Friday, November 11, 2005

Rotoworld links to this Mercury News story that has the following intriguing passage:
The off-season intensifies further today as open bidding begins for free agents -- including left-hander Scott Eyre, who excelled for the Giants last season and has drawn interest from all 30 teams, according to his agent, Tommy Tanzer. "I've never seen anything like it in the whole time I've been doing this," said Tanzer, who has represented players for 23 years.
Now, Tommy Tanzer might just be talking a big game, but let's assume that he's not lying, and that all 30 teams have expressed interest.

Upon serious investigation, I have determined that the Angels are indeed one of all 30 teams in the major leagues. Would it make sense for the Angels to express interest in Eyre? It might, indeed -- the Halo bullpen was not deep last year, has lacked a reliable lefty for several years, and Kelvim Escobar will be returning to the rotation.

Is Scott Eyre any good? Well ... he's gotten to be okay. Here are the totals for his last three seasons, all with San Francisco:
 G   IP   H   HR   SO   BB   ERA   ERA+
243 178 151 15 149 79 3.29 134
That ERA, for a reliever in that park, isn't world-beating, but isn't awful. He doesn't allow a bunch of homers or hits, which is obviously good for a guy that usually comes in with men on base. More walks than you would like to see, but an okay number of strikeouts.

But look of the ratio of games to innings pitched; he's averaged .73 innings per appearance over that time, which indicates he pretty much only comes into face left-handers. However, even "left-handed one-out guys" will usually face a high percentage of right-handed batters, due to pinch hitting and the like. Here are his 2005 splits:
            AB    H    HR   SO   BB   AVG   OBP   SLG
vs. LHP 99 18 0 30 11 182 277 242
vs. RHP 141 30 3 35 15 213 292 319
Here, we see that one reason Eyre excelled in 2005 was that he was nearly as good against right-handed batters as left-handed batters. Is that usually true?

Here's 2003-2005:
            AB    H    HR   SO   BB   AVG   OBP   SLG
vs. LHP 295 59 5 73 26 200 265 302
vs. RHP 365 70 10 76 53 252 347 375
As we see, Eyre is very good against lefties, and okay against right-handers. But, 2005 notwithstanding, he's not really a guy who can face either RHB or LHB in a close game. So his effect on improving bullpen depth might not be too substantial.

Does that mean the Angels shouldn't look into him? Not necessarily; there is some value to having that lefty one-out guy, and he would be a better choice Jason Christiansen would have been. Whether or not he should be picked up depends in large part on how much money he would command, as beyond, say, maybe $3M per year, it would probably make more sense to just throw Jake Woods or Joe Saunders into that role. We need to be cautious of this southpaw from the north.

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