The Cubs re-signed Antonio Alfonseca to a one-year, $4 M contract. Evidently, the Cubbies did not get the memo on fiscal responsibility that the other teams seem to have memorized. Alfonseca has never been a premier closer and was about a league-average pitcher last year (4.00 ERA, 19 saves but 9 blown saves). The Cubs seem undeterred though:
``I'm optimistic he'll return to his old form,'' Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Thursday. ``He was returning from back surgery early last year and didn't get a lot of chances to save.''
Keep brimming with optomism, Jim. Alfonseca's "old form" isn't that great either. He has had an ERA under 4.00 in only two of his six seasons. He's averaged just over 6 strkeouts per nine innings for his career. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is nothing to write home about either (1.75). His WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) is just under 1.5 and he has more hits allowed than innings pitched. ESPN has him saving less than 80% of his save opportunities. So with Ugueth Urbina out on the market, why give this guy $4 M?
Oh, one last piece of Windy City tomfoolery:
``We might give Dusty (Baker) the option or three or four guys who might close,'' Hendry said.
So, now he's a $4 M setup man with a 4.00+ ERA. Great signing, guys!