Sunday, December 28

Shifting Boston's focus from the Pats to baseball, Sox sign Penny, Bard.


With the Patriots officially out of the playoff hunt, and the Celtics and Bruins essentially on cruise control until the playoffs, the Boston sports scene can officially turn back to the Sox. Conveniently enough for New England, shortly after Brett Favre threw about 18 interceptions to make sure the Pats didn't make the playoffs, word came out that the Sox have agreed on deals with both Brad Penny and Josh Bard for the 2009 season.

Penny's one-year deal will have a base salary of $5 million but is laced with incentives and performance bonuses that can increase the total amount of the deal to $8 million. Part of the incentive is if Penny pitches more than 160 innings, which will require a healthy year, a chief concern for the Sox. Penny, 29, struggled last year with the Dodgers going 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts, he finished the season on the 60-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder. It is widely assumed he was suffering from a shoulder injury all season but did not mention it to Dodger management until later in the year (stubborn like Beckett?).

Most who like this deal point to 06' and 07' where Penny went 32-13. He has a career record of 94-75 with a 4.06 ERA. Personally I think this is a good deal for the Sox who have been looking to solidify their starting rotation. There is limited risk with a high ceiling of upside (see Bartolo Colon except with more success potential....and less fat). If Penny can return to form, the Sox would boast one of, if not the best rotation in baseball. The move will also allow for Justin Masterson to stay in the bullpen as the bridge to Pap.

Josh Bard was also signed by the Sox in a move that will get much less ink. Bard will likely serve as the back up (again), but his ultimate amount of playing time will depend on who the Sox have as a starting catcher on opening day. Bard hit .202 in 57 games for the San Diego Padres last season. In 2006, Bard served as a backup catcher for the Sox before being shipped to San Diego in favor of bringing back Doug "Dougie's going deep" Mirabelli.

10 comments:

Soxin09' said...

I agree on the Penny deal....but Josh Bard....really?....I don't see their angle on this one. He proved he could not catch Wakefield and has yet to show he can hit.....backup catcher for sure, but not the answer if we stick with Tek...which would mean a lot of Josh Bard in the lineup.

Anonymous said...

Is Saltalamachia at all still in play? I read somewhere he was catching knuckleballers in the DR to make himself more attractive to the Sox.

D Vicino said...

Cafardo is reporting that the Sox are heavily scouting him as he plays in the DR. I haven't read the knuckleballers comment, but I do know that he has been hitting (right handers in particular) very well in the winter league. According to FoxSports "He batted.435 with four home runs, two doubles, and eight RBI over his first 23 at-bats."

If he keeps impressing, it might make the Sox think again about moving one of their young studs for him (the Rangers have been asking for Buchholz, who the Sox will not give up).

D Vicino said...

Soxin09', I'll agree with you on Bard. He'll be the back up as he has yet to showcase he can hit with any consistency (i.e., 2008 Tek). The need is still out there for a starting catcher, be it Tek or a young guy....Bard is likely just a safety net/hedge for the position as other negotiations continue.

Tim Murphy said...

I like the Penny signing, low risk high reward. Sox aren't looking for anything other then a number 4 or 5 starter who can throw some innings and win a few games. If he returns to his 2007 form its a bonus.

The bard deal leaves me wondering what direction they're going in with catcher. If they bring Tek back now I have to believe he and bard split time 60-40 and Tek catchers Wake.

Trade for saltamacchia!

allaboutthesox said...

I wouldn't want Bard seeing 60% of the playing time....that's all I know.

Anonymous said...

Are they looking to place Penney in the rotation right away? Or is this more of a wait and see situation? What's the projected starting rotation for opening week?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, it annoys me that the difference between the Sox and Yanks offers on Tex is...about a Brad Penney. I know, I know, the Yanks were gonna top it no matter what, I'm just sayin'.

D Vicino said...

Brad Penny on WEEI today...."There were a lot of teams involved. But I wanted to go somewhere where I knew we had a great chance at winning and Boston is that place." Damn straight BP.

Although...I had a nightmare last night that Penny turned into Wade Miller....proceeded to get injured and then provided the Sox with a few mediocre starts with an ERA of 5. Screw Wade Miller. Someone knock on wood.

Anonymous said...

Is Buccholz what's keeping us from Saltalamachia? I feel like if that's really it, they're gonna pull the trigger soon.

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