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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ben Cherington talks Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard and the Red Sox’ right field situation

Ben Cherington, of the Boston Cherington’s.

(How the Red Sox will approach right field)

Ryan Sweeney we expect to be a big part of our outfield mix. He can play right field. He’s a good defender. His versatility is kind of like Reddick, really, both of them can play both outfield spots and play them well. Sweeney has played in a big ballpark in Oakland and handled the defensive part of the game well. We also really like his offensive approach to Fenway. He’s got an opposite field approach. He’s a guy we tried to acquire in the past, and think he fits well with our team. So he’ll be a big part of our outfield mix. We still have Darnell McDonald on our roster, who has done a good job for us in the past and has hit left-handed pitching. Mike Aviles we sent to Puerto Rico not too long ago to get some experience in the outfield. We got good reports on him when he was in Puerto Rico. Obviously we like him as a hitter and as an offensive player. We think we have some internal solutions for right field and Sweeney is a big part of that.

(On if this will alter the Red Sox approach to the starting pitching market)

To some degree. I think that the starters that we’ve considered and talked about, and in some cases pursued, are a pretty broad range of pitching options. We’ve just felt, to this point, that the deals that we liked the best on the trade front were the Melancon deal and now this deal. We’re going to continue to work. We’re actively considering and looking at starting pitching options also, but we haven’t found one yet where we feel like the acquisition cost is the right one. That doesn’t mean that it won’t come. It just hasn’t come yet.

I do think our situation has been one where we can afford to be a little bit patient in the starting pitching market because of what we have at the front of the rotation. If we can find ways to build depth in the rotation, we will. We don’t feel like we’re forced into doing that. With what we have at the front of the rotation, and with Bard and [Alfredo] Aceves both coming to camp as starters and giving us options there, along with Andrew Miller and [Felix] Doubront and others who will be in camp showcasing their abilities as starters.

Repoz Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, red sox

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2011 at 02:02 PM (#4024972)
Ben's getting better at the content-free blather.

What's most interesting in this article is the way that Cherington talks about the authority of Bobby Valentine:
Bard will prepare for spring training as a starter, as you guys know. We want to give him every chance to do that. We just want to see how things go in spring training. Ultimately Bobby and Bob McClure will help us make that decision.
I think ultimately [assigning closer duties] will fall on Bobby and also our pitching coach, Bob McClure. We believe both are fully capable of doing it. Bailey’s been doing it for a little bit longer, so perhaps he goes in with the leg up. But we’ll leave those decisions to Bobby and Bob McClure for spring training.
This is not how Theo Epstein talked about roster decisions. He would say things would be decided in spring training, but he never delegated authority. He'd say things like, "we'll see how they perform in spring training" and so on. I didn't expect Epstein to hire someone like Valentine precisely because I can't see Valentine taking a job where his authority over player usage is particularly constrained. It looks like Ben and Bobby have a more old-school arrangement where Valentine has significant, apparently even final authority over the use of players on the roster.
   2. villageidiom Posted: December 29, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#4024994)
This is not how Theo Epstein talked about roster decisions. He would say things would be decided in spring training, but he never delegated authority. He'd say things like, "we'll see how they perform in spring training" and so on. I didn't expect Epstein to hire someone like Valentine precisely because I can't see Valentine taking a job where his authority over player usage is particularly constrained. It looks like Ben and Bobby have a more old-school arrangement where Valentine has significant, apparently even final authority over the use of players on the roster.
I think both approaches were appropriate, in their time.

Did Epstein say he'd see how they'd perform in spring training? IIRC he'd get asked if something would be decided on spring training performance, and he'd go on about how it's not just the numbers in spring training, that anything can happen in a small sample, but they'd look at someone's approach in ST and their history and try to learn what was the best fit going forward, and during spring training other teams are making cuts of players who are bad fits for those teams but good fits for Boston, and youneverknow. In short he'd express a noncommittal answer in about 50 different ways, all of which sounded good.

Your point still holds, of course, that Cherington's answers are starkly different.
   3. ray james Posted: December 29, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#4025004)
We still have Darnell McDonald on our roster, who has done a good job for us in the past and has hit left-handed pitching.


Oy. I'd rather take a chance with someone else. I thought McDonald was dreadful last year.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#4025005)
Is Bob McClure the co-manager?
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 29, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#4025015)
Is Bob McClure the co-manager?


The Sox have in recent years generally seemed to have the pitching coach heavily involved in pitching decisions. I don't know how unusual that is and I don't know if that was true last year with Curt Young. Presumably the pitching coach is going to have a lot of input at least though the final decision would presumably fall to Valentine.
   6. Davo Dozier Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#4025032)
I would bet elevnty billion dollars that the Red Sox acquire another outfielder before the season begins.
   7. Dan Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#4025041)
McDonald is perfectly acceptable as long as he is only allowed to face LHP. He is simply an awful hitter against RHP though, so he needs to be PH for aggressively later in games, something Francona wasn't always keen on doing.

McDonald (and Sweeney) are both better fits for a Bobby Valentine managed club than a Terry Francona managed club.

The same thing applies at catcher between Saltalamacchia and Shoppach.
   8. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#4025044)
Elevnty billion is too rich for my blood, but some sort of wager could be arranged.

These are the outfielders still available. Which one are the Red Sox going to sign?

Coco Crisp
David DeJesus
Cody Ross
Andruw Jones
JD Drew
Ryan Ludwick
Rick Ankiel
Jonny Gomes
Juan Pierre
Kosuke Fukudome
Brad Hawpe
Scott Hairston
Ryan Spielbergs
Fred Lewis
Magglio Ordonez
Raul Ibanez
Corey Patterson
Marcus Thames
Milton Bradley
Willie Harris
Xavier Nady
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#4025046)
DeJesus is a Cub.

Spielbergs was great 30 years ago, but has gotten too sentimental and the Crystal Skull was an abomination.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#4025048)
The Sox could use a right-handed 4th OF, preferably one who can play a little bit of center field. Jones and Spilborghs could fit the bill, at the right price. It all depends on how the club evaluates Aviles and McDonald.

They're definitely not spending money on anyone who expects a starting job or a starter's salary.
   11. Dan Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#4025049)
I really do not expect that Spilborghs would be a significant upgrade over McDonald (if he'd even be an upgrade at all at this point). Andruw Jones is an interesting name. He and Scott Hairston are the only names on that list that seem like even remote candidates to end up on the 2012 Red Sox.
   12. Davo Dozier Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#4025053)
Cody Ross makes the most sense for them, from that list.

My gut tells me it will be through trade--Martin Prado and Seth Smith have been tossed around all winter.

I just...I don't see a 2012 Red Sox opening day lineup with Carl Crawford and Ryan Sweeney as corner outfielders. They just spend too much money to allow that to happen.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#4025058)
I just...I don't see a 2012 Red Sox opening day lineup with Carl Crawford and Ryan Sweeney as corner outfielders. They just spend too much money to allow that to happen.


I don't understand the phrasing... what does Carl Crawford have to do with it? we all know he is going to be in the opening day lineup as a corner outfielder. The uncertainty is all about the other corner OF spot, and I share your skepticism that Sweeney will be the starter out of the gate.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#4025061)
I just...I don't see a 2012 Red Sox opening day lineup with Carl Crawford and Ryan Sweeney as corner outfielders.
But Cody Ross (323/432, 101 OPS+ last three years) and Martin Prado (336/435, 108 OPS+) are that much better? I'd rather have a platoon of Sweeney+ than commit to Ross or Prado as a regular.

The Sox will be spending big money on 1B, 2B, 3B, DH, LF and CF. They'll be going cheap at C and RF, and cheap-er at SS. I don't think upgrading to a mid-level free agent in right will make much difference.

The other issue here is that Ryan Kalish is a very nice prospect who was in line to take over RF this year before he got injured last spring. If Kalish shows up in camp back on track, he could easily be the starter by summer. The Sox definitely don't want to block Kalish with a multi-year contract to a right-fielder, and they'd probably rather not block him even in-season with a veteran acquisition.

Further, the Sox are just about at their payroll limit. If they're going to spend money, it should be to upgrade the pitching staff, particularly the rotation.
   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#4025070)
Is Ross looking for a starting job? He strikes me as the perfect guy for the Sox, good enough to start if the Ryans don't work out but not so good that he should be frustrated by what is likely to be a 250-300 PA platoon/occasional rest for the starter kind of role.

If he wants to start well, yeah, I'm with you there.
   16. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#4025083)
Andruw Jones is an interesting name. He and Scott Hairston are the only names on that list that seem like even remote candidates to end up on the 2012 Red Sox.

Agreed. Those guys can murder LHP, at least Hairston used to.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:14 PM (#4025089)
what about old Magglio?
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#4025135)
Jones makes the most sense by far. Good pop, solid RH bat, you can shift him between RF and DH a lot and get him 400 PAs. The rest don't seem like enough of an upgrade over McDonald to make a whole lot of sense. You're better off giving McDonald/Sweeney (McSweeney's?) and if needed, looking over the mid-summer trade options which will likely be better than what you can find right now (albeit with a steeper price).
   19. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#4025281)
I don't understand the phrasing... what does Carl Crawford have to do with it? we all know he is going to be in the opening day lineup as a corner outfielder. The uncertainty is all about the other corner OF spot, and I share your skepticism that Sweeney will be the starter out of the gate.


I don't know if you knew this Nasty, but apparently Carl Crawford is done as a major league player. His bad year last year is the harbinger of doom for Crawford. He will only get worse. He should be traded for a bag of balls (shitty, used ones) and the Sox should be excited to get even that much for him. Quite frankly, I am surprised you did not know that. I have seen it written on the internet. It is so.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#4025498)
Anybody who thinks Ross and McDonald are roughly equivalent is seriously underestimating Ross.

McDonald will be 33, has only 694 career ML PA with an 89 OPS+ and apparently below-average defense. His OPS vs. LHP is 799 and his career WAR is -.7. Why would you want to give that guy a reasonably prominent platoon role?

Cody Ross will be 31, has 2693 career ML PA with a 105 OPS+, 101 over the last three years (>1600 PA) and apparently average defense (a little below in center, a little above in the corners). His OPS vs LHP is 912 and his career WAR is 10.1 -- he's produced like an average MLB player.

Now it's true Ross will cost you some money and McDonald won't. But then Ross was worth 1.6 WAR last year in 461 PA -- that's (hopefully for Sox fans) a bit more PA than the Sox would intend him for so maybe he's more a 1.2 WAR player for the Sox. Well, last year he made $6 M so that's just about right and I'm guessing he can be had for less than that.

Ross is essentially a poor man's Mike Cameron. Fair enough, you guys had the rich man's Mike Cameron and that didn't work out so well but that was an aged Mike Cameron. Ross is about as "perfect" a fit for the role the Sox seem to have in mind as you could want -- a RH platoon partner for Sweeney, backup CF and, with Aviles, can be used to give Crawford and Ellsbury days off against tough lefties. Even if you have to sign him to a 2-year contract, no biggie as he's likely to be a perfectly good 4th OF in 2013 too.

And you better hurry up before the A's sign him to be their clean-up hitter.
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 24, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4043980)
Congratulations to Masterson And Manson and Jose Can You Seabiscuit for correctly predicting that the Red Sox would sign Cody Ross. Your prize is two tickets to a Cody Ross rodeo-clown performance of your choice.

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