If you need an indicator of just how much the role of the starting pitcher has evolved, consider this: No. 3 on that postseason innings list is Pittsburgh’s Phillipe with 44. He set that mark in the very first World Series in 1903. There were no preliminary rounds — he threw five complete games in that series.
Meanwhile, the frequency of long relief outings is growing and growing. The number of relief outings of more than two innings grew to 628 last season, the most since 2006. This season, there have already been nine relief appearances of at least four innings. That includes the Cubs’ Eddie Butler and Miami’s Jarlin Garcia, who threw seven and six innings, respectively, in a 17-inning contest between the teams on March 30. If those outings had not come in relief, they would have counted as quality starts.
One way to read this is that the pitching-staff model that dominated from the late 1980s into this decade was found to be wanting. Many of us suspected this all along. Sure, it was fine and dandy to create all of these hyperspecialized relief roles. You could tell each pitcher what his job was and the player holding a particular job quickly latched on to it. Not everything changed, though.
Enter Barkley. The draft’s second overall pick is locked into a four-year deal for something in the range of $32 million this offseason, all of which is fully guaranteed at signing. Before taking an NFL snap, Barkley would have more guaranteed money than any other running back in the NFL. He’d be tied with McCoy for the largest annual average salary for any running back on a multiyear deal. His four-year cash — the money he would be in line to pocket over the next four seasons — would be third in the league behind that of McCoy and Devonta Freeman.
Let’s run the same table for Barkley that we ran for Wentz and Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys assume a similarly favorable outcome. Barkley’s $32 million is guaranteed, and Cheap Basketball Jerseys former NFL executive Joe Banner projects that the running back would be in line to make about $13 million for his fifth-year option in 2022.