Lately, it seems like all I write about is how much relief pitchers are overpriced this offseason. I would stop writing about it, but baseball teams keep giving me reasons to type about it. For instance, the Phillies just gave 38-year-old Tom Gordon a 3 year contract worth a total of $18 million to replace Billy Wagner, who signed with the Mets for 4 years and $47 million. As impressive as Gordon's credentials are, is he really going to be worth $6 million a year when he turns 41? Maybe, but I doubt it. Gordon is going to start pitching like an old man some day.
Then, with Tom Gordon having been signed by the Phillies, the Yankees replaced him with Kyle Farnsworth, who owns a career 4.45 ERA, for a mere 3 years and $17 million. What a bargain! To be fair, Farnsworth is much better than his ERA suggests and I think he will do an admirable job of replacing Gordon. Still, the Yankees paid too much for him.
While the Gordon and Farnsworth signings will dominate the headlines, another deal involving a relief pitcher happened yesterday that should be noted. The Boston Red Sox, one of baseball's premier money-making super powers, decided to go cheap and acquire Jermaine Van Buren from the Cubs for cash considerations or a player to be named or later. I find it ironic that the Red Sox decided to go cheap, but it really speaks volumes about the free agent market. Boston may be the first organazation to realize that every relief pitcher in this market has been ridiculously overpaid, so they went and found the best AAA reliever they could find because at the very least he will be reasonable priced. I think the Red Sox stole Van Buren from the Cubs, who recently signed relief pitcher Bob Howry to a 3 year, $12 million contract, and I'm going to laugh if/when he puts up better numbers than Howry. Bullpens used to be underrated, but that certainly is not the case any more.