2023 Starting Rotation

chawson

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Houck opener followed by some reliever finishing the inning the 1st time Houck allows a baserunner starting in the 4th inning, followed by Crawford seems like a thing that should be a thing.

Sale
Bello
Whitlock
Paxton
Houck/Crawford

I think that's their best rotation assuming health etc.

But it does leave them perilously thin since neither Kluber or Pivetta seem like great relief options. I think I prioritize the more talent & the future but idk?

The problem with "managing" Pivetta isn't good any of the times through the rotation...

1st: 7.36 ERA
2nd: 6.06 ERA
3rd: 5.00 ERA

It seems like the only real chance he gets better would be to try to completely change his usage & see what happens if he goes all out for an inning or two, but that doesn't help either because he's no longer stretched out & you lose your deep depth options.
I'm as down on Pivetta as you are and similarly don't see him as a great relief option, especially paired with Houck, since both struggle against lefties.

It'd be down the line a bit but Drohan seems like an interesting handcuff for Houck, if his major step forward holds in Worcester. Drohan needs to be added to the 40-man this winter anyway so we wouldn't lose much in promoting him this summer in a David Price-circa-2008 sort of role.
 

JM3

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I'm as down on Pivetta as you are and similarly don't see him as a great relief option, especially paired with Houck, since both struggle against lefties.

It'd be down the line a bit but Drohan seems like an interesting handcuff for Houck, if his major step forward holds in Worcester. Drohan needs to be added to the 40-man this winter anyway so we wouldn't lose much in promoting him this summer in a David Price-circa-2008 sort of role.
I forgot about the handedness thing with Houck/Crawford & was just thinking about how good Houck has been 1st time through & how good Crawford has been in the bulk role.

Shame Walter & Murphy have been so bad. If Drohan keeps going like this I'd probably rather see him as an actual starter, but yeah, he may be the best option for a Houck complement.
 

JM3

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Matt Dermody may actually be an interesting option... he's almost 33 & has never really done anything, but he's been basically Worcester's best starter this year (low bar), is a 6'5 lefty & has been tough on lefties in his limited Major League career (.288 wOBA).
 

LogansDad

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Matt Dermody may actually be an interesting option... he's almost 33 & has never really done anything, but he's been basically Worcester's best starter this year (low bar), is a 6'5 lefty & has been tough on lefties in his limited Major League career (.288 wOBA).
I haven't watched him since spring, but I remember him being an interesting looking pitcher back then.

Mata seemingly having lost the ability to throw a baseball in the direction of home plate is a big time bummer. He was a guy I was hoping would be pushing on the door later this season, but at this point he seems like a potential lost cause. Thought he had turned the corner after moving to Portland and then Worcester last year, but outside of those 15 or so games he hasn't ever been all that good in the minors.

I have a little more hope for Walter, whose FIP numbers look okay, but seems to be getting crushed by BABIP (and I think most of us would agree that the Worcester defense is somewhat.... not that great overall).
 

Rovin Romine

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Drohan has been great but I really don't think he should be in the conversation at this point. Otherwise.... Sale (tends to be injured), Bello (young), Houck (should only pitch 4 innings), Whitlock (tends to be injured, hasn't really shown to be a great starter yet), Crawford (same as Whitlock)..... you've got insurance for those guys. He's not going to be bring back much in return and the Sox shouldn't be making assumptions about a 5 man rotation being healthy that doesn't include Pivetta in it. If you have him managed carefully with Houck, you can probably cobble together a good time through the rotation once every 5th time for them.
Rough bump to AAA for him tonight.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It’s been a rough start to the season for Sox minor league pitching, with Drohan the notable exception. Wikelman Gonzalez has 25 walks in 22 innings. The hope was that some of these guys would emerge but doesn’t appear to be the case so far. Not that Pivetta is anything special, but it’s harder to dump him when none of the AAA guys appear likely to help.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Rough bump to AAA for him tonight.
The deets for Drohan's first WooSox start:
5 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 3 HR
He cruised through the first three innings, then in the 4th gave up a pair of 2-run HRs (walk, K, HR, groundout, walk, HR, groundout) and a lead-off solo HR in the 5th (got the rest of the side in order).
The HRs he gave up were all to MiLB vets, AAAA guys, a type of experienced hitter he probably hasn't had to deal with much. Hopefully he learns from it and adjusts.
 

