Tag: Jon Rauch

5 Players New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson Will Let Go This Winter

Only the Mets can find a way to not keep a pitcher who wins, or contends for a Cy Young award. The New York Mets have a lot of roster spots to fill, and no money to fill them. Is the best strategy to spend all of their money on re-signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey, leaving all their holes unfilled?

I don’t think that is a wise choice. The Mets have a lot of players leaving via Free Agency, but some players who are under contract for 2013 may not be here as well. 

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is tasked with changing the makeup of this team, and it starts with the departure of the Knuckballer, who had one of the best seasons in franchise history.

Begin Slideshow

Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox: Which AL East Team Has the Best Bullpen?

After the Toronto Blue Jays acquired power arm Frank Francisco from the Texas Rangers, it became a possibility that the Jays could run well into the season with a 13-man pitching staff.

Even though running eight relievers seems like the perfect insurance to a very young rotation, it begs one question: Even though there’s quantity, do the Jays have quality in their ‘pen?

Well, I thought, what better way to answer that question than to compare the Jays’ relief corps to those of their major competitors in the AL East, and those who are also thought to have solid relievers—the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox?

Answering the question won’t have the best answer due to the fact that injuries, slow starts, etc. will all have an effect on the bullpen’s seasons, but looking deep into the statistics should help us understand who is projected to have the stronger bullpen based on last season’s production from all the pitchers who are part of the three teams.


Boston Red Sox

Projected Bullpen: Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Tim Wakefield

Projected Bullpen Stat Line: 3.94 ERA, .245 BAA, 1.17 WHIP

The Red Sox bullpen can be considered a hit or miss type of relief team. If the team reaches even half its potential, their overall ERA will be much below 3.00, while teams will struggle to hit against them. However, if all their relievers play like last season or close to it, the above stat line is quite realistic.

Jonathan Papelbon will most likely start the season as closer, but if he falters, he will have two other pitchers just as capable in Bobby Jenks and Daniel Bard waiting.

The Sox will also have trouble with left-handed batting, as all their relievers—with the exception of Bard—had ERAs above 4.80 when pitching against lefties last season. They should specialize against righties.


New York Yankees

Projected Bullpen: Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano

Projected Bullpen Stat Line: 3.00 ERA, .226 BAA, 1.21 WHIP

The Yankees most likely have the deepest pitching staff in baseball—in terms of the back end of it. Mariano Rivera will surely have yet another stellar season, while Rafael Soriano is another premier closer who will set up for the veteran. David Robertson is a fine complement to that fantastic duo.

However, when you look at the long-relieving options for the Yankees, well, there really aren’t any. Joba Chamberlain can be considered a long reliever, but his stamina has been questionable of late and can’t be fully relied on. Pedro Feliciano and Boone Logan are better suited as middle or late relief than long too.

The question remains, what happens when A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes has his trademark “off night?” It’s a question the Yankees are hoping to answer with Chamberlain and perhaps some of their younger arms still in the minors, like Ivan Nova.

The Yankees should be fine when batting against lefties, as even though Soriano’s and Rivera’s strong sides are against righties, their BAAs vs. lefties are still quite respectable. Logan and Feliciano should also help shut down left-handed batting.


Toronto Blue Jays

Projected Bullpen: Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor, Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, Shawn Camp, Jesse Carlson, Casey Janssen, David Purcey

Projected Bullpen Stat Line: 3.70 ERA, .246 BAA, 1.30 WHIP

The Blue Jays don’t really have an electric-type arm like the Yanks and Sox have, but they do have something the other two don’t—reliability at both ends of the staff and on both sides of the ball. They will rely on Casey Janssen and Shawn Camp for long relief, while the rest will combine to form a solid middle and late relief team.

Toronto will also have some versatility in their relief team. Relievers Camp, Janssen, David Purcey and Jon Rauch will be able to pitch at both ends of the bullpen, while they will also specialize in certain roles.

Rauch may close for the team, while Carlson and Purcey will be relied on to shut down left-handed batting. Camp should be one of John Farrell’s go-to relievers, given his proven reliability.

