Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

Humphrey

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In terms of sheer appearances, the Red Sox have 198 appearances totaling 203.1 innings from their six most frequently-used relievers so far - Barnes, Brasier, Brewer, Hembree, Walden, and Workman. Among plausible contenders, only Oakland has relied on any group of six relievers more heavily.


I think there's definitely an argument to be made that the best solution for the pen would be to trade for a 3rd- or 4th-starter type. Worry about what happens when Eovaldi is healthy when and if that time comes.
Yes, something like that. The poster child for such an acquisition is the 2011 Red Sox, ever patiently waiting for Clay Buchholz to come back; resulting in numerous extra starts for Tim Wakefield, Cooney Weiland and the torn ucl version of John Lackey; plus killing that particular bullpen as well.
 

BaseballJones

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I think if this team makes the playoffs, the bullpen should be ok, bolstered by the rotation like last year. But man, getting there looks like a daunting task at this point. I know losing the last two to Toronto just seemed to suck the life out of this place, but the Sox are on a positive trajectory.

13-17 (.433) in March/April
16-11 (.593) in May
13-9 (.590) in June so far

.590 pace is 96 wins over a full season. If they play at a .590 pace the rest of the way, they'll end up with 91 wins, which is gonna be close for a playoff spot. I think they need to pick it up a little and get to 93 wins or so. Totally doable.

But the bullpen is on fumes. And it's not like they have quality arms in AAA they can roll out. They've rolled out their AAA arms and frankly, they're not that good.

Barnes' first 18 games: 1.42 era, 0.74 whip, 16.6 k/9
Barnes' last 16 games: 7.07 era, 1.86 whip, 15.4 k/9

Walden's first 16 games: 1.37 era, 0.68 whip, 10.3 k/9
Walden's last 14 games: 4.80 era, 1.53 whip, 9.6 k/9

Workman's first 20 games: 1.50 era, 0.88 whip, 12.5 k/9
Workman's last 18 games: 2.04 era, 1.19 whip, 12.7 k/9 (still excellent, obviously, but not quite as good as before)

Brasier's first 14 games: 1.32 era, 0.80 whip, 7.9 k/9
Brasier's last 21 games: 5.09 era, 1.36 whip, 8.2 k/9 (though better his last 4 games)


On the flip side, a couple of guys who got off to rough starts have been much better:

Hembree's first 11 games: 5.56 era, 1.59 whip, 7.9 k/9
Hembree's last 20 games: 0.52 era, 0.81 whip, 13.0 k/9 (been hurt since June 11)

Brewer's first 10 games: 8.31 era, 2.08 whip, 11.4 k/9
Brewer's last 20 games: 2.92 era, 1.58 whip, 7.3 k/9

But it's clear they need another very good arm or two, in order to get through the regular season and into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, they won't be using the Josh Smith's of the world and can focus on only the guys performing well.
 

streeter88

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I think if this team makes the playoffs, the bullpen should be ok, bolstered by the rotation like last year. But man, getting there looks like a daunting task at this point. I know losing the last two to Toronto just seemed to suck the life out of this place, but the Sox are on a positive trajectory.

13-17 (.433) in March/April
16-11 (.593) in May
13-9 (.590) in June so far

.590 pace is 96 wins over a full season. If they play at a .590 pace the rest of the way, they'll end up with 91 wins, which is gonna be close for a playoff spot. I think they need to pick it up a little and get to 93 wins or so. Totally doable.

But the bullpen is on fumes. And it's not like they have quality arms in AAA they can roll out. They've rolled out their AAA arms and frankly, they're not that good.

