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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CFBPS 2012

The Crazy Fanboy Projection System had a tough offseason.  The first time I tried to run the engine back in January, it just broke down crying.  While the Bayesian engines that power PECOTA and ZiPS are incapable of true feeling or thought, the CFBPS engine is the world’s only Freudian projection engine, and it was still in mourning.  The lost beloved of the 2011 season had entirely overwhelmed the engine’s ego, and its reality principle was unmoored.  The second run of the CFBPS produced ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:39 PM | 24 comment(s)
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Monday, March 26, 2012

(General?) Manager’s Decision: Roster Controversy!

The Soxblog firestorm of the weekend arose from a couple reports that Bobby V and Ben Cherington disagree about roster composition.  I have some thoughts on the final spots on the Sox roster, which I’ll get to.  I’m also interested in the underlying question of the authority of the manager, GM, and team president in Boston. 

During the Theo years, even though Theo and Tito always said that Tito had input in every major decision, it was clear that the Moneyball model** was in place.  ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 26, 2012 at 07:18 PM | 234 comment(s)
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Jose’s Spring Training Reports #1 and #2

ST’s own Jose Can You Seabiscuit has made his annual spring training jaunt to Florida, and he has decided to tempt fate, the gods, and the horrific certainty that attends to an observation over an n of 2.  He sends spring training reports.  This is the first report:

I am back for another year of destroying dreams and ruining careers.  Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to see the minor leaguers work out but I have seen quite a bit of the big boys.

Bobby Valentine - The issue of the ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM | 39 comment(s)
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shortstop by the Numbers

The Red Sox shortstop position is apparently still open.  Before spring training, I ran some quick numbers and found that Nick Punto projected as the best shortstop on the roster, and Mike Aviles would make a reasonable platoon partner.  In spring, all the talk has been about Jose Iglesias and his wonderglove.  Those Iglesias stories usually have a little caveat that while Iglesias has stolen the hearts of all who have caught a glimpse of him, Mike Aviles is “almost certainly” going to be ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Bobs’ Decision: Back of the Rotation

The Red Sox took a big risk this offseason with their pitching staff.  Instead of signing or trading for established starting pitchers to cover the innings behind Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz, they decided to fill the positions internally and backstop the young guys with some scrap-heap arms.  The remaining rotation slots project to be taken by two of Bard, Aceves, Doubront, Miller, and Padilla.  The Sox are hosting a real spring competition for at least one rotation slot, which means that ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Monday, February 27, 2012

Manager’s Decision: Shortstop

New manager Bobby Valentine made a headline or two this week by banning alcohol from the clubhouse.  I don’t have a particular comment on this – if it helps the team play better, it’s good, if it hurts the team, it’s bad.  Which it is depends on lots of things I don’t know.  Hopefully it’s the former. 

In the spring, I like to look at a different set of decisions facing the manager, ones we can more usefully analyze.  On a club like the Red Sox, many of the manager’s decisions ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM | 74 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Best Shape of His Life

Those spring puff pieces about the right fielder who added ten pounds of muscle and the fourth starter who trained harder than ever and is experimenting with a new grip on his slider, they’re a running joke in baseball.  But I love ‘em.  There are two reasons – first is that spring training is when fans are supposed to start imagining what could happen if Ryan Sweeney finally developed the power scouts projected or if Dan Bard made a seamless transition to starting.  Puff pieces and ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 17, 2012 at 09:18 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Friday, February 10, 2012

Offseason Minor League Thread

Because the Red Sox system is so thin in the high minors, and because their low-minors strength doesn’t feature any single obvious superstar, the prospect ratings have been a bit all over the place.  John Sickels’ top five only shared two names with Jim Callis’ top five, and Keith Law didn’t rank Callis’ #1 in his top 100, but he did put Sickels’ #7 in his 100th spot (only the second Red Sox to make the list).  Since I don’t actually watch minor league games, I tend to count on ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2012 at 08:30 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You’re telling me there’s a salary cap in the new CBA?

I’ve complained in a few places about the Red Sox ownership not being willing to spend a little over the luxury tax threshold to complete this roster.  I could rehearse here how offering David Ortiz arbitration is a very questionable decision if you’re treating the luxury tax threshold as a hard cap, but I’d rather talk about that hard cap in the first place.  Why are the Sox, who have previously treated the luxury tax threshold as a guideline, now acting as if their payroll is ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 25, 2012 at 08:55 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Crap Trade

Tonight, in a move I really didn’t think would happen, the Red Sox gave away Marco Scutaro for nothing.  Marco Scutaro is under contract for $6M for next season.  This is his dumber-than-Marcel projection:

+3 Bat +1 Run +19 Rep +6 Pos -1 Def = +28 RAR

That’s a $14M player.  So, the Sox gave away an $8M bargain for Clayton Mortensen.  In conclusion: ugh. 

