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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 27, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4089937)
What were the differences of opinion? Apparently Bobby V wasn’t sure about Bard as a starter and wasn’t sold on Aviles or Shoppach in the roles for which they were acquired.
Well, none of us were sure about Bard as a starter. I think we were sure it merited an attempt, and having him (and Aceves, and Doubront) go through spring training as a starter was the way to go. And most are pretty sure that Bard is more valuable as a starter than as a reliever, if it all goes well. The presence of a big "if" pretty much means we're not sold.

Mid-spring* it seemed like Bard was following the Beckett route, voluntarily reducing his repertoire when having trouble with a pitch and not being able to make adjustments on the fly, which in turn makes it easy for batters to guess what's coming and hit it hard. For a high-leverage reliever, there's not much time to make an adjustment: by the time you solve the problem it's more like closing the barn door after all the horses got out. As a starter there's a lot more game to play, and one can't just drop down to one pitch to get through it. This is where Bard "looked like a starter" this last outing. He had some difficulty with some pitches but he didn't give up.

Bard has a lot to prove this spring. He has to prove he can make adjustments mid-outing. He has to prove he is physically capable of handling a starter's workload. He has to prove he can still get batters out the second, third, maybe fourth time facing them in a game. The latter two items are something he can't prove until the last couple of weeks of spring training, if not into the season. Bard not having been anointed as a starter by now should not be a cause of concern. Rather, we should take it as a positive sign that he has not been eliminated as a starter by now.

Aviles/Shoppach vs. Iglesias/Lavarnway is an interesting one. If Valentine prefers the latter, does that mean he's much more comfortable taking a chance with younger players? Does it mean that the latter are truly a better fit for this team? Does it mean he's nostalgic for Ordonez/Piazza?

* Mid-spring-training, that is. I realize mid-spring isn't until around the first week of May.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4089943)
I thought I posted this (maybe elsewhere?) but as a charter member of the "Daniel Bard won't make it as a starter" club I would be quite disappointed if he were returned to the bullpen at this point. For better or worse the Sox have developed a roster that effectively requires giving Daniel Bard a serious look in the rotation. I personally think Aceves is better suited to being a starter than Bard but I think he also has no chance of being a star. Bard, if he works out, has a very exciting upside that would be critical.

What it comes down to for me is that so far Daniel Bard has done nothing to change anyone's mind. I don't think he's been so bad as to have people leaping off the bandwagon nor has he been so good as to have anyone saying this is going to be a smashing success. The Sox should trust their process.
   3. tfbg9 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4089945)
Who projects as the better hitter in a platoon role vs. LHP's, Shoppach or Lavarnaway? 'Cause Shoppach would seem the far superior defensive catcher, AFAICT.

Looking up splits on a droid is a PITA...

   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4089969)
Who projects as the better hitter in a platoon role vs. LHP's, Shoppach or Lavarnaway? 'Cause Shoppach would seem the far superior defensive catcher, AFAICT.

Looking up splits on a droid is a PITA...


Shoppach's track record is very good; .788 OPS vs. LHP last year, .909 career. I don't know where minor league splits can be found but the issue is that there is a chance that Lavarnway is simply the better player than Shoppach now. Shoppach is also at that point where he is helpless vs. RHP (sub-.500 OPS the last two seasons) so it may be that Lavarnway makes up any advantage Shoppach has when he faces righty relievers.

My feeling is that I would start the year with Shoppach in Boston and let Lavarnway get his reps in at Pawtucket. If nothing else having a guy like Lavarnway as your third catcher is a pretty nice deal if someone goes down.
   5. tfbg9 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4089973)
Shoppach is 32 as well, and perhaps approaching the proverbial cliff.

Thanks.
   6. Joel W Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4089997)
Iglesias to AAA. There goes that controversy.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4090002)
Ultimate authority on baseball operations rested with the GM, and the field manager was his clear subordinate. That is not how organization hierarchies have traditionally worked in baseball.


I think the traditional hierarchy is changing across baseball, largely because the field manager (of necessity, since it'll be his butt on the line if the team doesn't perform) takes a short-term view and the GM has balance between short-term and long-term needs. Until very recently, casual fans didn't always know who WAS the GM in many cases. Sure, you had some GM-level executives (Rickey, Weiss, Bing Devine, etc.) who made a name for themselves, but as a general rule, until very recently (like within the last 10 years), the managers and owners were the faces of the club.

Roster construction at the major-league level has become primarily a GM function with managerial input. The GM has to keep the needs of the entire organization in mind. That said, the GM is a fool if he doesn't give the manager's input great weight - the manager is, after all, a lot closer to the players in the clubhouse than the GM is, typically.

-- MWE
   8. Textbook Editor Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4090024)
Iglesias to AAA. There goes that controversy.


I have no doubts he'll be up at some point this year, and likely will stick whenever it happens. Same thing with Lavarnway. Two months of Aviles/Shoppach and they'll have a much better sense of where things stand; in the meantime Iglesias/Lavarnway get a chance to play every day and be ready when the call comes.


   9. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4090065)
Bard not having been anointed as a starter by now should not be a cause of concern. Rather, we should take it as a positive sign that he has not been eliminated as a starter by now.


That is some good analysis right there. You (here) and MCoA (elsewhere) have voiced what has been something like my unconscious thought about Bard: "it seemed like Bard was following the Beckett route, voluntarily reducing his repertoire when having trouble with a pitch and not being able to make adjustments on the fly, which in turn makes it easy for batters to guess what's coming and hit it hard."

VI's whole post, actually, was brilliant.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4090150)
From Extra Bases regarding Iglesias to the minors. If nothing else Bobby V. is saying the right things;

Valentine was asked how much debate their was with Cherington on the issue.

"We've had discussions every day on our team, a couple of times on Jose. It was never a date," he said. "I never even knew what side he was taking and I don't know if he ever knew what side — if that's what it was — that I was taking."

There was a staff meeting on Monday night and Valentine said it was "pretty universal" that Iglesias wasn't ready.


A few other players were sent down including Lars Anderson and Josh Kroeger. I think both guys would have been in the mix for that 25th roster spot that should exist for a couple of weeks. We discussed Kroeger in one of the earlier threads and it seems meaningful that he went down and Jason Repko didn't.
   11. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4090185)
Valentine also said that Lars would have made the big club if he was on another team.
   12. Bug Selig Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4090257)
Valentine also said that Lars would have made the big club if he was on another team.


Bobby's whole quote was , "If Lars was on the '27 Yankees, we'd have never heard of that fat-ass Ruth. Suck that, Joe!"
   13. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4090281)
Valentine also said that Lars would have made the big club if he was on another team.


That's a nice thing to say, but I can only imagine Anderson making another team if that team had only terrible 1B. He had a good ST, but he's barely a prospect at this point.

Valentine does seem to be encouraging of young players, which is a nice sign.
   14. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4090312)
Well, I'm pulling for Lars. And I think there's quite a bit of room between making the big club and being the starting 1B. He had a great spring. His last 4 spring trainings were awful. Here's hoping he can put it all together, finally.
   15. Darren Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4090316)
He didn't say another Major League team.
   16. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4090379)
Well, I'm pulling for Lars. And I think there's quite a bit of room between making the big club and being the starting 1B. He had a great spring. His last 4 spring trainings were awful. Here's hoping he can put it all together, finally.


Oh, I am too. I've been pulling for him for years, and I hope he makes it, either with the Sox or more likely some other team. He just has some real hurdles to overcome to get there. It's hard not to root for the young guys, particularly when they encounter some adversity. I mean, it would probably bring tears to my eyes to see Ryan Westmoreland playing for Red Sox.
   17. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4090396)
He didn't say another Major League team.


Yup, he did:

The Red Sox made the decision to demote Iglesias at a staff meeting Monday night. First baseman Lars Anderson was also optioned to Pawtucket, while three players -- outfielder Josh Kroeger and pitchers Justin Germano and Doug Mathis -- were re-assigned to minor league camp.

Valentine said Anderson had a "great camp."

