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   1. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 22, 2007 at 01:18 AM (#2315625)
IT'S A CLEVER DIVERSION!!!
   2. tfbg9 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 01:22 AM (#2315629)
Tavarez does not seem to have classic "closer makeup", does he? He does appear to have Nosferatu makeup on, for what that's worth. I agree with my opponent-Pinero's the guy.

I saw a little bit of Matsuzaka today, real-time for the first time in the ESPN game. Once the ball is on its way to the plate, ignoring the mechanics and wind-up, I mean just focusing on what the baseball actually does after it leaves his hand, he reminds me of Mussina circa 1998. 93 on the fastball, with an array of other stuff that makes me hopeful as hell. He looked pretty good.

How hard does Cory throw? Anybody seen him pitch yet?
   3. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 22, 2007 at 02:13 AM (#2315662)
"The book on Tavarez has always been the he is too emotional to be a late-inning guy, but the stuff was always there," the AL scout said.

From what I read in Dollar Sign on the Muscle, I thought that emotional control was more important for starters than relievers. Dave Ritterpusch of the Orioles studied how pitchers scored on the Athletic Motivational Index. While high scores for agressiveness was almost a prerequiste for success as a pitcher, only starters needed high scores for emotional control. Now, a) the book is almost a quarter of a century old and reliever roles have changed in the interim, and b) the AMI might be quackery.

Maybe someone should ask Bob Tewksbury about this stuff. He's Boston's in-house sports psychology guy, no?
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 22, 2007 at 02:39 AM (#2315673)
Tavarez loads the ball, or at least he did when he was with the Cardinals. I wouldn't want to rely on him as the closer; he's liable to get suspended just when you need him most.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 22, 2007 at 02:43 AM (#2315677)
Also, he's really creepy. Like an old, retired ax-murderer who got left out in the rain until it polished him all smooth.
   6. Daryn Posted: March 22, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2315678)
Tavarez was the guy who had the mental breakdown in the World Series in 1995. Maybe he has learned to handle pressure since then. Not a handsome man, though.
   7. NTNgod Posted: March 22, 2007 at 03:00 AM (#2315685)
Tavarez was the guy who had the mental breakdown in the World Series in 1995. Maybe he has learned to handle pressure since then.

Well, he lost that fight with the dugout phone during the 2004 playoffs, and that wasn't nearly as long ago...
   8. John DiFool2 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 01:22 PM (#2315773)
Anyone else have a hunch that Lil Papi will be closing by the end of April?
   9. karlmagnus Posted: March 22, 2007 at 02:59 PM (#2315830)
Yes, I have that hunch, but it's an utter waste of his talents. The closer role is hugely overrated, IMHO.
   10. tfbg9 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2315840)
Tell that to Calvin Schiraldi, and Bob Stanley.
   11. chris p Posted: March 22, 2007 at 03:32 PM (#2315843)
i think if pineiro doesnt work and nobody else emerges there will be a trade at some point (i'm pretty close to giving up on hansen). i think papelbon will be successful as a starter, so i don't think he will go back to the bullpen.
   12. Dave Cyprian Posted: March 22, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2315850)
Pineiro, Tavarez will be given chances. Otherwise, a trade will be made.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 22, 2007 at 04:57 PM (#2315914)
Pineiro, Tavarez will be given chances. Otherwise, a trade will be made.

If Boston's first two options fail, the price for anyone capable would probably be pretty high.
   14. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: March 22, 2007 at 05:00 PM (#2315918)
i'm pretty close to giving up on hansen

As am I; Delcarmen, however, I have hopes for. There are things he needs to improve on, chief among them preventing inherited runners from scoring. However, if his ability to not give up home runs is real and repeatable and he can maintain a ~3:1 K/BB, he could be pretty damn good.
   15. djy04 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2315971)
There's a rumor (apparently mentioned during the ESPN telecast today) that the Red Sox will be making an announcement regarding Papelbon's role on the club later today
   16. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 22, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2315975)
There's a rumor (apparently mentioned during the ESPN telecast today) that the Red Sox will be making an announcement regarding Papelbon's role on the club later today

They're saying on ESPN now that the announcement will say that Papelbon is going to be the closer again this season.
   17. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 22, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2315976)
There's a rumor (apparently mentioned during the ESPN telecast today) that the Red Sox will be making an announcement regarding Papelbon's role on the club later today

