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Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Post Mortem Continues - The Rotation

Continuing with the look back at the year, focus on the rotation today.

General Thoughts

I didn’t love the Pomeranz deal but even if he is just what we saw in 2016 that’s a good 4th/5th starter.  The Sox should head into 2017 with a lot of confidence that the rotation will be good and able to withstand some attrition.  The one concern is beyond the six starters there does not appear to be a lot behind it.  A Sean O’Sullivan sort that can be stashed in Pawtucket would be a good pickup.

David Price – In the handbook of how not to endear yourself to a new fanbase is a picture of David’s 2016 season.

Sign huge contract…check.
Have your worst season since your rookie year…check.
Suck against your arch-rivals (1-3, 7.89)…check.
Watch your team lose four stars when you get five or more runs of support…check.
Implode in a must win playoff game…check.

With all that said he pitched a league high 230 innings with a 114 ERA+.  There was something about his season though…he just never felt like an Ace.  Maybe it is just me but after his first couple of starts there was never a time where I felt “hey, David Price is pitching today we got this.”  I expect a stronger more consistent season in 2017.  My big frustration with him was those games the Sox gave him support that he couldn’t hold onto.  On top of that he seemed to put the Sox in early holes regularly.  The 4.49 ERA in innings 1-3 needs to be corrected.  I wonder if as he gets older he needs to adjust his warmup to account for not being able to do things he did as a 27 year old.

Rick Porcello – As Porcello proves it is impossible to bounce back from a disappointing first year with the Sox.  Obviously I kid because Porcello proves it is very possible!  He was excellent in 2016 pitching well and pitching consistently.  He went at least six innings in 30 of his 33 starts and his shortest (regular season) start was a 5 inning affair.  On a team that was having bullpen issues most of the year that was crucial.

My suspicion is that Price and Porcello will combine for the same degree of accomplishment in 2017 that they did in 2016 with Price being better by enough that offsets any decline Porcello experiences.

Steven Wright – Wright’s season was a dream for the right hander up until he plonked into second base in Dodger Stadium.  Let’s get this out of the way right now; that was an unbelievably stupid decision by John Farrell.  Sweet Jesus what a dumb move.

However, let’s recognize Wright for what he is, a useful knuckleballer.  There is value here and I am thrilled that the Sox have him but he is a back end of the rotation guy.

Clay Buchholz – There is going to be a day this winter where you wake up, grab your phone and see on Twitter “@MLBTradeRumors – Red Sox pick up Buchholz option” and you are going to want nothing more than to put your head on your pillow and sob quietly.

The fact is Buchholz was critical for this team.  For a guy who has never seemed like the hardest worker in the world he rebounded to earn that playoff spot.  I liked that he seemed to improve his tempo in the second half and working out of the stretch was a smart move in my opinion.  He’s not pretty, he’s not exactly fun and he’s about as reliable as a 1988 Yugo but the Sox aren’t getting through 2017 with five starters.  Having Buchholz for 15 or so starts will help.

Drew Pomeranz – Blah.  I am trying to think of a player who played as much for a playoff Red Sox team that I had less feeling for.  I don’t like him, I don’t dislike him, I don’t anything him.  He wasn’t terrible, he wasn’t great, he was just the side of peas with the pork chop and roasted potatoes.

I’m glad he’s here though.  Contenders need a guy like Pomeranz.  In what will be his second full year as a starter he should be better equipped to get through the season without fatigue and if the Sox move him to the bullpen he will have value there as well.

Eduardo Rodriguez – I am irrationally high on EdRod.  He reminds me a LOT of a young Jon Lester sort of figuring out how to pitch without his best stuff but the stuff is electric.  I think the early season struggles will prove to be beneficial in forcing him to grow up a bit.

Henry Owens – It is hard to look at 2016 as a good year for Big Hank.  He never really found a way to reliably throw strikes.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a change of scenery ahead of him but if he is still here I wonder if LOOGY might be his future.  He has always reminded me a bit of former Baltimore and Toronto closer B.J. Ryan and there are worse careers than that one.

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 16, 2016 at 08:39 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 17, 2016 at 11:30 AM (#5326156)
I look at the above list and I have a hard time projecting who will be the ace. Porcello was the 2016 ace; Wright was the ace of the first half; EdRod has the stuff to be an ace; so does Price; and for a host of reasons we never saw the best of Pomeranz this year, so I'm hopeful we'll see something considerably better than 4th/5th starter.

I fully expect it won't be Buchholz, and it won't be Owens. For the latter, I simply don't think his stuff projects well enough at the MLB level. For Buchholz... I got the impression he spent the first half of the year worrying that if he pitched poorly his option wouldn't be picked up, and just was a head case until he eventually embraced the bullpen role. Well, if they pick up his option he still has similar reasons to be a head case next year.

   2. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 17, 2016 at 11:40 AM (#5326174)
I expect it to be Price. I think he will be the pitcher we expected to get in 2016. Wright I think is a solid 3/4 starter. We've seen this with Wakefield, useful, steady, but not great. Agree on Buchholz and Owens. The biggest thing with Buchholz is that the change to move to going out of the stretch made a huge difference.
   3. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2016 at 01:10 PM (#5326238)
So what's the package we'd have to put together to get Greinke (assuming he'd agree to the trade), and what's the feeling for how big a hit his "normal" year performance takes for moving to the AL East to ply his trade?

Given his contract and where Arizona is in their life cycle, I'm skeptical we'd have to unload JBJ in order to get him, especially if you take on all the remaining $ in the deal.

