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Poll: Sox 2019 Bullpen

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by Savin Hillbilly, Jan 19, 2019.

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What do you think the Sox need to do with their bullpen as of mid-January 2019?

  1. Nothing. It's awesome.

    5 vote(s)
    2.7%
  2. Don't spend money now. Add midyear reinforcements via trade or callup as needed.

    39 vote(s)
    20.7%
  3. Sign a relatively low-cost veteran like Brach or Madson.

    49 vote(s)
    26.1%
  4. Sign a Brach type plus another, third tier guy like Axford.

    39 vote(s)
    20.7%
  5. Sign Kimbrel, whatever it takes.

    17 vote(s)
    9.0%
  6. Sign Kimbrel and at least one other guy.

    39 vote(s)
    20.7%
  1. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    I thought I'd throw this thread out here because the main bullpen thread has not only brought out a lot of our standard-issue pissiness, but also some statements along the lines of "a lot of people here think ____" with the blank filled by something simplistic or hyperbolic. So I thought, hey, let's find out what the sense of the house really is.
     
  2. Lose Remerswaal

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

    Messages:
    32,887
    I picked the third option, but multiple choices would have been good.
    And I've enjoyed seeing Madson in recent World Series (VERY recent WS) but I don't want to see him on my team in the postseason
     
  3. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    I picked 4, it’s closest to where I am, but it’s not quite my specific position. I think they need to sign two people projected to be significantly better than Heath Hembree. Get him back to 5th on the depth chart and I’m good.
     
  4. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    If the wording of the options is too specific, you could reframe them as

    1. Do nothing.
    2. Use only prospect talent.
    3. Get one pitcher for $10M or less AAV.
    4. Get two pitchers for about $15M.
    5. Get one pitcher for about $15M.
    6. Get two pitchers for $20M or more.
     
  5. Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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

    Messages:
    30,873
    I would much rather try the guys we've signed and our kids than sign Madson or Axford. Brach maybe, but he was pretty terrible last year. Sipp is one of the few that interests me, after reading what SV wrote about his improvement last season. But to me, most of the guys available are just more expensive versions of what we already have.
     
  6. Pozo the Clown

    Pozo the Clown lurker

    Messages:
    649
    As currently constructed, I see the pen as being 2 solid relievers shy of adequate for a legitimate shot at repeating as World Champions (so, I didn't vote as none of the choices reflect that position). My preference had been for them to acquire said 2 relievers via free agency ($246M upper threshold be damned) while the market was flush with really good options, but I'm also fine with a trade that doesn't adversely impact the 2019 Major League roster (though I'd like to see the minor-league system not suffer much in the way of further depletion).
     
  7. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    19,340
    Where's the choice for spend money but not on high $ guys like Kimbrel and don't trade any assets for any RP?
     
  8. Wake49

    Wake49 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    379
    Were Britton and/or Ottavino not options for us before they signed with the MFY? As a fan, I don’t give a shit about the luxury tax threshold and the Sox have done little regarding moves. Meanwhile, the MFY have improved their SP and BP quite a bit.
     
  9. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    There are two options (4 and 6) that involve signing two relievers. ("Solid" being in the eye of the beholder, of course.)

    Either choice 3 or 4 would fit those criteria, I would think.
     
  10. sackamano

    sackamano Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    650
    Is it a low-cost veteran people are voting for, or do people actually want Brach or Madson? I can't believe anyone who saw Brach or Madson pitch in 2018 would vote to have the Sox sign either of those two.
     
  11. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    Madson wasn't great, but had pretty bad luck; his actual wOBA allowed was 30 points higher than his xwOBA, and he had a terrible strand rate. His batted-ball numbers weren't bad, his velocity was still fine, his K/BB was OK. He was in the top 25 out of 310 in Statcast's Barrels/PA metric. It's always an iffy proposition to tab a 38-year-old as a good comeback bet, but on the face of it, he sure looks like one.

    Brach also looks a bit unlucky (actual wOBA 26 points above expected wOBA), but unlike Madson, he's lost velocity two years in a row, and his K rate has gone done while his BB rate has gone up over the same period. So I assume DD and co. are asking "is he just declining, or is there something there we can fix?".
     
