Joe Kelly Should Relieve — When Healthy
Eduardo Rodriguez will be back in the next week or so and he will most likely occupy the rotation spot currently held by Henry Owens in place of an injured Joe Kelly.
To be honest a rotation consisting of David Price, Rick Porcello, Rodriguez, Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz would not be too bad (not even going to argue on Buchholz because he confuses the hell out of me and the Sox don’t seem to have an issue with him.)
Kelly has essentially be a member of the Red Sox rotation since August 2014. And while he showed off some Cy Young stuff in that time (late last year), his first few starts this year weren’t pretty and he owns a 4.80 ERA in 38 starts for Boston.
A 4.80 ERA is someone who can compete in the majors — just not well. The Red Sox would give a lot of guys a second chance if they had that kind of an ERA. But they are not in a position where they really need a Joe Kelly in their rotation right now.
Who would he replace? Price? A guy with two real Cy Young Awards — not imaginary? Nope. Porcello? Making over $20 million a year? Not a chance? Eddie? Did you watch him pitch last year? Wright? The team’s best starter this year? Haha, good one. Clay? Just imagine Clay in the bullpen.
The Red Sox are carrying an eight-man bullpen right now that includes Matt Barnes, Pat Light and Heath Hembree, all of whom were originally slated to start the season in the minors. When Carson Smith comes off the DL, Light will probably go back down to Triple-A and the way Hembree has pitched, suggesting he should go to the minors would be a felony.
For anyone who suggests optioning Hembree:
If the Red Sox want to keep this eight-man bullpen thing up, it might be worth trying Kelly out in the bullpen given his velocity and moderate success in relief with the St. Louis Cardinals (3.25 ERA in 30 outings). His splits are pretty neutral which also helps his case as someone the Red Sox can actually use.
If it is a seven-man bullpen, then maybe the Red Sox go down to one lefty because manager John Farrell hardly ever seems to use left-handed specialist Tommy Layne ever anyways. And when he does use him, it is hardly to shut down a lefty in a tight situation.
Kelly’s return date from the DL is still TBD. So the Red Sox have time to think about this one. He has two minor league options left, thus further complicating the situation…