Re: The 100 Inning Reliever
RMR, I think there's three other things you need to take into account when assessing the optimal deployment for a reliever.
1) How many relievers are good year-after-year for long stretches of time? My guess is that it's a small slice of the bullpen pie.
2) How long does the average reliever last with a given team? My guess is more than four years, particularly more than four good years, is a relative rarity. For instance, the Dodgers only got three quality years out of Eric Gagne. Octavio Dotel only gave the Astros 3.5 big seasons. John Wetteland never stuck with a club more than four seasons.
3) What's the value of a high quality 85+ IP reliever? My guess is that flaunting a quality bullpen arm while you've got one delivers bigger returns. A smaller market team getting a great season or two from a reliever is probably better off than a small market team getting three or four good season from that same reliever, at least in terms of chasing October glory.
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