11-10-2010: Why Justin Duchscherer?

The Red Sox have also expressed interest in free agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer, who is coming off of hip surgery last June which cut short his season. 2011 will be Duchscherer’s age 33 season, and he’s only been able to pitch 28 innings over the past two seasons. Why would the Red Sox, who already feature a “full house” in the rotation, want someone like him?

All the data suggests that if “the Duke” is healthy, he could be a quality starter. That’s a big if for someone who’s suffered as many injuries as he has. My projection says something like a mid-3s ERA with good control is possible, but you just don’t know what you’ll get with someone who hasn’t pitched competitively in two years.

And let’s not forget that Curt Young, our new pitching coach, has a history with Duchscherer from his Oakland days and could lure him here for a Brad Penny/John Smoltz-type of gig (hopefully with better results). I’m all for this gamble, as it seems like it’ll be relatively cheap.

Links: Early speculation on the Red Sox offseason plan

It’s never too early to start speculating about next year. It may seem like Spring Training is an eternity away, but the Sox have to start game-planning now. Should they tangle with Scott Boras again and risk Matt Holliday going to the Yankees or some other team at the last minute? Thinking they had and then not landing Mark Teixeira really left them in the lurch last year.

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2009 Projections: How did we do?

Now that the regular season is over, we can take a look back and compare our expectations with what we really saw. Here are the predictions I made on this blog before this season, and how it all turned out. Back in January I predicted that we would score about 835 runs, allow 729 runs and end up with a 92-70 record, winning the wild card. We got the wild card, but actually ended up with 95 wins, mainly due to the unexpected struggles of the Rays. Going into a bit more detail: Read more of this post

The real Boston rotation stands up

As we come down the stretch, four games ahead in the wild card race and seven behind the Yankees, the Red Sox are in a familiar and strangely comfortable place. All they have to do is continue doing what they’re doing, which right now happens to be playing winning baseball. Josh Beckett seems to have shaken off his rough stretch, Jon Lester has shown himself to be perhaps the top lefty in all of baseball this season, and Clay Buchholz is piling up the quality starts. Daisuke Matsuzaka is back in shape and will take the ball tomorrow against the Angels, and you have to think, apart from losing Dice-K for most of this year, this was the plan all along. Well, more or less.

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Penny released; Wakefield/Martinez, Wagner and more

Brad Penny saw that his season was going nowhere in Boston, asked for his unconditional release, and was given it yesterday. As bad as he has been lately, Penny provided plenty of value to the Sox, hurling 131.2 innings for them while the rotation suffered a massive mid-season meltdown. The 5.61 ERA ain’t pretty, but Fangraphs still has him as +2.1 wins above replacement. Don’t forget that he gave us some pretty good starts when our regulars began dropping like flies around the All-Star Break.

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A look at the rotation heading into September

As we head into the stretch, it’s nice to know that the rotation is in better shape than a month ago. Here’s a player-specific look at some of the issues.

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The rotation situation will work itself out

Here we sit on August 4th, one-half game out of first place. It was great that we got Victor Martinez at the trade deadline, but the infield corners are not the only place where it seems we have an overflow of players to deal with. The rotation also has a lot of dubious candidates and a lot of question marks; beyond our top two, who should be going out there every fifth day? Six guys, three rotation slots plus a backup starter role. Viewed positively, this is great depth. Negatively, we’re talking about six guys who all have their problems; in 16 starts since July 1, the back end of our rotation has posted a 5-6 record and a collective 6.32 ERA. There are a number of issues which need to be looked at for each one. Let’s think it out.

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What to do with Smoltz?

Alright, time to tackle the topic of the day – John Smoltz. After six starts, the future Hall-of-Famer has averaged a mere 5 innings per outing and compiled a 7.04 ERA. This is not exactly what people were expecting, so the calls for him to be moved out of the rotation are growing. What can we say about the way he’s throwing the ball now, and can we expect things to get better for the 42-year old?

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Links: Buchholz, prospects and the schedule advantage

Clay Buchholz turned in a pretty good outing in his first start of 2009. Despite striking out just three batters, he showcased the stuff that has all of baseball asking for him at this year’s trade deadline. He used his fastball to good effect, and that changeup was quite effective; the curve, not so much. I think it’s pretty clear he belongs up here, so I fully expect Brad Penny to be dealt at the deadline.

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7/20/09 Injuries and contingencies

Hallelujah, Jed Lowrie is back! Lowrie appears to be healthy, but as the Sox are wont to do, they will bring him along cautiously, and platoon him with Nick Green for a while. Along with that move, Julio Lugo has been DFA’d to make room on the roster. Whether he is released or traded, the Red Sox will be eating the rest of his contract. Give Theo some credit for admitting his mistake in signing Lugo to an inflated 4-year deal.

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