Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Paul Byrd and the Survival of the Fittest

Does Bobby Kielty know something we don't? Last August, he signs a deal with the Sox and ends up a hero in the World Series. This year, after obtaining his release from the Paw Sox in July, he resurfaces a month later by signing a deal with the AL Central-leading Twins.

Word just came out that the Indians dumped Paul Byrd on the Sox for cash or a player to be named. Byrd's 37 and having a subpar year, but as ESPN points out, he's won his last four appearances - with an average Game Score of 62.5 (which is excellent) no less - and he's got a solid 4.06 ERA in Fenway over 31 innings. In other words, I like where this idea: cheap acquisition who might do some good in the back of the rotation.

Next question: Does the Byrd acquisition mean Buchholz is finished in the majors for the season, or that the Sox think Wakefield has more shoulder damage than they've let on? I don't think so; I think this trade is part of a larger strategy. With Wakefield's injury and Clay's spate of ineffectiveness, Boston has two open rotation slots in the middle of a playoff run. Wakefield is out for two starts, but Buchholz has the opportunity to redeem himself, Byrd has the opportunity to establish himself, Colon has the chance to return to form, and one of the many minor league callups (be it Zink, Pauley, Bowden, or Hansack) has the chance to step up and make a mark in a fluid situation. It's more of a survival of the fittest type of pitching arrangement that gives Boston some options in a time of weakness, the opportunity for retreads to put up solid numbers for a future a contract hunt, and for the Sox to show off younger talents to up their trade value rather than a definitive changing of the pitching guard.