Boston Red Sox News; Charlie Zink on the Brink

Nate BeardCorrespondent IMay 18, 2008

Today I was very surprised to learn that the Boston Red Sox have penciled in Bartolo Colon and Justin Masterson to pitch next Tuesday and Wednesday.

I can understand the promotion of Colon because it is necessary for the Sox to get him active before June first (not to mention his recent performance in AAA), but I am confused as to why Masterson is getting the nod on Tuesday.

The last time I checked (which was earlier today), Masterson has been struggling a good deal lately, and is doing poorly in AA Portland. He is averaging under five innings per start, has an ERA over 4.00, and gives up as many hits as innings that he pitches in. Is this really the best option that Terry Francona has at the present moment to give his team a chance to succeed?

I think not, and simply fail to understand why Masterson is being given the spot start at this point in the season. He will obviously be important in Boston's future, but I think the Red Sox need to give more consideration to other options at this point in time.

For example, when you look at the pitching stats for Sox minor league players this year, it becomes obvious that the best candidate for this spot start is Charlie Zink.

He has the most innings pitched of the established starters on the AAA Pawtucket team, carries a sparkling 2.77 ERA (which would be far lower if not for his first start), and has walked LESS batters then Masterson despite pitching far more innings and throwing a knuckleball. He has proven himself over and over again throughout the course of this year, and I find it disappointing that the Red Sox are going to let him get away.

Why do I say this? Simple.

At the end of this season Zink will become a minor league free agent. He has already expressed an opinion that he would have a better shot at the major leagues in another organization and that he may leave the system if nothing happens this year.

Maybe the Red Sox should pay more attention and take his words into consideration.

After all, if you're Boston and you've just spent six patient years transforming Zink into an excellent knuckleball pitcher, why would you take any chances on losing him at this point in time?

He's supposed to replace Tim Wakefield within the next couple of years, so why not give him a brief shot now to give him something to look forward to?

Think about it; why not bring up Zink for a day and give him a taste of the bigs? Not only would this show commitment by the Boston brass, but it would give the young man incentive to stay within the organization and continue to be patient and wait for his chance to pitch at a major league level.

I assume that part of the reason Boston is hesitant to bring him up is because he is a knuckleballer and they already have one on the staff in Wakefield. Although I fail to see how this reasoning holds up, it is almost surely contributing to Zink's inability to move up within the ranks of the organization at this point in time.

So Theo, if you happen to be reading this, then I would ask you to reconsider your recent decision. Zink is too good a player to let slip away, and it's about time that this 29 year old kid gets at least one chance to shine against Major League hitters.