Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Logic Behind the Chad Durbin Signing

The Indians, according to reports, have signed long reliever Chad Durbin to a 1-year $800,000 major league contract which includes nearly 1 million in incentives.  According to Ken Rosenthal, Durbin is expected to take his physical on Monday.

Chad Durbin will join an Indians bullpen which includes Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp, Joe Smith, and Jensen Lewis.  Durbin will assume the role as a low leverage reliever and with his abiliyt to work multiple innings will be the long rel.iever.  He has been reliable and durable over the past three seasons in Philadelphia, logging 87.2 innings in 2008, 69.2 innings in 2009, and 68.2 innings in 2010.  Looking at what is referred to as the Leverage Index (LI) for relief pitchers, with 1.0 being considered average, Durbin was a 1.3 in 2008 and a 0.8 in 2009 and 2010. 

As for the roster move, it is my guess that the Indians remove Frank Herrmann from the 40 man roster to make room for Durbin.  I do not forsee anyone claiming Herrmann and adding him to their 40 man, nor do I see the Indians having a gaping hole in that role (Reyes, Laffey, Tomlin, Gomez, Martinez, Mathis). 

Overall, the Indians bullpen is deeper and more experienced with Durbin than with Frank Herrmann or any of the other pitchers mentioned.   The last relief spot may go to someone who can challenge Jensen Lewis, who will be on the shortest leash in camp and early in the 2011 season, as the right handed back end reliever.   Jess Todd, Vinny Pestano, and Josh Judy are probably the most likely candidates as of today.  Or the Indians could add Aaron Laffey to the back end of the bullpen and test Durbin in some more higher leverage situatins as the Phillies did in 2008 while Judy, Pestano, and Todd get consistent work in Columbus to start the season.

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