Nathan Eovaldi to close

DeadlySplitter

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[B]Tom Caron[/B]‏Verified account @[B]TomCaron[/B] 2m2 minutes ago
According to sources, the Red Sox plan on using Nathan Eovaldi as their closer when he returns from the Injured List.


Multiple sources have told NESN’s Tom Caron that Nathan Eovaldi will serve as the closer for the Red Sox when he returns from the injured list. They also told Caron that he will serve as a traditional closer, and not as part of a bullpen-by-committee. ... In addition to helping the bullpen, the Red Sox believe bringing Eovaldi back as a reliever will get him back on the roster sooner, meaning they won’t have to wait for him to get stretched out in multiple starts over a long rehab stint.
 

LesterFan

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This seems desperate. The rotation isn't looking too hot either with Porcello and the 5 spot. I hope this is just to ease him back in and limit his workload until they acquire someone before stretching him out down the stretch. If they do make the playoffs they're going to need his power arm in the rotation vs all the righties NY and Houston have.
 

AB in DC

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I'm more worried about the condition of his elbow than anything else. The injury was originally advertised as needing 6 weeks of recovery, and we're now approaching 10 weeks.

If he has to limit his innings for half of 2019 then no big deal. If he has to convert to a closer full-time then it's a major problem.
 

TomBrunansky23

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It is not smart to pay a closer $17mm per. Their plan is undoubtedly to have Eovaldi start. Can't argue with either.

However, I believe there is a problem and it will become evident very quickly once the season starts. Some here believe that the bullpen is fine as is. I just don't see that. They'll need a solution and all I am doing is suggesting what the solution will be since apparently they don't want to add any more payroll and they don't want to dip into their already limited prospect pool to fix it.

I hope I'm wrong and someone pulls a 2013 Koji.
 

RedOctober3829

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This is awful. Eovaldi shouldn’t be in a position where he is getting hot and cold in the bullpen. It’s not good for his arm. He’s on record as not wanting to relieve as well. This just speaks to how badly management screwed this all up. It was pure arrogance to think they’d be fine with what they’ve had and now they’ve had to do this. It weakens their starting staff because they can’t add any more payroll.
 

E5 Yaz

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... the Red Sox believe bringing Eovaldi back as a reliever will get him back on the roster sooner, meaning they won’t have to wait for him to get stretched out in multiple starts over a long rehab stint.
Yeah, that sounds peachy
 

TomBrunansky23

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Whether by plan or by necessity, Eovaldi is going to be the closer. Unless you are bringing Kimbrel back, which it sure sounds like they are not, then nothing else makes any sense.

I can't see how you spend $246mm on payroll and go forward expecting to seriously contend with the bullpen as presently constituted. You can call me crazy if you like.

Eovaldi's $17mm per is a lot for a closer but there are several who make at least that much if not more. The hole in the rotation they can plug. The hole in the bullpen they cannot.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Yeah this seems like a pretty desperate “win now” kind of move. They have Eovaldi under contract for 4 years - is he going to be their closer that whole time? If yes, you are paying your closer $17m a year in a role he may not be comfortable with and probably doesn’t particularly want to be doing. If no, then you risk further injury/inconsistent play by yanking him in and out of the bullpen as the situation warrants as opposed to giving him a defined role and letting him get comfortable with that.
 

Salem's Lot

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Yeah this seems like a pretty desperate “win now” kind of move. They have Eovaldi under contract for 4 years - is he going to be their closer that whole time? If yes, you are paying your closer $17m a year in a role he may not be comfortable with and probably doesn’t particularly want to be doing. If no, then you risk further injury/inconsistent play by yanking him in and out of the bullpen as the situation warrants as opposed to giving him a defined role and letting him get comfortable with that.
Well they’ve been watching the same bullpen that we all have lately. They’re pretty desperate.
 

BaseballJones

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Not a fan of this move. Very much smells of desperation. Might work though. He was pretty amazing out of the bullpen last year.
 

