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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Preview Thread V: The Front Office

The Red Sox are expected to contend during the season, and to some extent the front office is expected to make moves during the season to help keep the team in contention. This thread isn’t about what the front office does building a team in the offseason, but whether the moves it makes during the season are likely to be effective.

I look at the body of work of this front office during the season and I have to say it doesn’t grade out well. What I wanted to do was track the Win Shares ...

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Toby Posted: March 27, 2007 at 06:19 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Spring Is in the Air

Yesterday was the first time I actually caught some spring training action on TV. I saw Beckett looking very, very good against a mostly Major League lineup. This spring he’s got 24 K, 4 BB, and 1 HR allowed (!) in 23.2 IP. It’s performances like that that make me sad that ST results usually mean very little. On the flip side, that means I don’t have to get too worked up about Lowell, Pedroia, and Ortiz at the plate, or Kevin Youkilis’s repugnant facial hair.

Have any of the players’ ...

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Darren Posted: March 27, 2007 at 12:32 AM | 14 comment(s)
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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pap to the Pen: A Quick and Dirty Look

There’s been a lot of conjecture about whether the move of Papelbon to the pen will have a positive or negative effect on the Red Sox 2006 season. Some have suggested that the move has handed the division to the Yankees, while others have said it has sured up a former weak spot. I think it might provide some insight to look at David Gassko’s THT chaining article, which he used previously to discuss Papelbon’s move to the rotation.

I’ll handle this a little differently than David, though. ...

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Darren Posted: March 25, 2007 at 04:50 PM | 33 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Closer Look

How many threads have there been on here about the closer situation? A lot, but that won’t stop me from posting one more. There are a couple of interesting developments on this front, but it’s still a mystery who will be closing out games for the Sox this year.

Interestingly, this Projo article by McAdam says Timlin “had been hand-picked to start the season as the team’s closer.” But it says it in a matter-of-fact way, as if this were common knowledge. There is no quote from anyone on the ...

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Darren Posted: March 21, 2007 at 10:52 PM | 41 comment(s)
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Preview Thread IV: Manager & Coaches

Terry Francona enters his fourth season as Red Sox manager. He has gone from 98 wins to 95 wins to 86 wins, and from a World Series title to a first-round playoff ouster to a third-place finish. Not a good trend. He is 279-207 for Boston, and 564-570 overall.

Traditionally, the fourth season is not a good one. The track record of recent Red Sox managers who completed three full seasons:

* Jimy Williams, completed 4th season, replaced during 5th season
* Butch Hobson, not back for 4th season
* ...

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Toby Posted: March 19, 2007 at 03:08 PM | 86 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Preview Thread III: The Defense

Because the bullpen is in a state of flux, I want to do a thread about it. But because the bullpen is in a state of flux, it’s probably best to put it off till IV or V.

And so let’s ponder the defense. Using defensive efficiency as a measure, last year’s team was not good: .683, 27th out of 30 teams. Most of last year’s defense is back, so will it be more of the same?

The personnel changes are at rf (Drew for Nixon), ss (Lugo for Gonzalez), and 2b (Pedroia for Loretta). We may also see some ...

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Toby Posted: March 14, 2007 at 06:23 PM | 104 comment(s)
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Preview Thread II: The Lineup

Here’s your chance to put down in pixels exactly what you think the Red Sox offense will do this year. I won’t go into great specifics here (I’ll add mine in the comments later), but I think this team looks like it’s headed back into 900+ runs territory, and average defense. I also think the lineup is set at 1-5 and 9:

Lugo
Youks
Ortiz
Manny
Drew
??
??
??
Pedroia

I think Pedroia set at #9 to keep the pressure off and to have a sort of second leadoff. He’s in for a good year, so he may not ...

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Darren Posted: March 10, 2007 at 07:23 PM | 38 comment(s)
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Preview Thread I: The Rotation

First in a multi-part series, inspired by villageidiom, in which Therapudlians and others attempt to make objective sense of the 07 Red Sox. Part I, the rotation. This is not about our hopes and dreams or irrational exuberance, but an attempt to be realistic.

Let’s start with the rotation. I am going to throw out some numbers and then tell you where they came from, and you can tell me how wrong I am.

Matsuzaka: 14-8, 3.32 ERA, 176 K, 66 BB in 192 IP
Schilling: 4-7, 6.50 ERA, 50 K, 19 BB in 73 ...

