Dear Mr. Manager,
I commend you on your novel approach to the bullpen during the playoffs last year. Inspiration born out of desperation. It was a great ride.
That being said, that was then and this is now. In the wake of last post-season a whole bunch of questions come to mind about the effect last year's strategy will have on this year's pitching staff. You have already addressed this with bringing along some of our veteran pitchers slowly this year, especially those who had a heavier than normal workload last post-season.
However, maybe there is a novel idea I thought of that can be done to save the pitching staff this year. Here is my idea:
1. Make Clevinger the 5th starter
2. Move Josh Tomlin to the bullpen, taking what would have been Shawn Armstrong's spot
3. Use McAllister and Tomlin to rest your relievers and maybe shorten games.
Here is how this might work:
1. Starters go 6 innings
2. McAllister or Tomlin pitch the 7th AND 8th, meaning we don't have to use our setup men as often
3. Closer finishes
That would mean about 4 times a week we might not need a setup man or even a 7th inning man, meaning we can save Shaw, Miller and Allen a little work and shorten the game for the starters. The rest of the bullpen, that is Logan and Otero, fill in where necessary (say in Tomlin's second inning a couple of lefties come up or maybe the first two guys in his first inning of work are lefties). Otero can finish innings where Logan has to be brought in to replace Tomlin or McAllister and work some in losses, as well. Tomlin has been very effective in a long relief role in the past and, from where I sit, looks like he struggles and is susceptible to injury only when we continuously change his role. If his set role is two innings twice a week, I think he will thrive again. As McAllister is already being stretched out to throw 2-3 innings an outing, it seems to fit for him, as well.
If Clevinger fails we have Merritt, Plutko and, hopefully, others (Cooney, Morimando and, hopefully, Kaminsky) in Columbus who can come up to make a spot start or take over the #5 role.
Just some thoughts for a manager (you) who is obviously open to doing things a different way.