Alright, so I know most of the discussion so far about the offseason has involved our free agents (John Lackey, Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero, and Darren Oliver), big hitting free agents (Jason Bay & Matt Holliday), and trades (anyone remember a discussion about Curtis Granderson?), but there has not been much discussion about other free agents on the market which could really help our team.
What REALLY concerns me is the bullpen. It was torture last year.
Outside of Oliver and Matt Palmer, we had no real standouts. I believe Kevin Jepsen will one day develop into a great reliever, but he’s not a finished product yet. Jason Bulger remains a mystery, Jose Arredondo’s magic of 2008 disappeared, and Brian Fuentes was far from perfect (7 blown saves during the season and 1 in the ALCS). While Fuentes is a decent closer, he’s really not the guy I want on the mound when the game is on the line.
What the Angels had in Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez the previous few years was golden, shortening the game to 7-innings. Our greatest weakness this season was our bullpen. We need to bring it back to the strength it was in the past. Looking over the relievers out on the free agent market, these are the ones who seem to have some value:
Here’s MLB.coms list
First, I’m glad Scot Shields will be back next season and hopefully he’ll be hungry to go out there and be his dominant self again. Darren Oliver will hopefully re-up with us again. Assuming we get those two back, who else should we go after?
My first choice is Rafael Soriano, and one writer is already predicting we’ll land him. Throws hard and strikes a lot of guys out (oddly, I remember him most for getting hit in the head by a line drive off Vlad’s bat in 2006).
Kiko Calero put up good numbers last year and seems to be a bit under-the-radar, so he probably could be had pretty cheap. Wouldn’t be a bad addition in my opinion.
Mike Gonzalez also intrigues me, I just don’t know how I’d feel about him joining the team. Great strikeout guy, but wild and blew 7 saves last year as well (not to mention he’s injury prone).
Some off-the-radar guy like Escobar for the pen on the cheap?
So what do you guys think? How do we shore up the pen?