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Sunday, November 19, 2006

SPEIER. BUTCHER.
Fox Sports is reporting that we have signed former Toronto reliever Justin Speier to a four-year deal worth $18 million.

Speier has been a good reliever, putting up ERA+ marks of 124, 173, and 158 the last three years, with good strikeout-to-walk ratios. He has been a bit homer-happy, but has been reasonably effective overall. He'll fit into the seventh inning mix, and though he's certainly a step or two below Scot Shields, we desperately need someone who can help take the pressure (and exorbitant innings) from Shields' arm.

So while I like the acquisition, I don't know if I like the signing. Four years? The guy's about to turn 33, and I don't really envision him being a huge part of our bullpen in the year 2010. We saw Brendan Donnelly fall of the cliff from excellence to decency at age 34, and his immediately recent track record was better than Speier's.

Overseeing Speier's attempt to continue his productivity will be new pitching coach Mike Butcher, who was a our minor league pitching instructor for many years before following Joe Maddon to Tampa Bay. I consider this a pleasant surprise; I'd have thought Butcher would have stayed with Joe, and wasn't really a possibility for us. He knows our guys and our staff, so this is as good a match as I would have imagined.

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Comments:
Ah, but the really big news of the day is that the Cubs signed Soriano to a big, fat, long-term contact...saving the Angels from the temptation of signing Soriano themselves. Can't wait to see how that deal pans out in 2010!
 
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