Categories General Red Sox Depth Post author By SF Post date June 7, 2009 35 Comments on Depth Never a bad thing. ← Saturday Night Party: Rangers-Sox Gamer II → Could This Work? 35 replies on “Depth” yep http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4237747 yup http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=290605102 If the Yankees signed Sidney Ponson again, they’d have more ‘depth’, because they would have just signed a pitcher who could replicate Brad Penny’s season. Andrew hates Brad Penny. Dude, he’s done what he was asked to do. He’s a No. 5, not a No. 1 or 2. He’s given us decent innings. We’ve had a chance to win almost every game he’s started. And he’s been a bargain. No, he hasn’t been great, but he’s been better than serviceable. And he’ll fetch us something nice in a trade. I really think you’re looking at it all wrong. And really. Do you truely think that Penny = Ponson? Really? IBM, don’t bother. They do share the same body type. Penny has posted remarkably similar numbers to Ponson’s Yankee tenure in 2008. So by that reasoning, Ponson was even MORE of a bargain, and he was ALSO better than serviceable! But hey, if that’s what you like out of your fifth starter’s role, more power to you. Signing Brad Penny was a mistake. The team would have more wins with Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden in that slot, with the added bonus of them getting actual major league experience. Unless you think Buchholz or Bowden would post worse numbers, which doesn’t say much for either of them. And no, he isn’t fetching crap in a trade, even with Boston swallowing the rest of his $5 million contract. The Phillies wouldn’t even think about trading Jason Donald, a 24 year old utility infielder type with a .220 average in AAA, for him. Dream. On. But hey, if that’s what you like out of your fifth starter’s role, more power to you. Jesus, who said we liked Penny?! Speaking for myself, I am all for DUMPING HIM FOR WHAT WE CAN GET FOR HIM. My position is that Penny has some value (not a lot, but some) to another team, and not that Penny has been a wonderful pitcher. He hasn’t. He hasn’t even been that good. But his last month has been better than I personally expected, and he’s proven his health and that he has enough talent to stay in the majors. As for Buchholz or Bowden, it’s just not fair to assume that they would have contributed the same as what Penny has. Their minor league numbers are not transferable. And Buchholz, after last season, clearly needed some time to work out his game at a level below the majors. It could be that this time in AAA has been immeasurably beneficial to him, psychologically. We don’t know. But did you defend the signing this off-season? ;) it’s just not fair to assume that they would have contributed the same as what Penny has. If that’s not fair, then they aren’t top prospects. I think you’d argue otherwise. I do. And for the record, Buchholz’s 2008 isn’t that different from Penny’s 2009. And Clay had a much better K rate last year. Yes. It was fine. I don’t count their money. Penny hasn’t been good, but as a chair-filler I’d say he’s been fine. Buchholz has now shown that he’s deserving of another shot (and Smoltz is looking that way too), so Penny’s utility is now as the depth, not as the starter. Not sure if the Sox will do anything about this, though I imagine they are trying. Hell, the Sox might need Smoltz AND Buck if Dice-K can’t get things working. Penny was low-risk. The Sox have no entanglement with him past this year. He’s cost them a couple of million bucks, he’s been bad but healthy, and he’s given time to Buck in the minors, which he seemed to have needed badly, no matter how cheap he would have been contributing the same as Penny has up in the bigs. The question is what happens now. If the Sox don’t move Penny out of the rotation soon I will doubt their understanding of his abilities and his limitations. And for the record, Rob, here is what I wrote about Penny when he signed. I stand by my comment. http://www.yfsf.org/2008/12/penny-wise.html#comment-6a00d8341c583d53ef010536a2a864970c I’m beginning to become convinced though that the only preparation for pitching in the majors is actually pitching in the majors. If so, by signing Penny, they could have delayed Buchholz’s development. Smoltz could have been the backup option. Smoltz is still in rehab. He’s not even a backup option now/yet. The backup to Buchholz was Bowden or Zink. Pretty sure the Sox didn’t want that kind of unknown. It is absolutely impossible to know if Buchholz’ development has been delayed. Last year he was beyond atrocious. He was not ready, if you watched him pitch. He may be ready now, and personally I hope he gets the call soon. And for the record, Buchholz’s 2008 isn’t that different from Penny’s 2009. Buchholz 2008: 4 quality starts, 7 games with less than 5 IP Penny 2009: 6 quality starts, 2 games with