My mild disappointment at learning that Omar Minaya had pitched in $13+ million per year to land Francisco Rodriguez was leavened somewhat by learning that it was only a three-year deal. Having watched a large slate of Angels games over the past few years, I’m mildly concerned about the knock on him as a 9th inning flower, who rarely, if ever came in to have to get four, five, or six out saves in the AL.
Then again, anyone to solidify ANY inning not pitched by a starter is a considerable upgrade over the mess the Mets bullpen was last season — even when Billy Wagner’s elbow didn’t give out on him.
Getting Seattle’s former closer J.J. Putz in a three-way trade to play set-up man also seems like a step in the right direction — any direction is good as long as it involves getting rid of the long-reviled Aaron Heilman, who was nothing but a leaking gas tank for the past couple of season. Whether it actually pays off would be dependent upon the rest of the bullpen being reliable enough to handle innings six or seven — and whether the starting rotation remains in good enough shape.
Across Manhattan Island, the big news is the agreement in principle to make CC Sabathia the highest paid pitcher in baseball with a 161 million dollar deal over seven years. The money was so stupid that Sabathia had to take it and ditch his preference to play in his home state of California, but the nagging questions about the hurler are his physique (6’7″ and 311 lbs.) and more importantly, how much form will he regain in returning to the American League?
Bear in mind that Sabathia was mired in a half-season of mediocrity when the Tribe shipped hiim off to Milwaukee — he then proceeded to destroy NL line-ups, with the easier turnover of the bottom third. He may like hitting, but you can’t be so sure that AL pitchers have figured him out, although so much of his struggles with Cleveland were due to the offense not hitting for him. (These things can be fickle: obviously Cliff Lee got enough run support in combination with wicked stuff to win 20+ games and a Cy Young.)
There’s a reason the Yanks are also looking at A.J. Burnett despite his injury history, is all I’m saying.