Affeldt Signed by Giants

The San Francisco Giants have signed Jeremy Affeldt to a two-year, $8M contract. The lefthanded reliever is the first free agent to sign on the open market this winter.

From the Giants’ perspective, the signing is eerily similar to one made by the Mets during the 2006-2007 offseason. First, it’s a LOOGY coming off an unusually successful season with the Cincinnati Reds. Secondly, there are these quotes from the AP report:

Affeldt’s role is yet to be determined, though San Francisco’s brass likes that he can pitch multiple innings. … it doesn’t hurt that he lives in Spokane, Wash., so he’ll be much closer to home

Yeah, that sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? Didn’t the Mets sign a lefthanded starter-turned-reliever, who supposedly could “pitch multiple innings” / fill various roles, and grew up nearby? Oh, and then there is that startlingly expensive contract that draws comparison.

Now, I know there are people who disagree with my parallels of Affeldt to Scott Schoeneweis. Many people think Affeldt would have been a wonderful addition to the Mets’ bullpen, based on his last two seasons. These same people probably think Joe Beimel is a good idea as well.

But what must be considered is that Affeldt’s strong 2007 was only the second time he ever posted an ERA below 4.64 in his career. In fact, his ERA the previous two seasons was 6.20 and 5.26. One could argue that his newfound success was due to some change in his approach, or possibly maturation. More likely, it had to do with the fact he became a strict LOOGY — in 75 games, he spun just 59 innings. In 2008, his workload grew to just over one inning per outing — 74 games, 78 innings. This was due to spinning two innings in a game 13 times during the season. And to his credit, he did for the most part pitch to more than “one guy” in the majority of his appearances. But can he keep it up, and be a legitimate setup guy as some Mets followers have suggested? Maybe, but is that maybe worth two years at $8M? Remember back to that fateful winter, when Scho seemed like such a great signing because he had posted a 3.32 ERA as a LOOGY in 2005, and then was nearly perfect as a closer for the Reds over 16 games in 2006.

Of course, Schoeneweis came to New York as damaged goods, and Affeldt is presumably healthy. Good for him to get that deal, but I for one am glad the Mets didn’t pony up such an arresting commitment.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Schmidtxc November 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm
    I always liked affeldt, but as a situational guy or long man. @ years and 8 million would definately curb my desire to see him in queens. I do like the fact that the market seems to be developing at a slower pace this season, I think some of these guys who would cost a draft pick if signed now will not eventually be offered arbitration. If the market stays slow, I think it will definately benifit the mets.
  2. joe November 18, 2008 at 12:09 pm
    Agreed on all counts. Once the arbitrations start being offered, the pace will pick up.

    If the Mets signed Affeldt, I think people would expect him to come in and be a lefthanded Ryan Madson and pitch every day, in every situation. I believe he’d not do well under Uncle Jerry’s system.

  3. isuzudude November 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm
    I’m confused about the arbitration process. Have teams had the opportunity to offer arbitration to their free agents yet? If not, when will it take place? If so, how will we know what free agents decided to accept arbitration? It seems to me it would behoove teams to sign other teams’ free agents now so they wouldn’t have to give up draft picks. Or do teams still have to surrender draft picks if they sign another teams’ free agent before the arbitration process? It seems to me like that would make the decision of whether to offer arbitration easy for teams losing free agents before the process takes place. I’m confused!
  4. joe November 18, 2008 at 5:37 pm
    Yeah … who’s NOT confused by all this nonsense?

    Teams have until December 1 to offer arbitration to their free agents. If a player signs before he is offered arbitration, and he is a Type A or Type B, then his former team receives draft picks as compensation. A team also receives that compensation if they offer arbitration and the player declines it.

    I *think* teams make public their intention to offer arbitration to individual players. The players then have the option to either accept it — and thereby give up their free agency — or decline it and move on. Players have until December 7th to accept or decline arbitration.

    So, if a team is after a Type A free agent, and is fairly sure his former team WON’T offer him arbitration, it makes sense to wait until at least December 8th, so you don’t have to surrender a draft pick.

    Clear as mud?

  5. Schmidtxc November 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm
    Clear as mud Joe.

    Guys like Bob Howry adn Darrin Oliver shouldn’t be offered arbitration, but would cost a draft pick if signed before december 1. Even if the mets don’t target these guys, they certainly add more viable options on the market for teams, making it more likely that omar can get who he’s after. I just like that it seems to be developing slowly this year.