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What'll They Do With Contreras Now?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 1, 2007 1:45PM

Baseball's trading deadline came and went quietly yesterday afternoon, with only Rob Mackowiak needing to pack up his locker in the Sox clubhouse.

2007_08_sports_contreras_pierzynski.jpgAfter last night's 16-3 debacle in New York, GM Kenny Williams is probably wishing he'd tried a little harder to dump Jose Contreras on somebody. The starter gave up three home runs and sever earned runs in 2.2 innings before hitting the showers. Youngsters Charlie Haeger and Gavin Floyd didn't fare any better, with Haeger allowing two homers and four runs over 1.1 innings before Floyd dished up five more runs on three dingers.

Yup, Sox pitchers allowed eight home runs on Tuesday. That equals an all time Yankees record for homers hit in a game, while setting a new Sox record for homers allowed in a game. Amazingly, however, Alex Rodriguez went hitless and homerless as he remains stuck on 499 for his career.

With last night's loss, Contreras has now lost his last seven starts, posting a 10.38 ERA during that span, Overall he's now 5-14 with an ERA of 6.60. So what do the Sox do with him now?

Contreras is still owed about $23 million on the three year, $29 million extension he signed before last year.

That's definitely starter's money... so can a team justify paying that kind of dough to a guy stuck out in the bullpen? That's probably the only reason he's remained in the rotation as long as he has. But he's clearly no longer the pitcher he was in 2005 and the first half of 2006.

With the Sox hopelessly out of the playoff hunt this year. Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Williams have a decision to make -- keep him in the rotation to eat up innings over the course of the rest of the season, or exile him to the bullpen and give a few of the young guys a chance to prove themselves. With Contreras' days of meaningfully contributing likely over, we want to find out sooner rather than later just who might help the Sox make the playoffs next year.

Image by REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine