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   1. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: January 22, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4042185)
+1.
   2. MM1f Posted: January 22, 2012 at 12:53 AM (#4042191)
It's a crap (trade)!
   3. Dale Sams Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4042201)
Hey.. …that SS with the .849 second half OPS last year? Send him to Colorado for ####### nothing.

Done.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4042203)
I think this mythical big trade value of Scutaro is pure fantasy. I just don't like it if the SS plan is Punto/Aviles/Iglesias, but maybe there is some other SS acuisition coming out of nowhere.
   5. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:45 AM (#4042221)
I'm withholding comment until this whole off season is finished.
   6. Dan Posted: January 22, 2012 at 06:50 AM (#4042261)
Really hoping something else is coming. Not too comfortable with an Aviles/Punto platoon at SS. This especially makes giving away Lowrie look stupid.

There better be a trade for a decent shortstop (Cliff Pennington maybe?) coming.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4042297)
Is this thread not showing up on the ST sidebar for anyone else?
   8. tjm1 Posted: January 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4042302)
I don't like the trade, but I think at Scutaro's age, it would be surprising if he really put up numbers like what you're suggesting - but I'd agree that they could have gotten more for him.

One thing I mentioned on another trade is that I think that Valentine is well-suited to work with Punto/Aviles and maybe Iglesias. He did a nice job with a Mora/Ordonez platoon in New York for 4 months in 2000 that was a similar situation - a guy who was a good hitting shortstop but not really defensively suited to the position, and a guy who was a pretty good fielder, but couldn't hit at all. Throwing a good fourth outfielder into the mix really enhances the value of both guys, because it means that the team is even better set up to do a lot of pinch hitting, and get maybe 1000 defensive innings, but only 250 at bats out of Punto, with the bulk of the rest of the at bats going to Aviles and a good pinch hitter. It's not the kind of situation Francona would have liked to have managed, but it's the kind that Valentine will love working with.
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4042303)
I see it in the side bar.
   10. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4042393)
It's not as if there's a surplus of terrific SSs around baseball. You'd think they could get a B or B+ prospect for him from a team that doesn't have Troy Tulowitski playing SS already.
   11. SG Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4042396)
It seems to me that Aviles + whatever they do with Scutaro's salary is better than Scutaro and his contract.

I had Scutaro projected to hit .280/.350/.394 and have Aviles projected to hit .281/.316/.421. Aviles also adds some value relative to Scutaro on the bases and they both project as around average defensively. Over 650 PA I'd have Scutaro projected as being worth 73 runs, and Aviles worth 72.

I guess the main impact will be losing Aviles as a bench player which hurts in depth.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4042407)
Aviles also adds some value relative to Scutaro on the bases and they both project as around average defensively.
Well, that last point is the key one. Aviles has not been a shortstop since 2009, and he looked very stretched at the position when he played last year.

If Mike Aviles is an averageish defender at short, then Scutaro was an unnecessary luxury. (Likewise, if Nick Punto is a very good defensive shortstop with some OBP in his bat.) I'm very skeptical on both counts, but it is an interesting problem, and if Bobby V solves it, he'll have earned his position.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4042410)
It's not as if there's a surplus of terrific SSs around baseball. You'd think they could get a B or B+ prospect for him from a team that doesn't have Troy Tulowitski playing SS already.


But what specific teams would pay $6 million and a good prospect to have Scutaro be their SS for one year?
   14. Dan Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4042413)
Well, that last point is the key one. Aviles has not been a shortstop since 2009, and he looked very stretched at the position when he played last year.


Scutaro's defense looked very stretched at SS last season too though, especially his throwing. He simply doesn't have the ability to make throws from the hole anymore. I know the defensive metrics didn't hate his defense last season, but he looked worse than that to me. And I think the fact that the team that traded for him plans to play him at second base is a point in favor of my viewpoint.
   15. Boxkutter Posted: January 22, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4042454)
From what I read, the recently discovered injury to Crawford is what caused this trade. Now they know they need to sign another OF bat to be a decent 4th OF who can start the season in LF, along with the SP they needed the whole time.

But I agree that Ortiz should have been let go and Lavarnway given a chance to succeed as their new DH/Emergency Catcher/1B. But it's hard to let one of the most popular guys on the team go. The fans always hate those moves.
   16. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 22, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4042462)
Perhaps Marlon Byrd can be the long-awaited compensation.
   17. tjm1 Posted: January 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4042587)
Perhaps Marlon Byrd can be the long-awaited compensation.


