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Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

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

  1. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    10,057
    Donaldson took 1/23 coming off an injury-marred season and is headed into his age 33 season. I don't think longer deals were likely to be out there for him, but he signed so early he didn't really look for one either. Plus he was re-uniting with his former GM to play for his boyhood team. I'm not sure it is really a make-good, prove himself kind of deal. He just wanted to play for the Braves.

    If there's a 3 or 4-year offer on the table for Kimbrel, I can't see him passing it up to take a one or two year deal, even for a greater AAV. Not at age 30 for a reliever. He might have all the confidence in the world in his ability, and rightly so, but like any other pitcher, he's an injury away from being Carson Smith.
     
  2. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    17,845
    Agreed. Fangraphs' splits leaderboards allow you to look at high-leverage performance across a range of stats. Here's how nine prominent 2018 FAs rank in each of three relevant metrics in high-leverage situations over the past 5 years:

    FIP:
    A. Miller 2.11
    C. Kimbrel 2.38
    Z. Britton 2.55
    D. Robertson 3.15
    A. Ottavino 3.48
    T. Rosenthal 3.50
    C. Allen 3.57
    J. Familia 3.58
    B. Brach 3.64

    wOBA allowed:
    Z. Britton .216
    A. Miller .219
    C. Kimbrel .240
    B. Brach .262
    D. Robertson .272
    J. Familia .276
    T. Rosenthal, C. Allen, A. Ottavino .295

    K-BB%:
    A. Miller 32.0%
    C. Kimbrel 27.1%
    D. Robertson 24.9%
    C. Allen 20.4%
    Z. Britton 18.9%
    T. Rosenthal 15.7%
    A. Ottavino 15.6%
    B. Brach 12.3%
    J. Familia 10.0% (46)
     
  3. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,096
    I had to google Tony Watson. I really did not watch a lot of non Boston games the last few years.
     
  4. SoxinSeattle

    SoxinSeattle Member SoSH Member

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    1,391
  5. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

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    12,134
    I hope we're in on potentially bringing the Brach show to Boston.
    [​IMG]
    If he can produce near the level he's been at for the last 5 years, he would be a big help.
     
  6. OCD SS

    OCD SS Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    7,193
    That’s the problem with looking at these leaderboards: the volatility and decline of relievers makes it hard to use these numbers to predict future performance. If you expand the sample to 5 years in an attempt to get a meaningful sample, you’re not accounting for the player’s performance trajectory.

    Andrew Miller’s last 5 years includes his last year in Boston and discounts his lack of innings this year due to injury. I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox would rather have signed him to his last contract than his new deal with Cardinals.
     
  7. BCsMightyJoeYoung

    BCsMightyJoeYoung Member SoSH Member

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    5,003
    So .. Britton gets 3/39 or possible 4/52 or possibly 2/26

    I think Kimbrel is coming back at something like 4/60. I’m sure Boston will prefer 3 years but that probably won’t get it done.
     
  8. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,845
    Right, and I would add that the "volatility" is partly an artifact of the way the sample size is stretched out over relatively long time periods, which makes it hard to tell if an extended bad stretch for a reliever is just random variation or a new phase of their career arc.

    Looking at Kimbrel, for instance, a lot of the hesitancy people are feeling about him stems from his performance after the ASB this year, when he had a 4.57 ERA and a 16.5% walk rate. But this only covers 21.2 innings. If you look at 2018's best AL starters, most of them had 20-some-inning stretches that looked quite bad--Verlander in August, Kluber in June/July, Price in April/May, Sale in May/June, Severino in July. But these stretches only lasted a few weeks, and aren't going to have much impact on those pitchers' perceived value going forward.
     
  9. BornToRun

    BornToRun Member SoSH Member

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    10,415
    Yeah, I was really surprised by Britton getting that much and my guess is Craig settles at 4/60 and I think he gets it from us. It seems like the Braves would be interested at somewhere around 3/45 but I bet the Sox bring him back before it reaches that point. It feels like Craig coming back is a matter of when at this point but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic and save my joyous screeching for when a deal is announced. Fingers crossed.
     
  10. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    8,889
    I'm more concerned with his BB% which has mostly been trending upwards since 2013. Granted in 2017, he had a career low BB% so who knows. Relievers are volatile.
     