"Another team, he could have made the big leagues," Valentine said.
   18. Darren Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4090405)
He didn't say... um... which big leagues!
   19. Joel W Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4090415)
Lars is also one of those players who is very thoughtful and has a hard time getting out of his own head. I, along with I imagine a number of people on this board, can really identify with that. I hope he succeeds. Westmoreland would just be incredible, even if he only ever got a cup of coffee.
   20. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4090421)
Mike Andrews tweeted a few days ago:

"Ryan Westmoreland should be back to facing live pitching this week. Likely to start '12 in XST with possible callup to G'ville at some point"

He followed that up with this:

"Want to stress that Westmoreland getting to G'ville at some pt in 2012 is probably a best case scenario. Potentially attainable goal though."
   21. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4090423)
I wonder if they'll take the brakes off if he's in Greenville. It seems like once he re-enters the system, that means they think he has the potential to progress through the system.

Also, Westy's fiancee is hot.
   22. Dan Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4090515)
I am shocked that the "roster controversy" and "friction between Valentine and Cherington" was completely fabricated and played up by the Boston sports media.
   23. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4090535)
I am shocked that the "roster controversy" and "friction between Valentine and Cherington" was completely fabricated and played up by the Boston sports media.


It's a little like being told there is no Santa Claus, isn't it?
   24. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4090537)
It's a little like being told there is no Santa Claus, isn't it?


Wait a minute...
   25. Mattbert Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4090665)
It seems like the Sox are handling this very sensibly so far. Must drive the media nuts.

Too bad about Mathis; I was really pulling for him.
   26. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 27, 2012 at 07:16 PM (#4090700)
It took me almost 30 years to figure this out, but my dad is usually right about things. Also I wanted to put his take out there for posterity... just in case this is an exception. Here's his breakdown of the offseason (btw, he's always hated Valentine and was not AT ALL a fan of picking him up, so he's simply calling him The New Manager (TNM) for now).

"The media BS is already hip deep, and it’s only going to rise as the season goes along. That this recent tempest about TNM feuding with Cherington about decision-making didn’t even rise to the level of molehill (to mix metaphors) was amply demonstrated by the optioning of Iglesias. TNM just likes to talk up the youngsters. And apparently a couple of days ago (pre-tempest) they told Aviles he’d be the starter at SS. I accidentally read Shaughnessy’s “interview” with Lackey; it was like a witch stirring a cauldron of dicks.

Anyway.

I like what management has done this offseason. The Scutaro for Cody Ross + $3M “trade” may turn out to be the best move of all; Ross looks to me like the best “4th OF” in MLB (in the context of the Sox’ OF personnel and home park) and Aviles is going to shine. Nomar, on Baseball Tonight last night, predicted Iglesias to be promoted after the All Star break when (in his opinion) preventing runs becomes more important than scoring them. I’d never heard that before and I’m a little scared that it makes some sense to me (because Nomar, as an analyst, is a buffoon). In any case, nobody’s going to replace Aviles at SS this year unless he gets hurt. Just watch. Punto will get time at 2B, SS, and 3B when those guys need a blow (I hope Youk gets a day off once a week or so) and will play at 1B when Gonzo takes his two-per-season days off.

I think they also did a good job around the pitching. Contrary to everybody else’s opinion, the truth is that they have plenty of SP depth. Aaron Cook, if he were in match form, would be in the rotation now. His sinker has been killer, and I expect him to get a bunch of starts once May rolls around. Doubront (although I haven’t seen him pitch this spring) seems finally to have matured. All reports are that Matsuzaka will be ready to go before June and is pitching well. Tazawa, also delayed by health, and Miller are available. It looks like they’re slotting Bard as the fifth starter. I’m a little concerned about that because the way he talks, he’s having issues creating a routine, and I’d sort of like to see him pitching regularly, but as you know I think there’s a huge upside in his move to the rotation and I expect great things from him.

On the relief front, Bailey and Melancon (both of whom will be under team control for the next couple of years), Morales, and Aceves all can pitch at the end of games, and Rich Hill will be ready to go soon as well. Hill will be a big contributor this season. Padilla will get 40-50 innings. My bold prediction for this season: Sox pitching (overall) finishes with ERA+ in the top four of MLB. You heard it here first.

Lastly, I approve of the moves they did not make. Papelbon, Madson, Oswalt, Jackson, Tek, Wakey. I would have liked to have seen them buy Darvish, but that was never happening.

I am worried about Youk’s hips (probably ‘cause mine hurt so much) and Ellsbury. Middlebrooks isn’t ready yet but I guess that’s one of the options if Youk goes down (the other being sliding Aviles over and bringing Iggy up). But if Crawford plays up to career average (which, of course, is way way lower than it was going into last season) the offense will be fine.

