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Tavarez as 5th Starter


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#1 86spike


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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:11 AM

I think it's time to seriously consider this idea for next season.

Julian could slot in 5th behind Schill, Beckett, Papelbon ( or FA signing), Wakefield.

What do you guys think? At the minimum it seems like Theo has a new option as he builds for next year.

#2 jacklamabe65


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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:13 AM

I think he should be in the mix. As we learned this year, we never can have too many starting pitchers. While its a small sample, for sure, I do feel more confident with JT when he starts a game then when he is warming up in the bullpen. The best of all worlds - a long reliever, spot starter.

#3 geoduck no quahog


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Posted 23 September 2006 - 11:25 AM

Can someone comment on the movement in his pitches last night? I've never quite seen balls track like that from the CF camera (almost two different directions)...and they were mostly ending up on the black.

I'm just wondering if I'm exaggerating.

#4 semsox

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 11:38 AM

Tavarez has always had a lot of movement on his pitches. As to what he's doing different since the move to the pen, I know not. One thing that is certain though is that teams are swinging early against him....it's just not working anymore. Almost every start I've seen of his, it seems he's only throwing 10-12 pitches per inning. They're swinging early and just hitting the ball into the ground. For some reason, I also feel that he can't sustain the kind of run he's had over a longer period of time, and team's will start to hit him eventually. That being said, right now I feel more confident with him out there than most of our other starters, and that's a frightening thought...

#5 Caspir

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 12:07 PM

Can someone comment on the movement in his pitches last night? I've never quite seen balls track like that from the CF camera (almost two different directions)...and they were mostly ending up on the black.

I'm just wondering if I'm exaggerating.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



"I got away with a lot of pitches. It was one of those days where you get away with everything," Tavarez said. "A lot of times I got away with a fastball up or a hanging slider and those guys just hit it right at somebody."


Link

I didn't see the game, but apparently he wasn't as great as the box score. I'd still give him a shot in ST though. Can't hurt.

#6 Dummy Hoy


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Posted 23 September 2006 - 12:09 PM

A real solid CG by Tavarez tonight. As far as I can figure, that gives him a 3.57 ERA in his four legit starts, three of which were against Chi, Tor, NY, who are all good hitting teams. Obviously a tiny sample size (25.2 IP), but he has looked pretty effective. He would be a nice 6th starter, swing man next year, no?

A pretty sick 53-12 GB-FB differential as well.


Just pulling my thoughts from the 2007 pitching thread. I would prefer to have 5 starters ahead of JT, but I have been very impressed with his stuff as a starter. I wonder if he is more relaxed because he knows giving up a run or two isn't the end of the world when you are a starter?

also, he probably wasn't as good as the box score, but we certianly don't expect THAT kind of performance every time out.

#7 SoxFanPJ


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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:30 PM

Tavarez should be the 6th starter and a frequent contributor out of the bullpen next season. The goal this offseason should be to build a healthier and deeper pitching staff. Having Tavarez in reserve (6th SP) instead of in the 5th SP role allows you greater depth.

#8 Noah

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:42 PM

Tavarez is ridiculously durable and has crazy movement on all his pitches. When he was a reliever this year he would make one guy look silly with a breaking ball and then send a fastball tailing over the middle of the plate thigh-high to the next guy.

If you didn't understand before why Tito kept going back to Tavarez time after time in the bullpen after every failure, it's clear now. His pitches just move like crazy. And if you let this guy be a starter and settle into a groove instead of throwing him into the fire as a reliever, I have to think that he's a lot less likely to hang pitches, which has been his only problem this year. And so far the results back that up.

You have to go into ST next year with this guy as a starter. Unless of course Gonzalez and Lowell are replaced with lesser defensive players, then maybe you'd have to rethink having a sinkerballer in the rotation.

#9 Mike F


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Posted 25 September 2006 - 04:16 PM

The good news, of course, is that he has at least increased his market value.
Keep on chucking them boss innings Julian. Without getting into some trade possibilities, the Sox are enhanced by JT's work in Sept.

