Red Sox Post

Tracking Boston Red Sox and AL East. Follow on Twitter: @RedSoxPost

Archive for the ‘Jonathan Papelbon’ Category

Red Sox Could Use a Righty in the Bullpen

leave a comment »

With the deadline for acquiring players who can be post-season eligible fast approaching, the Red Sox are most likely in the hunt for a right-handed pitcher for the bullpen.

But the guess here is the Red Sox already have that player on the team roster in starter Ryan Dempster.

Here’s why.

With the best record in the American League – Boston has the last shot to claim a player in the AL, meaning competitors Texas, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland all have to pass a player before the Red Sox have a shot.

And for a National Leaguer, all NL teams need to take a pass on a waiver claim before the AL teams come up to bat.

That means a good deal is unlikely to make its way to Boston.

More likely the options will be relievers with bad contracts (Jonathan Papelbon or Heath Bell) or undistinguished performance (Kevin Gregg reports say Gregg has cleared waivers – or Tom Wilhelmsen).

Or poor starters who could shift to the pen (Joe Blanton or Edinson Volquez – who was just picked up by the Dodgers).

These look like options the Red Sox will pass on.

Should the Sox make the playoffs – they will go with no more than four starters.

Right now, Dempster looks like the odd man out (losing out to Felix Doubront for the last spot in the rotation).

And if Clay Buchholz makes it back to the big league roster – that would pretty much seal the deal that Dempster heads to the bullpen (probably for Doubront too).

Dempster has bullpen experience – he had 33 saves in 2005 (I know a long time ago).

Adding a veteran presence like Dempster to the bullpen could make things easier for Junichi Tazawa (looks like he is running out of gas) and Brandon Workman (may not be ready for 8th inning duties).

Do you think the Red Sox will try to bolster their bullpen today?

Papelbon Moves onto Phillies – What’s Next for Red Sox?

with one comment

Closer Jonathan Papelbon got the big money and long-term deal he has been working towards – and is headed off to Philadelphia.

More power to him. Papelbon delivered for the Red Sox.

He was a 4-time All Star. Fan favorite. And stand-up guy when things didn’t go well.

One can’t blame the Red Sox for passing on Papelbon.

The MLB track record on long-term deals for relievers is not that great (especially for hard throwing relievers). Exhibit One: B.J. Ryan and the Blue Jays.

And don’t counter with the longevity of Mariano Rivera. The future Hall of Famer is a freak – in a category all by himself.

David Schoenfield chronicles Papelbon’s performance, writing here are Papelbon’s rankings over the past three seasons among all relievers with at least 150 innings:

  • 19th in batting average
  • 16th in on-base percentage
  • 18th in slugging percentage
  • 23rd in ERA

What’s Next?

Gordon Edes writes the next manager will have a say on how the closer role is handled.

I look for the Red Sox to take a Kevin Towers approach – focus more on acquiring depth, less on making a splash with a big-name replacement.

Daniel Bard will get a shot but given Boston’s annual expectations (World Series), the team will need to cover its bases.

Bobby Jenks – the team can’t count on him. Anything (positive) he provides will be a plus.

Alfredo Aceves – he gets a well-deserved shot in the starting rotation.

Groom a rookie or two for the back-end of the bullpen – looking at Felix Doubront, Kyle Weiland and Junichi Tazawa. Another name to watch: Alex Wilson as a potential power arm in the pen.

Shop the “bargain table” at the free agent bazaar. Players like: Mike Gonzalez or David Aardsma (38 saves in ’09; 31 saves in ‘10 – show relievers can come from nowhere).

Go find 1 or more “plus arms” that may be able to put it together for a year (building the bullpen is a year-by-year process – don’t count on guys for more than a year). Utilize someone like Jed Lowrie or Josh Reddick to get an arm – potential upside for potential upside.

And wait out the free agent market. There are a lot of relieves available.

See where the market places players like Joe Nathan and Jonathan Broxton – and look to do a short-term, incentive-laden deal. To get some Bard insurance.

2012 Red Sox Pitching Options – Rebuilding After September’s Collapse

leave a comment »

Job one for Ben Cherington or whoever replaces Theo Epstein as Red Sox GM is to get the pitching staff in shape for next season.

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey all stunk in September (actually, Lackey stunk all season).

