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Friday, July 27, 2012

WEEI: Cherington on D&C: Sox not ‘giving in’

The sunny side of Chérington.

Cherington stressed that the Sox are well within contention for the playoffs.

“When we look at where we are in the standings, I guess particularly the teams that are right ahead of us in the wild card chase, we don’t believe that any of those teams are better than us, or necessarily more talented than us. So in that sense we’re not of the mindset of giving in on anything. We want to try to win, and if there’s ways to improve our chances of winning and catching those teams, we want to do that. You have to be smart about it. You have to gauge the potential return you’re getting on a deal relative to where you are.

“Like I said, we are where we are. We’re 49-50. We feel this is as good a team as the other teams that are sort of clustered right ahead of us. We also have to be mindful that you have two months left and we’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, and we’ve got to be smart about giving up too many long-term assets to try to get a little better the next two months. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve the team, and do it in a wise manner and a prudent manner. Well definitely work to do that.”

...Josh Beckett has become a focal point of fans’ frustration with the underachieving Sox, but Cherington said the team is more focused on adding players.

“Taking Josh Beckett off this team is not necessarily improving things,” he said. “We need to add, we need to improve the rotation, if anything—improve internally or add to the rotation. I think we’re sort of stuck in neutral if we start taking guys out of the rotation who are good major league pitchers.”

Repoz Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:55 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Dan Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4193509)
It's almost August and the team is below .500. Get over yourself and admit this team is a failure and do what you have to do to get ready for next year, jackass.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4193514)
The time to trade Beckett was last offseason - coming off a good season and with 2 even-years left out of 3 in the contract.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4193516)
Eh, Cherington is saying the right things. I think the comment about not "giving up too many long-term assets" is a positive one. I don't think the Sox are making a move of substance between now and Tuesday and frankly that's much preferable to making a big move for the sake of making a big move.

The fact is this team needs its stars to perform like stars. If they don't, there really isn't a lot to be done for 2013. If Jon Lester has turned into Brian Denman, they ain't going anywhere next year either.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4193526)
It's almost August and the team is below .500. Get over yourself and admit this team is a failure and do what you have to do to get ready for next year, jackass.
6th in Pyth WP, 5th in BP 3rd order WP, 13% playoffs odds for BP, 21% playoff odds from Cool Standings.

It's certainly possible that there's something wrong with this Red Sox roster that causes them to underplay expected wins (they were nine or ten games under last year, right on target in 2010 with a very similar roster). I don't mean to claim that the Red Sox are definitely just "unlucky" and definitely as good as their Pyth or 3rd-order WP.

But I do not believe we have sufficient reason to reject out of hand the null hypothesis that normal, well-studied baseball stat methods and models apply equally to the Boston Red Sox as to all other clubs. We do know that, in general, our tools for judging team quality in season are better predictors of future wins than current winning percentage. This may not apply to the Red Sox, but I think that "may not" is wildly insufficient evidence to reject the theory. And it's only if you reject the null hypothesis that you can call for giving up and playing for next year.

Now, the Sox stand only a small chance of winning the division (1-5% by BP/CS, less if you're skeptical their methods apply fully to the Sox), and the play-in game is too much of a crapshoot to bet anything valuable on. So I don't want to see Cherington spending prospects to improve the club at this point. But I think he ought to keep playing for this year.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4193530)
Also, as we've discussed in ST, I am totally on board with moves that improve the 2013 roster without downgrading for 2012. Moving a catcher to get Lavarnway up (if his glove can play). Moving Aaron Cook to get Morales back in the rotation. Moving Matt Albers to find more innings for the Pawtucket shuttle relievers. That's all good, too.
   6. Dan Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4193533)
If they lose 2 out of 3 or get swept this weekend in NY, would that change your opinion at all?
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4193536)
If they lose 2 out of 3 or get swept this weekend in NY, would that change your opinion at all?
Have to see where the numbers go. I don't like giving up until you're under 5% or so.

EDIT: Also, it depends on what you're giving up for. If the Pirates offered Gerrit Cole for Beckett, today, I'd say #### it let's give up now and take the kid. If they're at 10% and you can get a quality return for Beckett, maybe. It's only under 5% that I'd be open to pure salary dumps. (These numbers are meant to be vague and round, it's hard to put precise numbers on the general feeling, but I think you get the sense.)

EDIT2: And Beckett might be the wrong guy for this, since the Sox would be selling very low on him and it's hard to imagine there being an option other than a straight salary dump. Hopefully you get the idea even if the example is a bit silly. The Sox don't have much salary tied up in players who aren't at the nadir of their baseball value, so it's not a good position to trade from.
   8. Randy Jones Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4193545)
Have to see where the numbers go. I don't like giving up until you're under 5% or so.

Conveniently, SG posted on RLYW updated playoff projections based on the various possible outcomes of this series. A Yankees sweep still has Boston at 12.3%.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4193547)
If they lose 2 out of 3 or get swept this weekend in NY, would that change your opinion at all?
If they win 2 out of 3 or sweep this weekend in NY, would that change your opinion at all?
   10. Swedish Chef Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4193558)
Conveniently, SG posted on RLYW updated playoff projections based on the various possible outcomes of this series. A Yankees sweep still has Boston at 12.3%

11.8% with 2-1 Yankees. Clearly the Red Sox should throw the final game if the Yankees win the first two.

I also really hate adding the wild card and division probabilities. They're not the same thing with the play-off game.
   11. jmurph Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4193560)
Also, as we've discussed in ST, I am totally on board with moves that improve the 2013 roster without downgrading for 2012.


This is where I diverge from MCoA's completely reasonable take on this team. I'm totally fine giving up on 2012. That said, obviously Cherington can't, at least not yet, and even when he does give up, he still can't admit it publicly. So I appreciate his precarious position (even if I do blame him for about 35% of it).
   12. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4193561)
A Yankees sweep still has Boston at 12.3%.


BAHAHAHA
   13. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4193572)
Is trading Beckett really a worthwhile option? He's 32, owed north of $35M, having a league-averagish season, and is a 10-5 guy. What kind of return could they expect without kicking in a whole bunch of cash?
   14. jmurph Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4193578)
Is trading Beckett really a worthwhile option? He's 32, owed north of $35M, having a league-averagish season, and is a 10-5 guy. What kind of return could they expect without kicking in a whole bunch of cash?


All fair points, but they should obviously be willing to kick in a whole bunch of cash.

I do agree with the others that selling low on him now doesn't make sense, unfortunately.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4193585)
Is trading Beckett really a worthwhile option? He's 32, owed north of $35M, having a league-averagish season, and is a 10-5 guy. What kind of return could they expect without kicking in a whole bunch of cash?
I think most of the discussion has presumed the trade would be a salary dump. A lot of Red Sox fans really dislike Josh Beckett and generally would be happy if the club got out from under his salary. That would allow them to spend that money in the offseason on someone who isn't Josh Beckett.
   16. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4193592)
A lot of Red Sox fans really dislike Josh Beckett and generally would be happy if the club got out from under his salary.


Oh, this I get. But pandering to the mouth-breathing segment of your fanbase isn't necessarily a sound long-term strategy.
   17. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4193610)
I'm totally fine giving up on 2012. That said, obviously Cherington can't, at least not yet, and even when he does give up, he still can't admit it publicly.


Why on Earth are you sure that Cherington has not given up, when you go on to imply that when he does, he cannot make any noise about it?
   18. jmurph Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4193630)
Why on Earth are you sure that Cherington has not given up, when you go on to imply that when he does, he cannot make any noise about it?


? That doesn't seem very controversial. The Sox can't give up and start focusing on next year because their chances of making the playoffs are not completely unrealistic (just mostly unrealistic!), as others have pointed out. But either way, I can't imagine a GM admitting publicly that a season is hopeless, certainly not until they're mathematically eliminated.
   19. Jittery McFrog Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4193668)
I also really hate adding the wild card and division probabilities. They're not the same thing with the play-off game.


Agreed. If we treat each WC as a ~50% chance at a post-play-in (PPI) spot, the RLYW numbers look like

Series_outcome____PPI%
Red Sox 3-0:______15.8%
Red Sox 2-1:______11.7%
Yankees 2-1:______5.9%
Yankees 3-0:______6.2%

The latter two scenarios already get us pretty close to MCOA's 5% standard.

Also, the RLYW numbers are a bit odd, as the Sox playoff chances are a smidge better if they get swept than if they lose 2-1. An error bar/error estimate would be really handy here!

EDIT: Last point was already noted in #10. That's what I get for not reading all the way through.
   20. SG Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4193715)
Also, the RLYW numbers are a bit odd, as the Sox playoff chances are a smidge better if they get swept than if they lose 2-1. An error bar/error estimate would be really handy here!


I usually run these with a 0.06 uncertainty on team winning percentage going forward. Using my base estimate of a 91 win talent level for Boston (.560 wpct), that means in some iterations they'll project as around a 81 win (.500) team and in some they'll project as around a 100 win (.620) team. It makes the postseason odds a bit more volatile which more closely models the reality that we really have no idea how well these teams will play over the final 40% of the season.

I thought I removed it to focus on the straight comparison but it looks like I missed it on some runs.
   21. Jittery McFrog Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4193966)
A comparison:

The Blue Jays are currently 0.5 up on the Sox in the standings. RLWY estimated their 2012 talent-levels at 81 and 91 wins, respectively. IOW, here are two teams in nearly the same place in the standings but with significantly different (projected) talent levels. Comparing the two should give us some sense of how much (projected) talent can pay off in playoff% for the Sox at this point. Here are their RLYW playoff odds, with post-play-in (PPI) estimate as in #19:

___________Wins____Losses__Div_____WC1_____WC2_____PPI%
Red Sox____81.3____80.7____2.0%____5.8%____10.3%___10.1%
Blue Jays__80.3____81.8____2.0%____4.0%____5.3%____6.7%

Obviously the comparison is rough, since the teams' remaining schedules are not the same, etc. But still, for a team in the Sox current position, it looks like the return on talent in terms of 2012 playoff% is pretty poor.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4194308)
Well, ####.
   23. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4194317)
Nothing is ######? The god damn plane has crashed into the mountain!
   24. Dale Sams Posted: July 28, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4194319)
Head towards the light Ben!
   25. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: July 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4194330)
The issue isn't so much their record or even the number of games back. The biggest problem is that they have to leapfrog so many damn teams to get to the top, it's unlikely that they'll catch them all.

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