Clearly, what’s going on is that the Sox have a hard payroll limit, and they decided that they need to save money at shortstop in ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 21, 2012 at 10:54 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Plan and the Payroll

The Red Sox luxury tax payroll currently stands at about $130M.  When you add in projected arbitration awards for Ortiz, Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia, Bard, Bailey, and the bench players, that leaves the Red Sox with little to no room remaining under the luxury tax threshold.  As I’ve argued, the Red Sox offseason should be understood as a specifically structured and cleverly executed plan.  They bolstered the rotation by emptying the bullpen, and then they filled the bullpen by trading MLB-ready ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM | 72 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reddick / Bailey Trade: Rapid Reaction

This looks like a trade where both players involved may be significantly worse than they’re perceived.  Josh Reddick was a useful regular last year, but his overall track record remains terrible, and ZiPS projects him as basically a replacement level RF with an 85 OPS+.  Andrew Bailey is a fabulous pitcher when healthy (career 2.07 ERA and 2.74 FIP), but he’s pitched a full season of major league ball only once in three tries.  Any projection that incorporates past playing time is going to ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:58 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I have no idea what the Sox are going to do next

The first round of the offseason is nearly over.  For the Red Sox it is over – the one first tier FA left is Prince Fielder, and he’s obviously not headed our way.  I had hoped the Red Sox would find the money to go after Darvish or Wilson, and Wilson’s below-market deal has left every team in need of pitching (read: every team) wishing they’d been involved.  Darvish is looking at 6/110 or more, though, so I don’t have a problem with the Red Sox passing on him.

The second-tier FA ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 22, 2011 at 01:43 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Closing Window

The Red Sox entered the offseason with just three acceptable starting pitchers and two good relievers under contract.  The primary goal of the offseason for Ben Cherington was to acquire pitching.  It is now mid-December, and the most significant pitching acquisition by the Boston Red Sox has been the signing of Jesse Carlson to a non-guaranteed contract.  Good free agent targets – starters like CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle, relievers like Heath Bell, Latroy Hawkins, and Frank Francisco – ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:58 PM | 77 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Manager Likes to Do Stuff

Bobby Valentine is going to be the new Red Sox manager, pending agreement on a contract.  I’m generally happy about this.  It’s not just that Valentine has a good record as a manager, but more that he’s got upside.  A manager like Valentine could win you a handful of games – and he’s going to try to win those games.  Most statistically-inclined clubs have opted for managers who will carry out competently the directives of the front office.  This option limits outcomes on both the ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:51 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Friday, November 18, 2011

What going on down Jersey St?

In the past two days, things seem to have gotten a bit weird.  The managerial search had been progressing in its normal, boring way.  Cherington had interviewed normal, boring candidates like Dale Sveum and Pete Mackanin and Torey Lovullo.  They were looking for a Francona clone, a good company man who will carry out the directives of management, handle the media well, and keep the players happy. 

Now it’s reported that Bobby Valentine is a leading candidate.  There are conflicting reports ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 18, 2011 at 01:33 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Dumber-than-Marcels: Free Agent Starters

My first run-through of the dumber-than-Marcel projections for position players left me quite skeptical of the top-line free agents.  Now I’ve done the pitchers, my sense is that once again it’s the middle-class free agents who will offer better value. 

These projections are based on a 3/2/1/2 regressed weighted average of pitcher value stats, a 50-50 split of Fangraphs and CHONE numbers.  It’s a half-FIP, half-RA projection.  In the position player projections, I included a $ value ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 16, 2011 at 08:22 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Will Never See Anything Like Him Again: Jonathan Papelbon

I’m not saying that the Red Sox cannot replace Jonathan Papelbon’s production going forward, but I am saying that what he did for them (us) was incredible. With a 197 ERA+ for his career, a 1.00 ERA in the playoffs, Paps was just about as close to perfect for the Sox as a closer can be. Add to that the fake intense face, the dancing, the goofy Ricky Bobby persona, and you’ve got one of the most memorable Red Sox ever. Thanks for the memories.

Darren Posted: November 11, 2011 at 08:56 PM | 62 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Dumber-than-Marcels: Free Agent Hitters

Last offseason I ran a short analysis of the available FA hitters and I concluded that the Red Sox should go after exactly none of them.  Adrian Beltre looked like the one positional FA who would be a good gamble.  I ended up getting talked into Carl Crawford over the remainder of the offseason, and that turned out less than well.  I did, at the time, make a case against Jayson Werth that I still feel pretty good about.  Given that we have three data points, sufficient to demonstrate that this ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 30, 2011 at 06:13 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Statements from the Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Terry Francona | Official Info

Tomorrow anonymous sources will report about satanic rituals in the bullpen.


