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   1. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4176801)
If you have dueling narratives for Valentine, you need them for Cherington. #3 is a tautology: they are key decisions because the Red Sox were expected to do better and these decisions didn't work out. Look at what else Cherington has done:

- Acquired Germano, Mortensen, Gomez, Ciriaco, Podsednik, Ross, Sweeney, Shoppach, Padilla, and Cook. (And Mark Prior, 2.89 ERA in Pawtucket.)
- Cut Varitek and Wakefield loose.
- Offered arb to Ortiz.
- Aggressively promoted Middlebrooks, and kept him when Youk came back.
- Replaced Scutaro with Aviles.

Given the contributions of all of the above, I don't see how this isn't a net positive given the injuries the team has had. To me, this season is reminding me a lot of when Epstein took over: we went from virtually no depth in the system to an abundance of depth. Are they down at .500 because of Cherington's failures, or up at .500 because of his successes? You have a narrative either way. (At least, if you do with Valentine, you do with Cherington. Valentine can't be lauded for playing the scrubs unless he has the scrubs to play.)

If we had a normal first half from Lester and Beckett, we're in a playoff spot. Despite all the injuries and Bard's flameout. They're what, 9-13? Shouldn't we have expected more like 15-7? That's a 6-game swing in the standings.
   2. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4176814)
If we had a normal first half from Lester and Beckett, we're in a playoff spot.


What do you guys expect from Beckett and Lester going forward? Am I wrong to think that Lester has been declining since even last season? What's going on with him? And Beckett's issues this year seem to be related to nagging injuries. I think the front of the rotation is the key to this team contending this year and next, but I wonder if there is a sense in the front office that these guys have stopped being front of the rotation material.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4176820)
Excellent post, Jose. The annoying thing is that you covered several topics I was thinking of blogging about during the break, but you covered them with one good paragraph in an eight-paragraph post. Space those things out, dude.

My primary addition:

9) Pythagoras is not our friend; Pythagoras will be our friend

The Red Sox have the fourth-best Pythagorean record (47-39) in the American League, just two games behind the Yankees, a game ahead of the Angels and three up on the Rays. Baseball Prospectus' second-order winning percentage (based on component RS/RA) puts the Sox basically level with the Yankees and Angels, well ahead of the Rays and O's. Their third-order numbers put the Sox a touch behind the Angels and Yankees - the Red Sox have played a relatively soft schedule, though the difference between 2nd and 3rd order wins is only 0.7.

There's overwhelming evidence that component numbers are a better predictor of team quality than raw wins and losses, so I think the best conclusion to be drawn from the Red Sox first half is that they project to be significantly better than .500 in the second half.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4176824)
I agree (partly) with vi about Cherington. I second pretty much the entire list of "moves that worked". The problem is that most of Cherington's best moves have been depth acquisitions, and I think that a good portion of the credit for the performance of the bullpen and bench should go to Valentine and McClure.

Cherington's bigger moves, especially his trades, have been disastrous. All told I agree that a pro-Cherington narrative should be voiced, but I think that his record weighs more over to the negative side, while Bobby and Bob look basically balanced.
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4176826)
If you have dueling narratives for Valentine, you need them for Cherington. #3 is a tautology


The difference is that in my opinion Cherington has heavily missed on the big decisions. By all means he deserves credit for the issues you bring up but the successes of guys at the bottom of the roster are vastly outpaced by the loss of Reddick (3.5 WAR) and Lowrie (2.3). The Sox have one player, Ortiz, who has a WAR above Lowrie and none above Reddick. Obviously it's not fair to say Cherington has been completely in the wrong as he has made several good moves but I think so far the ledger is heavily tilted to the negative. With Bobby I think it's much less obvious and I say that as someone who liked the Reddick and Lowrie deals and doesn't like Bobby.

What do you guys expect from Beckett and Lester going forward?


I am more optimistic about Beckett than I am about Lester. I think what we are seeing with Beckett is a guy adjust to a new phase in his career where the 96 MPH fastball is no longer an option. He has generally been good but when it goes bad he doesn't yet know how to deal with that. What I like with Beckett is that when he's struggled in his career he has made adjustments; 2006-2007, 2010-2011 and I think he will do that now. I compare Beckett a bit to Schilling in the 2006-2007 stage of his career when he became a more finesse pitcher. Despite the drop in K rate Beckett has maintained his K/BB rate by walking fewer batters, something I think will serve him well.

Lester on the other hand looks like a guy who can't or just won't adapt. Six years into an MLB career it seems like he should have come up with some kind of plan to deal with the "bad start" rather than just accepting it and he reminds me a LOT of Daisuke in the way he seems to have become a one pitch pitcher, it's all cutter all the time. His curveball seems to be an afterthought rather than a meaningful part of his repertoire.

To be fair I'm sure Lester HAS tried to fix the issues I raise above, I'm not so arrogant as to say I know his mindset, but that's what I see from the results.
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4176830)
Excellent post, Jose. The annoying thing is that you covered several topics I was thinking of blogging about during the break, but you covered them with one good paragraph in an eight-paragraph post. Space those things out, dude.


Sorry, it was therapeutic during last night's game. It was this post or a coffee table going through my TV.

And cokes as appropriate re: Cherington.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4176831)
A note on Scutaro and Aviles. It's not entirely clear who's been better.

Scutaro has been worth eight runs less than a league average hitter, and two runs above average on the bases by BR's linear weights. Aviles has also been eight runs below average as a hitter, and merely average on the bases.

The defensive numbers put Aviles ahead. Scutaro rates as an average to below average 2B (UZR says average, DRS says below), while UZR and DRS agree that Aviles has been nearly gold-glove caliber. The problem is, these are half-season numbers. They are not worthwhile. Further, DRS has a huge bug related to defensive shifts. Look at just UZR, and the difference between Aviles and Scutaro is a mere handful of runs.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4176834)
The defensive numbers put Aviles ahead. Scutaro rates as an average to below average 2B (UZR says average, DRS says below), while UZR and DRS agree that Aviles has been nearly gold-glove caliber. The problem is, these are half-season numbers. They are not worthwhile. Further, DRS has a huge bug related to defensive shifts. Look at just UZR, and the difference between Aviles and Scutaro is a mere handful of runs.


