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   1. SG Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4321243)
He had the Sox projected to win 78 games before they made any free agent signings.


Actually I had them at 75. Jays were at 78.
   2. dave h Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4321247)
Sign Hamilton and Sanchez, and 2013 AL East Champs here we come!
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4321256)
Sorry to go off topic so fast, but I saw this item at mlbtraderumors.com and I don't really understand:

The Red Sox claimed right-hander Sandy Rosario off of waivers from the Athletics, the teams announced. The move opens up a spot on Boston's 40-man roster, which now includes 39 players.

This is the second time this offseason that the Red Sox have claimed Rosario off of waivers. They claimed him from Miami on October 17th then traded him to Oakland for a player to be named later (later announced as Graham Godfrey) or cash considerations on November 28th. The A's designated Rosario for assignment two days after acquiring him from Boston.


How does claiming a guy open up a spot? What did Oakland have to gain from this series of events?

---

As far as the topic, it is nice for the Sox' 2013 chances that the Rays have seemed to make themselves worse in the short-term with the Shields trade. Also James Loney is their first-baseman...
   4. UnclePab Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:11 PM (#4321338)
Maybe they meant it opened a spot on Oakland's 40-man roster?
   5. Darren Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4321340)
This is encouraging news, especially given how down I was after the Shields trade. Sadly, Tampa will again get everyone ever to play out of their minds and will not have any of their young pitchers falter or get hurt, so that's a bummer.

But even so, if the Sox do add a good starter and swing a deal for a pretty decent SS, they should be in contention for the division. Hooray!
   6. TomH Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4321344)
snark: but does SG's CAIRO show the Dodgers could win 110?
seriously: Does SG have comparison between 'early useless' CAIRO's last 3 yrs predictions and end-of-year standings, to show any possible trends of what teams may be under- or over-rated by this measure?
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4323095)
They should add another 2-3 win starting pitcher


Robothal is saying they are in "serious discussions" with Ryan Dempster. Color me unimpressed if he's the guy since it seems a 3 year deal is needed.
   8. Vin Middle Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4323271)
Are there any short-deal SPs out there that excite people? Marcum? Liriano? Mike Pelfrey??
   9. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4323311)
I like Marcum a lot personally. If he can be landed on a one or two year deal I'd be all for it.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4323316)
Are there any short-deal SPs out there that excite people?


Dice-K

I'll show myself out.
   11. karlmagnus Posted: December 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4323346)
They're managing to blow the entire savings from the LA deal and acquire NO top-line talent. WHAT a useless operation.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 12, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4323403)
Sox payroll for 2013 (including arb and pre-arb estimates) is currently ~$130M. They still have $40M to work with before they get up the projected pre-trade payroll. I think it looks more likely now that the Sox won't acquire any top-line talent this offseason, but they will have payroll room to acquire top-line talent during the season or next offseason if any come available.

Greinke and Hamilton are the only top-line players on the free agent market, and Greinke's contract is definitely well above what I'd want to pay him. The trade market has so far appeared quite inhospitable for teams looking to add present talent. Perhaps, as has been argued here, the Sox should have been in on Hamilton. Based on the salaries rumored so far, I think they should have been. We'll see if that's where the market ends up, and obviously the risk with Hamilton are myriad.

I'm still hopeful that the Sox have something super cool left to line up on the trade market. But less hopeful than I was before the price of James Shields and Shin-Soo Choo turned out to be an MLB top 10 prospect apiece.
   13. RJ in TO Posted: December 12, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4323407)
I like Marcum a lot personally. If he can be landed on a one or two year deal I'd be all for it.

Marcum was an absolute pleasure to watch when healthy, during his time with the Jays.
   14. villageidiom Posted: December 12, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4323435)
They're managing to blow the entire savings from the LA deal and acquire NO top-line talent.
On this date in 2000, they had already signed Frank Castillo and Hideo Nomo. They had not yet signed Manny Ramirez.

Let's judge uselessness at the proper time.
   15. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4323740)
Let's not go speaking ill of 2001 Hideo Nomo.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4323749)
Supposedly Dempster close to signing. That will probably be the last substantial signing of the off-season.
   17. jmurph Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4323750)
On this date in 2000, they had already signed Frank Castillo and Hideo Nomo. They had not yet signed Manny Ramirez.


This is a completely fair point, but there is (obviously) not a Manny Ramirez on the market this year.

I think a lot of these deals (and rumored deals, meaning Dempster) make sense in isolation, but I hold out hope, like the rest of you guys, that there is something bigger on the horizon. It's a bit uninspiring so far.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4323755)
This is a completely fair point, but there is (obviously) not a Manny Ramirez on the market this year.

... I hold out hope, like the rest of you guys, that there is something bigger on the horizon.


If we acknowledge the first point, we pretty much have to extend the horizon to mid-season or next off-season.
   19. tfbg9 Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4323767)
Lester Buchholz Lackey Dempster Dubront Morales and maybe Aceves...can they be, as a group, average? Am I forgetting someone?
   20. karlmagnus Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4323769)
Just looked at those projections. Orioles 73-89 is far too pessimistic with Duquette and Showalter; my back of envelope projection is 89-73. Sox look more like 73-89 at present. And if we get Dempster we'll have spent the budget and got nobody as good as 2001 Hideo Nomo, who was a very decent #3 starter, who'd be remembered in Sox lore if all the stars on that team but Manny hadn't got injured.
   21. villageidiom Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4323772)
This is a completely fair point, but there is (obviously) not a Manny Ramirez on the market this year.
If you'd rather, on this date in prior years, the team was months away from trading for Coco Crisp.