#10 amarshal2

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 10:14 AM

You have to go into ST next year with this guy as a starter. Unless of course Gonzalez and Lowell are replaced with lesser defensive players, then maybe you'd have to rethink having a sinkerballer in the rotation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think you can't go into ST with him as anything more than the 6th starter. Obvously he's been pretty good in the 29 innings we've seen him as a starter, but over his career I think he's got a K/B of below 1.0 in that role. The groundball tendancies are obviously nice, but that's a very large jump in innings and a big leap of faith. Especially when you consider how this year played out, I think it would be a mistake to count on Julian for 180+ innings next year. If he goes into the season as the long man/6th starter, he'll see plenty of time in the rotation.

#11 LynnRoyalRooter

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 02:20 PM

In my opinion you don't annoint 5th starters...you have a bunch of guys (3-4) that are options in that slot and/or multiple innings out of the pen. If they suck you pull them into low leverage situations until they snap out of it. So in that vein, yes, he should be one of those guys they look at for the back of the rotation.

#12 The Napkin


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 01:06 PM

Does anyone have a video clip of his unassisted pickoff attempt at 2nd last night? That was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. A friend and I were talking and think it's worth giving him a shot as a starter just for moments like that and his habit of pointing out which bases to throw to. :lol:

#13 Caspir

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 02:02 PM

He has appeared in five games in September, all starts. He's 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA in just over 30 innings. He doesn't K alot of guys (13) and he's walked a few more than you'd like to see (12), but he's been solid overall. The five walks last night, and the four against the Yankees need work, but I've been impressed with him this month.

#14 eddiew112

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 02:45 PM

With the teams rotation for next year so up in the air at this point, Julian may have won himself as high as the 4th job.

#15 URI


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 03:38 PM

Something to remember is that there really is no such thing as a number 5 starter. The fifth starter is a guy, on most teams, that gets cycled in and out, usually resting somewhere between replacement level and average.

Look at the three best teams in the AL East, sorted by 5th-7th starters, ranked by number of starts:
Blue Jays:
Gustavo Chacin (17 starts, 5.05) T-4th most starts
Casey Jenssen (17 starts, 5.07) T-4th most starts
Shaun Marcum (13 starts, 4.92)
Josh Towers (12 starts, 8.84)

Red Sox:
Matt Clement (12 starts, 6.61)
Kyle Snyder (10 starts, 6.02)
David Wells (8 starts, 4.98)

Yankees:
Shawn Chacon (11 starts, 7.00)
Corey Lidle (9 starts, 5.08)
Jeff Karstens (5 starts, 4.00)

#16 Guest_Corsi Combover_*

Posted 30 September 2006 - 04:20 PM

If the Sox start the 2007 season with Tavarez penciled into the rotation, I will be thoroughly disappointed. Sure, he's had a nice little run here, but to rely on him for 32 above-average starts is a pretty stupid gamble, IMO. He's best suited as our long-man/spot starter, and he should be relied upon accordingly.

Edited by Corsi Combover, 30 September 2006 - 04:23 PM.


#17 Avalokiteshvera

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 05:10 PM

I like JT. He gets fired up for the game, has character and heart, and has proven himself with his pitching. Though a small sample size, I believe his numbers require serious consideration for a permanent spot in the rotation.

He is also fun to watch. I have always enjoyed enigmatic personalities on the pitching staff, and there have been some!

I would favor JT in the rotation over Paps. Paps is another discussion, however.

#18 URI


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 05:34 PM

I like JT. He gets fired up for the game, has character and heart, and has proven himself with his pitching. Though a small sample size, I believe his numbers require serious consideration for a permanent spot in the rotation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Of all the things I've read about Tavarez, I've never seen his character mentioned as a positive.

What in his performance suggest that he is a season long fill in the rotation? Otherwise, he's just circling the 5th starter carosel with 4 other guys yet to be named.

