Oh goodness, how the mind can wander into many sugared thoughts. Almost every young pitcher imagines starting for a Major League Baseball team, but not everyone has the talent, the drive, or the mental focus to achieve that goal. Apparently, Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Breslow believes that he has the stuff that dreams are made of on the mound.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported a few days ago that Breslow has expressed interest in being considered a starter, next season. “According to sources, Breslow is prepared to inform major league teams he would like the opportunity to start in 2016, having filled the role for two games with the Sox last September.”
However, Bradford reminds everyone that “some of Breslow’s previous organizations have toyed with the idea of him morphing into a starting role, but he remained entrenched as a reliever throughout his 11-year big league career.”
After injuries plagued him in 2014, Breslow came back to the Red Sox as a reliever, without any serious displays of dominance in 2015. In 65 innings of work, the 35-year-old lefty allowed 12 home runs and 30 earned runs on 69 hits, 23 walks, and 46 strikeouts. He earned a 4.15 ERA for his trouble.
It is worth noting that Breslow went 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts for the Red Sox last season. He went a combined 9.1 innings with two earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. The two runs were two separate home runs he gave up.
Breslow was granted free agency on November 2nd, and is looking for a new deal with a major league club. A starting position, however, seems more like a dream than a reality.
If projections are worth anything to people, Baseball-Reference.com is predicting that Breslow’s ERA is only going to get worse, pushing the 4.22 mark in 64 innings as a reliever. With all of the talk around the free agent starting pitchers, a team could be interested in finding a Plan B; however, Breslow’s performances have been a Plan C to Plan Z at best.
FanGraphs.com has Breslow’s fastball clocked at 90 mph on a good day, his cutter just under 86 mph, and his changeup at 79 mph. With a groundball-to-flyball ratio of just 0.74, Breslow’s declining speed only serves as a warning that more fat pitches over the plate will be the order of the day for any team that signs him. Especially considering that some of those groundballs were actually line drives for multiple bases.
Who can argue with a man who has lasted a long time in the majors to want to dream about being a starter before his career is up? Everyone has the right to dream big. We all want the ball in the World Series, dominating over our opponents and almost tasting that champagne in the locker room. We all want to see how we’d look hoisting that championship trophy over our heads and knowing that we helped make that victory happen in a significant way. Yet, what separates us from MLB starting pitchers is reality.
Not all of us are cut out to be starting pitchers. Not all of us are cut out to be any kind of pitcher. Not everyone can say that they had a long MLB career. Sometimes, it’s best to just cut your losses and face reality. In Breslow’s case, why not just be happy to have lasted this long? Besides, there are bullpens dying to recreate the success that the World Series champion Kansas City Royals had with their own bullpen.
Even then, Breslow’s 2015 didn’t exactly set him apart from the rest of reliever limbo, either. Maybe dreaming of being a starter should stay a dream, for everyone concerned. It would be a shame for that dream to become a nightmare.