When Braves general manager Frank Wren called Matt Diaz on Wednesday to inform him that it didn’t appear he would be re-signed for the 2011 season, the outfielder graciously said, “Don’t forget about me.”
I won’t, Matty…I won’t. (I knew I jinxed him the moment I put the Diaz shirt on my back!)
Here’s the official Release from the Braves on Linebrink. The best stats, imo:
He held opposing batters to a .203 (15-for-74) clip with runners in scoring position and posted a .083 (1-for-12) opponent’s average with the bases loaded.
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox announced today that the two clubs completed a two-player trade. The Braves have acquired right-handed relief pitcher Scott Linebrink and cash considerations from the White Sox in exchange for minor-league right-handed pitcher Kyle Cofield. Linebrink is under contract through the 2011 season.
Linebrink, 34, went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 52 games for the White Sox in 2010. He recorded 52 strikeouts in 57.1 innings and ranked third among White Sox relievers in innings pitched. He held opposing batters to a .203 (15-for-74) clip with runners in scoring position and posted a .083 (1-for-12) opponent’s average with the bases loaded.
“Scott is a veteran pitcher who has experience in a variety of roles,” Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren said. “He will play an important part in our bullpen in 2011.”
The 2010 campaign marked the right-handed reliever’s 11th Major League season. He owns a 38-27 career record with a 3.50 ERA and 525 strikeouts in 543 appearances (six starts) and has made at least 50 appearances in each of his last eight seasons. Primarily a set-up man, Linebrink ranks second in the majors with 141 holds since the start of the 2004 season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Linebrink has played for the San Francisco Giants (2000), the Houston Astros (2000-2003), the San Diego Padres (2003-2007), the Milwaukee Brewers (2007), and the last three seasons with the White Sox (2008-2010). He was a second-round draft pick by the Giants in 1997.
Cofield, 23, has a career minor league record of 25-26 with a 4.12 ERA in 118 games (82 starts), including going 1-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 20 games (12 starts) between Double-A Mississippi and Gulf Coast League (rookie) in 2010. He was drafted by the Braves in the eighth round of the 2005 June free agent draft.
YIKES. Braves picked up FOUR million of Linebrink’s salary. This is awful. What’s he THINKING? This is the dumbest bullpen pick up I’ve ever heard of. Good grief. It’s not like turning O’Flaherty into gold, or the Moylan signing. This guy is making FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.
Terrible. Horrible. Nasty. Yuck. We swapped Matt Diaz for Mather for THIS? Gross.
I don’t even want Linbrink taking innings way from Kimbrel or Venters, much less being the veteran addition. Not unless the young guys falter. But with a guy like this, it doesn’t matter if they falter or not, Linebrink and his fat four million will get the innings.
Bub- We got a veteran reliever (with Chicago picking up some of his salary) and we gave up NO prospects to speak of. We needed a veteran reliever. This guy is by no means Farnsworth 2.0. Granted he might be a bit pricey, but most veteran relievers (who are good) are probably in this ballpark. I think this is a good move. He was shutdown with RISP last year, he played in a hitter-friendly park, and he would be a great mentor for Venters, Kimbrel, and others. I don’t think it is bone-headed at all.
1. The WAR data is compelling and depressing
2. 4MM seems steep for a guy with a 4+ ERA the past two seasons
3. This would be much more exciting if it were, say, 2003 or 2004.
That said, in my off-season optimism mode:
I’m willing to believe his numbers could improve by coming back to the NL and a pitcher’s park and I do see value in the veteran pitcher in the bullpen thing. But yeah, this seems like a bunch of money for a pretty middling guy.
Steve, I have been informed that using WAR for relievers is not a great idea. In this case, the outcome was so extreme that it still made a real case, but not as shattering a case as it would have been against a hitter.
Add to that the new salary numbers and I am calm enough.