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Monday, December 03, 2012

Full Count » Mike Napoli’s three-year deal continues rebuilding of grinding Red Sox lineup

I’m pleased with the pick-up. Mike Napoli is not a guy to excited over, however.

According to multiple major league sources, the Sox have reached a three-year deal with free agent Mike Napoli. (Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the deal is for $39 million.) Napoli thus becomes the third signing by the Red Sox this winter who fits the profile of a power hitter who exhausts pitchers with tenacious at-bats.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:25 PM | 231 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mike napoli, red sox

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   101. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4316360)
they should simply blow the team up all the way (not just half way), trade off the rest of what they have that is useful and "of a certain age" (that includes Pedroia), and just build a contender from the ground up.


That would certainly have been interesting. But it is easier to build a contender from where they are now than from absolute bottom, even with the trade returns from the sell-off. If they traded away Pedroia and Lester, they would immediately be trying to find players exactly like Pedroia and Lester. Signing Napoli now doesn't impede any rebuild, especially compared to trading a prospect for the mythical available 1B who is younger and better.
   102. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4316365)
How often does that work? I don't expect the Sox to contend in 2013 but 2014 and


But that's kind of my point. If they're not going to contend in 2013 and 2014 - and I agree that they're not - then WTF are they signing Napoli-1B for?

If they want to go the Napoli route, fine, but then they really do need to sign Hamilton and Greinke and maybe trade for one more impact player - maybe take on a bad contract to do it. They have the money.

   103. JJ1986 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4316366)
Ray, I think you are grossly over-rating the amount of talent in MLB. Napoli is a solidly above average player. Ross may be the best platoon C in the game.


I think the problem is that if you have too many above average players, then you start running out of places to play stars. The Red Sox can now expect non-star level production from 3B, SS, C, 1B, LF and probably RF. Ortiz is a star DH, but that adds less value than a star anywhere else. Who knows what Ellsbury is?

2.5 stars might be all you really need to have one of the better lineups in the game, but it isn't very exciting.
   104. Ron J2 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4316367)
Takes the focus off that single shiny year.


To expand on this. Fully half of all free agent signings are objectively bad deals (or at least that was true the last time I checked and I've seen no evidence that it's changed in recent years) and I think you'll find a over-weighting of the best case is a factor. I've argued that a slight systemic pessimism is a good way to start. (And it's really only a slight systemic under-valuing)

To counter this I also favor paying a premium for elite players. Yeah, some don't work out but as a group great players hold a higher percentage of their value for a longer period. The further you go down the ladder the more you're likely to regret a signing(some real great signings are undervalued part-timers or minor league free agents. But the Phelpsers are harder to find these days). If systemic pessimism keeps you from signing a second tier player that's generally a good thing (and yes, a decent team with a real hole can get a lot of value from the right second tier player. Guidelines only)
   105. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4316372)
To be clear, I agree with you guys that Napoli at 1B is okay. Meh, whatever. But since he's not an impact player (at 1B) and he's not a young player, they're not at the right place in the cycle for him. If you're a team that is expecting to win in 2013 or 2014, you sign him. But they can't seriously believe that they are that team.
   106. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4316375)
But that's kind of my point. If they're not going to contend in 2013 and 2014 - and I agree that they're not - then WTF are they signing Napoli-1B for?


His post said he expected them to contend in 2014.
   107. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4316378)
His post said he expected them to contend in 2014.


Right, sorry, I misread that.
   108. jmurph Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4316379)
If you're a team that is expecting to win in 2013 or 2014, you sign him. But they can't seriously believe that they are that team.


I think most of the regular Sox-fan posters here (based on their comments the past few months) believe that competing for the playoffs in 2014 is perfectly within reason. I think there are even a couple (MCoA?) that think they'll still be in the hunt for the 2nd wild card in 2013, with a few things breaking right.
   109. jmurph Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4316386)
As the leader of the "sign Anibal Sanchez dammit" brigade, this is pretty disheartening:

from MLBTradeRumors

Although the Red Sox have interest in Sanchez, the price might be too high for their liking, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Boston may look at Kyle Lohse as an alternative, though the club is focused on adding offense for now.
   110. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4316387)
But since he's not an impact player and he's not a young player, they're not at the right place in the cycle for him. If you're a team that is expecting to win in 2013 or 2014, you sign him. But they can't seriously believe that they are that team.
I seriously do think they are that team. I think the Sox should project to win 80-85 games in 2013. With a bit of good luck, they could contend. It should be expected, given the Sox' resources and current excellent minor league system, that they build a contending team in 2014.

I will say, if I saw the Red Sox as a hopeless case headed for 70 wins next year, I would also oppose the Napoli signing. If the Sox are that bad, they should be blown up.