less than 5 IP (both in April) Buchholz showed that he needed to start 2009 in the minors; Penny helped buy him some time to figure out his command with his fastball, which was his main problem last year. Please don’t glance at the ERA and say “Well they’re just as good”, because that’s flat-out wrong. And Andrew, you’re awfully upset over something that has nothing to do with your team. Penny will fetch something in a trade, and that’s all that matters. We don’t expect a top prospect for him, but we’ll definitely get something. Penny has been a lot better than his ERA has shown, and there are plenty of teams inquiring. Last year he was beyond atrocious. He was not ready, if you watched him pitch. This, SO BLOODY MUCH this! Buchholz couldn’t locate his fastball command all last year (even in the minors he had horrible accuracy, though he got away with it there), which was his primary problem. This is not something that major-league pitching can fix Rob. The Sox kept him in the minors this year, and so far it has paid off; he struggled in his first few 2009 starts, and since then has been masterful. Penny bought Buchholz that time, and for what? $5 mil? Who cares about 5 mil? Even if nobody wanted Penny we could discard him and it still would have been well worth it. I don’t get the sentiment from the Yankees fans to try to prove that “the Red Sox made a mistake.” We think it was a good move, the Red Sox front office thought it was a good move, and anyone who has seen the difference in Buchholz’ fastball command will think it’s a good move. Not even $5M. It is, so far, about $1.5M, plus whatever they might have to take on if they pick up salary in a trade. Or, if he isn’t moved, the rest of the $5M still remaining. Let’s look at Penny’s starts for this season: IP-ER-BB-K 6.0 3 2 2 3.0 8 5 1 6.0 2 1 2 2.2 4 3 1 6.0 3 2 8 6.1 3 2 2 6.1 4 1 4 6.2 2 1 2 5.1 3 0 7 6.0 2 0 5 5.2 5 2 5 He’s gone 5 innings with 4 runs or less in 8 out of 11 starts, including a streak of 6 straight. He hasn’t been great, but he’s been solid for a #5 starter. Dear YFs, If you’re going to criticize a team for something, please have a freaking clue what you’re talking about first. Here’s a hint: Reading a pitcher’s ERA two months into the season without context does not replace actually having said clue. It’s called small sample size, and you are intelligent enough to know what it means, which is why it is extremely annoying that you are constructing such a specious argument upon its foundation. Sidney Ponson with NYY, 2008: 15 GS, 5.85 ERA, .871 OPS allowed, 7 QS (47%), 5.3 IP/GS Game scores: 70, 65, 60, 52, 51, 50, 49, 39, 33, 30, 19, 15, 14, 11 Clay Buchholz with BOS, 2008: 15 GS, 6.75 ERA, .844 OPS allowed, 3 QS (20%), 5.0 IP/GS Game scores: 75, 66, 60, 56, 47, 46, 43, 42, 41, 28, 27, 27, 24, 18, 18 Brad Penny with BOS, 2009: 11 GS, 5.85 ERA, .877 OPS allowed, 6 QS (55%), 5.5 IP/GS Game scores: 54, 51, 51, 50, 49, 47, 46, 45, 38, 20, 11 So while the numbers are superficially similar at this point, Penny has clearly been much more consistent than either of those two pitchers were: EIGHT starts between 45 and 55, three below 40 (versus Ponson with four between 45-55 and SEVEN below 40, and Buchholz with SIX starts below 40). All three pitchers had two to three obvious outliers skew their totals, which should be expected given the small sample sizes you are playing with to make your point. The difference: Penny is a league-average pitcher with a couple bad starts. Buchholz and Ponson were below-average pitchers with a couple great starts. If you’re going to criticize a team for something, please have a freaking clue what you’re talking about first. Does having a “freaking” clue translate into presenting only those stats that support your argument? Quality starts mean little with the vagaries of how 3 ER can be accumulated. So let’s try that again – with peripherals which are much more indicative of what a pitcher has (or doesn’t have) over a longer stretch: Penny (2009): 60 IP, 1.60 WHIP, 11.6 H/9, 5.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 Buchholz (2008): 76 IP, 1.76 WHIP, 11.0 H/9, 8.5 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 Ponson (2008): 80 IP, 1.64 WHIP, 11.1 H/9, 3.