I was surprised last night when I looked up Scutaro to see how good he has been. Despite that I think the simple fact that he is a 2nd baseman, not a shortstop is a big issue and just generally watching the two players over the past two years makes me feel relatively confident in a rating that gives Aviles a big defensive edge at shortstop.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4176838)
I agree that, ultimately, the best evidence for Scutaro's defense is that he isn't playing shortstop. He probably can't handle the position.

I will say that I doubt Aviles is actually a gold-glove defensive shortstop. His huge DRS rating is probably at least in part a shift effect. Further, I don't think he's a much better hitter than his 2012 line, which would mean in turn that he's probably just a below average placeholder at short. (Still, of course, better than playing a non-shortstop there, but not really an asset or a major offseason win for the GM.)
   10. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4176845)
Even if Matt's right that Scutaro/Aviles is essentially a wash, you'd have to chalk the move up as a good one for Cherington. He unloaded $6 mil in salary, got back an apparently useful player, and lost nothing on the field. (Edit: Of course, they picked the option before they did this, so it's really a lot less savings.)


On Lester, I think it's a case of a miserable feeling season carrying over to the evaluation of an individual player. Last year was Lester's worst since he's been in the rotation full time. He still had 124 ERA+ and was 10th in the league for pitcher bWAR. He's off to a tough start but his component stats look fine (less K's than usual but less BB's too). He looks to me like a really good pitcher going through a rough patch--you can find similar stretches, or far worse, in just about any Hall of Famer's career.

As for dealing with bad starts, I think his way of handling it is to have them incredibly rarely and to be super-duper awesome in his other starts. Don't quote me, but it seems like Pettitte's had the same pattern (the old "Good Andy/Bad Andy" thing).
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4176856)
He's off to a tough start but his component stats look fine (less K's than usual but less BB's too).
I had not noticed this before. Lester's 4.59 ERA (96 ERA+) looks like mostly a DIPS effect. He has a .326 BABIP allowed and a 67% strand rate compared to career averages of .304 and 75%, respectively. That's probably just a half season fluke, given that his other component stats are good. Lester's FIP is 3.57, perfectly in line with his career averages.

Lester's continuing failure to take another step forward and become a Cy Young contender is a little frustrating, but if he never becomes more than the current Jon Lester, he's an excellent asset to a contending ballclub. I don't see a lot of reason, for now, to be worried that Lester's taken a step backwards.
   12. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4176859)
I think you're right MC that frustration with Lester has a lot to do with the fact that it looked like he could be GREAT instead of just great. And with his ridiculous jump in K rate in 2009/10, he looked like he was just about there. But simple excellence is going to have to be good enough.
   13. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4176862)
So what do we make of Dan Nava? When he reached a 979 OPS a couple weeks ago, I remember thinking that even if he tanked quite a bit, his numbers would still look really good by the end of the year. Now, 16 games later--in which he's hit .161 .257 .258!-- he's down to .275 .388 .427. Does it keep going to down from here? Was it all just a dream? I'm scared.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4176866)
So what do we make of Dan Nava? When he reached a 979 OPS a couple weeks ago, I remember thinking that even if he tanked quite a bit, his numbers would still look really good by the end of the year. Now, 16 games later--in which he's hit .161 .257 .258!-- he's down to .275 .388 .427. Does it keep going to down from here? Was it all just a dream? I'm scared.


I think his future is pinch hitter/4th outfielder. The work he has done on his defense makes him more viable than he was two years ago but in the end he is a no speed/no power outfielder, that's a tough combination to overcome as a regular. It'd be great if he became a successful regular but I don't think he can do that. I think he can have a pretty long run as a utility player. John Vanderwal is the name I always think of when I think of Nava (and I never knew Vanderwal had a 24 homer season for Pittsburgh, damn).
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4176867)
Well, Nava's May-June theatrics were powered by a .360 BABIP and a walk rate that very few rookies (especially very few rookies with less than 15-HR power) can maintain. I am hopeful that Nava is something like a 360/400 hitter, which should be enough to earn him a legitimate big league career. (His ZiPS rest-of-season projection is 340/380, so he doesn't need to have taken that large a step forward to be that good.)
   16. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4176884)
So, you're saying he's probably not Matt Stairs? Sigh.
   17. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4176899)
That was one of the names that came to mind but I don't see the power. He's got that upper cut swing that could become a power stroke and based on what we've seen from his defense (and more generally his overall career arc) the willingness to work to improve is there. I wouldn't expect him to ever evolve that far but I wouldn't be entirely stunned either.
   18. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4176900)
I'm not sure whether I agree with MC on the bullpen credit going to Bobby/McClure. I don't recall that being the case in the past. Were Tito and Farrell blamed for Javier Lopez's mediocrity, for the blowup of Eric Gagne, or for Ramon Ramirez being blah (I know I blamed Jose)? Were they credited with the successes of Okajima and Bard? Should they have been?

I think at least some of the credit goes to Cherington for the guys who are doing well right now. If he trades Albers for anything of value, I'll be even happier.
   19. Textbook Editor Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4176903)
So when Crawford/Ellsbury come back, the OF would be: Crawford, Ellsbury, Nava, Ross, Sweeney? Is that the general thinking?

   20. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4176908)
I would trade Sweeney or Ross but I'm probably in the minority.
   21. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4176912)
I'm not sure whether I agree with MC on the bullpen credit going to Bobby/McClure. I don't recall that being the case in the past. Were Tito and Farrell blamed for Javier Lopez's mediocrity, for the blowup of Eric Gagne, or for Ramon Ramirez being blah (I know I blamed Jose)? Were they credited with the successes of Okajima and Bard? Should they have been?


I think that was the case to some extent. I think the difference is that the bullpens in those years were a bit more obvious. Tito certainly took a lot of blame for his use of Lopez but that Lopez sucked wasn't blamed on him because we knew Lopez sucked. At the same time a guy like Bard was expected to be a star reliever so it's not like Tito/Farrell were getting a lot of credit for turning him into something. Obviously Ramon Ramirez was entirely my fault.

This year's bullpen is a different animal. It's not like the Sox are getting this done with a bunch of guys we said "oh yeah, he'll be awesome" back in the Spring. I think there is credit to be given to Valentine/McClure for the way they've recognized and deployed the hot hands pretty well. The other thing they've done well is use guys for multiple innings. I really like that aspect of Valentine's style, if a guy is pitching well he stays with him, that's had an impact in a few games.
   22. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4176914)
I would trade Sweeney or Ross but I'm probably in the minority.


