Sox Sign Jenks

The Sox apparently found a reliever willing to sign for fewer than three years AND take a demotion in the process: Bobby Jenks.

Jenks was nontendered by the White Sox after posting a league-average ERA in 2010 despite striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings, allowing a lower OPS (.668) than in 2009, blowing just four saves and allowing just two of 16 inherited runners to score. Oh, and he's only 30 next year.

Looks like a good signing from here. With Jenks and Bard in the bullpen, the Sox would either 1. have a potential for dominant 7th-8th-inning relief if Jonathan Papelbon returns somewhat to form, or 2. have a backup plan in case Papelbon pulls a Keith Foulke. 

60 comments… add one

  • I am serious, I want to see live video of Cashman at this point I don’t believe he’s still breathing. No worries we signed Mark Prior.

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 3:29 pm
  • Olney says this move pushes the Sox payroll higher than the Yankees for 2011. The yanks have more moves to come of course…
    Im not to bothered by this, as someone who had Jenks on his fantasy team last year. I can say that he was terrible last year. Hopefully he stays that way.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 3:39 pm
  • His numbers in 2010 were better than Papelbon what does that make Papelbon? I don’t think either is terrible. He wasn’t my first choice, but for pete’s sake how many FA RP’s are going to come off the board before we make a move? At least with Jenks we don’t lose a pick. Soriano?

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 3:45 pm
  • John, the yanks have been burned repeatedly over the last 10 years on free agent contracts to middle relievers. The best bullpens they have had were almost built from internal options or players off the scrap heap. Id rather them save their ammo and money for the right guys not just panic since well known relief pitchers are coming off the board. Jenks failed repeatedly in pressure situations last year and has shown clear regression for the last 2 seasons. There is a good reason the White Sox non-tendered him.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 3:50 pm
  • I know Sam, I am a little fired up (can you tell?) I don’t want to invest a ton in BP help, but I do believe that the names coming off the board Crain, Guerrier, etc…could have helped. On the flip side they were only signed because teams overpaid. I will give you this one Sam, but can we please sign a RHB preferably an OF’r…

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 3:55 pm
  • Im with you John! I want some satisfaction as well…just keeping the faith over here. Just take solace in the fact that the sox currently have a higher payroll than the Yanks as its a situation that likely wont last.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 3:57 pm
  • pushes the Sox payroll higher than the Yankees for 2011..
    Of course they do…they have the better team:)
    In all seriousness, it’s Rediculous. I would take solace in the 16M they’re going to give Pettitte, but I don’t think he’s coming back at all. But, they are going to add relievers, and I’m sure they’ll be back in front before too long.
    Plus, I’m fairly certain this means they’re sending Papelbon packing, but they’re still going to have to eat some of that.

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:01 pm
  • Per Cot’s Yank payroll is currently around $178M while the Sox payroll with Jenks is around $142M.
    Yankees are around 178, so I’m not sure where that number came from.

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:03 pm
  • There is a good reason the White Sox non-tendered him.
    Yep. Money. Right now, outside of Mariano Rivera, Jenks is better than any option in the Yankee Bullpen.

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:10 pm
  • “outside of Mariano Rivera, Jenks is better than any option in the Yankee Bullpen.’
    Ill take Roberstson and Joba over Jenks any day of the week. Logan and Mitre both had much better numbers than Jenks last year.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 4:18 pm
  • I suspect Jenks’ awfulness in 2010 probably has a lot to do with this number:
    .354
    That was his BABIP.
    I don’t expect Jenks to be 2007-08 world-beater closer Jenks. But a guy who Ks 10 per 9, walks 3 per 9, induces ground balls 60 percent of the time, still throws a fastball that averages 95 mph and holds batters below a .670 OPS isn’t a bad guy to have pitching the seventh or eighth inning.

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 4:21 pm
  • Not sure where the number comes from just repeating what Olney (who i trust) said.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 4:21 pm
  • Jenks peripherals suggest he is due for a major bounceback next year. Had a 2.59 FIP and .368 BABIP or something crazy like that.
    Whatever the stats, it’s only 6M, and for right now anyhow, he’s the first real guy out of the bullpen. He’s probably not as good as Papelbon, and he’s definitely not as good as Bard.