Something the Jays don’t have is a sure-fire closer. They will have a bevy of relievers competing for the job, most notably Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco. Others who will battle for the position include Jason Frasor and former All-Star Chad Cordero. However, they do have quantity at the position, so if anyone falters, there will always be a fallback option.



If you match up all the ‘pens against each other, the Yankees are the clear-cut winners based on stats. They have the best closer in the game, probably the best setup man in the game and one of the better left-handed specialists as well. Nonetheless, their long relief will remain a question, simply because of the known inconsistency their rotation will inevitably face.

The Red Sox are also strong at the closing position but will face some real struggles with left-handed batting. No one in their bullpen is really a specialist in terms of lefties. Also, despite completely cleaning the house of relievers in the free market this winter, the Red Sox still don’t have a reliable long relief option either. Most of their better relievers are suited for setup/closing roles.

The Jays, I think anyway, have the best bullpen of the three. Despite not having a sure-fire closer, they do have numerous reliable options at the position to fill in for the dominance the Sox and Yankees have at the position. The Jays also have numerous long relief options, which should pay dividends for a young rotation. The Jays are also strong on both sides of the plate, where the other two are only dominant on one side.

The Jays are committing a lot of money to their relief corps this season, and it should pay off well, as Toronto not only has quantity but has quantity too. This should put them a step ahead in terms of pitching vs. the Red Sox and Yankees.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Preview: Are They a Better Team Than Last Year?

At first glance, it would appear as if the Toronto Blue Jays have had a quiet offseason.

There were no big contracts, no major deals, no guys named Greinke or Ramirez. 

In fact, they seemed to lose more players than they acquired: Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Kevin Gregg, All-Star catcher John Buck and first baseman Lyle Overbay have all signed elsewhere. 

Oh, and they traded Shaun Marcum, their Opening Day starter, for prospect Brett Lawrie.

Some have suggested that the Jays will actually field a weaker team than they did in 2010, one that’ll be unable to capitalize on the Crawford-less Rays and an aging New York Yankees. 

But in reality, GM Alex Anthopoulos has been flying under the radar, bolstering the club’s already impressive farm system with several low-risk acquisitions, such as outfielder Corey Patterson and reliever Wil Ledezma. The Jays will have a competitive spring training in which many players will be competing for few jobs, particularly in the bullpen. 

They signed former closers Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Chad Cordero, who will battle it out with Jason Frasor to be the everyday closer. The fifth spot in the rotation is also up for grabs, with Marc Rzepczynski, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills and newcomer Zach Stewart all vying for the position. And if Dustin McGowan somehow manages to get healthy, you can throw his name into the mix, too. 

Whether the Jays brass will admit it publicly or not, the club is not realistically looking to contend for the AL East title until 2012. Having said that, there’s plenty to be excited about in 2011. Let’s take a closer look at the changes made over the offseason.

Begin Slideshow

Toronto Blue Jays Sign Jon Rauch

Poor Jon Rauch.

In an offseason where every reliever and their mother is getting two or three-year deals, Rauch can only muster a one-year deal.

Heck, even Kyle Farnsworth was able to get an option for a second year.

It’s as if he is the red-headed stepchild of relievers this offseason.


Rauch signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. Rauch should pull a Latrell Sprewell at his press conference and tell everyone that he isn’t sure he can feed his family with this deal.

In all seriousness, this is a good signing by the Blue Jays. The 6’11″ right-hander had a 3.12 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and averaged 7.2 K’s/9 with the Minnesota Twins last season.

What was interested about Rauch’s season in Minnesota was that he stunk at home and was really good on the road.

Here are Rauch’s home and road splits from 2010:

Home: 28.1 IP, 4.45 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 2.6 SO/BB

Away: 29.1 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 4.2 SO/BB

Considering that the new Target Field turned into a pitcher’s park, it’s odd that Rauch would struggle so much at home.

I can attribute the difference in ERA to Rauch’s ridiculously high Left On Base Percentage away from home. Rauch stranded 85 percent of the runners on base away from Target Field, as compared to 71 percent at home.

