2023 Bullpen

Rovin Romine

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Like the Starting Rotation thread this thread is to look at the pros and cons what we actually have for the bullpen. Sure, we might add or trade guys, but things seem to have taken at least rough shape.

Please keep trade speculation and "how I would run the club in the long term" posts to the other threads we have for that.

Anyway:

If we assume Whitlock is going to be in the starting rotation, our Relief Pitching depth (on the 40 man) looks like: Jansen, Houck, Martin, Schreiber, Barnes, Rodriguez (LH), Kelly, Brasier, Taylor (LH), Mills, Ort, Darwinzon (LH), German. Also possibly Crawford. That's 14 names for 8 slots on the 25. (13 pitchers allowed, 5 starters.)

I think these guys are locks:

Jansen - closer.​
Houck - high leverage reliever/alternate closer​
Martin​
Schreiber​
Barnes​
Rodriguez (LH)​
Brasier (inexplicably)​
Taylor (LH) (if healthy)​
The 9th is probably Crawford, who should probably be given a spot over Brasier, if he replicates his 2022 campaign.
After Crawford are Darwinzon (LH), Mills, Kelly, Ort, and German. AAA arms on the 40 man also include Winckowski, Mata, Seabold, Murphy.)

How effective does this staff look to you? Particularly in terms of depth?



Also, RHF pointed out something of a 40 man jam, with both Turner and Kluber needing to be added:
Kluber hasn't officially been added either.

The only concern I have with the number of AAA starters on the 40-man is they do want some relievers that they can call up. With just 14 spots for optionable depth, filling six of them with starting pitchers might be a bit inefficient. I guess any of them could come up to relieve if needed, but I think they'd rather have more than a couple guys that they can rotate through the bullpen as needed.
So, who of our marginal pitching staff should be best kept in this role?
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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I think Darwinzon and Ort are likely goners from the 40-man in the near term. In a situation of perfect health, I’d agree with your locks and imagine Mills, Kelly, and maybe Crawford fight for the last spot. Although almost every year it seems like some rando makes the Sox staff out of camp. I can’t imagine they’d go with less (fewer) than two lefty relievers so we will prob see a one or two NRI lefties, maybe even Darwinzon himself if he clears and can be optioned.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think there are five locks: Jansen, Martin, Barnes, Schreiber, and Rodriguez. Then there's potentially two odd men out of the rotation shuffle: Houck and Whitlock. That leaves one more spot from among Brasier, Taylor and the rest of the optionables. There won't be a ninth spot unless they go with a 4 man rotation for some reason, since they can't carry more than 13 pitchers at a time.

So it would appear that the pen composition is going to hinge somewhat on how the rotation shakes out.
 

simplicio

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I think Crawford showed enough promise as a starter this year that I'd like to keep him stretched out and developing toward a potential spot in 2024 or next year if we have more injury emergencies.
 

Daniel_Son

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I think Crawford showed enough promise as a starter this year that I'd like to keep him stretched out and developing toward a potential spot in 2024 or next year if we have more injury emergencies.
Agreed. Other than a few bad relief outings in May he was really good. If one of the starters misses time I'd much rather see him take the starts than flip-flopping Houck or Whitlock.
 

Jack Rabbit Slim

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That's 14 names for 10 or 11 slots on the 25.
There are only 8 available bullpen spots (13 max pitchers on the 26 man roster, 5 starters).

Locks are:
Jansen
Martin
Barnes
Schreiber
Rodriguez
Houck (if he isn't traded)

It seems like Brasier is going to be given another chance so that just leaves one spot. They need more than one LHRP and it could be Taylor, but after his complete no show last year I would like to see someone else brought in. Maybe a lefty swing man type to provide some more starter depth.
 

chawson

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Agreed, I think Crawford is a bit of a 2023 dark horse. He was excellent for a stretch there, and IIRC prefers to start than pitch in relief. Not sure he’ll get that wish out the gate, but we shouldn’t close the door on him finding the groove he did last July and August (3.31 FIP in 7 starts against the Rays twice, Yankees twice, Jays, Astros, Royals and Guards).

I also think Kluber could take on a mentorship role, and Crawford seems like a possible beneficiary there. He and Kluber have almost identical pitch mixes (FB/CT/CB/CH). (Winckowski too, he desperately needs to learn a pitch.) Kluber reportedly mentored several Yankee pitchers when he was there, including Michael King and Chad Green.
 

Rovin Romine

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There are only 8 available bullpen spots (13 max pitchers on the 26 man roster, 5 starters).

