One name that hasn’t come up a lot in this offseason is that of Antonio Bastardo, but the left handed reliever who has played his entire career for the Philadelphia Phillies until making the switch to the Pittsburgh Pirates last season is picking up some interest lately, mainly from the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles.
Bastardo, 30, seems to have a good year followed by a bad or disappointing one. He did very well for the Pirates in 2015, posting a 2.98 ERA in 57.1 innings with a 1.134 WHIP (second best of his career) and averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He was extremely successful in the second half of the season with a 2.38 ERA and allowing just a .142 batting average.
The key to a championship in the last two years for the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants has been the bullpen, even though the Royals have some fantastic hitters and the Giants always pride themselves with a rotation that’s tough to overcome. But the strength these teams had in the final three or four innings off the mound was probably the main reason they won the World Series in 2014 and 2015, with the Royals showing up in both series.
Bastardo isn’t a closer, nor is he someone you can trust with long reliefs, averaging less than an inning per appearance through his career and also last season. And while his ERA does go up a bit from time to time and fluctuation isn’t attractive in a pitcher free agent, although in the right spots and not getting drawn out for too long on the mound, he can be a very useful addition to both the Orioles and the Mets. However, he’s probably got offers the media hasn’t picked up on yet, which often are the ones players end up taking.