Matt Barnes DFA'd, traded to Marlins for LH reliever Bleier

chrisfont9

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I suspect his collapse was injury related. I don’t think he’ll be as incredible as he was for that stretch either though. But I still think he’ll be better in ‘23 than Brasier
I can recommend the Carrabis pod. He has a lot to say about his last couple seasons, very detailed and candid. I really enjoyed it. Of course he's biased, but it's very interesting.
 

YTF

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Yes, I'm aware. Which is why (as someone whom was only lurking then and not posting) I have mentioned multiple times that with the way modern bullpens are constructed and the seemingly endless supply of arms for those specific roles, I am against the entire idea of giving out - for lack of any better term - anything above MLB minimum to literally any career relief pitcher (lets just say over the age of 27 to put some manner of number on it) that isn't an entrenched closer with multiple seasons of closing games under their belt.

I was against the Barnes extension. I am against the deals / money we gave to Martin, Rodriguez, Brasier, etc (I believe we are paying more than the MLB minimum for Ort, so I'm against that too). I'd also love to at least have heard we were TRYING to turn Schreiber into a different piece (I don't know if we did or did not, we very well might have, but I would have liked to have done that, however). We follow the Rays approach in so many things, I'd like to follow their approach to bullpen spending as well, or at least close to it. Pay for one closer (I'm all for the Jansen deal, for the record, I think this was a good signing). Fill in the rest of the 'pen with minor leaguers, prospects getting their feet wet in the bigs and MLB minimum guys.

Add more money per year to have kept Bogaerts, or include it to have gotten I'll just say Chris Bassitt (to pick a name whom left his team for the AL East) instead of Corey Kluber. Do basically anything with the money besides spending it on career relief pitchers.
So aside from the money paid, you were mostly cool with last year's pen?
 
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Rovin Romine

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I was just trying to illustrate the point that I differentiate something like extending Whitlock (or Houck if we were to) very early in their career when there is still a bunch of potential upside due to their age, the fact that they might be excellent starters OR closers, as opposed to signing a Chris Martin / Matt Barnes (at 31 when we gave him the extension) type where there is a track record to point to and make a reasonable projection of what they are based on multiple seasons of major league performance.
The only reason I responded is that I think the variance in relief pitcher outcomes has lead some people to the completely erroneous conclusion that relief pitcher outcomes cannot be predicted. (Which is silly.) And so you get oddball signing arguments based on an imagined complete fungibility of pitchers.

But you're not literally saying you wouldn't have traded for Ottavino in 21, or paid Workman in '19, or Kelly, Barnes, and Hembree in '18?
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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The only reason I responded is that I think the variance in relief pitcher outcomes has lead some people to the completely erroneous conclusion that relief pitcher outcomes cannot be predicted. (Which is silly.) And so you get oddball signing arguments based on an imagined complete fungibility of pitchers.

But you're not literally saying you wouldn't have traded for Ottavino in 21, or paid Workman in '19, or Kelly, Barnes, and Hembree in '18?
I THINK I agree with your overall point, which is to say that a good analytics / scouting department can do a nice job with building a bullpen. I cite Tampa Bay because that is where we hired Bloom from and they're in our division, but they do a good job building a 'pen every year.

I assume they do something along the lines of look for certain "types" of pitches / pitchers that work well off each other by doing things like changing eye level of hitters, different spin of a curveball specialist vs a cutter specialist, etc, etc and about 150,000 other variances I'm not smart enough to think of - but people paid to do so for a living can figure out. Tampa does this while spending close to nothing on their 'pen (Cleveland does it too, regularly). I think Bloom and the Sox front office is smart enough to do this as well, but I could be guilty of giving Bloom and the FO too much credit.

Anyone in 2018 was a different front office and a different type of team, which I believe blew through the luxury tax. If we were doing that now, sure, go nuts and spend on the 'pen. However, I don't think of analytics and finding guys on the cheap as Dombroski's strength or areas of expertise that he was focusing on with his front office - but someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I very well could be. Though I believe a lot of people perceive these as some of Bloom's greatest areas of strength.

*As an aside, if we'd blown through the luxury tax this offseason Mets style and wanted to do the same spending on the 'pen, sure, why not. But operating within the confines of what seems to be a "Luxury Tax Threshold Budget"...

Relative to the current front office, no, Ottavino in '21 no, I would not have bothered trading for. He was excellent in the playoffs but I do think that Bloom could have found someone to replicate his 4.21ERA; 3.96FIP for a lot cheaper. Though wasn't it widely "applauded" on the board that Bloom took on Ottavino's salary to buy Franklin German, whom people believed was a very good prospect at the time worthy of taking on said salary.

However yes, I think Bloom could have found an Andrew Kittredge (or even Andrew Kittredge himself) type the way TB did and signed him for $750k following the 2020 sesaon with his better 1.88ERA and 3.04FIP, just as an example of someone whom cost basically nothing and was available to the entire league following the 2020 season.
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I THINK I agree with your overall point, which is to say that a good analytics / scouting department can do a nice job with building a bullpen. I cite Tampa Bay because that is where we hired Bloom from and they're in our division, but they do a good job building a 'pen every year.

I assume they do something along the lines of look for certain "types" of pitches / pitchers that work well off each other by doing things like changing eye level of hitters, different spin of a curveball specialist vs a cutter specialist, etc, etc and about 150,000 other variances I'm not smart enough to think of - but people paid to do so for a living can figure out. Tampa does this while spending close to nothing on their 'pen (Cleveland does it too, regularly). I think Bloom and the Sox front office is smart enough to do this as well, but I could be guilty of giving Bloom and the FO too much credit.

Anyone in 2018 was a different front office and a different type of team, which I believe blew through the luxury tax. If we were doing that now, sure, go nuts and spend on the 'pen. However, I don't think of analytics and finding guys on the cheap as Dombroski's strength or areas of expertise that he was focusing on with his front office - but someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I very well could be. Though I believe a lot of people perceive these as some of Bloom's greatest areas of strength.

*As an aside, if we'd blown through the luxury tax this offseason Mets style and wanted to do the same spending on the 'pen, sure, why not. But operating within the confines of what seems to be a "Luxury Tax Threshold Budget"...

Relative to the current front office, no, Ottavino in '21 no, I would not have bothered trading for. He was excellent in the playoffs but I do think that Bloom could have found someone to replicate his 4.21ERA; 3.96FIP for a lot cheaper. Though wasn't it widely "applauded" on the board that Bloom took on Ottavino's salary to buy Franklin German, whom people believed was a very good prospect at the time worthy of taking on said salary.

However yes, I think Bloom could have found an Andrew Kittredge (or even Andrew Kittredge himself) type the way TB did and signed him for $750k following the 2020 sesaon with his better 1.88ERA and 3.04FIP, just as an example of someone whom cost basically nothing and was available to the entire league following the 2020 season.
I generally agree with you, my comments about Barnes was that the board here almost unanimously thought it was a great contract, with the caveat that even if he didn't sustain his Mariano-like excellence, it was still a good contract for what he did PRIOR to that stretch. I don't disagree.
But back to building a bullpen- it seemed like for a long time the basic structure was to have a dominant closer with two mix and match "8th inning guys"- The Foulke---- Timlin/Embree. After that, it was pretty much a "throw anything at the wall and see what sticks" approach. Starters went 6-7 innings, so the lower tiered guys you could pair up against batters to get to that trio. Obviously that's not the case any longer (although with new rules, I wouldn't be surprised to see starters being able to get through a 3rd time through the opposing lineup a little better) when almost half the game is bullpen guys, so that 6th, 7th inning is a softer underbelly than it used to be. Teams need to get damned good pitchers there now, and while the Tampa method seems to be working, I also wouldn't blink if it suddenly stopped.... and I'm totally in favor of bringing in guys like Walter, Mata, Winchowski and Crawford in to the bullpen to start the season over finding over priced FA's that likely won't give you better results.
But.... that does start the FA/arb clock on a lot of those guys. If you see them as likely starters, does it make sense to hold them back longer. I'd hate to burn out good years on Crawford when he's throwing once every 3 days for an inning rather than see him once every fifth day for 6 innings (both assuming equally relative above average innings at either spot). It's sort of where I'm landing right now with Houck- I just don't know.
 

