The Bullpen Thread

DeadlySplitter

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For whatever reason DD rarely acquires/grows quality bullpen arms. It arguably cost the 2013 Tigers a ring.

Since bullpen is most volatile, a good portion is probably luck. And I know some of the issues are from last year's tire fire. But you look at Kimbrel and Abad this year, Benoit and trash in 2013, and wonder.

Would it surprise anyone at this point if we lose a playoff series this year in the way of the 2013 Tigers?
 

Plympton91

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Benoit wasn't really trash in 2013. He was a very good signing actually who made a bad pitch to Papi after someone else loaded the bases.

I think they have to get Tazawa and Abad on the DL with "tired arms" and get Kelly and Johnson up here. Use them in the 6th and 7th with the idea of ratcheting up their leverage as soon as they show an aptitude for it.
 

phenweigh

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It seems that Farrell is trying to get the non-Kimbrel pitchers into favorable match-ups with little to no success. I advocate giving Buchholz the 8th inning, and hope that the offense and starters combine to keep high leverage 6th and 7th inning opportunities to a minimum.

Regarding Papelbon, I find it interesting that his self-imposed deadline for a decision has quietly passed. There seems to be interest in his services, so I'm guessing he's holding out for an opportunity to close for a contending team. That may be a bridge to far.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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Maybe Paps is waiting to see if the closer for a contender gets hurt between now and the end of the month, as that is his preferred role. But he, and the signing team, will want him to be playoff eligible, so it certainly won't go past the end of the month.
 

dhappy42

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Agree with Nick Friar:

"Say what you want about Kelly or Papelbon, but at least they’re something different from Abad and Tazawa.

"The reason the Sox need some different faces goes beyond performance. Farrell needs to shed the this-guy-can-only-pitch-in-this-situation/that-guy-can-only-pitch-in-that-situation straightjacket he's been wearing. The Sox should practice what they’ve been preaching to Buchholz: Simplify everything, stop trying to be cute."

http://www.csnne.com/boston-red-sox/limited-boston-red-sox-bullpen-needs-reinforcements
 

YTF

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It's was reported that he requested his release rather than being DFA to help speed up the process of hooking up with another team, but I can understand waiting for the right landing spot. This is his audition for next season.
 

Harry Hooper

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Agree with Nick Friar:

"Say what you want about Kelly or Papelbon, but at least they’re something different from Abad and Tazawa.

"The reason the Sox need some different faces goes beyond performance. Farrell needs to shed the this-guy-can-only-pitch-in-this-situation/that-guy-can-only-pitch-in-that-situation straightjacket he's been wearing. The Sox should practice what they’ve been preaching to Buchholz: Simplify everything, stop trying to be cute."

http://www.csnne.com/boston-red-sox/limited-boston-red-sox-bullpen-needs-reinforcements

I read the whole piece, but I don't get the straightjacket reference at all. Farrell has actually moved guys around {including his use of Kimbrel), but really no one's consistent enough to be counted on.
 

joe dokes

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I read the whole piece, but I don't get the straightjacket reference at all. Farrell has actually moved guys around {including his use of Kimbrel), but really no one's consistent enough to be counted on.
And the inconsistency manifests itself in being really really bad, not just a little bad. (Barnes and Kimbrel walking the house; Ziegler walking in a couple of runs, A Bad, Taz, etc.). Ross has probably been the most consistent (least inconsistent?) of the non-Kimbrels, but for some reason, he's only pitched on consecutive days *twice* this year, and 38 times in 231 career relief appearances. (although he has been effective when doing so.).
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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I think they have to get Tazawa and Abad on the DL with "tired arms" and get Kelly and Johnson up here. Use them in the 6th and 7th with the idea of ratcheting up their leverage as soon as they show an aptitude for it.
I agree with the premise of hiding Tazawa and Abad. Just want to point out that PawSox pitching coach Bob Kipper thinks Johnson should stay in Pawtucket for now. Maybe bring up Kelly and leave Hembree up when Wright comes off the DL.

Johnson is putting himself close to a position where, if the Red Sox need a depth starter, he’d be a consideration. At the same time, the gap between where he is and where he could end up may argue in favor of caution.

“I think he needs more time,” said Kipper. “He needs to start more baseball games here. He needs to continue to get comfortable.

“He’s certainly well on his way. I just think, I don’t feel that there’s a rush to get him there. What he’s been through, we have to take that into consideration. We have to allow this guy to get really, really comfortable again in his game.”​

 

Plympton91

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And per my initial point in this thread about part of the Red Sox bullpen problems being that they can't develop relief pitchers, I'm watching Madison Younginer warm up for the Braves. 7 years in the Sox system and he has nothing more than 4 innings of AAA to his credit. Then 7 months with the Braves and he in the major leagues.

Never mind. 92-94, shaky control, rolling curveball, and remedial change up. Single, walk, infield hit, pitcher bunts out, diving stop saves a hit, infield hit, weak ground out. 3 runs.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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Abraham agrees

Pete Abraham ‏@PeteAbe 2h2 hours ago
One way to help out the #RedSox bullpen would be to set some roles and stick with them
Abraham should know better than this. How can you stick to set roles when the relievers are inconsistent at best and ineffective at worst? The reason roles aren't established is that the pitchers haven't been able to claim them. The roles are there (and have been there) for the taking it anyone wishes to step up and grab them.
 

Drek717

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I'd like to see Henry Owens given a shot in the pen. He historically has a mild reverse split through the minors and a dramatic reverse split in his limited ML sample, so he wouldn't be just a lefties only guy. His velocity has bumped up to 91-93 in short stints so he might see a real velo bump out of the pen. He can strike guys out effectively and his biggest concern is his walk rate, the same issue of about every other reliever we have.
 

j44thor

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Kyle Martin is an intriguing option. K 11/9 and a 2 G/F ratio. Does walk a bit more than you would like but otherwise is dominant holding AAA batters to a sub .600 OPS over 60+ innings this season. Mid 90s FB and a dominant change up.

Likely won't see him until Sept if at all but do hope he is given a chance.
 

benhogan

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First move: Taz needs two weeks off, a DL visit, there is clearly something physically wrong with him. Kelly needs to be called up. Taz can come back when rosters expand and then used in low leverage situations to re-build his confidence.

Second move: Farrell needs to go situational here, and start going righty/lefty. ALL (ex Kimbrel) of our relief pitchers have pronounced splits this season. Kelly gets long relief/mop up. In close games, 3 runs or less, Hembree only faces RHH and Abad only faces LHH in the 6-7th innings. Ross/Ziegler/Barnes combo for 7-8th. Kimbrel 9th (or if big K needed in 8th). We have 12 games left, with no days off, till we can expand the roster (bullpen arms added in bulk) on 9/1. In 10 of those 12 games we face two of the lighter hitting AL teams in Tampa and KC, we probably get some length from the starters. So if we get a low scoring tight game where the starter goes 6-7 innings, we should mix and match in the 7th and 8th. None of our relief pitchers deserve to 'own' the 8th inning.

Third move: Clay is our starting depth till 9/1, we no longer need to be concerned about having 7-10 pitchers for 'starting depth' this season. So I agree with Drek (re: Owens) and P91 (re: Elias), we should get all the pitchers down in AAA to start working out of the stretch more (while limiting their innings). The mindset at AAA should be there are bullpen roles to be had with the Big club once Sept. 1 hits.
 

Drek717

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Kyle Martin is an intriguing option. K 11/9 and a 2 G/F ratio. Does walk a bit more than you would like but otherwise is dominant holding AAA batters to a sub .600 OPS over 60+ innings this season. Mid 90s FB and a dominant change up.

Likely won't see him until Sept if at all but do hope he is given a chance.
Martin is definitely interesting. Last year in AA his ERA was a 4.50 but with a FIP of 3.13. This year his ERA is 3.39 in AAA but paired with a FIP of 2.66. His K/9 has been great (10.29, 11.11 respectively) and his walk rate isn't great but also not horrible (3.43, 3.09). His LOB% didn't do him any favors last year (68%) and isn't as good as I'd expect from a reliever this year (73%), but what really sticks out is his BABIP. .348 and AA last year and .314 in AAA this year. If his BABIP is truly the product of either A. random luck or B. poor defense at the respective levels it bodes well for him as a worthwhile ML reliever. If instead there is something about his repertoire that produces hard contact that could emerge even moreso at the ML level and sink him.