Barnes' first 18 games: 1.42 era, 0.74 whip, 16.6 k/9
Barnes' last 16 games: 7.07 era, 1.86 whip, 15.4 k/9

Walden's first 16 games: 1.37 era, 0.68 whip, 10.3 k/9
Walden's last 14 games: 4.80 era, 1.53 whip, 9.6 k/9

Workman's first 20 games: 1.50 era, 0.88 whip, 12.5 k/9
Workman's last 18 games: 2.04 era, 1.19 whip, 12.7 k/9 (still excellent, obviously, but not quite as good as before)

Brasier's first 14 games: 1.32 era, 0.80 whip, 7.9 k/9
Brasier's last 21 games: 5.09 era, 1.36 whip, 8.2 k/9 (though better his last 4 games)


On the flip side, a couple of guys who got off to rough starts have been much better:

Hembree's first 11 games: 5.56 era, 1.59 whip, 7.9 k/9
Hembree's last 20 games: 0.52 era, 0.81 whip, 13.0 k/9 (been hurt since June 11)

Brewer's first 10 games: 8.31 era, 2.08 whip, 11.4 k/9
Brewer's last 20 games: 2.92 era, 1.58 whip, 7.3 k/9

But it's clear they need another very good arm or two, in order to get through the regular season and into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, they won't be using the Josh Smith's of the world and can focus on only the guys performing well.
Great post. Combined with E5Yaz's post makes for a really interesting read on usage patterns.
 

bosockboy

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If Wright can stay healthy, huge if, he can make a big dent in those innings we need covered. But regardless DD needs one impact reliever minimum for this team to survive the 162.
 

Al Zarilla

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Yes, something like that. The poster child for such an acquisition is the 2011 Red Sox, ever patiently waiting for Clay Buchholz to come back; resulting in numerous extra starts for Tim Wakefield, Cooney Weiland and the torn ucl version of John Lackey; plus killing that particular bullpen as well.
Without Buchholz’s great first half in 2013 though, we don’t have such an easy time rolling through that season. I’ll always appreciate him for that. And, he got hurt again, but he still finished tied for fourth on the team in BWAR with Ortiz, ahead of Jon Lester.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Without Buchholz’s great first half in 2013 though, we don’t have such an easy time rolling through that season. I’ll always appreciate him for that. And, he got hurt again, but he still finished tied for fourth on the team in BWAR with Ortiz, ahead of Jon Lester.
I still haven't quite figured out whether Buchholz was the greatest bad pitcher in team history, or the worst good pitcher. But he was definitely one or the other.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Yes, something like that. The poster child for such an acquisition is the 2011 Red Sox, ever patiently waiting for Clay Buchholz to come back; resulting in numerous extra starts for Tim Wakefield, Cooney Weiland and the torn ucl version of John Lackey; plus killing that particular bullpen as well.
Well, expecting an NHL player who died in 1985 to put up good innings in relief was probably a stretch to say the least.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I think if this team makes the playoffs, the bullpen should be ok, bolstered by the rotation like last year. But man, getting there looks like a daunting task at this point. I know losing the last two to Toronto just seemed to suck the life out of this place, but the Sox are on a positive trajectory.

13-17 (.433) in March/April
16-11 (.593) in May
13-9 (.590) in June so far

.590 pace is 96 wins over a full season. If they play at a .590 pace the rest of the way, they'll end up with 91 wins, which is gonna be close for a playoff spot. I think they need to pick it up a little and get to 93 wins or so. Totally doable.

But the bullpen is on fumes. And it's not like they have quality arms in AAA they can roll out. They've rolled out their AAA arms and frankly, they're not that good.

Barnes' first 18 games: 1.42 era, 0.74 whip, 16.6 k/9
Barnes' last 16 games: 7.07 era, 1.86 whip, 15.4 k/9

Walden's first 16 games: 1.37 era, 0.68 whip, 10.3 k/9
Walden's last 14 games: 4.80 era, 1.53 whip, 9.6 k/9

Workman's first 20 games: 1.50 era, 0.88 whip, 12.5 k/9
Workman's last 18 games: 2.04 era, 1.19 whip, 12.7 k/9 (still excellent, obviously, but not quite as good as before)

