PHILLIES SIGN JOSE CONTRERAS TO 1YR/$1.5 MILLION DOLLAR DEAL
Last off-season when the Phillies brought in Chan Ho Park it raised a lot of questions. Park was originally signed to be the number 5 in the rotation, but wound up excelling out of the bullpen. Personally, I would have loved to see him back in the red pinstripes, but he obviously priced himself out of the budget asking for close to $5 million and stating his desire to start.
This winter, Ruben Amaro brought in Jose Contreras to fill that role out of the bullpen with the understanding that he might be an insurance policy for some spot starts. Yet for the most part, he will be starting games in the bullpen.
Prior to getting traded to the Rockies late last season, Contreras struggled mightily in the White Sox rotation. It is no secret that his best days are behind him; however he should still prove to be a solid arm out of the pen.
The sample size is too small to garner any real ideas of what we can expect to see out of the bullpen from the righty; nonetheless, he did manage to strike out 106 batters in 131.2 IP.
The main reason this deal works is the length. A one-year deal at close to pennies on the dollar for an experienced arm gives you extreme low-risk, high-reward potential – much like the Pedro signing last season. If Contreras can’t hang, it’s easy to release him and cut your losses. However, should he manage to provide a spark out of the pen for an inning or two at a time – like Park did – then for $1.5 million you found a real contribution to the team that you can reevaluate after the season.
I might have higher hopes than I should for Contreras, but I’m expecting something along the lines of 3.75 ERA with about 80 Ks over about 100 innings or so.
BEERMAN’S GRADE: B