2022 COVID Impacts on the Team.

Rovin Romine

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Updating as we go:

Gone to the Covid-IL and Back:

Kevin Plawecki: April 18. (+ test) (vaccinated)​
Christian Vazquez: April 19. (+ test) (vaccinated)​
returned April 20. (2 games missed)​
Jonathan Arauz: April 19. (+ test) (vaccinated)​
Alex Cora: April 21. (+ test) (vaccinated)​
Tanner Houck: April 25. (unvaccinated - cannot play in Canada.)​
Cutter Crawford: April 25. (unvaccinated - cannot play in Canada.)​
Active Callups (and Returns) due to Covid:
Connor Wong: April 18. (for Plawecki)​
Tyler Danish: April 19.​
optioned April 24 to Worcester - Rich Hill returns from bereavement list.​
(see below - immediately called up for Toronto 1 series.)​
Rob Refsnyder: April 19.​
Ronaldo Hernandez: April 19. (Rich Hill on bereavement list 4/19, this makes RH the second catcher)​
optioned April 20 to Worcester, when Christian Vazquez returned.​
John Schreiber: April 24.​
Tyler Danish: Aprl 24.​
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Only two players, and only one of any significance, not able to go to Toronto is better than expected. Hopefully that's the highest such numbers for the remainder of the season.
 

BostonFanInCanesLand

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Only two players, and only one of any significance, not able to go to Toronto is better than expected. Hopefully that's the highest such numbers for the remainder of the season.
Yes, let us hope the impact remains low and that the Sox do well in Toronto over the course of the season.

And that two is the high water mark.

We shall see. [Chris Sale has entered the chat room]
 

BornToRun

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Relieved that it only seems to be Houck and Crawford. I know I’m setting myself up for more disappointment but I really hope the Chris Sale that comes off the IL is the one that’s come to his senses.
 

Sin Duda

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Wow, I just don't get it. You're on the precipice of the Show, you work out with MLBers preseason to get yourself ready. You arrive in an abbreviated camp and surely hear that anyone not vaccinated will not be making the end-of-April trip to Toronto and will lose pay and service time accordingly. You've got about 5-6 weeks to do something about it. Your agent surely tells you it's a good idea to avoid the pay and service time losses, and making you slightly less attractive to your team and other teams. You hear the tale of Trevor Story, a fellow questioner of vaccine, getting vaccinated in order to join the Sox. You're a rookie trying to make the Show! I'm an engineer (based in science) from the East Coast (whose religious leaders have encouraged vaccination), not not a ball player from Florida, so I don't know the influences Kutter's had, but this cannot be a good career decision. I'll still wish you well Kutter, and hope you do well in a Sox uni, but I can't fathom your business decision (never mind its impact on your teammates and family).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It's the service time part that gets me. The season is 187 days long and to get credit for a full season, one needs to accrue 172 days. Subtract the 10 days lost (maybe 11 depending on whether the player is re-activated on the off-day in June) and the most one can accrue is 177 (or 176). One quick trip to Worcester because of an unexpected roster crunch and you're putting free agency off by a year, not to mention potentially changing arbitration eligibility. For optionable players like Houck and Crawford, that could have an outsized impact on their future earnings. The team is likely to manipulate service time as much as they can anyway (especially a guy who has a bright future like Houck) so why do them any favors?
 

richgedman'sghost

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It's the service time part that gets me. The season is 187 days long and to get credit for a full season, one needs to accrue 172 days. Subtract the 10 days lost (maybe 11 depending on whether the player is re-activated on the off-day in June) and the most one can accrue is 177 (or 176). One quick trip to Worcester because of an unexpected roster crunch and you're putting free agency off by a year, not to mention potentially changing arbitration eligibility. For optionable players like Houck and Crawford, that could have an outsized impact on their future earnings. The team is likely to manipulate service time as much as they can anyway (especially a guy who has a bright future like Houck) so why do them any favors?
Not that they are players but I guess Ecjk and O'Brien are not vaxxed either since they are broadcasting from the NESN studios and not the Toronto ballpark. What a shame. I am particularly upset by Eck a Hall of Famer who could set a good example for the younger players by getting vaxxed. What an idiot for not getting vaxxed
 

MuzzyField

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Not that they are players but I guess Ecjk and O'Brien are not vaxxed either since they are broadcasting from the NESN studios and not the Toronto ballpark. What a shame. I am particularly upset by Eck a Hall of Famer who could set a good example for the younger players by getting vaxxed. What an idiot for not getting vaxxed
Are you concussed?

