The Boston Red Sox need pitching and maybe the best approach is to look for a dependable pitcher with not a bundle of glamour attached.
The Boston Red Sox need Ike Delock.
Why would the Red Sox wish to have a pitcher who is now 88-years-old and finished his 11 Boston seasons with a less than impressive 83-72 record and a 4.01 ERA? Delock is simply my baseball metaphor or rhetorical effect of what would certainly stabilize a pitching staff that would try the patience of Ghandi.
In my early teen years, most males my age were fixated on girls, cars and attempting to infiltrate their parents liquor stash. For me it was a one trick pony and that was baseball and girls, of course, as long as they had some idea about the game. For the Red Sox fan of the 1950’s and early 1960’s not much was available to really get passionate about – especially pitching.
Delock was nothing special on the mound, but for a few seasons (1956-59) the right-hander was dependable as a starter and out of the bullpen. In that era a pitcher not considered “up in lights” contributed the best he could, since that means employment in an age when a six figure salary was as rare as me producing a cognizant article.
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The year 1958 stands out when Delock finished 14-8 in 31 games, of which 19 were starts. The ERA was a decent 3.38 and his WHIP 1.32. The FIP – that some saber folks consider a numerical end-all – was 3.58. The Red Sox finished third in the American League and about 1,000,000 paid for the privilege of entering Fenway Park. Another season of mediocrity that was a trend for about 15 years.
You want a pennant in Boston? Maybe a World Series title? Give me Delock, or even two, and it will be yours – that is an absolute 100% guarantee. No more merry-go-round in the fourth or fifth slot and opening a vein over another depressing start by Eduardo Rodriguez. The Delock’s will win it for you. You will get a pitcher that will get you innings and an above average chance to win. That’s it. Nothing special, but just a gritty workman like quality that translates into positive production over the entire season.
I would love to see Clayton Kershaw or Chris Sale trot down Yawkey Way and enter the clubhouse, but that is not happening. The Red Sox have to think need and not pitching glitter and glamour. Heck – with all the medical magic in Boston area bio-tech, just clone Rick Porcello – another pitcher who will not dazzle, but will grind out the innings and give you that shot. If RSN is hoping for Clay Buchholz or Joe Kelly to return to form then it will be a very long season.
The American League East is a mess – each team has a laundry list of flaws. Want bad pitching? You got it! Want good pitching? You got it! Same with the hitting and it is never both with the same team. So you – meaning Dave Dombrowski and baseball ops – must think small and that means getting a gamer or two like Delock was for a few seasons.
They are out there. I wrote about acquiring Doug Fister, who would be an excellent fit and certainly applies to my metaphor. Look for teams that may actually consider the season gone or have a pitcher who may be – like Fister – in a walk year. Worked for the Jays and David Price in 2015, but that was the rib eye of pitching.
Young talent with a nice upside could be sought after, such as Tyler Chatwood, Vincent Velasquez or Matt Wisler, who all may be longer term and more costly thanks to youth, contract controllable and desperation by teams in the hunt. Others are available and with all the media attention the membership of RSN can recite the names and statistics at their leisure.
James Shields would have certainly fit the standard I have set for taking the ball and going deep into games. The Red Sox passed, either not willing to give up prospects or performance concerns – appears it may have been the right call, but wait for a few more starts.
In the meantime the Red Sox can continue their Delock present day search and if they are successful and get it right a playoff will be in the picture.