According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Alan Hendricks recently spoke to Billy Beane about a possible long-term contract for closer Huston Street.
Street’s just 24 but he’s already got 76 saves in three seasons and great peripheral stats. His strikeout rate shot all the way up to 11.3 per nine this year. Slusser notes that his nerve injury earlier this year appeared to be a freak occurrence.
There’s one contract Hendricks can probably use as a comparable. After J.J. Putz finished his third season, the Mariners gave him a three-year, $13.1MM deal with an $8.6MM club option for what would be his first year of free agency.
Locking Street up through his arbitration years would only improve his trade value, so I expect the A’s to do it. If I recall correctly, one tactical tenet of Moneyball was to pump up the value of the closer, trade him at his peak, and develop another internally. Making a deal this offseason is wise given the fairly weak market for closers. Assuming the Yankees keep Mariano Rivera, Francisco Cordero will be the only available closer in Street’s league. Since he could cost as much as $40MM over four years, some teams might prefer to pay for Street with young players. Random thought, but how about the Devil Rays?