Sunday, December 19, 2010

Five-Minute Musings: Jenks, Paps, Greinke, Wheeler, and Hall

I know I have been terrible at updating this week... in my defense, it's finals AND I'm trying to pack up my whole room because I'm going abroad next semester. But I do have five free minutes this fine morning, which I will use to debrief the last week in Red Sox Nation (scope expanded due to the offseason).

1. Bobby Jenks to the Red Sox. The bullpen sure looks a hell of a lot better than it did before this signing, as we now harbor three power lefties, all potential closers. Jenks is a solid player, even if his ERA was up pretty high last season (4.44), and he provides much needed security in a bullpen that was a bigger hindrance to the Sox than the injuries last season. (I know, you don't believe me - but we lost too many games as a direct result of a faulty 'pen.) Jenks' career line can be found here at baseball-reference.

2. The status of Jonathan Papelbon. Everyone is freaking out, talking about how this trade means Paps is on the trading block, that we can't possibly keep three possible closers in the bullpen, and that somehow this is some great catastrophe. Calm. Down. Paps was always on the block for this year, because he will be a free agent next offseason. Cinco-ocho has been boasting about how he wants to "set the market for closers" for years now, and Theo never had any intention of paying him. If the presence of Jenks means we can get some impact talent for Paps (now or at the deadline) beyond the draft picks if we let him walk as a FA, I can support that. It's a smart move, and Theo knows what he's doing.

3. Zack Greinke to the Brewers. This is fantastic news for the Red Sox, as it means that a great pitcher is (a) not going to New York, Tampa, or another division rival, and (b) that he'll be in the National League. Honestly, if Greinke had ended up in New York, I wouldn't have been too worried, as his struggle with anxiety would not have boded well in a high-pressure place like the Bronx. However, this is the second time in a week that one of the game's premier pitchers jumped ship from the AL to the NL. Though the Sox play both the Phils and Brewers in interleague this season, I'll take it... the fewer top-tier pitchers my boys have to face, the better.

4. Dan Wheeler signs a one-year deal. The Rhode Island native professes to be thrilled that he'll be playing in Boston next season, even though he's making the switch from our division rival, the Rays. At least he'll have some familiar faces around, what with Carl Crawford (for whom Wheeler had nothing but praise), and the fact that his family still lives in the Ocean State. Wheeler has a 3.84 ERA in his career, and will most likely take the role of primary middle-innings guy in the bullpen.

5. Bill Hall is headed to Houston. Yes, Brad Mills (former Red Sox bench coach, and close friend of Terry Francona's) will finally get to enjoy the Bill Hall experience. Hall will be the club's starting second-baseman. I understand that, as a rule, a starter is more valuable than a sub, but the Red Sox would have been completely lost last season without Hall's super-utility abilities. The man played seven out of the nine positions (everything but first base and catcher), including a flawless inning pitched, and you just know he could have (and would have) played first base if he had been asked. Hall was a classy guy, always willing to fill in where he was needed, and I'm glad he's getting the chance to start if that's what he wants.

That's all for today, folks, but I am heading home for winter break tomorrow, so posting should be much more consistent for the next month or so. As always, thanks for reading!

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