  11. InsideTheParker

    InsideTheParker Member SoSH Member

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    23,217
    I bet the volume of my lamentations out-decibels that.
     
  12. Dewey'sCannon

    Dewey'sCannon Well-Known Member Silver Supporter

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    535
    As more of these guys come off the market, I'm really questioning whether DD wants to go 3-4 years on any of these guys, Kimbrel included. I really don't think he wants to tie up that much money over that period into an over-30 reliever, when he has so many other ways to spend that money in 2020 and 2021. Unless you think the budget is unlimited (which I suppose it could be), then 4/60 may even be too much for Kimbrel.
     
  13. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

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    9,846
    It’s very possible he doesn’t get a 4 year offer.
     
  14. keninten

    keninten lurker

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    507
    Don`t know where to put this but my thought is free up some money for the bullpen. Can the Sox renegotiate a contract such as Porcello`s. He`s due $21 mil next year. Could they offer him 4/$60 and save $6 mil this year to spend elsewhere? I don`t know if their is anything in the CBA which prevents it.
     
  15. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    32,718
    He wouldn't take that. It's offering him 3 years at $13 million/year. He'll do better than that unless he has a Pomeranz type year
     
  16. keninten

    keninten lurker

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    507
    So the Sox can do something like that to cut payroll?
     
  17. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    10,057
    Extend players at lower future salaries to reduce AAV hits? Sure they can. But it takes two to tango and what is the player's motivation to do that? Why would Porcello agree to a pay cut for the next three years?
     
  18. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,426
    I agree that he wouldn’t do it, but suppose Porcello about hits his 3 year averages this season. How much better does he look than Lance Lynn looked last offseason, and ended up begging for a contract, then quickly took a 3/$30 deal this year. JA Happ is older, but better, and he only got $17 per. Gio Gonzales is a good risk comp for Porcello if he has a slightly down year. Gio doesn’t have a QO weighing him down, and is unsigned. Porcello seems like exactly the kind of guy who is getting squeezed in this new market, especially because he’ll be tagged with a qualifying offer.
     
  19. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    4,888
    We've already got 3 starters locked in through 2021, I wouldn't use our somewhat precious payroll room on a Porcello extension; better to be opportunistic with whoever is getting squeezed at the moment and use the savings on Mookie and Xander.
     
  20. curly2

    curly2 Member SoSH Member

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    3,905
    My fear is a long-term contract for him at this point. If he had taken the qualifying offer, I would have been thrilled. I think he has a very good shot at being better in 2019 than he was in 2018 -- and in 2018 he was still a hell of a pitcher.

    But I think Kimbrel could become a guy who drops off a cliff quickly, which is why a lot of years for him scares me. His velocity in 2018 started to decline, and it's natural to assume it will continue to do so. And I just don't see him being great with a very good fastball. For him to be great, with his lack of command, he needs a dominant fastball, which he's always had.

    Kimbrel gets a lot of swings and misses on breaking balls that bounce or are nowhere near the plate. The reason is because his fastball is so great that hitters have to sell out to hit it, and when they guess fastball and get the breaking ball, they're helpless.

    Once his fastball becomes merely very good, which is very likely to happen at some point in a contract of four years or more, the breaking ball won't be nearly as effective, and he'll have to rely on a diminished fastball he doesn't command very well.
     
  21. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    15,170
    Herrera is off the board.



    Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan)
    Reliever Kelvin Herrera and the Chicago White Sox are in agreement on a two-year, $18 million deal with a vesting third-year option, sources tell ESPN.
     
  22. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

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    9,846
    None of Miller, Robertson or Herrera got a 3rd guaranteed year. Britton got 3. Still think it’s possible Kimbrel doesn’t get a 4 year offer.
     
  23. BornToRun

    BornToRun Member SoSH Member

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    10,415
    Honestly, I get happy every time I see another reliever fall off the board because it’s one less potential suitor to worry about. My wagon is permanently hitched to Craig’s beard.
     
  24. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Britton got 2 with an option buyout didn’t he?
     
  25. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    38,986
    No, it’s a confusing deal with options on both sides, but 3/39 is guaranteed.
     
