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A “buyer’s market” for relievers? Really?

Dec 2, 2011, 9:50 AM EDT

soria wide getty Getty Images

A sentence from Buster Olney’s column this morning stuck out like a glowing, radioactive thumb:

The Royals fully expect to open next season with Joakim Soria as their closer — which makes sense, because to offer up Soria now would be to try to extract value in the middle of a buyers’ market for relievers. There are many, many alternatives available.

I know there are a lot of relievers available, but in a world when Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell are landing a combined $77 million — at a minimum — it’s hard for me to fathom what things would look like if it was a seller’s market.

There’s an obvious supply/demand mismatch going on here. Olney is right that there are a lot of relievers floating around, but man, they are raking it in.  If I was the Royals I’d see what crazy-sauce-drinking GM would be willing to offer me for Soria.

  1. mojosmagic - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Madson will end up with 4 years 40 million.

  2. Chris St. John - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    So far closers are going for about 7 million per win. Assuming 3 year contracts and ~ 7 million per win, we would have something like:

    Madson: 3 years, 22 million
    K-Rod: 3 years, 14 million
    Cordero: 3 years, 2.5 million

    I’m really interested to see how this all pans out. It’s so odd how much current statistical evaluation and the free agent market differ on “closers” in particular.

    As far as regular relief pitchers go, the Broxton signing looks pretty good as long as he’s healthy enough and the Javier Lopez signing is absolutely terrible. He just might provide negative value over the next two years.

  3. baseballisboring - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Is it EVER a buyer’s market for relievers? They always cost more than they’re worth if you acquire one through FA.

    • seanmk - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      it’s a buyers market in that there are a lot of available options. the cost is high for them so i guess it’s a buyers market from the sense of options but a sellers(the pitchers) market for the price.

      • baseballisboring - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:30 AM

        Yeah, exactly…even with all the relief help available Heath Bell still gets 3/$27. Something is out of whack here…

  4. Kyle - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Well, nevermind the facts or reality, if Buster heard it from a front office executive, area scout, or operations intern, it’s totally legit and he’s going to print and defend it as gospel.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    It WAS a buyer’s market, especially for closers, before Papelbon broke the bank.

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