As for the other reasons for why Rauch struggled at home? You are going to have to ask him that question.

Rauch will join another newly signed reliever, Octavio Dotel at the back end of the Blue Jay bullpen in 2011.


You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Toronto Blue Jays Ink Reliever Jon Rauch To 1-Year Contract

The Blue Jays have added some more closer depth to their already growing bullpen, as the club announced Monday that they have come to an agreement with former Twins closer Jon Rauch on a one-year contract worth $3.5 million. The deal also includes a club option for 2012 that will see the hurler earn $3.75 million.

Having already signed relievers Carlos Villanueva and Octavio Dotel, the Jays added quite possibly the most imposing presence on a pitching mound since Randy Johnson.

Coming in at 6’11” and 290 pounds, Rauch is easily the largest Blue Jay, and for the record, would be the most intimidating presence on the Toronto Raptors.

The Jays lost out on Brian Fuentes and Rafael Soriano, so they still managed to pick up quite the pitcher to help fill the voids left by closer Kevin Gregg and set-up man Scott Downs.

The 32-year-old posted a 3-1 record with the Minnesota Twins last season.  He also recorded a career-high 21 saves and a 3.12 ERA.

The right-hander has spent eight seasons in the major leagues with the Chicago White Sox, Montreal, Washington, Arizona and Minnesota.

Judging by the value of Rafael Soriano and his set-up man contract of nearly $12 million a season, the Jays getting two semi-legit closing options for half the price seems like another “Walmart” like deal for Alex Anthopolous.

This offseason Anthopolous has been shopping at Walmart compared to other GMs who have clearly went with the more expensive Best Buy option. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess who this will all turn out for the Blue Jays GM.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Free Agency: Rafael Soriano and the Top 15 Specialty Relievers Available

After Carl Crawford’s surprise signing by the Boston Red Sox, MLB’s free agent pool is slowly starting to dwindle down.

Cliff Lee is still out there for the New York Yankees’ or Texas Rangers’ taking, but there aren’t a whole lot of other marquee names left.

As for free agent relievers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim—not to be confused with all of the other Los Angeles residing in MLB—scooped up Scott Downs, the Philadelphia Phillies re-signed Jose Contreras, Joaquin Benoit went to the Detriot Tigers, and the Bronx Bombers kept Mariano Rivera.

Still there’s a solid group of relievers left for any teams trying to shore up their bullpens this offseason.

Here’s a list of the top 15 specialty relievers still available.

Begin Slideshow

MLB Rumors: 10 Pitchers the Philadelphia Phillies Will Court To Fix the Bullpen

The Philadelphia Phillies are a great team with very little flaws.

After losing to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NLCS, Phillies fans were devastated on what happened.

They sat in the stands, at their homes, or at the local bar in shock and could not believe the defeat they faced.

Well, now we are entering the 2011 MLB season and we as Phillies fans must put the past behind us. We must try and make ourselves a better team for the near future.

As I said earlier, the Phillies have very little flaws. On paper, our only weakness is the bullpen.

Lucky for us, the 2011 free agent list is infested with relievers.

The majority of our entire pitching staff are right handers, so I think we should focus on hauling in lefties to make our staff more dynamic.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has proved he can be successful in the business of baseball and I have faith in him again.

Without a due, I give you 10 free agent relievers that the Phillies and Ruben Amaro Jr. will try to grab off of the free agent wire.

Begin Slideshow

Atlanta Braves: Potential Bullpen Arms The Braves Could Add For 2011

With Billy Wagner keen on retiring after the 2010 season, Frank Wren knew he would find himself this off-season once again shopping for bullpen arms.

Even with stellar rookie seasons by Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel out of the bullpen, Atlanta will seek at least one veteran arm to help out in late innings, as well as mentor the talented yet young relief corp.

Since the 2007 off-season, when the Braves traded for Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, Atlanta has been known around Major League Baseball for having outstanding bullpens. With Kimbrel and Venters coming off their rookie seasons in 2010, who will Frank Wren nab this off-season to help them out?

