The Bullpen and Big Money

The Post has a good article about Chris Ray’s big Friday.

We’re really lucky that Ray looks to be the real deal. Imagine how things would look if he wasn’t. That would make LaTroy Hawkins closer by default, and I don’t care to see him in the ninth again. Not after the Angels game. Some times you’re lucky and some times you’re good, in this case I think the O’s front office got lucky that a young player could handle being a big league closer without a lot of minor league experience. With Ray closing, Hawkins doing the 8th, Rleal, Williams, Parrish, and Parrish, the Brower of late, and Halama…the bullpen will be good. Not the best in the league, but it would be pretty solid.

The bullpen has become a huge part of baseball. Complete games aren’t as common anymore. Pitchers usually make it through the 7th. Maybe the 8th. There’s set-up guys who’ll through the 8th inning. The Closer pitches the ninth. There’s your middle relief, who’ll pitch the 6th and maybe some of the seventh if you’re starter stinks that day. Then there’s specialists, who’ll just pitch to one righty just to get an out.
I went to Baseball Reference.com and looked at some stats.

Mariano Rivera made $10,500,000 last season for 78.3 innings worth of work
BJ Ryan signed a 5 year 47 million deal pitched 70.3 innings
Billy Wagner is making $10.5 million this season pitched 77.7 innings last season
Jason Isringhausen made 7 mil for 59 innings
Trevor Hoffman made 7 for 57.7 innings
Keith Foulke 45.7 innings and 7.5 million
Eric Gagne made 8 million, but he was injuried most of last season

If I had the time, I would figure out how much that was per inning, but I have neither the time not the math skills. But it would be a lot.

You’ve got starters who pitched 200 innings last season who didn’t make that money.
If a team has got a top closer in the pen who can get the three outs in the ninth and keep the bags clear, then you have to keep him. The O’s tried to low ball Ryan last season and it could have backfired after got a huge deal with the Jays.

There’s several levels of closers
The young generation- Chris Ray,John Papplebon, Huston Street
The solid but unsung- Ryan Dempster, BJ Ryan, Brag Lidge
The old- Tom Gordon, Jose Mesa, Bob Wickman
Top Dogs- Wagner, Rivera, Hoffman *Gagne was…we’ll see how he comes back.

Though the O’s pen isn’t the best in the majors right now, I think when Williams and Parrish comes back it’ll be better. Over the offseason this should be an top priority. The starting pitching can be top notch, but if the pen can’t hold a lead, then it doesn’t matter.

Isn’t it amazing how ESPN and the media has latched onto Papplebon? This kid is going to be a really good closer, but you’d think this kid is Rivera, Lee Smith, Gossage, and Sutter rolled into one. He’ll definately be good, I’m not denying that, and I’m going to have really learn to hate him since I’m sure he’ll be a Red Sox for a long time.

This was from Buster Olney on Monday:

Daniel Cabrera has already issued 22 walks in his first 18.1 innings, but new Baltimore pitching coach Leo Mazzone spoke positively about Cabrera the other day. “I think he’s doing fine,” said Mazzone, who has talked to Cabrera about not dwelling on previous mistakes during games.
Cabrera allowed one run in five innings to Tampa Bay on April 12, with nine walks and 10 strikeouts. After the game, Mazzone walked up to Cabrera and asked, “How many runs did you give up?” One, Cabrera replied. “I rest my case,” said Mazzone.

The Orioles are also pleased with the early showing of young closer Chris Ray. “He’s got a mound presence that’s above and beyond that of a first-year closer,” said Mazzone.

Fans think MLB still hasn’t gotten it right with steriods.

The Giants and Rockies played some basebrawl Sunday.
Maybe the next book I should read is “Omar!” by Omar Vizquel. Any book that anyone famous writes and uses their first name with an exclaimation mark is usually a book that I won’t read. Besides, what really had Omar Vizquel done at that point or this point to require an autobiography?

The Yanks want Clemens. I could see this happening….but I still say Houston has the inside track, especially with their strong start to season (which in my opinion, won’t last). If he signs with the Yankees or Boston it would make me sick to my stomach.

The O’s get some love from John Donovan

Rodrigo Lopez pitches tonight. Here’s hoping that he gets things back on track and the O’s get back into the win column.

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