I would trade Sweeney in a heartbeat and let Kalish have the job. Ross I'm a bit more hesitant to deal but he's obviously not a guy you take off the table completely. I can see him being valuable to a lot of teams and if the Sox can swing a useful deal, by all means have a go.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4176917)
I don't recall that being the case in the past. Were Tito and Farrell blamed for Javier Lopez's mediocrity, for the blowup of Eric Gagne, or for Ramon Ramirez being blah (I know I blamed Jose)? Were they credited with the successes of Okajima and Bard? Should they have been?
Yes. Farrell got tons of credit in particular for Okajima - it was Farrell who saw that Okajima's split-change that he was just messing around with in a side session was actually a major league strikeout pitch.

In general, Farrell got a lot of credit for the Red Sox bullpens. After he arrived in town, the Red Sox suddenly started getting consistently above average results from the pen. He had top-3 bullpens in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The Farrell effect wore off in 2010, and the 2011 bullpen was actually a little better than Farrell's last.
   24. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4176920)
Not sure where Nava will end up but his numbers against LHP are miserable - small sample alert. He might work best in a platoon but that gives them a flotilla of platoon OFs to mix and match with Ells.
   25. TomH Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4176926)
note: The Sox are on pace to shatter the team record for most doubles in a season, currently 376. If you check the road/home splits, you will see that Fenway's rep as a haven for two baggers is THE factor. The Sawx are averaging exactly three 2Bs per game at home, which is absurd; it must be 5 or so standard deviations over the norm.
   26. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4176932)
Off topic, but I was actually shocked in last night's game that Sweeney was not taken out after he hit his head on the wall. With the "concussion emphasis" in all professional sports, I thought it was a no-brainer (pardon the almost-pun) to do that.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4176934)
So when Crawford/Ellsbury come back, the OF would be: Crawford, Ellsbury, Nava, Ross, Sweeney? Is that the general thinking?
The Crawford discussion here seems to have a bit of multiple personality disorder.

1) Crawford is injured and terrible
2) What do we do when Crawford inevitably returns?

There's a not insignificant chance that Crawford won't be ready to play everyday anytime soon. I think there's a not insignificant chance that he can be a productive player if he returns, but I don't think either is a given.

Ross/Sweeney seems like a classic corner outfield platoon. Ross/Nava could work if you also go to a more complicated offense/defense R/L platoon with closer to 50/50 job-sharing. Ross is the indispensible man for the outfield depth. There's likely to be a period when Ellsbury is back but Crawford is still rehabbing, and that period could run for the rest of the season. I think splitting the corner OF jobs three ways between Ross, Nava, and Sweeney would work out very well.

Kalish has looked terrible at the plate - I think he's just rusty after a year plus of not playing organized baseball. Even in 2010, he was clearly still a work in progress at the plate. I think he could really use a month in AAA working on his approach.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4176942)
Not sure where Nava will end up but his numbers against LHP are miserable - small sample alert. He might work best in a platoon but that gives them a flotilla of platoon OFs to mix and match with Ells.
Nava has looked bad to me batting righty, but it could just be a results effect. Platoon splits take years of data to solidify, and Nava's current split looks like a classic BABIP fluke (.200 from the right side, .360 from the left). Jed Lowrie had a big BABIP split as a Red Sox, and it's actually reversed in Houston - it was probably just random variation all along.

Nava actually has better non-BABIP component stats from the right side this year, in a tiny sample.

.170 Iso, 11 BB vs 7 K - as RHB
.145 Iso, 15 BB vs 27 K - as LHB
   29. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4176956)
The Crawford discussion here seems to have a bit of multiple personality disorder.

1) Crawford is injured and terrible
2) What do we do when Crawford inevitably returns?


Not sure that's multiple personalities at work but even if #1 is correct (I'm not saying it is but guess we won't know until 2013), #2 is still in play.

He has little trade value. He has a massive contract. Sox have to play him and hope he isn't a poor man's Vernon Wells (not that either are poor).
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4176967)
Not if he's injured, they don't. He could be unable to play, and given the injury, the Sox could shut him down if he's not playing well.

It's possible for (1) and (2) to overlap, but not acknowledging the possibility that they could conflict is what I find odd.
   31. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4176984)
Is there a question what to do with him if he's too injured to play this year? That's the situation which has an answer - he has to get healthy.

It's #1b where they have a problem. If he sucks then what do they do? This year, if healthy, he plays. Next year is almost the bigger problem. If he was terrible in 2012 then they have a real issue in 2013. He would have no value, except with his accountant, but the Sox would still have to try and extract value, which means playing him. Either way, if healthy, they're stuck playing him until June 1, 2013.
   32. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4177004)
Is his contract insured? In other words, is there any economic value to his being on the DL as opposed to playing badly?

My guess is that the answer is "no". I think Albert Belle killed contract insurance. But has this been discussed/explored?
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4177007)
He would have no value, except with his accountant, but the Sox would still have to try and extract value, which means playing him.
Well, if the Red Sox know he's bad, they shouldn't play him.

The issue here is uncertainty. If Crawford has surgery on his elbow and returns healthy, no one will be certain on how good he projects to be. So there would be a risk that the Red Sox might play him when he wasn't good enough to contribute, but it would be because they thought the chance he was good was high enough to risk playing him. There will not be a time when we know Carl Crawford is terrible and the Red Sox know that too but are required by some unseen force to play him.

I don't get the certainty with Crawford. Excellent player, had a terrible year, had a lost year to injury. No one, anywhere, knows what kind of player Carl Crawford is right now.
   34. tjm1 Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4177027)
Some other Nava comparisons: Jim Dwyer, and Terry Crowley. He's probably better defensively than either of them were, but they were both late bloomers who were decent reserves despite having little power or speed.
   35. Textbook Editor Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4177031)
No matter what Crawford's worth, when he comes back he'll be in LF everyday with plenty of rope to hang himself. They won't bench him if he's physically able to play, because the only possible way to build any kind of trade value is to play him and hope he bounces back. Now as to whether or not he's able to play... that's a whole different question, of course.
   36. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4177032)
I don't get the certainty with Crawford. Excellent player, had a terrible year, had a lost year to injury. No one, anywhere, knows what kind of player Carl Crawford is right now.


