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Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Saturday, January 01, 2011

24 Down, One to Go

The Globe is reporting that the Red Sox have agreed to terms with Hideki Okajima on a one-year major league contract.  The fills the bullpen, leaving only the 25th man (Papi’s RHB caddy) to go.  I had some speculation earlier in the offseason about the bullpen, and my presumption was that the club would focus on acquiring a top LH reliever to get big outs in the 7th and 8th.  This made sense, I thought, given that Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, and Frank Francisco were all available as free ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 01, 2011 at 02:22 PM | 65 comment(s)
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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Catching Situation

I got into several distinct arguments yesterday about the Red Sox catchers.  Lots of people seem to think they suck, and I think that they don’t suck.  Here’s why I think that.

First, I think our baselines should be statistical projections and league averages.  A league average AL catcher last year hit for a 245/312/374 line.  In 2009 it was 254/316/408, and it was 258/322/393.  An OPS somewhat above 700 is perfectly average for a catcher.  Given that, the projections on Jason Varitek and ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 24, 2010 at 01:33 PM | 33 comment(s)
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2011 Lineup

This post was going to be shortish, just a proposed lineup and a couple notes, but I’m having a hell of a time figuring out what the lineup ought to be.  So instead this is going to be me working through the question, and it’s going to take a while.

Lineups don’t matter too much, but the Tango/Dolphin/MGL research suggests there is a win or so per season to be gleaned here.  Beyond their maxims of maximization – bat your best hitters 2nd and 4th, OBP at leadoff, weaker OBP can hit 3rd ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 15, 2010 at 01:23 PM | 62 comment(s)
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

In Which I Learn Not to Listen to Theo’s Public Statements

Carl Crawford is a Boston Red Sox for the low, low price of 7 years, ~140M.  Boston acquired the two best players available this offseason – one of whom we didn’t even know was available coming into the offseason.  They have agreed, officially or under the table, to give these players very, very large contracts.  Obviously all that stuff in the previous post about the Red Sox cutting payroll can be happily disregarded.

Likewise, all that bellyaching about whether the team projects to be ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 09, 2010 at 12:53 PM | 72 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Apres Gonzalez, Le, uh, Payroll

My analysis of the Red Sox offseason plans, so far, has been based on an assumption that the 2010 payroll was not an outlier.  I figured if they ran up to $170M last year, they would stay in roughly that range, not drop most of the way back down to the $130-140M range they were in during the previous three seasons.  Maybe I was wrong.  I have the Red Sox payroll for 2011 projected at $136M, including arbitration raises for Ellsbury and Papelbon.  Theo, during the Gonzalez press conference, said ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 07, 2010 at 02:28 PM | 59 comment(s)
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Saturday, December 04, 2010

What’s an Adrian Gonzalez Worth?

The Red Sox have agreed to trade some prospects for Adrian Gonzalez.  The deal certainly could still fall apart – one should never bet against Theo approaching the brink and then pulling back – but I nonetheless feel like taunting the gods of the jinx and laying out my thoughts on the (pending) deal.  I think this is pretty great news.  First, Gonzalez is signed to an incredibly cheap contract - $5.5M for 2011.  The Sox will get something in the range of a 5 WAR player for $5.5M.  That’s ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2010 at 02:47 PM | 105 comment(s)
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Case for Adrian Beltre

It’s difficult to say, with the sort of forcefulness a blog post requires, what the Red Sox absolutely ought to do this offseason.  Their payroll may fall anywhere between $160M and $185M, and the best use of resources is heavily dependent on how many resources exist.  Their outfield situation might already be settled, if Cameron and Ellsbury look fully recovered and the team remains confident in their skills, or they might be in need of at least one new outfielder. 

With those caveats, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 24, 2010 at 02:46 PM | 43 comment(s)
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Now What?

[The reports that the Tigers have signed Victor Martinez look pretty secure right now.  If they fall through, this post will look silly.  That will not be the first time one of my posts ends up looking silly.]

I have figured for a while that the Red Sox offseason plan had to include re-signing Victor Martinez.  He’s an excellent hitter for a catcher, and the free agent market after him is utterly barren.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia is nice as a lottery ticket, not so much as a meal ticket.  Ryan ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 23, 2010 at 04:29 PM | 103 comment(s)
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jonathan Papelbon: Because We’ve Hardly Discussed Him Enough This Year

One of the big decisions facing the Red Sox, this offseason, is what to do with Jonathan Papelbon.  After a disappointing 2010 season, Papelbon is up for arbitration again.  Given the history of closers going to arb, he should be able to command in the range of $12M for his services.  The question, then, is whether he’s the best person to get that money.

I was skeptical that Papelbon would project to be worth the money when I started out, and I remain skeptical.  I compared Papelbon to three ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2010 at 12:52 AM | 25 comment(s)
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Minor League Thread: BA’s League Top 20s

The Red Sox minor league season was, overall, a big disappointment.  Very few prospects had seasons that will move them significantly up any rankings lists.  However, having a poor or uninspiring season doesn’t mean you’re no longer a prospect.  It’s certainly possible to show development in skills and tools without putting up the sort of numbers that excite a fan with an internet connection and the keys to rarely-updated blog.  End-of-season and mid-season prospect lists can be useful ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 07, 2010 at 06:40 PM | 26 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 03, 2010

a) Carl Crawford, b) Jayson Werth, c) Other

I’m still assembling my thoughts on what the Red Sox should do this offseason, and two of the key questions are whether the Sox should go after one of the big free agent outfielders, and if so, which one.  Some of the variables in this question are unanswerable or practically so – for example, just how healthy are Ellsbury and Cameron going to be?  And how much will other teams be willing to pay for Werth or Crawford?  The question of which of them is better, though, is one we can get a ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 03:40 PM | 126 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Red Sox Offseason Thread, Early Edition

The Red Sox season is not mathematically over, but it’s been emotionally over for me for a while, and the tenor of the other thread suggests my fatalism has spread.  I enjoyed rooting for this club quite a bit, with all the quadruple-A stars getting their shots and Francona managing like he’s never managed before, but very little of the good stuff from 2010 is likely to help in 2011.  Billy Hall will find a better job elsewhere and Clay Buchholz will come back to earth.  Adrian Beltre is ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:56 PM | 110 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, September 20, 2010

Really?  You haven’t given up yet?

Me, I’ve given up.  The Sox are playing without their two best players, and their $30M 3-4 starters still suck.  But other folks seem to be clinging onto those last strands of hope, angling gnarled knuckles to grasp at a future that still sort of maybe could happen, an early October week in which all values are transvaluated and the Red Sox somehow end up in a one-game playoff.

Obviously it is a silly idea.  Here’s your thread, silly people.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 20, 2010 at 03:09 PM | 122 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Friday, August 27, 2010

Go Big, or Go Home

The BPro playoff odds numbers have been steadily counting down over the last two weeks.  It’s somewhere between one in twelve and one in six by now, depending on the inputs.  The Sox have played great baseball, especially with their diminished lineup - the problem is the Rays and Yankees have been just as good.  Keeping pace is a moral victory, but moral victories are stupid and suck. 

The last chance the Sox have at a non-moral victory is to throw a sweep on one of the Yankees or Rays in a ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2010 at 03:54 PM | 117 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, August 16, 2010

Shortstop Logjam

Dustin Pedroia returns on Tuesday, and surely will play just about every game at 2B from here to the end of the season.  That’s good.  It creates a bit of a problem at shortstop, though.  Jed Lowrie has been brilliant filling in for Pedroia.  He’s played a solid but unspectacular second base while hitting 308/429/538.  My favorite little slice of Lowrie’s stats is that he has 11 walks, 8 extra base hits, and 7 strikeouts.  Lowrie’s cut his strikeout rate in half since he last played ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 16, 2010 at 02:28 PM | 81 comment(s)
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Friday, August 06, 2010

