Derek Lowe? Back in Boston? He can’t be serious. Or can he? Whatever the case, it’s a topic worthy of a Throwdown. So Denton and I got our drink on and got down to business. Today’s question: Should the Red Sox sign Derek Lowe?
Denton Says: The thought of bringing Derek Lowe back to the Red Sox makes me kind of sick. I wasn’t a big fan of the guy last time we had him, as a matter of fact, I thought he sucked most of the time. In 2004, for example, Lowe was 14-12 with a 5.42 ERA. Below average at first glance, but when you really break it down, he was much worse. In his 14 wins, the Sox scored an average of just under nine runs per game. In just eight of Lowe’s 33 starts the Sox scored three runs or less. Overall, Lowe got 6.3 runs per game of offensive support and was barely better than a five-hundred pitcher.
A lot of people point to the number of unearned runs Lowe was victimized by – 28 in 2004. That’s the time when a pitcher has to strap them on a little tighter and pick up his team, not put on a hang-dog face and fall apart. I believe it was you, Red, who coined the nickname “The Incredible Sulk.”
Not to mention Lowe’s off the field issues. Rumors of his fondness of the booze were backed up by his dismal record in day games in 2004: 3-6 with an ERA over 8 and an average start of less than five innings. Can you say “hangover?”
The Red Sox are in a good position with their pitching staff. A lot of good young arms with a balance of veterans. No need to bring back an aging Derek Lowe who has been coasting in the weak NL.
Red Says: Any transgressions Monsieur Lowe might have made against the code of ethics in this town with his late-night shenanigans were surely paved over by his performance in the 2004 postseason. While they’ll be talking about The Steal and Ortiz’s clutch home runs and Foulke’s fastball until the end of days, we owe a lot of that postseason euphoria to the arm of Derek Lowe, who won the ALDS, ALCS and WS clinching games. Despite the “Incredible Sulk” tag, I’ve always had a soft spot for the big lug, and would welcome him back in a heartbeat.
But my lust for Lowe isn’t all just wistful nostalgia. Here’s a guy who knows how to pitch in Boston–so you’ll get none of that Scott Williamson, deer-in-the-headlights, holy-god-they-scream-really-LOUD-in-this-place stuff. He’s a proven commodity with a 3.75 lifetime ERA who gives you about 200 innings a season and knows his way around the AL East. Hell, the New York papers are even calling him “Blue-Collar Derek”, praising his work ethic and efficiency.
Not to mention the fact that with Manny and Schilling gone, we’re dangerously close to fielding a team that won’t provide us any Inside Track fodder. Where’s the fun in that? Throw D-Lowe into the mix, and every Heidi Watney interview suddenly has the potential to end in jail time.
Joking aside, if he’s serious about his desire to play in Boston and is willing to sign for short money, Lowe makes perfect sense as a number four–or even five–guy.