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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comments

If you assume a team in a playoff series has about a 50 percent chance of winning each series, making the playoffs 5 times and winning 3 of 5 LDS is better than average, winning 2 of 3 LCS is better than average, and winning 1 of 2 WS is average, so I don't know that the Phils are underachievers.


That's an incredible effort to return this space to discussion of minutiae, thank you!

I had all but completely forgotten about the Francisco home run in Game 3 until I found the paper while doing some cleaning. Not one to add to my excessive pile of newspapers collected over the years.

I'd let Francisco go. I'd bring back Kendrick. Hopefully team control for John Bowker means sending him back to wherever he came from as the PTBNL.

I'm not even sure I like Mathieson as an insurance policy anymore. You can argue he never got enough opportunity but he failed virtually every time he was handed one, so I imagine his time in the Phillies organization has come to an end.

My pleasure, Highlander. There can be only one.

~$1.75M for Valdez? No thanks. Better off investing that money in a better backup although I do wonder who the backup would be at SS.

Yeah forget that. Sign Juan Castro again. No way Valdez is worth forking over $1.75 million over. Well, actually that depends on who are starting shortstop is next season.

Polanco is good for 15-30 games lost to injury on his own. Add in the possibility that Rollins is also re-signed, & you've got another 15-30 almost guaranteed. In that light, Valdez is a bargain. Be honest w/ yourselves, Phillies fans: there's no way the ball club will invest in a better backup than that, esp. w/ Martinez still hanging around ... & I know I'd damn sure watch Valdez field well & hit poorly than watch Martinez make a reeking sh*t pillow of every aspect of the game.

The Phillies will have their hands full enough seeking, perhaps, a starting SS and solution for 3B. I wonder if they don't just pay for a known quantity utilityman like Valdez.

Where's all the trade Hamels posters??

We need a Trade Hamels poster with him looking PO'd wearing his Hello Kitty backpack. Can we get graphics on this?

Gtown - please explain how Valdez is worth $1.75 M.

"We need a Trade Hamels poster with him looking PO'd wearing his Hello Kitty backpack. Can we get graphics on this?"

Please, no.

Redburb: I heard Valdez has a plan to fix the economy.

Its at the point where I simply despise Michael Martinez.

Redburb - may i?

$1M backup infielder
750k long reliever

done and done.

RedBurb I'll explain it to you.

He plays 3 premium defensive positions very well. End of story.

Where's all the trade Hamels posters??

Let me rephrase: where are all the BL posters who want to trade Cole Hamels rather than extend him?

No way they keep Bowker in any form whatsoever. Hell, pay me $150K and let me just go up there and strike out and perhaps get the occasional soft groundout to the pitcher.

I'm still not sure exactly what Bowker does.

If ryno is worth 25,valdez is worth 1.75Howard's stats aren't 14 times wilson's and he can't pitch.

Prior to the start of the year i would say let Valdez go. However he plays different positions and plays them decently enough. If you look at his stats he has been hitting better since he has been here. Finishing the year at .249 isnt bad for a back up guy. I say we have to resign him especially with this injury prone team we have. Who else will be our 15th inning guy and emergency back up catcher.

Mini Mart will be on the Opening Day roster next year unless he is hurt. That much I am sure of.

Looking forward to another season where he hits around the Mendoza line with questionable defensive play.

Versatility!

That and Amaro is certain to bring in a washed up hasbin as the backup catcher who can't hit and really can't field anymore at this point.

There is no FA veteran catcher who hits left-handed who fits that bill or he would would be GUARANTEED to be signed by Amaro to a 2-yr deal.

Shoppach, Laird, or Blanco. One of those will be the Phils' backup catcher next year.

Maybe Shoppach has a bounce-back year in him. He's not that old, he'll fit right in at age 32. Dropped from 128 to 72 OPS+ over the last 3 years.

Laird, meh. Hank White, no thanks, don't need no 40 yo catcher.

Here's a crazy idea. How about letting Kratz be the backup catcher? He'll cost zilch. He could likely hit about .230 in the majors. And he's maybe a tick below average defensively. That sure sounds a lot better than what the Phils have stuck back there to back up Chooch the last few years.

Failing that, maybe there's a Bako/Schneider no-hit/no catch vet out there somewhere.