A Long Weekend in the Bronx

Hey, just because I’m de-cathecting from the season doesn’t mean I can’t obsess about beating the Yankees.  I love beating the Yankees,* and this weekend does offer a reasonable chance of seeing the pinstriped proto-fascists in defeat.  The problem with all this is that the Yankees are better than the Red Sox.  Some theoretical Red Sox with normal injury luck would be neck and neck with the Yankees and Rays, right in the thick of the greatest pennant race in the Selig era, but we’re just ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:11 PM | 181 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I Give Up

Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the DL.  Kevin Youkilis has gone on the DL with an injury so obscure that the team doctors don’t have a treatment plan yet.  Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the DL with an injury to the thumb of his top hand, and we all know that hand injuries to hitters commonly heal easily and quickly.

In conclusion, go Rays.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 03, 2010 at 10:52 PM | 211 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, August 02, 2010

Coulda Shoulda Woulda: Tradez and Such-like

The Red Sox are, of course, not dead yet.  A 5-1 stretch this last week has them still within shouting distance of the Rays and Yankees.  BP’s numbers have the Sox at 25% to make the playoffs (regular playoff odds), 10% (PECOTA-adjusted odds), or 20% (ELO odds).

But the trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, most of Theo’s best chances to improve the team for the stretch run.  Really, I think the critical time to improve the team came and went much earlier, in June and July. 

1) ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 02, 2010 at 09:01 PM | 32 comment(s)
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trades?  I Say “Maybe”

It’s weird to be two weeks from the deadline and not have insane seven-team, five all-star rumors swirling around the Sox.  This should be a quiet deadline.  I think, though, there are some small-bore trades that make sense for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox certainly shouldn’t be sellers at the deadline – they’re still in the range of 1-in-3 to make the playoffs, and that’s far too great of a chance at a World Series to give away. 

So, what should they buy?  As per the previous thread, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 18, 2010 at 02:42 PM | 165 comment(s)
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All-Star Break Thread: Not As Depressing As You Expect

The Red Sox finished the first half of the season with a 51-37 record, on pace for 94 wins.  Given the injuries they’ve suffered, there’s really nothing to complain about – the Sox have played well, and Theo and Tito have done very well to plug the holes that keep opening up.  We can’t help it that the Yankees and Rays are on pace for 103 and 99 wins, respectively. 

Looking ahead, the BP “playoff odds report” has the Sox at between 38-44% to make the playoffs, which would be ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2010 at 04:19 PM | 50 comment(s)
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Minor League Thread: Other Things That Are Also Bad

A midseason survey of Baseball America’s top ten Red Sox prospects, with MLEs for high minors hitters.

1) Ryan Westmoreland – had successful surgery on a “cavernous malformation” in his brain this spring, is recovering well and beginning baseball activities.  Whether, following major brain surgery and neurological rehabilitation, Westmoreland will still stand among the couple dozen best young ballplayers in the world is an open question that won’t be addressed until next year at the ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2010 at 04:12 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It Gets Really, Really Bad

The Red Sox just lost two of their three best players to injury in the span of a week.  Dustin Pedroia won’t see a major league diamond until August, while Victor Martinez will (theoretically) return after the All-Star break.  And of course, already the club has been dealing with the loss of most of the starting outfield and a couple spotty starting pitchers. 

Bill Hall will give the Red Sox a lot more offensive production than most clubs could expect from a backup second baseman, but ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM | 84 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, June 07, 2010

You Know They’ll Be Talking Soon

These days, when a player in his 30s looks like he’s lost a step, then suddenly returns to playing like he did in his prime, it’s a near certainty that the media will begin to talk about the possibility of PED use. Despite the fact that the league now has testing in place which requires players to submit to random tests throughout the season, the general consensus seems to be that these tests can easily be beaten. And when a player has had a history of using PEDs, suspicions will tend to be ...

