Originally Posted by RedsManRick
And there's the rub. If all you expect out of a bullpen guy is an ERA in the high 4s or worse and some innings being eaten, don't spend your money on that in FA. Every team has somebody at AA or AAA who can come up and provide innings. If you don't have that guy, you probably aren't in contention anyways. We've got Brad Salmon wasting away so that we can fund Mike Stanton's retirement.
Sure, it's only a few million on Stanton, but it's also a few milliion on Cormier, a few million on Conine, a million on Juan Castro etc. and suddenly you've spent a superstar's worth on guys who you could have replaced in house if you had the guts to do so. If your table shows us anything, it's that crop of mediocre FA talent simply isn't worth the risk for the very limited upside they provide.
Free agency is for impact players you can't obtain otherwise and replaceable bit pieces that you can acquire at virtually no cost. That middle ground is where the market is the most inefficient and the easiest way to waste your money.
The Reds were in contention when they traded for Cormier, and Cormier wouldn't allow the trade unless there was an extension, so I don't think it's fair to include him in this part of the conversation. Jeff Conine has been worth his salary so far, so I'm not going to complain about trading for him. Juan Castro is making less than $1M, so I'd be nitpicking if I complained about that.
However, here is a list of every single pitcher who was signed in the most recent off-season who made more than Stanton's salary of $2M and less than the $7.175M the Reds would have saved if they hadn't signed Juan Castro, Jeff Conine, Rheal Cormier, and Mike Stanton. Please tell me which of these pitchers you would have signed before the season started.
$ 4,000,000 Danys Baez 41.1 IP 5.88 ERA 1.38 WHIP
$ 4,250,000 Joe Borowski 49 IP 5.51 ERA 1.45 WHIP
$ 3,000,000 Chad Bradford 49.1 IP 3.47 ERA 1.38 WHIP
$ 5,000,000 Octavio Dotel 27.1 IP 4.61 ERA 1.46 WHIP
$ 2,250,000 Alan Embree 55 IP 3.60 ERA 1.24 WHIP
$ 6,875,000 Adam Eaton 133 IP 6.36 ERA 1.62 WHIP
$ 5,000,000 Keith Foulke hasn't pitched
$ 6,000,000 Eric Gagne 40.1 IP 4.02 ERA 1.34 WHIP
$ 3,500,000 Roberto Hernandez 39 IP 6.23 ERA 1.80 WHIP
$ 4,000,000 Kei Igawa 62.1 IP 6.79 ERA 1.68 WHIP
$ 2,500,000 Jose Mesa 39 IP 5.77 ERA 1.44 WHIP
$ 3,100,000 Ramon Ortiz 93.1 IP 5.01 ERA 1.40 WHIP
$ 4,000,000 Joel Pineiro 53 IP 4.25 ERA 1.38 WHIP
$ 2,100,000 Chris Reitsma 23.2 IP 7.61 ERA 1.94 WHIP
$ 3,600,000 Scott Schoeneweis 42.2 IP 5.06 ERA 1.57 WHIP
$ 3,750,000 Justin Speier 34 IP 2.91 ERA 0.97 WHIP
$ 3,000,000 Jamie Walker 46 IP 3.13 ERA 1.26 WHIP
$ 4,000,000 Kip Wells 132.1 IP 5.24 ERA 1.53 WHIP
$ 6,000,000 Woody Williams 159 IP 4.92 ERA 1.37 WHIP
I see only a couple players who could've made a noteworthy difference for the Reds. One is Jamie Walker, who will be 38 years old and making $4.5M in 2009. The other is Justin Speier, who will be 36 years old and making $5.25M in 2010. Those two are two huge investments for middle relief, if you ask me. I'm not sure the Reds can afford those kinds of risks. I think Mike Stanton was worth a shot. Also, Stanton still has a chance to turn things around.