Another league-average pitcher to add to the mix:

The Reds have agreed to a contract with left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, pending a physical.

Affeldt is expected to come to Cincinnati Tuesday or Wednesday for the physical. General manager Wayne Krivsky would not confirm the deal.

“I have nothing to say,” Krivsky said. “We’ll announce something when we have it.”

That is Krivsky’s usual policy. Foxsports.com reported deal is for one year and $3 million.

Affeldt, 28, was 4-3 with a 3.51 ERA with the Colorado Rockies last season. He was used exclusively in relief, but 42 of his 286 major-league appearances are as a starter. He made nine starts in 2006 for Kansas City.

Affeldt is reputed to have decent stuff, is left-handed, and should be entering his prime. However, I’m not sure what in his history makes anyone believe he’ll be a better option as a starter for this team than, say, Matt Belisle or Edinson Volquez. If nothing else, he should be better than Mike Stanton out of the bullpen.

I have no problem with this signing, though I wouldn’t put him ahead of Belisle, Volquez, Johnny Cueto, or Matt Maloney for a spot in the starting rotation.

22 Responses

  1. Chris

    I always have a hard problem signing a guy with the hopes that he’ll repeat his one good year, rather than the three lousy ones before it.

  2. Chris

    At least he keeps the ball in the ballpark, usually.

  3. Ben

    I think this may prove to be the underrated move of the offseason for Wayne. Originally Affeldt was looking for a multi-year, expensive deal. To get him for one year at this price is a great move imo. Most teams were probably looking at him as a reliever, so the opportunity to prove himself as a starter one last time should be enough motivation. However, you factor in the reportedly big performance bonuses and the fact he is fighting for a new contract, his motivation to pitch well should never be higher.

    I like the fact that outside of the top 2 we now have 5-6 guys fighting for 3 spots in the rotation (Belisle, Affeldt, Volquez, Bailey, Cueto, Maloney). Also, if Affeldt flames out as a starter, there is always the option to use him in the pen with bray to have a good left side. Overall, a savvy move by Wayne/Walt.

  4. Jeff

    Agree w/ Ben. I’ve written about this – compare this ST with competition for rotation spots to years past when Eric Milton and Brandon Claussen were assured spots simply because they had a contract.

    Not a bad spot to be in – competition will make the ultimate victors in the 4/5 spot sweepstakes that much sharper

  5. JayTheRed

    I am ok with this deal if it happens as they state. If he doesn’t make it as a starter he represents a nice addition to the bullpen. I do wonder who is coming off the 40 man roster though because (the new) Drew Anderson took the 40th spot.

    I too agree about the competition thing for the final 3 spots. I think this will motivate everyone more to do their best to be in the rotation. Unless Bailey flops I think the rotation ends up like this.

    Harrang
    Arroyo
    Volquez
    Bailey
    Belisle

    I put Belisle at the bottom because I think Bailey and Volquez have more potential. Anyone who flops Cueto or Mahoney will get first dips.

    I believe Affeldt will end up in the bullpen unless he shines in spring as a starter.

  6. Tom

    Last season was Affeldt’s best season since his 2003 season with KC. There’s one number that stands out between those two seasons, a WHIP in area of 1.3, where as he was in the area of 1.6 in all his other seasons. A league average starter is about 1.4. Interestingly, 2003 is the season that Affeldt had 18 of his 42 major league starts. His career major league WHIP is 1.5 (9.39 H/9, 4.15 BB/9) his career minor league WHIP is 1.45 (9.11 H/9, 3.98 BB/9). In 2003 he was successful because he threw strikes, 2.71 H/9, last season he was successful because he was less hittable with, 7.17 H/9. Last season he also gave up 5.03 BB/9.

    It appears that Affeldt will have an uphill climb to beat out Belisle, Baily, and Volquez for a spot in the rotation. He hasn’t been a full time starter since 2001 in AA when he started 25 games and put up a 3.90 ERA in 145 IP. His career numbers as a major league starter are 42 GS, 216 IP, 256 H, 96 BB, 127 K, 1.63 WHIP, 5.41 ERA.

