Two ragarmed righthanders in their thirties. Linebrink was a second-round pick of the Giants way back in ’97 who flopped as a starter and was dealt after all of three major league relief outings to the Astros for the immortal Doug Henry. In 2003 the Padres picked him up off waivers, and that year and for the next two he was just about as good of a reliever as there was in baseball, posting ERAs of 2.82, 2.14, and 1.83. Unfortunately, his ERAs did not continue to dwindle to nothing, but he was still quite good in 2006 and 2007. During the latter season, the Padres shipped him to the Brewers for three players, one of whom turned out to be Joe Thatcher. In case you were wondering, this is how the Padres keep being able to compete.
Linebrink left the Brewers as a free agent and signed a four-year deal with the White Sox for $18.5 million, which is pretty good for a reliever with four career saves. He has suffered a severe gopher infestation ever since; while he had sporadic home run difficulties in San Diego, it’s nothing compared to what befell him in the homer-friendly confines of Chicago, allowing 1.6 homers per nine. Unsurprisingly, he has not thrived, and the fans turned on him. The White Sox picked up most of his salary just to stick him on the Braves this offseason. He doesn’t fit in too well with the traditionally groundball-heavy Braves staff.
Proctor was a nobody, a fifth-rounder out of of Florida State who was buried in the Dodgers system for five years before getting shipped to the Yankees as a throw-in for Robin Ventura. Joe Torre apparently took a liking to him and late in 2004 made Proctor a long man. He didn’t pitch well at all that year or in 2005, but in 2006 he had a strong year, putting up a 3.52 ERA and throwing in a league-high 83 games, 102 1/3 innings. During the 2008 season, Torre, now with the Dodgers, got his new team to trade for him and Proctor had 83 appearances again split between the Bronx and Chavez Ravine, in which he had “warning sign” stats — an increase in walks and strikeouts that usually means elbow issues are causing wildness. Unsurprinsingly, his arm blew up. After missing the entire 2009 season he signed a minor league contract with guarantees with the Braves. He was terrible for Myrtle Beach and abhorrent for Gwinnett but they called him up anyway and he stank in a few late season appearances for the big club, which inexplicably gave him a major league contract for 2011. Don’t ask me, I’m just the blogger. I can’t comprehend why he got it, but with that contract in hand you have to figure he’d have to earn his way off the roster. He’s perfectly capable of it.