However, the 2012 Sox underplayed expected wins by 5-7 games. Plus they had terrible injury problems and ended up fielding replacement-level performers at a number of positions. Plus they got terrible performances from some of their better players, who will project to improve next year. Plus Bobby Valentine. Gonzalez is a big loss, and even Gonzalez->Napoli is maybe a 2-win downgrade. But I see the Sox currently as a 75-80 win club that is going to add several more solid major league players before the offseason is over. They're on track to be non-sucky in 2013 and legitimate competitors for the division in 2014.
   111. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4316388)
I think most of the regular Sox-fan posters here (based on their comments the past few months) believe that competing for the playoffs in 2014 is perfectly within reason. I think there are even a couple (MCoA?) that think they'll still be in the hunt for the 2nd wild card in 2013, with a few things breaking right.


Yeah that seems to be the common thinking: have hope for 2014, and success in 2013 is gravy. This timetable (if the org shares it) gives them more options to acquire that needed star(s) mentioned by Ray in #102 - they can conceivably get Hamilton now, or whoever is available via trade in-season, or acquire someone next offseason. In the meanwhile, they should still try to improve the team for 2013 in ways that don't impede the future.
   112. JJ1986 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4316389)
...Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Boston may look at Kyle Lohse...


Agent: Scott Boras
   113. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4316392)
But that's kind of my point. If they're not going to contend in 2013 and 2014 - and I agree that they're not - then WTF are they signing Napoli-1B for?

If they want to go the Napoli route, fine, but then they really do need to sign Hamilton and Greinke and maybe trade for one more impact player - maybe take on a bad contract to do it. They have the money.


First of all I think they should be contending in 2014. I agree they need an impact player though. One of the reasons I hated the trade at the time (and still do) is that I don't really feel great about overspending on Hamilton or taking on a bad contract to land some other star, I would have preferred to ride with Gonzalez.

That ship has sailed though. Adding Napoli isn't a bad thing. He doesn't block anyone in the minors, the earliest Travis Shaw is ready is late 2014 and if he becomes a slugger then Napoli can DH in 2015 with Shaw at 1st base. Yeah, they've "blocked" first base from acquiring a star in a trade but who are these stars they are going to get? The first basemen with an OPS+ of 120 or better the last three years are;

Cabrera
Votto
Pujols
Fielder
Konerko
Gonzalez
Butler
Morneau
Goldschmidt
Teixeira
Howard

Butler and Goldschmidt are potentially available but presumably would cost something meaningful in talent. Frankly, the next group between 110-120 is probably where you find some potentially interesting guys; Ike Davis, Trumbo, Belt, but I don't see a major star in that group. I don't think the Sox are well served just punting 2013 for the hell of it. If they had a first baseman ready to go in the minors (say a Parmalee type) I'd like to give him a run out much the way I'd like to see them do with Kalish and Iglesias, but playing a 30 year old Mauro Gomez or someone of that ilk doesn't do it for me. Napoli doesn't block anyone, he doesn't tie up money of any consequence.
   114. BDC Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4316403)
they should still try to improve the team for 2013 in ways that don't impede the future

I am convinced that improving for next year never impedes the future. What's the best example of a bad team that signed a player or players to effect modest improvements, but therefore cut themselves off from longterm contention? There have been ghastly FA signings by bad clubs (Derek Bell might be the nadir standard), but they've been bad because the players were fixing to be bad anyway, and fulfilled their rotten promise. I'm trying to think of a bad team that signed a reasonably good player who lived up to reasonably good potential, but then hamstrung his team for the future in the course of and by virtue of being decent over a term of years. If there are examples of this, I'm all ears :)
   115. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4316404)
Even if you don't think the Sox will be able to contend during this window (I think they can, but reasonable person can disagree) - this deal still makes sense from a MR/MC cost perspective. This isn't the NBA - we need to customize what the success cycle means on a team by team basis.
   116. karlmagnus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4316414)
I agree with jmurph (109.) I strongly suspect that the Sox' current approach is to sign just enough players to appear marginally credible and milk the franchise's cash flow to bail out Henry's bad investments (including Liverpool) and expensive wife.

If they can't afford to sign Napoli and Sanchez, they should not have signed Napoli. Sanchez is much younger, a Sox prospect who was unfortunately traded in the Beckett deal, and well worth signing for a long term deal at less than or around the $13mm/year they are giving Napoli. If Sanchez gets over 6/100, there's an excuse for not signing him, but not otherwise.
   117. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4316416)
I am convinced that improving for next year never impedes the future. What's the best example of a bad team that signed a player or players to effect modest improvements, but therefore cut themselves off from longterm contention? There have been ghastly FA signings by bad clubs (Derek Bell might be the nadir standard), but they've been bad because the players were fixing to be bad anyway, and fulfilled their rotten promise. I'm trying to think of a bad team that signed a reasonably good player who lived up to reasonably good potential, but then hamstrung his team for the future in the course of and by virtue of being decent over a term of years. If there are examples of this, I'm all ears :)


