Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thoughts on Brad Penny and Josh Bard

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how Theo Epstein said that some teams try to win the offseason and that it’s more important to keep both the upcoming season and the future in mind when pursuing players.

Obviously the Yankees are winning the offseason, but the Sox got things moving last week by signing Josh Bard and Brad Penny. Good moves by the Sox, granted they shipped Josh Bard to the Padres for Doug Mirabelli because he couldn’t catch the knuckleball but hey right now they’re catcherless so no worries.

In all seriousness though signing Bard is a solid move, he’s not going to be their everyday catcher. As I’ve said before I fully expect the Red Sox to resign Jason Varitek. When the Rangers traded Gerald Laird to Detroit it did a number of the market that Boras created. Signing Bard makes up for losing Kevin Cash to the Yankees and Brad Penny is exactly the kind of back end of the rotation help they need. He’s like the Bartolo Colon experiment redux.

Speaking of Cash why would he jump ship and go to the Yankees, I don’t really get that move. They started signing ever free agent so he felt it was necessary to bail. Is he going to play anymore in NY then he would have here? I hope he gets drilled in his first plate appearance.

As for Penny, the Sox took advantage of the fact that he had an injury plagued 2008 and signed him for fairly cheap, five million I believe for one year. Even if he turns out to be Wade Miller and not the solid number 4-5 starter it’s not the end of the world. People seem to be pissed that the Sox are getting worked in the offseason by the Yankees but the moves they have made this offseason make sense and are based on need rather than want.

Sure they wanted Mark Teixeira but it’s not like they are completely screwed without. And I’d rather see the Sox sign Penny for one year at five million than A.J. Burnett for five years at 82 million.

Penny had a rough 2008, he only made 17 starts and went 6-9 with a 6.27ERA but in 2007 he finished third in the NL Cy Young voting. If you look at his numbers there is no reason to think that he won’t be able to back to at least average in 2009.

Over his career Penny has averaged a shade over 200 innings a season while making 33 starts. He’s also averaged 12 wins with a 4.06 ERA. For a 4-5 starter I’d certainly take 12 wins with an ERA around four and 200 innings. Plus I don’t think Theo is done yet, it’s only January, he’s got plenty of time to bring back Tek and bring in John Smoltz.

Also depending on how the Twins proceed I think Theo is trying to set up to make a serious run at Joe Mauer when he becomes a free agent. Knowing that the Posada and Tek will both probably be dwindling or done and the Yankees will be offering a shitload of money I wouldn’t be surprised if a move like that is what Theo has in mind when he’s “keeping the future in mind”.

New Years Day is a pretty sweet day for sports. Five bowl games and the NHL Winter Classic, great way to spend the day after celebrating the demise of 2008.

2008 was a good year for the seat, banner number 17 and the Sox one win away from having a shot at going back to back. Not a bad year, not a bad year at all.

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