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:22 pm
  • He’s a perfectly fine signing I was just telling John im not all that upset about missing out on him. There are others who can accomplish what Jenks is capable of.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 4:25 pm
  • Yankees talking to Soriano…a draft pick is scary, but he’s been very good when healthy.
    I like Jenks, said it a billion times. Nice signing.

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 4:26 pm
  • There are others who can accomplish what Jenks is capable of.
    Who?

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:31 pm
  • Joba: 9.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 8.9 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 1.30 WHIP, 24% Inherited Runners Scored,
    Robertson: 10.4 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 8.7 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.50 WHIP, 31% IRS
    Logan: 8.6 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 7.7 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.35 WHIP, 24% IRS
    Mitre: 4.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 7.2 H/9, 1.2 HR/9, 1.09 WHIP, 44% IRS
    Jenks: 10.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 9.2 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 1.37 WHIP, 13% IRS
    Jenks ties for best K rate, is close on walk rate, has the best home run rate, was far and away the best at keeping inherited runners from scoring, and even with the BABIP problems (see above, and below) still managed a WHIP that is not any worse than everyone but Mitre (who, incidentally, had a .228 BABIP last year, 90 points below his career average).
    The only category in which Jenks is appreciably worse is his hit rate (and even then, it’s not much higher than Joba’s), which of course goes directly to the aforementioned .354 average on balls in play, 55 points higher than his career average.

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 4:31 pm
  • I used present tense but should have used past tense in that paragraph. Those are 2010 numbers, not career totals, and as such are probably not going to reflect what happens in 2011 for any of these guys.

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 4:32 pm
  • You’re right, John: The biggest problem with Soriano isn’t the money, up front anyhow, but the first round draft pick you give up for a reliever. I think that’s a big reason Downs didn’t end up with Boston or NY.
    Giving up picks for relievers is scary business.
    I’m not sold on Soriano not closing when there are so many teams out there who still need one, but it would be a steal if NY can talk him into it.

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:32 pm
  • What he said.

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:34 pm
  • Paul, you piss me off sometimes. I just spent five minutes doing just that, come back to the page, and there it is.
    Slow down! :)

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:36 pm
  • Buster Olney on Twitter just said Sox have higher payroll than Yankees, that must be where Sam saw that.
    Also, Sox sign Andrew Miller.

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 4:38 pm
  • Also, Sox sign Andrew Miller.
    Good.
    I’m not sure any of them has ever worked out, but I love the idea of signings like this working out. Hey, we got a couple good months out of Kyle Snyder! :-)
    I think the Sox were OK with signing Downs. Once they got Crawford, Downs only would have cost a second rounder. I think the Sox have an organizational philosophy against signing middle relievers to three-year deals, which makes a lot of sense, given the horrible track record I and others have pointed out, and why should Downs take less guaranteed money in what is probably his only chance for a big payday?

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 4:48 pm
  • Where the hell is he getting this payroll number? I’m not getting it..am I missing something here?
    Paul?

    Brad December 16, 2010, 4:53 pm
  • Comparisons of IRS% in these cases is highly misleading since Jenks came in the vast majority of the time to start the 9th inning since he was the closer. Furthermore, the times he did inherit runners were almost all in in 2 out situations making it easier to get out of the inning without allowing runs in.
    The numbers back this up as Jenks inherited 16 runners all year, while Robertson had 32, Logan had 33, and Joba 37. Its not clear at all what Jenks would have done if he was used in the same situations. Bard by comparison had a 30% IS, in line with the other Middle relief that you compared Jenks to.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 4:53 pm
  • Fair enough, Sam, but Jenks’ component stats are still equal to or better than the guys you mentioned, even before accounting for his lousy luck on balls in play.

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 5:02 pm
  • Draft pick, shmaft-pick! Sign Soriano… :)

    krueg December 16, 2010, 5:09 pm
  • Fine. Then he is just as good as then the options I mentioned at 4-8 times the price. Brad said that he is better than any non-rivera Yankee reliever which as you demonstrated isn’t the case.

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 5:09 pm
  • which as you demonstrated isn’t the case.
    Or, which I demonstrated was in fact the case: Best combination of K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 and a similar WHIP despite it (as well as his hit rate and ERA) being drastically affected by a BABIP that is much higher than his career norms, which can’t be said for Joba and Mitre (I didn’t check the other guys on that front).

