The Red Sox bullpen was viewed as their biggest asset going into the 2013 season, and that is statement is farthest from truth on July 19th. The Sox had a deadly 7th, 8th, 9th combination with 3 guys who had closer experience. People lauded over this pen that would only force the Sox starters to go only 6 innings and still feel comfortable giving the ball over. Koji Uehara, Andrew Bailey, and Joel Hanrahan made up this super bullpen, but now only Uehara remains. Early in the season the Sox lost Hanrahan who had nearly every type of elbow surgery possible. Today John Farrell announced that Bailey has “pretty significant” damage to his shoulder and surgery is a possibility. If Bailey opts for the surgery he’ll be sidelined for approximately 12 months. If he decides just to rehab the shoulder, it’s still unlikely he’ll return before the season ends. Either scenario shows that the Sox search for another bullpen arm should be intensified. For now, Jose De La Torre will fill the void left by Bailey, but I doubt he’s the permanent fix.
Two guys, who appear to be long shots at best, have been added to the fold. Today the Sox announced the signings of Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon. Both relievers have been assigned to AAA Pawtucket. Lyon, a former Red Sox, was pitching with the Mets earlier this year. Over 34.1 innings he posted a 4.98 ERA before getting released. Contreras, was with Pirates to begin this season pitching just 7 innings in 5 games with an ERA of 9.00 before getting sent to AAA Indianapolis. In his 19.1 innings in AAA he was dominant with a .0.93 ERA and 11.17 K/9. The Pirates released him and now he’s here hoping for an opportunity. WEEI’s Michael Holley speculated that this could be an attempt to lure top Cuban pitching prospect Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to sign with the Sox. Gonzalez is likely to make a decision this week, and a chance to pitch alongside Jose Contreras would be alluring to a Cuban, but it’s not likely to be a deciding factor. Either way Lyon and Contreras are likely just depth moves to help with the depleted bullpen.
- Andrew Bailey likely out for the season, may need shoulder surgery (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- The Red Sox sign Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Boston Red Sox: All-Star break report card (isportsweb.com)
Last night the Red Sox made their first move of the trade deadline season. They acquired left handed reliever Matt Thornton and $750,000 from the Chicago White Sox for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs. Thornton was acquired to plug the hole in the bullpen left by the injury to Andrew Miller. Knuckleballer Steven Wright was optioned to Pawtucket and Andrew Miller was transferred to the 60 day DL to make room for Thornton on the 25 and 40 man rosters.
The immediate impact of the move is that it improves the bullpen. Over the past several years Thornton has been a force in the White Sox’s pen, being able to shut down whoever he faced, righty or lefty. In eight seasons with the White Sox he’s posted a 3.28 ERA and a 1.196 WHIP. However, this year righties have figure him out batting .314 off him with a .414 OBP, but he’s been as good as ever against lefties. They’re only batting .170 off of him with an OBP of .232. The only oddity in his numbers is that 3 of the home runs he’s given up have been to left handed batters, which has played a part in the fact that they are slugging .385 off him. Regardless, despite his declining stuff he can still get lefties out. He should end up being a valuable part of the pen and will hopefully add some consistency to this otherwise volatile pen. Also the cash is likely to help the Sox pay Thornton’s $1,000,000 buyout for next year, because the Sox are unlikely to pick up the $6,00,000 option for 2014.
With every trade you have to give something to get something. That something happened to be Brandon Jacobs, a minor league outfielder who was promoted to Portland just a few days prior to the trade. Jacobs, according to Sox Prospects, was once the 8th ranked prospect is the Red Sox system, but he had struggled the past year and a half in Salem and fallen to 36th and was also rated the most disappointing Red Sox prospect by Baseball America. He showed good power, hitting 13 home runs last year and 11 so far this year, but struggled batting for average . He was hitting just .244 when he was called up to Portland. He was tremendous upside because he’s a 5 tool player, but putting all together has been an issue. The reason he was so expendable, was because he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this off-season and was unlikely to be added to the 40 man roster to protect him from other teams. All in all he’s a great prospect, but he was an expendable piece.
All in all, it appears to be a great trade for the Sox. They filled their biggest need, and only lost a guy who they were likely to lose next off-season anyways. Thornton is said to be a high character guy and should fit right in with the club. This could be the biggest move the Sox make this month.
