Re: Why not try Tazawa in the rotation in 2013?
posted at 8/20/2012 11:10 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Why not try Tazawa in the rotation in 2013?
[QUOTE]BTW did not Bard pitch poorly in September 2011 when we needed him most? Is it out of the realm of possibility his problems started last year? Is it feasibale he would have failed as a closer? I did not want to move him into the rotation. I liked him right in the 8 spot. However he is so bad now that one would wonder if he would pitched well in any role this year. Taz is destined to be a middle reliever on this team so why not let him start a couple of games, see what happens. Otherwise by 2014 we will be reading about his pitching with another team. Another innings eater? I am still laughing. What a solution.
Posted by EnchiladaT[/QUOTE]
They don’t need a simple “innings eater”, but they do need a pitcher who can give them a considerable workload. These classifications are way too simple. “Ace” and “innings eater” are not the only two categories for SP, and certainly not all pitchers thrown into one category or another are equal.
The issue with Bard wasn’t simply trying to make him a starter, an idea I never liked because of his repertoire and control. Lance Lynn is also a 2-pitch pitcher and is still throwing innings quite well, so it can work, at least short term. The issue with making Bard a starter was that they were throwing him into a role where they might have needed him for 150-180IP when he was a 60 inning guy for the past several seasons (with a spotty minor league record as a starter, as well). And putting him in this role when both Lackey and Matsuzaka were out was a recipe for disaster. Especially since Buchholz was also coming off injury, and his IP total was also up in the air.
A team really needs to get as close to 900IP as possible from their starting 5, with some 500-600IP coming from other starters and bullpen (assuming no major mid-season additions). The Sox knew 3 guys were questionable or unavailable, yet somehow decided expanding the role of a guy who never threw anywhere near 100IP in MLB was a big part of the solution. How on Earth did anyone expect this to work out?
Getting an “Ace” is the easy answer. Yes, they could use an elite SP. Who couldn’t? But “aces” don’t grow on trees. They are expensive in multiple ways of you don’t have one coming up, which the Sox don’t have. And if they get injured, or simply have an off-year, it’s debilitating. Look at Philadelphia. Last year, they had “four aces” and the media was postulating they had the best rotation of all time. How did it turn out? They made a first round exit last year, and had a fire sale this year, with way too much payroll locked up in3 SP next year.
Buchholz is a solid TOR pitcher, and normally Lester is a solid one as well. Adding, say, Greinke will certainly be an improvement. Unless he tanks it like he has in Anaheim. Fortunately for Anaheim, it wasn’t too costly to get him, and he won’t be handcuffing them in 2013. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be handcuffing someone else.
So the question remains, who gets those 900IP in 2013? Buchholz and Lester will hopefully get their share, maybe 350-400IP. Doubront is probably penciled in for some. Lackey will be back, and hopefully with something left and something else to prove. If those 4 pitchers give you 700IP, which is a lot to expect all things considered (one coming off TJ, one second year, and one injury-prone pitcher in Buchholz who has missed parts of the last 2 seasons), do you want Tazawa trying to give you 150-200IP? Who gets those other innings? Tazawa has less than 100IP total since coming back from surgery, and hasn’t thrown 100IP since A-ball. And 100IP in A-ball is certainly not the same as 100IP in MLB. You can’t say “We need an ace” and come back with “See what Tazawa can do.” He might be stellar, but he won’t be stellar for 200IP, or even close to it. Make him double his workload for the past 2 seasons all in 2013, and he will fall apart physically. Book it.
Tazawa is probably better utilized in a spot-starter / bullpen role, much like Morales. There will be starts and innings to go around. Getting an effective, experienced starting pitcher who is capable of giving you 180IP is a must. And getting the best one possible who doesn’t destroy the farm system or budget makes it all the better. Obviously a guy giving you 200IP with a 5.50ERA isn’t much help, but really, how much help is a guy who gives you a 3.50ERA, but then who falls apart at the 80IP mark? (In fact, I can argue that the first pitcher is of more use, since he won’t take down other games as well by destroying the bullpen through overuse.) We can all cry how unlucky this team is with injuries, and how the medical staff is at fault, or the pitching coach is for not “stretching Tazawa / whoever out” properly. Or we can acknowledge this plan was flawed at the outset and would have required considerable luck to work out. With the starter depth this team has, that puts them right back in the “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” methodology. And if they are lucky, they get Aaron Cook Redux. There is no lower limit for how unlucky a team can be. Look at the relievers pressed into starting this year. While Sale and Samardzjia have succeeded, how is Feliz doing? (In fact, Sale has been shut down twice already this year, including one time nearly being pushed back into the bullpen for IP concerns. Were the White Sox out of it, he might have been shut down for the season by now.) The White Sox, unlike the Red Sox, had much healthier and durable SP from the outset of the season. And even had some better minor league depth as well. The Rangers did not, and are scrambling for capable arms at this point, clinging to oft-injured and normally mildly effective Scott Feldman to keep the magic going, and are pressing for the post-season with 4 other pitchers with less than 5 combined MLB seasons of career work. Not really that good, and probably means an early exit for Texas.
The Sox do need innings over short term success. Especially if Josh Beckett is no longer here, which I strongly suspect will be the case…