The high price of middle relief, jacked up in recent years by the Yankees and Red Sox, is being reinforced lately by an unlikely source. Following last week’s signing of Scott Eyre to a 3 year, $11 million deal, the Cubs have announced the acquisition of free agent P Bobby Howry, most recently of Cleveland, for some $12 million over the same span.
Howry has posted back-to-back seasons of 166 ERA+ in Cleveland, with very good HR ratios and few walks. Howry has some experience as a closer, which Dusty will like should any troubles arise with Dempster. No matter where you look, Howry™s splits last year were excellent: he dominated lefties and righties, home and away, every month of the year. I wonder a bit about that HR ratio, however, because his ground-ball to fly-ball ratio shows that he is and always has been a fly-ball pitcher. Also of some concern, his strikeout rate dipped quite a bit last year – from 8.23 to 5.92.
So if we™re committed to paying top dollar for middle-relief, (which is a proposition where I still hold deep skepticism), I don™t think we could have done much better than landing Eyre and Howry at the start of the offseason. That problem is addressed, and we™re free to pursue more creative (and more exciting) acquisitions, if Hendry likes.