11/17/08 7:03 PM EST
Giants bolster bullpen with Affeldt
Club lands sought-after free agent with two-year, $8 million deal
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
"He's characteristic of a guy who's coming into his own," Sabean said.One quality is versatility. Though he'll probably fill a late-inning setup role, his background as a starter enables him to pitch multiple innings with relative ease. Durability is another. Affeldt led Cincinnati with 74 outings last season, finishing 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA and recording a 2.23 ERA in his final 34 games. In 2007, Affeldt made a personal-high 75 appearances for Colorado. Accuracy is a third strength of Affeldt's. In 78 1/3 innings last season, he struck out 80 and walked 25 -- a ratio of better than 3-to-1. That's a welcome trait for the Giants, whose 652 walks were the NL's second-most.
"We know how much the bases on balls hurt us," manager Bruce Bochy said.
It wasn't always thus for Affeldt, who struck out 281 and walked 178 from 2002-06 with Kansas City. His improvement began after the Royals dealt him to Colorado in a four-player trade on July 31, 2006.
Rockies coaches, said Affeldt, "felt I didn't pound the [strike] zone enough."
So he focused on refining command of his curveball. Meanwhile, he gained velocity, probably as a result of relieving full-time. With Kansas City, he made 142 appearances as a reliever and 42 as a starter.Affeldt blossomed with Colorado in 2007, posting a 4-3 record with a 3.51 ERA. He made seven postseason outings for the NL champions, including appearances in all four World Series games against Boston. He accumulated three shutout innings against the Red Sox. This year, opponents batted .260 and amassed nine homers off Affeldt, but those were largely results of pitching 41 games at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. Affeldt permitted seven homers and a .302 average at home, compared with two homers and .203 on the road. Affeldt owns a 26-28 record with 18 saves and a 4.55 ERA in 360 lifetime appearances.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.