The Tim Wakefield Era is probably over.

The Andrew Miller experiment – while a worthy attempt – doesn’t look like it will pay off.

And Erik Bedard – thankfully – is probably just passing through and will be elsewhere in 2012.

Jonathan Papelbon (free agency) and Daniel Bard (another last season collapser) create questions in the bullpen.

Fortunately, we had Alex Speier walk through the Red Sox pitching options.

Speier first reviews the 2011 numbers – Boston’s starters had a 4.49 ERA (#22 in MLB); 71 quality starts (#28 in MLB); 940 innings pitched (#25 in MLB); and more.

Not a pretty picture.

So what are the answers? A look at a few options Speier discusses:

  • CC Sabathia. I love him. But at age 31 and probably wanting 6 or 7 years, let’s pass.
  • C.J. Wilson. Pursue if the price is in the Beckett/Lackey deal range. Pass if the price tag is $100 million (as reported).
  • Yu Darvish. Never seen him – so tough to weigh in. But at this point – not sure I’d dip into the Japan market after how the last great pitcher from there (Daisuke Matsuzaka – who shouldn’t counted on for anything in 2012) worked out.
  • Alfredo Aceves. Keep him in the bullpen – where he was invaluable.
  • Daniel Bard. I like the power arm in the rotation – but that’s a tough transition (bullpen to starter) to make in the majors. But Gordon Edes thinks Bard can make the move.
  • Papelbon. All depends where the Papelbon market is – if it’s $12 million/3 years – yes, do it. If it is more money or years, check out Heath Bell (who will probably be a big Texas target with Neftali Feliz moving to the rotation).
  • Gavin Floyd/John Danks. I would zero in on one of these guys as a Lackey replacement. They are not front-line starters but can be good middle of the rotation pitchers.

As the Hot Stove heats up – let’s keep an eye how the Red Sox can improve the pitching staff.

What are your suggestions for trade and free agent moves?

Boston Red Sox – Cleveland Indian Series Preview

leave a comment »

Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis have been on a tear lately.

Brian MacPherson notes in the last 10 days, Gonzalez and Youkilis have combined to hit .403 with a .464 on-base percentage and .722 slugging percentage – a 1.187 OPS.

And Rob Bradford writes Gonzalez’ presence has helped David Ortiz regain his leftfield stroke and reach a .300 Avg. again.

MacPherson also cites Youkilis passed Mo Vaughn this weekend to gain the all-time Red Sox lead in being hit by pitches.

Tribe Talk

Old friend Justin Masterson starts the series opener. After beginning the season 5-0, Masterson has lost his last 2 decisions while still pitching well.

Big day for SS Asdrubal Cabrera yesterday, going 5 for 5 with 2 HRs. Bud Shaw writes the game is just another indication Cabrera has emerged as a star.

With 12 saves, closer Chris Perez has performed well – but still needs to work on lefty batters and reducing walks.

Cleveland got word rookie P Alex White is expected to be out 8 to 12 weeks with a sprained finger ligament. Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore are also on the DL.

Here’s a look at the series pitching match-ups and a series preview from STATS.

Red Sox Report

Boston Red Sox – Chicago Cubs Preview

leave a comment »

The last time the Chicago Cubs visited Fenway Park was 1918.

Anthony Castrovince notes the series will end what is easily the longest time between appearances for any team in any ballpark.

Red Sox reliever – and ex-Cubbie – Rich Hill tells Castrovince, “It’s going to be a hot ticket. The Cubs are probably the most beloved National League team. The Red Sox are the most beloved American League team.”

Hill adds to the ProJo, “This will be a blast.”

Gordon Edes pens an open letter to Cubs fans – telling them to hang in there. Writes Edes, “One of these centuries, it will happen for you.”

Cubs Chatter

Manager Mike Quade says his troops have been trying too hard – they should just relax.

Darwin Barney has been one of the top rookies in baseball this season, batting .343 with 8 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs.

Doug Davis pitches the opener for the Cubs. Here are the Red Sox – Cubs pitching match-ups and a series preview.

The Chicago Tribune looks at the “Curse of 1918” for the Cubs.

Bill Buckner – former Cub and Red Sox – says life’s tough and accepts his reality.

Red Sox Report

Boston Red Sox – Baltimore Orioles Series Preview

leave a comment »

What a difference a week makes.

