Starting Rotation '21

OurF'ingCity

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That would require signing him to a new contract. That would be 4+ years of rope. Although if he keeps it up, maybe not.
Yeah, at this point it's not crazy to think that Rodriguez would sign a 1-year "prove it" deal with the Sox to build up his value if both sides think his struggles this year are due to Covid, or some other fixable thing. Knowing Bloom, I actually think it's more likely that they let him walk if he performs well the rest of the year because there will then likely be some team more in need of pitching willing to overpay for him.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Yeah, at this point it's not crazy to think that Rodriguez would sign a 1-year "prove it" deal with the Sox to build up his value if both sides think his struggles this year are due to Covid, or some other fixable thing. Knowing Bloom, I actually think it's more likely that they let him walk if he performs well the rest of the year because there will then likely be some team more in need of pitching willing to overpay for him.

Some of his struggles are just luck but some of it is legit. It's funny because most of his traditional stats are all in line with his career. Except hitters are slashing .297/.341/.494 against him on a .383 BAbip this year. With a .300 Babip, he'd have given up 15 less hits. That line changes to .242/.289/.439 assuming all 15 hits were singles.

Looking into his advanced stats, the abnormalities are: 11.3% of his Batters Faced turn into XBH. The league average is 8.1%. Going into the year, his career rate was 7.4%. His extra base/hit % is 41%. The league average is 36%. His career average is 34% (all bbref)

.His velocity is at 92.8 and for his career it's 93.7. 25.0% Line drives this year, 21.5% for his career. Soft contact 13.9% vs 20.1%, medium contact 57.7% vs 51.7%. Hard % is 28.4% vs 29.2%. So he's changed a lot of soft contact for medium contact. Exit Velocity is 88.9, career 86.9. (All Fangraphs)
 

OCD SS

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Yeah, at this point it's not crazy to think that Rodriguez would sign a 1-year "prove it" deal with the Sox to build up his value if both sides think his struggles this year are due to Covid, or some other fixable thing. Knowing Bloom, I actually think it's more likely that they let him walk if he performs well the rest of the year because there will then likely be some team more in need of pitching willing to overpay for him.
In other words, he accepts the Sox's offer of arbitration?

I mean the Sox can't not offer Arb, right?
 

sean1562

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Would a one year deal for ERod really be worth $19 million? He would undoubtedly take that deal, no? Would any other team offer him a long term contract or even 1/15 million? I suppose Taijuan Walker just got 2/20 million, maybe the Sox could just try something like that?
 

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Would a one year deal for ERod really be worth $19 million? He would undoubtedly take that deal, no? Would any other team offer him a long term contract or even 1/15 million? I suppose Taijuan Walker just got 2/20 million, maybe the Sox could just try something like that?
Well, he has a lot of season remaining to move in one direction or the other.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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If E-Rod is a 6 ERA guy the rest of the way, he’s not getting a QO from us. If he’s a 4 ERA guy, he probably gets a Walker kind of offer (lower dollars with control; a Bloom special). 3.5 ERA from here on? QO. If he’s a 3ish or better guy who helps lead us on a playoff run, we’re talking extension.

Pretty wide variance, and all within the range of reasonable!
 

Yo La Tengo

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Update from Joe McDonald: "Sale threw 40 pitches while hitters stood in from both sides of the batter's box. For what it's worth, one of those batters reportedly walked away from the session saying “filthy.” This comes a week after Red Sox manager Alex Cora talked up how good Sale's stuff looked during a bullpen session. Everything certainly appears to be trending in the right direction for Sale, and a rehab assignment wouldn't appear far off."
 

BornToRun

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Update from Joe McDonald: "Sale threw 40 pitches while hitters stood in from both sides of the batter's box. For what it's worth, one of those batters reportedly walked away from the session saying “filthy.” This comes a week after Red Sox manager Alex Cora talked up how good Sale's stuff looked during a bullpen session. Everything certainly appears to be trending in the right direction for Sale, and a rehab assignment wouldn't appear far off."
Is a return before the end of July a possibility at this point?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Is a return before the end of July a possibility at this point?
It's a possibility, but probably only in the sense that if he's back before August 1, it's for one start before the calendar turns.