This email turned out to be much more boring than it was when I wrote it in my head. Sorry. Anyway. I think that once the season starts I’ll start calling TNM by his name. Even still, that would be a pretty quick transition from “smirk-ass-face.” I wish him all the luck in the world. He and I both like the suicide squeeze…"
   27. Textbook Editor Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4090749)
I mean, it would probably bring tears to my eyes to see Ryan Westmoreland playing for Red Sox.


Yup. Me too.
   28. Mattbert Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4092468)
Red Sox send Bogaerts to the Cubs as part of Epstein deal

No, not that one. The other one. Jair is the twin brother of Boston’s top prospect Xander. And to repeat, he is going FROM the Sox TO the Cubs.

So if I’ve got this right, we gave the Cubs a hotshot GM. As a thank you, they sent back a live arm from the minors that had no command and now needs elbow surgery. Thanks, guys! So they sent us another live arm from the minors to say they were sorry. And now to say thanks for giving us a guy who isn’t totally ####### busted, we’re sending them a young first baseman. But not just any first baseman; the twin brother of our top prospect. You know, just to #### with him a little bit.

That’s some savvy negotiating, fellas. Great work.
   29. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4092486)
we’re sending them a young first baseman. But not just any first baseman; the twin brother of our top prospect.

Could be worse - they could switch identities before reporting, like the Canseco brothers in their "boxing" matches.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: March 29, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4092489)
poor Ozzie Canseco; he's like a punchline to a punchline
   31. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4092950)
Today is Bard's last start in SP. I can't imagine that they'd put him in the bullpen at this point, but we'll know in the next couple of days. Even if he blows up today, I'd expect him in the rotation for at least some portion of the season, if not for its entirety. I'd guess that unless he really, really sucks during the season, they'll re-evaluate next offseason. Thoughts?
   32. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4092961)
I think he might be pitching for his spot in the rotation, not so much that he needs to win it, but he has to not lose it. I think if he does the 85 pitch/1 change up thing Bobby V. and Ben are going to come to an agreement that no, he's not a starter and move Aceves to the rotation with Bard in the bullpen. I think if he pitches "like a starter" as he did in his last start he will be in the rotation, even if the results today aren't good.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4092970)
I think if he does the 85 pitch/1 change up thing Bobby V. and Ben are going to come to an agreement that no, he's not a starter and move Aceves to the rotation with Bard in the bullpen.


Aren't they both in the rotation right now? Or do you think Cook has won a spot?
   34. puck Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4092973)
I was wondering if Cook has a chance to make the rotation. It would have been nice to pair him with Iglesias.
   35. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4092976)
Aren't they both in the rotation right now? Or do you think Cook has won a spot?


Everything I'm reading is saying Doubront in the rotation with Aceves in the bullpen. Extra Bases had a note that the Sox have paid Cook a bonus that suggests he has made the 40 man roster but I was under the impression he wasn't going to be ready until a mid/late April timetable.
   36. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4092988)
Edes was saying Cook to AAA but that he'll be up sometime this year. Bobby V was making enigmatic comments about not deciding anything until a situation is resolved or something. The press was treating it as indicating a trade was in the works. I can't imagine any of Cook or Aceves are going anywhere, and Bard is certainly not. Doubront is the only one that makes sense, if it's a trade of one of those guys. What other player movement would complicate Bard's rotation spot?

Or is it just that Bobby V wants Bard to work for it?
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4092989)
Extra Bases doesn't say the bonus puts Cook on the 40-man, just that the bonus needs to be paid to keep him "in the organization." This all seems perfectly consistent with Cook going to AAA as depth.

Abraham thinks Doubront has the #4 starter job wrapped up, but I don't think he's cited any evidence. Best I found was "Based on how they've used the pitchers and comments from various team officials." What comments? Which officials? I assume he's more likely correct than not, but it's just bad reporting practice.

My favorite is the later post where Abraham just writes, "It seems apparent that Felix Doubront will be the No. 4 starter." It seems apparent to me that the Globe doesn't care if their sportswriters do their jobs or not. Seriously, what has the world come to where WEE freakin I has far superior Red Sox coverage to the Boston Globe?
   38. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4092992)
what has the world come to...?


