Friday, December 17, 2010

Jenks & Albers Added To The Red Sox 'Pen

Theo Epstein, as I wrote in a post earlier this week, is methodically adding arms to the bullpen. Pending a physical (today), Bobby Jenks will help Bard in his eighth inning set-up role, leading to Papelbon to finish the games. Bobby will earn $12 million for his two year deal. And this is where it gets a little more confusing and confounding.This opens the door for Paps to be traded and Jenks or Bard will become the closer. In my opinion, I do not see that happening, not before the season begins, PROBABLY NOT EVER. Boston needs both Bard and Jenks as well as their closer supreme. And this gives Boston Red Sox manager Tito Francona more flexibility when the bullpen guys have thrown a lot of innings. The more the merrier when it comes to relievers is what I believe. Last year, Jenks had a rather high ERA of 4.44, the highest since he broke into the majors in 2005. But a closer look at the statistics reveals that may have been a product of bad luck. Jenks averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings, the best rate of his career over a full season. He also had the second-best ground ball rate (58.3 percent) of his career and maintained his control, issuing only 18 walks over 52 2/3 innings. Jenks allowed three home runs and converted 27 of his 31 save chances (Thank you Boston Globe). Theo also signed Matt Albers to a one year deal for $875,000. He's 27 and compiled a record of 5-3 with a 4.52 ERA (again..high) with the Baltimore Orioles. Hey, they're the Orioles, what does one expect? He appeared in a career-high 62 games and led the American League by making 25 appearances of MORE than an inning. He's durable and that's what Boston needs in the seemingly porous middle part of their 'pen. It's become less and less porous as the days quickly zip by.

While this was happening in Boston, the picture was a little bleaker for the pin-stripers from the Bronx, namely the New York Yankees. They lost reliever Kerry Woods to the Chicago Cubs and except for their incomparable closer, Mo Rivera, and the on-again off-again Joba Chamberlain, their 'pen needs help. Mariano "Mo" Rivera actually had talks with the Sox before NY got down to business and signed him. Said Mo...

"It was real. It was real."

I believe him. My goodness, the Yankees don't even know if Andy Pettitte will be back but unnamed family sources are saying he's leaning strongly to return for one final year. Why not? He would be a huge asset to the Yankee rotation.

It's an 11.6 degree F. morning here in north central Connecticut. I hope every one of you has a great day and a terrific weekend. Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, the University of Connecticut women Huskies will attempt to tie UCLA's John Wooden's unreal record of 88 consecutive wins in a row. The game will be televised on ESPNU and there have been complaints about that. ESPN and ESPN2 have a possible thirty million more people able to watch each of them but I and many others here in Connecticut are able to receive ESPNU on a digital or extended tier. If you are lucky enough, try to catch a little of the game. The opponent will be 9-1 Oklahoma State. I can't wait. If they win Sunday, the XL Center in Hartford will host their try for consecutive win number 89 Tuesday evening on ESPN 2 with the entire ESPN2 crew and their own set IN the building. Won't that be something. Oh yes.

As always, BE WELL and click on this post's title for something Soxy. Let's be careful out there. Have a great weekend and enjoy yourselves.


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