   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4323774)
Lester Buchholz Lackey Dempster Dubront Morales and maybe Aceves...can they be, as a group, average? Am I forgetting someone?
Rubby De La Rosa in that 6th/7th/8th starter group.

A huge portion of the Sox projection is riding on Lester/Buchholz/Lackey being, as a group, above average. (CAIRO thinks they will be, projecting 8-9 combined WAR, mostly from Buchholz and Lester.)
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4323775)
Lester Buchholz Lackey Dempster Dubront Morales and maybe Aceves...can they be, as a group, average? Am I forgetting someone?


De La Rosa could get some starts; maybe even Webster.
   24. jmurph Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4323777)
Lester Buchholz Lackey Dempster Dubront Morales and maybe Aceves...can they be, as a group, average? Am I forgetting someone?


I've kind of been forgetting we have to convince ourselves to pull for Lackey again this year.
   25. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4323781)
Lester Buchholz Lackey Dempster Dubront Morales and maybe Aceves...can they be, as a group, average? Am I forgetting someone?


de la Rosa is a bit of a wild card. It's not entirely clear to me where he slots in for 2013 (maybe he doesn't). I think they CAN be a lot better than average. Lester and Buchholz are quite capable of throwing up true Ace-caliber seasons. The problem is that I don't think there is a sure thing (as much as any pitcher is a sure thing). There isn't anyone on that list that I can't see going pffft.
   26. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4323784)
What strikes me about the 2013 Red Sox is that the season hinges heavily not on the new guys, but on the old guys not sucking. For all the maneuvering if Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury can't return to near-star level performances and stay healthy in the process there will be no meaningful September baseball. More optimistically if those players do play well and stay in the lineup they should be expected to be competitive.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4323792)
Alex Speier reports the Sox and Dempster are negotiating a 2-year deal. Something like 2/26 to 2/28 seems reasonable.
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4323793)
Orioles 73-89 is far too pessimistic with Duquette and Showalter; my back of envelope projection is 89-73.


There's like a 15% chance that karlmagnus actually is Duquette, right? Like, I'm not saying it's likely or anything, but it wouldn't totally shock me either.
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4323796)
And if we get Dempster we'll have spent the budget and got nobody as good as 2001 Hideo Nomo


Nomo, 2001: 198 IP, 100 ERA+
Dempster, avg last three seasons: 197 IP, 102 ERA+
   30. karlmagnus Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4323808)
Nomo was much younger than Dempster, not likely to decline. This lot have always tended to pay first or second class prices for third or fourth class talent, and Dempster, when Anibal is available, would be an example of this (as is Victorino for Hamilton, if Hamilton is available for 3-4 or even 5 years.)

And no alas I've never met Duquette, though it would be fun to do so. It's that having watched him in action in the 90s and again recently, I find his approach attractive and think he's really pretty good, with fewer ugly distortions and PR-related decisions than the current regime or even Theo (the distortions are I suspect Lucchino.)
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4323814)
This lot have always tended to pay first or second class prices...


I think we should call the pope to investigate, because it sounds like a miracle for broke owners with low payrolls to pay first and second class prices.
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4323824)
Quickie regressed WAR projection has Dempster at +26 runs above replacement. On a two-year deal, I don't see much to complain about.

(Other than that I'd like a pony, of course.)
   33. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4323827)
Nomo was much younger than Dempster, not likely to decline.


He's three years younger than Nomo was (you can call that "much" if you like), and came in with a significantly worse recent track record. Dempster's K rate hasn't dropped and his peripherals steady for several years. He's actually a very similar signing to Nomo in some ways.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4323838)
The 2001 Red Sox are a weird team to choose as an example of not paying "first or second class prices." Some highlights from that roster:

(Note that the average MLB salary was about 2/3 of what it is today, and league average free agents earned in the range of $6M.)

-0.3 WAR, $6.3M - Mike Lansing (age 33)
0.3 WAR, $7M - Dante Bichette (age 37)
-0.8 WAR, $4.6M - Troy O'Leary (age 31)
0.9 WAR, $7.3M - Carl Everett (age 30)

This is the same club that decided that pure replacement level Shea Hillenbrand deserved a full-time job at third base.

I mean, I like Duquette. But by far the two worst seasons of his general managership were 2000 and 2001, where he failed miserably to surround some of the greatest core talent in Red Sox history with even vaguely acceptable complementary talent. And he certainly didn't refrain from paying well above retail for those guys, either.
   35. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 13, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4323848)
Also James Loney is their first-baseman...


Loney was pretty terrible last year, but he was perfectly cromulent the previous 4 years (104 OPS+) and is only 29. Pena last year hit 94. I figure 1B will likely be a push or a slight upgrade.
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4323864)
Loney was pretty terrible last year, but he was perfectly cromulent the previous 4 years (104 OPS+) and is only 29. Pena last year hit 94. I figure 1B will likely be a push or a slight upgrade.


I was more comparing him to the other 1B in the division. I assume that he projects to be the worst by far (using E.E. for Toronto, Davis for Baltimore, and Napoli for Boston).
   37. tfbg9 Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4323865)
"and Dempster, when Anibal is available, would be an example of this"

post #30 by km, and various others, explained?:

From bbref., Anibal Sanchez's page:

January 3, 2001: Signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent.

