SABRMatt Shoutz: Fun question...would you rather trade two very low end prospects for an 8 million dollar relief ace who is good but not a true master and who you only control for one season. ..or two of your top four and four of your top 30 prospects for a 12 mil per year true relief ace that you have for three seasons at that price?
and Mo' Dawg didn’t hesitate: Is his name M. Rivera? Otherwise, unlikely.
Fun question indeed, especially for the M’s. Matty, you're on a roll, even if the Sox may not be ...
Not only did the Sox give up 2 of THEIR top 4 spects, they gave up 2 of the Top MLB 100. And two more prospects who may be more valuable than the two the M’s paid for Benoit. True, Craig Kimbrel is a suitcase full of rainbows. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they're going to waste him as a closer.
Kidding. Half. :: Aaron Eckart voic :: Bill James (correctly) has pointed out that --- > the 9th-inning closer is an indulgence. You know how the shotgun formation gives 15% more yards than a QB-under-center formation?, and yet they still keep taking snaps under center? Without any question at all, the use of Craig Kimbrel with the score tied in any late inning would give you far more wins than the use of him to 'celebrate' 5-3 victories.
We ain’t winning that "Closer" battle any time soon. But take consolation in the idea that DiPoto spent hard-earned* Mariner dollars on the concept of good relievers, rather than on the mythological concept of a Closer.
*Actually Pepsi! 90 Days Same as Cash! ain't all that hard-earned. But.
Also true: the Sox get 3 years of Kimbrel. Also also true: If the M's had got Kimbrel, Dr. D would be dancing the Futterwacken most vigorously. But! The M’s have a more subtle idea in mind. Theirs is a glue-and-screw adhesion idea, in contrast to the Sox’ rusty iron railroad spike and windmill sledgehammer. Joaquin Benoit provides you a military-grade bridge over the River 2016. This idea gives you elbow room for the global plan of *developing* your bullpen given the time you bought yourself.
It’s axiomatic that you want to build your bullpen from within, perhaps with a Wade Davis-like trade mixed in. (By Wade Davis-like we mean, a little bit more stealth than 4 shiny prospects for a reliever who is featured on Wheaties boxes. Everybody loathed the Wade Davis trade when it actually occurred.)
The Mariners have a dozen *interesting* relief arms. If you go 9-to-make-3 out of there, you should be able to plan on having a KC-style fire brigade by 2017. Or!* if that doesn’t quite pan out, you can bridge again next winter.
*Conjunctions as gleeful sentences. Is SSI a great place or what.
By the way, the Crowdsourcing has all these Lowe-, Sipp-, Kelley-type arms falling into our arms at a measly $4M apiece. Methinks the concept of “bullpen stabilization” escapes the $/WAR crowd, but in the end, it did not escape Jack Zduriencik and Lloyd McClendon. Perhaps the truth dawned on them as the darkness closed in. But everybody believes in the end, Mr. Shepherd.
FIVE DEGREES OFF CENTER Dept.
On MLB Network they are already debating James’ Zen idea to limit relief pitching changes. (That which is in favor of the game as a whole, does not usually synch with what is in the interest of one manager as a whole.)
MLB Network debated this version of the game: Make every pitcher face two batters.
The objection: until he fakes an injury every time!
The SSI overrule: Then the second batter walks, similar to the balk rule.
I’m with James on all of it. Right now the average ballgame sees 9, 10 pitchers. James notes, wryly that we'd probably rather watch one actor play Dumbledore than see five actors play him. The wholesale pitching changes, the parade of non-athletes cascading out to the mound every night, do not add to the coherency of the drama.
Gratuitous Joaquin Benoit stat poached from Jeffy: Over the last SIX years, Joaquin Benoit has allowed the #2 BABIP in all of baseball. Also, in 2015, he allowed the #1 exit velocity.
That BABIP number is, incredibly, .232. Davenport Translation in Safeco: .132. The worst BABIP over the last six years was Hector Noesi, at .366. We'll take that pitcher-pair as emblematic of the JeDi Rebellion.
image: Keith Allison, flickr