There's no certainty with me. I have no idea what he'll become. But the uncertainty is the biggest issue as it forces the Sox to dedicate playing time to a player who might suck. And playing a .650 OPS guy in LF is a big hole to fill.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4177033)
They won't bench him if he's physically able to play, because the only possible way to build any kind of trade value is to play him and hope he bounces back.
Youkilis was benched well before he was traded. If the Sox don't want Crawford playing, he won't play.

The reason he's likely to play isn't this cynical "build his value" thing - it's because the Red Sox are likely to bet on Crawford being an effective ballplayer.
   38. tjm1 Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4177038)
The reason he's likely to play isn't this cynical "build his value" thing - it's because the Red Sox are likely to bet on Crawford being an effective ballplayer.


Yup. I think it's pretty clear that Crawford was playing through some hand/wrist injuries last year that sapped his effectiveness. If he's fully recovered, I don't think there's any reason to doubt that he'll return to being about as good as he was in Tampa, with some allowance for his being on the wrong end of the aging curve.
   39. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4177040)
As to Strand Rate, that's a problem for Beckett and, to a lesser extent, Doubront and Buchholz. With Buchholz it could be as simple as it's tough to strand people during a home run trot but the Sox seem to have a team issue with stranding baserunners.
   40. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4177053)
Youk was traded in a contract year. They've got 5+ more years of Crawford. He'll play when healthy (or deemed healthy)--no doubt about that. Even if the Sox think he's probably not good, they'll give him plenty of time to prove them wrong.
   41. Dale Sams Posted: July 09, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4177062)
Youk had an option actually.

And as I've said elsewhere, it's going to be a real kick in the teeth when the White Sox exercise it.
   42. Textbook Editor Posted: July 09, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4177102)
Even if the Sox think he's probably not good, they'll give him plenty of time to prove them wrong.


Yup. There's simply no way he's benched unless hurt again, even if he's at .200/.230/.300. This isn't a Youk situation. Regardless of what Valentine thinks, Crawford will be the LF 90% of the time he's on the roster and available.
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4177113)
I simply don't buy that the Red Sox would (a) evaluate Carl Crawford as a very bad baseball player and then (b) play him everyday. Where is the evidence that they would?

What you're imagining, I think is a situation where the Red Sox think Carl Crawford is still a good baseball player who isn't playing well. That's obviously what happened last year. It's true it'll take time for the Red Sox to make that determination, but that's still not evidence that the Sox will cynically or due to some unseen economic force play Crawford despite expecting him to be bad.

It may be that some Boston Red Sox fans will conclude before the Boston Red Sox do that Carl Crawford is a bad baseball player (many already have), but that's just evidence of differing evaluations.
   44. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4177123)
I'm not arguing they'll do it cynically (so maybe we agree). I'm saying they will play him even if they think he's probably not good anymore because they've got $100 mil. more that they're going to pay him and they're going to make darn sure before they give up on him.

I don't have a lot of this "evidence" you keep talking about. But they stuck with replacement level Julio Lugo for almost three years before pulling the plug. They let Lackey pitch all of last year, even though they must have, at some point, thought he was incapable. Mike Cameron may be relevant--he seemed obviously useless but kept getting played day after day. They're even playing this AGonz guy even though everyone knows he sucks! ;)
   45. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4177129)
What you're imagining, I think is a situation where the Red Sox think Carl Crawford is still a good baseball player who isn't playing well. That's obviously what happened last year. It's true it'll take time for the Red Sox to make that determination, but that's still not evidence that the Sox will cynically or due to some unseen economic force play Crawford despite expecting him to be bad.


My point is they don't know, at this time, what he is and the only way to find out is to play him until such time that they do know. This means that even if he plays poorly in 2012 they'll be forced to try again in 2013. If he sucks for a few months in 2013 then they have a big sunk cost on the end of the bench.

If he plays well in 2012 then he'll get more rope in 2013 no matter how he performs.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4177136)
My point is they don't know, at this time, what he is and the only way to find out is to play him until such time that they do know. This means that even if he plays poorly in 2012 they'll be forced to try again in 2013.
That's a weird use of the word "forced". If the Red Sox evaluate Crawford as the best LF option for the club, they're not "forced" to play him, they're choosing to play him.
   47. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4177143)
Wow, had no clue this read of Cherington was even out there. I think his record's fantastic to date.
   48. Swedish Chef Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4177146)
If the Red Sox evaluate Crawford as the best LF option for the club, they're not "forced" to play him, they're choosing to play him.

The big reason CC is the best option is the millstone of a contract that will be completely wasted unless he recovers. So betting on CC's recovery is both their best option and a forced move.
   49. Darren Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4177148)

Wow, had no clue this read of Cherington was even out there. I think his record's fantastic to date.


How do the Lowrie, Reddick, and Bard moves fit into this reading?
   50. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4177151)
Wow, had no clue this read of Cherington was even out there. I think his record's fantastic to date.
Cherington's trades:

1) Josh Reddick for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney - bad trade so far, likely to get worse
2) Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon - bad trade so far
3) Marco Scutaro for Clayton Mortensen - good trade
4) Kevin Youkilis for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart - bad trade so far, hard to imagine it getting better

He also staked his pitching decisions for the offseason on converting Daniel Bard to the rotation. The reason he made trades (1) and (2) was to stabilize the bullpen in Bard's absence. This has been a definitive, total failure.

Cherington did a very good job acquiring depth for the bench and bullpen. His cheap signings of Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, Scott Podsednik, Vincente Padilla, Andrew Miller, and Scott Atchison have turned out quite well.

I don't see his good work with depth as coming particularly close to balancing out the failures of the larger moves.
   51. jmurph Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4177159)
While not nearly as consequential as some of the other moves, I also don't understand a world in which it makes sense to give Nick Punto a 2 year deal.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4177166)
The big reason CC is the best option is the millstone of a contract that will be completely wasted unless he recovers.
No, it isn't. The big reason CC is the best option is that he still projects as a good player, and the Red Sox rightly expect him to be a good player if he's healthy. The contract is at most a marginal concern.

