Rafael Soriano, still without a contract, might disagree, but this offseason has been a good time to be a reliever. The Dodgers signed Matt Guerrier to a three-year, $12 million deal last month, the third-highest contract they have ever given to a reliever. Today, old friend Will Ohman signed a two-year deal with the White Sox, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, for $4 million. Here's a look at some of the contracts signed by relief pitchers this offseason:
- Mariano Rivera (Yankees): 2 years, $30 million
- Joaquin Benoit (Tigers): 3 years, $16.5 million
- Scott Downs (Angels): 3 years, $15 million
- Jesse Crain (Twins): 3 years, $13 million
- Bobby Jenks (Red Sox): 2 years, $12 million
- Guerrier (Dodgers): 3 years, $12 million
- J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks): 2 years, $10 million
- Pedro Feliciano (Yankees): 2 years, $8 million
- Jose Contreras (Phillies): 2 years, $5.5 million
- Ohman (White Sox): 2 years, $4 million
- D.J. Carrasco (Mets): 2 years, $2.5 million
- Randy Choate (Marlins): 2 years, $2.5 million
Last year, according to the ESPN free agent tracker, eight relievers signed two-year deals and only one (Brandon Lyon) signed a three-year contract. Ohman makes eight relievers this offseason to sign two-year deals, and there have been four deals of three years. Nine of the 12 multi-year deals this offseason have been for middle relievers.
On another note, with Ohman now in Chicago, that leaves one less left-handed reliever on the market, should the Dodgers decide to sign one. As of now, they have Hong-Chih Kuo as the only lefty who is a lock to make the bullpen, and he won't be used as a specialist to get one out. Scott Elbert is the only other left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster. Dana Eveland is the only lefty pitcher signed as a non-roster invitee to spring training, although he figures to be a starting pitcher.
Given the going rate for middle relievers, I'd rather the Dodgers either stick with Elbert or sign someone to a minor-league deal, rather than pay multiple millions to a specialist.