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Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by Danny_Darwin, Oct 30, 2018.
German actually still has an option, Cashman told us recently.
Ahh, my bad. This piece from last March said he had only one remaining, so I extrapolated.
Still, that’s 10 pitchers (Severino, Paxton, Sabathia/Gray, Tanaka, Happ, Chapman, Britton, Green, Kahnle, Betances) that have to stay on the major league roster. Signing Ottavino would mean they’d have one spot to cycle guys like Montgomery, German, Acevedo, Adams, Holder, Cessa, etc.
What happened in last year's playoffs has zero relevance to the argument you are trying to make.
What you saw from the Sox in the playoffs will likely become the new normal. By virtue of starter outings getting shorter and shorter in the playoffs, there are simply more innings to fill with relievers. So teams can either dig into the ass end of the bullpen, or use a starter on their respective throwing days to bridge an inning here and there. And the starter will almost always be better than the 12th pitcher on the team.
The Sox bullpen didn't "suck". Kimbrel sucked, but somehow by happenstance managed to avoid blowing any games. Barnes, Brasier, and Kelly were all lights out, which any team would take from their setup men in a playoff series. Workman was bad, but Hembree was actually OK. Wright, who had been very effective in long relief down the stretch, was a surprise scratch before the first pitch of the ALDS. There was also a game where the Sox had to pitch Eovaldi because the game went 18 innings. The Dodgers used 2 starters that same game, btw.
If you want to make the argument that the Sox need to improve their 2019 bullpen, I'm with you on that. But using last year's playoffs is simply distorting facts to create a narrative that didn't exist.
I agree that last year’s playoffs aren’t relevant in that the Red Sox aren’t going to use starting pitchers as set up men during the regular season. Thus, the fact that the bullpen didn’t hurt the Sox in the playoffs isn’t relevant either. Right now, Brandon Workman (or Hembree, I like Workman better) is the Red Sox 3rd best relief pitcher and what we are calling their second best relief pitcher is a 30-year-old career minor league journeyman who has about 30 good major league innings to his credit. It would be preposterous to enter the season with that being the case.
They‘ve got plenty of time and plenty of ways to rectify that situation. I would feel a lot better about it if they weren’t $6 million from breaching the top tax threshold or we’re giving a clear indication that they were ok going over it. I suppose not doing so is good negotiating though.
Teams tend to carry eight relievers now, I don't think this is an issue. Holder has options but also has a fairly safe roster spot. Kahnle also is a huge question mark who is not really worthy of a roster spot if he doesn't figure his shit out, but this is another reason for NY to go after Ottavino as he is great with analytics etc. and best friends with Kahnle from their COL days, so NY could get a kind of 2-for-1 there potentially.
I feel like DD's behavior so far this winter has made it clear he won't get Ottavino (who will get Robertson money at a minimum and more likely Britton money), but we'll see. I have thought for a while Kimbrel will be back in BOS. FWIW, and all of these other names coming off the board has only made me think that even more.
Assuming an infield of Andujar, Tulo or Didi, Torres, and Voit; Stanton at DH and Gardner/Hicks/Judge in the outfield, carrying eight relievers would mean a bench of Romine, LeMahieu, and Bird/4th outfielder and that’s it.
Cashman’s obviously not done, but adding another multi-year reliever contract without doing anything else seems unlikely.
I don't think LeMahieu sits the bench. I think the starting infield will be Andujar, Torres, LeMahieu, and Voit/Bird. They didn't pay LeMahieu $12 million a year to be a super utility player off the bench. Tulowitzki is a total unknown and may not even make the team.
You may be right, but Torres is as bad a defensive shortstop as Andujar is a third baseman. I don’t think they’d do this.
Off topic, but FWIW, I think NY's infield right now is LeMahieu at 3B, Tulo, Torres and Voit. If they sign Machado, I think LeMahieu goes to 1B, Voit goes to DH, and Andujar is traded. I think Cashman's emphasis for infielders is defense over offense, and because of this, I will be surprised if Andujar remains their starting 3B.
