Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

chawson

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James Pazos was just DFA’d in Philly. He’s making league minimum and has four years of control left, and he’d probably be the third-best pitcher in our pen.

Sox have the fourth-worst record in the league. If Pazos doesn’t end up here (or Baltimore, Miami, or Kansas City) I’m gonna flip.
 

jon abbey

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James Pazos was just DFA’d in Philly. He’s making league minimum and has four years of control left, and he’d probably be the third-best pitcher in our pen.

Sox have the fourth-worst record in the league. If Pazos doesn’t end up here (or Baltimore, Miami, or Kansas City) I’m gonna flip.
They use last year’s records for the first 30 days of the season, so BOS is actually 30th here, but they’ll probably trade him for something small first anyway.
 

chawson

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They use last year’s records for the first 30 days of the season, so BOS is actually 30th here, but they’ll probably trade him for something small first anyway.
I didn’t realize that, thanks/damn.
 

DeadlySplitter

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while this thread is up, I have to say Thornburg looks like he's toast. Gotta think he's the first to be DFA'd sometime this season, but I worry DD won't admit the trade was a fleecing.
 

BaseballJones

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Could just be one of those stretches, and relievers do have them, but Thornburg's last 6 games:

5.2 ip, 7 h, 8 r, 8 er, 5 bb, 6 k, 12.71 era, 2.12 whip, 1.122 ops against


EDIT: Somehow "relievers" came out as "delivers"...correction made.
 
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joe dokes

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while this thread is up, I have to say Thornburg looks like he's toast. Gotta think he's the first to be DFA'd sometime this season, but I worry DD won't admit the trade was a fleecing.

If thornburg keeps pitching like this and there's someone ready to replace him, he'll be gone. Cora's already figured that out. He's only pitched 3 times since 4/15, and the last 2 were mopups. I dont know what to tell you if you honestly believe any of that "admission" nonsense. That's not the MO of grownup GMs. Besides, what makes DD look worse, a DFA or continuing to keep him and his 780 ERA here?
 

effectivelywild

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Could just be one of those stretches, and delivers do have them, but Thornburg's last 6 games:

5.2 ip, 7 h, 8 r, 8 er, 5 bb, 6 k, 12.71 era, 2.12 whip, 1.122 ops against
https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=10688&position=P

His last good season was 2016 when he was with the Brewers. He didn't pitch in 2017. In 2018 he pitched poorly in two levels of the minors and in the majors. He has been bad in 2019. So yes, while early season struggles can be chalked up to just a bad slump for an ordinary player, Thornburg isn't really ordinary at this point. He may be just a slight tweak in mechanics or something away from turning things around---almost all relievers have that chance---But he also has not shown any real signs of life the last two seasons. If you can't call him cooked at this point, then when would you declare a player cooked?
 

joe dokes

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https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=10688&position=P

His last good season was 2016 when he was with the Brewers. He didn't pitch in 2017. In 2018 he pitched poorly in two levels of the minors and in the majors. He has been bad in 2019. So yes, while early season struggles can be chalked up to just a bad slump for an ordinary player, Thornburg isn't really ordinary at this point. He may be just a slight tweak in mechanics or something away from turning things around---almost all relievers have that chance---But he also has not shown any real signs of life the last two seasons. If you can't call him cooked at this point, then when would you declare a player cooked?
I think Jones is suggesting Thornburg *is* more likely to be cooked. ("Could be . . . . . but . . . .")
 

BaseballJones

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Could just be one of those stretches, and relievers do have them, but Thornburg's last 6 games:

5.2 ip, 7 h, 8 r, 8 er, 5 bb, 6 k, 12.71 era, 2.12 whip, 1.122 ops against


EDIT: Somehow "relievers" came out as "delivers"...correction made.
And now his last 7 games:

6.2 ip, 10 h, 10 r, 10 er, 5 bb, 7 k, 13.50 era, 2.25 whip

Ghastly.
 

effectivelywild

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Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Odd that they used Thornburg two days in a row while Josh Smith has been up for a few days now and hasn't gotten in to a game.

I am hoping this was the end of the rope for T.T.
They'll need Smith for Eovaldi's next turn anyway, so I understand why he's still up here but, yeah, maybe give him an inning or two next time you've a chance so he's not getting roughed up from the jump, which is highly probable anyway since he's not that great.
 

BaseballJones

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The good:
Brasier: 1.32 era, 0.81 whip, 7.9 k/9
Barnes: 2.25 era, 0.83 whip, 17.3 k/9 (!)
Workman: 1.98 era, 1.02 whip, 13.2 k/9
Walden: 1.65 era, 0.80 whip, 10.5 k/9

The mediocre:
Hembree: 4.30 era, 1.43 whip, 8.6 k/9
Velazquez: 3.93 era, 1.42 whip, 8.8 k/9

The terrible:
Thornburg: 8.53 era, 1.58 whip, 9.9 k/9
Brewer: 6.00 era, 1.75 whip, 8.5 k/9
 

joe dokes

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The good:
Brasier: 1.32 era, 0.81 whip, 7.9 k/9
Barnes: 2.25 era, 0.83 whip, 17.3 k/9 (!)
Workman: 1.98 era, 1.02 whip, 13.2 k/9
Walden: 1.65 era, 0.80 whip, 10.5 k/9

The mediocre:
Hembree: 4.30 era, 1.43 whip, 8.6 k/9
Velazquez: 3.93 era, 1.42 whip, 8.8 k/9

The terrible:
Thornburg: 8.53 era, 1.58 whip, 9.9 k/9
Brewer: 6.00 era, 1.75 whip, 8.5 k/9

Brewer's actually been closer to mediocre. 2 really bad ones and 1 kind of bad one among his 13 appearances. 5 of last 6 have been effective. Still walks too many, but he seems to be trending up to "no worse than Hembree" level.
 

nvalvo

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Brewer's been complicated.

First 6 appearances: 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 BB, 9 K, .490 OPSa
Next 4 appearances: 3 IP, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1.204 OPSa
Most recent 3 appearances: 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, .143 OPSa

He's allowed 0 ER 10 times, 1 ER once, 3 ER once, and 4 ER once.

2018, SDP: 9.2 IP, ERA 5.59, FIP 3.26
2019, BOS: 11 IP, ERA 6.55, FIP 3.29
 

EricFeczko

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The good:
Brasier: 1.32 era, 0.81 whip, 7.9 k/9
Barnes: 2.25 era, 0.83 whip, 17.3 k/9 (!)
Workman: 1.98 era, 1.02 whip, 13.2 k/9
Walden: 1.65 era, 0.80 whip, 10.5 k/9

The mediocre:
Hembree: 4.30 era, 1.43 whip, 8.6 k/9
Velazquez: 3.93 era, 1.42 whip, 8.8 k/9

The terrible:
Thornburg: 8.53 era, 1.58 whip, 9.9 k/9
Brewer: 6.00 era, 1.75 whip, 8.5 k/9
So far so good, it seems.

I'd rather have Darwinzon and Lakins up right now...too bad we're tied down n Thornburg and Brewer (I'd cut bait with both). Unless Darwinzon somehow discovers a third pitch, I just don't see him as a ML starter.
 

SouthernBoSox

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There is definately still something there with Brewer. He had 2 disasters but otherwise has been great really.

Thornburg. I dont know. I've never seen someone throw 95 with a big curve get hit like him. Its remarkable. Lakins is a clear upgrade there.

Barnes Braiser Workman and Walden have been remarkable. Get Brewer going, bring up Lakins, Hembree becomes what he is... there is a lot to feel good about in the pen.
 

richgedman'sghost

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I wish we had never activiated Josh Smith last week anyway. All the forecasts predicated that there would be heavy rain that night and the game would be postponed. Why not keep Lakins up in the majors getting experience until the next turn of the rotation? When Evovaldi's turn comes up , you make the Lakins for Smith transaction then. How long before game time last week could the Sox wait before making the transaction official? If they knew the game was going to be postponed, they should have held off on the transaction.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I wish we had never activiated Josh Smith last week anyway. All the forecasts predicated that there would be heavy rain that night and the game would be postponed. Why not keep Lakins up in the majors getting experience until the next turn of the rotation? When Evovaldi's turn comes up , you make the Lakins for Smith transaction then. How long before game time last week could the Sox wait before making the transaction official? If they knew the game was going to be postponed, they should have held off on the transaction.
Has there really been a spot where Lakins would have been used since Friday? Would an inning of mop-up yesterday (for example) been that big of a thing from an experience standpoint? Just seems like a minor concern if it is worth being one at all.
 

joe dokes

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There is definately still something there with Brewer. He had 2 disasters but otherwise has been great really.

Thornburg. I dont know. I've never seen someone throw 95 with a big curve get hit like him. Its remarkable. Lakins is a clear upgrade there.

Barnes Braiser Workman and Walden have been remarkable. Get Brewer going, bring up Lakins, Hembree becomes what he is... there is a lot to feel good about in the pen.
I'm no expert, and its a little tough to tell from TV, but Thornburg's curve, while "big," (i.e., it seems to move a great distance) often seems to roll more than break sharply. So it looks like the hitters are better able to follow it and get the bat head on it, rather than swing over it or let it go because they think its out of the zone. Given that his FB appears to be effective, and that they have 4 relievers that have been good when they need them to be, I think Thornburg will get the month of May to figure it out / Lakins to get more AAA experience. If he's still getting hit by Memorial Day or so, he's gone. FWIW--Brasier didn;t come up until early July last year.

Brewer reminds me of Kelly. There's always "something there." And if he's their 4th or 5th best reliever, that's not a bad thing.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Left handed hitters have an .877 OPS vs Brasier with three homeruns in 29 AB. His splits are night and day. He should be strictly in for the matchups and not closing.
 

bosox79

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Left handed hitters have an .877 OPS vs Brasier with three homeruns in 29 AB. His splits are night and day. He should be strictly in for the matchups and not closing.
His splits were night and day last year too but that's only because he was so dominate against RHP.

Last year
.109/.131/.182, .122 BAbip in 61 PA vs RHP with 2bb/17k and 1 HRA
.232/.290/.357, .273 BAbip in 63 PA vs LHP with 5bb/12k and 1 HRA

This year
.174/.240/.174, .222 BAbip in 25 PA with 1bb/5k vs RHP
.240/.290/.586, .222 BAbip in 31 PA with 1bb/8k vs LHP

Seem very reaction based on a fluky stat like HR rate in the early going.


edit: Even more information
2018 AAA vs RHB: 1.37 era, 19.2 ip, 20 hits, 3 er, 1 HRA, 1bb/28k, 1.07 WHIP,
2018 AAA vs LHP: 1.31 era, 20.2 ip, 9 hits, 3 er, 0 HRA, 7bb/12k (2 ibb), 0.77 WHIP.

I don't have the slash line splits but hitters slashed .215/.259/.289 against him in AAA. He only gave up 5 doubles, 1 3b and 1 HR against 151 Batters faced.
 
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BaseballJones

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Brasier's last 5 games: 4.0 ip, 6 h, 6 r, 5 er, 2 bb, 4 k, 11.25 era, 2.00 whip, 9.0 k/9

Struggling.

On that front....what on earth are Kimbrel and Keuchel waiting for? I get that everyone has an idea in mind for what they want for a contract. They want to hold to principle. But both of them are on the wrong side of 30, and sitting out probably isn't the best thing for them from a baseball standpoint. Moreover, they're losing money. Lots of money. If Kimbrel had even signed a 1/16 deal, he's already lost 1/4 of that, or $4 million. I get that maybe that's not that much money to these guys, but it seems like it IS that much money, or they'd sign for less. By holding to "principle" the dude has lost millions of dollars already. How is holding out beneficial for him?

And yeah, Boston sure could use him. Barnes has become an absolutely dominant reliever (1.56 era, 0.75 whip, 17.1 k/9!), but Brasier has come back to earth and it would be fantastic to have another killer arm in the bullpen that would push everyone else down into their more natural roles.

