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View Full Version : Bullpen Solution= Haeger


MERPER
06-06-2006, 01:51 AM
A buddy and I were just talking and decided that it's going to be hard for KW to pull off a trade for a legit bullpen arm before the deadline, as the good arms are at a premium and adding a bullpen guy just for the sake of adding one would be worthless...So...

Why not try Charlie Haeger down there? The kid is still pitching well at AAA with a sub-1.00 ERA... maybe coming out of the bullpen, he won't be nervous/over-excited and overthrow the ball... A knuckleballer can pitch basically every single day... he can go in a setup roll once he gets comfortable or long relief...

Just a thought on how to improve our main area of weakness.. And well, let's be honest, he can't be any worse than Mr. Politte right now...

gobears1987
06-06-2006, 01:51 AM
It's something worth trying, especially with Nelson on the DL.

IlliniSox4Life
06-06-2006, 02:03 AM
I wouldn't be opposed to trying it, but his knuckleball limits the situations you can bring him into. Can't really bring him in in a close game with a RISP. If he's just being used for mop up duty, or only bringing him in to start an inning, that's fine, but that's not really what we need.

HotelWhiteSox
06-06-2006, 02:06 AM
I personally would be scared of him in late game situations. Possibility of walks and free bases with wild pitches/passed balls. It's also a very easy approach for the batter, don't swing

HotelWhiteSox
06-06-2006, 02:09 AM
Isn't there a kid that's also got great numbers in AAA? Last name Lopez? I don't keep updated with the kids as much as I want to, but I thought they showed him on the TV on the farm report during the game

MERPER
06-06-2006, 02:44 AM
Isn't there a kid that's also got great numbers in AAA? Last name Lopez? I don't keep updated with the kids as much as I want to, but I thought they showed him on the TV on the farm report during the game

Javy Lopez has great numbers at AAA but he's another lefty... I personally am not too upset with Cotts and Thornton.. we have NOTHING from the right side right now to bridge the gap form the starters to Jenks...

Ironic that in spring training we all figured the Sox would be short a lefty in the bullpen.. Now, we have no righties...

Again
06-06-2006, 02:47 AM
I dont see a knuckleballer coming out of the pen as a good solution. Last thing we need is haeger coming in with a man on and to start walking guys and having balls headed to the back stop. I believe he even said hes not comfortable coming out as a reliever because he needs more time to warmup...

MERPER
06-06-2006, 03:06 AM
I dont see a knuckleballer coming out of the pen as a good solution. Last thing we need is haeger coming in with a man on and to start walking guys and having balls headed to the back stop. I believe he even said hes not comfortable coming out as a reliever because he needs more time to warmup...

If he said he's not comfortable as a reliever, that's one thing... but for the issue of control... you simply only bring him in to start an inning... and in case you haven't noticed, all of our bullpen guys are having control issues anyways... I know Haeger walks a lot of guys, but with such a low ERA he obviously is pitching around those walks, something our current bullpen guys aren't doing...

Nellie_Fox
06-06-2006, 03:54 AM
I dont see a knuckleballer coming out of the pen as a good solution. Hoyt Wilhelm, Eddie Fisher, part of Wilbur Wood's career. All knuckleballers who came out of the bullpen for the Sox with great success. Not saying Haeger can do it, just that being a knuckleballer doesn't preclude it.

Nelson Foxtrot
06-06-2006, 04:51 AM
I have no problem with a knuckleball reliever, but Haeger isn't ready for this role. Wilhelm, Fisher, and Wood would walk one hitter every four or five innings. Haeger is walking more than one hitter every two innings, which I suspect may get worse if he's only pitching an inning or less at a time in relief.

Also, Wood and Fisher achieved success around 26, and Wilhelm didn't even enter the majors until he was 30. I believe all had been throwing a knuckleball for years beforehand. Haeger is only 23, I believe, spent a year out of baseball, and only recently reinvented himself as a knuckleballer. I like what I've seen from him and think he could be good in the future, but not now, not without a chance to find his groove each appearance, and not on a team near the top of a pennant race.

