I think it’s time to launch an investigation into just what kind of dirt Rudy Seanez has on the Red Sox front office.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have guys like Seanez around to make games like last night interesting. At least that’ll teach those fair-weathers who flipped back and forth between commercials during the “OC.”
But sooner or later, Seanez will no longer be with this club. The righthanded reliever has, once again, been a disaster, now the official poster child for the Theo Epstein regime’s increasingly apparent flawed decisions when it comes to the bullpen. From closer by committee in 2003 (and Rudy Seanez Part I) to the necessity of Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, and Jonathan Papelbon being used exclusively in 2006 (and Rudy Seanez Part II), Boston’s pen is an annual cause of spring concern, names bound for milk cartons across the baseball landscape.
Chad Fox, Phil Seibel, Blaine Neal, Joe Nelson, Mark Malaska, Bobby Jones, Jamie Brown, Jimmy Anderson, Scott Cassidy, Matt Perisho, Hector Almonte, Robert Person, Kevin Tolar, Matt White, Jason Shiell ... on and on it goes, the list of ineffective pitchers who have made up the Red Sox bullpen over the past four seasons. And as if anyone asked for a reunion, the Red Sox brought Seanez back this season. At the tune of $1.9 million, with an option for 2007.
Is there anybody out there who didn’t predict Seanez would be about as dependable as whatever fantasy Doppler system the Red Sox are hooked up into? Seanez had a nice year in San Diego last season in a National League pitchers park, a combination better suited to success than blonde and “Size D.”
Tavarez allowed a Troy Glaus two-run homer in the eighth inning last night, which pushed his ERA up to 9.58 on the season. I don't know about you, but when a pitcher's ERA is higher than I'm willing to fork over to the Sausage King, I'm a bit concerned.
In the Boston bullpen this season, there has been one near-sure thing (Jonathan Papelbon) and two dependable arms (Keith Foulke and Mike Timlin). Beyond that, it’s trouble. Terry Francona again is hesitant to go to Manny Delcarmen, Julian Tavarez is one more rough outing from kicking Wally in the groin, and David Riske remains on the disabled list (and doesn’t exactly carry the tag of “savior” that some ill-advised fans already applied to backup catcher Doug Mirabelli anyhow).
We saw a perfect example last night of what’s going to cause Francona to “Cla Meredith” some Single-A kid soon enough: Seanez makes things closer for the Jays in the eighth, and Tavarez can’t get through an inning without allowing a homer of his own and is gone after just eight pitches. At the start of the inning, the NESN camera panned over to show Papelbon working in the bullpen. “Just in case,” Jerry Remy said. He might as well have said, “We should see Papelbon in a matter of moments as it’s a virtual certainly Tavarez is going to screw this up.” “Just in case” was simply a nicer way of saying it, I suppose.
The Red Sox are in the middle of the pack in the AL with their 4.31 bullpen ERA, mostly thanks to miniscule numbers of Pabelbon (0.53) and Timlin (1.54). But it’s the guys (besides Foulke) getting to them who have been the primary concern. Could you imagine Papelbon not in this bullpen? The possibilities are so frightening that I refuse to further discuss such a scenario.
Tavarez and Seanez have had pretty productive careers, for the most part in the NL, which is good reason not to simply cut ties after 10 appearances apiece this year. But the seven home runs they have combined to allow in just 19 2/3 innings is an awful statistic, a nightly Russian roulette every time each of them is anywhere remotely close to the mound. Tavarez was inked to a two-year, $6.7 million deal, so he’s going nowhere. Seanez, the Red Sox might not have a choice if this keeps up.
Too bad when Mirabelli’s police escort showed up at Fenway Monday they couldn’t sneak Seanez into the car for an express return to Logan. The day is coming, and another $2 million is wasted on the bullpen. But, what else is new for the Red Sox.