#19 15'sCementShoes

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 05:47 PM

This is crazy talk. Tavarez pitched well in meaningless games. It shows that he is a versatile guy and seems to have a rubber arm - kinda like a more insane version of Arroyo. He's a bullpen guy who can start in a pinch so we never have to endure another Jason Johnson performance. That's all.

#20 TFisNEXT


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 05:53 PM

I'd imagine Tavarez will have the chance to win the 5th spot in spring training next year. But I definitely just dont want to give him the 5th spot without heavy competition. But if he can put up a low to mid 4s ERA as a longman reliever/ spot starter, that would be valuable as well.

#21 Vermonter At Large


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 06:14 PM

Of all the things I've read about Tavarez, I've never seen his character mentioned as a positive.

What in his performance suggest that he is a season long fill in the rotation?  Otherwise, he's just circling the 5th starter carosel with 4 other guys yet to be named.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well ... I think the sample size of five games is fairly small, but I really like the combination of movement and control I've seen out of him in his starts (In OOTP terms, I would give him ratings of around 5-8-8 right now, lol) and the most impressive number that can be gleaned from his five starts is a .241 BABIP as a starter.

I tend to think he can sustain that. I guess the larger question is, "What do we want the roster composition to be like for 2007?" If we think we are going to end up with a rotation of five power guys (Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon and ...), then we should have no interest in Tavarez. If we want a guy in the mix who is going to elicit weak contact and not hurt himself much with HRs and walks in the number four or five slot in the rotation, then I see no reason to go out and sign a free agent with that basic skillset when Tavarez is around.

Frankly, if the Sox do sign a number four guy (Zito, Mulder, Matsuzake, etc), then I would leave the number five slot as a competition between Tavarez, Wakes and perhaps a guy like Gabbard or Snyder or even Hansack. If one of the first two emerges (and right now I would prefer the 5-game Tavarez over any iteration of Wakefield), then the other goes to the bullpen (and the other three go to Pawtucket).

#22 Eric Van


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 06:41 PM

Frankly, if the Sox do sign a number four guy (Zito, Mulder, Matsuzake, etc), then I would leave the number five slot as a competition between Tavarez, Wakes and perhaps a guy like Gabbard or Snyder or even Hansack.  If one of the first two emerges (and right now I would prefer the 5-game Tavarez over any iteration of Wakefield), then the other goes to the bullpen (and the other three go to Pawtucket).

Well, Snyder is out of options, but this is certainly a viable plan. And note that if Wakefield and Tavarez are your 5 and 6 (or 6 and 5), the question of which one will be in the pen will often be moot, as one of the 6 guys will usually be hurt.

It's very unusual for a guy to pitch better as a starter than as a reliever, so just how good a starter Tavarez will be in the long run is still unclear after this small sample. But I think the following conclusions are probably correct:

1) Compared to the average pitcher, his perfromance as a starter is better than you'd expect based on his performance as a reliever.

2) Given how much more valuable starters are, he should be in some team's rotation next year (i.e., top 6 starting candidates) rather than in someone's pen.

What is unclear is just how good he is. At the extremes, he may be good enough to be a 5th starter on a top contender, or he may be only good enough to be a 6th starter type (making 20-25 starts and pitching long relief the rest of the time) on a team with a lesser playoff aspirations.

#23 bosox79

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 02:37 PM

He's had plenty of starts in 2001, 2002 or around that time and totally bombed. I cant really get excited about him starting 25-30 games for the Sox.

#24 Lucen


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Posted 01 October 2006 - 03:17 PM

He's had plenty of starts in 2001, 2002 or around that time and totally bombed.  I cant really get excited about him starting 25-30 games for the Sox.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I don't think anyone is suggesting we get excited about him as a starter in 2007, but considering the alternatives, he may be better than the Kyle Snyder's of the world. Personally, I'd like to see them make a hard push at Zito, but I don't know how realistic that is of me. Tavarez as a 5th starter, or a spot starter and long man might not be an awful idea. I mean, where are they going to get better options in this market? I have no interest in seeing any more national league pitchers try their hand in the AL East, which leaves very little attainable talent that would be much of an improvement over Julian.

I've been calling for his head all year, (Ok, well, most of the year, since it became apparent that he was an awful reliever) but sadly, this team has found itself in a position where they simply might not have a better choice in 2007. He's looked alright as a starter down the stretch... I wouldn't mind giving him a shot to compete for a spot in spring training.

#25 67WasBest


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Posted 01 October 2006 - 03:34 PM

He's had plenty of starts in 2001, 2002 or around that time and totally bombed.  I cant really get excited about him starting 25-30 games for the Sox.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'll grant the recent sample size is small, but it means a whole lot more than stats from 4 and 5 years ago. Hell, Trot Nixon had a .935 OPS in 2003 (only 3 years ago), does that indicate he will do it again?

If the guy is going to be on the team next year, he has shown himself better as a starter than a reliever. Slot him as LR / 6th starter and feel better about not having Snyder in that role.

#26 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 01 October 2006 - 07:31 PM

Tavarez needs to start the season in the pen. He can fill in in the rotation as needed, and he will be needed at some point. But we need to go out and get a couple starters who are better than him.

If he keeps throwing the ball like this, he will pitch pretty well no matter what the role. He seems to have a lot more late movement on his pitches now than he did until Sept. Maybe letting him start let him get himself together. He needs that sink in his stuff to be effective.

But the role he should start out in next year is to come in in the 6th or 7th and throw 2 innings. As long as his pitches have that late sink like they've had lately, he'll be an effective pitcher.
Ideally, you'd try to bring him in with no one in scoring position, since he's a groundball pitcher and you don't want a little dribbler going for a run-scoring hit. You can't always do that with relievers, but this is a guy who can start the 7th and put up 2 zeroes for you when he's keeping the ball down. They should try to use him like that next year if he's still pitching well.

He needs to keep the ball down, get hitters to hit grounders, and keep the ball in the ballpark. He's done that lately, but couldn't in the first half of the season. He gave up 7 HRs in his first 47.1 IP of the season, and Tavarez can't succeed with a HR rate that high. Some pitchers can, but he can't.

When he's going good, no one hits HRs off him. In the second half of this year, he only allowed 3 HRs in 51.1 IP. When he was good 2003-2005, he almost never gave up HRs.

I hated this guy earlier in the year, but now I don't. I think he's funny now. I love the ol' Tiant-style look-at-second-base-in-your-windup move he throws in there sometimes. He's a potential incident at any time though, and I wouldn't want him trying to close games, he seems likely to lose composure at any time. But he can be a help as long as he's keeping the ball in the park.

#27 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 01 October 2006 - 07:41 PM

Frankly, if the Sox do sign a number four guy (Zito, Mulder, Matsuzake, etc),


If Zito is the Sox #4, than they should win 115 games.

Tavarez was pretty good as a starter, but the low number of K's has to be a concern, doesn't it?

I think that ideally, you go into camp with 6-7 guys you pencil in ahead of Tavarez. His role is as a reliever, but you keep him stretched out so he's routinely giving you 2-3 IP. If a short-term starter is needed, he's a guy you can go to early and slot in and he's going to help.

A guy like Snyder, I can't imagine any reason you'd want him around. He's just not very good; gives up way too many HR's to be counted on in any kind of legitimate role. I wasn't impressed by him at all this year.

#28 DSG

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 08:26 AM

For anyone who might be interested, I have an article up on whether or not Tavarez can succeed as a starter at The Hardball Times. Here's the link.

With their season, for all intents and purposes, over, eight games out of first place, on the last day of a 9-21 August, the Boston Red Sox decided to let struggling reliever Julian Tavarez start in what was essentially a meaningless game against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox won 6-4, but Tavarez was unimpressive: three innings, three runs, three strikeouts, three walks. Nevertheless, the Sox kept him in the rotation and the results over the rest of the season were impressive. In September, Tavarez made five starts, going 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA. Have the Red Sox stumbled upon a hidden gem? Could Tavarez, who was not very effective as a reliever, make for a good starter?



