Eric OFlaherty made 895,000 last year, when he led major league relievers with a 0.98 ERA and became the first reliever in MLB history to finish with an ERA below 1.00 in at least 70 appearances.
Backed by his incredible 2011 numbers, which included 67 strikeouts in 73 23 innings, OFlaherty signed a one-year deal worth 2.49 million in January.
Andy Johnston recently chatted with OFlaherty, who talked about his record-setting season, whether he can do it again and his raise.
Q: Have you moved on personally from the disappointment of last year?
A: I think Ive made an effort to be more prepared this year.
Q: As players, do yall talk about maybe injuries or timing or things like that?
A: We lost two of our big players, big stars, and we just got in a spot at the wrong time. When you do that in July, its not a big deal, but when you do it in September, its going to make headlines. I think everyone understands that we have a good group of guys, and going into September we were 10 games up, so thats not necessarily a team you need to change too much with. We just need to be more consistent this year.
Q: Personally you got a raise, how does that feel?
Q: They almost tripled your salary.
A: Its good to know what youre worth and good to know that youre worth it and that they appreciate what youve done. Its always nice. Its nice to get it out of the way so you can move on and just start playing baseball.
Q: Did you ever picture yourself personally last year, I mean the year you had? Is that the kind of year that you put in your mind?
A: Maybe not the year for my ERA, but the rest of the stuff, yeah. Im pretty confident I can beat last year. You know, I never gave up that bloop single or anything that cost you two or three runs at a time. I had decent luck in those jams, but I also made good pitches, so as far as how I threw the ball, Im pretty confident that I can do that again. I wasnt doing anything out of the normal, I was just making good pitches, so Im pretty confident.
Q: So in baseball, obviously sometimes things go your way, sometimes they go the hitters way. Do you think it went your way a lot of the times last year?
A: Not a lot, but what Im saying with the ERA is I didnt put too many runs on base, but I got into some jams last year. You can make a good pitch in those situations and give up a bloop single, you know? Im not saying I got lucky, but I never had that unlucky game. Thats kind of the difference. As a reliever, you can go out there and give up a five spot and your ERA triples. It takes a long time, months worth of work to make up for that one bad game, ERA wise, but the peripheral numbers, I can do again. And the overall performance, as far as throwing strikes and going after guys late in the game, I can do again. Im not worried about it at all.
Q: Do you feel like the bullpen is one of the best bullpens in the majors?
A: Definitely, I honestly think were only going get better this year. I think Jonny (Venters) and Craig (Kimbrel) learned a lot last year, and I learned a lot. And (Kris) Medlen hopefully, he learned a lot by getting some more time under his belt. The time under his belt proved hes got great stuff. Thats good stuff, it looks like one of the best.
Q: What do you think of the young starters?
A: Yeah, those guys arent as young as you think. Their age might be 21, but a lot of them know what theyre doing. (Randall) Delgado has a plan out there, so does (Julio) Teheran. I think theyll do just fine. (Mike) Minors come so far, and hes a stud now, too, so Im not worried about those guys at all.
Q: Any big plans with your raise?
A: Nothing. (My career) could be over at any point.