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Darren Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:00 PM | 18 comment(s)
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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Red Sox Draft Thread

I never follow amateur baseball until June 5th or so, and as such I don’t actually know anything about this draft other than that Bryce Harper wears eyeblack like he’s embarrassed to have cheeks.  The Red Sox have successfully switched drafting strategies over the last few years, now focusing their early picks on upside-y high school talent and leveraging their huge piles of money to go over-slot in the late rounds.  I assume they’ll, you know, continue to do that.  I open the thread to ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 02:01 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, June 05, 2010

You Know Who’s Really Kind of Great?  Adrian Beltre is Really Kind of Great.

The Red Sox were 19-19 on May 17th, heading into a two-game set with New York that felt like it might be the season.  They lost the first game in New York in about as awful a fashion imaginable.  In hindsight, though, the eight-run comeback the offense put together marked the beginning of the resurgence of the Red Sox, who have gone 13-4 since, including sweeps of the Twins and Rays. 

The big story of this resurgence has obviously been David Ortiz, but I think a case could be made that the ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 05, 2010 at 09:28 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, May 22, 2010

What’s Wrong With John Lackey?

John Lackey was the Red Sox’ big offseason signing.  I hailed the move as “pretty logical” at the time, and most folks agreed that Lackey’s a good pitcher - maybe he was being overpaid some, maybe he wasn’t, but he was a solidly above average pitcher.  The contract could be a problem by 2013, that was the objection.

Instead, the Red Sox would very nearly be better off without Lackey, this year.  He’s given them a couple of good starts, but the overall numbers are bad - a 5.07 ERA that can’t be ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 22, 2010 at 02:07 PM | 99 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Papelbon Debate

Is Jonathan Papelbon still a good closer?  I think he is - he was one last year, he was one the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that. Any statistical engagement with the question will hold that Papelbon is among baseball’s best relievers.

The case that Papelbon sucks has to rest on observations about his pitching - that there are real changes in quality that haven’t shown themselves over a long enough period of time to produce a useful statistical sample.  (ie, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 19, 2010 at 04:19 AM | 91 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good News, Bad News on Papi

David Ortiz’s two HRs on Friday and his general power surge of late are certainly good news for the Red Sox. If his turnaround is similar to last year’s, only beginning a month earlier this year, then he should have good numbers by the end of the season. But there’s one part of his game that may hold him back: strikeouts. Ortiz fanned 2 more times on Friday, bringing his seasonal total to 34 in just 99 plate appearances—a rate that would put him well over 200 Ks in a season. Even during his ...

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Darren Posted: May 15, 2010 at 03:23 AM | 61 comment(s)
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Minor League Thread: The Irresistable Draw of an Old Non-Prospect

This time it’s for real, folks. This time I mean it. No more falling for the 2nd baseman who can’t play 2nd, has no power whatsoever, and is too old for his league. No more getting excited about a 39th rounder who hits well on the distant planet known as Lancaster. And no more guys married to women 20+ years older than them and carrying on some secret feud with the owners that only Dan Syzmborski knows about.

No, this time, I really have found an old, non-prospect minor leaguer to root ...

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Darren Posted: May 13, 2010 at 11:52 PM | 40 comment(s)
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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Are the Red Sox Properly Preparing Starting Pitchers?

For the 2nd year in a row, the Boston Red Sox have come out of the gate with their top pitchers struggling quite badly. In 2009, Josh Beckett had a 7.22 ERA in April. Jon Lester was in the mid-5’s through May. Daisuke Matsuzaka was at 8.23 when they shut him down in June. Meanwhile, reclamation Brad Penny and John Smoltz were deemed ready to pitch, joined the rotation, were dumped, and then picked up by other teams where they pitched much better—even accounting for league. (Warning: If you ...

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Darren Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:01 PM | 29 comment(s)
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