Is Machado’s defense worth $29M/year more than Andujar’s?
What is Andujar's value in a trade right now.... the word is out that he's mostly fitted to be a DH. Which, of course, can be highly valuable. I'm asking... not insinuating anything at all.
The Padres are evidently very interested in him, presumably as a 3B.
This FG article suggests that his ultimate destination may be the outfield.
This is all off topic, but the comparison I have been using for a few months now is Ryan Braun, who also played his entire rookie season at 3B and hasn't played another game there since.
Or Edgar Martinez, who spent a few years at 3rd before the Mariners gave up. There have been plenty of guys with the bat to stick but who couldn't handle the hot corner. Doesn't mean they don't have value, and Andujar certainly does.
But yeah, we're drifting away from the Sox bullpen here...
I wasn’t really looking for an answer.
I did give you one, though, in the other thread.
Why would it be preposterous? They could always trade for a reliever or two during the season. That may make more sense given they are so close to the tax threshold.
Let the season play out for a few months and see where they are with Smith, Thornsburg, Feltman, Darwinzon and everyone else then respond accordingly.
This seems especially likely to be their thinking because of the impending decisions regarding Bogaerts/Betts/Bradley. If they can't sign those guys, they'll still need to replace them, and they probably can't do it via trade, given the state of the farm. So they're likely to be taking on at least a couple of big new position player contracts over the next 2-3 years, and they would presumably like to get under the tax threshold at some point in that process to reset things. Signing a reliever to a substantial multiyear deal won't make that easier, and having some promising bullpen arms tantalizingly close to ready might make it seem a worthwhile gamble to avoid such a deal this year if they can. That would point to a strategy of replenishing the pen via guys like Madson or Axford who might be available on one-year deals.
Edgar's time at 3rd base was a casualty of the turf at BC Place in a meaningless exhibition game.
It does seem like we run through the same cycle every year: complain that they haven’t done enough to shore up the bullpen or other area of weakness by bring in “Sure things” (which really means expensive big name players ), and then when howl at the unreasonable demands for in-season help via trade.
The Sox traded all their chips away to build the 2017-18 teams and good relief help is notoriously overpriced in-season. Right now they are the only team that has been willing to go over the second tier CBT threshold. Spending money can solve a lot of problems, and any big contract (either to the current core, or their FA replacement) will put them over that tax threshold again. With that in mind they may as well spend to fix areas of weakness rather than trading away any new assets that develop on the farm.
1. Because after 2019 they are either going to have a $300 million payroll (to sign Sale and Boegarts will take $55 million, Betts will get a $10 million raise, Bradley will get a huge raise, Rodriguez will get a huge raise) or take a significant step backward. They need to go all out to win this year.
2. Any hope of remaining competitive in 2020 and beyond requires getting significant contributions from the minor leagues. If they end up trading away 6 more minor leaguers to shore up the bullpen in July, getting those contributions becomes less likely.
3. It’s great to have been the best team in 2018. Their competitors have improved significantly, they have gone backwards. Winning the Division matters. You do not want to play the gimmick game because you won 101 games and the Yankees won 102. And, 2019 may be their last chance to win for a while.
Which competitors have improved significantly?
You’re not seriously suggesting that the Yankees additions of Happ for a full year and James Paxton for minor leaguers are not massive upgrades to their biggest weakness are you? And, unlike the Sox, they still have $250-$300 million to spend, plus young players and prospects that could bring back superstars as well.
The Rays have also gotten significantly better. Though they had 18 games of cushion there.
They lost Robertson, which is not insignificant. CC's health is very tenuous. Paxton had a career high this past season with 160IP. You want to argue they've improved, fine, but "significantly" is debatable.
You also said competitors, plural. I don't see how Houston or Cleveland improved significantly.
The Yankees have clearly improved. Their biggest weakness was starting pitching and however you want to look at last season's Paxton.... the Sox just signed a guy with a much more worrisome resume to be a full time starter, and still haven't been able to address their biggest weakness.
