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   1. 1k5v3L Posted: July 11, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3250219)
What is wrong with Lowell, and when is he expected back?
   2. tfbg9 Posted: July 11, 2009 at 05:42 PM (#3250228)
1-Hip, after the ASB.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 11, 2009 at 06:02 PM (#3250242)
Just want to say that in one paragraph Darren did what so many others never do in much longer pieces. Rather than just say "the Sox need to get better" he listed out several reasonable options. One of my biggest frustrations with the MSM is the inevitable rash of "get a hitter" articles with no specifics. Drives me nuts.

For what it's worth I'm on board in a big way on Victor Martinez, a bit less so on Nick Johnson and just can't accept living in a world where Cristian Guzman has value. I don't care if he hits .400, he'll always be the guy with the .300 OBP in Minnesota to me.
   4. tfbg9 Posted: July 11, 2009 at 06:15 PM (#3250257)
I'm on board in a big way on Victor Martinez


Why? I mean, can he actually catch anymore, and not just "fake it"? (not snark)

As a C he hits a ton as a 1B, not so much. He's 30...

Oh, but there's his Fenway split: .313/.361/.552!
   5. steagles Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3250305)

Why? I mean, can he actually catch anymore, and not just "fake it"? (not snark)
he's thrown out 5/41 attempted basestealers.


i hope you get him.
   6. JB H Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3250309)
Once Lowrie and Lowell come back they should be average or better at every position. It's really hard to make much of a difference upgrading a position that isn't a problem.

ZiPS gives Victor Martinez an 833 OPS the rest of the season. He's not a difference maker unless we get stuck with George Kotteras as the everyday catcher.

I will say that Mark Kotsay needs to go. If he's currently so slow that Aaron Bates is pinch running for him, then he shouldn't be on the active roster
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:27 PM (#3250316)
Once Lowrie and Lowell come back they should be average or better at every position. It's really hard to make much of a difference upgrading a position that isn't a problem.
I see it somewhat differently. If Lowrie and Lowell come back at full strength they should be close enough to average at every position that a trade would only make sense if they can get a star.

I am far from certain either of these guys are going to come back at full strength. Lowrie is hitting terribly in his rehab, and given that he's coming back from a wrist injury, I'd really want to see some evidence of full health before I got confident we have SS handled. And Lowell's injury is so weird, I don't see a lot of reason to assume he'll be back at his projected strength.

What Darren suggests, and what I basically agree with, is that given the uncertainty around Lowrie and Lowell, and given the possibility of another player getting hurt, it makes sense to fill the hole now and worry about overstocking a position later. Obviously "it makes sense" depends entirely on the quality of player acquired and his cost in talent, but I want the Red Sox to be looking for reasonable deals for guys like Johnson or Guzman or Tejada.
   8. JB H Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:42 PM (#3250326)
Nick Green is fine at SS too. ZiPS has him at a 700 OPS and he looks pretty decent defensively. His UZR is actually really good this year. Between Lowrie and Lowell they should be able to manage third base.

The Sox aren't going to trade for good players as depth in case someone gets injured. NL teams starting guys I've never heard of will be willing to offer a lot more.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3250341)
he's thrown out 5/41 attempted basestealers.


i hope you get him.


thanks. you have convinced me that Victor Martinez is not a very good player. That 6% drop in CS rates in between Varitek and Martinez would obviously outweigh any other possible things that happen in a baseball game, and would cost the Sox dozens of games.
   10. Mister High Standards Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3250342)
Thirdbase really is a problem. I have no confidence Lowell can handle the position anymore. His fielding bible numbers this year are abysmal. If he comes back, I would strongly consider playing him at 1b and Youkilus at third, which is funny because Kevin is no great shakes at the hot corner himself.

This is the RedSox number one need right now, addressing the gaping wound at thirdbase. Upgrading Green would also be nice but not as vital as JB said his defense at least is pretty solid. No more Lugo. Waive him, maybe the Mets will claim him.
   11. Darren Posted: July 11, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3250349)
he's thrown out 5/41 attempted basestealers.


So he'd be a small upgrade?

Nick Green is fine at SS too. ZiPS has him at a 700 OPS and he looks pretty decent defensively. His UZR is actually really good this year. Between Lowrie and Lowell they should be able to manage third base.


Right, should be able to, but as MC points out, there are good reasons to believe they won't. I want to be certain they have really good players to spread the playing time among. I'm willing to deal the overabundance of pitching depth to achieve that. I can understand they're likely still a little reticent after the Arroyo for Wily Mo deal, ("We have tons of pitchers! Let's deal this really good cheap one for a lottery ticket!") but I think the key is that this time, they get an actual good player.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 11, 2009 at 08:46 PM (#3250379)
I'm on board in a big way on Victor Martinez


Why? I mean, can he actually catch anymore, and not just "fake it"? (not snark)

As a C he hits a ton as a 1B, not so much. He's 30


Because if he even reaches the .833 OPS ZIPS forecasts that is still an upgrade over what I would expect to get out of Lowell/Kotsay. I'm in agreement with everyone who is hesitant to count on Lowell for the reasons suggested.

