Cleat Geeks

Cutting into Time

If a starter goes under the knife, should it cut into his playing time after he returns? Let’s look at 2 recent examples from baseball happenings and try to make a determination.JakeMcGee

Brad+BoxbergerLast year, Jake McGee closed for the Tampa Bay Rays. While he earned the job around mid-season of last year he was very successful with 19 saves and a 1.89 ERA. Then, he had elbow surgery in December. Consequently, he was not with the club during spring training, nor was he available to pitch in the beginning of the season. The Ray’s still needed a closer to fill his spot, so they turned to Brad Boxberger. When given the role, much like McGee the year before he did well. He went 10 for 10 in save opportunities and when McGee was cleared to rejoin the team Boxburger was in the midst of 8.2 innings of scoreless baseball.

Now, McGee is back with the big club, and in his debut, he struck out 2 batters while pitching a scoreless 7th inning, obviously not a save situation. Should McGee be instantly installed back into his closer role? If so, what do you do with Boxburger? Do you use McGee to motivate Boxburger or vice versa? Do you have them share the closing duties?

chris-youngChris Young was signed by the Kansas City Royals as a free agent in March, after spring training had concluded. He began the season as basically the 25th man on the roster, with a role in the bullpen. The Royal’s starting staff has had some injury problems and some well documented suspensions. Therefore, Young has been called on to make 3 spot starts. In those three spot starts Young is 2-0 with a stellar 0.54 ERA. Now that the suspensions are over the wounds have healed in the starting rotation, what do you do with Chris Young?

Do you buy into the sabermatrition theory that you should be able to pitch just as well as a starter or a reliever? Do you leave Young in the rotation siting that is what is best for the team and place another starter in the bullpen? Do you go with a 6 man rotation?

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