It has come to pass that newspapers are dead. Radio, on the other hand, is alive and kicking, for now.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4093000)
So, ok, that was probably too harsh. I searched through the extra bases archive, and I found this reasoning from Pete Abe on Doubront as the #4 starter:
It's likely no coincidence that Doubront is pitching in a minor league game on Thursday instead of against the Blue Jays. Because if he is the No. 4 starter, his first game would be April 9 in Toronto.
It does seem like useful information that Doubront and Aceves are pitching on the same day, and Bard is pitching on a different day. That suggests, though, more that Aceves and Doubront are competing for a rotation slot than that Doubront has it sewn up. Bard seems like the guy who, by usage, is locked into the rotation. I see what Abraham is arguing, with Doubront being hidden from his possible first opponent in the regular season, but that seems like much less clear evidence than the pitching schedule itself.
   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4093037)
So from this piece today we have these words of wisdom from Valentine. If you can understand what the hell Bobby is saying here more power to you;

Question: "Is Daniel Bard pitching for his role today?"

Bobby Valentine: "No."

Question: So the decision is made?

Bobby Valentine: “It hasn’t really been made. I think the decision that he could start has been made, that he’s capable of starting.”


MCoA is right (isn't he always) about Cook and the 40 man. I was jumping the gun a bit but Cook has a clause that allows him to be a free agent if he is not with the big club on May 1st so I think assuming he is going to be in the rotation by then is probably a good assumption unless he starts pitching a lot worse than he has.
   41. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4093050)
WTF?
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4093053)
I think those responses make sense, actually. Bobby V's statements about spring performances have had a consistent theme - you don't win a job by having good spring stats, or by having one good performance or one bad performance. The team is evaluating players (especially the candidates for the back of the rotation) based on a whole bunch of criteria. I think in those answers Valentine is trying to explain that while the team hasn't settled on its April rotation, Bard's role won't be determined by one spring start but by the team's determination of his projection for the season. His projection will be based in part on his spring performances, but also on the team's ongoing evaluation of Bard, their observations of him in various contexts, his relief numbers, conversations with him, and so on.
   43. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4093057)
4 K, 1BB through 4. 1 run on a double. Twins broadcasters are full of praise for Bard, especially his fastball (duh) and breaking ball. Apparently a good slider working today. Nothing mentioned on the offspeed yet.
   44. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4093059)
The have Punto at 1B today. Ugh.
   45. Mattbert Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4093072)
Those comments on Bard seem pretty straightforward to me. In the mind of Bobby V, Bard is capable of starting but Bobby reserves the right to decide Bard might be more valuable elsewhere.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4093075)
Apparently Gonzalez is playing in two minor league games today to get extra PA. So the options on the roster would be Youkilis (who should be playing 3B to prepare for the season), Ortiz (I guess you could make the case, but it seems unnecessary) or Punto.

If Gonzalez needs to miss a game in-season, the Sox will probably have Punto play third while Youk shifts over to first.

This actually seems like an issue with the Sox bench. They seem to be set up to play Youkilis 150 games, rather than to get him a day off every week. Someone like Jed Lowrie would have been very useful to this bench. I thought that was going to be Mike Aviles' job after they traded Lowrie, but then they made Aviles the starting SS. Now Punto is the backup not only for Youk, but effectively also for Gonzalez, which seems suboptimal. They could really use a four-corners type for the 25th man slot.
   47. Mattbert Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4093076)
The have Punto at 1B today. Ugh.

Must mean they're trading Gonzo. God help us.
   48. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4093082)
5 K's through 4. No idea on the pitch count.

Edit: He was at 46 through 3.
   49. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4093092)
6 Ks. Last one on a 96 MPH fastball.
   50. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4093094)
7 Ks. Strike three called to end the 5th.
   51. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4093101)
Correction to the above: Bard was at 46 through 4. Pete Abe says "dominant stuff" today.
   52. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4093102)
Ross has 2 2-run jacks today.
   53. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4093105)
This actually seems like an issue with the Sox bench. They seem to be set up to play Youkilis 150 games, rather than to get him a day off every week. Someone like Jed Lowrie would have been very useful to this bench. I thought that was going to be Mike Aviles' job after they traded Lowrie, but then they made Aviles the starting SS. Now Punto is the backup not only for Youk, but effectively also for Gonzalez, which seems suboptimal. They could really use a four-corners type for the 25th man slot.