While I don't know where (if anywhere) you can find ISO against for mL pitchers his HR rate is actually pretty modest (0.64 and 0.46 the last two seasons) so at least that is contrary to him being prone to hard contact. Also, the 2015 Sea Dogs weren't exactly an all-star squad and neither is the 2016 PawSox. From my personal recollection I'd say the 2015 Sea Dogs are just about the weakest team they've ran out in recent history, such that the real draw to their box scores was one Carlos Asuaje, and the 2016 PawSox is basically an assemblage of has beens and never will be's. Rusney Castillo is a good defensive outfielder and they've had some good catching despite a revolving door at the position all year, but other than that it isn't much of a defensive roster.

The club will definitely have flexibility in playoff roster construction if they get that far though. I can't recall seeing so many 60 man DL stints in recent years and that isn't including Koji who is one meaningful setback away from his season ending himself. The club will be able to pick and choose their bullpen almost without regard to the actual qualified players list.
 

Stan Papi Was Framed

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I was away for a week and perhaps missed this, but why exactly is Taz still on the MLB roster? why not DL him and replace with either Kyle Martin or Joe Kelly? not that Martin or Kelly are anything resembling sure things, but I'd rather see them than Taz right now (though none of the 3 is currently a candidate for anything close to a high leverage situation)
 

HomeRunBaker

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Second move: Farrell needs to go situational here, and start going righty/lefty. ALL (ex Kimbrel) of our relief pitchers have pronounced splits this season. Kelly gets long relief/mop up. In close games, 3 runs or less, Hembree only faces RHH and Abad only faces LHH in the 6-7th innings. Ross/Ziegler/Barnes combo for 7-8th. Kimbrel 9th (or if big K needed in 8th). We have 12 games left, with no days off, till we can expand the roster (bullpen arms added in bulk) on 9/1. In 10 of those 12 games we face two of the lighter hitting AL teams in Tampa and KC, we probably get some length from the starters. So if we get a low scoring tight game where the starter goes 6-7 innings, we should mix and match in the 7th and 8th. None of our relief pitchers deserve to 'own' the 8th inning.
This sounds great in a 7-game series however this is one of the major, probably THE major, issue that I have with the chronic Farrell bashers in that you can't have all these guys up every single night. There has to be a management process in place to regulate each pitchers usage.....not only their appearances but the times they get up and ready to enter the game. It was the same thing back when Francona was here as well with everyone wanting to see THE optimal matchup every night, long term management and usage of the arms be damned.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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The mindset at AAA should be there are bullpen roles to be had with the Big club once Sept. 1 hits.
Yes, but...
The MILB season runs through Labor Day, Sept 5. I don't think a handful of minor league games would keep the Sox from bringing up a guy or two on 9/1, but I also wouldn't expect wholesale call-ups until after those seasons end. Too many pieces would have to move to keep rosters full.
I, for one, am looking forward to the bullpen reinforcements, but I think I'll have to wait a few more days than 9/1.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Yes, but...
The MILB season runs through Labor Day, Sept 5. I don't think a handful of minor league games would keep the Sox from bringing up a guy or two on 9/1, but I also wouldn't expect wholesale call-ups until after those seasons end. Too many pieces would have to move to keep rosters full.
I, for one, am looking forward to the bullpen reinforcements, but I think I'll have to wait a few more days than 9/1.
Literally zero teams are holding back call ups because of the last few days of the minor league schedule. That's not how it works.
 

benhogan

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This sounds great in a 7-game series however this is one of the major, probably THE major, issue that I have with the chronic Farrell bashers in that you can't have all these guys up every single night. There has to be a management process in place to regulate each pitchers usage.....not only their appearances but the times they get up and ready to enter the game. It was the same thing back when Francona was here as well with everyone wanting to see THE optimal matchup every night, long term management and usage of the arms be damned.
I agree you can't do that all season long, and not what I was suggesting.

The whole point I was making is that we are reaching an inflection point of the season, where we get to take advantage of roster expansion. The game can and should be managed differently over the next week and a half. As we witnessed last night.
 
