Sox Add Bard & Penny

It appears the Boston Red Sox are not going to wait until 2009 before securing a new battery. Theo Epstein and company have agreed to terms with free agents Brad Penny (1 year, 5-8 million) and Josh Bard (1 year, 1.6 million).

Just a few days ago I noted Bard as a smart addition for the Sox. Considering the relative small risk involved, and the potential for a decent reward, you have to like the deal for the Red Sox. At 1.6 million, the Sox are paying for less than a half of a win, an investment likely to produce profit, especially considering that Bard has averaged ~1 WAR per season over his career.

Bard’s addition would seemingly lower the chances of Jason Varitek returning. Given that neither Bard or Varitek should catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield along with George Kottaras familiarity with the pitch thanks to Charlie Zink. I guess if nothing else the Sox could either carry three catchers, which seems excessive, or simply release Bard if Varitek does return, but reading between the lines neither seems overly likely.

Right-shoulder ailments ruined Brad Penny’s 2008. Actually, that’s a bit unfair, Penny’s stubbornness towards those injuries ruined his 2008. Rather than do the sensible thing by not attempting to pitch through such aches, Penny “soldiered on” and hurt both the Dodgers and his free agent stock in the process. Penny’s walk per nine rates were the highest of his career, his strikeout per nine the lowest, and his FIP the highest by a little less than half of a run. It’s safe to call 2008 the nadir of Penny’s career.

Only a slight change occurred in Penny’s velocity and pitch usage. Penny still threw ~70% fastballs that sat around 92-93, along with a good number of curveballs. 2008 did see Penny’s change, a pitch he used heavily in 2007 and no other year, fade into the back of his arsenal. It doesn’t appear Penny’s pitches were more hittable in 2008 either, despite increased homerun rates, Penny’s batted ball variety hovered around his career averages.

Penny’s contract calls for a three million dollar bonus if he reaches at least 160 innings. There’s a pretty decent chance Penny cashes in on that. Marcels says 127 innings and a 4.11 FIP, placing Penny around 2.5-3 WAR, or in other words, earning more than what his contract is worth. This suggests Justin Masterson will remain in relief and Michael Bowden along with Clay Buchholz won’t be in the rotation initially.

The Red Sox cadre consists of highly intelligent baseball folk, so to see chances taken on players like Bard and Penny makes sense, just as it did with Bartolo Colon last season.

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19 Responses to “Sox Add Bard & Penny”

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  1. Scappy says:

    What about Dave Ross?

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  2. Justin says:

    NO, on David Ross…….We can’t have Ross and Bard as our catchers. We are a contender……

    This has to be a precursor as a I mentioned in an eralier post to a trade for a young catcher that will split time with Bard. This is bad news for Tek & Co.

    If we do not sign Tek, then that is another 10M freed up, which would bring the Sox to about 35M+ under last years total salary……The thing is, we can absolutely sit idle on that money, lock up Bay, Paps, and Youk in the near future…….

    Hopefully Texas will stop being stubborn and take Bowden for Salty or Teagarden……

    And is it true that Arizona turned down Montero for Bowden??? I thought Byrnesy would jump all over that…..

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  3. LB says:

    In regards to Ross, I am pretty sure he signed with the Braves.

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  4. Justin says:

    I absoluetly agree that Bowden is much more valuable…….the rumor I heard was the Byrnesy turned it down, but that seems quite absurd.

    Does anyone think that Lars is not a 1B, and he is Papi’s replacement…..

    That is what my feelings are, from what I have heard/seen, Lars is not a good 1B, but merely mediocre. Has anyone seen him quite a bit who can answer this for me? It seems as if you plan is to shift Youk to 3rd, slot Lars at 1B, and keep Papi at DH next year……..

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  5. Marcel says:

    We’ve heard different things. From what I understand, Anderson is supposed to be a solid !B. I don’t think anyone is making any decisions on what to do with Ortiz until it’s seen if he is healthy and what kind of production he is still capable of.

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  6. Justin says:

    Well, lets hope. It is way too early to cast Papi off, and he will be quite productive if healthy next year……

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  7. Justin says:

    R.J. Anderson–Bard may outperform last years Tek, but I have a hard time seeing Tek playing as poor on O as he did last year.

