In the past few days, both Scott Linebrink and Francisco Cordero left Milwaukee to sign massive four-year contracts. Those two signings have significantly affected an already thin market for middle relief, in several ways.
The most obvious, of course, is that those two pitchers are now off the market. Additionally, the Brewers now must find two arms to replace them — certainly they’re not looking at Guillermo Mota as an option to fill either of their roles. At minimum, the Brewers need to find a closer, as it’s doubtful they’ll send Derrick Turnbow to the end of games again. But, there aren’t many closers available — which means they’ll be looking at setup men, quasi-closers, and failed firemen such as Brian Fuentes, Octavio Dotel, and Troy Percival. The demand for those types has a trickle-down effect, and suddenly drives up the value for fringe guys such as Salomon Torres. Whereas two weeks ago a team might have been able to pick up, say, a Dan Wheeler in an under-the-radar deal, now it will likely take a decent prospect to pry him away from the Rays. Not to mention what the Nationals will be asking for Chad Cordero.
Which way will the Mets go? Will they send two top prospects to Washington for the “other” Cordero? Would they give up a Kevin Mulvey for a Fuentes or Wheeler? Will they give the questionable Dotel or Percival an overvalued two-year, $16M deal? Or will Omar’s scouting staff continue to scrape the waiver wire and the winter leagues in search of the next Chad Bradford and Pedro Feliciano? Or will they do something that should have been done six months ago, and tell both Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey to get used to pitching from the stretch?
Should be interesting to see this develop over the next few weeks.
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.