I just don't get why these guys are continuing to hold out and lose money.
 

jon abbey

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Because the draft is in a few weeks, and after that teams don’t have to give up a draft choice to sign them.
 

BaseballJones

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Because the draft is in a few weeks, and after that teams don’t have to give up a draft choice to sign them.
That makes sense from a team perspective, but Kimbrel and Keuchel were offered contracts this offseason, weren't they? Just not as high as they wanted. But yeah, maybe you're right - maybe at this point teams are like, no, our offer is gone until after the draft.

Good point.
 

jon abbey

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That makes sense from a team perspective, but Kimbrel and Keuchel were offered contracts this offseason, weren't they? Just not as high as they wanted. But yeah, maybe you're right - maybe at this point teams are like, no, our offer is gone until after the draft.

Good point.
Ken Rosenthal wrote about this on the Athletic yesterday, some excerpts:

"In fact, no team seems hot on either Kimbrel or free-agent lefty Dallas Keuchel, knowing both will likely be available in three weeks without the loss of pick and accompanying pool money."

"Kimbrel, sources told The Athletic in mid-April, wants to be in the range of two recent free-agent relievers: Zack Britton (three years, $39 million) and Wade Davis (three years, $52 million). Keuchel, on the other hand, is believed to prefer a one-year deal, presumably above the $17.9 million qualifying offer he rejected from the Astros. The actual amount he receives, when prorated, would be considerably less (as would Kimbrel’s salary in year one). But at least he could re-enter the open market this offseason.

Perhaps Keuchel and Kimbrel will get the deals they want once they are freed from the burden of draft-pick compensation. But interested clubs, in addition to whatever doubts they already harbor about both pitchers, are now concerned about the impacts of their respective layoffs, citing the poor performances of three previous free agents who joined teams after Opening Day —designated hitter Kendrys Morales and shortstop Stephen Drew in 2014, and closer Greg Holland in ’18."
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Brasier's last 5 games: 4.0 ip, 6 h, 6 r, 5 er, 2 bb, 4 k, 11.25 era, 2.00 whip, 9.0 k/9

Struggling.

On that front....what on earth are Kimbrel and Keuchel waiting for? I get that everyone has an idea in mind for what they want for a contract. They want to hold to principle. But both of them are on the wrong side of 30, and sitting out probably isn't the best thing for them from a baseball standpoint. Moreover, they're losing money. Lots of money. If Kimbrel had even signed a 1/16 deal, he's already lost 1/4 of that, or $4 million. I get that maybe that's not that much money to these guys, but it seems like it IS that much money, or they'd sign for less. By holding to "principle" the dude has lost millions of dollars already. How is holding out beneficial for him?

And yeah, Boston sure could use him. Barnes has become an absolutely dominant reliever (1.56 era, 0.75 whip, 17.1 k/9!), but Brasier has come back to earth and it would be fantastic to have another killer arm in the bullpen that would push everyone else down into their more natural roles.

I just don't get why these guys are continuing to hold out and lose money.
I was in the middle of posting some "last 7 days" and "for the season" stuff on the bullpen when I deleted the post. I don't have the time to get back to it... but yeah.... Brasier seems to have fallen back to earth (even before last night's loss).
Barnes has been otherwordly despite a small downtick over the last week.
Walden and Workman have been great as traditiional "7th inning guys" (despite Workman's performance last night again...).

But if the Sox can't get one more very good-great arm then they'll be losing more games like last night (when your starter K's 17 in 7 innings... you'd better F'in win!). IMO, good teams need at least one dominant BP arm (Barnes), and at least two more arms that are relatively as good as Walden and Workman have been to be competitive, but will need one more at somewhere between W,W and B have been to turn into a successful team through the season and playoffs. Brasier was looking like he could be that guy but something is either off in his delivery or the book is just out on him.