Gee...now who was the GM in January, 2001?
   38. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4323881)
It is a bit frustrating to see the Sox adding so many 'get-me-over' pieces. Victorino, Dempster, Ross, Gomes, Napoli are all not part of the solution for 2015. Ortiz will more than likely be done then. Ellsbury, may or may not be on the team. Pedroia should still be above average at 2nd, but they tend not to age well. There is just not much on the team to get excited about for future years to come.
   39. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4323890)
It is a bit frustrating to see the Sox adding so many 'get-me-over' pieces. Victorino, Dempster, Ross, Gomes, Napoli are all not part of the solution for 2015


Who would be likely to be part of the solution for 2015 that is out there? I'll take Hamilton but other than that there isn't anyone I'm that geared up for. Sanchez maybe because of his age but let's not overstate what he is, a durable, low 100s ERA+. That's pretty good and it's also basically what Matt Clement was prior to 2005 (Clement was a year older).

Other than those guys there is no one on the market that looks likely to be a contributor to the 2015 team. I'd have stayed away from Greinke and beyond that it's an uninspiring FA market.
   40. dave h Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4323918)
The problem is that next year's FA market is also uninspiring, and I don't know that it's likely to change anytime soon. Which makes it substantially less valuable to have a boatload of money available to spend.
   41. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4323920)
I find his approach attractive and think he's really pretty good, with fewer ugly distortions and PR-related decisions than the current regime or even Theo


You have a very selective memory about the Duquette years. If anything, Duquette was worse on PR stuff. Those were some pretty miserable teams.
   42. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 13, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4323937)
There is just not much on the team to get excited about for future years to come.


There isn't much on the team now, but the Red Sox have plenty of players in the minors (Bogaerts/Bradley/Barnes/De La Rosa/Webster/Cecchini/other) who should either be ready to contribute by then or can be dealt for someone who will. The short-term deals suggest to me that the Red Sox actually believe in this current crop of prospects.
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4323941)
Apparently the Angels have made their move for Hamilton and are likely to sign him. I'm guessing this leaves little chance of a bargain four-year deal.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4323951)
There is just not much on the team to get excited about for future years to come.
Well, Pedroia should still be a good player at 31 in 2015, likewise Ellsbury and Lester, and Buchholz will be 30. Those aren't graybeards who will have no value in the future. Lester and Ellsbury would require re-signing, but surely the Red Sox can accomplish that if they want them.

The future of the Sox, though, does rest on the next generation coming in and forming a new core. To ellsbury's list above, I'd add Middlebrooks (26 in 2015), Lavarnway (27), Doubront (27), and Tazawa (29). The Sox had a few relatively fallow years in the farm at the end of the last decade, compared to the generation currently in AA, but they do have solid young complementary talent (some with real upside) on the major league roster as well.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4323954)
The problem is that next year's FA market is also uninspiring, and I don't know that it's likely to change anytime soon. Which makes it substantially less valuable to have a boatload of money available to spend.
They won't, at least not next year. Pretty much everyone on the Red Sox roster other than Jacoby Ellsbury is locked in for 2014. There's an option on Lester's contract that will be picked up, barring a disaster. With the luxury tax limit rising by over $10M, the Sox should have the payroll flexibility for 2014 to add another star level player, but they won't have a boatload of money anymore. (And if Cherington has done his job this offseason, they also shouldn't have too many holes to fill.)

The boatload of money comes ashore again in 2015.
   46. Dale Sams Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4324043)
The problem is that next year's FA market is also uninspiring, and I don't know that it's likely to change anytime soon. Which makes it substantially less valuable to have a boatload of money available to spend.


And the FAs that are inspiring, the Sox don't seem interested in breaking the bank for out of fear.
   47. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4324072)
I don't know if it's Hamilton signing or Dempster or just general blah but I'm in a really bad mood about this team right now. If we had simply not replaced Theo Epstein when he left and the Sox did nothing but pick up options would they be in better shape today than they actually are?

Gonzalez, Pedroia, Aviles, Youkilis, Crawford, Ellsbury, Reddick, Saltalamacchia, Middlebrooks (figure he's the DH with Ortiz not re-signed)

vs.

Napoli?, Pedroia, Iglesias, Middlebrooks, Kalish, Ellsbury, Victorino, Saltalamacchia, Ortiz

I see downgrades at 1st, short and left with no obvious upgrades. If someone wants to talk me off the ledge I'd be grateful.

EDIT: On the mound the big move is Beckett for Dempster (wash at best).
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4324098)
If we had simply not replaced Theo Epstein when he left and the Sox did nothing but pick up options would they be in better shape today than they actually are?
Well, the 2011-2012 offseason was a humongous bag of ####. If you set your baseline at October 1, 2011, then I think a mostly negative evaluation is called for. The Sox were clearly better before they traded away Lowrie and Reddick for relief pitchers and converted an excellent reliever into probably injured lottery ticket. The Sox were clearly better before all of their good players (other than Papi) had bad seasons in 2012. If we're evaluating Cherington overall, we have to account for that, and it's hard to be terribly positive about his reign.

In my own feelings, I've accepted the 2011-2012 shitshow, and I'm starting with the Punto Trade as my baseline. I think the Sox are slightly better than they'd be for 2013 if they hadn't done the Punto trade, and they're clearly in better shape for 2014-2018.

(Also, DH is a pretty huge downgrade.)