Pitcher rehab assignments max out at 30 days. So best case scenario for a pre-8/1 return is he makes a rehab start sometime in the next 7-8 days.
 

grimshaw

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They could also do what the Padres are doing with Lamet where after a couple rehab starts just had him go 2 innings at first on the MLB level. With 13 man staffs you can do some piggy backing. At some point Houck will be up so the two of them could possibly line up together to also limit Houck's innings.
 

curly2

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And if everyone is healthy, he should open for Pivetta. Pivetta doesn't go deep into games anyway, and with Sale going through the order the first time, a manager may not put as many lefties in the lineup (lefties have .775 OPS vs, Pivetta, vs. .719 for righties).
 

YTF

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Sale as an opener makes perfect sense.
I expect that's what you're going to get to some extent at least for the short term. He's probably looking at 50 pitches or less in his first outing or two with slight incremental increases after that up to about 80 or so? I can't imagine them trying to get much more than that out of him until probably mid/late September if at all.
 

bosockboy

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I expect that's what you're going to get to some extent at least for the short term. He's probably looking at 50 pitches or less in his first outing or two with slight incremental increases after that up to about 80 or so? I can't imagine them trying to get much more than that out of him until probably mid/late September if at all.
5-6 electric innings a week would really help.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I expect that's what you're going to get to some extent at least for the short term. He's probably looking at 50 pitches or less in his first outing or two with slight incremental increases after that up to about 80 or so? I can't imagine them trying to get much more than that out of him until probably mid/late September if at all.
Why would he be limited to 50 pitches or less? He gets a month in the minors to ramp up on a rehab assignment. If he's throwing 30-40 pitch bullpens/simulated games already, there's no reason that he can't work his way up to 60-70+ pitches per outing before he makes a big league appearance.

Unless we think he's going to forgo most or all of his rehab allotment and jump right on to the 26-man roster when he's ready to throw live games, which would be foolish.
 

YTF

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Why would he be limited to 50 pitches or less? He gets a month in the minors to ramp up on a rehab assignment. If he's throwing 30-40 pitch bullpens/simulated games already, there's no reason that he can't work his way up to 60-70+ pitches per outing before he makes a big league appearance.

Unless we think he's going to forgo most or all of his rehab allotment and jump right on to the 26-man roster when he's ready to throw live games, which would be foolish.
You may be right, but I think there are a lot a variables in play here. The first one being how many pitches he throws in his last couple of rehab appearances and how effective he was. Also whether or not the organization feels the need to get more out of Sale in his first game or two back. They might also consider the investment that they have in Sale and opt to ease him into the first couple of games.
 

joe dokes

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Pitches are important, but I think we pay too little attention to innings for guys coming back. I think the team will limit his up-and-downs, regardless of pitch count.
 

tims4wins

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Nice bounce-back start from Perez last night. Not sure WTF happened on 6/8 and 6/13, but he's actually been pretty good for most of the year. His last 10 starts:
0 R x 2
1 R x 2
2 R x 2
3 R x 2
5 R x 1
6 R x 1

He's not giving them length (only averaging 4.76 IP per start on the season, 5.28 if you exclude the two recent bombings; 76 pitches per start, 81 excluding the two recent bombings), but he's been a very good back of the rotation starter and keeping them in games. Hopefully the Toronto and Houston beatings were just blips on the radar. Excluding those two starts his ERA on the season is actually slightly sub-3.00. Overall the Sox are 8-6 in his 14 starts.
 

snowmanny

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Well Remy said as much when he was taken out of the game: “we all know what’s going on here”
 

Sprowl

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Well Remy said as much when he was taken out of the game: “we all know what’s going on here”
That’s pretty accountable stuff tho. He isn’t making excuses.
Any front offices that considered spin rate a reproducible skill (which almost certainly includes Bloom) are left with Bullfrog all over their faces.