I don't think it's that big an issue. If they choose to do it there is no reason they can't go with a Punto/Aviles left side of the infield once a week to rest Youk. Gonzalez has been incredibly durable in his career (knock on wood) so there is reason to think he'll play 155+ games. If Gonzalez goes on the DL they've got Middlebrooks or Anderson to call up. The only issue comes in if Gonzalez and Youk get hurt at the same time or if Gonzalez suffers one of those injuries where he is out for a few days but not worth disabling.
   54. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4093112)
Ah ####, they just did this:

Moved Punto to 3rd and Youk to 1st. This just seems like Bobby didn't have a plan.
   55. Joel W Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4093114)
Jed Lowrie is day to day. We're all day to day.
   56. villageidiom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4093116)
or if Gonzalez suffers one of those injuries where he is out for a few days but not worth disabling.
And even then, they *can* put Ortiz at 1B.

It's spring training. Punto is not the solution. They're just trying to find out if he can be a solution.
   57. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4093117)
Jed Lowrie is day to day. We're all day to day.


Yeah, he sprained his pussy the other day when he was crying that he was retaining too much water and couldn't fit into his party dress. They've prescribed Motrin.
   58. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4093119)
It's spring training.


It's the tail end of spring training, man. They couldn't have tried to figure this out earlier?
   59. villageidiom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4093120)
Moved Punto to 3rd and Youk to 1st. This just seems like Bobby didn't have a plan.
Or Punto showed enough to demonstrate that he can't be a solution at 1B. Gameday doesn't give me enough info on that.
   60. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4093131)
Bard is falling apart. FB velocity is down, he's not throwing strikes and has allowed 2 runs.
   61. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4093137)
Ciriaco scored from 2nd on a bunt!
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4093139)
Piehole is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the MLB AtBat app.
   63. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4093142)
Piehole is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the MLB AtBat app.


Listening to the radio. The app is garbage in spring. I think they update it when they feel like it.
   64. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4093144)
Bard has thrown 95 pitches and is surely done for the day.

His line: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K


From Pete Abe on the Extra Bases blog. Not bad. Albers in for Bard. Also, Abe is wrong. It's 3R, 3ER.
   65. villageidiom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4093147)
It's the tail end of spring training, man. They couldn't have tried to figure this out earlier?
Are these spring-training games so much more important than the others that they can't afford to do this now? When Punto and Lars were both on the roster, they should have had Lars sit while Punto played first?

Yeah, I suppose they could have tried anything early in camp, but there's no real need. [EDIT: no real need to do it early vs. now.] An opportunity arose today with Gonzo getting extra PA with the minor-leaguers, and Lars was already reassigned, so they might as well try Punto today. FWIW, they hadn't had Youk at 1B before today, either, so even the primary short-term backup plan hadn't been tried.

My "It's spring training" comment stands.
   66. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4093155)
It's the tail end of spring training, man. They couldn't have tried to figure this out earlier?


Probably not that much earlier. When guys are playing 4-5 innings at a pop you have limited amount of moving around you can do. As VI notes with Anderson, Kroeger, Gomez, etc...hanging around if you are going to get guys PT you don't have the chance to put Youkilis over there.

I wonder if this is kind of a Bobby V. thing too. Rather than starting Youk there he says "hey, I want to give you some reps doing it as if Gonzalez had to leave a game after fouling one off his foot or something."
   67. villageidiom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4093170)
Is 95 pitches for 6 IP good? I tend to think of 16 pitches per inning as not that great. I'm not usually thinking of it in spring training terms, but I'm not sure how different it should be.

Also, I'm not thinking of it in terms of a #4 or #5 starter, which he is. It's a textbook (minimum) quality start, which is a lot more than most teams can get from their last starter. Actually when I think of it that way I'm pretty happy with it. All I need now is Curt Schilling - who once said even if you think you know what's going on in the clubhouse you can't know it unless you are there - to tell me it's horrible and it's all Valentine's fault.
   68. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4093179)
Is 95 pitches for 6 IP good? I tend to think of 16 pitches per inning as not that great. I'm not usually thinking of it in spring training terms, but I'm not sure how different it should be.


I've never done the math but my sense is that spring training games feature a lot less in terms of P/PA than regular season games. You don't get the grind it out at bats, guys don't go looking for walks, etc...To that end it feels a bit high. I don't think Bard is going to be efficient but if he can be effective I'll take that.
   69. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4093188)
Is 95 pitches for 6 IP good? I tend to think of 16 pitches per inning as not that great. I'm not usually thinking of it in spring training terms, but I'm not sure how different it should be.


I thought the number you should aim for was 15 per inning. That way you're at 105 through 7. If Bard still had some control, he would then be at 112 (assuming the rate holds) through 7. That's acceptable in this age of pitch counts over all.

Bard was to go to 100 pitches today, I believe.

Edit: Also, pitchers with a lot of Ks also throw a lot of pitches.
   70. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4093195)
From Extra Bases:

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 8, Twins 5 Just spoke to Daniel Bard, who was very pleased with his outing.

He said he hasn't been told whether he's in the rotation or not. But he was told he would stay behind and pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday if he was.
   71. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 30, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4093289)
Again from Extra Bases for those troubled by Melancon's numbers today;

Melancon gave up a bunch of bleeders and was hampered by a double-play grounder that Ryan Dent booted.
   72. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4093313)
Ugh.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- And the answer is...

Not yet.

Even after Daniel Bard struck out seven in six innings in a 9-7 win over the Minnesota Twins Friday, manager Bobby Valentine was not ready to declare a winner in the Great Red Sox Starting Rotation Lottery, whose payoff pales compared to Megamillions but still could have a great bearing on how the Red Sox do in the American League East this season.

"Bard looked good,'' Valentine said. "He ran out of gas a little, and got a little careless there with the leadoff hitter (walk) and a three-run lead (entering the sixth, when the Twins scored twice). A good learning experience. He threw the ball well, he did good.''

His progression since the start of camp in the conversion from reliever to starter?

"Basically where we hoped he could be and where he hoped he could be,'' Valentine said. "He wanted to come here and build, figure out all those nuances. I don't know if he figured out all of them, you still have to have some growing pains and experience. But I think physically, he got to be where he wants to be and he's a smart kid.''

OK, then, can you say what his role will be?

"No,'' he said. "We have a depth of starting pitching now. No doubt about it. As soon as you say that, you need another one. Sorry I said it."

Valentine had said before Friday's game that Bard was not pitching for his role in that afternoon's start. The pitcher looked at it a bit differently. He said it was hard not to think about it.
   73. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 30, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4093373)
I guess there's no need to really announce anything until you need a 5th guy, which would be what, sometime in latish April? If someone gets hurt or something, then the decision kind of makes itself.
   74. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4093430)
I guess there's no need to really announce anything until you need a 5th guy, which would be what, sometime in latish April? If someone gets hurt or something, then the decision kind of makes itself.


You can't keep Bard on ice until then though, right? Come next Thursday I'd think they better know for certain if Bard is in the bullpen or not. I think BV is just ####### with the media, really.
   75. Darren Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4093438)
#57 has no place on a "thinking fan's" site.
   76. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 30, 2012 at 10:04 PM (#4093453)
#57 has no place on a "thinking fan's" site.


Correct. My apologies. I was partly playing the part of a fanboi, but also partly poking fun at the guy for his ridiculous string of injuries, the latest of which is a sprained thumb.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 31, 2012 at 08:08 AM (#4093617)
This is a more minor manager's decision, but Ian Browne at redsox.com reports on Valentine's platoon plans for the outfield:
Jacoby Ellsbury will be the mainstay, playing center field every day. That leaves Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney and Darnell McDonald to share the corner spots.