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 5:15 pm
  • Where the hell is he getting this payroll number? I’m not getting it..am I missing something here?
    Paul?

    Got me. It doesn’t pass the smell test to me. For one thing, Gonzalez isn’t officially extended yet, so he’s worth just $6M. That leaves the Sox with one $20M+ guy in Crawford and three $14-16M guys in Drew, Beckett and Lackey. How does that equal a bigger payroll than the (off the top of my head, so maybe I’m off on these) $25M Rodriguez, $23M Sabathia, $21M Teixeira and $18M Jeter?

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 5:21 pm
  • Exact quote from Twitter “Heard this from two sources: With the Jenks signing, BoSox payroll is actually higher than NYY. But the Yankees still have moves to come.” – Buster Olney
    Andrew Miller was all kinds of nasty in college and even to some degree early on after he was signed. At one time a future #2-#3, so I can’t see any risk in that at all.
    Now the reports say Yankees are NOT after Soriano. Meanwhile Wood signs with Cubs for one year, 1.5 million I feel like I am all of sudden a fan of the Royals.

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 5:28 pm
  • Here are the numbers Baseball-Reference has on its home page:
    NYY 14 $178.5 $187.7
    BOS 17 $129.2 $147.9
    That’s Team / Players signed / Current dollars committed (in millions) / Estimated final payroll based on arb awards, pre-arb signings and assuming minimum wage signings for the rest, so obviously both those totals on the right-hand side are on the low end. The transactions page there seems pretty well updated, so I don’t think they’re missing anything like the Crawford or Jeter signings.
    Add $5.5M for Jenks (+$6M, -$500k for minimum wage) and you get $153.5M for Boston. Even if the Sox were to rip up Gonzalez’s $6.5M salary for this year and give him $22M or whatever, that still brings their total only to $169.5M.
    So I don’t understand where Olney’s “two sources” are getting that from.

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 5:33 pm
  • Paul, Cot’s has the Sox at $135 for 2011, minus Miller, Jenks and Matt Albers.
    The Yankees are in fact at $178, so that’s accurate.
    By the way Jose Iglesias makes a ton of money for a guy that hasn’t played a single game at the Major League level. He’s like the Sox version of Andrew Brackman except with actual talent.

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 5:41 pm
  • Wait, I take that back Iglesias makes double what Brackman makes $8 million, plus $6 million in bonus.

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 5:43 pm
  • Then he is just as good as then the options I mentioned at 4-8 times the price.
    Were the other guys available on the open market? Free agency skews costs, big-time.

    SF December 16, 2010, 6:08 pm
  • And actually, based on the numbers, he was not “just as good as” those other guys. He was, in most categories, measurably better.

    SF December 16, 2010, 6:10 pm
  • Why does it matter how much the payroll is for each team? Just curious. I mean there is a little debate here about how much each team money is giving to its players, and I can’t figure out why it’s so important. I know, at the end of the day, if the Yanks win, I’m happy. I’m also happy they overpaid to bring back Jeter even if it was a bad business decision. Are we that concerned about bad reporting on the part of Buster Olney or does it have to do with how it will affect our rooting interests or do people identify with the work our general managers do? Is this about who is more clever: Theo or Cashman?

    Nick-YF December 16, 2010, 7:01 pm
  • THEY’RE BUYING A CHAMPIONSHIP!!!! ;) ;) ;) ;)
    You SF’s have a LOT of new jerseys to buy!

    krueg December 16, 2010, 7:18 pm
  • Nick: Sam brought up a quote. Brad questioned it. Paul questioned it. I showed where Sam got it from. I don’t think anyone cares, I think what happened was a comment was made that is certainly interesting and it was disputed, etc…Truthfully I don’t think anyone cares how much either team spends, it was just an interesting nugget.
    Sweet, the Yankees are interested in Bill Hall and Freddy Garcia. Krueg I hope you are right, I am waiting for that WOW move…

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 7:57 pm
  • Haven’t looked it up, but Jenks has killed the Yankees, hasn’t he?
    Bummer.

    attackgerbil December 16, 2010, 8:26 pm
  • 8 hits through 17 innings vs the Yankees, 14 K’s. He only pitched 2.2 innings vs Yankees LY, so I don’t know how or if that applies to the 2011 Yankees, but I am sure we will most certainly find out!

