As we’ve noted several times recently, the Tampa Bay Rays are going with a four man + a bullpen day rotation this year. I have my reservations about that. I think it’ll work for a while but, eventually, when the off days come farther apart and the battle plan experiences more actual contact with the enemy, it’ll start to break down. Possibly because their relievers get tired, possibly because pitchers start to bristle at not having strictly-defined roles. Maybe some combination of those factors sinks it, but either way, I don’t think it’ll be successful in the long term.
An early test will come this weekend. Thanks to today’s snow postponement in New York, Opening Day starter Chris Archer can go on full rest tomorrow and Blake Snell on Wednesday. That’s good for the Yankees games, but it means that today’s original plan — a bullpen day — is now moved into this weekend’s series against the Red Sox. Which makes for two bullpen and/or TBD days in the same series:
Seems to me that if there is any chance of the bullpen days thing working, it’d be better for them to not have to use the scheme twice in the same series. Not that “TBD” necessarily means a bullpen day consisting of the same arms. They could call an actual starter up, of course. Or, perhaps, they can shuffle different relievers up and down during the Red Sox series to make sure they’re not overtaxed. Still, seems rather dicey going with three starting pitches and bailing wire at the moment.
Oh well. At least it gives a chance to break out the poetry:
First we throw Archer, then we throw Snell
Then Jacob Faria and it’s snowy as hell.
Then again with Chris Archer and once more with Snell
Then Jacob Faria and on the rest we won’t dwell.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.