Allow me to join the chorus: Good luck, Scott Eyre. Glad it wasn't us that paid you, but good luck. Eyre was popular with the fans, and popular with the players. With the new drug agreement, however, MLB is going to test for amphetamines. Eyre's teammates are going to realize that's just naturally how the guy is, and maybe they'll be frightened. But, for now, assume he's still a hit in the clubhouse. He was a heck of a pitcher last year, no one can deny that. So this is a big loss for the team on multiple levels.
But one year's Scott Eyre is the next year's Matt Herges. This isn't to say Eyre is going to disintegrate next season, or wake up in bed with Todd Hollandsworth's sister for that matter, but you have to be wary of paying a 33-year old reliever $4M a year when he has exactly one season worth that much to his name. Add in the workload he was shouldering, and that just makes the decision easier. It wasn't just the 80+ appearances, either. In 162 games, it seemed like Eyre was warming up in 161 of them. Felipe Alou had Eyre warming up during the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, and once on an off day when MTV replayed a Rock 'N' Jock Softball Challenge from 1994. You never know when you'll need to reverse the flow of time and get P.M. Dawn to bounce into a double play.
The Giants are going to be scouring the baseball world for a possible replacement. With Jeff Fassero and Jack Taschner, the Giants could use an experienced arm to stash in AAA. Nothing that simple is going to happen, though, as the "Eyre's gone" article in the Chronicle says the replacement search has begun. The Giants are going to look for an Experienced Arm, who can Get the Tough Lefties Out. They'll get this mythical creature, and lock him up for a couple of years even though His ERA Was Over 4.00. Without checking on his contract status, or even knowing what team he finished 2005 with, I'm going to put the probability of Mike Myers being a Giant at 72%.
The last time the Giants paid market value for a lefty in Jason Christiansen, it didn't work out. It rarely does. Good left-handers come from the waiver wire, the minor league system, or in an unnoticed trade just as often as they do from free agency. The Royals got great production from Rule 5 pick Andy Sisco. Paying Arthur Rhodes, Mike Stanton, and Jason Christiansen to be consistent never seems to work. If it just happens to, great, the team was successful with a risk they shouldn't have taken, and they still paid millions for the privilege. For every Ray King, there are twelve Rheal Cormiers. I will write the exact same sentiments next offseason, just using different names.
Stick with Taschner and Fassero as the first line of defense, stack the minors with a couple of guys like Kelly Wunsch, and hope for the best. Paying anything more than the league minimum for a guy like Joey Eischen would ignore where the Nationals found him in the first place. The team has other priorities. In the meantime, best of luck to Scott Eyre against 14 of the teams he'll face this year.