And the Winner Isn’t:

Theo is not trading for Armando Benitez. He says he’s not even trading for Chad Cordero or Brad Lidge. That leaves the core of the 2007 bullpen (minus Mike Timlin) looking something like this:

Snyder, Kyle  3 G 7.33 IP 8 H 2 ER 2.46/1.637 4 BB 7 K .267 BAA .353 OBP
Piniero, Joel  6 G 7.33 IP 10 H 4 ER 4.91/1.774 3 BB 4 K .313 BAA .372 OBP
Donnelly, Brendan 7 G 6.67 IP 9 H 5 ER 6.75/1.799 3 BB 7 K .310 BAA .375 OBP
Tavarez, Julian 6 G 9.67 IP 8 H 5 ER 4.65/1.448 6 BB 5 K .216 BAA .355 OBP
Delcarmen, Manny 5 G 5.67 IP 7 H 5 ER 7.94/1.587 2 BB 4 K .292 BAA .346 OBP
Romero, J.C. 6 G 6.67 IP 4 H 1 ER 1.35/0.900 2 BB 5 K .167 BAA .231 OBP
Okajima, Hideki  5 G 6.67 IP 5 H 2 ER 2.70/1.049 2 BB 6 K .200 BAA .259 OBP

So halfway through spring training, that’s essentially our bullpen. Three good, four bad. Two weeks to go.

[Disclaimer: Spring stats are entirely unreliable as a barometer of spring performance, but what else are we going to look at without spending hundreds of dollars and scouting the games for ourselves?]

24 comments… add one
  • on paper and paper alone, that’s an ugly bullpen. But bullpens are volatile beasts from year to year. It’s just that it’s hard to imagine any of these guys being that good.

    Nick-YF March 15, 2007, 5:47 pm
  • “He’s throwing pitches that he wouldn’t normally throw in certain circumstances. That’s what you’re supposed to do in spring training.”
    Theo Epstein said this about Julian Tavarez in today’s Globe. I think it’s a wise comment, and it can apply to most everyone throwing, whether it’s Tavarez, Pineiro, Wang, Phil Hughes, etc. That’s not to say that bad performances are encouraging, or that you can just ignore the potential downside of the Sox’ bullpen situation, but just to recognize that repeating statistics (particularly the negative ones) without understanding their context isn’t a very good rationale for projecting what will happen moving forward into the regular season.
    There’s a reason it’s called “training”.

    SF March 15, 2007, 5:48 pm
  • I added that disclaimer up there before I realized anyone had commented. I figure we all know the various issues with judging pitchers by their spring training stats. There’s obviously a lot of experimentation. Still, stats are stats, and they’re interesting.
    Besides, shouldn’t Tavarez (six walks, 2 HBP) be trying to throw his pitches for strikes anyway, regardless of the type and situation? I know he was my offseason closer pick, but I like just about anybody right now over him.

    Paul SF March 15, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • Read Curt’s blog today, love or hate him, I love that he’s taking the media out of the equation, I think he’s blowhard too, but he’s my blowhard.

    LocklandSF March 15, 2007, 6:03 pm
  • New thread posted up top for all things Curt. Thanks, Lockland.
    “I think he’s blowhard too, but he’s my blowhard” — this is a perfect summation!

    SF March 15, 2007, 6:14 pm
  • Lockland, that’s a really good point. Curt has chosen to speak directly to the reader, filtered only by himself. Agree or disagree with DaSchill, I’m absolutely tickled to have this kind of access. Pre-empting the “I think Schill should shut up” posts, don’t effing read it if you don’t care; I’m gonna read.

    attackgerbil March 15, 2007, 6:39 pm
  • Aw crap, that last post was more for the other thread, but it doesn’t matter.

    attackgerbil March 15, 2007, 6:40 pm
  • Bullpens are underrated. Having that hope near the end of the game, that a bad reliever is coming in and you ALWAYS have a shot, that’s a great feeling for the opposing team, and a very bad thing for one defending the lead. It’s not just pure stats. I’d look for hitters to lay off more on the starters to wear them out so they can get to the red meat in the bullpen. Trading Ellsbury or Bowden or Cox for a top-notch reliever, or even some middling yet promising prospects for a guy like Lidge would be a good move for Theo. Get Lidge away from Albert Pujols and he’s golden.