Lastly, I think ZIPS undersells him in this case. First, because Fenway is a better hitters' park than Progressive and second because I think ZIPS (and all other projection systems) don't work well for guys like Martinez who have one serious outlier season in a group of seasons.

I'm sure the guys here with more knowledge on this stuff will explain why I'm wrong but it seems illogical to me to assume that in five of the last six years his OPS has been higher than that so why would he drop? It's not a huge difference but I think he comes to Fenway and posts something North of .860 and I would bet that is close to .100 points better than what we will get from Lowell/Kotsay the remainder of the season.
   13. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: July 11, 2009 at 09:11 PM (#3250385)
This post has encapsulated my frustration with all the Red Sox rumors over the past month. If you can trade your fifth option in the pen for a starting 1b with questions, why not? It is all about marginal utility to the Red Sox. After Oki, Ramirez, Bard, (with Masterson as a longman), should the team be concerned with Delcarmen? Having a great fifth option in the bullpen isn't as useful as having a starting talent that can backup injury concerns.
   14. Darren Posted: July 11, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3250386)
I think ZIPS does fine on most outlier seasons, but not ones where there is a known injury. Martinez is in the latter category. He played hurt last year and it killed his numbers.
   15. villageidiom Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:07 AM (#3250772)
Those groceries in my pantry are just worthless items if I'm not eating them right now.
   16. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:29 AM (#3250775)
At what positions are the Red Sox really going to be able to meaningfully upgrade their position?

Nobody is saying we should get a starting C, 2B, OF, DH, or pitcher.
Youkilis will play either 1st or 3rd, so that position is set.
It seems like most people acknowledge that Green is fine at SS until Lowrie comes back.
Our bench is Lugo, Kottaras, Kotsay, Baldelli, and (until Lowell comes back) Bates.

OK, that bench really sucks, and it's the reason we're talking about a trade right now.

I wouldn't trade much meaningful pitching depth (Buchholz, Bowden, Delcarmen, Bard) to upgrade the bench. Saito for a usable rental who can play a corner position pretty well would be great. Once Lowrie comes back, we have that guy.

Look, after 2010, Beckett, Ortiz, Lowell, Varitek, Lugo, and others' contracts are up. We'll need those prospects to make trades for real players this off-season and next. Victor Martinez has nothing to do with keeping the Red Sox in the hunt for a World Series every year over the next 3-5 years.
   17. Xander Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:31 AM (#3250777)
Nah, it's cool. We'll be fine.
   18. konaforever Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:52 AM (#3250791)
Mmmm chips.
   19. Darren Posted: July 12, 2009 at 04:17 AM (#3250804)
Those groceries in my pantry are just worthless items if I'm not eating them right now.


No, but they will go bad if you wait long enough. Especially the pancake mix. And of course, the chips will get stale.
   20. Obama Bomaye Posted: July 12, 2009 at 04:24 AM (#3250812)
Martinez strikes me as a guy who can hit good pitching well. I think to a contending team he's better than his numbers indicate.
   21. 1k5v3L Posted: July 12, 2009 at 05:41 AM (#3250863)

Oh, but there's his Fenway split: .313/.361/.552!
And, he was facing Red Sox pitching.
Not sure if this is a positive or a negative for V-Mart.
Also, is Papi hurt, again? His BA is back below .200 for July.
   22. villageidiom Posted: July 12, 2009 at 01:31 PM (#3250949)
No, but they will go bad if you wait long enough. Especially the pancake mix. And of course, the chips will get stale.
Certainly.

To step away from the metaphor, it didn't seem like you considered future value when making your point. Smoltz, Penny, and possibly Wakefield aren't providing depth beyond this year, which means that one would have to exaggerate the rotational depth (to, say, nine) in order to imply future depth isn't a concern. And even that would assume that Matsuzaka is part of the depth.

I'm sure you're not expecting the expiration date on Buchholz, etc., to be in the next 12 months. I'm also sure you're not suggesting those prospects are going to stay in the minors forever. To me the consideration isn't what to do about a logjam at first or third when their players get healthy; it's what to do about 2009 vs. 2010+.
   23. Darren Posted: July 12, 2009 at 01:49 PM (#3250957)
The Sox have great depth in the rotation going forward as well. Here's about where it stands now: Beckett, Lester, Wake, Penny, Smoltz, Buc, Masterson, Bowden, Tazawa, Doubront. There's also Dice, who I don't expect anything from this year but I assume will be back in 2010. Assuming Smoltz and Penny leave (which is not a forgone conclusion), the Sox would have 2 spots to fill on 2010. They could slot in Dice and any of Buc, Masterson, or Bowden, and be in pretty good shape. They also have plenty of cash (including the $10-$15 mil. of Penny/Smoltz money coming off the books) to throw around the free agent market. The picture looks similar after 2010, with more pitching coming up.

There's plenty of depth to deal from and there is a large hole to fill.
   24. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:16 PM (#3250999)
Should have signed Adam Dunn in the off-season. He's the most Red Sox-like player to never have played for the Red Sox: Fat, White, Corner, and Walks.
   25. Joel W Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:58 PM (#3251019)
No Papi is not hurt. While his BA is really low this month, it's just for lack of singles. His ISO is .371.
   26. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 12, 2009 at 04:15 PM (#3251031)
If you guys want a 3B, a trade to re-acquire Freddy Sanchez would make sense.
   27. tfbg9 Posted: July 12, 2009 at 05:05 PM (#3251055)
Masterson has been re-exposed as a ROOGY it seems.


