It’s Christmas time and everyone seems to be on the hunt for bargains. For Baseball general managers one place to look for bargains is the waiver wire.
This time of year baseball teams are shuffling their rosters around and will often cut a player lose as part of a numbers game. In December 2004, The LA Angels of Anaheim decided to cut Bobby Jenks a highly regarded pitching prospect. In 4 years in the minors Big Bobby had compiled a lot of excess baggage including elbow trouble, erratic behavior and accusations of racism. 1
Enter White Sox GM who on this day in 2004 took a chance on the 100 MPH as a reclamation project. The White Sox decided to shift him from a starter to a role in the bullpen. Jenks came up mid season for the Sox in 2005 and won the role of closer late in the year due to injuries to Dustin Hermanson who was also acquired in December of 2004. Jenks saved 6 games for the Sox in’05 in the regular season and 4 more in the playoffs including the first and last games of the World Series. So in ten months time Jenks had been transformed from the baseball scrap heap to a World Series hero.
Alas, not every waiver wire pick-up has such fantastic upside. But on the 5 year anniversary of the Jenks acquisition, I am still glad that this one did.