KRS1
06-06-2006, 05:02 AM
Hoyt Wilhelm, Eddie Fisher, part of Wilbur Wood's career. All knuckleballers who came out of the bullpen for the Sox with great success. Not saying Haeger can do it, just that being a knuckleballer doesn't preclude it.
All of these guys also possesed outstanding control of their stuff. Until Charlie get more experience and better feel for his knuckler I would be VERY wary of putting him in our pen. He may very well be able to locate his pitches on the corner in the future, but lets not forget this is a kid with only a couple seasons with the knuckle ball under his belt.

I wish we would have given Tracey a shot this time, as I was thoroughly unimpressed by Montero earlier and would have at least liked the new blood.

Also, Haeger may very well be the solution to our pen woes, by means of trade.

Grzegorz
06-06-2006, 05:43 AM
I am not a fan of knucklers, I can accept the pitch thrown to change up a look from time to time but full time knucklers just are not effective up in the majors.

Yeah, Wilhelm, Fisher, Wood, and Hough just couldn't cut it no matter how many chances they were given.

Falstaff
06-06-2006, 06:10 AM
yes, i just wanted to remind all of our old pal shingo who had wicked
unconventional pitches, ultimate slo-mo floating junk specialist and at least
for one season - as a closer no less - shut down the opposition. Didn't he accomplish the fabled "hidden" perfect game at one point? All i'm saying is, dont say no to haeger just because he throws a knuckle sandwich up there.
Success speaketh for itself.

Chips
06-06-2006, 07:10 AM
yes, i just wanted to remind all of our old pal shingo who had wicked
unconventional pitches, ultimate slo-mo floating junk specialist and at least
for one season - as a closer no less - shut down the opposition. Didn't he accomplish the fabled "hidden" perfect game at one point? All i'm saying is, dont say no to haeger just because he throws a knuckle sandwich up there.
Success speaketh for itself.

Say no to Haegar because he throws too many balls. Free bases in late innings are not good.

voodoochile
06-06-2006, 07:18 AM
Pay the premium, land some talent. Heck, offer Haeger as tradebait if you have to. If this team is truly 1 or 2 bullpen arms from another run at the title, then no price is too stiff to pay.

Lillian
06-06-2006, 07:28 AM
Charlotte has the best record in baseball (40-16). They also have a bunch of pitchers with good numbers, in fact it appears that pitching is the biggest reason for their success. You would think that one of those guys would be able to help us. It may have to be by way of a trade, but somehow I think KW will fix this BP problem.

soxfanatlanta
06-06-2006, 07:32 AM
I could only imagine what kind of adjustments AJ would have to do going from a mid 90's guy like JC to a knuckleballer in the same inning.

Does anybody know how well AJ catches knuckleballers in general?

Bobbo35
06-06-2006, 08:25 AM
I guess it is worth a try, but from the performance he put on against the Angels was bad. He needs to locate his pitches better if he wants to be effective.

My solution....go out and get somebody.

Hitmen77
06-06-2006, 09:08 AM
I don't think Haegar will work as a reliever because of control issues in game situations. However, I like the suggestion of using him as trade bait to get a good arm for the pen.

Why isn't Jeff Farnsworth being considered as possible bullpen help? 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP. Not worth a look-sie before we approach the trade deadline? Any reason not to promote him? Are we worried about hurting Charlotte's ability to maintain a .700 winning pct. if we take him off the team?

infohawk
06-06-2006, 10:12 AM
Why isn't Jeff Farnsworth being considered as possible bullpen help? 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP.
I don't keep up with the minor league teams as much as I would like. Just out of curiosity, is he a starter or reliever. Not that it matters, just curious.

kwolf68
06-06-2006, 11:02 AM
What middle reliever would you trade a young starting pitcher with a sub 1.00 era for?

Most teams have erratic middle relivers as it is. A great setup guy would likely not be available and since we already have proven goods on our team (just not playing well right now) we should just ride it out with them and massage our rosters with AAA moves for now.

Put it this way...If I was a team in need of some middle relief help I'd come after Neal Cotts and try to trade garbage for Cliff Pollitte, thinking he'd get it turned around and I could buy low with him.

Just relax.

Hitmen77
06-06-2006, 11:04 AM
I don't keep up with the minor league teams as much as I would like. Just out of curiosity, is he a starter or reliever. Not that it matters, just curious.

Farnsworth is a reliever and leads the Knights in saves. Interestingly, he's also 30 years old.

I haven't followed the minors enough to know more than that. I know some of the folks here are knowledgable about the farm teams. I'm interested in any insight they may have about whether he (or anyone else down there) shows promise of being able to help us out.

Chicken Dinner
06-06-2006, 11:12 AM
Aren't walks one of the bigger issues that we're trying to avoid? We need someone that can throw strikes.

Huisj
06-06-2006, 12:02 PM
Farnsworth is a reliever and leads the Knights in saves. Interestingly, he's also 30 years old.

I haven't followed the minors enough to know more than that. I know some of the folks here are knowledgable about the farm teams. I'm interested in any insight they may have about whether he (or anyone else down there) shows promise of being able to help us out.


He pitched 70 innings for Detroit a few years ago with an ERA close to 6 and a poor K/BB ratio. 100 hits in 70 innings.

Someone recently mentioned that he's Kyle's brother. I looked them both up on baseballreference.com, and sure enough they were both born in Wichita, KS. However, it says that Jeff was born October 6, 1975, and Kyle was born April 14, 1976. That's only 6 months apart.

INSox56
06-06-2006, 01:10 PM
He pitched 70 innings for Detroit a few years ago with an ERA close to 6 and a poor K/BB ratio. 100 hits in 70 innings.


I don't know how much you can take those numbers from a few years ago into account. Things change a lot in 3 seasons sometimes...I know it's an ongoing process with Thornton, but look at him as an example of changes.

Lip Man 1
06-06-2006, 01:40 PM
Lillian:

Charlotte's number are so out of site because the regular minor league umpires have been on strike the entire season. They are using replacement umpires from the local area that have done high school and college games.

From all accounts they are 'not good.'

Lip

GoSox2K3
06-06-2006, 02:33 PM
Lillian:

Charlotte's number are so out of site because the regular minor league umpires have been on strike the entire season. They are using replacement umpires from the local area that have done high school and college games.

From all accounts they are 'not good.'

Lip

So, the substitute umps only make bad calls that go in favor of the Knights/against their opponents? :?:

kittle42
06-06-2006, 02:42 PM
Haeger is the solution, if your problem is that your bullpen doesn't walk enough people.

thomas35forever
06-06-2006, 03:33 PM
We might as well try it. He can't start in the majors yet, so let's see how he can do out of the pen. His knuckleball is always cause for concern though.

ShoelessJoeS
06-06-2006, 03:48 PM
Say no to Haegar because he throws too many balls. Free bases in late innings are not good.Exactly. He had some good stuff, but was a walking machine.

nug0hs
06-06-2006, 04:30 PM
Lets not forget that Montero was called up on Sunday to fill in for Nelson while hes on the DL

kittle42
06-06-2006, 04:37 PM
Lets not forget that Montero was called up on Sunday to fill in for Nelson while hes on the DL

I'm trying to forget.

Lip Man 1
06-06-2006, 05:06 PM
Go Sox 2k3:

Apparently so since the Charlotte numbers seem to be so far beyond 'normal.'

Also in the print edition of The Sporting News this week, they were noting this issue with this notation:

(page 32) "Team officials are having a harder time evaluating prospects when strike zones fluctuate wildly. As a result big league clubs could be promoting players they might otherwise have bypassed."

At this point I have not seen anything from Haeger or Montero to impress me at the major league level.

Lip

TomParrish79
06-06-2006, 05:08 PM
its a great idea if he can throw strikes consistant

Frater Perdurabo
06-06-2006, 05:28 PM
Go Sox 2k3:

Apparently so since the Charlotte numbers seem to be so far beyond 'normal.'

Also in the print edition of The Sporting News this week, they were noting this issue with this notation:

(page 32) "Team officials are having a harder time evaluating prospects when strike zones fluctuate wildly. As a result big league clubs could be promoting players they might otherwise have bypassed."

At this point I have not seen anything from Haeger or Montero to impress me at the major league level.

Lip

I'm not advocating Haeger for the pen. But Lip, what you yourself quoted show that this affects ALL hitters and ALL pitchers.

