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Report: Sox pursuing Bruce Chen for tie-breaker start


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#1 mabrowndog


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:26 AM

Per Ken Rosenthal via MLBTR

Royals lefty Bruce Chen is among Boston's trade targets as they consider acquiring a starter for a potential Thursday play-in game, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Chen is scheduled to start tonight in Minnesota as he seeks to tie his career-high of 13 wins.

Chen projects as a Type B free agent, and an arbitration offer is realistic. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein would have to surrender something significant to best the value of that potential draft pick, and he'd probably have to complete the trade before even knowing whether he'd need Chen for tomorrow. The 34-year-old Chen has a 3.98 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, and 35.5% groundball rate on the season.



Rosenthal's Tweet

Sources: #RedSox still discussing whether to get starting pitcher for potential tie-breaker. Among targets: Royals LHP Bruce Chen.


Edited by mabrowndog, 28 September 2011 - 10:28 AM.


#2 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:29 AM

Those are just terribly unimpressive K rate and K/BB numbers.

But he'd still be better than Lackey.

#3 tims4wins


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:31 AM

I remember him sucking for his back in 2003, so I looked it up:

12 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 4 HR, 2 BB, 12 K

While the ERA was high and he gave up the 4 HR, his xFIP was 3.11. But he did give up those 4 HR.

Edit: under the circumstances, I could see it being difficult to get traded one day before the game and then fly in and perform. I think I'd rather take my chances with Lackey / Aceves / Wake / Buchholz.

Edited by tims4wins, 28 September 2011 - 10:32 AM.


#4 dynomite

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:32 AM

Those are just terribly unimpressive K rate and K/BB numbers.

But he'd still be better than Lackey.


Sadly true.

As I said in another thread:

[re: starting right after being traded]

Bedard's first start for the Sox on 8/4 a few days after being acquired: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER (no decision)

Against the Orioles this year, Bruce Chen is 1-1 in 2 starts, with 11.2 IP, 4 ER, 3.09 ERA (7 Ks/6 BBs). Is it really "nearly impossible" to imagine he'd be able to pitch decently (or, at least, better than Miller/Weiland) against them one more time?

[re: why would he be motivated if he's ineligible for the postseason roster?]
Whoever it is will likely be a pending free agent, and if game #162 matters it'll be a playoff-like audition before the entire league.

Chen, for instance, has pitched the entire year in obscurity in Kansas City. If he's acquired and has a solid start in a meaningful game on Wednesday, his stock -- and next contract -- couldn't help but go up.



Chen against the Rays:

2011: No appearances
2010: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER (7 Ks/3 BBs)
2009 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER (7 Ks/3 BBs)

Edited by dynomite, 28 September 2011 - 10:36 AM.


#5 singaporesoxfan

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:34 AM

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama. I'm oddly happy with the idea.

#6 24JoshuaPoint


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:38 AM

FWIW he's 1-2 at the Trop lifetime with a 1.37 WHIP over 37 IP.

I just don't see it happening but at this point who knows.

ed - his k and walk rate in Tampa pretty much match his 2011 averages.

Edited by 24JoshuaPoint, 28 September 2011 - 10:39 AM.


#7 AlNipper49


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:39 AM

FWIW he's 1-2 at the Trop lifetime with a 1.37 WHIP over 37 IP.

I just don't see it happening but at this point who knows.


So... what you're saying he's ready to step in and be our ace?

#8 anakin

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:40 AM

Rob Bradford from WEEI said 'Buchholz might be activated.'

http://www.weei.com/...ay-be-activated

#9 tims4wins


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:41 AM

FWIW, he hasn't faced Tampa this year. Here are how Wake, Lackey, and Miller have fared against Tampa:

Lackey: 3 G, 3 GS, 6.46 ERA, 15.1 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 4 HR, 953 OPS
Wake: 3 G, 2 GS, 4.11 ERA, 15.1 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 785 OPS
Miller: 3 G, 1 GS, 15.19 ERA, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 942 OPS

Pitching at the Trop:

Lackey: 8.31 ERA, 947 OPS (8.2 IP)
Wake: 1.29 ERA, 644 OPS (7 IP)
Miller: 23.63 ERA, 1.171 OPS (2.2 IP)

I think the answer is Wakefield followed by Aceves.

#10 Trlicek's Whip

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:42 AM

Chen's only faced eight TAM position players in his career. Only three of them have more than 5 AB's against him:

Damon: 13 for 28, 2 HR's
Upton: 1 for 12, 5 K's
Zobrist: 1 for 7

Longoria's 0 for 3 against Chen, FWIW.