PRESIDENT/CEO LARRY LUCCHINO ON BEHALF OF THE BOSTON RED SOX: “Tonight our organization has heard directly from Jon, Josh, John, and former manager Terry Francona. Each has assured us that the allegation that surfaced today about drinking in the dugout during games in 2011 is false, and we accept their statements as honest and factual.

“As we continue our internal examination to fully ...

Jim Furtado Posted: October 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM | 41 comment(s)
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In which analysis is outsourced

I had been playing around with some different back-of-the-envelope projection methods for Yu Darvish, and then I found out that SG over at the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog had actually done all of that work already, and better.  The key point to be made, with regard to Darvish, is just how much better he was in NPB than Matsuzaka.  These were Matsuzaka’s ERA numbers in his last four seasons in NPB:

2.83, 2.90, 2.30, 2.13

Pretty damn good, right?  And those were his age 22-25 seasons.  ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 18, 2011 at 12:34 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Twitter / @TBrownYahoo: Ben Cherington has been to named GM

Ben Cherington has been told he’ll be next GM of Red Sox, according to Y sources.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 13, 2011 at 06:45 PM | 37 comment(s)
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The Art Of Winning An (even More) Unfair Game - 09.26.11 - SI Vault

This may have been posted when it first came out but I couldn’t find it in our archives. This is especially relevant with Theo heading out the door. The next GM may very well continue the transformation the Red Sox front office has undergone since John Henry purchased the Sox. Then again, maybe he won’t.

In any event, if you haven’t read the article already, you should read it.

One floor below street level on Yawkey Way, in his windowless corner office which looks out upon a bank of cubicles ...

Jim Furtado Posted: October 13, 2011 at 01:43 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Theo’s Legacy: 2003 and 2004

As it seems highly likely that Theo Epstein will be leaving the Boston Red Sox in the next few days, I wanted to go back over two of the greatest offseasons a general manager has ever had.

Theo Epstein inherited a club in 2003 with a great core of superstars (Pedro, Nomar, and Manny), some good complementary pieces (Damon, Nixon, Varitek, Lowe, Wakefield), and pretty much crap-all else.  Most of the club’s payroll was already tied up in their stars, so he needed to fill out a championship ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2011 at 01:59 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hot Stove I: Payroll and Roster

Whether you want the Sox to blow it up, bring the boys back for their redemption, or drop big money on top free agents to fix the club, you need to start with an understanding of the club’s current payroll situation.  Before 2010, the Red Sox jacked up spending like crazy, and last season they maintained that payroll – if you discount some of the funny business with Gonzalez, they added to it by several million.  I think it’s reasonable to expect another payroll in the range of $170M, and ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:01 PM | 103 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Friday, October 07, 2011

John Henry and Larry Lucchino Talk about the Red Sox September Swoon

Some very interesting comments and ownership insights into the team. Give it a listen.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2011 at 12:49 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Red Sox Fans Need to Take a Deeeeeeeep Breath

One phenomena which is quite interesting to me is how most of the analysts calling for Theo’s head, and talking about what a flawed team the Red Sox are, are the same people who were talking about how great this team was in the spring and July. People (and by people I include the Red Sox ownership) need to relax and stay the course with this front office.

There are decisions in life, unfortunately, where you do everything right in preparation and consideration, but the outcome disappoints. ...

Jim Furtado Posted: October 05, 2011 at 08:28 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox

Not so ‘Free’ Agency

I stole this link from Philly over on SOSH: This BA article, which measures how homegrown each playoff team is, includes a comparison of the Red Sox and Yankees free-agent signings. The results are… not pretty. The whole thing is worth reading, but the takeaway is: in 2011, the Red Sox $67 million for free agent players and got back 2 (2!) WAR. That number is particularly friendly in that a) it doesn’t count Dice-K (because he wasn’t a free agent, per se?) and b) it uses $14 mil. for Crawford’s ...

Darren Posted: October 05, 2011 at 01:28 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank You Terry Francona

It appears that, per NESN, Terry Francona is out as the manager of the Boston Red Sox. Someone had suggested that we have a “Thank You Terry Francona” thread and that sounds like a good idea. Thanks Terry, you were at the helm during the most successful period for the Red Sox during my lifetime. It couldn’t have been easy, and for whatever small criticism I might have had over the years, you deserve the credit for those accomplishments. Good luck in whatever you choose to do next.

Have at it. ...

Darren Posted: September 30, 2011 at 10:25 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox

In which rumors are mongered

Let’s collect all the rumors about the Red Sox clubhouse.  After yesterday’s press conference, it is now clear that interpersonal breakdowns, conflicts over authority, and general chaos in the clubhouse were important causes of the recent unpleasantness.  At the very least, both Epstein and Francona espoused the view that clubhouse tensions lead to games lost. 

I accept that not everyone finds this stuff fascinating, but I really do.  And I know that we’ll never achieve certain ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:09 PM | 235 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

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