  26. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,096
    Gotcha. I thought the team could opt out after second year and then had a fourth year they could pickup. Confused it, they have to decline fourth year by end of second I guess?
     
  27. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    38,986
    Yeah, after 2 years, NY can choose to pick up the 4th year. If they don’t, Britton can opt out of the third year.
     
  28. mauidano

    mauidano Mai Tais for everyone! SoSH Member

    Messages:
    26,767
    Looks like that’s the way it is going to play out. The longer this goes the less money being spent. Let’s get the leprechaun back on board at a fair price for all and move on.
     
  29. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,426
    I’m guessing the Red Sox have looked at the full history of dominant relievers around 30 years of age who had a significant second half drop off (including a truly horrific last month, which for Craig was October). I’m guessing the future outcomes aren’t pretty at all. One name on the list would be Dan Bard.

    I don’t think they’re signing Kimbrel. I don’t think they should sign him to any more than a one year deal.
     
  30. sackamano

    sackamano Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    641
    So, Bard was 27, which isn't really close to 30 in baseball years and was awful right from the beginning of 2012, not just the second half.

    Great point though.
     
  31. WheresDewey

    WheresDewey lurker

    Messages:
    35
    I'm hoping they get Ottavino. After the torture of watching Kimbrel in the playoffs, I hope to not see him in a Red Sox uniform (unless he signs for way less than predicted)
     
  32. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    1,117
    His poor beginning to the 2012 season wouldn't have anything to do with his being converted to a starter after the first 192 games of his MLB career were as a reliever, would it?
     
  33. RIrooter09

    RIrooter09 Member SoSH Member

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    4,242
    He actually started collapsing down the stretch in 2011 as a reliever.

    “Bard's season, like that of his team, came to a crushing end. After dazzling for most of 2011, Bard had a terrible last month of the year: "He finished September 0–4 with a 10.64 ERA, issuing more walks (nine) than he had in the previous three months combined (eight). Based on win probability added (WPA), the player most responsible for Boston's collapse was Bard."[8]
     
  34. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    2,900
    I'm finding myself leaning in the opposite direction. Can't see DD walking in to next season without one notable bullpen addition to the current crop.

    Much like JDM last year the fit and surrounding need for Kimbrel at what likely ends up being his current reality price is there. So yeah, guessing it's just a matter of time that isn't running on our own message board preference to see the surrounding squirm factor squared away sooner rather then latter.
     
  35. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    17,845
    Considering that Ottavino's career walk rate is a tick worse than Kimbrel's (9.9% to 9.8%), and even last year was only trivially better (11.9% to 12.6%), I wouldn't necessarily assume Ottavino would provide a more Geneva Convention-compliant viewing experience.
     
  36. Green Monster

    Green Monster Member SoSH Member

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    1,894
    Is Boxberger still available or did I miss him signing with somebody? Not an elite closer, but he might not be too expensive and could offer some depth that they lost with Kelly.
     
  37. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    4,018
    Right now they have:

    Barnes
    Brasier
    Brewer
    Hembree
    Poyner
    Smith
    Thornburg
    Velazquez
    Walden
    Workman

    Of this list, I think that right now Barnes, Brasier, Hembree, Thornburg, and Workman are legitimate MLB relievers. That's not enough quality arms. They HAVE to add one, probably two more. Kimbrel obviously would help a TON. I don't know what the Sox are looking to spend but they have got to add another guy or two. This just isn't a sufficient group at the moment.
     
  38. Oppo

    Oppo Member SoSH Member

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    1,214
    Still available, had been projected to make about $5 mil with Arz
     
  39. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,426
     
  40. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    The Bard comparison rings hollow to me. Looking at the totality of Bard's career from the moment he was drafted, the 2 years of good performance he had in 2009-2010 was more the outlier than the collapse of late 2011-2012. Conversely, Kimbrel has been more or less the same dominant pitcher for seven years. I'm not inclined to view his drop off in the latter part of the season, which may have been solved at the end of the ALCS and through the World Series, as a sign of imminent decline particularly on the scale of what happened to Bard.
     
  41. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    17,845
    Seems like the whole point of moves like the Brewer trade and the Putnam signing is so you don't end up having to pay market price for a reliably mediocre type like Boxberger. He's basically an overpriced Heath Hembree.
     
