12-16-2010: Sox sign Jenks and DiNardo, talking with Wheeler


Now this is the way an offseason is supposed to go. The Red Sox are striking early and often, inking two more stalwarts for the bullpen today. The Sox got former closer Bobby Jenks on a two-year deal worth $12M, and 31-year old lefty Lenny DiNardo on a minor league/split deal. Jesse Crain just signed a 3-year contract with the wrong color Sox (they love their hard throwing relievers over there in Chicago).

What’s Jenks got left?

Jenks is a classic case of a thrilling young arm that burst on the scene, was overused, and has experienced a decline as closer the past few years. Here are his last few seasons and what we project for him in Fenway for 2011, if he can stay healthy:

Year ERA G SV IP H HR BB SO BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2008 2.63 57 30 61.2 51 3 17 38 243 175 1.10 7.4 0.4 2.5 5.5
2009 3.71 52 29 53.1 52 9 16 49 228 127 1.28 8.8 1.5 2.7 8.3
2010 4.44 55 27 52.2 54 3 18 61 231 99 1.37 9.2 0.5 3.1 10.4
Proj 3.59 55.1 53 4 19 51 236 1.31 8.7 0.7 3.1 8.3

Jenks is a solid setup option; think something along the lines of Kerry Wood. His ERA is admittedly on the rise, but don’t forget that he plays in the homer-happy Cell. And even there, he’s done a good job of avoid the long ball. His velocity is fading, but Jenks also throws a pretty decent slider and changeup, which makes him effective against both lefties and righties.

The article here claims that Jenks was told that he would be a candidate to close in 2012 “after Papelbon was replaced”. I think there’s a lot of good logic there, but this could be a very damaging leak in terms of the Sox plans for Jonathan Papelbon going forward.

DiNardo adds a depth arm

I view DiNardo as a depth LOOGY, much in the mold of himself many years ago, and Javier Lopez a few years back. Felix Doubront is a better lefty option, and I’d expect him to assume the LOOGY/Hideki Okajima duties next season, unless they manage to sign Brian Fuentes.

Sox working on Wheeler

The Red Sox are talking to Dan Wheeler. Wheeler was a bullpen guy for the Tampa Bay Rays back before they exorcised the devil. He’s not a stud pitcher any more, but he is a solid pitcher with a ton of experience in the AL East. He knows the hitters and has had pretty good success in the division, so it makes sense that the Sox are interested. Here’s our look at him and what we might project going forward:

Year ERA G SV IP H HR BB SO BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2008 3.12 70 13 66.1 44 10 22 53 264 142 1.00 6.0 1.4 3.0 7.2
2009 3.28 69 2 57.2 41 11 9 45 219 133 0.87 6.4 1.7 1.4 7.0
2010 3.35 64 3 48.1 36 7 16 46 195 118 1.08 6.7 1.3 3.0 8.6
Proj 4.09 57.1 48 8 19 50 236 1.15 7.6 1.3 3.0 7.9

Solid strikeout rate, low WHIP. He’d be a good addition to this bullpen. See? No reason to panic, just because we didn’t sign a big name guy to a three-year deal. Those don’t often work out, anyway.

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