JM3

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Yes, I'm aware. Which is why (as someone whom was only lurking then and not posting) I have mentioned multiple times that with the way modern bullpens are constructed and the seemingly endless supply of arms for those specific roles, I am against the entire idea of giving out - for lack of any better term - anything above MLB minimum to literally any career relief pitcher (lets just say over the age of 27 to put some manner of number on it) that isn't an entrenched closer with multiple seasons of closing games under their belt.

I was against the Barnes extension. I am against the deals / money we gave to Martin, Rodriguez, Brasier, etc (I believe we are paying more than the MLB minimum for Ort, so I'm against that too). I'd also love to at least have heard we were TRYING to turn Schreiber into a different piece (I don't know if we did or did not, we very well might have, but I would have liked to have done that, however). We follow the Rays approach in so many things, I'd like to follow their approach to bullpen spending as well, or at least close to it. Pay for one closer (I'm all for the Jansen deal, for the record, I think this was a good signing). Fill in the rest of the 'pen with minor leaguers, prospects getting their feet wet in the bigs and MLB minimum guys.

Add more money per year to have kept Bogaerts, or include it to have gotten I'll just say Chris Bassitt (to pick a name whom left his team for the AL East) instead of Corey Kluber. Do basically anything with the money besides spending it on career relief pitchers.
I won't rehash our usual arguments on the subject (Jansen overpaid, Martin/Joely properly paid, etc.), but pretty sure Ort is still pre-arb & as such makes the minimum.
 

simplicio

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However yes, I think Bloom could have found an Andrew Kittredge (or even Andrew Kittredge himself) type the way TB did and signed him for $750k following the 2020 sesaon with his better 1.88ERA and 3.04FIP, just as an example of someone whom cost basically nothing and was available to the entire league following the 2020 season.
You've made your point about signing relievers for the minimum repeatedly, but you really like to cherry pick the successes when you do it. Even Kittredge himself had a negative fWAR last season (his second in a six year career) after what looks like a career year in 2021. Boston had a bunch of pitchers at the minimum last year that SUCKED; I think there were 8 of them with negative fWAR, and they lost us a ton of games. Meanwhile, Jansen, Martin, Rodriguez and Bleier have pitched a combined 32 seasons in the majors, and only one of those was negative fWAR (Joely's 2017). That sort of consistent performance is a huge thing that was lacking on our staff in 2022.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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...pretty sure Ort is still pre-arb & as such makes the minimum.
Thanks, I think I was getting his contract status confused with Taylor's. As an aside, I love that deal - take a shot on a young short stop vs the Josh Taylor's of the world every single time.

You've made your point about signing relievers for the minimum repeatedly, but you really like to cherry pick the successes when you do it. Even Kittredge himself had a negative fWAR last season (his second in a six year career) after what looks like a career year in 2021. Boston had a bunch of pitchers at the minimum last year that SUCKED; I think there were 8 of them with negative fWAR, and they lost us a ton of games. Meanwhile, Jansen, Martin, Rodriguez and Bleier have pitched a combined 32 seasons in the majors, and only one of those was negative fWAR (Joely's 2017). That sort of consistent performance is a huge thing that was lacking on our staff in 2022.
I suppose I am not considering that Bloom and his front office just aren't as good at building a bullpen for nothing as teams like Tampa Bay and Cleveland seem to on a fairly consistent basis, and I should consider that fact that he just might not be capable of that in the same way. Perhaps I'm giving the front office too much credit when I shouldn't.
 
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simplicio

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Except Tampa had like 12 pitchers with negative fWAR last year and Cleveland had 7, so maybe they aren't good at it either and actually just rode a really strong/durable core of starters in a way the Sox couldn't.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Except Tampa had like 12 pitchers with negative fWAR last year and Cleveland had 7, so maybe they aren't good at it either and actually just rode a really strong/durable core of starters in a way the Sox couldn't.
I probably shouldn't use Cleveland because the AL Central is a dumpster fire, so that makes it tougher to get a fair comparison, admittedly (though I will include Cleveland's numbers last year). However I'll stick with Tampa's bullpen as they're in the same division and that is where Bloom came from - and their pen consistently pitches more innings, and has been consistently much better than Boston's. For what I have to assume every year is a heck of a lot cheaper than Boston's too - though I only know this with certainty for 2022 having looked it up recently.

Cleveland's bullpen last year: 549ip, 3.05ERA, 3.39FIP

Tampa Bay: 682ip; 3.36ER, 3.86FIP

Boston: 623ip; 4.59ERA; 4.13FIP



For what it's worth, in 2021:

Tampa Bay 703ip, 3.24ERA, 3.59FIP

Boston 607ip; 3.99ERA, 4.06FIP


In 2019 (obviously when Bloom was still there and a wildly different front office philosophy was here in Boston):

Tampa 772ip, 3.71ERA, 3.94FIP

Boston 665ip; 4.40ERA, 4.14FIP



I should probably just learn to accept that Bloom isn't as capable at building a bullpen on the cheap as Tampa Bay is, but I do feel this should be a strength of his coming from that organization, and when talking about a somewhat set budget, it'd be nice to build a comparably good bullpen on the cheap following their model and allocate our $Luxury Tax Threshold budget resources to other parts of the roster.



https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2022&month=0&season1=2022&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0
 
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JM3

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I suppose I am not considering that Bloom and his front office just aren't as good at building a bullpen for nothing as teams like Tampa Bay and Cleveland seem to on a fairly consistent basis, and I should consider that fact that he just might not be capable of that in the same way. Perhaps I'm giving the front office too much credit, I apologize for that.
Let's look at the Rays relievers last year... going to sort by innings, seems easiest.

Jason Adam - 31 y/o. Signed as a free agent. Paid $1.8m. 1.56 ERA last year in 63.1 IP, but does not fit your criteria of acquirable players due to the contract.

Jalen Beeks - 29 y/o. Acquired from the Red Sox in '18 in the Eovaldi trade. 2.80 ERA in 61 IP. Still in arb, made $750k last year, $1.4m this year. The counter could certainly be that he's the type of prospect the Red Sox could have traded Eo for, but I don't feel like relitigating the trade deadline & the fact that Eo was injured. In general, though, for a variety of reasons, the Rays are definitely more proactive about dumping their players.

Colin Poche - 29 y/o. Acquired as a PTBNL in the Steven Souza trade in '18. 3.99 ERA in 58.2 IP. 1st year arb eligible, makes $1.2m this season.

Shawn Armstrong - 32 y/o. Originally acquired by the Rays in July '21 for cash. DFA'd, picked up by the Marlins, DFA'd by the Marlins last season, picked back up by the Rays. 3.60 ERA in 55 IP. Definitely a usable piece from the scrap heap.

