I like my relief pitchers like I like my women…

Posted by Steve

… On short-term contracts. Heyo!

Doug Melvin’s lights out off-season continues, as he signed Takashi Saito to an alarmingly cheap deal for one year and $2 million. I am stunned that Saito is this cheap, even at his advanced age of 41. He has been an outstanding reliever. He has sparkling career numbers: 2.19 ERA, 1.022 WHIP, 11 ks/9 innings, and 3.89 k/bb ratio. His numbers were pretty much in line with that last season as well. Saito fits very nicely in the back of the bullpen, and is great insurance in case things don’t go well with John Axford for some reason. He’ll probably have to be babied a bit–not used on back-to-back days, for example–but he’ll still be a great addition.

I cannot get over the contract. How can someone this good be had for a one year, two million dollar deal? I’m actually asking, in case someone has a theory. I understand he’s old, but that only explains the one-year deal. With incentives, he could make $3.2 million. That’s, like, backup outfielder salary. I really don’t get it.

I will pretty much never criticize a one-year deal because there’s hardly any risk involved–I’d still defend the Gagne contract simply because it was only for one year. Even if Saito falls off a cliff (and he’s shown no sign of decline), the Brewers won’t be burdened by a bad contract.

This is a great signing; that’s all there is to say. The Brewers’ bullpen looks formidable With Axford, Saito, and Braddock at the back end. The pitching is going to be the best they’ve had in a very long time.

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