Nationals Baseball: Super quick - Why Balfour

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super quick - Why Balfour

Why Balfour?

Fister deal means money saved in comparison to a decent 1 year pitcher (see deals for Haren, Jackson). ZNN and Desmond arbitration deals also free up money.

Balfour is good. It's good to have good players.

Balfour is old. He'll sign a short term deal. 1 or 2 years. (already agreed on 2 for O's before that fell apart).

If 2 year deal, will be here when Soriano is likely booted to the curb helping to ensure strong pen for 2015.

Another strong bullpen arm could lead to a deal. Who gets dealt?  Clippard : expensive (for the Nats), good, closer to FA (more appealing for Nats to trade).  Storen : cheaper, good (certainly historically), more years of team control (more appealing for team traded to).  Soriano : THEY WISH! 

17 comments:

JWLumley said...

Closers--despite popular opinion--aren't special in their makeup, they're typically just the best relievers. If a team has a young bullpen, they figure out who the best pitcher is and--BOOM,there's your closer. So, if you've got the money, why not try to make an entire bullpen comprised of "closers"? Seems like a pretty good idea to me.

Nattydread said...

This deal would piss off Soriano, Storen and Clippard in equal measure. Not sure any of them likes Rizzo anyway....

John C. said...

How I feel about a Balfour acquisition would be determined by subsequent moves. Balfour replaces Mattheus or Davis on the 40 man, and forms a bullpen of Balfour, Blevins, Clippard, Soriano, Stammen, Storen, and one long man (Ohlendorf? Roark?). There's not a weak spot in that bullpen, although only one LHRP is a bit concerning.

If they clear one of the bullpen guys for a high quality backup catcher (if one exists) or a LH hitting corner IF with some thump, OK. Everyone assumes that Storen would go in that scenario, but I think Storen for a bench guy is awfully pricey. Don't be surprised if it's Stammen that gets flipped in that case.

Donald said...

My concern about Balfour is that it feels like the Soriano deal all over again -- picking up an aging closer on the decline for a two year contract. Is there any reason to think that Balfour will be better in 2015 than in 2014? And if the Rizzo doesn't like to pay for relievers, why drop Storen for Balfour at twice the salary?

Clip&Store said...

Ideally, IMO, try and swing a 2 year deal with Balfour, with the second being a mutual option.

Donald said...

@John C & Clip -- if they sign Balfour and release / trade Mattheus, then I'm okay with the trade, though I agree with Nattydread. But if they trade Storen, I think that means they are banking on Balfour to be their closer next year. That makes me nervous.

Ollie said...

Donald's sentiments seconded, except this time the aging closer involved just failed a physical. Would rather see them spend the money on a better backup catcher (if out there) and Jeff Baker (or Eric Chavez when he was out there...)

I realize they view Clippard exclusively as 'a setup guy' and an expensive reliever down the road, but he's talented enough to at least be in the top third of MLB closers. Why not promote him (or re-install Storen) when Soriano leaves? Would cost less for at least a season or two, bring better or same results.

And Fangraphs appears to be listening in to this conversation: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/where-closers-come-from/

Kirk Weaver said...

Get Balfour! Trade Soriano. His scowl and yanking his shirt out of his pants can go to another team. I don`t think he is liked in the clubhouse or the bullpen either.

Wally said...

Completely agree that it matters what dominos fall because of this, but assuming it isn't too painful, I'd kind of like to have him. He has been pretty good lately, gives them another option in the pen, and I'll bet he provides some entertainment value to a pretty bland bullpen. And he is really gunning for the O's, which ought to make those series pretty fun.

Btw, on Mattheus, it is a little surprising that people almost universally have soured on him. Granted, he was horrible when he came back last year, but he broke his pitching hand (granted again, in a stupid way). The way that I understand it, the strength in a pitchers hand takes a while to recover, not unlike a hitter's wrist injury. So wherever he pitches this year, I expect that he reverts back to his previous level.

blovy8 said...

John C and Donald have pretty much said what I would. I don't think the arbitration cases are being considered as "freed up money". Everyone pretty much gets a raise, and the likely difference between Fister and Haren probably won't even be as much as the six million more Werth and LaRoche will be paid compared to last season.

If it meant sending Soriano someplace, sure, but we know that's a longshot as Harper says, even with cash added. Rodney is still out there, for instance. Why Rizzo's eyes seem to light up when a closer goes for less than the original asking price, I have no idea. These guys are rarely worth their salaries to begin with, and there are bigger problems than needing a guy to keep Soriano from getting his option. If they start treating that guy like they do Strasburg, it'll take care of itself. As for 2015, there might be greater needs than making sure you have an experienced 37-year old "closer". Why is it so impossible for Storen to do that job after one notorious screw up? Rivera didn't lose his job after Alomar hit the homer in the 1997 playoffs. His FIP is pretty much the same as Balfour. There are guys coming who can throw in relief in 2015 even allowing for a TJ surgery or two as always.

Rizzo won't ever go for a quality lefty free agent reliever in their prime, but the team needs to spend 20 million on closers over 35. Makes no sense. How is that easier to sell that to the Lerners, than a better backup catcher or 1B?

Does this mean Ohlendorf is cut and you pay off his 1.5 mil? Does it mean you only have one lefty in the pen? Some useful guys would be traded. Cheaper players who help you maintain the talent level without scrimping on extensions. If he's thinking Clippard and Storen are starting to make too much, why do you go get Balfour for more? Signing this guy only works if it's a precursor to fairly large deal for things they actually need. From what I understand from the usual rumormonger sportswriters, this would mean Storen goes in a trade. Well, who does he bring back right now? I doubt Balfour would sign as a setup guy for less than what Clippard is making. Maybe that makes him the odd man out.

It's like Rizzo goes into a clothing store knowing he could use a few nicer ties, but comes out with last year's blue blazer that was on sale, when he already has three of those in his closet. Nobody needs four blue blazers! He'll give one to Goodwill, and buy a hideous tie while he's there.

Lance Tankmen said...

I want to learn more about Seth Levinson and Baseball. I think i could learn a lot.

Sirc said...

Congrats on the Tanaka addition. Why isn't there more concern over the number of innings he's already thrown at such a young age?

Chaz R said...

I'm just glad Tanaka is in the AL and LA or Arizona didn't pick him up.

The Yankees are practically a completely different team than last year!

Harper said...

Sirc - it's not the innings, it's the pitches. but it's a lot of pitches too. There is concern but whatcha gonna do?

Sirc said...

I did not know until today that they use a smaller baseball in Japan.

Kirk Weaver said...

I really like Storen and he could turn out to be the best of the bunch. I love this team and the chemistry that exists. I cannot wait for the season to begin.
I repeat,trade Soriano and sign Balfour. He should be more than happy to play here and have a great chance at a title. I also like his moxie. Soriano gave up a lot of runs last year. Blew a few great starts by Stras. and Gonzo.
I think the Nats have the best pitching in the majors. Just need to tweak the bench.

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