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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Inside Baseball MLB Notes | What Is Red Sox’s Backup Plan?

Heyman’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2018 at 07:42 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: notes

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   1. BDC Posted: February 10, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5623003)
Mitch Moreland, duh.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: February 10, 2018 at 07:08 PM (#5623041)
Since I'm running out of stuff to watch, I've started watching Dirk Gently. Moreland is the baseball equivalent -- somehow he's at the center of it all and things just come to him.

Backup #1 I assume is hope and faith that Hanley won't suck then fix it midseason. Backup #2 is presumably Moose. Unless they're willing to cut Hanley, I'm not sure any other backup plans make sense. That is, not much point bringing in, say, Matt Adams if you're still gonna have Hanley on the roster too.

Crazy idea is to sign Hosmer and either deal Moreland (for a 4th OF) or DH one of them for this year.
   3. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 10, 2018 at 07:18 PM (#5623046)
Starting the season with Hanley Ramirez at DH isn't the worst thing in the world. There's still a chance that he's an asset. And if not, then plugging a DH hole midseason is relatively easy. They also have Swihart lying around and could see if he can do anything in regular playing time.

Signing a new DH for 2018 is a luxury, not a necessity for the Red Sox.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: February 10, 2018 at 07:29 PM (#5623051)
Signing a new DH for 2018 is a luxury, not a necessity for the Red Sox.

I wouldn't go as far as "luxury." I'd slate them as the 4th-best team in the AL right now but in still probably the toughest division. So even the 1-game WC is very far from a certainty. The offense was not good last year and while it probably won't be that bad again, the pitching probably won't be that good again either. Adding a 3-4 WAR player is pretty much exactly what they need to close the gap on paper to the Yanks.
   5. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 10, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5623056)
Adding a 3-4 WAR player is pretty much exactly what they need to close the gap on paper to the Yanks.

That's an optimistic expectation for JDM (Steamer projects 2.3 wins). And the question is the marginal value that JDM has over Ramirez (0.9), so really you're talking about a nine figure commitment for a ~1.5 win upgrade in year 1 of the contract.

JD Martinez projects as neither necessary nor sufficient for the Red Sox to make the playoffs in 2018. And if they're convinced that Ramirez is done, then there are lower cost options for DH either on the FA market now or will be on the midseason trade market.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: February 10, 2018 at 10:18 PM (#5623088)
That's an optimistic expectation for JDM (Steamer projects 2.3 wins)

Disagree. Steamer's projection is ludicrously low. A simple Marcel on his fWAR puts him at 3.4; a simple Marcel on his wRC+ puts him around 152 (Steamer 130). And it does that while projecting him to more PA than he's had the last two seasons. That projection simply makes no sense. FWIW, ZiPS projects 3.3 zWAR although just 137 wRC+ (but a 393 wOBA?) ... still, ZiPS projects him to hit a smidgen better better than Goldschmidt who is a whopping 3 weeks younger.

Their Hanley projection also looks too high for a guy who was below-replacement in 2 of the last 3 years, especially since they are projecting him to fewer PAs than the last two seasons. They project a 112 wRC+ (Marcel 103 which seems generous enough) but 0.9 WAR (Marcel 0.3 WAR).

For JD, ZiPS puts his most similar as Frank Howard, an unexpected but not crazy comp. From ages 30-34, Howard took a huge step forward and put up a 164 OPS+ and 22 WAR (30 oWAR) before the DH was added. That obviously would be a great and unlikely outcome but then, from 26-29, JDM was much better than Howard by OPS+ and WAR.

But sure, that JDM is likely to be a 3 WAR upgrade over Hanley in 2018 is not sufficient justification for 5/$125 or 6/$150 or whatever. But he's not a "luxury" for 2018 -- as currently constituted, they are not as strong as the Yanks and a WC spot is at risk. An offensive upgrade for 2018 isn't a "must have" but it's a "should have."

EDIT: I see Red Sox ZiPS are also up and they're even more friendly to Hanley at 1.1 WAR. I'm happy to take the under.
   7. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 10, 2018 at 10:37 PM (#5623091)
The Steamer projection looks fine. It assumes an ISO regression from .387 to .266, which is still quite a bit above his career average (and he never posted anything above it before 2017). If anything, it's a little generous with the baserunning and games played.

An offensive upgrade for 2018 isn't a "must have" but it's a "should have."

Okay, the key point to realize is that the Red Sox don't need to make a nine figure commitment to JD Martinez to make an upgrade at DH, if their internal options prove inadequate. Just like they found a more cost-effective solution at 1B to Eric Hosmer in the form of re-signing Mitch Moreland. Hosmer (2.6 Steamer) is better than Moreland (1.1), but not >$150M/7yrs better. Just like the marginal value of Martinez over <whoever> isn't worth >$150M/5yrs.

JD Martinez needs the Red Sox to sign him (or at least to be willing to sign him) much more than the Red Sox need to sign JD Martinez. And his price--if they sign him--should reflect that reality.
   8. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: February 11, 2018 at 03:21 AM (#5623120)
EDIT: I see Red Sox ZiPS are also up and they're even more friendly to Hanley at 1.1 WAR. I'm happy to take the under.


Care to make that wager official? If you're interested, name the terms.
   9. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 11, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5623131)
What is J.D. Martinez's backup plan?
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: February 11, 2018 at 02:02 PM (#5623216)
Fighting Ham.
   11. Buck Coats Posted: February 11, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5623228)
It sounds like Arizona's offer is the same as Boston's, so I would imagine that's JD's backups plan
   12. Walt Davis Posted: February 11, 2018 at 04:07 PM (#5623267)
How do we do bets these days without b-r pages to sponsor? But happy to do a small bet as long as all proceeds go to some sort of "charity."
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 11, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5623273)
Okay, the key point to realize is that the Red Sox don't need to make a nine figure commitment to JD Martinez to make an upgrade at DH, if their internal options prove inadequate. Just like they found a more cost-effective solution at 1B to Eric Hosmer in the form of re-signing Mitch Moreland.

There are folks who would say that if Mitch Moreland is the answer, you're asking the wrong question. The Red Sox could improve any number of ways: the B-Team could get better, or the pitching might improve, but the 1st Base/DH combo of Moreland & Hanley Ramirez would appear to be the most obvious area where an upgrade could have been had. If Boston whiffs on that, saving on the spreadsheet might be small consolation.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: February 11, 2018 at 04:30 PM (#5623274)

How do we do bets these days without b-r pages to sponsor? But happy to do a small bet as long as all proceeds go to some sort of "charity."


Booey and I just had one where the loser just made a donation to BTF.
   15. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: February 11, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5623297)
I'm game. Over/under 1.1 bref WAR, push means we both pay half? Is $25 spicy enough/not too spicy?

Fun fact: The last bet I made on this website, I bet Dale Sams that the Sox would win over 80 games. That was actually... exactly 5 years ago tomorrow.

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