And about Orr. Why wouldn't they bring him back? He can play second and third passably. He is about a Valdez level hitter. And he's one of the fastest baserunners they had this year. He can't play short, but if they give him a little practice, he may pick up some outfield time in a pinch.

And he'll likely make just a trace more than the 600,000 he made this year.

If you compare Valdez's salary to Polanco's and look at their production, it seems to me that Valdez is worth the money.

This was in David Hale's blog, Philled In, yesterday:


From May 1 - end of season:
PAs 409 Polly / 227 Valdez

OPS .591 Polly /.657 Valdez

XBH 10 Polly / 16 Valdez

RBI/R 31/28 Polly / 25/28 Valdez


I know Valdez hit further down in the order than Polanco. And I know he stunk. But so did Polanco. If they can find a good replacement for Polly, or a really good utility infielder, great. If not, I think Valdez is necessary. Unless Polanco will have a healthy & productive season...which I don't think anyone is predicting.

Here's the link to the blog entry, in case you're interested: http://blogs.delawareonline.com/philledin/2011/10/17/few-options-for-phillies-at-third-base/#more-9953

Hale's main point was this:
"For the past two years, the production the Phillies have gotten out of Polanco at third base could have largely been replaced by the same guys they had resting on their bench — at least if we take defense out of the equation."

I am worried about Howard gaining weight this off season.

Hugh: You think Victorino played that ball in Game 2 correctly?

I've seen wide recievers run less crooked routes to a ball in double coverage than he did on that play.

I am worried about Howard gaining weight this off season.

Except that he's show a willingness to work to improve everything (but his pitch selection**).

** Say that in a Sam Kinison voice, if you want. Easier said than done, I know.

lorecore - Since when does Victorino run clean routes to a ball? He relies on pure speed. He overran it by a couple inches on the dead run while approaching the wall. I think he catches that ball most times and, if he does, it's a hell of a catch. Bad spot to fail to make a big play but, it was a legitimate triple.

"Bad spot to fail to make a big play but, it was a legitimate triple."

Absolutely. Most guys don't even get to that ball.

Hugh: agree with everything you said.

My conclusion, which may differ from yours, is that he(and cliff lee) were the biggest reasons why the Phillies lost Game 2 - and entire series.

"is that he(and cliff lee) were the biggest reasons why the Phillies lost Game 2 - and entire series."

No. It's on the whole team, but if not, at least in that game, it falls squarely on Lee's shoulders, not Vic's.

And as always with this bullshit situation, I still want Victorino in CF and Cliff Lee on the mound anytime I can get them, so theres no real reason to even complain about it - which is basically the core of all this frustration.

This is Valdez line the last 2 years:

.254/.300/.351 in 606 ABs (.652 OPS).

You get above average defensive from him at SS and I would argue average/below average at 2B/3B.

He doesn't have that much but otherwise he generally the kind of player who want as a middle utility infielder.

Question is he worth $1.75M? I would need to see a list of who is available but that is getting to the expensive end for a middle infielder.

Valdez is probably the poster boy for "replacement level." However, when you have a team that is on the wrong side of 32 or so, "replacement level" and "versatility" should be positive attributes to your ball club. There's a reason he's started a full season's worth of games over the last 2 years.

We've seen more than our fair share of futility infielders in the likes of Bruntlett, Taguchi, Nunez, Gonzalez, et al. I'd pay Valdez a little over $1MM without question, unless it means forgoing a more solidified option at 3B or SS (though, likely, it won't).

Worth remembering that Valdez will be 34 on May 20th.

fumphis - Yeah forget to add that. That is getting a bit long in the tooth & he is getting into age range where a 'collapse' season isn't out of the norm (for Valdez that would be say a season where he hits ~.200 with a .550 or lower OPS or in other words the ceiling for Mini Mart)

MG: if he collapses, who cares. We'll have Mini-mart ready to step in.

I too will take Lee and Vic any day of the week. Great competitors, good guys, fun to watch. That said, I believe Shane took a bad route to that ball in game 2. Had he taken the proper route, he would have caught that ball easily. Not saying it cost them the game...they still didn't score any runs after the 2nd inning.

While Victorino wasn't necessarily negligent in missing that ball, he did the same thing against the Giants last year in NLCS-6. Another game where it proved to be the winning run in a game we led early and then got shut down by a bullpen.

