After the look into the future plans of the Giants, I started to wonder about the arbitrary $6M I assigned to future bullpens (not including the Armando Benitez contract, which was separately accounted for. How much have the Giants traditionally spent on bullpens? There's a lot of finger service paid to Sabean's ability to find minor-league drifters and castabouts to play important roles in the bullpen, but how often does that really happen?
What started as an innocent query has turned into an all-consuming exposé. The more I dig into it, the more I realize this thing has more layers than a David Mamet play about an onion getting ready to stand in cold weather. Well, not really. I just wanted an excuse to drop that horrible line. It felt a little like Dennis Miller....
I was hoping to explore it all today, but bit off way more than I could chew. There's also the matter of how to go about this. I want to evaluate the Giants bullpens since 1998 - cost, where they came from, and how they performed - and came up with a combination of questions and explanations for the arbitrary distinctions that will be involved:
- I'm choosing 1998 because that's the start of the Robb Nen era, and because that's how far back I went before I became sleepy.
- When determining how a player was acquired, it doesn't make sense to just have trade/free agent/farm for the categories. For example, the Giants acquired Felix Rodriguez in a trade, but also paid close to market price to sign him to an extension after 2001. That should fall under two separate categories. The categories I've come up with are Free Agent/Extension, Waivers/Minor League Free Agent, Trade, Farm System. Does that seem reasonable?
- I'm also considering working something to detail what we gave up in the trades. Felix Rodriguez and Alan Embree were acquired for confederate dollars. LaTroy Hawkins and Tim Worrell (v. 1.0) cost actual talent. Robb Nen cost talent that was impressive at the time, but never did nuthin' for nobody. Doug Henry (v. 2.0) and Matt Herges both cost middling prospects, but those prospects grew up to be something worth having. There should be a way to make those distinctions.
- At the risk of excluding all-time greats like Bronswell Patrick, I've come up with 20 relief appearances in a season as the qualifying requirement. Reasonable?
- What would be the best way to evaluate a bullpen? Cold, hard numbers like you'd find at Baseball Prospectus, or cursory looks at the basics (IP, K/BB, ERA) and personal remembrances?
I await your input with baited breath, even though I've never understood what that saying means, or if it applies at all. When in Rome....