Best 2006 Free Agent Signings – Joe Borowski

Joe Borowski – Cleveland Indians



1 Year, $4,250,000




A classic over-achiever, Borowski was drafted in the 32nd round (821st overall) in 1989 by the Chicago White Sox. He was soon traded after the draft, and resided in the Orioles system for the next six years. After a few cups of coffee, Joe found himself traded to the Braves in 1996. It was with the Braves that he experienced his first major MLB playing time, but he ended the year with the Yankees.





To make a long story short, he was released and signed by Milwaukee, and ultimately ended up with the Cubs. The confines of Wrigley produced Borowski’s first full time gig, with Joe making the full-time roster in 2002 (13 years after being drafted). He found success in Chicago, used as an often closer in 02 & 03, where he responded with ERA’s of 2.73 & 2.63 respectively. But he was almost always by passed for “sexier” closers with better stuff. In 2004 Borowski had a disastrous year (8.02 ERA) and found himself back in AAA. You would have to assume that most men would quite after a demotion to AAA at the age of 34 but Borowski persevered and was once again called up to Chicago in 2005. But the call-up was ultimately short-lived, with the Cubs releasing Joe on July 11th. Out of work, he went to the waste land, Tampa Bay to be exact, and finished out the 2005 season with a 1.05 WHIP in 35.1 IP for the Devil Rays. He signed a one year contract with the Florida Marlins and was tabbed for middle to set-up relief for the 2006 season. With the Marlins bullpen beginning in a state of flux, Joe was given a save opportunity here or there, but the exclusive role was finally turned over to him in the final week of May. From there, Borowski produced a solid, although quiet, campaign, saving 36 games with an ERA of 3.75. As of 2006, Joe Borowski (35) has saved 80 games, pitched a major league game for six different teams, and spent time in the minors for 14 seasons.



So, why do I like this deal?





In today’s market, there are many closers earning big, big money (Wagner, Ryan, Rivera). The many current closers that are signed to decent deals (K-Rod, Hoffman) would rake in big bucks in this year’s market. While Borowski isn’t –and has never been—flashy, he is dependable at getting the job done (83.7 % conversion rate in 2006, blowing 7 saves yet earning 3 wins in his BS). This rate is comparable to higher profile 2006 closers such as Jonathan Papelbon (85.3%), Hudson Street (77%), Todd Jones (86%), Tom Gordon (87%) and others. With only a one year deal, the deal makes sense on many levels (cost, length of deal, development of youth in minor bullpen roles, etc.)  He’s not going to set the world on fire, but anyone who followed teams such as the Indians and the Braves now realizes the importance of a steady closer.



Agree, Disagree? Let us know in our comment form below!



(Joe Borowski, with Mop Up Duty’s Kman & Calman, circa 2002 “Salad Days”)




Joe Borowski, with Kman & Calman

More from Matthias Koster
Series Preview: Jays vs Yankees
The Toronto Blue Jays host a three game series against the New...
Read More
8 replies on “Best 2006 Free Agent Signings – Joe Borowski”
  1. says: Callum

    Great pic, too bad I got my 12 year old giggle on. What are “Salad Days”? Anyways, on the topic at hand I like the Borowski signing. I think it was injury trouble that caused his 8.02 ERA blip so I would not be overly concerned about having this guy as the Indians’ closer. I think I read somewhere that when he was floundering in the minors he actually jumped over to the Mexican league ala fictional Indians player Jake Taylor. Big props for doing that and then making it to the show.

  2. says: Callum

    My bad, I should have known you were quoting Shakespeare with the Salad Days reference. It appears in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra of 1606, in the speech at the end of Act One in which Cleopatra is regretting her youthful dalliances with Julius Caesar: “My salad days, When I was green in judgment”. So the phrase came to mean “a period of youthful inexperience or indiscretion”, though it only became popular from the middle of the nineteenth century on.

    and how.

  3. says: Early

    The Tribe needed a closer. Journeyman Borowski should do just fine in the Indians pen. He will be a living example of what happens to bullpen pitchers when they fall off pace…Mexican League for you.

  4. says: Kiddo

    Borowski at over $4mill? I think not. Just because he’s a “closer” doesn’t hide the fact that he’s an old, subpar pitcher with a reconstructed arm. The idea of a closer is just a stupid fabrication by the baseball media and player agents. A great save percentage means nothing, as the save is one of the least telling and most flukish and arbritrary stats ever created.

    As I see it, they spent over $4mill on the equivalent of a non-roster invite or call-up that would otherwise have his spot and pitch just as effectively.

  5. says: Kman

    Kiddo, give your logic to a Braves or Indians fan. Both teams could have most likely made the playoffs if they had had a decent, reliable closer. Check the stats if you don’t believe me. Borowski is far from “subpar”, with his ERA regulary close to a full run under league average. While Joe is an injury risk, he was only signed to a 1 year deal.

  6. says: Yinka Double Dare

    The Indians weren’t a closer away from the postseason, they were an entire bullpen away from the postseason.

    JoeBo for over $4 million seems dumb, but given the current lunacy in the market it’s not that bad, especially given the short term. Better to overpay for only 1 year than be on the hook for 3+ like other middle reliever types are getting. JoeBo isn’t a great closer or anything, but he should be useful for the Indians. Of course, a sack of potatoes would be a better closer than Fausto Carmona was last year.

  7. says: Callum

    I agree Yinka Double Dare. I remember a couple of years ago the new fad was “the closer by committee” since some GMs (who couldn’t land a closer) were spinning the closer’s role as being a stupid fabrication of the baseball media. You don’t hear much of that closer by committee talk anymore, and for good reason.

Comments are closed.