    Andrew March 15, 2007, 8:33 pm
  • some middling yet promising prospects for a guy like Lidge
    This is far more interesting to me than this:
    Trading Ellsbury or Bowden or Cox for a top-notch reliever
    Ellsbury is about as good a prospect as the Sox have, and one of the few multi-tool position prospects in their system. Who would Ellsbury, Bowden, or Cox bring? Bigger question: who is even available at this point for AA-level talent? Certainly not K-Rod, certainly not any young, dependable closers, which is about the only thing I would give up guys like these for.

    SF March 15, 2007, 8:42 pm
  • Considering Cox himself is close to being in the bigs as a top-notch reliever, that deal would definitely be awful. Likewise Bowden, who projects to being a quality starter — as much as you can project pitching prospects anyway. He’s right below Buccholz. Ellsbury is off limits and is likely to make Crisp or Pena trade bait long before he himself becomes touchable.

    Paul SF March 15, 2007, 10:49 pm
  • You know things are bad when Tavarez is now considered “good”.

    Jim - YF March 15, 2007, 11:23 pm
  • SF – I was thinking someone like Chad Cordero, who is not needed in Washington because there are rarely any leads to hold on to. Ellsbury + some other mediocre guys for Cordero would be an excellent deal for both sides, I think.

    Andrew March 16, 2007, 1:18 am
  • Ellsbury PLUS other guys for Cordero?
    You’ve got to be kidding me. Cordero doesn’t have great stuff, he pitched in a no-offense league, in a cavern of a home ballpark.
    Worst trade idea ever. If we’re going to give up Ellsbury and a decent guys, I want a K-Rod or Nathan in return.
    As far as Lidge goes, the rumor mill is grumbling that his control might be going because of elbow issues. Not a problem you want to hear about from a guy who throws hard and also has a plus curve.

    Steve March 16, 2007, 3:30 am
  • Me, I don’t understand why they didn’t just suck it up and sign Gagne. When you drop 200 million, what’s another 10? That’s the only guy I was afraid would end up in Boston.
    One more thing to be angry about I suppose.

    Jim - YF March 16, 2007, 6:11 am
  • P.s. The prices on a Cordero are only going to get worse as the season heats up and the need becomes even more obvious. Ellsbury+ is very reasonable.

    Jim - YF March 16, 2007, 6:13 am
  • “Worst trade idea ever. If we’re going to give up Ellsbury and a decent guys, I want a K-Rod or Nathan in return.”
    First off, I wouldn’t hold your breath on those two guys. Why in the world would contenders trade their closer? Secondly what do you think they are going to ask for if the Sox want Cordero? The asking price is going to be sky high by midseason. Washington has a very poor farm system and if they do trade their key cogs, I would imagine they are going to be looking to restock a baron system. Third, you are WAY off on Cordero’s skill set. He did have HR issues and an inflated ERA (due to a few bad outings) in ’06, but overall this guy is very very solid.
    If I were Theo I would get the Brewers on the horn and find out if Turnbow is available. He is no longer the closer, but still has closer skills. His fastball is off the gun and for a time there he was very good. He could probably be had for cheap. Other options: Jorge Julio, BK or Dan Kolb.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 16, 2007, 9:39 am
  • curt’s blog: here’s another twist on that point ag…curt should, like arod, just shut the hell up, but if he’s not going to, i’m with you and like the direct access, rather than filtered and twisted by media outlets…i just left his blog and fully intend to return…
    spring stats: mean nothing unless they’re good…truth is that expectations were not high for the sox bullen [minus pap], so the fact that they’re living down to expectations is not a surprise…to be fair, it also doesn’t mean that it will stay this bad…spring training is for working out the kinks, and settling into the right roles…the sox have a smart pitching coach, and in time he’ll get it figured out, and things will settle a bit…they do need to keep looking for opportunities to improve in that area however…
    trading for a closer: look, i’ve made this point before [and it also applies to brian cashman these days]…when you have such a glaring need in a critical position (and, let’s not have the “importance of good SP v. bullpen” discussion again), you may have to pony up to get one…teams aren’t going to give up a good one without getting something in return…forget about k-rod or nathan, those guys are likely to be as untouchable as rivera [cashman told teams years ago not to waste his time on that one], and contenders are unlikely to to trade a closer anyway…i’ve heard all the hype about ellsbury, but the question you have to answer is if his potential is worth the risk of not being as competitive THIS season as you might be if you had a more settled bullpen…that’s what theo gets paid for i guess…

    dc March 16, 2007, 11:02 am
  • I’d be OK with Cordero, but I don’t want to give up Ellsbury to get him. Sadly, I think the YFs are right that Washington has no need to get rid of him and all the need in the world to get good prospects in return if they do. Something tells me Pena and Pauley ain’t gonna do it.