Locks are:
Jansen
Martin
Barnes
Schreiber
Rodriguez
Houck (if he isn't traded)

It seems like Brasier is going to be given another chance so that just leaves one spot. They need more than one LHRP and it could be Taylor, but after his complete no show last year I would like to see someone else brought in. Maybe a lefty swing man type to provide some more starter depth.
I'll edit that so people don't keep pointing it out.
 

AB in DC

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I expect Cora will want guys like Sale. Whitlock, and Paxton to have some kind of innings limit or get some extra rest from time to time given their arm issues,. So at this point I would plan on only seven true "relievers" on the roster for most of the year, with five starters and one swingman/long relief/spot starter.to keep them fresh. So If Sale/Bello/Whitlock/Pivetta/Kluber are healthy, that's probably Paxton. Otherwise, it's Crawford.
 

Harry Hooper

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Just copying this here.
The deadline for the team to make the tender was the date of that tweet (Nov. 18th). Taylor is on the 40-man roster as of Dec. 21st, so the tender apparently did happen.


The Athletic today has a non-paywalled article by Jennings on remaining FAs the Sox might be interested in:
Andrew Chafin
The Red Sox have been aggressive in addressing their bullpen, and they could continue that trend with Chafin. The 32-year-old has been one of the better left-handed relievers the past two seasons, and right now the Red Sox have Joely Rodriguez and Josh Taylor from the left side. Chafin would be an upgrade to slot into the late innings with newcomers Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin. And given the going rate for relievers this offseason, maybe the Red Sox could turn around and trade Taylor for something worthwhile.
 
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chawson

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The deadline for the team to make the tender was the date of that tweet (Nov. 18th). Taylor is on the 40-man roster as of Dec. 21st, so the tender apparently did happen.


The Athletic today has a non-paywalled article by Jennings on remaining FAs the Sox might be interested in:
I'd be happy with Chafin, but as a pure fastball slider guy he's not that different from (a healthy) Josh Taylor.

What about Matt Moore? He had a terrific year last year (2.98 FIP), and his FB/CB/CH from the left side is a repertoire we don't have in the pen. Bloom reportedly pursued him before the 2021 season and obviously knows him from Tampa.
 

Rovin Romine

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I'd be happy with Chafin, but as a pure fastball slider guy he's not that different from (a healthy) Josh Taylor.

What about Matt Moore? He had a terrific year last year (2.98 FIP), and his FB/CB/CH from the left side is a repertoire we don't have in the pen. Bloom reportedly pursued him before the 2021 season and obviously knows him from Tampa.
No trade speculation/shadow-GMing please. There are plenty of threads for that.
 

shepard50

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Brasier and the Red Sox agreed a 2M salary for next year, avoiding arbitration. What am I missing? He seems completely cooked. He pitched a lot of innings last year, and from what I saw they were not good. We added three very good relievers in the offseason.

For the Chaim Bloom Red Sox 2M is not nothing. Why is he worth this slot int he bullpen, and this money?
 

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Brasier and the Red Sox agreed a 2M salary for next year, avoiding arbitration. What am I missing? He seems completely cooked. He pitched a lot of innings last year, and from what I saw they were not good. We added three very good relievers in the offseason.

For the Chaim Bloom Red Sox 2M is not nothing. Why is he worth this slot int he bullpen, and this money?
He definitely has been a security blanket for Cora over the years, including this past season. I wonder how much input he had into this.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Braiser had decent enough peripherals last year. 3.61 FIP, 2 BB / 9 K is good. A 5.78 ERA and 1.3 HR is not. He certainly gave up a lot of hard contact but also seemed to be unlucky too. I dunno, I imagine if they let him go he’d be replaced by a very similar pitcher.
 

shepard50

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Braiser had decent enough peripherals last year. 3.61 FIP, 2 BB / 9 K is good. A 5.78 ERA and 1.3 HR is not. He certainly gave up a lot of hard contact but also seemed to be unlucky too. I dunno, I imagine if they let him go he’d be replaced by a very similar pitcher.
Fair. And thanks, that is helpful.

I dug around a bit on fangraphs. His hi leverage numbers were not good last year.

60058


And his numbers when the team is shifting behind him are also not good.
60059

What would explain that? And would we expect that to mean good things for 2023, where there are no shifts and I would assume his inning will be more low leverage than last year (based on added hi-lev personnel)?

(edit: formatting)
 
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AB in DC

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Brasier and the Red Sox agreed a 2M salary for next year, avoiding arbitration. What am I missing? He seems completely cooked. He pitched a lot of innings last year, and from what I saw they were not good. We added three very good relievers in the offseason.