Brasier's first 14 games: 1.32 era, 0.80 whip, 7.9 k/9
Brasier's last 21 games: 5.09 era, 1.36 whip, 8.2 k/9 (though better his last 4 games)


On the flip side, a couple of guys who got off to rough starts have been much better:

Hembree's first 11 games: 5.56 era, 1.59 whip, 7.9 k/9
Hembree's last 20 games: 0.52 era, 0.81 whip, 13.0 k/9 (been hurt since June 11)

Brewer's first 10 games: 8.31 era, 2.08 whip, 11.4 k/9
Brewer's last 20 games: 2.92 era, 1.58 whip, 7.3 k/9

But it's clear they need another very good arm or two, in order to get through the regular season and into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, they won't be using the Josh Smith's of the world and can focus on only the guys performing well.

They've missed Hembree more than most people probably expected. He'd made 9 straight scoreless appearances before he got hurt.
Hembree is supposed to pitch an inning in Pawtucket tonight, and if it goes well he should be activated soon.

Maybe Josh Taylor should start getting some higher leverage appearances, especially against lefties. He's only thrown 9.2 innings, but he's got 14 Ks and zero walks. He got roughed up for 4 runs against Tampa on June 8 but since then he's made 3 straight scoreless appearances of over an inning each.
 

BaseballJones

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They've missed Hembree more than most people probably expected. He'd made 9 straight scoreless appearances before he got hurt.
Hembree is supposed to pitch an inning in Pawtucket tonight, and if it goes well he should be activated soon.

Maybe Josh Taylor should start getting some higher leverage appearances, especially against lefties. He's only thrown 9.2 innings, but he's got 14 Ks and zero walks. He got roughed up for 4 runs against Tampa on June 8 but since then he's made 3 straight scoreless appearances of over an inning each.
I agree. He'd be very very helpful right about now.
 

Doooweeeey!

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What's the justification for Eovaldi to the 60-day IL? Has his progress been halted again?
Sounds ominous, but I hope it's just a practical move to get Wright on board.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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The move doesn’t affect when he can comeback because he’s been out for 60 days already. No further setbacks it’s just to make space
 

Doooweeeey!

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To get the thread back on track:
Wright's rehab work in Pawtucket suggests he could be a huge boost to the team as a bullpen innings eater (SSS caveats, of course).
 
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nvalvo

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To get the thread back on track:
Wright's rehab work in Pawtucket suggest he could be a huge boost to the team as a bullpen innings eater (SSS caveats, of course).
Wright's AAA line:

9 2/3 IP of 1.86 ERA, 0.931 WHIP.

FIP would be skeptical, though: 4 K against 3 BB, 1 HR. Still, 6 hits on 30 BIP suggests either tremendous luck or terrible contact allowed.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Wright's AAA line:

9 2/3 IP of 1.86 ERA, 0.931 WHIP.

FIP would be skeptical, though: 4 K against 3 BB, 1 HR. Still, 6 hits on 30 BIP suggests either tremendous luck or terrible contact allowed.
Haven't successful knuckleballers always had "skill" in keeping BABiP low? Inducing weak contact is the objective of the knuckler after all, no?

edit-Maybe I'm misunderstanding.... what does "terrible contact allowed" mean here? Terribly weak contact or "wow..... he's allowing the hitters to make contact... he's terrible" hmmmmm?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Think this best fits here... Tom Verducci writing about how this year bullpens are getting crushed, and blames the new way that bullpens are being used. Interesting...

The article makes sense in the most intuitive way: Starters are your better pitchers. Bullpen pitchers are not as good.
Use starters more than relievers..
If you start to use relievers more than starters, there's a bigger chance the opposing team will get worse and worse pitchers.