Martinez strikes me as a guy who can hit good pitching well.


My unscientific method to test this is to look at a hitter's splits against power
pitchers, to see if its a big negative (most good pitchers are power pitchers).

For Victor, its not a big negative. He holds his own. You might be on to something with this.
He appears to be a hitter who doesn't pad his stats against the fat underbelly guys.
   28. OCD SS Posted: July 12, 2009 at 06:27 PM (#3251194)
I've been working on the assumption that the Sox needed to have a good back up plan to Lowell since they re-signed him. If they also are looking for someone to possibly cover SS for Lowrie, the list of players who cqn do this get real short.

The only player I can think of who fits that bill would be Wood. The Angels were reportrd to be looking for pitching the last I looked; if Wood's is going to be blacklisted by Scioscia he'd be a good target, but I expect the Halos will go hard after Halladay(and let Lackey walk at the end of the year), and Wood would obviously have to be in the deal.
   29. Darren Posted: July 12, 2009 at 06:48 PM (#3251235)
The aforementioned Freddie Sanchez is another 2b/SS/3b cover plan. Not a great SS, but a good backup plan.
   30. Mike Webber Posted: July 13, 2009 at 02:50 AM (#3251480)
From Red Sox dot com
BOSTON -- In order to give their starters extra rest during the All-Star break, the Red Sox will promote heralded prospect Clay Buchholz from Triple-A Pawtucket to start Friday's series opener in Toronto.


and
Brad Penny will pitch Saturday's game in Toronto, with Jon Lester closing out the series the following afternoon. When the Sox travel to Arlington, John Smoltz will start the July 20 opener against the Rangers, followed by All-Stars Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield.
   31. Darren Posted: July 13, 2009 at 02:57 AM (#3251485)
Buc sucked in AAA today. That start is going to have a lot riding on it. I hope he doesn't get the jitters.
   32. Obama Bomaye Posted: July 13, 2009 at 03:04 AM (#3251488)
Martinez strikes me as a guy who can hit good pitching well.
-------------------
You might be on to something with this.


It's not something I've ever tried to look up, and it is based on VERY small sample size. But against the Yankees, I definitely have noticed him handling tough pitches well.
   33. Mattbert Posted: July 13, 2009 at 02:17 PM (#3251740)
I wonder what the Royals would want in exchange for half a season of Mark Teahen. Solid backup for the infield and outfield corners, although I think his defense at 3B might be charitably described as average. Anyway, I think he offers more with the bat than Bailey or Bates, and he’s more versatile in the field. If he could be had for a C prospect or two, I would like the see the Sox go after him.
   34. Mike Webber Posted: July 13, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3251791)
As far as Teahen, the Royals front offices and Red Sox front offices value players very differently so it might be easy for them to strike a deal if the Royals are willing to take prospects. And there are no shortstops in the Royals system, while the Red Sox have several so that might be an easy fit.

However, at times the Royals have wanted a "major league" player in return when they deal a player like Teahen, the only player I see that would fit that definition would be Baldelli or if KC hadn't just picked up Betancourt, Lugo.
   35. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 13, 2009 at 06:04 PM (#3251947)
I bet we could get a spare part or two for Papelbon.
   36. Joel W Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:30 PM (#3252081)
I personally think we're about to see 2007/2008 Papelbon back for the 2nd half. He seems to be turning it around in July, and maybe he bought his arm some wear and tear for the past couple months.
   37. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 13, 2009 at 07:46 PM (#3252102)
I bet we could get a spare part or two for Papelbon.

This isn't OOTP.
   38. John DiFool2 Posted: July 13, 2009 at 10:23 PM (#3252250)
Pap's speed on the Fenway gun has appeared to be 1-2 MPH faster lately than it has been, FWIW.
   39. Mattbert Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:05 PM (#3252854)
I bet we could get a spare part or two for Papelbon.

If you're serious, you are in danger of taking this crusade to the karlmagnus level. But I am enjoying it.
   40. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:10 PM (#3252857)
If you're serious, you are in danger of taking this crusade to the karlmagnus level. But I am enjoying it.

I'm very serious. But I fear I'm being misunderstood, or misinterpreted. I like Jonathan Papelbon. He's an entertaining guy, a World Series winner, and has been one of the top closers in baseball for as long as he's been in the Sox pen.

That said, I'm terribly fearful that there is a cliff just ahead, over which he is going to fall. I fear for his future, based on his changed pitch selection and performance. I'd like to get something for him while we still can.

So, I'm not anti-Papelbon. I just think there's something very wrong with his shoulder, and that it's better to bail out now than in 6 months.
   41. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:33 PM (#3252872)
I think Fly is going to be proven right on this in fairly short order. Given how good he is, the cost-controlled aspect of his contract and that the Sox have options if his arm falls off tomorrow I'm content to see the Sox just run him into the ground and benefit from the good years of his career.

