As John Smoltz prepares to make his debut with the Boston Red Sox the question on every one's mind is; what are the Sox going to do with all their starting pitching? Upon Smotlz return the Sox have 6 starting pitchers, 7 if you count Buchholz, and only 5 spots in the rotation. Smotlz was quoted this morning saying he thinks he'll start next Tuesday or Wednesday which gives the Sox a few more days to work something out.
Truthfully, we'll have to see how it plays out because no one knows what Theo and company are going to do, however here are my slightly less then educated opinions.
The Sox will not be going to a 6 man rotation, that takes starts away from Lester and Beckett. Although it would allow everyone an extra days rest, baseball players are said to be creatures of habit and messing with the pitching rotation is not something that's going to happen in June. Besides, does anyone really want to take starts away from Lester right now, he's in a groove.
There's been a lot of talk of kicking Dice K to the DL again, or possibly extended. That's the easy answer, but what hasn't been talked about is the fact that Dice K has to sign off on either of those plans. Certainly the Dice Man is pitching the worst of the 5 starters right now, but to write him off the DL skips a few steps, we'll have to see how Theo plays this scenario out.
Brad Penny looks like a different animal in his last few starts, particularly against the Yankees. It seems he's taken exception to everyone wanting to trade him when Smoltz was/is ready to pitch, and I love the fire he's pitching with. Penny was hitting 98 against the Yankees and he had a big enough pair to drill Arod. I was growing very tired of the Yanks pitchers buzzing and hitting Bay and Youk, good for Penny for standing up and telling Girardi to shut his mouth.
That said, depending on what the Sox get out of Smoltz, I wouldn't be opposed to trading high on Brad Penny. I think before July 31st if the Sox can get a bat and either Smoltz is putting up numbers roughly equivalent to Penny's and the right deal is out there, Theo pulls the trigger. Don't ask me what that deal is, but Penny is signed for a year and I think the lineup will probably need another bat before all is said and done.
Tony Mazz wrote about the possibility of moving Wake to the bullpen, he didn't take to that idea and neither am I. First of all, Wake is 54 years old, better that he's not throwing every day, even if it is a knuckle ball. More importantly, I'm not wild about messing with the bullpen right now, Tito seems to have an order worked out depending on the game of who he's going to use, throwing Wake in the mix mucks everything up.
Down on the farm you have Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowdin pitching out of their minds. I wouldn't rule out Bowdin being traded in the right deal, again we'll let Theo be judge and jury on that one and treat him with kid gloves if the deal is a disaster or revere him if he pulls another Bay deal off.
The other day Buchholz was asked point blank about how he feels about not pitching for the big club, rightfully so Clay was frustrated. His response received a little press because it wasn't the standard "whats good for the club is good for me". I do not think Buchholz was pushing for a trade or trying to stir up trouble, he was just being honest. After last year he has to be patient and continue to pitch well in Pawtucket, at some point his time will come.
One thing I do know is not everyone is going to remain healthy for the rest of year, as I said Wakefield is 54 years old, okay 42. Count on a starter going down with an injury at some point this season, and we'll all be happy when Smoltz or Buchholz can make a spot start or 2 at the time, it's a long season
As the old adage goes, you can never have too much pitching. Anyone who is complaining about the current situation should remember back to 2005 when David Wells was our number 1 starter. This is not a bad problem to have.