    Also, the intangibles and familiartity with the staff is something that you truly can’t put an actual value on. The way he calls the game, and handles Dice-K is fabulous. Tek played a large role in our success, especially w/ Beckett not “Beckett”, and Lester playing as well as he did.

    And why not trade either Salty or Teagarden, especially if someone like Bowden is offered. From what I have read, he seems to have been the best minor league pitcher last year at any level……I would not call that just “settling” as you put it. He too is a VERY valuable commodity, especially when Texas has no good major league pitchers, and a few good prospects who will not be very effective this year, like Feliz and Holland……

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    • I’m not saying they shouldn’t trade Saltalamacchia, but calling them “stubborn” is pretty humorous. You could call Boston stubborn for not trading Buchholz or Masterson. Both teams want value, and if Texas — correctly or incorrectly — feels that Buccholz/Masterson would provide the best value, then that’s not really being stubborn.

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  8. Justin says:

    I was not being serious R.J., I thought you could infer my sarcastic tone…….no team is stubborn when dealing with elite prospects. My point is that why hold onto both catchers next season and let one of them (most likely Salty) play in AAA or play twice a week in the bigs, when they could trade (most likely salty) for a stud pitcher in Bowden.

    I would not call Boston stubborn at all, that to me is humerous. Trading a pitcher who is one year removed from being known as the best pitching prospect in the game is not being stubborn. Why give up hope now? And Masterson is a KEY player in our bullpen for next year. I personally do not trust Okajima like I did in 2007, and I certainly do not have faith in Delcarmen to be our set-up man, even though he had alot of potential. Keeping Masterson to hold down the set-up role, with Okajima, Delcarmen, and Ramirez is a stellar bullpen……

    Buc and Masterson may hold the most value in their eyes, but Bowden is truly not that far behind, especially since we are getting Salty, who is not too stellar behind the plate, and not Teagarden, who has a higher ceiling…..

    Also, and if they are INCORRECTLY, as you said, holding out for more, that is actually being stubborn, since they have a weak staff and no prospects that CAN produce next year, when Bowden would probably be there #1 Prospect, or #2 behind Feliz, depending on who you are asking. Bowden may be able to produce somewhat next season as well……

    So to call Boston stubborn is absurd. And Bowden for Salty is more than fair for both sides. Granted catching is hard to come by, but stud pitchers arent a dime a dozen either…….

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  9. Justin says:

    You said you COULD call them stubborn…..and I am just arguing why that is kind of an absurd statement considering each teams situation.
    And I love your insight on these topics, but do you get my point???

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    • In the same sense that you can call the Rangers selfish, anyone who’s doing it is either joking or is being a blind struck fan of one side or the other.

      I understand what you’re saying about the Boston trio/Texas duo, and again, I’m not saying Texas is right in not trading Salty for Bowden.

      I think the miscommunication part is coming on my end, but I don’t really disagree with anything you’ve posted.

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  10. Justin says:

    And I was not calling Texas stubborn either, as I said earlier, I was being sarcastic. It just seems unwise to turn down a pitcher of Bowden’s caliber when they have a weak staff and not many pitching prospects who will contribute next year…..especially when you have a surplus of catchers. Not many teams will offer a player like Bowden for Salty……and this could be a ploy on Texas’ side to try to extract more, but it could be an unwise move….

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  11. Justin says:

    No worries, just keep on truckin on with what you do, and Ill keep posting my thoughts. I see what you are saying as well……

    On another note, I am very curious about Lars Anderson. I keep getting mixed reactions about his ability at 1B, from what I have seen, he seems to be about average, but my eyes aren’t the most trustworthy thing. What are your thoughts? Avg 1B, or an above avg. 1B? Or a DH, which I think he will most likely end up as, after Papi leaves…..

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  12. MattLee says:

    from my understanding the red sox are unwilling to part masterson, bowden or buchholz. that is why a trade hasnt been made. the rangers want more value then what their catchers are worth, and everyone knows the rangers cant use both teagarden and salty. there is no room for both in the end. boston is just waiting for the value of a young catcher to fall or theyll go after ian from the rox during mid-season.

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