Salem's Lot

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The deets for Drohan's first WooSox start:
5 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 3 HR
He cruised through the first three innings, then in the 4th gave up a pair of 2-run HRs (walk, K, HR, groundout, walk, HR, groundout) and a lead-off solo HR in the 5th (got the rest of the side in order).
The HRs he gave up were all to MiLB vets, AAAA guys, a type of experienced hitter he probably hasn't had to deal with much. Hopefully he learns from it and adjusts.
He also got squeezed by the ump in the 4th. I thought it was overall a nice first AAA start.
 

chrisfont9

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It’s been a rough start to the season for Sox minor league pitching, with Drohan the notable exception. Wikelman Gonzalez has 25 walks in 22 innings. The hope was that some of these guys would emerge but doesn’t appear to be the case so far. Not that Pivetta is anything special, but it’s harder to dump him when none of the AAA guys appear likely to help.
I can't tell from my west coast perch but how many of these performances happened in unseasonably cold weather? Seems like the region has not been very baseball-friendly so far. I feel for pitchers.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Too late for me but looks like a good night from Paxton. Any reports or analysis? And also good to see Winchowski go 3 scoreless after contributing to that meltdown against St. Louis a week ago.
90 wins isn’t just possible…. It’s feeling likely!
But shockingly may still not be enough for a playoff spot
 
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jwbasham84

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Paxton looked good hitting up to 98 on the gun. Only really ran into trouble in the 4th when he lost command of his off-speed pitches but managed to work around the bases being loaded. Overall he looked very good. They also let him go deep into the game 6 innings 100+ pitches. Winck also looked sharp. Much better command than against the Cardinals
 

Merkle's Boner

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I'm hoping that shitshow is the last we see of Kluber in the starting rotation. If Whitlock is better, Kluber needs to be sent out to pasture. Or at least the bullpen.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'm hoping that shitshow is the last we see of Kluber in the starting rotation. If Whitlock is better, Kluber needs to be sent out to pasture. Or at least the bullpen.
Maybe he can bump Bleier to the unemployment line. (sorry for the game threading)

Yeah, Memorial Day is typically the deadline for guys to show some sign of having positive value for the team, and Kluber hasn't shown it. Putting him on the IL to clear a spot for Whitlock would be the humane thing to do. If he won't go for that, give him his walking papers. He was signed to bridge them to the younger guys like Bello and Whitlock and Crawford/Winckowski/etc. There's no more need for that.
 

TFisNEXT

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Yeah when you look under the hood, there’s almost nothing to suggest Kluber is going to turn it around. The numbers are ugly. He’s walking more guys than ever before and striking out fewer than ever before. He survived last year with an elite walk rate, but that quickly has gone by the wayside, so now he’s just a guy who can’t strike guys out but also puts too many on base and gives up a shit ton of HRs.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Yeah when you look under the hood, there’s almost nothing to suggest Kluber is going to turn it around. The numbers are ugly. He’s walking more guys than ever before and striking out fewer than ever before. He survived last year with an elite walk rate, but that quickly has gone by the wayside, so now he’s just a guy who can’t strike guys out but also puts too many on base and gives up a shit ton of HRs.
I doubt there’s anything more than correlation that McGuire catches Kluber. Whoever the hell is considered the best framer/gamecaller out there couldn’t improve Kluber at all.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I doubt there’s anything more than correlation that McGuire catches Kluber. Whoever the hell is considered the best framer/gamecaller out there couldn’t improve Kluber at all.
Coincidentally or not, the one game Wong caught Kluber, he threw five innings and gave up just one run (3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts). That was back in the first week of the season against the Pirates and it was his second best outing of the season. Might be worth trying Kluber one more time with Wong just to see if that was a fluke (I'm betting it was). It would also be an experiment that should have already taken place.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Coincidentally or not, the one game Wong caught Kluber, he threw five innings and gave up just one run (3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts). That was back in the first week of the season against the Pirates and it was his second best outing of the season. Might be worth trying Kluber one more time with Wong just to see if that was a fluke (I'm betting it was). It would also be an experiment that should have already taken place.
Agree on both.

