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The Bullpen: what now?


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#1 86spike


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 10:04 PM

So was the price of reliever milk too high?

Does Theo think waiver trades will be doable?

No one he liked available?

Satisfied with what we've got (or can bring up from AAA)?

A little bit of all of that?

What happens now?

(I'm personally scared to death that this pen is going to torpedo the season by the end of the next MFY series without at least one good addition.)

#2 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 10:46 PM

There's always a chance we get Fuentes in a waiver deal, but I think we have to hope for an internal solution.

Bowden and Doubront will both get chances to help us out in the pen. We need one of them to come through and be a reliever you can trust in the 7th and 8th inning. Might be too much to hope for from rookies, but basically it'll only be like 25 innings at most, so maybe one of them can pull it off.

Atchison actually has been pretty good this year, except for a couple of bad outings. Okajima might be done, but he looked all right today. I like Manuel and wish he'd get a chance, all he's done all year is get people out.

A few blowout wins would really help the bullpen. It seems like we've hardly had any of them this year, that every game we've won has been within three runs or less in the 7th or later, so we need Papelbon and Bard to pitch in every game that we win. A few 9-3 wins and a few games where the starter hands off to Papelbon for a three-run save would really help.

I'll say that I'm very glad we didn't trade for Kerry Wood. Maybe he'll work out for the Yankees, but he had disaster written all over him if he came here. Too many baserunnners, too injury prone. He's a big name, and people trust the familiar names more than they unknowns, but this guy has a 1.60 WHIP and a 6.30 ERA. He's been worse than just about all of our sucky pitchers so far, and with him moving to the AL East, I wouldn't want to hand him big situations. I don't care if he works out like Small and Chacon did for NY and saves their lucky asses, I just don't think it would have worked here.

#3 P'tucket, rhymes with...


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Posted 31 July 2010 - 11:03 PM

What Gray Eagle said. Bowden, Doubront, ideally Fuentes in a waiver deal. I don't get the angst over not landing a Qualls or a Wood; the price of milk will often look unreasonable if the stuff on the shelf doesn't figure to be any better than the stuff you already have in the fridge. More importantly to me, since I'm very bearish on a playoff run this year, it will give us an extended look at what these guys can do against major league hitters.

#4 Adirondack jack

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:39 AM

What Gray Eagle said. Bowden, Doubront, ideally Fuentes in a waiver deal. I don't get the angst over not landing a Qualls or a Wood; the price of milk will often look unreasonable if the stuff on the shelf doesn't figure to be any better than the stuff you already have in the fridge. More importantly to me, since I'm very bearish on a playoff run this year, it will give us an extended look at what these guys can do against major league hitters.


Might be forgetting some names, but of the names that switched clubs it's hard to get terribly upset with how things played out. Farnsworth and Wood both were had on the cheap, but neither seem that appealing in my estimation. While Dotel and Capps came at a fairly high price, at least according to reports that I've read, and come with their warts. Going forward (of those four) their projected performance might be negligibly better than in-house options yet the cost probably isn't justifiable when comparing to the likelihood of someone from the current motley crew going on a run and supporting Bard & Paps for hi-leverage situations.

Surprised nothing was heard regarding the Halos putting out feelers for Fuentes, but who knows maybe they were shopping him or like you suggest they'll just wait and try a waiver deal when/if the Angels fall further behind in their division. Again, though, it's hard to be that upset not acquiring Fuentes. Despite Fuentes nice strike out rate (9.77 per 9 innings) and contract situation (expiring contract after '10), he's out-performing his 3.73 ERA by a good deal (.259 babip and the LD rate is up). Also of note, Fuentes, at this stage would be best served in a situational role and expecting him to be the 3rd best guy out of your pen may be asking too much seeing as he has a pretty large platoon split (.71 FIP vs. 5.68 and a 1.21 xFIp vs 5.35). In sum, Fuentes could help, but the sox may still need a third guy out of the pen.

Knew a name would be forgotten.., wouldn't classify it as angst, but taking a flyer of Chad Qualls (was had for a PTBNL, iirc) and his 8.34 era couln't of hurt, instead Tampa will give it a whirl. Maybe the change of scenery does nothing and he continues to struggle, but having Qualls be the last man standing for a week or two could not have hurt. He probably is the or at least one of the largest statistical anomalies going this year. Qualls has a 4.30 FIP and 3.84 xFIP along with a 51.4 strand rate to go with a .434 average with balls in play.

I'd add Scott Downs and Jason Frasor to the post 7-31 waiver wire listings, though Frasor is probably the more likely of the two to be available that route. Maybe Aardsma would be available among others as well. So yeah, hard to be foaming with angst, but we're all way too aware that this pen is in desperate need of some form of an upgrade if they are going to manage to stay in this thing.

Some ugly numbers:

Sox pen (rank among all of MLB)

ERA -- 4.43 (21st)
FIP -- 4.78 (29th)
xFIP --4.67 (27th)
GB% -- 39.1% (30th)


Line drive percentages and batting average with balls in play suggest this lot should improve maybe slightly. Although I am having a hard time seeing this team making the necessary run with this awful of a pen.

Edited by Adirondack jack, 01 August 2010 - 03:21 AM.


#5 86spike


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:44 AM

I wouldn't want to be gambling on Qualls or Wood in the AL East and am happy those two might blow up for our competition.

One question I have about Doubront/Bowden in the pen is: why hasn't this been tried (especially Doubront since Bowden did get a cup of coffee in the role) and worked on yet? A few weeks ago when Clay came off the DL, why didn't Doubront go right into the pen? Why hasn't Bowden been given a real shot already?

The only thing I can think of is that Theo hasn't wanted to DFA any of MDC, Oki or Ramirez beecause he wanted to trade them instead (like he did with RR and tried to do with the other two). Seems like Theo's usual MO of prrotecting as many assets as possible no matter the downside. If 3 weeks of struggling RPs costs us the playoffs, I really don't think protecting the ability to get some C prospect farm filler for those struggling vets was worth it.

Theo's not thrilling me with this.

#6 j44thor

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:58 AM

I wouldn't want to be gambling on Qualls or Wood in the AL East and am happy those two might blow up for our competition.

One question I have about Doubront/Bowden in the pen is: why hasn't this been tried (especially Doubront since Bowden did get a cup of coffee in the role) and worked on yet? A few weeks ago when Clay came off the DL, why didn't Doubront go right into the pen? Why hasn't Bowden been given a real shot already?

The only thing I can think of is that Theo hasn't wanted to DFA any of MDC, Oki or Ramirez beecause he wanted to trade them instead (like he did with RR and tried to do with the other two). Seems like Theo's usual MO of prrotecting as many assets as possible no matter the downside. If 3 weeks of struggling RPs costs us the playoffs, I really don't think protecting the ability to get some C prospect farm filler for those struggling vets was worth it.