On the bright side, they won't be getting skin cancer.
 

soxhop411

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Any front offices that considered spin rate a reproducible skill (which almost certainly includes Bloom) are left with Bullfrog all over their faces.

On the bright side, they won't be getting skin cancer.
Though this is mostly the fault of MLB (and Manfred) if you are going to make a major change like this. Do it before the season so players have a chance to adjust. Doing this big change mid season is stupid.
 

cantor44

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The Sox team WHIP is 1.41 (not sure how to find starters only WHIP maybe one of you whiz kids can do that), close to dead last in the majors. While they could use another hitter, they really really need a couple starters. Sale will be one ... I'm not bullish on Houck, but somewhere, somehow, they gotta find another quality arm.
 

Sprowl

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Though this is mostly the fault of MLB (and Manfred) if you are going to make a major change like this. Do it before the season so players have a chance to adjust. Doing this big change mid season is stupid.
Speculation alert: MLB probably took a look at the worst offenses since 1968 (I haven't done the math), and realized that if they let the spin rate train run out of control, they would lose even the most recreation-starved audiences. To be sure, it would be nice if they had realized this before spring training, but IMO there is never a wrong time to outlaw cheating -- and gooping up the fingers with Spider Tack is cheating. The fact that it was generally accepted practice in 2020 doesn't change that.

Tyler Glasnow and Garrett Richards got to change their evil ways, along with all the other pitchers who had the wisdom to keep their mouths shut.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Speculation alert: MLB probably took a look at the worst offenses since 1968 (I haven't done the math), and realized that if they let the spin rate train run out of control, they would lose even the most recreation-starved audiences. To be sure, it would be nice if they had realized this before spring training, but IMO there is never a wrong time to outlaw cheating -- and gooping up the fingers with Spider Tack is cheating. The fact that it was generally accepted practice in 2020 doesn't change that.

Tyler Glasnow and Garrett Richards got to change their evil ways, along with all the other pitchers who had the wisdom to keep their mouths shut.
I have a suspicion that this crackdown is likely going to go the way of every other crackdown or rules focus that MLB has ever attempted (keeping hitters in the box, raising the strike zone, etc). It's going to be a big deal for a few weeks and then slowly and quietly the checks will get less stringent and less frequent and by September, we'll see a slight but clear resurgence in spin rate and pitcher effectiveness. It will be attributed to the pitchers figuring out how to pitch clean but it will more accurately be pitchers figuring out more discreet ways of improving their grips. And all of MLB will give it the old "ho-hum" treatment.
 

Harry Hooper

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Ca the Sox get Pedro to do a rosin tutorial with Richards and other hurlers on the staff?
 

Yo La Tengo

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I'm baffled by the fact that MLB didn't pair this crackdown with a public commitment to uniformly prep the balls for the game so that grip was not an issue.

It seems like a gem-tumbler-equivalent could be used pre-game so that every ball has exactly the same grip. And maybe they need to scuff up the balls more if they are eliminating any sticky substances.

Here is the current rule: "The umpire shall inspect the baseballs and ensure they are regulation baseballs and that they are properly rubbed so that the gloss is removed. The umpire shall be thesole judge of the fitness of the balls to be used in the game."
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'm baffled by the fact that MLB didn't pair this crackdown with a public commitment to uniformly prep the balls for the game so that grip was not an issue.

It seems like a gem-tumbler-equivalent could be used pre-game so that every ball has exactly the same grip. And maybe they need to scuff up the balls more if they are eliminating any sticky substances.

