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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The 2009-2010 Offseason, Theo Style Part 4: The Big Deal that Is Really Going to Happen (or not)

I hadn’t thought of this piece of the offseason puzzle when I came up with this idea for an offseason series, but the big deal is a part of every offseason. ARod was the first, IIRC. Weeks of fevered speculation followed by the news that the darn players union hadn’t allowed it to go through. Curse you, organized labor for not bowing to our needs! For several years, Manny Ramirez filled this role with aplomb. Manny was always about to be dealt. Things had finally reached a boiling point and the ...

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Darren Posted: November 26, 2009 at 03:41 AM | 26 comment(s)
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The 2009-2010 Offseason, Theo Style, Part III: The Rotation

Last offseason, the Red Sox took some quite large risks in the rotation by shelling out moderate contracts to Brad Penny and John Smoltz, neither of which provided them with much value at all. The one nice thing about those deals was that they were only for one year, allowing the Red Sox to have some money freed up for the rotation this year. And with Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Buchholz, and Wakefield in the rotation, there’s certainly room for another starter. That’s especially true in light ...

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Darren Posted: November 21, 2009 at 04:38 AM | 36 comment(s)
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Friday, November 13, 2009

The 2009-2010 Offseason, Theo Style, Part II: SS

Remember, the key here is to pile up a depth of decent to good players. Because this is the case, there’s just no way that the 2010 season can start with Jed Lowrie as the starting SS and only a utility infielder behind him. He’s just too risky in the health (and possible talent) department. Option 1 would be to trade for a SS who’s established himself as a good Major Leaguer, pushing Lowrie into a utility role. Hardy would have been a good fit but he’s already been dealt. Another option would ...

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Darren Posted: November 13, 2009 at 03:45 AM | 23 comment(s)
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The 2009-2010 Offseason, Theo Style

It’s taken me a couple years but I’ve finally come to terms with how this team operates. They place an extremely high priority on reaching 95-ish wins and very little importance on winning the division. I’ve found this frustrating and often disagreed with some of the ways they went about it, but now I’ve realized that there is no point in getting all bent out of shape about it. They’re not going to change their tactics to please a small minority of fans (I think there are 2 of us) who want ...

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Darren Posted: November 11, 2009 at 02:28 AM | 64 comment(s)
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Hot Stove Already?

[MCOA at it again, figuring what to do this offseason.]

There are already three threads with Red Sox off-season talk ongoing.  My quick take is that a lot of these discussions center on the Red Sox acquiring Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez, Albert Pujols, or Mecha-Pedro.  Suffice it to say that I support Theo Epstein’s ongoing effort to construct a Mecha-Pedro out of muffin tins and VCR chips, and I would whole-heartedly sign off on any similar acquisitions.  There’s not really much further ...

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Darren Posted: October 12, 2009 at 10:34 PM | 132 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well, That Sucked

[MCOA chimes in the the postmortem.

I just got back from the ballgame, and I thought it might be interesting to post
my thoughts after watching the game, see how they match up.

There were so many ways that the Red Sox could have not lost this game.
Papelbon makes a two-strike pitch to one of Aybar, Figgins, or Abreu.  Or
Papelbon picks Aybar off second after Gonzalez got in behind him.  Bay hits the
cut-off man and maybe holds Abreu to a single.  Youkilis makes a pretty routine
play on a ...

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Darren Posted: October 11, 2009 at 10:14 PM | 55 comment(s)
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back to Boston, Down 2-0

Someone didn’t send the Angels the message that they are supposed to be losing. Heading back to Boston, the Red Sox have their work cut out for them. They’ve burned their two best starters and now must hope for their lesser lights to get the job done. Here’s hoping.

Darren Posted: October 10, 2009 at 04:50 AM | 73 comment(s)
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Why the Red Sox Are Going to Be Totally Awesome in the Postseason

[MCOA breaks out the CFBPS to size up the Red Sox’ chances in the postseason.]

1) The Red Sox are best at preventing runs of the AL playoff teams.  Despite working in the worst pitcher’s park in the American League, they ranked third in runs allowed, behind only the White Sox and Mariners.  The playoff staff reflects the season staff – Lester is one of the five best pitchers in the league, and Beckett tops any other club’s #2.  Matsuzaka is clearly healthy and back to his old 110 ERA+ ...

