Is It Too Early To Call-Up Eduardo Rodriguez?

Eduardo Rodriguez

Justin Masterson goes 5 innings, Wade Milley goes 4 innings, Joe Kelly goes 5 innings. That has been a common theme for those Red Sox starters after the first month of the season. Masterson’s velocity is down and not getting ground balls the team thought he would be getting. Milley’s adjustment to the American League seems to be a big one, although in his last two starts he has kept the team in the game. Kelly continues to miss bats, but also can’t find the plate at times as shown this weekend in Toronto with seven walks on Saturday.

Is it time to start thinking about a change to the rotation? John Farrell seems to think not Eduardo Rodriguezjust yet, but how much more can he tolerate? Juan Nieves lost his job because of these starters inability to get out of jams and to find the plate. Maybe a new pitching coach will do the job at first, but they are who they are; obviously vastly under performing, but there is no ace on this staff.

Trading for Cole Hamels will not solve the pitching rotation problem as he is just one pitcher, and all five have had their troubles in the first month of the season. The minor leagues are stocked with almost ready arms, most notably Eduardo Rodriguez, but is it too early to bring him up?

In five starts with the PawSox this season, Rodriguez, just 22, is 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA. In his most recent start this past weekend in Columbus he allowed 4 run in 5 innings of work walking 2 while striking out 7. Rodriguez had given up just 5 runs total in his previous four starts. Rodriguez only has 6 starts above AA making one for the PawSox last post-season. The Red Sox insisted the Orioles give up Rodriguez in the Andrew Miller trade last July, and so far it has worked out as Rodriguez was having a down year in the minors before coming to the Red Sox.

Only 6 starts above AA doesn’t sound like a pitcher who is ready to face the Yankees in Yankee Stadium or a powerful Blue Jays lineup but, he has shown the Red Sox something early on this season, being able to miss bats and keep runners off base. Would he be better than the bottom of the rotation starters the Sox have now? Maybe. Only time will tell if the patience of John Farrell runs thin and the team turns to more young players who are a part of the future and forced into the present.

Matt Barnes Likely Next Man Up If Starter Goes Down

matt  barnes

This winter the Red Sox made some moves to their pitching staff that signaled they were moving onto the next wave of pitching prospects. Besides not being able to retain Jon Lester, gone are Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, and Anthony Ranaudo. De La Rosa and Webster were sent to Arizona in the Wade Milley trade, while Ranaudo was sent to Texas for Robbie Ross.

Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and Eduardo Rodriguez are the next wave of pitching Matt Barnesprospects the Red Sox have, and are all left handed, highly valued in today’s game. We are not going to argue about who has the most potential as the Red Sox hope all three lefties pan out. The one holdover from the Pawtucket Red Sox rotation from last season is Matt Barnes.

Barnes, 6’4 210 pounds out of the University of Connecticut throws hard and has been a starter since the Red Sox drafted him in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. There has been talk of Barnes converting to a reliever this season and even cracking the opening day roster out of the ‘pen. However with Alexei Ogando and Robbie Ross Jr. likely ahead of Barnes of the depth chart, he may start the season in AAA Pawtucket and be ready for the call if a starter should go down.

Not many teams have all five starters make 30 starts in a season. The Rangers are already experiencing problems with Yu Darvish likely missing the year because of the Tommy John Surgery. The Blue Jays will be without Marcus Stroman for the season after he torn his MCL during fielding drills. And just yesterday the against the Red Sox, Yankees starter Chris Capuano strained his quad running to cover first base. Rotation depth is something you need in baseball to make it to October.

Barnes made his major league debut last season after the minor league season ended. He appeared in 5 games for the Sox tossing 9 innings, while giving up 4 runs. So far this spring Barnes has appeared in 2 games, striking out 6 in 4 innings of work with only 2 hits allowed. The Sox could have used Barnes as a trade chip like they used Webster, De La Rosa, and Ranaudo, but they kept him– signaling he is still a part of the future.

A lot can happen in the three weeks left of spring training, but don’t be surprised if Matt Barnes does not make the team out of spring training. The value he has as a depth starter is huge and flip flopping him from starter to reliever might have an impact on him, like it did on Brandon Workman last season.