Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sometimes Profanity is a Good Thing

When I first heard the news of the Red Sox trade with the Mariners yesterday, I did what any reasonable blogger would do. I tweeted Mariners fans to gauge their reactions.

I first asked Megan Sheer, the wonderful author of the Mariners blog Section 331. (love the name!) I wondered if I was going to like having Carson Smith on the Red Sox. She had, apparently, not heard the deal yet. Her response was full of profanities. I took that to be a very good sign. When you make a trade, you don’t want the other team to be dancing on the rooftops.

The second person I tweeted was the well-known Mariners fan Kailee Dunn. She confirmed that Smith was “a boss” and she was sad to see him leave. Again, much better when the team you trade with is sorry to lose the player. Much better than if she had responded, “Heh heh. We sure fooled you guys!”

Does that mean it was a great deal? On its own, of course not. But it’s nice that people familiar with his work are at least pleased with his performance.

It’s an interesting trade, because the Sox traded from a position of strength for a position of weakness. So, it’s the rare case where breaking even on a trade is just fine. It’s also interesting because Wade Miley was actually one of the reasons I was OK with not having a reliever like Smith.

Last season, the starting rotation had a rough stretch. For whatever reason, after starting strong they went through a collective slump. The bullpen was used over and over as starters went about a month without getting into the sixth inning. The bullpen never really recovered. The addition of Kimbrel would certainly be expected to help with that. One more key arm would obviously reduce the workload of everyone else. The addition of Price also helped with that since hopefully we can assume he’ll be going at least six innings every time out.

So, with Price going deep into games, and Miley always going deep into games, you had the feeling that the bullpen could handle potentially shorter outings by the other three starters. By losing Miley, the Sox lose that guaranteed long outing. So, they’re down to just one long start for every turn through the rotation. But, they add another bullpen arm to compensate. So, maybe it’s a wash.

It does make things MUCH better if you assume that the rest of the rotation doesn’t suck it up every start. If instead of five innings per start, if Kelly and Porcello can go at least six, things are now much more encouraging. Now your A-team of relievers only needs to cover three innings between the four of them.

So, I think this trade shows some confidence in the rotation. The Red Sox aren’t expecting to need another long man or two to compensate for below average starters. Instead they’re looking for a solid bullpen they can use to lock down wins. That’s a great sign. It's a sign that there isn;t a big fix needed in order to make big strides.

It also means that all those other pitchers the Sox have been stock piling, the Owens and Johnsons, of the world, can help fill out the pen if they don't crack the rotation themselves. 

Even though the deal hurt the rotation directly, it certainly helps it secondarily. It's a much better job of following the Kansas City model that has worked so well the past couple seasons. Although, the Royals never had David Price. 


Price

Porcello
Buchholz
Kelly
Rodriguez

Smith

Tazawa
Uehara
Kimbrel

I like the looks of that.


This could be fun.



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