Do you really think the replacement umps are giving wide strike zones to the Charlotte pitchers most or all of the time, while not giving wide strike zones at all to any other pitchers on any other minor league team? Do you really think that only the Knights benefit from erratic umpiring?

I know you don't like young players, Lip, but you're grasping at straws to find any way whatsoever to discredit them as a potentially viable option worth trying. Jenks - a rookie - closed out the last game of the World Series. Sometimes young players can and do come through.

The Sox track record at developing young pitchers is no worse than any other MLB team. In fact, it's better than most, and it's made even better by having a guy like Cooper who can reclaim guys like Thornton and Contreras. If no veteran middle relievers are available right now (and yes, I'm sure Kenny is exploring creative ideas like three-team and even four-team trades to get who he wants), then the Sox have two choices: stick with who they have or promote from within. The other option is to ridiculously overpay with proven major league talent. Is that what you want? Do you want to give McCarthy to the Cubs for Eyre and "Gas Can" Howry?

Ol' No. 2
06-06-2006, 05:40 PM
I'm not advocating Haeger for the pen. But Lip, what you yourself quoted show that this affects ALL hitters and ALL pitchers.

Do you really think the replacement umps are giving wide strike zones to the Charlotte pitchers most or all of the time, while not giving wide strike zones at all to any other pitchers on any other minor league team? Do you really think that only the Knights benefit from erratic umpiring?

I know you don't like young players, Lip, but you're grasping at straws to find any way whatsoever to discredit them as a potentially viable option worth trying. Jenks - a rookie - closed out the last game of the World Series. Sometimes young players can and do come through.

The Sox track record at developing young pitchers is no worse than any other MLB team. In fact, it's better than most, and it's made even better by having a guy like Cooper who can reclaim guys like Thornton and Contreras. If no veteran middle relievers are available right now (and yes, I'm sure Kenny is exploring creative ideas like three-team and even four-team trades to get who he wants), then the Sox have two choices: stick with who they have or promote from within. The other option is to ridiculously overpay with proven major league talent. Is that what you want? Do you want to give McCarthy to the Cubs for Eyre and "Gas Can" Howry?Preach it.

Even with regular umpires, the Sox have had plenty of pitchers who were lights-out in AAA, only to get their teeth kicked in by major league hitters. The only way to know is to give them a chance. If they don't work out, send them back and try someone else. Otherwise, why have a minor league system at all?

Lip Man 1
06-06-2006, 05:45 PM
No. 2:

"Why have a minor league system at all?"

Well one reason for it (as big market teams have done...) is to have 'talent' on hand and available to send to the 'have not's' of the baseball world in return for their proven (read: expensive) talent.

There's an old saying, a 'bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.'

My personal philosophy on this is that I'll take a guy who has shown he can do it at the highest level over someone who might. The numbers show that the overwhelming majority of minor leaguer players never come close to panning out.

I can live with those odds.

Not saying my way or your way is 'right' or 'wrong' It's simply a matter of philosophy and how big the team payroll is.

I do have a question though that's never to the best of my knowledge been answered. How many chances are you willing to give to unproven talent? (And by you, I don't automatically mean 'you' No. 2)

How many games are you willing to risk losing, especially in a pennant race?

Two, four, eight, twelve?

I'd just like some defined terms here.

Lip

Ol' No. 2
06-06-2006, 05:53 PM
I do have a question though that's never to the best of my knowledge been answered. How many chances are you willing to give to unproven talent? (And by you, I don't automatically mean 'you' No. 2)

How many games are you willing to risk losing, especially in a pennant race?

Two, four, eight, twelve?

I'd just like some defined terms here.

LipGood question, but I don't think there's a hard and fast answer. It depends on what other options are available. If a proven veteran is available, I agree that your odds are better. But what if none are available, or at least none that you'd want or can get at a reasonable price? Would you rather bring someone up from the minors or just keep sending "proven veteran" Cliff Politte out there?

Edit: It's really the other side of the same coin, isn't it? How many chances are you willing to give a veteran before you conclude he can't do it anymore?

TDog
06-06-2006, 05:58 PM
...
Also in the print edition of The Sporting News this week, they were noting this issue with this notation:

(page 32) "Team officials are having a harder time evaluating prospects when strike zones fluctuate wildly. As a result big league clubs could be promoting players they might otherwise have bypassed."...


I have no respect for the rag The Sporting News has become, but I think this is an obvious assessment. The quality of minor league umpiring obviously is making it difficult to judge the control of pitchers. Calls behind the plate are inconsistent enough at the major league level. It is also possible that a knuckleballer may also benefit statistically from playing at a level where hitters are hungry to improve their offensive stats. In the minors, hitters may swing at tantalizing pitches out of the strike zone while more expereinced hitters in the majors will take walks.

TDog
06-06-2006, 06:09 PM
...
My personal philosophy on this is that I'll take a guy who has shown he can do it at the highest level over someone who might. The numbers show that the overwhelming majority of minor leaguer players never come close to panning out.

I can live with those odds....

That is what the White Sox and many other teams are doing right now, and it is costing them games. Did you see the Baez appearance for the Dodgers last week? Did you see Lidge in October?

Granted, Boone Logan pitched more like Todd Rizzo than Terry Forster (I didn't need to go back 35 years for an example, but it is the most dramatic one I could find of a young lefthander with little professional professional experience coming up with the Sox), but the people who have done it before aren't doing it now all over baseball.

RowanDye
06-06-2006, 06:37 PM
Would you rather bring someone up from the minors or just keep sending "proven veteran" Cliff Politte out there?


Or maybe we can try another washed-up "proven veteran" like Jeff Nelson.

I understand Lip's point about guys that have done it in the big leagues before, but potential is potential. You either take the potential of a young guy being able to perform at the next level, or the potential that an old guy can return to form. It's really a case-by-case basis so I don't think either philosophy is necessarily better, but unfortunately we haven't had any luck with either route this year (except for maybe Thornton).

Sox-o-matic
06-06-2006, 06:53 PM
Or maybe we can try another washed-up "proven veteran" like Jeff Nelson.

I understand Lip's point about guys that have done it in the big leagues before, but potential is potential. You either take the potential of a young guy being able to perform at the next level, or the potential that an old guy can return to form. It's really a case-by-case basis so I don't think either philosophy is necessarily better, but unfortunately we haven't had any luck with either route this year (except for maybe Thornton).


True, and if things go wrong you're screwed either way.

I don't know anything about who in Charlotte has the best chance to succeed in the Majors, but I'm sure Kenny is getting pretty close to doing something at least with Politte. It didn't take him long to dump Shingo last year, and when he did the Sox were actually playing up to their capabailities.

IMO, a series loss to Detroit and something is done. A series win vs. Detroit and maybe a little more time is given out.

Lip Man 1
06-06-2006, 06:53 PM
T-Dog:

Well to me the answer then is you go out and trade all that 'young talent,' for people who are doing it...right now and don't worry about the Politte's of the world anymore. (And in fact there were a number of posters at WSI who felt Cliff's 2005 season was a major fluke based on what he did over his entire career.)

It's the reason the Pittsburgh's of the world don't have a chance in the first place, but that's the system that's currently in place so when you are now acting like a 'big market' team you take advantage of it and pick the bones of the Pirates, Royals, Devil Rays etc.... there are some players on those teams that could really help the Sox right now.

I can't imagine Kenny is happy about the situation that he helped cause with the bullpen so I'd imagine he's working to correct the mistakes.

I can only hope until he does, the bullpen doesn't blow away any more games. To me six is more then enough.

Lip

jabrch
06-07-2006, 12:05 AM
If the answer is Haeger, we better find a catcher who can catch him. I don't think that's an option. I'd agree with VC. Trade for a stud reliever. Use Haegar as trade bait if you must. But get strong veteran relief when it becomes available.

gobears1987
06-07-2006, 12:30 AM
Hoyt Wilhelm, Eddie Fisher, part of Wilbur Wood's career. All knuckleballers who came out of the bullpen for the Sox with great success. Not saying Haeger can do it, just that being a knuckleballer doesn't preclude it.Thank you for the intelligent post Nellie. I think a knuckleballer is fine if he starts the inning. It's worked in the past.