Thursday, January 3, 2013
Rangers hope for good value in bullpen
By Richard Durrett
The Texas Rangers aren't afraid to spend money. This ownership group has made that clear with the 5-year, $80 million deal they gave Adrian Beltre (with a $16 million vesting option for a sixth year) prior to the 2011 season and the nearly $108 million in guaranteed money spent to get Yu Darvish in a Ranger uniform before 2012.
Of course, it's an organization that prides itself on spending smart, which explains why some of the free agents the club hoped to acquire didn't end up in Arlington this offseason. But when it comes to the bullpen, the club's front office has been careful to pick and choose which pitchers get multi-year deals, opting for those that may have something to prove in battling back from injury. It's rarely a spot they want to spend big bucks, instead choosing to carefully manage what kind of money is used in the pen.
This offseason is no exception. With Joe Nathan already under contract -- and after his 2012 season, the $7 million he's getting paid in 2013 looks like a bargain -- the Rangers gave Joakim Soria a two-year deal with a club option for a third year. They did it because they felt they got good value at $8 million over the two years for a pitcher hoping to show he can get healthy and pitch well again.
Texas has supplemented those signings with young players who are pre-arbitration and those acquired for a relatively cheap price on the free agent market. Thursday was another example of that. In Jason Frasor, the club gets a veteran pitcher who has been pretty consistent in his career. He misses bats and can be a steady presence in the pen. They got that for $1.5 million. Even in trades, they hope they've received good value. Josh Lindblom came to Texas in the Michael Young trade. He isn't arbitration eligible until 2015 and made just $483,000 last year.
As Jamey Newberg points out today, other teams have spent a great deal on relievers. Jonathan Broxton got $21 million over three years, Brandon League signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal and Jeremy Affeldt got $18 million for three years. Those are the kinds of deals the Rangers like to make at that position. They'll go multi-years, but it's got to be at a certain value.
The Rangers hope the cheap prices provide good value. They lost Scott Feldman, Koji Uehara and Mike Adams from the bullpen a year ago. In essence, they had a gaggle of innings to make up in that pen after also shifting Alexi Ogando to the bullpen.
The Texas front office is in the process of filling those holes. They just want to do it at an affordable price.