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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. ekogan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:46 AM (#2989585)
Biggest tease in postseason history?
   2. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:47 AM (#2989589)
Similar to games 3 and 4 where we just couldn't score. A good game by Lester wasted.

However in saying that, these guys all year long just seemed to be a game or two ahead of us and it seemed to go to form in the end. A worthy adversary.

Well done Rays and congrats to their fans.
   3. Josh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:47 AM (#2989591)
Great season, great series - lots of fun. I'll hate the Rays for another day or so, then start rooting for them by Tuesday.
   4. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:48 AM (#2989594)
You keep saying that, ekogan. I don't see it.
   5. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:49 AM (#2989595)
What is up with Ortiz? Is he now Nomar, or does his wrist have a chance to heal/strengthen in the offseason?
   6. mack Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:50 AM (#2989602)
Good luck to the Rays.
They have proven resilient all year.
They took our best shot and still stood tall.
Congrats and best wishes against AAAA.

As for the Sox, way to make a last stand.
A tough valiant team that fell just a bit short.
I have to think if we have Lowell in place of Kotsay the series goes differently, but that's baseball.
No need for anything but pride at the way our guys went down.
   7. Dan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:52 AM (#2989610)
First off - Congrats to the Rays and their fans, they earned it. Great season for them. I'll be rooting for them in the world series all the way. No team other than the Sox that I'd rather see win. They're going to be a great team for the foreseeable future.

Second - Tonight was really just the same story as game 2. Plenty of chances for the Sox to score some more runs, they weren't able to capitalize and/or the Rays' pitchers executed pitches to get out of jams.

Third - Amazing to get this far with a team so beaten and battered. Hopefully next season we'll have a bottom third of the order that isn't a vortex of suck in October. And hopefully Papi can get right. The Red Sox have no reason to hang their heads; they had a great year and a great series.
   8. So Taguchi is My Sensei Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:54 AM (#2989615)
Biggest tease in postseason history?


As a Cardinal fan, I felt that way when Pujols hit that legendary bomb off of Lidge to get push it to a Game 6, only to lose to Houston at home. Not quite the same, obviously, but it was a major high that only led to a disappointing low.
   9. Darren Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:55 AM (#2989618)
Should have added congrats to the Rays fans, or as like to call them: Jim.
   10. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:55 AM (#2989619)
I'm very worried about next year, with the Devil Dogs and the fortified Yankees.
   11. JB H Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:56 AM (#2989621)
Ugh I feel terrible. I know I'm supposed to say nice things, but the only things going through my mind are that the Sox are obviously the better team, and I hate the Rays more than I hate any team in baseball other than the Yankees.
   12. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:57 AM (#2989623)
This wound up being a great series. Game 3 and 4 were not competitive, but all the rest were tooth and nail. Fun baseball.

The highlight of my night was receiving a text from my lone Sox fan friend immediately after the game that read, "Shut up. Just shut your mouth." I guess he figured I was bound to text him gloating at any moment, since he's been kind enough to do so every time the Cubs have fallen short over the years.
   13. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:58 AM (#2989626)
The Rays are the type of team I can't see hating. Is it strictly because of the incidents with Boston this season?
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:58 AM (#2989627)
Should have added congrats to the Rays fans, or as like to call them: Jim.


Hey don't slight Brickhaus, who's been posting around here for awhile.

Congrats to the Rays. You guys earned it, and I'll be rooting for you in the World Series. But I'd just be happy if the series goes 7 games.
   15. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:59 AM (#2989631)
I'm glad we somehow got to Game 7 but damn.

A healthy Lowell in the series - no Kotsay - and we might have driven a few more in.
   16. Dan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#2989632)
The Rays are the type of team I can't see hating. Is it strictly because of the incidents with Boston this season?

I can't see hating them either. They have a lot of likable guys, and Maddon is a great personality and a great manager.
   17. tfbg9 Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:02 AM (#2989633)
Good year. We were pretty banged up by the end of it, but older vets tend to get that
way sometimes.

We'll be good for a while, I'd guess.

Is Lars gonna be up next year? We need another big bat!
   18. JB H Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:02 AM (#2989634)

The Rays are the type of team I can't see hating. Is it strictly because of the incidents with Boston this season?


Their announcers, Robert Szasz and the cowbell. Watching 9 games a year in Tropicana with MLB Extra Innings is completely unbearable
   19. Dan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:03 AM (#2989637)
Also:

Darren, where's our Hot Stove thread? :)
   20. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:04 AM (#2989639)
Meh, Hawk Harrelson is the only announcer I can see justifying a hatred for a team. Otherwise, that and a dislike for cowbells are hardly solid reasons for hating the team.
   21. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:04 AM (#2989638)
I hate Szasz - thankfully on mlb.com from now on I can just watch NESN on away games
   22. 1k5v3L Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:04 AM (#2989640)
See, if Maddon were smart enough to use Price in game 5, we'd be watching game 1 of the WS today.
   23. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:05 AM (#2989643)
Go Phillies. Yeah, that's right. Go Phillies.
   24. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:06 AM (#2989646)
I'm very worried about next year, with the Devil Dogs and the fortified Yankees.


Do you switch favorite teams every year or do you just root for like 20 teams?

It probably won't make Red Sox fans feel any better, but I still think they were the best team in the majors this year.
   25. John DiFool2 Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:06 AM (#2989649)
I honestly don't know how the wrist injury could possibly, all on its own, change Ortiz from Clutch God to a non-entity (outside of that one homer of course). The biggest problem is there were too many batters who had very meager chances of coming through with productive at-bats: Papi, Tek, Ellsbury, Cora, even Lowrie. Kotsay arguaby (his bat simply can't play at first). We saw the same thing in the regular season-every week a few guys would go on stone-cold 0-fer streaks, which is the main reason we undershot our runs scored. The opposition obviously knows the book on each of these hitters and ruthlessly exploited their weaknesses, ending rallies as well as preventing them from starting in the first place.

Next year Tek, Cora, and Kotsay should all be gone, and the kids are young enough to make the proper counter adjustments (you'd hope), but Ortiz now officially worries me, as I really don't think his struggles are all from the wrist (or whatever else may be bothering him). We saw the Rays blow fastballs by him all series. Frankly we were more than a bit lucky to see it go seven games (not a pessimist by any stretch understand but I can't sugar coat it either).

Well I'm a transplanted Floridian so it ain't all bad for me. Rays should kick ass in the WS.
   26. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:07 AM (#2989650)
Nice move bringing in Price to get out Drew, then back out for the ninth to close it. Gutsy stuff from the manager and Price himself.
I'm very envious of their youth.

Maybe Lowell makes a difference. Its just timely hitting. We stranded 5 in the last two innings. Two seeing eye singles and we win, simple as that.
   27. Chip Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:07 AM (#2989651)
Joe Magrane was insufferably smug even when the Rays sucked. That's the biggest drawback of them winning, having to listen to him take smugness off the charts next season.

The pitch I want back is the 88 MPH fastball Pedroia popped up in the 8th. That was a 3-run bomb waiting to happen.

The game I want back is Game 2, thanks to Tito's ridiculous house money approach.
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:07 AM (#2989653)
What can you say? Two good teams, evenly matched, one of them made a few more plays at the end. You tip your cap and look to next year. I still feel lucky to be a Red Sox fan.


I can't see hating them either. They have a lot of likable guys, and Maddon is a great personality and a great manager.


The cowbells are pretty lame/hokey, but that's not really hateable anyway.

I'll still be rooting for the Phillies in the World Series nonetheless, having lived there for 2 years and having had season tickets in '05.
   29. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:09 AM (#2989654)
It probably won't make Red Sox fans feel any better, but I still think they were the best team in the majors this year.


The Rays beat the Sox for the AL East title. They won the season series. And they won the ALCS. I'm comfortable saying, pythag be damned, the best team won.
   30. Darren Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:09 AM (#2989656)
I didn't put it in the intro, but yeah, game 2 is the one that really bothers me. Terrible decisions made in that game and it could have been the difference.
   31. Dread Pirate Dave Roberts Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:12 AM (#2989658)
It probably won't make Red Sox fans feel any better, but I still think they were the best team in the majors this year.

Maybe. But as many have said, we have an injured Beckett, Lowell, and Ortiz. The Rays were a better team during the series than the Sox were. Just one of those guy healthy, and things look different; after all, they won with an injured Schilling in 2004. Injuries are one of the risks of having an older team, at least with regards to position players.

It's still a good team, but I think the better team won. Despite my disappointment, I'm really impressed that the Sox somehow were able to come back and bring it to 7. Disappointing, but they should be proud.

An upgrade at catcher and (hopefully) some improvement in plate discipline and strike zone judgement from Ellsbury, and this team will hopefully be at a similar place next year. Would be nice to get CC or Peavy as well.....
   32. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:13 AM (#2989659)
I'll still be rooting for the Phillies in the World Series nonetheless, having lived there for 2 years and having had season tickets in '05

I have family ties to the area, all of whom are Phillie fans. Oh, and I love Matt Stairs.
   33. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:17 AM (#2989661)
I don't think I root for that many teams. But others can attest that I have consistently rooted for several teams. That doesn't count that I always pull for particular teams situationally according to my . . . aesthetic leanings. But I'm under no delusion that "what teams Vaux roots for and why" is an interesting topic. . .
   34. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:18 AM (#2989662)
Philly would have been my team if I would have lowered myself and been an NL fan all those years ago.

I think they steal one of the first two games in Tampa - most likely Hamels.
   35. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:28 AM (#2989669)
Meh, Hawk Harrelson is the only announcer I can see justifying a hatred for a team.

Szasz is the heckler. I thought the Tampa Bay folks had figured out they don't want the home plate microphone on during the top half of innings.
   36. Chip Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:29 AM (#2989670)
I lived in Philly for 8 years - love the city, loathe the fans there. At least the pro sports variety - the college hoops fans are the best. So I'd hate to see them rewarded with a WS win.
   37. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:30 AM (#2989671)
What number is Sabathia going to wear? I figure he'll probably stick with 52, since it's available.
   38. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:42 AM (#2989673)
What number is Sabathia going to wear? I figure he'll probably stick with 52, since it's available.

I have 2 concerns with this guy.
1-his body shape would suggest he won't age well, yeah I know he's only 27.
2-the Brewers absolutely abused him in the last 3 weeks of the season...it was criminal.
   39. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:47 AM (#2989679)
3 hits in a Game 7. Unbelievable impotence at the plate. That's an extremely bitter pill to swallow right now.

Varitek had better be gone off this team for good. He's beyond useless and there's no justification whatsoever to even offer him a contract.
   40. AROM Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:47 AM (#2989681)
See, if Maddon were smart enough to use Price in game 5, we'd be watching game 1 of the WS today.


Nah, WS start time was set. If the Rays had won game 5 we'd just be watching Jeff Garcia beat Seattle tonight, and have almost a week between baseball games. Good thing Tampa doesn't make their teams share a stadium.
   41. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:48 AM (#2989682)
Sox have to sign either Sabathia or Teixeira. The offense was pitiful in this series for the most part. With Lowell old and injured, Papi turning into a pumpkin, and the rest of the offense ordinary at best, I think tex must be the higher priority.
   42. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:51 AM (#2989686)
Varitek had better be gone off this team for good. He's beyond useless and there's no justification whatsoever to even offer him a contract.
I would get rid of the entire old guard and not blink twice. Tek, Timlin, Schilling, Wake, and Cora. Give the Captainship to Dustin if you need to.

Platoon Brown and Kottaras at C next season. Could they really not platoon to a major league average catcher?

They'll probably trade for Beltran too.
   43. 1k5v3L Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:52 AM (#2989688)
Isn't Lowell under contract for 2 more years? Or is it 3?
And he should be fully healed by the start of next season, no?
Gotta say, Youks looks pretty nimble out there at 3b, tire around his waist and all.
   44. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:54 AM (#2989690)
I can get behind that plan Temple. Too many old guys on this team just taking up space.

No need to give the C to anyone; giving the C to Tek ultimately proved to be an impediment as he was allowed to make outs in big situations in spite of his suckiness because of the leadership nonsense everyone was spouting. I never want to see the Sox pull an amateurish stunt like that again.
   45. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:55 AM (#2989693)
Isn't Lowell under contract for 2 more years? Or is it 3?
And he should be fully healed by the start of next season, no?


2 more years. But he ain't getting any young, he ain't getting any more durable, and he ain;t getting any more productive. If there's an opportunity to upgrade the offense by signing Tex and moving Youkilis to 3rd the Sox should do it and figure out what to do with Lowell later. I don;t think they can reliably count on him going forward.
   46. RJ in TO Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:56 AM (#2989694)
1-his body shape would suggest he won't age well, yeah I know he's only 27.


Isn't there some decent evidence that big pitchers tend to age well, and that it helps to have at least some extra bulk with which to distribute force?

2-the Brewers absolutely abused him in the last 3 weeks of the season...it was criminal.


September 16 - 99 pitches
September 20 - 105 pitches
September 24 - 107 pitches
September 28 - 122 pitches
October 2 - 98 pitches

The only one of those which really stands out as abusive is the September 28 start, and that was an absolute need-to-win game for the Brewers.
   47. Dan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:57 AM (#2989695)
Personally signing Teixeira and trading Lowell to the Phillies or Dodgers or something is the plan that I like. I'm just not too comfortable with a 6 or 7 year deal for a pitcher, and the young pitching will hopefully be alright next year. Anderson can DH after Ortiz's contract is up, you don't need to worry about blocking him with Tex.
   48. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:58 AM (#2989696)
I'd be shocked if the Sox were even tangentially involved in the Teixeira sweepstakes.
   49. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:59 AM (#2989698)
They should be. Tex is an elite hitter and the Sox have to be in on the bidding for such players.

We just saw this series end because the Sox couldn't hit worth a damn. This is not a problem that's going to solve itself. Tek is a corpse and Papi looks awful. No one else could get a big hit to save their lives. Tex is the one guy on the market most likely to be an impact player throughout the course of his next contract.
   50. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:59 AM (#2989699)
Lowell has no-trade protection and you can rest assured that he will exercise it if he took less money and years to stay with the Sox last off-season.

You see, the Sox never give out no-trade clauses...unless they do.
   51. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:01 AM (#2989700)
They should be. Tex is an elite hitter and the Sox have to be in on the bidding for such players.
Sign pitching and premium position players and don't waste your time signing players which are not an immediate need and which would immediately block your best prospect who is in double-A.
   52. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:01 AM (#2989701)
The two best teams in the American League played a great seven-game series, and each won two games in the other's ball park, it was fun to watch.

Boston had a helluva year, and they will be back in the thick of it next year. However, the best team won; Tampa Bay is this year's '69 Mets, and the Phils are doomed.
   53. Dan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:02 AM (#2989702)
Lowell has no-trade protection and you can rest assured that he will exercise it if he took less money and years to stay with the Sox.

I don't know, he already seemed pretty angry at the organization for not letting him play through the injury. If they tell him he's not a starter with the Sox, I'm pretty sure he'll have no qualms about going to a contender.
   54. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:04 AM (#2989705)
Sign pitching and premium position players and don't waste your time signing players which are not an immediate need and which would immediately block your best prospect who is in double-A.

As we've seen with Ellsbury's repeated struggles this year, it's tough to count on prospects to come in and be productive immediately. Anderson's got at least 2 years to go before the Sox can even think about promoting him to the big club, and even then he can't be counted on to be a consistent producer right away.

Putting it another way, Anderson might have a small chance of becoming something near the player Teixeira already is. I know who I'd rather count on.
   55. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:15 AM (#2989709)
the Brewers absolutely abused him in the last 3 weeks of the season...it was criminal.

So is your effort at baseball analysis.
   56. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:19 AM (#2989711)
Actually, Ellsbury was fairly productive when accounting for base-running and defense. At least an average player, but probably better.

Related, Jon Lester is an example of a prospect who you allow some time to grow and then reap the rewards. Not everyone is going to be Papelbon or Pedroia and produce like a star in their first full seasons.

Since 1991, here is the list of 20-year olds in double-A, ranked by OPS (minimum 100 AB's):

1. Nick Johnson (1.042)
2. Vladimir Guerrero (1.041)
3. Miguel Cabrera (1.040)
4. Eric Chavez (1.015)
5. Cliff Floyd (1.012)
6. Chipper Jones (.966)
7. Lars Anderson (.962)
8. Derek Jeter (.961)
9. Hank Blalock (.956)
10. Paul Konerko (.936)

I think I'll be patient with the kid.
   57. Chip Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:21 AM (#2989712)
I thought of another reason to favor a Tampa WS win: it would help them get rid of that godawful dome. It's ridiculous that this division has to play so many games on two of the three remaining turf fields in the majors. But at least the Toronto dome occasionally opens. The Tampa one is dark and dingy all the time, and that's before you even get into the dumbass design of the dome itself, with the low angle lights, the roof making it difficult to see balls in daytime, and the catwalks constantly interfering with play.
   58. 1k5v3L Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:23 AM (#2989716)
TempleUsox, not that I really care that much, but JUpton's 0.955 OPS in Mobile probably should be on that list. Then again, he was only 19 at the time. Also, not saying anything about Anderson's prospect status, but isn't 100 AB kinda small? Heck, he could only put up .921 OPS in Lancaster.
   59. Xander Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:27 AM (#2989717)
I'm sure the list of people in Upton's company is equally impressive, I just didn't have enough time to cull the 19 year olds as well.
   60. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:31 AM (#2989719)

So is your effort at baseball analysis.


Are you serious? That's a little harsh for farks sake

It's pretty obvious that any team signing or wanting to sign CC will look at the number of innings he threw while with the Brewers. I fail to see how that is bad analysis.
   61. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:33 AM (#2989721)
The dome looks pretty good on TV, at least. I will enjoy seeing at least some games played in conditions that aren't permeated by bitter wind chills.
   62. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 20, 2008 at 05:53 AM (#2989729)
September 16 - 99 pitches
September 20 - 105 pitches
September 24 - 107 pitches
September 28 - 122 pitches
October 2 - 98 pitches


I see your point and I had based my opinion on the fact that he had a few starts on 3 days rest in a row. 4 starts on 3 days rest is unusual these days.

I have no scientific evidence that he'll age poorly. However in the general population, guys his size generally don't age well. I'd love to proven wrong here, so if that's the case, I'd admit to being wrong.
   63. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 20, 2008 at 06:46 AM (#2989736)
It's pretty obvious that any team signing or wanting to sign CC will look at the number of innings he threw while with the Brewers. I fail to see how that is bad analysis.

"It was criminal"? Gimme a ####### break. It's recitation of talking-points without any regard for the reason people play the damn games.
   64. Flynn Posted: October 20, 2008 at 07:32 AM (#2989742)
I would get rid of the entire old guard and not blink twice. Tek, Timlin, Schilling, Wake, and Cora.

One of these guys is not like the others. You don't get rid of one of the league's better value for money players just because he's 42.

Hopefully this series will also remove the cloak of invincibility around Tito. He's a good manager, but he's had a pass for too long based on his managing in 04. Every bad regular season move is Tito planning for October. Well Tito ###### up in October. The number one reason this team lost was that other than in Game 2 and the end of Game 5, this team scored exactly 11 runs in 51 innings (1.94 R/9). The offense was just too weak. But Tito's managing in Game 2, which was basically punting an ALCS game for no real reason since there was an off day the next day, is going to grate on me for a long time.
   65. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 20, 2008 at 07:48 AM (#2989746)
Everything Flynn said except Wakefield - sorry guys - I don't care about value for money any more. As long as he is on the team - then he is a chance to play in the post season - he has proven now he basically sux in the post season.

How this team forced 7 games with Papi, Varitek, Kotsay, Ellsbury and to a lessor extent Lowrie (when he played) sucking with the bat is beyond me.

Game 2 still grates - it changed the whole series.
   66. Mattbert Posted: October 20, 2008 at 09:08 AM (#2989758)
First off, congratulations to the Rays and their fan(s). This was a hard-fought series, and both teams deserve a lot of credit for getting back up off the mat again and again. All I'm hoping for in the Series is some good baseball. It would be nice to see either team win it.

If there's an opportunity to upgrade the offense by signing Tex and moving Youkilis to 3rd the Sox should do it and figure out what to do with Lowell later.

I agree with this. If they aren't bringing Casey back, trying to get Tex is a no-brainer. Then the 1B/3B platoon would be Tex and Youk with Lowell rotating in as appropriate. I wouldn't bank on the Sox getting him, but they should definitely be in on the bidding if for no other reason than to drive Tex's price up for You Know Who.

I'm not concerned that signing Tex would potentially block Lars. I think that by the time Lars is ready for the show, Papi has an even chance of being toast. As terrible as that is to think about, the signs this year have not been encouraging.
   67. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 20, 2008 at 11:13 AM (#2989777)
2 more years. But he ain't getting any young, he ain't getting any more durable, and he ain;t getting any more productive. If there's an opportunity to upgrade the offense by signing Tex and moving Youkilis to 3rd the Sox should do it and figure out what to do with Lowell later. I don;t think they can reliably count on him going forward.

I have been saying this for about 3 months. Evan if they keep Lowell, it's essentially 4 guys for 1B, 3B and DH. Since Lowell and Ortiz figure to be spending time on the DL and needing some rest anyway, there probably isn't too much waste involved anyway. And going into next season relying on Lowell just scares the crap out of me...
   68. karlmagnus Posted: October 20, 2008 at 11:37 AM (#2989782)
There was one way in which they would have won: if they'd still had a hitter with 1.749 OPS versus one with .917. Sorry Jason. This team has to get rid of Youkilis and some of the other dirt dogs and import some genuine talent (Youk is at an ideal point to sell high, and is VERY replaceable.
   69. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2008 at 11:43 AM (#2989783)
The Rays beat the Sox for the AL East title. They won the season series. And they won the ALCS. I'm comfortable saying, pythag be damned, the best team won.

Thanks for saying this. I see everywhere that the Sox were "better" but injured. As someone else said above, injured is what you get with an old team and a team with some historically fragile guys on it. The Rays won everything they could win this year - it was very close, yes, but the Rays won. They're the better team this year. And, as the general discussion indicates, I don't think any Sox fan would want to go up against them next year without an overhaul of the roster. If the Sox were truly the better team, I don't see how that would be true.


Now, why is it a team that won 97 games out of baseball's toughest division seems to be an immediate underdog in the MSM to a team that won 89 games in a division of dreck? I wouldn't be shocked if the Rays swept the WS.
   70. OCD SS Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:09 PM (#2989795)
Congrats to the Rays, the better team won.

... I don't think any Sox fan would want to go up against them next year without an overhaul of the roster. If the Sox were truly the better team, I don't see how that would be true.


Well, to a certain extent the pathology of Sox fans hasn't changed, and some of us think SJH is going a little overboard. Most of the changes that need to happen are the cutting away of dead weight (Tek, Cora, Timlin, and hopefully Lugo), but give us a day to start thinking about things rationally.

My thoughts for the offseason:

1. Tek can be offered arb. He's probably looking for a multi-year deal, and even if his reputation outstrips his talent, someone will give him one. Get the draft picks and either find a catcher in trade or just go with the Brown/Kottaras platoon.

2. Go hard after CC (We all know they have the money), but I don't see Teixeira as a fit. They don't have that much money, and locking up a 29 yr old 1Bman longterm doesn't seem like the best use of $.

3. As a side note, I don't think Lowell is going anywhere. When he was brought back it seemed to me like it had the added benefit of hedging clubhouse leadership against Tek's possible departure this year. Does anyone know the extent of his "no-trade protection?" That seems pretty vague. If they wanted to move on, they should have gone after Andy LaRoche last year and let Lowell go to the Phillies...

4. Cora and Timlin should be turned into glue. Wake can stay, but he needs to learn to throw to one of Brown/Kottaras.
   71. scotto Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:16 PM (#2989797)
Congrats to the Rays, who played a helluva season and series.
   72. The Marksist Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:19 PM (#2989799)
I'm late to the party, but: Congratulations Rays! Great season, exciting young team. Best of luck in the WS.
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:25 PM (#2989804)
It's not that I think the Sox need an overhaul because they're not good, it's that the team has a classic problem of not having any obvious roster spots that can be upgraded easily. Too many averagish players. This means that they need to be either signing stars or trading for them, and the only open space on the roster is one rotation slot, so any other upgrades likely require trading solid contributors. My priorities would be-

1) Sign CC.

2) Troll the winter meetings with our pretty-good young players (Ellsbury, Lowrie, Masterson) and see what's available. I don't see a lot of upside in those three, and if they can get an all-star in return who fits the club, it makes a lot of sense. Certainly trading Lowrie without getting a SS back would be problematic, but I'm leaving this point vague because I don't think speculating about trades beyond this point is particularly useful, typically.

3) Look around the C trade market, and offer Varitek 1/5 or so if you can't find anything. I'm completely convinced that George Kottaras is worse than Tek - he'd probably be the worst regular in MLB - but I'm willing to be convinced on Dusty Brown. If we could get a major league backup to caddy for Brown, it might make sense.

4) Wait for news on the surgeries. What the Red Sox should do in the infield depends entirely on the health of Papi and Lowell. If the Sox are relatively confident in those recoveries, then there's little reason to look into Teixeira. If they're worried, then they should be looking at another bat in the infield. I have no idea which is the case, so I have no idea what they should do. Given that Teixeira's market is likely to get set and get done before those rehabs start, my guess is the Sox won't get involved there.
   74. villageidiom Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:32 PM (#2989809)
There was one way in which they would have won: if they'd still had a hitter with 1.749 OPS versus one with .917.
They never had a hitter with a 1.749 OPS.
   75. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:36 PM (#2989810)
Yeah, I agree that if they'd had a hitter with 1.749 OPS they'd have won.
   76. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 20, 2008 at 12:54 PM (#2989821)
The Rays are the type of team I can't see hating. Is it strictly because of the incidents with Boston this season?


Tampa and Boston have been involved in a series of brawls going back over the last two-three years.
   77. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:04 PM (#2989830)
I'm completely convinced that George Kottaras is worse than Tek - he'd probably be the worst regular in MLB - but I'm willing to be convinced on Dusty Brown.
I know Kottaras was repeating Triple-A and doing it at age 25, but he still put an .800 OPS there. Is there really a reason to think he's notably worse than Brown, who is older and roughly the same looking hitter in the minors?

(Or, for that matter, that either of them would be worse than Varitek, who might be the most interesting free agent this whole off-season)
   78. Sexy Lizard Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:04 PM (#2989831)
I wouldn't mind seeing Cora come back. He was the utility guy and third string SS. That he was asked to start in the playoffs is a problem with Lugo and Lowrie, not Cora. I mean, if the Sox can get a utility IF capable of being a league-average SS, then great, but there aren't a lot of guys like that floating around. How many teams had better utility IFs than Boston?
   79. Mister High Standards Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:07 PM (#2989833)
Great season. Let be careful not to fall into the trap of our leastfavorite rivals, and approach this as world series or bust.

This was a remarkable season, and we should all count our blessings. This team battled back from a very good amount of adversity and came within a couple runs and outs of going to the world again, after they were left for dead by just about everyone.

What we witnessed in game 5 was special and we shouldn't let it get lost in the shuffle, as these tend to do when you don't ultimatly win the world series.

There were many bright spots on the seasons including but not limited to:
1. Jon Lester's development into an ace type pitcher.
2. Dustin Pedroia, MVP candidate?
3. Kevin Youklis MVP candidate?

Really, even if at the end of last year you told me one of these three things would happen I would have been suprised. That all three happened is downright shocking.

Plus, I'm just really happy not having Manny on this team anymore. I was so tired of his temper tantrums and powting. That man was given so many opportunities in Boston, it is amazing to me how well the fans treated him despite his near annual demmends to get the f out of dodge.

Good riddance.
   80. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:10 PM (#2989836)
MHS, you coming to Keen's tomorrow?
   81. Sexy Lizard Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:12 PM (#2989837)
The Rays are the type of team I can't see hating. Is it strictly because of the incidents with Boston this season?


Lots of people like myself have older relatives and in-laws who have moved to the St. Petersburg area. One's relationship with the Rays can be very strongly colored by one's relationship to one's local relations. I strongly dislike the Rays.
   82. jmurph Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:23 PM (#2989843)
I hate the idea as much as the rest of you, but there is zero chance Varitek is playing anywhere else but Boston next year. Maybe he'll be the most overpaid part-time catcher in history, but I just don't see them letting him walk. I'm guessing 2 years, 16 million, and I hope like hell I'm wrong.
   83. OCD SS Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:37 PM (#2989851)
it's that the team has a classic problem of not having any obvious roster spots that can be upgraded easily. Too many averagish players.


My one quibble is that the offense with "too many averagish players" was the 2nd best offense in the league. Now accepting that SS and C were black holes, here's how the rest of the positions produced (by VORP; it's easy to look up and accounts for playing time; the one caveat is that it doesn't appear to have broken out players who split time at other positions like they used to):

1B: Youks was 3rd in the game, getting plenty of starts at 3B.
2B: Pedroia was #1.
3B: Lowell was 15th, with a fair amount of time off. In addition it seems like if you eyeball the slash stats, there isn't a lot of separation until you get to Longoria at 6th, and that you could shake up #7-20 and get the same players in a different spread next year.
LF: If you combine what they got from Manny and Bay they had the 3rd best LFer in the game (despite Manny playing a lot of DH).
CF: Here's a spot to upgrade: both Coco and Ellsbury were pretty bad offensively (if you combine their VORPs they come in just behind Upton at #9, but Ellsbury played across all the OF spots and is only listed as a CFer, so that's probably not real accurate).
RF: Even with all his time off, JD Drew was 11th (RF is a pretty weak position right now).
DH: Even with all the time off and having a pretty bad year, Papi was 4th.

Even accepting for some regression, the only real fix would be to dump Lowell and sign Teixeira. The thing is I don't think the Sox can get both CC and Teixeira. I think I'd rather upgrade the pitching and hope Lowell's surgery goes well.
   84. RJ in TO Posted: October 20, 2008 at 01:38 PM (#2989852)
It's pretty obvious that any team signing or wanting to sign CC will look at the number of innings he threw while with the Brewers. I fail to see how that is bad analysis.


Yeah. They'll look at it and say "Hey, that guy threw a couple more innings than Halladay this year, and the Jays aren't trading Halladay. Let's try and sign CC".

Sabathia, despite pitching a ton of innings, also wasn't subject to particularly high pitch counts. Rather, he was able to throw a ton of innings because (like Halladay) he was extremely efficient with his pitches - the Brewers weren't leaving him out there for the 130+ pitch performances. The idea that a team will consider it a negative that a guy keeps going 9 innings with about 100 pitches is an extremely odd one.
   85. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: October 20, 2008 at 02:13 PM (#2989886)
That's the biggest drawback of them winning, having to listen to him take smugness off the charts next season.

Not trying to troll, but I just couldn't let that one slide. Boy howdy.

Lowell has no-trade protection and you can rest assured that he will exercise it if he took less money and years to stay with the Sox.

I don't know, he already seemed pretty angry at the organization for not letting him play through the injury. If they tell him he's not a starter with the Sox, I'm pretty sure he'll have no qualms about going to a contender.


Lowell gets paid one way or another. Even if a trade to a contender is lined up, I would be shocked if he didn't require some compensation for waiving his no trade clause. They exist for leverage purposes, after all.
   86. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#2989960)
I'd look into free agency, but stay away from any major trades other than the Catcher position.

C: I'd try to get Varitek back as the backup and trade for a good young catcher, but we'll see what happens. Probably unlikely. Kevin Cash in Pawtawcket
1B/3B: I'd let Sean Casey go. Look into Texieira/Lowell's health/blah blah blah.
2B: Dusty
SS: I'd stick with Jed fulltime. I still think he can be a productive MLB player. His defense appears to be steady at multiple positions, and I think his bat will play at SS. Since we're never going to get rid of Lugo, I'd keep him as the backup SS, and get rid of Cora. Because 1) Francona is more likely to pinch hit for Lugo than Cora 2) Cora has no range 3) Cora is actually slow
OF: I'm sticking with Jason/Jacoby/JD/Coco. If Kotsay wants to stay as a bench OF, fine, if not, he's replaceable.

Pitching:
Lester/Daisuke/Beckett are set. I'd look at a FA starter. Keep Wake. Let Byrd and Schilling walk.
Pen: Paps/Okajima/Delcarmen are set. Still think Masterson projects as a bullpen workhorse. Lopez has the last spot in the pen. Shoot Timlin behind the shed. Daniel Bard might be ready June 09, so unless the bullpen collapses early I'd stay away from any moves involving the pen. I'd look at Bowden/Buch in the pen too as "before they move into MLB starting rotation" moves.
   87. Harris Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:31 PM (#2989969)
3 hits in a Game 7. Unbelievable impotence at the plate. That's an extremely bitter pill to swallow right now.


Are you forgetting that the Rays only got 3 hits in game 6??

I'm happy to see the Rays in the series. I liked Boston, but they've won 2 titles in recent history, so it's time for another fan base to get a shot. That's why I'm happy for this series. I hope my Phils win, but if they don't aside from the fake embarrassment of losing to the Rays, I'll be happy for what's treated as a fledgling team to get a championship.

The Boston-NYY media domination is rather annoying to those of us that don't live there and don't care.

I don't see how anybody can honestly claim the Sox were the better team this year. Tampa Bay had the better record, beat the sox head to head in the regular season, outscored them in the post-season and won the best of 7. Hats off to the Rays.
   88. Harris Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:35 PM (#2989979)
I also don't understand all of the nit picking going on about the red sox roster?
Your team has made the playoffs for the past 4-5 years with 2 world series mixed in, hasn't in?

I think there's about 28 other fan bases that would be rather content with that performance (the yankees being the only exception).
   89. RJ in TO Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:41 PM (#2989986)
I don't see how anybody can honestly claim the Sox were the better team this year.


Well, by pythag, the Sox were a 95 win team, and the Rays a 92 win team.

Of course, by pythag, the Jays were a 93 win team, and I have yet to hear anyone tout them as a better team than the Rays, or Angels, or White Sox, and that's because most people rightly measure team performance by actual wins, rather than theoretical wins.

In terms of predictive value, pythag is probably better.
   90. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2989996)
I don't see how anybody can honestly claim the Sox were the better team this year.

Who's claiming that? The Rays won the series; they are the better team this year. Period.

But as a Sox fan, seeing the Sox manage only 3 ####### hits in a Game 7 is very, very difficult to take. To come that close to going to the WS and get such a poor offensive performance in an elimination game is a kick in the gut. The Sox got a bunch of pitches that looked hittable last night and kept popping them up.
   91. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:49 PM (#2989998)
Pythag this. Sorry, the Rays were better, and they proved it by winning. Better teams win most of the time, IMO. The Red Sox had Lowell out, and Ortiz was not up to par.
   92. Flynn Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:56 PM (#2990010)
The Rays and their fans really hate the Red Sox as well, so it's definitely mutual. My theory is a lot of Yankee fans because of the Tampa connection.

Wake can stay, but he needs to learn to throw to one of Brown/Kottaras.

Well he's been able to do that just fine this year. The whole idea Wakefield needs a speshul catcher got thrown out this year. He needs someone defensively capable, but that's the profile of many backups anyway.

Letting Wake go would be a big mistake. Wakefield is basically a fifth starter and there's no better fifth starter in baseball; someone on SOSH crunched the numbers and the Red Sox even outperformed the Blue Jays. Guys who throw 190 above average innings don't grow on trees. In a division which could be three or four deep in the next few years punting a good starter for what is almost certainly an inferior one because he sucks in the post season would be a Pyrrhic victory - you may not get to the postseason anyway.
   93. RJ in TO Posted: October 20, 2008 at 03:57 PM (#2990011)
Pythag this. Sorry, the Rays were better, and they proved it by winning.


Agreed. I'm a Jays fan, and I'm not going to pretend that the Jays were better than the Rays because they won more theoretical games.
   94. SoSH U at work Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:03 PM (#2990014)
I don't see how anybody can honestly claim the Sox were the better team this year.


Who's claiming that? The Rays won the series; they are the better team this year. Period.

Kyle and JB H claimed that above.
   95. Boots Day Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:03 PM (#2990015)
Can one of the Sox fans explain to me why Kotsay was even on the roster? He doesn't hit enough to even play CF any more, so he's at best the third-string CF on the Red Sox. To actually have him play first base for all seven games of the LCS is just totally unnecessary. Wasn't there a Dan Johnson or Mike Sweeney they could have picked up? Putting Bay at first and Ellsbury in left probably would have improved the team both offensively and defensively.
   96. chris p Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2990019)
Wasn't there a Dan Johnson or Mike Sweeney they could have picked up?

yeah i think bailey or carter would have been better options.
   97. SoSH U at work Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:12 PM (#2990022)
A righthanded bat would have been nice. By going with Kotsay at first, Casey served absolutely no purpose (and you have to question three catchers if Tito allows Tek to hit twice in the last three innings. One homer shouldn't really leave that kind of impression).
   98. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:29 PM (#2990037)
Maybe he'll be the most overpaid part-time catcher in history, but I just don't see them letting him walk. I'm guessing 2 years, 16 million, and I hope like hell I'm wrong.


I'm going to speculate on your speculation, but I believe that if a player like Varitek is on the team, they'll play him way more than they should. Call it the "late Bernie Williams effect". The only way another Boston catcher plays more games than Jason is if Jason is not on the team.

This might include DHing him while Ortiz sits.

I think Torre's doing this to Bernie and to the fans in NYC irreparably harmed Bernie's reputation among the fanbase. For posterity's sake, I hope Tito doesn't do this to Varitek.
   99. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#2990044)
This might include DHing him while Ortiz sits.

You're kidding with this, right?
   100. Textbook Editor Posted: October 20, 2008 at 04:35 PM (#2990045)
Well, no one has convinced me to not hate the Rays, so I'll continue to hate the Rays and hope success goes to their collective heads, they all go crazy this off-season, show up in February fat and sated, and that Maddon channels his inner Mauch in 2009.

As for the roster, I could get behind a Lowell-to-Philly scenario (one the Phillies would jump at, I think, as it might give them the best infield in baseball and let them get rid of their 3-headed 3B platoon), but I'm not really seeing what we'd get back in return there. I realize Lowell off of surgery would force a discount of sorts (even though they'd be getting a good contract), but the Phillies just have nothing much to offer that we'd want, aside from maybe Ruiz, who is just as bad as Tek at the plate, though perhaps a bit better defensively. He'd be a platoon C at best, you'd think. Otherwise, we'd be getting upside prospects, which don't help us in 2009.

Moving Youkilis to 3B and signing Tex for 1B would presumably go hand-in-hand with the Lowell deal. I suppose I would support this, though I suspect over 150+ games the difference between Lowell (healthy) at 3B and Youkilis at 3B would be a bit more noticeable, while Tex is maybe about even defensively at 1B with Youkilis. Offensively, of course, it would be an overall upgrade, presuming the day-in-day-out of playing 3B doesn't wear Youkilis down more than playing 1B.

I figured last week they were looking at having ~$40-$50 million to play with (minus arbitration bumps), depending on what they did with Varitek (who I would offer 1/$5 mil to at most, and tell him he's the RH part of a C platoon). That gets you Tex or Sabbathia, but not both, unless you also move Lowell and get someone to take the full salary (which means you get flotsam back for him).

Aside from those two FA, I don't see anything too useful out there I'd kick the tires on. A trade for a C is a must, though perhaps a Ruiz/Kottaras platoon would be an acceptable 1 year fix (this assumes you get Ruiz in a trade for Lowell)--after all, we just "accepted" a full year of Varitek/Cash; how much worse would Ruiz/Kottaras be? If you upgrade at 1B with Tex, that might more than make up the difference.

I'd say decline Wakefield's option, bag Timlin and Lopez. Bring in any LHPs you can scour around and find and look for a cheap LOOGY among them. Stretch out Masterson in ST as if he was a starter and then see what develops with Buchholz, Bowden, Bard, etc. If Masterson truly has a rubber arm and can show more development in getting LH's out, I'd consider him to be a swing man/2-3 inning type who'd get 100 IP a year but in not a lot of outings (50-55 games). Such a guy would be incredibly valuable in a world where Matsusaka only gets you 5 innings every 5th day.

I think Buchholz just regressing (progressing?) to the mean would be better than Wakefield in the 4th/5th slot, and if you go after CC I think you offer crazy money for less years, which he might accept on the theory he'd score another big payday before he was too old. I think something like 3 years/$90 million would cause a stir--you're overpaying on a AAV basis, sure, but you're also out from under in far less years than if you go 5 or 6 at $20-$25 million per. And if you need to deal a guy, dealing him with only 2 years or 1 year left is far easier than if he has 4 or 5 years left.

Cora... Ok, I see the utility in keeping him, but Lugo has to be Cora next year because no one is taking him (unless perhaps the Giants want him) unless you eat all the salary.

I'd keep both Coco and Ellsbury at this point, unless someone blows me away with an offer or one or the other.

...but the reality is we all know they're re-sign Varitek. The only question is how bad will the contract be. All indications are they value his "intangibles" far, far more than we all do here. I just pray it's no worse than a 2-year deal. Of course, I also hope someone is damn fool enough to offer him 3 or 4 years, in which case we take the picks and run like hell...
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