As I left my last post: the Red Sox have a gluttony of quality pitching right now, and it will be interesting to me to see how they handle the staff down the stretch. After thinking about it long enough to write this post, I think the biggest question concerns Dice-K. It is an understatement to say he has not been pitching well. Given his poor performance and injury concerns, I don’t see any kind of trade. I find it highly unlikely that he would get a minor league assignment.
Here is the Sox pitching rotation as of today:
And their talented bullpen:
At this point I would like to see Penny get traded–not because I don’t think he can handle the 5 spot in the rotation, but because I think Buccholz has learned as much as he can in AAA. His performance the other night–particularly his first strike % and overall control, shows he is ready for the major leagues. Additionally, the Red Sox top pitching prospect not named Buchholz and Bard is having a great season for Pawtucket. Michael Bowden [16 starts, 81 innings, 3.32 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 54 K for the Paw Sox] could likely come up and start if necessary.
But even if you do move Penny, that still leaves the question of what to do with Dice-K once he gets back from “injury.” A minor league rehab assignment should bide some time. I just can’t see sending Masterson down to AAA (and, yes, I’m assuming that the only way Dice-K pitches for this team again this season is in long relief). Masterson’s 4.84 ERA might not seem impressive, but one has to factor in two absolutely terrible performances as a starter (12 earned runs in 12.1 IP) and two out of the pen (5 ER in 2 IP, 5 ER in .1 IP). Take away those four performances, and the rest of his season is stellar: 24 games, 52.2 IP, 14 ER, for a 2.39 ERA. Yes, he has two bad games out of 26 appearances out of the pen, but remember he is the long reliever. Often his job is simply to chew innings when a starter has an off night. With Masterson in the game, more often than not, the Sox have a chance to stage a comeback in those games.
So, any Sox fans out there, any thoughts on Dice-K (I’m hoping for a reaaally long rehab assignment… you know, until 2011 long).