Baseball's free agent signing period began a few days ago, and now we have our first signing, as the San Francisco Giants have inked left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt to a two-year contract.
Affeldt, 29, had his best season since 2003 while pitching for the Reds last year. In 78.1 innings, he struck out 80 hitters while walking just 25, and posted a 3.33 ERA. His 9.2 K/9 ratio was easily the best rate of his career. In the Giants' pen, he'll likely slot in before Brian Wilson, since only the latter has earned the "proven closer" label.
Regardless of titles, Affeldt will be the best pitcher in San Francisco's bullpen, and having him pitch before the ninth could actually be advantageous. Not only will it give manager Bruce Bochy the opportunity to have Affeldt face as many lefties as possible, he'll also be able to save him for key situations, rather than being "forced" to put him in for every save opportunity, which are not always high leverage situations.
The contract is only for a total of $8 million, which is a steal considering what some other relievers, such as Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, will likely end up getting. Both aspects of this deal -- the short length, and the low annual value -- have to be looked at as positives for the Giants. Additionally, since Affeldt is a Type B free agent, they won't be forced to part with a draft pick as compensation.
Free Agency Begins: Giants Sign Jeremy Affeldt originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Mon, 17 Nov 2008 20:45:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.