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art of it.Fowles has won the defensive player of the year three times. She joins Tamika Catching

They are supposed to be the baseball equivalent of a seal, that little bit of wax poured onto a finished letter and pressed with a stamp to denote that which is finished. Discount Running Shoes Online . Firemen. Stoppers. Closers. Whatever you want to call them, they are all the rage in the free-agent marketplace.Heres some perspective from ESPNs Jayson Stark: Dollars for Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman & Mark Melancon in the last week: $228 million. Total dollars Mariano Rivera earned: $169 million.According to Cots Baseball Contracts, the contracts signed by Jansen (Dodgers, five years/$80 million), Chapman (Yankees, five years/$86 million) and Melancon (Giants, four years/$62 million) are the three largest pacts ever given to relief pitchers, not just in total contract value, but also on a per-season basis.Have teams gone collectively mad?Lets not pin this all on the high-revenue teams that ended up with this years crop of elite closers. The Marlins and Nationals also were reportedly in on the bidding, and ESPNs Jim Bowden reported that Washington offered Jansen even more than he accepted from the Dodgers.The 2016 postseason was terrific for a lot of reasons, but if not for the Cubs curse-breaking run, the thing we might remember most would be the re-introduction of the super-reliever -- that key bullpen arm that could be trotted out at the most crucial juncture of a game even if that moment fell outside the parameters of the modern save situation. Andrew Miller, Chapman and Jansen all helped cement the concept of leverage into the minds of mainstream hardball fans and recalled the days of Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter, when a teams best reliever was often asked to do more than lock down the ninth inning.Still, despite the continuing evolution of postseason bullpen deployment, relief pitchers in general arent any better than they were last year at this time. Baseballs development systems continue to churn out more hard throwers than ever, but all that really has changed is that there seems to be a trend away from the paint-by-numbers method of managing bullpens.Its easy to look at the windfalls received by Jansen, Chapman and Melancon and view this as a unique winter-stove season, when multiple contending teams had ninth-inning holes to fill, the games revenue is at its highest-ever peak and is projected to climb higher, and the overall free-agent class is tepid. Any one of these signings, in a vacuum, is easily justified in a December press conference, and chances are the majority of each teams fan base is thrilled about the signings. And certainly we all are relieved that Jansen wont have to find another walk-in song.Nevertheless, the odds are good that at least one, if not all three, of these contracts will turn out to be terrible values.The teams would almost certainly argue that even if the contracts eventually wont look good on a spreadsheet, that is beside the point. These were aggressive moves made by teams trying to win championships. If they do so, then some dead money down the line will be easier to digest.That may well be a valid way to look at the closer splurge. The Dodgers were two wins short of a National League pennant and Jansens ability to go multiple innings in October was a big reason why that happened. The Giants might have pushed the Cubs even harder in the NLDS if theyd had Melancon, as their second-half bullpen problems extended into the postseason.The Yankees ... well, thats a different case. Its hard to ever really call New York a rebuilding team, but the Yankees did finish fourth in the AL East last season and were outscored by 22 runs during the campaign. They stocked up on prospects at the trade deadline by dealing away Chapman and Miller, so they should have known better than anyone that an elite late-inning reliever on a good-value or expiring contract is a great trade chip to have. Thats why as good as Miller has been the last few years, hes bounced around the majors like a pinball. Chapmans new deal isnt likely to result in the same kind of trade-market cachet.That brings us back around to our seal metaphor: Closers are the last step, not the first, or even the 10th. They are the cherry on the top of the sundae. The Giants and Dodgers can make a claim that Melancon and Jansen is that to them. For the Yankees to do the same with Chapman is a stretch. Thats not to say the Yankees cant contend, but whether or not they do probably wont have much to do with Chapman, especially since the Yankees already had a quality closing candidate in Dellin Betances.Meanwhile, as the Yankees take aim at the 2018-19 free-agent class, they are locking up space under the tax threshold while hoping that Chapman retains his velocity and remains something like a foundational player. Its this last proposition that makes all of these deals suspect. Simply put, just because a closer -- any closer not named Mariano Rivera -- has been elite, it doesnt mean he will remain so. In fact, chances