Sox Puppet

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For $17M we could have had Adam Ottavino ($9M), Shawn Kelley ($4M), Oliver Perez ($2.5M), and a bus ticket out of town for Eduardo Nunez ($20 on the Fung Wah), and still had a bit of pocket change left over.
 

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It's not desperate until he gets a police escort to the stadium. Hopefully this is a stop gap until they can trade for a closer?
 

SoxinSeattle

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This seems desperate. The rotation isn't looking too hot either with Porcello and the 5 spot. I hope this is just to ease him back in and limit his workload until they acquire someone before stretching him out down the stretch. If they do make the playoffs they're going to need his power arm in the rotation vs all the righties NY and Houston have.
While this is true if the Sox were only league average in blown saves (10) instead of there league last 17 they would only be four games out of first and first in the wild card. So one could argue that he is more important to the bullpen right now. There are plenty of reasons it shouldn't be him but like I said above hopefully this is temporary.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Well this is just terrible. They're paying him to start. I would have rather given Kimbrel $17M to close rather than the career starter to close.
 

E5 Yaz

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While this is true if the Sox were only league average in blown saves (10) instead of there league last 17 they would only be four games out of first and first in the wild card. So one could argue that he is more important to the bullpen right now. There are plenty of reasons it shouldn't be him but like I said above hopefully this is temporary.
Not the "blown saves" debate again.

Remember, you can get a "blown save" in a game you wind up winning, It's not a straight mathematical formula
 

Ale Xander

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Because you think it's a certainty that a pitcher with a history of arm issues will succeed in a role where he might have to pitch 3 out of every 4 games?
No such thing as certainty.

But have you seen our current closer, Mr 4 out of 10? If it defines roles and pushes everyone in the bullpen into less stressful roles, it should be a good thing.

EVOO was pretty darned good as a closer when it counted the most. And there is truth to not having him stretch out to help the overall pitching staff sooner.
 

Harry Hooper

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Someone previously mentioned the parallels between 2005 and 2019. So now we just need Eovaldi as closer to give up a a game-winning homer to...Gardner?
 

E5 Yaz

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No such thing as certainty.

But have you seen our current closer, Mr 4 out of 10? If it defines roles and pushes everyone in the bullpen into less stressful roles, it should be a good thing.

EVOO was pretty darned good as a closer when it counted the most. And there is truth to not having him stretch out to help the overall pitching staff sooner.
He has made 160 major league appearances ... 8 as a reliever, with 0 saves

You're thinking he can take his four postseason relief appearances and make it work for a season, with an arm that is always a question mark? Fine

But don't say he was "darned good" as a closer ... when he's never fucking been one
 
Jun 12, 2019
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No such thing as certainty.

But have you seen our current closer, Mr 4 out of 10? If it defines roles and pushes everyone in the bullpen into less stressful roles, it should be a good thing.

EVOO was pretty darned good as a closer when it counted the most. And there is truth to not having him stretch out to help the overall pitching staff sooner.
And when has he ever been a closer? He's finished exactly four games in his career, one being Game 3 of the WS.
 

SoxinSeattle

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Not the "blown saves" debate again.

Remember, you can get a "blown save" in a game you wind up winning, It's not a straight mathematical formula
Well sure but I can say with certainty that 17 blown saves is a bad thing and if they had less their record would be better.
 

E5 Yaz

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Well sure but I can say with certainty that 17 blown saves is a bad thing and if they had less their record would be better.
In general, yes; but not with the calculations you were doing in the first post
 

SoxinSeattle

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In general, yes; but not with the calculations you were doing in the first post
In what percentage of blown saves does a team come back to win? It can't be a large number. The point stands that maybe the bullpen needs more help than the rotation.
 