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benhogan

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Yes, but...
The MILB season runs through Labor Day, Sept 5. I don't think a handful of minor league games would keep the Sox from bringing up a guy or two on 9/1, but I also wouldn't expect wholesale call-ups until after those seasons end. Too many pieces would have to move to keep rosters full.
I, for one, am looking forward to the bullpen reinforcements, but I think I'll have to wait a few more days than 9/1.
Not that this matters, but Pawtucket's magic # is 3 games.

http://www.milb.com/standings/index.jsp?lid=117&sid=t533

The Sox management and especially the AAA players probably could give one wit to playing out the string at AAA as opposed to being in the MAJORS during a pennant chase.

The pen usage is a concern and watched closely by Sox Mgmt all season long. If needed, they will add several arms regardless of MiLB 9/5 end of the season BBQ, swim party and Labor Day festivities at Pawtucket.
 
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Devizier

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Any chance Robby Scott gets added to the 40-man roster? He's pitched very well in AAA. Might be a useful LHP for September.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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The pen usage is a concern and watched closely by Sox Mgmt all season long. If needed, they will add several arms regardless of MiLB 9/5 end of the season BBQ, swim party and Labor Day festivities at Pawtucket.
I get that the MLB team is the priority, and ackowledged that by noting the Sox might bring up one or two arms on 9/1. But I wouldn't expect "several" until after 9/5. Because even though the PawSox will have nothing to play for, they still have to field a team, as does Portland, Salem, Greenville and Lowell. I just don't see the Sox moving a bunch of players around the minor league system just for the marginal benefit of adding the 10th, 11th and 12th arms to the bullpen. Unless there were an emergency in Boston, or if vacated Pawtucket roster spots could be filled from the DL or some other method than pulling guys from Portland, (necessitating guys being pulled from Salem to Portland, etc.). I hope everything is going so well with the Boston rotation and bullpen in early Sept that we never have to find out.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Along those lines, is there anyone willing to make the case that Henry Owens has some utility as a reliever?
I suppose one could point to Andrew Miller as an example of a tall lefty with control issues who found success in the bullpen with a simplified, from-the-stretch-only approach that aided with his control problems. However, Miller had a 98-99 MPH fastball to work with once he found consistency. Owens hasn't shown that capability.

That said, there's a long list of "crafty" lefties who made livings as short relievers, so if he can find control there's hope for him yet. I can't see it happening in the next six weeks such that it greatly benefits the 2016 Red Sox, though.
 

joe dokes

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I was away for a week and perhaps missed this, but why exactly is Taz still on the MLB roster? why not DL him and replace with either Kyle Martin or Joe Kelly? not that Martin or Kelly are anything resembling sure things, but I'd rather see them than Taz right now (though none of the 3 is currently a candidate for anything close to a high leverage situation)

While its hard to imagine that Kelly 3.0 would be less useful than Taz is right now, what if Taz isn't hurt?
 

grimshaw

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I wonder if his return from shoulder impingement was too early. I'm sure he doesn't particularly want to go back to the DL before he becomes a free agent.
They shut him down on Sept 15 last year with shoulder fatigue, but other than that he's stayed off the DL his whole MLB career (though he did have TJ in 2010 before his debut)

I'd like to see Chandler Shepherd as the next guy up. He can go 2 and is a ground ball guy (48% rate).
 

joe dokes

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I wonder if his return from shoulder impingement was too early. I'm sure he doesn't particularly want to go back to the DL before he becomes a free agent.
They shut him down on Sept 15 last year with shoulder fatigue, but other than that he's stayed off the DL his whole MLB career (though he did have TJ in 2010 before his debut)

I don't doubt that he *might* still be suffering from some sort of shoulder ailment. And it would certainly be better for the Sox over the next week or so if he is, so that he can DL'd instead of taking up space. Just wondering about the worst case, both for the Sox immediate future and Tazawa's long-term future (he's not hurt, he done.).
 

simplicio

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While its hard to imagine that Kelly 3.0 would be less useful than Taz is right now, what if Taz isn't hurt?
He seems to fall apart in the last couple months every year. Maybe he's just cooked as a pitcher, sure, but good Taz is good enough that it's worth a couple weeks rest to try to find that guy again. I can see him not wanting to go to the DL in a contract year, but it has to hurt his value far more to keep giving up multiple runs per appearance more often than not.
 

grimshaw

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He seems to fall apart in the last couple months every year. Maybe he's just cooked as a pitcher, sure, but good Taz is good enough that it's worth a couple weeks rest to try to find that guy again. I can see him not wanting to go to the DL in a contract year, but it has to hurt his value far more to keep giving up multiple runs per appearance more often than not.
And if he can just hang on 9 more games, he can rest as much as needed without being DL'd in September. The pen would have been in better shape if not for that rain delay so they could have stayed away from him for another game.
 

simplicio

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And if he can just hang on 9 more games, he can rest as much as needed without being DL'd in September. The pen would have been in better shape if not for that rain delay so they could have stayed away from him for another game.
Hang on as in not pitch and waste a bullpen spot, or hang on as in keep running out there for a couple easy runs every time? Either way I see no upside to him staying on the team right now; what he's been doing in August is the worst case scenario.
 

joe dokes

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Hang on as in not pitch and waste a bullpen spot, or hang on as in keep running out there for a couple easy runs every time? Either way I see no upside to him staying on the team right now; what he's been doing in August is the worst case scenario.
I agree with this. The next 9 days is pretty important and comes with no days off. I just dont know the right way to get him off the roster.
 

grimshaw

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I'm curious as to what purpose this serves.
They can use him sparingly rather than losing him for 15 days, and then when rosters expand they can rest him indefinitely.

He wouldn't have gone out yesterday and thrown 2 innings if they didn't believer he was truly hurt. And I don't think they can force him to a DL stint( see Hanley Ramirez last year). If it's completely low leverage innings until then, so be it. Someone had to soak up two innings in a beat down.

Not a big deal either way unless they have a gassed pen.
 
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I Miss Maalox

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I Miss Maalox

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And if I might venture beyond the 1 liner, Henry strikes me as a long man or, at best, a start-a-clean-inning middle reliever. I wouldn't want him pitching with any of my inherited runners on base. The problem with not having fastball command isn't just that he walks lots of guys; it's that the FB he wants on the outside corner might come right down the pike. And I don't care if it's 90 or 93-94, middle of the plate fastballs are what keep guys like Justin Upton (current OPS - .674) in the major leagues.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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While its hard to imagine that Kelly 3.0 would be less useful than Taz is right now, what if Taz isn't hurt?
Then explain to him that he has "Hellenic Flu" or release him. He's SO cooked there's no reason to keep him on the 25 man roster

And if he can just hang on 9 more games, he can rest as much as needed without being DL'd in September. The pen would have been in better shape if not for that rain delay so they could have stayed away from him for another game.
He can hang on for as many games as needed, on the DL.

They can use him sparingly rather than losing him for 15 days, and then when rosters expand they can rest him indefinitely.

He wouldn't have gone out yesterday and thrown 2 innings if they didn't believer he was truly hurt. And I don't think they can force him to a DL stint( see Hanley Ramirez last year). If it's completely low leverage innings until then, so be it. Someone had to soak up two innings in a beat down.

Not a big deal either way unless they have a gassed pen.
Using him sparingly in games where they are down by 7 runs? That's a very specific role that you have to hope doesn't come up too often. Where the downside in DLing him or releasing him? Yes, he was huge in 2013, but so was Felix Doubront. I don't want either on my 25 man roster now!
 

joe dokes

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. Where the downside in DLing him or releasing him? Yes, he was huge in 2013, but so was Felix Doubront. I don't want either on my 25 man roster now!

The only downside is if those who are better at assessing these things thinks that he isn't cooked, that it might be something mechanical, rather than physical, and like (fingers-crossed) Buchholz, he can still be useful.
 

grimshaw

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Then explain to him that he has "Hellenic Flu" or release him. He's SO cooked there's no reason to keep him on the 25 man roster

He can hang on for as many games as needed, on the DL.