I'm guessing the above is more or less what we have to start the year as far as the rotation goes, and I suppose I'm OK with that. Given Clay's option, 15 starts would be about $900K per start, right? I agree (he says, head hanging) that you have to pick up the option, but man... Isn't he due for some sort of mysterious injury that derails his season for 3 months?

It's not a 1995 Braves rotation, for sure, but lots of teams have gone pretty far with 1-2 really good pitchers and 3-4 non-disasters at the back end of the rotation, and that's likely our model for 2017. The run prevention side for the P staff will be improved more on the RP side than the SP side, I think, in 2017.
   4. villageidiom Posted: October 17, 2016 at 01:17 PM (#5326244)
Given his contract and where Arizona is in their life cycle, I'm skeptical we'd have to unload JBJ in order to get him, especially if you take on all the remaining $ in the deal.
Where Arizona is in their life cycle is with Mike Hazen as their GM. IMO there is no deal to be made with Arizona for Greinke that does not result in several good prospects heading out the door. Put another way, I wouldn't expect a deal with Arizona.
   5. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2016 at 01:27 PM (#5326250)
#4--Had forgotten that. Still, JBJ isn't really a "prospect" at this point, and so it sort of depends on how much $ AZ wants picked up in any Greinke deal. If they want a team to carry the full cost (i.e., pay the market rate), I'm not sure they're going to get multiple, MLB-playing, 4-5 WAR players in return for him.
   6. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 17, 2016 at 01:30 PM (#5326252)
I think if you go with JBJ/Devers as your centerpieces you can make a deal. You'd need to put more in there and maybe that's not a price you want to pay but I think the Sox have the ability to make a deal if they want to.
   7. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2016 at 02:24 PM (#5326281)
I think if you go with JBJ/Devers as your centerpieces you can make a deal.


If that's the ask AND the Red Sox also have to pay the full contract, I'm a "no" on that deal. (Not that anyone asked me... :)
   8. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2016 at 03:16 PM (#5326322)
I'm probably a bit out of the loop on the payroll, but adding another 30+ million in Greinke to Porcello/Price seems...unlikely. Amy I crazy? Which is not to say they couldn't afford it, I'm just wondering if they really want 80ish million tied up in three starters.

Also I think Price/Porcello is about as good a 1-2 as a team can reasonably expect to have at any given time.

EDIT: Updated math.
   9. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 17, 2016 at 03:31 PM (#5326332)
I'm probably a bit out of the loop on the payroll, but adding another 30+ million in Greinke to Porcello/Price seems...unlikely. Amy I crazy? Which is not to say they couldn't afford it, I'm just wondering if they really want 80ish million tied up in three starters.


I don't think you're crazy (at least for this theory) but I don't think it's quite as bad as it seems. With all the young positional talent under club control the Sox can be a bit more spendy elsewhere and one thing to do could be to bulk up the rotation with the eye towards signing the kids as those pitcher contracts expire in a few years.
   10. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2016 at 03:43 PM (#5326337)
I don't think you're crazy (at least for this theory)

Harsh, but fair.

Yeah that makes sense, as Betts and Bradley and Bogaerts and Benintendi are all basically free. Speaking of which, I know I'm not the first to suggest this here but using some payroll flexibility to try to lock up a couple of those guys wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
   11. Dan Posted: October 18, 2016 at 12:20 AM (#5326718)
Pomeranz is just a "meh" backend lefty starter, but man I'm always going to hate him because of the trade to acquire him.
   12. Toby Posted: October 18, 2016 at 06:48 AM (#5326750)
Doesn't Brandon Workman maybe fit into the picture here somewhere? Don't want to forget about him.
   13. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: October 18, 2016 at 08:40 AM (#5326767)
I touch on Workman in the bullpen. I'm actually mildly excited about him. I hadn't really thought of him as a starter but he might be a guy they can stretch out and have as that rotational depth, that's a good call.
   14. villageidiom Posted: October 28, 2016 at 01:35 PM (#5336671)
Kopech doing well in AFL
Kopech, who pitched just 56 1/3 innings in 2016 due to a broken hand, has struck out 12 and walked one in 10 innings over three starts. The righty has given up three runs on 10 hits, including a solo home run to San Diego prospect Michael Gettys in Kopech’s last start.
   15. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: November 16, 2016 at 07:24 PM (#5354265)
No one griping about the Porcello deal anymore.
   16. villageidiom Posted: November 17, 2016 at 08:31 AM (#5354356)
No one griping about the Porcello deal anymore.

48. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 16, 2016 at 09:50 PM (#5354315)
Rick Porcello is a 3rd or 4th starter. I will go to his bobblehead day next year just to break it in half when he gives up back to back to back to back doubles to spot the other team a three run lead in a game the Sox win 8-5 even though he went 5 IP and gave up 4 runs.

Technically he's not griping about the Porcello deal, specifically.
   17. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 17, 2016 at 09:59 AM (#5354440)
I feel vindicated in my hate by Porcello's postseason start. But if I turn out to be karlmagnus-ing this, I'm ok with being proven wrong repeatedly.
   18. jmurph Posted: November 17, 2016 at 10:22 AM (#5354472)
But if I turn out to be karlmagnus-ing this, I'm ok with being proven wrong repeatedly.

It's going to be hard to "turn out" to be wrong when you in fact started out wrong! I guess you could get wrong-er?

But hey hopefully he is a 4th starter and Boston somehow has three guys even better than him next year!
   19. karlmagnus Posted: November 21, 2016 at 03:19 PM (#5356279)
Jeez, thanks for the shout-out. I'd just like to point out that I LIKED the Porcello deal when it happened!

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