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Dec 202010

The market has been literally mute on right handed relief pitcher Jon Rauch. Bill Madden mused about it yesterday, but let’s explore it further.

Rauch has been around since 2002, playing with the White Sox, Expos/Nationals, the Diamondbacks, and the Twins. For his career, Rauch owns a 117 ERA+, a 3.89 FIP, a 1.240 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and a 2.62 K/BB. Basically, Rouch does everything you want a reliever to do: get some strikeouts and avoid the walk. His HR/9 is 1.0, which is a bit “meh” but we can live with it, as long as he keeps the walks and hits low (which he does).

One problem that presents itself is that Rauch, at 47.7% for his career, is a bit of a fly ball guy which may not go over well in Yankee Stadium. We would definitely expect a rise in HR/9 and HR/FB, especially after he spent 2010 in spacious Target Field (30th in the majors in park factor for HRs).

To his credit, Rauch has been upping his ground ball numbers over the last three years, but they’re still low. 2010 was his second highest ever at 37.7% (high was 42.6 in 2004).

Cost here is a little hard to figure out, though. On the one hand, relievers have been getting big pay days this year, and Rauch will probably want that. However, as we established earlier, the market for him has been completely dead. He may have to settle for a team friendly deal. He made $2.9MM last year, though, so he will probably require a decent raise.

Per FanGraphs, he’s been worth between about $3-4.5MM over the last three seasons. Though as Joe Pawlikowski noted in a piece on that same site last week, fWAR could undervalue relievers. Based on that statement, and the dollar numbers, I think I’d be comfortable giving Rauch a deal worth $5MM for one season. He may not want a one year deal, though. Going to two years is the most I would want, and I’d feel comfortable bumping the salary up to about $9MM with some incentives thrown in. Considering the market for Rauch along with that of other relievers, I think that would be fair. What do you think? Should the Yankees go for Jon Rauch? Am I hypothetically offering too much?

2 Responses to “Reach for Rauch”

  1. Rauch is an interesting pick up for the pen because he could easily take over for a Robertson or Joba in the middle relief role of either one of them gets bumped up to setup man and he has closed before both last year with the Twins and with the Dbacks, however he wasn’t able to hang on to either of those jobs and although it started well he never seems to be able to hang on to the job he’s given. I would be uncomfortable bringing him in for a setup role with Brian Fuentes available someone who has more experience closing and has had a career of being stronger after the all-star break.

    In the market we are in for relievers 5 million a year is probably about right but as you have mentioned he won’t take a 1 year deal and I wouldn’t even go 2 on Rauch just because he’s never managed to be consistent enough to hold a job, just look at how many teams he’s been on, anyone with any real dominance at the back of the punn doesn’t bounce that much and honestly I’d rather have Joba and Drob in middle relief innings over Rauch considering I don’t think he could be a stable bridge to Mo.

    As much as I have been for finding someone who can be a legit bridge to Mariano and be able to even step in for him and save a game here and there I’m afraid we are at the point where it may be Fuentes (who the Yankees don’t want to give 3 years) and Soriano (who the Yankees don’t want to overpay) or just go with Joba and se if he can take over this job and if not just fix it with a trade mid year like always.  (Quote)

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  2. No way Jose.  (Quote)

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