Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My unpopular opinion on Daniel Bard

Leave him in the starting rotation.  Yup, that's what I think.  Here's the case for why he shouldn't be moved back to the bullpen:

Yeah, the Red Sox relievers have an MLB worst 8.06 combined ERA.  But Boston's starters also have the second worst ERA in baseball at 5.81, so at the moment it's kind of lose lose either way.  But we're only 15 games in, and 12 of those 15 games have been against the top four scoring offenses in the league (Texas, New York, Toronto, and Tampa in that order).  The pitching numbers will improve.

Here are five of the best relievers in baseball so far:
Matt Belisle, Colorado - 6.2 IP, 0.15 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
Ryan Cook, Oakland - 7.1 IP, 0.68 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
Duane Below, Detroit - 10 IP, 0.70 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
Luis Perez, Toronto - 11.1 IP, 0.71 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
Henry Rodriguez, Wash - 7.1 IP, 0.95 WHIP, 0.00 ERA

If you've even heard of all those guys before, I am impressed.  Not only is it way too early in the season to know who's good and who's not, I also believe that most relief pitchers are a dime a dozen.  Any random reliever is just as likely to have a solid year as the next guy.  Alfredo Aceves is the perfect example, he came out of nowhere last season.  The best pitchers become starters because they throw more innings; it's fairly simple.  Occasionally they turn into closers.  Regular bullpen guys are what's left over.  This is why I didn't like the Mark Melancon for Jed Lowrie/Kyle Weiland trade to begin with, it seemed to me that Weiland could easily have been as good in relief as Melancon, and then Lowrie would still be here.

But the main reason to keep Bard in the rotation is because he and the Red Sox spent most of the off season and all of spring training working on converting him into a starter.  He's only made two starts, and he was very good in the last one.  Give it some more time.  Let's see what he can do.  It seems stupid to me to scrap the plan and make major changes less than 10% of the way into the season.  About three weeks after the NBA started I wrote a piece on why it would be dumb to break up the Cetlics so early in the year.  At the time they were 5-8, and appeared washed up.  Look what happened.  Quick panicked overreactions are rarely the wise move.


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