A-Train: You are correct. Any of the good centerfielders in baseball would've made that catch. It would've been a helluva catch for Vic only because he took such a bad route.

I also want Lee and Vic on my team in a key game. They just happened to have bad games at the wrong time.

Argue about how the Phillies OUGHT to look for a better player all you want, but the reality is they're either gonna re-sign Valdez, or we're gonna see a whole helluva lot more of Martinez this coming season. That's just how the club operates.

Also, $560K tripled isn't $1.75 million. And keep in mind the fact that the Phillies just came off a season in which they paid Schneider ($1.5 million), Gload ($1.6 million) & Francisco ($1.175 million) similar salaries to contribute all of diddly sh*t. Hell, friggin' Bowker made $442K! How is that even legal?!

So to answer the question, "Is Valdez 'worth' the (hypothetical) $1.75 million?" No. Of course not. But he is a helluva lot closer to being worth it than any of the other bench guys to whom r00b has given similar money. And considering how bad Polanco was in '11, I certainly don't think re-signing Valdez for significantly less money than Phillies will be burning on Placido in '12 is a terrible deal. Besides which -- once again -- that's an entirely hypothetical number. I'll bet he'd sign for less.

If you all wanna get worked up over bad contracts check out how much the Phillies will be paying Blanton. Or a thoroughly questionable Contreras. Martinez should be paying the Phillies, fer f*cks sake. Me, I hardly think worrying about less than $2 million for the only remotely competent INF replacement the Phillies have had is worth worrying about.

Wasn't the homerun by Uribe the winning run in game 6 of the 2010 LCS?

re: topic

I said more than once that Kendrick was a lock to get nontendered this upcoming season.

Its still pretty likely I think, but is a far cry from the lock that I earlier predicted. Kendrick had a good year, maybe even bordering on very good when you consider the circumstances he pitched under - either making consecutive starts on normal day rest, spot starting on +10 day rest, pitching mop up duty, and then even pitching matchups in leverage situations.

I would probably nontender Kendrick because of the fear that arbitration would get him close to $5M/yr, but make a pretty strong effort to re-sign him for less. I don't think he'll get much better in the free agency, and if so, its really not that big of a loss.

crotchbat: you've got the wrong game, game winning run was a bomb off of Madson to the opposite field by Uribe.

I was at that game and remember Polanco/Howard had a pretty awful error that game that tied the game up early, but don't remember any Vic misplays.

We were all up in arms about Kendrick getting his payday last season, especially once it was determined that he wouldn't be a starter. Lo and behold, he put up more starts than any of his other seasons, and performed admirably in his swing-man role, to boot. He actually wound up earning that pay raise that many of us bemoaned (including myself).

That said, his performance will dictate yet another pay raise. If one could guarantee the same, or better, results than 2011, I'd think about giving him the $. I'd guess we'd need to know what RAJ's plan is for KK, first (5th starter, emergency starter/swingman?).

Gotta give him credit though - most guys who are paid for past contributions tend to underperform against their new compensation. Kyle stepped up last season. Wonder if lightning can strike twice...

At least lorecore's been consistent on Kendrick over the past few seasons, under whatever screen name he uses.

Mathieson was claimed by 16 clubs but was on optional waivers which means they pull him back. He is on the 40 man still so they must still want him

lorecore: if Kendrick hadn't been with the Phillies this year, who pitches in his role, and how much do you think it would've affected the team?

With the run they had this year, it would've been just a matter of a win or two, probably, and not playoff seeding. So in that respect you can say if he wasn't on the team, it wouldn't have been a big loss. But next year's team will probably not be as good, and the pitching staff will be thinner with the likely departure of Oswalt. The bullpen will be a mess, as currently constituted. How can you say losing Kendrick wouldn't be that big of a loss, given what he did this season? Who fills his shoes if he leaves? Nate Bump?

And I'm not saying Kendrick can't be replaced adequately by anyone. But, like was the case with people wanting Rollins gone over the course of the year, some people think we can just ditch a player they don't like for some reason or another and just replace them with the next person down the food chain. In the case of Rollins and Kendrick, the next person down the food chain is a massive, massive drop-off.

lorecore-

I was wrong about the winning run, which was Uribe. But Vic dropped a tough play in CF to allow the game to be tied. Very similar to this most recent one.