Here is the current rule: "The umpire shall inspect the baseballs and ensure they are regulation baseballs and that they are properly rubbed so that the gloss is removed. The umpire shall be thesole judge of the fitness of the balls to be used in the game."
You are hitting a key part of the issue. Umpires are specifically trained on how to rub up the balls before the game. It's actually a part of umpire school. The problem is that the umps often aren't the ones prepping the balls anymore. It's random clubhouse attendants and interns. People who haven't been trained. So there's no consistency and arguably no professionalism at all when it comes to prepping the balls.
 

Cesar Crespo

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You are hitting a key part of the issue. Umpires are specifically trained on how to rub up the balls before the game. It's actually a part of umpire school. The problem is that the umps often aren't the ones prepping the balls anymore. It's random clubhouse attendants and interns. People who haven't been trained. So there's no consistency and arguably no professionalism at all when it comes to prepping the balls.
Why have humans do it at all? Would a machine be too expensive or incapable? Seems it would be far more consistent.
 

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You are hitting a key part of the issue. Umpires are specifically trained on how to rub up the balls before the game. It's actually a part of umpire school. The problem is that the umps often aren't the ones prepping the balls anymore. It's random clubhouse attendants and interns. People who haven't been trained. So there's no consistency and arguably no professionalism at all when it comes to prepping the balls.
FWIW, anecdotally, Joe Castig said on a broadcast this week that umpires haven't been rubbing down the balls for 15 years.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Why have humans do it at all? Would a machine be too expensive or incapable? Seems it would be far more consistent.
Machines can rub the special Delaware River mud on the balls? I doubt it would be practical.

Again, umpires are specially trained to do it correctly. And grip was never considered impossible with the way the balls were hand rubbed for the last 100+ years. The umpires should be made to do it themselves like they're supposed to, not pass it off to untrained folks who don't know what they're doing.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Lose Remerswaal

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In Japan and South Korea, players use Mizuno baseballs manufactured with a tacky cover. There’s no reason to use pine tar, sunscreen, or even rosin to get a better grip.

“The ball that comes out of the box is ready to use,” Sawamura said. “The MLB ball is slick. That has been the case for a long time. Even in Japan, we knew this was an issue.”

Is a better baseball the best solution for MLB’s sticky situation? Hirokazu Sawamura thinks it might be - The Boston Globe
I bet if you looked into the company/person who supplies the Delaware River mud it wouldn't be too surprising to find that that person/company has a relationship to someone in MLB beyond this business
 

JimD

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Richards' Eeyore act was dumb - now, if he somehow figures out how to pitch more successfully without the use of tacky substances, he's guaranteed to be targeted by opposing managers and have regular visits by umps. Glad he's only on a one-year deal.
 

cantor44

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Machines can rub the special Delaware River mud on the balls? I doubt it would be practical.

Again, umpires are specially trained to do it correctly. And grip was never considered impossible with the way the balls were hand rubbed for the last 100+ years. The umpires should be made to do it themselves like they're supposed to, not pass it off to untrained folks who don't know what they're doing.
Here's something I don't get: if the pitchers prefer rubbed down balls - balls that have been worn a bit and are not brand new and slick, why oh why is the ball thrown away anytime a pitch hits the dirt, and the pitcher is provided with a virgin fresh ball as a replacement?

I'm really asking, this is not provocative. Something I've always been curious about.
 

shaggydog2000

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Here's something I don't get: if the pitchers prefer rubbed down balls - balls that have been worn a bit and are not brand new and slick, why oh why is the ball thrown away anytime a pitch hits the dirt, and the pitcher is provided with a virgin fresh ball as a replacement?

I'm really asking, this is not provocative. Something I've always been curious about.
Because scuffs on balls can change how they move. If a pitcher realizes he has a ball with a significant enough bit of damage to it, he can use that to his advantage. From what I recall the reason they started changing balls was mostly related to spitballs getting so dark with tobacco juice that hitters had trouble seeing them in the days before stadium lights, and it was really dangerous. Before that era I think they just used a given ball until it started falling apart. Maybe they use more balls than they need to these days, but they can afford to.

