For those of you who think I’m a shill for the Sox front office…

October 30th, 2006 → 8:19 pm @ // 10 Comments

…here’s a move I don’t get: the re-signing of Mike Timlin. I know the guy has been a stopgap these last few years, but that’s sort of like saying the 2000 election fiasco was a stopgap to a Bush presidency; all it really did was delay the inevitable. I also know, as the Sox took pains to point out in their press release, that Timlin had a 1.40 ERA before he went on the DL at the end of May.

But man, did he ever look like a guy who’d fallen off a cliff when he came back in June (and if a lingering injury caused him to suck that bad, shouldn’t he have stayed on the DL?). You could make a pretty decent argument that it was the sheer awfulness of Timlin that was the turning point in the Sox’s season, more than the absence of Varitek, more than the absence of Wakefield, more than the death of Nelson De La Rosa. (I know he didn’t die until last week, but c’mon: you all know he wasn’t able to focus his full karmic energy on Yawkey Way.) Starting just before the five-game bloodletting at the hands of the Yankees, Timlin single-handedly blew enough games to send the Sox well into second place. And there was also that little matter of him blaming the offense for the Sox’s problems. For those of you who mercifully managed to miss that, I’m not joking.

The arguments for keeping Mike on board are that he’s been a bargain for the four years he’s been in Boston; he’s pitched well — sometimes very well; relief pitching is both hard to come by and hard to predict; it’d put a strain on the clubhouse to lose yet another veteran (and besides, who would lead chapel?); and the $1 or $2 million he’ll cost the team is peanuts relative to a $125 million payroll.

The arguments against re-signing Timlin are that you don’t pay for past performance; he hasn’t pitched well in more than half a season, and when he wasn’t pitching well it sure looked like more than a flukey, post-injury type of deal; he’s shown he has the potentially put plenty of strain on the clubhouse if he is around; and every now and then you find someone like David Ortiz for $1 or $2 million.

(Please note: if Mike Timlin comes back and has a season more in line with ’03 and ’04 and less in line with the second half of ’06, I reserve the right to make like one of those paid sportswriters and act like he’s been my favorite player all along and that re-signing him was one of the front office’s most brilliant moves.)


Post Categories: Mike Timlin & Red Sox front office

10 Comments → “For those of you who think I’m a shill for the Sox front office…”


  1. KeeferD420

    11 years ago

    I CANNOT believe they kept Timlin….For most of this past season, everytime he took the mound, I couldn’t help but think he was just dying to get in his full camo gear and go duck hunting. He just didn’t seem like he wanted to be in baseball anymore. He SUCKED in the last half!!
    Hopefully it was just a fluke, but I’m not thrilled about his return. He used to be awesome, but this past year just felt like he was a year too late on his retirement to the duck blinds.
    🙂

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  2. Mr. Furious

    11 years ago

    Timlin is one of my favorite Sox. It was difficult to watch his sudden and unignorable decline this season. I’d say “fine” to bringing him back next year to see which Timlin you get, and to let him set his record if he’s actually servicable, but I think they spent twice as much as they should have. At least.

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  3. Ogie Oglethorpe

    11 years ago

    I have been saying this exact thing for a couple of years. In 2003 he was flat out dominant in the playoffs (except for game 7 in which he was thrown to the wolves by Grady). In 2004 he was good. In 2005 he had a good ERA but blew a lot of games by letting inherited runners score. If he was brought in to start an inning he was pretty effective but if you brought him in with runners on he would give up a bases clearing double on cue. Since his ERA was intact because he inherited the runners a lot of people continued to act as if he was getting the job done. Last year it all came crashing down because he was ineffective all around. I have no problem bringing this guy back but he needs to be used correctly. He has to have his innnings reduced to 40-50, should not be used on back to back days and he should NEVER be brought in with men on. I can’t understand why Francona can’t see his ineffectiveness with men on. With the lack of good relief arms out there I think they need him back but in a lesser role. He simply isn’t the bridge that he used to be.

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  4. pattenoblo

    11 years ago

    “…if a lingering injury caused him to suck that bad, shouldn’t he have stayed on the DL?” So many injuries and physical problems, guys playing when they shouldn’t, poor medical judgements, etc. How much of this because of new medical staff and trainers? How much did the FO charge for the privelege of being the Official Red Sox Hospital?

    Reply

  5. crimsonohsix

    11 years ago

    I agree – bringing him back wasn’t the mistake. He probably would have been slightly undervalued on the market (front office shouldn’t make their decisions based on who blew the most sox yankees games). But they paid 3x more than they should have. The Patriots would never have dont something like this.

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  6. deversm

    11 years ago

    Given where many of the former ’04ers have ended up, am I crazy to think that the Sox signed him in part because they didn’t want to see him take his knowledge (and what’s left of his skill) to the Yanks?

    Reply

  7. Nordberg

    11 years ago

    I’m really torn on this because Timlin has been one of my favorite players.
    You cannot ignore his suck-o stats last year.
    But you cannot ignore his presence in the clubhouse, either.
    I plan to close my eyes and pray it works out. And I vow not to boo him if it collapses on itself.
    And, yeah, they overpaid.
    Is it possible they move him out of the set-up role, to a 6th- or 7th-inning guy?
    And I cannot help but wonder if this is a move to keep him in the organization in some capacity when he retires.

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  8. HFXBOB

    11 years ago

    For me the crazy thing is when I saw they re-signed Timlin for 2.8 million my first thought was, hey, great, 2.8 million isn’t that much, see how he does and if he bombs let him go. Easy when it ain’t my 2.8 million. You guys that point out the bad numbers from the last 2 years and say they’re overpaying-well, you’re right. I guess what I have to admit now is that I love everyone from the 2004 team and I want them to stick around as long as possible.

    Reply
  9. […] Timlin Filed under: Mike Timlin, Hideki Okajima by Seth Mnookin @ 9:55 am Digg Del.icio.us Subscribe to RSS Feed Hideki “Darkman” Okajima continued his otherworldly run yesterday, prompting thisvalentine from Jackie MacMullan. I agree with pretty much everything in there — how can one not have a man-crush on the biggest HO on the team? — except for this shout out to Mike Timlin: “In other years, a prolonged stint for [Timlin] on the disabled list would have been a daily cause for angst, or at least some serious hand-wringing.” It’s not that I don’t like Timlin (although I don’t, particularly) or appreciate what he’s done for the Sox…it’s just that I’ve always thought re-signing Timlin was a mistake. He’s one of the few heart-attack inducing guys in the pen. If his absolute suckitude during last year’s Boston Massacre didn’t give evidence that there’s precious little gas left in his tank, the sheer idiocy of blaming the team’s offense for the Sox’s ‘06 woes demonstrated he’s not, um, the team player he’s always been made out to be. The only Timlin related cause of angst that I’ll have is when he comes off the disabled list. You know I’m right: if last night in the top of the ninth you heard the shuffling strains of “Black Betty” coming through Fenway’s PA…well, you would have been worried. […]

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  10. […] Yawkey Way over the past four years, I’ve probably been hardest on Mike Timlin. It was exactly one year ago today that I bemoaned the Sox resigning the aged righthander; that came several months after I eviscerated Timlin for his performance in the ‘06 Boston […]

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