The Jays have added yet another arm to an already crowded bullpen by signing the monstrous Jon Rauch to a one-year, $3.5-million contract. The deal also has a $3.75-million option for 2012 which, if not enacted, can be bought out for $250,000.
I’m torn about this deal. On the one hand, I think Rauch is a much better signing than Octavio Dotel, who was signed earlier this month for comparable cash.
I’m pretty confident that I would stand more of a chance against a tough left-handed batter than Dotel, while Rauch is better rounded with fairly even splits.
For those of you who believe in such things, Rauch ranks at an 11 out of 10 in the intimidation department standing as the tallest man ever to appear in a Major League game at 6’11” tall.
I however, do not think height and crazy neck tattoos actually intimidate professional hitters because, here’s the scoop, they’re professional hitters. If they get intimidated by such meaningless crap then they probably shouldn’t be playing professional baseball. Randy Johnson aside, of course, that motherfucker was bananas.
Dustin Parkes over at Getting Blanked isn’t too fond of the deal because, and I completely agree, the Jays have too many pitchers that do the same thing. Like him, I don’t believe it’s ever the smartest move in the world to spend any significant doe on relief pitching, but I don’t hate this deal.
In comparison to many of the other deals for relief pitchers this offseason, the Jays managed to spend about market value for only one guaranteed season on Rauch. He is a pitcher who, at times, can be extremely effective and does have experience closing out games. If you’re going to spend $3.5-million on an overvalued ROOGY like Dotel, or give a multi-year deal to a pitcher like Joaquin Benoit or Jesse Crain than this deal doesn’t look too bad.
In fact, if you look at Jesse Crain and Jon Rauch side by side, you start to see why the Jays made this move.
Crain: 3.42 ERA, 6.22 K/9, 3.32 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9, 45.7 GB%, 7.4% HR/FB, 4.04 FIP
Rauch: 3.71 ERA, 7.34 K/9, 2.80 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, 33.6 GB%, 7.7% HR/FB, 3.89 FIP
In fact, looking at those you could make the argument that Rauch is a superior pitcher. Since I was all for the Jays signing Crain, I think I have to like this deal. Crain signed with the White Sox for 3 years and $13-million.
With Brian Fuentes signing in Oakland, it’s looking more and more like the left-handed situation in the Jays bullpen will be some combination of David Purcey, Rommie Lewis, Jesse Carlson, and Marc Rzepczynski providing he’s not starting. Given what I know about them, I’d be okay with a Purcey/Carlson combination if they both pitch the way they are capable of.
Like I say, I do like the deal, but why not use similar dollars to sign an effective lefthander? If it were me, I’d sign Rauch, leave Dotel the hell alone and maybe ink Randy Flores, Dennys Reyes or Randy Choate for the same amount of money or less.