They're saying on ESPN now that the announcement will say that Papelbon is going to be the closer again this season.
   18. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 22, 2007 at 05:48 PM (#2315985)
I blame my crappy computer for my double post. Because it couldn't possibly be my fault.
   19. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2316004)
So the starting rotation becomes Dice-K, Schilling, Wakefield, Beckett and...? Tavarez? Snyder? Lester?
   20. Dizzypaco Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:18 PM (#2316012)
My guess is Lester when he's ready. They'll get by with Snyder for a few weeks, plus work around the off days, and Lester will be ready by mid May.
   21. djy04 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:27 PM (#2316022)
word is it's Tavarez
   22. bibigon Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2316049)
word is it's Tavarez


Word from?
   23. Daryn Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2316051)
Word from?

djy04
   24. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2316056)
Tavarez threw 60+ pitches in a minor league game today. BTW, when it comes to emotional starters, I thought about Joaquin Andujar today, but I forgot to mention him.
   25. chris p Posted: March 22, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2316058)
booo
   26. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 22, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2316088)
I don't like it. No sir.
   27. PJ Martinez Posted: March 22, 2007 at 08:31 PM (#2316158)
Interesting. I wonder how much detail we'll get on why they went this way? What do people think?
   28. PJ Martinez Posted: March 22, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2316162)
Schilling's (public) take:

"This wasn’t done because we have ‘too much starting pitching’, or because anyone was panicked about who would do what in the pen, it was done because John has worked his ass off to be where he needs to be, to close in the big leagues again. His shoulder feels great, which is priority number one, and him closing for us makes this staff look entirely different for the long haul. Whoever ends up in the 5th spot will be just fine. Julian can do it, Kyle can certainly do it and Johnny is not far from being ready to do it, so there are many options, even though you hope you don’t have to exhaust them all to find the right fit (which I don’t think will be the case)."

Also, the Tavarez-to-the-rotation thing has been reported (as a rumor) by Rob Bradford:

"Rumors are circulating throughout Fort Myers and Clearwater that the Red Sox are ready to make Jonathan Papelbon the closer and put Julian Tavarez in the starting rotation."
   29. djy04 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 09:26 PM (#2316204)
The current ESPN article indicates Papelbon went to Francona and asked to be the closer. I think this mitigates, to some extent, criticism of the Red Sox for what looked like a kneejerk reaction to some unimpressive spring tryouts for the job. I've always been in the "best pitchers should be starting" camp, but Papelbon is so effective in the role that I think this is for the best. Nate Silver did an article last season on what type of pitcher benefits the most by being a reliever and Papelbon really fit the description.
   30. Darren Posted: March 22, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2316219)
It sure sounds like this is highly driven by Papelbon, who said he was having trouble sleeping because his heart wasn't in starting. That really changes things IMHO. If they think this is the best way to get the most out of Paplebon, then it's good. It's too bad he couldn't have come forward a little earlier, which would have mad planning for the season a little easier. I feel bad for Pineiro, who probably thought he was going to get a fair shake at closing based on his contract. The good news is that he may well be very valuable as a setup man too.

Why did Pap throw 3 IP today, after they'd decided to make him the closer? Does this indicate a plan to use him for longer outings? I would love to see them get something like 60 appearances/100 IP out of him. It might also allow him to have a bit more of a regular schedule.

One very nice side effect of all this is that the #5 slot in the rotation will be open for Clemens in a couple months. No one will be mad that he's replacing Tavarez.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 23, 2007 at 11:19 AM (#2316539)
Weird. Well, I agree with Darren that if this is driven by Li'l Papi, not a lot the Sox can do. I mean, maybe there is, but these sorts of personal and personnel decisions are a total black box for fans. If you want to claim that the Sox could and should have talked him out of it, that's fair, and if you want to argue that closing was hte only option, that's fair too. Really just impossible to know.

I have to admit to being a little skeptical, after all that blather about the rotation being the place for Papelbon's shoulder, and the risk of closing being too great. I also, as noted many times, believe quite strongly that Papelbon is ready to be one of the best starters in the league, and I really wanted to see that happen. But who knows.

If Papelbon gets hurt, the Sox are going to look dumb, and rightly so. I'm confident that Li'l Papi will be really excellent in the pen, though, so it's nice to have that.
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 23, 2007 at 12:08 PM (#2316550)
On his blog, Rob Bradford has a great collection of myriad quotes on Papelbon explaining how he has to be a starter or his shoulder explodes, how of course they'd love to make him a closer, but those medical people say no, how everyone's preparing for him to start. Bradford's saying he'll be asking around and finding out what changed.

To make a larger point, this is what a local sports media should do. I think much local media criticism can come off as if fans just want a docile fanboy press, and that's not the case - we want to learn more about actual baseball, and the actual process of making a baseball team. Here's a situation where a reporter can make trouble, and by so doing, add to our understanding of the way this Sox team is run. It's just that usually when reporters make trouble, it's to advance a meaningless grudge against an individual player that is at best tangentially related to the actual game of baseball.

Bradford's blog, I should note, is one of the best sports blogs on the web. Highly recommended, if you aren't checking it out already.
   33. chris p Posted: March 23, 2007 at 01:23 PM (#2316582)
I also, as noted many times, believe quite strongly that Papelbon is ready to be one of the best starters in the league,

don't you think his fastball is a little too straight to be a starter?
   34. tfbg9 Posted: March 23, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2316642)
There was some stuff i read yesterday about how Paps just worked his ass of to strengthen the shoulder, to the point where tests reveal it as one of the "two or three strongest" in the whole organization, and that this development played a major part in the decision to allow Paps to return to the 'pen.

When I think about Tavarez as the 5th starter in games that are meaningful, unlike last year, part of me thinks "Bob Stanley, 1987".
   35. villageidiom Posted: March 24, 2007 at 02:35 AM (#2316998)
My understanding on Papelbon's shoulder is the same as tfbg9. In retrospect, I think either one of two things happened here.

1. They really planned to use him as a starter, but because he came into camp with his shoulder in excellent condition they were open to making the switch. (Note how many starts he made in spring training.) Still, they wanted some time to see how he pitched with the new shoulder. After seeing good results - and after seeing neither a lights-out replacement step forward nor a good trade opportunity to pick up the same - they made the switch.

2. They've been planning to use him as a closer all along, but in order to beef up the rest of the pen they wanted to make it appear to free agents that they'd have a shot at closing. With that, they could attract some potentially better candidates who might not have come for a setup position. They could even make the contracts somewhat affordable, with "games finished" bonus clauses that won't mean jack.

Really I think the former is closer to the truth.
   36. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 24, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2316999)
Either way it's idiotic.
   37. tjm1 Posted: March 24, 2007 at 02:51 AM (#2317004)
Pineiro's the only free agent the Red Sox signed who might have thought he'd have a chance to close. Donnelly was acquired in a trade, and Okajima must have realized he'd be a situational lefty. I also can't imagine that Romero thought he was going to be the closer after the year he had last year. So I can't believe the Red Sox have been planning to use Papelbon as the closer all along.
   38. villageidiom Posted: March 24, 2007 at 04:38 AM (#2317043)
It wouldn't surprise me if Romero liked the possibility that he might win the closer job. Whether he thought it was anything more than a remote possibility, I don't know.

Still, I don't think that's what happened.
   39. Dave Cyprian Posted: March 24, 2007 at 01:50 PM (#2317095)
Hijack but this NYT notebook report from Yankee camp made me laugh:

PHELPS KEEPS PRESSURE ON Josh Phelps had another hit Friday to improve his team-best average to .462. Andy Phillips, who is trying to hold off Phelps and keep his job as the backup first baseman, also singled and is hitting .286. The starting first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz, went 0 for 2 and is 2 for 29 (.069) this spring.
   40. Darren Posted: March 24, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2317100)
That seems awfully Machiavellian, VI. Occam's razor seems to apply here. The Sox wanted to move him to the rotation but it wasn't working out too well and Pap indicated he'd rather close and there was no closer emerging.
   41. villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2007 at 01:26 PM (#2317851)
Except that his move to the rotation, by all accounts, was working well. And you're working with the assumption that the FO thought spring training, or some fraction thereof, would be enough time for a closer to "emerge". I don't think they thought that at all.

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