Theo's not thrilling me with this.


Why would you want to DFA Delcarmen and Oki who are both cost controlled and both of whom have been dominant relievers in the past, to take a chance on a couple kids that have never sniffed the success of the two players you want to DFA. Middle relievers are inherently streaky. Dubront has previously said he isn't even sure if he can switch to being a reliever mid-season. Its not like we have a Bard, Paps or even Masterson knocking down the doors in AAA.

#7 86spike


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:09 AM

IMO, the pen has desparately needed rebuilding for two months.

Theo sat on it. The team's chance at the playoffs withered while he sat.

Why?

#8 BosRedSox5


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:27 AM

IMO, the pen has desparately needed rebuilding for two months.

Theo sat on it. The team's chance at the playoffs withered while he sat.

Why?

These are the three relievers who got traded in the last few weeks:

Kyle Farnsworth- The Royals got a good deal from the Braves and traded Ankiel too. Atlanta had to give up Tim Collins to make that happen.
Octavio Dotel- The Pirates got two strong prospects for a mediocre closer with a 4.28 ERA.
Matt Capps- Capps is decent but the Twins had to give up a very strong catching prospect for him.

In all three deals where a reliever was the focus of the trade the trading team performed an absolute heist on the acquiring team.

I know that the bullpen is a big weakness for the Red Sox, but I applaud Theo for not making a rash decision, especially during a season where we may not be good enough to overcome all these injuries. Bringing Richardson and possibly Bowden and Doubront into the 'pen is a much smarter decision than selling the farm on even an elite reliever (none of which came close to getting traded.)

#9 MHead81

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:27 AM

IMO, the pen has desparately needed rebuilding for two months.

Theo sat on it. The team's chance at the playoffs withered while he sat.

Why?


Seriously, can we be done with this question? This is more WEEI stuff. The answer should be simple: teams were asking way too much. It's that simple. It's not like Downs went to NYY or Tampa for a C- prospect. He went NOWHERE, despite the fact that more than a handful of teams would've loved to get him. That should say a lot. When Matt Capps goes for a top 50 prospect (based on where he ranked prior to the start of the season), that should say all you need to know. Apply his ranking in Minnesota's system to ours and find our prospect who is ranked as the equivilent of Wilson Ramos. Then ask if swapping that player is worth a year and 2 months of MATT CAPPS, let alone a better option.

Yes, the bullpen cost a few games, but it was not specifically to blame. There was a stretch of a few games with all-around lousy play. (Somewhere Eric had a pretty cool post showing how much we deserved to lose the Seattle game Lackey pitched and yet somehow pulled it out.) I'm glad we didn't get Farnsworth, who I would've been ok with if it was in part of a deal for DeJesus, or Kerry Wood, who may be on the DL before tomorrow. The fact is that since Farnsworth or Wood are gambles, and that Bowden and Doubrount are also gambles, and that option #2 costs nothing with more upside and less downside, I think it's obvious as to why we're seeing option #2.

I like the idea of Fuentes as a situational lefty/7th inning guy if the team can stay in contention for the week. As for giving up anything of significant value for Downs that won't equal his value in on-field production for 2 months of playing time, I'm glad Theo didn't do it. And let's not forget: although Downs will be a Type A, if a team (gee, who would do this?) signs multiple other Type A FAs, by not being ranked the highest, Downs does not bring back a 1st round pick, which is part of his value.

Personally, I'm all for taking the route of seeing what you have first unless the move is a no-brainer. IF this season ends up in the tank, there are still ways to take positives from it, and giving guys a shot in a different role that could save money and/or prospects for next year is one of those potential positives. And on the flip side of that, if Bowden and/or Doubrount fail miserably in the role, you know what you don't have with them for 2011.

Edited by MHead81, 01 August 2010 - 11:30 AM.


#10 86spike


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:39 AM

Can we stop with the "can we stop with this question? This is WEEI!" bullshit?

MHead - the point of a discussion board is to discuss things. If you don't agree with me, great. But enough with this 'stop talking' attitude. Respect others' opinions and state your own.

If we all agreed all the time, threads here would be stupid.

I personally think Theo has been horrible addressing this team's pen.

Discuss. Don't try to shut discussion down.

#11 Rasputin


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:43 AM

IMO, the pen has desparately needed rebuilding for two months.

Theo sat on it. The team's chance at the playoffs withered while he sat.

Why?


Because the price was too high, how is that hard to understand?

#12 MHead81

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:43 AM

Can we stop with the "can we stop with this question? This is WEEI!" bullshit?

MHead - the point of a discussion board is to discuss things. If you don't agree with me, great. But enough with this 'stop talking' attitude. Respect others' opinions and state your own.

If we all agreed all the time, threads here would be stupid.

I personally think Theo has been horrible addressing this team's pen.

Discuss. Don't try to shut discussion down.


Sorry to offend but the question isn't exactly difficult to figure out and the post is written in a way that WEEI callers ask questions, implying that they know more than Theo and that he missed out on a no-brainer move. Again, look at the price of Matt Capps, compare his ability to someone like Downs and then imagine what Downs would've cost.

(Edit: And I do apologize for offending-- sometimes my demeanor/attitude doesn't come off in posts as it would in a conversation in person.)

Edited by MHead81, 01 August 2010 - 11:56 AM.


#13 Rasputin


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:48 AM

Can we stop with the "can we stop with this question? This is WEEI!" bullshit?

MHead - the point of a discussion board is to discuss things. If you don't agree with me, great. But enough with this 'stop talking' attitude. Respect others' opinions and state your own.

If we all agreed all the time, threads here would be stupid.

I personally think Theo has been horrible addressing this team's pen.

Discuss. Don't try to shut discussion down.


What's to discuss? You assume he fucked up because he didn't make any changes. Others are trusting him based on a track record.

#14 smastroyin


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:54 AM

I would like to have seen improvement. My guess is that if the Red Sox had managed to not piss away the winnable games on the West Coast (and were therefore 2 or 3 games back instead of 5) Theo may have been more willing to part with upper tier prospects.

The thing is, as desperate as we all think the bullpen problem is, there would need to be extremely high leverage and flawless execution and deployment of a reliever for a reliever to actually be the difference in making up the kind of ground the Red Sox need to make up.

#15 Eric Van


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:59 AM

Here's a very mildly radical notion that I've just discovered the numbers argue for very strongly:

Scott Atchison should be the #3 man in the pen. Hand him the job and see what he can do.