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Toby Posted: March 08, 2007 at 03:52 PM | 75 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Curt Schilling’s new blog, 38 Pitches

It’s called “38 pitches”. He plans to cover baseball, media, family, electronic gaming, you name it.

Aside to Curt: A lot of people here (Sox Therapy, and BTF-wide) don’t seem to care for you much, but I haven’t figured out why. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

Some of the baseball-related tidbits so far:

The AL Central will be a knock-down-drag-out fight similar to last year ... Daisuke Matsuzaka is legit. ... Josh [Beckett] is getting better each time I see him ... The best part of Jon ...

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Toby Posted: March 07, 2007 at 11:07 PM | 8 comment(s)
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Josh Beckett Storyline

There are a lot of story lines being covered with the Red Sox this year, but one that seems to be getting very little attention is the fate of Josh Beckett in 2007. One article I did find on it was this Beradino piece in the Mercury News. It’s fairly positive and suggests that Beckett will try to cut down on his HR totals by using more breaking stuff. (BTW, when did Julian Tavarez become the voice of the Red Sox?)

But this is a very important question for the fate of the team. If Beckett’s the ...

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Darren Posted: March 01, 2007 at 02:22 AM | 6 comment(s)
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Irrationally Exuberant Therapudlian

Drew is healthy. Crisp is mostly healthy. Manny is in camp. Lowell has emerged as a leader. Lugo should be fine. Pedroia should be ready. Youks is Youks. Papi is Papi. Tek—and this, I am not so exuberant about—is Tek. Cora and Hinske and Pena are the core of a real solid bench. Belli, or whoever else will catch Wake, I am not so exuberant about.

Schilling is referring to CHB as CHB. Beckett is rediscovering his change and curve. Dice-K is for real. Wake is Wake. Papelbon is healthy, and easily ...

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Toby Posted: February 27, 2007 at 04:48 PM | 38 comment(s)
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bookmarking the Red Sox

How are you going to keep up with the Sox this year?

Besides here, of course.

And besides the standard places—Globe, Herald, Projo, Courant, SoSH ....

Me, I don’t have a lot of free time, so I scan Bruce Allen’s bostonsportsmedia.com, and his Red Sox news mashup, to get a rundown of the major stories of the day in the major New England papers.

For a broader picture, I scan Google News: a simple “red sox” search.

For example, I just learned from a Google News search that Rob Bradford of the ...

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Toby Posted: February 14, 2007 at 04:34 PM | 27 comment(s)
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Truck Day is Feb. 12

According to a recent story in the Herald, the Red Sox equipment van will pack up and leave Feb. 12. That’s just around the corner.

According to the spring training Q&A at mlb.com:

Feb 16—pitchers and catchers report
Feb 20—position players report
Feb 22—first full squad workout
Feb 28—host Twins in first Grapefruit game
Mar 30-31—at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, final preseason games
Apr 2—season opener at Kansas City
Apr 10—Fenway opener vs Seattle

Key dates not yet firmed up:

Feb ...

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Toby Posted: February 08, 2007 at 05:13 PM | 36 comment(s)
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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Lowell down on the Helton trade

There’s been a lot of talk about the Helton trade, and I think there is a key point that a lot of people are missing. Mike Lowell is being discussed as if he is dead weight, just another $9 mil of salary to offset Helton, but is he? Lowell racked up 6.3 WARP1 last year, and will probably be projected in the 5-6 range for 07. On a one-year, $9-mil deal, he’s a bargain. Meanwhile, they are trading him for a guy who’s probably projected to be a win or two better, but is signed for 6 years. ...

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Darren Posted: January 29, 2007 at 01:34 AM | 52 comment(s)
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Red Sox Top 20 Prospects Part 4

The grand finale! Thanks again to Temple for his great work:


5. Jason Place (OF); b. 10/8/88: Place endeared himself enough to Boston’s amateur scouting department that the Sox made him the first high school hitter they have taken in the 1st round (27th overall) since Theo has become the GM of the team. He put on a power show in a private workout in Greenville that gave the Sox hope that he could instill some much-needed pop into a light-hitting system. His mature demeanor and dogged work ...