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Darren Posted: October 06, 2009 at 10:52 PM | 39 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Through 162—What Say You?

A lot of the focus at this time of year is, for good reason, on the upcoming playoffs. But now is also a great time to take a look back at the season. After all of the ups and downs, the Red Sox came in at 95-67, the third best record in the American League. They got some very exciting performances, including Jacoby Ellsbury’s shattering of the team’s SB record, another sub-2.00 ERA out of Jonathan Papelbon (ho hum), and great partial seasons from trade acquisitions Victor Martinez and Alex ...

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Darren Posted: October 04, 2009 at 10:54 PM | 46 comment(s)
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Playoff Roster Thread: Finally, Our Chance to Talk about George Kottaras

[Matt Clement of Alexandria has volunteered to contribute some content during the playoff drive. Here’s his first entry—it’s quite entertaining. Enjoy.]

The Red Sox clinched the AL Wild Card last night in dramatic fashion, sitting around in their underwear watching Texas lose on the teevee, following a five-game losing streak.  Bathos is a kind of drama.  The team has used the last two weeks for a specific purpose – not winning games, but determining their playoff roster.  So we actually ...

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Darren Posted: September 30, 2009 at 10:49 PM | 64 comment(s)
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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Wonderful Year of Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury is having just about the type of offensive year that most projection systems expected him to have. His slash line of .304/.356/.423 is just about what ZIPS, James, and company had him for coming into the year. Yet, somehow, I’m very happily surprised at his success. Perhaps it was his mediocre start to the year or his stellar 63/10 SB/CS ratio. But whatever it is, he’s been a lot of fun to watch.

What is baffling about this year is how horrible Fangraphs’ UZR thinks his ...

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Darren Posted: September 21, 2009 at 11:04 PM | 47 comment(s)
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Time to Break the Latest Curse

If the Red Sox are going to go out and pickup a former Red Sox SS, they should get on the phone to Oakland and see if they can reacquire Nomar for one last shot. He played SS adequately for LA last year and put up a 792 OPS. There is at least an outside chance he’ll be a viable bat at the bottom of the lineup. And getting him back may break the string of horrible, awful, SS-related decisions that have happened since his departure.

Darren Posted: August 15, 2009 at 06:01 PM | 124 comment(s)
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

So, What Is the Best Lineup, Anyway?

With the additions of Casey Kotchman and Victor Martinez, the Red Sox have a lot of flexibility in their lineups. What’s the best lineup to be putting out there on a nightly basis? If it were up to me, I’d do this:

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Martinez C/1B
Youkilis 3B
Drew RF
Bay LF (assuming he’s back)
Ortiz/Lowell DH (platoon)
Kotchman 1B (or Tek C)
Lowrie/Green SS

Install Martinez as the starting catcher with Tek spotting him, playing there about twice a week and pushing Martinez to 1B. Lowell ...

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Darren Posted: August 08, 2009 at 07:09 PM | 84 comment(s)
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

How about Putting in the Best Lineup?

Make sure to play Nick Green every other day. Give David Ortiz a day off from his strenuous DH role. Wait until JD Drew starts hitting, then sit him down for a night. Whatever you do, don’t put your best lineup on the field on any given night. This team is acting (again) like they’ve got the playoffs all locked up, when in fact they face a reasonably serious threat from Texas and Tampa Bay (the division is very unlikely at this point). This is not a good idea.

Darren Posted: July 30, 2009 at 02:43 AM | 164 comment(s)
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Red Sox Trade Deadline Thread

I like the deal of Lugo, the deal to get LaRoche for very little, and the DFA of Kotsay (who has really been a poor fit for this team since last year, when he took away Casey’s spot). Will anything else happen before the deadline? The Red Sox have a ton of pitching depth to deal and I would love to see some of it put to use on a real difference maker. Halladay fits the bill, but I don’t think they will deal him in the division.

Darren Posted: July 25, 2009 at 02:55 AM | 340 comment(s)
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chips Are just Worthless Pieces of Plastic if You Don’t Cash Them in

The Red Sox depth in pitching is a great asset, but it could serve them a lot better if they were willing to part with it. They have a rotation that goes about nine deep and a pen that has very reliable relief pitchers throwing mop-up (as well as some decent options in AAA). Meanwhile, it is not uncommon to see a Boston lineup that includes Nick Green, George Kottaras, and Mark Kotsay. The Red Sox really should cash in some of these chips to land a bat that is worth having in the lineup. Give ...

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Darren Posted: July 11, 2009 at 04:18 PM | 105 comment(s)
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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Around the Minors: International Signings, Updated BA Top 25 and Staten Island

WEEI.com had a blog entry yesterday announcing that the Red Sox signed a couple of 16 year-old right-handers, and potential kung-fu fighters,  Mario & Raul Alcantara, who evidently are not related. Mario went for $500k and Raul for $350k both throw mid-eighties with breaking stuff, and are big framed (6-foot-3), so one would think the RedSox are projecting a lot of growth.  Raul is supposedly, one of the better international pitchers on the market this period.  Neither pitcher is listed in ...

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Mister High Standards Posted: July 09, 2009 at 03:20 PM | 34 comment(s)
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Papi Is Officially Back

Seven HRs in the past 17 games now and looking very good at the plate—this is an actual hot streak, not just a streak of “good as I used to be.” I’m now confident that David Ortiz is not

only a decent hitter now, but likely to put something close to his established level of excellence. I think a line of .270/.360/.540 for the rest of the season is a reasonable expectation.

Darren Posted: June 27, 2009 at 02:42 PM | 25 comment(s)
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Red Sox Odds and Ends

A few things going on, most notably, the Dice-K situation.

—Dice K had an MRI which didn’t show any structural damage. But, turns out he has “weakness,” so it’s off to the DL! Taking his place until Smoltz is activated—Dusty Brown? The need for a non-hitting 3rd catcher is puzzling. You think they’d want to have Hunter Jones’s arm around for a bit, but likely inconsequential.

—Nick Green, today’s big hero, seems to be starting full time. It will be interesting to see what happens when ...

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Darren Posted: June 21, 2009 at 10:39 PM | 63 comment(s)
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Monday, June 08, 2009

Minor League Thread: Draft Time

Just thought the Therapudians might want someplace to discuss the draft. Sox draft #28, 77, and 107.

Darren Posted: June 08, 2009 at 02:07 AM | 30 comment(s)
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Minor League Thread: The Red Sox Vaunted Pitching Depth

Did the Red Sox go too far in signing reclamation projects for their rotation this year. Here’s what their current rotation looks like:

Beckett, 5.01 ERA
Lester, 5.91 ERA
Matsuzaka, 10.32 ERA
Wakefield, 3.99 ERA
Penny, 5.96 ERA

Aside from just being brutally awful, is it possible that the Sox should have passed on Penny (or Smoltz) and left a slot open for one of the following guys (ERAs are at AAA):

Buchholz, 1.30 ERA
Bowden, 1.64 ERA

This question popped into my head as Buc was ...

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Darren Posted: May 25, 2009 at 11:16 PM | 108 comment(s)
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Delcarmen for Johnson: Where Do I Sign?

It really boggles my mind that the Red Sox—a team that is so obsessed with depth—has reportedly turned down a chance to trade from their tremendous bullpen depth to sure up the infield corners. In case you didn’t know, according the Peter Gammons and WEEI, the Sox turned down a Manny Delcarmen/Nick Johnson swap. I just can’t fathom how they didn’t jump at that opportunity. First off, Delcarmen has generally ceded his setup role to Ramon Ramirez. His gmLI (the leverage of the situations that ...

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Darren Posted: May 24, 2009 at 02:32 PM | 21 comment(s)
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Papelbon: All Stuff and No Command

A rare Sox Therapy post just to say, I don’t like what’s going on with Jonathan Papelbon. There have been stories in the press that Papelbon has altered his delivery so that he puts less strain on his arm and can throw more pitches. So far, the result has been that he has far worse control and ends up throwing way more pitches per appearance. This finally caught up to him tonight when he walked Gary Sheffield by missing badly repeatedly, and then missed his location often on the batters that ...

