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What does Clippard add? July 28, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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"Tyler Clippard 2011" by Keith Allison on Flickr

“Tyler Clippard 2011” by Keith Allison on Flickr

The Mets acquired setup man/closer Tyler Clippard from Oakland for starting pitcher Casey Meisner. Oakland is going to eat $1 million of Clippard’s $8.3 million deal, making Clippard the Mets’ highest-paid reliever; Bartolo Colon is the only pitcher who earns more.

Though Ty is arbitration-eligible this year, his yearly salary is about double Bobby Parnell‘s $3.7 million deal; for the record, Heath Bell was earning $9 million yearly in his last contract. Clippard’s contract is big, but not out of the question – his 2014 stats included a .995 WHIP and a 3.57 KBB ratio. Closing for Oakland, Tyler has a 1.19 WHIP and a 1.81 KBB. Somewhat alarming is his drop in BAbip this year – it was .255 in Washington, and only .217 this year in Oakland. That means that some of those hits are due to defense, but his walk percentage also ballooned from 8.3% to 12.6%. Of course, some of that is due to the fact that Clippard is facing American League batters, including specialized designated hitters.

What the Mets know they’ll get out of Clippard is a solid reliever who can shore up what’s been a fairly lights-out bullpen, but help bridge the gap from the early innings. Yeah, yeah, Familia has blown some saves recently, but over the course of the season the Mets have 10 blown saves, which is below the National League median of 12. The Mets are also near the bottom of the league in losses by relievers – they have 9 losses in relief this year, behind only Milwaukee with 8. This will allow the Mets to go to a strong, reliable arm early, both relieving (ha!) some of the pressure on starting pitchers like Jon Niese (who’s been left in while struggling because, hey, what’s the alternative?) and preventing the Mets from needing to rely on Carlos Torres and Alex Torres. Though this leads to a higher number of pitchers per game, having a reliable endgame pipeline with Jenrry Mejia, Clippard, Bobby Parnell and Jeurys Familia makes it easier to go lights out. It will also allow the Mets to develop Hansel Robles by judiciously building him into high-pressure situations while maintaining some options behind him.

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