#29 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 08:40 AM

Interesting article, DSG.

One thing that would be interesting is to look at GB/FB ratio as part of the comp process, though. I don't believe the James approach includes HR/9, either, though you do note it in your analysis of Tavarez.

I wonder if we look at the list of comps through that lens if it does anything interesting for us. Certainly, the comp you identified (Derek Lowe) demonstrates the same type of GB rate, though Lowe had a 3.0 or above GB rate as a reliever and a starter, unlike Tavarez.

#30 biollante


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 01:19 PM

I'm not really sure how good it is to rely on his starts from the end of the season when things just aren't the same.
Worse comes to worse, he can be a 5th starter or better yet he can fill in the voids on days with double headers etc. He definitely seemed to enjoy starting but we still need middle relief. If he can do both without losing his composure, then so be it.

#31 bowiac


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 02:05 PM

Julian Tavarez as a starter:

6 GS: 33.2 IP, 16Ks, 15BBs, 2HRs, 4.01 ERA, 4.34 Q&D DIPS ERA.

I'm surprised DIPS is as kind to him as it is, but I guess a 12HRS/200IP pace will do that for you.

In the same way as Wang is a good starter with his only plus skill being his HR rate, Tavarez might be able to demonstrate the same. I'm skeptical that his "true" HR rate is this low of course, but even at his career HR rate, his DIPS ERA only goes up to 4.57, which makes him a better than league average starter.

I'm honestly surprised to find myself still thinking about this after taking a closer look at the numbers. Maybe there's something to the whole sinkerballs are better when they're tired thing.

#32 yecul


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 02:23 PM

Tavarez does have some track record as a starter.

2001 28gs 161ip 94 era+
2002 27gs 153ip 74 era+

Is he a different pitcher now than he was a couple years ago? Should these 30ip outweigh the 300ip from back then?

I don't know the answer, but I like him in a roll as a swingman. Let him be the 6th starter for depth purposes. As is they have Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, and Papelon. Two are old, one is coming off arm trouble, and the other has had various minor injury issues. Should be plenty of opportunity for him to make spot starts.

Most people want them to target a FA starter for the rotation. As of right now there isn't a spot for him unless they go back on their plan and have Papelbon in the bullpen. On that point, it should be noted that Papelbon might not necessarily be able to be a ML starter for whatever reason.

#33 Eric Van


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 02:40 PM

Tavarez does have some track record as a starter.

2001 28gs 161ip 94 era+
2002 27gs 153ip 74 era+

Is he a different pitcher now than he was a couple years ago?  Should these 30ip outweigh the 300ip from back then? 

Why don't people actually look up his record in more detail than this? Splits on ESPN are available back to the start of guy's careers; all you have to do is replace the year at the end of the URL.
    Lg ERA   GS  St-ERA   GR  Rel-ERA
2000   4.68   12   3.80    39   5.26 (pitching for Colorado)
2001   4.49   28   4.27     6   9.82
2002   4.26   27   5.39*    2  13.50
2006   4.56    6   4.01    58   4.47

*11.12 in first 5 starts sandwiched around a DL trip for shoulder problems, 4.30 afterwards.
His career ERA as a starter is further inflated by being awful in 7 starts as a rookie in '93 and 5 spot starts in '94 and '96.

#34 yecul


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 02:49 PM

Why don't people actually look up his record in more detail than this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


My point was that there is an existing track record to investigate and we don't have to fully rely on 30 innings.

I don't find spot starts to be as compelling. Those are his only two seasons as a ~full time starter. Citing career starter's ERA is not fruitful as it incorporates random spot starts and rookie starts and all the other randomness that might pop up.

Adjusting out everything for assumptions based on pending DL trips and the like may or may not be appropriate, but feel free to run with it.

Edited by yecul, 06 October 2006 - 02:59 PM.


#35 Eric Van


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 03:09 PM

However, my point was that there is an existing track record to investigate and we don't have to fully rely on 30 innings. 

