In November 2008, the Giants shored up their bullpen by signing lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt to a two-year contract. In March 2010, the Giants have taken a step to shore up future bullpens by signing lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt to a two-year extension. Or so tweets Bob Nightengale:
The SF Giants signed LHP Jeremy Affeldt to a 2-year, $9.5 million contract. Should be announced tomorrow.
The 30 year old Affeldt has had a good run of success, posting a combined 2.88 ERA in 223 games over the past three seasons. He strikes out nearly a batter an inning, and while he wasn't blessed with exceptional command, he keeps so many balls on the ground with his power sinker and curve that he's by and large able to avoid the home run. As a bonus, the fact that he throws such a good curveball keeps him from posting a wide platoon split, which you frequently see with most predominantly two-pitch relievers.
Nevertheless, one can't help but question the wisdom in giving a good but hardly great soon-to-be 31 year old lefty reliever significant money and years. Relievers are valuable, and Affeldt has been a good one, but relievers are also extremely volatile and difficult to predict. To extend Affeldt now, when he still has another year left on his original contract, implies an urgency that just isn't in any way necessary. Who's to say how successful he's going to be in three seasons? Relievers are volatile, decent ones are generally available everywhere, and the Giants have a good amount of pitching talent coming through the system.
Still, while the Affeldt extension isn't going to win anyone a parade, it's small enough, and the player is good enough, that it may work out just fine. Ultimately, there are worse things than overpaying a veteran reliever, just so long as it doesn't become a habit.
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