  12. sackamano

    sackamano Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    650
    Just so I'm clear, fans are advocating signing a 38-year old possible comeback candidate who was last seen being embarrassed by the Sox on the games biggest stage, and coming off a bad year ... and Brach, who was putrid, but they're going to try to "fix" him and then the bullpen is going to be fine, or at least better?

    Can't see the Sox going anywhere near either one of these two.
     
  13. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    This isn't fantasy baseball. The options are what they are. None of them are without flaws. (Also, Brach was not "putrid" at all. He had a 3.67 FIP, which is perfectly respectable. He just wasn't especially good.)

    The fact that Madson was "last seen being embarrassed by the Sox on the games biggest stage" is not relevant to anything. Four years ago the Sox gave a 5/$95M contract to a guy who had serious conditioning issues and was showing some non-trivial signs of early decline, and a lot of fans were happy about it largely because he had last been seen kicking ass on "the games biggest stage". He contributed nearly nothing over two-plus years, and the team's payroll situation is still suffering from this mistake. Judging players by postseason performance is stupid.
     
  14. sackamano

    sackamano Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    650
    You're pretty sensitive. Sorry I questioned you're obvious superiority.

    Brach's WHIP was 1.6. That's terrible in any league. You've conceded that he's lost velocity. I doubt DD is thinking about him at all, nevermind asking if there's something they can "fix". But that's just me.

    Madson melting down in the WS is relevant to me. (and, coming off a bad year, like I stated originally)

    Speaking of not relevant, you sure stretched it out there with that bang on comparison to Panda. It's kinda of a reverse comparison thing right?
     
  15. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    Who do you think we should sign?
     
  16. curly2

    curly2 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,913
    I dispute the bolded, at least among the people on this board. Many of us were deriding it as dumb even before they signed Sandoval -- when it was just speculation -- and ripped it worse after the ludicrous contract terms came out.

    As for Madson, he had a bad season last year, except for the first two rounds of the playoffs, when he was great. He has been a good reliever for years, but a decline in a season in which he turned 38 is a red flag -- more so than an awful World Series.
     
  17. sackamano

    sackamano Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    650
    Still holding out hope that they can/will bring Kimbrel back.

    Don't see it as DD better sign (name a bunch of guys, all pretty bad, which is why most are unsigned ... and no, I don't consider Kimbrel bad because he's unsigned, before I get accused of that.) If they do sign CK, we're not having this conversation any longer, instead it'll turn into a 'Kimbrel, can we really trust him' thing.

    But, it isn't my money they're going to have to pay him with. Like many, I don't think it's how much, but for how long.

    There are still trade candidates and over 2 months before they actually need a viable bullpen. But what they have now is not viable, on that we can agree.

    Just don't think Brach or Madson is the answer to whatever question it is we're asking here. But no one here is privy to DD's plan.
     
  18. Trotsky

    Trotsky Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,020
    I voted "don't spend now... callup/trade...".
    I don't think our bullpen is awesome but it's good. To the people that are worried about Madson being added because the Sox beat the snot out of him in the playoffs.... wouldn't you be worried that a bunch of teams beat the snot over and over again out of Kimbrell?
    Kimbrell will just be too pricey, even for one year. I don't think the Sox are going over the threshold.
    Bullpen arms are just too volatile for me- the consistently great ones are few and far between and far too expensive at this point. I wouldn't be shocked if stinkin' Heath Hembree has a dominant season and Kimbrell turned into Bard circa 2012. Throwing one inning every few games has too much variance spread out over a single season for me to spend money on the "established" bullpen arms out there that don't cost a fortune.
    And yes... I think that Brasier is the Real Deal. Give me 2.5 very good bullpen arms and this team can go the distance again..... and I think we have that right now.
     
  19. Minneapolis Millers

    Minneapolis Millers Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,894
    I bet they'd go over the 2d limit if they could sign Kimbrel to a one-year deal. DD has probably been told that Kimbrel doing that is highly unlikely.
     
  20. section15

    section15 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    118
    Bullpen situations are volatile; DD has to build the best pen he can - but as we've all seen, guys who excelled one year can implode the next, and some guys don't do well yet suddenly get it together.

