Smoltz On The Comeback Trail….

According to the Associated Press, John Smoltz threw 3 scoreless innings yesterday in his first rehab stint for Single A Greenville. Smoltz threw 29 pitches, struck out 2 and didn’t walk a batter in his first outing in almost a year. 

“Things really clicked for me in the third inning, in terms of comfort,” said Smoltz. “The first game, I was a little anxious, getting out there…. I accomplished everything I really wanted to accomplish. For me, that’s a tough task because when I know I only have three innings, I want to do too much and I didn’t today.”

This outing was significant for two reasons:

  1. If Smoltz proves to be healthy, the Red Sox will add one of the premier pitchers in the game to an already stacked rotation.
  2. If the Red Sox activate Smoltz in late June (His scheduled return date), someone needs to go in the Red Sox rotation. The Red Sox would have 1 spot for 4 pitchers.

Baring injury Beckett, Lester Matsuzaka and Wakefield are locks for the rotation. Wakefield is a lock because he is a 42 year old knuckleball pitcher and has no trade value whatsoever. So that leaves Penny, Smoltz, Buchholz and Bowden for 1 spot in the rotation. They even have Masterson they could use but he will pitch out of the pen for the rest of the year (where he belongs).

Masterson, Buchholz and Bowden are insurance in case of an injury. Buchholz and Bowden are toying with Triple A batters right now. Buchholz is 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA and has only given up 23 hits while striking out 42 in 39.1 IP. Bowden, if you can believe it, is doing even better. He currently is 2-1 with a 0.86 ERA and has given up only 18 hits while striking out 28 in 42 IP.

The odd man out?

The odd man out?

Smoltz, if healthy will be in the rotation. That leaves Penny as the odd man out. Penny is currently 4-1 with a 6.07 ERA. His ERA is a little skewed because of that horrific outing in his second start of the year against Baltimore (8 runs in 3 innings). Lately, Penny has pitched very well. In the month of May, Penny is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA and has given a quality start in 3 out of his 4 outings.

Penny is only making $5MM plus incentives this year and becomes a very likely trade candidate. In Jayson Stark’s Rumbling and Grumblings column, he mentions the Sox are listening to offers for Penny. Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.comthinks Penny would make sense for the Mets, White Sox, Indians and Phillies.

I don’t think the Red Sox would trade Penny to the White Sox and I don’t see the Indians, unless they show signs of life adding payroll. I am going to throw 2 more teams out there. How about the Dodgers or the Cardinals? The Dodgers need another starter and I don’t think Penny would object to a return to LA. Acquiring Penny would give the Cardinals insurance for the inevitable Chris Carpenter injury and in my opinion he is a much better pitcher than Kyle Lohse (I don’t care what Lohse did last year) and Todd Wellemeyer.

Whatever the Red Sox decide to do, they have about a month to figure it out. Either way, it’s never a bad thing to have too much pitching.

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One Response to “Smoltz On The Comeback Trail….”

  1. Glavine On The Comeback Trail Too…. « The Ghost of Moonlight Graham Says:

    […] On The Comeback Trail Too…. By Adam Bernacchio A couple of weeks ago I wrote about John Smoltz being on the comeback trail. Now there’s another former Brave and future Hall of Famer on the comeback trail as well. […]

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