Bye Brad

Brad Penny has been released by the Red Sox, leaving just Takashi Saito as the surviving member of the Sox' 2008-09 offseason reclamation project class.

Penny's recent string of terrible starts and overall numbers have muddled the view of him, but it shouldn't be forgotten that from May 3 to July 24 — nearly three months of the season — Penny compiled a 3.92 ERA in more than 87 innings. That's real value from a man who was never supposed to be anything more than a No. 5 starter.

His value clearly peaked right before the trade deadline; unfortunately for both Penny and the Sox, with Wakefield and Matsuzaka then injured, and uncertainty over whether Smoltz would successfully complete his comeback, he was suddenly too valuable to let go. When Smoltz collapsed, the Sox couldn't afford to deplete their pitching depth further when he was claimed off revocable waivers the next month.

Them's the breaks. It was a worthwhile gamble, and it paid off for a large part of the season. Too bad it couldn't have worked out better. As Penny himself said:

I played for a great manager on a great team. I had a great time. I enjoyed it. I wish things had worked out better, but that happens.

It happens.

13 comments… add one

  • Baldelli’s still on the team, right? Or are we only counting the pitching reclamation projects?

    FenSheaParkway August 27, 2009, 11:50 am
  • according to fangraphs, he’s been worth about 9.4 million in value, compared to his 5M salary they got their money’s worth from him. To bad he could keep it up after the trade deadline.
    It appears that his movement on the slider looking at pitch fx data changed allot from 2007 year to this year. Wonder if the shoulder played into that.

    dw (sf) August 27, 2009, 11:59 am
  • Isn’t his ERA well over 5? How is he worth 9 million dollars? Serious question and with all due respect to your data.

    John -YF August 27, 2009, 12:05 pm
  • How is he worth 9 million dollars?
    The only way Penny was worth $9M is if he was pitching with a 12 kilo bag of pure heroin in his colon.

    SF August 27, 2009, 12:15 pm
  • John, his FIP is in the mid-4s. I suspect that has a lot to do with it. If I recall correctly, Fangraphs bases pitchers’ values on FIP, which in turn relies heavily on peripherals separate from earned runs.

    Paul SF August 27, 2009, 12:17 pm
  • Penny’s FIP was apparently decent. I don’t know how much stock one should put into FIP, but I guess there are some who feel he pitched better than his high ERA suggests. Boston’s fielding hasn’t been particularly strong this season. But maybe Penny’s pitches that stayed up in the zone made hit balls much more difficult to field.

    Nick-YF August 27, 2009, 12:20 pm
  • They base their “value” on the going rate for wins in the free agent signings.
    So, he was a little over 2 WAR, and multiplied by about 4.5million per win, there you go, a value number.
    Not that I agree with it, but that’s what they came up with FWIW Smoltz’s FIP was pretty good too :), but you can’t field balls on the other side of the fence unless you’re a fan.

    dw (sf) August 27, 2009, 1:24 pm
  • here’s a link to the “value” portion of their data for Penny:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=535&position=P#value
    They also put up a post about how dumb Boston must be to have gotten rid of him (as they did with Smoltz). I think they do that to bump up reader comments. :)

    dw (sf) August 27, 2009, 1:29 pm
  • I appreciated Penny’s comments.
    When he was on, he certainly helped.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 27, 2009, 2:04 pm
  • You can definitely over-rely on FIP. Sometimes a pitcher doesn’t have a good BABIP despite striking out a lot of guys or walking very few because he’s always around the plate and getting hammered. Line drives have a much higher BABIP than grounders or fly balls. And home runs don’t count. Buchholz last year and Smoltz this year are examples of pitchers with much lower FIPs than ERAs who may have been somewhat unlucky, but not THAT unlucky. Penny I can see more of a case for because he actually had a significant stretch in which he did his job well.

    Paul SF August 27, 2009, 2:24 pm
  • “The only way Penny was worth $9M is if he was pitching with a 12 kilo bag of pure heroin in his colon.”
    This might explain some things. Among others, the semi-continuous stomach problems he seemed to have in his starts. Also his absolute suckage most of the time.

    Devine August 27, 2009, 6:33 pm
  • Brad Penny bears a disturbing resemblance to Larry, the Cable Guy.
    Just thought I’d share this.

    SoxFan August 27, 2009, 7:00 pm
  • “…His value…”
    never existed…except in fantasy land…or imaginary stat land…same thing…it’s unlikely the sox could have ever traded him for anything…nobody was fooled by his flash of ok-ness…hopefully theo didn’t learn his lesson and will continue to dabble with such experiments…low risk, low reward…sorry guys…gotta rub it in after all the hype we were subjected to about him and smoltz…

    dc August 27, 2009, 8:13 pm

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