Before you laugh at that title, consider this table:
(I made it on my own, but it wouldn’t fit into the body of the post.)
I apologize for the cluttered look. If you are confused, here is the gist: Chad Bradford is better than three of the relievers currently in the Nationals’ bullpen.
Miguel Batista’s last good year came in 2003, in which he posted a 3.49 FIP and 3.49 ERA in 193 1/3 innings for the Diamondbacks. Since then, he has gone from average to terrible. Tyler Walker has never had a good year in a full season’s work, either as a starter or reliever. When he does pitch a full year, he’s down-right average. Jason Bergmann has never had a good year. Period. He had a good 19 2/3 innings in 2005. Since then he has pitched poorly.
I know that Chad Bradford is ancient (yet still Batista’s junior by 4 years), but this guy has never once had a bad year in the Major Leagues. He is a model for consistency. His career high FIP is 4.47, which is by no means bad. You can cite his HR rates and say he has gotten lucky. Well, let me tell you that you’re wrong. The man throws underhand! He just doesn’t give up home runs. The ball literally does not leave the ground. And look at his BABIP. It has varied so much from year to year, so you can’t say that he has been consistently lucky every year. Bradford induces ground balls and, as a result, gets easy outs. Sure, lots of ground balls might lead to more hits and errors, but it also leads to far, far fewer extra base hits.
This guy probably wouldn’t make more than the league minimum, and he is better than Walker, Bergmann, and Batista. I would give him a shot.
When the Nationals are forced to cut a reliever and add Livan Hernandez to the roster, they should just go ahead and get rid of all three guys. Promote J.D. Martin to the Major Leagues to be the long reliever/mop up guy. Sign Bradford. There, the bullpen just got a hell of a lot better.
About the Author
Written by Sam Diament