Put another way, if the Sox at some point in the future stop expecting Carl Crawford to be a good player, I doubt they'll keep playing him. (Unless they don't have other options, of course.)
   53. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4177174)

I don't have a lot of this "evidence" you keep talking about. But they stuck with replacement level Julio Lugo for almost three years before pulling the plug. They let Lackey pitch all of last year, even though they must have, at some point, thought he was incapable. Mike Cameron may be relevant--he seemed obviously useless but kept getting played day after day. They're even playing this AGonz guy even though everyone knows he sucks! ;)


I don't think I agree with your read. Lugo was only on the team for 2 1/2 years during which he missed half of season 2 to injury then in year 3 lost his job to Nick Bleepin' Green. You can argue the Sox stuck with him too long in season 2 but he'd had a solid second half in 2007 and a .355 OBP in 2008 so he wasn't killing them. Similarly Cameron got hurt, then got punted fairly quickly. He made 43 starts in 2010 and just 25 in 2011 before being released with ~$4 million owed to him. They weren't really loaded with options to replace Lackey last year.

Additionally, I think their actions with Coco Crisp (Ellsbury), Keith Foulke (Papelbon) and Mike Lowell (Kotchman) were consistent with a team willing to punt on big money guys. As fans we probably (definitely?) overreact and want guys punted sooner than is wise but I think the Sox during the Theo/Tito era were better than most teams about kicking big money guys to the bench when they had a viable alternative.

You can certainly argue they should have been more aggressive in some cases (Youk vs. Millar) but I don't think it is difficult to see why they made the calls they did.
   54. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 09, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4177175)
Don't mean to nitpick but a couple of those names in [50] didn't sound right.

Atchison was signed in December 2009.
Miller was signed in December 2010.

This year Cherington/the current FO went out and got:
Byrd
Ross
Punto
Shoppach
Podsednik
Gomez
Ciriaco
Repko
Lillibridge
Padilla
Melancon
Hill (re-signed)
Mortensen
Cook
Justin Thomas
Germano

Jesus, that's a ton of guys.
   55. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4177186)
Cherington's trades:

1) Josh Reddick for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney - bad trade so far, likely to get worse
2) Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon - bad trade so far
3) Marco Scutaro for Clayton Mortensen - good trade
4) Kevin Youkilis for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart - bad trade so far, hard to imagine it getting better

He also staked his pitching decisions for the offseason on converting Daniel Bard to the rotation. The reason he made trades (1) and (2) was to stabilize the bullpen in Bard's absence. This has been a definitive, total failure.

Cherington did a very good job acquiring depth for the bench and bullpen. His cheap signings of Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, Scott Podsednik, Vincente Padilla, Andrew Miller, and Scott Atchison have turned out quite well.

I don't see his good work with depth as coming particularly close to balancing out the failures of the larger moves.


The Red Sox are .500 with just incredible collective under-performance from its three best position players (Pedroia, Ellsbury, Gonzalez) and three best starting pitchers (Lester, Beckett, Buchholz), none of whom Cherington signed or extended. That is to say nothing of Carl Crawford or Kevin Youkils. Their run differential being what it is, their remaining in contention, are both a credit to Cherington.

I have no idea at all how the Reddick deal can get worse. He's playing better than he ever has in his life, while Bailey hasn't pitched an inning yet. Sweeney's been pretty effective. Lowrie's been awful for about a month now. The Youk situation was completely untenable.

I also reject the idea that trades 1 and 2 were influenced by Bard. If it were such an "eggs in one basket" move then why are Cook, Germano, and Padilla around? Rotation and bullpen depth were priorities with or without Bard in the rotation. Yes it failed but it was a worthwhile risk with effective contingencies in place.

While not nearly as consequential as some of the other moves, I also don't understand a world in which it makes sense to give Nick Punto a 2 year deal.


After last season, a gamer type with a very good glove and up-and-down bat was a defensible add. I am guessing two years was Punto's market if they gave it to him.

====

But really it gets back to Pedroia, Gonzalez, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Crawford, Lester, Beckett and Buchholz. Merely bearish and not catastrophic output from this group and the Sox are probably fighting for 1st place in the division. That they're contending at all with so little from those eight, again, reflects well on Cherington's work to date.
   56. Swedish Chef Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4177187)
Put another way, if the Sox at some point in the future stop expecting Carl Crawford to be a good player, I doubt they'll keep playing him. (Unless they don't have other options, of course.)

Sure they would, if they thought there was a 70% chance that he was cooked, the upside from the 30% chance that he's not would make it a no-brainer to play him.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4177199)
I have no idea at all how the Reddick deal can get worse. He's playing better than he ever has in his life, while Bailey hasn't pitched an inning yet. Sweeney's been pretty effective. Lowrie's been awful for about a month now.
The Reddick deal can get worse because he's under team control and cheap for several more years, while Sweeney and Bailey will be free agent priced next year and then gone. Lowrie's been slumping, but everyone slumps. He's still playing at an All-Star level, while Melancon looks like back-end bullpen filler. Those are bad trades.
I also reject the idea that trades 1 and 2 were influenced by Bard. If it were such an "eggs in one basket" move then why are Cook, Germano, and Padilla around?
Cook, Germano, and Padilla are around because Cherington needed some depth at 6th/7th/8th starter. He would have acquired a 4th/5th starter if he hadn't been committed to converting Bard. That all follows directly.

Most importantly, the Bard trade influenced trades (1) and (2) because the Bard conversion left the Red Sox without a closer. In order to acquire a closer and a set-up man, Cherington traded away two guys who would have massively improved the Red Sox this year and into the future.
The Youk situation was completely untenable.
The Youkilis trade is defensible if that's the case. There is very little actual evidence that it is the case.
   58. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4177222)
The Reddick deal can get worse because he's under team control and cheap for several more years, while Sweeney and Bailey will be free agent priced next year and then gone. Lowrie's been slumping, but everyone slumps. He's still playing at an All-Star level, while Melancon looks like back-end bullpen filler. Those are bad trades.


This is some serious results-based analysis. If we're going to look at these deals as such, sure, here and now now you're right. Suppose I will check back in every few months or so for real-time updates on how they're looking.

The Youkilis trade is defensible if that's the case. There is very little actual evidence that it is the case.


Think of the implications here. There's appealing to authority on one end of the spectrum, and there's affording accomplished people with more information than you no deference at all on the other.

