Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Sox Therapy > Discussion
Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. karlmagnus Posted: December 26, 2008 at 10:58 PM (#3038621)
Given the doubtful quality of the Sox 2009 lineup, I would vote for Russell Martin of those three, thus fortifying the black hole that is 7/8/9. The question is whether the recession (or a new Manny contract) is really making McCourt cut back. Otherwise I don't see why he should let Martin go, even for the exquisite pleasure of getting rid of Jean Pierre, especially as he doesn't need Lugo, having just signed Furcal.
   2. Darren Posted: December 26, 2008 at 11:05 PM (#3038629)
The rumor, a questionable one, is that the Dodgers are down on Martin and interested in Tek. In the scenario I proposed, Lugo wasn't involved.

And there are no black holes at 7/8/9. The CF and SS are both average-ish for their positions.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM (#3038637)
I like the Montero option of the three because I think Byrnes fits well into this team. A right-handed hitting outfielder would be a nice fit on this roster. Clement scares me simply because I have an irrational fear that PCL hitters go in the tank when they leave that environment. Martin is the best of the bunch but I don't believe he is reasonably available.
   4. JB H Posted: December 27, 2008 at 02:09 AM (#3038701)
If Martin at 3/50 is so attractive, then why would the Dodgers be willing to trade Martn/Pierre for scraps?
   5. JB H Posted: December 27, 2008 at 02:22 AM (#3038703)
My guess is we get Montero for something like Bard + Kalish (sounds low to me but Arizona wants Bowden and the Sox countered with Bard) and then resign Varitek. I can't see anyone else signing Varitek at the cost of a draft pick unless they'd only lose a third
   6. OCD SS Posted: December 27, 2008 at 02:31 AM (#3038706)
I don't care for these options. Martin would be outstanding, but I don't see the Dodgers giving him up. Clement and Montero both look like they're not very good on defense.

If the Sox are going to have to include real talent (like Kalish) in the deal they should get one of the Texas catchers.
   7. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2008 at 03:11 AM (#3038724)
With Montero, you also get Eric Byrnes and his 2/22.
Oh yeah, I can definitely see this happening. [/rolls eyes]
If the Sox are going to have to include real talent (like Kalish) in the deal they should get one of the Texas catchers.
But which overpaid Ranger would you get along with Salty? Michael Young?

Darren, with all due respect, this is all a bunch of crazy talk.
None of these teams is going to cut off the nose to spite the face.

And let me not be the defender of Eric Byrnes around here
But the guy can still be a pretty valuable contributor to any team
He costs a lot of money but he's far from being a pure sunk cost
He can hit lefties very well, can play all three OF positions very well
And on top of that, he is (or was?) an excellent base runner
He's got plenty of value as the 4th ofer/insurance policy in AZ

The Dbacks will trade Montero if they receive fair value in return
They really don't need to use him to remove Byrnes off the roster
Especially since they're still below payroll even with Byrnes
   8. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2008 at 03:17 AM (#3038728)
instead of having to give up someone like Bowden, you’re giving up a surplus SS and one of the less stellar arms in the organization.
Do you mean that a team like, say, the Dodgers would send Martin and Pierre to Boston for Lugo and (for argumentative purpose) The Hackeysack?
   9. regfairfield Posted: December 27, 2008 at 03:45 AM (#3038737)
Let's get the Dodgers to trade us their best player for nothing. Why am I not the GM of this team?
   10. Mike Webber Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:21 AM (#3038749)
KarlM, can I ask a question? Is your contention that the markets have been so hard on Henry that he needs his Red Sox/Nesn income to prop up his other businesses? Is there a link to a place where you detail this idea?

I am not disagreeing with this idea, I just haven't seen your whole explanation or or seen a similar report elsewhere.
   11. OCD SS Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:40 AM (#3038762)
I think you'll find that a lot of Karl's ideas don't have explanations or corroborating reporting found elsewhere.
   12. OCD SS Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:42 AM (#3038766)
The Dbacks will trade Montero if they receive fair value in return. They really don't need to use him to remove Byrnes off the roster. Especially since they're still below payroll even with Byrnes


They managed to save enough money by cutting front office staff to afford a $11M/yr 4th OFer?
   13. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:49 AM (#3038769)
Especially since they're still below payroll even with Byrnes


Funniest post of the off-season. Primey!
   14. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:51 AM (#3038770)
They managed to save enough money by cutting front office staff to afford a $11M/yr 4th OFer?
Am not sure why I'm even responding to this, but those two (front office staff and mlb budget) are not related. The Dbacks, from what I gather, had the most bloated organization in terms of overall number of staff in baseball, and those cuts would've most likely happened regardless of whether Eric Byrnes was around or not.

My point was that the Dbacks had/have a budget for their 40 man roster for 2009, and even with Byrnes on board, they are still under that budget. So they don't have to trade him to balance the books... not to mention that Jeff Moorad still thinks the world of Eric... and while I'm making points, the Dbacks are better off with Eric Byrnes at $22m over the next two years than they are with Julio Lugo at $18m--without even mentioning Montero...
   15. 1k5v3L Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:52 AM (#3038772)
13: This is that kind of a thread, from Darren's opening comments... hilarity abounds.
   16. Darren Posted: December 27, 2008 at 06:13 AM (#3038790)
If Martin at 3/50 is so attractive, then why would the Dodgers be willing to trade Martn/Pierre for scraps?


Not sure which part you disagree with, but there's no doubt that Martin is attractive at 3/50. On the other side of it, I'm not saying they're getting this for scraps. I'm saying they can avoid giving up one of the three pitchers who they seem dead set on keeping (Bowden, Buc, and Masterson) or at least not the Bowden/Buc package the Texas has sought. As I say, though, maybe he's not available. And maybe the price for Martin is greater than I guess here. But I think there's a good chance that some catcher can be had in a deal like this. The Montero/Byrnes deal is probably the most likely of these, despite Levski's belief that $11 mil/year is a price AZ is willing to pay for a 4th OF. (Also, why does everyone keep mentioning Lugo?)
   17. Textbook Editor Posted: December 27, 2008 at 06:44 AM (#3038798)
I would find it very, very funny if we traded for Martin, took on Pierre's salary, and then released Pierre immediately, since he has essentially 0 value to the Red Sox, and is worth more to be off the 40-man then to be on it. I want no part of Pierre being on the 40-man roster, let alone the 25-man, but if it gets us Martin, then sure I'll pay him 28.5 million to go away.

I would think that--for the Dodgers--the value of Martin + Pierre for the next 2 years is far, far less than Manny + [insert C here] for the next 2 years.
   18. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: December 27, 2008 at 08:17 AM (#3038804)
Clement is iffy as a catcher in the long run, though his bat looks like the real deal. But Seattle should listen if Theo calls, given their silly roster mess plus a new GM that would love to ditch one of Bill Bavasi's dumb contracts.
   19. JB H Posted: December 27, 2008 at 09:15 AM (#3038809)
The Sox would absolutely keep Pierre if they got him, he's a really good backup OF. UZR loves him

Darren, I think if the Sox want Martin they'd have to do something like take Pierre and get the Dodgers Saltalamacchia in a 3-way. Guys like Martin almost never get traded.
   20. MM1f Posted: December 27, 2008 at 02:16 PM (#3038825)
With Seattle trying to make Clement an everyday C and their owners insisting on extending Jojima why not look into picking up Rob Johnson>
   21. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 27, 2008 at 02:27 PM (#3038828)
The rumor, a questionable one, is that the Dodgers are down on Martin and interested in Tek.

This is either a ridiculous rumor, or the Dodgers are the biggest idiots ever.
   22. OCD SS Posted: December 27, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#3038840)
My point was that the Dbacks had/have a budget for their 40 man roster for 2009, and even with Byrnes on board, they are still under that budget. So they don't have to trade him to balance the books... not to mention that Jeff Moorad still thinks the world of Eric...


...but not enough to pay the Big Unit to get his 300th win in AZ?
   23. Dave Cyprian Posted: December 27, 2008 at 04:24 PM (#3038853)
I myself am keeping a vigilant watch for any warm bodies to man the backstop...
   24. Darren Posted: December 27, 2008 at 05:25 PM (#3038858)
I agree with JBH. I think Pierre would be a fine 4th OF in the mold of Coco with less power (yes, that's apparently possible).

Here's a Gammons piece that mentions the Martin rumor. Colletti later said they weren't trading Martin.
   25. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 27, 2008 at 05:31 PM (#3038862)
I'm ready to go with Kottaras/Brown platoon. The worst they'll be IS Varitek 2008. And it'll be cheap, and have actual upside. Also, Varitek walking guarentees us draft picks.
   26. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 27, 2008 at 05:37 PM (#3038864)
Varitek walking guarentees us draft picks

Only if somebody signs him before the season starts, right? That's a serious question, BTW. Does anybody know the actual rule on this?
   27. Darren Posted: December 27, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#3038872)
I think it's after the draft.

Do you guys really think teams are worried about losing a pick for Varitek? First, 15 teams have only 2nd round picks to worry about. A couple others (the Mets, Phils, Yanks, and Dodgers at least, IIRC) have or will sign other type A FAs, meaning they too won't have to surrender a 1st rounder. But for most of these teams, the value of their 1st pick is not so great as to stop them from signing a starting catcher if they don't have a better option. I could see maybe 3-4 teams in the 17-21 range thinking twice about Tek.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2008 at 06:48 PM (#3038886)
Do you guys really think teams are worried about losing a pick for Varitek?

Yes. Why would a team pay $6-8M for a 37 year-old catcher who's upside is average/+2.0 WAR (if you're convinced his defense is good, which I'm not) and downside is replacement level, and give up a pick?

You'd have to be on the razor's edge of contending, and have an absolute black hole at C. Also, there's Ivan Rodriguez available, who won't cost you the pick. His offensive projections are very close, and I'd guess he's still a better defender than Tek.

So, now we need two teams absolutely desperate at C, and willing to blow $6-8M. Who are those 2 teams?
   29. Darren Posted: December 27, 2008 at 07:01 PM (#3038892)
Why does it have to be $6-$8 mil (is that what Boston's offer is reported to be)? I could see teams valuing his game-calling (right or wrong) over having Pudge back there. But you have to consider the value of a late-first-round pick--not much.
   30. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 27, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#3038893)
A guy I know who talked to some dude who had a nose and some hair said that Boston is looking to get rid of Pedronia and Lester. The Sox, having traded one of their main starters and looking to more Ramirez to short, need both of these players. I think they would have to buy John Henry a nice birthday present but they he would be happy to trade Pedronia and Lester for Lance Broadway (good porn name) and Paul Konerko (excellent defender and baserunner).

This would be a smrt move for Kenny Williams WHY DOES HE NOT DO IT!?!?!?
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2008 at 07:10 PM (#3038894)
Why does it have to be $6-$8 mil (is that what Boston's offer is reported to be)? I could see teams valuing his game-calling (right or wrong) over having Pudge back there. But you have to consider the value of a late-first-round pick--not much.

Just did a quick search on FanGraphs (Great Site!) to see which teams had a potential need for Varitek/I-Rod.

Going by Marcel projected wOBA, the only teams that don't have a better or equal regular catcher to Tek/I-Rod are KC,HOU, and MIL. Even the Red Sox dregs project better than Tek at this point.

Tek and I-Rod are basically backups at this point. Why spend more than $2-3M? Why lose a draft pick?

A late 1st round pick is plenty valuable, even a 2nd round pick, compared to maybe 1 WAR from a part time C.
   32. Darren Posted: December 27, 2008 at 08:06 PM (#3038917)
1 WAR is worth about $4.5 mil (or that's what it costs anyway). Philly/Silver/??? came up with a value for a late first rounder (pick 16-25) as between $500K and $2 mil, after you subtract out the bonus. For 26-supp, it's actually negative. So if your team needs a catcher, and there's one like Tek who is projected at around 1.5-2 WARP, it may be well worth your while to give up a late 1st rounder. It would certainly be worth a 2nd rounder, which has very limited value.

As to your list of teams, I'm really surprised by how few teams could use a decent but not great catcher. Baltimore wouldn't want him to share/mentor with Wieters? Washington? And what about the Dodgers after they hand Martin to the Red Sox for nothing? :)
   33. The District Attorney Posted: December 27, 2008 at 09:51 PM (#3038944)
A guy I know who talked to some dude who had a nose and some hair said that Boston is looking to get rid of Pedronia and Lester. The Sox, having traded one of their main starters and looking to more Ramirez to short, need both of these players. I think they would have to buy John Henry a nice birthday present but they he would be happy to trade Pedronia and Lester for Lance Broadway (good porn name) and Paul Konerko (excellent defender and baserunner).

This would be a smrt move for Kenny Williams WHY DOES HE NOT DO IT!?!?!?
This is neither funny nor fair. Neither Montero nor Clement is exactly on the Pedroia/Lester level. And Darren is suggesting that Boston "give something up" in the form of taking on a bad contract. He isn't suggesting giving up nothing plus dumping a bad contract on the other team, as Broadway/Konerko would be. So, that was stupid.

That said, I agree that you can't expect LA to want Pierre off the team so badly that they give up a young, All-Star catcher to do it. Whether it makes sense or not -- and I'd argue it makes zero sense, it'd be much, much better to just pay Pierre to go away -- either way, you are never gonna see that happen.

The problems with the Clement one are that 1) it's not clear Clement is going to be a C (bad defense, knee problems) and 2) Silva would be a pretty freakin' lousy reliever -- at least Pierre or Byrnes would have some utility. I also suspect that Dr. Zoidberg thinks more of Clement than Bavasi did, so you can't necessarily go by the fact that they haven't treated Clement like a key player in the past.

The D-Back one seems the most plausible. Depends what they think of Montero. I'm sure they like him less than Levski does. I dunno how much less.

Ultimately, I know you'd love to spend money rather than give up young players, but it's probably not gonna happen, and having three allegedly "untouchable" pitching prospects is a little greedy. Asking you to give up Masterson for Salty or Shoppach or whatever doesn't seem the least bit unreasonable.
   34. OCD SS Posted: December 27, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#3038953)
Ultimately, I know you'd love to spend money rather than give up young players, but it's probably not gonna happen, and having three allegedly "untouchable" pitching prospects is a little greedy. Asking you to give up Masterson for Salty or Shoppach or whatever doesn't seem the least bit unreasonable.


I have to admit that I don't get the Sox's complete unwillingness to trade Masterson. While it would make sense to keep him over Bowden becuae of his flexibility coming out of the pen, I don't think that should be the thing that keeps a deal from getting done for one of Texas's catchers. Of course right now Texas seems to be thinking Buchholz or bust, and that is (and should be) right out. Similarly, Bowden is probably too much to give up for Montero, who isn't a great defender, either.
   35. 1k5v3L Posted: December 28, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#3038979)

...but not enough to pay the Big Unit to get his 300th win in AZ?
How much do you think 5 wins from Randy Johnson are worth?
But yes, they Dbacks obviously didn't have enough money to match the $8m guaranteed plus $5m in incentives that the Unit got from SF.
   36. 1k5v3L Posted: December 28, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#3038980)
The Montero/Byrnes deal is probably the most likely of these, despite Levski's belief that $11 mil/year is a price AZ is willing to pay for a 4th OF. (Also, why does everyone keep mentioning Lugo?)
It's a price they are forced to pay. My point is that they are more willing to pay the $11m price than to dump Montero AND Byrnes for nothing. And Darren, whom did you mean when you wrote "you’re giving up a surplus SS and one of the less stellar arms in the organization" if you didn't mean Lugo? Lowrie, maybe? Cora? Pedroia?
   37. 1k5v3L Posted: December 28, 2008 at 12:43 AM (#3038996)

The D-Back one seems the most plausible. Depends what they think of Montero. I'm sure they like him less than Levski does. I dunno how much less.
They also liked Scott Hairston and Carlos Quentin a lot less than I did. Just saying
And they liked Eric Byrnes a lot more than I did. Again, just saying
   38. Darren Posted: December 28, 2008 at 01:28 AM (#3039005)
Okay, I get the Lugo thing now. I was talking about the surplus of SS prospects--Diaz, Navarro, and Tejeda. Should have been clearer.

On a more general note, I know that any time you suggest a specific trade, someone's bound to pounce on you as a fanboy idiot. Just look back a couple years at what happened to anyone who dared that the Red Sox could acquire Crisp, Langerhans, or Reed for anything less than Papelbon, Lester, and Youkilis.

But I still do feel the need to point out that I didn't make these trades out to be sure things, didn't suggest that the Red Sox would get them for nothing, and I didn't pull the namesout of thin air. Russell Martin was rumored to be on the outs with the Dodgers. Montero was someone linked to the Sox and Clement was blocked. These are players who could plausibly be available. You'll notice that I didn't propose any deals for Wieters or McCann.

Maybe, no probably, none of these deals will happen. But they are examples and fairly reasonable ones that illustrate a type of trade I think the Red Sox could make. They may be able to do something similar with Texas and a package of Salty/Padilla.
   39. Darren Posted: December 28, 2008 at 01:28 AM (#3039006)
They also liked Scott Hairston and Carlos Quentin a lot less than I did.


And Callaspo.
   40. 1k5v3L Posted: December 28, 2008 at 01:59 AM (#3039016)
39: Even the Dbacks get lucky sometimes.
And nothing against JByrnes's evaluation of talent, but Callaspo would've arguably been AZ's best option to replace Hudson at 2b this year, before the signing of FLopez... or even with the signing of FLopez? Plenty of guys less talented than Callaspo got a lot more at bats than Callaspo last year. That's how it is.

And Darren, sorry to be the arsehole on Sox Therapy again. Seems like I can't help it
   41. The District Attorney Posted: December 28, 2008 at 02:05 AM (#3039023)
Darren, I'd suspect you'd agree that Martin is the least likely of these deals, Montero the most likely, and none of them is terribly likely... so in that sense, we're not arguing about all that much. You'd also have to agree, though, that it's one thing to sacrifice a truly excess player in order to shed a contract, but it's a totally different thing to get rid of the most valuable guy you've got? And that "Martin was rumored to be on the outs with the Dodgers" isn't going to strike most people as outweighing that?

Furthermore, I would disagree that Clement is "blocked." I don't think they'll have any problem sitting Johjima for him -- I think Clement's time spent at catcher in '09 is going to have a lot more to do with how his knee feels than with anything regarding Johjima -- plus the DH spot is wide open too.

Serious question here: Are there any actual examples of trades like this, where a team gives up a relatively well-regarded young player who is ready to become a MLB regular, in order to shed a bad contract? Oddly enough, the closest I can think of is Beckett/Lowell for Hanley/Anibal, where (completely laughably, in hindsight) Hanley/Anibal were the Boston prospects right below the "untradeable" crew, and Lowell was the alleged albatross contract whom the Sox were absorbing. (Note, of course, that Florida's determination to get rid of anyone who makes more than about $2M a year is pretty unique.) Have there been other trades of this nature? If not, that is pretty strong evidence that teams simply don't abhor bad contracts enough for the type of trade you're talking about to happen. You might just have to trade a pitcher whom someone else wants, in order to get a catcher whom you want. Imagine that ;-)
   42. villageidiom Posted: December 28, 2008 at 06:55 AM (#3039113)
Shortly after reading the lead-in, I was thinking of suggesting the Beckett/Lowell example. I spent the next few minutes reading post after post, hoping nobody had beat me to it. Damn you, DA!!!
   43. tfbg9 Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:27 PM (#3039620)
So we got Bard back. And Penny, in a Wade Miller type deal, it looks like?
   44. DCA Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:36 PM (#3039626)
On a more general note, I know that any time you suggest a specific trade, someone's bound to pounce on you as a fanboy idiot. Just look back a couple years at what happened to anyone who dared that the Red Sox could acquire Crisp, Langerhans, or Reed for anything less than Papelbon, Lester, and Youkilis.

I'm pretty sure the only one of those guys the Red Sox actually got was Crisp, and they paid Marte (at the time, more than Papelbon, Lester, or Youk) and Shoppach (who would be nice to have right now) for him. Your point?
   45. Mike Webber Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:44 PM (#3039640)
I would sign Mike Barrett to a minor league deal, assuming he is healthy. I think that he has a big upside, he will only be 32, and Petco is death to all hitters.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#3039645)
Isn't Barrett, like, a terrible person that everyone hates?

EDIT: to clarify, my understanding is that he was traded from Chicago because of major clubhouse issues, and he was no more popular in SD. He seems a big risk, particularly considering how terrible he was last year.
   47. Mike Webber Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#3039654)
Well he got into it with teammate Carlos Zambrano and AJ Pierzynski, but I guessing you can't hold that against him. He also fought with Roy Oswalt, so maybe that one is on him.
Anyone else know something?
   48. Darren Posted: December 29, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#3039658)
My point? I think it's obvious that my point is twofold: 1) Those saying that Crisp was pretty much unattainable were wrong. He was acquired by dumping Renteria (for Marte) and adding him some other parts (Shoppach was far from a top prospect). 2) The two other guys were deemed as nearly impossible to get have been mediocre, at best, since that time. Either they weren't as untouchable as people thought, or the teams that had them were overvaluing them.

To answer the DA, I don't think there are many transactions that are similar to the one that I describe above. The one that I remember most is the deal that the Sox did to acquire Rolando Arrojo and Mike Lansing from the Rockies. The Red Sox wanted Arrojo so they took on Lansing $6 mil/year deal.

And although it's hard to think of examples that are exacfly analogous, teams are often willing to do something quite similar: sacrifice quality in the prospects that they receive in return for payroll relief. The Phillies, for instance, could have gotten a lot more for Abreu of they were willing to eat half his contract. They instead preferred to unload his whole deal and got 4 suspects back in return.
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2008 at 07:15 PM (#3039680)
I really don't remember any debates about whether Coco Crisp was unattainable. I remember debates about whether he was attainable without including Marte, and whether the Sox should include Marte.

I think there's a pretty big difference between acquiring a pretty good player for a good prospect, and acquiring an all-star for salary relief. I would trade Buchholz+ for Martin and Pierre in an instant. Getting Martin without giving up major talent should be considered unattainable, because if it is attainable, isn't worth discussion - anyone with a quarter of a functioning brain would make the move if presented the opportunity, so it isn't like there's anything to talk about.

The lesson of the Crisp history, to me, is that you shouldn't be overprotective of very good but imperfect prospects. (And all prospects are imperfect.) The problem with applying the lesson is that, Martin scenarios aside, the Red Sox aren't trading for an established player like Crisp, but for prospects like, in theory, Montero, Saltalamacchia, or Clement. And it's a lot harder to put a value on a young, not yet established player than it is to put a value on Coco Crisp in spring 2006. I'd love to see the Red Sox pick one of those guys up, but I don't know if we should trade Buchholz or Bowden for them.

Given the current situation of the Red Sox payroll, if there's any way at all to buy a catcher, they should do it.
   50. Darren Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:11 PM (#3039740)
I think one flaw of my post is that I didn't sufficiently differentiate between Martin and the other guys. Martin's better and he's far more established. He's going to cost more than those guys. Where I could see the other two going in the deals outline for 2 decent prospects, I think the Martin deal would take more.
   51. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:12 PM (#3039742)
Given the current situation of the Red Sox payroll, if there's any way at all to buy a catcher, they should do it.
Well, there's Pudge and Varitek. They could be bought.

Is anyone really that up on Michael Barrett? Even if he's a turned into a Saint, he's also a catcher entering his age 32 season who hasn't hit in two years, and can't throw anyone out. I'd love the Sox to have him and give him the job.
   52. Darren Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#3039743)
I'm not excited by Barrett's skills. I like Bard better.

Assuming Bard is healthy, he's enough of a catcher that I think they're done with Tek. If they can scoop up a good catcher in a trade, then they should do that, of course.

To elaborate a bit further, here are the neutral Chone projections:

Bard 340/381
Varitek 330/389
Brown 305/371
Kotteras 320/384

If we're going by projections, these guys project to hit as well as Tek. If we go by our eyes, it would be hard for any of these guys to look worse than Tek did last year.
   53. Darren Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:26 PM (#3039748)
On a related note, who do you think will blink in the Texas/Boston negotiations. Texas has 3 catching prospects. They probably have a good idea who they like best out of those, and they can plug that guy in as the starter. Another can be the backup and the insurance policy. The third will be depth in the minors. So for the coming season, at least one of these guys is going to have little value to them. The Sox are in a similar situation with their pitching prospects.

Reportedly, the Rangers want Buc + Bowden for Teagarden, or just Buc for Salty. Will they come down from that? I can't imagine the Red Sox buckling on the first package, but I could see them doing it on the 2nd if they like Salty's defense. He apparently caught and hit well in the fall league.
   54. OCD SS Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:47 PM (#3039767)
On a related note, who do you think will blink in the Texas/Boston negotiations?


Apparently Salty had a terrible defensive game when Baird went to see him; I don't think that one instance would matter, though. If they think he can catch one bad game probably isn't enough to sway them.

I think it comes down to whether or not Texas thinks they can compete against a weakened Halos squad in '09. If they do then they will probably not risk letting Salty flounder and decline in value as he spends most of his time at 1B. If they still see themselves in a rebuilding mode then they're more likely IMO to hold out for a kings ransom.

I think there's no chance that Theo blinks and gives Buchholz for Salty. Salty still has defensive issues, and it's not clear he'll stick behind the plate. There's not enough certainty to deal a potential #1 SP for him.
   55. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 29, 2008 at 08:56 PM (#3039777)
On a related note, who do you think will blink in the Texas/Boston negotiations


I'll give a non-answer answer. I don't know that Texas will blink, but I don't think the Red Sox will. In his tenure Theo Epstein has been pretty consistent in setting a value on players and sticking to that value. We've seen it to varying degrees with Pedro, Damon, Teixeira and others so I don't think the Sox will cave unless they believe that Salty (or Teagarden or Ramirez) is worth the package being requested.

Personally, I'm a Dusty Brown fan. I don't think he's a future star or anything but I can see him being similar to the early versions of Mirabelli where he hits for a low average but delivers enough pop to be an 85-95 OPS+ hitter which is satisfactory for a catcher and if he can dump a blooper or two a week into centerfield and hit .270 well better still.
   56. Dan Posted: January 09, 2009 at 10:27 AM (#3047298)
Don't know where else to comment, so I'll just do it here.

Looks like the Sox re-signed Kotsay for $1.5M on a 1 year deal. I really like the signing, and thing he is a good bench player, especially paired with Baldelli. He gives them a backup at 1B and all three OF spots, and can split time with Baldelli if one of the outfielders or Youkilis or Lowell go down. I expect Darren will not agree with me on this one though, assuming his head hasn't exploded and he's still capable of posting.

As an aside, am I the only one who would like to see the Red Sox sign Joe Beimel? It would be nice to have a second lefty reliever who is actually a good pitcher, and stop carrying the Myers's and Lopez's of the world.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 09, 2009 at 04:04 PM (#3047396)
Kotsay and Baldelli together give the Red Sox 80% of what I wanted on the bench, which ain't bad (the 2009 Red Sox need a *lot* of depth). Kotsay and Baldelli could split time at any outfield position if we need a backup, which maximizes Baldelli's value without forcing him to play more than his body will allow. Baldelli becomes our David Ortiz insurance, which is not optimal, but is pretty good. He's a legitimate power bat, and he can probably DH five days a week.

The real problem is that Mark Kotsay is our Mike Lowell insurance. And Mark Kotsay does not have the bat to play first base regularly. Although, you know, there's a pretty good chance that Lars Larsson Flurgenburgendurgen is our actual Mike Lowell insurance, and that could work.

That's a good call on Beimel. He wasn't offered arbitration.
   58. calhounite Posted: January 10, 2009 at 01:58 PM (#3048264)
I like the Montero deal.

Doesn't matter how good Byrnes is..if a guy's making 10 mil sitting on the bench for a team like Arizona, he's a freakin albatross. It's in the book for cheap, small market teams. DONT PAY YOUR BENCH GUYS 10 mil. So don't make him a 4th of? Can't. Upton needs to play at mlb level. Primo developmental stud. Sending him down will wreak havoc with his development.

Now Montero. Montero's a hidden gem. But the key word is hidden. He shouldn't be kept in the safe. Yea, should be worth more, but only theoretically. Not used, not sparkling. Boston shouldn't pay more than..hey..10 mil. And get the combo dividend of a very useful outfield piece.

PERFECT DEAL.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 10, 2009 at 02:39 PM (#3048271)
I get what you're saying - I definitely think the Red Sox need to be spending their money in creative ways to get a catcher - but between the Baldelli and Kotsay signings, it doesn't appear that's the direction the Sox are going. Byrnes would serve just abouut precisely the same role. The Sox have only guaranteed $2M to these guys, so they could theoretically just trade/cut one, but the signings at least seem to be evidence they do not currently project Byrnes on the roster.
   60. villageidiom Posted: January 13, 2009 at 03:28 PM (#3050488)
Globe: Sox, Diamondbacks Continue To Talk Montero

At this point, the Red Sox and Arizona Diamonbacks clearly feel there is a fit. The Diamondbacks have a catcher to deal and the Red Sox have prospects to trade, and it is only a matter of finding the right match.

Unless, of course, something better comes along.

...The question is whether the Sox would prefer other options ahead of Montero, raising the question of whether they woluld (sic) try to use Montero as leverage to bring down the demands of the Texas Rangers (for Saltalamacchia) or agent Scott Boras (who represents Varitek).
   61. villageidiom Posted: January 20, 2009 at 03:46 PM (#3055915)
In other news... Varitek met with Henry, without Boras, last week. Though it's not quoted in the linked article, I did see on the NESN scroll that Varitek has expressed his desire to retire as a member of the Red Sox. Apparently nobody told him that he can still do that if he retires right now.

That aside, this is how I pictured the meeting going:

JWH: Jason, come on in. How are you?

JV: I'm good, Mr. Henry. And you?

JWH: I'm doing well. I can't say I'm feeling much better about your boss.

JV: Francona?

JWH: No, not Terry. I'm talking about Scott Boras.

JV: Scott's not my b... Ah, I get it. You think he's ordering me around, telling me what to sign for, and all that.

JWH: He isn't?

JV: Well, yeah, he is, but that doesn't mean I have to listen to him. I'm here right now against his wishes. He wants all communication to be through him.

JWH: Why do you suppose he wouldn't want you to speak with me? Is he afraid you'll tell me things he doesn't want me to know?

JV: Quite the contrary. He just wants to be sure that when y'all say something we're not hearing two different things.

JWH: I suppose there's some merit in that. Say, can I get you a drink?

JV: Could I have a vanilla milkshake?

JWH: Certainly. (claps his hands twice) Oh, Peter? Mr. Varitek would like a vanilla milkshake.

(Peter Gammons emerges from next room) PG: Would you like that with fresh ground vanilla beans?

JV: What the... uh... yeah, that'd be great.

PG: Excellent. (leaves room)

JV: What's he doing here? I thought this was a private meeting!

JWH: Peter works for me. I assure you, he will not publish anything about this meeting unless I instruct him to do so.

JV: I guess I always knew he worked for you. I just never knew the extent of it.

JWH: There's a lot you don't know.

(After a prolonged silence, Gammons returns with a vanilla milkshake.)

PG: Here you go, Mr. Varitek.

JV: Thanks, Peter.

JWH: So, why did you want this meeting?

JV: I wanted to tell you directly how much I like playing in Boston. I really do. I really, really, like playing in Boston. A lot.

JWH: But?

JV: But I don't know if I can play for a team with so much corruption at the highest levels.

JWH: What? What are you talking about?

JV: I'm all about honesty, Mr. Henry. I'd be willing to overlook these transgressions if you just come right out and admit them.

JWH: What transgressions? What corruption? I can't believe I'm hearing this!

JV: Again, if only you'd admit them, and in painstaking detail, I'd be willing to consider playing in Boston. The choice is yours. (Takes sip.) Mmmm. That's a good milkshake. (Takes bigger sip. Gammons, who remained in the room, nudges Varitek's arm, spilling some milkshake onto his shirt. A loud buzzing noise is heard.) AAAARGH!!!! OW! OW!!

JWH: Aha! (Rips open Varitek's shirt to reveal a hidden microphone.) All about honesty, eh? (The sound of tires screeching outside is heard. Gammons rushes to the window.)

PG: It's a white cargo van, sir. I didn't see the plates.

JWH: That's OK, Peter. I think we all know who it was. And Jason will be happy to give us all the information we need.

JV: That's absurd. I... Is the room spinning, or is that just me? (Silence.) Hey, what's in this milkshake?

JWH: I like to call it "liquid cooperation". (Varitek collapses to the floor, semi-conscious.) Don't worry, in another hour you'll have no memory left of this conversation, and only a mild headache. But we'll have enough on you and Miss Watney to set you up for a much worse divorce than you had planned - unless, of course, you want to sign a really bad deal with us.

JV (mumbling): Watney is just a rumor.

JWH: Not by the time we're done with you. (As Varitek loses consciousness, he sees Heidi Watney emerge from another room.) Peter, are the cameras ready?

PG: Yes, Mr. Henry.

JWH (as he leaves): Excellent. You kids have fun. I'll be back in an hour.
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 20, 2009 at 04:07 PM (#3055936)
Magnificent, just magnificent.
   63. villageidiom Posted: January 25, 2009 at 11:09 PM (#3060161)
The latest on Varitek:

According to a baseball source, the Sox have formally presented an offer to Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, that could appease the catcher's desire for a second guaranteed season. While the precise value or term of the proposal was unclear, the Sox could ensure Varitek a second year by guaranteeing it outright or making it attainable through an option.

...

From the beginning of negotiations, multiple sources have indicated that Varitek has wanted at least a two-year deal, something that helps bring into focus many of the happenings over the last few months.

...

According to multiple sources, in fact, the Sox made it clear to Varitek and Boras immediately after the season that they foresaw at least a slightly reduced role for their captain, who will be 37 April 11. Varitek caught 131 games last year and has caught at least 125 games in eight of the last 10 seasons, the two exceptions in 2001 and 2006, when he suffered significant injuries.

In those same discussions, according to sources, the Sox indicated a willingness to begin the transition to a younger catcher and their desire to have Varitek serve as a mentor. That request is part of the reason Varitek is seeking a two-year deal, a source said, and was something Varitek stressed to owner John Henry during their meeting Jan. 16.


Sounds like Varitek will be back for 2 years... but the transition will begin. If he is as valuable as the front office and pitching staff suggest, this is probably the best plan starting now*. It becomes a better plan when they actually acquire or develop a replacement, the former (acquisition) seeming more promising to me right now.

*Given how he hit the last couple of years, a better plan would have been to enact this plan two years ago. But given that they're starting now, that's not an option.

EDIT: And thanks, Jose.
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 25, 2009 at 11:51 PM (#3060184)
Looks like all that anti-Boras stuff was just more posturing.
   65. villageidiom Posted: January 26, 2009 at 03:02 AM (#3060301)
I must have missed the part where they said they wouldn't do business with Boras.
   66. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 26, 2009 at 03:44 AM (#3060315)
I must have missed the part where they said they wouldn't do business with Boras.

There was a thread about it here less than a month ago. You can question who said it and whether or not they were full of it, but there was a definitely a voice in the organization that suggested as much.
   67. Darren Posted: January 26, 2009 at 05:34 AM (#3060361)
Apparently, WEEI is saying that the offer is $5 mil for the 1st year and a $5 mil team option/$3 mil player option for the 2nd. Even if Tek is as bad some here think, that's a very reasonable price for him. I hope he takes it.
   68. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 26, 2009 at 06:07 AM (#3060368)
Apparently, WEEI is saying that the offer is $5 mil for the 1st year and a $5 mil team option/$3 mil player option for the 2nd. Even if Tek is as bad some here think, that's a very reasonable price for him. I hope he takes it.
Two things. That's still a lot of money for an ancient catcher who could prove to be far, far worse than Brian Schneider . Second, it means the Red Sox aren't solidifying the position with a guy likely to be mediocre, or who has some upside.

It just seems so... sentimental.
   69. Marcel Posted: January 26, 2009 at 08:45 AM (#3060391)
Except that the contract they gave to Cash isn't guaranteed, so it's not something that would keep them from aquiring a guy like Salty/Teagarden/Montero and playing them 3 or 4 days a week. And, as most fans of other teams like to point out, Boston has the payroll space to overpay an aging catcher that they still think can help the team. Also one that they probably think would be a good mentor for a young catcher.
   70. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 26, 2009 at 01:18 PM (#3060404)
Add me to the "like" list on this one. The way this is structured they can now negotiate with AZ/Texas while having a "starting" catcher, I never believed they viewed Bard as a viable option as the starter. By the same token the 2010 player option is small enough that if he is a bust again in 2009 they can just release him. I would have been concerned if they had done a 2/14 or something like that but if you view this as 1/8 with a 2 million option for 2010 it looks OK.

Actually, thinking this through a bit this is probably good for Dusty Brown and/or George Kottaras and not so good for Josh Bard. With 'Tek in the fold I think it is more likely that the Sox let one of the kids take the backup/Wakefield caddy role. Had they not signed Varitek I suspect there would have been greater motivation to make a deal either for Montero/Salty or find another "experienced" catcher in the FA market (who that would have been I have zero idea).

to ark's point I think it IS sentimental but if the Sox are going to be sentimental I'm OK with it being this player in this situation. I'd rather have Varitek than deal Buchholz for Saltalamacchia and the money is irrelevant to the Sox.
   71. chris p Posted: January 26, 2009 at 01:49 PM (#3060410)
Looks like all that anti-Boras stuff was just more posturing.

was there ever any doubt? i guess the question is who was the posturing directed towards? i can't imagine boras ever believed it. it always seemed like they were just trying to throw some red meat out to the fans.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 26, 2009 at 03:13 PM (#3060438)
I must have missed the part where they said they wouldn't do business with Boras.
This thread - the Herald article it links to is now archived, but the pull quote is that one front office source said the Sox were done with Boras "for now". "For now" appears to have meant, until we're interested in one of his clients.
   73. Mattbert Posted: January 26, 2009 at 04:34 PM (#3060496)
I guess Henry does have a bit of the creepy voyeur vibe about him. Nice work, vi.
   74. villageidiom Posted: January 26, 2009 at 07:04 PM (#3060610)
There was a thread about it here less than a month ago. You can question who said it and whether or not they were full of it, but there was a definitely a voice in the organization that suggested as much.
That voice suggested they wouldn't do business with Boras unless certain conditions were met. They appear to be doing business with Boras. So, either the conditions are being met to their satisfaction or it was posturing.
   75. Rough Carrigan Posted: January 27, 2009 at 04:18 AM (#3061162)
Tek was still a good hitter batting righthanded last year (.284/.378/.484). He seemed to have better bat speed from that side. If this is the case again, the key for the organization will be for Tito to use him with this in mind.
   76. villageidiom Posted: February 05, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3068252)
For lack of a separate thread... Brad Wilkerson signed a minor-league deal with Boston. If he makes the MLB roster he gets paid the minimum, with incentives that max out at $2.5 million.

Obviously Wilkerson isn't a centerpiece of anything, but he gives them another 1B/OF option to evaluate in spring training and beyond.

In terms of depth, it seems like pitching, CF, and the Erik Hinske Memorial Role (backup corner OF/1B) are set. I'm a little worried about MI and obviously concerned about C, the former because there's effectively only one backup option (Lowrie or Lugo, depending on how you look at it), the latter because there's effectively none. But as Szym noted in his ZiPS projections, this is a very deep team. I'm grumbling because they don't have a second MI backup or a quality backup catcher. If that's the worst*, things are pretty good.

*OK, maybe starting catcher might be worst. But we've covered that already.
   77. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 05, 2009 at 05:04 PM (#3068284)
Lineup Depth:

C - Bard, Kottaras, Brown
1B - Kotsay, Baldelli?, Carter, Bailey, Wilkerson
2B - Lowrie, Lugo, Argenis Diaz?
SS - Lowrie/Lugo, Diaz?
3B - Youks, Lowrie
RF - Baldelli, Kotsay, Wilkerson, Van Every
CF - Baldelli, Kotsay?, Van Every
LF - Baldelli, Kotsay, Carter, Bailey

That's not too bad. I don't know where Wilkerson, Bailey, or Carter slot in exactly, and I'm just going with Diaz since he's on the 40-man, but that depth isn't too bad. I don't love Kotsay as the backup 1B, but if Youkilis went down, I imagine they'd call up Bailey/Carter/Wilkerson to take some AB as well.
   78. What Zupcic? Posted: February 05, 2009 at 05:15 PM (#3068293)
Kotsay's out until May after back surgery. Given that back surgeries on badly aging outfielders are never a sure thing, it looks like Wilkerson's the new Kotsay!

link
   79. Mike Webber Posted: February 17, 2009 at 03:33 PM (#3078845)
The Sporting News Today - Red Sox Preview - Page 9

Just FYI, no huge insights, but the do predict the Sox to finish 2nd in the East to the Yankees.
   80. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 17, 2009 at 03:44 PM (#3078853)
I hadn't really thought of it but is the plan really to lead off Ellsbury? Has Francona said anything on this subject? I've been mentally assuming he would bat 9th until he demonstrates he deserves not to. There is a pretty good chance he'll have the 8th best OBP of the 9 starters (he should be better than 'Tek) and leading him off would be a real mistake.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: February 17, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3078873)
I hadn't really thought of it but is the plan really to lead off Ellsbury? Has Francona said anything on this subject? I've been mentally assuming he would bat 9th until he demonstrates he deserves not to. There is a pretty good chance he'll have the 8th best OBP of the 9 starters (he should be better than 'Tek) and leading him off would be a real mistake.


maybe:
Pedroia-Youk-Ortiz-Bay-Drew-Lowell------>

but i'd guess Ellsbury will lead off:
Ellsbury-Pedrioa-Ortiz-Youk-Bay-Drew-Lowell ----->
   82. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 17, 2009 at 04:41 PM (#3078900)
I like Option 1 a lot better than Option 2. Personally I wouldn't mind;

Drew-Pedroia-Ortiz-Youk-Bay-Lowell------>

I liked Youk batting 4th last year and Drew gets on base at a good enough clip that he'll be fine as a leadoff man. They did it for a short time last year and it seemed to work out alright.
   83. veer bender Posted: February 17, 2009 at 04:44 PM (#3078904)
is the plan really to lead off Ellsbury?


I suspect so, but that's because I'm one of those people who believes, without absolute proof, they can identify certain things that Francona is reluctant to do.

If we(1) are trying to keep Bay out of the cleanup spot at all costs to drive home the message that he is no one's replacement (and nominally 6th, though in practice frequently 5th whenever anyone is out of the lineup), (2) see Drew as more of a drive-people-in guy than a table setter guy, and (3) have a strong preference for R/L alternation, there aren't a lot of alternatives to the suboptimal lineup we saw most of last year. FWIW, I actually agree with preference (3) here.

So, to start the season I think we'll see Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youks, Drew, Bay, followed by some combo of 1B/3B, C, and SS. When Lowell is ready to play he pushes Drew and/or Bay down, which along with the low OBP at leadoff is the otherworst thing about this lineup.
   84. veer bender Posted: February 17, 2009 at 04:49 PM (#3078911)
I'm pretty sure the Drew leadoff thing was always seen as temporary, and probably expressed to the players as such. I'd love to be proven wrong, though. If one allows Drew at 1 or 2, it completely breaks the mental log-jam that is the lineup. Since the other table-setters are RHH, lots of non-lousy options would appear.
   85. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 17, 2009 at 04:56 PM (#3078916)
That's why I suggested Drew then Pedroia. I actually prefer Pedroia/Drew but Tito has demonstrated over the years in Boston that he likes a RLRLRL set up which is fine if it's not forcing an inferior guy somewhere he shouldn't be in the lineup.

I think with an off-season behind them that Bay will bat 5th this year. Bay was impressive enough during the regular season then in the playoffs that I think he's solidified himself there. I agree that having Lowell in front of him would be a bad move.
   86. Nasty Nate Posted: February 17, 2009 at 04:59 PM (#3078920)
yeah there's no way that Bay should be hitting after Lowell.
   87. SoSH U at work Posted: February 17, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3078932)
If we(1) are trying to keep Bay out of the cleanup spot at all costs to drive home the message that he is no one's replacement (and nominally 6th, though in practice frequently 5th whenever anyone is out of the lineup


Is the FO/Tito still concerned with Bay-Manny comparisons. Aren't we far enough removed from the Manny era where that kind of ego protection isn't necessary?
   88. veer bender Posted: February 17, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3078939)
Seems like we're in agreement, Jose. You're probably right about Bay moving up this year - in addition to his performance last year showing that -- astonishingly! -- he hit in Boston much like he did for the rest of his career, Lowell's injury gives Francona cover for moving him down, provided Bay plays well while filling the 5 hole. (We have to consider from a clubhouse perspective, Bay's promotion may seem less significant than Lowell's demotion.

BTW, if we could drop another lineup blockade, moving Ortiz, one could come up with lots of good lineups with Drew batting second. Youk 3rd and Ortiz 4th seems obviously better than vice-versa, given the likelihood that Ortiz remains a significant HR threat while not being the all-around hitter he once was.
   89. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 17, 2009 at 05:28 PM (#3078947)
moving Ortiz, one could come up with lots of good lineups with Drew batting second. Youk 3rd and Ortiz 4th seems obviously better than vice-versa, given the likelihood that Ortiz remains a significant HR threat while not being the all-around hitter he once was.


I would be a huge fan of this but I suspect that Ortiz (who I believe without a shred of evidence is more difficult in the clubhouse than we are told) would balk. It's one thing to move from 3rd to 4th for Manny Ramirez but to do so for Kevin Youkilis I suspect would be hurtful to his pride and might cause more problems than it would solve.
   90. veer bender Posted: February 17, 2009 at 05:43 PM (#3078959)
Oh, I agree. I should have included "(4) Ortiz must bat third" in my list of clubhouse/Francona-imposed constraints on lineup construction that are really killing lineup construction, because it's a big one. It just seemed too obvious, and too impossible to change.

I really hope I'm wrong about Drew not being seen as a long term leadoff hitter, because otherwise he's forced all the way down to 5th at best. It drives me nuts because it enhances a weakness, that his power stroke is ill-suited to Fenway, while minimizing his great OBP.
   91. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 18, 2009 at 04:24 AM (#3079717)
At the very least, there's no way to demonstrate that the very marginal value in rejiggering an already pretty good lineup is greater than the value of helping your regulars feel comfortable and happy.

Less nicely, "Theo is smart and wants to do X, but Tito is dumb and does Y" is basically the Red Sox fan version of "Cashman isn't responsible for dumb move X, but he is responsible for dumb move Y." Except, it's much worse than that, because there is occasional, thinly-sourced evidence of particular bad moves actually being the fault of a Steinbrenner, and there's absolutely no evidence of any sort that Tito has been advocating various dumb ideas, or that these sorts of player usage decisions are anything other than joint decisions by Tito and the front office.

What I'm worried about is the fact that we went into the offseason knowing that we didn't have any good catchers, and that we had lots of good pitchers with good trade value, and we're coming out of the offseason with Jason Varitek as our primary catcher... and Josh Bard is catching Wakefield. I mean, I can construct a happy story under which Bard's 53 OPS+ last year is discounted because of injuries, and his disastrous stint catching the knuckler likewise discounted as a small sample, and Varitek's projections still have him within distance of league average, and we trust Theo that worthwhile trade opportunities didn't arise even though they were comprehensively effective in opening up the right discussions. My real problem is that C is the position with both the worst front-line talent and the worst depth on the Boston Red Sox. It's really hard for me to see how that's the product of a complete offseason. Hopefully, there's another month to go in which Theo will get something done.

I should note, since I spent a paragraph whining, that this team, if healthy, is ####### awesome. And even if they're only a moderately healthy, they're still likely to make the playoffs.
   92. veer bender Posted: February 18, 2009 at 03:04 PM (#3079911)
Whoa there -- I can't speak for Jose or Nate, but I don't think anyone said anything about Francona being dumb, or not having perfectly good reasons for the dumb lineups he sends out there. I (we?) am lamenting the fact that we, as fans, must suffer through the agony (hyperbole intended) of obviously suboptimal lineups for reasons that we can not truly understand, thus adding to an inability to fully accept them.

I don't understand why Drew can't produce to his career averages while hitting leadoff, considering that he says he doesn't mind, and in his time there, looked comfortable and to have good at bats. However, Francona thinks he won't (or reverse the argument and make it that Ellsbury can't perform maximally when not in the leadoff spot), and you know what? Crazy as it sounds to me, I'll happily concede that Tito is more likely right than me because of the vast disparity in information.

I also don't believe anyone ever insinuated any disconnect between Theo and Tito on batting orders. Theo is either aware of the extra factors that make good sense of the "dumb" parts, or, less likely, doesn't think it's worth undermining Tito's authority over it.

Finally, while you're right that keeping players comfortable is far more important than getting the absolutely most optimal batting order, I disagree that this is already a pretty good lineup (unless you were just referring to the overall talent). I think what we had last year, if continued this year, would be almost as bad as one could reasonably imagine, i.e. excluding things no team would do like putting Varitek or the SS high up. I suppose you could say that it's useless to discuss what would be a strategically better (if impractical) lineup, since it won't happen, but I would counter that it's both useless and fun.
   93. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 18, 2009 at 03:26 PM (#3079936)
For someone not speaking for me veer bender covers my position pretty well. I'll freely admit that I tend to drink the kool-aid when it comes to both Theo and Tito but that doesn't mean I think they are perfect. If Ellsbury leads off in my mind that is a mistake and Theo's inability to have a Varitek replacement in place is a mistake.

The issue I have is that there seems to be valid reason for no trade being made this off-season (unreasonable demands from the trade partners) but leading off Ellsbury just doesn't seem to have a justification other than "he's fast." There are viable candidates to do the job in place of him and the lineup can be arranged in such a way to keep everyone happy and avoid the issue that Matt mentioned that "there's no way to demonstrate that the very marginal value in rejiggering an already pretty good lineup is greater than the value of helping your regulars feel comfortable and happy."
   94. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 18, 2009 at 03:31 PM (#3079941)
I think what we had last year, if continued this year, would be almost as bad as one could reasonably imagine, i.e. excluding things no team would do like putting Varitek or the SS high up.
I guess it depends on what "reasonable" means, but it sounds to me like the projected difference between the best and worst "reasonable" lineup by this definition is a small handful of runs, at most. The lineup clusters the best hitters and manages good platoon balance. Once that's done, a lineup is pretty good. And once that's done, the value in messing with things is very small.

I mean, it seems like the primary complaint is that Jacoby Ellsbury bats leadoff. I see that you want Drew higher in the order, but I assume no one wants him batting in front of Pedroia-Ortiz-Youkilis-Bay, or, at least, the difference there would be fractions of a run that no one cares about. Ellsbury projects to a .350 OBP (.345 ZiPS, .354 CHONE) with great speed and little power. This isn't Marvell Wynne or something, this is a guy who projects to a solidly above average OBP, plus one of the fastest players in the game. Are there any complaints other than that? Or is this a case where people think Ellsbury is significantly worse than his projections?

EDIT: to restate in response to #93, you lead off Ellsbury because he has an above average OBP, and he's fast, and he has little power. You're trying to move up one .380 OBP and move down one .350 OBP, while sacrificing speed. What you're talking about is really tiny in terms of run production.
   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 18, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3079960)
I don't think anyone said anything about Francona being dumb, or not having perfectly good reasons for the dumb lineups he sends out there. I (we?) am lamenting the fact that we, as fans, must suffer through the agony (hyperbole intended) of obviously suboptimal lineups for reasons that we can not truly understand, thus adding to an inability to fully accept them.
I don't follow. You say that Francona might have perfectly good reasons for doing what he's doing, but you also say that what he's doing is "dumb" and "obviously suboptimal". These are mutually exclusive claims. Once you acknowledge that lineup construction at the level you're critiquing (basically the high placement of Jacoby Ellsbury's .350 OBP) projects to make a difference measured in individual runs, at most, and that various clubhouse and management issues come into play when constructing a lineup, then you've already acknowledged that the lineup isn't "obviously" anything, and that the differences in projected value are at the most, very small, which seems like a pretty thin reed to hang "dumb" on.
   96. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 18, 2009 at 03:51 PM (#3079969)
you lead off Ellsbury because he has an above average OBP, and he's fast, and he has little power.


Ellsbury's OBP last year was .336, exactly league average and below the league average of .347 for leadoff hitters. More importantly it trended in very much the wrong way and was only .325 after the Break last year.

I'm not dismissing your point about keeping the regulars happy, I think that's more important than we sometimes appreciate. But I think there is a way to structure the lineup that does that and does not involve having the guy who is going to have the 7th or 8th best OBP on the team in the leadoff spot.
   97. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 18, 2009 at 03:56 PM (#3079973)
JCYS- I'm talking about next year. Aren't we all talking about next year? Your post #80 that kicked this whole thing off was talking about next year. And for next year, Ellsbury projects to an OBP in the range of .350. If you dispute Ellsbury's projection, that's a discussion worth having, but our baseline for discussion of the 2009 Red Sox should be the various projections out there.

EDIT: As you move down the OBP ladder, I get progressively less happy about Ellsbury's placement in the lineup. It seems like you think he's a .325 OBP hitter or so, and at that point I think I'd start to care. But if you think Ellsbury is that much worse than his projections, I'd like to hear why, what you think the numbers are missing.

EDIT2: I looked up PECOTA and CAIRO to see if maybe there was an outlier projection, but nope, both say .348, right at the consensus. (And, hey, the Red Sox PECOTA cards are available for free!)
   98. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 18, 2009 at 04:04 PM (#3079988)
Ellsbury projects to an OBP in the range of .350. If you dispute Ellsbury's projection, that's a discussion worth having, but our baseline for discussion of the 2009 Red Sox should be the various projections out there.
I think Jose's point in #96 is a good one though, about lead-off hitters. A .350 OBP for a guy batting #1 hitter in the AL is just at tick above average, and probably below average for Fenway. Of course, last year the Sox' #1 OBP was .322, which was third worst in the AL, so .350 would be a marked step-up.

(Oakland's #1 hitters had a .285 last year. .285! That's amazingly bad.)

EDIT: Seriously, .285? Did they hit pitchers there during interleague play? #######.
   99. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 18, 2009 at 04:08 PM (#3079993)
My point about Jacoby Ellsbury's OBP isn't that he's the world's most awesomest leadoff hitter, it's that he's a pretty good leadoff hitter and moving him out of the leadoff spot is unlikely to make much difference in projecting the Sox offense, to a degree where clubhouse and management considerations have to be taken into account heavily.
   100. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 18, 2009 at 04:12 PM (#3080000)
D'oh, I meant to include that I generally agree with MCoA that line-up shifting is probably not worth the hassle assuming you have the best nine guys out there and don't stack your line-up too heavily platoon wise. I just got hypnotized by that Oakland lead-off OBP. Somehow they managed to get a better OBP from their #9 hitters.
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Brian
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.6462 seconds
41 querie(s) executed