Monday, August 24, 2009
Tim Wakefield will return to the rotation Wednesday night. Victor Martinez will catch him, and he'll replace Brad Penny. Penny will be shifted to the bullpen to be used as a long-reliever.
This move makes sense, except why didn't the Sox use Smoltz in this role? Brad Penny has made 4 relief appearances in his career. Smoltz has made 242. Opponents were hitting .230 off Smoltz the first time they faced him. Of the 8 homeruns Smoltz allowed, 0 came the first time thru a lineup. Opponent OPS for Smoltz the first time thru was a meager .597. For Penny, it's .789.
Smoltz just seemed like a better choice for this role. He boasts 154 career saves, and also 4 postseason saves.
Penny leaving the rotation is fine, and he's probably better suited to be used in large-deficit games. It'll help save the other guys in the bullpen. But I just can't get over how the Sox could have a versatile guy like Smoltz and simply let him go just because he sucked as a starter. You spend a couple million dollars on the guy, at least see if he can contribute as a middle-reliever.