Tuesday, November 3, 2009

John Grabow and the Market for Left Handed Relief Pitchers

It looks like the Cubs are getting closer to locking up John Grabow. Take it away Bruce Levine:
"Agent Paul Kinzer represents Grabow, who would be the team's left-handed set-up man and a possible back-up closer in the event Carlos Marmol is injured or needs a day off.

The two sides are talking about a two-year deal for anywhere between a total of $6.5 million and $7.5 million. Grabow's people would like a vesting option for a third year added to the contract.

Also, certain incentives will be built into the package that will include games finished."
Look, I have no problem with the years or the amount being talked about by Levine. Grabow is a above average left handed relief pitcher and in this day in age, that seems like a fair deal for both sides. And on the plus side, the deal is a whole lot better than the one the Yankees gave Damaso Marte last year (3 years/$12 million).

However, I absolutely hate this deal for the Cubs right now. Here is a team that has limited payroll flexibility headed into 2010 and they are all set to use a chunk of it early on in free agency to lock up a left handed set up man.

The big problem that I have with this is that if the Cubs play it cautious with Grabow, then I'd expect the market to drop for him and perhaps the Cubs could retain him at a more team friendly price. Grabow is a type A free agent, which is the Cubs offer him arbitration, should have teams shying away from Grabow, unwilling to give up draft picks for a mediocre left handed set up man.

Simply put, the Cubs have an opportunity to gain leverage in these negotiations, but instead they are looking to lock Grabow up immediately.

As for the left handed relief market, this could play out a lot like it did last year. There are many competent left handed bullpen arms on the market, which could benefit those who sign early and really hurt those who wait until late December or January to sign. Last year we saw Damaso Marte sign a 3 year deal with the Yankees and Jeremy Affledt signed a 2 year deal with the Giants very early in the offseason. At the same time, guys like Joe Beimel and Will Ohman were left taking one year contracts because there was no market.


****** ******

(Jorge Says No! on Facebook)

(Follow Jorge Says No! on Twitter)

No comments: