2016 Starting Rotation/Bullpen Spillover

soxhop411

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“@JeffPassan: From the not-a-surprise department: Multiple GMs say because of the price of free agents, they expect trade action in Nashville to be big.”
 

E5 Yaz

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“@JeffPassan: From the not-a-surprise department: Multiple GMs say because of the price of free agents, they expect trade action in Nashville to be big.”
And if so, I suspect Dombrowski's "we're basically done" pronouncement will be easily broken
 

Tyrone Biggums

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Curious. I mentioned when the Price signing happened that it would be a pie in the sky idea to get Cueto as well. Well if the Dodgers don't get him perhaps it might be a good idea to offer him a 3 year deal with a higher AAV in order to secure him and allow him to hit the market again after proving health
 

67WasBest

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Curious. I mentioned when the Price signing happened that it would be a pie in the sky idea to get Cueto as well. Well if the Dodgers don't get him perhaps it might be a good idea to offer him a 3 year deal with a higher AAV in order to secure him and allow him to hit the market again after proving health
With reports of so many in the Sox FO expressing shock at the money he would receive, and the reports that they met only with Price, Greinke and Zimmermann, I don't see that happening.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Given the number of rotation candidates they have in house already, I would think that only a trade or trades involving at least 2-3 of those candidates would necessitate going back into the free agent market for Cueto or anyone else.

I take Dombrowski at his word that the Sox are done with major deals for the winter. However, I don't think that means he goes to Nashville this week and does nothing, nor does it mean he won't do anything further for the rest of the winter. If a team comes to him making offers, he's going to listen. If the deal sounds right, he'll pull the trigger. But he's not actively seeking to make any more significant free agent signings or trades.
 
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Really, unless you could trade Pablo or Hanley without paying the freight (very unlikely) or trade Castillo for good value (maybe possible) there is unlikely much positive that could be done.
 

soxhop411

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“@jcrasnick: #Redsox are getting feelers on Wade Miley, Joe Kelly, even Clay Buchholz. They’ll listen to trade pitches in Nashville.”
 

E5 Yaz

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Really, unless you could trade Pablo or Hanley without paying the freight (very unlikely) or trade Castillo for good value (maybe possible) there is unlikely much positive that could be done.
So, you justify a conclusion you have zero chance of knowing by making assumptions on two possibility that you have zero chance of knowing.
 

E5 Yaz

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Why, you see many moves that are LIKELY that would be positive?
That's not the point.

The point is, we have no idea what moves are out there. To suggest that we do is foolish.
How about we just let it play out among people who do know what's out there before we make any declarations based on our lack of knowledge
 

E5 Yaz

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I'm sorry, I mistakenly thought this was a Red Sox discussion board. I must have made a mistake somewhere that this was only for Red sox front office people.
Discuss all you want. But doing so from a perspective of knowing what you're talking about is better.

For instance, just before you initial comment that there are no deals out there that could improve the Red Sox, there was an ESPN report that teams have asked about Miley, kelly and Buchholz. Who know what those proposals could bring back? All I'm saying is that to declare that there's nothing out there that can be done assumes you know what's out there. You don't. neither do I.

And you user name sucks
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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“@jcrasnick: #Redsox are getting feelers on Wade Miley, Joe Kelly, even Clay Buchholz. They’ll listen to trade pitches in Nashville.”
I wonder if they could use him or Kelly to package with Panda or Hanley for something more, well, useful. For example, Miley was apparently a 2.5 WAR pitcher last year and according to Fangraphs worth $20M or so, which given his contract should be super valuable to some team.

BTW, a little value-added thing about Miley I hadn't noticed: he's a good defender, and good at holding runners. He ranked #12 among 78 qualified pitchers in DRS in 2015, and tied with two other guys for #2 in rSB. Over the four years he's been a full-time starter, those ranks are #10 and #2 out of 96 pitchers who've averaged 125 or more innings per year. Not too shabby.
Without doing any research at all, my gut says that Miley would be great in the bullpen – he seems to have a rubber arm; doesn’t have a lot of endurance (maybe it’s just my perception but he seemed to have a few outings where he flamed out in the 5th or 6th, plus the fielding and holding runners on would help too.
 

flymrfreakjar

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Without doing any research at all, my gut says that Miley would be great in the bullpen – he seems to have a rubber arm; doesn’t have a lot of endurance (maybe it’s just my perception but he seemed to have a few outings where he flamed out in the 5th or 6th, plus the fielding and holding runners on would help too.
Miley projects to be one of our most valuable pitchers, and a consistent innings eater. It feels like it would be a huge mistake to convert him into relief.
 

snowmanny

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I wonder if they could use him or Kelly to package with Panda or Hanley for something more, well, useful. For example, Miley was apparently a 2.5 WAR pitcher last year and according to Fangraphs worth $20M or so, which given his contract should be super valuable to some team.



Without doing any research at all, my gut says that Miley would be great in the bullpen – he seems to have a rubber arm; doesn’t have a lot of endurance (maybe it’s just my perception but he seemed to have a few outings where he flamed out in the 5th or 6th, plus the fielding and holding runners on would help too.
OPS by inning 2015
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6-964
7-869
 

soxhop411

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“@JonHeymanCBS: Red sox gettin hits on Miley and kelly. They seek pen help.”
 
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If the Red Sox go into 2016 counting on Joe Kelly to be anything in the rotation I will not understand. Miley would have to be moved for a very, very good piece.
 

geoduck no quahog

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With most pundits putting Kelly in the bullpen (Price-Buchholz-Miley-Porcello-Rodriguez or some combination), it makes some sort of sense that Kelly could be traded to a team needing a starter for quality bullpen help in return. But man, it better be quality, given Kelly's 3-year package and upside. Plus, when one of the starters goes down, the Red Sox could end up with 4 lefties given that Owens seems to be the next in line (I guess Wright could fill in). Not so sure it's a good move to trade Kelly unless the return is ++ (not just cheap). What ++ relievers are out there on a team that needs a cheap 5th starter?
 

Rasputin

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If the Red Sox go into 2016 counting on Joe Kelly to be anything in the rotation I will not understand. Miley would have to be moved for a very, very good piece.
Trading Miley for a bullpen arm seems like a really, really bad idea.
The Sox currently have seven guys who are either going to be on the major league roster or exposed to waivers of some form or other. Price, Porcello, Buchholz, Kelly, Miley, Rodriguez, Wright.

They can't start them all.

They will most likely put Wright in the bullpen, which makes sense.

If you want to keep everyone, the popular next step is to move Kelly to the bullpen, but as is pointed out here (http://sonsofsamhorn.com/baseball/teams/al-east/boston-red-sox/send-joe-kelly-to-the-bullpen-not-so-fast/) there are good reasons to think that won't do anyone any good.

I would further add that no matter who gets traded for what, Kelly is going into the season as the 4th starter at most, and the team has depth enough that suggesting they're counting on the 4th and 5th starters to be healthy and effective is ludicrous. Personally, I'd prefer trading Buchholz to Miley because a little consistency would be a nice thing to have, but there's no question Buchholz has the higher ceiling and the same depth that mitigates the downside of 4th/5th starter failure mitigates the downside of Buchholz being on the DL for half a season.

Which is to say, depending on the details, trading Miley can make sense, trading Buchholz can make sense, and trading Kelly can make sense. It seems remarkably unlikely that there will be a trade for Porcello or Rodriguez that makes sense.
 

Darnell's Son

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Rodriguez won't be subject to waivers. He can just be optioned to Pawtucket. You could keep Wright in the pen and start Price, Buch, Porcello, Miley, Kelly if and only if Kelly has an excellent spring.
 

Kramerica Industries

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Rodriguez won't be subject to waivers. He can just be optioned to Pawtucket. You could keep Wright in the pen and start Price, Buch, Porcello, Miley, Kelly if and only if Kelly has an excellent spring.
I'm not sure you're suggesting it but the people that keep saying Rodriguez to AAA is an option need to stop. I feel like I read it once a week. Rodriguez is starting the year in the rotation.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I'm not sure you're suggesting it but the people that keep saying Rodriguez to AAA is an option need to stop. I feel like I read it once a week. Rodriguez is starting the year in the rotation.
Why? Because you like watching him pitch? He can be optioned, his secondary pitches need work, and he needs to keep his innings down a little. It's by far the most logical option if no one gets hurt or traded or suddenly looks awful in spring training.
 

Darnell's Son

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I'm not sure you're suggesting it but the people that keep saying Rodriguez to AAA is an option need to stop. I feel like I read it once a week. Rodriguez is starting the year in the rotation.
What would you propose they do if all seven pitchers (Price, Buch, Porcello, Miley, Kelly, Rodriguez, and Wright) are performing well and healthy? It's entirely reasonable to suggest that they give Kelly a couple turns through the rotation while Eduardo is on strict pitch counts in Pawtucket until Kelly proves he can't hack it or someone gets injured.

Further, Eduardo pitched 170 innings last year between Pawtucket and Boston, assuming a 20% increase in innings places him at a 204-inning cap. If the team makes it to the playoffs he will hopefully need to approach and perhaps exceed that cap. I'm not advocating that they go into Spring Training planning to have him start in AAA, but dismissing it out of hand is foolish. It's entirely possible.
 

MikeM

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Why? Because you like watching him pitch? He can be optioned, his secondary pitches need work, and he needs to keep his innings down a little. It's by far the most logical option if no one gets hurt or traded or suddenly looks awful in spring training.
While the surrounding logic there is essentially sound in itself, this is one of those instances (imo, and similar to the "Victorino is going to be our 4th outfielder" talk last winter) where paper theory tends to fall apart when applied to how these things usually play out in a real world scenario.

I mean I guess there is always the possibility that both are still here come spring, ERod seriously struggles through while Kelly looks great, and the decision goes on to make itself. Otherwise, how does that developmental speech end up going anyway?

"Great overall job last year kid, and fantastic end to the season. No doubt you earned your spot in the bigs and are clearly a big piece of this team's future. Unfortunately, we've decided to go with the lesser talent and career underachiever for your spot. I mean Kelly did manage to look good for that month before we were forced to shut him down for the year. Plus we just aren't sold he can make the transition to bullpen, and the pro-hoarding crowd over on SoSH who love their potential upside would have our heads if/when we shipped him out for something that projects to be a better overall organizational fit."

Personally, I just don't see that happening.
 
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Rasputin

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What would you propose they do if all seven pitchers (Price, Buch, Porcello, Miley, Kelly, Rodriguez, and Wright) are performing well and healthy? It's entirely reasonable to suggest that they give Kelly a couple turns through the rotation while Eduardo is on strict pitch counts in Pawtucket until Kelly proves he can't hack it or someone gets injured.

Further, Eduardo pitched 170 innings last year between Pawtucket and Boston, assuming a 20% increase in innings places him at a 204-inning cap. If the team makes it to the playoffs he will hopefully need to approach and perhaps exceed that cap. I'm not advocating that they go into Spring Training planning to have him start in AAA, but dismissing it out of hand is foolish. It's entirely possible.
Put Wright in the bullpen and trade one of Buchholz, Kelly, or Miley or put Kelly in the bullpen. There is virtually no chance that everyone who thinks they're going to be competitive is going to get through spring training with an intact rotation. There's no way to argue that Rodriguez isn't in the top 5 of Sox starters. It's a stretch to argue that he isn't in the top 3. He's got nothing to prove in AAA.

Sure, he can be sent down. Sure, you can use that as a way to limit his innings. There are other ways to limit his innings that don't involve him wasting innings in Pawtucket. I think the liklihood of Rodriguez getting sent down is a tiny fraction of a percent.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Seriously. If you're worried about his innings because of possible postseason implications, then you can manipulate the rotation over the course of the season to skip him here and there. Personally I'm not sure why one would want to send him to AAA in order to fit Wright into the rotation. Frankly I think short of injury, there's very little chance we don't see Rodriguez playing a prominent role from opening day. And I'm not sure why you wouldn't want that to be the case.
 

Rasputin

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Seriously. If you're worried about his innings because of possible postseason implications, then you can manipulate the rotation over the course of the season to skip him here and there. Personally I'm not sure why one would want to send him to AAA in order to fit Wright into the rotation. Frankly I think short of injury, there's very little chance we don't see Rodriguez playing a prominent role from opening day. And I'm not sure why you wouldn't want that to be the case.
I think the argument wasn't about keeping Wright in the rotation, but all of the other five.

Also, I would point out that the games played at the start of the season are primarily against division opponents. If he slots third, Rodriguez would get the Indians, Orioles, Jays, Astros and Braves. If fourth, it would be the Jays, Orioles, Rays, Astros, and Yankees.

We want to win division games. We can give him the Hellenic Flu or extra rest around the ASB later in the season.
 

keninten

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"Great overall job last year kid, and fantastic end to the season. No doubt you earned your spot in the bigs and are clearly a big piece of this team's future. Unfortunately, we've decided to go with the lesser talent and career underachiever for your spot. I mean Kelly did manage to look good for that month before we were forced to shut him down for the year. Plus we just aren't sold he can make the transition to bullpen, and the pro-hoarding crowd over on SoSH who love their potential upside would have our heads if/when we shipped him out for something that projects to be a better overall organizational fit."

Who is going to say this bullshit? I nominate this for the dumbest post of all time.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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"Great overall job last year kid, and fantastic end to the season. No doubt you earned your spot in the bigs and are clearly a big piece of this team's future. Unfortunately, we've decided to go with the lesser talent and career underachiever for your spot. I mean Kelly did manage to look good for that month before we were forced to shut him down for the year. Plus we just aren't sold he can make the transition to bullpen, and the pro-hoarding crowd over on SoSH who love their potential upside would have our heads if/when we shipped him out for something that projects to be a better overall organizational fit."

Who is going to say this bullshit? I nominate this for the dumbest post of all time.
Um, I believe the point was precisely that no one is going to say it.
 

In my lifetime

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The fact that the RS are fielding phone calls for Kelly and Miley is great. The front office managed to fill two gaping holes with top 5 talent at those positions without creating another gap. Now they have no overwhelming needs and can deal from a position of strength.

It may give them an opportunity to package Panda with a starter and get a much better and cheaper third baseman. There are infinite moves that could be made, but if the RS turn down all incoming offers they are still in great shape for next year. Just a great position for them to be in at this point in the off-season.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Put Wright in the bullpen and trade one of Buchholz, Kelly, or Miley or put Kelly in the bullpen. There is virtually no chance that everyone who thinks they're going to be competitive is going to get through spring training with an intact rotation. There's no way to argue that Rodriguez isn't in the top 5 of Sox starters. It's a stretch to argue that he isn't in the top 3. He's got nothing to prove in AAA.
And there's also no way to argue that if all six of those guys are healthy and none of them have shit themselves on the mound in spring training that sending Rodriguez down isn't the best use of available resources. You can add a caveat that changes Darnell's position if you want, but the scenario he is talking about is one where all six are healthy and look roughly like they did down the stretch. In that case, sending Rodriguez down is the most logical option.

As for where Rodriguez slots in, I don't think it's nearly as clear as you seem to believe. Price is obviously at the front, then it's very clearly Buchholz even after considering his health issues. After that, it's kind of an amorphous blob of solid pitchers. Looking at FIP and xFIP makes things very unclear and while smas made some excellent points about Porcello consistently under performing his fielding independent metrics, that's different than suggesting 2015 is what we should expect going forward. I don't see a reason why Rodriguez should stand out against the other three and if they are all similar, you send down the asset you can send down to maintain control of as many major league quality arms as you can because you will absolutely need more than 5 to get through the season. Add in that Rodriguez needs to refine his secondary pitches and this makes far more sense than banishing Kelly to the bullpen where there really aren't that many indications he's likely to be more effective.

Eduardo is young enough that we should expect he will improve going forward, but Kelly is just entering his prime and started pitching pretty late in life. He may well also improve. Miley is what he is, but given his consistency, contract and durability, there is no way they move him to the pen to make room for Rodriguez. Barring a trade or injury, I expect Rodriguez to start the year in Pawtucket.
 

soxhop411

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“@Sullivan_Ranger: Rangers have talked to Red Sox….Joe Kelly is of interest to them… Drew Smyly of the Rays is another possible trade target”
 

DJnVa

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I am curious as to if there has been some discussion of this depth that could be traded to Seattle for King Felix. He is owed a lot of money and Dipoto seems willing to deal and has had a good look at the farm. I'm not saying he comes cheap....but the stars could align on this one.
All the reasons DD stated that would make trading for a #1 SP apply in spades to King Felix.
 

nvalvo

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I wonder if they could use him or Kelly to package with Panda or Hanley for something more, well, useful. For example, Miley was apparently a 2.5 WAR pitcher last year and according to Fangraphs worth $20M or so, which given his contract should be super valuable to some team.
This is an interesting thought. Let's assume for a minute we'd be happy to jettison Sandoval, and would be happy to hand 3B to Shaw/Marrero and SP5 to Kelly, and game it out.

Miley was worth two interesting pitching prospects a year ago, and the only things that've happened since then is that he's thrown another healthy 190 IP season with a 3.81 FIP and signed to a very team-friendly deal that bought out his arb years in exchange for a perfectly reasonable team option. And one other thing happened, which is that contracts for pitchers exploded. So Miley suddenly has a fair amount of surplus value. He's under contract for his age 29-30 seasons, with a $12m option on his age 31.

But how much surplus value? His three year fWAR numbers: 1.8, 1.5, 2.6. A 3-2-1 weighted projection suggests 2.1 fWAR at age 29; let's give him credit for the same 2.1 at age 30, before docking him a quarter of a win due to age-related decline at 31. So round it off to 6 wins, under contract for $6m, $9m, and then a club option for $12m. Compared to $8m/win on the FA market, Miley's value proposition is closer to $4.5m/win. That's a $21m surplus.

Sandoval's three year fWAR numbers are 2, 3.1, and -2.0. The 3-2-1 weighted projection suggests about a third of a win at age 30, before any (further) age-related decline, but that's probably a poor way to project him. On the FA market, that has a value of about $3m. Sandoval is owed about $76m over four years, so the value deficit is pretty stark, especially if Sandoval is projected to decline below replacement. I'm not sure Miley's $21m of surplus value moves the needle, unless another club has a *much* rosier evaluation of Sandoval than that.

This is why I think we can't deal Sandoval right now (the same analysis applies to Hanley). If he were to perform even a hair above replacement level in 2016, that would do a lot to rebuild his value. If he has a good year, he won't be hard at all to move given the scarcity at his position (nor would we want to until Moncada or Devers start knocking on the door).

TL;DR. I don't think dealing Miley, Sandoval and $40m for an A-ball reliever and a PTBNL improves the club. With our depth (Holt, Shaw, Marrero) we are in better position than most clubs to bank on Sandoval's (considerable) upside — this guy can be and has been a pretty great player. If he still hasn't shown anything by June, I'm starting to think about releasing him. We'd have to eat the whole deal to trade him anyway.
 

soxhop411

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“@nickcafardo: Joe Kelly’s name has been brought up a lot in trade talks. Texas very interested.”
 

Tyrone Biggums

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This is an interesting thought. Let's assume for a minute we'd be happy to jettison Sandoval, and would be happy to hand 3B to Shaw/Marrero and SP5 to Kelly, and game it out.

Miley was worth two interesting pitching prospects a year ago, and the only things that've happened since then is that he's thrown another healthy 190 IP season with a 3.81 FIP and signed to a very team-friendly deal that bought out his arb years in exchange for a perfectly reasonable team option. And one other thing happened, which is that contracts for pitchers exploded. So Miley suddenly has a fair amount of surplus value. He's under contract for his age 29-30 seasons, with a $12m option on his age 31.

But how much surplus value? His three year fWAR numbers: 1.8, 1.5, 2.6. A 3-2-1 weighted projection suggests 2.1 fWAR at age 29; let's give him credit for the same 2.1 at age 30, before docking him a quarter of a win due to age-related decline at 31. So round it off to 6 wins, under contract for $6m, $9m, and then a club option for $12m. Compared to $8m/win on the FA market, Miley's value proposition is closer to $4.5m/win. That's a $21m surplus.

Sandoval's three year fWAR numbers are 2, 3.1, and -2.0. The 3-2-1 weighted projection suggests about a third of a win at age 30, before any (further) age-related decline, but that's probably a poor way to project him. On the FA market, that has a value of about $3m. Sandoval is owed about $76m over four years, so the value deficit is pretty stark, especially if Sandoval is projected to decline below replacement. I'm not sure Miley's $21m of surplus value moves the needle, unless another club has a *much* rosier evaluation of Sandoval than that.

This is why I think we can't deal Sandoval right now (the same analysis applies to Hanley). If he were to perform even a hair above replacement level in 2016, that would do a lot to rebuild his value. If he has a good year, he won't be hard at all to move given the scarcity at his position (nor would we want to until Moncada or Devers start knocking on the door).

TL;DR. I don't think dealing Miley, Sandoval and $40m for an A-ball reliever and a PTBNL improves the club. With our depth (Holt, Shaw, Marrero) we are in better position than most clubs to bank on Sandoval's (considerable) upside — this guy can be and has been a pretty great player. If he still hasn't shown anything by June, I'm starting to think about releasing him. We'd have to eat the whole deal to trade him anyway.
The points that you make would make Miley very attractive to a contender that needs 190-200 innings out of the back end of the rotation. Sounds like someone who could be useful in Boston. I'm sure they'll move one of them, Porcello could even be an option due to age. I don't think that would be possible however unless they were willing to eat some of that contract though. Porcello becomes a lot more attractive as a 16 million dollar a year arm as opposed to 20. In the end they'll probably trade Miley.
 

soxhop411

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“@nickcafardo: The Royals are interested in some of Bostons starters not named Price Or Porcello.”
 

pedroia'sboys

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All year we suffered with a putrid rotation. Finally we have some depth why trade it. You're not getting any top prospects for Miley I promise you. Trading him for a reliever would make me sick. The only person expendable to me is Joe Kelly. The flash we saw at the end of the year was just his luck changing.
 

Van Everyman

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@Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: #Mariners talking to #RedSox about trade for starting pitcher. Target is Buchholz or Miley, not clear.
 

alwyn96

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Carson Smith very much fits the description of the kind of guy I'd want in a trade like that: http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=smith-009car. Not sure he alone would be enough for either Buchholz or Miley, but a good start.
Carson Smith would be cool, but that kinda leaves the Marines bullpen looking pretty weak, unless I missed something in DiPoto's flurry of activity (totally possible). I guess the Ms could try to sign some FAs to shore things up, but a lot of the better relievers are getting signed already. It'll be interesting to see what else DiPoto does out there. Doesn't seem like he's finished.
 

Rasputin

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And there's also no way to argue that if all six of those guys are healthy and none of them have shit themselves on the mound in spring training that sending Rodriguez down isn't the best use of available resources.
That's not even hard to argue, let alone impossible.

"Best use of avalable resources" is highly subjective and I'd suggest that having the five best starting pitchers going north is a big part of it. Sending Rodriguez down is the best use by precisely one viewpoint, that of keeping as much talent in the organization as possible. That's certainly a valid viewpoint, but depending on the details, a trade could actually put more talent in the organization while also putting more of it at the major league level.

Looking at FIP and xFIP makes things very unclear and while smas made some excellent points about Porcello consistently under performing his fielding independent metrics, that's different than suggesting 2015 is what we should expect going forward. I don't see a reason why Rodriguez should stand out against the other three and if they are all similar, you send down the asset you can send down to maintain control of as many major league quality arms as you can because you will absolutely need more than 5 to get through the season. Add in that Rodriguez needs to refine his secondary pitches and this makes far more sense than banishing Kelly to the bullpen where there really aren't that many indications he's likely to be more effective.
They aren't similar. They aren't even close to similar. Kelly is a guy who has always had good stuff but hasn't been able to manage it. Buchholz is a guy who has an ace ceiling but hasn't been able to stay healthy. Miley is just a durable guy who's not great but doesn't suck. Rodriguez is the guy who is the youngest, has the most cost controlled years ahead of him, and looks like could be anchoring the rotation for the next decade. There's a decent chance Price is here for three years then gone. If and when he goes, you want to have an ace on hand so you're not tempted to sign someone who is 33. Rodriguez is your best shot at having that, and sending him to AAA doesn't further that goal.

More to the point, you know the numbers don't tell the whole story. You know he had four outings that weren't good to stellar and you know he was tipping pitches in at least two of them.

You say he has to work on his secondary pitches like he can't do that at the major league level. I would also refer you again to his game logs where you'll find that in 12 of 21 starts, he allowed a run or fewer. Whatever work he has to do on his secondary pitches, he's getting pretty good results now.

Eduardo is young enough that we should expect he will improve going forward, but Kelly is just entering his prime and started pitching pretty late in life. He may well also improve. Miley is what he is, but given his consistency, contract and durability, there is no way they move him to the pen to make room for Rodriguez. Barring a trade or injury, I expect Rodriguez to start the year in Pawtucket.
You say "barring a trade or injury" like they're both semi-random things the club can't control. I expect there will be a trade--and I'm totally fine if it happens the day before the season starts if an injury hasn't made the issue moot already. I'm going to be at least a little bit surprised if there isn't a trade made before the end of the witner meetings. I expect that when the guys in the front office are sitting around thinking about the rotation, that Rodriguez' name is written in ink. I expect that the only talk of sending Rodriguez down is an acknowledgement that it's technically possible.