July 25, 2009

Schilling On Papelbon's Inconsistency

Posted to SoSH, Friday at 11:30 PM:
Couple things.

1) The gun reads what they want it to read on some nights, first hand knowledge and experience of that:)

2) Paps has much less fast ball command this year than in years past, it happens.

3) His split is less consistent this year, not getting the drop as much. That happens to as your middle finger tends to 'bow' towards your pinky the longer you throw the pitch, eventually (at least for me) requiring a grip change to get consistent action. Mine was caused by the dreaded finger moving while at the same time arm speed dropping due to labrum tear. Arm speed = #1 pre-req for split movement.

4) I wouldn't be surprised to see the Pap rules start to change if the team does in fact envision him moving on. Why protect an asset you will not control?

5) I'd still take him as my closer over anyone other than Mo or Nathan.
#4 interests me a lot. If the Red Sox believe Papelbon is likely to become a free agent after 2011 (and ask for more $ than the team believes it should pay for a 31-year-old closer), would they start overworking him?

brimac noted that Papelbon has allowed 1.36 baserunners per inning this season. He then offered a "scattered sampling" of other closers and their BR/IP (stats do not include last night):
Nathan     0.81
Rivera 0.85
Broxton 0.94
Hoffman 1.02
Cordero 1.11
K-Rod 1.19
Sherrill 1.12
Jenks 1.35
Papelbon 1.36
Capps 1.75
brimac included HBP in his totals; that's why this 1.36 number is slightly higher than Bot's 1.31 WHIP.

18 comments:

9casey said...

I for one would be schocked if he was a Red Sox after 2011....

This front office is making a strong effort to have this team as corporate as it can be, and Pap has never fit that mold,just like Damon, Manny, Orlando, Bronson, Millar...You may think I am crazy , but it just seems that way to me....

blogtard said...

Hey, Schill! Five is more than a "couple". :P

Interesting perspective. I don't know if the Tito and the Sox would necessarily blow Pap's arm out (and least I certainly like to think so), but at the same time why would you go out of your way to protect someone who has made it clear he's in this for himself and his dollars? Protect him for the Angels or *shudder* the Skankees?

redsock said...

I agree, 9. If he keeps pitching well, there's no way the Sox will shell out the kind of dough he'll demand.

As far as the corporate thing, there are very clear reasons why those other guys are not with the team anymore, namely, asked for too much $, not worth the headache anymore, not that good, expendable (at the time) for a bat, became a corpse.

There are plenty of other "corporate" players who also are gone: Bartleby, Embree, SWHB, Pokey, E6gar, Pro....

redsock said...

As was pointed out by Edes last night, the growing trend is for teams to develop cheaper players, and tie those guys up to good but not nutsy contracts (like the Sox have done with FY, Yook and Lester, like the Rays did with Longoria).

The Sox have a lot of arms on the farm -- they will not pay $15 per for Bot.

redsock said...

I also like #3 -- we rarely hear about stuff like that.

James said...

Honestly... would it surprise people that much to see Paps get traded offseason? I assume they'd hand the job to Shakespeare. You can get a lot for a Jonathan Papelbon.

James said...

Honestly... would it surprise people that much to see Paps get traded offseason? I assume they'd hand the job to Shakespeare. You can get a lot for a Jonathan Papelbon.

andy said...

We can even get 2 comments in a row.
I kid. Yes please trade him to upgrade our offense.

Miguel said...

Going back to the subject at hand, it seems as if he gets sharper as he pitches more in an inning, like last night. Any statistics to back this up?

redsock said...

You could check his B-Ref splits for pitches 1-10 and 11-20, etc. (or however they break it down).

Iridescence said...

One thing I absolutely hate is when clubs give big money to closers. It's too much of a risk and too easy to find someone who can be at least almost as good in the role, especially with a deep bullpen like the Sox have. Trading him in the off-season would be a cool move if they think Bard or someone else is ready and can get a good return. If not, use and enjoy him and then let some other team over-pay when he becomes a FA.

L-girl said...

Honestly... would it surprise people that much to see Paps get traded offseason?

Obviously not, since everyone seems to kind of expect it.

If the Red Sox believe Papelbon is likely to become a free agent after 2011 (and ask for more $ than the team believes it should pay for a 31-year-old closer), would they start overworking him?

It would be terrible, totally unethical, and very likely.

I don't think the FO cares about image that much. I think more RS players seem "corporate" - which I assume means they have short hair and bland demeanors - because more players are that way.

And if they do care about that, if it's a priority, I don't think it would take priority over concerns like their budget and building the best team possible. I sure hope not.

Iridescence said...

"It would be terrible, totally unethical, and very likely."


Well it depends on what your definition of overwork is. The notion that a reliever's arm will fall off if he's used for more than one inning at a time is a very recent invention. Look at the way Quisenberry and Gossage and guys like that (not to mention "relief aces" in the 50s and 60s) were used.

Perhaps those guys were used excessively but I think the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. The same way it has with starting pitchers.

I would like to see "closers" who are (supposedly) the best non-starting pitchers on the team used in more high leverage tie game situations and sometimes pitch more than one inning. I don't think this would be "abusive" or drastically increase their chances of injury.

L-girl said...

Well it depends on what your definition of overwork is.

Not really. Overwork is use that is unhealthy for the athlete and shortens their career over the long haul. There will be different thresholds for different players.

A lot of it is down to short-term vs long-term thinking. And obviously if a team isn't keeping planning to keep a player, they don't have a long-term stake.

Iridescence said...

Yeah, I don't think any team is going to intentionally push an athlete beyond what they think they can safely do. But it only makes sense that they are going to be more protective and err on the side of caution more with a guy who has a long future with the organization than with a "short-term asset"

The Sabbathia debate with the Brewers last year comes to mind. I know some people considered the way they used him risky and unethical. I think it was fine because they felt he could safely handle that load and it got them to the playoffs and they knew his future would probably be with another organization anyway.

If they did the same thing with a young pitcher like Gallardo that would be a lot more questionable though.

andy said...

When did we stop including the needs of the team in the playtime calculator? If a team has the best shot of making the playoffs by riding two young aces then why would they not? Wouldn't it be unethical to have the ability to succeed but purposely do not in order to save your parts for a different season?

redsock said...

If a team has the best shot of making the playoffs by riding two young aces then why would they not? Wouldn't it be unethical to have the ability to succeed but purposely do not in order to save your parts for a different season?

Theo has said in recent deadline talk that the tricky thing is to balance short-term and long-term. Could they push Lester to 140 pitches a game? Sure, but that might mean a risk of shoulder/elbow trouble that could end his career in three years.

The marginal value of over-working (according to today's standards) a young ace is not worth the possible long-term effects of any damage to that pitcher.

Seeing the playoffs as a crapshoot -- where any one of the 8 teams can come in, get hot, and win the trophy -- means the Red Sox want to get to the playoffs every year. At that point, anything can happen.

They could empty the farm for Halladay, but is that worth the price in cost-controlled prospects (especially pitchers) down the road?

andy said...

The players need to be held accountable in this ethical dilemma as well. They sign very short contracts so they may capitalize on their possible future success with bigger contracts. Then at the end of their career they all want more years then they are really capable of playing so they may get all the money they can. IF a player wants a team to consider his long term health then he should have to sign a long term contract. Otherwise how can a team be held responsible to guarantee a player is healthy enough to make some other team better? If I want to guarantee my career is a certain length I have to sign a contract now. It will not be for as much money if I wait to sign that contract, but it will guarantee me a job all that time. Papelbon wouldn't even sign a short contract extension. We need to get all that we pay him for before our contract is up.