I generally agree with you. I think most of the examples of foolishly going for short-term improvement instead of future concerns would be trades, not FA signings. But maybe there were some in which teams signed a closer to a 1-year deal and lost a compensation draft pick.
   118. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4316434)
I strongly suspect that the Sox' current approach is to sign just enough players to appear marginally credible and milk the franchise's cash flow to bail out Henry's bad investments


Out of curiosity, why didn't this happen when you predicted it after 2005? or 2006? What is different now than when you predicted after 2007? Why didn't it happen as you said it would after 2008, 2009, and 2010? If your reasoning led you to be completely and undeniably wrong for so many years, why do you still trust it?
   119. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4316439)
FWIW, the BJ projection: .248 .350 .498...which I'd take. I guess. I assume thats not for Fenway.
The Sox have a lot of muscular, lumbering, bad baserunner guys now: Papi, Gomes, Lavarnaway, Salty, Ross, Napoli. These ARE your father's Red Sox.
Get some athletes Ben?
   120. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4316446)
However, the 2012 Sox underplayed expected wins by 5-7 games. Plus they had terrible injury problems and ended up fielding replacement-level performers at a number of positions. Plus they got terrible performances from some of their better players, who will project to improve next year. Plus Bobby Valentine. Gonzalez is a big loss, and even Gonzalez->Napoli is maybe a 2-win downgrade. But I see the Sox currently as a 75-80 win club that is going to add several more solid major league players before the offseason is over. They're on track to be non-sucky in 2013 and legitimate competitors for the division in 2014.


Thats kinda how I see it. And I think they're gonna make a "splash" move.
   121. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4316451)
The Sox have a lot of muscular, lumbering, bad baserunner guys now: Papi, Gomes, Lavarnaway, Salty, Ross, Napoli. These ARE your father's Red Sox.
It looks like the Sox will have "I'm a ballplayer not an athlete" running out there at C, 1B, LF, and DH most of next year. Ross and Lavarnway seem like the most likely C arrangement (with Salty traded for spare parts), and Gomes will be platooning with somebody in LF. Maybe Nava, most likely someone cheapish with a bat and not too much glove.

Now they need a right fielder, a shortstop, and a starting pitcher. Two of those three at least should be athletes.
   122. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4316454)
It looks like the Sox will have "I'm a ballplayer not an athlete" running out there at C, 1B, LF, and DH most of next year.


Isn't that true of most teams? Certainly three of those four positions are almost always held by guys who are not out there for their wheels.
   123. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4316455)
I am convinced that improving for next year never impedes the future. What's the best example of a bad team that signed a player or players to effect modest improvements, but therefore cut themselves off from longterm contention? There have been ghastly FA signings by bad clubs (Derek Bell might be the nadir standard), but they've been bad because the players were fixing to be bad anyway, and fulfilled their rotten promise. I'm trying to think of a bad team that signed a reasonably good player who lived up to reasonably good potential, but then hamstrung his team for the future in the course of and by virtue of being decent over a term of years. If there are examples of this, I'm all ears :)

Concur 100%
   124. karlmagnus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4316487)
Nate, Henry's hedge funds have been declining since around 2006, as I spotted at the time (not remarkable prescience, just a general knowledge of the financial biz.) And he's now announced he's shutting them down. Meanwhile Liverpool loses money and the wife is relatively new. Cash flow constraints have been potential for several years; they have now become acute; thus the LA trade, which the Kool-Aid drinkers have lapped up. I thought at the time it was doubtful they would replace the players with equal value, and they don't seem to be doing, though we'll know more soon.
   125. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4316502)
Nate, Henry's hedge funds have been declining since around 2006, as I spotted at the time (not remarkable prescience, just a general knowledge of the financial biz.) And he's now announced he's shutting them down. Meanwhile Liverpool loses money and the wife is relatively new.


But after being heroically inaccurate about how Henry's outside financial endeavors will affect the Sox for so many consecutive years it is hard to see how you would have a shred of confidence in your own predicting ability concerning these matters to declare anything whatsoever on the topic, even with the Dodgers trade.
   126. karlmagnus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4316595)
On the contrary, having forecast the problem several years in advance, I am now confident in identifying it. Sox need new ownership and probably a new GM.
   127. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4316602)
Nate, don't feed the troll.
   128. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4316614)
That ship has sailed though. Adding Napoli isn't a bad thing. He doesn't block anyone in the minors, the earliest Travis Shaw is ready is late 2014 and if he becomes a slugger then Napoli can DH in 2015 with Shaw at 1st base. Yeah, they've "blocked" first base from acquiring a star in a trade but who are these stars they are going to get? The first basemen with an OPS+ of 120 or better the last three years are;


Your analysis is excellent, except for this point. signing Napoli doesn't block the Sox from doing anything. He's eminently tradable under this deal, they can or they can also play him to C, and DH (over time, Papi ain't lasting forever) to make room for anyone, even Votto if he fell into their lap.