    John - YF December 16, 2010, 8:46 pm
  • AJ getting it together and winning the Cy Young will be the WOW move…MARK IT DOWN!!! :)

    krueg December 16, 2010, 9:33 pm
  • Come on Kreug, you know there is no chance of that. The stats say that AJ is done and Jenks is the second coming ;)

    sam-YF December 16, 2010, 9:52 pm
  • AJ is the greatest pitcher of all time…believe that.

    krueg December 16, 2010, 10:17 pm
  • Yeah, I want to clarify that I for one would have no problems if the Sox wound up with a higher payroll than the Yankees. I can’t see it happening because the teams simply inhabit different zip codes in terms of wealth, but if it did, I wouldn’t lose any sleep. That said, I just don’t see how Olney’s sources are getting that info. It’s an interesting prospect, the possibility of the Sox spending more money than the Yanks basically because New York couldn’t find anyone to spend their money on, but one the numbers just don’t support.

    Paul SF December 16, 2010, 10:20 pm
  • “…I can’t see it happening because the teams simply inhabit different zip codes in terms of wealth, but if it did, I wouldn’t lose any sleep….”
    that is simply untrue…or, at the very least, unknown…and i think most of us here have agreed that it cannot be unsubstantiated either way anyway, so why continue to toss it out there as if it were fact…if anything recent evidence suggests that the sox ownership is very much in the same neighborhood as yankee ownership wealth-wise…
    “…He was, in most categories, measurably better….”
    i think you mean “marginally better” sf…those tenths of a percent get sliced pretty thin…if anything those stats disprove the theory that the players aren’t at least comparable in effectiveness…and one has a higher price tag…the fact that jenks had to be obtained via free agency while the other guys were not on the open market is irrelevant when we discuss cost/value of a player…they cost what they cost regardless of how they’re acquired…

    dc December 17, 2010, 7:00 am
  • “…it cannot be unsubstantiated…”
    i meant “substantiated” of course

    dc December 17, 2010, 7:02 am
  • “…He was, in most categories, measurably better….”
    This isnt even true. Just look at the numbers Paul himself posted. Jenks led in category (HR/9) by a small margin and was tied for first in another K/9. He also had the worst ERA of any of these pitchers and second to worst ERA+ (which was 99 vs. Joba’s 98). Finally, Jenks’ BABIP is inline with the others except for Mitre. I realize its a career high for him but my understanding of that stat is that high values no matter who the are for expected to regress down to a certain mean. If true, I guess the same improvements we can expect from Jenks we can expect for the others.
    The point of all this isnt to say that Jenks is a bad signing (he’s not). Its just to show that there are other ways of developing relievers than going out and signing free agents.

    sam-YF December 17, 2010, 8:37 am
  • The point of all this isnt to say that Jenks is a bad signing (he’s not). Its just to show that there are other ways of developing relievers than going out and signing free agents.
    100% agreed. I think the Sox will mix it up this year – I expect them to give Doubront a chance, and if so both he and Bard blend the cost of Jenks and Paps since they are at the minimum. I wonder if the Sox have a set “bullpen budget”, above which they will simply not go before the season evolves.
    Bullpen construction has got to be one of those things that makes GMs sweat bullets at night – not because of wasted dollars necessarily but because of straight mystery over coming performances. Do any of us have any clue what Jonathan Papelbon will do this year?

    SF December 17, 2010, 9:31 am
  • Bullpen construction has got to be one of those things that makes GMs sweat bullets at night
    Especially, Theo. Without a fluke Oki, this has been his weak spot through the years for sure.

    Brad December 17, 2010, 9:37 am
  • “Do any of us have any clue what Jonathan Papelbon will do this year?”
    No, but I’d be willing to bet it will be really juvenile and embarassing.

    IronHorse (YF) December 17, 2010, 9:44 am
  • Question for Brad, since he seems to be the head of the “Pack Papelbon Bags Committee”…
    If the Sox think Bard is the future closer and they already have Paps, maybe Brad is right, maybe they are going to move him. At this point I don’t know what this team needs other than a catcher and a lefty out of the pen, but maybe they move him to fill a hole there? Just seems like overkill and overspending for a team that as has been noted here many times doesn’t invest heavily in their bullpen. Maybe that move you are envisioning Brad is one by the Sox!