Brooks Raley - 34 y/o. Signed a 2/$10m deal with the Rays in '21. Definitely doesn't fit your criteria. 2.68 ERA in 53.2 IP. Traded to the Mets this off season. Side note - you also say you think a closer is super important, but the Rays had no one with more than 8 saves.

Matt Wisler - 30 y/o. Acquired via trade for Michael Plassmeyer in '21. 2.25 ERA in 44 innings which seemed to be smoke & mirrors based on the 4.90 xFIP & the fact they DFA'd him in early September. Signed a minor league contract with the Tigers this off season.

Ryan Thompson - 30 y/o. Acquired in '18 Rule V draft. 3.80 ERA in 42.2 innings. 3rd guy who was acquired before Bloom even took over (i.e., these things take time).

Josh Fleming - 26 y/o. 5th round pick by the Rays in '17. 6.43 ERA in 35 innings.

Ralph Garza - 28 y/o. Claimed off waivers by the Sox 3/24/22, waived & claimed by the Rays 4/7/22. Potentially indicative of roster crunch issues for the Sox. 3.34 ERA in 35 innings. DFA'd by the Rays 8/20. 5.29 xFIP.

J.P. Feyereisen - 30 y/o. Acquired in '21 along with Drew Rasmussen for Willy Adames & Trevor Richards. Interesting trade (last year Feyereisen/Rasmussen put up 3.9 fWAR to 4.9 fWAR for Adames/Richards). J.P. allowed 1 unearned run in 24.2 IP last season, but got broken, is out this season, & got traded to the Dodgers.

Pete Fairbanks - 29 y/o. The Rays traded Nick Solak for him in July '19. 1.13 ERA in 24 innings last year (missed a few months with a lat injury). Signed a 3/$12m contract with the Rays this off season. Acquired pre-Bloom. Solak actually had a 1.1 fWAR season for the Rangers in '21.

JT Chargois - 32 y/o. Acquired July '21 along with Austin Shenton for Diego Castillo. 2.42 ERA in 22.1 IP, negative fWAR.

Calvin Faucher - 27 y/o. Acquired July '21 along with Nelson Cruz for Joe Ryan & Drew Stotman. 5.48 ERA in 21.1 IP.

Andrew Kittredge - 32 y/o. Acquired in '16 in a 6-player trade. 3.15 ERA in 20 IP last year. Earned $1.9m. Way pre-Bloom.

Garrett Cleavinger - 28 y/o. Acquired 8/1/22 from Dodgers for German Tapia. 2.41 ERA in 18.2 IP.

Javy Guerra - 27 y/o. Bought for cash from the Padres April '22. 3.38 ERA in 16 IP. DFA'd in November & sent to Brewers for PTBNL. 6.14 xFIP, -0.3 fWAR.

Phoenix Sanders - 26 y/o. '17 Rays 10th round pick. 3.07 ERA in 14.2 IP. DFA'd 8/22/22, claimed off waivers by Orioles.

Luke Bard - 32 y/o. Signed to a Minor League deal prior to the season. 1.93 ERA in 14 IP, but 5.17 xFIP & DFA'd 8/1/22 before being claimed by the Yankees.

Dusten Knight - 32 y/o. Signed to a Minor League deal prior to the season. 5.73 ERA in 11 IP.

Going to put the 19 relievers who pitched at least 10 innings last season in a spoiler because it's long...bottom line, in '22, basically the only guy the Rays have acquired since Bloom took over with the Red Sox who fits your desired profile of minimum $$$ cast-off is Shawn Armstrong, who is 32 & accounted for 0.5 fWAR.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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@JM3 Similarly not going to quote the entire thing for ease of reading, though I will admit that I tend to look at bWAR for a bullpen just because it's what they actually put up and not just what they "should" have put up, especially since so many of these guys are short term players deals, so you're looking at a small sample:

Agree on Adam, Beeks, Thompson, Fleming, Feyereisen, Fairbanks, and Poche, obviously. They weren't available or cost way too much in my opinion (especially Feyereisen, but I tend to assume Rasmussen was considered the "get" in that deal for Milwaukee to acquire Adames, but I am not a Rays fan so I don't know how that was received at the time on Sons of Greg Vaughn (or whatever the Rays site is).

All the others, and finding enough guys with (I assume) a couple of data points that make them intriguing and seeing what sticks is exactly what I'm talking about. They hit - at least in terms of usable pieces - on Armstrong, Wisler (acquired for a nothing piece), Garza, Chargois (.5bWAR); Kittredge (though he was admittedly terrible last year), Cleavinger, Guerra (.2bWAR) are the type of guys I'm talking about getting for nothing. They made the "good" from the rest of the horrible also mentioned in your post. But they were treated as completely fungible assets - and I think this is a recipe for success with tons of roster (payroll) flexibility.

FWIW, Kittredge bbref page says he was granted free agency on 10/30/20 and signed by the Rays on 12/16/20. or out there for a month and a half. I didn't assume that to be a "paper move" the way released on 3/18/21 and signed on 3/19/21 appears to have been, but I could of course be mistaken.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kittran01.shtml
 
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effectivelywild

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Let's look at the Rays relievers last year... going to sort by innings, seems easiest.

Jason Adam - 31 y/o. Signed as a free agent. Paid $1.8m. 1.56 ERA last year in 63.1 IP, but does not fit your criteria of acquirable players due to the contract.

Jalen Beeks - 29 y/o. Acquired from the Red Sox in '18 in the Eovaldi trade. 2.80 ERA in 61 IP. Still in arb, made $750k last year, $1.4m this year. The counter could certainly be that he's the type of prospect the Red Sox could have traded Eo for, but I don't feel like relitigating the trade deadline & the fact that Eo was injured. In general, though, for a variety of reasons, the Rays are definitely more proactive about dumping their players.

Colin Poche - 29 y/o. Acquired as a PTBNL in the Steven Souza trade in '18. 3.99 ERA in 58.2 IP. 1st year arb eligible, makes $1.2m this season.

Shawn Armstrong - 32 y/o. Originally acquired by the Rays in July '21 for cash. DFA'd, picked up by the Marlins, DFA'd by the Marlins last season, picked back up by the Rays. 3.60 ERA in 55 IP. Definitely a usable piece from the scrap heap.

Brooks Raley - 34 y/o. Signed a 2/$10m deal with the Rays in '21. Definitely doesn't fit your criteria. 2.68 ERA in 53.2 IP. Traded to the Mets this off season. Side note - you also say you think a closer is super important, but the Rays had no one with more than 8 saves.

Matt Wisler - 30 y/o. Acquired via trade for Michael Plassmeyer in '21. 2.25 ERA in 44 innings which seemed to be smoke & mirrors based on the 4.90 xFIP & the fact they DFA'd him in early September. Signed a minor league contract with the Tigers this off season.

Ryan Thompson - 30 y/o. Acquired in '18 Rule V draft. 3.80 ERA in 42.2 innings. 3rd guy who was acquired before Bloom even took over (i.e., these things take time).

Josh Fleming - 26 y/o. 5th round pick by the Rays in '17. 6.43 ERA in 35 innings.

Ralph Garza - 28 y/o. Claimed off waivers by the Sox 3/24/22, waived & claimed by the Rays 4/7/22. Potentially indicative of roster crunch issues for the Sox. 3.34 ERA in 35 innings. DFA'd by the Rays 8/20.

J.P. Feyereisen - 30 y/o. Acquired in '21 along with Drew Rasmussen for Willy Adames & Trevor Richards. Interesting trade (last year Feyereisen/Rasmussen put up 3.9 fWAR to 4.9 fWAR for Adames/Richards). J.P. allowed 1 unearned run in 24.2 IP last season, but got broken, is out this season, & got traded to the Dodgers.

Pete Fairbanks - 29 y/o. The Rays traded Nick Solak for him in July '19. 1.13 ERA in 24 innings last year (missed a few months with a lat injury). Signed a 3/$12m contract with the Rays this off season. Acquired pre-Bloom. Solak actually had a 1.1 fWAR season for the Rangers in '21.

JT Chargois - 32 y/o. Acquired July '21 along with Austin Shenton for Diego Castillo. 2.42 ERA in 22.1 IP, negative fWAR.

Calvin Faucher - 27 y/o. Acquired July '21 along with Nelson Cruz for Joe Ryan & Drew Stotman. 5.48 ERA in 21.1 IP.

Andrew Kittredge - 32 y/o. Acquired in '16 in a 6-player trade. 3.15 ERA in 20 IP last year. Earned $1.9m. Way pre-Bloom.

Garrett Cleavinger - 28 y/o. Acquired 8/1/22 from Dodgers for German Tapia. 2.41 ERA in 18.2 IP.

Javy Guerra - 27 y/o. Bought for cash from the Padres April '22. 3.38 ERA in 16 IP. DFA'd in November & sent to Brewers for PTBNL. 6.14 xFIP, -0.3 fWAR.

Phoenix Sanders - 26 y/o. '17 Rays 10th round pick. 3.07 ERA in 14.2 IP. DFA'd 8/22/22, claimed off waivers by Orioles.

Luke Bard - 32 y/o. Signed to a Minor League deal prior to the season. 1.93 ERA in 14 IP, but 5.17 xFIP & DFA'd 8/1/22 before being claimed by the Yankees.

Dusten Knight - 32 y/o. Signed to a Minor League deal prior to the season. 5.73 ERA in 11 IP.

Going to put the 19 relievers who pitched at least 10 innings last season in a spoiler because it's long...bottom line, in '22, basically the only guy the Rays have acquired since Bloom took over with the Red Sox who fits your desired profile of minimum $$$ cast-off is Shawn Armstrong, who is 32 & accounted for 0.5 fWAR.
I did some similar looking at Cleveland's relief corp last year. It's true they had a bunch of great relievers on pre-arb contracts---6 of their top 7 were on pre-arb contracts and the only one that isn't (Emmanuel Clase)----signed a 5 year contract after after a little more than one year of service time. Of those guys, only one was what I think of as a savvy pickup---a young pitcher that had been replacement level with another organization and turned it around with Cleveland. So it seems like one of the keys to having a good cheap bullpen is....having a lot of good pre-arb relievers. The thing with that approach though is that...then you're putting these guys in relief roles and presumably stunting their starter development---which limits their overall value. Cheap high-level relievers are great to have, but so are cheap starters---even the oft maligned Nick Pivetta had a WAR around the same as Cleveland's second best reliever last year. Whether its more effective to develop your young pitchers as starters with a lower success rate vs. developing them as relievers is maybe up for debate but...it seems like Cleveland has chosen the latter whereas Boston is choosing the former and that probably accounts for the differences in their bullpens rather than being "not as good" at developing cheap bullpens.
 

JM3

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In terms of Red Sox guys in '22 who would fit that criteria since Bloom took over...

Garrett Whitlock - 26 y/o. Acquired December '20 in Rule V draft. 3.45 ERA in 78.1 IP.

John Schreiber - 28 y/o. Claimed off waivers February '21. 2.22 ERA in 65 IP.

Then there are other guys who are close/comparable to some of the Rays who don't quite fit your profile (Sawamura, 2/$3m contract, 3.73 ERA in 52 IP; Strahm, 1/$3m contract, 3.83 ERA in 44.2 IP; Kelly, '21 Minor League free agent, 3.95 ERA in 13.2 IP), and other guys who would qualify if they didn't suck, like Ort who still could be useful (Minor League '20 Rule V draft).
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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In terms of Red Sox guys in '22 who would fit that criteria since Bloom took over...

Garrett Whitlock - 26 y/o. Acquired December '20 in Rule V draft. 3.45 ERA in 78.1 IP.

John Schreiber - 28 y/o. Claimed off waivers February '21. 2.22 ERA in 65 IP.

Then there are other guys who are close/comparable to some of the Rays who don't quite fit your profile (Sawamura, 2/$3m contract, 3.73 ERA in 52 IP; Strahm, 1/$3m contract, 3.83 ERA in 44.2 IP; Kelly, '21 Minor League free agent, 3.95 ERA in 13.2 IP), and other guys who would qualify if they didn't suck, like Ort who still could be useful (Minor League '20 Rule V draft).
I suppose this is kind of my point - Bloom has done just as well - probably better - with the "find a particular skill on the scrap heap" approach (yes, I know it's more analytical than that, I'm just using that as a catch all term) and hit as much there as he does on doling out money to those players (Barnes, retaining Robles for 2022 - I'm not talking about giving up nothing for him for half a season in 2021, more than fine with that - paying Brasier his $1.4m last year and $2m this year, Diekman at $2.5M, Andriese at $1.8m, type of deals).
 

JM3

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Similarly not going to quote the entire thing for ease of reading, though I will admit that I tend to look at bWAR for a bullpen just because it's what they actually put up and not just what they "should" have put up:

Agree on Adam, Beeks, Thompson, Fleming, Feyereisen, Fairbanks, and Poche, obviously.

All the others, and finding enough guys with (I assume) a couple of data points that make them intriguing and seeing what sticks is exactly what I'm talking about. They hit - at least in terms of usable pieces - on Armstrong, Wisler (acquired for a nothing piece), Garza, Chargois (.5bWAR); Kittredge (though he was admittedly terrible last year), Cleavinger, Guerra (.2bWAR) are the type of guys I'm talking about getting for nothing. They made the "good" from the rest of the horrible also mentioned in your post. But they were treated as completely fungible assets - and I think this is a recipe for success with tons of roster (payroll) flexibility.

FWIW, Kittredge bbref page says he was granted free agency on 10/30/20 and signed by the Rays on 12/16/20. or out there for a month and a half. I didn't assume that to be a "paper move" the way released on 3/18/21 and signed on 3/19/21 appears to have been, but I could of course be mistaken.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kittran01.shtml
Stripping the context of how those #s were obtained is a bit dubious, though. For example, Fenway is 4th in park effect, while the Trop is tied for 24th (https://www.espn.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor/_/year/2022), meaning Rays pitchers have it much easier than Red Sox pitchers. Also, for example, if the Rays have a better defense, that doesn't mean that Bloom has done a worse job acquiring relief pitchers.

Plassmeyer may be a "nothing piece", but if we only care about ERA, he had a 2.41 ERA in 82 IP with the Phillies AAA team in his age 25 season, so he would be at least as valuable to the Rays as Wisler, who they literally released last season. Same with Garza.

Chargois was acquired (along with a meh prospect) for Diego Castillo, who has been a better relief pitcher.

Cleavinger pitched 18.2 innings & who knows anything about German Tapia? Other than we have acquired people with both of those names recently. Guerra basically did Zack Kelly #s, but while pitching worse, & was released after the season because of it.
 