While I agree with Karl's contention Henry must be really strapped now, whether they have their prior resources or not they have to field a better team before they can field a great one, and "Bear" Napoli will help them improve and also fill the seats with an under appreciated fan base.
   129. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4316617)
On the contrary, having forecast the problem several years in advance, I am now confident in identifying it. Sox need new ownership and probably a new GM.


What about those unambiguously wrong predictions that you have been giving about the Sox payroll for the past 8 years? What about those numerous completely inaccurate and false forecasts that you made? How many more consecutive failures of analysis will you need to have before suspecting that you have less than no expertise concerning how Henry's outside finances affect the Sox' payroll?
   130. MHS Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4316623)
Nate, A trader I used to work with was well known among my clients for never being wrong, just early.
   131. Mattbert Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4316624)
It looks like the Sox will have "I'm a ballplayer not an athlete" running out there at C, 1B, LF, and DH most of next year. Ross and Lavarnway seem like the most likely C arrangement (with Salty traded for spare parts), and Gomes will be platooning with somebody in LF. Maybe Nava, most likely someone cheapish with a bat and not too much glove.

I am guessing Nava and Sweeney (assuming they offer him arb?) will fight it out for the privilege of being Jonny Gomes' platoon partner.

I remain irrationally hopeful that a trade for Justin Upton is on the horizon, although that seems less likely now that Arizona dealt Chris Young. I am a big Dexter Fowler fan, but the only way the Sox get him is to overwhelm the Rockies with prospects or hope they buy out his arb years with a new contract and then immediately decide he's too expensive. Hamilton is the elephant in the room for the RF job, but if the Sox are prepared to go down that path it's not clear to me that they'd be a whole lot better off than if they'd just stuck with Gonzo.
   132. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4316630)
Hamilton is the elephant in the room for the RF job, but if the Sox are prepared to go down that path it's not clear to me that they shouldn't have just stuck with Gonzo.

Really? If you could use Gonzalez to rid yourself of Crawford, and replace him with Hamilton at a similar AAV, that's seems to be a pretty big win.
   133. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4316631)
Sweeney was non-tendered.
   134. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4316635)
Hamilton is the elephant in the room for the RF job, but if the Sox are prepared to go down that path it's not clear to me that they shouldn't have just stuck with Gonzo.
Hamilton could indeed be a bad signing (though reports are that the Sox want him on a relatively short-term deal), but I don't think the Gonzo comparison entirely works. The Sox trade Gonzalez in order to get rid of Crawford and, to a lesser degree, Beckett. Gonzalez+Crawford were going to cost $43M, and not project to be that much better than Hamilton at $20M.

(coke to snapper)
   135. Mattbert Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4316636)
As for Napoli-type talents clogging your team and preventing you from getting true stars on the field, I feel obliged to point out that the San Francisco Giants just won two out of the last three championships while having Buster Posey as their one and only bona fide star in the lineup.
   136. Mattbert Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4316638)
Sweeney was non-tendered.

Ah, missed that. Thanks.
   137. Mattbert Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4316650)
If they can get Hamilton to ink a high-dollar, short-term deal (what are we talking about here, 4 years or something?) then it's probably worth rolling the dice on him - and almost certainly a preferable scenario to standing pat and keeping Crawford and Beckett.

However, I have major reservations about Hamilton's health (compounded by the recent track record of the Sox medical team) and his ability to cope with the scrutiny that comes with playing baseball in Boston. If he's commanding the 6+ years / $100M+ contract that everyone thought he'd get, then that looks like another Crawford and Lackey disaster waiting to happen.
   138. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4316699)
If he's commanding the 6+ years / $100M+ contract that everyone thought he'd get, then that looks like another Crawford and Lackey disaster waiting to happen.


Possibly, but the Red Sox are around as good a shape as a team can be to absorb a disaster right now. It's hard to absorb a Crawford AND a Lackey AND a lousy Beckett AND all your other stars playing poorly/injured, but just a few of those things the Red Sox can probably handle. They only have 2 guys signed past 2014 - Buchholz and (now) Napoli. Obviously they should stay careful, but this could be a pretty radically different team in the next few years. I mean, I guess they already are to some extent given the big trade, but I can't remember a Red Sox team with this many short-term/arb guys.
   139. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4316710)
If they can get Hamilton to ink a high-dollar, short-term deal (what are we talking about here, 4 years or something?) then it's probably worth rolling the dice on him - and almost certainly a preferable scenario to standing pat and keeping Crawford and Beckett.
Both Olney and Bradford have reported that the Sox are looking at a short-term deal of four years or less.

The best conclusion here is that someone else will offer Hamilton fair market value and he'll take their contract instead. But a long-term deal with Hamilton seems unlikely, based on the reporting and on the many public statements by the front office about their concerns about long-term FA contracts.
   140. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4316719)
The thing about Hamilton is that he is always going to be able to fall back on a sizable deal. Even if the market thins out a bit through other signings and trades he could land a 3/60 deal that is still pretty damn nice on the wallet so he can afford to do a Prince Fielder and wait until mid-January.
   141. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4316732)
The first basemen with an OPS+ of 120 or better the last three years are;


You're unncessarily limiting yourself by including guys who are already first basemen. Anyone can play first. Nick Swisher can play first. Josh Hamilton can play first.
   142. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4316747)

You're unncessarily limiting yourself by including guys who are already first basemen. Anyone can play first. Nick Swisher can play first. Josh Hamilton can play first.


With a gaping hole in RF, why would you sign either to play 1B? That just reduces their value.
   143. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4316751)
You're unncessarily limiting yourself by including guys who are already first basemen. Anyone can play first. Nick Swisher can play first. Josh Hamilton can play first.


Fair enough. It doesn't change the general point though. Here is the list of all players with an OPS+ over 120 in the last three years (min. 1000 PA). Scanning quickly the FA available players are;

Hamilton
Napoli
Swisher
Youkilis
Melky (available when the off-season started)

Add in a few guys who could be had in trade;

Butler
Choo
J. Upton
Morneau

I may be missing a few but it's not like there is a ton of available players out there. One of the reasons Napoli is so appealing is that he is "free", no compensation, no player in return and that is not insignificant. I mean, if the Sox could land Butler great but the talent in return would make it much more costly.
   144. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4316753)
You're unncessarily limiting yourself by including guys who are already first basemen. Anyone can play first. Nick Swisher can play first. Josh Hamilton can play first.


Yeah, although if you're trying to get a sense of "guys who will see most of their time at 1B in 2013-2014," I think Jose's original is still a fair comparison.
   145. BDC Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4316792)
Nick Swisher can play first. Josh Hamilton can play first

I realize that's purely a sake-of-argument comment, but: Swisher already plays 1B fairly often, and Hamilton's only experience of the infield is running bases. I can't think of a player I would less want to train to play the infield at this point in his life.
   146. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4316798)
I can't think of a player I would less want to train to play the infield at this point in his life.


Bobby Jenks
   147. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4316804)
Yeah, although if you're trying to get a sense of "guys who will see most of their time at 1B in 2013-2014," I think Jose's original is still a fair comparison.


I think the fact that the Red Sox signed someone to play first base in 2013-2014 who wasn't on that list tells you the universe needed to be expanded a bit.

   148. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4316809)
However, I have major reservations about Hamilton's health (compounded by the recent track record of the Sox medical team) and his ability to cope with the scrutiny that comes with playing baseball in Bosto


The Boston-scrutiny thing is a complete non-issue. Major league players don't respond this way. It's a myth brought on by the fact that people think players are robots who must react in a certain way to certain circumstances.
   149. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4316825)
It's a myth brought on by the fact that people think players are robots who must react in a certain way to certain circumstances.


Your position is that the people who think that players are robots are the ones who think they WILL have emotional responses to situations? This seems backwards to me.
   150. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4316828)
The Boston-scrutiny thing is a complete non-issue. Major league players don't respond this way. It's a myth brought on by the fact that people think players are robots who must react in a certain way to certain circumstances.


I mostly agree in the case of Hamilton. This is a guy who has already been under lots of scrutiny throughout his baseball career and has played in 2 world series. He will play under a lot of scrutiny no matter where his next contract is signed, it would not be unique to Boston.
   151. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4316839)
Your position is that the people who think that players are robots are the ones who think they WILL have emotional responses to situations? This seems backwards to me.


Yes. Because there has been nothing in 150 years of major league history that shows that it is reasonable to believe that established major leaguers crack under pressure. You're doing a pop psychology "evaluation" of Hamilton and then presuming that he's a robot who might react the way your pop psychology fears he might.

But players who hit to a 135 OPS+ over 3000 PAs don't suddenly crack because their cap has a B on it. I know Red Sox fans - of which I am one - are arrogant enough to believe this, but it's not true.

And Boston faces the same major league pitching that other teams face, tweaked for schedule. It's not like Hamilton will be having 90% of his PAs against Koufax and Pedro.

   152. BDC Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4316865)
I agree with you re: Hamilton 100% Ray, but do such things never happen? What happened to Carl Crawford when he got to Boston? I'd have said in the winter of 2010-11 that there was no way such an established star could play so poorly, or react so badly to playing so poorly. Dunno if it had anything to do with Boston or its media or his psychology, and I would actually love to think otherwise (ie that he was merely hurt or unlucky or suddenly got terribly old).
   153. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4316887)
I remain irrationally hopeful that a trade for Justin Upton is on the horizon, although that seems less likely now that Arizona dealt Chris Young. I am a big Dexter Fowler fan, but the only way the Sox get him is to overwhelm the Rockies with prospects or hope they buy out his arb years with a new contract and then immediately decide he's too expensive. Hamilton is the elephant in the room for the RF job, but if the Sox are prepared to go down that path it's not clear to me that they'd be a whole lot better off than if they'd just stuck with Gonzo.


Besides the aforementioned fact that Gonzalez served as a vehicle for dumping Crawford and his contract, there's the fact that Gonzalez wasn't hitting home runs in Boston, while Hamilton has the kind of power that will keep hitting some fly ball home runs to left field while also not losing any of his pull field homers in Fenway's deep RF. An astounding number of Hamilton's pulled homers are of the no doubt variety and he tends to average 410+ feet on his home runs to the right of CF.
   154. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4316888)

Yes. Because there has been nothing in 150 years of major league history that shows that it is reasonable to believe that established major leaguers crack under pressure. You're doing a pop psychology "evaluation" of Hamilton and then presuming that he's a robot who might react the way your pop psychology fears he might.


This not an all or nothing issue. I think players, by virtue of being human, DO respond to external factors every day of their lives. It doesn't mean that a bit of extra stress turns them into quivering balls of jelly who soil themselves the moment they step on the field in certain situations but some players do respond better or worse to those situations. As a rule I wouldn't base my personnel decisions on those things because the impact is going to be small enough not to meaningfully change what the player accomplishes.

There are situations where I would have it on my radar. Greinke's anxiety issues certainly would be something I would consider and I think Hamilton's addiction issues would be something I would want to make sure I had a good handle on. I think Nate's point about the scrutiny Hamilton has been under in his career is an excellent one and one I completely agree with. What would concern me is how drastic change affects (effects?) addicts. I don't know that answer but if I were a team investing $100 million in the guy I'd make damned sure I knew the answer.
   155. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4316893)
Hamilton has the kind of power that will keep hitting some fly ball home runs to left field while also not losing any of his pull field homers in Fenway's deep RF. An astounding number of Hamilton's pulled homers are of the no doubt variety and he tends to average 410+ feet on his home runs to the right of CF.


Wasn't all of that true of Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego?
   156. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4316896)
I agree with you re: Hamilton 100% Ray, but do such things never happen? What happened to Carl Crawford when he got to Boston? I'd have said in the winter of 2010-11 that there was no way such an established star could play so poorly, or react so badly to playing so poorly. Dunno if it had anything to do with Boston or its media or his psychology, and I would actually love to think otherwise (ie that he was merely hurt or unlucky or suddenly got terribly old).


There is no doubt in my mind that a large portion of Crawford's struggles in Boston were psychological in nature. He obviously had physical issues too, but once he got into a bad place it was quite clear from watching him that it had snowballed into a major mental situation for him.
   157. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4316902)
Wasn't all of that true of Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego?


Gonzalez never hit the number of no doubt homers that Hamilton hits. And Gonzalez also had a serious shoulder injury between his best power production and his trade to Boston.
   158. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4316907)
There is no doubt in my mind that a large portion of Crawford's struggles in Boston were psychological in nature. He obviously had physical issues too, but once he got into a bad place it was quite clear from watching him that it had snowballed into a major mental situation for him.

Not like we haven't seen this kind of thing before. At the extreme Blass, Steve Trout, Sax, Knoblauch, Sasser, Ankiel all has psychological issues that threatened their careers.
   159. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4316924)
Gonzalez never hit the number of no doubt homers that Hamilton hits.


Just looked it up, Hamilton's HRs in 2012 were over 20 feet of true distance further than Gonzalez' in 2010. Damn.
   160. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4316925)

There is no doubt in my mind that a large portion of Crawford's struggles in Boston were psychological in nature. He obviously had physical issues too, but once he got into a bad place it was quite clear from watching him that it had snowballed into a major mental situation for him.


Crawford looked to me like a guy trying to do too much. Rather than just trusting his ability and doing his job he wanted to be perfect. He had a little run of walk off hits in May, 2011 and one thing that struck me is that even allowing for the natural excitement of walk off hits is that the team always seemed a bit more excited when Crawford did something well. I got the impression he was extremely popular within the club. Not sure if you saw the same thing I saw.
   161. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4316932)
I wouldn't be concerned about Josh Hamilton's ability to play under pressure in Boston so much as I'd be worried a tragic, catastrophic, unpredictable and unpreventable event in his life leading him to fall off the wagon and spending many months of his expensive contract in rehab.
   162. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4316935)
Red Sox offer Shane Victorino 3/38.
   163. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4316939)
Red Sox offer Shane Victorino 3/38.