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Darren Posted: January 26, 2007 at 01:22 AM | 28 comment(s)
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Monday, January 22, 2007

Red Sox Top 20 Prospects Part 3

We’re starting to get into the really interesting youngsters now. A lot of fresh faces here. Prospects #6-10 from Temple:


10. Lars Anderson (1B); b. 9/25/87: Despite never having registered a PA for the Sox organization, nor being recognizable to even the most ardent prospect follower, Lars has developed himself quite a following in a very short time. As he was gaining helium in the scouting community leading up to the draft, he was seeing an equal gain in the online community—prior to the ...

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Darren Posted: January 22, 2007 at 02:52 AM | 62 comment(s)
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Monday, January 15, 2007

Red Sox Top 20 Prospects Part 2

Prospects #11-15 from Temple:


15. Chad Spann (3B); b. 10/25/83: This year, Spann transformed himself from a relatively innocuous Sox prospect to an innocuous prospect with upside. Spann hit well in the very pitcher-friendly Eastern League, though his playing time was limited because of nagging injuries. In 2007, he will need to control the strike zone better and improve his defensive footwork to turn himself into a potential solid regular. As a 23-year old who might play in triple-A, he is ...

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Darren Posted: January 15, 2007 at 03:37 PM | 18 comment(s)
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Depth Charge

The Red Sox have once again, as has been their habit under this front office, stockpiled quite a bit of depth on their bench. Solid veteran Eric Hinske backs up 1b/3b and OF, there are 4 starting quality OFs, and Alex Cora is probably as good of a utility player as any team has. But when I look at these players, I wonder if they are worth the cost.

The Red Sox will pay Hinske $3 mil in 07, and Cora will likely make a similar amount. The newest OF appears to be making $14 mil and the cheapest ...

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Darren Posted: January 13, 2007 at 10:54 PM | 34 comment(s)
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Friday, January 12, 2007

Red Sox Top 20 Prospects Part 1

It’s the middle of winter and there’s not much going on in the baseball world, so I thought it would be a good time to try something new on Sox Therapy. I’ve asked our very own Temple to compile his list of the Red Sox top 20 prospects. Temple, as many of you already know, is sort of our go to guy here on the state of the Red Sox minor league system, so it seemed like a good fit. I have enjoyed reading these, and I hope you do too. Part 1 is below, with three more installments to come over the ...

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Darren Posted: January 12, 2007 at 12:16 AM | 23 comment(s)
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Closer to Closing in on a Closer?

As we ring in 2007, the Red Sox find themselves in a very similar situation to the one they faced at the outset of 2006. They have constructed a team that seems poised to compete in 2006, albeit with a large, glaring hole. In early 06, it was a CF; in 07, it’s a dominant reliever. Last year, they eventually made a deal for Coco Crisp. What will happen this year? It’s hard to say but there are a few possibilities that jump out:

1. Go with what they’ve got. This one seems unlikely. They have ...

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Darren Posted: January 02, 2007 at 11:33 PM | 64 comment(s)
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Minor league signings

According to Horrigan in the Herald, the Sox unveiled eight minor-league signings: Joe McEwing, Kerry Robinson, Alberto Castillo, Travis Hughes, Jeff Bailey, Luis Jimenez, Ed Rogers, Bobby Scales. They get invites to spring training with the big club.

Not sure what to say here. More detail on these guys in this MLB.com article. Travis Hughes actually looks pretty interesting to me. Maybe he’s the new closer! ;-)

Toby Posted: December 21, 2006 at 09:29 PM | 7 comment(s)
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Friday, December 15, 2006

Our New Revamped Bullpen

In the last few minutes, it seems, the Red Sox have added two arms to their beleaguered bullpen: Donnelly and Romero (per SOSH). I don’t love either of these guys. Donnelly looks like Timlin lite (or heavy) and Romero’s always had pretty cruddy peripherals. Both have gone down hill in recent years. Neither of these guys look to me like the closer that the Sox need. I would much rather have seen them use this money to get Speier, for example.

Let’s hope another big move is on the horizon ...

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Darren Posted: December 15, 2006 at 10:46 PM | 55 comment(s)
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Now what?

Is it just me, or does it feel kinda like Christmas after the presents have been opened?

I for one am happy with the new toys. I guess we don’t need to spend 2007 rebuilding after all. :-) Having said that, I suspect the Drew and Lugo deals are not going to pan out in the long run, but they will be fun to have for a while at least. Matsuzaka I think will be one of the favorite toys for years to come.

