Originally written on ChadMoriyama.com  |  Last updated 10/15/14
I didn’t like the Brandon League trade at the time it was executed, primarily because the effect that a reliever can have in such a short time period is both volatile and minimal. That dislike for the deal grew to mockery when he got off to a horrid start, but after the Dodgers said they fixed his mechanics (and I found that they actually did), he reeled off an undoubtedly impressive stretch of pitching. While that was a wonderful way to finish the season for him, perhaps it wasn’t worth it if the rumor about Ned Colletti being in talks with League’s agent regarding a three-year deal rings true. The Dodgers are talking to League’s representatives about a three-year contract, according to people familiar with the negotiations. Yikes. League is a career 3.60 ERA and 3.81 FIP reliever, and the average reliever put up a 3.67 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 2012. Both his career strikeout and walk rates aren’t anything to write home about, clocking in a 6.71 K/9 and 3.10 BB/9. The upside is that he’s posted a 2.78 FIP in 2011 and a 3.19 FIP in 2012, but he has proven to be anything but consistent over his career, and his mechanics fade in and out seemingly at random, so choosing him as the guy to invest multiple years in seems like an iffy plan at best. Factor in the recent history regarding relievers on multi-year deals, and it looks downright frightening. Unfortunately for the teams with the open wallets, recent history suggests that giving contracts of 3+ years to a relief pitcher is generally a terrible idea. Here’s a list of free agent relievers who have received deals for three or more years since over the last four off-seasons. Danys Baez (2007-2009), 3 years, $19 million: -0.4 WAR Justin Speier (2007-2010), 4 years, $18 million: -0.2 WAR Jamie Walker (2007-2009), 3 years, $12 million: -0.5 WAR Scott Schoeneweis (2007-2009), 3 years, $11 million: -1.5 WAR Chad Bradford (2007-2009), 3 years, $11 million: +2.0 WAR Francisco Cordero (2008-2011), 4 years, $46 million: +2.8 WAR Mariano Rivera (2008-2010), 3 years, $45 million: +7.8 WAR Scott Linebrink (2008-2011), 4 years, $18 million: +0.5 WAR David Riske (2008-2010), 3 years, $13 million: -0.6 WAR Francisco Rodriguez (2009-2011), 3 years, $36 million: +1.7 WAR Damaso Marte (2009-2011), 3 years, $12 million: -0.2 WAR Brandon Lyon (2010-2012), 3 years, $15 million: +1.0 WAR Things haven’t gotten significantly better for relievers in recent times either. 25 relievers signed deals with an average annual value greater than $1 million. Five of them signed multi-year deals. The results were… mixed. First, the multi-year deals: Jonathan Papelbon, PHI (4/$50M): 2.44 ERA, 70 IP, 38 SV Heath Bell, MIA (3/$27M): 5.09 ERA, 63.2 IP, 19 SV Joe Nathan, TEX (2/$14.5M): 2.80 ERA, 64.1 IP, 37 SV Frank Francisco, NYM (2/$12M): 5.53 ERA, 42.1 IP, 23 SV Javier Lopez, SFG (2/$8.5M): 2.50 ERA, 36 IP, 7 SV Three were quite good, two were very bad, and one did not even play in the Majors. In total, the six relievers combined to earn in $120.4 million over 15 total years, an average annual value exceeding $8 million. Of course, that is a bit top-heavy towards Papelbon, but a 50 percent success rate is less than impressive. Not enough? Ned Colletti can look at his own experience. He has actually had a lot of success building piecemeal bullpens, primarily from the farm system, but also by taking a few fliers on veterans for one year or a minor-league contract. The only reliever he has EVER signed to a multi-year deal is Matt Guerrier, who has thus far contributed a grand total of ~0.0 WAR and will probably be a middle reliever if he’s lucky in 2013. MLB Trade Rumors noticed last off-season that GMs around baseball were catching the hint on giving multi-year deals to relievers, no matter how good they are. Hopefully the Dodgers follow suit, because recent history is certainly not on their side.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Peyton Manning sets NFL touchdown passing record

Report: CJ Spiller suffers broken collarbone

DeMarco Murray sets record with another 100-yard game

Report: Things got 'ugly' in Bears locker room after loss

Rams beat Seahawks thanks to gutsy fake punt call

Brian Kelly unloads on officials for pass interference call

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Redskins bench Kirk Cousins for Colt McCoy

Brett Favre: I got calls about playing last season

Joseph Randle partners with underwear company after arrest

Report: Seahawks asked about Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron

Florida fans chant for Will Muschamp to be fired

Gennady Golovkin scores second-round knockout win

Video: Alec Burks breaks Kobe Bryant's ankles

WATCH: Sean Payton tells reporter to 'be quiet'

Darnell Dockett mocks Raiders fans with whiteboard

WATCH: Tony Romo nearly runs over Alex Rodriguez

WATCH: Prince Amukamara pulls Dwayne Harris' hair

What was the meaning behind Doug Baldwin's TD celebration?

Luke Kuechly ejected after questionable call

WATCH: Giovanni Bernard gets leveled by Vontae Davis

WATCH: Rams run awesome trick play for punt return TD

Kyle Orton shaves his epic mustache

Florida State beats Notre Dame 31-27 in thriller

LenDale White goes off on USC AD after being escorted out

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Report: Marshall calls out Jay Cutler

Darnell Dockett mocks Raiders fans

Brian Kelly unloads on officials

WATCH: Rams run punt return trick play for TD

Joseph Randle now an underwear spokesman?

Ex-Trojans RB escorted out after USC game

FSU tops Notre Dame in thriller

Fans chant for Muschamp's head

Popovich zings Suns owner

Golden Tate reacts to Percy Harvin trade

N.J. gov signs sports betting bill into law

WATCH: Tulane QB Nick Montana spikes ball on 4th down

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.