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Morales to the Pen

2012 July 17

Word has come down that Franklin Morales is out of the rotation and headed back to the bullpen. Aaron Cook and Felix Doubront will go forward in the immediate future as the team’s fourth and fifth starters.

Given the performance of each pitcher this season, the move seems a little questionable.

Aaron Cook – 5 starts, 29.2 IP, 3.34 ERA, 4.01 FIP

Felix Doubront – 17 starts, 96 IP, 4.41 ERA, 4.29 FIP

Franklin Morales – 5 starts, 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 3.71 FIP

Morales appears to be at worst, the second best of the bunch. So why is he the odd man out?

Taking a guess, it’s unlikely that the Red Sox expect either Cook or Doubront to finish the season in the rotation. Cook hasn’t completed a season with an ERA below 5.00 since 2009. Coincidentally, 2009 was also the last time Doubront pitched more than 100 innings in a season. The Red Sox will need one if not two more arms to make it through September (never mind October for now).

A trade for a starter remains a possibility and Daisuke Matsuzaka may be in the mix if he can return healthy, but neither is something that we can anticipate at the moment. That’s where Morales likely comes back in.

A move to the pen will allow him to save bullets in his arm. He’s already thrown more innings this season than he has since – you guessed it – 2009, the last year he worked regularly as a starter. If and when Cook’s pixie dust starts to run out or Doubront starts to tire out (he may already be showing signs), the Red Sox will have a rested Morales ready to step back in the rotation.

 

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