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.
About the Author
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.