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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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, ...Read More...
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
[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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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.
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 ...Read More...
Monday, August 16, 2010
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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.
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) ...Read More...
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, ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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, ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
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 ...Read More...
Friday, May 07, 2010
This Series Matters in a Quantifiable Way
One of the requirements for helping to write a bi-monthly addition to a sabermetric blog is that, when the Red Sox play their first series against the Yankees, you have to talk about how most early season series don’t matter, but this one is different. I swear before every series someone says that. Someone’s probably already said it on this board somewhere.
I thought I’d take a very quick-and-dirty look at how much this series matters. I put together a spreadsheet that uses the ...Read More...
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Weird Week That Was Weird
On the surface, this was a very successful rebound week for the Boston Red Sox. They came in at 4-9 and took back to back series from the Rangers and Orioles, then won their first game at Toronto for a 5-2 record since being swept by Tampa. The Rays and Yankees continued to play well, but the Red Sox at least managed not to lose more ground on the league leaders.
Anyone who watched the games, though, knows the week was, well, weirder than all that. Six of the seven games were decided by one ...Read More...
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