Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Eyre Time
2005-11-17 18:48
by Derek Smart

Anyone wondering who the team was making room for when they jettisoned Jon Leicester had their query answered tonight, as it looks like the Cubs won the Scott Eyre sweepstakes - if there can really be such a thing - signing the lefty to a two year deal with a player option for year three. Ken Rosenthal is saying it's a three-year deal for $11M, and since a three-year deal is essentially what a two-year deal with a player option usually turns out to be, especially in the case of highly paid middle relievers, that's close enough for me.

UPDATE: Looks like it is, indeed, a three year deal, with ESPN's piece reporting that the deal breaks down to $3M in 2006, and $4M the following two seasons.

I'll admit this deal makes me a little sad, because I was beginning to think the Cubs had learned their lesson when it came to spending so many bills on men who threw so few innings - and without being outright dominant, at that - but I suppose I was throwing pennies in the fountain on that score.

It's not that he won't shore up the bullpen in 2006 - I believe he will, although he's highly unlikely going into his age 34 season to have another year like the one he had in 2005 - it's that the idea of paying large sums of money to men who have just had their best season ever while doing a job that, by its very nature, will see wild fluctuations in season to season results, is simply wrong headed.

I don't want to be totally negative. I think Eyre will contribute, and I welcome him to the Cubs and wish him the best of luck. The fact is, I think he'll do quite well, but my issue isn't with his being on board in the first place, it's with the organizational philosophy that says it's a good idea to give him more dollars and years than you were willing to give one of your starting middle infielders last season. It's gotten the club in trouble in the past, and while we all may get lucky and not have it be a problem in this specific case, it is a way of doing business that will get them in trouble in the future.

2005-11-17 19:34:37
1.   cmat
Good post Derek. He definitely will help the bullpen, no question. But isn't it a little weird that the Cubs have, so far, thrown $31.5 million at Neifi Perez, Ryan Dempster, and Scott Eyre?
2005-11-18 05:58:45
2.   rynox
A list of free agent, lefty, relief pitchers:

Ricardo Rincon, BJ Ryan, Billy Wagner, Mike Myres, Terry Mulholland, Felix Heredia, Chris Hammond, Buddy Groom, Alan Embree, Joey Eischen, Jason Christiansen, Scott Eyre

The obvious names like BJ Ryan & Billy Wagner will require more than $11m over 3 years, so besides those two guys, it's a slim market. Joey Eischen has some decent & steady career numbers, but he's actually a couple years older than Eyre.

The bigger news of the this signing is it sounds like Rohlicek (who seems to be the Cubs' prospective lefty reliever) didn't impress the Cubs scouts enough for a shot at the big leagues; At least not in the near future. With a 45 BB in 62.1 innings for Iowa in '05, who can blame them? The numbers sound like the boy has some control problems. Other than Rohlicek, there is no one in the minors.

So with the southpaw relief market so slim and no one in the minors ready, an early, fat contract for Eyre sort of makes sense, IMHO.

2005-11-18 07:49:13
3.   Lefty

But the market isn't lefty relievers, it's pitchers. To pay $11 million for a relief pitcher his age with his record is ludicrous.

Do you think that all the money spent on waiver fodder couldn't be pooled and spent on great players with the Cubs being better off?

It's OK. Hendry is clueless. Either they win this year, which means I don't care how they got there, or Hendry and Baker are gone.

2005-11-18 11:01:36
4.   rynox
Him being a lefty is very much an important quality, especially when it comes to those sticky situations in the 7th & 8th innings when the bases get juiced and, alas, Abreu or Overbay is up to bat. A bullpen full of righties won't help in those situations.

And believe me, I'm not disputing that these guys are paid too much... I agree with that 100%, but this deal is ballpark for what a decent lefty is going for.

In fact, last year, the Tigers paid $12M for 2 years for, then, 35 year old Troy Percival. That is $6M a year. Now that was a bad deal.

2005-11-18 20:12:01
5.   Marc Normandin
I don't know enough about the Cubs farm system to know whether or not they could have found something there, but the fact that Ryan Dempster is the closer makes me think that Scott Eyre could help out. Dempster was good in 2005 out of the pen, but I still don't trust him entirely.
2005-11-19 19:30:20
6.   tewksbury
Bad signing. Too much money on a rather pedestrian, situational lefty with an inconsistent career. Good post Derek...

Rich Hill should be converted into a reliever. His great curveball and lack of secondary pitches could make him an effective late-inning option next year. If Hendry still wanted to give Dusty another lefty, he could have taken a less expensive gamble on Rincon, Hammond (better numbers than Eyre over the past 3 years), or Eischen.

I'd rather have R.Hill and Rincon/Hammond/Eischen as lefthanded options any day.

And I would've rather paid Howry the money spent on Eyre. There's no reason the Cubs should allow Wuertz and Novoa to pitch in critical situations, before they've shown they can handle that.

2005-11-19 23:06:58
7.   Adam B
From Rotoworld:

"Scott Eyre's full no-trade clause only extends through next season. He can block deals to 10 teams in 2007 and '08.

More details about his contract continue to surface. Eyre gets a $1 million signing bonus, $2.7 million next season and $3.5 million in 2007. He has a $3.8 million player option for 2008 and possible bonuses that could total $2.4 million over the three years."

2005-11-21 01:14:46
8.   ESiegrist
rynox -- "Him being a lefty is very much an important quality..."

Not really, no. The Angels have done just fine the last few years putting together a bullpen with no lefty getting more than a handful of innings. Not saying the Cubs have the pieces for that deep a 'pen right now, but signing Eyre for obscene gobs of money isn't going to get them any closer to one, either.

2005-11-21 19:47:11
9.   The Real Neal
I think 'There's no reason the Cubs should allow Wuertz and Novoa to pitch in critical situations, before they've shown they can handle that.'

Is one of my favorite quotes of all time. How, pray tell, do they prove they can pitch in critical situations without pitching in critical situations?

2005-11-21 20:02:30
10.   Marc Normandin
Completely off topic -- Your username, The Real Neal, makes me think about The Real Deal with Bill McNeal just a little too much. Man I miss Phil Hartman.
2005-11-22 19:37:31
11.   The Real Neal
Some other guy at a different Cubs blog started using Neal as well (or I did) so I had to change it. I like puns, even really weak ones, obviously.

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