The Sports Daily > Firebrand AL
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same: Bullpen Edition

By Andrew Lipsett
Last year, the Sox’ most reliable RP was Mike Timlin. This year, it appears to be Jonathan Papelbon. Beyond Timlin in 05 and Papelbon in 06, there’s very little to recommend either collection of relievers. Though this offseason was supposed to center around dramatically upgrading the pen – one of the two worst in the majors in 2005 – early in the season, it appears that much work still needs to be done.
Aside from Papelbon, the most trustworthy reliever the Sox have is Keith Foulke – the man most responsible for the pen woes of last year. Behind him is Mike Timlin – as likable as they come, but a man whose 2005 performance was primarily smoke and mirrors, with a great ERA hiding a declining K rate and a rising BAA. Those twin issues are catching up with him now. Beyond those three, the pen gets into mop-up men altogether too quickly.
So what is to be done here? How long do the Sox stick with Rudy Seanez, Julian Tavarez, and even David Riske (remember him?)? When does the front office make the decision, this year, to delve into the minor league depth that looks so promising? Last year, it took until June for the Sox to address their bullpen woes, but much of that was a lack of in-house options. Now that we have potentially reliable RP’s in Pawtucket and Portland, when will they get their shot? Discuss.