It’s the Bullpen Stupid

With the signing of Bobby Jenks yesterday (pending a physical), the Red Sox bullpen is starting to take shape:

Closer – Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up – Daniel Bard
Set-up – Bobby Jenks
Lefty – Felix Doubront
Lefty – Andrew Miller
Righty – Tim Wakefield
Righty – Scott Atchison

I can live with that. To me, the lefties are important. Doubront, in limited action, held lefties to a .576 OPS in 40 Plate Appearances. Miller on the other hand was a batting practice pitcher for lefties in 2010 allowing a 1.262 OPS to lefties in 48 PAs. That off the charts bad. His career OPS against lefties is .819 in 365 PAs. Not good still, but it shows you how heavily his 2010 stats factored into his overall OPS vs lefties.

Miller at this point is a reclamation project and shouldn’t be counted on in anyway. New pitching coach Curt Young will need to get his hands on Miller ASAP and see what he can do by the time spring training breaks as Miller has to stay on the big league roster or else has to pass through waivers if sent down to Pawtucket (or lower).

So the lefty burdon falls on Doubront for the time being.

The set-up arms are all power arms. Jenks is appealing b/c he can step in an close if need be but hopefully will serve to share the set-up duties with Bard.

Atchison is your reliever when all others are tired, or you when the Red Sox are losing the game and Wakefield is your utility bullpen arm. They’ll probably keep him semi-stretched out so he can make a spot start now and again.

Back to the lefties, Doubront is a big piece here as when the Red Sox step into the New Yankee Stadium, it would be nice to have a shutdown reliever in the bullpen. The same way the Yankees just signed Pedro Feliciano (career .580 OPS vs lefties) who will combat the Red Sox heavy lefty line-up, the Red Sox need to be able to do the same in New York. The Red Sox obviously play other teams besides the Yankees (but isn’t that what this website is about), so having a quality pitcher against lefties is huge.

There is talk that the Red Sox and Dan Wheeler are talking too, that would probably spell the end to Atchison (or Miller), but nothing firm yet on those talks.