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Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by Danny_Darwin, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

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    9,910
    Pretty clear DD is sitting this one out.
     
  2. Pozo the Clown

    Pozo the Clown lurker

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    649
    Which begs the question as to whether they had any real interest in any of the bullpen arms who've signed elsewhere that they'd been rumored to have expressed interest in.
     
  3. SouthernBoSox

    SouthernBoSox Member SoSH Member

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    10,687
    I would have really liked Kelley on a 1/2.5 deal.

    As stated. Its blatantly clear they aren't adding payroll.
     
  4. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,205
    In what world did you think that was ever going to happen? I’m honestly not trying to be a dick but come on man. I’d love Bryce Harper ona 1/10$M deal while we’re at it.
     
  5. Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

    Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat has big, douchey shoulders Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    30,873
    The world we're living in?
    What are you talking about?
     
  6. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    I'm OK with seeing what trading a catcher can get us but it's hard to imagine many upside pieces being available that way
     
  7. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    I’m thinking he thought you were talking about Joe Kelly, not Shawn Kelley.

    Pretty disappointing that they think they’ve got better internal options than Kelley on a 1 year, $2.5 million contract. I realize, based on what some others have posted, that’s actually probably trading Workman, Hembree, or Johnson for Kelley.

    They must see Workman and Brasier as “the real deal.” God, I hope they’re right.

    I also suppose that they could just be waiting to see how little they can get Kimbrel for. But he’s a big risk too coming off that October meltdown.

    Or a trade? What’s left?
     
  8. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

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    9,910
    Ryan Madson come on down.

    Just a shame that DD isn’t capitalizing on getting some relief help at clearance rack pricing.
     
    #758 bosockboy, Jan 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  9. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    39,287
    Is there an additional repeater penalty if you go over the top tax line for the second straight year or is it just the 1st round pick drops ten spots again?
     
  10. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    Yes. Second time offenders have the initial tax rate increase from 20 to 30%, and the surtax for exceeding 40M over the cap increases from 42.5 to 45%. So instead of paying a 62.5% tax as they did in 2018, the Sox would be paying 75% in 2019 should they exceed the highest cap.
     
  11. TheoShmeo

    TheoShmeo Skrub's sympathy case Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    12,483
    If we assume that they are done, and not adding payroll, which seems right to me, then:

    1. Who's the first closer? Brasier or Barners? Someone else. Would they even consider Sale as a way to preserve him and solve that problem? I think the chances are less than 1 percent. Are there other candidates?

    2. Who eats up the Kimbrel and Kelly innings? Who is as effective as they were? Now yeah, Kelly wasn't very good for long stretches in the regular season but he did have two sustained periods of being quite good.

    I find this whole thing to be quite maddening. That is, the notion that they are done. If they add guys between now and ST, then fine. But as pointed out by many, this is a very good team with some real red flags in the pen, and at closer, which remains important. Blowing games in the 9th is a good way to hurt the team in the standings and sucks for morale.

    Has DD forgotten that the Sox won the WS (or advanced in each round) largely because Cora brilliantly used starters as relievers in key spots throughout the playoffs? Unless I'm missing it, that's not a 162-game strategy.
     
  12. SouthernBoSox

    SouthernBoSox Member SoSH Member

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    I really see this as a huge gamble on Brewer and Thornburg and to a lesser extent Larkin and Feltman.

    I really like all 4 of those arms. But honestly the way it looks right now you need 2/4 of those guys to be very significant contributors. That's not a bet you take with a World Series team imo.

    They can't add payroll. It's a scary situation to be in with what seems to be a pretty glaring weakness.
     
  13. Devizier

    Devizier Member SoSH Member

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    How about Nate Karns as a conversion project? He's on the wrong side of thirty and has had limited success as a starter but...

    He has a ridiculous K rate (27.1% last year, 24% for his career) thanks to his knuckle curve, which he throws a ton. He's got decent fastball velocity and that might tick upwards in relief. His changeup is so-so. Gets crushed his third time through a lineup. I'm not sure he gets more than a minimum contract this year.
     
  14. Maximus

    Maximus Member SoSH Member

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    4,006
    This is maddening to me too, I don't agree with DD's strategy of not having a proven closer on a team that will have a dogfight for the division this year with the Yanks. I understand the issue with the luxury tax and he will have to be creative to stay under the LT number to add bullpen pieces prior to the end of Spring Training. Cora's brilliance of using the starters for key outs in the playoffs is not a 162 game model. Clearly DD is a bigger proponent of quality starters than bullpen pieces but that model blew up in the 2013 ALCS with the Tigers.
     
  15. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    17,893
    Every proven closer was once a good young reliever that a team decided was ready to step into that role. Barnes has had closer-ish numbers for a couple of seasons now, and I think giving him that shot makes perfect sense. I don't think that's the issue. I think the issue is just that the depth is too shallow. As P91 has pointed out, we have a #3 guy (Brasier) as our #2, a #4-5 guy (Hembree) as our number 3, and #5-6 guys (Workman/Velazquez/Johnson/Poyner) fighting for the #4 slot. It's not that huge a shortfall, unless one insists we need to match the Yankees' pen on paper, which is neither possible at this point nor necessary. But we badly need at least one more quality guy to fill out that 2-4 range, and two would be nice. I agree that it looks like DD has decided to gamble that those reinforcements will emerge from some combination of Thornburg/Brewer/Lakins/Feltman. I don't think that's an altogether stupid gamble, given the alternatives. But it's definitely a gamble.
     
  16. TomBrunansky23

    TomBrunansky23 Member SoSH Member

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    My first thought about the 2013 Tigers model was "yeah but they didn't have the dogfight in the division the Sox are going to have with MFY this year." Not the case. The Tigers only finished one game ahead of Cleveland, who went on to lose the WC game to Tampa. I was surprised to learn that the 2013 Tigers with that lineup and rotation didn't run away with the division. I wonder how much that suck-ass bullpen cost them in the standings and I further wonder if the 2019 Sox have that much of a margin of error when it comes to the Yankees and Tampa. I tend to think not.
     
  17. DanoooME

    DanoooME Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    If the price is right, I could be happy with any of the following names:

    Matt Belisle
    Xavier Cedeno
    Tim Collins
    Jake Diekman
    Daniel Hudson
    Brandon Maurer
    AJ Ramos
    Tony Sipp
    Nick VIncent

    None of them are great, and some of them are broken but maybe our pitcher whisperer can fix someone. A Bannister always pays his debts.
     
  18. RIrooter09

    RIrooter09 Member SoSH Member

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    I think Zach Duke would be a fine pickup as well. His peripherals were better than his results last year, and he was death on lefties.
     
  19. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    Detroit's bullpen faltered in Game 2 of the ALCS that year, but by and large they had a very good pen in 2013. Second best in the AL in runs allowed, fifth best in inherited run percentage, third fewest blown saves. Middle of the pack in bullpen losses, which is the only one of these stats for which they were worse than the 2013 Red Sox (25 to 23).
     
  20. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    17,893
    Sipp has been discussed before, and is clearly worth a shot if we think his 2018 was a genuine turnaround from the previous two seasons. Some of the other names are mildly intriguing (Cedeno, Hudson, Vincent, maybe Diekman, maybe Ramos if his shoulder is fully healed, which might be a long shot). But would any of those guys be a clear upgrade over our current depth? They seem like adding quantity rather than quality. A minor-league deal for any of them would be a no-brainer, but signing any of them to a ML deal would feel a bit like airlifting extra deck chairs to the Titanic.

    Maurer is maybe the most interesting "pitcher whisperer" candidate. But he, particularly, I wouldn't go near on anything but a minor league deal. He looks like a mess who needs a major reboot.

    Not sure I see even that much potential in Belisle or Collins. Belisle's 38 and has been declining sharply for two straight years, Collins is basically Workman's stuff with Kimbrel's control. What am I missing with those guys?
     
  21. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

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    9,910
    The possibility also exists that DD is simply waiting out Kimbrel and isn't interested in anyone else.
     
  22. TomBrunansky23

    TomBrunansky23 Member SoSH Member

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    So you had an adequate or better regular season bullpen that proved to be the fatal flaw in the postseason. I don't seem to remember Leyland using starters in the ALCS in bullpen situations ala Cora this last time around. I wonder how the 2018 Sox bullpen would have fared on its own if tasked the same way as the 2013 Tigers bullpen in the postseason?
     
  23. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    10,121
    You're basing the argument that the Tigers' bullpen was a "fatal flaw" on ONE GAME. Look at the series again. The Sox beat the Tigers' rotation as much as they beat their pen. They beat Verlander 1-0. They tagged Sanchez for all 4 runs to win Game 5 (4-3). They got Scherzer for 3 of their 5 runs in Game 6 (5-2). The perception that the Tigers bullpen was bad is all down to the eighth inning of Game 2. Ironically enough, the game winning run in the ninth was scored off a starter pitching in relief (Porcello).

    You called them "suck-ass" and questioned how many games that bullpen cost the Tigers in the standings. And the answer is they weren't suck-ass and they didn't cost the team any more games than any other bullpen in the league that season. How they were deployed (vs the 2018 Red Sox "style") is irrelevant to their quality.
     
  24. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Get as much cheap quantity as you can, throw it at a wall and see what sticks.
     
  25. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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  26. Rasputin

    Rasputin Will outlive SeanBerry Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  27. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    From wiki:

    "Over the course of his 17-year career, Howe would be suspended seven times. ... However, in 1992, Howe became the second player to be banned from baseball for life because of substance abuse (the first was Ferguson Jenkins, who was also reinstated)."

    So there's precedent, I guess!
     
  28. Rasputin

    Rasputin Will outlive SeanBerry Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    29,147
    Well if the precedent is Fergie Jenkins, I'm cool with it.
     
  29. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    17,893
    Didn't you guys ever hear of time off for good behavior?

    I have to say, three times in 10 months is kind of mind-boggling. That's either a whole lotta stupid or a whole lotta desperate (or a little of both).
     
  30. chrisfont9

    chrisfont9 Member SoSH Member

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    4,182
    This is the one position where you can get useful players at almost any time outside of September/October. I would guess they think they can start by seeing what they have and looking around for options once teams start losing.
     
  31. chrisfont9

    chrisfont9 Member SoSH Member

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    Veras caved in game 6, allowing Victorino's grand slam, after Scherzer held the Sox to one run. That's two of the four Sox wins you could arguably pin on the bullpen.

    I think this is an interesting moment in bullpen usage, given how the Sox relied a lot on starters this past postseason, and given how once again they have a lot of starters around to cover for the 'pen, at least in the postseason. Do they maybe think they don't need a flashy pen for most regular season games, i.e. thanks to their other strengths they can skate into the postseason despite a thin pen, and come October rely on their starters and Cora's in-game management to bolster them?
     
  32. bosox0192

    bosox0192 lurker

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    135
  33. Green Monster

    Green Monster Member SoSH Member

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    On a similar note, Cora has history with the still unsigned Tony Sipp while they were in Houston
     
  34. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    I think this is correct. It’s a flexibility issue right now.

    Not only do the Sox “trade” one of Workman/Hembree/Johnson/Wright/Thornburg the minute they sign a guy like Kelley or Kimbrel, they also do so as soon as they tap into their interesting minor league depth (Brewer, Putnam, Smith, Mejia, Weber).

    I don’t know if any of those guys will replace Kelly’s 2018 production, but I’m reasonably certain one or more of them will see the majors. Unless one of those five are on the DL, the Sox can’t promote one of them without losing someone else.

    So which of the those five seems most fungible? Tradable? I think Wright is a lock. They’re prepared to see if Thornburg gets it back, but he’s gone mid-May if he doesn’t. Plenty of Workman types available on minor league deals right now and with two arb years left he’s not super valuable. Johnson’s five years of team control and may make him interesting to a cheap team as a league average arm. Hembree’s a decent 7th inning guy but with his peripherals it’s conceivable a small-market team gives him a shot at a closer role to see if they can sell him for prospects.
     
  35. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    During the regular season last year, one could argue Workman and Hembree were more productive than Joe Kelly. Bobby Poyner too, for that matter. Of course, they wouldn't be replacing Joe Kelly because they were on the team last year. They'd be replacing themselves. It's possible Workman and Poyner could get more innings this year.

    Kelly has a big arm though so there's always the hope everything clicks and he had the huge playoff performance. I just don't see how signing him would make the bullpen any less of a question mark. He's a question mark.
     
  36. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Sure. But also Workman, Hembree and Poyner are *differently productive* than Kelly. The Sox probably have a whole database of opposing hitters who particularly struggle against 95+ mph fastballs paired with certain secondaries. Kelly held Judge to a .545 OPS in 11 PAs (three singles). Poyner, however, should never be allowed to face him.
     
  37. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    9,288
    Poyner should never face any RHB and I don't think any of those guys are better than Kelly. I'm just not sure Kelly is all that good himself. His stuff is in another category though.
     
  38. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    10,378
    If I'm adding correctly, the 2019 Red Sox have $86,800,000 invested in starting pitchers for 2019.

    They'd better pitch to the 8th more often than not, because the throw-shit-against-the-wall bullpen is going to need some breathing room.

