Friday, March 23, 2007


Job interviews and school crap are taking up my time, but I did manage to catch the Red Sox trading their 4th starter for a closer. For those of you living in a hole, ex-All-Star closer Jonathon Papelbon is moving back to the closer role. Heres a quick look at what this does:
  1. Improves the bullpen: This moves everyone currently in the bullpen back a notch, which should, at least in theory, improve the over-all quality of the pen. Not that it was that great a pen to start with, in my humble opinion, but this definitely is a step up for the weakest part of the '07 Sox.
  2. Worsens (is that a word?) the Rotation: Taking Papelbon in the bullpen has the same domino effect on the rotation, except in reverse. The question is, do the Red Sox have the horses to cover his loss in the rotation? I don't think for a minute that Tavarez is the long term solution. Hopefully, Lester or Hansack pitches very well in AAA and forces a move up to Boston. The darkhorse here is Kyle Snyder.
  3. Makes Papelbon Happy: This is likely to become an incredibly over-stated point of the move in the media. Its not that I don't care if Papelbon is happy - I do. Very unscientifically, happy players are more likely to perform better. But, if having him in the rotation is more valuable to the team, then that's where I'd put him regardless of what his wishes are. I'm sure if he performed well there he'd be happy. Of course that is now a moot point.
Overall, this can be a good move if two things happen:
  1. Papelbon stays healthy and effective - remember, its no sure thing he reprises his role as Mariano Rivera-esque closer.
  2. The team can find other players to adequately replace the difference in innings that Papelbon would have contributed to the team via the rotation.
I figure they'll have to get about 100 innings from other pitchers now (170 innings a starter minus 70 innings as closer = 100 innings difference). Depending on the quality of those 100 innings this could turn out to be a very expensive move.

I'm one of those people who thinks the value of a closer isn't 1/2 that of a quality starter. But, the team needed a relief ace badly, so this does solve that problem. But, does solving this problem create a larger one elsewhere? Thats what I'm worried about.

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