I don't think there is a chance in hell he gets to free agency without a major arm injury though.
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: July 14, 2009 at 12:57 PM (#3252884)
I don't think there is a chance in hell he gets to free agency without a major arm injury though.


Not a chance in hell he makes it 2.5 years w/o a major arm injury? Why be so conservative with your pronouncements? Just say that within a couple years, his arm will literally fall off at the shoulder.

edit: he once missed 1 month of 1 season, and thats basically it in his 6 years of pro ball. Just because he's thrown a few more walks doesnt mean he's hurt
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:02 PM (#3252886)
Not a chance in hell he makes it 2.5 years w/o a major arm injury? Why be so conservative with your pronouncements? Just say that within a couple years, his arm will literally fall off at the shoulder.


I'm optimistic that the skin at least will remain intact and keep the arm attached.

I'm a pessimist when it comes to Papelbon, I won't hide from that. Perhaps "major" was an unecessary qualifier but I just don't think he's going to stay healthy. I hope I'm spectacularly wrong though.
   44. Nasty Nate Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:04 PM (#3252890)
fair enough.

I dont think he's any more a risk to get hurt than Okajima, Ramirez, Delcarmen, Saito etc.
   45. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:06 PM (#3252891)
I dont think he's any more a risk to get hurt than Okajima, Ramirez, Delcarmen, Saito etc.

I would respond to this by suggesting that you're missing the signs that he already has a fairly major shoulder injury that he is trying to pitch through: the workload concerns, the shutdown of '06, the complete disappearance of the splitter, the loss of velocity, and the lack of control.
   46. John DiFool2 Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:16 PM (#3252907)
He was back up to 97 (Fenway gun) during his last outing. Rumors of his demise etc. etc.
   47. Nasty Nate Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:16 PM (#3252908)
The shutdown of 06! Jesus, lets bring up the time he slept on his arm wrong when he was in high school!

workload concerns? He pitches all the time, those concerns havent manifested in him being unavailable since April of 07 (when he still pitched almost a full slate).

you think he's already injured, and theyre pitching him? Man, I thought you just believed an injury was immediately imminent, which at least was a defensible position.
   48. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:47 PM (#3252957)
I don't think there is a chance in hell he gets to free agency without a major arm injury though.

Is this your gut instinct? Are you an expert on pitching mechanics? Did some reliable source within the organization tip you off somehow?

Look, if you guys are right, and Papelbon is seriously injured or ineffective within the next 12 months, I will shower you with praise for your clairvoyance. But I think you're nuts.
   49. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 01:58 PM (#3252970)
But I think you're nuts.

And again, I HOPE I'm nuts. I don't want him to fail. I'm a fan. Everything I've seen from him (with my completely untrained eye) has looked like he's hiding something, though.
   50. strummer Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:01 PM (#3252974)
Of course, the whole point of a Bucholz Machine is lost, if you *keep* it in *AAA*! Why didn't you let him shut out the AL East, EH?
   51. Joel W Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:31 PM (#3253014)
Papelbon's velocity is not down:

http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfx.aspx?playerid=5975&position=P

The main issue is that he isn't throwing it for strikes. The horizontal movement on the fastball is much higher than it was the past two years, which is what we've all complained about with his motion coming across instead of being on top of the ball which created the rising illusion. In his last game against KC, his velocity was higher and he had more of that rise.
   52. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 14, 2009 at 02:56 PM (#3253056)
Papelbon's velocity is not down:

No? That chart looks like he's lost 2 or 3 mph or so since last year. There's no trend line, so it's hard to say for sure, but that's what I'm seeing.
   53. Joel W Posted: July 14, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3253120)
There's a chart with averages which has it basically the same, .5 mph down.
   54. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: July 16, 2009 at 06:38 AM (#3255824)
I guess I'm just wondering if this pitching depth is a bit of an illusion, behind Becket and Lester you have guys who are some combination of flakey, old, injury prone, or unproven.

Beyond this season it'll be a lot thinner too.

Kind nice to be this deep in talent though, remember when Abe Alvarez was a top prospect?
at the same time it's weird to see all these older (and old) fringy position players on the roster. All these older AAAA guys, and Kotay etc, not what you'd expect from such a deep system.
   55. Mattbert Posted: July 16, 2009 at 10:13 AM (#3255850)
I think the pitching depth is better than any team in baseball, really. Yeah, there are some flakey, old, injury prone, and unproven guys that are part of that depth, but there are pitchers like that on every roster. The depth could be an illusion, but many teams have the same questions about every single pitcher in their rotation. We've got two fairly reliable studs, followed by a cast of thousands who would be no worse than the third or fourth starter in pretty much any rotation in MLB.

You're right about the position players in the farm system, though. The guys who are "ready" now are all AAAA types and journeymen. What promise among position players we've got in the system is concentrated in AA and below, so it'll be another season or two before that crop can start helping out at the big league level. I won't mind the talent being clustered like that if they can arrive and have anything like the impact of the Ellsbury/Pedroia/Youk/Lowrie group.
   56. Josh Posted: July 16, 2009 at 12:05 PM (#3255864)
Beyond this season it'll be a lot thinner too.

Maybe, but while that is true for all teams, it is less true for this team. Assume that Wakefield, Penny and Smoltz aren't on the 2010 team. That still leaves Matsuzaka, Buchholz, and Bowden in the ML squad, with Masterson and Tazawa in reserve and Fife/Price in the AA/Tazawa role. Its less depth, sure. But that's before they make a single move. Sign another FA pitcher, resign Smoltz, or Wakefield returning again puts Bowden as the #6 and Tazawa as the #7 SP. That seems like solid depth again. There is no Buchholz in reserve, but Tazawa has the chance to be ML average or so.
   57. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 16, 2009 at 12:59 PM (#3255878)
Assume that Wakefield, Penny and Smoltz aren't on the 2010 team.


Penny and Smoltz, sure, but why would Wakefield not be on the team next year? There is no way he voluntarily retires, and very minimal risk for the Red Sox to re-up his contract ($4.5 mill?). And why would the Sox ditch him when he will be within 15 wins (at least) of being the all-time wins leader for the Sox? The FO may not care for PR with the fans at times, but Wake is not a malcontent at all, and doesn't get paid all that much money.

He may suck in the postseason, but he does a decent enough job helping the Sox get there.
   58. Josh Posted: July 16, 2009 at 01:10 PM (#3255882)
I should have addeed "for purposes of this argument/post."

Wakefield will return next year. But that just bolsters my point (and was addressed further on).
   59. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: July 16, 2009 at 10:01 PM (#3256493)
I'm kinda playing devils advocate here but, how do we know Dice-K won't continue to be a problem?
and even with the Red Sox' recent luck with prospects, isn't expecting Buchholz, Bowden, Masterson and Tazawa to all pan out, stay healthy etc a bit silly?

Anyways, I'm not saying there's no depth, I'm just saying it's not as crazy as some think it might be.

And why is everyone so down on Penny? I'd take my chances with him over Dice or Smoltz, are they stil trying to trade him?
   60. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 17, 2009 at 12:37 PM (#3257098)
The Red Sox will start this coming offseason in better shape of developing their 2010 rotation than most teams (barring unusually severe injuries).

Beckett and Lester will again form the front end of the rotation.
It is likely that Buchholz will join the rotation in 2010.
Wakefield, particularly with his contract, will almost certainly be back in 2010.

That means the competition for the remaining slot will come from Matsuzaka (who, if he's healthy, almost has to get a slot coming out of spring training), Masterson, Bowden, Smoltz or Penny (or some other yet-to-be-signed veteran pitcher).

I like the direction of the rotation's future, in part because I think it will be getting younger over the next two years. 2010 won't be a terribly dramatic set of decisions. It is 2011, coming off the free agency of Beckett, Lowell, Varitek, Ortiz, Lugo, and others, where a lot of money frees up after 2010, that will be the real interesting off-season to watch.
   61. villageidiom Posted: July 17, 2009 at 01:34 PM (#3257141)
Nate -

To me, the Papelbon issue is a bit like Pedro Martinez back in the day. After injury he was handled cautiously - for the rest of his time with the team - and though still a great pitcher he wasn't the same. A few years later (with the Mets) he suffered major injuries that led to such disinterest from teams that Pedro Freaking Martinez didn't sign until July.

Papelbon isn't guaranteed to follow the same path, and there are many valid reasons to believe that he's a completely different case. But I can't escape that feeling. I'm not on board with Fly on this one, but I think I understand where he's coming from.
   62. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 17, 2009 at 02:12 PM (#3257174)
I'm not optimistic about Paplebon's long-term prognosis,but I think he'll remain highly effective through his team-controlled years with the Red Sox. They'll probably just keep going year-to-year until he becomes a free agent, and then let him go for the draft picks.

Bard has been a pleasant surprise, in that he is taking increasingly important innings, performing well in those innings, and quietly getting worked into a position where you could see him pitching meaningful innings in a postseason situation. He also has made Saito expendable, which may help the Red Sox pick up some bench depth for the home stretch. Bard would be, at this time, the logical successor to Paplebon in the long-term, and the primary setup man/backup closer in 2010 and 2011.
   63. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 17, 2009 at 02:44 PM (#3257207)
Should have signed Adam Dunn in the off-season. He's the most Red Sox-like player to never have played for the Red Sox: Fat, White, Corner, and Walks.


Thank you for drumming the beat on a stereotype that hasn't been true since Theo took over.

To me, the Papelbon issue is a bit like Pedro Martinez back in the day.


Completely agree. The difference is really in disclosure. With Pedro we knew exactly what was going on with his arm. With Papelbon, we do know it's the shoulder, but it's a mystery as to how iffy it actually is. If he went "poof" tonight I wouldn't be overly surprised. But it is telling that the Sox seem to have no intention of extending him. It could be their philosophy that relievers/closers really aren't worth long- or even medium-term deals. But my guess is that they are really seeing if Bard can become the closer in two years.

Papelbon has always struck me as the kind of player who the Sox would let go in free agency, even without considering his shoulder.
   64. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 17, 2009 at 02:50 PM (#3257217)
Even though it might be the best move, benching/moving Lowell would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Is he really that big a liability in the field now? If not, it's not as though he's a drag on the offense. Picking up a premium corner bat would be nice, but the upgrade over Lowell might not be enough to justify the bounty in prospects that Gonzalez or someone like that might require.

I'd like to see them pick up an undervalued corner bat, like Nick Johnson. They *have* to trade one of their relievers at this point--it might as well be Saito or Delcarmen for a guy like Johnson.
   65. OCD SS Posted: July 17, 2009 at 02:50 PM (#3257218)
...he suffered major injuries that led to such disinterest from teams that Pedro Freaking Martinez didn't sign until July.


C'mon in fairness, Pedro Martinez isn't "Pedro Freaking Martinez" anymore.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: July 17, 2009 at 03:05 PM (#3257239)
you guys think the papelbon situation is like the Pedro situation post-injury?

I don't really understand. Pedro had an injury and missed half a season. This was after 7 full years of being a SP. Afterwards many people thought shoulder blowout was due to happen, and it did 4 years later.

Papelbon has 4 years of relieving on his odometer. and he has never had a major injury. Yes, he was shut down for 1 month at the end of 2006, but 3 straight years of health and amazing effectiveness and continued velocity almost prove that the issues of 2006 were not anywhere near the seriousness of Pedro's injury. I dont understand the analogy, or what its point is for predicting Papelbon's future.

With Pedro we knew exactly what was going on with his arm. With Papelbon, we do know it's the shoulder, but it's a mystery as to how iffy it actually is.


How do we know ANYTHING AT ALL is going on w/ Papelbon as regards to health? a few extra walks this year?
   67. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 17, 2009 at 03:10 PM (#3257249)
How do we know ANYTHING AT ALL is going on w/ Papelbon as regards to health? a few extra walks this year?

It's funny because it's true.
   68. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 17, 2009 at 03:20 PM (#3257258)
How do we know ANYTHING AT ALL is going on w/ Papelbon as regards to health? a few extra walks this year?


Much of it is a) we hear whispers about the shoulder every single year, and b) Papelbon changed his delivery and approach this year to, by his words, put less stress on his shoulder.
   69. villageidiom Posted: July 17, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3257539)
you guys think the papelbon situation is like the Pedro situation post-injury?
Yes, in the way the team is handling him. They are more cautious than I'd expect given how long ago his injury was. That's it.

Like I said, there are lots of reasons to think Papelbon's case is different; thanks for listing a few.

I will point out, though, that a shoulder subluxation IS a major injury for a pitcher. Had they not shut him down instantly it could have been a career-ending injury. He was shut down only for one month because the season ended after one month. Had it happened in April he would've been out for months, if not the whole season, to build up the shoulder strength he lacked. They were lucky with the timing, allowing him to do this work through the offseason.
   70. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 17, 2009 at 06:19 PM (#3257562)
vi, thanks. The Pedro Story is pretty much exactly how I feel about Papelbon.
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: July 17, 2009 at 06:45 PM (#3257614)
thanks for the clarification, I understand your position a little better now. And I didnt know that about the injury.

Yes, in the way the team is handling him. They are more cautious than I'd expect given how long ago his injury was.


I still don't really understand this. Yes, I think they monitor his shoulder strength. But as far as usage, he hasn't pitch any fewer innings this year than other MLB closers. He has slightly more IP than Fuentes, Bell, Nathan, Rivera, Cordero and slightly less than Rodriguez, Aardsma, Broxton, and Gregg.

I know everyone dreams of a 95-inning, 1.80 ERA guy, but ...
   72. Dan Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3257637)
Is he really that big a liability in the field now?

Lowell's UZR for this season is -7.9, good for-15.7/150. So yes, he is that big of a liability. Lester's April struggles were almost entirely due to Lowell and Lugo playing the left side of the infield, and RHH pulling ground balls for hits all over the left side.

THT's RZR has him 4th from the bottom among qualifiers at 3B, ahead of only Mark Reynolds, Chipper Jones, and Michael Young.
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3257639)
Do the Red Sox handle Papelbon in a way that's notably different from how they handle relievers in general? Papelbon rarely throws more than an inning, but neither does anyone else, except Masterson. Papelbon rarely throws three days in a row, but neither does anyone else.
   74. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3257663)
Lowell's UZR for this season is -7.9, good for-15.7/150.


Gross. I wonder who they could snag at either 1B or 3B that wouldn't break the bank in terms of prospects. Adam LaRoche?
   75. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:23 PM (#3257677)
Lowell's UZR for this season is -7.9, good for-15.7/150.
The Red Sox' major league talent evaluators have a huge task ahead of them the next two weeks. They need to determine, without useful samples of statistical data, whether Jed Lowrie and Mike Lowell are useful major league players.

Knowing Theo and Tito, I'd be surprised if the Red Sox decide they ought to make a trade. They really don't like cutting bait on major leaguers - generally, in the terms of those old manager-in-a-box things, both Theo and Tito are optimists. Or, better, Theo and Tito, once they've made a positive evaluation of a player, don't like to go back and revise midseason, except in pretty extreme situations. There are exceptions, surely, but I think the general tendency shows.
   76. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3257689)
Lowell's UZR for this season is -7.9, good for-15.7/150. So yes, he is that big of a liability.

Not necessarily. This is not even half a season's worth of data. As bad as he was so far this year, he was that good last year. Maybe it's the hip, and maybe he's done as even an average fielding 3B, but you CANNOT show it with less than half a year of fielding stats. This is roughly akin drawing a conclusion about a guy's hitting after 125 PA.

Again, not necessarily disagreeing with your conclusion, and I don't mean to pick on Dan - this is just a pet peeve of mine when people prorate tiny samples of wildly uncertain defensive statistics and then draw conclusions based on it.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:41 PM (#3257704)
Not necessarily. This is not even half a season's worth of data. As bad as he was so far this year, he was that good last year. Maybe it's the hip, and maybe he's done as even an average fielding 3B, but you CANNOT show it with less than half a year of fielding stats. This is roughly akin drawing a conclusion about a guy's hitting after 125 PA.
My sympathetic reading of such claims about Lowell's defensive crapitude is that the writer is arguing not that an insignificant UZR sample serves as significant evidence of Lowell's defensive crapitude, but rather that Mike Lowell appears to the knowledgeable eye to be craptacular defensively, and his defensive production over that period has been as craptacular as it appears to be. (In the Lugo thread on the newsblog, I used a similarly insignificant sample on Lugo's defense to buttress my point that he's not a competent defensive player.)

One related problem is that the Red Sox do need to make a conclusion about Jed Lowrie's hitting after maybe 100 PA split between the majors and the minors. They also need to make a conclusion about Mike Lowell's fielding on a sample smaller than that, in adjusted terms. You don't always get the numbers necessary to usefully inform a decision before a decision must be made.

EDIT: in Lugo's case, they appear to have made precisely such a decision. If the Red Sox thought Julio Lugo was a competent defensive player, he would have started more games, and Nick Green would quite likely be the guy on the chopping block. They made an evaluation, though, that Julio Lugo was no longer a competent defensive shortstop, and have treated him like a bad player ever since.
   78. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 17, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3257736)
To my eye, Lowell still has a great glove and a good arm, but can't move to save his life.
   79. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 17, 2009 at 08:02 PM (#3257757)
in Lugo's case, they appear to have made precisely such a decision. If the Red Sox thought Julio Lugo was a competent defensive player, he would have started more games, and Nick Green would quite likely be the guy on the chopping block. They made an evaluation, though, that Julio Lugo was no longer a competent defensive shortstop, and have treated him like a bad player ever since.

In Lugo's case, his defensive stats were, while again, in a tiny sample, AWWWWWFUL. Lowell's are just garden variety lousy.

I also agree with Primakov's description of Lowell's defense.
   80. Dan Posted: July 17, 2009 at 08:10 PM (#3257789)
What MCoA said. It would be one thing if Lowell looked like his normal self on defense and UZR hated him, but watching him he's like a statue. A statue with a good glove and arm, but still a statue. Maybe the injection/draining of fluid will help. It should be pretty evident if he has to move laterally after even a few ground balls whether he's got any range back or not.
   81. Joel W Posted: July 17, 2009 at 08:48 PM (#3257855)
To my eye, Lowell still has a great glove and a good arm, but can't move to save his life.


Since that is the majority of UZR we've got a real problem on our hands, and it's not as though his offense is otherworldly.

It seems to me that the Red Sox will be willing to make a big move if necessary. They dealt Nomar, they dealt Manny. You may be right that they're optimists overall, but they also see problems and fix them. The team is in a great position to upgrade. They have extra pitching, they can acquire either a 3b or a 1b to fix their problem at 3rd, they have prospects, and they are one of the few teams that can likely take on salary if need be. They're up against two of the top teams in baseball, and I would be surprised if the front office doesn't think they should try to make a substantial move. Then again, what do I know.
   82. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 17, 2009 at 09:27 PM (#3257897)
I'll be shocked if the Sox don't land a corner bat between now and July 31. Whether it will be a good one (Nick Johnson) or a not-so-good one (Garrett Atkins) I have no clue. JoelW made the valid point that they haven't been shy in the past about making deadline deals and Lowell hasn't been moving well from day one. It's not like he was ranging all over the place in April then suddenly started to slow up, his range was affected from the get-go this year and I'm confident that if I've seen that, and several people here have seen that, then Terry Francona and Theo Epstien have seen that also.
   83. Darren Posted: July 20, 2009 at 02:42 AM (#3259563)
Ho hum. House money lineups galore. Ho hum, one game up. Blah blah blah, whatever. Division or wild card? Same thing, no biggie. Or maybe just 3rd place. La-ti-dah.
   84. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 20, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3259587)
Um, what was house money about that lineup? You do realize they're not going to play Lowrie and Lowell every day, right? We were facing Halladay, we lost. Not a big deal.
   85. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 20, 2009 at 12:23 PM (#3259698)
Ellsbury had a stomach bug, that's why he missed the first two games.

Youkilis, Ortiz, Pedroia, Bay, and Drew started all three games. The starters who each got one day of rest were Lowell, Lowrie, and Varitek. What's the problem?
   86. Mister High Standards Posted: July 20, 2009 at 12:52 PM (#3259712)
Darren is a nincompoop?
   87. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 20, 2009 at 01:00 PM (#3259716)
I was a little surprised that Francona didn't take advantage of the platoon, and start Green and Varitek against the lefty and Lowrie and Kottaras against the righty. Probably there were other factors in the decision-making - I figure Varitek sat due to the day game after night game thing - but I don't know how those should have been managed.

Jed Lowrie hitting a home run after looking uselessly passive for two games was definitely a good thing. I'm hopeful he's gonna come back.
   88. villageidiom Posted: July 20, 2009 at 01:13 PM (#3259725)
Now that I think of it, I've never seen Darren and Angry Bill in the same place.
   89. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 20, 2009 at 03:37 PM (#3259902)
What does "house money" mean in this case?
   90. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 21, 2009 at 03:18 AM (#3261080)
I'm currently pissed off about stuff. So I've done some very questionable analysis.

I don't know if Jed Lowrie can hit. He was consistently at a 20% K rate in the minors, and that's bumped up to a 25% rate in the majors. He had an above average BABIP in the minors, but should he be expected to maintain that? Lowrie's solid 340/400 line last year was a function of a .342 BABIP - give him a league average .300 and he's down to 310/345.

Lowrie's got an approach at the plate I'm skeptical of - he's got a take and rake approach, but he's not a power hitter, and he doesn't have good contact skills. He needs to get a lot of singles and doubles off his big swing in order to put up a competent line at short.

And I think we've already been around his defense - I think Lowrie won't embarrass himself at the position, but to be an asset, he needs to be an ok hitter, and I'm afraid he just isn't one.
   91. Darren Posted: July 21, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3261089)
He wasn't a power hitter last year with a broken, wrist, no. And his other poor stints in the minors tended coincide with injuries. If he's healthy, I'm confident he'll be good. Our pitchers are a little scarier. Smoltz looks pretty good to my eye, but he manages to get beat up every time. And I'd like to see another bat acquired--can't happen too fast.

By 'house money' I meant Kottaras starting game 2 out of the break, and both Kotsay and Green in the lineup for game 3, with neither of the latter 2 getting PH for.

Edit: BTW, Kotsay's been worth -0.3 WAR since joining the Red Sox (if you believe he's the great 1b that UZR says he is). Good think they're not running some schlub out there.
   92. villageidiom Posted: July 21, 2009 at 08:18 PM (#3261823)
He wasn't a power hitter last year with a broken, wrist, no. And his other poor stints in the minors tended coincide with injuries. If he's healthy, I'm confident he'll be good.
Same here, although I'm becoming less and less confident that he'll be healthy.
   93. Nasty Nate Posted: July 21, 2009 at 09:07 PM (#3261884)
acc to boston.com, Wakefield to the DL and Buccholz back up.

they say its a sore back, which hopefully is a code for the fenway flu, which is a code for a phantom injury used for other roster purposes. (such as showcasing/developing your young talent and resting your elderly talent, which is a code for Tim Wakefield)

edit: repoz just posted a thread
   94. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 21, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3261890)
So they decided to give Wakefield the vacation instead of Penny. It also seems to imply that they see something in Smoltz. What I see is a guy who can't negotiate a major league lineup more than twice, tops. Still useful in the bullpen, for sure.
   95. Nasty Nate Posted: July 21, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3261906)
It also seems to imply that they see something in Smoltz.


why would they give up after only 5 starts? they didnt with Penny . . .
   96. Mattbert Posted: July 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM (#3262444)
I think Nate's probably right. Wakefield is the obvious choice for a sabbatical if you look at it that way. The Sox can be pretty sure what they're going to get from him; no real mysteries there.

Smoltz needs a few more starts to be evaluated. Can he contribute in the rotation? Is he better off as a long man out of the pen?

Penny needs to stay in the rotation in case he's involved in an eleventh hour trade. DL-ing him or otherwise skipping his next start would reduce his trade value, if not scupper it altogether.

Buchholz has been too good to stay down, and might also need to be showcased if he's potential trade bait in a deal for a serious bat.

And there you have it.
   97. Joel W Posted: July 22, 2009 at 06:51 PM (#3263148)
So getting Laroche for a bucket of balls was a good trade. Nothing spectacular, but the lineup will certainly be somewhat less anemic. Maybe the Sox will essentially platoon him w/ Lowell? Would be good for Lowell to have more days off anyway.
   98. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 22, 2009 at 06:57 PM (#3263165)
I don't think it improves the hitting by much - Lowell's hitting pretty good - but the total upgrade to defense, baserunning, and hitting should be a reasonable upgrade for the remainder of the season.

Plus, we finally have an important playing time issue on which to scrutinize Tito. LaRoche ought to be platooning with Lowell. If either LaRoche ends up riding the bench five days a week, or his job-sharing arrangement doesn't function as a platoon, we can all whine about it.
   99. Joel W Posted: July 22, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3263197)
Here's something:

Career OPS pre All-Star: .773
Career OPS post Allstar: .901

Remarkably, this isn't the result of one monstrous second half, but appears to be the case basically every year.

Edit: Of course, MGL has good evidence showing that first half/second half splits aren't predictive.
   100. JB H Posted: July 23, 2009 at 12:44 AM (#3263747)
Lugo got shipped to St Louis for Chis Duncan. Don't get why they're even bothering, he doesn't look any better than Bailey/Carter to me
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