JM3

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I suppose this is kind of my point - Bloom has done just as well - probably better - with the "find a particular skill on the scrap heap" approach (yes, I know it's more analytical than that, I'm just using that as a catch all term) and hit as much there as he does on doling out money to those players (Barnes, retaining Robles for 2022 - I'm not talking about giving up nothing for him for half a season in 2021, more than fine with that - paying Brasier his $1.4m last year and $2m this year, Diekman at $2.5M, Andriese at $1.8m, type of deals).
But you need to do both. You can't build a whole staff on scrap heap. The Rays have acquired many of their guys through trades, others through free agency (e.g. Raley).

I just realized I was completely wrong on Jason Adam, though, so +1 for the Rays scrap heap. The $1.8m is this year - he made $900k last year. He's a pretty good advertisement for xFIP over ERA...

In '21 he had a 5.96 ERA & 3.96 xFIP. He halved his walk rate & went to a 1.56 ERA & 3.17 xFIP.

The last 2 years, Joely has had ERAs of 4.66 & 4.47, but xFIPs of 3.41 & 3.46, & is the same age as Adam. So we shall see what happens.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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For what it's worth, I consider trades of guys you wont keep anyway (in the Plassmeyer vein consider Seabold, Bazardo, German, etc) as "scrap heap."

Also, in terms of needing to "do both" to be clear, I'm saying pay on an established closer for sure (I like the Jansen deal; I liked the Kimbrel acquisition - but again - different front office so I'm not sure how applicable that is) and the rest of it I think you can find by mixing and matching at very cheap "prices" either in terms of what you give up in money or players - or with prospects whom you deem aren't good enough for some reason or another to start or want to break them in Earl Weaver style, even though that was decades ago (so lets say Houck fits in here, possibly Winckowski, I would have seen if Seabold could be anything out of the 'pen, etc).

Also - just for the record, while it's certainly fair on the park effects, I also keep in mind the Rays had to face last year's Red Sox offense (9th in runs scored) whereas the Red Sox got to face the Rays (21st in runs scored) so when you're talking about the same divisions, I think it's pretty fair to let those balance out.

I admittedly don't know how to isolate JUST the bullpen, when I tried, Fangraphs defaults back to an entire staff but last year's Rays staff had an away ERA of 3.83 in 697ip; the Red Sox was 4.47, wherasTampa was 3.01ERA at home and Boston was 4.59ERA at home, just for context.

However, of TB's top starters, Kluber had a 5.05ERA on the road (possible red flag there, actually - I'm genuinely asking) with 3.71 at home, Rasmussen was 2.24 and 3.39, Yarbrough was 4.35 and 4.59. I assume those will do a good bit to inflate the overall staff ERA on the road, but I don't know that for sure and I'm not sure how to figure that out. (McClanahan was obviously a stud everywhere, as was Springs, but to a lesser degree).

Just because I find this an interesting discussion, of our top 10 relief pitchers (I just looked at innings pitched, thus I'm including Whitlock and Houck), home road splits (admittedly for just ERA were):

Schreiber 1.32ERA at home; 3.19 on the road.
Brasier was 4.41 at home and 7.78 on the road (why is he still here)
Davis was 4.59 at home and 7.54 on the road.
Sawamura was 5.83 at home and 0.84 on the road (wow)
Strahm was 3.16 at home and 4.74 on the road.
Whitlock was 3.23 at home and 3.77 on the road (I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the rotation).
Houck was 4.45 at home and 1.85 on the road.
Danish was 4.37 at home and 6.11 on the road.
Barnes was 5.14 at home and 3.38 on the road.
Diekman was 3.94 at home and 5.63 on the road.

So in summation (just looking at ERA as quick stat of what actually happened), 7 of the 10 had a better ERA at Fenway than on the road, 3 of 10 were better on the road, and I still have no idea why Ryan Brasier remains on the roster.
 
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JM3

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Because the front office believes Brasier's 3.49 xFIP is more predictive than his 5.78 ERA. Do I agree? Meh, I mean technically - I think his ERA will be closer to 3.49 than 5.78, but I'm not too excited about what I expect to be about a 4.30 ERA.

Kluber had a 3.83 xFIP at home & 4.01 on the road. I have some concerns about Kluber. He seems kind of mid. But he's not a big commitment & is a good locker room guy apparently.

Park effects do isolate for opponent, and pitching in a better ball park half the time is more important that playing a better opponent 12% of the time.
 

chrisfont9

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For what it's worth, I consider trades of guys you wont keep anyway (in the Plassmeyer vein consider Seabold, Bazardo, German, etc) as "scrap heap."

Also, in terms of needing to "do both" to be clear, I'm saying pay on an established closer for sure (I like the Jansen deal; I liked the Kimbrel acquisition - but again - different front office so I'm not sure how applicable that is) and the rest of it I think you can find by mixing and matching at very cheap "prices" either in terms of what you give up in money or players - or with prospects whom you deem aren't good enough for some reason or another to start or want to break them in Earl Weaver style, even though that was decades ago (so lets say Houck fits in here, possibly Winckowski, I would have seen if Seabold could be anything out of the 'pen, etc).

Also - just for the record, while it's certainly fair on the park effects, I also keep in mind the Rays had to face last year's Red Sox offense (9th in runs scored) whereas the Red Sox got to face the Rays (21st in runs scored) so when you're talking about the same divisions, I think it's pretty fair to let those balance out.

I admittedly don't know how to isolate JUST the bullpen, when I tried, Fangraphs defaults back to an entire staff but last year's Rays staff had an away ERA of 3.83 in 697ip; the Red Sox was 4.47, wherasTampa was 3.01ERA at home and Boston was 4.59ERA at home, just for context.

However, of TB's top starters, Kluber had a 5.05ERA on the road (possible red flag there, actually - I'm genuinely asking) with 3.71 at home, Rasmussen was 2.24 and 3.39, Yarbrough was 4.35 and 4.59. I assume those will do a good bit to inflate the overall staff ERA on the road, but I don't know that for sure and I'm not sure how to figure that out. (McClanahan was obviously a stud everywhere, as was Springs, but to a lesser degree).

Just because I find this an interesting discussion, of our top 10 relief pitchers (I just looked at innings pitched, thus I'm including Whitlock and Houck), home road splits (admittedly for just ERA were):

Schreiber 1.32ERA at home; 3.19 on the road.
Brasier was 4.41 at home and 7.78 on the road (why is he still here)
Davis was 4.59 at home and 7.54 on the road.
Sawamura was 5.83 at home and 0.84 on the road (wow)
Strahm was 3.16 at home and 4.74 on the road.
Whitlock was 3.23 at home and 3.77 on the road (I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the rotation).
Houck was 4.45 at home and 1.85 on the road.
Danish was 4.37 at home and 6.11 on the road.
Barnes was 5.14 at home and 3.38 on the road.
Diekman was 3.94 at home and 5.63 on the road.

So in summation (just looking at ERA as quick stat of what actually happened), 7 of the 10 had a better ERA at Fenway than on the road, 3 of 10 were better on the road, and I still have no idea why Ryan Brasier remains on the roster.
These are all 20-30 inning samples. It's interesting I guess but that isn't a very predictive sample. I know you are trying earnestly to derive some info from here but it might not be possible. Sawamura, for example, had four or five bad outings at home (plus a 10th inning loss which, do we count those the same with runners starting on second?). Not great, but he had 49 outings, 26 at home, and wildly divergent BABIPs home vs away. So maybe there is a point to be made about where he pitched but I wouldn't count on that data for much.
 
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JM3

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These are all 20-30 inning samples. It's interesting I guess but that isn't a very predictive sample. I know you are trying earnestly to derive some info from here but it might not be possible. Sawamura, for example, had four or five bad outings at home (plus a 10th inning loss which, do we count those the same with runners starting on second?). Not great, but he had 49 outings, 26 at home, and wildly divergent BABIPs home vs away. So maybe there is a point to be made about where he pitched but I wouldn't count on that data for much.
That would not count as an earned run for the pitcher (same as if he inherited a runner someone else left on).

Sawamura's was obviously noise (especially after '21 when he had a 2.08 ERA at home & 4.00 ERA on the road), but that was such extreme noise that it can be fun to cite.
 

simplicio

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Sawamura's season was so sneaky bad. He should have really only been used in clean innings.
61786
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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These are all 20-30 inning samples. It's interesting I guess but that isn't a very predictive sample. I know you are trying earnestly to derive some info from here but it might not be possible. Sawamura, for example, had four or five bad outings at home (plus a 10th inning loss which, do we count those the same with runners starting on second?). Not great, but he had 49 outings, 26 at home, and wildly divergent BABIPs home vs away. So maybe there is a point to be made about where he pitched but I wouldn't count on that data for much.
Yeah, I hear that. It's the nature of bullpens and predictive stuff right - you're ALWAYS talking about a small sample of like 45ip for a ton of these guys or some such number. Which is part of the reason (the small sample) that I really think you have so much variance year to year or even "half season to half season" which is why I tend to think go very cheap there and use the money elsewhere. It's both a) tougher to predict based on such small samples and b) you're talking about a relatively small part - in terms of number of innings - such as say 3ip for "non closers" in a game vs 9 innings and 4/5 PAs for your #3 hitter or some such.

Or in the case of someone like Brasier (or relief pitchers in general) a question of how "useful" things like FIP are in such a small sample size, and you almost HAVE to look at the course of an entire career. Using Brasier for example, his ERA and FIP each year have been : 1.60 and 2.83 (out performed his FIP); 4.85 and 4.42 (underperformed); 3.96 and 3.15 (under performed); 1.50 and 4.84 (overperformed) and 5.78 and 3.61 (under performed) with no real rhyme or reason for the variance that I can think of. But overall it's netted out to a career 4.14ERA and 3.75FIP, so if I'm trying to predict his actual performance, I'd say it will probably be an ERA between 4.00 and 4.50 this year - which I think we could find elsewhere - for the league minimum with shuffling in several guys and making them totally fungible, and using the approximately $1.25m in savings in other parts of the roster.

Same thing in the case of Martin (career 3.84ERA and 3.10FIP) so I expect an actual performance between 3.50ERA and 4.00ERA, which again, I'd rather take shots on the Tampa Bay model with a bunch of guys on minor league deals until finding something that fits, and using the approximately $5.25m in AAV savings elsewhere). Sure, he could put up the 1.00ERA he did in Atlanta in 19g in 2020, but he could also put up the 4.08ERA he did in 20g there in 2019. I wouldn't bet as much as we have on that type of variance.



But to the home / road splits, I was more looking because I think it's an interesting discussion on bullpen construction, and I wanted to look into @JM3 point about park effects and building a pen in Tampa vs Boston. With Fenway playing as hitter's park (overall) seeing the fact that 7 of the 10 most heavily used relief pitchers were worse on the road was interesting to me, and I'm trying to figure out the reason - beyond just "the guys we have suck" - and assuming there is more to it than that, figuring out what is driving the data.

Generally I know it's an old baseball adage that guys tend to perform better at home than on the road (familiarity, sample size, more rest, fit to a ballpark, etc), but for the 'pen, I just thought it was interesting that in a park that should favor hitters, that our relief pitchers - by and large - were so much better (or in some cases less atrocious) than on the road.
 
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chawson

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No matter where one falls on their view of Bloom, I think we can all agree he is quite intelligent - therefore, I think he could find 15 dirt cheap guys and cycle them through until he lands on a good "rest of the bullpen" mix, the way Tampa Bay seems to every year.
One problem with "finding 15 dirt cheap guys," or relievers who'll pitch for the league minimum (as you prefer) is that they'll assuredly be pitchers that no one else wants for even slightly more than that amount. So that leaves you with the dregs to begin with.

Tampa acquire a good number of these guys by trading off solid prospects or players in their arb years (Solak, Adames, Eovaldi), which is something the Sox don't really do. Cleveland too.

They also very clearly have their own development systems. A lot of these guys are "rebuilt" with a different pitch or repertoire than these teams found them, so it isn't exactly that teams are "taking a shot" on a guy than they are using his body as raw material to build a new pitcher through their own proprietary design. Not surprisingly, it leads to a lot of injuries, which the Rays seem to accept as an externality of their model.

You might argue that the injuries benefit them, because they free up more roster spots to churn, increasingly the likelihood they'll discover that one of these rebuilt arms can stick at the major league level.

I suppose this is kind of my point - Bloom has done just as well - probably better - with the "find a particular skill on the scrap heap" approach (yes, I know it's more analytical than that, I'm just using that as a catch all term) and hit as much there as he does on doling out money to those players (Barnes, retaining Robles for 2022 - I'm not talking about giving up nothing for him for half a season in 2021, more than fine with that - paying Brasier his $1.4m last year and $2m this year, Diekman at $2.5M, Andriese at $1.8m, type of deals).
Here's how our bullpen of guys acquired by the team or signed for less than than $3 million fared in 2021-22 (relief innings only):

741 IP, 4.10 xFIP
Whitlock, Brasier, Schreiber, Davis, Valdez, Robles, Taylor, Strahm, Danish, Andriese, Ort, Rios, Workman, Kelly, Brice, Familia, Feliz, Weber, Gonsalves, German, Winckowski, Brennan, Peacock, Espinal, Brewer (in order of IP)

Here's Tampa's crew by the same criteria:

1029.1 IP, 3.89 xFIP
Kittredge, Thompson, Fairbanks, Wisler, Adam, Armstrong, Poche, Feyereisen, Springs, Beeks, Chargois, Garza, Head, Mazza, Enns, Faucher, Conley, Cleavinger, Rasmussen, Strickland, Guerra, Sherriff, Bard, Richards, Robertson, Reed, Patiño, Herget, Anderson, Dugger, Ogando, Ellis, Yacabonis, Romero, Phillips, Johnson, McKay, Hess, Krehbiel, Poppen, Roe

So yeah, that's a bit better than our guys. The Rays have thrown a lot more relief innings, partly due to their philosophy. If their payroll has to be what it is, then it has sense for them to cobble together more reliever innings at cheaper rates (and higher injury risk) than paying market value for starters.

If you remove the Rays relievers acquired through trades of solid regulars and prospects (Fairbanks, Feyereison, Chargois, Rasmussen, Beeks, Anderson, Patiño) and do the same for ours (Winckowski), the above comparison looks like this:

BOS, '21-22: 738 IP, 4.10 xFIP
TBR, '21-22: 783.1 IP, 3.93 xFIP
 

JM3

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There are certain things that are more consistent than others, & those are the things you can control for. In Martin's case, the elite control is predictive of more low walk rates & making the opponent beat him with either a high BABIP or homers. Additionally, one can look at his pitch mix & see that he had a massive surge in success when he went to the Dodgers & a big part of that was they tweaked his pitch mix so that he threw his better pitches more often & his worse pitches less often. This was wildly successful, & although not necessarily repeatable in terms of the results with the Dodgers (1.46 ERA, 1.92 xFIP), I am confident that he will be a very good relief pitcher & I would be surprised if his ERA was much over 3. The things he does aren't the types of things that normally fall off a cliff, & he seems to be getting better as he goes.

I'm much more concerned with Jansen potentially regressing as he relies on stuff, which is already declining & has much lesser control. What you're paying for with him is, to some extent, the name & the title of "closer". & it's fine & hopefully he doesn't fall apart in the next 2 years, but I'm much more confident in Martin than Jansen & would expect him to have a lower ERA this season most of the time.

The Tampa model works for Tampa's circumstances, but it's not optimal for a team which already has a 40-man crunch & doesn't necessarily want to keep kicking the can down the road on prospects. You can only shuttle so many spots, & inevitably not every pitcher will be successful. Tampa Bay also has a huge attrition rate in terms of reliever injuries, likely caused by running their staff the way they do.

The Red Sox will start the season with 1 or 2 shuttle spots, & it is very likely that injuries or rest will create more. Hopefully some of the depth pieces they have added will be ready to step in & take over (Mills/Kelly/Sherriff/etc.). But it's a process & paying for certainty in some of those spots means a lot less juggling & stress for the manager early in the season, & increases the likelihood of having real guys who can pitch high leverage playoff innings & not just illusions that can get you through a regular season.
 

chawson

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The pandemic might have also been at play here too. Hansel Robles, for example, lost a few ticks of velocity and was much more hittable last April-June than he was for us in the summer of 2021. Was that because of the lockout and short spring training? Hard to say.

By June, Robles had become symbolic of our bullpen's futility. But it really seems like Bloom deserves a morsel of credit for that deadline pickup in 2021. Robles was pretty much our only good reliever in September 2021, and we don't make the playoffs without him. I'm not wistful about him, and cutting him last June was the right move. But that's one of the more unheralded Sox stretch-run performances this century.

BOS relievers in September 2000-22 (min. 10 IP)
1. Tazawa, 2012 – 42 TBF, 0.71 ERA, 16 K, 1 BB, 0.88 wOBA against
2. Uehara, 2013 – 46 TBF, 0.64 ERA, 19 K, 0 BB, .101 wOBA
3. Melancon, 2012 – 37 TBF, 0.90 ERA, 13 K, 1 BB, .144 wOBA
4. Papelbon, 2009 – 44 TBF, 1.46 ERA, 13 K, 0 BB, .147 wOBA
5. Robles, 2021 – 45 TBF, 0.00 ERA, 15 K, 4 BB, .167 wOBA
6. Urbina, 2002 – 46 TBF, 1.38 ERA, 21 K, 2 BB, .177 wOBA
7. Workman, 2019 – 42 TBF, 0.00 ERA, 18 K, 6 BB, .178 wOBA
8. Brasier, 2022 – 42 TBF, 2.25 ERA, 13 K, 2 BB, .184 wOBA
9. Papelbon, 2007 – 39 TBF, 2.45 ERA, 12 K, 0 BB, .184 wOBA
10. Kim, 2003 – 49 TBF, 0.00 ERA, 11 K, 1 BB, .187 wOBA
 
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JM3

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I like how you casually snuck Brasier's last month onto that list lol
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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By June, Robles had become symbolic of our bullpen's futility. But it really does seem like Bloom deserves a morsel of credit for that trade deadline pickup in 2021. Robles was pretty much our only good reliever in September 2021, and we don't make the playoffs without him. I'm not wistful for him, and it was the right move to cut him last June. But that's one of the more unheralded stretch-run performances in Sox history this century.

Just to be clear, I give Bloom a TON of credit for the pick up of Robles in 2021 (though I would have said let him go before 2022) - heck, even though he sucked, I give Bloom credit for the Austin Davis for Michael Chavis swap then too. That team blasted through the $Luxury Tax Threshold to make a run, and when you're going to do that, I'm all for spending on the bullpen too (or if you're a team like the Braves or Astros with a ton of good long term deals, go for it then as well).

It's when you're using the Luxury Tax Threshold as some manner of "cap", and as such you're going to go cheap somewhere, I'd rather go bargain basement shopping on your non-closer bullpen while being able to go higher level for lets say your SP4 (where I'll put Kluber) and MI2 / OF as a middle of the line up bat (whichever positions Story and Hernandez weren't going to play).
 

JM3

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Just to be clear, I give Bloom a TON of credit for the pick up of Robles in 2021 (though I would have said let him go before 2022) - heck, even though he sucked, I give Bloom credit for the Austin Davis for Michael Chavis swap then too. That team blasted through the $Luxury Tax Threshold to make a run, and when you're going to do that, I'm all for spending on the bullpen too (or if you're a team like the Braves or Astros with a ton of good long term deals, go for it then as well).

It's when you're using the Luxury Tax Threshold as some manner of "cap", and as such you're going to go cheap somewhere, I'd rather go bargain basement shopping on your non-closer bullpen while being able to go higher level for lets say your SP4 (where I'll put Kluber) and MI2 / OF as a middle of the line up bat (whichever positions Story and Hernandez weren't going to play).
I think a large part of the calculus is that those difference-maker type players who play those other positions would almost assuredly require a longer-term commitment, & the Red Sox seem pretty intent on keeping their cap sheet clean for their next big window, & tying up that room on players who may be ok now, but will likely be on the downside of their deal by the time that window hits, would be short-sighted. Whereas you can get those difference-maker relievers on 1 or 2 year deals.

In '25 the Red Sox have the following commitments:

Devers $29.2m
Story $23.3m
Yoshida $18m
Whitlock $4.7m

...& that's it, with the exception of a vesting option on Chris Sale with a luxury tax salary of $29m if Sale makes the top 10 in Cy Young voting in '24, which wouldn't be a bad problem to have.

So $75.2m on the books in '25, plus cost controlled talent such as...

Casas
Bello
Mayer
Bleis
Houck
Schreiber
Rafaela
McGuire

& many other speculative pieces (the Walter/Murphy/Mata/Crawford/Winckowski/Yorke/Valdez/Abreu/Hamilton/Binelas/Kavadas/Paulino/Lugo/Wong types). They also have potential bullpen pieces like Kelly/Ort/Feltman/Mills/Joely/Mosqueda cost-controlled.

& the CBT in '25 is $241m. Meaning they should expect to have a cheap core, 4 guys who will hopefully be cornerstone pieces locked in, & a raft of money to spend to fill in any gaps, as well as probably surplus prospects.
 

Niastri

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I think a large part of the calculus is that those difference-maker type players who play those other positions would almost assuredly require a longer-term commitment, & the Red Sox seem pretty intent on keeping their cap sheet clean for their next big window, & tying up that room on players who may be ok now, but will likely be on the downside of their deal by the time that window hits, would be short-sighted. Whereas you can get those difference-maker relievers on 1 or 2 year deals.

In '25 the Red Sox have the following commitments:

Devers $29.2m
Story $23.3m
Yoshida $18m
Whitlock $4.7m

...& that's it, with the exception of a vesting option on Chris Sale with a luxury tax salary of $29m if Sale makes the top 10 in Cy Young voting in '24, which wouldn't be a bad problem to have.

So $75.2m on the books in '25, plus cost controlled talent such as...