Jun 12, 2019
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In what percentage of blown saves does a team come back to win? It can't be a large number. The point stands that maybe the bullpen needs more help than the rotation.
The Sox have 17 blown saves in 15 games. They're 6-9 in those games. In one of those losses the lineup went 0-9 with RISP and Brasier blew a one run lead in the 9th. Another of those was the 18 inning game where the lineup went 1-13 with RISP. Those two losses would be more on the offense than the bullpen, no?
You keep harping on this "17 blown saves" stat when it's not very useful in and of itself. The relievers have pitched the most innings of any team in the AL. By simple math that will lead to more hold opportunities, and by proxy more blown saves.
Could the bullpen use some fresh arms? Are the relievers overworked? Absolutely. But it's a team sport. Sometimes one part of a team makes another part of the team look bad. In terms of the bullpen and only the bullpen, it's not as catastrophic as you're making it seem.
 

crow216

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I think there's still a chance DD gets you guys a bullpen arm but if I'm reading the tea leaves right, the cost of a high quality arm may be too high to pay in a situation where management isn't sure about the team this year. There are a lot of games between the AL East over the coming 4 weeks that will probably determine whether or not the cost for those arms is worth it. If it is, maybe Nathan moves back to the rotation.
 

scottyno

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Well sure but I can say with certainty that 17 blown saves is a bad thing and if they had less their record would be better.
it would also probably be better if since Eovaldi went down the #5 slot was averaging better than about 4 innings a start with an era of just under 8. Which also is contributing to the blown saves by wearing out the bullpen.
 

DeadlySplitter

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clearly Cora, DD etc. met on the off-day on Toronto mulling over everything and decided to reverse course on this. now I get to wince every 100mph fastball that his arm doesn't explode.
 

CaptainLaddie

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I think there's still a chance DD gets you guys a bullpen arm but if I'm reading the tea leaves right, the cost of a high quality arm may be too high to pay in a situation where management isn't sure about the team this year. There are a lot of games between the AL East over the coming 4 weeks that will probably determine whether or not the cost for those arms is worth it. If it is, maybe Nathan moves back to the rotation.
Yeah, if that's the case, just put him into the starting role and let him start. He's of more value there, plain and simple.

Really, DD just needs to find a way to get some lottery ticket arms. Dump Nunez and a few other pieces that mean nothing longterm.
 

StuckOnYouk

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Their bullpen is in shambles, he's needed there. For 2019, I like the move. Then next year move him back to starter and get some relief pitching in the offseason.
 

keninten

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Maybe the Sox don`t want to look desperate for RP help so they are saying Eovaldi is moving to the pen. And maybe it will get him back on the team faster and he will get stretched out in an overworked bullpen. He could come in for the 6th or 7th inning every few days and build up his pitch counts.
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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Another dumb move this year... To hear Henry say they don’t want to add payroll disgusts me. Screw the luxury tax, put a product on the field that can win. Penny pinching from this organization is just ridiculous. Yup, they’re in a bad situation because of Panda and some other crappy player investments but so what? Bite the bullet and put a competitive team together. It was clear early on that we needed a closer.
Evo is not the answer. If/when his arm falls off what do they do then? This move clearly shows they know the bullpen is their Achilles heel. Go get a closer. Do whatever it takes. Stop screwing around.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Evo is not the answer. If/when his arm falls off what do they do then? This move clearly shows they know the bullpen is their Achilles heel. Go get a closer. Do whatever it takes. Stop screwing around.
They're 11 games back in the division, and have four teams ahead of them in the standings for a wild card. Maybe this team is past the point of being able to "do whatever it takes".
 

Danny_Darwin

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I think there's still a chance DD gets you guys a bullpen arm but if I'm reading the tea leaves right, the cost of a high quality arm may be too high to pay in a situation where management isn't sure about the team this year.
I think this is the answer right here, and I’ll add that DD - who surely by now has a sense of what teams are asking - very well may think it will be “easier” to acquire a 4th/5th- starter type than someone like Smith, Greene, etc.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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In what percentage of blown saves does a team come back to win? It can't be a large number. The point stands that maybe the bullpen needs more help than the rotation.
As Tony Pena's Gas Clout points out, they're 6-9 in games in which they've recorded a blown save this year. Last year, they were 12-7. Blown saves tell very little of the story, in part because it's a mis-labeled stat. The majority of blown saves, for this year's team and for most others, occur before the 9th inning by pitchers who aren't anticipated to "close" the game. Inserting Eovaldi as the closer in the traditional sense, even if he's lights out, is not going to prevent the rest of the bullpen from occasionally giving up a lead and being tagged with a blown save. It's not a solution, it's a band-aid.