All in all, I would be happy going into spring training with this team, as is. I know we ...

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Toby Posted: December 15, 2006 at 03:34 AM | 83 comment(s)
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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Offseason Minor League Thread

Since it’s been a while since I put up a Minor League thread, and since I’m on a bit of a roll tonight, here’s Sickels’ Minor League Ball Red Sox Top 20 Prospects. A couple of thoughts:

—The system looks pretty good, but there are a lot of young fellas in the highest spots and no A prospects.
—Someday we will view Buchholz and Bowden as differently as we now view Brian Rose and Carl Pavano.
—Pedroia seems low at #7, considering he will win the triple crown this year.
—Who is Carlos ...

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Darren Posted: December 12, 2006 at 04:36 AM | 14 comment(s)
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The Drew/Gagne Disconnect

According to this Globe article, the Sox have dropped out of the bidding for Eric Gagne. Reportedly, the Red Sox did not want to risk the $6 mil in guaranteed money that Cleveland or Texas was offering. What strikes me as odd is that they are leery about this small risk, but not about giving JD Drew, whose health is also in question, 5 years/$60-something million guaranteed. Certainly, Drew’s had the better recent health history, but is it $60 million better? Gagne, if even somewhat healthy, is ...

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Darren Posted: December 12, 2006 at 02:45 AM | 26 comment(s)
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Which 5’8” 2B? (Non-Tender deadline)

While we’re waiting for the conclusion of the Matsuzaka soap opera, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the Red Sox non-tender situation. Particularly interesting to me is the rumor that Marcus Giles will not be offered a contract. Before the Lugo signing, I was hoping that the Sox might shift Pedroia back to SS and pickup Giles on the cheap, thus creating quite a short middle IF. It also would have freed up money for a reliever or two. But since that won’t happen, what do Sox fans ...

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Darren Posted: December 12, 2006 at 02:28 AM | 47 comment(s)
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Friday, December 08, 2006

I don’t get it

Whatever the Red Sox plan here is, I don’t get it. They appear to be about $10 mil shy of the luxury tax threshold, which is probably their spending limit. Let’s assume, charitably, that they get this Matsuzaka deal done and it puts them at their limit. There’s no closer. There’s no reliable setup man. There’s no backup catcher (unless you think Kotteras is ready).

Despite all of these holes, they decided to go out and sign a 4th outfielder for $14 mil. An excellent one, of course, and one ...

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Darren Posted: December 08, 2006 at 03:13 AM | 102 comment(s)
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The “Artificially Imposed Deadline to Trade Manny” thread

By Wednesday midnight, the Red Sox will stop actively shopping Manny, though they will consider offers after that time. So says Theo, as reported by McAdam in the Projo and Silverman in the Herald, among other places.

Let’s hope they stick to the deadline. Last time I checked, we still had a lot of other fish to fry than creating another vacancy:

bullpen help: Turnbow? Dotel?

Epstein and Sox management have decided, much like their 2003 bullpen philosophy, to piece together a pen of young, ...

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Toby Posted: December 05, 2006 at 04:11 PM | 74 comment(s)
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Friday, December 01, 2006

Should we tender Loretta? What about Trot?

The header says it all, mostly. The deadline to offer arbitration to the free agents is Friday midnight. According to the Globe, Theo says Boston will not make any final decisions on arb offers till close to the deadline.

Loretta is a type A free agent, Trot is a type B. Both of those guys would bring draft-pick compensation if we offered arbitration to them and they signed elsewhere.

Foulke, Kapler, and Mirabelli are type C, no compensation. Alex Gonzalez was a type B and signed elsewhere, I ...

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Toby Posted: December 01, 2006 at 04:05 AM | 54 comment(s)
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Who are the real comps for Matsuzaka?

Ever since the Red Sox bid the seemingly outlandish sum of $51 million on Daisuke Matsuzaka, several people have tried to pin down whether the Red Sox could ever get their money’s worth on such a deal. I think that question is just too big—and involves too many factors that are unknown to us outsiders—for us to really tackle with any authority. But in trying to answer that larger question, many people have started by answering a smaller one: what is the value of of Matsuzaka as a baseball ...

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Darren Posted: November 24, 2006 at 03:04 AM | 86 comment(s)
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