    Affeldt was a mediocre LHP prospect, BBA ranked him as KCs 16th best prospect in 2001 and 13th in 2002. Here is what the 2001 and 2002 BBA prospect writeups about him say.

    2001 #16 coming off a 4.09 ERA in 147 IP with 158 H, 59 BB, and 92 K.

    Affeldt has 18 wins in four seasons as a pro, and he led the Carolina League in losses in 2000. His reward? A spot on the 40-man roster, because he’s a projectable 6-foot-5 lefthander. For now he has only average velocity, though the Royals believe he’ll throw in the low 90s if he can get stronger. His fastball is more effective than its radar-gun readings because it has good life and he pitches inside as well as anyone in the system. Affeldt uses a curveball as his second pitch and is developing a changeup. This season is an important one for him. He needs to get stronger and improve his stuff after being more hittable than ever last year. Making the jump to AA in a hitter’s park in a hitter’s league will be difficult if he doesn’t.

    2002 #13 coming off a 3.90 ERA in 145 IP with 153 H, 46 BB, and 128 K.

    Long and organization favorite. Affeldt had his best pro season and earned AA Texas League all-star honors in 2001. He’s a poor man’s version of Jimmy Gobble (their #2 prospect), which means he still has pretty good stuff for a lefthander. Affeldt can reach the low 90s with his fastball, which has nice life. His curveball and changeup improved in 2001, though he must use the latter pich more often, especially against righthanders. If he has an advantage over Gobble, it’s that he has a sturdier frame. Despite his solid arsenal, Affeldt doesn’t consistently throw quality strikes and gets hit more than he should. Though there are no plans to take him out of the rotation as he moves to AAA in 2002, some scouts outside the organization wonder if he’ll top out as a lefty reliever.

    I just don’t see where Affeldt has progressed from there. He’s obviously not developed the command he needed to, to become a good pitcher. He showed some command in his best season in 2003, but has not since. I kind of like the idea behind this signing, give him a shot at becoming a starter again, which he is apparently motivated to do. I just don’t think he is a good enough pitcher to pull it off. If he was, and secured a spot and put up a 4.75 ERA or better next season in 30 starts, this would be a good signing. But if he fails win a rotation spot, which I expect, and hope, Affeldt becomes an overpaid long reliever/swing man for a season.

    For my money, I’d give the innings to the young guys. I even like LH Matt Maloney’s chances better than I do Affeldt’s at cracking the rotation. Compare his career minor league numbers to Affeldt’s above, 1.18 WHIP (7.23 H/9, 3.4 BB/9).

  7. Zirkle Blakey

    I like the deal for the lefty. It is a one year deal for a guy that thought he was going to get a 4-5 year deal as a free agent. He has a lot to prove and that could be a one year payoff for the Reds. Not a lot of money, with a good upside. He pitched well for the Rockies down the stretch last fall. At worst he provides a lefty out of the pen, at best he could be a surprise #4 starter.

  8. preach

    I’m on Zirkle’s team with this. One year contract, lefty, can spot start or come out of the pen as a set up or long guy, and can be the onus for dumping Stanton. All good things, I think. He did well last year, and while that may not be his long term history, I am willing to take a one year chance that he could repeat his performance. His addition may also make another deal possible. I acutally liked him when he was with KC. I thought he was fun to watch, and he usually just had an inning or two to where the wheels fell off. Kinda like Lohse, but not quite so dramatic. A change of scenery might do him good.

  9. Willy

    no matter what he’ll be on the team
    he’s a good lefty bullpen arm

  10. Dave from Louisville

    First – Ben couldn’t agree with you more. This is a perfect example of how Krivsky’s tight lips got us a great deal. I’m sure there are at least 3 other teams in our division that would have loved to have match or better this contract. Great move by Krivsky.

    Second – Tom, you post is worthless. JA has almost 500 innings in the bigs, so what the hell does BBA have to with a veteren? Nothing

    Third – Why is the knee jerk reaction by Redleg nation “I have no problem with this move.”? There is ABSOLUTELY NO DOWNSIDE TO THIS MOVE. What’s not to love? Price for pitchers are through the roof, so why not give the Krivdawg some praise?

