Phillies sign Archie Bradley
The reliever market continues to churn along, at least in comparison to the rest of the market out there. On Thursday, another one of the bigger names came off the board and went to a team that perhaps needed help here more than any other in the league. That would be the Phillies, who signed former D-Back and Red Archie Bradley to a one-year deal worth $6 million.
Bradley was one of the most intriguing relievers available in free agency this winter after somewhat surprisingly being non-tendered by the Reds. A former top ten overall pick, the big righty didn’t quite work out as a starter but shifted to Arizona’s bullpen on a full-time basis back in 2017 and immediately showed he can be elite, or at least close to it, at times in that role. He’s spent some time as a closer in this role but more often as a more flexible multi-inning option, with his performance ranging anywhere from good to outstanding over the last four years, largely depending on his control. Over his career as a reliever, Bradley has pitched to a 2.82 ERA over 233 1⁄3 innings with a 27 percent strikeout rate and an eight percent walk rate.
The Phillies, as I mentioned, were pretty desperate for bullpen help this winter. They were historically bad in 2020, in fact coming in in some respects as one of the two or three worst the game has ever seen. Of course sample size played a role there, but the fact is that if they had even a bad instead of terrible relief corps they likely would have made the postseason. They’ve worked to fix that this winter by adding guys like Bradley along with José Alvarado and Sam Conrood.
As for the Red Sox part of all this, well, again, there are a bunch of late-inning arms still out there like Alex Colomé and Brad Hand, among others, that it’s too early to panic about nothing coming. That said, it’s getting a little old saying that. With someone like Liam Hendriks, I could understand not going at that prince. This one, however, for one year and $6 million, it’s tough to swallow. Of course, it’s not always as simple as offering another dollar and landing the player. At these prices generally more than just salary is coming into play. That said, this is the type of deal that would seem to be perfect for a Red Sox team that has a lot of holes to fill. They can make up for it, but every time I write this paragraph it becomes more difficult.
Alex Wood signs with the Giants
Besides Red Sox and Yankees, the Dodgers and Giants are probably the top rivalry in baseball (sorry Cubs/Cardinals). So when they swap players, it can always be kind of fun. That’s what happened on Thursday when former Dodgers starter Alex Wood agreed to a deal with the Giants. San Francisco signed the lefty for one year for a guaranteed $3 million with escalators that can double the salary.
Wood is not exactly a high-impact arm at this point, but he can still provide serviceable innings, and pitching in San Francisco should help nudge any starter’s performance along. It was only a few years ago that he was pitching good, solid mid-rotation innings for the Dodgers, but more recently he has struggled to stay healthy. Last year was a shortened season, yes, but Wood has totalled just 48 1⁄3 innings over the last two seasons. The Giants are in a position where they are likely looking more toward 2022 and beyond than this season, though, so they can afford to take this risk. He’ll slot into the back of this rotation.
The Red Sox, of course, need starters but it never seemed like they were in on Wood. Given the injury issues and the fact that his upside doesn’t appear to be on the level of someone like Corey Kluber or even Rich Hill or Garrett Richards, that’s fine with me. I will be disappointed if the Red Sox don’t add two starting pitchers before the end of the winter, but I didn’t need Wood to be one.