The conversion of David Wells—on the road to DamasoMarte—creates a real problem for the Red Sox. No one can deny that his 15 wins and 184 innings were a huge boost to the 2005 pitching staff. And, for the most part, he left his Looney Tunes act on the shelf.
But 2006 was supposed to be the launch point for Jon Papelbon--either as a starter or a fall-back closer. While the latter role may still pan out if Keith Foulke cannot (for whatever reason) regain his championship form, Wells' decision blocks the former. As is stands now, the Sox have 11 hurler spots locked in: Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, Clement, Wells, Arroyo, Foulke, Riske, Seanez, Tavarez, and Timlin. That leaves one spot. If they opt for a single left-hander, then it's Lenny DiNardo. If they make the judgment on pure talent, it might be Papelbon. But do you think he'll get much standard work out of the vastly improved 'pen? Not likely. So, it's probably off to Pawtucket for Papelbon—to pitch every 5 days at AAA. Not the scenario we had looked forward to.