NESN is too cheap to send them on the road.
 

Obscure Name

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Not that they are players but I guess Ecjk and O'Brien are not vaxxed either since they are broadcasting from the NESN studios and not the Toronto ballpark. What a shame. I am particularly upset by Eck a Hall of Famer who could set a good example for the younger players by getting vaxxed. What an idiot for not getting vaxxed
Are you sure about that? Before the season NESN planned to do a limited amount of road trips in studio ostensibly as a cost saving measure. They're so cheap they didn't travel with the Bruins at all.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Not that they are players but I guess Ecjk and O'Brien are not vaxxed either since they are broadcasting from the NESN studios and not the Toronto ballpark. What a shame. I am particularly upset by Eck a Hall of Famer who could set a good example for the younger players by getting vaxxed. What an idiot for not getting vaxxed
Nice try.
 

YTF

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It could also be that NESN or the announcers prefer not to risk contracting in Canada and having to quarantine out of the country for 10 days. Personally, given the option I would probably stay in studio. I'm not really sure why Webster made the trip.
 

Mr. Stinky Esq.

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This was so predictable that I had convinced myself it wouldn’t happen. Think the team could have used an inning or two from Whitlock tonight (precluded by him taking Houck’s turn in the rotation)?
 

BaseballJones

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Sure but I don’t care who is out. You have a 5-2 lead going into the ninth facing the bottom of their lineup - and a 5-3 lead with two outs - and you have to win that game, period, full stop. If your bullpen can’t hold a three run lead in the ninth you can’t just blame one guy who isn’t even there for that. That’s absolutely a lead that should be held by a competent MLB bullpen. Period, end of story.
 

Rovin Romine

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By the way, I hope the Mods/Dopes would let us know if we're getting too close to any sort of line.

That said, IMO, Kutter/Tanner's decisions and their impact on the team are fair game for this thread.

While many of the impacts are going to be speculative in nature, they're no more speculative than what would happen if they both were on the IL for different reason. So I think it's pefectly legitimate to note that Whitlock, being pressed into a starter's role, is now not available out of the bullpen.

I do have to wonder if the Sox shouldn't have called up a AAA starter instead. If there's a 40 man concern, they probably should have set things in place awhile ago, knowing who could and couldn't make the trip.
 

YTF

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By the way, I hope the Mods/Dopes would let us know if we're getting too close to any sort of line.

That said, IMO, Kutter/Tanner's decisions and their impact on the team are fair game for this thread.

While many of the impacts are going to be speculative in nature, they're no more speculative than what would happen if they both were on the IL for different reason. So I think it's pefectly legitimate to note that Whitlock, being pressed into a starter's role, is now not available out of the bullpen.

I do have to wonder if the Sox shouldn't have called up a AAA starter instead. If there's a 40 man concern, they probably should have set things in place awhile ago, knowing who could and couldn't make the trip.
I believe they can call up a non 40 for co-vid IL replacement.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Sure but I don’t care who is out. You have a 5-2 lead going into the ninth facing the bottom of their lineup - and a 5-3 lead with two outs - and you have to win that game, period, full stop. If your bullpen can’t hold a three run lead in the ninth you can’t just blame one guy who isn’t even there for that. That’s absolutely a lead that should be held by a competent MLB bullpen. Period, end of story.
As time passes and we see this team consistently struggle to plug pieces into its bullpen, I have become convinced that as illogical as it is, having set roles for pitchers in the pen is by far the best way of maximizing their effectiveness. Baseball players are still irrational human beings and we have to accept that we have to use them in a non-optimized way in order to maximize their effectiveness.

