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How to rebuild this rotation?


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#401 rglenmt

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:11 AM

A rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay [I am an Idiot], Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront, with a rehabbing, with the time under anethesia during TJ Surger, rehab and thinking about his next Contract hopefully being a much smarter pitcher this time around ML Baseball, to go along with his 2 time MVP of the World Baseball Classic (IMHO DiceK had the best stuff on the Staff after ClayBuccholz), Red Sox would have a pretty good 6 starters, maybe the best in the MLs and I know most thing Tampa Ray's have the best starters, BUT, as an old catcher, manager-general manager wannabe like most of us, would rather find out what Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront (Sox would have team's own "Felix" rather someone like Padilla (like that his name is Vicente like Luis Tiante's old buddy Vicente Romo) and rotation with 2 very different lefties, Jon with his crafty pitching and the ability to blow away hitters and Felix who will have to pitch smartly like DiceK should, Red Sox might just have something to make us all forget the injuries in 2010 and collapse in 2011, help us not to barf a third season in a row.

Respectfully submitted,

rglenmt f/k/a pudgefick

Edited by rglenmt, 20 February 2012 - 05:31 AM.


#402 Eck'sSneakyCheese


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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:54 AM

If anybody didn't watch the Bard interview on Red Sox Hot Stove last night I suggest you do. That guy is focused and ready. He talked about how confident he is going into this, and how he really wanted to switch to starter this year. He mentioned how good his slider and his change-up feel and is working on a sinker. There was also something about Schoppach talking about from the perspective of an opposing team how devastating Bards change-up is. I know it's still the start of ST and I don't expect the guy to come out and say "I'm not sure if I can do it" or anything like that, but he seems VERY confident.

They also interviewed Valentine. I'm not a Bobby V hater I actually think he's going to do well as our manager this year, but good god does he come across like a schmuck. He's a really smart guy he's just kind of a douche. Anyway, as far as pitchers are concerned he was asked if any of the pitchers have surprised him with the shape they're in, he said he was impressed with Padilla especially, and Doubront. Take it FWIW.

To also note, it seems that Aviles has a stranglehold on the SS position and Valentine even flat-out said Punto as an everyday player is "not an option"

As far as the pitching staff being better or worse than last year, none of us can assure they're going to be one way or the other. We can only predict, maybe from an optimistic standpoint, that they have to be better than last year. As long as they stay healthy Lester and Bucholz should perform better than last year, Beckett will probably see a slight drop-off, Bard+ will be better than whatever we had at #4 and for now I'll say Padilla+ will out-produce #5. Is that out of the realm of possibility? No. Is it foolish optimism? I don't think so. Could it all blow up? Absolutely. It all depends on injuries. IMO the probability that this staff will be better is far more likely than them being the same or worse. Just my opinion.

#403 walkoffblast

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:11 PM

Management seems to be tied up with budget restrictions and bad contracts. Not sure they learned anything that we can see this offseason except from the Yankees, where they saw you can get lucky rolling the dice with reclamation projects. Having a depleted minor league system at the high levels for pitching allowed them to sign so many projects to minor league deals. If they had the money, I am pretty sure they would have spent it on EJ and kept Scutaro. They didn't. so we shall see how it all works out.


What I think management learned is that depth matters and throwing money at the problem doesn't necessarily lead to better results. Probably also that we could use a better 6th starter than Wakefield at this point. Money is a relevant concern. The Red Sox have never operated without a budget and the budget has always been fairly similar respective to the luxury tax as it is this year. I think the Red Sox got away from building a complete roster some last season. They got somewhat unlucky with injuries but they simply did not have sufficient depth. Instead of investing in depth they invested that money in less players that were projected better.

This is still a team with a very good nucleus. It may be better to make sure they are surrounded by competent major leaguers even during the worst stretches than to add even more semi-stars to it. This was a team that underperformed their pythagorean suggested win totals by 5 games last year. They had the third highest run differential in the AL last year. If they just won one extra game I doubt people would be as convinced that this team isn't good. Doing the little things right isn't a bad way to try and win an extra game. Scutaro was a money motivated move but I don't think anything else was beyond the normal budget concerns. By not spending all their money now they have more possibilities to make in season adjustments as necessary.

Yet at the same time, and outside that possibility of Buchholz staying healthy and finally putting up that full season of excellence we need out of him, do you feel just as strongly that the pitching staff (as a whole) should be expected to perform noticeably better?

Hypothetically speaking, say we see that marginal overall upgrade (since best case scenario that Bard/Aceves transition, even in success, still likely exposes a substanial chunk of innings that needs to be accounted for) out of the 4/5 spots this season, Lester is Lester, Beckett isn't quite as good as he was in 2011, and Buchholz manages to give us 150-160 innings. That being on top of a bullpen, that while not bad by any means, isn't quite up to par to what we got out of Papelbon/Bard/Aceves in 2011.

Does that potential prospect bring you back to a sense that we should be printing out the inevitable playoff tickets we are going to need come fall? Because that's where those dimished expections, well mine at least, resided at last winter.


I am not sure about noticeably better but I don't think there is a reason that they would have to be for this team to be successful. My gut reaction is that with how bad Lackey was last year I do not think it is unreasonable to expect this team to be noticeably better with the pitching. Lester stays about the same with maybe a slight improvement, Beckett does a little worse but nothing that bad. It would seem plenty reasonable for Buchholz to surpass his contribution from last year. If Beckett and Lester do as I suggested and then Buchholz throws 160 innings then this pitching staff is likely massively better than they were last year. It certainly isn't a lock for Buchholz to pitch that much but it is far from impossible.

The 4/5 spots needed a significant chunk of innings last year too though and the options to fill those innings seem better this year. If Bard and Aceves can make it as starters then they should give you at least 200 IP between them and that is likely going to be an above average 4th starter. Certainly likely to outperform what Wakefield gave us last year. Then you just need the fill in guys to outperform what Miller/Weiland/Dice-k gave you last year, which should not be hard. Then if being a little healthier allows the team to absorb the Bedard and Aceves starts into these groups proportionally the pitching is a lot better. Just doesn't seem that far fetched to me and with a little more consistent pitching the offense absolutely makes this team a threat. It isn't about about how you felt about last years team last winter. The relevant comparison is how you felt about last years team this winter. If anything last year should teach you that your expectations might not mean what you think they do anyway.

Edited by walkoffblast, 20 February 2012 - 12:14 PM.


#404 MikeM

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:13 PM

It isn't about about how you felt about last years team last winter. The relevant comparison is how you felt about last years team this winter. If anything last year should teach you that your expectations might not mean what you think they do anyway.


It's relevant in terms of explaining why i feel less of a cushion being there this winter, which was really the point i was trying to hit on with all that. Last winter we were speculating the 4/5 rotation spots as having the potential upside of being the best in baseball, this year's mantra there has more or less been "we'll be better by default!". It's just a lot easier to build that foundation of optimism/confidence/enthusiasm on the former.

FWIW, in the end i still have a hard time seeing things shake out where the team break ST with both Bard and Aceves in the rotation. Barring an early injury to Bailey, Bard seem to be a given atm. which i guess by default has me putting Aceves in the pen, and one of the flyers stepping in to take that last spot.

#405 SpruceTrap

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:47 PM

It's relevant in terms of explaining why i feel less of a cushion being there this winter, which was really the point i was trying to hit on with all that. Last winter we were speculating the 4/5 rotation spots as having the potential upside of being the best in baseball, this year's mantra there has more or less been "we'll be better by default!". It's just a lot easier to build that foundation of optimism/confidence/enthusiasm on the former.

FWIW, in the end i still have a hard time seeing things shake out where the team break ST with both Bard and Aceves in the rotation. Barring an early injury to Bailey, Bard seem to be a given atm. which i guess by default has me putting Aceves in the pen, and one of the flyers stepping in to take that last spot.


How much of that is subjective though? Last year, we had Josh Beckett coming off an injury shortened season with a 5.78 ERA, we had Daisuke Matsuzaka coming off an injury shortened season with a 4.69 ERA and we had John Lackey coming off a fully healthy season with a 4.40 ERA. I think the largest difference between the two off-seasons is that last year we had poor results and were expecting big bounce back seasons from multiple pitchers whereas this year we're coming off a year in which we pretty much had worst case scenario results and are expecting improvement because replacement level players could have done better.

#406 Tyrone Biggums


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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:38 PM

Yeah, after receiving the "Don't worry bro, Beckett is looking quite chubby atm LOL" text from my arch rival fan friend today, the first video clip i saw of him certainly generated a sigh.


I guess he learned more than how to pitch from Schilling after all

#407 MikeM

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:21 PM

How much of that is subjective though? Last year, we had Josh Beckett coming off an injury shortened season with a 5.78 ERA, we had Daisuke Matsuzaka coming off an injury shortened season with a 4.69 ERA and we had John Lackey coming off a fully healthy season with a 4.40 ERA. I think the largest difference between the two off-seasons is that last year we had poor results and were expecting big bounce back seasons from multiple pitchers whereas this year we're coming off a year in which we pretty much had worst case scenario results and are expecting improvement because replacement level players could have done better.


We also had Clay looking like he was finally primed to step up and take an anchor spot at the top of our rotation for years to come. Not exactly getting those same warm fuzzy feelings there atm.

As far as Beckett/Lackey/Dice-K go, at the time i didn't see those bounce-back expectations (on each guy for that matter) being all that unreasonable though. Or at least in terms of being much more reasonable then it would be to have the same expections out of this year's options, imo. But that was last year, and i had yet to completely write off both Lackey/Dice-K as i pretty much have done now.

Point still being that I'll take being presented with that kind of upside scenario over exections of default improvement any day. Especially given the backseat position we find ourselves sitting in right now.

#408 SpruceTrap

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:52 PM

We also had Clay looking like he was finally primed to step up and take an anchor spot at the top of our rotation for years to come. Not exactly getting those same warm fuzzy feelings there atm.

As far as Beckett/Lackey/Dice-K go, at the time i didn't see those bounce-back expectations (on each guy for that matter) being all that unreasonable though. Or at least in terms of being much more reasonable then it would be to have the same expections out of this year's options, imo. But that was last year, and i had yet to completely write off both Lackey/Dice-K as i pretty much have done now.

Point still being that I'll take being presented with that kind of upside scenario over exections of default improvement any day. Especially given the backseat position we find ourselves sitting in right now.


I think most reasonable fans expected Clay to regress by 1.00 runs or more in his ERA. If we simply have Bard and whoever else average a 5.00 ERA next year we'll be in better shape than we were last year. I like being in that position.

#409 koufax37

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:27 AM

Here are some predictions that I think are realistic:

Lester 2012 > Lester 2011
Lester + Beckett 2012 >= Lester + Beckett 2011
Lester + Beckett + Clay 2012 > Lester + Beckett + Clay 2011
Lester + Beckett + Clay + Bard 2012 > Lester + Beckett + Clay + Lackey 2011

So if our #5 spot shared among Aceves, Padilla, Doubront, etc can outperform Wakefield/Miller/Weiland from last year, with help from Dice-K when he gets back, I have a tough time seeing why we don't expect better starting pitching over 162 games this year than last year when we came up one inning short of the playoffs.

Now, I think our bullpen is likely weakened. Aceves will regress a little if he is in the pen, and be missed if he isn't. Bailey is good but not at Paps level. Melancon is good, but not at Bard level. But bullpens are very unpredictable, and I don't think it is inevitable that ours will significantly underperform 2011 over these next 162 games.

We are still in trouble with depth and up against two stellar starting rotations in our own division, but right now I think our pitching will be better than last year and we are likely to make the playoffs as a result. Now if we can just find a way to add Oswalt...

#410 SpruceTrap

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:37 PM

Sounds like Oswalt will decide between signing with the Rangers, Red Sox or sitting out a portion or all of the season at some point today.

https://twitter.com/#!/JonHeymanCBS/status/172733667775483904
link to tweet

#411 rglenmt

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:03 AM

Oswalt, a pretty darn good pitcher, with a bad back, is afraid of competing with a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Clay [I am an Idiot] (with a healed back and how come SOSH quotes me saying "i'm an idiot" like my Bride?), Bard (with a 100 mph fastball and other very good stuff, smarter and humbler than Josh) and Felix Doubront (sneaky quick, tough stuff and the surprise of 2012 MLB), even DiceK the WB Classic MVP x 2 will have trouble breaking into this rotation.


rglenmt f/k/a pudgefick
'label makes me feel perverted'

Edited by rglenmt, 25 February 2012 - 08:06 AM.


#412 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

Oswalt, a pretty darn good pitcher, with a bad back, is afraid of competing with a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Clay [I am an Idiot] (with a healed back and how come SOSH quotes me saying "i'm an idiot" like my Bride?), Bard (with a 100 mph fastball and other very good stuff, smarter and humbler than Josh) and Felix Doubront (sneaky quick, tough stuff and the surprise of 2012 MLB), even DiceK the WB Classic MVP x 2 will have trouble breaking into this rotation.


rglenmt f/k/a pudgefick
'label makes me feel perverted'

It says "I am an idiot" because you can't spell the name of a Sox player.

As for the other. Do you really believe that Oswalt didn't sign with the Sox because he's afraid? That's one of the most absurd statements I've seen in quite a while. Your observations about the players, "smarter and humbler than Josh", are great. Don't ever change.

#413 Sampo Gida

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:01 PM

I was just reading about Tom Glavine had said that he probably would not have signed with the Mets as a FA if Bobby V had remained as manager.

http://bleacherrepor...-moments/page/6

Not saying this was Oswalts problem with the Red Sox, but maybe it played a small part. Lots of things go into players decisions, location, money, league, team, manager, etc. When you have made almost 100 million over your career, you can be a bit picky.

I am pretty ok with not signing Oswalt. Maybe the staff works out OK without him, and his back issues did not make him a slam dunk anyways. That 5 million and a couple of prospects can probably allow you to get something decent during the trading deadline if needed.

#414 msfl96

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:54 AM

Something that no one has mentioned regarding the rotation is whether Daisuke's career will be revitalized by the appearance of Bobby V. Daisuke could be he one guy who V actually helps, considering that he's fluent in Japanese, and Dice-K's biggest problem may have just been being unsettled in America.

#415 Stanley Steamer

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:25 AM

I was just reading about Tom Glavine had said that he probably would not have signed with the Mets as a FA if Bobby V had remained as manager.

http://bleacherrepor...-moments/page/6

Not saying this was Oswalts problem with the Red Sox, but maybe it played a small part. Lots of things go into players decisions, location, money, league, team, manager, etc. When you have made almost 100 million over your career, you can be a bit picky.

I am pretty ok with not signing Oswalt. Maybe the staff works out OK without him, and his back issues did not make him a slam dunk anyways. That 5 million and a couple of prospects can probably allow you to get something decent during the trading deadline if needed.


Yeah, I guess things happen for a reason. How can you miss what you never had? To be sure, those resources can be used elsewhere should the need arise.



#416 koufax37

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:42 PM

Psychologically and training wise I think there is a good chance for this. If his off the field comfort and changes to his work in between starts can help him find his fastball command he can excel, but without his fastball command he won't ever be a good pitcher in Fenway. Two years ago I would have been more optimistic that a new pitching coach and a manager who speaks Japanese would have had a big impact.

As of now I am doubtful that coming off the surgery and with as many years as he has been here, that he can suddenly train differently enough to find the fastball command he needs. I expect he will do better than he has recently, but will still struggle establishing and locating his fastball well enough to really excel to his once upon a time potential.

Something that no one has mentioned regarding the rotation is whether Daisuke's career will be revitalized by the appearance of Bobby V. Daisuke could be he one guy who V actually helps, considering that he's fluent in Japanese, and Dice-K's biggest problem may have just been being unsettled in America.



#417 Sampo Gida

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:07 AM

Something that no one has mentioned regarding the rotation is whether Daisuke's career will be revitalized by the appearance of Bobby V. Daisuke could be he one guy who V actually helps, considering that he's fluent in Japanese, and Dice-K's biggest problem may have just been being unsettled in America.


Daisuke has been in America for 5 years. He has translators and other perks that make settling easier. As Buchholz and Lester have said this year, pitchers do not interact much with the manager (especially as Daisuke will not be pitching until the middle of the season when Bobby V should have a lot on his plate).

Also, I have read conflicting things about his fluency. It's one thing to converse about day to day stuff (greetings, dinner conversation, weather, etc) vs talking about complex subjects (mechanics, approach, etc). Like I said before, he has translators and has been in the US almost as long as Bobby V was in Japan, so he probably understands some English, so communication should not be an issue.

The one hope for Daisuke this year is maybe his performance the past 3 years has been elbow related. If he is pain free and has not lost much velocity, maybe he gets close to what he was in 2008 (frustrating as that was).

#418 koufax37

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:13 AM

Nice to see Bard do well in his very first start. I expect him to build on this and exceed expectations and am very bullish on him other than his eventual innings limit. Aceves also did well, and while I expect him to fall back to his bullpen role as many here do, it is nice if he can be a strong option if others falter and otherwise continue to excel in his multi inning relief role.

#419 Towney007

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:52 AM

One thing that's been noticeable this year is that there seems to have been A LOT of fucking with pitchers under the Epstein/Francona regime and the Cherington/Valentine regime don't seem to have any qualms about letting these kids pitch and figure shit out for themselves a bit -or at least within reason.

#420 Trotsky

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:13 AM

One thing that's been noticeable this year is that there seems to have been A LOT of fucking with pitchers under the Epstein/Francona regime and the Cherington/Valentine regime don't seem to have any qualms about letting these kids pitch and figure shit out for themselves a bit -or at least within reason.


Not sure if I totally agree with you there... what sort of info have you seen that makes you think this?

#421 Eck'sSneakyCheese


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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:15 PM

One thing that's been noticeable this year is that there seems to have been A LOT of fucking with pitchers under the Epstein/Francona regime and the Cherington/Valentine regime don't seem to have any qualms about letting these kids pitch and figure shit out for themselves a bit -or at least within reason.


Kind of thought it was the other way around...

#422 Sampo Gida

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:25 PM

One thing that's been noticeable this year is that there seems to have been A LOT of fucking with pitchers under the Epstein/Francona regime and the Cherington/Valentine regime don't seem to have any qualms about letting these kids pitch and figure shit out for themselves a bit -or at least within reason.


Isn't this more to do with the pitching coach? I doubt managers and GM's tinker with pitchers. Also, it's not like the Red Sox have not had any success with young pitchers. Buchholz, Lester, Paps, Bard etc.

#423 Trotsky

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:39 AM

I would say that there was a lot of "tinkering" with deliveries during the Theo tenure for prospects and reclamation projects- an idea that there was a certain specific delivery that was correct and deliveries that, while successful for a prospects or projects career up to that point, showed warning flags of potential injuries that that crew looked to get rid of.
I still don't know how much I buy into the "flying M" or whatever it was called, and other mechanics hurting pitchers. I suspect it has a lot more to do with biology than technique, and that we develop our technique based on our biology and therefore altering our technique can hurt our biology, but I'm not sure how to study that....
.... probably a careful case by case study of all pitchers who had been "tinkered" with and their injury history post tinkering and all pitchers that had a non-traditional delivery and mechanics and their respective injury history. Not my field.

#424 Trotsky

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:49 AM

Some stuff on the main page about the 5th spot and Padilla moving to the bullpen. I'm wondering what the trading scenarios are regarding his contract... say, if the Pirates offered something, would we be able to deal him and would he be able to block it, or be open to it (assuming the Pirates would offer him a guaranteed starter spot...).
I'd like to be able to store him in AAA, but it's on such a limited time and I'm not too sure about him in the bullpen. It's looking like the 5th spot is coming down to Aceves and Doubront though

#425 Eck'sSneakyCheese


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 01:53 PM

I'd say having Padilla in the pen and being ok with it would be great for us. Hopefully he would view it as an open audition for a starter spot. Having him on the team in any fashion if indeed there are going to be inning limits for Bard would be very smart.

#426 Towney007

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:08 PM

I would say that there was a lot of "tinkering" with deliveries during the Theo tenure for prospects and reclamation projects- an idea that there was a certain specific delivery that was correct and deliveries that, while successful for a prospects or projects career up to that point, showed warning flags of potential injuries that that crew looked to get rid of.
I still don't know how much I buy into the "flying M" or whatever it was called, and other mechanics hurting pitchers. I suspect it has a lot more to do with biology than technique, and that we develop our technique based on our biology and therefore altering our technique can hurt our biology, but I'm not sure how to study that....
.... probably a careful case by case study of all pitchers who had been "tinkered" with and their injury history post tinkering and all pitchers that had a non-traditional delivery and mechanics and their respective injury history. Not my field.


This is more of what I was referring to. Theo wasn't doing anything but the organizational credo seemed to have a distinct way they wanted their pitchers to pitch making it hard for pitchers coming in from the outside to acclimate.. looking over the long haul, the track record hasn't been that great.

#427 Trotsky

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 03:33 PM

After today it looks like all the major competetion for the 5th spot is putting in a serious bid to be that guy. Padilla and Dobront were both very good 2 days ago and Aceves numbers looked nice today.
Very nice problem to have...

#428 soxhop411


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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:19 PM

wrong thread

Edited by soxhop411, 15 March 2012 - 06:24 PM.


#429 Trotsky

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:33 AM

Hypothetically... if, at the end of ST, Padilla, Doubront and Aceves all look equally deserving for that 5th spot (relatively equal K/BB through ST, ERA, WHIP, etc....) who gets that spot?
Seems to me that I'd lean towards Felix. Upside that we could have a long term solution is too valuable to stick in the pen. Aceves has shown himself valuable as a flexible option (first one to take a spot if there's an injury) and Padilla, I think should be considered as the most disposable just due to his contract long-term.
All things staying as they are through ST from here till the end and I'm Felix gets that spot.

Not worried about Bard's last game. He starts as the no. 4 and gets a long leash. If he's struggling mid May then we consider the starting experiment over. But any hair pulling over his ST numbers is silly

#430 koufax37

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:15 PM

If somehow all things were equal, I lean towards Felix as well and put Padilla last. I think it could very well end up that way, but right now Aceves has the inside track. Unless he struggles as he goes deeper into games and sees the starting heart of the lineup a third time (something I have a hunch will happen), he maintains his lead and breaks camp as the 5th starter.

As I mentioned in another thread, I think that Felix has a lot more potential to get through the sixth and seventh, and that is something I am concerned with Aceves until I see it I am doubtful. Last year he only pitched past the fifth in a low pressure 14-1 win against Detroit when he went six, but I don't think we can settle for five innings from that spot in the rotation. We know from his past performance that he is great the first time through the order in multi-inning stints.

If he doesn't prove me wrong, and he isn't able to pitch well the third time through the lineup and after the 5th inning, I think Doubront is the better long term fit, but I don't make that switch based on my hunch, and the job is Aceves's to lose in the next two weeks.

I am also not worried about Bard, and am very bullish on him still. I know the first time he struggle in the season people will talk about moving him to the pen especially if Felix and Padilla are performing well, but I would have to see some pretty significant prolonged struggles to pull the plug, and I don't see that happening. My hope is with two talented long men who don't get the 5th start, they can lighten his load and we can spread his innings limit over the full season, rather than rush him back to the bullpen.

#431 Stanley Steamer

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:45 AM

Following the last two comments, I agree that Doubront is the leading candidate for the job-- he has the most "upside", mostly due to his age. One could argue that Aceves is clearly the best pitcher. He just suffers from the common knowledge that he is so valuable in the role they created for him last year; thus, to put him in the rotation is to lose an asset otherwise counted on. Padilla certainly has potential, and if he could start in Pawtucket until things settle out, that would be ideal. It is encouraging to see that there may be many good options for the 4 and 5 spots.

#432 koufax37

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:35 PM

Mostly in agreement, but I would rearrange your words a little.

I think that Aceves is the "leading candidate" because he is in position to be the guy so far (having not yet pitched a 6th inning or gone through the heart of the order a third time).

I think Doubront is the best pitcher for a starting role, and I would expect him to end up on top ignoring bullpen value and stats so far this spring. This is my expectation, but he should not get the spot on expectations. If Aceves stays on top performance wise he gets the nod.

I don't think Aceves is as valuable as people think in his role from last year. That role was dependent on bad pitching performances by Dice-K, Wake, Lackey, and the nine stooges who later manned the 5 hole in the rotation. I would expect that 2011 will be his career year in being able to throw meaningful 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, and there is no chance that the 2012 season has as many important innings there as by the fifth starter. Having a better long man/3rd most important reliever than a 5th starter is not a good baseball decision, even if last year it seemed like he had a huge impact. Last year only three times did he pitch more than an inning in games we scored fewer than 7 runs. So most of his work that we remember was bailing out a bad start in a high scoring game.

Padilla is more valuable in middle relief than starting in Pawtucket. He profiles as a better MLB middle reliever/long man than whoever would take his place, so I would rather he stay in Boston. I think he also would thrive in the multi-inning role that Aceves had last year which would be nice if Aceves stays in the rotation and doesn't lose out to Doubront.

Following the last two comments, I agree that Doubront is the leading candidate for the job-- he has the most "upside", mostly due to his age. One could argue that Aceves is clearly the best pitcher. He just suffers from the common knowledge that he is so valuable in the role they created for him last year; thus, to put him in the rotation is to lose an asset otherwise counted on. Padilla certainly has potential, and if he could start in Pawtucket until things settle out, that would be ideal. It is encouraging to see that there may be many good options for the 4 and 5 spots.



#433 untilthebombs

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 06:52 PM

Doubront with get the 5th spot to start the season.

We know that Aceves deserves a spot on the 25-man. That can't be said for Doubront. Because he's out of options, Doubront will have to break camp with the team or risk being claimed when trying to pass through waivers. It's because of this that Doubront will get the first shot in the rotation. See what he can do and if there's no glimmer of hope, he can be cut. Meanwhile, Aceves is immediately a significant contributor out of the pen.

If the roles are reversed, the team is forced to commit (you could say waste) a spot on the 25-man to Doubront, where he'll be find himself the least trusted, and thus least called upon, arm in the pen.

Additionally, the club knows that Aceves can be asked to switch commitments from relieving to starting. The same cannot be said for Doubront who has worked almost exclusively as a starter for his entire career.

#434 koufax37

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:45 PM

The team does not give the #5 spot to someone because they can't trust him and don't know what he can do or want to find out. They do their best to figure that out in spring training, then act in the best interest of winning games in April. Doubront or Aceves for the #5 goes to the pitcher expected to perform better in that role and help the team win more games to start the season. Then if something changes and they think that that guy isn't the best option, then they can change it.

#435 untilthebombs

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:41 AM

The team does not give the #5 spot to someone because they can't trust him and don't know what he can do or want to find out. They do their best to figure that out in spring training, then act in the best interest of winning games in April. Doubront or Aceves for the #5 goes to the pitcher expected to perform better in that role and help the team win more games to start the season. Then if something changes and they think that that guy isn't the best option, then they can change it.


If you want to completely ignore how a roster is constructed, sure.

#436 Sampo Gida

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 01:55 AM

The team does not give the #5 spot to someone because they can't trust him and don't know what he can do or want to find out. They do their best to figure that out in spring training, then act in the best interest of winning games in April. Doubront or Aceves for the #5 goes to the pitcher expected to perform better in that role and help the team win more games to start the season. Then if something changes and they think that that guy isn't the best option, then they can change it.


Not really. Roster flexibility and depth preservation are important considerations. Giving a pitcher who has 6 cost controlled years a shot before releasing him, considering opt out dates for players on minor league deals, etc.

Lets just say for example you give Aceves the job based on performance in ST. Bard blows out his shoulder on July 2. Now you have already lost Cook as he opted out on May 1 and Doubront was picked up on waivers. That leaves you with Padilla (assuming he was not walked out because he is unhappy) and Miller et all, and Aceves coming up on his innings limit. Maybe we can call Wake.

Now lets say you give the job to Doubront, let him pitch a few games and he looks ok, good enough to put him in the BP to wait for another chance while you give Cook a chance. Cook looks good for a month or 2 and you deal him (selling high) since Miller (Pawtucket) and Doubront are both pitching well in relief and are healthy, so you can move Doubront back to the rotation and bring up Miller to replace him. Come July, Bard blows out his shoulder but you still have Aceves to move into the rotation, and maybe Padilla is still lurking in Pawtucket or in the Red Sox bullpen as additional SP depth. If depth is still a concern, they can make a move at the trading deadline.

You can imagine many other scenarios, the point being, no matter how well Aceves pitches in ST, keeping him in the pen on opening day is the best way to preserve your SP depth since he is not going anywhere. He can't pitch 180-200 IP anyways, so no sense trying to get 33 starts from him by having him start in April. Bard won't be making 33 starts either, so depth is really, really important. You can't be losing 2 main guys on your depth chart just because Aceves had a good ST and deserves to win the 5th spot to start the season.

#437 koufax37

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:20 PM

Sure, roster flexibility and depth preservation are important considerations. I'm not talking about who makes it or who doesn't. I'm operating on the assumption at the moment that both Doubront and Aceves have done enough to make the team (only Felix might be in question, but I don't think he is at the moment).

Having made this assumption, I am saying that putting the better starting pitcher into a non-closer, non-setup middle relief role because you want to give the weaker pitcher "a chance to prove himself" or because you think the stronger pitcher will serve the team better in that role is a pretty bad way to run a ballclub, will lead to fewer victories, and is not what is going to happen.

Doubront probably has the tie breaker to be a starter (as I have stated) because of his youth, his left handedness, and Aceves having demonstrated to be very adept at different roles in the bullpen. But that is a tie breaker, and there isn't really going to be a tie. If one of the pitchers is your better bet to be a good starter right now and has been "in the competition", that guy wins the job, and right now that guy is Aceves. I am actually rooting for Doubront to win it and distance himself. That is the result that would make me happier. But if Aceves gets through the next start or two maintaining his pretty clear advantage and great spring performance, he is the fifth starter and Doubront is in the pen. Putting a guy you think is the weaker starter in the rotation for secondary reasons is asinine.

I also still think that the loser of that competition gets a shot at some point this year, due to the natural injuries, the potential for Bard to not make 33 starts, etc. The idea that Doubront has to be the starter because he is out of options doesn't click for me. I am not going to keep a guy who can't be one of my top SEVEN relievers on Bobby's twelve man staff, and I think Doubront is clearly not in jeopardy of being put through waivers if he is our #6 starter.

Also, I don't think that Aceves necessarily has the same kind of innings limit as Bard. He turns 30 later this year, and is not a growing arm that has to stick to a small bump. I think he will have some 5 and 6 inning starts, could be a guy who gives up some starts when Dice-K is back, and can happily be our #5 in April without the season long strategy being the deciding factor. He also might not maintain his #5 spot all season. If he has back to back struggle starts and Felix is pitching great, they might flip flop spots for a turn and see where it goes. But that happens later. That isn't what should happen out of Spring Training when given a chance to compete for a spot and clearly being the top performer (so far).

Again, I'm not an Aceves backer, and think he could hit a speed bump in the next start or two that opens a window for Felix. But if he doesn't and he outperforms Felix like he has so far, he has earned the #5 spot and that is the role he can be most valuable to this club in April.

#438 untilthebombs

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:27 PM

Sure roster flexibility and depth preservation are important considerations, but I'm going to ignore them.

Ok guy.

#439 SpruceTrap

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:19 PM

I agree with what appears to be the general sentiment that?

1. The Red Sox will keep Aceves in the bullpen because he's so valuable there.
2. The Red Sox will attempt to get Cook on the roster before his opt out date.
3. The Red Sox will attempt to keep Doubront on the major league roster so that he's not made available to other teams.

Things will get real interesting when Cook is healthy and up to being able to throw 100 pitches.

#440 koufax37

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:28 PM

Putting Felix in the pen does not limit roster flexibility. I'm proposing two identical rosters and different utilizations.

Putting Felix in the pen does not limit depth preservation. I'm proposing two identical groups of 5th to 8th starters (Felix and Aceves 5th+6th, Padilla 7th, Cook 8th).

My arguments are assuming that Felix is at least our seventh best relief pitcher and will make the team. If he is not one of our top seven relief pitchers, I have a tough time thinking that his value is significant enough to put him in the rotation, but that doesn't seem very likely.

So assuming he is going to make the team, the consideration of roster flexibility and depth perception are not applicable, the question is who gets to pitch 25 April innings and who gets 10 or fewer April innings (Aceves pitched 8 innings last April). If you think Aceves is pitching better and the better starter and you put him in the pen for secondary reasons and put the lesser pitcher in the rotation, I think we are limiting the combined run prevention value of these two pitchers.

Things can change if Aceves stumbles the first time he goes 6 or faces the heart of an order for the third time this spring. Things can change if he has a couple bad April starts, but other than that, it would be a waste to have him in the pen and Felix starting.

Sure roster flexibility and depth preservation are important considerations, but I'm going to ignore them.

Ok guy.


Edit: typo

Edited by koufax37, 18 March 2012 - 11:31 PM.


#441 Sampo Gida

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:47 AM

If Felix is good enough to make the 25 man roster, why not let him pitch in a role he has been groomed for, and who provides the biggest pay off in terms of surplus value if he succeeds. Doubront at 24 has more upside as a SP'er than Aceves at 29.

I think it is really important to not overemphasize ST stats. Lackey had a 1.7 ERA last ST for example. Decisions will be made in part on ST performance, but not completely, some of the reasons have already been mentioned.

Another is that Aceves is more likely to pitch effective high leverage innings out of the bullpen given his track record than Doubront and the Red Sox have a pretty tough schedule in April. Baileys probably not the kind of closer who can be overworked given his history and has only thrown 2 IP this spring. After April, we should have a better idea as to how Bailey and Melancon will perform in the AL East/Fenway/meaningful games and the schedule gets a bit easier, and maybe somebody else steps up that could replace Aceves in the pen.

Also, we don't actually need a 5th SPer until April 18, so the 5th starter may only get 3 starts in April before Cook has to be called up or lost. Who gets those 3 starts may depend as much on how he performs out of the pen in April as in ST, as well as the other factors.

Meanwhile, Padilla would have a June 1 opt out if he is not with the team to start the season. He could be the guy who could replace Aceves in the pen if Aceves has to be moved into the rotation, or he could get a chance to start ahead of Aceves if Cook and Doubront don't work out, or if there is an injury to any of the top 4.

Then you have Daisuke coming back by July. Could be quite a logjam unless someone goes to the DL.

#442 Eck'sSneakyCheese


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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:03 AM

Aceves has the ability to go back and forth from starting to the pen, which makes him best suited to start the year in a relief role. His performances last year being able to come in and be effective in late innings AND spot start make him too valuable in that role. He's going to produce as a reliever until we need him to start.

I'm not sure Cook is even in the conversation yet. He's had a decent spring, but we shouldn't overemphasize it, right? The questions with him are (a) Would he pitch out of the pen? If so, you could have a bullpen, after Bailey and Melancon in the back end, of Aceves, Padilla, Cook, Miller, and Bowden all of them being able to spot start. (b) Given his relationship with McClure maybe he doesn't opt out? Would he accept a minor league role?

Then you have Daisuke coming back by July. Could be quite a logjam unless someone goes to the DL.


I still find this amusing. Who would've actually thought we'd have an over-abundance of pitching? What if Jenks and Hill come back and are effective? What do we do with them?

#443 MikeM

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:06 PM

I still find this amusing. Who would've actually thought we'd have an over-abundance of pitching? What if Jenks and Hill come back and are effective? What do we do with them?


Similar to Sampo Gida's warning on overemphasizing ST stats, i would hardly count those chickens before they hatch.

That said, this spring's competition in filling out the rotation has definitely taken on a more optimistic tone then i initially had expected it to.

#444 MikeM

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:39 PM

Roster flexibility and depth preservation are important considerations. Giving a pitcher who has 6 cost controlled years a shot before releasing him, considering opt out dates for players on minor league deals, etc.


"Important" is likely an understatement at that. As now that it's been firmly established that there are *not* infinite resources at play here, the realities that go hand-in-hand with investing so heavily in a future that demands we construct our rosters around that $40m+/per commitment at LF/1B arguably make it all but a driving priority. Not just this winter/season either, but the one after that, and the one after that, ect ect.

Rooting hard for Felix to nail down that 5th spot atm. Superior upside potential winning the day and all (imo).

#445 koufax37

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:21 PM

Aceves has the ability to go back and forth from starting to the pen, which makes him best suited to start the year in a relief role. His performances last year being able to come in and be effective in late innings AND spot start make him too valuable in that role. He's going to produce as a reliever until we need him to start.


Except that last year when he moved into the rotation he averaged 5.25 innnings over four starts with 14 runs in 21 innings. Two of the four were very useful starts with a single run, but only once did he pitch more than five innings. I don't think he was able to switch and pitch as effectively as he did in relief in part because of the preparation and the switch, and I would expect him to perform better if he somehow earns a right to stay in that role.

Again, I'm hoping Felix earns the job, and I am not going on spring training stats, but instead on a more complicated evaluation of how they have actually pitched and how they can reasonably be expected to pitch (and I have not seen enough of either to clearly say who the leader is at the moment). I'm hoping Felix lights things up this morning, and half expect Aceves to struggle in one of his next starts as he stretches out, and then maybe all of this is moot.

But I think the real value of the 5th spot in the rotation is greater than the perceived value, and I think the real value of the Aceves role in the pen is less than the perceived value, and between the two the 5th starter is a more important role. If Aceves is clearly the better pitcher coming out of camp, he should be our 5th starter and Felix in the pen for now.

That doesn't affect our roster flexibility or depth preservation because both are on the team and available to pitch in either role as the season progresses, people get hurt, Dice-K comes back, people get called up, etc. But that does affect our ability to win April games, and hopefully set us up to win games the rest of the way as well, and most importantly get to October and win games there.

Edit: rephrase for clarity

Edited by koufax37, 19 March 2012 - 02:22 PM.


#446 Trotsky

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:43 PM

But I think the real value of the 5th spot in the rotation is greater than the perceived value


This is something that while I'm sure is pretty obvious to most here, I still often see posters mention that the bottom of the order can be just about any old replacement level pitcher capable of a 5.00ish ERA and not getting hurt is all that a team needs at those spots. Having an ace (or two) in a rotation is an absolute necessity it seems to getting deep in the playoffs, and while it's true, I've often thought about those Pedro era rotations when his value was way higher than just about every pitchers, but the Yankees were filling out the lower halves of their rotations with pitchers far better than the Sox' during that time. We had the Pete Schoureks (sp?) and other detritus there.
Obviously very few teams can afford to fill out there rotations with "no. 2" quality pitchers in the 4 and 5 slots, so finding value far above replacement level on the cheap (pre-arb or reclamation projects....) seems to be the best way to go. I realize that everyone below Buchholz (including Bard) is a big question mark, but Ben could end up looking like a genius if this plays out his way- gaining another young dominant potential ace in Bard and a young pre-arb big lefty with upside in Felix and catching the Colon/Garcia djiin in a bottle with Padilla and/or Cook.*

*Seems to me something also that only teams with larger budgets can actually experiment with on these reclamation projects...

#447 untilthebombs

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:54 PM

Putting Felix in the pen does not limit roster flexibility. I'm proposing two identical rosters and different utilizations.

Putting Felix in the pen does not limit depth preservation. I'm proposing two identical groups of 5th to 8th starters (Felix and Aceves 5th+6th, Padilla 7th, Cook 8th).

My arguments are assuming that Felix is at least our seventh best relief pitcher and will make the team. If he is not one of our top seven relief pitchers, I have a tough time thinking that his value is significant enough to put him in the rotation, but that doesn't seem very likely.

So assuming he is going to make the team, the consideration of roster flexibility and depth perception are not applicable, the question is who gets to pitch 25 April innings and who gets 10 or fewer April innings (Aceves pitched 8 innings last April). If you think Aceves is pitching better and the better starter and you put him in the pen for secondary reasons and put the lesser pitcher in the rotation, I think we are limiting the combined run prevention value of these two pitchers.

Things can change if Aceves stumbles the first time he goes 6 or faces the heart of an order for the third time this spring. Things can change if he has a couple bad April starts, but other than that, it would be a waste to have him in the pen and Felix starting.



Edit: typo


So who are these 7?

#448 koufax37

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:44 PM

I would have these as the seven relievers with Aceves and Bard in the rotation:

Doubront, Miller, Tazawa, Padilla, Bowden, Melancon, Bailey.

Obviously Albers is still in the mix as well as a couple of others, and things could shuffle around a lot. But from what I have seen I would take those seven relievers to Detroit as of today.

As to my original point, I see Felix as being valuable in the pen, and not forcing us to leave anybody out. When Morales is healthy it will be trickier to figure out what to do with the three lefties, just like we have to see about the rotation when Dice-K comes back and as we near the release deadline for Cook.

Who do you see as the seven relievers on opening day?

So who are these 7?



#449 Sampo Gida

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:41 PM

Interesting quote by Bobby V on Melancon

On a more serious note, Valentine said Melancon's fastball has been lacking in bite.
"He has to be able to have that downward plane as we say, which he really hasn't consistently had yet this spring. His fastball seems to be flat from my angle.


http://www.boston.co..._v_drops_s.html

Just another reason why I am reluctant to lose both Bard and Aceves from the bullpen. Bailey has only thrown 3 IP this ST and given his injury history, is not a closer who can be overworked. Both Melancon or Bailey pitched for poor teams in weak divisions, how they adjust to Boston and the AL east is not certain.

But I think the real value of the 5th spot in the rotation is greater than the perceived value, and I think the real value of the Aceves role in the pen is less than the perceived value, and between the two the 5th starter is a more important role.


Maybe you can elaborate as to why you think this?.

The bridge to the closer seems to be a pretty important role for a team to win close games, especially those pitched by your best starters who do not often pitch past the 6th or 7th inning.

Most teams do not even have a single 5th starter. In 2004, the avg 5th starter had an ERA of 5.67. The 2004 Red Sox had a 5.62 ERA at the 5th spot.

http://www.billjames...e.com/stats195/

Last year you could say our 5th starter was Lackey with a 6.41 ERA. Red Sox went 14-14 in his starts due to RS and a good bullpen. Clearly, you do not need even league average performance from your 5th starter (based on ERA) if you have a good offense and bullpen.

#450 koufax37

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:14 AM

Yes, you do not need a great 5th starter, and you do not need five aces. But if you can go 14-14 with Lackey, think of the wins that can come together with a solid performance in that slot.

My point is not that we need to mortgage the farm to acquire a crucial 5th starter because we are doomed without one.

My contention is that the 160+ innings of a 5th starter are worth more than a 90 innings of a middle reliever. If we have reason to think that Aceves won't perform as well as a starter and is somehow suited to perform more effectively as a reliever, than I'm okay with that. But I think that the bridge role that Aceves played last year is both overstated by our perception. He threw more than an inning in a close win (3 runs or less) five times last year, the same as Lackey.

I also think that the unusually number of bad starts split among Lackey, Wakefield, Dice-K, Weiland, Miller, etc out of our 162 starts are not typical, and allowed for Aceves's real impact to be greater than it would typically be with a stronger performance from the bottom of the rotation. It also lead to a perception that his impact was even greater than it was. We have started to romanticize the multi inning middle reliever role and think that it contributes more to winning than the 5th starter, and I just don't see that as being true.

I'm not sure who will realistically be judged to be our best possibility for the fifth starter role yet after both guys struggled today, but I want that role to go to the pitcher who is going to be better at it, and not to someone judged to be not quite as good because the other guy is good in the less important role in the bullpen that felt really important last year because our starters struggled way more than is typical.

The biggest thing is that if Aceves is successful as a starter he makes that very same bridge reliever role less important. And if he isn't successful as a starter then he shouldn't be in that role and can give it up and go back to the bullpen.