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.