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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Answer Guy Posted: May 10, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4128041)
One thing about rooting for a losing ballclub, if that's indeed what we are confronted with, is that much less is riding on any one game or series. (Yeah, it's been a while for the Red Sox, but if you're also a Celtics/Bruins fan it really wasn't very long ago that both teams had seasons where they were utterly bereft of hope.)

The discourse and mental state would tend to be at its lowest when results are out of line with expectations. People don't stay in "rage mode" forever.

For my own part I didn't care all that much about last night's defeat.

   2. John DiFool2 Posted: May 10, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4128060)
Bard is looking a lot like Goose Gossage when he became a starter that one year. If he isn't in the pen by the ASB I'll be very surprised.
   3. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 10, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4128062)
It’s worth considering the community before you take that step from reasonable venting to the spewing of bile, and it’s worth reading over and editing your posts if they have a few more all-caps phrases than you’d normally use.
This makes me think I need to go read the end of last night's chatter.
   4. Mattbert Posted: May 10, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4128069)
This makes me think I need to go read the end of last night's chatter.

Go ahead, but I'm pretty sure that's not what prompted the reprimand.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4128086)
I'll disagree that Beckett has been an issue. I think he's been very good with his awful first start skewin the numbers out of whack.
I'm not sure what to make of Bard. If the Sox are going to drop out of it I think they need to give him the whole year to establish himself as a starter. His fatigue issues are the sort of thing that I think he can work through over time.

And if anything I posted either as a post or a comment crossed a line I do apologize. Certainly I keep posting here because it's a good and knowledgable group who I enjoy talking baseball with.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: May 10, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4128092)
I'll disagree that Beckett has been an issue. I think he's been very good with his awful first start skewin the numbers out of whack.


...except not pitching in his relief during his 10 day vacation
   7. Textbook Editor Posted: May 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4128134)
I've just worked under the assumption most Therapudians are frustrated. It's been a frustrating 8+ months since the swoon started, and frustration (and it's cousin, despair) manifests itself in lots of odd ways. I don't take what anyone says in frustration seriously/personally (ALL CAPS or not).

I think what is most despairing for me is just the overall sense that the team has sort of lost its moorings a bit. The injuries/upheavals on the roster & in management haven't helped, of course, but in the past it's always seemed there was a overall guiding philosophy in place (and perhaps that was all it was--just that it seemed this way).

I'm not sure what that philosophy is anymore. It's sort of "well, player X isn't that good; we think Y is better, so let's bring in Y." Which doesn't strike me as a particularly enlightened overall approach to roster management.

I'm probably overreacting (due to above-cited frustration/despair). But I see some wilderness years ahead of us. I've been there before, and this too shall pass, etc... but facing the wilderness after a decade of good times is like waking up New Year's Day with a rampaging hangover. I hope I'm wrong... I know some will accuse me of falling in with the damp pants crowd, but I can't help the fact that my gut reaction to the last 8 months is pretty negative.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4128165)
This makes me think I need to go read the end of last night's chatter.


Nah. If Mikael wanted to be more direct, he could have simply said "If you can't engage in polite conversation with fellow Therapudians, just shut your piehole."

I was one of the more outspoken preseason pessimists, but I didn't think they'd look this bad. We may have to just resign ourselves to hoping that the Yankees continue to tread water.
   9. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4128176)
@#4 You're right, but I found what did.

I'm on record as saying that i think it's completely nuts to be talking about needing to fire Valentine at this point, and I stand by that. I do want to clarify that I don't mean to say he's done a sterling job, and I'm not saying he's above criticism. Just think canning a manager this early would be a wild overreaction.
   10. Darren Posted: May 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4128222)
It would be a huge adjustment to going back to the days where it wasn't presumed we'd be in it to the end. Not an easy transition, for sure.
   11. Answer Guy Posted: May 10, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4128230)
My only reference point is 1992, when the team went from a stretch when they were usually in the thick of things (86-91, 87 excepted) into a period (92-94) where they weren't.
   12. Xander Posted: May 10, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4128239)
Yea, they're not that good. Oh well. You need to live through the lows to enjoy the highs. At least baseball allows you to enjoy the individual performances. Enjoy the fact that you're watching a great second basemen in his prime.

Hopefully we can refresh the rotation over the next three seasons and integrate Middlebrooks, Bradley, and Bogaerts as everyday players.
   13. Mattbert Posted: May 10, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4128240)
"If you can't engage in polite conversation with fellow Therapudians, just shut your piehole."

I see what you did there.
   14. Mattbert Posted: May 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4128242)
Hopefully we can refresh the rotation over the next three seasons and integrate Middlebrooks, Bradley, and Bogaerts as everyday players.

This is kinda how I feel about it. My frustration now is that they didn't commit to this for 2012, but that's an unreasonable frustration. If the team hadn't been gutted by injuries, the Sox would probably be around .500 - still disappointing, but not disastrous.

I will only get really pissed if this keeps up and there's another half-assed effort to "reload" for 2013. In its own way, a rebuilding team can be as enjoyable to watch as a contending team as long as there's a plan in evidence and the rebuilding pieces have some decent potential. The maddening thing at the moment is having paid top dollar for this absolute shower of shite.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: May 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4128254)
My frustration now is that they didn't commit to this for 2012, but that's an unreasonable frustration. If the team hadn't been gutted by injuries, the Sox would probably be around .500 - still disappointing, but not disastrous.

I will only get really pissed if this keeps up and there's another half-assed effort to "reload" for 2013.


It wouldn't have made sense to tear-and-rebuild for 2012, and it doesn't make sense to do it for 2013. When you have the prime or near-prime years of A-Gon, Pedroia, Lester, Ellsbury, and Crawford, you should be trying to win, not dis-assemble.
   16. Mattbert Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4128268)
That only holds up if:

* Lester's slow start is really just a slow start again this time.
* Ellsbury can play a full season of games more than once every other year.
* Crawford is worth a damn.

Gonzo and Pedroia are pretty safe bets, but I'm only slightly optimistic on Lester and pessimistic on the outfielders.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4128276)
I don't know what you mean by 'that only holds up.' I wasn't saying that core guarantees the team anything, but that it is a core that you try to win with - and it is a core that you would be trying to recreate if you rebuild.

Also, Lester has a 4.29 ERA after 7 starts - even if he has a 4.50 ERA after 32 he still is a piece that you want to build around in 2013. All of a sudden we throw away his track record?. I thought I might have been stingy not including Beckett on that list, jeesh.

edit: also, they will not be able to know whether Ellsbury can play a full season of games more than once every other year before they decide what to do for 2013.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4128288)
I realize this post reads a bit as if I'm resigned to a losing season. That really isn't the case.

I think it's possible that the starting pitching is unfixable, but I think it's more likely that the starting pitching is actually pretty good and will start pitching good, say, tonight. If that happens, this club only needs a small hit of luck to be a solid contender. I'm preparing myself for the Sox to be out of contention this year, but I don't think it's the most likely outcome.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4128291)
Also, "tearing down" is not justified when you can spend almost $200M on payroll. With the resources the Red Sox have, they should never, ever enter the season without a playoff-quality roster.

I guess it could come to pass that the core talent all collapses, leaving the club with $150M of dead weight. But look at the team right now - they came into the season with maybe $50M of dead weight, and they still projected as contenders, and they've lost even more, and they still have a good shot at contention.

This year is the worst case scenario, not something you plan to do again next year.
   20. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4128293)
As recently as early 2011, a little over one year ago, the Red Sox were widely considered one of the very best (if not the best) teams in baseball, and it wasn't even that close. What do people make of those predictions now? This is essentially the same team, plus a year of injuries/ineffectiveness/heartbreak. It seems hard to believe that the injuries to Crawford and Lackey would be enough to sink a World Series favorite down into not-even-a-contender status, especially with last year's Ellsbury breakout.

I guess the short answer is bad luck and injuries, but I still don't really question the talent on the team. The talent is still there. This is still an amazing team who can do amazing things, and is capable of bringing huge amounts of joy to Red Sox fans.
   21. Mattbert Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4128298)
I don't know what you mean by 'that only holds up.' I wasn't saying that core guarantees the team anything, but that it is a core that you try to win with - and it is a core that you would be trying to recreate if you rebuild.

I mean that group is only a core if they're healthy and productive. How confident are you that's going to be the case with all five guys?
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: May 10, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4128306)
I mean that group is only a core if they're healthy and productive. How confident are you that's going to be the case with all five guys?


Any core of 4-6 players is rarely going to have every single member be healthy and productive at the same time.
   23. Dan Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4128377)
Reddick 2012 OPS+: 120

Lowrie 2012 OPS+: 139

Both traded away for relievers in what is looking like a lost season. Miles Head is also sporting a 1.029 OPS in High A.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4128383)
I guess we will have to remind you of Sweeney every time you post these updates (143 OPS+) ...
   25. Kurt Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4128386)
And if anything I posted either as a post or a comment crossed a line I do apologize. Certainly I keep posting here because it's a good and knowledgable group who I enjoy talking baseball with.

I agree with the others - you have nothing at all to apologize for.
   26. Dan Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4128390)
Sweeney is a free agent after 2013, and only plays against RHP. Reddick is an everyday player who isn't a free agent until after 2016.

Reddick is also doing that with a .280 BABIP, while Sweeney's numbers are inflated by a .446 BABIP. Sweeney also only plays RF, while Reddick covers CF, which would be pretty nice since we're reduced to using Byrd there with Ellsbury injured.
   27. The Essex Snead Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4128398)
Baltimore Orioles' current record: 19-11
Los Angeles Dodgers' current record: 20-11
Current NL wins leader: Lance Lynn (6)
Current AL batting average leader: Josh Hamilton (.406)
Current AL ERA leader: Drew Smyly (1.59)

Today's date: May 10th
Games left for Boston in 2012: 132
   28. DKDC Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4128405)
It’s always darkest before dawn.

Well, dawn or an endless nuclear winter.
   29. Dan Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4128407)
Apparently Daniel Nava has been called up. No news yet on the corresponding move.
   30. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4128411)
Lowrie 2012 OPS+: 139


Come on. We all know that Lowrie will explode into a million pieces (or would have for the Red Sox) at some point during the season. If he survives until June without a trip to the DL and a prolonged period of sucking it will be the first time in his professional career.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: May 10, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4128414)
Sweeney is a free agent after 2013, and only plays against RHP. Reddick is an everyday player who isn't a free agent until after 2016.


So what? If you are already counting what the Sox lost from not having Reddick in 2014 and beyond, you can't assume that Bailey gives them 0 innings in the next few years. If you are just listing year-to-date OPS+, Sweeney has been better than the guy he was traded for.
   32. Dan Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4128448)
Mortensen back to Pawtucket appears to be the other roster move.
   33. Dan Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4128453)
And after explicitly saying he wouldn't use personal catchers, Valentine started Salty against a LHP last night and Shoppach is starting against a RHP tonight to catch Beckett.
   34. Mattbert Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4128460)
That sucks for Mortensen. He was lights out.
   35. Dan Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4128462)
Well you can't expect them to expose the invaluable Matt Albers to waivers to keep Mortensen on the roster.
   36. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4128481)
I'm not sure what to make of Bard. If the Sox are going to drop out of it I think they need to give him the whole year to establish himself as a starter. His fatigue issues are the sort of thing that I think he can work through over time.


Just wanted to second this. I'm still reasonably optimistic about Bard as a starter long term. I'd rather not give up on that for what would be at best a small net upgrade this year.
   37. Dale Sams Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4128493)
It’s quite possible this is going to be a losing ballclub


Interesting. I made the same post in another forum last night. Here I thought I was fairly pessimistic in saying they would end up under .500. I didn't know the idea had taken root in my more optimistic brethren.
   38. Dale Sams Posted: May 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4128504)
Apparently Daniel Nava has been called up. No news yet on the corresponding move.


If the team is going to listen to me, they can also start playing Sweeney full-time regardless of splits and be more agressive in warming up relievers.
   39. veer bender Posted: May 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4128520)
I absolutely hate the second wild card, but I've got a good hunch that we'll be happy it exists for this season, entirely because Anaheim has underperformed almost as badly as the sox. Take a look at the standings: we're one game behind them (and 4.5 behind Toronto) for the last spot. Is there really anyone else worth worrying about? Given their lead, Tor may be the bigger obstacle at this point.

On the other hand, yeah, the old single wild card would be almost out of reach, being 4 and 7.5 behind two teams that are likely better.

Still hate the second wild card, though.
   40. Darren Posted: May 10, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4128545)
Nava! Finally something to be happy about!

Just checked on him the other night and found he was hitting a very nice .316 .421 .505 with 14 BB and 15 K. I'm hoping this time he will remain healthy and be a bit more aggressive at the plate. Yay yay yay!

Edit: Nava starting in LF tonight.
   41. Dale Sams Posted: May 10, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4128558)
Nava! Finally something to be happy about!


"Has to be better than Byrd"...really the only thing I wanted him for.

I absolutely hate the second wild card, but I've got a good hunch that we'll be happy it exists for this season,


You know, the other day Jose said something about it and I outlined the reasons I hate it. And I found out I hate it...for the Sox. If the Sox are 95 wins and have to play a 96 win team, then it sucks. If the Sox are an 88 win team, (Or similar to the Sox teams of the last two years) then I would feel that team has no reason even sniffing the playoffs. BUT...if the two wild cards are say, Toronto and Baltimore? Well, that's *interesting*. And good for baseball.

I still hate it because the tension it creates is:

1)Between a division leader and a chasing (probably WC) team, and therefore not particularly palpable. "And Tampa Bay win the division and go to the playoffs, New York is the Wild Card...and ALSO goes to the playoffs!" (yes I know that was the same scenario usually under the old format)

2) Between a second WC team and the team chasing them...in general, BFD. Does anyone really care if the Houston Rockets come in 9th and the Charlotte Bobcats come in eighth?...but as I said, seeing a playoff game between teams like Toronto and Baltimore is...interesting.

I'll get used to it, but still prefer the one WC format.

Edit: Nava starting in LF tonight.


Over Ross/McDonald...not Byrd. groan

and according to Roto both Shoppach and Sweeney are playing RF. I can only assume Sweeney will catch the ball and let Shoppach try and gun runners down at the plate. Which will be difficult with no catcher.
   42. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 10, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4128630)
It’s worth considering the community before you take that step from reasonable venting to the spewing of bile, and it’s worth reading over and editing your posts if they have a few more all-caps phrases than you’d normally use.


Thanks for the heads up mate - lots of great stuff was covered above and I agree with most of it. I'm really looking to forward to following the team this year as they work their way hopefully out of this horrible stretch.

I know I can behave better in chatter, I was upset when I read the other day reading some comments, and I never get upset here - I've been losing the plot a bit here lately and for that wholeheartedly apologize.

Watching the games I have been quite calm in person (surprisingly) , and resigned to the fact that they just don't have the muscle to win the East. I want this team to be more fun to root for, but it is really freaking hard at stages - hopefully the starters can pull them out of this - time is running out.





   43. Answer Guy Posted: May 10, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4128749)
The evidence continues to mount.

What's moderately interesting from a theoretical perspective is that it's hard to imagine this season progressing dramatically differently with Theo and Tito at the helm, and this is looking very much like the season that would have gotten both of them sacked.
   44. jmurph Posted: May 11, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4129090)
Also, "tearing down" is not justified when you can spend almost $200M on payroll. With the resources the Red Sox have, they should never, ever enter the season without a playoff-quality roster.


I would like to be reassured on something related to this (and I don't mean this snarkily). In my mind, a team with an almost $200 million payroll doesn't do a lot of the things the Red Sox have done over the past few months. They don't sign Nick Punto to a 2 year deal, they don't go into the season planning on platooning two 4th outfielders in right, they probably don't make the Lowrie-Melancon trade, and they definitely don't make the Scutaro trade. I also happen to think they don't make a 31 year old utility infielder their starting shortstop, but I admit I might be unduly negative on Aviles.

I guess what I'm suggesting is that I'm not wildly optimistic that they know how to fix this.
   45. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4129103)
I guess what I'm suggesting is that I'm not wildly optimistic that they know how to fix this.


This is my feeling too. There is plenty of blame to go around but so far I've been underwhelmed by the Ben Cherington era. Maybe that should be the Lucchino/Cherington era but the end result is the same.
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4129105)
and they definitely don't make the Scutaro trade. I also happen to think they don't make a 31 year old utility infielder their starting shortstop


How can you put these sentences back-to-back? Saint Scutaro was little more than 34-year old utility infielder when they got him.
   47. jmurph Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4129119)
How can you put these sentences back-to-back? Saint Scutaro was little more than 34-year old utility infielder when they got him.


I'm not sure Scutaro was ever a utility infielder, but I do know for sure he was coming off an excellent season in Toronto. I'm also not intending to "saint" him- my understanding is that they were down on his defense, so I get why they felt like he was fungible- merely to point out that it was clearly a salary dump that amounted to very little.
   48. Nasty Nate Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4129123)
From the game story about Beckett's start: "Maybe it was a little too much time off," Sox manager Bobby Valentine acknowledged.

WELL ####### USE HIM IN A 17-INNING GAME THAT THE OTHER TEAM IS TRYING TO HAND YOU AND HE WON'T BE RUSTY!!
   49. Nasty Nate Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4129129)
so I get why they felt like he was fungible- merely to point out that it was clearly a salary dump that amounted to very little.


At this point it seems like they improved at SS, added to their pitching depth, and saved a few million along the way. Isn't this the type of move we want them to make?
   50. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4129138)
My WAG is that a Theo run team would have landed an Edwin Jackson or Hiroki Kuroda which puts either Doubront or Bard in the bullpen and probably means that one of the Reddick or Lowrie deals doesn't get made. I think Lars probably would have gotten dealt (not sure where or for what, just a hunch) and that Scutaro would still be here (probably to the Sox detriment).

The thing that strikes me about this off-season is how passive the Sox were with respect to the starting rotation. You've just come off a season where the rotation was catastrophic and the plan is;

hope that Bard can make the conversion
hope that Doubront is ready
hope that Buchholz is healthy

with Plan B being "Aaron Cook and a rehabbing Daisuke Matusuzaka."
   51. Mattbert Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4129146)
That's what happens when you're carrying two catastrophically albatrosseriffic contracts and you're trying to trim payroll slightly.
   52. Swedish Chef Posted: May 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4129155)
I tried to compare the CFBPS with the ones from the Unabashedly Reactive Pessimist's Obviously Objective Projections (URPOOP), expecting the latter to win in a landslide. But it ended in a tie since the bullpen hasn't caught leprosy nor has Fenway been hit by a meteorite yet.
   53. Textbook Editor Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4129162)
That's what happens when you're carrying two catastrophically albatrosseriffic contracts and you're trying to trim payroll slightly.


John Lackey certainly looks like our version of Mike Hampton, I'll give you that.


   54. Nasty Nate Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4129166)
You've just come off a season where the rotation was catastrophic and the plan is;

hope that Bard can make the conversion
hope that Doubront is ready
hope that Buchholz is healthy

with Plan B being "Aaron Cook and a rehabbing Daisuke Matusuzaka."


In fairness to the Sox, planning a season's rotation almost always involves these hopes and uncertainties (and aren't you glad that 'hoping a 57-year old Wakefield can give you 150 serviceable innings' wasn't on that list again?).

I think the Sox' problem has been translating talent into pitching success moreso than lack off-season moves.
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4129177)
My WAG is that a Theo run team would have landed an Edwin Jackson or Hiroki Kuroda which puts either Doubront or Bard in the bullpen and probably means that one of the Reddick or Lowrie deals doesn't get made. I think Lars probably would have gotten dealt (not sure where or for what, just a hunch) and that Scutaro would still be here (probably to the Sox detriment).
So, your guess is that Theo would have had $10-15M more in payroll to work with? Or would he have let Ortiz go in order to spend that money?

This club had some problems that could have been solved or mitigated with more money, but that's on ownership, not the GM.
   56. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4129189)
they don't go into the season planning on platooning two 4th outfielders in right
I don't have any idea what's wrong with this. The 1998 Yankees ran a platoon in left field, for god's sake. Platoons are great, and teams that want to be great should use more of them. There is nothing about running a platoon that suggests you aren't trying to win. Sweeney + Ross would currently be one of the five or so best RFs in the league.
   57. Mattbert Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4129192)
Yeah, that's weird. Sweeney and Ross are near the bottom of the list of things wrong with this team, if they're on it at all. Even as they've been "exposed" by being thrust into near-everyday roles, they've performed better than expected. As a platoon, they'd be dynamite.
   58. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4129196)
So, your guess is that Theo would have had $10-15M more in payroll to work with? Or would he have let Ortiz go in order to spend that money?


Part of being in a role like GM of an MLB team is to "manage upward." Some of that money could have come out of other moves not being made and yes, perhaps some from ownership, but a good GM has to get sign off from ownership on stuff all the time. If we believe Lucchino when he says there is money to be spent then I think they could have gotten there.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4129202)
Hiroki Kuroda ($10M) or Edwin Jackson ($11M) + Marco Scutaro ($6.5M) - Andrew Bailey ($4M) - Ryan Sweeney ($1.5M) = $11-12M

Which moves don't get made? You could cut some payroll by getting a cheaper platoon mate for Reddick than Cody Ross, but then that guy is playing everyday in LF and costing us ballgames, and you're still not anywhere close to producing the money to pay Kuroda / Jackson.

Criticizing the GM for not increasing payroll by about ten million dollars really doesn't make sense to me, at all. And I don't believe Lucchino when he says anything. I think that if we want to talk about what Theo would have done, we should imagine him under the same constraints, not as someone with special business powers that create payroll out of proactive upward managementness.

EDIT: This post came out snarky. I snark at business speak. I can't help it. I am even powerless to edit it out.
   60. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4129226)
Nah, wasn't snarky.

And fair enough in general. I remain confident that Theo would have handled this off-season better than Cherington did. I'm not going to sit and figure out every move that was/was not made and what he would have done differently but it felt like the Sox made an awful lot of $1-$2 million moves that could have been bundled in a way that ended up better. It generally seemed like the Sox were more focused on fixing the 5th and 6th most important things than the major problem (starting pitching). What was the rush to sign Punto and Shoppach in December for example?

Theo wasn't perfect as a GM but he was very good in my opinion (cue karl). Someone (Textbook Editor I think) noted in one of the discussions yesterday that during Theo's era the Sox always felt like they had a plan and this year has felt more "seat of the pants." That's how I feel.

In fairness to Cherington some of that is circumstance based. The Crawford situation hurt. Buchholz is a disaster and frankly so is Lester. The Sox are getting horrible performances out of people who should be better.
   61. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4129243)
It generally seemed like the Sox were more focused on fixing the 5th and 6th most important things than the major problem (starting pitching).
What was the starting pitching solution, though? It seemed to me that the Red Sox realized they could trade their farm system for Gio Gonzalez, cut Ortiz, or go forward with a shakier starting staff. Once they determined the money wasn't there to get another SP arm, and they determined they liked having Ortiz under contract, everything follows from there.

The problem with this club is that they settled for 91 wins this offseason. They've never done that before. Because of the dead weight that Theo saddled the club with over the last couple years, the only way to get the projection up to 95 wins was adding $20M or more in payroll. People are mistaking a budgetary decision to lower the team's ambitions for a "lack of a plan."
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4129244)
I'm terribly frustrated right now. Maybe it's wishcasting but after 8 years of Theo/Tito and a string of 90+ win seasons the first year after the change is shaping up as a 75-80 win season in my opinion (I hope I'm wrong but I fear I'm not). Some of that falls on Theo certainly and maybe there is nothing that they could do about it but it just feels like there is a cause/effect.

One of the hallmarks of the Terry Francona era (September, 2011 excluded) seemed to me to be that the team bounced back after rough patches. To pretend September didn't happen is beyond stupid of course but I can't help but feel that given the opportunity they would have figured this out. Perhaps its irrational, but it's all I got right now.
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4129248)
The club was always more likely to bounce back from rough stretch because it had more talent. With injuries, this is something like an 86-88 win roster. It started out as a 90-93 win roster. Theo's clubs projected better than that, every year. (Tito and Theo's 2010 club didn't "bounce back" much, you know.)

The problem is that from the very beginning, they weren't as good as they'd been. When I lay the blame for the lack of quality on the club as projected, the vast majority goes to Theo for the bad contracts and Henry from not opening up the wallet. I don't see any obvious solution for the GM, given the budgetary constraints.

If something's wrong with the club beyond their projections, it looks like it's mostly because the frontline starting pitching sucks. Those are the holdovers from the previous regime, and if I'm going to blame someone for that, Bob McClure is the guy in my sights.

And I should say, I still think this club will bounce back. The problem is that given the early struggles and given the relative lack of projected quality, a "bounce back" will take them toward 85 wins, not toward 92.
   64. Pingu Posted: May 11, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4129458)
My biggest problem is that I've soured on the team to the point where even if they bounce back I'm not sure I'll enjoy it.

I find myself rooting for only a couple players on the roster and the uniform in general, the grand majority are impossible to like. Its basically turning my Red Sox experience into: "is Middlebrooks up yet?"

I suspect I'm not alone.
   65. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 11, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4129459)
MCoA: I know this team isn't as talented as last year's but I think you're overestimating the difference.

In the epitaph for last year's team you wrote:

With injuries, this was something like a 95-win team


And now

With injuries, this is something like an 86-88 win roster.


7-9 wins worse? I think you either overestimated last year's talent, or underestimated this year's, or both.
   66. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 11, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4129474)
My biggest problem is that I've soured on the team to the point where even if they bounce back I'm not sure I'll enjoy it.

I find myself rooting for only a couple players on the roster and the uniform in general, the grand majority are impossible to like. Its basically turning my Red Sox experience into: "is Middlebrooks up yet?"

I suspect I'm not alone.


This is coming up a lot. Just thinking it out (my own opinions);

Loves - Pedroia, Ortiz, Doubront, Saltalamacchia

Like Plus - Gonzalez, Aviles, Youkilis, McDonald, Hill, Atchison, Mortensen, Tazawa

Like Regular - Ross, Ellsbury, Beckett, Crawford, Bard

Indifferent - Sweeney, Byrd, Shoppach, Morales, Albers

Don't like too much - Lester, Buchholz, Padilla

Conflicted - Aceves

   67. Dale Sams Posted: May 11, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4129515)
Love Salty???

I'm sure he's a fine human being but (looks up his stats)...

...

...I'm not sure what to say about a run enviroment in which .236/.273/.486 is a 101 OPS+

He led the league in PB in only 101 games last year. Yes, he caught the knuckler, but still. He's got 3 errors (which certainly "count" as catchers)..I don't know how many flubs. His CS% is 11 points below league average. He's got 10 wild pitchs and is on track to break the 40 something from last year

I think my bottom ranks would be labeled "Don't like as a player".."GTFO my team". I think Lackey would be the only GTFO player. Beckett's been there when he would headhunt in frustration for his inadequency.
   68. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4129530)
With injuries, this was something like a 95-win team

And now

With injuries, this is something like an 86-88 win roster.

7-9 wins worse? I think you either overestimated last year's talent, or underestimated this year's, or both.
No, I stand by both of those claims.

The 2011 team was a 95-win team because of a concentration of unexpectedly good performance from guys like Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Beckett, and the rest. The issue for the 2012 Red Sox is that regression to the mean ate a big chunk out of the club's projection, and they didn't have the money or the ######' A trade that could make up the difference and get the club's projection back over the 90-93 win mark.
   69. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4129609)
What kills me about this team is that I feel most of the secondary performers have actually been pretty good. Consider:

Ross
Sweeney
Aviles
Shoppach
Bard
Doubront
Morales
Padilla
Albers
Atchison
Mortenson
Tazawa
Hill

In their roles, all those guys have at least as good as you'd expect, and usually a fair amount better. The bullpen is not a problem. Sweeney, Ross, and Aviles have been asked to do more than they probably should...the back end of the rotation hasn't been stellar, but what did you expect? They've been fine, for what they are at this point in their development.

The two real problems are:
1) The gap between 2011 Ellsbury and 2012 Byrd is so stark that it is a game-changer.
2) Beckett/Lester/Buchholz have been lousy, taken as a trio. When they go out to pitch, I have little more confidence that they will shut down a team than I do in Doubront or Bard.

Too many Red Sox fans think they're getting "Cy Young award vote recipient" Beckett/Lester/Buchholz, and the difference between that and the present is cavernous.

   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 11, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4129637)
Post 68 really gets at why I don't think Cherington is the problem here. His guys have been effective, overall.
2) Beckett/Lester/Buchholz have been lousy, taken as a trio. When they go out to pitch, I have little more confidence that they will shut down a team than I do in Doubront or Bard.
This is a significant understatement. The big three have been cumulatively below replacement level.
   71. Pingu Posted: May 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4129735)
All number crunching aside, this team still strikes me as having more than enough talent to be a 90+ win team, even with injuries.

Thats the rub. Outside of a 1 1/2 month stretch in the middle of last year where they played to their potential, we're going on 8 months of collossal underacieving of some pretty talented ball players. Theres no bad luck in play...theres no injury excuse....the sample size is big enough. They are very likely to play better going forward, but its not going to be enough. They are what they are at this point.
   72. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 11, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4129769)
The 2011 team was a 95-win team because of a concentration of unexpectedly good performance from guys like Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Beckett, and the rest.


Huh? How many games do you think they would have won, injury time considered, if Ellsbury et al. had played expectedly good instead? That seems like the relevant number to compare to the 2012 expectation. Otherwise I'm not sure what an "X-win" team means for a team that didn't actually win X games.
   73. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 11, 2012 at 09:42 PM (#4129851)
Theo wasn't perfect as a GM but he was very good in my opinion (cue karl). Someone (Textbook Editor I think) noted in one of the discussions yesterday that during Theo's era the Sox always felt like they had a plan and this year has felt more "seat of the pants." That's how I feel.

I think this is rose-colored post facto nonsense. Personally. We made a lot of jokes around here about Smile and I think you're remembering hope/faith rather than events. Not to say Theo was any kind of bad GM - I loved having him helming my favorite ballclub - but I don't think he exhibited any more of a cohesive overall plan in his offseasons than we saw this year - and this year the FO was hamstrung by his having just left AND by the evident necessity of reducing payroll for the first time since Theo took over.
   74. Dale Sams Posted: May 11, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4129995)
Posednick? Does this mean we'll see the .800 or so OBP Nava get sent down, or traded for a reliever so the wily vet can play in the same field as Byrd? Awesome sauce.
   75. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4130020)
Podsednik??? please tell me that's a joke
   76. Dale Sams Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4130038)
Further research would seem to indicate that he's just AAA OF depth.
   77. Dan Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:38 AM (#4130060)
After going 4-4 tonight with 2 HR and a BB, Reddick is hitting .292/.343/.554, good for a wRC+ of 154.
   78. JE (Jason) Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:54 AM (#4130072)
Podsednik??? please tell me that's a joke

Beckett had asked the front office for a new caddy.
   79. Dale Sams Posted: May 12, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4130079)
After going 4-4 tonight with 2 HR and a BB, Reddick is hitting .292/.343/.554, good for a wRC+ of 154.


My fantasy 'upside guys', Reddick, Lowrie (cooled off this week), LaHair are playing out of their minds. And I got Capuano 'streaming' a few weeks back.

The 'slumping AGon' has bounced back nicely this week. I didn't see tonights game, did RSN flip out when AGon got picked off first?
   80. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 12, 2012 at 01:16 AM (#4130092)
I wouldn't say I was over the moon when AG was picked off...

BTW , I think (stating the obvious) that Clay really doesn't good - he didn't even look like striking someone out tonight
   81. Chip Posted: May 12, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4130135)
Gonzalez was picked off second, not first, on a blown sacrifice when the pitch was too wide to be bunted. Remy quite rightly slammed him for laziness on the play - it was Mannyesque.

Buchholz kept the ball down more than in previous starts, is the most positive thing you could say about his effort. Seemed to have better fastball location most of the night too.
   82. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4130144)
I'm not sure what an "X-win" team means for a team that didn't actually win X games.


94 pythag wins.
   83. Dave Cyprian Posted: May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4130167)
This teetotaling clubhouse is stressing out the pitchers. Let them golf at a club with a decent draft list.
   84. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4130184)
Love Salty???

I'm sure he's a fine human being but (looks up his stats)...


Yeah, he's just a fun guy to root for. Not particularly good but someone I'm really pulling for to succeed. Last off-season I spent the majority of the time hammering him, thought he'd be awful and so far he's been better than I expected and it just seems fun when he does something well. Plus, he seems to becoming a "go-to guy" after games no matter how the team does. It probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things but a guy who stands up after a tough loss is admirable.
   85. veer bender Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4130192)
Agree with all that, and he looks like Andy from Parks and Rec. Blending the two creates this kind of likeable, simultaneously confident and insecure character that figures out how to successfully throw the ball back to the pitcher and becomes a major leaguer for it. I think that's why I can't help but like him.
   86. Dale Sams Posted: May 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4130212)
I was going to write an article called 'Why do we have woobies?", but it's not long enough to warrant its own article.For myself, I think a poor team (or a team that gets off to a poor start as in 2010, and 2011) helps to create woobies like Lowrie, Reddick and now Nava. I start thinking I can do a better job of roster construction, start screaming "Why isn't player X starting???"...they force themselves into the line-up, excel, make me look like a genius..and then taper off for whatever reason.

But I will go to my grave screaming that right now, Daniel Nava is a better player than Marlon Byrd, and if Nava gets sent down before Byrd gets cut, I will quit this team for two weeks.
   87. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 12, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4130227)
Alright look: Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz have a combined ERA of 6.15, and have averaged just over 5 2/3 IP per start.

That, my friends, all by itself, pretty much explains why we are where we are even with the rest of the problems. Yeah, their numbers would look better if they had a proper OF behind them, but if those three are collectively performing even 10% worse than their projections we're probably ~18-14 and having very different conversations right now.

And my point being: are we really going to blame Cherington or Valentine for our "big 3" underperforming this badly?
   88. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 12, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4130229)
Alright look: Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz have a combined ERA of 6.15, and have averaged just over 5 2/3 IP per start.

That, my friends, all by itself, pretty much explains why we are where we are even with the rest of the problems. Yeah, their numbers would look better if they had a proper OF behind them, but if those three are collectively performing even 10% worse than their projections we're probably ~18-14 and having very different conversations right now.
This post inspired me to run the numbers real quick, and that inspires me to ask: Did you run the numbers before you said this? Or do you just have a good eye for it?

If (a) the Red Sox were winning games at a rate commensurate with their runs scored and runs allowed, and (b) the Red Sox front three starting pitchers were at their projected level of performance, the Red Sox would be 18-14 right now.

The Sox have underperformed Pyth by two games, their RA/RS put them at about 15-17. Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz have underperformed projections by about 35 runs, and if you subtract 35 runs from the team's RA total, they would project to an 18-14 record.
   89. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 12, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4130236)
This post inspired me to run the numbers real quick, and that inspires me to ask: Did you run the numbers before you said this? Or do you just have a good eye for it?
100% out of my ass, and I think it much more likely that it was a lucky guess than having a good eye.
   90. Mattbert Posted: May 12, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4130327)
After going 4-4 tonight with 2 HR and a BB, Reddick is hitting .292/.343/.554, good for a wRC+ of 154.

But, but...Ryan Sweeney!

Trading for the Oakland A's closer is so ten years ago.
   91. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4130401)
94 pythag wins.


OK, but if we're going to decide what our expectations should be -- or, more particularly, how disappointed we should be -- for 2 teams, we need to use the same method.

If the 2012 club is judged against an "86-88 win" baseline based on regressed projections, then the 2012 club should be judged against regressed projection, not against the 94-win pythag that includes unexpectedly good performances. Or if the 2011 Sox are regarded as a true-talent 95-win roster, injuries included, the 2012 roster needs be judged against a higher standard than 86-88.

Its largely the same roster, they shouldn't be that much worse. The projected losses so far are 8 weeks of Ellsbury; Papelbon who pitched 64 innings last year; Youk will probably end up missing more time than in 2011, but he only played 120 games last year. Crawford is contributing 0 wins on the DL instead of 0 wins on the field. Lackey on the DL is an upgrade. Meanwhile they upgraded in right and in the back of the rotation. They might get some innings out of Bailey. If they were a 95 win roster last year, then 86-88 wins this year should be a substantial disappointment.
   92. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4130408)
Also, I'm adding Doubront to the list of 2012 Red Sox I'm not mad at right now.
   93. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4130492)
If the 2012 club is judged against an "86-88 win" baseline based on regressed projections, then the 2012 club should be judged against regressed projection, not against the 94-win pythag that includes unexpectedly good performances.


Then I don't think you've really got a disagreement with MCoA. I read him as saying that expectations for 2012 were too high because 2011 saw a "concentration of unexpectedly good performance from guys like Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Beckett, and the rest."
   94. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4130723)
I read him as saying that expectations for 2012 were too high because 2011 saw a "concentration of unexpectedly good performance from guys like Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Beckett, and the rest."


Hence the

"either overestimated last year's talent, or underestimated this year's"

in my original post.

I could see a consistent argument for either "the 2011 team played over its head for most of the year, and its 94 pythag was unexpectedly good, so we should temper our expectations for 2012" or "the 2011 team was a true-talent 94 win team, and our expectations should be nearly as high this year". What I don't buy is conflating the two, simulaneously saying "last year: 94-win talent that underacheived, massively disappointing; this year: 86 wins wouldn't be disappointing".
   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4130734)
JMF-

Maybe this short summary will help, as I'm not entirely clear on what you think is inconsistent about what I've said.

2011 Red Sox: Projected to win 95-97 games preseason. Individual players performed even better than that, was a 99-win team by component runs. Horribly disappointing that a team so good, with such good individual performances, collapsed in the clutch and couldn't turn their hits and walks and homers into wins.

2012 Red Sox: added very little talent in the offseason, and with regression to the mean, projected to win 90-92 wins. Injuries hit the team very hard in March and April, and the losses of Crawford, Ellsbury, and Bailey cut several wins off that projection. On top of the injuries, the team has played very poorly, mostly due to mass underperformance in the starting rotation, which means that a club with 86-88 win quality only projects to win maybe 83 games if they play up to their projections over the rest of the year. This is also disappointing on many levels.
   96. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4130776)
Yet another example of the way the Red Sox organization is the most reprehensible, awful people ever.

From the piece;

Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino presented Derek Lowe with a 2004 championship ring before Saturday’s game after his was stolen from his home in Fort Myers, Fla., last week.

"You know me, I can talk," Lowe told the Cleveland Plain dealer. "But it was one of those moments where I didn't even know what to say. It wasn't like they just sent over a bat boy or sent it over. All three of them came over to give it to me. They said some really nice things."


And of course we fans were our usual horrible stuff to the players that left the club;

Lowe got a nice ovation from the crowd when they showed him on the video board.
   97. Dale Sams Posted: May 13, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4130805)
presented Derek Lowe with a 2004 championship ring before Saturday’s game


In other news, Tito is reported to have left his in his office, and now he can't find it.
   98. Mattbert Posted: May 13, 2012 at 08:23 PM (#4130808)
Tito was wearing some huge honking hunk of bling when I saw him on the tv the other day. I surmise that must have been the 2007 ring.
   99. The District Attorney Posted: May 13, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4130809)
Tito is reported to have left his in his office, and now he can't find it.
Sounds like the excuse an out-of-control drug addict would make.
   100. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 13, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4130814)
#95 Thanks for the summary. You write:

2012 Red Sox: [...] with regression to the mean, projected to win 90-92 wins. Injuries hit the team very hard in March and April, and the losses of Crawford, Ellsbury, and Bailey cut several wins off that projection.


Now, I was under the impression that you thought the 2011 team was a true talent 95-win team, injuries included. As in, given a roster that talented, and foreseeing precisely as much injury time as they had, you would expect -- as a mean expectation, which should incorporate regression -- them to win 95 games. That's how I interpret "With injuries, this [2011 Sox] was something like a 95-win team". Correct me if I'm misunderstanding.

If that's right, then I don't see how one can get to that 86-88 number. Your regressed, injuries-included number for 2012 is 7-9 wins worse than the regressed, injuries-included 2011 number. The difference can't be "regression", since the 95 number is* already regressed. You either need that the 2012 injuries, current and expected, are that much worse than 2011, or that the roster changes involved that much loss of talent, or some combination thereof. I don't think that adds up to 7-9.

(*If it's not then that's where we disagree -- I think it should be, if "95-win talent" is to have a sensible meaning. A team shouldn't have "95-win talent" if you wouldn't expect its players to typically play at that level upon repeated trials.)

Not that I want to dwell on the 2011 team. Rather, I think you're cutting the 2012 team too much slack, and the 2011 team is a useful reference point since their rosters are similar.
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