Believe it or not, there are FAs who were apparently less desirable than Joel Pineiro. Some of whom are still on the market. Some of them might be a longshot, but I thought, hmm, Joel Pineiro is probably a longshot, at least earlier in the week I did.
So what's left? Who's left? And can any of them help the Sox, hopefully on mL-NRI contracts, unlike say this contract, for example.
"Pitchers", so to speak.
Am I the first person in the offseason, blogging, non-blogging, or otherwise to think of him? We're running an open contest to be the closer(all entries must be received by the second week of February), why not someone who has actually been a full-time closer before? I initially was concerned about the fact that Hermanson is considered a type A FA, but the White Sox didn't offer him arbitration anyway.
Chances he signs with us: 65%
Just re-read everything I said about Hermanson. Kolb has closing experience, and should come pretty cheaply. I think Hermanson is a surer bet to be a decent arm out of the bullpen either way.
Chances he signs with us: 40%
I honestly think that if Okajima had not been signed, Mercker might have been signed by the Sox already. He's type B, so we wouldn't be giving the Reds the delicious hero sandwich pick with mustard they would receive. However, Romero's signing might fill our LHRP reclamation project quota. Mercker's been a pretty successful reliever the last few seasons, though he did have elbow reconstructive surgery towards the end of last season.
Chances he signs with us: 25%
I'm not serious about this one, trust me. I do think it's important to check his stats last season, and realize that even in Minnesota's excellent bullpen last year, this absolute scrub finished 20 games. ...automatically vesting options...yikes. If Pineiro stinks, I'm sure that they'll watch his GF totals closely, but still.
Chances he signs with us: -12,000%
Chan Ho Park
No, I'm not Scott Boras trying to sell this idea. I will readily admit that his pitching splits for his MLB career aren't exactly inspiring for this possibility. However, he was pretty successful as a closer during the WBC, an incredibly small sample size.
Chances he signs with us: 10%
This has been said about Sosa ad nauseum, but he always seems incredibly adept at working out of jams. This also means he's incredibly adept at working into jams. Nonetheless, he's a guy with an arm and a pulse. Check out his splits as a reliever...absolutely not pretty. He's shown flashes though, and I'm guessing mL-NRI is the best he gets from anyone, though the Nationals could get involved, since they'll have -2 starters to begin the season.
Chances he signs with us: 15%
Another guy I might've expected to be signed had Okajima and Romero not already signed. Schoeneweis has had some decent success out of the bullpen as a lefty reliever. I seem to remember there being some kind of non-baseball-related controversy involving him. Anyone remember that?
Chances he signs with us: 10%
Some final notes:
- I deliberately chose almost all RP options. Between Lester, Hansack, Tavarez, Gabbard, Pauley, etc, we have enough options to cover starts in the event of injuries. However, that doesn't mean I'd be opposed to stashing Jerome Williams in Pawtucket in the hopes he can fulfill some of his promise.
- These aren't guys we should be counting on in any way. Some of them (the LH in particular), I think would be great in simply pushing some of the other pitchers to better performance.
- I'm thinking about heading down to Spring Training to audition for the closer role myself. I'm sure anyone who wants to try starting games for the Nationals probably wouldn't be turned away immediately either.
- I used ESPN's FA Tracker to an extreme degree. These were the names on there that I came up with as being possibilities. If anyone thinks I overlooked anyone who could be as useful/more useful than the above, please correct me. Eddie Guardado comes to mind, but he looked absolutely cooked during his time in Seattle last season.
- Help us Bryce Cox and Edgar Martinez, you're our only hope(s).