Whitlock is the stud fireman and everyone in that pen knows it. When he's out, the other guys are suddenly put into that position and time and again they have shown they can't handle it. It's not an ability issue. It's a comfort issue because they aren't robots. Everyone laughed when Diekman said he didn't give a shit about being a closer but last night he imploded so maybe he should.

If I were a MLB manager I would absolutely have a set closer because these guys are comfortable with it.
 

Mr. Stinky Esq.

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By the way, I hope the Mods/Dopes would let us know if we're getting too close to any sort of line.

That said, IMO, Kutter/Tanner's decisions and their impact on the team are fair game for this thread.

While many of the impacts are going to be speculative in nature, they're no more speculative than what would happen if they both were on the IL for different reason. So I think it's pefectly legitimate to note that Whitlock, being pressed into a starter's role, is now not available out of the bullpen.

I do have to wonder if the Sox shouldn't have called up a AAA starter instead. If there's a 40 man concern, they probably should have set things in place awhile ago, knowing who could and couldn't make the trip.
I think that probably would have been the right short term move but if they're going to give Whitlock a shot at being a starter what they're doing is probably the right medium to long term move. Houck and Crawford forced them into doing it at a time when they're short on length and depth on the pitching staff which has led to some predictable results but Whitlock deserves his shot and the team deserves to see if he can translate his success to longer outings and starting. I think Houck (and, to a lesser degree, Crawford) are to blame for the state of the bullpen for this series*.

*Edit: not that the state of the bullpen would have been great with them present, just that they would have had at least one good pitcher available to shut the game down last night.
 
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Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think that probably would have been the right short term move but if they're going to give Whitlock a shot at being a starter what they're doing is probably the right medium to long term move. Houck and Crawford forced them into doing it at a time when they're short on length and depth on the pitching staff which has led to some predictable results but Whitlock deserves his shot and the team deserves to see if he can translate his success to longer outings and starting. I think Houck (and, to a lesser degree, Crawford) are to blame for the state of the bullpen for this series.
I would have preferred them to leverage Whitlock into an old school 120 IP kickass multi-inning reliever, that's where he's been effective and I suspect given the way starting pitchers pitch fewer and fewer innings that's where his value will be the highest. Houck and Crawford borked those plans, but this talk about turning Whitlock into a starter makes me uneasy. A great reliever who can go 2-3 innings per game is almost priceless.
 

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You could kill two birds with one stone by trading Houck for a couple righty relievers. Is there any non-contending team that has a good bullpen? Houck can start games and still has 5 years of control remaining, so he's a pretty valuable trade chip.
 

cornwalls@6

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I'm so disgusted with Houck I'd demote him to Worcester right now until he grows up. His "personal decision" has directly led to three losses on the trip.
I know professional athletes, at least contemporary ones, don't seem to be wired to criticize/get on teammates. They've usually got their Bros backs. But I don't know how Houck could look any of them in the eye. His stupidity and selfishness is costing them games, period. To the best team in the division. And he seems to be facing virtually no meaningful public criticism or accountability for it, other than a mild tweet from Pete Abe.
 

BaseballJones

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As time passes and we see this team consistently struggle to plug pieces into its bullpen, I have become convinced that as illogical as it is, having set roles for pitchers in the pen is by far the best way of maximizing their effectiveness. Baseball players are still irrational human beings and we have to accept that we have to use them in a non-optimized way in order to maximize their effectiveness.

Whitlock is the stud fireman and everyone in that pen knows it. When he's out, the other guys are suddenly put into that position and time and again they have shown they can't handle it. It's not an ability issue. It's a comfort issue because they aren't robots. Everyone laughed when Diekman said he didn't give a shit about being a closer but last night he imploded so maybe he should.

If I were a MLB manager I would absolutely have a set closer because these guys are comfortable with it.
Well do you want Whitlock to be a closer or a “stud fireman”? Because those aren’t the same things. Pick one.
 

lexrageorge

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Well do you want Whitlock to be a closer or a “stud fireman”? Because those aren’t the same things. Pick one.
I can't speak for SJH, and it may be a thread in its own right. But Whitlock's talent would be absolutely wasted as guy that comes in the 9th with a 2 run lead to get 3 outs. And the Sox brass knows this.