Today New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera announced that this year will be his final season. Rivera has spent the entirety of his 18 year career with the Yankees and holds the Major League record for saves with 608 and the postseason record of 42. He’s also the last player to ever wear the number 42, which was retired by every team for Jackie Robinson. Since Rivera was already wearing 42 when the number was retired he and Mo Vaughn were allowed to continue to wear it. Vaughn has since retired leaving Rivera as the lone wearer of 42 left in baseball. He’s widely regarded as the greatest closer to ever play the game and has left a major impact on the game.
I know this is a Red Sox blog and I’m supposed to hate the Yankees, you can’t help but respect what Rivera has done throughout his career. In my opinion he is the greatest closer of all time and I think it’ll remain that way for a long time. I for one seem to identify the number 42 with Rivera more than Robinson, but that’s partly because I’ve seen Rivera play and Robinson had already passed away by the time I was born. If he didn’t play for the Yankees I’d root for him to have a successful farewell tour, but sadly that’s not the case and I’ll be hoping he blows every save.
- Farewell by the numbers for Mariano Rivera (espn.go.com)
- It’s Official: Mariano Rivera Will Retire After This Season (sportsgrid.com)
- Source: Yankees’ Mariano Rivera to retire after 2013 season (newsday.com)
- Yankees’ Mariano Rivera says 2013 season will be his last (newsday.com)
- Mariano Rivera To Retire After This Season (themercyrule3.wordpress.com)
Yesterday the Cleveland Indians designated former Red Sox starter and closer Derek Lowe. Within the next two days we’ll find out whether he’ll be traded or released by the Indians. It’s pretty safe to say he’ll be traded, because there’s interest from the Red Sox and Orioles. Now his history with the team draws fans to want him, but his numbers scare others away. There has been a need for a starting pitcher and Lowe fits the bill, but is a struggling sinkerballer the right fit. Aaron Cook’s sinker hasn’t solved any problems, so should we believe that Lowe’s sinker could save this season?
As with everything there’s a positive and a negative. I’ll start with the positives. The first thing is that he fills a need. Beckett could miss time, Cook has faltered, and Doubront may need to be shut down so a starter is needed. Derek Lowe obviously fits that, so he could be an option. He would have no problems with the Boston media, because he’s lived with it before. Also he says he just needs a slight tune up and he’ll return to his early season form, which was pretty damn good. If he’s correct about that he’d provide a huge lift to the struggling pitching staff.
Now on to the negative. He might be done. Simple as that. He was one of the top pitchers in Cleveland’s rotation, but then everything went down hill. Guys have been hitting him and hitting hard. Since June 1st he’s had a .350 batting average against him and an ERA over 8 with a record of 1-7. Overall he’s 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA which isn’t good by any means. If he has something left in the tank he could be worth something, but there’s a convincing case against him saying that he’s done.
If I had my say I’d take a shot on a Red Sox legend and try to get him back in shape. I know many fans would disagree, some more strongly than others, but I believe he’s worth something. I don’t think the PR wizards that is the Red Sox front office let this opportunity. So I think there’s a very high likely hood that he’ll be back in Boston very soon.
I wasn’t able to do my first week ahead yesterday, but today I’ll get it done.
Sunday: Loss at Blue Jays 5-1. L:Bard W:Hutchison
Monday: MLB Draft first round. Red Sox have picks 24 and 31 in the first round.
Tuesday: Orioles at Red Sox. Hammel (6-2 3.06 ERA) vs. Lester (3-4 4.79 ERA) A chance for Lester to bounce back and the Sox can close in on a struggling O’s team.
Wednesday: Orioles at Red Sox. Chen (4-2 3.75 ERA) vs. Beckett (4-5 4.26 ERA) Another chance to close in.
Thursday: Orioles at Red Sox. Matsuz (5-5 4.41 ERA) vs. Buchholz (5-2 6.58 ERA) Same as the other two games, trying to move up in the division.
Friday: Nationals at Red Sox. Starters TBD. Second interleauge series of the year; chance to make a statement against a young up and coming team.
Saturday: Nationals at Red Sox. Starters TBD. Another statement game.
This week is a good chance to move into the top 3 in the division. Prediction 3-3 record for the week.