  42. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    11,426
    Huh? In his last 2 appearances in the WS Kimbrel pitched 2.1 innings, gave up 3 hits, walked 2, struck out nobody and gave up 2 runs.

    Thank God Sale was available to close game 5.
     
  43. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

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    Add Putnam to that list and Wright of course. But overall they are high on quantity and low on quality. I’d say Barnes, Brasier, Hembree and Wright are guaranteed spots plus whoever is signed. Leaves some healthy competition for 1-2 remaining spots between Workman, Thornburg, Smith, Brewer, Putnam, Velasquez, etc...
     
  44. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    10,057
    In his next to last appearance (game 3), he gave up a hit and a walk and NO runs in one. In his final appearance (game 4), he gave up two hits, a walk, and two runs. It was also his fourth outing in five days. Maybe, just perhaps, there is a possibility that he was a bit fatigued, maybe?

    Sale more or less forced his way into Game 5. He got up on his own and Cora basically said "what the hell" and put him in. Going for the throat. I don't think it was a reflection on Kimbrel at all.
     
    #444 Red(s)HawksFan, Jan 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  45. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,096
    Did Kimbrel bean anyone or throw one to the backstop? Walk like five guys in a row?
     
  46. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    That was 2012 Daniel Bard, September 2011 Daniel Bard looked just like 2018 October Craig Kimbrel.

    But I don’t want to get pinned down focusing on one imperfect example here. Like I said initially, I’m sure the Red Sox analytics team has studied the full sample of comparables, and adjusted for things like, in the case of Bard, being a little younger and having a lot less track record.

    I still expect those comparables look really bad, in aggregate.
     
  47. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    6,730
    My first thought for a reliever who fell off a cliff around age 30 was Eric Gagne. But he had an injury at that time (not to mention a likely loss of PEDs compared to his heyday).
    Seems as though there is a high number of closers who proved that 30, or even 35, was not an insurmountable barrier: Rivera, Hoffman, Reardon, Smith, Sutter
     
  48. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    15,170
    WS game 4 Kimbrel also had Swihart back there and he was a factor in that outing
     
  49. Minneapolis Millers

    Minneapolis Millers Member SoSH Member

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    1,884
    I realize he didn't stink at the end of the season, but 31 yo Mariano Rivera was pretty bad mid-season 2002, and ended the year with lesser numbers. Downward trend? Warning signs? He finished out his career pretty well.

    The Sox have a far better (if imperfect) idea than we do whether Kimbrel's 2d half and finish were indicative of an actual trend or more of a blip. If they give good money to Ottavino instead of waiting on CK, then they likely think it's the former. If they end up signing Kimbrel instead of any of the other relatively good alternatives who have been available this offseason, then it's the latter. Absent insider info, there's no way for us to know.
     
  50. Dewey'sCannon

    Dewey'sCannon Well-Known Member Silver Supporter

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    535
    If I were a team looking for a closer, I'd probably offer Kimbrel one of those new-fangled "swellopt" deals like the one the Yankees gave Britton, but with a higher AAV - something like 2/32, then the team can opt to give another 2/32, or if they don't, then the player can opt for another 1/16. So it ends up being 2/32, 3/48 or 4/64, depending on the options.

    But I don't know that such a deal works for the Sox. If, in addition to the standard concerns about decline in performance, the team is also worried about the need to maintain some payroll flexibility for 2020 and especially 2021, with the FAs (especially Mookie) coming up, I don't think they want to be locking up big money in a three or four year deal for a reliever. I think this is consistent with the statements DD has made on the subject, and reflected in the fact that they haven't signed any of the relievers that have come off the board thus far, even at seemingly "reasonable" prices. The media (e.g., Rosenthal) keeps talking about the Sox being reluctant to exceed the highest LT threshold again in 2019, but I think they're more worried about the impact on what they can do in '20 and '21.

    Maybe they've still got something up their sleeve. But I think any bullpen help is likely to come on a short-term deal (one or two years). They'd probably rather spend that money in '21 on Xander or Mookie, or even JBJ, than on Kimbrel. Or at least I would.
     

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