Cross posting from game thread-

I don’t think bringing back neither of Nate or Wacha was a bad idea- they both had serious red flags that suggested a big downward slide was likely. I don’t think the Kluber experiment was a good idea but I think they needed a vet to hold down a spot while the Houck/Whitlock/Crawford/Winchowski situations developed (and they needed more time to develop) and not sure who else was available on a one year deal. So…. I get it. It didn’t work out- should have one more time with Wong as his mate as RSF suggested
 

JM3

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Whitlock pitched 4.2 scoreless for Worcester today (79 pitches). He should just take over this slot next turn around & they can either DFA Kluber or DL him if there's something actually wrong besides being not very good at pitching.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Agree on both.

Cross posting from game thread-

I don’t think bringing back neither of Nate or Wacha was a bad idea- they both had serious red flags that suggested a big downward slide was likely. I don’t think the Kluber experiment was a good idea but I think they needed a vet to hold down a spot while the Houck/Whitlock/Crawford/Winchowski situations developed (and they needed more time to develop) and not sure who else was available on a one year deal. So…. I get it. It didn’t work out- should have one more time with Wong as his mate as RSF suggested
Who else was available on a one-year deal is probably answerable by looking at who signed a one-year deal to change teams this winter.

Noah Syndergaard 1/$13M
Mike Cleavinger 1/$12M
Kyle Gibson 1/$10M
Matt Boyd 1/$10M
Johnny Cueto 1/$8.5M
Michael Lorenzen 1/$8.5M
Rich Hill 1/$8M
Zach Davies 1/$5M
Wade Miley 1/$4.5M
Vince Velasquez 1/$3.15M
Ryan Yarborough 1/$3M

Add to that list the guys who didn't change teams and probably weren't going to anyway...
Clayton Kershaw 1/$20M
Martin Perez 1/$19.6M (qualifying offer)
Zack Greinke 1/$8.5M

Nobody on that list leaps off the page as a gigantic missed opportunity. Cueto (barely two months older than Kluber) was the only one who had a notably better season last year than Kluber did, and he's only thrown two innings this year for the Marlins. None of them were going to inspire much excitement for the fan base. As long as the limit was a one year deal to bridge to either the younger guys emerging or grabbing a big free agent next year (Ohtani, Urias, Nola lead that class), whoever they signed was going to be a bit of a dice roll.
 

nvalvo

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I would guess that this was Kluber's last start, with Whitlock on his way back. Maybe one more.

What's keeping him in the rotation is the sense that it is bad form to sign a veteran and immediately jettison him, and makes it harder to sign other players in the future. You need to give an FA signing enough of a shot. But how much is enough?

In 2009, John Smoltz made 8 starts, and was, if possible, even worse than Kluber has been. (8.33 ERA, 1.7 WHIP, a .386 BABIP that he seems to have thoroughly earned...), and he got 8 starts and 40 IP before being sent packing. Kluber just made his ninth start, and has now thrown 42 IP, I think.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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I don’t think they really care about what is “bad form”; any player knows that if they don’t perform they may lose their job. What’s going to keep Kluber here a little longer is the relative lack of starting pitching depth. Dump Kluber (or Pivetta!) and if you’ve got an injury or two, you are looking at having to move Crawford or Winckowski into the rotation, which weakens the pen. Mata, Murphy, and Walter have all been awful and don’t look like realistic options to help so I think they are likely stuck with what they’ve got a little bit longer .
 

grimshaw

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I would guess that this was Kluber's last start, with Whitlock on his way back. Maybe one more.

What's keeping him in the rotation is the sense that it is bad form to sign a veteran and immediately jettison him, and makes it harder to sign other players in the future. You need to give an FA signing enough of a shot. But how much is enough?

In 2009, John Smoltz made 8 starts, and was, if possible, even worse than Kluber has been. (8.33 ERA, 1.7 WHIP, a .386 BABIP that he seems to have thoroughly earned...), and he got 8 starts and 40 IP before being sent packing. Kluber just made his ninth start, and has now thrown 42 IP, I think.
Or it may be Bloom having a tough time moving on from a guy he believed in a few months ago and gave a good chunk of money to. I don't think it would effect any future signing at all if your team is good. Glad that at least Turner has worked out so far and we can still cross our fingers on Jansen because those guys were also going have long ropes at risky positions to be locked into this season.
 

johnlos

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Seems like the front office severely overthought Kluber vs. bringing Wacha back. -0.4 to 1.0 WAR. Dunno if Wacha would have signed 1/$10 but considering he took 4/$24 he probably would have signed for less...
 

Rovin Romine

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Not really surprised. Whitlock is scheduled to start Saturday. If Kluber doesn't show something on Sunday, it probably is his final start and the rotation moving forward is Paxton, Sale, Whitlock, Houck, and Bello.
I'm not sure they need to wait. If Kluber were on another team and they could get him for free, would they? I'm thinking no - he wouldn't displace the other starters. So why should he now?

They do have more data than we do, so perhaps they're hoping out some slim hope he's fixable.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Seems like the front office severely overthought Kluber vs. bringing Wacha back. -0.4 to 1.0 WAR. Dunno if Wacha would have signed 1/$10 but considering he took 4/$24 he probably would have signed for less...
He was looking for like 3 years at $13-$14M per when the Sox signed Kluber, though. They could have waited him out, but would have been risky and they had to add someone.
 

chrisfont9

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I'm not sure they need to wait. If Kluber were on another team and they could get him for free, would they? I'm thinking no - he wouldn't displace the other starters. So why should he now?

They do have more data than we do, so perhaps they're hoping out some slim hope he's fixable.
My guess would be they want to see Whitlock make a start before they cut bait on Kluber. Obviously they could do that without Kluber making another start, but it's the last day of the road trip and he'll be there anyway and somebody has to start that game. Perhaps they prefer to make big decisions/cuts at home.

Though it's probably what you say, they have one last hope for a fix. Kluber's made two starts in Arizona in his career: 13 IP, 1.38 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 12 K, 2 BB. Maybe they hope there's some magic on that mound still lingering 6+ years since the last time he was on it? /s
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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My guess would be they want to see Whitlock make a start before they cut bait on Kluber. Obviously they could do that without Kluber making another start, but it's the last day of the road trip and he'll be there anyway and somebody has to start that game. Perhaps they prefer to make big decisions/cuts at home.

Though it's probably what you say, they have one last hope for a fix. Kluber's made two starts in Arizona in his career: 13 IP, 1.38 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 12 K, 2 BB. Maybe they hope there's some magic on that mound still lingering 6+ years since the last time he was on it? /s
I’ll put some cash down that the mound will pitch better than him
 

RS2004foreever

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"My guess would be they want to see Whitlock make a start before they cut bait on Kluber."
I think this is right.
 

joe dokes

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Or it may be Bloom having a tough time moving on from a guy he believed in a few months ago and gave a good chunk of money to. I don't think it would effect any future signing at all if your team is good. Glad that at least Turner has worked out so far and we can still cross our fingers on Jansen because those guys were also going have long ropes at risky positions to be locked into this season.
I dont think 2 months is too long to wait and see if the guy who was great last year is now done. *Especially* since they had a rotation hole to fill. IF Paxton hadn't gotten hurt in ST; IF Whitlock hadn't gotten hurt, maybe their hands would have been forced more. But among the many disagreements here, one constant was the number of rotation uncertainties. Almost 2 months in, now the uncertainties are clearing up a bit. It looks like Sale, Paxton and Bello have worked out as hoped. Pivetta and Kluber not so much. Whitlock returns. Houck is still up in the air. Winckowski and Crawford are pitching like starter-adjacent major leaguers.
As always, these things usually take care of themselves.
Not just Turner "has worked out" among the non-pitchers. Yoshida, Duran, Verdugo, Valdez, Wong and McGuire were all guys that were among the "why did we get them/why did we keep them" conversations.
 

Rovin Romine

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I dont think 2 months is too long to wait and see if the guy who was great last year is now done. *Especially* since they had a rotation hole to fill. IF Paxton hadn't gotten hurt in ST; IF Whitlock hadn't gotten hurt, maybe their hands would have been forced more. But among the many disagreements here, one constant was the number of rotation uncertainties.
I think Kluber's role was to have been a single-year innings-eating stopgap starter, with potential upside. But I don't know if he was "great" last year.

A "reasonable" expectation would have been a repeat of last year - 30 starts, 160 innings or so. . .but the problem therein was his ERA+ was a 84. (Compare to Pivetta's 92.) Kluber did have a good start in 2022, but he finished pretty poorly. So maybe they thought he would have another hot start while things sorted themselves out in the rest of the starting rotation?

Regardless I figured there was also some scouting based reason to sign Kluber, and the thought would be at the end of the day he'd be at least a solid 4/5 type with Pivetta and take a lot of innings-load off of a returning Sale, Paxton. (Bello/Whitlock/Crawford/Houck ranged from "could do a full year as a starter" to "man, that's a major IP increase.) I mean, that's your floor - otherwise you don't pick him up, I think.

I'm not rooting against the guy - it would be fantastic if he has something left, or had been making a transition to a more promising/effective pitching style/mix like Wacha did with us. But I'm not sure that Kluber was expected to be the season-long mainstay some were hoping for here.
 

I Miss Maalox

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I don't think 2 months is too long to wait and see if the guy who was great last year is now done.
Last year with the Rays, Kluber had a very impressive walk rate (1.2/9 innings) and did pitch 164 innings.
But was he a guy who was great last year?
His ERA+ of 84 says no.
 

joe dokes

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Not sure why I said "great." He wasn't. "Dependable" would've been better. Regardless, my point remains. A 2-month run where they had the openings anyway - and rotation uncertainty -- is reasonable; as was the move to sign him. Just didnt work out (or so it seems).
 

Rovin Romine

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Not sure why I said "great." He wasn't. "Dependable" would've been better. Regardless, my point remains. A 2-month run where they had the openings anyway - and rotation uncertainty -- is reasonable; as was the move to sign him. Just didnt work out (or so it seems).
I wasn't trying to be pedantic - just to get a reasonable angle on things.
 

JM3

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The one thing Kluber had going for him his last 3 full seasons ('17, '18 & '22) was an elite walk rate. It seems like a lot of the Red Sox off season moves were designed to limit walks. Can't imagine him being long for the team.

His BABIP is actually significantly lower so far this year than last year...he's just tripled his walks & doubled his home runs. & as a 3 fWAR pitcher last year, he was definitely competent, if not actually good.
 

grimshaw

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I dont think 2 months is too long to wait and see if the guy who was great last year is now done. *Especially* since they had a rotation hole to fill. IF Paxton hadn't gotten hurt in ST; IF Whitlock hadn't gotten hurt, maybe their hands would have been forced more. But among the many disagreements here, one constant was the number of rotation uncertainties. Almost 2 months in, now the uncertainties are clearing up a bit. It looks like Sale, Paxton and Bello have worked out as hoped. Pivetta and Kluber not so much. Whitlock returns. Houck is still up in the air. Winckowski and Crawford are pitching like starter-adjacent major leaguers.
As always, these things usually take care of themselves.
Not just Turner "has worked out" among the non-pitchers. Yoshida, Duran, Verdugo, Valdez, Wong and McGuire were all guys that were among the "why did we get them/why did we keep them" conversations.
By worked out, I just meant guys signed short term on short money. Very happy with everything else. I don't think 2 months is unreasonable in a vacuum, it was just maddening to me since I didn't like the signing.
 

BaseballJones

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Other than Kluber, the rotation is looking good. Paxton and Sale are pitching well, as is Bello. And Houck is solid and Whitlock will be returning. This is the group I was hoping for.
 

nvalvo

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If they’re really sticking with Houck in the rotation (over Kluber, Pivetta, and, I guess, Crawford), it will interesting to watch what they try to do to get him past his 10th batter faced without getting trounced.