    Building a bullpen can be a pure crapshoot. That being said, I wouldn't mind Kimbrel back on a 1-year, plus 1-year club option, although in September and October, he made too many routine save situations far "too interesting".

    And the next closer could be already here - just, in a current role and we don't expect it.
     
  21. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    They have one reliever on the team who would even make the Yankees bullpen out of spring training. They will start the season with the worst bullpen among all the playoffs contenders and it isn’t close.

    I understand they can try to fix this tire fire as the season plays out, but April can be a very long and damaging month.
     
  22. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

    Messages:
    39,287
    Actually I think CLE is in a roughly similar position currently after losing Miller and Allen, very thin after Hand.
     
  23. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    Yeah, I agree they’re close to the same situation. As of right now though, they will be able to put either Bieber or Plutko out there to shore it up internally. And, Otero is only one year removed from being excellent.

    Plus, the Indians are not saying they are done signing anybody else as prices fall to rock bottom levels here. Though it appears that purported Dombrowski quote above may have been fake news, so I’m breathing a little easier now.
     
  24. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    Isn't Bieber slated for their rotation?

    As for Plutko, he seems like a Workman clone: swingman type with decent control but not enough stuff to consistently prevent hard contact. I'm not sure why having him available makes Cleveland's situation appreciably better than ours, but maybe I'm selling him short.
     
  25. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,907
    At this point I'm in for a sign Kimbrel at whatever it takes vote. At least while assuming that whatever isn't going to be anything even remotely as painful as some of the original projections being thrown around.

    You can't rationally look at last year's body of work as a whole and honestly believe this bullpen minus both Kimbrel and Kelly for the year isn't a playoff positioning disaster waiting to happen. You just can't imo. Our chip pile is already pushed in for 2019, we don't have the trade ammo to realistically be in on any of the better mid-season acquisition possibilities, and there just isn't enough 2nd tier cap flexibility left to run with a reasonable expectation plan that we'd manage to stay under in a contending season.

    That Kimbrel is still sitting out there also furthers the belief (or hope I guess) that contrary to a lot of posturing, that has been DD's projected market play plan since day 1.
     
  26. BCsMightyJoeYoung

    BCsMightyJoeYoung Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    5,011
    I voted for Kimbrel whatever etc.

    If there had been an option for “Sign Kimbrel for high value/ short term I would have voted for that. If the Phillies don’t sign him it looks like Boston remains the sole suitor. Opening offer 3/48 - and bail if it goes north of 3/60

    Do not offer more than three years.
     
  27. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    Plutko has never relieved before, so you never know. But his AA numbers as a starter are really good, and last season in AAA as a starter he was unhittable. He was a bit old for both levels when he was doing that. He looks a lot like Workman before the injury. But he’s been a lot better than post-TJ Workman has been.
     
  28. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    Really? I'm not seeing it in the numbers. Workman was terrible in his abbreviated 2016 stint coming back from TJ, but he's been very good in AAA the past two years. In the majors he's been mediocre, but not terrible. Over the same period, Plutko's been terrible in the minors, then outstanding in the minors, then terrible in the majors. Looking at their past 2 years as a whole, I don't see any reason to prefer Plutko; the reverse if anything. Of course Workman's older, but neither of them is young, so I'm not sure that matters.
     
  29. nvalvo

    nvalvo Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    15,574
    I favor signing Kimbrel to a deal in the 3/$45-4/$60 range, but I would also be interested in trading for a few setup types.

    The deal I proposed in the other thread was Michael Chavis to SF for Will Smith and Tony Watson. I figure that Chavis' expected surplus value is probably around $20-30m stretched over six years, while Smith and Watson are likely worth 3ish wins collectively in 2019, while being paid for about one.
    • Smith is earning $4.23m, and is a FA after 2019. He threw 53 IP of 2.07 FIP ball in 2018. He'll be 29.
    • Watson is on the second year of a 2 year, $6.5m deal, that includes a player option at $2.5 for 2020 and a $500k buyout. Watson threw 66 IP at a 2.45 FIP in 2018. He'll be 34.
    • You'd expect both of them to give up a few more HR, given the AL East's ballparks and opponents, but they're both good setup men.
    Chavis gives the Giants a position player with upside to try at 1B/2B/3B/LF. Word is, they are shopping Panik for real prospects, and they basically have three question marks in the OF — Steven Duggar is the most accomplished outfielder in the organization, and he has 1.1 career bWAR! He'd basically be competing with this guy for LF PA.