Using him sparingly in games where they are down by 7 runs? That's a very specific role that you have to hope doesn't come up too often. Where the downside in DLing him or releasing him? Yes, he was huge in 2013, but so was Felix Doubront. I don't want either on my 25 man roster now!
People are confusing keeping him on the roster vs. DL'ing him which isn't possible if he isn't or they don't believe he's hurt. If DL'ing him isn't in the cards, then using him in those roles is the only other option. Craig Breslow was cooked for one and a half years and they didn't force him to take a two week vacation either year despite having shoulder issues in the past. And releasing the 7th guy out of the pen 10 days before roster expansion is silly

I'd be thrilled to be wrong, I have the sniffles today, so maybe they are contagious but if he's behind Kimbrel, Ziegler, Barnes, Ross, Hembree and even Abad with 7 out of the next 10 games vs the Rays , then who cares if he is the guy throwing the meaningless innings? Someone has to.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Using him sparingly in games where they are down by 7 runs? That's a very specific role that you have to hope doesn't come up too often. Where the downside in DLing him or releasing him? Yes, he was huge in 2013, but so was Felix Doubront. I don't want either on my 25 man roster now!
Isn't the bolded exactly how Buchholz was handled for about a month and a half after he was yanked from the rotation? As little as three weeks ago, how Tazawa was used yesterday was Buchholz's spot to pitch. They survived that, and Buchholz might have benefited from it.

All indications are that they think Tazawa has something left to offer even if he's slumping right now. Maybe a couple weeks in the mop-up spot will give him a chance to figure out whatever it is that's ailing him and fix it in time to contribute meaningfully in September and beyond.
 

joe dokes

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People are confusing keeping him on the roster vs. DL'ing him which isn't possible if he isn't or they don't believe he's hurt. If DL'ing him isn't in the cards, then using him in those roles is the only other option. Craig Breslow was cooked for one and a half years and they didn't force him to take a two week vacation either year despite having shoulder issues in the past. And releasing the 7th guy out of the pen 10 days before roster expansion is silly

I'd be thrilled to be wrong, I have the sniffles today, so maybe they are contagious but if he's behind Kimbrel, Ziegler, Barnes, Ross, Hembree and even Abad with 7 out of the next 10 games vs the Rays , then who cares if he is the guy throwing the meaningless innings? Someone has to.
I'm trying to keep the 2 separate, which is where the team's difficulty lies if they don't think he's cooked AND he's not really injured. You;re certainly right that mop-up is the only option. But that could make things a little tight as well.

I was probably a little gun-shy after the last week where they had some short starts (Buchholz, Rodriguez, Pomeranz, Owens). One thing I didn't consider is that there will be no rain-affected games before Friday, so that's out. On the flip side, Abad is currently limited to mop-up as well, but I guess a lot of teams have at least 2 guys they don't want to use in big spots. OTTH- the uncertainty of Wright and Rodriguez factors in as well, with one still on the active roster, and a pitcher (probably) getting dropped when Wright comes off.
 

grimshaw

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I'm trying to keep the 2 separate, which is where the team's difficulty lies if they don't think he's cooked AND he's not really injured. You;re certainly right that mop-up is the only option. But that could make things a little tight as well.
Agree if they are short an arm and he would be forced into a high leverage spot (unlikely but possible) - then it complicates things. There is also the possibility of optioning Hembree if Tazawa isn't DL'd if they absolutely need a fresh arm, vs poor performance). They can bring him back up either 9-1 or when the AAA season ends, so it wouldn't have to be the full 10 days.
 

YTF

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They can use him sparingly rather than losing him for 15 days, and then when rosters expand they can rest him indefinitely.

He wouldn't have gone out yesterday and thrown 2 innings if they didn't believer he was truly hurt. And I don't think they can force him to a DL stint( see Hanley Ramirez last year). If it's completely low leverage innings until then, so be it. Someone had to soak up two innings in a beat down.

Not a big deal either way unless they have a gassed pen.
Thanks for explaining your POV. I hate the idea of having a guy that's pretty much relegated to that role on the team, especially with the pen as iffy as it is. They probably can't force him to the DL, but they may be able to convince him that it's might be the best way that he can help the team right now, perhaps get some rest, do a little "rehab" work and have the opportunity to get himself back to where he's looking and throwing more like himself. Either way, he just seems like a wasted roster spot right now.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
People are confusing keeping him on the roster vs. DL'ing him which isn't possible if he isn't or they don't believe he's hurt. If DL'ing him isn't in the cards, then using him in those roles is the only other option. Craig Breslow was cooked for one and a half years and they didn't force him to take a two week vacation either year despite having shoulder issues in the past. And releasing the 7th guy out of the pen 10 days before roster expansion is silly .
I would argue that right now, 10 games is 1/4 of the season. That's a pretty big consideration to me.