Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sox Pen Looking a Lot Better Than The Yanks

Yankee fans may still be horny over getting Johnny Damon and creating their new version of "Murderer's Row", but hey, the games still have to be played. And pitched, mind you.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that even after the Damon signing, the Red Sox may still be the better team in the rivalry. Now with the Tavarez signing, the Sox just got even better.

Now I know Yankee-fan readers of this blog may rip me apart because, after all, I mentioned recently that I wouldn't mind if the Yankees got Julian Tavarez, considering that I thought he might've only done well in St. Louis, where it seems like every reliever has success.

So I'll admit that the Red Sox did sort of gamble here. But their gamble is costing about half as much as the Yankees' similar gamble, Kyle Farnsworth. Plus, it's two years vs. Farnsworth's three.

Tavarez has a career ERA slightly lower than Farnsworth's, actually (4.33 to 4.46). He doesn't have the gaudy strikeout numbers that Farnsworth puts up, and his K/BB ratio is nothing to write home about. But ultimately, they're pretty similar in that they've had a couple of very good years, but otherwise, nothing special.

I like the fact that Boston waited for the market for relievers to slow down before signing Tavarez. Even a month ago, when everyone was in a frenzy over relievers like Wagner, B.J. Ryan, Gordon, and, of course, Farnsworth, Tavarez could've made a good $6-7 million a year. But the Red Sox waited, and got a very good deal in the process.

And getting Tavarez gives the Red Sox some much-needed depth in the bullpen. They've got Foulke at closer, who, if healthy, should regain his 2004 form. Mota's been very good throughout his career, though you've gotta give him an asterisk for pitching in Dodger Stadium all those years. Timlin hasn't shown signs of slowing down, and Seanez is a total gamble.

As for the Yanks, their pen is still a mess. We all know about Farnsworth, we have no idea how long it'll take Dotel to fully recover from surgery, and Ron Villone is one of those guys who's bounced around and doesn't have a good track record. Mike Myers is a one-trick pony, as righties have hit .331 against him in the past three seasons. And then you have Sturtze, who was terrible in the second half last year (and who's much more suited for a "second righty" role that he ahd when Flush was a Junkee), and Scott Proctor (as if you want him in a big spot). So the bridge from the starting pitching to Rivera hasn't looked this tenuous since 2001.

And if the Yanks make it to October with this crew, when the bullpen becomes much more important than in the regular season, they're gonna either have to pull an Ozzie Guillen and keep all their starters in for a while, or they'll have to wear out Mo as in '01. (Hard to believe, but Mo is already 36. Can he still give you a two-inning save on a regular basis?)

Let's not forget that the Red Sox aren't done yet. They're gonna get good players at CF and SS. Maybe not on the caliber of Damon and Renteria, but regardless, they've got still got enough pop in the lineup to afford a mediocre bat or two.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you are a very dumb A-Hole and should worry about your team you BIG D-Head.