Freddy Freeman has the obvious response: We need our starters to go deeper into games and pitch out of problems. The issue of course is research into: Is a starter who has thrown 85 pitches going to be better throwing pitches 86-105 than those relievers facing the opposition for the first time with a fresh arm?
 

streeter88

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Freddy Freeman has the obvious response: We need our starters to go deeper into games and pitch out of problems. The issue of course is research into: Is a starter who has thrown 85 pitches going to be better throwing pitches 86-105 than those relievers facing the opposition for the first time with a fresh arm?
I think this is a really interesting question, as long as the implied assumption is valid -- that the relief pitcher is coming in with a fresh arm. I don't have the resources to do the analysis, but if I did I would want to qualify it using a filter on the reliever for days since last appearance.
 

effectivelywild

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I think this is a really interesting question, as long as the implied assumption is valid -- that the relief pitcher is coming in with a fresh arm. I don't have the resources to do the analysis, but if I did I would want to qualify it using a filter on the reliever for days since last appearance.
What makes the analysis really difficult is that is not a straight 1-for-1 swap. In many cases, a sort-of tired reliever of middling value will still be better to cover those particular 20 pitches than the starter at that point. But it ignores that the 20 pitches are not equal in terms of strain on the pitching staff. For a starter, those extra 20 pitches may take somewhat of a toll on them, maybe necessitating an extra rest day here and there, but don't really change the routine so much. However, for every decent reliever used, that's an extra day of warming up and getting in the game. Each appearance in relief of a pitcher with high pitch counts is another day of use. That means more back-to-backs and more three consecutive days of use. That's more time spent in the proverbial red, with a risk of injury/lack of effectiveness for a spell. Plus, that strategy requires a fairly deep group of more or less decent relievers with the ability to generate similar results. More innings for your "sixth inning" guy means that there will be more days where the guy behind him is used. And maybe the guy behind that guy as well. Also, as good as relievers are, I feel like they are more prone to the innings where "they just don't have it" than starters, but it gets glossed over a little bit because relievers are more unpredictable. But the increased reliance on relief pitchers may increase your number of late innings where you run the risk of giving up 3 runs rather than a tiring starter giving up an extra run. It may sort of come down to the question about streakiness with hitters---is it better to run the risk of a game being blown open on an increased basis vs. allowing a few more runs per game on the reg by sticking with starters longer. We all saw the effectiveness of teams that made games "shorter" by having deep and dominant bullpens, and that will never not be the case. But we may see the calculus change a little bit for teams without strong dependable bullpens making waves by having their starters go deep, and succeeding.
 

nattysez

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For a moment of levity, here's what Giants partisans are expecting from a Will Smith trade:
GM OF CONTENDING TEAM: So, do we have a deal for Will Smith?
ZAIDI: Maybe.
GM: We can't give up any more prospects. You're getting them all.
ZAIDI: Bark like a dog
GM: What?
ZAIDI: You heard me
GM: You can't be...
ZAIDI: Hmm. Yankees on the other line
GM: WOOF WOOF WOOF
 

DeadlySplitter

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I want to believe closer by committee can work, as saves/closers are an artificial construct that should go away... but I don't know.

today certainly felt like a classic "Dumbrowski" constructed team on the field.
 

dano7594

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Jul 15, 2005
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Doing nothing is not an option. As presently constituted this team is not good enough and needs help. You either go all in and address the bullpen needs and luxury tax be damned or you sell off.

Call me old school, but when building a starting staff, I like when they build from the front to the back, if you have the 1 and 2 guys, I feel its easier to put the remaining in place. For the pen, I prefer back to front, if you have your 9th inning guy its easier to assemble whats in front of him. I know that's not popular, its just what I prefer.
 

BaseballJones

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I want to believe closer by committee can work, as saves/closers are an artificial construct that should go away... but I don't know.

today certainly felt like a classic "Dumbrowski" constructed team on the field.
They aren’t doing “closer by committee”. That’s not their philosophy, like, at all.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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They aren’t doing “closer by committee”. That’s not their philosophy, like, at all.
What would you call it then? Just because they don't use those words doesn't mean it's not what it is.