Saying Eovaldi is more of an injury risk than Paxton is silly.
They're probably about equal but Paxton hasn't had any serious arm issues. Regardless, I don't think Eovaldi is the pitcher to worry about. It's the ace who missed a few weeks and came back throwing 93. On that same note, though Sale is more of a sure thing than Severino, I think they both have huge question marks going into the season that are far more stressful than whether or not Eovaldi or Paxton will miss 15 games during the year.
For 2019, perhaps, but if both guys pitched for my team and I was holding long-term contracts for both, I'd be a lot happier about Severino's situation, because while he does look a ticking Tommy John time bomb at the moment, at least there's a better-than-slim chance he comes out the other end of that process as a solid, effective pitcher, even if somewhat less than 100% of his old self. Sale's situation OTOH seems like the kind of thing that could easily dog him for the rest of his career, making him subject to annual DL stints and/or periods of ineffectiveness.
The Rays won 90 and they look like they are going to be much better after some savvy additions that added power and defense: Zunino, Heredia and Diaz. I imagine they’ll be shoring up their pitching from guys on the 40-man and the DL.
I think they are legitimate contenders in the East. Not a lot has to go wrong for NY or Boston or right for them before they’re right in it.
They signed Morton too. They will be formidable, but as always have a razor thin margin for error.
One could argue the loss of Robertson could make that pen weaker.
It'll be interesting to see if teams are better prepared for their use of "openers" instead of starters most games. Did they catch teams a bit by surprise last year? Were teams as geared up to face TB's set up guy in the 1st inning? Just curious.
I'm not really sure I understand what Heredia adds or why he's a savvy addition. He seems like a pretty mediocre player, with neither speed nor power to offer on the offensive side (just good contact and decent plate discipline, which are offset a bit by pretty terrible batted ball numbers), and decent but ordinary outfield defense. It's hard to see him having a bigger role with the Rays than the short end of a platoon with Keiermaier. What am I missing?
Maybe early on they caught teams by surprise, but once it became a thing, I would think it's something easily prepared for. And the Rays were much better in the last four months of the season than the first two, so teams had to have seen the strategy coming. I don't think their success with using the opener was about the element of surprise so much as simply executing a plan that maximized their roster's effectiveness.
But really, what adjustments or extra preparations are necessitated by facing an "opener"? It's not like making adjustments to a shift where you have to alter your philosophy at the plate in order to go the other way or something. Generally hitters are preparing to face a number of pitchers in any given series, including most/all of the opposing team's bullpen. Should it matter if they face Sergio Romo in the first inning or the seventh in how they approach their anticipated at bat against him?
The only way I see the "opener" idea messing with the opposing team too much is if it's done how Craig Counsell did it in the NLCS, by using a normal starting pitcher as the opener and trying to sucker the other team into fielding a RHH-heavy lineup in anticipation of facing a lefty (or vice versa) then switching after a hitter or an inning. It still didn't turn out all that effectively, as Dave Roberts didn't stack his lineup with RHH to face the "opener" Gonzalez or Miley and then won those games anyway.
Regarding the Rays, and other clubs that may use the opener model, I want to see how willing those pitchers will be to be used in that manner after an off-season of agents and family members telling them that under that system, they will all be paid as middle relievers when it comes time for arbitration or free agency.
I do think the opener model changes your strategy. There becomes very little reason to ever work the count. I would expect that teams swing percentage on thrown strikes to be higher.
I don't mean to suggest he's some great player, but he posted excellent OBPs in Cuba and in the minors, and has had low BABIPs (possibly due to do poor contact, possibly not). I think he was a cheap upside play, and I think it might pay off.
If — say — Ryne Stanek posts a few more years like his most recent (81 Ks in 66 IP, a decent number of walks, very few hits, 10 GF, 29 GS), I think he'll do just fine. He has the statistical profile of a setup man or a lower-tier closer.
The Rays are an interesting dark horse landing spot for Kimbrel. I think he goes to Atlanta, but if he’s willing to take a 1/$18-type deal he’s plenty useful to them and can be flipped easily at the deadline.
I have a hard time seeing TB take that kind of risk. If Kimbrel gets hurt, that's a big chunk of change for that franchise.
Kimbrel can do better than that with one of the NL East teams if he needs to, but I still think DD ends up paying up for him, maybe 3/45 or 4/52, something like that.
I was originally in the "happy to move on from Kimbrel" camp, but at this point, I want him back. He is still a damned good reliever and the Sox have too few of them right now. He'd really solidify things and I would expect a very nice bounce-back season from him.
$18K is too much even for one year. It’ll put the Sox over the 2nd threshold, no?
I’m totally okay going forward with what they got.
I think you wanted an M there...
I've been advocating for a "we don't need a big-ticket reliever" approach, but even I wouldn't go this far. I fully agree with those who say that the bullpen right now, as is, is just a shade too shallow and weak. We need at least one more arm. It just doesn't necessarily need to be a closer, and certainly not a Kimbrel-level closer.
I'd give Brach a close look. He's got no injury history to speak of, he's got AL East experience, and though his velocity lost a small tick last year the results were still decent. MLBTR says he can be had for 2/$12M. That sounds like the kind of deal we should be making. Let him and Barnes duke it out for the closer job in camp. Brach, Barnes and Brasier as the high-leverage trio, with Johnson or Poyner as the lefty, Hembree, Workman, Velazquez and Brewer fighting for low-leverage innings, Thornburg as the wild card and Feltman, Hernandez and Lakins in the wings, is adequate.
I’m exactly where Savin is.
There’ve been enough reports that the Sox like guys with pitches they think they can tweak or maximize and it’s tricky to tell who those guys are (though Brewer and Putnam both have very distinctive repertoires).
I wouldn’t be surprised if their internal systems aren’t wild about Kimbrel’s two-pitch repertoire if/when he loses another 1-2 mph.
Anyone know why 38-year-old Ryan Madson throws harder now than he ever did?
I’m ok with adding quality depth like Brach as well rather than a big ticket risk like Kimbrel.
The thing is though, even a 2/$12 contract for Brach alone pushes them over the 2nd threshold. So why just stop there? Either go for Ottavino, or go for Brach plus another reliever in that tier. This pen is not good enough without wishcasting coming true.
Lakins, Feltman, and Hernandez should have to force their way into the plan, not start there. Brewer, Velazquez, and Poyner still have options. Putnam is on a minor league contract and can start in Pawtucket to prove he’s healthy while awaiting the first injury or flameout. The most likely outcome with Thornburg is that he’s useless again. Workman and Johnson are out of options but exactly who they should be looking to upgrade with Brach and someone like Sipp.
isn't any major reliever signing at this point going to put us over 246?
EDIT: yeah, what Plympton said. I'm seeing we're at 243 right now after the exact arbitration figures (Cots has us at 237, but pre-arbitration salaries are yet to be added)
the issue would be how much you tie up into 2020+ as you'll want to get below the 2nd threshold next year
Lakins is on the 40-man, turns 25 in June, and has over 80 innings in the high minors. It would be bizarre if he's not in the plan. Ditto for Feltman, who many were anticipating would get called up last year. You could make an argument that Hernandez is not "in the plan" in the sense that the club added him to the 40-man only to protect him from Rule 5, and with no intention of calling him up this year under any circumstances. And that's possible. But given the current buzz about him, the fact that he's already 22 (not that young for a hot pitching prospect with big-league stuff to see their first MLB action), and the fact that he'll be starting the season in Portland and could well be in Pawtucket by midsummer, I think it's probably a bad idea to rule Darwinzon out for 2019. I won't be surprised if he stays in the minors all year--but I won't be surprised to see him in Fenway, either, even if it's only for a September cuppa joe.
If you mean they should have to force their way onto the active roster, sure. That's what I meant by "in the wings".
I believe the pre-arb salaries are listed at the bottom under "Club Control". The $237.5M should include everything, so they would have $8M to sign a reliever and stay under.