    Paul SF March 16, 2007, 11:13 am
  • with all due respect paul, while both players are certainly tradeable, i don’t think you’ll catch much “fish” with coco or wilymo as your “bait”, unless you don’t care about catching a big fish and just enjoy the experience…besides, i thought they were both key parts of the master plan…months ago we argued in overdrive about the “potential” of both of those guys…i don’t mean to be a wise guy, but it sounds like you’re giving up on them, or you’re suggesting that they are more expendable than say ellsbury…?

    dc March 16, 2007, 11:16 am
  • timing: sorry paul, i was responding to an earlier comment of yours while you were making the 11:13 comment…looks like you agree that pena might not be enough to get much…

    dc March 16, 2007, 11:18 am
  • Crisp will be very tradeable if he rebounds this season to the point he was in 2005 or 2005+slight improvement. I like him a lot and would be more than comfortable with him in CF long-term (assuming a rebound, of course), but Ellsbury projects to be better than him, so that’s just being realistic. If one of them is staying, I pick the young guy (although you could make a case that we should go with the slightly older and more proven guy, again assuming a Crisp rebound).
    Pena is incredibly young and has gobs of power potential, which makes him a good trade chip, though not by himself. He’s potentially great, and I would love to have him long-term. He may be being groomed as Manny’s replacement after 2008, but otherwise I don’t know where he fits in. Drew is locked in for five, and Crisp/Ellsbury could each have 10 good years ahead of them. It’s clear he needs consistent at-bats to improve his plate discipline (as last year showed), and I don’t see where those at-bats come from in the current outfield. That’s why I could see him being part of a trade, maybe at the deadline if Murphy’s playing well in Pawtucket (or Murphy could be part of a trade if Pena’s playing well).

    Paul SF March 16, 2007, 11:23 am
  • Cordero is overrated. I’m not way off on his skills, he doesn’t have overpowering stuff and hasn’t proven worth a damn that he can close consistently in a hitters park and a high-pressure environment. There’s absolutely no proof he can succeed in the AL East, and to give up our hands-down best prospect for him plus other guys is ridiculous. He’s not a top-tier closer, not even close. He might not be any better than MDC.
    As well, the Twins might be inclined to move Nathan for chips before he hits FA or gets a big arbitration raise, they’re not exactly payroll giants out there. They’ve got other guys locked up that they could fall back on, like Rincon. I was only using him and K-Rod as an example, but you get the point. If you’re going to trade elite prospects, get elite talent back. Trading Ellsbury and others for a guy like Cordero will look BAD after this year, and you Yankee fans won’t hesistate to shove it in Theo’s face in 2008 to beyond.
    Gagne? Yeah, let’s spend more than 10 mill on a guy that hasn’t thrown a pitch in two years, is a huge injury risk, and can’t throw mid-high 90s gas anymore. That sounds like a great idea. If he came cheap, by all means, but for that price? No.
    Turnbow is way too wild to be considered a closing option, the guy couldn’t throw a strike to save his life last year. Ditto that with Julio. BK and Dan Kolb? Are you kidding? They aren’t any better than anyone we’ve already got…maybe worse.
    You try out every possible internal option, including the kids, before trading your best chips for a position that has PROVEN to be very volatile and inconsistent on a year-to-year basis.

    Steve March 16, 2007, 7:27 pm
  • First off, I wouldn’t hold your breath on those two guys. Why in the world would contenders trade their closer?
    They won’t, Trisk. My point was that trading Ellsbury for a guy like Cordero is a foolish trade; you don’t trade your #1 prospect at an insanely valuable position for a guy who isn’t an elite. The only way you do that is by getting someone to make a deal like the Ramirez/Sanchez for Beckett thing, where you abscond with a super-high ceiling young talent in exchange for your best prospect. Unfortunately, both the Angels and Twins look to contend. It was purely a hypothetical on my part, that you entertain moving Ellsbury if you get a proven elite back — I was not proposing those deals as likely or even possible. They aren’t.

    SF March 17, 2007, 10:15 am
  • I’ve just been staying at home waiting for something to happen. I just don’t have much to say right now, but so it goes. I’ve basically been doing nothing to speak of, but shrug. Today was a loss. I don’t care. That’s how it is.

    amaryl glimepiride June 27, 2007, 9:58 pm

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