The only way this makes sense is if they're convinced that Eovaldi can't hold up to a 6 inning every five days schedule. What's baffling is if he can't do that, why do they expect him to be able to pitch every other day or occasionally back to back days? Someone compared this to Schilling in 2005. But with Schilling, it was his ankle, which didn't bear up to being used for long stretches but could do an inning every day or every other day. His arm was fine either way. That's not the case with Eovaldi.

The solution for the bullpen is a fresh arm IN THE ROTATION. Someone to take up more innings to ease the burden on this overworked crew. Asking the bullpen to do less plus adding a refreshed and healthy Hembree in the next couple weeks will do more than moving a starter with questionable arm healthy into a traditional closer role.
 

threecy

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The Schilling and Wakefield to closer moves didn't work out well. However, the Derek Lowe to closer (and back to starter) had some results...
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Maybe the Sox don`t want to look desperate for RP help so they are saying Eovaldi is moving to the pen. And maybe it will get him back on the team faster and he will get stretched out in an overworked bullpen. He could come in for the 6th or 7th inning every few days and build up his pitch counts.
Did you read the thread title?

If you're going to put Eovaldi in the pen it makes sense to make him the closer, because that's a friendlier role for a fragile arm than a middle relief role where you may sometimes have to warm up in a hurry and you're not sure day to day exactly when you're coming in. Make him an ultra-traditional closer -- i.e., he only enters to start the 9th inning with a lead.

I don't like the move much, but they're at a point where some degree of jury-rigging seems inevitable.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The Schilling and Wakefield to closer moves didn't work out well. However, the Derek Lowe to closer (and back to starter) had some results...
Lowe was a failed starter (19 starts over his first two MLB seasons) who was moved to the bullpen, not unlike a lot of young pitchers who find success in the bullpen (Barnes for example). He worked his way to the closer spot after growing into a set-up role behind Tom Gordon. I'm not sure he's a reasonable comparison here.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Did you read the thread title?

If you're going to put Eovaldi in the pen it makes sense to make him the closer, because that's a friendlier role for a fragile arm than a middle relief role where you may sometimes have to warm up in a hurry and you're not sure day to day exactly when you're coming in. Make him an ultra-traditional closer -- i.e., he only enters to start the 9th inning with a lead.

I don't like the move much, but they're at a point where some degree of jury-rigging seems inevitable.
I don't think keninten is far off if the goal is to bolster the bullpen. The problem isn't that they're blowing leads in the ninth, they're blowing leads in the sixth and seventh and eighth too. Another quality arm that they can use at any point in the late innings, not just the 9th with a lead, would be more helpful overall than having an "ultra-traditional closer". An Eovaldi that can throw 1-2 innings every other or every few days is a better solution for the actual problem. If he can't handle that sort of semi-frequent work, which wouldn't surprise me at all, they should be concentrating on getting him back to the rotation. Even if he can only go 5 innings every 5 days, that's better than what they've been getting out of the fifth spot in the rotation.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I don't think keninten is far off if the goal is to bolster the bullpen. The problem isn't that they're blowing leads in the ninth, they're blowing leads in the sixth and seventh and eighth too. Another quality arm that they can use at any point in the late innings, not just the 9th with a lead, would be more helpful overall than having an "ultra-traditional closer". An Eovaldi that can throw 1-2 innings every other or every few days is a better solution for the actual problem. If he can't handle that sort of semi-frequent work, which wouldn't surprise me at all, they should be concentrating on getting him back to the rotation. Even if he can only go 5 innings every 5 days, that's better than what they've been getting out of the fifth spot in the rotation.
Yes, but if Caron is getting the straight scoop, closer is what they have in mind, and I think rightly so, for the reasons I mentioned. Just because the 9th isn't where the leads are getting blown doesn't mean that having a fresh arm pitching high-leverage 9th innings won't help.
 