Begin Slideshow

2010 MLB Free Agency: Top 10 Closers on the Market

The 2010 season reached its conclusion and that can only mean one thing: The hot stove season is underway!

How will your team upgrade this offseason?

An integral part of any team is its closer. Look no further than the World Series champion Giants, a team that had a lights out postseason from closer Brian Wilson. It was an essential key to their success.

Having a reliable closer makes it so much easier on fans and coaches alike. A shaky closer can raise any manager’s blood pressure.

If you’re a fan of the Mets, Angels, Blue Jays, Rays, White Sox, Nationals, Marlins, Braves or Red Sox, pay attention.

Here are the power rankings for the top 10 free-agent pitchers that have the ability to be solid closers in 2011.

Begin Slideshow

Boston Red Sox Look to Overhaul Bullpen: Eyeing Minnesota, Chicago and Tampa Bay

Last year, the Boston Red Sox had a number of barriers en route to their third-place finish in the American League East behind the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.

Despite all of the injuries to their regular positional players (Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, etc.), the bullpen was and still remains a focal point for this offseason for a number of reasons.

Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard were the only two members of the bullpen who had ERAs less than four, and had it not been for the seasons of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, it should be viewed by many experts and fans that the rest of the Red Sox pitching staff all had issues throughout the season despite its 4.20 ERA, which was ninth best in the American League last year.

Additionally, the Red Sox bullpen had 22 blown saves last year, which was the fourth worst in the major leagues last year. Why did the Sox have a jump in blown saves last year? The Red Sox were second worst in batters faced in the American League last year only to the Kansas City Royals, as they faced a whopping 38.68 batters per game.

Fortunately, there are some very good options in free agency that can aid in shoring up their second set-up option and their middle relief corp.

Here is a look at some of the leading options that the Red Sox may approach as candidates during the offseason:

Jon Rauch (Age 32)

Rauch entered last year as the primary setup man for the Minnesota Twins before Joe Nathan went to the DL due to a torn elbow ligament. Once Rauch settled in as the closer, he did pretty well prior to the Twins trading for Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals. Rauch led the Twins with 21 saves against four blown saves and had a .268 BAA. Rauch earned $2.9 million last year and is comparable money to JJ Putz. In terms of value, Rauch is one of few closers in the free-agent market that will not cost a first-round draft pick as well.

Jesse Crain (29)

Before Joe Nathan, Jon Rauch and Matt Capps went to the Twin Cities, it was widely regarded that Crain was the Twins’ closer of the future. Entering last year, Crain had a number of disappointing campaigns (2007, 2009) but really turned it on with the Twins deploying a heavy dose of their bullpen.

Crain was second on the team among his bullpen mates with a stalwart 1.176 WHIP and his seven hits per nine innings led the team. He earned $2 million last year and could provide good value to the Red Sox.

Matt Guerrier (32)

Guerrier was no slouch last year as well for the Twins bullpen. Over the last two years, Guerrier has held opponents to batting averages of .207 and .219 and WHIP of .97 and 1.10 respectively. More of a control and finesse pitcher than Crain, Guerrier has been a workhorse as he has totaled 70 innings or more for the last four seasons. Guerrier earned $3.15 million last year.

JJ Putz (33)

After enduring two injury-plagued campaigns in 2008 and 2009, Putz was a mainstay in the White Sox bullpen last year. He went 54 innings and held opponents to a .204 BA while striking out 65 batters. Putz earned $3 million last year and with Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton on the rise, Putz may not be returning to the South Side.

Grant Balfour (34)

While all eyes will be on closer Rafael Soriano this offseason and if he re-signs with Tampa Bay, along with his other teammates (Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena), Balfour is a target worth keeping an eye on. Balfour earned $2.05 million last year as he held opponents to a .206 batting average and held a 1.08 WHIP en route to a 2.28 ERA.

If the Red Sox can get any of their left-handed assets out of the bullpen to improve on their 2010 campaigns, these are some of the American League middle relievers that are within Boston’s budget and can replace what Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez were suppose to bring to the table over the last couple of years.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress