Is it time to safeguard reliever’s arms?
In Grimm’s case, he appeared in 73 games his rookie 2014 season. He followed up with a terrific 2015, posting a 1.99 ERA and 12.1 K/9 innings in 62 appearances. Thereafter, he had two largely ineffective seasons of 60-plus appearances. Then his release this spring.
Ideas have been floated to protect and extend the careers of relievers like Grimm. This includes rules to inactivate a reliever for one game after being warmed up two consecutive days or prohibiting any reliever from being thrown four times in five days.
One pace of play idea floated would limit the number of mid-inning pitching changes a manager can make. This would reduce the overall number of relief appearances and in turn provide relievers more recovery time.
As 30% of union members pitch out of a bullpen, you’d think this would be a nice win-win to shorten games and meet the union’s primary goal to protect the health and earning potential of its members. But so far, no bites.
Not to pity Justin Grimm too much. Another team may pick him up. Also, including his $600,000 guaranteed this year and his $825,000 draft bonus, he’s made made more than $3.3 million from his arm in eight years. That’s far more than I’ve gotten out of any of my body parts yet.