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Friday, October 12, 2012

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington feels front office strayed from team-building model - Red Sox - Boston.com

Adrian Gonzalez wasn’t a disciplined pick-up?

“I hate to use this word, because it gets thrown around so cavalierly, but I don’t think we were disciplined enough,’’ said Cherington, zeroing in on what went wrong with the club after winning its most recent championship in 2007. “I don’t think we were disciplined enough getting past, or continuing what we had done to build those teams in 2007 and 2008. I think we got away from some of our core values — and there were reasons.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2012 at 06:47 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4266979)
Cody Ross away: .232/.294/.390

Ross is exactly the kind of flawed player that the fanbase and management falls in love with because a major strength (home, and especially against RHers at home) and turns a blind eye.
   2. Darren Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:42 PM (#4267060)
But his home + away adds up to a valuable player. It's only a bad idea if they pay him like a star.
   3. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM (#4267165)
1.6 WAR last year.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4267182)
Of all the guys to single out, Cody Ross?

Ross was what he has always been. For the last 5 seasons, he's averaged a 105 OPS+ with a range from 95 to 113 (in Boston). Defensively, as he's aged, he's gone from an average CF to an average corner. You know exactly what you're getting with Ross which is a very good 4th OF or an acceptable starting OF. His use by date is probably fast approaching (late start to his career, already a borderline starter, just a little drop in any skill area and he's pretty much done).

OK, fair enough, I RABOTFA and (according to the writer) a "lineup spot" is awaiting Ross. True, at this stage, Ross is not who a team like the Sox should be targeting for a starting spot but for the 4th OF spot. Still, Cherington isn't quoted as saying Ross has a starting spot, he's just "quoted" (paraphrased) as saying he wants him back. He should want him back for about 400 PAs.
   5. KT's Pot Arb Posted: October 13, 2012 at 02:13 AM (#4267741)
Ross is exactly the kind of flawed player that the fanbase and management falls in love with because a major strength (home, and especially against RHers at home) and turns a blind eye.


So you are recommending they sign players who can hit better on the road than at home?
   6. SteveF Posted: October 13, 2012 at 03:18 AM (#4267767)
They could petition the league for 162 home games. You never know until you ask, right?
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 13, 2012 at 06:47 AM (#4267781)
They could petition the league for 162 home games. You never know until you ask, right?


See, now we are getting some useful suggestions!

My fear with Ross is that he's going to get 3/27 or thereabouts and I don't want to pay that for him. I think he's the type of player who can be replace relatively easily.
   8. buddaley Posted: October 13, 2012 at 06:54 AM (#4267784)
"Cherington repeatedly noted the club’s failure to maintain its model of acquiring valued veterans — the likes of Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, and Curt Schilling — and blending them in with some of the club’s brightest young prospects over the years such as Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis for what proved to be a wildly successful, championship formula."

It seems to me this sounds like a real distinction but is not true. Consider the recent Boston team. It acquired valued veterans such as Crawford, Gonzalez & Lackey and tried to blend them with prospects such as Lavarnay, Middlebrooks and Bard. The problem was the valued veterans did not produce or got hurt as did the prospects. Whether that was due to bad luck or poor judgment is open to debate, but the model did not change.
   9. Swedish Chef Posted: October 13, 2012 at 07:13 AM (#4267788)
It seems to me this sounds like a real distinction but is not true. Consider the recent Boston team.

There's difference though, the former veteran group was elite, they have gone for second-tier players recently.
   10. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2012 at 08:22 AM (#4267802)
Consider the recent Boston team. It acquired valued veterans such as Crawford, Gonzalez & Lackey and tried to blend them with prospects such as Lavarnay, Middlebrooks and Bard. The problem was the valued veterans did not produce or got hurt as did the prospects. Whether that was due to bad luck or poor judgment is open to debate, but the model did not change.
What Swedish Chef said. But also...

Let's look at Lackey. The team was so concerned that he was injured when he was a free agent that they wrote his contract to include a year at minimum salary if it turns out he was. The disciplined approach would be to walk away, because (a) Lackey isn't elite, and (b) if he's injured as a FA he's not worth the risk. It defies logic that if a pitcher is hurt you want to arrange the contract to have him longer, so I'm assuming they put it in there figuring if he was hurt there's no way he agrees to the deal. OTOH, if he's hurt how many other teams would bid that much for him?

Ultimately he signed with the team, and that contract clause gave him incentive to hide an injury and suck for a year, exacerbating the injury to the point that he'd miss a whole season to recover. The contract was the move of an undisciplined team, one that thought he was a good signing if things went right, and required them to overlook that things weren't right. They were going all-in on the river having only 4 cards for a straight flush, because it would be so awesome if their card came up.

In retrospect I think the Crawford signing was a combination of missing out on Werth, misreading the Werth deal as a new market rate, and trying to keep Crawford away from the Yankees. It was a triple-panic move. Crawford ended up pressing through much of 2011 because of the unrealistic expectations of the contract, also hiding an injury.

The early part of the Epstein era... who were the big free-agent signings? He had a lot of free agent signings, but the big names weren't big names at the time. (Ortiz being the prime example.) I think the team recognized that the big-name free agent market was unlikely to return value. Matsuzaka was, to me, the beginning of the end of their discipline. They found ancillary reasons - international marketing - to justify the deal. One could argue that subsequent free agent signings were done for marketing reasons as well, with more dubious benefit each time.

Undisciplined is probably the right word.
   11. buddaley Posted: October 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4267918)
I don't disagree with what you are saying (#9-10) but would qualify it a bit as requiring some hindsight. While I thought at the time that Crawford was not a super-star, he was a good player who could provide specific skills useful to Boston. Like Manny, certainly a far greater hitter, he was 29 when he came to Boston and could be expected to continue his performance for at least a few years of his contract. The model was the same. Perhaps the judgment was faulty, but the attempt to fill a position via a long term, expensive contract for a known commodity was the same. In hindsight we know that Manny would not decline rapidly or get injured, but was that certain in 2001? Or for that matter, were his personality issues something that might have given Boston pause then?

Gonzalez has been an elite talent. And he performed like one in 2011. I don't see that as overpaying for second tier talent.

As for Schilling, again hindsight may obscure some reasons for decisions. I don't remember what sort of contract Boston gave him, and giving Lackey 5 years was probably foolish, but Schilling was 37 when Boston signed him and coming off a year when he had made only 24 starts. Lackey was 31 and had been a solid to excellent pitcher for a while although certainly his injury was a red flag. While the judgment was probably wrong, the model was similar. Acquire a top of the rotation starter to create an elite rotation.

I do recognize that undisciplined might be accurate in describing the expensive long-term commitments, but like the Yankees, Boston can afford the expense if the players produce as expected. It was not the model that changed so much as the luck or judgment about the likelihood of players performing as expected-take your pick.

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