For the Chaim Bloom Red Sox 2M is not nothing. Why is he worth this slot int he bullpen, and this money?
I guess the question is, is there someone else that deserves a 40-man slot more? We've been carrying Darwinzon Hernandez up until a week ago, and Brasier is clearly better than him. The $2m was just to avoid salary arbitration. I'm sure if the team wants to move on from Brasier later in the year, they can find another team to trade a bag of balls for him.
 

jbupstate

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At the end of the day don’t you just replace a Braiser* with another Braiser? Ort seems to fall in that category.

These hard throwing back of the bullpen guys are really valuable because they can throw multiple times a week in games and getting up/down in bullpen. It’s not like a AAA starter that’s SP5/6/7 can just handle that workload.

* not a Braiser defender but do think he’s a guy that gets claimed quickly
 

BaseballJones

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Brasier is a guy that if he was on another team and has had the past few years that he's had, if he became a free agent the Sox would definitely try to sign him for a smallish contract.

All over the map with his actual stats since 2018, but for the most part he's pretty durable and he throws very hard. Has been hurt by a high babip, which you'd hope regresses to the mean, and if it did, you'd have a pretty effective reliever there.
 

Rice4HOF

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With the Taylor trade for Mondesi, our relief pitchers include the following 7 who presumably will be on the OD roster:

Jansen
Schreiber
Houck
Barnes
Martin
Rodriguez
Brasier
It would be great to get another LHRP to replace Taylor.

IF Paxton and Sale are ready to go on OD as well, we have 6 SPs:
Sale
Pivetta
Paxton
Whitlock
Bello
Kluber

Without any other moves that's 13 pitchers which is the maximum allowable on a roster.
(This doesn't inlcude other potential roster guys who may come up/down such as Crawford, Wincowski, Kelly, Ort, German, Mills, Mata, etc.)

So, if we do get another lefty reliever another move is necessary. I know Tito was fond of "these things have a way to sort themselves out", and everyone being healthy at the start of April is a good problem to have, but what happens then?

Options:
1. get a LHRP, send Bello to minors since he has options (not optimal as he's certainly one of the best 5 SPs).
2. start Paxton in the pen until there's an injury to a starter (not sure how feasible this is?)
3. move Whitlock to the pen, leaving Joley Rodriguez as the only lefty there
4. Something better than the above that I'm issing?
 

Rovin Romine

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Options:
1. get a LHRP, send Bello to minors since he has options (not optimal as he's certainly one of the best 5 SPs).
2. start Paxton in the pen until there's an injury to a starter (not sure how feasible this is?)
3. move Whitlock to the pen, leaving Joley Rodriguez as the only lefty there
4. Something better than the above that I'm issing?
Much depends on Paxton's status. Anyone have any news on that?
 

JM3

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I guess I'll check & see if any of the righties have reverse splits...

Jansen - better against righties (career .258 wOBA against L, .224 against R)
Schreiber - better against righties (.322/.273)
Houck - better against righties (.299/.242)
Barnes - neutral (.309/.302)
Martin - better against lefties (.284/.301)
Rodriguez - neutral (.313/.315)
Brasier - much better against righties (.359/.260)

& of the other guys thrown out there...

Paxton - better against righties - oops (.317/.286)
Crawford - much better against righties (.400/.318)
Winckowski - equally awful against both (.366/.366)
Kelly - much better against lefties, SSS (.229/.389)
Ort - much better against lefties, SSS (.304/.411)
German - EEK, SSS (.521/.503)
Mills - better against righties (.404/.313)
Mata - N/A

Some other dudes available...

Chafin - a bit better against lefties (.271/.284)
Idk
 

chawson

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Some other dudes available...

Chafin - a bit better against lefties (.271/.284)
Idk
Matt Moore is a lefty who was better against RHB last year. Bloom obviously knows him from Tampa and was reportedly kicking the tires on him a couple years ago.
 

JM3

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Matt Moore is a lefty who was better against RHB last year. Bloom obviously knows him from Tampa and was reportedly kicking the tires on him a couple years ago.
He has reverse career splits, too, .330 to .323.

Replacing Brasier with a guy who can pitch very well against lefties seems like the move to balance out the pen.
 

Rovin Romine

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Matt Moore is a lefty who was better against RHB last year. Bloom obviously knows him from Tampa and was reportedly kicking the tires on him a couple years ago.
He has reverse career splits, too, .330 to .323.

