I really feel that the uproar over Papelbon's success as closer is pushing Francona into making a very bad decision that will hurt the team in the long run.If Foulke had pitched in 2005 like he has so far this year, nobody would be clamoring for another closer. Fool around with the pen and decide whether Delcarmen and Hanson should knock out Riske and Seanez, let Foulke close and PUT PAPELBON IN THE STARTING ROTATION. The Sox had a declining Bob Stanley and an over-the-hill Joe Sambito as their closing duo in 1986, and didn't come up with a closer at all until August. But even John McNamara, a moron, knew that Roger Clemens belonged in the starting rotation. Roger would have been as dominating as Papelbon coming out of the pen, but it would have been a bad trade. So is this. Start Papelbon.
Closer issues aside, I hope Delcarmen vaults right past Seanez and Tavarez. We need as many RELIABLE arms as possible down there.
There was a Tito quote today that hinted ever so slightly that while things can change, he would keep Pap in the pen for the entire season.At the end of his notebook in the Globe, Chris Snow writes:***Even with David Wells's future hanging in the balance, Francona has effectively ruled out returning Jonathan Papelbon to the rotation. The skipper was asked yesterday if he'd continue to resist that urge. "This year, yeah," Francona said. "It's a long year. Things happen. Sometimes you have to make adjustments. But I like what we have."***
Redsock: Yeah, it was that comment that motivated my post, and it was Tito at his dumbest. He "likes" having a journeyman stop-gap lefty in the rotation? Look at Foulke today. Don't tell me he couldn't close out games at an 85% rate at least. His ERA is even an illusion...it counts the two runs that fell out of Wily Mo's glove, and the botched-call walk that scored from first on Friday when Seanez threw a meatball. If the Sox weren't going to use Papelbon as a starter-in-waiting, then I retract my approval of the Arrojo trade. I presumed Theo had a plan B to back up a 42-year old malcontent with bad knees. If not, then it was a dumb move.Start Papelbon.
My gut feeling is they will start to stretch him out when they are more certain about Foulke. I don't know what kind of timetable there would be for that (2IP here, 3IP there), but I can't see them even starting until June.If we continue to have trouble with the #5 spot and Clement, some of those "things" Tito alluded to could change.
I think Theo has to write Wells off -- and he probably has.But can DiNardo be consistent (enough)? Alvarez has been solid in Pawtucket (23IP-11H-7BB-12K, 1.96 in 4 starts). We might see him soon.I'd be fine with Pap officially moving into the rotation at the start of August. It would be good to have him get some starts before reporting to camp next spring, just like his September 2005 experience helped this year.
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