Let’s take a look at the available free agent relievers this winter. The number following the player is his 2008 age.
Jeremy Affeldt (29) – There seems to be a growing sentiment that Affeldt will get paid decently this winter. He’s had a big-time walk problem in recent years and didn’t correct it in ’07. A low hit rate kept his ERA under 4.00…he could be a bust. He made $1.25MM in ’07 but could get some kind of silly three-year Scott Schoeneweis deal.
Joe Kennedy (29) – Interesting year for Kennedy, who pitched for Oakland, Arizona, and Toronto. He made 16 starts for the A’s. He walked more than he struck out. If there’s a positive, it’s that he allowed only 9 HR in 110 innings.
Ron Mahay (37) – Mahay was part of the Teixeira deal, and he pitched well for both clubs. Like a lot of these guys, his control is poor. But he only allowed 4 HR in 67 innings and posted a 2.55 ERA (again on the strength of a low hit rate). He made $1.2MM this year.
Trever Miller (35) – He was very good in ’06 but his command slipped this year en route to a 4.86 ERA. He made $1.3MM.
J.C. Romero (32) – The Phils picked him up after the Red Sox released him, and he did a nice job with a 1.24 ERA in 36 innings. But his success was owed to an absurdly low and unsustainable hit rate of 3.72 per nine innings. Romero still walked a ton of hitters, as is his custom. Romero’s agent has talked to the Phils but isn’t optimistic. He should get at least $2MM per year from some team.
Ron Villone (38) – He wasn’t really much worse than any of these other bums.
There are others to consider as well, vets like Mike Myers and Eddie Guardado. There’s no reliable Jamie Walker type here, but Mahay may be the best of the bunch. Any team that gives a three-year deal to any of these types probably doesn’t know what it’s doing or has too much money to spend.