Today’s signings of Jeff Weaver by the Dodgers and Guillermo Mota by the Giants have really got me wondering.
With the value of their contracts being below what Kevin Gregg signed with Toronto for it speaks strongly about how well saves pay. Between the three pitchers one could make quite a convincing case that Gregg was actually the worst of the three.
That both Weaver and Mota signed minor league deals tells you one of two things: Teams aren’t expecting them to repeat last seasons success or there simply isn’t enough money to go around these days.
In the off-season following 2007 both pitchers would have figured to land guaranteed jobs with multiple years to top it.
Weaver is hardly the pitcher he was believed to be 10 years ago but as a swing-man out of the Dodgers pen last season he managed a 6-4 record along with a 3.65 ERA despite a 1.52 WHIP.
Mota, who also pitched with teh Dodgers last year, had a 3.44 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 61 appearances out of the bullpen. He had a 4.11 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 2008 while with the Brewers.
Kevin Gregg’s deal is worth $2.75 million. There are also options attached to it which means there will almost certainly be more money coming to Gregg via a buyout at the seasons end. Gregg was the closer for the Chicago Cubs last season where he struggled. Gregg recorded 23 saves in 30 chances along with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP before he lost his ninth inning job to Carlos Marmol.
Gregg converted just 29-of-38 chances in 2008 while he was with Florida. Gregg has converted 76.4% of his save chances over the last two years. In Toronto he becomes the instant favorite for saves but he’s likely to be one of the worst closers in baseball and those who play fantasy baseball likely won’t consider him an option until the latest of rounds.
That Gregg got guaranteed such a sum larger then the combined contracts of Weaver and Mota just point to something that has never seemed to be right in baseball. Saves pay, no matter how many of them you fail to convert or how ugly the numbers that accompany them are.