Casas
Bello
Mayer
Bleis
Houck
Schreiber
Rafaela
McGuire

& many other speculative pieces (the Walter/Murphy/Mata/Crawford/Winckowski/Yorke/Valdez/Abreu/Hamilton/Binelas/Kavadas/Paulino/Lugo/Wong types). They also have potential bullpen pieces like Kelly/Ort/Feltman/Mills/Joely/Mosqueda cost-controlled.

& the CBT in '25 is $241m. Meaning they should expect to have a cheap core, 4 guys who will hopefully be cornerstone pieces locked in, & a raft of money to spend to fill in any gaps, as well as probably surplus prospects.
This breakdown of future salaries helps explain why Juan Soto signing a 16/$550 ("only" $34.38 million average) deal with the Sox seems possible before the '25 season. Largest contract in history and still quite reasonable for a Hall of a Famer before he even reaches his prime. They have a ton of cap space and low cost impact players projected to join the team for that season. The salary cap will grow immensely by the time the "dead money at the end of the contract" phase hits a decade or more from the time of the signing.
 

JM3

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This breakdown of future salaries helps explain why Juan Soto signing a 16/$550 ("only" $34.38 million average) deal with the Sox seems possible before the '25 season. Largest contract in history and still quite reasonable for a Hall of a Famer before he even reaches his prime. They have a ton of cap space and low cost impact players projected to join the team for that season. The salary cap will grow immensely by the time the "dead money at the end of the contract" phase hits a decade or more from the time of the signing.
Yeah, having that pipeline of cost-controlled talent coming through really allows you to splurge on those big foundational pieces - you just have to make sure they are the right ones.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I think a large part of the calculus is that those difference-maker type players who play those other positions would almost assuredly require a longer-term commitment, & the Red Sox seem pretty intent on keeping their cap sheet clean for their next big window, & tying up that room on players who may be ok now, but will likely be on the downside of their deal by the time that window hits, would be short-sighted. Whereas you can get those difference-maker relievers on 1 or 2 year deals.
Yes, agree about having all kinds of money, and at least with the Devers extension, I'm at least partially optimistic that the current iteration of the front office will spend a huge chunk of it on elite players whereas I was very skeptical of that pre-Devers extension.

For what it's worth, we also agree (I think) that the "window" is 2025+ so to speak. I just really do believe there were better ways to have spent that money for the 2023 and 2024 seasons (even into 2025) this year than the ways we spent it, even if that was just going higher AAV to guys on short deals (those who signed 2 or 3 year deals) as opposed to where we did.

Again, it's picking nits because I think that the idea was always just to suck as little as possible in 2023 and 2024, but I think it's more interesting to talk about ways the money could have been spent differently while looking at two .500ish seasons as we wait for minor league baseball to start and see whom might in fact be part of that 2025+ core since some of those guys you mentioned will probably be really good, some will be "fine" and others won't be worthy of major league roster spots.
 
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JM3

often quoted
SoSH Member
Dec 14, 2019
17,453
Yes, agree about having all kinds of money, and at least with the Devers extension, I'm at least partially optimistic that the current iteration of the front office will spend a huge chunk of it on elite players whereas I was very skeptical of that pre-Devers extension.

For what it's worth, we also agree (I think) that the "window" is 2025+ so to speak. I just really do believe there were better ways to have spent that money for the 2023 and 2024 seasons (even into 2025) this year than the ways we spent it, even if that was just going higher AAV to guys on short deals (those who signed 2 or 3 year deals) as opposed to where we did.

Again, it's picking nits because I agree that the idea was always just to suck as little as possible in 2023 and 2024, but I think it's more interesting to talk about ways the money could have been spent differently while looking at two .500ish seasons as we wait for minor league baseball to start and see whom might in fact be part of that 2025+ core since some of those guys you mentioned will probably be really good, some will be "fine" and others won't be worthy of major league roster spots.
The thing is, if you think this is a .500 team, what's the point in marginal upgrades like Bassitt or Taillon who will encroach on that spending window & use the best years of their contract when you think they're only a .500 team?

What's the difference between Bassit & Kluber this season? According to ZIPs it's less than 1 win (2.5 to 1.6). Assuming Bassitt would have taken the exact same contract from the Red Sox as he did the Blue Jays (never guaranteed), he would be on the books in '25 for a $21m luxury tax value at 36. ZIPS 3-year projection has him being worth 1.3 fWAR that year. That's not a value add to the core if that is close to accurate.

ZIPS has Taillon as a 1.9 fWAR player this year, dipping to 1.2 fWAR by '25, & he would be locked up for $17m/year in '25 & '26 through age 34. Same conclusion as with Bassitt - all this does is impinge on flexibility in the future without making a large material difference in the current team.
 

JM3

often quoted
SoSH Member
Dec 14, 2019
17,453
On the other end of the spectrum, ZIPS 3rd year projections for '25 for some of the guys we have locked up:

Devers 5.0 fWAR
Story 3.1 fWAR
Yoshida 2.6 fWAR
Rafaela 2.5 fWAR
Bello 2.4 fWAR
Valdez 2.0 fWAR
Binelas 2.0 fWAR
Casas 1.9 fWAR
Hamilton 1.8 fWAR
Kavadas 1.8 fWAR
Whitlock 1.5 fWAR
Mayer 1.5 fWAR
Wong 1.5 fWAR
McGuire 1.3 fWAR
Yorke 1.2 fWAR
Walter 1.0 fWAR
Houck 0.9 fWAR
Murphy 0.9 fWAR
Abreu 0.9 fWAR
Winckowski 0.9 fWAR
Mata 0.8 fWAR
Crawford 0.8 fWAR
Lugo 0.6 fWAR
Schreiber 0.5 fWAR

I think some of them are super optimistic & some are super pessimistic (Binelas > Casas for example), but you get the idea...that is a lot of cost-controlled talent already in the organization with significant amounts of additional money to spend.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,254
The thing is, if you think this is a .500 team, what's the point in marginal upgrades like Bassitt or Taillon who will encroach on that spending window & use the best years of their contract when you think they're only a .500 team?
Anecdotally - I think when you're breaking in so many young players, it's a good idea to have some stability around them. Obviously this isn't quantifiable, and I admit that.


From a more analytical standpoint, if I assume we're around .500 anyway with what we have, (just for the sake of optimism I'll call that 82-80), and we had Abreu instead of Turner, Bassitt instead of Kluber and Segura (Arroyo on the bench, Refsnyder gone), I think you're closer to what Steamer projects and those three are about a 4.2 win upgrade (if I added correctly) and you're at 86 - 78 and in (I believe) a one game playoff with TB for the last wild card spot based on last year's standings.

Also, Abreu is 2 years younger than Turner and Bassitt is 3 years younger than Kluber, so I'd bet it to be more likely that those guys are able to outperform Tuner and Kluber than lets say Martin, Rodriguez, Brasier and the like are of out-performing a myriad of guys from the Tampa approach.

How much would Abreu and Bassitt hamstring us in 2025, I suppose that depends on how they age. But at least assuming baseball savant data is predictive, the data for Abreu and Bassitt both look considerably better than for Turner and Kluber, respectively, so I'm betting on the two younger players with better "profiles" for lack of a better term.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/jose-abreu-547989?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb
https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/justin-turner-457759?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/chris-bassitt-605135?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb
https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/corey-kluber-446372?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb



*Either way, I'll respectfully agree to let you - or anyone else - have the last word and not respond as I realize that there is nothing in my last two posts specifically about Matt Barnes or Bleier, even though it was a discussion of bullpen spending for how we got here, it's not the point of the thread and I don't want to further annoy anyone thinking these posts are about those two players.
 
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