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 What’s most sad about this entire discussion is you’re shoehorning Buchholz into a class that he clearly doesn’t belong in (so says that K/9). And if anything Ponson and Penny are much more alike than either are to Buchholz. Worse for the argument SFs are making here, it assumes Buchholz wouldn’t have improved (especially considering his .355 BABIP in 2008) and that Penny is something different than his 2009 (and almost identical 2008) indicate. I’m sorry to say you’re all clearly wrong on both counts. And I’m confused to ask why you guys are so invested in the Sox front office being “right” even as they clearly weren’t. To put that long-winded post another way: You’d rather say Penny as-he-is-and-will-be is more valuable than Buchholz at his absolute worst? Rather than admit the Sox front office blew the opportunity to upgrade the offense (at very cheap prices) while splurging on below average pitching they didn’t need? Honestly, have you read the posts? Did you see anything that was/has been written about what we all hope happens to Brad Penny? Sure. But in the next breadth you keep defending the move. You want to get rid of him while praising the move. I obviously agree on the first part. But logically I don’t see how you can simultaneously hold the second. That’s my problem. You can’t both say “depth” is a great thing and try to get rid of it. Folks are getting punchy! It must almost be time for another series! I think signing Penny was a great move, and I hoped (and hope) circumstances conspire to both require his removal and make it difficult to do so. So far, all that is happening. Penny has been a solid No. 5 starter, Clay Buchholz is tearing up AAA and John Smoltz looks good in rehab. Where’s the mistake again? Oh, that’s right, the Sox were supposed to predict that the pitcher who crapped the bed repeatedly last season was going to immediately blossom into an ace. Stupid front office and their lack of psychic powers! So let’s try that again – with peripherals which are much more indicative of what a pitcher has (or doesn’t have) over a longer stretch Except we’re not discussing a longer stretch, so you’re again looking at numbers skewed by — in Ponson’s and Buchholz’s cases — two or three very good starts or — in Penny’s — two or three very bad ones. It’s almost as if you’re trying to ignore the saliant points to keep up a baseless argument. Oh that’s right. Because you are! Penny had the same peripherals in 2008. Ponson too – before and after. Buchholz is the only one that is clearly different. Because he is! Oh, that’s right, the Sox were supposed to predict that the pitcher who crapped the bed repeatedly last season was going to immediately blossom into an ace. You’re changing the argument. Now you expect Buchholz to be an ace? But Penny only has to be a serviceable #5? So you know there’s a big difference between them! Why are you pretending otherwise? The mistake is in assuming pitchers can only learn in the minors and are fully formed once they reach the show. We all know that’s not true. Young pitchers are inconsistent. Throwing them against the same inferior competition – where maybe one or two hitters can hack it in the majors – is very different than honing their craft against an entire lineup of good hitters. Penny is below average. Buchholz would have been that at his absolute worst. Yeah, that’s a mistake if there ever was one. I hope for your guys sake you don’t miss the playoffs by one game or two. I also hope Smoltz has an ERA under 5.00 or else we’ll be repeating this argument. Look, ERA is not a good PREDICTIVE stat. But it is THE stat to use for showing how a pitcher has performed – as it is exactly the number of earned runs per nine innings he’s given up. Penny has a 5.8+ ERA, same as Ponson for the Yankees last year. That means Penny has given up 5.85 runs per 9 innings, SAME AS PONSON LAST YEAR. And that assumes Penny will continue to pitch to a 5.8 ERA, something which is certainly not guaranteed. You really can’t ‘take out’ games from their repertoire. That’s the hight of intellectual dishonesty. Look, Penny has been SLIGHTLY better than Ponson last year (his WHIP is 1.6 rather than, I think, Ponson’s 1.63). I would say his performance has been between Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner, versions 2008, essentially the bottom of the Yankees’ starting pitching barrel. Is that really something to brag about, especially if you signed him for $5 million guaranteed? The Yankees got that type of a pitcher for essentially free last year. They do it a lot, unfortunately, but they tend to perform at or around Penny’s level of success. No one, outside of Red Sox Nation, is impressed with Penny. The trade market has, and will continue, to bear that out, as teams know they can also get a Brad Penny type from within, for free. And the argument still stands: with Brad Penny in the rotation instead of Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden, in all likelihood has cost the Sox a win or two. He’s been BAD. Is that really something to brag about, especially if you signed him for $5 million guaranteed? I am beginning to think that you guys are willfully misrepresenting the position that some of us have about Penny, and grafting it onto RSN as a whole. The premise of this whole debate has been whether or not the Sox can get something for Penny, whether Penny has value to both the Sox and/or other teams. This hasn’t been an argument about how great Penny has been. At its strongest, my argument is that he has performed a service to the Sox, and one that might draw some return, and one that has kept a seat warm for a player who seemed badly in need of a confidence boost (which he seems to have gotten). It can always be argued that someone else might have performed that service equally, better, or cheaper (or worse and more expensively, too). But to transform this debate into whether or not Theo is a genius or Penny has been Cy Young, as you guys seem to want to do, is not that honest. But to transform this debate into whether or not Theo is a genius or Penny has been Cy Young, as you guys seem to want to do, is not that honest. Whoa!? Where did those strawmen come from? To be honest, I disagree most on: one that has kept a seat warm for a player who seemed badly in need of a confidence boost (which he seems to have gotten) Hughes had issues last year. He has had issues this year (after dominating AAA). I don’t think it was confidence. It is learning to pitch to lineups where almost every hitter can put a bat on your best pitches. The “mistake” (not my word) then, to me, is clogging the roster with a pitcher who was never going to be better than the worst the kid could give. I would have felt the same way if the Yanks signed Penny. Now what if the Sox can’t trade Penny? Maybe the Sox continue to trot him out there and block a pitcher who seems ready (this would be a mistake, starting right about now as far as I am concerned), or they carry his salary and stow him in the bullpen (maybe a mistake, maybe not), or they cut him and eat the money. They’ve got at least a couple to a few weeks to decide, it seems. If the Sox can’t trade him, and I bet they can if they eat some of the money as well, then it still might not qualify as a mistake – it’s not my money. It’s all what they do with him once they find out they can’t trade him. If they stubbornly keep him in the rotation while seemingly better options are out there, then we can have another discussion, and it won’t be a wide one. We’re almost to that point. June 15th is when Penny can be traded without consent, I believe. We’re almost to that point. To succinctly sum up our difference then, I think they’re already there and have been for a few weeks now (if not the whole season). Smoltz I felt less so that way because at his best he’s a good as anyone. The upside was worth the hassle. Penny had no upside. I’m very late to this argument, but I don’t understand why you guys keep ignoring one main point: Buchholz’ problem last year, and at the beginning of this year, was his fastball command. Not his breaking balls, not his endurance, specifically and 100% his fastball command. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN BE FIXED AT THE MAJOR LEAGUE LEVEL! After two or three starts at Pawtucket he’s been fantastic, and Penny bought him that time. That’s all we wanted him for, and he was absolutely worth it for that alone. Throw in the fact that he was a lot better than his ERA shows and you have a move that paid off. Andrew, you absolutely can remove certain starts from a pitcher’s stats: let’s say a pitcher threw 8 complete game shutouts, but then in game 9 he gave up 45 runs. You’re saying that we should accept the ERA of 5.00 without putting it into context? i actually saw 2 debates going on here ath… one was whether penny was “worth it” and the second was whether they can now get something in return for dealing him… the penny/smoltz experiments were just that…low risk gambles…with penny, without invoking the stats, i’d say you got what was expected…a #5 plug…not great, not horrible…i happen to agree with letting buck feast on minor league hitters if for no other reason than to build his confidence, and spend more time with instructional staff…penny let you do that…as for the debate about what you can get for penny, probably not much…he’s not going to help another team in contention unless they desperately need a #5 guy ;) …and if the trade partner is out of contention, why would they want him…i believe the market is very small for him, but surely he’s worth more than a bag of balls…but, i’m not sure it would be enough to help with the ss or ortiz problems for example… You’re right DC, there are two arguments to this. It looks like you agree with what I’m saying regarding the first part, but as for the second: we don’t expect to get much for him, but I do think we’ll get something. Brad Penny isn’t just a #5, he would be a #4 on a lot of contending teams (Phillies, Rangers, Mets). Theo isn’t just going to say “here’s a starter with a ~5.80 ERA, what can you give me?” He’s going to market Penny the way some of us in here already have: he had two really bad starts, but aside from those he’s been very solid. We don’t expect a top prospect for him, but something minor would be fine. As for my example two posts up, my numbers are totally off. 7:17 is too early to try to do mental math without coffee. Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.