pay about  $12 million to their entire bullpen for the 2012 season, including the recent acquisition of Craig Breslow in the Trevor Cahill deal with the A’s. That’s roughly what the Phillies will pay Jonathan Papelbon alone.   

Daniel Rathman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Daniel's other articles. You can contact Daniel by clicking here

3 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Future Shock: San Dieg... (12/13)
<< Previous Column
The BP First Take: Giv... (12/13)
Next Column >>
The BP First Take: Thu... (12/15)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The BP Broadside: Cott... (12/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, September 1...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: September 12, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The September Shuffle
Premium Article Raising Aces: Angelic Arms
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Best Defensive Game of A...
In A Pickle: How To Lose Lots of One-Run Gam...
Notes About Baseball: Talking About Money

MORE FROM DECEMBER 14, 2011
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Melancon for Lowrie Sw...
Premium Article Future Shock: Win Some, Lose Some
Transaction Analysis: A Signing and Trade in...
The Lineup Card: 9 Memories of Frank Viola
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Love Me Non-Tender
Premium Article On the Beat: "Fixing" the Phillies
Premium Article The BP Broadside: Cottleston Pirates

MORE BY DANIEL RATHMAN
2011-12-21 - The BP First Take: Wednesday, December 21
2011-12-19 - The BP First Take: Monday, December 19
2011-12-15 - The BP First Take: Thursday, December 15
2011-12-14 - The BP First Take: Wednesday, December 14
2011-12-13 - The BP First Take: Give Maholm a Home?
2011-12-12 - The BP First Take: Monday, December 12
2011-12-08 - Premium Article The BP First Take: Thursday, December 8
More...

MORE BP FIRST TAKE
2011-12-21 - The BP First Take: Wednesday, December 21
2011-12-19 - The BP First Take: Monday, December 19
2011-12-15 - The BP First Take: Thursday, December 15
2011-12-14 - The BP First Take: Wednesday, December 14
2011-12-13 - The BP First Take: Give Maholm a Home?
2011-12-12 - The BP First Take: Monday, December 12
2011-12-08 - Premium Article The BP First Take: Thursday, December 8
More...