I think proper surface treatment of the balls is a good way to address the player concerns. This whole buying mud from one dude and rubbing it on balls inconsistently is just not a proffessional way of doing it, even if the umpires were the ones doing the rub downs. Build a machine, have it spray a coating, make it repeatable. Determine exactly how tacky is enough. Done.
 

Harry Hooper

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There's a memorable anecdote in Gaylord Perry's Me and the Spitter detailing how Perry made a pickoff throw to 1B and the first baseman dropped the ball and made sure to scuff it in the dirt as he picked it up and returned it to Perry. Gaylord then used the scuffed ball to get a strikeout (a game-ender IIRC) on a pitch with sensational movement.
 

bstoker7

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I'm baffled by the fact that MLB didn't pair this crackdown with a public commitment to uniformly prep the balls for the game so that grip was not an issue.

It seems like a gem-tumbler-equivalent could be used pre-game so that every ball has exactly the same grip. And maybe they need to scuff up the balls more if they are eliminating any sticky substances.

Here is the current rule: "The umpire shall inspect the baseballs and ensure they are regulation baseballs and that they are properly rubbed so that the gloss is removed. The umpire shall be thesole judge of the fitness of the balls to be used in the game."
The thing is, sweat makes grip difficult regardless of the ball condition. For example, I coach at a high school in Utah where everything is dry as we’re in the middle of the desert. Even sweat doesn’t hang around on your hands long. We take our kids to tournaments in the Midwest and on the East Coast. The sweat stays on their hands and everything becomes slick. Our guys that hit without gloves use liquid chalk on their hands when they go to the on-deck circle. Our pitchers have to load up on rosin every pitch, and the balls we use have higher seams and aren’t nearly as slick as the MLB balls. Maybe MLB pitchers can get their substances back through annoying Manfred by spending the extra time to go to the rosin bag between every pitch?

As a side note, I was talking to a family friend who pitched for the Twins and spent 25 years coaching minor league baseball once his playing career was over. He retired this winter. He said nearly every bullpen in pro ball had a sack with everything you could imagine to help pitchers enhance their grip. I can’t speak to the truthfulness of that, but it’s what he said he experienced.

Here's something I don't get: if the pitchers prefer rubbed down balls - balls that have been worn a bit and are not brand new and slick, why oh why is the ball thrown away anytime a pitch hits the dirt, and the pitcher is provided with a virgin fresh ball as a replacement?

I'm really asking, this is not provocative. Something I've always been curious about.
Because scuffs on the ball make it move more.

High schools in Utah pay for their own baseballs until the state tournament. We start every game with six new balls, but cycle in old, slightly worn balls if people are slow getting fouls back to the field. We teach our pitchers and catchers not to throw scuffed or cut balls to the umpire unless asked to do so. We instruct them to hold the scuff on the opposite side of the way they want the ball to move. It makes such a difference that they usually only get to throw one or two pitches before the umpire notices and calls for the ball, which then immediately gets thrown out.
 
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Yo La Tengo

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The thing is, sweat makes grip difficult regardless of the ball condition.
Agreed. Cold temps, wet grass, sweat, etc. all make the ball harder to grip. In my experience, a well prepped ball is easier to grip in all of those conditions than a ball that has some remaining gloss. But, prep work won't solve all those issues (it is just the easiest to solve since it should already be happening). I think MLB should consider allowing a pitcher to keep a small towel next to the rosin bag or on his belt. Maybe sweat bands? A hand warmer in cold weather like QBs used to use? And, there might be a sticky substance that could be agreed upon and provided by MLB that pitchers could use as well.

The goal should be a universal solution that addresses the problem but doesn't provide an unfair advantage.
 

Rovin Romine

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The Grippery Slope. Machines tumbling the pitcher's balls will lead to robot umpires. So let the umps continue to rub and massage as many virgin balls as they might, so they can miscall them when tossed.

A game as American as apple pie.