(Also, the Sox could have made Aviles their shortstop if they'd wanted. They chose not to, because he sucks. Iglesias sucks, too, but I don't think that's a significant downgrade for 2013. I also still hope for a better shortstop than Iglesias.)
   49. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4324106)
Is the Punto Trade "The Trade"? Damn I like that. I'll agree with everything in the sentence that follows that and good point about DH.
   50. karlmagnus Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4324108)
This team is now a pile of rubbish, but everyone's short -- so they can redeem themselves by signing Anibal for a long but not too expensive deal. Length is fine with him, so long as the $$$ don't go too high. 6/70 would be fine, but 7/85 or even 9/100 would be tolerable. Yes, if Anibal goers for more than 100 he's too expensive, but you can get him with length.
   51. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4324124)
The future of the Sox, though, does rest on the next generation coming in and forming a new core. To ellsbury's list above, I'd add Middlebrooks (26 in 2015), Lavarnway (27), Doubront (27), and Tazawa (29). The Sox had a few relatively fallow years in the farm at the end of the last decade, compared to the generation currently in AA, but they do have solid young complementary talent (some with real upside) on the major league roster as well.


Pitching depth and age I am ok with, I should have clarified that better in my post. Middlebrooks, Bogaerts and JBJ could be fun, I am just not sold on Lavarnway at all. Big, slow, not good at defense = Napoli upside. Decent I guess, but in no way a team anchor, a caddy is required (in this case, someone who can actually play defense at C).
   52. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4324126)
Even if I don't necessarily like all the players they're signing, what they're doing makes a lot of sense. Short-term deals to at least give a chance of contention in 2013-2014, then more money available for 2015 when (hopefully) prospects are maturing.
   53. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4324183)
The future of the Sox, though, does rest on the next generation coming in and forming a new core. To ellsbury's list above, I'd add Middlebrooks (26 in 2015), Lavarnway (27), Doubront (27), and Tazawa (29). The Sox had a few relatively fallow years in the farm at the end of the last decade, compared to the generation currently in AA, but they do have solid young complementary talent (some with real upside) on the major league roster as well.

Other than Bogaerts and maybe Middlebrooks, I don't see anybody all that young who's a particularly good bet to be an impact player for the next good Sox team. The strength of the farm and the young players on the Major league roster is in complementary guys.

This makes the offseason so far rather disappointing to me. They've gone out and signed ... more complementary guys.

If 2014 is the target, then why Gomes? Surely either the system can pump out a Gomes-level player by then or we can grab one in 2014. Why sign a Victorino now? Did we really need to lock in his 2014 age-33 season now?

With so much money available, this is/was a good offseason for something creative. Hamilton on a highly frontloaded deal? A creative salary dump deal involving a real pony? I'd rather go into 2013 with a roster with added impact talent + a few holes than with balanced mediocrity.
   54. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4324202)
Other than Bogaerts and maybe Middlebrooks, I don't see anybody all that young who's a particularly good bet to be an impact player for the next good Sox team. The strength of the farm and the young players on the Major league roster is in complementary guys.


I think you're missing Bradley and the pitchers. Bradley (I love this kid) isn't going to be a slugger but looks like a guy who could be a real asset at the top of a lineup and defensively in center. Also, the Sox have some nice young pitching with DLR, Barnes and Webster. What I like is that while I don't expect all of those guys to work out they have enough of those types that they should feel confident that one of their young pitchers will become very good.
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4324205)
Hamilton on a highly frontloaded deal?
He got 5/125. How much more front-loaded could you reasonably make that contract without giving away value at the back end? I mean, if you're gonna offer 3/105, why not get Hamilton at 2/25 at the end of that deal? If you want to beat the Angels' offer, I think the best way to do that is by beating the Angels' offer.
A creative salary dump deal involving a real pony?
I would also be in favor of ponies.

I dunno, other than "sign Josh Hamilton for 5/130", I'm not really seeing a plan here. I would have been in favor of a creative trade that nets us an impact player without too high a cost in talent. I remain in favor of a creative trade that nets us an impact player without too high a cost in talent. It's hard for me to criticize the Sox for not doing that, especially given the cost in talent for James Shields and Shin-Soo Choo.
   56. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4324211)
The strength of the farm and the young players on the Major league roster is in complementary guys.
The young players on the major league roster are mostly complementary types. As Jose says, Jackie Bradley Jr is a potential impact player, and Matt Barnes and Rubby De La Rosa both have front of the rotation upside. The minor league system currently has more potential impact stars than low-variance, high-certainty, MLB-ready complementary types.
   57. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4324212)
How much more front-loaded could you reasonably make that contract without giving away value at the back end?

No, I mean in terms of how the 125 is broken up. e.g. 53, 18, 18, 18, 18 instead of 25 each year. If the goal is not to hamstring 2014+, that's one way to do it and still bid on top notch guys.
   58. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4324215)
I dunno, other than "sign Josh Hamilton for 5/130", I'm not really seeing a plan here.


Well, it's hard to speculate on salary dump trades without knowing what other teams are asking for. If a full plan is required for a critique of the offseason then you're only going to get "sign free agent who fills obvious hole" sorts of things.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4324216)
The Sox aren't payroll-constrained, they're luxury-tax-constrained. Front-loading the deal won't really make any difference, because the AAV for the luxury tax calculation will remain the same.
If a full plan is required for a critique of the offseason then you're only going to get "sign free agent who fills obvious hole" sorts of things.
Well, you can point to other trades that have happened and explain how either (a) the Sox should have been involved in those specific trades or (b) a similar trade could have been made with another club. You could even point to trade rumors and do the same thing. Looking at the trade market so far, including the Mets' rumored asking price for Dickey (Bradley and Bogaerts), it looks to me like the price in talent for established, impact players is running high. I'd guess it's because so many teams are seeing themselves as wild card contenders, even if they're payroll contrained, such that you have a lot more buyers than sellers on the trade market.

