Sandy Alderson signed Frank Francisco to a two year deal worth $12 million this past off-season. He then signed John Rauch to a 1-year deal worth $3.5 Million. At the time I was happy because we needed a closer and Francisco had been a pretty decent reliever over his career. He was by no means a stud closer, but we needed help and I was just happy to see some moves made in an attempt to fix our bullpen woes. Rauch was a solid reliever coming off a tough year, but had closer experience, so if nothing else he would be a solid setup guy for us.
The one thing I wasn’t thrilled about was the money we gave Frankie, and the fact that we guaranteed him two years at that amount. He earned $5.5 million in 2012 and will earn $6.5 million in 2013, which is a bargain for a good closer, but I really can’t call Francisco a good closer. He is mediocre at best and unreliable. As we saw this season, his numbers were awful and he was very shaky even though he got the job done more often than not. He was just a poor mans Krod.
Here is what we could have done with the $9 million Alderson spent on Rauch and Francisco in 2012.
Exhibit A: Fernando Rodney – 73 IP, 43 H, 76 K’s, 48 saves, 0.60 ERA, 0.77 WHIP
2012 Contract: $2 Million, $2.5 Million dollar club option for 2013
Now this was a bargain for a closer! He also saved 37 games back in 2009 for Detroit, and has been an above average reliever for the majority of his 10 career, as evidence by his career 3.75 ERA.
Exhibit B: Ryan Doumit – .275 AVG, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 34 2B
2012 Contract: $3 Million
Doumit, 31, is versatile and has the ability to play positions in both the infield and the outfield. He could have split time behind the plate with Thole and probably would have taken over the job. He would have been a MAJOR bargain at a thin position.
Exhibit C: Cody Ross: .267 AVG, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 34 2B, .807 OPS
2012 Contract: $3 Million
Cody Ross was a name that was bounced around last off-season, He has three 20-home run seasons during his career and could have been a major player for us in 2012 just as he was for Boston. He is a free agent this off-season, and should be a target of Sandy’s, but will likely command a little more than the $3 million he made this past season. I could see $5 million being a reasonable number.
I know that it takes two to tango, and that these players may not have wanted to come here. Two of them signed with perennial playoff contenders in Boston and Tampa Bay, while Doumit inked his deal with the Twins who have been very successful in recent years as well.
The three salaries above total just $8 million and all three performed at very high levels at bargain deals for their respective clubs. If we had upped the offers just a little bit and not signed Francisco and Rauch, we could probably have nabbed one or two of these guys.
I guess we will never know, but it’s just interesting to take a look back and see what could have been.