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   1. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3653729)
Assuming that they dump Papelbon, the Sox can afford (at least in 2011 terms) three big ($10M-$13M) salaries. That means they'll have to go cheap on the bullpen, but I'd rather go that route than vice versa.

Under that scenario they can a) resign Beltre or bring in Dunn, b) keep Martinez, and c) sign an outfielder. For Option C I greatly prefer Werth, as he can move over for Drew in 2012 and I'm less concerned about his pre-2008 injury history than most. He's athletic and I believe will age well.

There are two potential problems with this approach, however:

1) The free agent market is not strong this winter. The above assumes that we'll sign three of the top six players on the free agent market. Perhaps the lack of free agents, or the Red Sox hoarding them, will drive the respective prices of these players out of the plan's (and their value's) range.

2) The 2011 draft is loaded. The draft budget may have absolutely no effect on how much the team spends on big league payroll, and the Red Sox already spend a substantial amount on the draft. But given the state of the minor league system and the availability of high quality high school talent that the loaded college class will push down to later rounds, there could be significant value in spending even more in the draft (especially if it's the last year without slotting).

If the draft and MLB roster budgets are at all dependent on each other I could see, and would not necessarily be opposed to, shifting a large chunk of the funds from that third player to the draft. If that's the case, I'd rather pick up Dunn/Beltre and Martinez than bring in an outfielder.
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3653731)
Nate-

Would you prefer Werth to Crawford at the same price, or do you prefer Werth because he'll probably be cheaper than Crawford? I mean, if Werth's going to age well due to athleticism, Crawford should age tremendously well. Overall, I don't see the difference between the two as all that huge, but I do think that Crawford has both a higher established level of performance and a longer history of performance at a high level, and I think Crawford projects to age better than pretty much any non-superstar in the game. He's been adding walks and power to his game, and should be able to offset a loss of speed and batting average with improved "old-player skills" as time goes on.

But, as I said, I don't think the difference is all that great, and I would not want to give either of these guys a superstar contract. Maybe the main conclusion I'm drawing from this analyis is that we shoulda gone after Holliday last year.
   3. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:36 PM (#3653733)
Agreed on Holliday.

I'd take Werth at the same price. I know there's some disagreement on this, but I'm not completely sold that Crawford's defensive value won't be limited somewhat by playing at Fenway. I also prefer to have someone capable of playing right field well and I'd much rather have a RF than LF locked up long-term.
   4. Textbook Editor Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:46 PM (#3653741)
I've seen Werth play a lot of games the past 3 years living in Philly. I much prefer Werth to Crawford. Werth in a lot of ways is a prototypical Boston-type player: takes walks, hits for power. But he also plays good defense, has a great arm, and is a really smart baserunner. You wouldn't see him making that out at 3rd to end the game that Crawford made against the Yankees a couple of weeks back.

Even at the same price/years, I'd prefer Werth.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:47 PM (#3653742)
Nate - actually, it turns out I agree with you. I had a typo in the spreadsheet that caused me to undercount Werth's value. This is the proper comparison:

+16 Off +10 Def -5.5 PosAdj +17.5 Rep = +38 (Crawford)
+25.5 Off +1.5 Def -5 PosAdj +16 Rep = +38 (Werth)
and for fun...
+34.5 Off +1.5 Def -6 PosAdj +17.5 Rep = +47.5 (Holliday)

I'd prefer Crawford because I think my method uses endpoints that are too kind to Werth, and I think Crawford projects to age particularly well. This would only make a difference around the edges though.

For me, then, say 5/70 for Crawford and 5/65 or 4/55 for Werth.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:49 PM (#3653743)
TE-

Crawford's a very smart baserunner. Even if we're going by anecdotal evidence, that one play (which was caused by a ridiculously perfect throw from RF) is not even close to a fair evaluation of Crawford's baserunning skill or value.
   7. caprules Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:49 PM (#3653744)
How many teams are going to have lots of money to spend this year?

I've glanced through brefs payroll feature for each team, and it seems like the Tigers and Brewers are among the teams that have the most money coming off the books (I'm not really counting the Yankees, as they presumably are going to spend a huge chunk of money retaining FA to be).

I don't know the Tigers enough to know where they are going to spend money, but they could be one of the major competitors for one of the OF (and possibly Beltre, or are they going to bring back Inge?)

One idea with some popularity at a Brewer fan site is to trade Fielder for a young starter, move Hart to 1B, and then go after Werth or Crawford. If the Brewers trade Fielder, they could have $35-$40M to spend, and not enough attractive targets to spend it on.
   8. Dan Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:52 PM (#3653745)
I agree with Nate that signing Dunn or Beltre should be priority 1, but I think that after that I'd rather see them sign Crawford or Werth than re-sign Martinez. Personally I favor Werth because I'd rather have a guy with better patience and power than someone whose value is tied up in playing a good defensive LF with 81 games being in Fenway (plus as Mikael notes he should command a bit less money and maybe 1-2 fewer years too). LF defense isn't irrelevant at Fenway or anything, but if the Red Sox are only getting even 90% of the guy's defensive value then Crawford isn't a great fit. Another factor in favor of Werth would be his ability to balance out the handedness of the lineup if the Sox don't bring back Beltre.

I'm not that high on bringing back Martinez because I think the Red Sox should really go hard after Napoli. His cost certainly won't be trivial in trade, but it seems pretty likely that the Angels will move him. Even with Morales missing 5 months they didn't play the guy every day, so it's clear that the Angels (or at least Scioscia) just don't really like the guy for whatever reason. I'm not sure what the numbers say, but to my eyes Napoli's defense looks fine at catcher. Iannetta would be another option if the Angels aren't reasonable in their demands for Napoli.
   9. Dan Posted: October 03, 2010 at 04:54 PM (#3653746)
Maybe the main conclusion I'm drawing from this analyis is that we shoulda gone after Holliday last year.

100 times this. Holliday was the guy I wanted the Sox to go after last year, but for whatever reason they decided to go the Lackey/Cameron route. Now I didn't expect that to backfire quite so impressively, but I was never a big fan.
   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 03, 2010 at 05:27 PM (#3653750)
You wouldn't see him making that out at 3rd to end the game that Crawford made against the Yankees a couple of weeks back.

And you wouldn't expect to see Crawford picked off 2B on the 4th ball of an intentional walk. Werth had a couple of uncharacteristic brain farts this year.
   11. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 03, 2010 at 05:45 PM (#3653753)
Crawford's a very smart baserunner. Even if we're going by anecdotal evidence, that one play (which was caused by a ridiculously perfect throw from RF) is not even close to a fair evaluation of Crawford's baserunning skill or value.


It's also a result of the way Maddon prefers his team to play, he encourages aggressive baserunning and forcing the other team to make the play to stop it.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 06:24 PM (#3653767)
I think Dunn would not be a good signing. He's no better than Werth as a hitter, and every other aspect of his game is negative. If he could be had at 3/24, maybe, but otherwise I want no piece of that.

+25 Off - 13.5 Def - 7.5 PosAdj + 17 Rep = 21 Runs above Replacement

Even if you discount that defensive number by half, you've still got a guy who's not all that far above league average.
   13. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: October 03, 2010 at 06:35 PM (#3653773)
Dunn is a first basemen who then moves to DH in 2-3 years. I believe you're using his defensive numbers from the outfield -- he's nowhere near as bad at first, and I think his height may give him some advantage that the metrics aren't capturing.

Where did 25 come from for his offense? I think that's selling him short too, as he's typically 30+.

And for the record, I'd certainly take Werth/Crawford over Dunn at the same cost, but if his last negotiations are any indication Dunn is going to be much less costly.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3653779)
There's a regression to the mean factor in the calculations. Combining Fangraphs and Chone offensive numbers, I have Dunn at +24 in '08, +31 in '09 and +30 this season.
   15. plink Posted: October 03, 2010 at 06:43 PM (#3653783)
Absolutely, positively (c). It's seemed to me this year that the Sox have plenty of OF depth, but relatively little corner infielder or catcher depth. I'd absolutely prefer making sure they're set at 3B and C before making a run at an infielder.

Part of this is how "ready" Kalish has looked this year. I'd be much more content starting the year with Drew/Ellsbury/Cameron/Kalish/Nava/McDonald in the OF than I would be with Saltalamacchia starting at C or Bill Hall or Lowrie starting at 3B.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 06:56 PM (#3653797)
plink-

I should have said this in the post. By my maths, the Red Sox can probably afford three major acquisitions this offseason. Acquiring one of Werth/Crawford would not, then, require the Sox to go cheap at either 3B or C.
   17. Darren Posted: October 03, 2010 at 07:01 PM (#3653805)
I can't imagine Crawford projecting to be only a 3.7 win guy (for one thing UZR has him at +15/150 games for his career and about +20/150 for the past 3). At just 29, I can't imagine him only being worth 5/70. He'll get 6-7 years at $100M to $125M (barring some huge correction in the market). And if the Red Sox are not able to pay up for a 6 win player (6.8 this year, 5.5 last) then no one is.

The argument against signing him or Werth has more to do with the fact that other spots need to be filled and that the Sox may want to cut payroll.
   18. plink Posted: October 03, 2010 at 07:08 PM (#3653811)
MCoA -- I'm not convinced the Sox can get top-tier 3B, C, OF, while simultaneously fixing the bullpen (which needs doing, though possibly could be done cheaply) and bringing back Ortiz (which I think will happen, regardless of whether it's the right move). Could be wrong, though. Will depend on the price for V. Martinez, the OFs.
   19. plink Posted: October 03, 2010 at 07:12 PM (#3653813)
Darren, I have a hard time believing that Crawford would be a 6 win player in Fenway in his 30s.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 07:27 PM (#3653823)
Darren -

Fangraphs WAR loves Crawford (though you have to account for his 2.4 WAR 2008 in the analysis), while Chone WAR isn't as big a fan.

Using Fangraphs, I have Crawford at +44 runs. Using Chone, he's +35. The difference is mostly defense - TZ isn't particularly impressed with Crawford's defense. If you prefer UZR, which is reasonable, Crawford starts to look like a near superstar, and he's a legit superstar if you don't include a large regression component on defense.
   21. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 03, 2010 at 08:09 PM (#3653851)
From watching Crawford a lot I'd lean towards UZR's numbers, he covers tons of ground and usually gets excellent reads as well
   22. Dan Posted: October 03, 2010 at 08:45 PM (#3653896)
I'm glad that Papelbon is giving us a nice memory of his 2010 pitching to last the entire winter.
   23. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 03, 2010 at 08:50 PM (#3653902)
I'm glad that Papelbon is giving us a nice memory of his 2010 pitching to last the entire winter.

That guy looks great. The Red Sox should lock him up long-term.
   24. Darren Posted: October 04, 2010 at 12:29 AM (#3654142)
@19--I shouldn't have made it sound like he'd be a 6 WAR player going forward. Just meant to say that he was for the past 2 years.

Re: UZR vs. TZ, I don't know which is better. AROM claims TZ is better now, but I haven't seen the work behind it. That said, his UZR numbers look gaudy until you realize that they're the kind of numbers you'd expect to see if a good CF played a corner position. And that sounds like a good description of Crawford.

Overall, it seems like AROM's WAR numbers are always a lot more conservative. For example, it had Holliday at 4.8 in 08 and 5.0 in 09, projected for ~4.3 WAR in 2010. If that's the system you're using, I think you have to use a higher dollars/win ratio than used with Fangraphs WAR.

Plus, you may want to bump up the dollars/wins ratio for the fact that the Sox are willing to spend more than others.
   25. Darren Posted: October 04, 2010 at 12:33 AM (#3654148)
Fangraphs WAR loves Crawford (though you have to account for his 2.4 WAR 2008 in the analysis), while Chone WAR isn't as big a fan.


Not sure how to account for 08. Thoughts?
   26. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 02:49 PM (#3654488)
I dont want to turn this into another papelbon thread, but I really dont understand what appears to be the prevailing setiment here that the Red Sox should "go cheap on the bullpen".

Was the bullpen not one of the biggest non-health-related problems this year? And we're going to jettison good players to save $$$??? Thats not something the team with the 2nd highest payroll should be doing. You've got Bard, you've got Papelbon. One underpaid, one overpaid. Despite the varying degrees of animosity here towards the intelligent one of the pair, both are above average pitchers. Why get rid of above average talent bacause he's overpaid? Could you spend the money more efficiently? Maybe, no guarrantee when talking about $16M+ for Crawford or Werth, but in the end who cares.

You've got to fill the bullpen out and theres no guarrantee you're going to be able to do it thru free agency. Lets face it, if theres one thing Theo has not been successful at, its building a bullpen on the cheap. Probablly more accurate for me to say that he's not adept at identifying which arms to keep and which to jettison. Witness Okajima this year and holding on to Timlin way too long, the Kyle Snyder experience, etc. All the while jettisoning guys like Aardsma, Riske, Pineiro, JC Romero, who all went on to show they could still pitch after failing in a 12 inning tryout in Boston.

Ramon Ramirez anyone?

Anyways, Papelbon is not the problem. His arbitration # will not prevent the Red Sox from acquiring what they need to fill out the team. The best case scenario for the performance of any free agent you bring in is probablly Papelbon, so why get rid of whats not the problem?

If you want to save money, how about not overpaying at positions you've got money locked up. You need more than 2 bullpen arms. You dont need 4 starting OFs. Werth or Crawford are without a doubt improvements, but that means eating to some extent Camerons $7M or not finding out whether Ellsbury can give you cost-benefit over the next 2 years. And to even try that you'd have to overpay for Werth or Crawford to bring them here in the first place.

I dont want to go cheap on anything, nor do I think the Red Sox need to, especially with Youkilis, Pedroia, Lester, Buchholz, Bard, and potentially Ellsbury providing a core with a huge amount of relative value. They should spend money to address their holes. The bullpen is a huge gaping hole.
   27. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 03:09 PM (#3654513)
I would prefer Crawford over Werth given the choice of either/or. Werth seems like the kind of guy who is going to have a very short lifespan as a significant contributor while I think Crawford is likely to be pretty valuable over the life of his contract.

I think on top of that I'd rather spend the money/years on Beltre than Adam Dunn. Dunn is a very productive player but, not to go all Marty Brenaman on you but he is the type of guy who can be pitched to in a key spot. He's not a stiff in those situations but he becomes a lesser hitter and I have a feeling he is the type of guy who is incredibly frustrating when he is on your team. Beltre helps you on both sides of the ball, Dunn actively hurts you in one respect.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3654526)
Anyways, Papelbon is not the problem. His arbitration # will not prevent the Red Sox from acquiring what they need to fill out the team. The best case scenario for the performance of any free agent you bring in is probablly Papelbon, so why get rid of whats not the problem?
First, if the Red Sox bring Papelbon back, they will only have money to spend on two of C/3B/OF. Second, if you can get 90% of Papelbon at 25% of the cost on the free agent market, that's the problem with bringing Papelbon back on an eight-figure contract.

Per my work in the other thread, the Sox have about $54M to work with this offseason. I think it's not unreasonable to budget $45M for 3B/C/OF and $9M for bullpen. That's "going cheap" in the bullpen while still being in the running to acquire two solid relievers. But it means no Papelbon.
If you want to save money, how about not overpaying at positions you've got money locked up. You need more than 2 bullpen arms. You dont need 4 starting OFs.
I'm not even sure the Sox have two starting OFs right now. Will Ellsbury or Cameron be ready at 100% for next season? Can either be counted on for a full season? I mean, they might be. I just have no idea, because I'm not the Red Sox medical staff - and even they probably don't know right now, though they've got a better idea than I do. If it happens to be the case that Ellsbury and Cameron can both be counted on for next season, then the Red Sox should not try to acquire another OF. But since I don't know, I think it's worthwhile to think out the scenario in which they plan to replace at least one of those guys.

Generally, I think the most likely scenario is that one of Ellsbury or Cameron will be good next year - who knows which - so I'm looking at an offseason plan in which the Red Sox have one OF hole to fill.
   29. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3654588)
Provisionally, I choose (c) Other. Y’all?


Option C. Completely.
   30. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 04:26 PM (#3654593)
If Ellsbury is not 100% ready for next season, then his career (or at least the useful portion of it) is over. I mean we're talking about 10+ months of recovery time....

Ditto with Cameron, but his surgeries arent that severe. Whether or not he will stay healthy and/or actually be good is another story.

No doubt both Werth and Crawford would help. Although Kalish backing up Cameron/Ellsbury/Drew is an acceptable in house solution. The current bullpen has no in-house solution.

You need to find 2 arms to round out a bullpen of Bard/Papelbon/Doubront/Atchinson/RP/RP
You need to find 3 arms to round out a bullpen of Bard/Doubront/Atchinson/RP/RP/RP

And yes I think Doubront is a perfectly fine option (and that Bowden should be given a fair shot), but I also believe strongly that if you want a contending team, then those last RPs better damn well not be more of what we got from Okajima or Delcarmen this year. And it better damn well be pitchers you can rely on. You need consistency, and you need to pay for that. I dont want to roll the dice with a bullpen, hoping to have good years from a couple of mediocre pitchers. Who do the Red Sox go after then?

I'm not real clear MCoA if you're $9M for the bullpen is in addition to the ~$10M you save by non-tendering Papelbon, which means you have $19M to spend on the bullpen, or if you are advocating using the $10M from Papelbon and use it elsewhere. But if you are planning on finding 3 bullpen arms for $9M I think you will find yourself very disappointed at the results, which will most likely end up being Daniel Bard and his travelling band of mediocrity.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 04:55 PM (#3654627)
But if you are planning on finding 3 bullpen arms for $9M I think you will find yourself very disappointed at the results, which will most likely end up being Daniel Bard and his travelling band of mediocrity.
The thing is, the relief market is overflowing with solid talent this offseason. Among the prospective free agents are-

Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Scott Downs, Frank Francisco, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, JJ Putz, Jon Rauch, Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Koji Uehara, Kerry Wood

As I said above, I'm not a big fan of the top free agent outfielders at their likely salary levels. So I'm not arguing that the Red Sox need to spend their extra money on Crawford or Werth. But it's really hard for me to see, given the sorts of players who will be on the free agent market, how it could be a good idea to go to arbitration with Papelbon, expecting to pay over $10M for him. I think you could get two non-Rivera/Soriano guys from the above list for a few million less than it would cost to re-sign Papelbon. I'd be pretty ok with a bullpen of, say, Bard/Downs/Guerrier/Doubront/Atchison/RP/RP going into the season.
   32. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:08 PM (#3654640)
You need to find 3 arms to round out a bullpen of Bard/Doubront/Atchinson/RP/RP/RP


Let's assume $15 million on those last three bullpen slots. You can do that one of two ways;

Papelbon ~$11.5
two others $3.5 total

OR

$5 million per reliever. If you let Papelbon walk you can probably sign two of the guys on your list and then a third from the $1 million scrap heap. There is a risk of some of those guys turning into pumpkins but I don't think Papelbon can be considered a guarantee even though I think he will be better.

EDIT: Coke to Matt, this is why I get for posting and eating.
   33. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:13 PM (#3654644)
I get the Holliday love -- he's a great player -- but that is a big, big contract. If you think 5/70 is reasonable for Crawford, then I don't see how you can be arguing that the Sox should have signed Holliday.

He got 7/120 from the Cardinals, but that was a team he had finished the season with and was comfortable playing for; figure an extra $10M to go to a new team. He also got a full no-trade; there's another $10M to get him to give that up. And then there's the possibility that the Cards would have upped their offer if there had been another serious bidder, so now you're looking at ~$150M to sign a guy who's had a 150 OPS+ exactly once.

Manny, by contrast, has done it 11 times and sits at 154 for his career. Obviously, Holliday provides much more defensive value, but I just don't see Holliday as that elite-of-elite, A-Rod/Manny/Tex type of free agent that you open the vault for. Throw in the difference in league quality and his relatively paltry numbers during his AL stint, and I'm glad the Sox took a pass.
   34. base ball chick Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:16 PM (#3654652)
yall can have carlos lee for some used baseballs
   35. Textbook Editor Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:27 PM (#3654665)
Let me approach this Papelbon issue from another perspective.

I think it is unlikely (though a majority here might want it) that the Red Sox trade/non-tender Papelbon, because Theo's given absolutely no hint that this is even in the back of his mind. Now, that might all be a smoke screen, I'll grant you that, but I think it's unlikely that we non-tender or trade Papelbon before the arbitration deadline of 12/2.

What's more likely (to me) is a scenario where other chips/trades/FA signings happen that all of a sudden make it extremely worthwhile to trade Papelbon and his expected $11-$12 million salary. I don't think there is a plan right now to trade Papelbon and use the savings to fund shoring up the bullpen/signing a 3B, etc. What's more likely is that Theo is wide open to any potential trade of Papelbon, should some other things fall into place.

Where we should be looking for bullpen help, though, is not in the FA market but in the trade market. Who are some high K/9 & K/BB ration guys who may be on the verge of getting just a wee bit too expensive for their current clubs?--those are the guys to go after.

Dubront--I'm torn. I want to see him become a third home-grown starter that is at least a cheap innings-eater, but he's likely blocked unless Theo clears the decks and trades Dice-K, but were that to happen it would be to get a slot for a top-level starter (I'd imagine), not to open up a spot for Dubront. I worry that success as "the new Okajima" in 2011 might mean he permanently is on a relieving track, and while god knows we need a good LH relief pitcher, I'd rather him become 65% of Jon Lester as a starter than 100% of Okajima; I think the former's more valuable in the long run.
   36. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:34 PM (#3654674)
I dont see that list as overflowing with solid talent. With 2012 hindsight we'll be able to look at that list and pick off the best place to spend $9M. Not now. Tell me where you would spend it. Rivera and Soriano are both out of price range by themselves. Who else is the solid bet to be better than Papelbon? I'd go after Rauch and Downs, but Downs will be 35 and Rauch in his best year is as good as Papelbon. Theres no guarrantee you even have your pick of the bunch. You might be resigned to rolling the dice, which is exactly what the Red Sox should not be doing. They have the financial ability to choose stability in their bullpen, and they should pay a premium to do so.

I guess this comes more down to me not seeing why keeping Papelbon at $10M means you cant go out and sign two of those guys. I'm sorry I dont follow you're logic there. I either need to reread your previous thread opener or actually sit and tally up salaries one of these days.
   37. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:38 PM (#3654679)
I think it is unlikely (though a majority here might want it) that the Red Sox trade/non-tender Papelbon, because Theo's given absolutely no hint that this is even in the back of his mind. Now, that might all be a smoke screen, I'll grant you that, but I think it's unlikely that we non-tender or trade Papelbon before the arbitration deadline of 12/2.

I have to imagine that putting him on waivers this year in the middle of a playoff push was solely to gauge potential trade interest. I cant think of any other reason.
   38. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:50 PM (#3654694)
Haven't seen a lot of talk about VMart in this thread, so a couple of thoughts.

Mid-season I was somewhat ambivalent about re-signing him. On August 25 he was slashing 280/330/437 and the Sox' two year offer seemed reasonable. But from that point forward he hit 364/411/651 to finish the year 302/351/493. Obviously, those are the most favorable endpoints for Victor, but to me it looks pretty clear that he wasn't fully recovered from his thumb injury. The guy who hit 263/299/347 over his first 29 games back from the DL is not the guy you'd be signing going forward.

Not that I'm advocating some Eric Van-style removal of all the bad numbers from a stat line -- catchers get injured and injuries affect numbers. What I do think is that if/when he moves to DH, the lack of dings and dents will offset any expected decline, if not give him a small boost. An extension for 4/52 seems reasonable.
   39. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:50 PM (#3654695)
I doubt Doubront gets pigeon-holed into being a reliever long term. The situation with Papelbon or Joba was unusual as both guys had outrageous levels of success. I doubt Doubront posts a sub-1.50 ERA and frankly, he's not the type of pitcher who even when dominant is going to be electrifying. Guys like Papelbon and Joba both "looked" like relievers.

Look at the Yankees with Hughes this year. Despite his great work as a reliever last year he didn't really fit the mold so the Yankees didn't have the PR issue they had with Joba.

This is a roundabout way of saying I want Doubront in the pen next year. I just cannot envision a scenario where he isn't one of our best 11 pitchers next April and I'd hate to waste that in the minors.
   40. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:51 PM (#3654697)
btw, not sure if anyone heard this interview by Theo, where he was particularly candid.

Link
   41. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:53 PM (#3654700)
You might be resigned to rolling the dice, which is exactly what the Red Sox should not be doing.


Given what Papelbon did this year and the general trend of his numbers the Sox are rolling the dice with him too, just at $12 million instead of $5-6 million.
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3654707)
Who else is the solid bet to be better than Papelbon?
No individual player on that list (other than Rivera) is a solid bet to be better than Papelbon. I expect, though, that pretty much any two of the non-Rivera/Soriano pitchers will cost less, combined, than Papelbon on his own. And so, I'd bet on a wide variety of different pairs of pitchers on that list to outperform Papelbon (given that they'd be throwing twice as many innings).
   43. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 05:59 PM (#3654710)
But its a $12M die roll where most of the sides are above average pitching.

As opposed to a $5M die roll where a lot of the sides come up mediocrity.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3654717)
I doubt Doubront gets pigeon-holed into being a reliever long term.
I expect Felix Doubront, if he remains a Red Sox, will be reliever. While you're right that Doubront has hardly set the world on fire as a reliever, he also hardly set the world on fire as a minor league pitcher, either. He just kept pitching well enough to earn another promotion. That's not common - almost all minor leaguers crap out at some point, and Doubront didn't. But his ceiling remains 3/4 starter on a playoff club, and the Red Sox are locked in to their current rotation through 2012.

The Sox might look to upgrade their rotation at some point before 2013, but they'd be looking for someone much better than Doubront to take that job, if they either tried to make a trade, or needed a spot filled due to injury. In any case, there won't be more than spot starts available for a guy like Doubront. If he's going to be a Red Sox regular, he needs to be a reliever. I should say that, yes, it's possible that Doubront could take a big step forward next year, realize his ceiling or maybe add enough velocity to change the upside calculation. And in that case, he could be a starter for us long term. I think that's all pretty unlikely, and Doubront makes a lot more sense as a reliever.
   45. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 04, 2010 at 06:10 PM (#3654724)
If the Sox re-sign Beltre, then Anderson and Rizzo have no future role with the team (especially if VMart is also re-signed). If they sign Crawford or Werth, Kalish and Reddick lose much of their value to the organization. Take some or all of those chips to the trade market and I bet you can come away with a couple of pretty good relievers.
   46. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 06:16 PM (#3654731)
No individual player on that list (other than Rivera) is a solid bet to be better than Papelbon. I expect, though, that pretty much any two of the non-Rivera/Soriano pitchers will cost less, combined, than Papelbon on his own. And so, I'd bet on a wide variety of different pairs of pitchers on that list to outperform Papelbon (given that they'd be throwing twice as many innings).

I agree here. But I think where I differ is that I dont see why the Red Sox should be looking to save money in the bullpen. They're not the Rays, they have the ability to overpay for talent. They ought to keep Papelbon and look to sign 2 from that list. This team needs a deep bullpen if it really wants to be a contender. I dont see it as Papelbon OR two slightly worse pitchers. I see it as Papelbon AND two slightly worse pitchers.
   47. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 06:22 PM (#3654738)
I'm terribly pessimistic about this offseason, I apologize ahead of time.

There's so few options available at some key positions that need filling. They have money to spend.

I just find the Red Sox about to get trapped in a Julio Lugo sized corner.

I'm praying for some creativity. The easy solution this offseason is not the correct one.
   48. plink Posted: October 04, 2010 at 06:23 PM (#3654739)
If the Sox re-sign Beltre, then Anderson and Rizzo have no future role with the team (especially if VMart is also re-signed). If they sign Crawford or Werth, Kalish and Reddick lose much of their value to the organization. Take some or all of those chips to the trade market and I bet you can come away with a couple of pretty good relievers.


This is an aspect we've been overlooking. Signing Beltre and using some of the decent 1B & OF prospect plus cash to trade for an OF (or signing Crawford/Werth and trading for a 1B/3B) might give us a better team than 2 free agents signings.
   49. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 04, 2010 at 06:59 PM (#3654775)
Weeding through relievers for cash-strapped franchises who might be available this off-season:

Hong-Chih Kuo -- two years of arb left; when healthy, about as good a lefty reliever as there is
Heath Bell -- one year of arb left; Padres have viable replacement in Mike Adams
Evan Meek -- one pre-arb, plus 3 arb years left; Pirates might be looking to sell high. There were trade rumors at the deadline.
Leo Nunez -- two arb years left, but comes with the closer tag
Brandon League -- two arb years left
Joel Hanrahan -- three arb years left, struck out 100 in 69.2
Sean Burnett -- two arb years left, has been pretty damn good since moving to the pen
Jonaton Broxton -- one arb year left; coming off his worst year, but still had 3.01 FIP
Matt Capps -- one arb year left; Twins have Nathan coming back
Joakim Soria -- the white whale; signed for $4M next year with 3 option years totaling $22.75M. Really don't see him being moved, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

There will be plenty of relievers moved, just as there are every off-season. If Boston fills its other needs through free agency, they'll have the prospects to improve the bullpen via trade.
   50. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 04, 2010 at 07:35 PM (#3654810)
I can't imagine a circumstance under which the Pirates would trade Meek or Hanrahan, given their contract situations and the other gaping holes they have in their pitching.

Of the rest of the list, Broxton might be available on the cheap, but I'm not convinced he's going to be good again, FIP notwithstanding - 2009 looks more like the aberration than 2010 does. I'm also not convinced he's healthy. Broxton is also signed for 2011 at $7 million, so you wouldn't necessarily be getting a bargain there. I don't see any of the others coming cheaply.

-- MWE
   51. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 07:42 PM (#3654816)
But I think where I differ is that I dont see why the Red Sox should be looking to save money in the bullpen. They're not the Rays, they have the ability to overpay for talent. They ought to keep Papelbon and look to sign 2 from that list.
But if you assume that MCoA's numbers in the other thread are correct--and they probably are, unless the Red Sox are changing their spending radically--that's a big chunk of their off-season cash. Papelbon plus two of the other guys probably costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million.

That might--depending on how the market breaks--force them to go cheap on one of the other three holes (C, 3B, OF spot) which is I don't think is worth doing for a deep bullpen.
   52. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 07:53 PM (#3654823)
But if you assume that MCoA's numbers in the other thread are correct--and they probably are, unless the Red Sox are changing their spending radically--that's a big chunk of their off-season cash. Papelbon plus two of the other guys probably costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million.

That might--depending on how the market breaks--force them to go cheap on one of the other three holes (C, 3B, OF spot) which is I don't think is worth doing for a deep bullpen.


And assuming the league minimum guys they'll need to finish out the pen, thats roughly a total of ~22M of a ~170M payrol, or 13%. Doesnt seem too unreasonalbe to me. Especially for a team that spent 2010 with the bullpen as by far its biggest weakness.
   53. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 07:58 PM (#3654832)
Is Junichi Tazawa expected to be available for Spring Training or are we talking mid-season on him. One concern I have about the bullpen is that, like 2010, I don't see a lot of in-house options coming up from the minors to fill holes. If Tazawa can pitch in the Spring, even if he's in Pawtucket to start the year he might be a guy who gives us some innings.
   54. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:00 PM (#3654834)
DM - The percentage of payroll isn't the issue, though. The issue is that after spending $22M on relievers, the Sox have only $34M for C, 3B, OF and bench.

What I'm hoping for is some sort of crazy trade that lands the Red Sox a legit star who's worth $17M per season or whatever. I think it's much more likely that the Sox can pull off such a trade if they're not spending 40% of their cash on hand on the bullpen.
   55. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:03 PM (#3654838)
I'll be the turd in the punchbowl here and point out that history of multi-year deals for non-closer relievers is not very good. You could easily wind up with Steve Karsay redux.
   56. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:06 PM (#3654842)
I'm terribly pessimistic about this offseason, I apologize ahead of time.

There's so few options available at some key positions that need filling. They have money to spend.

I just find the Red Sox about to get trapped in a Julio Lugo sized corner.

I'm praying for some creativity. The easy solution this offseason is not the correct one.


Are you sure you aren't reading my mind? This is exactly what I've been thinking. If the Sox sign Crawford/Werth, and keep Papelbon, they'll be continuing to go all lazy/easy/Yankees-style/overpaying-for-decline-years/etc. Not to mention that they'd be blocking Kalish or possibly Reddick.

This team got good by trusting in the young players. Remember Youkilis? Pedroia? Ellsbury? Lester? Buchholz? Heck, Papelbon? If you have guys on the farm who you like and who are ready to see what they can do in the next step, try those guys. You have to take that risk. Otherwise you turn into the Yankees and get stuck with a million bloatflies. In this case, Kalish is at worst nearly ready, and Reddick might be after him. This is why under no circumstances the team should pay Crawford or Werth. You spend on Victor (or make a trade) because there might *never* be a real catcher among the Sox farmhands. You don't overpay for Beltre, since AFAIK Youk is still able to play there and Beltre has already had a contract year where he regressed for his entire contract after the fact. And, you don't tender Papelbon because relievers are fungible and the chances of getting another Okajima season from some other reliever is fairly small.

This offseaon could be Theo's magnum opus. If he can pull some great trades....
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:14 PM (#3654847)
This team got good by trusting in the young players
No, they didn't. Most of the best players on both of Theo's world series teams were not developed internally.

2004: Varitek, Garciaparra, Nixon, Lowe, Arroyo vs. Millar, Bellhorn, Cabrera, Mueller, Ortiz, Ramirez, Damon, Schilling, Martinez, Wakefield, Foulke, Timlin, Embree

2007: Varitek, Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Papelbon, Delcarmen vs. Lugo, Lowell, Ortiz, Ramirez, Crisp, Drew, Beckett, Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Okajima, Timlin

Generally, Primakov, I can see that you have criticisms of the efficiency of certain possible free agent acquisitions. To me, that's the easy part of the equation - the hard part is maximizing the quality of the team by spending the money. Are you proposing that the Sox enter 2011 with a $145M budget, and that the team would be better off not spending the money? Do you take the position that the Red Sox would be best served in working through the trade market to spend their money, and since trades cannot be predicted, you're not advocating anything specific? Or some other?
   58. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:18 PM (#3654853)
Adding an outfielder would not block Ryan Kalish or Josh Reddick. (Josh Reddick blocks Josh Reddick.) Both JD Drew's and Mike Cameron's contracts are up after the 2011 season. Even if the Sox sign another outfielder to a long term contract this offseason, there will be an open position if any of the Red Sox outfield prospects earn it.

Kalish put up a 710 OPS in the majors this year. He looks promising, but I think he needs at least another half season in the minors, and a full season wouldn't hurt him.
   59. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:21 PM (#3654855)
DM - The percentage of payroll isn't the issue, though. The issue is that after spending $22M on relievers, the Sox have only $34M for C, 3B, OF and bench.

Right, this is my point, shouldnt you be able to fill C and 3B + bench w/ $34M??? I guess I should have said right up front (C) is the correct answer.

They've got to roll with the OF the got, Ellsbury/Cameron/Drew and either Kalish or McDonald. Any overpaying of Crawford or Werth means you're also carrying other costs, by starting w/ a $7M bench player.

Both Cameron and Drew are immovable, so the only option that would make sense to bring in Crawford or Werth would be if you package Ellsbury for help elsehwere (C or 3B or RP). Doesnt make sense to trade Ellsbury at his lowest value, so sorry, but you're stuck with ignoring the two best position player FAs.
   60. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:22 PM (#3654858)
Ok, crazy talk time, that primakov reminded me of....Someone please convince me its a dumb idea to move Youkilis to 3B for a couple years and sign a 1B.

I think he would be below average defensively, but not by much. Given the dearth of quality 3B in the league, and how crazy high the demand for Beltre is going to be (and the fear of him regressing to his established .270/.310.450), this may end up being their best option.
   61. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:24 PM (#3654861)
Which 1B?

That is, if it's an expensive one (Dunn), is he a better deal than Beltre? If it's a cheap one, exactly how good is he, and where are you spending the money saved? Is the plan for spending the money that you saved a more efficient one than spending that money on on an expensive 1B/3B?

My point, again, is that saving money isn't a plan. Saving money doesn't maximize wins, it just maximizes profit.
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:30 PM (#3654865)
Not only do the Sox have room for another outfielder because of Drew's contract, if both Reddick and Kalish burst forth Ellsbury can also be moved. If the worst case 2012 scenario is "Kalish-Ellsbury-Crawford is an elite outfield AND Josh Reddick is ready to become a star too" we'll find away around that. Reddick could step in for Ortiz at DH or one of those guys could be traded for a valuable pitching piece...options exist.

I also don't agree that Anderson/Rizzo are blocked by adding a 3rd baseman because Ortiz is one, maybe two more years and Youkilis is 32 next year. If the Sox pick up his option for 2013 then Rizzo could step in in 2014 in his age 24 season while Youkilis at age 35 could move to DH if necessary. By comparison Youkilis did not have a season with over 300 PA until his age 27 season.

The absolute LAST thing I'm worried about is the Sox blocking anyone in their system. If I'm in Ft. Myers 17 months from now starting at "too many" good players I will be a happy seabiscuit.
   63. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:34 PM (#3654869)
Hrm. Right. I even knew that. Though I'd argue that my point isn't wholly invalidated since I was talking about young players specifically--not just ones developed internally. Or you could say that I'm shoveling. ;) But the 2004 team was successful partially because of Theo's younger free-talent pickups or trades (Ortiz, Bellhorn, Varitek, Lowe). Not that they're "young" players, per se.

I guess I just hate seeing any team try to get good by spending huge chunks of cash for a player's decline, much less the Red Sox. What I am advocating this year is that the Red Sox stay out of the free agent market unless it's for someone they absolutely need. They're not going to get good value for anyone they need this year except possibly for Victor or Beltre, and neither are sure things. But I wouldn't be too annoyed with the Sox keeping both players, because they don't have anyone in the org who could ably fill either player's shoes.

Obviously my top preference is for Theo to pull a couple of major coups trade-wise. But given how little we know about trades in the works, that's wishcasting. I'd also love for Lowrie to show that his hot second half wasn't a fluke and thus emerge as the 3B (see: wishcasting).
   64. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:34 PM (#3654871)
Someone please convince me its a dumb idea to move Youkilis to 3B for a couple years and sign a 1B.


I don't think it is a dumb idea by any stretch. I just don't think it's the best idea.

I'd rather spend the money on Beltre than Dunn. If Dunn gets a 2/20 or 3/27 type deal, I'm probably interested but if he's looking 8 figures for four years, pass.

Also, Youkilis will be 32 next year. I have little doubt that he can make the move in the "wrong" direction on the defensive spectrum but I think it has to be acknowledged that it is not a given that it will work.

If a scenario presents itself where it's the move to make (the Sox can land a Gonzalez or a Fielder), count me in. I just don't want to see Youkilis/Beltre become something on the order of Overbay/Youkilis. At that point I'd probably rather just throw Lowrie out there and see what happened.
   65. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:39 PM (#3654877)
Hrm. Right. I even knew that. Though I'd argue that my point isn't wholly invalidated since I was talking about young players specifically--not just ones developed internally. Or you could say that I'm shoveling. ;) But the 2004 team was successful partially because of Theo's younger free-talent pickups or trades (Ortiz, Bellhorn, Varitek, Lowe). Not that they're "young" players, per se.


Jesus, karlmagnus is going to freak out if you give Theo credit for 'Tek and Lowe.

The 2011 team will succeed in part because of guys like that. They are likely to be in the bullpen and potentially at third base where the Sox have had success with somewhat lower expectation players in Theo's era, Mueller, then Lowell. They also are trying to push youth at shortstop (Iglesias), possibly behind the plate (everyone I've read with inside access seems to think Saltalamacchia has a real chance to be the starter, ick) and Ellsbury is still young. Also, Kalish is likely to get a fair amount of PT next year unless JD Drew decides to have a second consecutive healthy season, color me skeptical.
   66. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:42 PM (#3654879)
If the choice is between Beltre and Dunn, go Beltre. His skill set is likely to age better. He plays a more-premium defensive position extremely well. He's become a bit of a fan favorite in Boston. Even if (when) he regresses, he'll probably regress much like Mike Lowell did before his hip injury. Which is a very good player. Meanwhile, all-bat players are much more easily replaced.
   67. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:43 PM (#3654881)
If a scenario presents itself where it's the move to make (the Sox can land a Gonzalez or a Fielder), count me in. I just don't want to see Youkilis/Beltre become something on the order of Overbay/Youkilis. At that point I'd probably rather just throw Lowrie out there and see what happened.

Agree (except for the part about Lowrie). You do this for Dunn, Gonzalez, or Fielder. Gonzalez wont happen. Dunn is the most likely and I think it could end up being a better deal than Beltre. He's a better bet (IMO) to maintain his 2010 offensive value for the next 3-4 years. Youkilis at 3B wouldnt be that much worse than Beltre was in 2010, though prob considerably worse than Beltre is likely to be in 2011.

Clearly depends on contract values, so its hard to say. I'm very scared of witnessing 4/60M or something similar for Beltre. Dunn for 3/36M, at 1B in 2011, then DH in 2012 & 2013 makes sense.

Youkilis would have to be up for it though, he has come out and say he doesnt want to move back and forth in season anymore.
   68. Pingu Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:48 PM (#3654886)
Out of curiosity, what do people here project for Beltre at the plate in 2011?

He's a tricky one, it wasnt Fenway that did it, he hit better on the road. And he just LOOKS SO GOOD when he's on.
Even so, you'd have to project him at league average offense and above average defense at 3B going forward, wouldnt you?
   69. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:52 PM (#3654888)
Out of curiosity, what do people here project for Beltre at the plate in 2011

I'd say .290/.340/.475 or so, but that's just off the top of my head - a 110-115 OPS+ or so.
   70. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 08:56 PM (#3654896)
Jesus, karlmagnus is going to freak out if you give Theo credit for 'Tek and Lowe.


Right, I meant the team in general, not just Theo. I'm not exactly on top of my game today, it seems.

(everyone I've read with inside access seems to think Saltalamacchia has a real chance to be the starter, ick)


Anybody reputable?

Out of curiosity, what do people here project for Beltre at the plate in 2011?


I'm thinking .280/.330/.470, with his usual stellar D.
   71. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 04, 2010 at 09:01 PM (#3654903)
I'd say .290/.340/.475 or so, but that's just off the top of my head - a 110-115 OPS+ or so.
I was going to say that sounds high--it would technically be bettering his career OPS+ at age 32--but Beltre's whole career is so damn wacky and up-and-down I don't know what the hell he'll hit.
   72. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 09:01 PM (#3654904)
I'm a bit more pessimistic than Joe C. but not enough so you'd notice, I'd have the range at 105-110. Maybe it was because he was so good but I was surprised how unfrustrating his at bats were. For a guy considered a free swinger it didn't feel like he was just hacking away, he looked more like a guy who just made contact frequently.
   73. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 09:04 PM (#3654910)
Anybody reputable?


I would say the most reputable would be Peter Abraham. Not sure if that helps or hinders the theory.
   74. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2010 at 09:11 PM (#3654918)
I'm a bit more pessimistic than Joe C. but not enough so you'd notice, I'd have the range at 105-110. Maybe it was because he was so good but I was surprised how unfrustrating his at bats were. For a guy considered a free swinger it didn't feel like he was just hacking away, he looked more like a guy who just made contact frequently.

Realistically, you guys are probably right - I may be giving a bit more of a bump to his Seattle numbers than they deserve, and his 2009 was pretty awful in any park. Then again, the difference between .280/.330/.470 and .290/.340/.475 over a full season is a few singles and doubles - maybe five funs or so. That's well within the uncertainty I'd put around any projection, let alone someone as unpredictable as Beltre. .260/.310/.380 wouldn't shock me, nor would .320/.370/.550.

Jed Lowrie - that was a nice little 200 PA he put together. Take away his 2009 (lost to a wrist injury), and his career numbers now sit at about .270/.365/.450. While I'd prefer to have him in more of a utility role ideally, I wouldn't be too scared of handing him 500 at bats next year and seeing what's what - age 27 season and whatnot. I prefer Beltre at the right price, but I think I prefer Lowrie at 3B to shifting Youkilis, at least based on what I know right now. I would DEFINITELY prefer him to Bill Hall, starting 3B.
   75. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2010 at 09:18 PM (#3654927)
My fear with handing Lowrie 500 at bats is whether he can get to 500 at bats. In 2008 he played through a hand injury (and it cost him), had the wrist thing in 2009, mono this year. He hasn't proven he can stay healthy yet.

My father made an interesting point the other night. He said he thought the mono might have been the best thing for Lowrie because it forced him to let the wrist fully heal. Might explain some of the newly shown power.
   76. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 04, 2010 at 09:39 PM (#3654942)
I don't think Lowrie's the answer at third. I think he's the answer at short. Health issues on his and Pedroia's part mean they shouldn't dump Scutaro, but Lowrie should (and I suspect will) head into the year as the starting shortstop.

I'm not sure if people realize just how good Lowrie was this year. 287/381/526 are superstar numbers for a SS. If you drop the playing time qualification, only Tulo had a higher wOBA. His .393 was a full 20 points higher than the next best, Hanley Ramirez. Heck, it matches Hanley's career number.

I certainly wouldn't project him like that going forward, but that 25/25 K/BB ratio bodes well for his future. He halved his previous career K rate, something that stabilizes very quickly. He's earned the opportunity to play everyday.
   77. Darren Posted: October 04, 2010 at 11:55 PM (#3655014)
It would be nice to dump Scutaro and put Lowrie there with a competent, but cheaper backup. Not sure if Scut's injury will preclude that.

I think the problem with trying to build this team the 2004 way is that a) the world has changed quite a bit in what kind of freely available talent is out there since Moneyball and b) they got a bit lucky then too.

You know who are some good young players who would help the Sox? Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez!
   78. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 01:56 AM (#3655048)
It would be nice to dump Scutaro and put Lowrie there with a competent, but cheaper backup.
Maybe Felipe Lopez, if he accepts arbitration. Coming off a $1M salary and a down year, he won't get much. I'd still prefer he turn it down and take the pick, but he's a decent use of a roster space at the right price.
   79. Textbook Editor Posted: October 05, 2010 at 03:09 AM (#3655071)
Both Cameron and Drew are immovable,


Drew on essentially a 1-year deal at $14 million (he can only block trades to 2 teams so his no-trade is limited to presumably the Phillies and ???) is far from immovable. If we kicked in $5 million or so, I am certain we could move Drew this off-season were we inclined to do so.

My father made an interesting point the other night. He said he thought the mono might have been the best thing for Lowrie because it forced him to let the wrist fully heal. Might explain some of the newly shown power.


Fully agree with this. The mono may well have saved Lowrie's career. I'm irrationally high of Lowrie going forward. I'm not saying you hand him the 3B job in ST, but if that's how the chips fall, I would be more than fine with this. Lowrie's numbers would project better were he at SS, of course... Maybe--given injuries, etc.--what we need to do is this:

Lowrie: SS
Scutaro: 2B
Pedroia: 3B

I kid, I kid...
   80. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 05, 2010 at 03:46 AM (#3655076)
(he can only block trades to 2 teams so his no-trade is limited to presumably the Phillies and ???)


Gotta be the Cards.
   81. Textbook Editor Posted: October 05, 2010 at 03:50 AM (#3655078)
#80--Well, that was my thought, but I wasn't 100% sure. Being from the Philly area I can say with 100% certainty that one of the two is Philadelphia.
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 05, 2010 at 04:50 AM (#3655089)
Let's see what we've got for 2011:

C: ??
1B: Youkilis
2B Pedroia
3B ??
SS Lowrie
LF ?? Werth (Prefer him over Crawford)
CF Ellsbury/Cameron (I would probably pry Beltran from the Mets)
RF Drew
DH Ortiz (I believe they'll pick up his option)

SP1: Lester
SP2: Bucholz
SP3: Beckett (I think he'll rebound)
SP4: Lackey (Finished up well)
SP5: Matsuzaka (I think he could surprise)

RP1: Papelbon
RP2: Bard
RP3: Wakefield
RP4: Okajima

C2: Varitek (re-sign on a 1 yr k)
UT1: Scutaro
UT2: Hall (I pick up his option)
OF4: Cameron
OF5: McDonald

Issues:

LF: I agree Werth and Crawford are close; I prefer Werth because I prefer his style of play.

Beltre: I don't think I'd go all out to sign him. He's a good player (considering offense + defense), but his market value is going to be higher than his actual value right now, and, while I wouldn't worry about his age, he's not exactly young.

Papelbon: His struggles have been comically overblown. Better peripherals than the sainted Bard, who had a completely unsustainable .218 BABIP in 2010.

CBeltran: I think you could pry him from the Mets for $12 mil - only one year left on the k, which I think is worth the risk. Don't want 3 CFs but could be in the LF mix. And I think Cameron is more suited to come in off the bench at this point.

Catcher: I like Victor Martinez, but don't want to re-sign him, given that he'll be 32 next year. Saltamacchia?? I dunno.

First base: Would like to move Youkilis to 3B but not sure he can handle it. I'd be tempted figure out which hole is easier to plug and move Youkilis to whichever infield corner is left. As to 1B: Lars Anderson?? Adam Dunn?? Dunn may be overpriced. (BTW, why only 15 PA for Carlos Delgado in Pawtucket? Did he get hurt?)

C/3B/LF seem to be the major areas of that need addressing. The pen to some extent also but I'm a believer in the "stock the pen with good live arms after the two aces" theory. See if Billy Wagner will agree to pull a Brett Favre even though he loudly bragged that he wouldn't.
   83. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 05, 2010 at 12:42 PM (#3655137)
I think Ray has a pretty good handle on things. I agree with most of what he says about Beckett and Lackey and I think his comments about Papelbon can extend to Matsuzaka. Daisuke is exasperating, and he sure as hell ain't an Ace but without looking, I sincerely doubt more than 3 or 4 teams had a #5 starter better than he was this year or is likely to be next year.

I would say that Atchison and Doubront are near certainties to be in the bullpen next year. As much as I loved what Hall did I think he benefitted from the regular playing time. I remain unsure of free swingers in a reserve role, I think the swing gets messed up while sitting around. Personally I wouldn't bring Wakefield back but as the 11th/12th man, it's not a bad option.

I still think we need another reliever and despite what I would prefer, we can probably expect a 12 man staff, not 11 so besides Doubront/Atchison we need to add one more and I would like to see that person come from one of the lists upthread. Frankly, I think the Sox are going to go fairly aggressively after Downs.

Yes, Delgado got hurt.
   84. Pingu Posted: October 05, 2010 at 01:13 PM (#3655152)
Drew on essentially a 1-year deal at $14 million (he can only block trades to 2 teams so his no-trade is limited to presumably the Phillies and ???) is far from immovable. If we kicked in $5 million or so, I am certain we could move Drew this off-season were we inclined to do so.

He'll be a 35 corner OF coming off a .255/.341/.452 season. His defense has never been perceived to be as good as it is in reality and he's got a bad rap for 1) not caring and 2) never being healthy. At $9M???? I dont see a lot of teams jumping. Immovable is too strong a word though, I agree.
   85. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 05, 2010 at 01:16 PM (#3655154)
See if Billy Wagner will agree to pull a Brett Favre even though he loudly bragged that he wouldn't.


I'd be a lot more surprised if he pitched again in a non-closer situation than if some team offered the closer role.

RP3: Wakefield
RP4: Okajima


Yuck.

UT2: Hall (I pick up his option)


Hall was great for the Sox, but is any 2nd utility player worth 9.25 mill? Why not just go defensive with Iglesias? I would love it if Hall signed a multi-year deal with the Sox, but I bet he gets better playing time offers from other clubs.
   86. Pingu Posted: October 05, 2010 at 01:43 PM (#3655169)
You know what I just realized whilst browsing Cots......

Beltre's player option increased from $5M to $10M if he had 640 PAs. He finished the year with 641 PA before leaving the team.

I take this as definitive proof that Beltre will excercise his player option. Or something.
   87. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 01:56 PM (#3655186)
UT2: Hall (I pick up his option)
I don't see any way the Sox willingly pay $9.25M for a bench player. He played well enough to land a starting gig somewhere next year and unless Plans A-F fall through, it won't be Boston. He was a real treat to have on the team though and it's worth remembering what a good deal it was getting him for $1.25M. It's funny to think of the knots some people (myself included) were twisting themselves into to make Casey Kotchman look like a viable option at first back when it looked like Beltre wouldn't sign. Good times.
CBeltran: I think you could pry him from the Mets for $12 mil - only one year left on the k, which I think is worth the risk. Don't want 3 CFs but could be in the LF mix.
Beltran's a CF in name only at this point. My understanding is that his knee problems are degenerative and the level of play we saw from him this year is as good as it's going to get. Maybe he'll get microfracture surgery, but that's not something I'd want to be investing a lot of money in. He'll play left next year and may be best suited to DH going forward. He could be an option at the right price but the Sox should pursue other, healthier options first.
   88. Pingu Posted: October 05, 2010 at 02:31 PM (#3655212)
I think all this did was double check Mikael's numbers. But for 2010, this is what the Red Sox are obligated for:
                     2010    
1    C            
2    1B    Youkilis     $12.25     
3    2B    Pedroia             $5.75     
4    3B            
5    SS    Scutaro             $5.50     
6    LF    Ellsbury     $3.00     
7    CF    Cameron        $7.75     
8    RF    Drew             $14.00     
9    DH    Ortiz        $12.50     
10    MI    Lowrie       $0.44     
11    UT    25th man     $0.44     
12    4OF    McD/K/N/Red     $0.44     
13    BC    Saltalamacchia     $0.44     
14    SP1    Beckett             $17.00     
15    SP2    Lackey             $15.95     
16    SP3    Matsuzaka     $10.33     
17    SP4    Lester             $5.75     
18    SP5    Buchholz     $0.45     
19    RP1    Papelbon     $11.00     
20    RP2    Bard             $0.44     
21    RP3            
22    RP4    Okajima             $3.00     
23    RP5    Doubront     $0.42     
24    RP6    Atchinson     $0.46     
25    RP7    Wakefield     $2.00     
Other obligations:             $4.71       Beltre, Hall, Iglesias, Tazawa
                     $134.02     
                
Assumptions:  Ortiz option picked up, arbitration for Okajima, Papelbon, Ellsbury                
                
        left to spend to $170M     $35.98     


I dont see the point in offering Okajima arbitration, but I get the sinking feeling he might be back. But anyways I get close to the same, $36M left to fill out C, 3B, bullpen, and the last roster spot.

Even keeping Papelbon, $36M should be plenty to sign Martinez & Beltre. Figure ~$12M & $15M, or so. Leaves ~$9M left for the last 2 roster spots (one which needs to be a good reliever) and upgrades elsewhere. They ought to declline arb on Okajima and use the $9M + $3M to land 2 quality relievers. I guess I've come around to Mikael's thinking. If you sign Werth or Crawford at ~$18M, you have $18M left for C, 3B, pen. So if you dont save by cutting Papelbon, you have to do one of those positions on the cheap or get creative, and you still have Cameron's 7.75 on the bench. I dont think that would be the right move for 2011, but it could pay off in 2012, 13, when you holes open in the OF. I'd be more in favor of gambling a bit by relying on Cameron or Kalish and spending the $$ in the pen to bring in somoene like Soriano, even on closer money.

Incidentally, theres also somewhere between $50-55M coming off the books after 2011, and the 5 man rotation is locked up (prays for health). Despite the big contracts to Lackey & Beckett and whoever shows up at C and 3B, this team will still be able to maintain flexibility because it really saves a ton of cash with its Youkilis, Lester, Buchholz, Pedroia core.
   89. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 03:16 PM (#3655238)
One plan for spending the $54M:

$12M Martinez (4 years)
$14M Beltre (5 years)
$17M Crawford (7 years)
$11M Papelbon (1 year)
$4M Downs (3 years)
$4M Putz (2 years)
-$5M Scutaro
-$3M Cameron

Catchers don't come much better than VMart and the Sox should ride that as long as they can. Who knows, maybe he ages like Posada. The bat's good enough to DH at the back end if necessary.

I have no problem giving Beltre the same deal Drew got at the same age. It's OK for a big market team to pay market rate for really good players, especially when they fill in around them with cheaper ones.

Superstars under 30 with broad based skill sets don't hit the free agent market very often. Going after Crawford is a no-brainer, especially since it looks like the Yankees won't be in on him. You'd be buying the age 29-35 seasons of a guy who's got the skills that usually age best. I don't buy the argument that his defense would be so wasted in Fenway that the Sox should pass. Ideally we could look at defensive splits to see just how many fewer plays (if any) Boston LFs make at home than on the road, but I can't find those numbers. The best I could come up with is comparing the RF/9 of Sox left fielders to the league average. Presumably if the Wall negated LF defense to such a point that the Sox shouldn't care about it, it would show up in fewer plays made overall by Sox LFs than the rest of the league. For 2010 the Sox (mostly Nava, Hermida, and Hall) were 2.06, compared to a league average of 2.08. For 2009 the Sox (mostly Bay) were 2.27, with the league at 2.12. Going back further, we start to get Manny numbers, which won't tell us very much. This is admittedly very quick and dirty, but I don't see any evidence here that the Sox should punt LF defense. If those numbers ARE out there, I'd love to see them.

The big thing missing when discussing the merits of Papelbon vs Other Relievers has been the fact that you only have to sign Pap for one year, while any free agent who would noticeably improve the bullpen would require multiple years. Like Joe Sheehan says, it's almost impossible to have a bad one year deal; it's the long term deals that kill you.

Which doesn't mean they shouldn't spend on relievers: they were so bad last year you pretty much have to. There are some good ones out there, and Downs and Putz look like the best righty/lefty combo. Might be a little optimistic expecting to get them each for $4m per, but going over the luxury tax threshold by a few mil isn't the end of the world.

Scutaro at 1 year/$5M is movable, although it might be best to wait till spring training to make sure Pedroia and Lowrie are healthy. It shouldn't be too hard to find a cheaper backup -- $5M is a little pricey for a utility guy.

If the Sox sign Crawford (or Werth), then Cameron and McDonald are redundant. If Cam shows he's healthy (again, might have to take him to spring training), then I suspect some team would take a $3M flier on him.
   90. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 05, 2010 at 03:38 PM (#3655259)
Paxton - I think you can probably keep Scutaro or Cameron in your plan with some creative bookkeeping on the long term deals. Give them all a million or two less in year one, then grown them over the deal for the same AAV. You gotta be careful playing with that stuff lest you have a bunch of guys making $20 million in the last year of their deal but I think it's doable.
   91. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 03:50 PM (#3655269)
Jose - You could do that if the expected max payroll were a cash-flow issue, but I think the Sox are more concerned with the luxury tax. Since that's based on AAV, you can't get around it with creative accounting. I'm also not sure Cameron and McDonald as 4th and 5th OF is the best use of roster spots. With a seven man pen, you've only got four bench spots: a catcher (who maybe can play first), a shortstop (who can play second and third), an OF who can play center (should be righty for the Sox, especially if you sign Crawford), and then someone else. Could be a first base type, could be a 5th OF, but I'd lean toward a multi-position type. Cameron and McDonald cover basically the same role, and I'm not too concerned about depth when the Pawtucket outfield will be Kalish/Reddick/Nava.
   92. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:21 PM (#3655359)
MLBTR updated their reverse engineered Elias rankings, which interests the Sox most in their pursuit of bullpen help. I omitted the guys whose options I thought would be picked up.

Type A:

Soriano
Rivera
Guerrier
Downs
Frasor
Balfour
Francisco
Rhodes
Saito

Type B:

Rauch
Uehara
Benoit
Wood
Choate
Putz
Crain
Qualls
Feliciano
Dotel
Hoffman
Heilman
Durbin

The Sox will probably be signing a Type A already, so this would only be a second round pick, somewhere around 75th overall. That's not unreasonable to give up for the right reliever, but it might make me back off some of those guys, namely Guerrier, Frasor, Francisco, Rhodes, and Saito. Downs, Balfour, and Soriano I'd do it for. It definitely makes Benoit, Wood, Putz, Rauch, and Dotel more attractive. Also of note, Dunn looks to just barely be Type B.
   93. Dale Sams Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:30 PM (#3655366)
I don't quite understand how Paps foibles *are* overblown. He led the league in blown saves. His ERA is higher than any other relievers with more than 4 blown saves except for Fernando Rodney. He's tied for leading the league in losses for a reliever.

Without digging too deep it would appear, save for Rodney, he was the worst closer in the league.
   94. Dale Sams Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:40 PM (#3655375)
You'd be buying the age 29-35 seasons of a guy who's got the skills that usually age best


I'm a fan of a Crawford signing too, but oddly enough a lot of people think the opposite of above.
   95. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3655376)
Now that I think about it, if you're already signing Crawford or Werth and a guy like Downs, then the next Type A only costs you a third rounder, which isn't that bad for a solid set up guy. They could play it like the Yankees after 2008 and bunch all their Type A signings into one off-season.

EDIT: It would also give the Sox an advantage in negotiations, as it would only cost them a third rounder, but a first or second rounder for other teams weighing how much to offer.
   96. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:52 PM (#3655384)
I don't quite understand how Paps foibles *are* overblown. He led the league in blown saves. His ERA is higher than any other relievers with more than 4 blown saves except for Fernando Rodney. He's tied for leading the league in losses for a reliever.


It seems pretty clear to me that ERA (and blown saves, which is a bastard child of it) is not a great way to evaluate a pitcher who pitches just 60 innings. The ERA swings in such a small sample are far too large. ERA should be considered in light of his peripherals. Yes, his walk rate is up (though at the same level as Bard's). But he's still striking out 10 hitters per 9, for crying out loud.
   97. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:53 PM (#3655386)
Without digging too deep it would appear, save for Rodney, he was the worst closer in the league.


The problem with this is that closers, almost universally, are better than average. Being the worst among the closers does not necessarily equal "bad." Using BB Ref with a setting of 90% games in relief and a minimum of 25 IP I find 211 pitchers. Papelbon on that list;

ERA+ - 111th (other closers close - Ryan Franklin 100th, Francisco Cordero 125th)
WHIP - 83rd (Brandon Lyon 82nd, Leo Nunez 87th)
K/9IP - 32nd (Brad Lidge 30th, Nunez 40th)
BB/9IP - 119th (Brian Fuentes 118th, Chris Perez 133rd)

The point being that while he was not good among closers, he was still better than average among relievers. If you drop the innings minimum his percentile improves because you start adding in a bunch of guys who sucked in very short time frames (e.g. Scott Schoenweis). The CW seems to be treating Papelbon as if he's cooked and I don't think that's true at all.

The last two years are very similar except for the fact that he was very good with RISP in 2009 (.138/.258/.203) and very bad in 2010 (.298/.392/.452). If you assume that he will come in somewhere between those two numbers in similar siutations in 2011 he probably blows 3-4 fewer saves and his season looks a lot different.
   98. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 05, 2010 at 05:59 PM (#3655392)
Cameron and McDonald cover basically the same role, and I'm not too concerned about depth when the Pawtucket outfield will be Kalish/Reddick/Nava.


This is a very good point. Though if Cameron comes back near 100% he's a much better centerfielder than McDonald. It makes sense for the Sox to retain only one of those guys. Problem is, if the Sox try to wait to see if Cameron's healthy before deciding on McDonald, McDonald might simply bolt to another team. Then we'd be short a righty bench bat. Hard to say what's going to happen with Cameron's health at this point.
   99. Pingu Posted: October 05, 2010 at 06:00 PM (#3655394)
How is Adam Dunn a type B FA? Is that a mistype?
   100. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: October 05, 2010 at 06:04 PM (#3655397)
I'm pretty sure the Sox can carry both on the 40 man roster this off-season and not have to decide who to keep until the 25 man roster comes into effect on opening day.
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