There is an interesting question, though, about the Marlins salary dump. Would the Sox be better off if they'd taken on the Blue Jays position? I don't think it's reasonable to think a non-Marlins team will go for a similar salary dump, but there's a fair case the Sox could have gotten Reyes, Buehrle, and Johnson at a price of maybe Doubront and De La Rosa. Do you do that?
   60. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4324218)
If the goal is not to hamstring 2014+, that's one way to do it and still bid on top notch guys.


I don't think that really fixes the issue. The Sox' don't appear to have a cash flow issue but are concerned about luxury tax. LT is calculated on Annual Average Value of the contract, not on actual payments.
   61. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4324221)
I think you're missing Bradley and the pitchers. Bradley (I love this kid) isn't going to be a slugger but looks like a guy who could be a real asset at the top of a lineup and defensively in center. Also, the Sox have some nice young pitching with DLR, Barnes and Webster. What I like is that while I don't expect all of those guys to work out they have enough of those types that they should feel confident that one of their young pitchers will become very good.


I can buy the pitchers argument, at least in the bulk sense. What I've read about JBJ makes me think more "likely decent MLB contributor" than "big upside guy", although I'll own up to not being a prospects maven.
   62. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4324226)
The Sox aren't payroll-constrained, they're luxury-tax-constrained. Front-loading the deal won't really make any difference, because the AAV for the luxury tax calculation will remain the same.

In that case I really don't understand the "avoid long-term deals" strategy. Shorter deals should be worse on AAV, no?
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4324232)
In that case I really don't understand the "avoid long-term deals" strategy. Shorter deals should be worse on AAV, no?
1) You want to avoid long-term deals because they cost more overall.
2) The Sox are relatively safe from the luxury tax threshold in 2013 or 2014, so deals which impact those two seasons primarily don't constrain the Sox from going after other talent that happens to come available.
   64. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4324233)
What I've read about JBJ makes me think more "likely decent MLB contributor" than "big upside guy", although I'll own up to not being a prospects maven.


Isn't his upside basically a healthy Ellsbury?
   65. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4324239)
Upon the signing of Dempster, can I be the first to congratulate karlmagnus on his 8th (at least) consecutive year of falsely predicting that the Sox were on the verge of becoming a small payroll team! It's not quite the Royals' 27 straight years of falling short of the playoffs, but an impressive display of delusional misreckoning nonetheless.
   66. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4324241)
I dunno, other than "sign Josh Hamilton for 5/130", I'm not really seeing a plan here.


If you really want me to speculate: the Marlins just dumped a ton of salary and were willing to deal Reyes and Johnson. I know the rumor was that they asked for the sun and moon from the Sox, but we don't actually know what offers and counteroffers were made. The Mets ate most of Bay's contract and were rumored to be shopping Ike Davis. Arizona is perpetually talking about trading Upton the Younger, one can concoct deals to parlay $ into something the D-Backs would want. I'll bet the Angels would deal something decent to get Vernon Wells's contract off their hands.

This is all speculation for us, but not for the actual GM.

I don't think it's correct at all to take as a premise of offseason critique that no impact players are available except through free agency.
   67. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4324247)
Those are ideas!
the Marlins just dumped a ton of salary and were willing to deal Reyes and Johnson.
As I said, this seems like the big question for alternate offseasons. Does De La Rosa and Doubront beat the Jays offer? How much higher would you bid?
The Mets ate most of Bay's contract and were rumored to be shopping Ike Davis.
I'd definitely rather have Victorino and Napoli than Bay and Davis.
Arizona is perpetually talking about trading Upton the Younger, one can concoct deals to parlay $ into something the D-Backs would want.
They reportedly wanted either Andrus or Profar from the Rangers. The Sox don't have one of those. It's not clear how the Sox could buy an Andrus or a Profar with money, though certainly I would like to do that.
I'll bet the Angels would deal something decent to get Vernon Wells's contract off their hands.
The Angels are competing to win the AL West next year, and I doubt they want to move major league talent. Their farm system is barren.
   68. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4324249)
I don't think it's correct at all to take as a premise of offseason critique that no impact players are available except through free agency.
That's not my premise. My premise is that the actual trades that have occurred, plus the trades that have been rumored, constitute the trade market, and we can gauge the cost of players on this market. It looks to me like the market for impact players is not a congenial one for buyers. Unless the Sox wanted to shop Bogaerts, I guess.
   69. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4324255)
The Angels are competing to win the AL West next year, and I doubt they want to move major league talent. Their farm system is barren.


My thought today was that Trumbo might be available. With Pujols, Morales, Hamilton, Trout and Bourjos I would at least see what it might take to pry loose Trumbo. If you enticed them with unloading Wells' deal and some kind of minor league piece it might be doable. Maybe that wouldn't have any appeal but I'd at least explore that one. This is particularly true if Napoli's deal falls through.
   70. Dale Sams Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4324259)
My only outside the box thought would be to keep knocking on the door about Dickey, if the Mets are intent on souring their relationship with him.

I give the Sox about an 8% of making the playoffs, and that's only based on the premise here about the rest of the AL East.

Also have the Rays become better today with the Shields trade or worse? And they arn't really going to just stick the Shields/Pena money in their pockets are they?

I'll say 78 wins for the Sox. That's based on pitcher bounceback also and a normal year for injuries.
   71. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4324260)
They reportedly wanted either Andrus or Profar from the Rangers. The Sox don't have one of those. It's not clear how the Sox could buy an Andrus or a Profar with money, though certainly I would like to do that.


Not sure it would work but Ellsbury + to Texas, Andrus to Arizona and Upton to Boston seems like a framework at least. I imagine the D-Backs would need more but again I think there are the basic pieces to a deal there.
   72. Nasty Nate Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4324264)
It looks to me like the market for impact players is not a congenial one for buyers.


Well, it never is. And with the savings from the Punto trade, the Sox don't need to find a bargain, they just need to find a better deal than the combined Crawford/Gonzo/Beckett contracts.

Now, maybe this offseason is not the time to do it, maybe midseason is better or next offseason. Or maybe even this $13 million player strategy will work and the Sox will win in 2013. But I understand the frustration.
   73. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4324266)
Someone must have done the work on this but if I wanted to sit down and figure out what the Sox still needed what would be a base WAR calculation for the team that would get them to X wins? I mean, does a team that wins 85 games typically have 40 WAR or what?

Adding to that, has there been any study on the issue of whether it matters how you get there. In other words does 10 WAR player + 1 WAR player = Two 5.5 WAR players?
   74. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4324267)
You want to avoid long-term deals because they cost more overall.

Obviously. But that's a problem w.r.t. to cash flow. Either cash flow is a constraint or not. I'm willing to work under either premise.

The Sox are relatively safe from the luxury tax threshold in 2013 or 2014, so deals which impact those two seasons primarily don't constrain the Sox from going after other talent that happens to come available.

Then I guess I don't understand the current plan at all.

--Is it to not sign any long-term contracts for free agents ever again?
--Is it to only sign big free agent contracts in 2015 and thereafter?
   75. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4324268)
Well, it never is. And with the savings from the Punto trade, the Sox don't need to find a bargain, they just need to find a better deal than the combined Crawford/Gonzo/Beckett contracts.
I meant the trade market. Trades this year have favored the selling team more than usual.

The Sox have definitely had a boring offseason. They've purchased wins at market rates. They've improved from a very bad team all the way up to fringe contention. I'm not inspired either. But it's hard for me to see this as a bad offseason. Given what we've been through recently, "not bad" is ok by me.
   76. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4324271)
Obviously. But that's a problem w.r.t. to cash flow. Either cash flow is a constraint or not. I'm willing to work under either premise.
A $10M hit against the luxury tax for four years constrains the club more (because it constrains them in an extra year) than an $11M hit against the luxury tax for three years. I don't really understand your objection.
--Is it to not sign any long-term contracts for free agents ever again?
--Is it to only sign big free agent contracts in 2015 and thereafter?
I think it's to sign free agents they like to big free agent contracts. The Sox seemed pretty clear that they weren't interested in Greinke and that they saw Josh Hamilton as too big an injury risk to commit to over too many seasons. There were only two big free agents, and both carried some pretty significant risks. If the Sox scouts and evaluators didn't like them, then the Sox weren't going to sign a big free agent.

I don't mean to say I trust the scouts and evaluators. They've not done well recently. But with only two big free agents on the market, and with both having risks making a below-market evaluation entirely reasonable, it's hard for me to extrapolate to any major strategy.
   77. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4324272)
I'll say 78 wins for the Sox. That's based on pitcher bounceback also and a normal year for injuries.


So, you think they'll be significant worse than they were projected before signing Dempster, but it won't be injuries and the pitching will be better?
   78. Dale Sams Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4324282)
So, you think they'll be significant worse than they were projected before signing Dempster, but it won't be injuries and the pitching will be better?


Lana: "Yyyyyup."

How many teams are they better than right this very second? 4? I think 78 is optimistic.
   79. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4324284)
So, you think they'll be significant worse than they were projected before signing Dempster


It may be that he doesn't see this projection as an incontestable fact.
   80. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4324292)
Does De La Rosa and Doubront beat the Jays offer? How much higher would you bid?

Take on both Nolasco and Buehrle? Some other schlubs who are making more than the minimum? Involve a third team and take on another somewhat overpriced contract? I'm sure there are ways.

I'd definitely rather have Victorino and Napoli than Bay and Davis.

In a vacuum, sure. But Bay would be off the books by the time the Sox contend, and Davis is under control until about 2017. Meanwhile Napoli and Victorino will be, respectively, 33 and 34 during this 2015 season whose luxury tax threshold we're working around.
   81. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4324305)
A $10M hit against the luxury tax for four years constrains the club more (because it constrains them in an extra year) than an $11M hit against the luxury tax for three years. I don't really understand your objection.

They also get an extra year of whoever they signed, meaning they don't have to pay someone else.

My impression, and it may be wrong, is that generally good free agents would rather sign long term, and that to get a shorter deal a team has to pay a premium. e.g. If Hamilton projects to be worth, in wins, 5, 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3, 2.5, 2 over the next 7 years, he'd rather take the 7 year 147M deal (6M per win) than the 5 year 120M deal (6M per win).

To get the 5 year deal you may have to pay, say, 125 or 130* So the team that signs a 5-year deal pays a higher AAV (EDIT and $/W) in exchange for the safety/flexibility of the shorter deal. They also have 2 more years worth of outfielder to sign. On the whole that's good for flexibility but bad for luxury tax purposes.

*I neglected inflation in all this. Oops. It's just for illustration's sake anyway.
   82. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 07:30 PM (#4324312)
But with only two big free agents on the market, and with both having risks making a below-market evaluation entirely reasonable, it's hard for me to extrapolate to any major strategy.

That's not the only info we have about the offseason. They've also signed some 30+ year old slightly above average players to 2 and 3 year deals in lieu of using their $ to acquire an impact player in some other way. That's at least some signal that they think they can be conservative in the short term and still compete -- otherwise why sign a Dempster and a Gomes?
   83. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 08:01 PM (#4324335)
(Another interpretation would be that they're doing a sneaky rebuild and acquiring good trade deadline fodder...)
   84. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4324353)
Trades this year have favored the selling team more than usual.

The biggest sale was the Marlins-Jays, and I think that was good for the Jays. I wouldn't exactly call TB the sellers in the Shields trade, they got ML or near-ML talent in return. That's another one where I would have hoped the Sox could beat the offer on the table, especially if it involved taking on contracts (e.g. Bruce Chen) rather than dealing from the minors. Ditto w.r.t. to Bauer in the Indians-Reds-DBacks three-way. The buyers of young talent have fared pretty well this offseason, and the Sox could have gotten in on that.
   85. Mattbert Posted: December 13, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4324423)
They've also signed some 30+ year old slightly above average players to 2 and 3 year deals in lieu of using their $ to acquire an impact player in some other way.

The point being made is that "some other way" is a trade, and the cost of acquiring major league ready impact players via trade this winter has been extraordinarily high in terms of the prospects going the other way. And that's for guys who are 30+. It would seem that landing a Justin Upton or similar impact player who's still on the young side of his peak would mean shipping out at least two of Boston's top three prospects, as a start.

Money doesn't really come into it unless there's another team out there that wants to jettison a bunch of expensive players like the Marlins did. I'll go on the record as being a little relieved the Sox didn't do that specific deal. If the risks associated with Hamilton and Greinke (from a performance standpoint) scared them off, the risks associated with Johnson and Reyes are pretty scary too. It was a great move for the Jays because they needed a big splash like that to catapult them into any sort of serious postseason relevance. The Sox didn't need to extend themselves that much to have an equally respectable shot at sneaking into the playoffs, I don't think.

The one plausible idea bandied about with respect to Boston using more or less straight-up cash to acquire impact talent was taking Cliff Lee's contract from the Phillies. They could probably still do that, but it's not clear that Amaro views Lee as an albatross at this point. My guess is that if he thinks Mike Young is worth having around--even at a heavily subsidized $6M--then he probably thinks Lee is worth every penny.
   86. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4324448)
(Another interpretation would be that they're doing a sneaky rebuild and acquiring good trade deadline fodder...)
I don't think this is the main reason behind Boston's moves this offseason, but it's an interesting idea. With the market for young talent severely limited by the latest CBA, it makes more sense than ever to flip veterans for prospects. Paying a little more for free agents who don't cost a pick gives the Sox a boost now and a valuable chip to cash in later.
   87. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4324450)
The point being made is that "some other way" is a trade, and the cost of acquiring major league ready impact players via trade this winter has been extraordinarily high in terms of the prospects going the other way

If true, the Sox could have played it the other way and used their 2013 $ for potential future impact. For example:

--They could have sweetened the Lester+ deal for Myers, gaining a high upside outfielder
--They could have used Ellsbury and played the role of the Indians in the CIN-CLE-ARI 3-way, gaining a high upside arm
--They could take on some portion of Vernon Wells' contract in exchange for whichever OF the Angels won't be starting, gaining a young OF with some upside
--They could have made a deal based around taking on Bay's contract in exchange for Ike Davis, gaining a young 1B with some upside

These are off the top of my head, and maybe these particular cases wouldn't happen.

The point is, even if they couldn't convert their 2013 payroll flexibility into MLB-level impact talent -- a premise which I dispute -- they could have used their 2013 payroll flexibility to gain potential 2014+ impact talent.

Instead they used a strategy which does neither. By the time the kids are ready the current contracts will be either expired on in the crappy years. In which case they've used their near-term payroll flexibility to be mediocre while waiting. That's much too conservative for my tastes.
   88. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4324452)
Paying a little more for free agents who don't cost a pick gives the Sox a boost now and a valuable chip to cash in later.


If the Sox are out of it near the trade deadline I expect they'll get some calls about Uehara and Dempster, and maybe Gomes if he's pulling a 2012 Cody Ross.
   89. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4324472)
Am I the only one who thinks the Red Sox could actually contend this year? I mean, they still need a competent SS, but I think they could be in the hunt in August. Maybe I'm more swayed by this than I should be. I mean, 2 games out is basically nothing, right? If that's they way the standings actually looked at the end of the year, I'd say they contended. Basically within 3-4 games of a playoff spot.
   90. Jittery McFrog Posted: December 14, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4324476)
If that's they way the standings actually looked at the end of the year, I'd say they contended. Basically within 3-4 games of a playoff spot.

With 2 wildcards, being within 3-4 games of a playoff spot and being mediocre are not mutually exclusive. If that's where the Sox end up, I'll be pretty disappointed with the front office.
   91. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 14, 2012 at 12:41 AM (#4324484)
With 2 wildcards, being within 3-4 games of a playoff spot and being mediocre are not mutually exclusive. If that's where the Sox end up, I'll be pretty disappointed with the front office.


Well, how would you define contending? Mediocre teams can contend now. It's a whole new world out there! It sounds like you will only be satisfied with a team that is projected to make the playoffs though, which is a different thing entirely.

I mean, if it's the last week of the season and your team could still feasibly make the playoffs, I'd say you're in contention.
   92. Darren Posted: December 14, 2012 at 08:02 AM (#4324547)
I think I'd be pretty happy if the Sox win 87+ and get a fake wildcard.
   93. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 14, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4324557)
With 2 wildcards, being within 3-4 games of a playoff spot and being mediocre are not mutually exclusive. If that's where the Sox end up, I'll be pretty disappointed with the front office.
So, maybe this is the core of our differences. For me, the Sox won 69 games last year and traded away their star 1B. I don't think it was realistic to get back up to 92 wins in one season after the recent unpleasantness. I felt that a good offseason was one where the Sox find their way to about 85 wins, and have room to improve into the low 90s in 2014. A few wins out of the Wild Card this year would be pretty much fine.

I am growing concerned, a little, about how much room the Sox have to improve for 2014. The team is locked in at most positions, and while there are young guys to integrate, there are also a fair number of 32-year-olds who will project to be 33 years old. It's too early to say the Sox can't win 92 games in 2014 - I mean, they could win 92 games next year if #### breaks the right way - but the signings they've made so far have locked in a lot of money for 2014 without leaving a ton of room to improve that next set of 5-8 games.
   94. Nasty Nate Posted: December 14, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4324567)
For me, the Sox won 69 games last year and traded away their star 1B. I don't think it was realistic to get back up to 92 wins in one season after the recent unpleasantness. I felt that a good offseason was one where the Sox find their way to about 85 wins, and have room to improve into the low 90s in 2014.


This is misleading. They didn't win 69 games and then trade their star 1B. With him, they were on pace for 76 wins... which is also bad.
   95. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 14, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4324571)
This is misleading. They didn't win 69 games and then trade their star 1B. With him, they were on pace for 76 wins... which is also bad.


That's true but I would feel better with Adrian Gonzalez than without him. Obviously he had a terrible year last year but I expect him to bounce back much the same way I expect Lester and Buchholz to bounce back.


The team is locked in at most positions, and while there are young guys to integrate, there are also a fair number of 32-year-olds who will project to be 33 years old...the signings they've made so far have locked in a lot of money for 2014 without leaving a ton of room to improve that next set of 5-8 games.


I don't think they are that locked in. LF, CF and SS are all likely to be open next winter. That's not exactly a great thing but they are going to have room to make improvements and they should have some decent money to make that happen.
   96. Nasty Nate Posted: December 14, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4324605)
Say what you will about the Victorino signing, but the Yankees have signed Ichiro, so it is likely the Sox have a better RF than them.
   97. Mattbert Posted: December 14, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4324638)
If true, the Sox could have played it the other way and used their 2013 $ for potential future impact. For example:

--They could have sweetened the Lester+ deal for Myers, gaining a high upside outfielder
--They could have used Ellsbury and played the role of the Indians in the CIN-CLE-ARI 3-way, gaining a high upside arm
--They could take on some portion of Vernon Wells' contract in exchange for whichever OF the Angels won't be starting, gaining a young OF with some upside
--They could have made a deal based around taking on Bay's contract in exchange for Ike Davis, gaining a young 1B with some upside

These are off the top of my head, and maybe these particular cases wouldn't happen.


Those first two deals involve selling low on guys who could be expected to help the team contend this season (and 2014 in Lester's case). If those guys rebound but the Sox are lousy again, then they could be dealt mid-season for presumably a similar return.

I don't think saddling yourself with Wells is worth Trumbo or Bourjos. Trumbo's power is nice, but he's never demonstrated any ability to consistently get on base. I don't understand the fuss over Bourjos at all. Is he that much more exciting than Iglesias that he's worth handcuffing the team to $42M of deadweight? And why would the Angels be looking to trade away their fourth and fifth outfielders in the first place? They're trying to win now.

On a similar note, why would the Mets have been looking to move Davis just to get rid of the last year of Jason Bay's contract? I don't remember anything more than one or two offhand bits speculation about this.

I appreciate your caveat about "these specific cases", but I don't think deals of that sort really help the Sox all that much. Everybody wants a pony, and I'm sure the Sox have been and are doing their best to get one, but it's hard to criticize them for not producing some magic when the trade market is fairly opaque to us as fans.

Justin Upton was the one guy I thought might work along those lines, but we've seemingly been thwarted by the knock-on effects of Towers' obsession with finding a shortstop worse than the one he was forced to trade away this past summer. And, as mentioned above, the cost of acquiring Upton in this market may have been exceedingly steep.
   98. Mattbert Posted: December 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4324653)
I am starting to think that Michael Bourn on yet another 3/$39M type deal would be kind of awesome. You can't tell me a Victorino-Bourn-Ellsbury outfield wouldn't be ridiculously fun to watch.
   99. Dale Sams Posted: December 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4324670)
This is misleading. They didn't win 69 games and then trade their star 1B. With him, they were on pace for 76 wins... which is also bad.


Fwiw..which is nothing...I had them on pace for 72 wins right before the trade and 70 after.
   100. Nasty Nate Posted: December 14, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4324672)
*flip*
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