Well yuck.
   164. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4316947)
Yeah, it's down to the Sox and Indians.
   165. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4316954)
I'd rather pay a huge, long-term contract to Hamilton than waste $38 million on Shane Victorino.
   166. BDC Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4316958)
Sox offer Shane Victorino 3/38

My GOD there is a lot of money in baseball nowadays.
   167. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4316959)
Victorino seems like a terrible fit for the Red Sox. Over the past three years he's basically stopped hitting RHP. They need someone like Hamilton or Swisher in RF after signing Gomes and Napoli, not another lefty masher.
   168. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4316962)
Red Sox offer Shane Victorino 3/38.

Well, that would make the skeptics look on the Napoli contract more favorably :-)
   169. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4316964)
Crawford looked to me like a guy trying to do too much. Rather than just trusting his ability and doing his job he wanted to be perfect. He had a little run of walk off hits in May, 2011 and one thing that struck me is that even allowing for the natural excitement of walk off hits is that the team always seemed a bit more excited when Crawford did something well. I got the impression he was extremely popular within the club. Not sure if you saw the same thing I saw.


I don't think it necessarily spoke to popularity among his teammates or anything; I think it was just his teammates seeing the same thing that we were seeing as fans: a supremely talented baseball player who had been playing poorly but now appeared poised to turn things around and play like they guy we all expected (and hoped) to see playing LF in Boston for the next seven years. Of course we now know that it was just a blip on the radar before he went back to looking like someone who hasn't spent his entire adult life being paid to play baseball, never mind one of the best baseball players on the planet.
   170. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4316967)
I'd rather pay a huge, long-term contract to Hamilton than waste $38 million on Shane Victorino.


THIS.
   171. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4316970)
Seriously, I liked Napoli and I was okay with Gomes, but if they sign Victorino I'm beginning to wonder if Ben Cherington understands that the Red Sox actually have to face right handed pitchers.
   172. JJ1986 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4316971)
Doesn't Victorino have a (relatively) weak arm? I wouldn't want him in RF.
   173. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4316977)
Would this be a prelude to an Ellsbury trade?
   174. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4316979)
The bright side of the Victorino rumor is that Nick Cafardo appears to be the primary source of that rumor. And given his track record I'm feeling a little better...
   175. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4316980)
Doesn't Victorino have a (relatively) weak arm? I wouldn't want him in RF.

His arm ratings (FG) are positive, for CF. But, I think the issue is that a lot of Victorino's value, at this point, is being a good defensive CF with a league averagish bat.

Take him out of CF, and the bat just doesn't play, unless he's awesome on D, i.e. +15 or better.

The only way he makes sense for the Sox, at that price, is if an Ellsbury trade is imminent.

Edit: half a coke to Nate
   176. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4316981)
I'd rather pay a huge, long-term contract to Hamilton than waste $38 million on Shane Victorino.


Thirded. Or THIS. Or whatever.
   177. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4316983)
The bright side of the Victorino rumor is that Nick Cafardo appears to be the primary source of that rumor. And given his track record I'm feeling a little better..

Robo says his source is saying 3/37.5
   178. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4316985)
Would this be a prelude to an Ellsbury trade?


Even then I just have no interest in Victorino. I think he's not going to come close to worth the money. If the Sox want to trade Ellsbury they should trade him and figure out centerfield. Victorino doesn't interest me in the slightest and especially at this price.
   179. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4316986)
Thirded. Or THIS. Or whatever.


Fourthed or QFT'd. Or whatever. Quoted For Truth. Quite ####### True. Whatever.
   180. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4316988)
There's a new ST post with more thoughts, but this is Victorino's Dumber-than-Marcel projection:

+6 Bat + 6 Run + 19 Rep + 1 Pos + 3 Def = +34 RAR

An above average hitter, fielder, and runner is easily worth $13M per year. He had a down year in 2012, and there's always risk with a 31-year-old that the downside could have set in suddenly. But a weighted, regressed projection for Victorino looks excellent.

This dude was a full-on All-Star in 2011. If you weight 2011 and 2012 based on commonly accepted practice, he comes out looking very good.
   181. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4316992)
Even then I just have no interest in Victorino. I think he's not going to come close to worth the money. If the Sox want to trade Ellsbury they should trade him and figure out centerfield. Victorino doesn't interest me in the slightest and especially at this price.

I think that's too strong. B-Ref has him at 2.4 WAR last years, FG at 3.3, and he was a lot better in 2011.

He probably projects around 3 WAR in CF, and that's not awful at $13M, if you net good value from an Ellsbury trade.

Edit: damn I'm slow today. Coke to MCOA.
   182. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4316995)
This dude was a full-on All-Star in 2011. If you weight 2011 and 2012 based on commonly accepted practice, he comes out looking very good.


You're ignoring the fact that he cannot hit right handed pitching though. As currently constructed, the Red Sox lineup presently has one real bat that crushes RHP in Ortiz, and maybe another in Ellsbury if he can channel 2011 (if a Victorino sign doesn't mean trading him too).
   183. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4316996)
This dude was a full-on All-Star in 2011. If you weight 2011 and 2012 based on commonly accepted practice, he comes out looking very good.