I'm not sure if Kimbrell is the answer... a trade for a cost controlled reliever (I think the Sox finally have some pieces to deal) or promoting Hernandez or someone into that role would work. Maybe Brasier goes on another great stretch and this thread disappears again.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Hernandez has 19 walks in 19.1 innings at Portland right now. True, that’s with him working as a starter, but I suspect they’ll want him to work on those issues a bit before tasking him with turning around the MLB bullpen. Also, before anyone suggests Feltman, note that he has a 7.71 ERA in AA.
 

bosockboy

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Will Smith from the Giants is who DD should be stalking. Dominant lefty on a bad Giants team who will almost certainly be moved. Pairing him with Barnes in the 8th/9th and pushing everyone else down a rung is exactly what they need.
 

ehaz

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I recognize this is unlikely, but if Pedroia decides to retire and say the Red Sox offer him a cushy FO job to make up for some of what’s left on his contract, will that open enough luxury tax room to sign Kimbrel?
 

RIrooter09

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I recognize this is unlikely, but if Pedroia decides to retire and say the Red Sox offer him a cushy FO job to make up for some of what’s left on his contract, will that open enough luxury tax room to sign Kimbrel?
Can we not?
 

brienc

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I have read all the reasons why folks here think this is a bad idea, but it seems that using Eovaldi out of the bullpen is the only possible option if Henry is firm about not going over the top tax threshold. Am I missing something here?
 

RIrooter09

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I have read all the reasons why folks here think this is a bad idea, but it seems that using Eovaldi out of the bullpen is the only possible option if Henry is firm about not going over the top tax threshold. Am I missing something here?
Yes, you're missing the fact that we have the number 6 bullpen by fWAR so far this year and using our $17M per year starter as a reliever is an insane waste of resources. The rotation has performed worse than the bullpen so far.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I have read all the reasons why folks here think this is a bad idea, but it seems that using Eovaldi out of the bullpen is the only possible option if Henry is firm about not going over the top tax threshold. Am I missing something here?
Yeah, a fifth starter for the rotation.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Also Kimbrel still wants a multi-year deal as of a few days ago.
Kimbrell is shit-eating insane if he honestly believes he’s getting a multi year deal anything more than a 3/25 at this point.
If he doesn’t take what he can at this point, he’ll be one year older..... one year off facing ML talent..... he’s going to get a one year prove it offer after this season
 

jon abbey

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We'll see in a few weeks, he just needs two teams bidding against each other and ATL and PHI seem like perfect fits currently, especially ATL (his former team, of course).
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I still think his post-season play (both '17 and '18- singlehandedly trying to take down the Sox) is still on GM's minds. If teams are thinking... "Gee Whiz... we're pretty good but what we need is someone that'll put us over the hump in the playoffs... and spend $18M each year for the next 3 years on that guy...." I don't imagine the name that'll follow will be Kimbrell. Both teams can likely put together a good trade deal for a cost-controlled reliever that is putting together a great season for a bad team.
You're absolutely right though... we'll see and it's not even close to a rational market... ever... so I could be completely wrong
 

sean1562

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What do you guys think Sean Doolittle will cost? That nats team is looking increasingly doomed
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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If they make him available, and his being signed through next year makes it likely they hold on to him, I can't imagine the Sox can land him. He's making incredibly reasonable money for the quality production he provides ($6M this year, $6.5M next). No way any contender passes on a chance to get him.
 

joe dokes

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We joke a lot about Cora being a genius, but this system is really pretty brilliant.
I don't remember which thread it was, but those who weren't freaking out about the "closer" situation figured that Cora would effectively communicate what he intended to do with relief pitchers, especially Barnes, who was undoubtebdly the best one they had. And anyone who even remotely understands modern baseball understands that the guy getting saves and the "best" or "most important" relief pitcher aren't necessarily the same guy, and that reserving the best guy to get "saves" is like leaving Mookie on the bench and saving him for pinch-running duties because he's the fastest player on the team.
 

Max Power

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In some ways it may help Barnes only to have to prepare for the best four or five guys on each team. He knows how he wants to attack them and he'll never get caught off guard by someone he's never seen before. I wonder how effective it's going to be over the course of the season against AL East teams. By September Aaron Judge will have like 10 at bats against him, rather than the handful hitters have against most relievers. That familiarity could help the hitters out.