They have no set guy to get the last three outs in a close ballgame, so they go to different guys in different situations.

It may not be closer-by-committee by name, but it certainly seems to be how it's being executed. At this point, 6 different guys have been given save opportunities, at least, and there are only so many arms in the bullpen during any given game. What else do you call it?
 

Delicious Sponge

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It isn’t working but it seems like the strategy is:

1. Don’t spend much of anything on the bullpen
2. Find a bunch of guys who have good curveballs
3. Hope someone unexpected turns into someone good
4. Don’t bother with a closer or a LOOGY
5. Hope that the starting pitching and offense makes up for weakness in the pen

It can’t just be that they don’t want to go over the luxury tax level - it’s got to be some kind of clever idea that constructing a bullpen this way is some kind of competitive edge, because this has been embarrassing.
 

bosox79

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It isn’t working but it seems like the strategy is:

1. Don’t spend much of anything on the bullpen
2. Find a bunch of guys who have good curveballs
3. Hope someone unexpected turns into someone good
4. Don’t bother with a closer or a LOOGY
5. Hope that the starting pitching and offense makes up for weakness in the pen

It can’t just be that they don’t want to go over the luxury tax level - it’s got to be some kind of clever idea that constructing a bullpen this way is some kind of competitive edge, because this has been embarrassing.
People are overreacting to a bad stretch of games. Of course, complaining about how awful the bullpen is is what fans of every team in the MLB does since the beginning of time.
 

Bronkees

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Sep 3, 2017
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It isn’t working but it seems like the strategy is:

1. Don’t spend much of anything on the bullpen
2. Find a bunch of guys who have good curveballs
3. Hope someone unexpected turns into someone good
4. Don’t bother with a closer or a LOOGY
5. Hope that the starting pitching and offense makes up for weakness in the pen

It can’t just be that they don’t want to go over the luxury tax level - it’s got to be some kind of clever idea that constructing a bullpen this way is some kind of competitive edge, because this has been embarrassing.
LOVE the avatar!
All power to Wave Motion Gun!
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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As long as we're casting blame around.... Sale cannot give up 5 stinking runs in 6 innings. When David Price was signed to be our ace, the entire Sox fandom tore him a new asshole and called him all sorts of horrible things... the best things that were said about him was that he was "good..... but not anywhere near as good as he's being paid".
So.... get out there SoSH. I want to hear the same about Sale... .and Price stepped up BIG TIME during the playoffs last season and killed it. Sale still hasn't done that.

Sorry for the game post emotion there but this is ridiculous the contortioning to cast blame all around the staff but Sale continues to elude blame on his VERY sub par performance this year. Even his subpar performance has been blamed on management or philosophy or anything but him.
 

donutogre

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As long as we're casting blame around.... Sale cannot give up 5 stinking runs in 6 innings. When David Price was signed to be our ace, the entire Sox fandom tore him a new asshole and called him all sorts of horrible things... the best things that were said about him was that he was "good..... but not anywhere near as good as he's being paid".
So.... get out there SoSH. I want to hear the same about Sale... .and Price stepped up BIG TIME during the playoffs last season and killed it. Sale still hasn't done that.

Sorry for the game post emotion there but this is ridiculous the contortioning to cast blame all around the staff but Sale continues to elude blame on his VERY sub par performance this year. Even his subpar performance has been blamed on management or philosophy or anything but him.
Sale's "down year" this year still represents a 131 ERA+, better than two of Price's three full seasons as a starter with the Sox. And this is coming from someone who loves Price.

Sale had an undoubtably terrible start this year, but it sounds like injury played at least some role in that (the toe thing).

Anyway, just because people misjudged Price in 2016 doesn't mean we're obligated to do the same thing to Sale now.

EDIT: He's also #5 in FIP for the season. Not exactly terrible.
 
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BaseballJones

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What would you call it then? Just because they don't use those words doesn't mean it's not what it is.

