What Are Boston’s Plans For John Smoltz?
In Major League Baseball, it is thought that pitching and defense wins championships. Hitting is just an added bonus. So with John Smoltz set to return to the majors and most likely in the Red Sox starting rotation, is it safe to assume that Boston has too much starting pitching?
Nah, it can’t be. Can it?
Truth be told, Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox find themselves in a healthy predicament. Boston potentially has seven quality starters (I cringe to use quality in regards to Dice-K) that could be used in their five-man rotation. Terry Francona has his five starters now with Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Wakefield, and Penny, with the possible additions of Smoltz and Buchholz. Most teams in the league would love to have three of these seven pitchers to set up their rotation, luckily for the Sox, they have all seven.
For the time being.
There are many options, courses of action, and possibilities that linger with this situation. One thing is for certain, however, and it’s that John Smoltz will be a starting pitcher for Boston. The Red Sox signed Smoltz for the postseason but the veteran wants to get his feet wet before September and October, and all signs indicate that Smoltz is ready to pitch. Terry Francona is set to address the pitching situation tomorrow, so Sox fans have one more day to speculate on the decided course of action.
Some possible solutions go as follows:
1) The Sox trade Brad Penny in hopes of inserting Smoltz into the rotation while also solving a need at shortstop or DH.
2) The Sox relegate Daisuke Matsuzaka to the bullpen, minor leagues, or DL in hopes of freeing up a spot in the rotation and solving Dice-K’s woes.
3) The Sox put Tim Wakefield in the bullpen, instead of Dice-K. This one seems like the most logical but alternatively is the worse. Wakefield has pitched well all season long and it would make no sense to punish one of your best starters. Also, the guy would run through a brick wall for the Red Sox, so to ask him to sit in the bullpen for the rest of the season would not only be rude, it could be considered unlawful in the eyes of the baseball gods.
Time will only tell what the Red Sox brass decides to do. Things could happen as early as today or by July 31st. If the Sox wait for the latter, it could only help their chances at having the problem fix itself or having other teams become more desperate at acquiring one of their extra pieces.
Oh what to do, what to do.