Jays closers vs Rivera

Saturday, May 09 2020 @ 07:02 AM EDT

Contributed by: John Northey

For fun, we all think about how "if only the Jays had player xyz" so lets have some fun.

If the Jays had somehow pulled Mariano Rivera from the Yankees way back when and used him as the closer what difference would've it made?  Remember, this is the only guy to get into the HOF with a 100% vote total so it should be a big difference.

First Mariano Rivera's stats as a closer (Skipping his rookie year as a starter and his first year in the pen as a setup man)...
2.02 ERA (221 ERA+), 647 saves 1109 IP 1.8 BB/9 8.1 K/9 0.5 HR/9 6.9 H/9  2.71 FIP 69-54 W/L record, plus that insane playoff stuff (8-1 0.70 ERA in 141 IP 5.5 H/9 1.3 BB/9 7.0 K/9)
Average Year: 38 saves in 65 IP
Cost: $169,441,825 over 17 years or $9.97 mil a year

Jays closers (measured as the guy who saved the most games)...
YearNameSalarySavesIPHR/9BB/9SO/9
1997 Kelvim Escobar $150,000 14 31 0.3 5.5 10.5
1998 Randy Myers $4,416,667 28 42.3 0.9 4 6.8
1999 Billy Koch $200,000 31 63.7 0.7 4.2 8.1
2000 Billy Koch $333,333 33 78.7 0.7 2.1 6.9
2001 Billy Koch $733,333 36 69.3 0.9 4.3 7.1
2002 Kelvim Escobar $2,300,000 38 78 1.2 5.1 9.8
2003 Aquilino Lopez
$300,000 14 73.7 0.6 4.2 7.8
2004 Jason Frasor $330,000 17 68.3 0.5 4.7 7.1
2005 Miguel Batista $4,750,000 31 74.7 1.1 3.3 6.5
2006 B.J. Ryan $4,000,000 38 72.3 0.4 2.5 10.7
2007 Jeremy Accardo $392,200 30 67.3 0.5 3.2 7.6
2008 B.J. Ryan$12,000,000 32 58 0.6 4.3 9
2009 Jason Frasor $1,450,000 11 57.7 0.6 2.5 8.7
2010 Kevin Gregg $2,000,000 37 59 0.6 4.6 8.8
2011 Frank Francisco $4,000,000 17 50.7 1.2 3.2 9.4
2012 Casey Janssen $2,000,000 22 63.7 1 1.6 9.5
2013 Casey Janssen $3,900,000 33 51.7 0.5 2.3 8.5
Totals $43,255,533 462 1,060 0.7 3.6 8.3
Per Year $2,703,471 29 66.3 0.7 3.6 8.3

Interesting.  One more thing to add is how much the Jays blew on BJ Ryan so he could be the teams closer twice in 5 years - $47 million.  Ugh.  I know we'd all like to forget that mess.

So the Jays spent $7.2 million a year less on average for their closer (not factoring in all of BJ Ryan)  than the Yankees for 9 fewer saves a year out of the closer slot.  Of course, if the Jays had Rivera BJ Ryan never would've been signed nor would've Randy Myers, while most of those other guys would've been setup men thus making the entire staff stronger.  Still, $7.2 million seems like a lot of money for 9 saves.  But if that was 9 more wins (doubtful, but possible if you factor in improved pen strength overall) what would that have meant?  I'll just use 9 extra wins each year rather than try to get into the minutia of it.  This is just for fun, not to get a Phd after all.
So even if you figure every extra save was a bonus win (big assumption) and make it even every year when we know some years would've been bigger than others.  We still only get 1 division title and 2 WC appearances, plus 2 one game sudden death games.  Would've made those lean years a LOT better.  Of course, you also should factor in that the Yankees would've been worse those years and most of them the Yankees were one of the teams ahead of the Jays.

In the winter of 96/97 the Jays sent 6 top prospects to the Pirates for Carlos Garcia, Orlando Merced and Dan Plesac  Wonder if that would've been enough to con the Yankees out of their setup man?  Nah.  I doubt it.  The only real shot would've been to sign him as an amatuer free agent in 1990 (he was 20 then - odd for a talented kid in Panama to take that long to be signed, I'm sure there is a story there) or while George Steinbrenner was still running the show thus would force the GM to trade any prospect for a solid ML'er.  Kind of surprised Pat Gillick didn't notice him all things considered.  Ah, if only.  Then the late 90's and 00's would've been much better and odds are Halladay would've spent his whole career here.

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