They have no set guy to get the last three outs in a close ballgame, so they go to different guys in different situations.

It may not be closer-by-committee by name, but it certainly seems to be how it's being executed. At this point, 6 different guys have been given save opportunities, at least, and there are only so many arms in the bullpen during any given game. What else do you call it?
I’m typing this on my phone and so can’t give the full breakdown but their philosophy is to use their best reliever (Barnes) in close and late situations against the best part of the opposing team’s lineup, regardless of whether that’s in the 7th, 8th, or 9th. Cora isn’t preparing Barnes to face hitters in certain INNINGS; rather, he’s preparing him to face certain BATTERS.

If Barnes faces the best part of the opposing lineup in the 7th or 8th, then lesser relievers get the lesser hitters later on.

Their philosophy is all about using your best pitcher against their best hitters; it completely does away with the traditional closer role and mentality.

By the way, this is one reason why Barnes’ numbers aren’t great - he’s almost always facing the other team’s best hitters, in high leverage situations. That puts a TON of stress on a pitcher. Traditional closers get the 9th regardless of who’s coming to bat. So they could just as easily be facing 7-8-9 as 2-3-4. As a result, their numbers should be better than Barnes’.

I can try to flesh this out more fully tomorrow but that’s the philosophy here. They truly aren’t concerned about “closers”. It’s all about matchups.
 

chawson

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It isn’t working but it seems like the strategy is:

1. Don’t spend much of anything on the bullpen
2. Find a bunch of guys who have good curveballs
3. Hope someone unexpected turns into someone good
4. Don’t bother with a closer or a LOOGY
5. Hope that the starting pitching and offense makes up for weakness in the pen

It can’t just be that they don’t want to go over the luxury tax level - it’s got to be some kind of clever idea that constructing a bullpen this way is some kind of competitive edge, because this has been embarrassing.
This is close, except they didn’t exactly find guys with good curveballs, they already had them in the system.

What the bullpen lacks is a guy with a competent change up. That was Kelly last year and shoulda/coulda been Thornburg this year. Or Carson Smith. Or Poyner.

I agree DD’s approach needs course correction fast, but it hasn’t been all bad. A bullpen like most of us wanted at the top of the year would’ve likely blocked the emergence of Walden, and possibly shunted whatever dark magic Workman has conjured this year. And Josh Taylor, FWIW, has as much fWAR in 11 innings (0.4) as last winter’s most valuable free agent LHP does in 32 innings (Diekman). If nothing else, the team was woefully short on cost-controlled assets, and might now have some.

Non-elite relievers are a bad investment; often the elite ones are too. I definitely don’t begrudge them for not signing even Joakim Soria — the best performing reliever per dollar — at 2/$15M. But with the lack of depth cutting into the effectiveness of Barnes and others, trades are surely coming. I’d like for them to target Miguel Castro. Throws 97 and gets tons of whiffs with offspeed and breaking stuff.
 

glennhoffmania

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I want to believe closer by committee can work, as saves/closers are an artificial construct that should go away... but I don't know.

today certainly felt like a classic "Dumbrowski" constructed team on the field.
This is exactly what I was afraid of. Not having a traditional closer is a smarter way to manage a bullpen. But doing it that way requires at least a couple of good relievers. The relief ace model can work, but the Sox don't have one right now. And people may start believing that the model is the problem as opposed to the quality of the pitchers.
People are overreacting to a bad stretch of games. Of course, complaining about how awful the bullpen is is what fans of every team in the MLB does since the beginning of time.
Nonsense. The pen isn't good. People have been saying this since spring training. It's not an overreaction to anything. The front office thought they could contend with what's clearly a below-average pen. That was a serious miscalculation. Barnes/Workman/Walden/Brasier should be, at best, the third best pitcher in the pen.
 

