Monday, June 13, 2005

Great article from Peter Gammons on bullpen problems

And speaking of bullpens, the Braves aren't the only team in search of help in that area. To me, the article highlights that trading for new relievers won't necessarily be a panacea because those guys have often over-performed early in the season in a small sample-size of innings and their teams have often overused them. Internal solutions or waiver-wire pick-ups (see: Wright, Jaret) are the best solution.

And then there's this problem with assembling a bullpen:

"If teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can develop some of their own power arms, they wouldn't have to spend $6 million a year for pitchers like Steve Karsay. It would also allow them to avoid a major problem: Do they know that even if a Mesa or Grabow performs in Pittsburgh that he can pitch in a pennant race in one of the tough cities? See Hawkins. Or the Jay Witasick/Mark Wohlers experiment in New York in 2002. Or Sauerbeck, Jones and Jeff Suppan in Boston in 2003. Or, for now, Kolb in Atlanta."

The fact that bullpen success is so variable from year to year highlights the impressiveness of the Braves' streak of divisional titles. They've been able to win consistently despite the fact that they, like the rest of the teams in baseball, can't count of consistent performances from relievers (with limited exceptions for great pitchers like John Smoltz) from year to year. A lot of credit should also go to Leo Mazzone for consistently doing a good job with the pen, although the current crop don't seem to be responding to him.

No comments: