2024 Rotation and Bullpen

Red(s)HawksFan

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Speaking of Kutter, he's been MIA for 9 days now, somebody tell me not to panic please.
What's happened with Crawford? I haven't followed spring training very well. Had no idea he's been MIA. What's going on?
Crawford is scheduled to start tomorrow against the Rays. If my math is correct, his last turn should have been last Thursday. The game that day was in Clearwater against the Phillies, which is one of the longer road trips from Ft Myers. My guess is he made his start in a minor league game (or a simulated game) that day in Ft Myers rather than travel.

Also, given the announcement yesterday about Winckowski, I really doubt they'd be making that decision now if Crawford was questionable.
 

chrisfont9

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I can squint and see that this rotation at least has some potential. Bello, of course, has ace potential if he can realize it eventually. Maybe this year is a huge step forward in his development. Certainly that's not totally unrealistic. Pivetta can be solid. I actually like Crawford and think he's underrated. He should be good this year. Houck and Whitlock have ability, but neither has shown to be dependable and durable in starting roles. So big concerns there for me. But the *talent* is there for both of them to be good.

So if I take a seriously optimistic view I can see Bello as a legit #1, Pivetta as a solid professional starting pitcher, Crawford as the guy who surprises people with a really good year, and Houck and Whitlock finally stepping up and being legit MLB starting pitchers. If all that happens, the rotation could actually be pretty good.

The problem is that that's a lot of IFs. And it also depends on good health, because the depth behind them is really not good at all. If the Sox have to deal with significant starting pitching injuries (which I'm sure will happen), then this team could get shelled all season long.
The optimistic part is assuming consistency, along with/related to good health. But a bunch of young guys might at least keep their legs under them, assuming nobody takes a liner to the face again.
 

Rovin Romine

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Moving this over from the other thread cause it seems like the better home for it.

I totally get and appreciate Houck being a victim of circumstance last year. My concern for this year is the same that it was then: not that he can't get to 30 starts eventually, but that he's starting from a long ways off and I worry that he's going to fall off hard late this season.

In a way though, I hope they all do hit that wall cause it would mean they've solved the far greater problem: they can't get through the fifth inning and all of them are atrocious the third time through the order. That's something I don't think can be explained away by health or endurance, and it's been killing us.
Thanks for bridging it here.

I agree with your flagging the third time through issue. We've touched on it here and there this off-season, and I don't doubt there are a couple of very on-point threads by someone buried in a mega-thread or two.

I think a fair summary is that third time through issues are a real issue across baseball, but that the Sox seem to have a particular issue with it, especially in regards to Houck, who is lights out then hits a wall.

And there, I think there are two things to consider, both with the same solution. 1) If this is a pitch-count thing, Bailey needs to get the guys to be more efficient early on, and not try to full-count strike out every single batter. 2) If this is a tactical issue re: pitch choice, Bailey needs to override what was being done in previous years. Bush, Varitek, Wong, the Pitcher of the Day shaking something off. . .whatever it is, the dominant approach of the recent past has not been working, so it must be adjusted.

So, I'm kind of optimistic. Sometimes people get entrenched in a problem and try to tweak it one way or another while discounting other fixes. Bailey is a set of fresh eyes, and has had success elsewhere. Plus Breslow is also involved, so I don't think "oh, we tried something like that the year before last and it didn't work, so we should still keep doing the same thing" is going to fly here.
 

Rovin Romine

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Murphy getting his elbow checked out. That doesn’t sound good.
That sucks. I had high hopes for him this year, either in the pen or as developing starting depth in AAA.

He was a shut-down guy when he was first called up and put in the pen last year. So he's got stuff that will play to ML hitters. And we have a new pitching coach, so he seemed a good candidate to benefit from a new strategy or tweaked approach.
 

Fishy1

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View: https://twitter.com/SmittyOnMLB/status/1769745487182094344?s=20


This team would have some excitement about it if they had any type of quality pitching depth. As it stands the Breslow magic will have to happen for that to be true this year.
No offense intended, but this seems like a major overreaction to this tweet? Jansen was competent last year in his role but not exceptional, and he's still slated to be ready to go opening day.

Besides, they've got a host of live arms that performed well this spring. Martin, Winck, Campbell, and Bernardino are all guys I have confidence in, and I'm really excited to see what Slaten and Weissert can do. Kaleb Ort's they are not.

The starting rotation is on much shakier ground, IMO, but there's plenty to be optimistic about there, if only they had a more solid #1 to pair with Bello (and they might yet get one).
 

Cassvt2023

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Cora said on Monday that Jansen had to be able to go Tuesday (today) in order to be ready for the season. Now that he's not going today, it seems very likely that he'll open the season on the injured list. Yikes. Who closes in his absence?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Cora said on Monday that Jansen had to be able to go Tuesday (today) in order to be ready for the season. Now that he's not going today, it seems very likely that he'll open the season on the injured list. Yikes. Who closes in his absence?
Also on the injured list... but I'd like to see Mata start throwing exclusively out of the closer's role in AAA as soon as he's healthy
 

Rovin Romine

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Also on the injured list... but I'd like to see Mata start throwing exclusively out of the closer's role in AAA as soon as he's healthy
Mata is on the 40 man and out of options. Does anyone know what rules apply this year in terms of him going on the IL and rehabbing before coming up?

Also, what's the rule re: coming back early from the 10 day IL - can you backdate it when the season begins? I'm thinking more of Jansen here, say if he needed an extra 5 days as opposed to an extra 10.
 
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simplicio

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Pitchers can be on a rehab assignment for up to 30 days before they have to rejoin the MLB team.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Mata is on the 40 man and out of options. Does anyone know what rules apply this year in terms of him going on the IL and rehabbing before coming up?

Also, what's the rule re: coming back early from the 10 day IL - can you backdate it when the season begins? I'm thinking more of Jansen here, say if he needed an extra 5 days as opposed to an extra 10.
Pitchers get a maximum of 30 days to rehab when coming back from an injury before they either have to be activated to the 26-man roster or returned to the inactive list. In the latter instance, the player could still be activated to the 26-man at any time but can also restart a new 30 day clock with at least 10 days of inactivity.

As far as backdating goes, it can only be backdated a maximum of three days. With Jansen, they're saying he could still go tomorrow even though he's not up to pitching today. That suggests to me that even though they say he's in danger of not being ready for Opening Day, he might still be ready for game 2 or 3 or 4. So they could put him on the roster to start the year and just not use him in the first couple games. Seems like the concern is he may not be able to get all the in-game work he wants to be ready for the season. They might be willing for him to make his last "spring training" outing also be his first regular season outing.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mata is on the 40 man and out of options. Does anyone know what rules apply this year in terms of him going on the IL and rehabbing before coming up?

Also, what's the rule re: coming back early from the 10 day IL - can you backdate it when the season begins? I'm thinking more of Jansen here, say if he needed an extra 5 days as opposed to an extra 10.
Seems like it'd be enough to get him (Mata) into some one inning stints at AAA rehab assignment. The guy clearly isn't going to make it on the 26 man as a starter and he'll get claimed I'm sure, by another team. Too much potential/live arm.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Probably here seems best forum, but Red Sox announced that Bello is the team's season opening day starter against Seattle.
 

TomRicardo

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Seems like it'd be enough to get him (Mata) into some one inning stints at AAA rehab assignment. The guy clearly isn't going to make it on the 26 man as a starter and he'll get claimed I'm sure, by another team. Too much potential/live arm.
I am not sure he would get claimed if released at the end of Spring Training as teams will have their own roster crunches. He can be outrighted this year for additional depth if he gets through waivers.
 

Rovin Romine

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Thanks all.

As far as backdating goes, it can only be backdated a maximum of three days. With Jansen, they're saying he could still go tomorrow even though he's not up to pitching today. That suggests to me that even though they say he's in danger of not being ready for Opening Day, he might still be ready for game 2 or 3 or 4. So they could put him on the roster to start the year and just not use him in the first couple games. Seems like the concern is he may not be able to get all the in-game work he wants to be ready for the season. They might be willing for him to make his last "spring training" outing also be his first regular season outing.
That's a tough one I think. March 28, 29, 30, and 31 all have games at Seattle, then April 1, 2, 3 at Oakland, with a day off on the 4th (the 8th day of the season.) Then 5, 6, 7 at LAA. Then 8 as a travel day, and 9-11 at home v. BAL.

As sort of a more general observation, I think winning early is going to be key this season (in terms of a trade-deadline acquisition). I'd say a .500 road trip is a good start, but that discounts the level of competition, which includes OAK. SEA is a serious opponent, so they should aspire to split at least. OAK is OAK - so 2 wins or a sweep if they can. LAA - at least 1 win.

So if not on the IL, Jansen could maybe do a "final tune up" in the second or third game against Seattle, and we'd then hope he's available for Game 4 v. SEA or Game 1 v. OAK. (Obviously good Jansen would be an asset in 2 games v. SEA.)

If on the IL, Jansen at best can be activated for the last game of the OAK series? (Presumably that means he's fully ready to go for the LAA series.) But you'd get the next best arm on the depth chart for all of the SEA games from the get go. Hopefully that's not Rodriguez or the like.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Crawford is scheduled to start tomorrow against the Rays. If my math is correct, his last turn should have been last Thursday. The game that day was in Clearwater against the Phillies, which is one of the longer road trips from Ft Myers. My guess is he made his start in a minor league game (or a simulated game) that day in Ft Myers rather than travel.

Also, given the announcement yesterday about Winckowski, I really doubt they'd be making that decision now if Crawford was questionable.
Your post made me feel better, as did Crawford throwing 5.2 innings today with 6 Ks. He's had a good spring.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Pulled from a tweet:

At 24 years & 316 days old, Brayan Bello will be the 4th-youngest Opening Day SP for the Red Sox in the last 85 seasons, older than only:
1979 Dennis Eckersley 24 y, 184 d
1961 Bill Monbouquette 24 y, 243 d
1995 Aaron Sele: 24 y, 305 d
 

BaseballJones

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Your post made me feel better, as did Crawford throwing 5.2 innings today with 6 Ks. He's had a good spring.
Crawford is going to have a good year, I think. He's a guy who, if he pitched for another team, we'd want the Sox to sign. 27 years old, 4.04 era, 3.83 fip, 1.11 whip, 9.4 k/9 last year. Apparently has picked up a couple MPH on his fastball from last year as well. Not exactly prime Pedro, but a really solid, useful MLB-caliber starter, which the Sox desperately need.
 

YTF

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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm not sure that there is a good time for something like this to happen, but if there is this might be it. As teams are paring down their rosters, there might be a better opportunity to find a guy who can fill Murphy's role than there might be later in the season.
Isn't Walter basically a real similar pitcher? Murphy seems like a standard replacement level guy. He had a good first stretch but pitched probably closer to his actual ceiling shortly after. Maybe it was the injury starting to affect his pitching, but nothing in his mL career showed he was a guy that you'd really project as anything closer to replacement level.
And yes I'm aware of the irony of seeing how Crawford made a major leap from his unimpressive mL career to his ML stuff so far.
 

YTF

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Isn't Walter basically a real similar pitcher? Murphy seems like a standard replacement level guy. He had a good first stretch but pitched probably closer to his actual ceiling shortly after. Maybe it was the injury starting to affect his pitching, but nothing in his mL career showed he was a guy that you'd really project as anything closer to replacement level.
And yes I'm aware of the irony of seeing how Crawford made a major leap from his unimpressive mL career to his ML stuff so far.
Walter could well be that guy, but given the fact that Murphy could be done for the season it might not be a bad idea to take a look see to try to identify another LH that might be worth picking up. ATM Jacques is the only other lefty not named Bernandino on the 40 man.
 

YTF

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Walter could well be that guy, but given the fact that Murphy could be done for the season it might not be a bad idea to take a look see to try to identify another LH that might be worth picking up. ATM Jacques is the only other lefty not named Bernandino on the 40 man.
Walter is on the 40-man.
Perhaps you missed something?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Perhaps you missed something?
I'm guessing the phrasing was confusing there. It could be ready as you saying, "beside Bernardino, Jacques is the only...." rather than, "beside Walter...." maybe. I had to double check to make sure Walter is a lefty. They (Murphy and Walter) were pretty identical in their mL numbers and out of the two I thought Walter had a better arsenal- which doesn't matter as much for a one-inning reliever I guess.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Sox don’t even have a lefty in the rotation. But they’ve got Walter as a depth option in the minors, in the pen, they’ve got Bernardino in the majors, Jacques in the minors, and Joely could theoretically end up in either place. I don’t think Murphy’s injury necessitates adding another lefty to the 40-man, the roster construction certainly makes it seem like the Sox don’t think having lefty pitchers is all that important. But, they do likely have Benitez, Luetge and Booser in AAA as well.
 

YTF

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I'm guessing the phrasing was confusing there. It could be ready as you saying, "beside Bernardino, Jacques is the only...." rather than, "beside Walter...." maybe. I had to double check to make sure Walter is a lefty. They (Murphy and Walter) were pretty identical in their mL numbers and out of the two I thought Walter had a better arsenal- which doesn't matter as much for a one-inning reliever I guess.
With Walter now part of the conversation it seemed understood. For clarity's sake... With Murphy likely to be on the shelf for the duration of the season might it be reasonable for Breslow to look at additional LH options for the pen? Bernardino's a lock and Murphy was likely the next choice. Walter could fill the Murphy role leaving Jacques as the only other LH options on the 40 man.
 

Sin Duda

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Sox don’t even have a lefty in the rotation. But they’ve got Walter as a depth option in the minors, in the pen, they’ve got Bernardino in the majors, Jacques in the minors, and Joely could theoretically end up in either place. I don’t think Murphy’s injury necessitates adding another lefty to the 40-man, the roster construction certainly makes it seem like the Sox don’t think having lefty pitchers is all that important. But, they do likely have Benitez, Luetge and Booser in AAA as well.
If only there was a readily available, above average lefty starter who would cost only money #musing emoji.
 

YTF

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I'm not sure that there is a good time for something like this to happen, but if there is this might be it. As teams are paring down their rosters, there might be a better opportunity to find a guy who can fill Murphy's role than there might be later in the season.
@Rovin Romine apologies for veering away from the original intent of this thread. I'm just now realizing what thread I posted this in and will urge everyone to get back to the spirit of the thread and reference the current roster only.
 

Rovin Romine

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@Rovin Romine apologies for veering away from the original intent of this thread. I'm just now realizing what thread I posted this in and will urge everyone to get back to the spirit of the thread and reference the current roster only.
Wut?

No, that's perfectly fine, IMO. You're identifying a weakness in the org re: handedness. And I think Breslow should be on the lookout for addressing that. What we want to avoid are long digressions on FAs or "guys I'd trade for" - mostly because there's just no end to that. (I mean why not trade starter X and Y for starter Z and prospect Q?)

Our internal LHP options (which may impact how folks think Breslow should address this) include:

Walter - 40 man. Likely starting at AAA.​
Bernardino - 40 man. Likely ML pen.​
Jacques - 40 man. Strong split in favor of LHB, murdered by RHBs.​
Luetge - NRI invite. 37 but effective until last year.​
Rodriguez - NRI invite. 32 with a mixed record of results. Injury risk?​
Cam Booser - AAA reliever. High velo, poor command, meh ERA. Possibly has figured something out?​
Benitiz - AA reliever. Not the best stuff but always effective up to and including AA. Had a good ST.​
Cellucci - AA reliever. Control issues.​

Anyone want to round that out with pros/cons, splits, or whatever?

I'm guessing Rodriguez or Luetge open the season on the 26 man, with Jansen, Giolito, Murphy, and Hendricks starting on the 60 day IL. It's doable, conserves an arm (or two) instead of cutting one loose, and if they are dropped later when Jansen comes back, it's not the end of the world. I'm not so high on Jacques that I think it would be mishandling to keep him in the minors in favor of one of those guys.

I'm guessing Walter's stuff won't play up hugely in the pen: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/brandon-walter-687888?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb So he's likely to start in AAA and be stretched out as the emergency starter? Or maybe they take him on the initial road trip as a potential long-man? (Especially if they can get Rodriguez or Leutge to sign a MiL contract and go to AAA.)

I could see the initial road trip being a factor as well. . .if any of the teams seem LHP vulnerable or not.

All of the above subject to revision if there's some kind of magical-Bailey effect in play for one of those guys.
 
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Rovin Romine

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To add a related thought - starter depth.

Right now we're likely looking at Bello, Pivetta, Crawford, Houck, Whitlock as the rotation. Winckowski and Criswell will begin the year in the pen and are stretched out to be longmen or emergency starters early in the year - the first couple of weeks, perhaps. They're all RHP.

I'm not sure if having Walter stretched out in AAA is the best option or not, but I'd guess "yes" for two reasons. 1) Ideally, you want someone working on him to improve, and he's not the first guy I'd throw in out of the pen - let alone to plug a hole in the rotation. 2) There will come a time when Winck and Criswell aren't going to be able to only longman out of the pen, since the other relievers will have to pick up the slack on their offdays and they're not exactly young arms. (Jansen/Leutge, Martin, Rodriguez?) So maybe having a Walter who can pitch 4+ innings is something you want as a card you can play in mid- or late April. Either as a longman, or an emergency starter in case of injury, so you don't have to stretch out Winck/Criswell in situ.

We have some dark horses among the AAA starters who might also be an emergency starter plug. Alexander has ML starting experience and Van Belle and Fitts are still growing as pitchers. Gambrel also finished strong last year. But I'm not sure I'd rely on anyone but Alexander in the first month or so - and Alexander's ceiling isn't that high. So that's another argument for keeping Walter stretched out at AAA maybe.
 

AB in DC

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I'm not worried about his pitch quality. I'm worried that he hasn't pitched more than 95 innings in a year, at all levels, since 2018.
 

simplicio

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With Murphy and Giolito both going to the 60 day IL, they have room on the 40 man for Joely & Luetge. I expect them to try to retain both, even if it means putting them in Boston and keeping Weissert down to begin the year, cause this team as is will need every possible bullpen body they can get by the end of the season. I still think Criswell stays down and stretched out.
 

TFisNEXT

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I'm not worried about his pitch quality. I'm worried that he hasn't pitched more than 95 innings in a year, at all levels, since 2018.
Yeah agreed. My fear with Whitlock isn’t that he can’t get good results again when healthy, it’s that he can’t stay healthy. If he can somehow stay healthy this year, that would go a long way in fixing some of the alarming depth issues this pitching staff has.

I’m a bit more excited for Houck though of the two. I really thought Houck was making some strides as a starter last year before the freak batted ball injury.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Speier says the rotation is set:

View: https://twitter.com/alexspeier/status/1771261421872890309

"Red Sox rotation: Houck and Whitlock in the rotation, Criswell will be optioned. Sox needed Criswell to stay stretched out as rotation depth, hence the decision to option him.
Cora on Whitlock/Houck: “Both of them made huge adjustments.”
So the starters for now are Bello, Crawford, Pivetta, Houck, Whitlock.

Bullpen update: still possible that Winck gets sent down? Dislike.

"Sox are trying to figure out if they will carry two multi-inning relievers, with Winckowski an obvious candidate but no final decision on if he’ll open in the big leagues or Triple-A. Also a good chance Sox will carry two lefties.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Hate that idea as well. Sending down one of your better relievers to be ready in case / once a starter gets injured doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.

Who is the other multi-inning reliever they’d be carrying? Weissert and Campbell have mostly been one inning guys the past few years.
 

nvalvo

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I will say that I’m in favor of Winck starting the season in the Worcester rotation, assuming we don’t sign Montgomery. We need depth!

If we do sign Montgomery, that changes the calculus somewhat, both by increasing our SP depth and raising the value of a marginal win.
 

Cassvt2023

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I will say that I’m in favor of Winck starting the season in the Worcester rotation, assuming we don’t sign Montgomery. We need depth!

If we do sign Montgomery, that changes the calculus somewhat, both by increasing our SP depth and raising the value of a marginal win.
I don't see how you can't have Wink as a multi inning reliever in the majors to start the season, especially with the way the rotation looks with so much inexperience. Being so early in the season, Cora has stated that he wants 25 innings from his 5 starters the first time thru, so at an average of 5 IP per start, that leaves a lot of innings to fill to get to a Martin/Jansen, who are both barely going to be ready barring any setbacks. Wink was quite good in this role last year.
 

YTF

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I don't see how you can't have Wink as a multi inning reliever in the majors to start the season, especially with the way the rotation looks with so much inexperience. Being so early in the season, Cora has stated that he wants 25 innings from his 5 starters the first time thru, so at an average of 5 IP per start, that leaves a lot of innings to fill to get to a Martin/Jansen, who are both barely going to be ready barring any setbacks. Wink was quite good in this role last year.
Five innings the first time through would be great, but the flip side of that is how many pitches will they be allowed to throw? I'm fairly certain that the plan isn't a pitch count anywhere near 100 which means that one or two rocky innings might see you into the pen in the third or fourth inning. Like you, I think having Winckowski available to go multi innings is the way to go. I can see an argument for stretching him out, but limited pitch counts in the early going almost dictates the need for a long guy who's shown the ability to do the job.
 

Cassvt2023

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Five innings the first time through would be great, but the flip side of that is how many pitches will they be allowed to throw? I'm fairly certain that the plan isn't a pitch count anywhere near 100 which means that one or two rocky innings might see you into the pen in the third or fourth inning. Like you, I think having Winckowski available to go multi innings is the way to go. I can see an argument for stretching him out, but limited pitch counts in the early going almost dictates the need for a long guy who's shown the ability to do the job.
Yup, seems like we're on the same page. I'm also bullish on the pitchers being able to go a little deeper based on the defense we will send out there. Story at shortstop alone is a huge upgarde to the junk we sent out there the first 4 months last year. Add that to Rafaela in CF, and Duran( improvements last year, speed), Abreu (great arm, not sure about range) and O'Neill (two time GG, I hope he's healthy) in the OF and the pitching should greatly benefit with more clean innings.
 

simplicio

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Chase Anderson signed. Contract details unknown.

Bello
Pivetta
Crawford
Whitlock
Houck

Jansen
Martin
Winckowski
Slaten
Weissert
Bernardino
Campbell
Anderson

Doesn't leave any room for Joely or Luetge.
 

simplicio

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I will say that I’m in favor of Winck starting the season in the Worcester rotation, assuming we don’t sign Montgomery. We need depth!

If we do sign Montgomery, that changes the calculus somewhat, both by increasing our SP depth and raising the value of a marginal win.
Speier tweeted this afternoon that Winck will be in Boston doing long relief.