Raising the white flag on 1976: Jenkins dealt to Giants

jenkinsgiantsFergie Jenkins was a major disappointment in 17 games with the Boston Red Sox after signing with Boston prior to the 1976 season. He spent most of the season with an ERA above 4.00, and while he was finally starting to put together a few quality starts as the trade deadline neared, management decided to look to the future and deal the 33-year-old to San Francisco.

Jenkins’ final numbers in Boston: 4-8 with a 3.93 ERA and a career-worst (and by quite a bit) 1.30 WHIP.

Picking up Jenkins was an attempt to improve on 1975’s AL championship. The future Hall of Famer was not the difference maker the Red Sox hoped they were getting. The trade of Jenkins was completed on July 11. By Aug. 1, Boston was almost 30 games behind the East-leading Yankees. By Sept. 1, the Red Sox found themselves 43 games out of first place and the first AL team to be mathematically eliminated from the postseason.

Having so many young pitchers in the minor league system made it easy to justify cutting Jenkins’ salary, clearing a spot in the MLB rotation and adding a little extra money to keep Carlton Fisk from leaving in free agency.

The argument can be made, however, that the Red Sox didn’t get a whole lot in return. San Francisco sent Greg Minton, first baseman Jose Barrios and starting pitcher Mike Rowland to Boston for Jenkins, who less than a month later notched his 200th career Major League victory.

Jenkins’ numbers since arriving in the bay area: 6-3 with a 3.67 ERA.

Top pitching prospects in Boston include 18-year-old Bruce Hurst (9-9, 2.73 ERA in Winter Haven), 22-year-old Mike Paxton (15-7, 3.48 ERA in Pawtucket), 21-year-old Mike Smithson (12-3, 1.65 ERA in Bristol), 22-year-old John Tudor (9-8, 3.61 ERA in Bristol). In Don Aase struggled in Boston this year before being sent back to Pawtuckett. Moved into the bullpen at the start of the season, Aase was 1-1 with a 5.67 ERA in 54 innings. Mike Flanagan has also been banged up since coming over from Baltimore, going 1-9 with a 5.29 ERA in 12 starts for Boston.

Boston’s pitching has been dreadful all season long, ranked 12th in runs against (751), 12th in starters ERA (4.80) and a 12th in bullpen ERA (a miserable 6.97).

Pitching coach Cody Payne has already been informed that he will not be retained following the 1976 season. The 58-year-old has been strongly encouraged to retire to his hometown of Waterford, Conn.


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