Price of relief, 2008
One of the great things we’ve been able to see the M’s pull off over the last few years is their cheap, effective bullpens. They’ve tried to spend on veterans, or put Rick White into a role, but most of the work’s been done by Putz and a collection of farm system products for little money.
This is important because the bullpen’s one of the places smart teams can save money and still be productive, allowing them to spend money elsewhere. The Padres are notorious for this: they probably scout for relief pitchers harder than everyone, and then pick up a collection of rebound candidates, post-injury comebacks, and pitchers with good stuff who got unlucky, or played in front of a bad defense, or whatever. They pay them all peanuts, juggle them through the season, flipping or dumping them, and then repeat the process.
I mention this because Octavio Dotel just signed a two year, $11m deal with the White Sox. The M’s have a host of guys who are good bets to outperform Dotel this year for under a million dollars. That’s a good position to be in, even if we might disagree about where they spend the savings.