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Darren Posted: May 24, 2009 at 02:50 AM | 71 comment(s)
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ellsburying the Yanks

Well, I guess the Sox are stuck with this guy at leadoff. You haters will just have to deal with it.

Great series for Ellsbury—he created a run by scoring from 2nd on the wild pitch and then, my favorite play in baseball, the straight steal of home. I went back and looked at the video and Pettitte definitely quick-pitched there (he skipped the 2nd half of his delivery and threw the ball while standing straight up), but they still couldn’t stop Ellsbury. Will he steal 100? 135? Probably, yes. ...

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Darren Posted: April 27, 2009 at 03:42 AM | 48 comment(s)
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury: Stuck in the Leadoff Role

Batting orders don’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but they do decide who gets the most plate appearances in a season. The Red Sox are currently giving the most ABs to their 7th best hitter (by both what his history and observation would suggestion). In doing so, they are transferring approximately 125 PAs from Pedroia/Papi/Youk/Drew/Bay/Lowell to him. I could see two sensible courses of action that would have both made sense. First, they could have batted Ellsbury 9th this ...

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Darren Posted: April 11, 2009 at 01:45 PM | 112 comment(s)
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Minor League Thread—Spring 09 Edition

Junichi Tazawa apparently has really impressed the Red Sox before being sent down the other day. According to this very nice Globe article:

Tazawa walked one and struck out 10. He threw his curveball with precision and got batters to swing and miss it. His 1.1-second delivery to the plate from the stretch is the fastest among all Red Sox pitchers. “You’ve got to get a bunch of hits to score off him,” Francona said. “You can’t steal on him, and he doesn’t walk anybody.” The only ...

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Darren Posted: March 22, 2009 at 08:39 PM | 41 comment(s)
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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lester Locked Up for 5/$30 mil.

According to Yahoo, the Red Sox have signed Lester to a 5 year-$30 mil deal. There’s also a $13 mil. option. This buys out his last year of complete club control, his 3 years of arbitration, and 1-2 years of free agency.

This sounds a hair on the high side (if the projections are to believed), but to really evaluate the costs, I would have a small clue what’s going to happen with the economy. The Sox have locked up a young, promising, homegrown pitcher. That’s pretty good news. ...Read More...

Darren Posted: March 08, 2009 at 08:21 PM | 22 comment(s)
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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Projection vs. Observation: Jason Varitek and Luis Castillo

There’s been a lot of discussion among Red Sox fans over how Varitek will perform this year. The Mets fans are having a similar discussion about Luis Castillo. A large contingent of such fans are arguing that these players are toast. Looking at their projections, the argument goes, is a waste of time. Observing them play over the past season has made it clear that these guys will not contribute going forward.

I disagree with this and I would guess that these players are just as likely as ...

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Darren Posted: February 28, 2009 at 02:03 AM | 71 comment(s)
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Forget 1B, Let’s Find a Catcher!

Now that the Red Sox have kept Lars Anderson’s path to the Majors clear, it seems that the best use for the cash that they saved would be in filling the starting catcher position. What if they could acquire one of these players in a trade, without giving up the farm:

—A durable 26-year-old who’s projected to hit about 290/380/440, who makes ~$50 mil over the next 3 years.
—A 25-year-old projected to hit 250/330/430, who will make $33 mil over the next 3 years.
—A 25-year-old projected at ...

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Darren Posted: December 26, 2008 at 10:01 PM | 117 comment(s)
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Teixeira’s Potential Impact on the Red Sox

I’ve already stated my support for the Red Sox going after Mark Teixeira based mainly on the fact that Boston has a bunch payroll room and he’s one of the top players on the market. But with Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz already on the team, it’s hard to figure how Teixeira will make sense financially. With that question in mind, I took a quick and dirty look at one possible scenario (the most likely one in my mind)—Teixeira is being brought in to replace Mike Lowell. Here’s what ...

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Darren Posted: December 18, 2008 at 05:00 PM | 145 comment(s)
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