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Sauerbeck Signs

Re-signed LHP Scott Sauerbeck to a one year contract with a 2007 team option

I think this was a bit unexpected, although it's certainly good news. Sauerbeck's quotes are fascinating, revealing his rationale for returning:

"My options were: I could sign a two-year deal with the Yankees and be a left-handed specialist for two years; or have a chance to set up and earn my way back," said Sauerbeck, who turns 34 on Wednesday. "I was like, 'I don't want to lose again, but I don't want to get locked up in being a specialist.'

"Cleveland was loyal to me. They're going to give me an opportunity, and, hopefully, I'll take advantage of it. It was an easy decision."

One of the curses (and blessings) of left-handed relievers is that they tend to be pigeon-holed into LOOGYs early in their careers, and there's very little they can do to break that impression. The good thing for those left-handers is that they could probably pitch until age 40 if they wanted to.

Early in his career, Sauerbeck pitched a lot of innings (in 2000, he pitched in 75 games and 75.2 innings), and was effective against both right-handers and left-handers. As late as 2003, he pitched an equal amount of innings against right- and left-handers.

This season, however, his velocity was down, leading to a large platoon split. Sauerbeck relied mainly on arm angles and deception to get left-handers out, but didn't have the fastball to get right-handers out with regularity. If his velocity does return to pre-injury levels, then he should be able to get right-handers out again, making him more versatile.

UPDATE: Sauerbeck will be paid $1.2 million for 2006. The contract includes a $1.35 team option for 2007, which becomes guaranteed if he makes 68 appearances during the 2006 season. [Jay]