White Sox overpaid for Linebrink 

November, 24, 2007
After Steve Karsay's four-year deal, signed before the 2002 season, went bust, we saw just one three-year deal given to a reliever (Armando Benitez, who threw 118 innings with a 4.55 ERA during the deal) until B.J. Ryan's five-year deal, signed in November of 2005. That month, we saw the destruction of the market's reluctance to give long-term deals to relief pitchers, especially middle relievers, and the result has been a relative flood of three-, four-, and even five-year contracts for such free agents. After two winters of these contracts, however, the track record is already not good.

Last winter, five relievers got three years or more, considering only relievers who've changed teams:

• Danys Baez signed a three-years, $19 million deal with the Orioles. It's turned out to be a disaster. Baez was terrible for two months and then blew his elbow out. He won't pitch until at least mid-2008.