Edit: capitals.

Edited by Trlicek's Whip, 28 September 2011 - 10:46 AM.


#11 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:43 AM

He was one of the guys we flagged as a good candidate for this kind of deal earlier in the week. It's a sad commentary on the Sox current pitching situation that a journeyman like Chen is, in fact, probably the most attractive option for what would be the definition of a must-win game!

Glad they continue to beat the bushes, though

#12 SoxScout


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:44 AM

Trusting Wake, and by extension Salty, in a must-win game is lunacy. I think he's pitched his last time for this organization. I'd take any of Chen, Lackey, Miller, Doubront, Weiland, ect, ect.

#13 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:45 AM

Chen career vs. Tampa:
4-2, 3.75 in 74.1 IP. 16 HRs allowed.

Career in the juice dome:
1-2, 4.82 in 37.1 IP. 28 K, 15 BBs. 9 HRs allowed!

Apparently he has not faced Tampa at all this season.

The Red Sox lit him up for 10 runs in 4 IP though.

#14 smastroyin


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:45 AM

Better than Mike Torrez, embedded Yankee, or Denny Galehouse.

#15 Pozo the Clown

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:46 AM

FWIW, he hasn't faced Tampa this year. Here are how Wake, Lackey, and Miller have fared against Tampa:

Lackey: 3 G, 3 GS, 6.46 ERA, 15.1 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 4 HR, 953 OPS
Wake: 3 G, 2 GS, 4.11 ERA, 15.1 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 785 OPS
Miller: 3 G, 1 GS, 15.19 ERA, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 942 OPS

Pitching at the Trop:

Lackey: 8.31 ERA, 947 OPS (8.2 IP)
Wake: 1.29 ERA, 644 OPS (7 IP)
Miller: 23.63 ERA, 1.171 OPS (2.2 IP)

I think the answer is Wakefield followed by Aceves.


The availability of Salty may factor into this. Not that Salty's been stellar in handling the knuckleball (certainly not of late), but, has Lavarnway ever caught Wake or any other knuckleballer?

#16 Dehere

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:46 AM

What am I missing here? Wouldn't Chen have to clear waivers to be traded after the deadline, and if so why wouldn't Tampa Bay just claim him?

#17 SoxScout


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:47 AM

What am I missing here? Wouldn't Chen have to clear waivers to be traded after the deadline, and if so why wouldn't Tampa Bay just claim him?


He already cleared like 6 weeks ago

#18 Fishercat


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:50 AM

Chen is officially cleared.

I'm not sure what's crazier, the fact that a team with this huge of a payroll is looking to trade for Bruce Chen for a single-game must-win playoff (and we may not get to that point), or that this is out best option. Salty's a passed ball a star with Wake (and Wake's not great), Miller is a no, Buchholz has rust on his rust. Chen's actually healthy and decently capable.

#19 RingoOSU


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:52 AM

Chen's 4.13 ERA in September would lead all Sox Starters for the month.

#20 AlNipper49


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:54 AM

We should track his airplane

#21 tims4wins


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:55 AM

We should track his airplane

Police escort like Mirabelli!

#22 TheoShmeo


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 10:59 AM

A few points:

- Not that I'm surprised, but you have to love that the Sox are exploring every avenue and not just going with some lame ass "got to ride the (dead) horses that got us here" drivel. I think the willingness to go to extremes overwhelms the panicky look of this effort.

- Not that either of Lackey or Wake has done anything to inspire confidence, but this would be a rather large vote of no confidence. Sure, three days is a short period of rest, but this is Bruce Chen, not Syd Finch, we're talking about.

- How does doing this affect the clubhouse? Does it matter?

- It's beyond sad that their lack of starting pitcher depth has put them in this position. Not Theo's shining moment.

- Bottom line, I'd rather see Bruce Chen with the ball than (a) Wake under any circumstances and (b) Lackey on three days rest (and maybe under any circumstances, too). He's better than them.

#23 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:00 AM

Where's Paul Byrd these days?

#24 Yaz4Ever


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:00 AM

Just put D-Mac out there. He looked as good as any of them in his inning of relief.

Throw nine guys out there, one inning apiece, and throw off the hitters' timing.

Honestly, I'd be inclined to give Aceves the ball at this point and ride him to the postseason. In 17 IP against TB this season, he's given up on 9 hits and 3 walks while striking out 13 holding their hitters to a .133 average and a 1.99 ERA. Would you really rather consider trading away a prospect (B or higher) for a one day flier on someone like Chen?

#25 Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:01 AM

Bruce Chen=Denny Galehouse.

If Bruce Chen starts the as-yet-hypothetical Thursday game, I won't even watch. I'd much rather they just empty out the pen an the whole staff, getting an inning or two out of everyone who's even remotely available. Jesus, call up Renaudo to pitch to one batter if they have to.

#26 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:04 AM

Bruce Chen=Denny Galehouse.

If Bruce Chen starts the as-yet-hypothetical Thursday game, I won't even watch. I'd much rather they just empty out the pen an the whole staff, getting an inning or two out of everyone who's even remotely available. Jesus, call up Renaudo to pitch to one batter if they have to.

Galehouse sucked because he had spent most of the previous game warming up in the pen but never being brought in.

Chen isn't a great option, but Lackey is a worse one.

#27 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:05 AM

We have a guy available who is going to make $50M over the next 3 years, yet are trying to trade for Bruce Chen b/c we are too afraid to start him.

Not sure what that says, but jeez.

#28 jacklamabe65


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:08 AM

Now this is surreal. It is so wacky that I am absolutely intrigued. What a strange year in so many ways.

#29 Foulkey Reese


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:11 AM

Now this is surreal. It is so wacky that I am absolutely intrigued. What a strange year in so many ways.

It's so bizarre that it's exciting. This year shows that anything can happen in baseball.

#30 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:12 AM

It's so bizarre that it's exciting. This year shows that anything can happen in baseball.

I'd said more depressing than exciting. Pretty hard to believe that its come to this.

#31 TheoShmeo


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:14 AM

It's so bizarre that it's exciting. This year shows that anything can happen in baseball.

It seems sort of wrong that a team can add a player not previously on its roster for what amounts to a playoff game.

Imagine the reaction if the Sox traded for King Felix at this time.

#32 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:15 AM

Now this is surreal. It is so wacky that I am absolutely intrigued. What a strange year in so many ways.

I haven't voted in that thread yet, but if they trade for Chen and start him tomorrow, then it becomes a no-brainer.

#33 AB in DC


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:19 AM

Trusting Wake, and by extension Salty, in a must-win game is lunacy. I think he's pitched his last time for this organization.


Started his last time, definitely. But I wouldn't mind seeing him come out of the bullpen for an inning or two just to keep hitters off-balance.

#34 Scott Cooper

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:20 AM

I don't like the idea at all as I really think it would screw with the entire clubhouse. You have one game to play and you are going with the ringer?

Although, John Kruk on Mutt and Merloni the other day said that with the current state of the Sox pitchers, as a hitter for the Sox he would lace up this new pitchers shoes for him before he went out to the mound.

I can't believe it's actually has come to this, and I don't think it'll happen.

I'll take my chances with an all hands on deck Lackey and whomever.....Didn't Lackey have a decent outing on Sunday?

#35 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:22 AM

Just put D-Mac out there. He looked as good as any of them in his inning of relief.

Throw nine guys out there, one inning apiece, and throw off the hitters' timing.

AND you can alternate Wakefield out in the field. He'd probably hit better than Crawford, and if you have him throw a couple of knucklers, and then have Aceves or someone else follow up with the heat, it could be magical!

#36 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:23 AM

I don't like the idea at all as I really think it would screw with the entire clubhouse. You have one game to play and you are going with the ringer?

Although, John Kruk on Mutt and Merloni the other day said that with the current state of the Sox pitchers, as a hitter for the Sox he would lace up this new pitchers shoes for him before he went out to the mound.

I can't believe it's actually has come to this, and I don't think it'll happen.

I'll take my chances with an all hands on deck Lackey and whomever.....Didn't Lackey have a decent outing on Sunday?

He was decent, yes. But if he pitched the tie-breaker he'd be on 3 days' rest. Do you really want a historically sucky pitcher going with the added disadvantage of short rest?

#37 snowmanny

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:24 AM

Bruce Chen was dumped by the Red Sox in 2003 after two starts against the Yankees where he went 4 innings/2ER and
5 innings/4ER. I wish I thought Lackey was likely to put up a line better than either of those tomorrow.

#38 OCD SS


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

I'll take my chances with an all hands on deck Lackey and whomever.....Didn't Lackey have a decent outing on Sunday?


Lackey would be on short rest, which should probably be avoided.

Since Lackey isn't losing his spot on the playoff roster, I doubt he'd really care, or otherwise affect clubhouse chemistry. The only person this really affects is Wake, who absolutely should not be allowed to start in any case.

#39 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

Bruce Chen was dumped by the Red Sox in 2003 after two starts against the Yankees where he went 4 innings/2ER and
5 innings/4ER. I wish I thought Lackey was likely to put up a line better than either of those tomorrow.

I don't know what relevance 2 starts in 2003 have to do with anything today, 8 years later.

Chen is nothing special at all, but he's probably a better bet to be decent on full rest than Lackey would be on short rest.

#40 dcmissle


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

We now have a champ of "Surreal". The sniffing around Capuano + this represent a giant leap forward for the 2011 season.

#41 Yaz4Ever


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

AND you can alternate Wakefield out in the field. He'd probably hit better than Crawford, and if you have him throw a couple of knucklers, and then have Aceves or someone else follow up with the heat, it could be magical!


So you don't like my "Theo throwing shit against the wall and hoping something sticks" approach? :) You didn't comment on the Aceves part, though. That guy has been en fuego since the break. He also hasn't started since June, but he seems to have the competitive fire in him that would have him prepared for a one day must-win.

#42 OCD SS


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:27 AM

What's the other side of the coin? What does KC want for Chen and his supplemental pick?

#43 Papelbon's Poutine


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:29 AM

I assume they would have to complete the deal before the game ends tonight? It would seem odd if the league allowed them to make a deal aftert the season had ended for the rest of the league.

#44 tims4wins


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:31 AM

He was decent, yes. But if he pitched the tie-breaker he'd be on 3 days' rest. Do you really want a historically sucky pitcher going with the added disadvantage of short rest?

I dunno, worked with D-Lowe in 2004

(yeah, I know he wasn't historically sucky, but he actually had the same WHIP that year as Lackey this year - 1.62)

#45 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:32 AM

- Not that I'm surprised, but you have to love that the Sox are exploring every avenue and not just going with some lame ass "got to ride the (dead) horses that got us here" drivel. I think the willingness to go to extremes overwhelms the panicky look of this effort.


Can this really be seen as a positive for the Sox organization, that they would rather start Bruce Chen or Chris Capuano over anyone they have in their own system? Doesn't say much for the depth guys (Weiland, Wake, Miller) and makes you wonder why they didn't bother upgrading and acquiring at least someone (or had a Duckworth or Fox ready to go) earlier in the month. Why didn't they claim Capuano or Chen, for example?

#46 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:33 AM

I dunno, worked with D-Lowe in 2004

(yeah, I know he wasn't historically sucky, but he actually had the same WHIP that year as Lackey this year - 1.62)


OK, but....

1) he's a sinkerballer and they are impacted by short rest very differently than guys like Lackey

2) it working once (out of complete desperation) does not make it a high percentage bet to work again

#47 snowmanny

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:36 AM

I don't know what relevance 2 starts in 2003 have to do with anything today, 8 years later.

Chen is nothing special at all, but he's probably a better bet to be decent on full rest than Lackey would be on short rest.


The starts from 8 years ago have no relevance. I was trying to point out the touch of irony that even when Bruce Chen was pitching so badly that he was cut by this organization he was still better than what we've seen lately from John Lackey.

I have no problem with this move. But if they are lucky enough to win tonight and lucky enough to get 7-8 innings from Lester and avoid Aceves, then I think they could piece together something OK beginning with just ~3 innings from Lackey....although I'd probably be inclined to use Wakefield instead, given his good history in Tampa.

#48 tims4wins


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:38 AM

OK, but....

1) he's a sinkerballer and they are impacted by short rest very differently than guys like Lackey

2) it working once (out of complete desperation) does not make it a high percentage bet to work again

Oh, I know, I was mostly kidding. But it just goes to show you that you never know. Maybe it would be Lackey's revenge game for the text message before Sunday's game.

#49 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:38 AM

You're crazy. I would not use Wakefield under any circumstances save a 20 run difference in scores.

#50 glennhoffmania


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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:42 AM

I don't know what relevance 2 starts in 2003 have to do with anything today, 8 years later.

Chen is nothing special at all, but he's probably a better bet to be decent on full rest than Lackey would be on short rest.

Maybe Lackey on 3 days rest would be his best start of the year. It's not like regular rest has worked out too well for him.