Replacing Brasier with a guy who can pitch very well against lefties seems like the move to balance out the pen.
Guys, can we please not shadow-GM in this thread? There are plenty of threads to discuss who you might personally want to get.

Let's have at least one thread where we just focus on what we have in the .org, how it fits together, and what the pros and cons are.

(PS - thanks for those batter splits.)
 

JM3

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Guys, can we please not shadow-GM in this thread? There are plenty of threads to discuss who you might personally want to get.

Let's have at least one thread where we just focus on what we have in the .org, how it fits together, and what the pros and cons are.

(PS - thanks for those batter splits.)
Pros - good pitchers, with the possible exception of one
Cons - lack of guys who can get out lefties

But yeah, fair enough.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Can cross out Barnes. Guess we are looking at;

Jansen, Houck, Martin, Schreiber, Brasier, Ort, Mills
Rodriguez

Seems like a LH will be added at the expense of, for now, Ort or Mills? Assuming perfect health, of course.
 

StuckOnYouk

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FWIW, I recall when we needed Pivetta to come out of the pen in the 2021 playoffs, he pitched very well.
Threw four scoreless with 7 strikeouts in the TB extra inning win.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Do we think a starter like Pivetta would be happy being moved into a relief role at this point in his career?

I also think they will carry another lefty; they usually had three last year, to move to just Joely would be a pretty big shift.
 

JM3

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FWIW, I recall when we needed Pivetta to come out of the pen in the 2021 playoffs, he pitched very well.
Threw four scoreless with 7 strikeouts in the TB extra inning win.
Yeah, he was great in that game. His other relief appearance that post season he allowed 3 earned runs in 4.2 innings in game 1 of that series.

Looking through those ALCS box scores makes it so clear that they were a competent bullpen away from the World Series that year.

Just littered with Robles/Sawamura/Brasier/Darwinzon/et al.

In his regular season career he has pitched 32.1 relief innings with a 6.12 ERA. I would be surprised if he had more value to us a reliever than he would to some other, desperate, team as a starter.
 

BaseballJones

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Red Sox Stats on Twitter had a interesting way to line this up:

View: https://twitter.com/redsoxstats/status/1618051600622419969


I think Pivetta should likely be in the rotation though.
Pivetta is their most durable starter. I highly doubt he'd be moved to the bullpen. I'd actually expect Boston to start Bello in AAA and be ready to move him up to the majors before I'd see Pivetta in the bullpen.

(I mean, don't misunderstand; Bello is, I think, a better pitcher than Pivetta, and certainly has more upside, but Pivetta is good for 30+ starts a season, and that's valuable.)
 

Rovin Romine

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Pivetta is their most durable starter. I highly doubt he'd be moved to the bullpen. I'd actually expect Boston to start Bello in AAA and be ready to move him up to the majors before I'd see Pivetta in the bullpen.

(I mean, don't misunderstand; Bello is, I think, a better pitcher than Pivetta, and certainly has more upside, but Pivetta is good for 30+ starts a season, and that's valuable.)
I'd agree. It's unlikely that Sale, Paxton, Kluber, Pivetta are moved into the pen for various reasons (implicit promises in signing, medical concerns, value to the club, etc.)

I wonder about Houck and Whitlock. I cannot think that bobbling them about between roles is ideal (the caveat being one or both of them might bet 100% down with the idea.) It seems the closer role was pulled from Houck, and with the emergence of Bello and signing of Kluber, the starter role might be pulled from Whitlock as well.

I'm perfectly OK with a floating high level relief ace (or two?) e.g., Barnes in 2018/19. But Barnes is also all of the cautionary tale one needs. He was abused in relief, signed a club-friendly contract, and has endured no end of public scorn for his injury and downturn in performance. And now, DFA'd. While I hope he lands on his feet, I don't think either Houck or Whitlock want to be "the next Barnes."

All the usual "This is January" caveats apply here. It's just weird to see good young talent pushed to the middle, so to speak.
 

zougwa

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In their report on the Mondesi trade, Chad Jennings & Jen McCaffrey did see fit to give mention to another internal LH option:

The team did add to its left-handed depth this weekend by signing former Rays and Cardinals reliever Ryan Sherriff to a minor-league deal, and internally the team is intrigued by 23-year-old Oddanier Mosqueda, who put up huge strikeout totals without a ton of baserunners in Double A last season. Mosqueda already has a non-roster invitation to big league camp and is on the radar.
Mosqueda's problem is giving up home runs--9 in 58.2 innings last year, which inflated his ERA to 4.30. But 76 strikeouts against 46 hits and 20 walks.
 

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I realize we’re focusing on the pen here, but there are ripple effects depending on how the team handles the rotation. As we’ve noted elsewhere, the team really can’t expect to get 175+ IP (what Pivetta gives us) from many of their starters, even assuming relatively good health. So, does that mean shorter, 5 inning starts, which would require a couple of long men in the pen? A 6 man rotation? Some “vacation” time for each starter (planned or opportunistic missed starts), which would require ongoing fill in starts by guys on the AAA shuttle or the long men in the pen? I could see Whitlock moving into the pen mid-season to keep his total innings down while remaining a multi-inning option.
 

Rovin Romine

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I realize we’re focusing on the pen here, but there are ripple effects depending on how the team handles the rotation. As we’ve noted elsewhere, the team really can’t expect to get 175+ IP (what Pivetta gives us) from many of their starters, even assuming relatively good health. So, does that mean shorter, 5 inning starts, which would require a couple of long men in the pen? A 6 man rotation? Some “vacation” time for each starter (planned or opportunistic missed starts), which would require ongoing fill in starts by guys on the AAA shuttle or the long men in the pen? I could see Whitlock moving into the pen mid-season to keep his total innings down while remaining a multi-inning option.
Houck, Whitlock and Crawford potentially cross between SP and RP roles. But I think, as you suggest, there's little harm in burning an option on someone like Winckowski, Mata, or Murphy if there's a IL stint here or there for soreness or fatigue. Depends on how any of them are pitching, but I think Mata, like Bello, will jump and stick. So, burn an option or two to give him a taste of starting in the majors this year if that seems doable. I'd prefer that to yoinking guys around between a SP and relief role.

Frankly, I'm not sold on the "only twice through" the rotation philosophy, even in the early going. It seems obvious that it would stress the pen, and in hindsight it seemed to last year. I mean, if you have a large class of rubber arms, sure. But I'm not sure you test that concept with Houck and Whitlock - seems very short sighted to potentially damage two of your younger and better cost-controlled pitchers. For the same reason, I'm not really sold on the six man rotation.

Hopefully this year will have a normal spring training (unlike last) and we'll get some ready-to-go starting pitching. We don't have very many days off in the beginning: https://www.mlb.com/redsox/schedule/2023-04

We're also not facing the soft underbelly of anything. . .but these are not dazzling teams in the main. Early wins and losses count. And, rather than the reverse, I'd prefer the Sox be locked in and playing against teams who are still "figuring out what they have."
 

AB in DC

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I realize we’re focusing on the pen here, but there are ripple effects depending on how the team handles the rotation. As we’ve noted elsewhere, the team really can’t expect to get 175+ IP (what Pivetta gives us) from many of their starters, even assuming relatively good health. So, does that mean shorter, 5 inning starts, which would require a couple of long men in the pen? A 6 man rotation? Some “vacation” time for each starter (planned or opportunistic missed starts), which would require ongoing fill in starts by guys on the AAA shuttle or the long men in the pen? I could see Whitlock moving into the pen mid-season to keep his total innings down while remaining a multi-inning option.
We have six potential starters, and it seems unlikely that there will be many days when all six will be healthy. In that rare scenario, one of the six gets bumped to middle relief (for this thread, I'm not sure it matters which one) and we have a seven-man bullpen. With one injury, the other five are in the rotation, Crawford probably handles middle relief (and possibly a couple of spot starts) , and again there's room for seven others.
 

AB in DC

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Can cross out Barnes. Guess we are looking at;

Jansen, Houck, Martin, Schreiber, Brasier, Ort, Mills
Rodriguez

Seems like a LH will be added at the expense of, for now, Ort or Mills? Assuming perfect health, of course.
Barnes DFA and Taylor trade really clears up the picture here.

Assuming a seven man bullpen, I think Jansen, Houck, Schreiber, Martin, Mills, and Rodriguez feel like locks. Brasier, Ort, Sherriff, and perhaps Kelly compete for the last spot (or would be first call-up in case of injury).
 
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rhswanzey

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But I think, as you suggest, there's little harm in burning an option on someone like Winckowski, Mata, or Murphy if there's a IL stint here or there for soreness or fatigue. Depends on how any of them are pitching, but I think Mata, like Bello, will jump and stick. So, burn an option or two to give him a taste of starting in the majors this year if that seems doable.
Minor point of clarification: anyone on the 40-man roster who doesn’t make the team will burn an option year by being assigned to a minor league roster. Per new CBA, a player can be promoted a maximum of five times during the season (was previously unlimited). Promotions/demotions don’t impact remaining option years, though.