Back in December of 2017, the Colorado Rockies surprised many across the game of baseball when they signed relievers Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw, and Wade Davis each to lucrative, multi-year deals to revamp their bullpen. Davis’s deal in particular, signed on 12/29/2017, was three years for $52M dollars as a total and was one of the largest deals signed by a reliever in baseball history. Of course, over time, each of the signings ended in less than ideal fashion for the Rockies.
Paying a large sum of money to a reliever, even a top closer, is risky business. Sure, for a contender, it may be worth it to get a quality arm to utilize at the back end of the bullpen. The Braves are in the third year of their deal with closer Will Smith that was for nearly $14M a year when they signed him before the 2020 season. Though the deal looked like a mistake through the end of the 2021 regular season, it became more than worth it due to Smith’s performance during the 2021 World Series.
Despite the risk, teams aspiring to take the next step in success continue to place value on reliable and potentially dominant arms. The White Sox committed a large amount last offseason to Liam Hendricks while the Angels agreed to a four year, $58M dollar deal with Raisel Iglesias before the MLB Lockout. It will be interesting to see how deals for relivers may be impacted based off the result of the MLB Lockout ending.
- Victor Vodnik, one of the more interesting arms in the Braves minor league system, is looked at in a season review from Talking Chop.
- Ryan Anderson of CBS Sports takes a look at the flurry of signings from the Korean baseball league that have occurred in the absence of action due to the MLB Lockout.
- Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports spoke with James Black, a photographer use unique baseball photos have gained significant popularity due to the MLB Lockout.