    John - YF December 17, 2010, 9:47 am
  • I truly don’t see Papelbon being moved. I think they’ll hold him and see how Jenks/Bard do this year, and then decide either half-way through the season or after 2011.

    Atheose - SF December 17, 2010, 10:23 am
  • “…Especially, Theo. Without a fluke Oki, this has been his weak spot through the years for sure….”
    well, that and shortstop

    dc December 17, 2010, 10:34 am
  • well, that and shortstop
    This, I can’t blame him for. When he got Renteria, he was at the time one of the best defensive and offensive SS in baseball. His downfall, whatever it’s attributed to, cannot be placed on the head of Theo. That’s likened to Cashman being blamed for Carl Pavano and very short sighted.
    Lugo, while maybe overpaid was a top ten SS while in Tampa, and again his defensive shortcomings never came to light until he played in Boston, and again, can’t be placed on Theo.
    He has done everything he could to put a good SS in that role, and every one of them has failed to be what they historically were before coming to Boston, so on the issue of SS, Theo gets my pass.
    On Papelbon: he’s going to be a high priced one year guy for a high priced one year guy. I still think the Metros thing has legs, but we’ll see. Either way, I do not see Papelbon on the Sox all year.

    Brad December 17, 2010, 11:03 am
  • I think the Red Sox signed Jenks as insurance, and nothing more. Of course, I’m probably completely wrong, but I think Bard gets the closers role this year (another year older and stronger); he has more talent in his left arm than Pap or Jenks have in their right.
    They signed Jenks knowing that if Bard struggles with the pressure or stumbles, they have a guy who has done it and done it well while Bard acclimates.
    This is what I see, and I may be crazy, but it’s the only deal I see out there that makes any sense:
    Papelbon: 12M
    Ellsbury: 400k
    Scutaro: 5M
    Prospect
    for
    Reyes: 12M
    Beltran: 17M
    Crawford goes to CF with Beltran in Left. Reyes goes to SS.
    The Metros know they’re not going to be able to afford Reyes, and he’s likely going to be in Boston next year anyhow. and they can’t afford Beltran now.
    They pay Papelbon his enourmous salary this year, and both teams get what they need from the deal, and more importantly, both teams get better.

    Brad December 17, 2010, 11:09 am
  • With equal injury risks all the way around, no less. That proposal isn’t as crazy as one would think.
    Beltran and Reyes, if healthy (which is the question here), would upgrade Boston much more than staying in NY.
    Ellsbury, who is younger and faster will play better defense in CF for NY than Beltran can at this point, and Papelbon is worlds better than the nutcase they have closing (who they aren’t going to let limit out this year to enforce the option), and Reyes is as good as gone anyhow.
    I see it as a good move, but I’m probably alone.

    Brad December 17, 2010, 11:14 am
  • Definitely alone. No way should the Sox be trading the cost-controlled Ellsbury for one year of an arthritic Beltran, whose knees are in an incurable state of decay. Reyes is another injury risk who is no safe bet to perform equally to the young injury-risk shortstop the Sox already have for much cheaper.
    Papelbon is more than likely going to be a decent pitcher in 2011, like he was in 2010. With any luck, he’ll be somewhere between his objectively excellent 2009 (even if it was not as excellent as his 2006-08) and his disappointing (but still decent) 2010. As Peter Abraham notes this morning, the Sox now have someone to use when Bard can’t go, which was definitely not the case when Okajima, Delcarmen and Ramirez all collapsed last season. Trading Papelbon would weaken the pen and leave the Sox right there they were three days ago: with a closer whose performance in 2011 is a question mark and one decent setup man, with no one else to back them up.
    The Sox are a better team in 2011 with Papelbon, Jenks and Bard all in the same bullpen. The lineup is set, the rotation is set. There is simply no need, other than personal animus, to trade Papelbon at this point.

    Paul SF December 17, 2010, 11:35 am
  • “… No way should the Sox be trading the cost-controlled Ellsbury …”
    i think the sox should take what they can get for ellsbury…before he has another lost season…you remember him the way he used to be…his trade value is a lot less now…

    dc December 17, 2010, 4:53 pm
  • ..his trade value is a lot less now…
    Yes it is diminished, which is why you don’t trade him. Don’t sell low. Don’t minimize value, particularly if you are the team who can get the value.

    SF December 17, 2010, 8:38 pm

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