Last Monday – despite 2 wins in a row – the Boston Red Sox faced a still-skeptical fan base that things were really turning around.

Now, Boston has a five game winning streak going – including their first 4 game series sweep in Anaheim since 1980.

And the team has won 8 of their last 9 games – and has the .500 mark within reach for the first time this season.

With Baltimore slumping – 3 wins in their last 14 games – the Red Sox should win the series and get above .500.

Why are the Red Sox winning? Boston starters have allowed 2 or fewer runs while pitching at least 5 IP in each of the last 9 games.

It’s all about pitching.

Red Sox – Orioles Pop Quiz

Eight times an Orioles hitter has had 5 hits in a game. The last player to hit this mark did so against the Red Sox in 2005. Who is the player?

Orioles Update

The Red Sox face Zach Britton in the series opener. Britton has 3 wins, tying the Baltimore record for a rookie starter in April. He’s the kind of starter who does well against Boston – 1) a lefty and 2) a rookie they have not faced before in the regular season.

Brian Roberts has hit in a team season-high 11 straight games, going 16 for 47 (.340 Avg.).

Mark Reynolds is struggling (1 for last 25 AB) – with a .177 Avg. and 20 K in 62 AB for the season. Not a surprise for a guy who has struck out more than 200 times in each of the last 3 seasons and batted .177 last year. The lure of the long ball – Reynolds had 32 HR in 2010 – gives him a job. I don’t see the average/HR tradeoff working in the Orioles favor. Don’t expect him to last the season in Birdland.

Reynolds is not the only hitter not producing. #2 hitter Nick Markakis (.208 – 2 HR – 6 RBI) and #3 hitter Derek Lee (.225 – 1 HR – 2 RBI) are putting up anemic numbers. Baltimore has a team batting Avg. of .230 (Sox not much better at .239).

Red Sox Review

  • Series opening starter Clay Buchholz is 5-2 with 2.98 ERA against the Orioles. Last season, he went 15 IP and zero earned runs in 2 games started versus Baltimore.

Pop Quiz Answer

Miguel Tejada had 5 hits vs. Boston on July 9, 2005.

Boston Red Sox – Cleveland Indians Preview

with one comment

On to Cleveland for the Boston Red Sox.

Let’s start with good news – the Indians starters for the three game series.

Josh Tomlin, Mitch Talbot and Fausto Carmona (already 0-1, 30.00 ERA).

They should help get the Red Sox bats going.

Tomlin is a finesse pitcher who is prone to giving up a home run. The Red Sox beat Tomlin last August with Adrian Beltre hitting a grand slam.

Says Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher, “He’ll make a mistake out over the plate and it’ll go a long way. It’ll go 450 feet. I guarantee that’ll happen at least two-dozen times this summer if he makes 34 starts in the big leagues.”

But on the plus side, Tomlin beat CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander in head-to-head duels last year.

Indians Pop Quiz

Shin Soo Choo and which other player are the only 2 MLBers to hit at least .300 with 20 HR and 20 SBs in both 2009 and 2010? Answer below.

Indians Fast Facts

Red Sox Warm-ups

Jeremy Lundblad shares 5 things to know about Josh Beckett for his season debut. The Red Sox need vintage 2009 Beckett – when he was 8-1 following a Boston loss. Ian Browne channels back to Beckett’s big 2007 ALCS victory against Cleveland which came when the Sox were down 3-1 in the series.

Over his career, Jonathan Papelbon owns Cleveland writes Gordon Edes. Pap is 1-0, 1.38 ERA, converting all 10 of his save opportunities.

Here’s hoping manager Terry Francona starts Jarrod Saltalamacchia Tuesday night. He delivered nothing while batting but no way was he responsible for the atrocious pitching in Texas. Salty says he is prepared for the long haul.

Jonah Keri makes the case Carl Crawford should continue to bat seventh against left-handed pitchers. Not exactly what Red Sox fans had in mind for the team’s $142 million investment.

ESPN’s week one MLB Power Rankings are out – with the Red Sox landing at number 7. The AL East teams are MLB beasts with Yankees #1, Blue Jays #8 and the unbeatable Orioles #9.

Pop Quiz Answer

Former Red Sox farmhand and current Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.