Why doesn't anyone ever overpay Bob Howry?

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Bob Howry is apparently one of the most underrated or at least unluckiest relievers in baseball, because for the second straight offseason he’s managed only a one-year deal for modest money while inferior relievers get multi-year pacts for several times as much.
Brandon Lyon got $15 million over three years from the Astros. Fernando Rodney got $11 million over two years from the Angels. LaTroy Hawkins got $7.5 million over two years from the Brewers. John Grabow got $7.5 million over two years from the Cubs. Yet over the weekend Howry inked a one-year, $3 million contract with the Diamondbacks after playing last season on a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Giants.
During the past half-dozen seasons Howry has had an ERA above 3.39 once, and in the other five years posted marks of 2.47, 2.74, 3.17, 3.32, and 3.39. He’s also been very durable, making 79, 84, 78, 72, and 63 appearances in the past five seasons. Among all active relievers with at least 500 appearances Howry’s adjusted ERA+ of 125 ranks 10th, and in the past six seasons only Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Francisco Cordero, Scot Shields, Chad Qualls, and Scott Linebrink have logged as many innings with a better ERA+.
Howry is 36 years old, next season will be his 13th in the big leagues, and he’s had a below-average ERA twice, yet after signing a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks he’s earned around $22 million for his entire career. Not bad money, obviously, but Lyon was just handed $15 million for three years and Danys Baez just finished a three-year, $19 million deal. Sometimes it seems like general managers randomly decide which relievers to overpay, and for whatever reason that dart has never really landed on Howry.

Report: Ben Zobrist’s price tag is currently four years, $60 million

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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Ben Zobrist will turn 35 years old early next summer, but that doesn’t seem to be putting too much of a dent in his free agent value.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the “sense among interested teams” is that Zobrist’s price is currently hovering around four years, $60 million and it “may go higher.”

There was a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Sunday stating that the Mets have made Zobrist their “No. 1” offseason target, and over a dozen other clubs have linked to him since the World Series ended. That’s the kind of attention you command when you can both hit — Zobrist posted an .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 2015 — and also cover a range of positions defensively.

He makes sense for just about any club looking to contend in the coming seasons.

Wilin Rosario elects to become free agent

Wilin Rosario
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
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Wilin Rosario was designated for assignment by the Rockies late last month. Now, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, the 26-year-old former National League Rookie of the Year vote-getter has elected to become a free agent.

Rosario is a bad defensive catcher and wasn’t much better when the Rockies tried him at first base, but he should draw some interest from American League teams looking for a bench bat and part-time DH.

Rosario slugged 28 home runs for the Rockies in 2012 and he’s averaged 26 home runs for every 162 games over the course of his five-year major league career.

He boasts a .319/.356/.604 career batting line against left-handed pitching.

Orioles acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners for Steve Clevenger

Mark Trumbo
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson

As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger. There is also a second player headed to Baltimore in the deal.

This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.

Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.

Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.

Cardinals finished runner-up to Red Sox in David Price sweepstakes

David Price
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

These kind of after-the-ink-has-dried reports have to be taken with a grain of salt for a variety of reasons, but they’re fantastic conversation-starters …

Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Cardinals “finished runner-up” to the Red Sox in the bidding for free agent left-hander David Price, who signed with Boston on Monday for a record seven years and $217 million.

There were reports early on that the Red Sox were going to have to overpay on Price because he wanted to either stay in Toronto or make the move to the more pitcher-friendly National League. And maybe they did go significantly above and beyond the next-best offer to land him.

But the report from Nightengale serves as an indication that the Cardinals are ready and willing to spend big money ahead of next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville. Does that chunk of change now get directed toward Jason Heyward? Or might the Cardinals pounce one of the falling dominos in this still-loaded starting pitching market? What about both?

St. Louis lost Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery last month and both Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha carry some injury concerns into 2016. There’s money to spend there with a new billion-dollar local television deal about ready to kick in.