    Krivsky has added 3 qualty pitchers this off season withouit breaking the bank. 3!!!!! I am going to make a bold prediction…..The Reds will finish best third in MLB in pitching ERA. All because of 3 moves that were not giving any praise by this sight.

  11. Justin

    If he can regain his potential that he had with Kansas City then that will be good. Otherwise he is a decent major league arm and that is something that the organization can always use. Let us not forget Bobby Livingston who will be ready in May to get back into the Reds fold.

  12. ken

    The downside is not in the $$ but in potential wasted playing time. If he stinks for 15 starts you can’t get that back. Not saying that will happen or that the other options (Edinson) are clearly beter, but there is a downside.

  13. Tom

    Worthless huh….

    Well, sorry your weren’t able to extract any useful information or insights into the Reds latest addition from my post. I’m sure others were happy to see the history, expectations, and results thus far of Affeldt’s career and the story it tells up to this point. Your interpretation of it is left to you.

  14. GodlyCynic

    Tom, your post wasn’t worthless. Thanks for doing the research I hadn’t gotten around to yet. Dave is apparently just an angry man.

  15. Tom

    Here’s something to chew on:

    Last 3 seasons:

    Name IP ERA
    Affeldt 206 5.20
    Majewski 179.3 4.27

  16. Kerm

    When I first heard of this move I immediately thought along the same lines as preach in that this may allow for a trade. Bailey, Belisle, Cueto, Maloney, Volquez and now Affeldt are all in the fold for 3 rotation spots.

  17. snake

    This is exactly the type of signing I wanted the Reds to make. I want the young guys to get the majority of the innings but I like having another arm around to ease some of the workload on the younger pitchers.

  18. Dan

    With all this talk of “the young guys,” don’t forget that Affeldt is only 28. That’s part of what I really like about this. I’m pretty sure he was the youngest of all the free agents. He could still have some unrealized “upside” (improvement I guess) that you have almost no chance of getting with a guy like Fogg or Livan or Tomko, etc.

  19. Dan

    Other things I like about Affeldt:

    –He is NOT just a situational lefty (and I’ll be ticked if Dusty uses him that way!). He’s almost equally good for his career vs. LHB and RHB.

    –His HR rate is pretty low.

    –Other than one strange year (his last year on KC), his K rate is pretty good. (Around 7 K per 9 innings.)

    –It’s feasible that Affeldt could start or relieve… or even work in the long-lost role of long reliever! I’d love to have a guy (or two?) who could be good for 100 to 120 IP out of the bullpen, and who could go 2 or 3 innings at a time. (Remember Scott Sullivan?) I don’t know why no one does that anymore.

    (As an aside, I also think this would be a great way to work someone like Cueto into the majors.)

  20. Tom

    It finally dawned on me who Affeldt reminds me of. Affeldts numbers are doubled below to somewhat even out playing time:

    Name W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO H9 HR9 BB9 K9 WHIP
    Affeldt 50 54 4.74 572 84 36 972.0 1014 566 512 90 448 694 9.4 0.8 4.2 6.4 1.50
    Villone 55 57 4.76 580 93 6 1069.1 1016 613 565 126 571 842 8.6 1.1 4.8 7.1 1.48

    Interestingly enough, the Reds turned Villone back into a starter in 1999 after not being primarily a starter since his first year in pro ball in 1993.

  21. Willy

    another thing is he pitched in colorado where the ball floats out of the stadium.
    it should be around the same in cinci
    he had a great year last year
    i love this deal

  22. Bill

    I don’t have a problem with this deal, but I don’t see the big upside that some of you do.

    I’m not willing to bank on someone helping the rotation that hasn’t been a full time starter for years and is coming off what is likely his career year (in the bullpen).

    But the contract is low cost and short term, so it’s probably a worthwhile risk. The concern to me is Baker’s love of veterans over young players and how that could effect how many opportunities he’s given to fail in the rotation.