Do you think that the Red Sox FO didn't consider the possibility that Kevin Youkilis might still be a good hitter? Do you think they believe they got an equal return? Panning the trade on the grounds that Kevin Youkilis is really good at baseball and the guys the Red Sox got back are not ignores what I would call "actual evidence" of additional and relevant considerations but your threshold may be higher.
   59. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4177227)
Cook, Germano, and Padilla are around because Cherington needed some depth at 6th/7th/8th starter. He would have acquired a 4th/5th starter if he hadn't been committed to converting Bard. That all follows directly.

Most importantly, the Bard trade influenced trades (1) and (2) because the Bard conversion left the Red Sox without a closer. In order to acquire a closer and a set-up man, Cherington traded away two guys who would have massively improved the Red Sox this year and into the future.


Don't even know what to say here. You're just throwing rotation slot numbers out at me. All appear to be MLB caliber pitchers. And "massively," good grief. Sure, extrapolate out Reddick/Lowrie All-Star-to-MVP caliber seasons for years and years and you're right.
   60. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4177230)
This is some serious results-based analysis.


The fact is that there were ample reasons, voice by many, not to make the Reddick and Lowrie deals at the time they were made. I supported both deals but there were valid arguments against them. And the fact is that at the end of the day it's a results oriented business. Cherington made moves that could have gone either way and got them wrong. That's got to be part of the analysis.
   61. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4177236)
That's got to be part of the analysis.


And it is. I just think what he's done outside of those deals, effectively keeping this team in contention while "stars" his predecessor inked with what might have been his budget fail miserably, outweighs the three-month returns on those two trades.
   62. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4177238)
And it is. I just think what he's done outside of those deals, effectively keeping this team in contention while "stars" his predecessor inked with what might have been his budget fail miserably, outweighs the three-month returns on those two trades.
If these three months comprise the only three months in which the Lowrie and Reddick deals pan out badly for the Red Sox, then I will retract the majority of my criticism of Cherington. I'm criticizing him because I expect both deals to only look worse with time. If the facts change, so will my opinions.
Do you think that the Red Sox FO didn't consider the possibility that Kevin Youkilis might still be a good hitter? Do you think they believe they got an equal return? Panning the trade on the grounds that Kevin Youkilis is really good at baseball and the guys the Red Sox got back are not ignores what I would call "actual evidence" of additional and relevant considerations but your threshold may be higher.
I agree that the Red Sox front office is broadly competent. Highly competent people have done far, far stupider things than trading away Kevin Youkilis. Their overall competence does not serve as strong evidence that one specific thing they did wasn't stupid.

I do think that the Red Sox front office thought the Youkilis situation was untenable. I don't see much evidence that they were right.

EDIT: rephrasing / re-writing my point in the last section
   63. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4177243)
The difference is that in my opinion Cherington has heavily missed on the big decisions. By all means he deserves credit for the issues you bring up but the successes of guys at the bottom of the roster are vastly outpaced by the loss of Reddick (3.5 WAR) and Lowrie (2.3).


+2.3 Ross
+1.0 Shoppach
+0.9 Podsednik
+0.7 Sweeney
+0.5 Ciriaco
+0.5 Mortensen
+0.2 Germano
+0.0 Padilla
-0.1 Gomez
-0.2 Cook
---------------
+5.8 Motley Crue
(not counting the loss of +2.0 Aviles because Lowrie is playing SS full time in this alternate reality)

The salient point is that this isn't an either/or proposition: they could have had both the better depth and Reddick/Lowrie. But they've gotten a lot of value out of the moves I'd listed, exactly as much as Lowrie and Reddick (without accounting for the WAR lost by benching Aviles, etc.).

I'l grant there are moves that don't fare so well (e.g. Marlon Byrd).

(Tangent: Does Ross sign with Boston if they'd committed to Reddick in RF? Ross' opportunity would have appeared to have been full-time replacement for Crawford until he's back, then bench player. Does the job-sharing role with Sweeney appeal to him? I honestly don't know; it's hard to gauge these kind of second-order impacts of switching to an alternate reality.)

EDIT: I posted the above after not having refreshed the page for about two hours or so. Cokes if I made things redundant.
   64. Guapo Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4177247)
Bill Simmons on Twitter:

I can't believe how profoundly screwed up the 2012 Red Sox are behind the scenes. The stories I am hearing in KC are just unfathomable.
   65. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4177251)
I can't believe how profoundly screwed up the 2012 Red Sox are behind the scenes. The stories I am hearing in KC are just unfathomable.


What an annoying comment (EDIT: not Guapo, Simmons) - I don't trust Bill Simmons' ideas about this stuff at all. I want details!
   66. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4177258)
(Tangent: Does Ross sign with Boston if they'd committed to Reddick in RF? Ross' opportunity would have appeared to have been full-time replacement for Crawford until he's back, then bench player. Does the job-sharing role with Sweeney appeal to him? I honestly don't know; it's hard to gauge these kind of second-order impacts of switching to an alternate reality.)
Ross didn't sign with Boston until Crawford went under the knife. I assume he would have signed with Boston for the same reason at the same time if Reddick rather than Sweeney were penciled in at RF.

On the list, the baseline isn't zero. Cherington spent $10M on guaranteed contracts for Ross, Sweeney, Punto, Padilla, Shoppach, Miller, and Albers, plus several million more on split contracts for the other guys. You expect to get several WAR - Cherington only gets credited with the surplus.

Added point - Aviles' 2.0 WAR is a function of his DRS rating. DRS has a huge bug in it related to infield defensive shifts, and Aviles is currently rated at a bugnuts +13 - Ozzie Smith territory. That's got to be wrong.
   67. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4177274)
Lowrie's been slumping, but everyone slumps.
Like, say, Pedroia. And Youkilis. And Lowrie last year when he was playing hurt.

I've honestly no idea if Lowrie is hurt now, but if we have to choose between "healthy for 3 months, but slumping for 1" and "healthy for 2 months and playing through an undisclosed injury for 1", and it's Lowrie we're talking about, I'm not betting against the latter.
   68. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4177278)
On the list, the baseline isn't zero.
Agreed.
   69. Textbook Editor Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4177279)
I want details!


Oh, don't fret. I'm pretty sure we're just another 0-6 stretch away from hearing all the gory details.

