Jeremy Affeldt’s Option & Free Agent Prospects

If the Giants allow Jeremy Affeldt to hit free agency this offseason instead of picking up the veteran left-hander’s $5MM option for 2012, his job prospects will probably be promising. Teams are always looking for southpaws to use out of the bullpen, Affeldt’s numbers are strong and the competition is weak.

Affeldt, whose season ended with a kitchen-related injury to his non-pitching hand, finished the year with a 2.63 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 62.1% ground ball rate in 61 2/3 innings this year. Those numbers reminded me of Scott Downs, the Angels left-hander who posted a 2.64 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 57.8% ground ball rate in 61 1/3 innings a year ago with the Blue Jays. The result for Downs: a three-year deal worth $15MM despite the Type A designation that hinders the earning potential of so many free agent relievers.

Even if San Francisco offers Affeldt arbitration, teams won’t have to surrender a draft pick to sign the projected Type B free agent. At 32 years of age, Affeldt remains relatively young – three years younger than Downs and markedly younger than most of the other free agent southpaws.

Peripheral stats such as xFIP (3.37), SIERA (2.88) and average fastball velocity (93.1 mph) all suggest that Affeldt’s impressive 2.63 ERA is no fluke. And while some lefty relievers post eye-catching stats because their managers barely let them face right-handers, Affeldt can hold off right-handed hitters, too (7.4 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 57.1% ground ball rate).

The competition in terms of free agent left-handed relievers doesn’t figure to be strong. There’s Darren Oliver, a 40-year-old who could very well cost a draft pick. Affeldt’s teammate, Javier Lopez, is a capable pitcher who walks one batter per two innings. Mike Gonzalez of the Rangers will draw interest, though he has had an up and down season. And George Sherrill has impressive stats, but he can’t be trusted against right-handed hitters. In other words, the free agent market is unimpressive.

Affeldt is a veteran of multiyear contracts, having signed one two-year deal with the Giants in 2008 and another one in 2010. If San Francisco turns down its 2012 option, Affeldt’s representatives at Moye Sports Associates will have a strong case for a third multiyear deal in free agency. Affeldt, the Giants' 2011 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, would enter a market that won’t offer much in terms of free agent left-handers. Don’t be surprised if the Giants decline Affeldt’s option and he goes on to sign a multiyear deal for the third time in his career.


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36 Comments on "Jeremy Affeldt’s Option & Free Agent Prospects"


3 years 11 months ago

He’s a competent left-handed relief pitcher, someone will sign him if he hits the market. There aren’t many solid relief pitchers this off-season.

3 years 11 months ago

There are teams chomping at the bit waiting for the Giants to release Affeldt.

chico65
3 years 11 months ago

What I want to know is why is the guy eating frozen burger patties?  The man is making $4.5 million a year, I think he could afford some fresh ground beef.  

Between events like Affeldt’s and David Wells’, I wouldn’t be surprised to see no-kitchen clauses inserted in MLB contracts someday. 

3 years 11 months ago

Have you ever had frozen burger patties? They’re delicious.

chico65
3 years 11 months ago

You mean the ones that are half fillers and half grade D meat?  Yeah, super delicious…

If I had his salary the only burger I’d be eating would be Kobe beef

Grab some pine, meat.
3 years 11 months ago

Or, if you must use the frozen cheap stuff, maybe run it under hot water instead of holding it in one hand and slicing with the other.

chico65
3 years 11 months ago

I think we have just identified another “pro” to add the list of reasons why drafting college players makes more sense than highschoolers.  A little knowledge of thermodynamics can do a body well.

chico65
3 years 11 months ago

On second thought, I suppose he should have run cold water then, but the point’s the same. 

johnsilver
3 years 11 months ago

Nothing like eating frozen tape worms huh?

grant77
3 years 11 months ago

I’m not sure why Sabean signed Affeldt to a multi year deal in the first place if he didn’t think he was worth 4.5 million. He’s actually improved since signing.

sf55forlife
3 years 11 months ago

It depends on how much Javier Lopez wants. In my mind the Giants need to sign one of these the two and let the other walk.

The Giants have a second lefty reliever they can use to replace Affeldt/Lopez in Dan Runzler. Both pitchers are type B free agents which would net the Giants a very much needed comp pick if they are both offered arbitration. 

55saveslives
3 years 11 months ago

Runzler sucks. They need to decline the option and try to sign him cheaper.

3 years 11 months ago

 dan runzler looks awful, hopefully that’s not the plan

sf55forlife
3 years 11 months ago

Dan Runzler was a top prospect for the Giants as early as 2010. He isn’t a 7.0 ERA pitcher, he is much closer to 3.50-4.00 which is perfectly acceptable for a second lefty reliever that is cost controlled. 

Don’t overvalue relief pitchers, the difference between Jeremy Affeldt/Javier Lopez and Dan Runzler isn’t as much as you think. Probably less than a Win over the entire season.

3 years 11 months ago

It’s not all about ERA, Runzler’s walks are too high. The walks were even too high in triple A. The guy the giants made a mistake letting walk was Joe Paterson.  It must sting even more that the Dbacks nabbed him for nothing in the rule 5 draft.

BTW you kind of have to overvalue relievers when you have the 29th ranked offense.  The starters and relievers don’t have much room for error when the offense is that anemic. Giants would be smart to re-sign both Lopez and Affeldt.

3 years 11 months ago

I don’t trust Runzler at all. Every time he’s been given a chance, he’s squandered it. He’s walks 5.55 over 9 innings. For a reliever who doesn’t come in that often, that isn’t good. 

WillieMaysField
3 years 11 months ago

Watched joe paterson in the az fall league last year. I was very surprised they let hiM walk. Runsler could have started the year in AAA.

With Affedt being the top lefty on the market I think the giants should pick up the option or work out an extension. Especially with Lopez being FA.

Bled Orange
3 years 11 months ago

Runzler is wild! I don’t even like to watch when he is pitching, it’s harder to tell how wild he is on the radio haha.

And what is with his inability to throw to first? It’s so strange. He overthrows the first baseman on a regular basis. I just can’t wrap my head around it

3 years 11 months ago

Could not agree more Dwan

leachim2
3 years 11 months ago

Speaking of Paterson it would be interesting to know what Rule % picks survived on an mlb roster all year.

Grab some pine, meat.
3 years 11 months ago

Actually, in 2010 he bombed a bit, he was a top prospect coming out of 2009 after he pitche 8.1 innings at a 1.04 ERA. When brought into the bullpen in 2010, he got rocked early on but finished the year as a lefty specialist with a respectable 3.03 ERA before getting sent down to the minors again.

This year he finished with a 7.04 ERA, while not entirely accurate to the kind of pitcher he is, it should be noted that his K/9 has been falling by a whole strikeout during the 3 years he’s graced the Majors, and his WHIP has been increasing by .250 a year. and that means he’s allowing half a walk/hit more an inning since his arrival in 2009.

He’s not going to be what people once thought, but he’s not as bad as his numbers would indicate.

sf55forlife
3 years 11 months ago

also can’t forget about Barry Zito. With Jonathan Sanchez and Eric Surkamp fighting for the last spot of the rotation, Zito might become the second lefty out of the bullpen. 

SFrush90
3 years 11 months ago

Who would want Zito out of the bullpen? Making him a reliever won’t make him any better, it’ll just make him the highest paid reliever of all time again. We need Affeldt and Lopez back. 

Hubbs2
3 years 11 months ago

He’s already going to get paid, why keep him at the 5 spot just cause of the money. Why not put him in the pen and see if he can become a serviceable long reliever, something the Giants havent had for years. Mota go back to relieving(non-mopup duty) and the Giants could save about 4 mill letting Affeldt go

SFrush90
3 years 11 months ago

It’s been 5 years and Zito has shown nothing. His lowest era was 4.03. Come on, you really want to get rid of Affeldt for Zito? Affeldt’s earned every penny 2 out of 3 years. Zito can’t be counted on. I’d rater have Mota out there for long relief than Zito. Don’t be a Zito sympathizer. His time has come and gone. Affeldt is way more valuable and reliable.

sf55forlife
3 years 11 months ago

you are misinterpreting what I am saying. 

The Giants have two other starters fighting for the 5th spot in the rotation. If Zito loses that battle he will have to pitch in the bullpen. Signing both Affeldt and Lopez would mean 3 lefty relievers in the bullpen, which doesn’t make sense. 

Much better idea would be to get the comp picks and not worry about the 7th man out of the bullpen that doesn’t provide hardly any value anyway.

SFrush90
3 years 11 months ago

Alright, I see your point of having 3 lefties isn’t suitable for the Giants. However, having Lopez and Affeldt is better than having Zito and one of the two. I’d rather take Mota and Aff/Lopez. Zito has been nothing but a disappointment (understatement). He’s done more harm than good, which is why they should just eat his money and release him. It’s a lot of money, but he isn’t going to do any better. Zito’s time has come and gone.

baybombers
3 years 11 months ago

Out of everyone, affeldt is the one to resign, javy lopez is solid too. But we need changes in the lineup man

TheFreak2011
3 years 11 months ago

I think BOTH Affelt and Lopez will be re-signed.  What makes the author think otherwise?  All they have to do wit Affelt is pick up his option.  Lopez, they’ll have to bid on.

Khross
3 years 11 months ago

Theres no way they are going to pick up his option for 5M. If they cant work out a new contract then he is gone. 

WillieMaysField
3 years 11 months ago

considering what’s on the market and what good leftys are being paid.  Why wouldn’t they pick up the option.  No comitment beyond 2012.

3 years 11 months ago

Because Miguel Tejada ate that $6mm :p

3 years 11 months ago

Why?  He would be off the books in the 2012 season. No way the budget is going down, unless ownership has completely been bullshitting.

3 years 11 months ago

Why?  He would be off the books in the 2012 season. No way the budget is going down, unless ownership has completely been bullshitting.

SFrush90
3 years 11 months ago

If Affeldt’s re-signed, it won’t be because they picked up his option. 

3 years 11 months ago

As a Red Sox fan, I have wanted Affeldt for the longest time.  A power lefty is something this team has not had in while.  Imagine Affelt to Bard to Pap.  It’d be a tough pen!