Such harsh words about Mike Timlin, eh? I am a big fan of Timlin, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s time to take old Mike out behind the barn. As baseball players go, he is old at 42 years old. He did put together a good 2007, but that was after a bad start (ERA’s of 5.87 in April, 9.00 in May and 5.59 in June). He finished very nicely in 2007 and was a contributor in the playoffs, but I think the writing is on the wall.
Not being able to rely on Timlin early in the season due to whatever various injury he has puts a major strain on Terry Francona. Additionally, you typically sign a pitcher to give you 6 and hopefully 7 months of service, not 3-4 months.
His 2008 has been dreadful: 6 IP, 14 H, 9 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 13.50 ERA, 2.83 WHIP, 2-2 record. That is a fairly small sample size and certainly not the definitive sign his career is over, but it isn’t a good trend.
If I’m Theo Epstein, I DL Timlin right now with the idea of working with him to fix whatever physically ails him and to best position him for the remainder of the season. If John Farrell and others feel Timlin can contribute, great, let him prove it in an extended rehab assignment at Pawtucket (he’s already pitched 2 scoreless innings there this year before he was activated). If they feel he can’t contribute, let him go. Of course, he is a popular player and just cutting him might not sit well, so the organization should give him some options to allow him to exit gracefully and with class, something he is worthy of.
To replace Timlin, let’s give Craig Hansen another look. Hansen has gone 15.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 17 K, 1.72 ERA, 0.64 WHIP at Pawtucket and finally seems to have found his slider. In his 1.2 IP appearance in Boston this year, despite giving up a HR, he had sharp break to his slider and struck out 3.
One other quick observation: The Red Sox can’t hit right now!!! Last 7 days: .212/.275/.278 as a team, hence the 1-5 record over that time.