So who gets to play Tito v2.0 once the Bobby V era ends?
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4177280)
I've honestly no idea if Lowrie is hurt now, but if we have to choose between "healthy for 3 months, but slumping for 1" and "healthy for 2 months and playing through an undisclosed injury for 1", and it's Lowrie we're talking about, I'm not betting against the latter.
Nah, it looks like a random BABIP fluke. During his slump in June, Lowrie had a ridiculous .275 Iso and a .210 BABIP. He's not hitting for power in July, but he is making reasonable contact and it's only been eight games.
   71. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4177291)
Oh, don't fret. I'm pretty sure we're just another 0-6 stretch away from hearing all the gory details.
We got basically one gory detail last offseason. Chicken'n'beer. Everything else that happened in that clubhouse was relayed in the vaguest of terms. I expect we'll get just as little this time around.

My guess is that, if it's true the clubhouse and front office are still disaster areas, there will eventually be a book. But until then, local sports media don't usually pull off good reporting in these sorts of situations.
   72. Textbook Editor Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4177296)
But until then, local sports media don't usually pull off good reporting in these sorts of situations.


I suspect it won't be a local guy who fires the first salvo. It'll either come from a national guy or a Chicago guy who worked Youkilis and Epstein for stories/details.
   73. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4177301)
My guess is that, if it's true the clubhouse and front office are still disaster areas, there will eventually be a book.


Even if it isn't true, I'll bet there's at least one or two books already commissioned about the 2011 season.
   74. booond Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4177310)
I suspect it won't be a local guy who fires the first salvo.


Olney already fired off a salvo. Soon after that Youk was traded.
   75. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4177319)
(Tangent: Does Ross sign with Boston if they'd committed to Reddick in RF? Ross' opportunity would have appeared to have been full-time replacement for Crawford until he's back, then bench player. Does the job-sharing role with Sweeney appeal to him? I honestly don't know; it's hard to gauge these kind of second-order impacts of switching to an alternate reality.)

Nope! My alternate-timeline analysis:
If Lowrie stays, ceteris paribus:
1. No Punto signing
2. No Middlebrooks call-up
If Reddick stays, ceteris paribus:
1. No Ross
2. Edwin Jackson with the Scutaro/Ross money
3. hence no Doubront in the OD rotation
   76. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4177324)
I suspect it won't be a local guy who fires the first salvo.

Olney already fired off a salvo. Soon after that Youk was traded.
This kind of goes to my point. Olney has not published a single thing that could be characterized as a "detail." Outside of the Boston area, the market for actual journalism covering with evidence and sources the details of the Boston Red Sox clubhouse and front office is extremely small. Reporters can get away with Olneying, so why do the legwork of being a real journalist with sources and details? News outlets outside of Boston aren't getting that many readers who care about the full story, so why commit the time and energy of your reporters to the story when they can just re-tweet Olney?

The Globe is the only news outlet that attempted to write a real journalistic account of the 2011 disaster, and Bob Hohler failed at the job. I don't expect other news outlets to do better this time.
   77. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4177334)
The Globe is the only news outlet that attempted to write a real journalistic account of the 2011 disaster, and Bob Hohler failed at the job.


How do you know this? I didn't like the article and didn't agree with the conclusions. But how do you personally know that it was unsourced and inaccurate?
   78. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4177340)
It is sourced and (probably) accurate. It fails to tell a coherent, detailed, compelling story of the 2011 disaster.
   79. villageidiom Posted: July 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4177375)
Nah, it looks like a random BABIP fluke. During his slump in June, Lowrie had a ridiculous .275 Iso and a .210 BABIP. He's not hitting for power in July, but he is making reasonable contact and it's only been eight games.
The bulk of that ISO came in his first 7 games in June.

June 1-9 : .577 ISO, .316 BABIP
June 10-30 : .147 ISO, .167 BABIP
July 1-8 : .037 ISO, .227 BABIP

I know we're (OK, I'm) splitting hairs here, but the bulk of his June is much more like the first week of July than the first week in June. His power has been down for a while now, not as unfathomably bad as his July numbers, but still low. His LD% per Fangraphs was 12% in June, vs. 26% and 22% in April and May, respectively. That would suggest the BABIP fluke isn't due as much to a string of right-at-'em shots but generally weaker contact.

Like I say, I honestly have no idea if he's hurt, but I'm not betting against it.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4177383)
I know we're (OK, I'm) splitting hairs here, but the bulk of his June is much more like the first week of July than the first week in June.
No way. .150 Iso is not low. The best-case scenario on Lowrie long-term is a .200 Iso, and there's no meaningful difference, in a 20 game sample, between a .150 and a .200 Iso. His July is terrible in a way entirely dissimilar from his June numbers.
   81. OCD SS Posted: July 10, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4178099)
For me, the Reddick trade is worrying because it continues a pattern of poor talent evaluation married to bad health evaluations.

We all new that one of Reddick or Kalish was eventually going to be traded, and it just seems like the FO liked Kalish's skill set better, even though Reddick had the higher upside. Kalish needed to be healthy to realize his tools, and they bet on that assuming that Reddick's plate discipline would never fully mature and that that would hamper his hitting long term.

But both Kalish and Bailey have struggled with health throughout their careers (and you can add a whole list of other players on the roster) and that looks like a foolish bet now.
   82. Dan Posted: July 10, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4178535)
Kevin Youkilis was named AL Player of the Week for the last week of the first half.

High 5s for Cherington and Valentine on that one.
   83. Dan Posted: July 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4182474)
And after using Mauro Gomez at third base and first base several times just a few days after dumping Youkilis, today we get Brent Lillibridge playing at first base!
   84. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 14, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4182525)
When is the last time the Sox played a game where all 25 active players were healthy and available? The roster management this year has been a joke.

And if you've got Mauro Gomez on the roster isn't a nasty lefty on the mound for the opponent the time to use him?
   85. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4182553)
I really don't get that lineup. Gomez has been an adventure in the field, but his bat has to make him a better option than Little Brent Littlebridge.
   86. Chip Posted: July 14, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4182562)
BTW, the reason someone besides Gonzalez has to play first tonight is that he didn't actually have the "flu" last night, he had "back spasms" - which he's "never had before." Which he apparently incurred reaching down to great the baby of a family he said hello to in the mall next to the hotel the team is staying in.