are, he wont.To be sure, the three closers in question have been among the most consistent in all of baseball, insofar as relief pitching is ever consistent. That perception of certainty is a big part of what drove up their respective values. All three of the signing teams better hope that this perception remains a reality.According to the free-agent listings at, there have been 182 relievers since 1976 to sign a new deal on the heels of a season in which they saved at least 10 games -- a very low bar to label someone a closer. Barely half (92) saved at least 10 games the very next season. By the third season after the signing, only 24 percent of them were still at the 10-save level, and by the fifth season, that number was down to 10 percent. Thats why were so hard on teams that sign relievers to four- and five-year deals. Few of them work out.The story remains the same if you raise the bar to 30-save guys, a level reached the season before a pitcher hit free agency 65 times over the last three decades. Of those 65 pitchers, only 45 percent hit 30 saves again the season after signing a free-agent deal. (This includes those who re-signed with the same team.) Two years out, that number was down to 25 percent. By the fifth year -- which will eventually apply to Chapman and Jansen -- only five (8 percent) were still at the 30-save level. Not one of the 65 had at least 30 saves in each of the five seasons after his signing.The save is a deeply flawed metric but, lets face it, its one of the key statistics that got these players so much money this winter, and it does more or less describe what a closer does during the regular season. Its a stat that is at least as much about context as actual performance. Thats not comforting in this case because these numbers strongly suggest that, by and large, closers tend to quickly flame out, to the extent that they arent used in save spots within a couple of years.There are always exceptions and the players who populate the all-time saves list are proof of that -- the likes of Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith and Billy Wagner -- who have been both consistent and durable. Its certainly possible that Jansen, Chapman and Melancon will end up on a similar path. Nevertheless, given the history of free-agent relievers, its an expensive gamble.The old axiom about free agency in any sport is that you pay not for what a player has done, but for what he is going to do. When it comes to closers and free agency, its crucial, and exceedingly difficult, to make that distinction. Cheap Running Shoes China . -- Arizona knocked off some quality opponents, rolled over a few overmatched ones and grinded out victories even when things didnt go so well. Clearance Running Shoes . "Trying to breathe," he said with a grin. Bernier stopped 42 of 43 shots on Monday night, including all 22 in a hectic middle frame, his heroic performance propelling the Leafs toward an undue point in their final game before the Christmas break. . Two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the April 15 race in an area packed with fans cheering the passing runners. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured, including at least 16 who lost limbs. MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesotas Cheryl Reeve is the WNBA coach of the year and Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is the leagues defensive player of the year.The awards were announced Friday.Reeve also won the coaching honor in 2011. She drew 17 votes from the national media panel after leading Minnesota to the best record in the WNBA. Los Angeles Sparks coach Brian Agler was second with 12 votes.When youre around our team, the energy on this team is unbelievable, said Reeves, whose team is playing for its fourth league championship in six years. I think its because they all share in it, they all have ownership, they all have a piece of it. They all feel really important. I think thats been a big part of it.Fowles has won the defensive player of the year three times. She joins Tamika Catchings (five) and Sheryl Swoopes ((three) as the only players to win the award at least three times. Running Shoes Clearance Online. The Lynxs 6-foot-6 center received 19 of the 39 votes. Seattles Breanna Stewart was second with eight.Fowles was the WNBA Finals MVP last season, her first with the Lynx after a seven-year stint in Chicago. She credited Reeve and her teammates with focusing her defensive effort.I know I was more of a roamer in Chicago. Once I got here all that changed. That was something I had to get used to, guarding my man and my man only, Fowles said. If it comes in the paint, I might have a chance to get it, but if not, dont worry about it. That was one of the biggest differences from when I came here to Minnesota. Wholesale China Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Nike NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Nike Basketball Jerseys Hockey Jerseys China Supply Baseball Jerseys Football Jerseys Sale Authentic College Jerseys MLB Jerseys China Stitched Soccer Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap Nike Jerseys ' ' '