The Hazards Of Making Personnel Decisions Based On Emotion – [Salty Beevah Vol. 3]
Today is June 2nd, 2019. The Red Sox are only at .500 as of today. They’re trailing frugal Tampa Bay by 7.5 games despite having one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and are trailing New York by 9.5 games despite all the Yankees’ injuries.
Boston has blown 9 of 21 save chances so far this season. The bullpen by committee approach, to this point has been a complete failure. The magic of last year’s bullpen has not carried over into 2019. Dave Dombrowski’s cavalier attitude of ignoring the bullpen last offseason is blowing up in his face. Painfully.
Craig Kimbrel has had some issues in post season games over his approximately 20 career post-season innings, but you still need to get to the post season before you worry about a 2019 post-season bullpen scenario. Craig Kimbrel over his 3 years with Boston only blew 11 out of 119 regular season save opportunities. That is only 2 more blown saves in 119 chances than the Red Sox have blown in 21 chances in 2 months of 2019. Ouch.
I understand you can not always pay for past performance. However, you can not ignore it completely either. Check out how Kimbrel’s career stacks up to Mariano Rivera’s first 8 full seasons as Yankees’ closer. (For this comparison, I included Kimbrel’s first season in which he only pitched approximately 20 innings, plus his first 8 full regular seasons.)
Rivera is the gold standard to which closers are measured. Now, I want to make it clear that I would take Rivera 95 out of 100 times in a post season game in a pressure situation. The point I am making is to show how utterly dominant Kimbrel has been in the regular season to this point in his career. It is hard to argue numbers like those will not help you make the post-season.
I know Kimbrel’s camp had outrageous contract demands, and I can understand certain teams having pause to meet those demands. However, the Sox have among the deepest pockets in MLB, and it is hard for to me to swallow re-signing Nathan Eovaldi & Steve Pearce before bringing Kimbrel back.
I understand that Eovaldi & Pearce were post-season heroes last year. They are good in the clubhouse, they performed in the clutch. However, to anyone who is an educated fan, it’s obvious these players have been career journeyman, and consistently injury plagued at that.
Eovaldi, now in his 9th season this year has thrown 871 innings, and has a 656/270 K/walk ratio, and has only broken 124 innings in a season twice in his entire career. He has a career record of 44-53. He has never had a single complete game in his career, never mind a shutout. He has compiled a 4.21 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a batting avg. against of .268. Even in today’s market, these numbers are not deserving of a $68 million contract over 4 years. These numbers represent who he is. A mediocre journeyman who occasionally has a hot streak. This time the Sox took the bait on the hot streak, ignoring his lengthy track record of injury plagued mediocrity.
Nathan Eovaldi – $68 million ($17 mil x 4 yrs from 2019-2022):
21 innings, 21 hits, 15 earned runs, 16 K’s, 11 walks, 6 HR allowed
6.00 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .266 batting avg. against, 0 wins.
Steve Pearce – $6.25 mil x 1yr (2019):
16 hits and 31 strikeouts in 89 AB’s. 1 HR, 9 RBI, .180 avg, .245 OBP
With the bullpen being the most obvious weakness Boston had coming into the 2019 season, please enlighten me on how spending $74.25 million on the above is a smarter than spending your money to attempt to keep one of the most dominant regular season relievers in MLB History?
-The Salty Beevah