As the Red Sox get set to play their first home game of the season on Friday afternoon, they come off their first road trip of 2022 with a .500 record. As one would imagine from that record, there is some good to go with some bad, but in the positive category there can’t be too many aspects of the early-season performance that outshines what Garrett Whitlock has done. After a rookie campaign in 2021 that shocked everyone and ended with him as far and away the most trustworthy arm in the bullpen, he has come back this year with two multi-inning relief appearances, allowing a run over 6 1⁄3 innings, striking out six and walking only one.
It’s a role that is unique in today’s game, the kind of fireman who, like he did on Tuesday, can enter in the sixth and finish out a victory in a tight game. What’s not clear, though, is what his role will be all season. He’s being stretched out with the possibility of being a starter, and in general a starting pitcher is basically always more valuable than one in relief. At the same time, Boston’s bullpen is so filled with questions that there is at least an argument for Whitlock staying in the pen all season. And all of that is to say nothing of his lack of innings in recent seasons after Tommy John surgery.
So we’re leaving it up to you. How would you handle Whitlock this season? Would you get him in the rotation as soon as possible? Would you have some sort of hybrid situation? Do you keep the trusted arm in a bullpen that needs that? How do the innings concerns come into the situation? Let us know in a FanPost!
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