Jekyll or Hyde Bullpen? Andy Call, Canton Repository (reg. req.)
The Indians' 2006 bullpen will feature a lot of new faces. Is that good or bad? It depends who you ask:
"It's not genius when you build the best bullpen, and it's not idiocy when you have a bullpen that struggles. It's a challenge to construct every year."
"You can't put a price on it," Wickman said. "People in baseball are finding out you can't just fill in guys anymore. You really need guys with talent."
The Indians haven't given a multi-year contract to a relief pitcher since 2001, when they signed Bob Wickman and Mark Wohlers to long-term contracts. They almost broke the streak with Trevor Hoffman, but the Padres' closer chose to stay at home.
The trick to building a bullpen is not necessarily signing "proven" relievers, but identifying players who have the ability to relieve. And if you look hard enough, you can find them. Jason Davis and Andrew Brown, both minor-league starters, are probably full-time relievers now. Brown had another impressive outing today against the Braves, and may have the advantage in the battle for a spot in the major-league bullpen. Matt Miller and Rafael Betancourt, both minor-league free agents, were key pieces of the 2005 bullpen and should be important in the 2006 version as well. Scott Sauerbeck was originally signed as a rehab project.
Can Indians be too nice to win? Sheldon Ocker, ABJ
And yes, I will tell you his name. It was Arthur Rhodes, who put on airs of extreme machismo in the clubhouse, yet wilted on the mound when presented with the task of holding one- or two-run leads in the seventh, eighth or ninth innings. He also couldn't pitch in Yankee Stadium and was troubled when faced with various other ordeals common to relievers.
Rhodes blew three saves in 2005. He had 16 holds. He had a 2.08 ERA. Objectivity is obviously thrown out the window when a player refuses to answer a question about his sunglasses.