I think there is a fair debate to be had whether the team is best served with Whitlock as a starter for 150-180 innings or as a 100-120 inning relief ace that goes multiple innings.

But, on to the point of this thread, yes, there are a lots of reasons the Sox got swept lost the first 2 in Toronto. Some of that is that the Blue Jays are likely the better team right now; they did beat Boston 2 of 3 in Fenway. Still, in Houck's case, his presence may have helped, and perhaps they win one of 3 in the Sky Dome. That one could come in handy in September, especially as it was against a division opponent. So SJH and the rest of us have the right to be pissed at Houck, as does the team.

As for Kutter, I would be OK if they just DFA'd his ass and gave someone else the opportunity.

EDIT: Thanks @jon abbey . I mixed up TBR and TOR when looking at the Sox schedule.
 
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Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I know professional athletes, at least contemporary ones, don't seem to be wired to criticize/get on teammates. They've usually got their Bros backs. But I don't know how Houck could look any of them in the eye. His stupidity and selfishness is costing them games, period. To the best team in the division. And he seems to be facing virtually no meaningful public criticism or accountability for it, other than a mild tweet from Pete Abe.
Simple answer to this: most professional baseball players are goddamn idiots. Or if not dumb, then incredibly unsophisticated and unworldly.
 

jon abbey

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But, on to the point of this thread, yes, there are a lots of reasons the Sox got swept in Toronto. Some of that is that the Blue Jays are likely the better team right now; they did beat Boston 2 of 3 in Fenway. Still, in Houck's case, his presence may have helped, and perhaps they win one of 3 in the Sky Dome. That one could come in handy in September, especially as it was against a division opponent.
Super confused by this post, game 3 of this series is still to be played tonight.
 

BaseballJones

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Multi-inning closer. Come in during the 7th or 8th and close out the game. Every time. Shut the damn door. That would be his EXPECTED role and he'd be consistently used in that role.
So you'd have held him back last night until the 8th once they took a 5-2 lead? And then he would have finished the game? Are you sure you wouldn't have used him in, say, the 7th, when down 2-1 and very much still in the game, and then had someone else close it out?

And the other day when they lost 3-2 to Tampa...Whitlock in the pen would have made no difference. You wouldn't have waited until the 10th to use him - that's a traditional closer spot and you've made it clear that you don't see Whitlock as a traditional closer. And so he would have been used up earlier, and yet...the Sox' pen already put up a bunch of zeroes so how could Whitlock have done any better than that? Plus, you probably would have already burned him the night before when they won 4-3, as Whitlock would have come in and pitched the last 2-3 innings of that game, so he wouldn't have even been available for the 3-2 loss in extras.

So okay, MAYBE having it your way maybe has them at 8-10 instead of 7-11. Maybe.


EDIT: And you can't use him as a "multi-inning closer....'every time'." You'll fry the guy's arm.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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So you'd have held him back last night until the 8th once they took a 5-2 lead? And then he would have finished the game? Are you sure you wouldn't have used him in, say, the 7th, when down 2-1 and very much still in the game, and then had someone else close it out?

And the other day when they lost 3-2 to Tampa...Whitlock in the pen would have made no difference. You wouldn't have waited until the 10th to use him - that's a traditional closer spot and you've made it clear that you don't see Whitlock as a traditional closer. And so he would have been used up earlier, and yet...the Sox' pen already put up a bunch of zeroes so how could Whitlock have done any better than that? Plus, you probably would have already burned him the night before when they won 4-3, as Whitlock would have come in and pitched the last 2-3 innings of that game, so he wouldn't have even been available for the 3-2 loss in extras.

So okay, MAYBE having it your way maybe has them at 8-10 instead of 7-11. Maybe.
Last night I would have absolutely had him in there in the 8th to finish the game with a 5-2 lead. 100%.

I would have had in the night before with a 2-1 lead as well.

And the Tampa game, I'd have him in there in the 9th and 10th.

Doing it my way that's 3 more wins. 3 wins out of 18 games. That's a huge swing.

