An agent recently recalled the halcyon days for free-agent relievers, when teams aggressively bid on bullpen pieces — and it really wasn’t so long ago, in this rapidly evolving sport.
There was that winter, the agent fondly remembered, when Tommy Hunter got $18 million from the Phillies. At about the same time, the Rockies invested almost $100 million in Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Mike Dunn. A lot of teams seemed to flirt with the conceit.
That was before 2019, however, a year destined to be remembered for the juiced ball conversation — but should be remembered for the reemergence of the starting pitcher as the game’s most coveted asset.