16 December 2011

Non-tendered Relievers on the Market

Saunders could be an excellent reliever.
This post will focus on potential finds for relievers who were non-tendered this week.

Doug Slaten, LHP
32 yo
Washington Nationals

Slaten only managed 16 appearances this past season due to issues with ulnar neuritis.  When healthy, he is an effective LOOGY (lefty one-out guy).  Over his career, lefties have OPS'd .666 with righties smacking him at .864.  He uses a 90 mph two seamer and an effective slider.  Against righties he uses a changeup as a show me pitch.

Dan Cortes, RHP
25 yo
Seattle Mariners

Cortes was a top 100 prospect in 2008 and 2009 for Baseball America.  He uses a mid to high 90s fastball, a slider, and a curve ball.  The curve is impressive, but has shows little control of it.  It is a pitch that seems to be left alone by batters who instead sit on fastballs.  It is uncertain what he will bring to the table in the future.  He had an unspecified off field injury that resulted in surgery on his shoulder and his bicep.  He also apparently suffered a fractured hand as well.  If he does heal and if he gains just a little bit more command and control then he could be an excellent reliever.  He could be work a MiL deal.

Jose Mijares, LHP
27 yo
Minnesota Twins

From 2008 to 2010, Mijares was a dependable arm out of the Twins bullpen.  He was roughly a 3 ERA pitcher with 8 k/9 and 3 b/9.  In 2011, injuries finally took their toll on Mijares and he let the opposition get on base.  His fastball dropped from 91.3 to 89.8 and he lost the ability to effectively use his slider.  If he proves himself healthy, he could be a solid option.

Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP
30 yo
Los Angeles Dodgers

From 2008-2010, Kuo was one of the best relievers in the National League.  A lefty who was effective against both right handed and left handed batters.  He often suffered minor injuries, but his 2011 season was marred by them.  Of most concern was his tweaked elbow and the resulting loss of velocity in his fastball (from 94.2 to 92.5).  If a team thinks he can be healthy, then he deserves a Major League deal.

Aaron Laffey, LHP
27 yo
Kansas City Royals

Laffey is a Cumberland, MD native.  Dan Duquette speaks about investing locally, but Laffey may not be exactly what he has in mind.  He is a groundball pitcher who nibbles on the edge.  He walks 3.6 b/9 and manages 4.5 k/9.  Those are difficult percentages to live by.  He could be useful in the pen or as AAA starting depth.  He could be the Orioles new Mark Hendrickson.  He could wind up with a Major League deal for someone in dire need of rotational depth.

Clay Hensley, RHP
32 yo
Miami Marlins

Hensley surprised everyone in 2010 as he helped anchor the Marlin bullpen.  He came into the season with a refined curve and more effective usage of his changeup.  In 2011, his curve left him and he resorted to throwing his slider.  It did not work.  These issues probably result from him cracking his ribs in May and then suffering a shoulder injury in June.  If you ignore his horrific August, he actually had a pretty good year.  He could be a good pickup.

Micah Owings, RHP
29 yo
Arizona Diamondbacks

Owings eats up right handed batters.  They manage a .647 OPS while a .912 OPS is what lefties enjoy.  If protected, he can be a useful member of a bullpen.

Joe Saunders, LHP
31 yo
Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona did not offer Saunders a contract after paying him 5.5 MM last year.  It would be unlikely to convince him to come out of the pen, but he destroys lefties.  Last year he had a .581/.810 left/right split.  A few years after winning 17 and 16 games as well as putting up a 3.69 ERA.  A possibility would be to throw a 5 MM deal under the expectation that he would shift to being a relief pitcher.

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