It doesn't matter though, because Houck's selfishness meant Whitlock had to start. In and of itself I think that's a good decision, but it does show that Houck has absolutely killed the team. I'm getting tired of having to root for such stupid people.
 

BaseballJones

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Dude, you can't run a guy out there for two high stress innings to hold a 1-run lead, then turn around and have the guy pitch two more high stress innings to close out the game the very next day....IN APRIL.

Come on. You know better than that.

And you say you'd have had him in the 3-2 TB loss in the 9th and 10th, but based on your statements here, you'd have had him in the previous game pitching 7-8-9 or at least 8-9 the night before. That would mean FOUR 2-inning appearances in the span of 5 games.

Yeah, sure, ok.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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I believe they can call up a non 40 for co-vid IL replacement.
That's not the situation they are in. The COVID IL is only for players unavailable due to an actual case of COVID and allows for those special circumstances.

Houck and Crawford are unavailable because they are unvaccinated and are placed on the restricted list. They don't count toward the 40-man roster during that time, but as far as I tell, there are no special exemptions for their replacements. Any transaction required to move the replacement on or off the 40-man roster is the same as always.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Whitlock is a great pitcher, and I understand why he only pitched in 46 games last year, but he’s only appeared in five games this season.

In his 4 relief appearances, his leverage index ranks 7th - behind Brasier, Robles, Diekman, Barnes, Strahm, and Danish..

I get that he’s in the rotation now (for how long, I’m not sure), but his usage so far has really not been optimal.
 

YTF

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That's not the situation they are in. The COVID IL is only for players unavailable due to an actual case of COVID and allows for those special circumstances.

Houck and Crawford are unavailable because they are unvaccinated and are placed on the restricted list. They don't count toward the 40-man roster during that time, but as far as I tell, there are no special exemptions for their replacements. Any transaction required to move the replacement on or off the 40-man roster is the same as always.
Thanks for that.
 

BaseballJones

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Whitlock is a great pitcher, and I understand why he only pitched in 46 games last year, but he’s only appeared in five games this season.

In his 4 relief appearances, his leverage index ranks 7th - behind Brasier, Robles, Diekman, Barnes, Strahm, and Danish..

I get that he’s in the rotation now (for how long, I’m not sure), but his usage so far has really not been optimal.
It's not easy figuring out the best use of Whitlock, to be honest. Obviously no MLB manager is going to use the SJH approach and have him close out every game pitching multiple innings. So to me the options really are:

(1) Starting every fifth day - hopefully you get an excellent start out of him 90% of the time and he can go 6 innings per start when ramped up. But then you lose him the other four days.

(2) Bullpen ace - pitching multiple innings of high-leverage relief (+/- 1 run difference, somewhere in the last 3 innings). But when you do that, you can't use him for a couple days after that (until the playoffs when things are different).

(3) Traditional closer - closing out games with a lead of 1-3 runs, maybe going more than an inning sometimes. This way you can use him on back-to-back days if you have late-inning leads.

It's not clear which is the best option. You'd get the most innings (and theoretically, the most value) out of him as a starter. As a team you have to get X number of innings pitched, and the more you can give to your best pitchers, the better off you should be theoretically. But man, not having him available those other four days really sucks. The closer idea is good because wins are at a premium, and you need to nail those games down when you can. But that option probably actually allows him to pitch the FEWEST innings. That leaves option (2). But then his usage is a little murky, and you could end up using him for the 7th and 8th only to have a "closer" (Robles, Barnes, Diekman, etc.) blow the game in the 9th.
 

Gdiguy

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I'll say that while I was always a 'bullpen people are less valuable' person, the last few years of Mets collapses have made me do a 180 on that; that's basically been the story of the past few Mets seasons, they start out hot, then the bullpen falls apart and starts consistently blowing games, the starters (and/or the manager) then try to push the starters deeper to over-compensate, get injured, and now the entire pitching side is a mess and the season falls apart.