And I'm wrong again -- the Polanco/Howard error was the game-tier. Victorino's drop put runners in scoring position.

Might it be a bit premature to say "the bullpen will be a mess." Can the offseason happen first? The pitching staff will be thinner with the loss of Oswalt, but Blanton comes back, so it'll add some weight. Oswalt was Blantonish most of the year.

Kendrick did a great job, and I'd be happy to have him back, but he's replaceable. The loss of Rollins probably would have a much bigger impact than the loss of Kendrick.

I can understand why 16 teams would put a claim on Mathieson. You always hope you can take his good stuff (high K/9, velocity, solid minor league numbers) and hope you can tinker with him so that at least one of his offspeed pitches becomes an average MLB pitch.

Phils tried with the splitter. Didn't take.

Yeah I'm not buying the bullpen mess thing either. Assuming they sign Madson or someone similar, as Amaro said he would, you're basically swapping Contreras in for Lidge.

Joe Blanton:

I know the saber guys will tout Blanton xFIP numbers the past 2 season ('10 & '11) but he simply hasn't been that good of a pitcher.

Phils compounded this though in the way they handled him. Didn't shut him down when he was first hurt in April. Then brought him back in Sept only to have him pitch meaningless innings & leave him off the postseason roster entirely.

It sounds like from the blurb below though in today's Inquirer that Blanton isn't going to have surgery and instead just rely upon rest this offseason.

Either way, counting on Blanton to be a real contributor next year seem iffy at best especially if he doesn't have the elbow surgery. My bet is he gives them mediocre results early in the year, gives them mediocre/below average results, and misses a decent portion of the season.

I would love to know though how strongly the Phils encouraged Blanton (if at all) to have the elbow surgery & undergo the 6-9 month rehab it requires.

Blurb in the Inquirer on Blanton (per Rotoworld):

"Pitching in an instructional league game over the weekend, Joe Blanton tossed five innings of one-run ball.

"His fastball registered regularly at 90 mph, and he felt good about his mechanics. "I'm just going to give it a rest," Blanton said of his bothersome elbow, "keep playing catch a bit, doing it light.

I could have sworn Blanton pitched against the Cardinals, but I was pretty bummed out those nights.

How much input does the FO have towards surgery for one of their players? Can they demand they get the surgery? I mean, if he doesn't and he hurts himself, the team still needs to pay his salary, right? So I would think they would have some say in what he does.

MG, I fixed that quote for you:

"I'm just going to give it a rest," Blanton said of the brisket he just pulled out of the smoker, "keep marinating it a bit, doing it light."

crotchbat: Correct you are. Blanton pitched a 1-2-3 7th in the Phillies' Game 4 NLDS loss at St.L.

However, I agree w/ MG's basic point: Blanton should have been shut down for the year. He's gonna be a near-constant source of angst once again this coming season.

David Hale points to lots of good reads on the Phillies today. One I thought folks here might like is a Joe Posnanski piece on bad contracts. Ryan Howard is featured.

http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/10/11/the-worst-contracts-in-baseball/

I thought this was interesting, too, from David Hale, about the BP:

And there’s another guy they should probably consider, too: Brad Lidge. He’s already owed a $1.5 M buyout, so it might behoove the Phillies to up that number a tad and see if they can bring Lidge back for one more season at a reasonable price tag.

After the Phillies lost Game 5 to St. Louis, I don’t think anyone in that locker room (save Ryan Howard) was more upset that Lidge, who knew his time with the team may be at an end. He admitted baseball was a business, but it was also perfectly clear that he wanted to stay in Philly.

So look at it this way: If the Phillies can re-sign Lidge on a one-year deal and add one of Capps/Wood/Nathan at a reasonable price tag (which would vary depending on which of those arms they got), they could still be working with a total bullpen cost of less than $12M total (less than what Lidge alone made in 2011), but have four potential closers (Joe Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, Lidge, and another free agent).

You’re not going to be in love with any of them, but you probably would have said the same thing about this year’s pen — which ended up utilizing four different guys to get the job done extremely well.

What kind of offers will Lidge get? Hard to believe anyone would offer him what he has been making.Although he really didn't pitch all that bad overall.