DeadlySplitter

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we're 10-4 in the last 14 games, but 3 of those have been blown saves in the 7th inning or later. If you want to put the 19 inning Minnesota loss more on the offense that is fine, but two of those were the debacles in this homestand that turned a 5-1 confidence booster into a 3-3 nothingburger. So it's not even a bad stretch of games, just really avoidable losses - they could be absolutely rolling right now.

I agree the model can work, but it requires something close to the Yanks' pen, and it takes a lot of money that we didn't have (and no, we don't have it - we have to reset the luxury tax, or our already meh farm gets worse).

in some ways this is all going back to Hanley/Sandoval eating up a ton of dead money.
 

bosox79

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This is exactly what I was afraid of. Not having a traditional closer is a smarter way to manage a bullpen. But doing it that way requires at least a couple of good relievers. The relief ace model can work, but the Sox don't have one right now. And people may start believing that the model is the problem as opposed to the quality of the pitchers.

Nonsense. The pen isn't good. People have been saying this since spring training. It's not an overreaction to anything. The front office thought they could contend with what's clearly a below-average pen. That was a serious miscalculation. Barnes/Workman/Walden/Brasier should be, at best, the third best pitcher in the pen.
The team is all of 1 game out of the playoffs atm. The team is contending. Any team that makes the playoffs can easily win the WS too. It is far from an "embarrassment." It's not even a miscalculation. They are in contention.
 

DeadlySplitter

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The team is all of 1 game out of the playoffs atm. The team is contending. Any team that makes the playoffs can easily win the WS too. It is far from an "embarrassment." It's not even a miscalculation. They are in contention.
I'm pretty sure they thought they would be in the division hunt at worst. 9 games back with 80 to go feels like a worst case scenario of Yankees having no hiccups despite a rash of injuries and what our team is this year.

the WC in nature cuts your chances of the WS roughly in half due to the coin flip game. I would call that a miscalculation. I would also call it bad luck (or shitty ST plan, if you want to go there) that the pen had its good stretch when the offense was dead, and is now leaking everywhere when the offense is functional.

EDIT: And looking at the standings, both Cleveland & Texas are now 8 games over .500 after today. the thing Barnes' overuse prevented us from accomplishing today. this could be a dogfight just to get in, and we're only 3-4 against those two teams with all home games exhausted for those head-to-heads.
 

glennhoffmania

but still failing
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Jul 25, 2005
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Sure, let's see how this team does in the playoffs with that pen. Are you honestly saying that you'd like their chances in a playoff series if they make no changes? Without Kelly and Eovaldi doing what they did last year they don't win the WS.
 

bosox79

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Dec 22, 2002
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Sure, let's see how this team does in the playoffs with that pen. Are you honestly saying that you'd like their chances in a playoff series if they make no changes? Without Kelly and Eovaldi doing what they did last year they don't win the WS.
That's pretty much what everyone said last year and then Eovaldi and Kelly stepped it up. Some were talking about leaving Kelly off the postseason roster. It happens all the time. You literally can't predict which bullpen arms will do well in the playoffs. See Kimbrel.

Any team that makes the playoffs can win the WS. It's baseball. It's basically a coin flip.
 

shaggydog2000

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Apr 5, 2007
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This is exactly what I was afraid of. Not having a traditional closer is a smarter way to manage a bullpen. But doing it that way requires at least a couple of good relievers. The relief ace model can work, but the Sox don't have one right now. And people may start believing that the model is the problem as opposed to the quality of the pitchers.

Nonsense. The pen isn't good. People have been saying this since spring training. It's not an overreaction to anything. The front office thought they could contend with what's clearly a below-average pen. That was a serious miscalculation. Barnes/Workman/Walden/Brasier should be, at best, the third best pitcher in the pen.
This bullpen is 5th in the majors in fWAR, 7th in ERA, 7th in FIP, 7th in xFIP, and 1st in K/9. And that is after a stretch of long extra inning games severely taxing them and requiring to overuse their good pitchers and get lots of innings from their worst ones. If this pen isn't "good" I don't know what your definition of the word is.