Totally Biased Feature: The Best Move For Beantown’s Beloved

In his first Totally Biased piece, Aaron Hamilton breaks down one crucial move the Red Sox can make to beef up a weak bullpen, and hopefully avoid a repeat of last season’s tumultuous collapse…

Red Sox fans need to move on.

Jonathan Papelbon is in Philly and the Red Sox are in a pitching bind. John Lackey will miss the 2012 season (oh no) and Daisuke Matsuzaka is likely to be out until around August; both sidelined because of Tommy John surgery. Boston’s only starters at the moment are the all-stars: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz. This means that Boston has three very important holes to fill for 2012, two in the rotation and one in the bullpen. If this is the case, then why are so many people talking about moving Daniel Bard to the starting rotation?

John Edwards is my hero!

Like most relievers, Daniel Bard is failed starter. And I do not mean failed as in, “Well, maybe he would be more effective as a reliever (a la Papelbon).” I mean failed as in, “Holy cow! His ERA was over 7 as a starter in the minors (a la [Insert Bust Here]).” In ’07 Daniel Bard posted a record of 3-7 with a 7.08 ERA, 2.053 WHIP, and a 78:47 BB:K rate in 75 innings.

That is horrendous. Regardless of a pitcher’s repertoire that’s a blatant red flag. Daniel Bard is a totally competent set up man, arguably the best in baseball right now. This means that there’s a good chance that he would succeed if he were given the opportunity to fill the void that Papelbon left.

I have three different plans for what the Red Sox should do to improve. Keep in mind that if the Red Sox plan to keep their salary at what it was last year, than they have roughly 30 million to spend on free agents:

1.) Sign Heath Bell.

He has been quoted as saying he’s open to signing with Boston, and with each passing day it looks less-and-less likely that he’ll be returning to San Diego. Granted, there’s a good chance his ERA may jump half a point if he were to move out of PetCo Park, but he would still be one of the best in baseball at what he does. If Heath Bell is a no-go than Ryan Madson would do just fine. I would feel comfortable with the Sox signing either to a tune of three years at twelve million a pop (chump change). Also, resign David Ortiz. He’s the best designated hitter in baseball by far, and even though he’s never going to come close to 54 homeruns again, he’s worth the money. But please, Ben Cherington, do not exceed a two year deal. This plan still leaves Boston with two open rotation spots, which I would fill with Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves. You can put Michael Bowden and Kyle Wieland in the bullpen to replace them. Also, the Red Sox would have a few million dollars to go bargain hunting on the market.

Playing baseball is Bell's side gig. He doubles as a Wii Fitness Champion.

2.) Let Ortiz walk, sign Bell/Madson, and then sign Roy Oswalt.

It is my Totally Biased (hey, that’s the name of the site!) opinion that Roy Oswalt is the most talented pitcher on the free agent market. If money wasn’t an option, and I needed a pitcher for two seasons and I had to choose between Oswalt and CJ Wilson, I would choose Oswalt in a heartbeat. Anyway, if the Red Sox signed Oswalt, they would boast a staff of Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, and of course, Oswalt. I would then give the fifth starter’s job to Doubront and keep Aceves in the long reliever role that he was so effective in last season. With Ortiz gone, give the DH role to Ryan Lavarnway, the prospect who had a .290/.376/.563 line last season to go along with 32 homers and 93 RBI over the course of the season where he played in AA and AAA. And because Lavarnway is a catcher, Boston wouldn’t need to spend money on a backup catcher for Saltalamacchia, when it’s time for Salty to rest, send Lavarnway in to catch. Oswalt will probably be looking for the same type of contract as Ortiz is looking for, so 2 years 30 million, meaning that the Red Sox could still look for free agent bargains.

3.) Sign Bell/Madson, sign Ortiz, and trade for a pitcher.

Matt Garza is reportedly available and the Cubs owe the Red Sox compensation for the Theo Epstein move. Boston should try to trade Ryan Kalish, Doubront, and a high ceiling prospect such as Brandon Jacobs for Matt Garza. This scenario would realistically give the Red Sox the best potential team for 2012; A dominating back-end of the bullpen, a dominating rotation, and the best DH in the league.

Daniel Bard Playing Wiffle Ball

These are the type of scenarios that would help the Red Sox, not damage them like that ridiculous idea that Daniel Bard should move to the starting rotation. Then again, that fastball would make anyone consider making Bard a starter. Although, there’s absolutely no sane reason for Boston to do something absurd like that. I understand that the front office might be in full panic mode, but the best thing for them to do is stay the course and not do anything too radical.

3 Responses to “Totally Biased Feature: The Best Move For Beantown’s Beloved”
  1. toosoxy says:

    I trust Bard exactly where he is- the bullpen. And even then it’s strained. Moving him to rotation? TERRIBLE idea. Bard the closer? Bad idea.
    I’m with you- Doubrant, Aceves- perfect hole fillers. If not Heath Bell- sign SOMEBODY.
    I do not want Ortiz to walk. I want him to stay where he is. Forever.

  2. So Bell signed with the Marlins hours after this article was posted… Go Madson!

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