I don't see why this wasn't the deal all along. Byrd is worth something in a trade, but not a ton. He's not a player who's likely to be around when the Cubs still plan to compete. He's a good fit for the Red Sox. Unless the Sox were holding out for Garza, this just seems to make sense for both teams.
   18. Xander Posted: January 22, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4042615)
MCoA: Granted, I didn't know this yesterday, but here's the reason the Sox are trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold:

The new deal, for the first time ever, disqualifies 15 markets from receiving initial revenue sharing dollars. They are: The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays, Nationals, Braves, Rangers, Astros, Giants and A's (assuming they build their new stadium).

Beginning in the 2013 season, teams on this list can get back a percentage of what they pay in revenue sharing (referred to as a "rebate"). In 2013, those teams would get 25 percent of their money back. In 2014, those teams would get 50 percent of their money back. In 2015, those teams would get 75 percent of their money back, all the way up until 2016, when they would basically get a free pass.

A condition of getting this rebate however is that you couldn't get it if you were paying any sort of luxury tax.
And that's the problem. The threshold in 2013 is $178 million and from 2014-2016 is $189 million. Go over that and you'll have to pay at tax PLUS you'll lose your ability to get your rebate, which increases over time.

So why is the word out that the Yankees go over a $189 million payroll in 2014? The math is easy. Let's say the Yankees are right at $189 million and decide to spend $10 million on a free agent to make it $199 million. That free agent didn't just cost them $10 million. That free agent just cost them $25 million!

Why?

Because they pay a 50 percent repeat offender tax, which means they're paying a $5 million luxury tax payment and then they'll lose their rebate, which let's say is about $10 million.

Then there's another incentive for them not to go over. The new deal allows a repeat offender's tax to go from 50 percent to 17 percent if there's a year in between where the team doesn't go over the threshold. So, now you see how the union has essentially discouraged top revenue earners and spenders from spending more.
Link
   19. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 22, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4042639)
Matt, are you saying that Ortiz essentially cost them a starting shortstop by being on the team in 2012?
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 22, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4042650)
I am a big Aviles fan, but he is a subpar defender, I don't care what the metrics say. He will also cost you with baserunning blunders. But he's a really nice bench bat.
   21. karlmagnus Posted: January 22, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4042685)
I said in October that booting out Fatso was an essential, and instead they offered him arbitration when he was clearly not going to get a deal anywhere else. If they'd lost fatso they could have reacquired Manny for $1-2 million, who's a better hitter after the 50 game suspension, and then kept Scutaro and got a decent pitcher for the extra $10 million they weren't paying Fatso.

These people are staggeringly inept. And I suspect Henry's running out of dosh. We may be about to enter Wilpon-land.
   22. villageidiom Posted: January 23, 2012 at 01:13 AM (#4042848)
+3 Bat +1 Run +19 Rep +6 Pos -1 Def = +28 RAR

If you believe in trends, which dumber-than-Marcels doesn't trust - and generally, rightly so - then Scutaro is closer to -21 Def than -1 Def. (Per B-R, his last 4 years are +21, +14, +2, and -11.) Likewise, he's closer to -4 Run than +1 Run (+2, +2, 0, -2). That would put him around +3 RAR instead of +28 RAR, a value of $1.5 mil, and an overpay of more than $4 mil instead of a bargain.

All that depends on (a) whether I did the math correct. I'm typing quickly and thinking even faster, so I'm prone to gargantuan errors. (b) whether trends are more likely to continue than the simple weighting/regression of DTM. I honestly don't know the answer to this... Generally, trends don't continue, and basic weighting/regression is pretty good. But we know players decline as they reach Scutaro's age; we know with our eyes (from last year) that Scutaro was playing like someone who wasn't aging well; and the numbers are consistent with that. Maybe he bounces back in 2012, or maybe he simply repeats 2011 instead of declining further. Maybe he starts the spring in the best shape of his life; maybe his 2011 injury is a harbinger. Again, I don't know.

I still think it's a crap trade, but after a long time mulling it over I think I can see a rational perspective by which it's not a crap trade, from a value perspective. That it creates a hole on their roster, well, that's pretty crappy regardless; but as I said in another thread it's hard to judge this offseason at this point in time.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4043088)
TUS-

Thanks, that's really interesting.

I'm not quite following Rovell there. The key issue are these "initial revenue sharing dollars," for which teams can get a rebate if they remain under the luxury tax threshold. Rovell never says (a) how much a big market team currently pays in "initial revenue sharing" or (b) how much they currently receive in "initial revenue sharing." And he never defines "initial revenue sharing" - are there revenue sharing dollars that aren't "initial", which arent' affected by this change?

If the "initial revenue sharing" rebate is a large enough pile of money, this is a de facto soft cap. At the same time, if big market teams can get a 100% rebate if they remain under the cap, is it also a de facto nullification of revenue sharing in favor of a soft cap? That all sounds like a really big deal, but almost so big a deal I have trouble believing I'm reading it right.

With regard to the Red Sox, though, that looks like a very good explanation of what's gone down this offseason. The Scutaro trade is problematic in any context, but it only makes sense at all if the Sox are working with a hard salary cap. If Rovell is broadly correct, then there's a lot of money to be saved in getting under the cap, and being even a single dollar over the cap costs a club millions(?) in revenue. That would explain why the Sox have a hard cap this year after previously treating the luxury tax threshhold as a soft cap, a guideline not be exceeded by too much.

This also would suggest that getting under the cap isn't a one-year thing - the Sox would be likely to regard the luxury tax threshhold as a hard cap. If that's right, the Sox will be unlikely to do much in the 2012-2013 offseason either. They'll have only Matsuzaka and maybe Ortiz' contracts coming off the books, and will have to pay raises to various arb guys, plus Youkilis' option will increase his AAV by a couple million. This would be a really, really big deal. Has anyone followed up on Rovell's piece? When will the CBA be available?
   24. Answer Guy Posted: January 23, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4043413)
I haven't been this pessimistic about the team's chances since '02. Unless a #3 starter falls into their laps I don't think this team is much better than .500; they got quite a few career years and have added nothing of consequence this offseason. As if that's not enough, they just gave away a reasonable starting option at SS for chump change. I blame Theo for some of this since those Lackey and Crawford deals are killing the team right now.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: January 23, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4043477)
I haven't been this pessimistic about the team's chances since '02. Unless a #3 starter falls into their laps I don't think this team is much better than .500; they got quite a few career years and have added nothing of consequence this offseason.


If you are implying that last year they over-achieved up to 90 wins based on some career years you may be the only one who has ever accused the 2011 Sox of being over-achievers. It's a very, uhh, unusual opinion.
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 23, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4043505)
I think there is too much focus on the lack of off-season activity this year rather than looking at what is here. Step back for a minute and the Sox have;

elite players at two positions plus DH (Gonzalez, Pedroia, Ortiz)
potentially elite players at three other positions (Youkilis, Crawford, Ellsbury)
should be league average players at one position (Satalamacchia)
below average player at two positions (Sweeney, Aviles)

That offense was the most productive in the AL last year and probably will be in that neighborhood again. The pitching has concerns but they have a 1-2 punch on the mound that I think stacks up with any tandem in the AL with the exception of Weaver/Haren and a third starter who is potentially every bit the equal of the #1 and 2 guys.

That's not to say there aren't concerns. Crawford's injury is less than exciting but they were 90 wins/94 pythagorean wins a year ago with him playing at replacement level. The pitching is potentially thin but equally likely to dominate. Depending on the health of Beckett/Buchholz and if Bard does what Ogando did for Texas (and that doesn't feel like a longshot) the pitching could be extremely good all of a sudden, no matter who the fifth starter is.

There is some real downside to this team. Youk keeps aging, Crawford doesn't rebound and Ellsbury has a somewhat predictable decline while Beckett and/or Buchholz misses considerable time and this could be a miserable year. But I think if you fear that sequence you owe it at least to your santiy to acknowledge that upsides exist in those scenarios as well. I don't think the downside is appreciably more likely than the upside on this team.
   27. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4043517)
Ugh. Man, I was talking myself into thinking the Red Sox were going to be much better than they were being given credit for, but this trade just seems awful to me. Aviles is not good defensively, and Punto is Punto. That said, I'm still weirdly optimistic about this team. Even with a mess at SS, this is still a good offensive team, and it's hard to imagine getting worse starting pitching than Lackey and Weiland/Miller/Wakefield/Dice-K last year.

   28. Darnell McDonald had a farm Posted: January 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4043519)
It might not seem like it but they really did have quite a few career years. Ellsbury is obvious. Reddick and Salty and Aceves are more low hanging fruit. Beckett had his career ERA+. Pedroia had his career OPS+, as did Scutaro. Gonzalez was just off his career high and Ortiz wasn't far off his.

If you want to argue that Lackey, Crawford and Drew under-achieved enough to make up for all that go ahead but there were several career years last year and the only good bet to repeat is Gonzalez IMO
   29. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4043535)
It might not seem like it but they really did have quite a few career years. Ellsbury is obvious. Reddick and Salty and Aceves are more low hanging fruit. Beckett had his career ERA+. Pedroia had his career OPS+, as did Scutaro. Gonzalez was just off his career high and Ortiz wasn't far off his.

If you want to argue that Lackey, Crawford and Drew under-achieved enough to make up for all that go ahead but there were several career years last year and the only good bet to repeat is Gonzalez IMO


I think you overstate the career years. We're all in agreement on Ellsbury but Gonzalez, Pedroia, Beckett to a lesser extent should all be expected to produce in a manner similar to what they did last year. I think Pedroia (28 this year) and Gonzalez (30, and presumably healthier) have as good a chance to exceed what they did as they do to decline. Gonzalez' BABIP suggests decline but given the way he just abused the Wall I think the decline won't be as dramatic as it otherwise should be expected to be.

I think it is very reasonable to predict that the Sox will get a better overall performance from the catcher position this year both because of platooning and the simple fact that Shoppach/Lavarnway will be better than Varitek.

Reddick was good but right field as a whole hit .233/.299/.353. I am confident that the Sox can surpass that pretty easily.

Say what you want about Aceves but while the innings were a career best everything else is right in line with his three years in New York. I think he is what we saw last year.

I'm not arguing that the Sox are a sure thing or that there aren't concerns. I'm just arguing against the doom and gloom that argues that massive declines are imminent without acknowledgement that improvements are equally reasonable.
   30. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 23, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4043536)
Pants-pissing. Look at that lineup. They do need to improve the pitching, I think. But they'll be in playoff contention in September or I'll eat Answer Guy's hat.

*EDIT*

I was responding to #24, and I stand by that. But I largely agree with Jose above.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: January 23, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4043543)
Thanks, Jose, I echo those thoughts.
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4043577)
The key issue for the 2012 Sox is how you set the baseline. If you start from 90 wins, the Sox certainly haven't improved from last year, so we're looking at a bad season.

If you start from 100 wins - the quality of the 2011 club by component runs - then even with the expected downgrades, and even with Little Nicky Punto patrolling the keystone, they should project to the low 90s in wins, which should be good enough to compete.

The salary cap is going to be a big change - in the past, the primary goal of the front office was a 95 win roster, and if it cost a little extra, Henry gave them the needed cash. With the hard cap, they're not going to fight for that 95 win projection, and they're likely to fall short this year. That's frustrating.
   33. Answer Guy Posted: January 23, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4043609)
For such a famously underachieving team they had a lot of guys play better than they are likely to ever again. Gonzalez and Pedroia are definitely elite; I'd expect neither to match their '11 numbers though. Ellsbury is an obvious regression candidate. I wouldn't count on Ortiz doing what he did again. Youkilis seems like he might never really be healthy again. Crawford might be a decent rebound pick... but he's pretty seriously injured. And now Scutaro is gone and seemingly replaced by Nick Punto. Yeah the RF and C spots have room to improve.

Beckett had his best season in Boston. Yeah Lester is there but beyond that is one question mark after another.
   34. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4043623)
I don't necessarily buy Matt's "component runs in 2011" argument, which has been stated before. That having been said, September was a perfect storm of injury/ineffectiveness in the rotation of a nearly unrepeatable way. This was a flawed team, but circumstances definitely conspired against them in a way that I wouldn't have thought possible and certainly wouldn't project going forward. Even unimproved, this club will be in the playoff hunt. And I expect improvements to the back end of the rotation before Opening Day.
   35. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4043629)
I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Sox didn't hit as well in 2012 as they did last year, but they had a team 116 OPS+ last year. The next highest in the league was Detroit at 110. The Red Sox were totally awesome at hitting. It's unlikely that they'll be that good this year, but they could lose a step or two and still be a pretty damned good hitting team.

Beckett had his best season in Boston. Yeah Lester is there but beyond that is one question mark after another.


But this is true of most teams. Beyond Philadelphia, there just aren't a lot of teams without question 'marks' in their rotation. I mean, the Tigers won 95 games with Verlander and not much else. Guys who seemed dependable in the preseason often get hurt or suck. It's crazy out there.
   36. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 23, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4043635)
I agree with "there are few teams with no question marks in the rotation", but wanted to add:

Sabathia
Pineda
Nova

is at least three deep.
   37. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 23, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4043645)
I can see why the Red Sox accepted the second wild card now. It's not a trade I would have made, but there's an argument for it, since these incentives make it look like neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox will ever be going over the new salary cap after 2014. So the Yankees and Red Sox have to win the division to get a real playoff berth, but they'll be spending exactly the same amount of money as each other, so they'll both have the same chance of winning the division, just like the contenders in every other division. The Yankees' massive advantage is gone. I can't fathom why the Yankees agreed to it, though.
   38. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 23, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4043649)
Sabathia
Pineda
Nova

is at least three deep.


Sure, plus there's Kuroda, but the question 'mark' (sorry, the question 'mark' thing drives me a little crazy. I should probably just accept that calling someone a question mark rather than saying there are questions about this person is now a thing that I need to get over, but I can't help it) game can be played with just about anybody:

Sabathia - fat, lots of miles on that arm and body
Pineda - middling 103 ERA+, moving to the pressure of AL East, NYC
Nova - low strikeout rate
Kuroda - 37 years old, moving to AL East

Now this is the Yankees so I expect all those guys to be awesome, but there's always reason for concern.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4043651)
For such a famously underachieving team they had a lot of guys play better than they are likely to ever again.
Based on the individual seasons of all the players on the Boston Red Sox, they should have won about 100 games. The underachievement of the 2011 Boston Red Sox is precisely that they failed to win the games that their individual performances say they should have.

The Sox underperformance in the clutch last September was, I think, a real choking event, but I don't expect that the Red Sox will choke again next year, so I think the run component 100-win baseline is the right one.

By the dumber-than-Marcel calculations, I have the Sox returning core (Gonzalez, Pedroia, Youkilis, Crawford, Ellsbury, Ortiz, Beckett, Lester, Buchholz) projected to a decline of a little under 100 runs. Those guys, even including Crawford and Buchholz, were pretty great last year. I expect the rest of the team to be better, so the calculation is something like 100 - 10 + X, where X still depends on coming moves. I'm vaguely guessing 90-94 wins, but we'll see. (I'll try to put together more precise numbers for a post some time in the next month.)

EDIT: The downgrade from Scutaro to LNP makes me less confident that X is necessarily positive, but I'm going to follow vi's advice on that and wait'n'see.
   40. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4043652)
And to play pointless fanboy whatsits, if Nova isn't a question mark, then neither is Buchholz.
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4043671)
MLBTR says we're the favorites to sign Cody Ross. He makes perfect sense for this roster - RH to share time with Sweeney, glove to cover RF in Fenway, enough bat that he can play everyday until Crawford returns or if Sweeney craters.
   42. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4043673)
Does your projection take into account that Clay hasn't thrown a pitch in a major-league game since June 16? Since then, I have Nova at roughly 100 innings.
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 23, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4043679)
Does your projection take into account that Clay hasn't thrown a pitch in a major-league game since June 16? Since then, I have Nova at roughly 100 innings.


So what you're saying is Nova is tired while Clay is fresh and ready to roll!
   44. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 23, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4043680)
No Va.

Seriously, both of those guys have injury concerns. I haven't heard anything since the end of the season about either of them, with Clay maybe about to pitch in September and Nova hurting himself in the playoffs. Does anyone know anything about their statuses?
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4043683)
The binary analysis of whether one player is or is not a "question mark" isn't a terribly useful way of evaluating ballplayers in the first place, and I can imagine ways of construing "question mark" so it applies more to Buchholz than to Nova.

My bottom line is that even with the salary difference, I wouldn't trade Buchholz for Nova.
   46. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 23, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4043704)
Also, appropros of absolutely nothing, didn't Rocky Balboa fight "Ivan Nova" in one of the Rocky movies?
   47. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 23, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4043711)
We all seem to forget that for 4 1/2 months this team played nearly .700 ball last year. Take out that 2-10 start and/or a fraction of that September swoon and they win 95 easily. They'll hit again. If they can just keep Clay healthy, they'll be fine. They surely believe they'll see improvement at RF, LF and C. A drop in production at CF, SS and 3B will counterbalance that. Of course they also think the reliever to starter conversions will be more productive then what they got out of spots 4 and 5 in the rotation last year. So this team could either win 87 or 98 games.

   48. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 23, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4043769)
Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

I like the Cody Ross pick up.
   49. Dale Sams Posted: January 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4043828)
At least that old 'Who is better, Ellsbury or Melky?' argument was finally buried....and how.
   50. Pingu Posted: January 24, 2012 at 01:49 AM (#4043905)
I may be reiterating something already covered, but...

I haven't been this pessimistic about the team's chances since '02. Unless a #3 starter falls into their laps I don't think this team is much better than .500; they got quite a few career years and have added nothing of consequence this offseason. As if that's not enough, they just gave away a reasonable starting option at SS for chump change. I blame Theo for some of this since those Lackey and Crawford deals are killing the team right now.


Is just bizzarre.

I havent been this pessimistic about the team, but its just because I hate almost every one on it. I'm going to have a hard time rooting for them. Objectively they are still one of the top teams in baseball, though.
   51. Pingu Posted: January 24, 2012 at 01:49 AM (#4043906)
When did Ivan Nova become someone you just pencil in for a top 3 starter on a playoff team? Did I miss a season?
   52. Pingu Posted: January 24, 2012 at 01:54 AM (#4043910)
And dont yall overreact to trading Scutaro. I'm with Dan from way up above, Scutaro is not a capable defender at SS anymore. Its also pretty likely that he's due for a serious decline offensively. He was nice to have around, sure, but is he really that much better than Aviles or Punto? No big loss really, although I wish they could have gotten a pen arm I could have gotten a little more excited about.

Plus, in all honesty, they had to purge the team of anyone who played well in September last year.
   53. Dale Sams Posted: January 24, 2012 at 02:16 AM (#4043921)
but its just because I hate almost every one on it


They really arn't a very likeable bunch are they? Without the Tito-Pedey dynamic, and the Tito-Lester dynamic...the Beltre head-pats...the constant changing roster..any other sport, and I'd probably have dumped them. But, I'm stuck with these guys..until they raze Fenway and completly change the team colors.
   54. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: January 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4043988)
Another reason for the Scutaro trade is that the luxury tax hit would have been almost $8M as detailed by Alex Speier here. He also says the Rockies were the first team to offer to take on all his salary, so it doesn't sound like there was a better trade out there. It could just be the trade market being inefficient, or it could be that other teams don't view him as a 3 win SS in 2012. Correct me if I'm wrong, but dumber-than-Marcels would project Scutaro the same if he was 26 or 36. Doesn't seem very useful for a player his age.

Also a factor was the Crawford injury. The Sox need their 4th OF to be someone who can fill in credibly while CC is recovering, which meant freeing up more payroll.
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 25, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4045813)
Bradford: Cherington says he has no mandate from ownership to stay under the luxury tax.

The whole thing is worth reading, but I'm still having trouble making sense of it.
"There is always a benefit of staying under because if you stay under you're not taxed," Cherington said. "But we have gone over in some previous years, not by much, but we have been over in some previous years. There's no mandate to be under this year, but we'll continue to look at our payroll and context of deals we may or may not make and just do what we feel put us in the best position to win this year and be flexible."
...
"We had every intention of [Scutaro] being on the team. We got to the point in the offseason, it happened to be after (last Thursday's) Writers Dinner, where something was presented to us and we felt there was an opportunity to reallocate that money in a more efficient way for the team," the GM said. "We may not use all of that now, but over time, whether it's now or in spring training or in the season, given the options we have at shortstop, we feel like we can use that money. But there's a difference in saying we have gone over the luxury threshold and that there's no mandate not to do that this year, there's a different between that and saying we don't have a budget. We do have a budget. They are two different things. They aren't unrelated to each other, but they aren't the same thing."
...
"To some degree because when you have that kind of money opening up, in addition to whatever other resources you have, it allows you to do other things with the team," said Cherington when asked if money played a factor in the deal. "With that move we felt we had a couple of guys in Aviles and Punto who could help us get close to giving us what Marco did, and Marco was a good player here and I expect him to be a good player in Colorado. We felt like we had some options there and we could reallocate that money elsewhere. We did part of that with Cody Ross. As you guys know, we've wanted to add a right-handed bat this offseason. Particularly with Carl's injury we felt like protecting our outfield mix a little better was important. We'll see what happens from here. If there are opportunities to make the team better before we get to spring training then we'll consider those if we find the right value. If not we'll go into spring training or go into the season and know we have a little bit of flexibility and be able to be nimble and make moves as we feel they're appropriate and the ones we felt were the best values.

"Punto has been a very good utility player. He has played more than that at times in his career, but certainly when he has been out there he has done a good job. Aviles has been an everyday player. He came up and was an everyday player for Kansas City and did a really good job and got hurt. While he got hurt and was making his way back they acquired a shortstop in the Greinke deal and he was sort of supplanted to some degree and we picked him up in a trade last summer. We need to get him into spring training and watch him, but he's certainly capable of being an everyday player. We'll keep our eyes out if there is a way to further protect the shortstop position we'll consider that."
Reading Cherington's words just makes me nervous. I know that rhythm - when a student asks me a question and my brain just freezes for a minute, I sort of list out collections of facts until I figure out what my point might be. He does that every time he's asked a question. And I'm not quite sure what his point was, anyway.

My read on this is that the Sox needed the Scutaro money to get Ross, based on whatever exactly the budget cap is, and they determined that Scutaro's projected value compared to Punto/Aviles was less than the value of Ross compared to McDonald, plus $3M. The $3M probably gives them a little more flexibility to get a starter. We'll see - this really depends on how well the offense/defense righty/lefty SS platoon works. (Or if they use some of the money saved on a SS, I guess.)
   56. Something Other Posted: January 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM (#4046893)
Clearly, what’s going on is that the Sox have a hard payroll limit, and they decided that they need to save money at shortstop in order to have money to spend on a new fourth starter, plus a little for a new fourth outfielder. The problem here is that, even if the Sox had gotten a mildly fair return for Scutaro, they should never have been in the position to need to move him.


I haven't been this pessimistic about the team's chances since '02. Unless a #3 starter falls into their laps I don't think this team is much better than .500; they got quite a few career years and have added nothing of consequence this offseason. As if that's not enough, they just gave away a reasonable starting option at SS for chump change. I blame Theo for some of this since those Lackey and Crawford deals are killing the team right now.
Is there a point at which 16+m contracts are a bad idea--too many eggs in too few baskets? Two of your expensive guys go down and you're in real trouble. I realize you have to give to get, and I may be simply wrong, but a team with the advantages the Red Sox have (very high payroll, solid development system) might be taking a needless risk by giving out more than x big contracts, especially once they knew that Matsuzaka and Lackey weren't likely to give them much. I don't really believe there's a hard number, but surely the Sox were approaching a dangerous point.

It's too easy for me to say in hindsight that the Crawford deal wasn't a good one--I think it might be more comprehensive and worthwhile to say, that ANY long expensive deal in the 2010-11 offseason was a risk the Sox didn't need to take, or perhaps that two long expensive deals were one too many. Doesn't mean I would have picked the right one, but I think there's something to my idea that at some point--when a good chunk of your payroll isn't giving you much in return--you're better off spreading your risk around.

   57. villageidiom Posted: January 27, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4047494)
Reading Cherington's words just makes me nervous.
It's better if you listen to his words. They have the audio of the interview there, too.

The first paragraph you quoted from the Bradford article was a response to the question, "Isn't there an advantage this year to getting under the luxury tax threshold?" which was a followup to his rejection of the notion that there's a mandate to get under the threshold this year.

The second paragraph you quoted... Cherington's response started with, "Well, you're asking a lot of different questions, but I'll try to address them one at a time." The question itself touched on the timing of the Scutaro trade, the player they got in return, the fact that it wasn't followed by the signing of Oswalt or the promotion of Iglesias, the luxury tax "mandate", and the likelihood that they'll start the season with the Aviles/Punto platoon. It might have touched on the invention of the wrap sandwich and whether Steven Tyler is a net positive for American Idol, but I lost track. Anyway, I can understand why the answer went all over the place after hearing the question.

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