Since we’re left to imagine baseball for the time being, it seems natural to ask for MLBTR reader opinions on what might’ve been. We wouldn’t know much by this point had the season begun as usual, but we’d at least have a look at the health and stuff of the (relatively few) relievers that received big contracts over the offseason.
Let’s run through the $10MM+ bullpen contracts and then get to the question …
Will Smith, LHP: three years, $40MM with Braves — This one cost the Atlanta org draft compensation. And it’s the biggest reliever deal of the winter. But it’s arguably worth it for a guy that turned in a 2.76 ERA with a big 13.2 K/9 in 2019.
Drew Pomeranz, LHP: four years, $34MM with Padres — Everyone’s jaws are still on the floor here, given that Pomeranz nearly washed out with the Giants by the middle of the the ’19 campaign. His second half resurgence as a high-grade reliever was compelling — he not only carried a 1.88 ERA but struck out nearly half the batters he faced — but this was a bold strike for the Friars.
Will Harris, RHP: three years, $24MM with Nationals — He isn’t young and doesn’t have high-octane stuff, but Harris has just plain gotten the job done for quite some time. The veteran spins the ball about as well as anyone and owned a 2.36 ERA in his 297 innings with the Astros.
Chris Martin, RHP: two years, $14MM with Braves — You can save your Coldplay jokes. Martin was absolutely legit in 2019, fanning 65 batters while issuing just a handful of walks and compiling a 3.40 ERA in his 55 2/3 frames.
Daniel Hudson, RHP: two years, $11MM with Nationals — If you focus on the 2.47 ERA he compiled in 73 innings, and add in a glance at his postseason moments, this might look like a complete bargain. But Hudson’s peripherals didn’t support greater earnings than this. It could still be a nice buy if he can keep the momentum going upon his return to D.C.
Dellin Betances, RHP: one year, $10.5MM with Mets — The former star Yankees reliever decided to stay in his native New York on an interesting deal with the cross-town Mets. At his best, he’s a monster that can dominate in multi-inning appearances. But Betances is coming back from some significant injuries and hadn’t regained all his velocity in his brief MLB showing last year.
Blake Treinen, RHP: one year, $10MM with Dodgers — It’s not often a non-tendered player inks for more money than he was projected to earn in arbitration. That it happened here suggests that Treinen — who undeniably possesses thrilling stuff — drew significant interest when he hit the open market.
The question: which of these deals do you think will deliver the most excess value to the team? (Link for app users. Response order randomized.)