    For Boston, a bullpen of...

    Barnes RHCL
    Brasier RHSU
    Watson LHSU
    W Smith LHSU
    Hembree MR
    Workman or Thornburg (if healthy) MR
    Wright or Johnson SW

    ...looks pretty good to me, with Brewer, Poyner, Velazquez, Shawaryn, Lakins, C Smith, and Taylor in the wings.
     
  30. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    Workman is pitching middle relief, Plutko is starting.
     
  31. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    He was relieving about 30% of the time, and he was not more effective in his relief appearances. I think that's a red herring.
     
  32. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    As we all agree on the idea that relief pitching stats are volatile in part because of small sample sizes, why focus only on 2018 regular season stats for Workman? Suppose you combine Workman's Regular season and playoff stats, plus his MLE for the innings he pitched in AAA. How do they look? Those 3G, 1 IP combined, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 R, 2HR skews things....or was that the regression to the mean?
     
    #32 Plympton91, Jan 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  33. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,307
    The Phillies currently have Robertson, Dominguez, Hunter, Neshek, Morgan, Neris, Pazos, Nicasio, and Alvarez in their bullpen. Only Dominguez has the option of being sent to the minors, and he’s probably the second-best arm.

    Signing Kimbrel would mean they’d have to cut or trade one from that lot, and it’s not a slam dunk bet Craig would be better than that guy — especially at the cost. They also have Pazos, Ramos, and Arano on the 40-man, who’ve each put up nice numbers on the majors over full seasons.

    I think one thing that could happen in the next few weeks is a flush of out-of-options players, particularly relievers. Teams can afford them financially, but they can’t afford the inflexibility.
     
  34. Dewey'sCannon

    Dewey'sCannon Well-Known Member Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    548
    If they can sign Kimbrel for one year, great. But I would not go beyond one year - they're going need that money for more important priorities next year and beyond.

    If they can't get Kimbrel to come back on a one-year deal, then see what you've got in the spring and early season, and adjust accordingly.
     
  35. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    Yes, Workman certainly had a rough postseason -- but if you include it in his 2018 MLB line, it's still better than Plutko's. And of course we don't know how Plutko would have done against playoff competition, because the Indians didn't deem him worthy of the opportunity.

    Computing MLEs seems like too big a lift for a question like this, but projections might be worth looking at. I took the average of three projection systems -- Steamer, ZiPS, and THE BAT -- for six rate stats for each pitcher. Here's what that produced:

    ERA: Workman 4.52, Plutko 4.62
    WHIP: Workman 1.38, Plutko 1.27
    FIP: Workman 4.44, Plutko 4.70
    K/9: Workman 8.55, Plutko 7.99
    BB/9: Workman 3.48, Plutko 2.87
    HR/9: Workman 1.26, Plutko 1.58

    If anything, Workman comes out looking better here, but the projection systems see both as mediocre, which seems plausible enough. (FWIW, ZiPS liked Workman best and Plutko worst of the three systems, while THE BAT had that reversed, and Steamer saw them as nearly equivalent, with a slight edge to Workman.)
     
  36. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    Fair enough, This is a Red Sox board, so there’s a limit to how much we should talk about Plutko. Those projections are still overwhelmingly based on Plutko’s rates as a starter, whereas Workman’s mediocre projection has much less variance around it. As I’ve said, I’m not saying Hembree and Workman aren’t useful bullpen pieces. I’d be thrilled with them if they were slated to be the 5th and 6th best pitchers in the pen instead of the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best pitchers in the pen. The Sox have lots of good depth, but the idea that any of these nearly 30 year old established mediocrities is suddenly going to become a relief ace is fanciful at best.
     
  37. Y Kant Jody Reed

    Y Kant Jody Reed lurker

    Messages:
    19
    Given apparent payroll constraints and relief-pitcher volatility, it probably makes more sense to trade for a half a season of a $6 million reliever than sign a $3 million reliever.
     
