AKA “El Pulpo” or “Freak”. Alfonseca, for the three of you who don’t know, has six digits on each of his hands and feet. It doesn’t seem to be much of an advantage. He’s been in the majors for seven seasons now with the Marlins and Cubs without particular distinction. He’s had two seasons of pitching significantly better than league, and two worse, and his worst season was last year.
Ah, but Alfonseca has a shiny “C” on his chest because he’s saved 121 games in his career, including 45 in 2000. Of course, the year he saved 45 he also had a 4.24 ERA in a pitcher’s park, and those 121 saves are against 35 career blown saves and a 4.11 ERA. That’s not enough to make people realize that he’s not that much of a pitcher, and the Braves gave him a guaranteed contract for more than a million dollars, plus incentives.
Alfonseca’s comparables through Age 31 include a remarkable collection of the game’s notable pseudo-closers: Ricky Bottalico, Heath Slocumb, Jay Howell, Todd Jones, Darren Holmes. Never have so many made so much money for so little work of such small value. In particular, Alfonseca seems to be following the Bottalico career path. Bottalico, two years older than Alfonseca, fell off a cliff… two years ago.
I guess every Braves relief staff needs a worthless righthanded fat guy now.