I can't imagine Lidge would be too highly sought after, considering all of the closers available on the market. I guess it kind of depends on what he's defining as his role (closer, set up, etc.).

I wouldn't be opposed to seeing him come back at a reduced rate.

This comes up sums up the Howard deal after he blew out his Achilles:

http://video.adultswim.com/robot-chicken/this-deals-getting-worse-all-the-time.html

MG: Does that video imply that we can at least get some entertainment value out of making Howard dress up and ride a unicycle? Just kidding....

I did not realize that like Dave Cameron and Keith Law, Joe Posnanski hates the Phillies.

Kendrick likely to be non-tendered? I'd be totally stunned if that happened and if it did, I'd bet Kendrick gets a multi-year deal somewhere. Jason Marquis comes to mind as a very similar pitcher, and he's gotten 3/21 and 2/15 in his two contracts since hitting free agency. I don't see why Kendrick would command less.

Question for Beerleaguer: imagine a player with 400 HR and 2800 H with a .275/.330/.470 line over a long career. This player has a reputation for being durable (never playing less than 110 games) and is regarded as an elite defender by both stats and scouts. This player was an all-star only twice.

Is this player a hall-of-famer?

Or another player who hangs around long enough to end up with 250 HR and 3000 H with a career .285/.350/.435 line. This player, while ultra-durable (140+ games every season) is regarded as a below-average-to-terrible defensive player.

Is this player a hall-of-famer?

DH Phils - 'Past performance is not indicative of future results'

KK gets a multi-year deal? From who?

Finally, player C finishes his career with 450 HR and 2200 H, a .255/.340/.490 line, and was regarded as the best defensive player in baseball history at his position.

Is this player a hall-of-famer?

I would say yes to players A and C, no to player B (I put a lot of stock in defense). If you haven't looked at these guys' numbers in a while, you may be surprised to find out who they are - all 3 are active players.

MG: I don't know, some of the same teams that give multi-year deals at high salaries to Jake Westbrook, Randy Wolf, Bronson Arroyo, Joe Blanton and Kyle Lohse.

Teams always pay (overpay?) for mediocre-but-reliable starting pitching.

Blanton signed for 3/24 at a deal that most regarded as market value. Lohse's current deal is 4/41. Westbrook's current deal is 2/16. Wolf's is 3/30. Arroyo's is 3/29. People give expensive multi-year deals to pitchers like Kyle Kendrick every year.

I guess my point is that as free agents, Kyle Kendricks cost much more than the ~$3-4M he'd earn in arbitration. The only way you can get a Kyle Kendrick for that price in free agency is if you take a chance on an injured guy. Kyle Kendricks that are as healthy as this Kyle Kendrick cost much more on the open market.

I think you have a good point, DHPhils.

David Murphy has been doing some interesting stuff the past few days in his blog "High Cheese". The current post has his proposed lineup and reasons for it.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies/

DH Phils: They are 8 active players who have hit 400 HRs and none of them match the stats of players A and C. Are you projecting what their stats may end up like?

MG, like many year, has been a Kendrick basher forever.

Fact is, Kendrick this past season improved his biggest weakness: Inability to get out lefties.

He'd have no problem getting a multi-year contract at age 27 if he's non-tendered.

"Past performance is not indicative of future results"

How anyone with a brain can believe this generally empty phrase applies to a game that is defined by statistics (and statistical trends) is pretty unbelievable.

"How anyone with a brain can believe this generally empty phrase applies to a game that is defined by statistics (and statistical trends) is pretty unbelievable."

Howard of 2010-11 is clearly different than Howard from 2006-09.

The comparisons to his career stats from 2006-11 make no/little sense. Howard of '07 or '08 isn't Howard of '11. That was before he blew out his Achilles too.

He'd most definitely pick up a nice contract elsewhere, considering his versatility out of both the 'pen, and as a #5 starter on most teams.

However, the decision to tender an offer or not, isn't based on his value to other teams, but more so on what he's needed to do with the Phillies. Basically, the Phils decision comes down to whether or not it's worth $3-4M for KK to do what they need him to do. If it's not, he'll certainly get a better deal elsewhere, and probably an opportunity at an expanded role. That, however, is irrelevant to the Phils' decision.

And all you have to do is look at some of the 4th/5th starters on teams around the ML- even the contenders. Then look at Kendrick's resume, specifically last year's numbers. You think someone isn't giving him a 2-year deal? Come on.

