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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, May 13, 2018

At The Quarter Pole

The Sox wrapped up their longest road trip of the season a solid 6-4 including 3-3 through New York and Toronto.  With today’s games being completed the best home team in baseball so far, your Boston Red Sox, have played 10 fewer home games than their co-leaders in the division.  Currently the Sox are seven games ahead of where they were 12 months ago (21-19) and four games ahead of the same spot in 2016 (24-16).  Both of those seasons finished with 93 wins and a division flag.

That’s not to say all is well.  The bottom of the order can’t hit its way out of a paper bag with Jackie Bradley and both Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon are well south of the Mendoza line and after a strong start Eduardo Nunez has slumped as well.  Likewise the bullpen is a source of concern with Alex Cora facing the same issues John Farrell faced as a lack of consistency makes it difficult to find a bridge to Craig Kimbrel.  Joe Kelly is one guy who is finding himself more and more reliable. Since his Opening Day vomitfest (that doesn’t get spellchecked?) Kelly has pitched 19 innings allowing just 1 run and fanning 21.  Most encouragingly he has issued just 4 walks.  “Tyler Thornburg” is supposedly getting closer but…

What makes this a bit daunting is a similarly tough start from the minor leagues.  Michael Chavis is serving an 80 game suspension, Jay Groome has gone for Tommy John surgery and is looking at a mid-2019 return and despite 7 dingers Bobby Dalbec is hitting in the 180s.  Jalen Beeks is clearly the shining star at the moment but is pitching so well he’s rapidly moving from “useful piece, maybe a guy we trade for help” to “Jesus he’s the only guy in the system worth a damn, don’t trade him Dave!”

But those are nitpicks.  Mookie Betts and Chris Sale are doing what they do and after a slow start Andrew Benintendi has been rolling.  While this week featured some frustrating defeats I found it somewhat encouraging.  One guy who has grown on me over the past year give or take is Drew Pomeranz.  356 days ago he was barking at John Farrell (who barked back) for being lifted after four innings in a game that saw the Sox sink to a season worst .500 at 21-21. From there Pomeranz has become a strong contributor and while he is picking his way through the early season in 2018 I thought his outing Tuesday in New York was really encouraging.

Already behind on the scoreboard a ripped fingernail looked like it might cut his night short.  He wouldn’t be the first pitcher to let such a thing get to him and either leave the game early or stay in only to get pounded.  Instead Drew gutted out six innings and gave the Sox a chance to win a game against one of the best pitchers in baseball.  His body language is brutal to watch, he’s got more than a bit of the “Derek Lowe face” going on and always looks like he just got a C- on a test he thought he did well on.  But for a fourth starter he’s very good.

So now the Sox return home to try and get on a roll.  They have been up and down over the past few weeks and starting the home stand against Sean Manaea (prediction: they will hit more tomorrow than they did last time against him) is not ideal but they play 13 of their next 16 at home with the only road series being in Tampa.  The opportunity to get hot is there and at 28-12 (just your basic 116 win pace) is a nice place to start from.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 13, 2018 at 06:34 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 14, 2018 at 02:10 AM (#5671684)
28-12. 1st place. Best team OPS, 9th in team ERA behind Houston and a bunch of NL clubs. Sure team OPS and ERA aren't great stats but at least they are somewhat indicative of the team doing good things. Yes, the bottom of the order is a sucking vortex. Yes we all know Nunez is not a MLB 2B for a contending team. Yes, the 7th and 8th are a bit harum scarum and the Joe Kelly experience will not end well.
They are fun to watch and that JD contract is looking good so far!
   2. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 14, 2018 at 07:44 AM (#5671702)
What does it take to get Realmunto from the Marlins? Anyone know what his pitchcalling and framing rep is?
   3. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 14, 2018 at 08:41 AM (#5671707)
What does it take to get Realmunto from the Marlins?


I would imagine more than the Sox have. This is the one problem right now, I just can't figure out how the Sox can make a deal to fill a hole as the year goes on.
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5671714)
I would imagine more than the Sox have.


Any idea how the Cardinals prospects sent out for Ozuna would equate to current or recent Sox prospects?
   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5671742)
No I don't, that's a good question. Quickly looking Alcantara was ranked 70th by BA and became the Marlins #1 prospect. None of the others is top 100 though Gallen and Sierra look fairly interesting with Sierra already having been in MLB at age 21. Ignoring injuries for the moment I think a similar Sox package would be;

Groome
Ockimey
Bryan Mata
Netzer

Of course Groome is out for this year and part of next with TJS and unless the Sox want to put Beeks in such a deal I'm not sure they can get there. To be clear I'm not saying they shouldn't trade Beeks but given the state of the system and the potential that he can help the team as much as anyone he is traded for it's not a no-brainer.
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:23 PM (#5672332)
The opportunity to get hot is there and at 28-12 (just your basic 116 win pace)


So I know you are an accountant and all and should be able to...you know, like count and do percentages and all, but...

My basic math says 28 wins out of 40 games is 70%. 70% times 162 is 113 and change.

My faith in CPAs has dropped considerably now.

Unless you are going to regale us with tales of formulas that took into account the amount of home vs away games, their pythag record, strength of schedule, etc and they are actually projected to play .7213 ball, then I'm good with that.
   7. villageidiom Posted: May 15, 2018 at 08:57 AM (#5672520)
Home/road alone would get you another win, before last night.

Speaking of last night... man, until the bottom of the 8th every time the Sox scored the A's came right back and scored. It was infuriating.
   8. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 15, 2018 at 09:04 AM (#5672522)
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 15, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5672913)
Carson Smith is out, potentially with a serious injury, after throwing his glove coming off the mound last night. He's actually shown signs of not being completely terrible so that's not ideal.
   10. villageidiom Posted: May 16, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5673319)
"Carson Smith"
   11. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 16, 2018 at 10:01 AM (#5673322)
"Base running."

Seriously, what in the #### was Benintendi doing last night? That was an easy easy play that he botched. The Sox are currently 23rd in baseball in BsR. They are giving away runs.
   12. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 18, 2018 at 09:43 AM (#5674880)
The Sox are currently 23rd in baseball in BsR.


22nd after last night, moving on up!

Benintendi, Betts, and Bradley carrying the team BsR. This team really would be ###### without Betts.
   13. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 24, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5678980)
Starting to sound like Pedroia might be here for the weekend.
   14. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5679538)
Globe reporting that Hanley is out - DFA to make room for Pedroia on the roster.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5679541)
Holy ####, didn't see THAT coming.
   16. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5679545)
Boy he's been lousy this month, didn't realize he'd been that bad.
   17. jmurph Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5679547)
I'm shocked by that one, too. I also haven't looked at his numbers in a while- pretty ugly!

Coke to Jose
   18. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5679551)
When you pair those numbers with the vesting option ...
   19. Answer Guy, without side hustles. Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5679552)
He got off to a decent start, but I'm not surprised given those recent numbers (they've deteriorated to the point where they're even worse than last year's) that they decided to let him walk.

   20. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5679553)
Whoa! From a starter batting 3rd to off the team in 2 days. Something is up.
   21. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5679554)
I'll say this for the Sox in the John Henry era, they've shown a willingness to spend money and when necessary eat that money. Guys making big bucks obviously get more chances to rebound but even going back to guys like Lugo or Crisp (not huge money but still) they've gone with the better players generally.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5679561)
Is Swihart now the backup 1B? Holt?
   23. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5679563)
Nunez? (EDIT: Nope, he's never played an MLB game at first base).

As to your #20 you may be right but I'm inclined to say this is an Occam's Razor situation; guy plays badly, makes lots of money, has reputation of being a pain in the ass to be around when things don't go his way so the Sox punt. Maybe there is more to it than that but I'm thinking this is just a "this guy isn't the right fit for us."
   24. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5679565)
I'll say this for the Sox in the John Henry era, they've shown a willingness to spend money and when necessary eat that money. Guys making big bucks obviously get more chances to rebound but even going back to guys like Lugo or Crisp (not huge money but still) they've gone with the better players generally


This goes back to the option, because they’re eating short term money to avoid the long term hit if he reached the PA threshold. And with his current level of productivity essentially demanding he be benched more frequently, they also would have had the issue of dealing with a disgruntled Hanley cancering the clubhouse if that was going to cause him to miss out on the option.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5679567)
As to your #20 you may be right but I'm inclined to say this is an Occam's Razor situation; guy plays badly, makes lots of money, has reputation of being a pain in the ass to be around when things don't go his way so the Sox punt.
(emphasis mine) Obviously they don't get the money back.

Maybe he was told he was going down in the depth chart (he sat against a lefty last night) and he freaked out.
   26. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5679571)
Obviously they don't get the money back.


Right, I'm stupid of course. You seem to know the answer to this, assuming he clears waivers (because no one else is going to pay him $22 mil) does he enter the Castillo-zone where his money doesn't count towards the luxury tax?
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5679572)
No it still counts towards the tax.
   28. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5679578)
If someone does pick him up post-waiver period, they would be on the hook for next year’s 22M if they gave him the 302 more PAs he needs to vest the option.
   29. Answer Guy, without side hustles. Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5679588)
If someone does pick him up post-waiver period, they would be on the hook for next year’s 22M if they gave him the 302 more PAs he needs to vest the option.


I'm surprised it works that way, as it pretty much guarantees he's going to sit around idle most of the season. No one in their right mind is going to risk paying Hanley Ramirez $22M next season.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5679596)
The little blurb on mlbtraderumors says that the new team won't be on the hook for the vesting option (implying that it simply disappears).
   31. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5679599)
His early season hot streak was 53 PAs in the first 12 games he played in March/April, which peaked at. .362/.415/.617 on April 14.

Since then: 142 PAs for a .215/.275/.315 slash line.

   32. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5679602)
The little blurb on mlbtraderumors says that the new team won't be on the hook for the vesting option (implying that it simply disappears).


Weird. I think it was Jayson Stark on MLB Network who said it would vest.
   33. karlmagnus Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5679605)
Yet again the Sox mistreat a great hitter called Ramirez.

Watch for Hanley to carry whichever team picks him up to the championship.
   34. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5679607)
28-12. 1st place. Best team OPS

Wait a minute. Is .787 better than .816, or a 108 OPS+ better than 118?

EDIT: My apologies, I didn't notice the date of your comment.
   35. Chip Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5679614)
Wait a minute. Is .787 better than .816, or a 108 OPS+ better than 118?

EDIT: My apologies, I didn't notice the date of your comment.


Reminder to you kids out there: always fight the urge to troll if you only plan to lazily scan a topic.
   36. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5679635)
His handle starts with ERROR. I mean, it's right there.
   37. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5679646)
Yet again the Sox mistreat a great hitter called Ramirez.
I wouldn't say "mistreat". He doesn't deserve to start over Moreland nor Martinez, which means he'd be on the bench. By DFAing him they are giving him a chance to play for another team, virtually for free. And despite that he doesn't deserve to start over Moreland they gave him ample opportunity to prove them wrong. In the 2018 season Ramirez has been treated a lot better than he deserved.
   38. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5679657)
From a CBS article on the Fat Panda and Ramirez signings:

Add it all together and the Red Sox paid nearly $200 million to arguably the two best free-agent hitters available … and received one above-average offensive season in seven combined tries. That's brutal -- and at least partially why the Red Sox have since changed management teams.


Ouch.
   39. Jay Seaver Posted: May 25, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5679725)
I'm mildly (and sort-of-pleasantly) surprised by just how many people I've seen online and at the office who seem genuinely saddened by Hanley being DFA'd. He's not a guy with a long history with the team unless you're counting a big hole that encompasses most of his career, he only had one above-average season, his contract was widely ridiculed when he signed it and he had a bad reputation that people brought up a lot during his first year or so, claiming he was lazy or milking injuries. But he's built a good reputation and folks have warmed up to him a ton; I'm sure the folks in the RF bleachers where I sit tonight will find a reason to break out in "Take on Me" tonight.

The little blurb on mlbtraderumors says that the new team won't be on the hook for the vesting option (implying that it simply disappears).

Stupid question - if Mitch Moreland blows out his shoulder next week and needs surgery, are the Red Sox barred from re-signing Hanley and would the option reappear under that set of circumstances? Not likely to happen, obviously, and this seems like a loophole that the pre-Clark union would make sure is closed, because who would trust MLB owners not to collude over this, but the scenario just popped into my head.
   40. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5679730)
Hanley is a weird guy. I find him incredibly frustrating and think he's wasted his career in a lot of ways. As great as he's been I think he could've been a lot more. I'm heading off to coach so I can't really defend that statement but I'll live with that.

But as bad as he's been for large portions of his time here I've grown to love having him around. He seems like a good guy, the interactions with fans particularly kids during games has been a hoot and there haven't been stories of him being a problem (I suspect this move is meant to make sure that remains true). I won't miss him being in the lineup but I'll miss him and the fact is that I always felt good with him coming to the plate in a big spot. His walk off against Betances that started the 11 game winning streak in 2016 is one of my fondest regular season memories of recent vintage and he seems to have had a disproportionate number of big hits.
   41. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5679732)
Hanley was terrible in LF, but as part of that he injured his shoulder and wasn't the same at the plate for a long time. Then when he came back he was told that he had to learn 1B or he'd be gone, and he learned it and did OK for a while. From a fan's view I'd say for the last couple of seasons we knew he was actually trying to contribute, was not as capable as we wanted him to be, but was capable enough that we didn't hate having him out there. We've had a lot worse than Hanley Ramirez.

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