Monday, January 17, 2011
Vouching for the Jon Rauch Signing
By Ian Hunter
After watching the parade of multi-year contracts being delved out to relievers, the Blue Jays just sat back and watched everyone else dig their own graves before Alex Anthopoulos swooped in and picked up Jon Rauch for a cool $3.5 million.
One would think that Rauch becomes the de facto closer, but I'm sure that management will spin the same old story that "all guys will have an equal chance to compete for the job". Apologies to Octavio Dotel if he got his hopes up about closing in 2011.
From what I've gathered, Rauch seems like a pretty decent bullpen addition who commands a low 90's fastball and boasts several secondary pitches in his repertoire (slider, curve, changeup).
His career average 7.34 K/9 is pretty promising, but that 47.7 career fly ball percentage scares me a little bit. However, Dotel's career fly ball percentage is 50.2, and it's just one of the many categories that Jon Rauch has a leg up on Octavio Dotel over.
Interestingly enough, the Blue Jays have now acquired both the setup man (Jon Rauch) and closer (Chad Cordero) from the 2006 Washington Nationals roster. There's virtually no chance that back-end bullpen combination will reincarnate itself on the 2011 Blue Jays roster, however anything is possible.
One could argue signing Jon Rauch only relatively bolsters the Blue Jays bullpen , but it sure beats paying $3.25 million for Kyle Farnsworth or $5 million per year for Brian Fuentes.
During the course of the season, I vow to keep the neck tattoo jokes to a minimum, but you can't argue that this signing by the Blue Jays immediately creates a golden opportunity for Jon Rauch Temporary Neck Tattoo Giveaway Day.