If the bullpen is solid then yeah, a starter is more valuable... but if you're replacing that person by trying to get by with a bunch of weaker pitchers, I'm not in love with it
 

lexrageorge

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Whitlock is a great pitcher, and I understand why he only pitched in 46 games last year, but he’s only appeared in five games this season.

In his 4 relief appearances, his leverage index ranks 7th - behind Brasier, Robles, Diekman, Barnes, Strahm, and Danish..

I get that he’s in the rotation now (for how long, I’m not sure), but his usage so far has really not been optimal.
I think the ranking is skewed by the very short sample of the season, and the fact that the Sox have been consistently giving him 3 days rest between his multi-inning relief appearances:

1.) Pitched the 6th through 8th innings of a game in which the Sox had a 1 run lead against the Yankees (where he unfortunately gave up a run).

2.) Entered a tie game in the 6th against Detroit and pitched the rest of the game for the win. He did pitch 2 innings after the Sox took a 2 run lead, which probably reduces his leverage index rating.

3.) Closed out a 4-0 win against the Twins. But, thanks to Pivetta's struggles the prior game, the Sox had already used a parade of relievers for multi-inning stints the day before, so he was probably their best option despite the relatively low leverage situation. This 2+ inning stint is probably skewing the leverage index quite a bit given the small overall sample.

4.) Closed out a 2-1 win against Toronto.

Honestly, there is nothing to complain about in any of the above. You pitch your bullpen ace when the situation calls for it as opposed to waiting for a better opportunity in a future game. Leverage index is definitely misleading in Whitlock's case.

And they are being cautious, which makes perfect sense given that he pitched 73 innings last year coming off Tommy John, and the fact that he, like every other pitcher, had an abbreviated spring training. There is no reason for Cora to go full Don Zimmer and burn out the guy's arm in April by throwing him for multi-inning stints on consecutive days this point in the season. You cannot treat every regular season game like an elimination game in the playoffs; no manager or team in MLB does that.
 

BaseballJones

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True, but misleading. Gives the impression that the bullpen has sucked. It hasn't. Over those same 7 games, here's what the bullpen has done:

5.0 ip, 2 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 5 k - 1.80 era
3.1 ip, 6 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 4 k - 2.70 era
4.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 0 er, 3 bb, 4 k - 0.00 era
5.2 ip, 2 h, 3 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 7 k - 0.00 era
4.0 ip, 5 h, 5 r, 5 er, 1 bb, 2 k - 11.25 era
1.0 ip, 5 h, 4 r, 4 er, 0 bb, 1 k - 36.00 era
5.0 ip, 5 h, 4 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 4 k - 5.40 era

TOT: 28.0 ip, 28 h, 19 r, 14 er, 10 bb, 27 k, 4.50 era, 1.36 whip, 8.7 k/9

So overall, not great. BUT...of that, there were really two bad situations:

Valdez at TB: 0.1 ip, 3 er
and
Diekman at Tor: 0.2 ip, 3 er

So in that 1.0 ip, they allowed 6 er. Take those away, and you're looking at 27.0 ip, 8 er allowed for an era of 2.67.

Now you can't take that away because they all count. But one was in the 5th inning by the last guy in the bullpen (Valdez) in a spot where Whitlock would not have been used (I thought they were going Houck there to piggy back with Hill), and the other was a disaster by Diekman last night, but from what you guys were saying in the game thread, while the homer was unforgivable (you had a good post about that), apparently the doubles were kind of miraculous pieces of hitting by Toronto.

IOW, while the bullpen has had some letdowns, on the whole, even over this stretch, it's not been as bad as Mazz indicates.


Meanwhile, the offense scored in those 7 games: 1, 2, 4, 2, 2, 2, and 5 runs (2.6 per game). Hard to win that way.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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They are 3-2 in games Whitlock pitches, 4-8 when he doesn’t. If you consider that they lost the game he started, they are 4-9 when he’s bro available out of the bullpen (or at least when he hasn’t pitched).

The problem with the “it’s just a few bad outings by relievers here and there” argument is that this team is routinely using 4-5 relievers in a game. When you are mixing and matching that much, you are usually going to find a guy who doesn’t have it that game and it seems like that’s happening.