His first MLB stint:

6.19 Component ERA (7.63 BABIP-Neutral), 6.39 True ERA, 9.37 Win-Equivalent ERA. Bad, and bad karma to boot.

He then went down to Pawtucket , where he had these MLEs:

5.14 Component (4.12 BABIP-Neutral), 5.27 True ERA.

Since his recall (these are the numbers I just ran):

2.63 Component (3.27 BABIP-Neutral), 2.80 True, 2.67 Win-Equivalent.

By comparison, Papelbon is 3.22 (4.49), 3.12, 2.66.

The overall pattern says he really has improved and that we wouldn't have to regress the last set of numbers too much towards the first two. He hasn't had any Delcaremn-like bad karma problems since his recall that would make you shy away from using him in high-leverage situations. (You may remember that he has, but memory is an awful judge of how clutch someone has been, because the failures stick out so much more than the successes.)

And none of the other options can match those numbers. Bowden has had two rough outings in Pawtucket and his projection as an MLB reliever (based on all of his pitching since he fixed his mechanics) is now 3.54, although that might be 3.30 something if he can make an especially good relief adaptation. A healthy Delcarmen seems to be a 3.80 guy.

I think he's earned the shot. There is no better option (and he in fact looks like a much better option than most of the trade targets).

Let's do it.

#16 luckysox


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 12:06 PM

Atchison stats - snip -
I think he's earned the shot. There is no better option (and he in fact looks like a much better option than most of the trade targets).

Let's do it.



I 100% agree because both his numbers (as posted above) and what we see with our eyes seem to scream out "put Atichison in the game!!!" as the # 3 guy after Paps and Bard. Use him, use him, use him. We are so at the pointof, "what could it possibly hurt?" in terms of the bullpen. Back everyone else off, and let's see what the guy can do in a solid #3 role.



#17 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 06:42 PM

There's been at least 2-3 times this year where Atchison has been brought into that 7th inning, team is up by 2, role and he's been crappy every time. That role is certainly there for the taking, and hopefully he (or someone else) takes it.

#18 Eric Van


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:52 PM

There's been at least 2-3 times this year where Atchison has been brought into that 7th inning, team is up by 2, role and he's been crappy every time. That role is certainly there for the taking, and hopefully he (or someone else) takes it.

Rudy, you're completely wrong, and I just spent 45 minutes writing a play-by-play account of all 5 of his high-leverage appearances since his recall and I somehow closed my browser and lost it all. Here's a short version:

-- June 24th, the epic Pedroia game in Colorado, only time in the whole year he actually was brought in to protect a narrow lead (1 run) in the 7th, he was so dazzling (K of Helton and Gutierrez) that Tito brought him back for the 8th, when he ran out of gas (4-pitch walk on pitches 32-35) and Bard came in with 2 on and 2 out and gave up the inherited game-tying run on Giambi's PH 2B.

-- July 23rd in Seattle he also pitched the 7th with a lead, because he got the last out of the 6th with a runner on and the score tied, Hall led off the 7th with a HR, and he cruised through the 7th on GB to SS by Ichiro, Josh Wilson, and Gutierrez after giving up a leadoff walk.

-- On July 6 in TB he was brought in to relieve Doubront with the bases full and 2 out in the sixth with the Sox down 1, got Sean Rodriguez to fly to RF for the last out and pitched a perfect seventh, finishing with a flourish by essentially fanning Upton twice (squeezed on an 0-2 pitch, then got him swinging on the next). Given the pennant race, that was massive high leverage.

-- July 21st in Oakland, bottom of the 5th, Sox down a run, men on 1st and 2nd and 0 out, allowed both of Buchholz's inherited runs and an unearned one of his own on a single off the glove of McDonald diving, a Brown PB, and a 2-out single by Ellis. He then pitched another 1.2 scoreless. Actually more unlucky than bad.

-- July 26th at Anaheim, pitched the 8th with a 3-run lead, gave up a leadoff Izturis single on a soft liner over the head of Beltre drawn-in, and the 2-out 2-run "bomb" to Matsui that went off a first-row fan's hands and would have been an out in 19 ballparks. Again, more unlucky than bad, and though it made it close it didn't cost us the game.

That's actually a very good record.

He'd had a couple of rough outings in low-leverage when the average viewer might have said "this is a chance for Atchison to establish himself." And of course, plenty of good ones in those.

Edited by Eric Van, 01 August 2010 - 09:54 PM.


#19 grantb


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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:00 PM

Billy Wagner's not walking through that door. I really wish he or Saito stayed, making the bullpen that much more stable.

Long-term, it makes sense to keep the prospects so you don't have to overpay for relievers in the future as well. I think prospects converting to a relievers later in the season to get major league experience and help the team in the short run as well is a great strategy and will be Theo's MO for years to come.

#20 twothousandone

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:46 PM

Others are trusting him based on a track record.


Late season relief pick-up track record? I'm not sure it's all that good. Saurbeck? Gagne? Kim doesn't count 'cause that was early season.

Williamson was a deadline deal, so was Wagner -- Wagner was really the flip side of Gagne. Williamson panned out (and stayed) where Sauerbeck didn't

The weakness in Epstein's resume is the bullpen, especially depth, going back to bullpen by committee. I don't think he's unique in baseball -- the third plus guy in the pen should probably get paid less than $2 million, so the only way to really make depth work is to get a closer-level talent late in the year (33% of $6 million = $2 million). And maybe you pay up when you are in the hunt.

A non-scientific look says they lost 8 games in July by 2 runs or less. Ramirez (7/5), Okajima (7/6??), Ramirez (7/20), Okajima (7/25), Wakefield (7/30) were bullpen guys who take some blame. Simply keeping Okajima and Ramirez sitting helps. A better third guy (better than Atchison), adjusts maybe two of those games. That's a total of four games in Aug/Sep, but you gotta' get a guy who's better.

Do you sacrifice even five + future wins in the hopes of getting those four this year, which still may not put the Sox in the playoffs? Doubront/Bowden (versus Abe Alvarez, let's say) is those five wins in the next two years. Doubront for Farnsworth. Tim Collins is probably worth more (and multi-player deals get tricky). So is Ramos. You want either Capps or Farnsworth and it's probably Kalish. Is Kalish worth five wins in 2011 - 2014? I think he's worth more, and those wins could also mean making the post-season. Even if they got the four in Aug/Sep, it doesn't mean they make the payoffs. Doubront/Bowden + Reddick? I think that's more than five wins in the next three years. Maybe that was offered, and Minnesota/KC turned the Sox down.

Seems to me that "pass" was the right call.

#21 Rasputin


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:00 AM

Late season relief pick-up track record?


No, put-in-the-due-diligence-and-don't-overpay track record.

#22 Eric Van


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:15 AM

Williamson was a deadline deal, so was Wagner

The Wagner trade was a waiver deal on August 25.

Theo might have had a deadline to clean the garage, but I don't think that's what you had in mind. :)

Very good chance they can get Fuentes for about as little, and quite possibly sooner.

#23 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 03:11 AM

Billy Wagner's not walking through that door. I really wish he or Saito stayed, making the bullpen that much more stable.

Saito'x xFIP last year was a pretty pedestrian 4.86. (Of course he's done better than that this year in the NL--he got out of the AL East.)

If I'm counting on my fingers correctly, his 2009 earnings were at least $3.5m (maybe more, since I don't see the number of days on the active roster at my fingertips). The price of the club option for 2010 was Saito's 2009 earnings.

Wouldn't $3.5m be a bit of an overpayment for a so-so third guy in the bullpen?

#24 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:49 AM

Rudy, you're completely wrong, and I just spent 45 minutes writing a play-by-play account of all 5 of his high-leverage appearances since his recall and I somehow closed my browser and lost it all. Here's a short version:


I'm talking about situations where Atchison was brought in for the 7th or 8th with a slim lead, or for the 9th to close it out with a bigger lead; the situation that used to go to Okajima or Delcarmen. Not really interested in high lev situations in the 5th or 6th as I think that usage is different.

6/29: Sox up 8-3 in the 9th, trying to stay away from Papelbon. Atchison issues a walk and a single before getting an out. With a LH due up, team brings in Richardson who gives up a few runs and is forced to go to Papelbon.

After this game; the next 6 games Atchison pitches in are losses. Coincidence, perhaps? But I think this caused Tito to be a little hesitant about using Atchison with a lead.

7/26: Tito seems to have gained some trust in Atchison over the previous few weeks (and certainly lost trust in Okajima, Delcarmen, etc) and goes to Atchison with a 4-1 lead in the 8th. He gives up a single and HR, and again the team is forced to bring in Papelbon.

Sox are 9-14 in games Atchison has pitched in...he's generally been brough in to games that aren't that competitive, or when they need a long reliever. Several times, when the team has looked to him to close out a game and save them from using Papelbon, he hasn't delivered. Small sample for sure- but I do think his inability to get the job done in a few instances has caused Tito to lose some faith in him, whether that is fair or not.

#25 Seels

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:03 AM

Not paying Saito 3.5 million wasn't the problem, choosing not to pay him and not getting anyone to replace him after Delcarmen Ramirez and Okajima were all obviously trending south was. If they couldn't justify paying Saito 3.5 mil, they should have looked elsewhere. The bullpen is no bigger a problem now than it was before the season started. Okajima and Delcarmen might be worse than a lot of people expected, but this wasn't unexpected.

When your bullpen (after Papelbon) consists of a rookie, a guy coming back from Japan and was only moderately successful prior, a guy who has below average era / whip / k/bb for relief pitchers and sucked last year (Schoeneweis), and three guys who were trending downward, you're asking for trouble. I know bullpens can be volatile things, but the time for fixing this was December 31, not July 31.

#26 bosockboy


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:19 AM

One positive: Bard has only made 7 appearances since July 11th....6.1 innings.

Should get some more rest this week against Cleveland. He should be primed for the stretch run.

#27 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:22 AM

Not paying Saito 3.5 million wasn't the problem, choosing not to pay him and not getting anyone to replace him after Delcarmen Ramirez and Okajima were all obviously trending south was. If they couldn't justify paying Saito 3.5 mil, they should have looked elsewhere. The bullpen is no bigger a problem now than it was before the season started. Okajima and Delcarmen might be worse than a lot of people expected, but this wasn't unexpected.

When your bullpen (after Papelbon) consists of a rookie, a guy coming back from Japan and was only moderately successful prior, a guy who has below average era / whip / k/bb for relief pitchers and sucked last year (Schoeneweis), and three guys who were trending downward, you're asking for trouble. I know bullpens can be volatile things, but the time for fixing this was December 31, not July 31.

The catch is that keeping Saito meant paying him a lot more than $3.5M. His 2010 option was worth his 2009 earnings. His 2009 earnings were his $1.5M base + $1M increase for being on Opening Day roster + $1M bonus for games pitched + $2.5M roster bonus for 150+ days on roster for a total of $6M, not $3.5M. For what Saito provided last year and what you would expect him to provide this year (no better than the 3rd best option in the pen), $6M is a pretty steep price.

And you said it, bullpens are volatile. Just because Delcarmen finished the 2009 season injured and Ramirez finished worse than he started doesn't mean they were guaranteed to be bad in 2010. To me, running with them as their 3rd/4th/5th bullpen options isn't really all that much more or less of a gamble than bringing in a free agent or two that probably cost you more than Delcarmen and Ramirez combined (~$2M).

#28 Rasputin


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:33 AM

Not paying Saito 3.5 million wasn't the problem, choosing not to pay him and not getting anyone to replace him after Delcarmen Ramirez and Okajima were all obviously trending south was. If they couldn't justify paying Saito 3.5 mil, they should have looked elsewhere. The bullpen is no bigger a problem now than it was before the season started. Okajima and Delcarmen might be worse than a lot of people expected, but this wasn't unexpected.

When your bullpen (after Papelbon) consists of a rookie, a guy coming back from Japan and was only moderately successful prior, a guy who has below average era / whip / k/bb for relief pitchers and sucked last year (Schoeneweis), and three guys who were trending downward, you're asking for trouble. I know bullpens can be volatile things, but the time for fixing this was December 31, not July 31.


This is just stupid.

First, if something wasn't expected then it is, by definition, unexpected.

Second, we should have expected that Okajima with a career worst 1.2 WHIP would plummet to 1.9?

Third, calling Bard "a rookie" is just like cruising for chicks in a maternity ward because you know they put out--true enough on the face of it while completely missing reality.

#29 Eric Van


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:44 AM

I'm talking about situations where Atchison was brought in for the 7th or 8th with a slim lead, or for the 9th to close it out with a bigger lead; the situation that used to go to Okajima or Delcarmen. Not really interested in high lev situations in the 5th or 6th as I think that usage is different.

You didn't read my rundown, did you? Because you repeated one of the ones I listed.

6/29: Sox up 8-3 in the 9th, trying to stay away from Papelbon. Atchison issues a walk and a single before getting an out. With a LH due up, team brings in Richardson who gives up a few runs and is forced to go to Papelbon.

That's it? That's your only counterexample, turning the Win Probability from 99.2% to 97.7%, but getting Evan Longoria to pop up with a man on 3B and no out as the last man you faced before you were yanked? That's the great big meltdown that I missed?

7/26: Tito seems to have gained some trust in Atchison over the previous few weeks (and certainly lost trust in Okajima, Delcarmen, etc) and goes to Atchison with a 4-1 lead in the 8th. He gives up a single and HR, and again the team is forced to bring in Papelbon.

You mean "to bring in Papelbon for one more out than planned" (oddly enough, the same as your other example).

Of course, I already listed this one; the single was cheap and the HR was cheap, and no actual damage was done.

After this game; the next 6 games Atchison pitches in are losses. Coincidence, perhaps? But I think this caused Tito to be a little hesitant about using Atchison with a lead.
...
Sox are 9-14 in games Atchison has pitched in...he's generally been brough in to games that aren't that competitive, or when they need a long reliever. Several times, when the team has looked to him to close out a game and save them from using Papelbon, he hasn't delivered. Small sample for sure- but I do think his inability to get the job done in a few instances has caused Tito to lose some faith in him, whether that is fair or not.

Well, the question is, if that's what happened, was it fair or not, and the answer very clearly is that it wasn't. He's been stellar the only two times he has actually pitched in the 7th inning in a save situation (both times with a 1-run lead), was stellar in a must-win game (down a run to TB) in the seventh after saving their butts in the sixth, and had one bad-luck hiccup with a 3 run lead in the 8th. That is the success ratio of a top set-up man, which is why his Component and Win-Equivalent ERAs over this stretch are the same.

#30 OttoC


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:14 AM

This is just stupid.
...
Third, calling Bard "a rookie" is just like cruising for chicks in a maternity ward because you know they put out--true enough on the face of it while completely missing reality.

Technically, Bard started this season as a rookie because he had fewer than 50 IP in his MLB career.

#31 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:50 AM

Technically, Bard started this season as a rookie because he had fewer than 50 IP in his MLB career.

I think that's why Ras said calling him a rookie was "true enough on the face of it."

However, as much fun as the "cruising for chicks in a maternity ward" analogy is, I think it leans a bit too hard on hindsight. Bard finished 2009 with good but not outstanding numbers for a reliever, and the worst part of his season was the last part (6+ ERA from August 1 on). He clearly established last year that he had the ability to be an elite reliever and probably would be one soon, but I wouldn't say he established that he could be counted on to be one immediately. So in the context Seels was talking about--putting the team together last winter--it's not unreasonable to call Bard "a rookie," meaning a young player with lots of potential but very little experience, and thus a guy you count on at your peril. The larger point--that there were too many question marks in the bullpen going into the season--is certainly valid, even if it has played out differently on the level of individual pitchers than we might have expected (i.e., Bard an absolute rock and Oki/Ramirez/MDC a three-headed walking disaster, rather than all of them being inconsistently effective).

#32 Seels

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:12 AM

This is just stupid.

First, if something wasn't expected then it is, by definition, unexpected.

Second, we should have expected that Okajima with a career worst 1.2 WHIP would plummet to 1.9?

Third, calling Bard "a rookie" is just like cruising for chicks in a maternity ward because you know they put out--true enough on the face of it while completely missing reality.

You can argue the semtantics of it if it's going to make you feel high and mighty to do so, but:

Three guys who had regressed last year (Okajima and Delcarmen doing so for the last few years) and continuing a regression isn't unexpected. Whether Okajima's whip was 1.9 or 1.38, it's clearly not of benefit to the bullpen, and this was predictable prior to the season. Bard may or may not be considered a rookie prior to the year, but that wasn't the point, the reality is that he was inexperienced, having just 49.1 innings prior to this year. Had he just been average, or even a little above average, this bullpen would be the worst since the way back Wasdin days at least. The bullpen coming into 2010 was full of question marks, even Papelbon wasn't as good as earlier years.

#33 Joshv02

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:40 AM

The bullpen coming into 2010 was full of question marks, even Papelbon wasn't as good as earlier years.

Well, that's right. Its just that with three major pieces all failing to contribute much, the bullpen is slightly below league average (but top heavy) in R/G and IR%. They are a bad relief squad, and a bad one especially for a playoff team - no doubts. But, I assume the expectation was something similar to the ZiPS projections: a 3.96 ERA amongst the three of them, rather than a 4.94 ERA amongst the trio. I assume they don't think they have a ton of confidence that any one of the three will match their projection perfectly, but they assumed that the group would perform as the group is expected to perform within some reasonable range - because that is where projections usually hit the mark. (Substitute any stat you want for ERA, the point is the same.)

Perhaps that was a bad assumption, but its wasn't a crazy one. The bullpen projected to be not great, but not horrible, in December. Its been much worse than any real reasonable expectation, I think, and still has just been bad (horrible for a playoff wannabe, but just bad for the league). That isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card. They should still make changes, and they haven't. But it wasn't as dire as you suggested earlier.

#34 Eric Van


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:42 AM

Where do the Sox rank among 30 MLB bullpens in the only stat that really counts (as a measure of results, not for prediction), WPA?

8th.

(Where would they rank if Okajima had been merely league-average?

4th.)

Where do the SP rank?

8th.

The hitters?

7th.

So where exactly is the objective evidence that the bullpen is the Achilles link or weak heel of this team? Isn't it rather the case that any time the bullpen costs you the game, it's more obvious than the lack of clutch hitting or a crap start?

And in terms of off-season talent acquisition --

That guy I've been talking about who has clearly been our third best reliever for a long stretch -- what did we give up to get him, and given that we're right at the luxury tax limit and had no more money to spend, what's his contract?

Acquired for nothing.

$430,000 plus two club options at MLB minimum plus $40K and $200K.

#35 Eric Van


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:48 AM

Well, that's right. Its just that with three major pieces all failing to contribute much, the bullpen is slightly below league average (but top heavy) in R/G and IR%. They are a bad relief squad, and a bad one especially for a playoff team - no doubts.

R/G, ERA, and the like are all terrible stats for evaluating a bullpen. Runs given up in games that are already decided just don't count the way that runs in close games do.

The Sox have the most valuable reliever in all of MLB pitching the 8th and another top 25 guy closing (probably top 20 if you adjust for opposition quality). That makes up for a ton of sins by the rest of the pen. The complete futility of much of the support crew has not made this a bad pen; it's dragged a great pen down to a good one.

#36 MHead81

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:00 PM

So where exactly is the objective evidence that the bullpen is the Achilles link or weak heel of this team? Isn't it rather the case that any time the bullpen costs you the game, it's more obvious than the lack of clutch hitting or a crap start?


I think this quote is key. I'm not trying to say that the bullpen has been excellent, but when the bullpen blows a save it stands out in people's minds much more than an inning-ending strikeout or a GIDP with the bases loaded in the 2nd inning does that could've broke a game open.

Even yesterday-- yes, Papelbon blew the save, which he might not have done if he started the 9th, and I don't fault Francona for that, but they let Verlander off the hook yesterday. He was at 80 pitches ridiculously early. They realistically could've chased him by/in the 5th but he cruised through his final innings. So while Papelbon's 2-run double to one of the best hitters in the game stands out in most people's minds, it takes attention away from one of the other major reasons the game was close to begin with.

To the point, "isn't it rather the case that any time the bullpen costs you the game, it's more obvious than the lack of clutch hitting or a crap start?"

#37 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:00 PM

The complete futility of much of the support crew has not made this a bad pen; it's dragged a great pen down to a good one.


This is overstating the situation by quite a bit. 1 1/2 reliable relievers does not a good pen make. Bard has been great, but Papelbon now leads the AL in blown saves among closers, and his xFIP is now 4.33. He's having a lousy year by his previous standards.

The pen has been a weak link all year; having only one guy who can be reliably counted on cannot be considered a positive development.

#38 Joshv02

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:18 PM

R/G, ERA, and the like are all terrible stats for evaluating a bullpen. Runs given up in games that are already decided just don't count the way that runs in close games do.

I don't disagree, and should have been less lazy prior to posting, though it doesn't really change the story. The Sox have two very good RPs, one OK RP, and a bunch of guys that haven't done well looking at any metric you want to look at. For example, using WPA they have two guys who have a positive WPA, had RR who had an barely positive WPA, and a bunch of guys who are neutral or negative (including Oki's giving away as much as Papelbon has earned).

The Sox have the most valuable reliever in all of MLB pitching the 8th and another top 25 guy closing (probably top 20 if you adjust for opposition quality). That makes up for a ton of sins by the rest of the pen. The complete futility of much of the support crew has not made this a bad pen; it's dragged a great pen down to a good one.

That is a bit much. Its too top heavy. Summing WPA overlooks the fact that the entire positive WPA account is bound up in two pitchers, when many other teams are more balanced.

The pen is not historically horrible, but its certainly not "good." At least not good for a 162 game season. It could be fine (or even good) for a playoff series, especially with one more reliever, but in 162 games you need to pitch your 2d and 3d tier relievers. Its a pen where the 3d, 4th, and 5th options are decidedly worse than other playoff contending team's second tier options.

#39 86spike


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:38 PM

No team with World Series potential should be satisfied with a bullpen like the one the Red Sox have this year. That is especially the case when you are a massive-payroll team like the Sox.

The bullpen was also clearly the one area of the team that had flexibility to change. You're already locked in with SPs long term. You're already locked into the offense with veterans working back from injury. But the pen? Dumping the dreck and adding better performers was not locked out by any means.

Now, if in the end the prices for new RPs were indeed too much to pay, then that's all well and good. But, IMO, if that was so, Theo's non-moves have most likely screwed any shot at making the playoffs. Standing pat is akin to giving up on this season. If he's giving up, he should have tried to sell other parts for the betterment of next year and beyond.

I'm bummed that with the choices of 'Go For It By Adding RPs' and 'Bail Out on 2010 and Sell', he chose a middle ground that brought neither the benefits of going for it, not the benefits of selling. IMO, it was the worst possible course for a team with the aspirations and resources of the Red Sox.

#40 MHead81

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:48 PM

No team with World Series potential should be satisfied with a bullpen like the one the Red Sox have this year. That is especially the case when you are a massive-payroll team like the Sox.

The bullpen was also clearly the one area of the team that had flexibility to change. You're already locked in with SPs long term. You're already locked into the offense with veterans working back from injury. But the pen? Dumping the dreck and adding better performers was not locked out by any means.

Now, if in the end the prices for new RPs were indeed too much to pay, then that's all well and good. But, IMO, if that was so, Theo's non-moves have most likely screwed any shot at making the playoffs. Standing pat is akin to giving up on this season. If he's giving up, he should have tried to sell other parts for the betterment of next year and beyond.

I'm bummed that with the choices of 'Go For It By Adding RPs' and 'Bail Out on 2010 and Sell', he chose a middle ground that brought neither the benefits of going for it, not the benefits of selling. IMO, it was the worst possible course for a team with the aspirations and resources of the Red Sox.


Ok, you've identified what you consider to be a fatal flaw of the team, which is fair. In my life I'm a firm believer of coming up with a realistic solution before I complain about something. Nowhere have you mentioned any names that we should have aquired, what you think their cost was, why you think that cost should have been paid but wasn't, and what you think would be worth giving up to acquire the player(s), etc. You seem to be implying that there was a no-brainer move to be made that our GM passed on. You also seem to be dismissing the fact that Theo could add pieces this month as well, something he has done in August many times. So, your solutions?...

#41 86spike


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 01:24 PM

Ok, you've identified what you consider to be a fatal flaw of the team, which is fair. In my life I'm a firm believer of coming up with a realistic solution before I complain about something. Nowhere have you mentioned any names that we should have aquired, what you think their cost was, why you think that cost should have been paid but wasn't, and what you think would be worth giving up to acquire the player(s), etc. You seem to be implying that there was a no-brainer move to be made that our GM passed on. You also seem to be dismissing the fact that Theo could add pieces this month as well, something he has done in August many times. So, your solutions?...


You're setting up a series of questions that no one can answer without telepathic powers.

I don't know who Theo talked about acquiring nor do I know what the prices were. I also don't know what the final value Theo has assigned to his prospects is. None of us know that stuff.

But every available pitcher had a price. Theo chose not to meet those prices. That we know.

My point remains that given the situation with our team this year, I would have preferred Theo sell when he determined that the cost of adding RPs was too high. Try to cash in Beltre at least. There's not indication that he did that. That's my critique.

As for the possibility of add RPs in August... I do hope he does that, but he'd better act very quickly.

The Sox are about to go into a 4 day meat grinder in the Bronx. In those games, the MFY lineup is going to work our starters and push up their pitch counts early in the games. It's what they do. Then Tito will be forced to go to the pen in the 6th or 7th innings and the MFYs are going to tear the likes of MDC, Oki, Atchinson and Wakefield apart. If we win 2 games in that series I'll be shocked.

#42 Paul M


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 01:42 PM

Isn't there a potential flaw in using WPA to evaluate the bullpen in aggregate? If the 6th/7th inning relievers are below average, which I think they are, then you might not get into the super-high leverage innings because that tie game or 1-run deficit or lead has transitioned to a lower leverage situation. I think the bar was not terribly high to improve the guys taking most of those innings. It is great they can turn to Bard and usually Paplebon but this overstates the relief corps effectiveness. In other words, it is probably better to have 4 good relievers instead of 2 great ones and 2 mediocre ones. I guess the expectation is going forward that the starters will assume more of the 6th and 7th innings and that is better than trying to deal for a really good 3rd option in the pen. This is something that will be tested.

#43 MHead81

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 01:48 PM

You're setting up a series of questions that no one can answer without telepathic powers.

I don't know who Theo talked about acquiring nor do I know what the prices were. I also don't know what the final value Theo has assigned to his prospects is. None of us know that stuff.

But every available pitcher had a price. Theo chose not to meet those prices. That we know.

My point remains that given the situation with our team this year, I would have preferred Theo sell when he determined that the cost of adding RPs was too high. Try to cash in Beltre at least. There's not indication that he did that. That's my critique.

As for the possibility of add RPs in August... I do hope he does that, but he'd better act very quickly.

The Sox are about to go into a 4 day meat grinder in the Bronx. In those games, the MFY lineup is going to work our starters and push up their pitch counts early in the games. It's what they do. Then Tito will be forced to go to the pen in the 6th or 7th innings and the MFYs are going to tear the likes of MDC, Oki, Atchinson and Wakefield apart. If we win 2 games in that series I'll be shocked.


Ok, so the reason you can't answer my questions is that you lack telepathic powers and you don't have access to the information needed to make an informed response. How does this same reasoning not apply to the fact that you're complaining that Theo did nothing?

You're implying that Theo is a moron and that you see an obvious move that should've been made. Theo isn't stupid. If Scott Downs, for example, could have been had since he'd be an excellent fit, Theo surely inquired on him (which is a guess on my part since I don't have "telepathic powers"). That said, how do you know AA didn't say "ok, give me Kalish and Doubront"? And on the flip side of that, Theo doesn't have a track record of passing on deals which he considered to be fair and filled a need. It's not like he's against making trades.

Most of the ideal fits listed on Eric's chart weren't dealt so we don't have a comparison to say "oh, player x was only dealt for that?!?-- why didn't Theo do it?!?" For the most part we have no point of reference other than Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos. Again, I'm glad we didn't get Kerry Wood or Kyle Farnsworth. And how do you know LAA didn't tell Theo that they wanted to see how they do for the next week, since they were playing Texas after all, and that if they fall out of it that they'll resume conversations for Fuentes?

Do you understand how foolish it sound that since Theo couldn't get a relief pitcher, (edited wording) who probably won't be worth 2 wins if we're lucky, that he should bail on the season with so much time remaining? They still benefit from selling tickets, you know. And as has been discussed many times, this team is not out of it, is built and positioned to make a run, and has control of its own destiny.

This is why I have referenced WEEI callers in response to some your posts. You imply that you know more than Theo, who has access to way more information than you do. Put some content with your complaints. Suggest a move that could have been made. Say what you would've done differently. Don't just point a finger without providing a better idea.

Edited by MHead81, 02 August 2010 - 02:00 PM.


#44 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:02 PM

Sell who for what? Beltre's the only guy they have that they could have realistically "sold" for anything at the deadline, and they probably would like to bring him back next year, and will still get draft picks if he leaves.

Also, with TV ratings already low, no way were they going to ship off a bunch of players when they were only about 5 games out of the playoffs. That would be a message to everyone: the Sox are quitting, so don't start watching now. They're supposed to do that to acquire whatever they could get for Beltre, minus the draft picks? Makes no sense.

Epstein's never "sold" at the trade deadline, and he shouldn't, unless the team is more like 10 games out of the playoffs, rather than 5 with injured players still coming back.

Going into the season, we had some bullpen questions, but no huge holes. Huge holes are teams with scrubs at closer and no setup men with any potential. There are quite a few teams like that, Boston wasn't one of them.

Okajima, Ramirez and MDC were question marks but projected to be decent middle relievers. Other options were brought in, like Atchison, Manuel and Schoeneweiss, in case they fell off, plus guys in the minors who hopefully could step in.

You can't have all-stars at every position including the back of the bullpen and the bench unless you're the Yankees and spend $40 million or $50 million more every single year than even the Red Sox do. You're going to have question marks at the edge of your roster, and you have to hope that some guys work out, and have backup plans ready if they don't. The Sox looked like they had most roles on the team filled pretty well, except for a couple of questions in the bullpen, with backup plans in place. That's not exactly a horrible job by the GM.

I would like to have seen guys like Atchison and Manuel get more chances before the deadline, to see what they could do. But Okajima's been really good here for a while, it's understandable that they didn't want to just dump him after less than half a season of sucking, while trading too much for an overpriced middle reliever who might be worse in the AL East. Kerry Wood and Farnsworth were good bets to be even worse in this division than Okajimia, and they were two of the big name relievers who got traded at the deadline.

They cleared out Ramirez, brought up Richardson and will probably be bringing up Bowden, Doubront and/or Manuel soon. Atchison's been decent, and Bard has actually been able to get some rest lately. If we can get a few blow-out wins for a change, and get a solid 20 innings from someone who is in AAA right now, the pen could well be pretty good the rest of the way.

#45 judyb

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:14 PM

That's what I'm wondering, would people feel better about the bullpen if the Red Sox had traded for Wood or Farnsworth? And, if so, can you explain to me why? If not one of those two, who that was actually traded would have made you feel better, and why do you think he'd be less of a crapshoot than the crapshoots they already have?

#46 86spike


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:16 PM

You are reading way more into my posts than you should.

Ok, so the reason you can't answer my questions is that you lack telepathic powers and you don't have access to the information needed to make an informed response. How does this same reasoning not apply to the fact that you're complaining that Theo did nothing?


I am complaining because it is my opinion that doing nothing is tantamount to giving up on the season. The bullpen is the fatal flaw of this squad, IMO. They will not make the playoffs and will not win a championship with only 1 elite RP and 1 off-and-on elite RP. So doing nothing is the same thing as punting on the season... except without the benefit of finding out if some team would line your coffers in return for a hot soon-to-be-FA like Beltre.

You're implying that Theo is a moron and that you see an obvious move that should've been made. Theo isn't stupid.


You're reading that into my posts. I have never said I think Theo is stupid or that I'm smarter than him. I don't agree with his 'middle ground' move. That is not to say I think he's dumb. I just don't think standing pat was good for this team since I think the result is missing the playoffs and watching Beltre sign a huge deal on the west coast... and then we'll get a couple of draft picks that might possibly potentially maybe someday help the team win a championship in 5-10 years from now. I'm not a fan of that outcome and I think that outcome is probable. That does not mean I think I'm smarter than Theo.

