2004 Player Reviews: Supporting RP

2004 Player Reviews: Supporting RP
I know, I know. It’s hard to read. This my first year doing the Player Reviews. Trust me, next year, it’ll be a much easier format. Bear with me.
Anastacio Martinez The 26-year old (he gained three years thanks to a forged birth certificate) had a 3.74 ERA in 67 innings in Pawtucket, fanning 7, but walking 31. If Martinez can come into Spring Training and wow Francona and Friends, then he’ll have a spot in the bullpen, because he has a fastball in the 90s and a topnotch curve, followed by a change up. As far as I know, he is out of minor league options, so this is do or die for Martinez. He also saw time in the big leagues this year, relieving in 11 games, with 11 innings and a 8.44 ERA. A-Mart struck out five, but walked six. He somehow finished with a 2-1 record. This will be the position battle of the year, as opposed to last year, when it was “Who Should Be The Second Lefty?” Bobby Jones won it, lost it to Lenny DiNardo. Mark Malaska contributed some, then it wound up in the hands of Mike Myers. That slot will have continuity this year as John Halama will step in, but the last man in the bullpen (A-Mart? Kim? DiNardo? Malaska?) should be a revolving door all season again.
Scott Williamson Williamson. What a disappointment. From being placed on the DL, to returning much to my delight, to having to part for good. Like I’ve said, I don’t know why the Sox didn’t resign him to a two-year contract, hope you get something out of him this year and then get your money’s worth in 2006. He’ll be doing that for the Cubs instead. When SWilly was healthy, he was money. In 29 IP, he struck out 28 and walked 18, with a 1.26 ERA. He was a great setup man and was missed all season long. Mike Timlin just is, at this point in time, not a setup man anymore. Hopefully Matt Mantei will fix that. Good luck to Scott, not very many people come back from a second Tommy John surgery, but if anyone can, it’s you. Shame it won’t be in a Sox uniform.
Ramiro Mendoza Mendoza did two things that surprised everyone. One, he was actually effective once he came back from what many people think was a phantom injury. Two, the Yankees did not sign him this offseason. Well, yet. In 31 innings, Mendoza had a 3.52 ERA, which is the ERAs he had in his heydays with the Yankees. Could he have returned to form? Perhaps, but we won’t know, because he won’t return to the Red Sox. For the most part, he was used in garbage time.
Terry Adams Adams came over from the Blue Jays after signing with them as a free agent. He stunk it up to the tune of a 6.00 ERA in 27 IP, but he was used very inefficiently. He would go weeks without getting into a game, so you can’t fault him much for ineffectiveness. However, I won’t shed a tear that he’s gone, because he has been convicted of domestic abuse, and has custody of his son and refuses to let the ex-wife see him. From all the research I have done on Adams and what I saw of him in a Sox uniform, he’s a bad egg, and I’m glad he’s gone.
Mark Malaska Tampa Bay fans were furious Mark Malaska was put on waivers and let the Red Sox take him because he had a 2.81 ERA in 16 IP for the Devil Rays last year. He didn’t stick with the Red Sox all year, but when he was up, he had a 4.50 ERA in 20 IP and looks like he will round out into a very capable reliever.
Lenny DiNardo The Rule-5 pick a year ago, I was and still am high on Lenny DiNardo. He was sent to Pawtucket late in the season to start and is projected to start for Triple-A. The lefthander had a very respectable 4.23 ERA in 28 innings of work, and should also become a very solid left-hander for the Red Sox. I won’t be surprised to see Halama and Embree depart after this year and the lefties in the bullpen be Malaska and DiNardo.
Byung-Hyun Kim Kim is in the second year of an expensive contract, and is on the brink of being dealt to the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies refuse to pull the trigger, however, because they think the Red Sox are asking too much. The Sox will not hesitate to keep him and bring him into training camp to have him regain his 1999-2003 effectiveness. Lost in all the noise, I think, is the fact that Kim turned in a solid 2003 for us and sure, that flipped middle finger in the 2003 postseason didn’t help his cause … but no one liked him before that. It’s hard when you’re traded for someone who all of Red Sox Nation adored – Shea Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand basically came out of nowhere, and a lot of fans considered him great because he got the job done and had to fight to get it done, kind of like David Eckstein, I suppose. Not a lot of talent, but getting it done. Anyways, Kim blew up in 2004, when he convinced the Red Sox to let him start. Now that his leverage is all gone, he should stick to relieving. In 2003, he started three games and relieved in seven, with a 6.23 ERA in 17 IP. He had a 5.34 ERA in Pawtucket, logging 61 IP. He pitched mostly three-inning stints, with most of his trouble coming in the second or third inning, so he still has promise, especially since he is only 25.
Mike Myers Myers solidified the second lefty spot in the bullpen and gave us a 4.20 ERA in 25 games, 15 innings. Myers always pitches plenty of innings and averages 68 over the course of his career. Myers is a St. Louis Cardinal now, and should give them good innings. The sidearmer actually walked less people in his Red Sox career than he had since 1999 (Brewers) and before that, since his minor league days. Fun fact, Myers did not make the majors until 26 and has turned in a good career for himself, so don’t get discouraged that Malaska and DiNardo are both 25, a little late to still be in AAA – they can still turn in productive major league careers. Here’s some interesting trivia.
Nov 20,1997 – Detroit Tigers traded Rick Greene, Mike Myers and Santiago Perez to Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Bryce Florie.
Florie would become a Red Sox reliever later in life, and a Yankee batter would crush his face with a pitched ball. Florie returned, but could not retain his effectiveness.
Nov 17,1999 – Colorado Rockies traded Curt Leskanic to Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Mike Myers.
And yet another transaction for Mike Myers, this time for Curt Leskanic, who found himself on the Red Sox along with Myers this season.
Curtis Leskanic Leskanic is probably going to retire. Makes sense, when your arm is hanging on by a thread. Leskanic spent most of his time with the Rockies, so his ERA is a little inflated, but looking at his career, has always been a quality reliever. In 2000, 2001, and 2003 (missed ’02 to injury) for the Brewers and Royals, he turned in great ERAs, and found himself a Red Sox via the Royals when he stunk it up for the Royals to the tune of a 8.04 ERA. He settled down with the Red Sox, throwing a 3.58 ERA in 28 innings and lending his name to a trivia fact – winning Game 4 of the ALCS. He threw an amazing 1 1/3 innings of work in Game Four, a day after getting one out in Game Three. Hats off you, Curtis.
Hats off to everyone, as a matter of fact. Congratulations to being a part of history.

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