    #37 Y Kant Jody Reed, Jan 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  38. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    17,893
    Agree with most of this. The only reason for harping on the Plutko thing is that I think it's a good example of our grass-is-greener reflexes. It shows how, if Workman were pitching for one of the other contenders, we'd be hyping him as an example of their quality depth, and saying "why can't we get guys like that?".
     
  39. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    That’s not what I’m arguing though. I agree that Workman is an excellent part of “quality depth,” which I define as people I’m happy to have as my 5th or 6th best reliever. The Red Sox have about 8 of those, if you include the prospects like Lakins, who I’d also be happy to see as the 12th man in the bullpen at some point this season.

    The problem is that the Red Sox have no one except Barnes who belongs anywhere near a 1 run lead in the 8th or 9th inning. Even if Brasier pitches like he did in 2018, his peripherals are those of a 7th inning guy, not a relief ace.
     
  40. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    9,288
    Depending on the peripherals you look at, Brasier could be an 8th inning guy or a 7th inning guy.

    I don't know much about Plutko but if he were a lefty, we'd be comparing him to Brian Johnson instead of Workman. His numbers in the minors last year scream lucky rather than dominating. He had decent control but his K rate was nothing special and his HR rate was probably flukish. Add to that an insanely low BAbip and I don't see why anyone would expect him to be a relief ace. Go look at Robby Scott's stats last year in AAA, that's dominating. No one is pining for Robby Scott and rightfully so.

    Also, if you include Ryan Brasier's minor league and playoff appearances like you did with Workman, that brings him to a 1.42 era over 82.2 innings with 20bb/76k (2ibb) and a WHIP of .937.

    edit: On 2nd look, Scott's year isn't that dominating, actually. Point still stands.
     
    #40 bosox79, Jan 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  41. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    9,288
    To nail the point home:

    Plutko in AAA: 1.70 era over 84.2 ip. 16bb/81k. .744 Whip. 5.0h/9, 0.5HR/9, 1.7bb/9 8.6k/9.
    Braiser in MLB: 1.60 era over 33.2 ip. 7bb/29k. .771 Whip. 5.1h/9, 0.5HR/9, 1.9bb/9 7.8k/9.

    You are talking about how great and unhittable Plutko was this year and ready to call him better than anyone on the Redsox not named Barnes, and at the same time talk about how lucky Brasier was and that we'd be lucky for him to be more than a 7th inning guy even though he was literally just as good at the MLB level as Plutko was in AAA.

    You also don't even bother mentioning how well Brasier performed in the minors while making it a huge point with Plutko.

    Braiser in AAA: 1.34 era over 40.1 IP. 8bb/40k. .917 WHIP. 6.5h/9, 0.2HR/9, 1.8bb/9, 8.9k/9.

    Why do Indians pitchers get credit for that but not Redsox pitchers? The grass is greener.

    I also just noticed Lakins line out of the pen for 2018, small but dominating.
    1.21 era, 37.1ip, 13bb/37k, .830 WHIP, .2HR/9 4.3H/9, 3.1BB/9, 8.9k/9.

    I don't see why Plutko is more encouraging than him either.
     
    #41 bosox79, Jan 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  42. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Messages:
    11,492
    For like the 5th time, Because Plutko was putting up those numbers as a starter. It’s simply not an apples to apples comparison. Almost everyone improves when they focus on pitching out of the pen. Johnson was bad as a reliever last year too, but I don’t think you should project those stats as what he’d do if he became a full time reliever and, like most relievers, started focusing more on his 2 best pitches, and getting a higher percentage of favorable matchups.

    Lakins had 37k in 37 IP as a reliever. That’s not “dominating” anymore in a world where relievers are getting up to 12 and 13 K/9.
     
  43. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    9,288
    Yeah, an .830 WHIP isn't dominating and everything is about K/9. Anyway, my main point is people dominating AAA doesn't mean anything.

    Are you a Jalen Beeks fan?
     
  44. sackamano

    sackamano Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    650
    Bud Norris is a guy who I've not seen mentioned. He struggled down the stretch last season, but was pretty good for the Cardinals overall.

    Has a bit of a reputation as a clubhouse cement head, but he's not alone there.

    He is 33 ... but he's fairly new to being a full-time reliever. He has gained some velocity since the switch to the pen.
     

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