Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sox Close to Picking Up Penny: Fantasy Impact

Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox and free agent Brad Penny are close to agreeing on a one year deal pending some contract details and a physical. The latter could be the more difficult part for Penny given his injury plagued 2008 campaign.

(Update: WBZ TV's Dan Roche confirmed the Penny deal to be for, one year at $5 million, with another $3 million in potential incentives. The deal, however is still pending a physical.)

Penny won 16 games for the L.A. Dodgers in 2006 and again in 2007. In 2006 he was the starting pitcher for the N.L. All Star team. It looked as if he was going to cash it in following the 2008 season, however shoulder injuries derailed his season and he finished 6-9 with an ERA over 6.00. The fact that the Dodgers turned down a single season, market value option on him, perhaps hints that they weren't totally convinced his shoulder issues are behind him.

The deal is reminiscent of the one the Sox signed Bartolo Colon to last season. An All Star pitcher, who has been battling injury, given a one year contract to try and increase their market value, following a few injuries


FANTASY IMPACT

I find it a bit disconcerting that Penny fought shoulder injuries all last season, and there was no sort of surgery or rehab done during the season that was able to diagnose and fix exactly what was wrong with him. If there was something that wasn't serious wouldn't the Dodgers have resigned him? They could use the starter with Derek Lowe leaving via free agency and the young Clayton Kershaw still being limited in the amount of innings they want him to throw.

The Red Sox aren't exactly taking a risk here, and it is a bit too early to tell if Penny is healthy enough to hold up over the long haul of a full baseball season. What it does show is that the Sox want to be patient with Clay Buchholz and his development, and probably want to try and use Justin Masterson in a variety of ways, as an arm out of the bullpen and spot starter when needed.

So basically what we learned is; take Penny late in your draft as a sleeper. However this could change come March as we learn more about how healthy he is. He has ace type stuff and could wind up being the 3 or 4 starter, which will favor him greatly in most match ups. The Red Sox are not yet ready to let The Buccholz train leave the station. They don't want to rush him and have him take a step back like he did in 2008 again, so the signing of a veteran like Penny can give him some more time to develop in the minors. That being said, Buchholz is still a great prospect and is worth a late round pick, as he'll get the first call to the majors when a Red Sox starter goes down with an injury.

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