MG- I agree with you regarding the specific case of Howard, but that stupid cliche you used doesn't explain anything and is wrong 99% of the time.

All we can do is hope that RAJ got the new iPhone 4S, and he's relying on Siri to help make these important decisions. I feel like we'll be okay.

Iceman - Not really. It is really hard to use retrospective data to come up with a high degree of predictive validity for a future event.

If you look at his saber stats, KK's comes off smelling a lot less rosy. He did rebound last year a bit last year doing a nice job as a swingman & showing some improvement vs LH bats though.

The Phils supposedly did look though last offseason at trying to deal KK though and didn't get a nibble. Now maybe they were asking for a bit much but I would be a bit surprised if he got a multi-year deal if he wasn't tendered by the Phils.

Then again the Nats were dumb enough to sign the throughly mediocre Marquis to a 2 yr/$15M deal just 2 years ago. All for an impressive 10-14, 4.82 ERA (33 GS) with -0.6 WAR over 2 seasons.

There is probably a team dumb enough to sign KK for 2 yrs at a modest dollar value.

MG- that is not true in baseball. It's just not. We've had this argument before, I think. If statistics in baseball weren't predictive of what will probably happen in baseball, they wouldn't be use.

Why do you think the 'sample size' argument even exists? It's because numbers, over a prolonged period of time, eventually become indicative of future results. How did everyone know the Phils would have the best rotation in the league this year- because they all have nice smiles?

MG: Then what is indicative of future results? Past performance is probably the best indicator we have. At any rate, I'm not sure how it applies to the Kendrick thing. He's not a 3.30 ERA guy, but he is a 4.50 ERA guy, and those have value.

clout: Those are rough projections of final career numbers.

Iceman - In baseball, there is generally more predictive value from past performance but this is an exception and not the norm.

Trust me, if you could derive predictive algorithms for the finance/healthcare industries that had a very high degree of predictive value you would be a very rich man.

Edmundo: "Except that he's show a willingness to work to improve everything (but his pitch selection**)."

Agreed, my concern is only due to his health. Even if he wants to work out he may not be able to.

Hope he likes swimming in his moat...

With Howard especially, you really have no idea how he will rebound after he blew out his Achilles.

Best way would be to do some pre-post analyses from players in the past (especially power hitters) who blew out their Achilles but I bet the differences would be pretty glaring

"because they all have nice smiles?"

Are you implying they don't?

I'm not even sure I've ever seen Doc smile.

Cole on the other hand....

So, I went and Googled "baseball torn achilles injury," to see what other prominent players have had and recovered from this particular affliction. I'll chalk it up to timing, but I scrolled through the first two pages of hits, all of which seemingly referenced Howard, before I got a bit sick to the stomach and gave up.

So, I'll ask the BL masses - who else in MLB has had this malady and lived to tell about it?

Doc smiled twice-after his no hitter and perfect game.

Howard's future is as a DH. Its too bad the Phils play in the NL though.

This year will mark the 3rd year in a row that a Molina was in the WS, all different ones.
I have to look it up to see how many Alou brothers (or other relations) made it to the WS.

I would have preferred it to be the first year that "Pence" was in the World Series.

The Phillies would be crazy to non-tender Kendrick. They can always use a steady arm in the swingman role. And if they want to, they can probably use him as trade bait at some point.

If he is making 4 million for the season, then combining him with a prospect might get you that short term reliever or spare infielder. The team that trades for him can either try to keep him or offer him arb and get at least one pick for him.

But my guess is that he's much more useful as the swingman for the Phillies. And after next season, when Worley comes back to earth a little, he'll be a candidate to take over that role.

MG- other fields are irrelevant. I'm talking pertaining to baseball, and in baseball, they are absolutely indicative, especially as the sample size grows larger. I don't know why this is even up for debate.

And I'm curious why you think giving Kendrick a two-year deal at age 27 would be 'dumb.' He has a career 4.41 ERA and has proven he can pitch as a starter and out of the bullpen, sometimes performing both roles in the same week. You think there is little chance he can provide value to some team for the next two seasons? I would say he'd actually be a pretty low-risk signing for a team in need of a pitcher that is at worst league-average and can pitch in any role.

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