#### that, he's Shane ####### Victorino. (I'm not a big Shane Victorino fan, not sure that's coming through). In all seriousness Victorino looks to me like the type of average player who is going to fade quickly. I'll defer to the numbers but I'm not a big fan of this one.

A friend who seems to be spending his day following rumors says Ellsbury for Cliff Lee is being bandied about.
   184. BDC Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4317001)
This dude was a full-on All-Star in 2011. If you weight 2011 and 2012 based on commonly accepted practice, he comes out looking very good

Somehow I'm imagining Brian Cashman saying that in a stage hypnotist's voice :)
   185. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4317003)
You're ignoring the fact that he cannot hit right handed pitching though
Victorino's career splits are not that far off from normal splits. His two worst LHB years are 2010 and 2012, and both were driven by .100 point gaps in BABIP.
   186. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4317007)
A friend who seems to be spending his day following rumors says Ellsbury for Cliff Lee is being bandied about.

I'm hearing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee.
   187. JJ1986 Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4317009)
Victorino's career splits are not that far off from normal splits.


Normal splits for a righty. Victorino is a switch-hitter.

Edit: that sounds more dickish than I meant. Victorino might not have exaggerated splits, but he does have typical RHH splits, which don't help a right-heavy lineup become more balanced.
   188. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4317010)
I'm hearing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee.


Three way? Ellsbury to Philly, Lee to AZ, Upton to Boston with the Sox making up money as needed? Not sure that really makes any sense for anyone but rumors are fun.
   189. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4317021)
Victorino might not have exaggerated splits, but he does have typical RHH splits, which don't help a right-heavy lineup become more balanced.
The Sox will have RHB at 1B, 2B, 3B, and (if Victorino signs, effectively) RF. They'll have LHB at CF and DH. They're likely to have a platoon at LF. C may be a platoon and may be a righty. And shortstop is still undetermined. I think it's early to call the lineup righty-heavy.
   190. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4317022)
Three way? Ellsbury to Philly, Lee to AZ, Upton to Boston with the Sox making up money as needed? Not sure that really makes any sense for anyone but rumors are fun.


just messing around: Ellsbury to Arizona, Lee to Boston, Upton to Philly ... with additional prospects from Philly going to Arizona, and the Sox getting some righty-killer platoon guy out of it.
   191. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4317028)
Ellsbury's under contract for just one more season. He was terrible last year. He has nothing even approaching the trade value of Upton or Lee. If Cherington pulls off that trade (which I believe has been reported exclusively by Jose's friend), well, ponies for everybody.

EDIT: And now the report - from Nick Piecoro, excellent Phoenix beat writer - is that Lee/Upton talks aren't happening in the first place. (So you're saying it could be Lee/Ellsbury instead?)
   192. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4317031)
You callin' my friend a liar? You and me are stepping outside!!!

Seriously, that a trade has been "discussed" certainly doesn't mean it's imminent. I can see those pieces being the foundation of something doable. I think you're right that the Sox would have to be the team to make up some ground but that's not impossible. They have the financial and minor league pieces to do some work.
   193. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4317038)
Ellsbury's under contract for just one more season. He was terrible last year. He has nothing even approaching the trade value of Upton or Lee.


Because of Lee's contract (4 years at $25.6m per), he doesn't have a ton of trade value.
   194. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4317041)
Because of Lee's contract (4 years at $25.6m per), he doesn't have a ton of trade value.

And neither does Ellsbury.
   195. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4317043)
And neither does Ellsbury.


agree completely. I was just having fun with an imaginary 3-way trade idea that combined the Victorino rumors with the Upton-Lee rumors.
   196. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4317044)
A search for Ellsbury on Twitter doesn't yield much. I'm sure variations of his name would also show results but there doesn't seem to be anything of substance as far as trade talks.
   197. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4317074)
One thing about Napoli and Victorino is that (assuming Shane signs) both contracts are within the range of rumored offers from other teams. Napoli has been a well received signing and while I expect Victorino will be criticized the Sox don't seem to be alone on him. Rob Bradford reported that at least one team had a four year offer to him.

The point is this, any concerns that the Sox would have to blow away free agents to get them to come here after the fiasco of 2012 seem to be unfounded so far.
   198. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4317078)
Done deal, says Alex Speier.
   199. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4317080)
The point is this, any concerns that the Sox would have to blow away free agents to get them to come here after the fiasco of 2012 seem to be unfounded so far.


Napoli got a better deal than I expected (and presumably the Rangers expected) but I don't think that had to do with overcoming the Sox' poor season.
   200. Dan Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4317081)
Really hoping that the Victorino stuff is brinksmanship to get Swisher or Hamilton to sign on the dotted line or the prelude to moving Ellsbury. If Shane Victorino is the RF starter then this offseason is a failure.

Edit: apparently it's a done deal. My approval of this off seasons moves is over.
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