Average Reds

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Well this is just terrible. They're paying him to start. I would have rather given Kimbrel $17M to close rather than the career starter to close.
Yeah, if that's the case, just put him into the starting role and let him start. He's of more value there, plain and simple.

Really, DD just needs to find a way to get some lottery ticket arms. Dump Nunez and a few other pieces that mean nothing longterm.
These two quotes are gospel truth.

This move may “work.” (In the sense that it doesn’t end in disaster.) That doesn’t make it right.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Yes, but if Caron is getting the straight scoop, closer is what they have in mind, and I think rightly so, for the reasons I mentioned. Just because the 9th isn't where the leads are getting blown doesn't mean that having a fresh arm pitching high-leverage 9th innings won't help.
I'm not questioning the veracity of the report. Just saying that I think it's the wrong approach. Of the 17 blown saves the team has, only 5 have come in the 9th inning. So ostensibly, the lack of a traditional 9th inning closer hasn't been the problem. Putting a fresh arm (a fragile one at that) into that niche role doesn't strike me as the way to address the real problem.
 

Cesar Crespo

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clearly Cora, DD etc. met on the off-day on Toronto mulling over everything and decided to reverse course on this. now I get to wince every 100mph fastball that his arm doesn't explode.
You'd be doing it more when he starts. Just in 1 day instead of a couple. This is what we signed up for, a guy's arm who cold explode at any time. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up right back on the DL a month later regardless of his role.
 

Cesar Crespo

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As Tony Pena's Gas Clout points out, they're 6-9 in games in which they've recorded a blown save this year. Last year, they were 12-7. Blown saves tell very little of the story, in part because it's a mis-labeled stat. The majority of blown saves, for this year's team and for most others, occur before the 9th inning by pitchers who aren't anticipated to "close" the game. Inserting Eovaldi as the closer in the traditional sense, even if he's lights out, is not going to prevent the rest of the bullpen from occasionally giving up a lead and being tagged with a blown save. It's not a solution, it's a band-aid.

The only way this makes sense is if they're convinced that Eovaldi can't hold up to a 6 inning every five days schedule. What's baffling is if he can't do that, why do they expect him to be able to pitch every other day or occasionally back to back days? Someone compared this to Schilling in 2005. But with Schilling, it was his ankle, which didn't bear up to being used for long stretches but could do an inning every day or every other day. His arm was fine either way. That's not the case with Eovaldi.

The solution for the bullpen is a fresh arm IN THE ROTATION. Someone to take up more innings to ease the burden on this overworked crew. Asking the bullpen to do less plus adding a refreshed and healthy Hembree in the next couple weeks will do more than moving a starter with questionable arm healthy into a traditional closer role.
It's funny everyone here forgets Jonathan Papelpon and his injuries. Pitching in the bullpen can actually be better for your heatlh.
 

Norm Siebern

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A predictable and stupid move. So now when Barnes or Braiser blow the lead in the 7th or 8th, what good will “the closer” be? And don’t even get me started on the idiocy of putting a pitcher with a history of arm trouble in a spot where you are going to ask him to pitch 3 out 4 days some times.

Pay the luxury tax and get a real bullpen. It’s not as if this organization cannot afford it.
 

Cesar Crespo

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The Schilling and Wakefield to closer moves didn't work out well. However, the Derek Lowe to closer (and back to starter) had some results...
Tom Gordon got his own book.


On another note, is there any proof at all that pitching in the bullpen is more likely to lead to injuries than starting? I'd guess bullpen arms get injured more, but that's only because there are more of them. And the correct move would have been never signing Eovaldi anyway.
 
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