The key thing to note is that the reason he had a below-average ERA+ "as a starter" in 2001 was because he was hammered unmercifully in 6 spot relief appearances, and that his actual starter's ERA was better than league average.

Let's see. In 2000, he had a 5.26 ERA in relief, is converted to the rotation and reels off 12 starts with a 3.80 ERA, while pitching for the Rockies, no less. In 2001, he starts 28 games with a better than average ERA but is awful in 6 relief appearances. In 2002, he has 5 awful starts sandwiched around a DL trip (throwing out performance when injured is what correctly projected Bill Mueller and David Ortiz) and was league-average afterwards (and if I actually wanted to fudge the data, I'd toss out his 3rd and 4th starts after coming off the DL, which were mediocre; and come up with a better-than-average performance again). In 2006, he has a 4.47 ERA as a reliever, is converted to the rotation, and has a 4.01 ERA.

I think the only sane concludsion is that he has been better than average as a starter, and better as a starter than as a reliever. To reach any other conclusion, you have to explain why his one incredibly awful stretch of starting pitchiing just happened to coincide with a trip to the DL for arm problems -- while also arguing that there isn't generally a connection between pitching hurt and pitching poorly.

Edited by Eric Van, 06 October 2006 - 03:16 PM.


#36 yecul


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 03:13 PM

Well, clearly you didn't bother actually reading the chart I provided.  Did you notice that the reason he had a below-average ERA+ "as a starter" in 2001 was because he was hammered unmercifully in 6 spot relief appearances, and that his actual starter's ERA was better than league average?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's fantastic and has nothing to do with my posts.

#37 normstalls

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 03:17 PM

Granted Tavarez is an interesting option and does deserve to be in someone's top 6...I just sure hope it is not Boston's. He should have some value and if Theo plays it right he should be able to spin him off for a little something. Who doesnt want a cheap starter on a short contract? Its a great situation and maybe his September performance will be enough to cause some interest in him.

I could see a fringe team like Tex, Seattle, SF, Hou etc being interested in him.

Edited by normstalls, 06 October 2006 - 03:23 PM.


#38 Drocca


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Posted 06 October 2006 - 03:21 PM

EV, this is actually a case where "fudging the stats" doesn't bother me because essentially you are saying, if I'm reading you right, that when healthy and when not a rookie he has fared above average as a starter.

I can buy that and the numbers back it up.

#39 Avalokiteshvera

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 09:10 AM

[quote name='URISoxFan' date='Sep 30 2006, 06:34 PM']
Of all the things I've read about Tavarez, I've never seen his character mentioned as a positive.

Point taken. However, my reference to 'character' is his unusual and enigmatic personality, not his moral integrity.

I have always enjoyed the quirkiness and unusual defining characteristics of Sox pitchers.
Wakefield's knuckleball; Pedro pointing at his head to threaten a batter, Tiant's delivery, Derrick Lowe's showing of emotions, Oil Can Boyd, etc...

#40 Alacoldart

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 11:18 AM

Tavarez's success as a starter in what was effectively garbage time for the Sox (yes, I know they were still technically in it during at least the first half of September, but they were staring up at 2 teams, the closest of which was at least 4 games ahead of them for quite awhile) held a vague promise for the future, but this team already has a #5 starter: Tim Wakefield. Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, free agent/trade acquisition, Wakefield, and maybe Lester somewhere down the line would be an imposing rotation for this team.

Tavarez's value is at an all-time high right now due to his success as a starter in the AL East. Trading him would net them more value than slotting him in the rotation or throwing him BACK into the bullpen, where his struggles have been well-documented. The guy's cheap and can eat innings. Some NL club (Colorado springs to mind) could really use a guy like that. I could even see Billy Beane taking him to save some money if he loses out on Zito. A decent prospect or a utility player or two for him would be great and probably worth more in the long run than 20 starts and probably 8-9 wins (he'll be the first one bumped if Lester comes back anyway).

#41 robt2156

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:22 PM

Clearly hes a very emotional guy; maybe hes better suited emotionally to be a starter.