If Scott Downs, for example, could have been had since he'd be an excellent fit, Theo surely inquired on him (which is a guess on my part since I don't have "telepathic powers"). That said, how do you know AA didn't say "ok, give me Kalish and Doubront"? And on the flip side of that, Theo doesn't have a track record of passing on deals which he considered to be fair and filled a need. It's not like he's against making trades.

Most of the ideal fits listed on Eric's chart weren't dealt so we don't have a comparison to say "oh, player x was only dealt for that?!?-- why didn't Theo do it?!?" For the most part we have no point of reference other than Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos. Again, I'm glad we didn't get Kerry Wood or Kyle Farnsworth.


Did you read the part in my last post where I noted that I understand that every pitcher had a price and that clearly Theo chose not to meet those prices? I understand that. I'm OK with it. Theo has a value assigned to all of his prospects. He chose not to spend that value. I trust him to weigh all the various factors and make an educated decision.

Again, my complaint is that when he decided the price was too high, he didn't take the further step of selling as much as he was able to for the betterment of the future. This is my opinion on what would be best for the team given the crazy injury issues we've had, the strength of TB and the MFYs, and the state of our pen.

I am not complaining that Theo didn't pay more than he wanted to for an RP. I am complaining that he chose a futile middle ground.

And how do you know LAA didn't tell Theo that they wanted to see how they do for the next week, since they were playing Texas after all, and that if they fall out of it that they'll resume conversations for Fuentes?


Definitely could be the case. But will we survive the NY series this weekend to find out? The time to act most likely was last week (if not a month before that as many here have wanted).

Do you understand how foolish it sound that since Theo couldn't get a relief pitcher, who would probably be worth 2+ wins if we're lucky, that he should bail on the season with so much time remaining? They still benefit from selling tickets, you know. And as has been discussed many times, this team is not out of it, is built and positioned to make a run, and has control of its own destiny.


I, personally, think the current bullpen is so flawed that your optimism is very unlikely to prove correct. Teams with the kind of crap we have in our pen don't go on dominant runs. Especially when 10 of the upcoming 20 road games are against NYY, TEX, and TB. Our middle relief is going to be tested over and over again. I don't think it can pass the test.

This is why I have referenced WEEI callers in response to some your posts. You imply that you know more than Theo, who has access to way more information than you do. Put some content with your complaints. Suggest a move that could have been made. Say what you would've done differently. Don't just point a finger without providing a better idea.


Jesus Christ, dude. Take a second and think about what I'm saying.

My "better idea" is simple. If Theo couldn't bring in improvements for the pen, the season is fucked and he should have spent at least a day shopping Beltre and anyone else deemed unlikely to contribute to the team beyond this year. That's my better idea.

#47 MHead81

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:35 PM

You are reading way more into my posts than you should.

Close-- I am just reading your posts way more than I should.

I am complaining because it is my opinion that doing nothing is tantamount to giving up on the season. The bullpen is the fatal flaw of this squad, IMO. They will not make the playoffs and will not win a championship with only 1 elite RP and 1 off-and-on elite RP. So doing nothing is the same thing as punting on the season... except without the benefit of finding out if some team would line your coffers in return for a hot soon-to-be-FA like Beltre.

No, "doing nothing is the same thing as punting on the season"... in your opinion. Again, adding a RP isn't going to account for the number of wins in the remainder of 2010 that he/they would cost in terms of the prospects that were likely being requested.

You're reading that into my posts. I have never said I think Theo is stupid or that I'm smarter than him. I don't agree with his 'middle ground' move. That is not to say I think he's dumb. I just don't think standing pat was good for this team since I think the result is missing the playoffs and watching Beltre sign a huge deal on the west coast... and then we'll get a couple of draft picks that might possibly potentially maybe someday help the team win a championship in 5-10 years from now. I'm not a fan of that outcome and I think that outcome is probable. That does not mean I think I'm smarter than Theo.

Actually, suggesting that your idea, which doesn't have nearly the access to the amount of information needed to make an informed decision, is better than Theo's, is pretty much the definition of thinking that you're smarter than he is.

My "better idea" is simple. If Theo couldn't bring in improvements for the pen, the season is fucked and he should have spent at least a day shopping Beltre and anyone else deemed unlikely to contribute to the team beyond this year. That's my better idea.


Well, that's your idea. It's hardly a "better idea." I'm at a loss for words. I'm just glad that you don't work in the front office.

#48 Eric Van


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:35 PM

Do you understand how foolish it sound that since Theo couldn't get a relief pitcher, (edited wording) who probably won't be worth 2 wins if we're lucky

In fact, it's extremely difficult for a middle reliever over the course of two months to be worth even a win. The average #3 man on a pennant contender has a seasonal WPA of about 1.00, so if you had a guy as terrible as Oki and could replace him with one of those guys you'd gain maybe 2 wins in the whole year, or 2/3 of a win over the course of two months. In reality it's even less because the guy you're acquiring pushes everybody down one spot on the leverage pecking order. The Sox bullpen is odd in that the third highest leverage innings have been given to a guy putting up a 7.00 ERA equivalent; Oki would never have the terrible WPA that he does if he hadn't been put out there with the game on the line again and again. You can fix a lot of that problem by just giving his innings to your actual third best pitcher.

People are acting like upgrading the third spot in the pen is a crucial need when in reality it's a way to steal, at best, one more win over the course of the season (the typical upgrade for a good such trade is half a win). There is a pretty good argument that you should never trade anything of significant value for middle relief (after factoring in any draft picks you'll get), so with teams asking for the moon the idea of promoting Atchison to higher lev innings, giving his innings to Bowden and eventually Doubront, and hoping to pick up Fuentes for a fair price -- that's very attractive.

#49 86spike


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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:50 PM

Close-- I am just reading your posts way more than I should.


Now, now, now.

Welcome to SosH. 98% of what's written on here is hot air speculation and opinionating. That is what we do. If we all thought that Theo Epstein is flawless and should never be judged, what the hell would we do here? It seems like you don't get that yet. I hope I can help you accept the nature of our little community where we all think we're smarter than each other and we present opposing viewpoints and ideas about the Sox in the form of written thoughts and debates.

#50 judyb

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:57 PM

My "better idea" is simple. If Theo couldn't bring in improvements for the pen, the season is fucked and he should have spent at least a day shopping Beltre and anyone else deemed unlikely to contribute to the team beyond this year. That's my better idea.

Do you understand that, in just a few days, some team could lose a few more games, decide they're out of it, put a better reliever than anyone who was traded already on waivers, and the Red Sox could claim him, be awarded the claim, and work out a deal? Crazier things have happened. You give up and sell because it's really hopeless, not because you couldn't get a good relief pitcher by July 31.