My money's still on a bad reaction to a cortisone shot or three they gave him in the shoulder over the ASB. Thus the constantly changing stories.
   87. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 14, 2012 at 07:10 PM (#4182574)
If this medical staff were lying to cover up a cortisone shot the story would be "we gave him a cortisone shot.". Yes, they are that inept.
   88. villageidiom Posted: July 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4182907)
Jed Lowrie has a sprained ankle, and possibly a knee injury. Anyone surprised?
   89. Joel W Posted: July 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4183673)
So you're telling me Jed Lowrie started off the season hot, then faded, and then got injured? I'm shocked, SHOCKED.
   90. Dan Posted: July 16, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4184124)
Lillibridge DFAed to activate Crawford. What the hell? We're keeping Ciriaco over Lillibridge because he's had a few lucky hits? And getting rid of the guy who had 11 homers off LHP last season and can play any position besides catcher? Who the #### is making these decisions?
   91. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 16, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4184148)
I've seen nothing from Lillibridge that makes me think he can contribute to the team. He has a career OPS+ of 67. He has an OPS under 700 in over 1000 AAA plate appearances since 2008. He hit a few homers last year, but I don't think he's likely to hit any more.

Ciriaco's not a hitter, but he is a runner and a good defensive replacement on the infield, so he brings 1.5 more skills than Lillibridge.

Of course, the Sox were willing to trade an above average major league regular for Lillibridge. That was dumb. But that's dumb whether they stick with Lillibridge or not.
   92. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 16, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4184151)
Lillibridge DFAed to activate Crawford. What the hell? We're keeping Ciriaco over Lillibridge because he's had a few lucky hits? And getting rid of the guy who had 11 homers off LHP last season and can play any position besides catcher? Who the #### is making these decisions?


Amen. You go out and get Lillibridge, nine days later Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks are both out of the lineup and you start;

Pedro Ciriaco - career .656 OPS as a minor leaguer
Mauro Gomez - at a position he has not played in three years
Nick Punto - who is Nick Punto

Then you finally just DFA Lillibridge.

Do the Sox still employ scouts and have they considered watching games without their heads jammed up their asses? What did you see in Lillibridge before his acquisition and what did you see after his acquisition that made you think the above series of events was a better choice than starting Lillibridge? Did the scouts mis-evaluate Lillibridge or did Valentine and the coaches blow it?

I'd be less bothered right now if the Sox had simply released Youk. Just a clean break "he's not fitting into this clubhouse and we need to move on" rather than trying to get worthless players in return.
   93. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4184155)
I'd be less bothered right now if the Sox had simply released Youk. Just a clean break "he's not fitting into this clubhouse and we need to move on" rather than trying to get worthless players in return.


They should have at least dangled him on waivers and dared some team to take his whole salary. They could have done that, right?
   94. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 16, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4184160)
They should have at least dangled him on waivers and dared some team to take his whole salary. They could have done that, right?


But then we wouldn't have Brent Lillibridge!!!
   95. Dan Posted: July 16, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4184258)
Ciriaco's not a hitter, but he is a runner and a good defensive replacement on the infield, so he brings 1.5 more skills than Lillibridge.


Lillibridge was probably one of the top 3 defensive OFers on the roster and can play all 4 infield positions competently. He might be worse at 2B/SS than Ciriaco, but I think the extra versatility should outweigh that for a bench guy. Lillibridge was a SS for the vast majority of his minor league career, even as recently as 2010 he played 36 games at SS in AAA. I don't know why Valentine refused to try him in the infield, but he seems perfectly capable there. He has a career 255/.321/.379 line in AAA, which certainly isn't great, but it blows the hell out of Ciriaco's .265/.281/.368 line in AAA. And Ciriaco spent 1 of his 3 AAA seasons in RENO IN THE PCL! And while Ciriaco was showing he can't hit in AAA, Lillibridge has hit LHP for a .277/.331/.523 line over the last 2.5 seasons, despite this year's disaster in a small sample.

I see no reason to think that Ciriaco was taken over Lilliibridge besides Ciriaco's decent BA in the majors so far that he has compiled due to a .469 BABIP over 66 PA. Lillibridge is not a great player, but he seems to have a much better chance of actually being useful in MLB than Ciriaco.
   96. Dan Posted: July 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4184264)
Olney's latest rumor is that the Red Sox are after Dempster. If Cherington trades significant talent for half a season of 35 year-old Dempster based on a solid first half that looks great due to unsustainably low BABIP and high strand rate, then he is officially incompetent.

I am now absolutely terrified of the trade deadline with Ben and LL calling all the shots.
   97. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 17, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4184665)
I don't really see Lillibridge's OF defense as a significant point in his favor, so long as the Sox have Crawford, Ellsbury, and Kalish in the org. Plus Sweeney for now. His offensive projection is a .283 wOBA, Ciriaco's is a .268. Ciriaco's more useful at the positions where the Sox actually need depth right now, plus his baserunning has tactical utility. I don't really care either way, and I'd trust Bobby V at this point to judge the talent of the players on his roster. (It's interacting with them that's the problem.)

Alex Speier reports that the Sox are not after Dempster. I don't see Dempster as a particularly good fit for this squad. A legit ace in the Hamels/Greinke mold would obviously help, if the Sox can get a reasonable price. But the Sox seem to be in position to project competent average-to-below-average pitching from the back of the rotation, which makes a somewhat above average pitcher a low-leverage acquisition.
   98. jmurph Posted: July 17, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4184677)
I am now absolutely terrified of the trade deadline with Ben and LL calling all the shots.


Right there with you. Emotionally, I'm ready for a real shakeup with this team, but I acknowledge A. that doesn't necessarily make much sense from a baseball perspective, as this team, when healthy, should be quite good, and B. the Cherington Era has been extremely uninspiring to date.
   99. villageidiom Posted: July 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4184726)
Are we really arguing over who should be ranked #41 on the 40-man roster?

I think the more interesting question isn't whether Ciriaco or Lillibridge is more helpful to the team in 2012, but whether Ciriaco or Iglesias is more helpful to the team in 2013 and beyond. Discuss.
   100. Joel W Posted: July 17, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4184791)
Nobody would care about Ciriaco v. Lilibridge if they hadn't just dumped Youk for Lilibridge. Normally we would have said "the Youk trade was wrong, but now it's done and that's a sunk cost and let's analyze Ciriaco v. Lilibridge" but apparently we don't argue about the Red Sox all that rationally anymore. Because, you know, our last general manager was GREAT at the trade deadline: http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2011/07/30/history-trade-deadline-under-red-sox-gm-theo-e



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