    I have no idea if their hopes for Wright out of the BP are meaningful.
     
  39. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    If Wright is healthy, would they consider him as the #5 starter and Edro in the relief ace role?
     
  40. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Why?

    I think they learned Wright’s injuries are exacerbated by starting, while I don’t think the same is true for Edro’s knee thing. Besides it’s not like hitters fare any better against Edro the second time through the lineup.
     
  41. Trotsky

    Trotsky Member SoSH Member

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    If he wasn't derailed by a freak injury last season, Rodriguez was on his way to living up to his potential (no. 2 on a playoff team, ace on a bottom feeder)... it doesn't make an ounce of sense to move him into the bullpen.
    He's also the only starting arm besides Price the Sox have past '19. There should be some discussion of a long term contract... but he's also possible trade material in mid season if the Sox are looking like sellers (unlikely). Wright could be that bullpen ace.... needing a K or a weak grounder/flyball to keep runners on from advancing type.
     
  42. Gabo1967

    Gabo1967 Active Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Eovaldi is signed way past 2019.
     
  43. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    If you don’t like the idea of a knuckleball relief ace. Or because Edro has never pitched anything close to a full season of innings and may wear down with a full starters workload.

    And I just don’t think that in this day and age, a fifth starter is as important as a bullpen ace anyway. Remember, they’re not going to be putting Sale out there for 8 innings a start. I’d actually consider rotating Johnson and Velazquez through the 5th starter spot and putting both Wright and Edro at the back of the pen.
     
  44. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    Edro has a much higher ceiling than 5th starter, lol
     
  45. EricFeczko

    EricFeczko Member SoSH Member

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    Wright has 78 innings with an ERA around 3 as a reliever. Edro has thrown about 7 innings. Edro as a relief ace is pure speculation at this point.

    Furthermore, such thinking may be shortsighted. Edro will be cheap in 2020, when Porcello and Sale will be gone, and we don't really have any worthwhile starters in the minors to call up in 2020, when we will need two (three if Edro is in the bullpen). Transitioning Edro to the bullpen doesn't make a ton of sense for 2019, if we need to transition him back in 2020.

    EDIT: Frankly, at this point, unless Kimbrel is willing to come back on a one year deal (probably not) or Ryan Madson is somewhat willing to sign with the Red Sox (also probably not). I see the Red Sox playing around with what they currently have and gambling on the first two months. By that point, we'll be able to see whether Lakins/Feltman/Houck are ready for MLB relief.
     
    #795 EricFeczko, Jan 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  46. SouthernBoSox

    SouthernBoSox Member SoSH Member

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    10,687
    I'm very confident they think they have something of real substance with Brewer too. I was very bullish on him when they acquired. You just don't see pitchers with his cutter movements and velocity who don't produce outs.

    It's pretty clear they think there is something there. Between Brewer, Thornburg, Wright, Lakins, Feltman maybe you hit on 2/5 and end up in decent shape. It's absolutely a gamble, but all of those arms have legitimate arm talent. We'll see. It's not without risk, but given the payroll and the roster, this is the place where they can try and save money with the least amount of potential impact.
     
  47. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    It's starting to look like this really is the strategy, and maybe it works. I keep forgetting how important a potential piece of this puzzle Brewer is. A 93 mph cutter is a serious weapon. And his K/BB ratios and GB rates in the high minors are impressive. Of course those won't translate directly to MLB, at least not right away, but they're encouraging.
     
  48. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    3,560
  49. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    They brought Moylan's tweet up on MLB Now yesterday. Before they gave it context with their discussion, I assumed it was some writer or blogger or fan tweeting, not a player. I'd never heard of him and was shocked to discover he's been in the majors for 13 years.

    My question to Moylan, or any other free agent that might feel the same, would be: are you willing to take a minor league deal with an invitation to camp? If so, then yeah, maybe you have a point. If not, maybe that's the answer to why the Sox are signing Mejia instead of you.
     
  50. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    Sounds more like dark humor than a "rip" or a whine to me. (I think it helps to read the tweet with an Aussie accent; he's from a suburb of Perth.) Not really a putdown of the Sox or even Mejia exactly, just a "so it's come to this" riff.

    Moylan is/was a soft-tossing extreme groundball specialist who consequently pulled off what are probably some of the most ginormous FIP-ERA deltas in MLB history in his early years. Like for instance 2008: 4.72 FIP, 1.59 ERA. He was still a useful middle relief type as recently as 2017, but last year the bottom kind of fell out.
     

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