From what Valentine has seen, Sweeney will stay in right field. He also likes the way Ross has looked in left during spring, protecting the Green Monster-replica. If the Red Sox are facing a lefty, and both McDonald and Ross are in the lineup, Ross would probably move to right.
This seems right. With Crawford out, the Sox will get to evaluate Ross and Sweeney in near full-time roles in preparation for determining their job-sharing arrangement in right once Crawford returns.
   78. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 01, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4094117)
It's Doubront #4, Bard #5:
After a month of spring training games to make their decision, the Red Sox informed Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard that they will be the team's fourth and fifth starters to open the season. Doubront will get the ball in the team's fourth game on April 9, with Bard claiming the fifth starter spot.
...
Aceves will return to the bullpen, where he was so effective a year ago. ... He made little secret about his desire to start last season, and while he said publicly that he would not be disappointed if moved back to the bullpen this year, there was evidently some dissatisfaction with the Sox' decision about how to use him.

"He wasn't happy about it, obviously," manager Bobby Valentine told reporters of Aceves' reaction.
Cook will probably be ready in late April, and Matsuzaka sometime in May. Valentine's got a rotation to juggle even if he can keep Aceves perfectly content in the bullpen.
   79. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 01, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4094122)
Bard will have an innings limit this year, as will Doubront, I'd imagine. Should there be a playoff roster, will those guys even be on it?
   80. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 01, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4094125)
That would be a nice problem to have. I doubt they'd be off the hypothetical playoff roster but I can easily see them both in the bullpen (like Ogando last year). I don't have to squint to hard to see a scenario where the Sox would open an LDS with a 4 man rotation of Lester-Beckett-Buchholz-Matsuzaka.

Extra Bases raises some concerns about Andrew Bailey today. They noted it has been a week since he pitched in a competitive game and closed with an ominous "more on this as it becomes available." Other than the early March strain I have read nothing about his health. The Sox have had a day off and three AL East games since he last pitched in a big league game and going through the blog it looks like he was last scheduled to pitch a minor league game on Wednesday after Buchholz and he threw 26 pitches in that game so yesterday is the only scheduled appearance he did not make.
   81. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 01, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4094152)
Rotoworld has Cafardo tweeting that Bailey has a thumb issue but that is about all the detail they have.
   82. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: April 01, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4094215)
Speir on possibly DLing Bailey, backdated to come off April 10.
[Bailey] also was sidelined at the start of Grapefruit League action while recovering from what was deemed a mild lat strain incurred on a vertical jump test during the team physical.

Hadn't heard about this. Getting hurt *during* the physical sees like a red flag, no?
   83. Nasty Nate Posted: April 02, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4094634)
Even-Year Beckett also has a thumb injury.
   84. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4094647)
I didn't know that's how Bailey got hurt initially but I remember the lat issue.

This is just awesome. How does a team collapse in September due to a lack of pitching then do so little to address that lack of pitching in the off-season. I felt so good about this team about 36 hours ago, now I'm surly.
   85. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4094664)
PeteAbe tweet about half an hour ago;

Valentine said he "totally" expects Beckett to start Game 2.
   86. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 02, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4094680)
That doesn't square with this:

Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett is headed to San Antonio to have a thumb injury examined, the team confirmed Monday morning, and is questionable to make his first start of the season in Detroit on April 7. According to reports, Alfredo Aceves said he was told to be prepared to make that start and the home opener on April 13 in case Beckett is not available.
   87. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4094715)
This is what PeteAbe's got. Seems like there are conflicting reports and even within PeteAbe's piece is the report that Aceves has been told to prepare to make the starts;

Beckett threw a lengthy bullpen session on Sunday and did not miss any of his starts this spring. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 19 innings against major league competition.

"He threw 100 pitches yesterday and felt great, hit location," Valentine said. "He's had a little situation that he's getting taken care of today just for peace of mind."




"Real good today," Valentine said when asked his level of confidence in Beckett starting Game 2. "From all the reports that we got after yesterday and he said he felt really good. I talked to the trainers and Bob [McClure, the pitching coach]. ... It seemed like everything was fine."
   88. Dale Sams Posted: April 02, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4094727)
So the 90 win team we had last year opens without Beckett, Papelbon, Lowrie, Reddick, Crawford, Scutaro..

...admittedly the first is the real problem and the second is 1/2 a problem. ..is it too late to get JD Drew back?
   89. Dale Sams Posted: April 02, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4094729)
I felt so good about this team about 36 hours ago,


Why? It's a team of glass cannons.
   90. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 02, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4094730)
If the Sox are actually starting at a 90-win baseline for talent, they're probably screwed.

If the team's win total last year was depressed by 8-10 wins by bad luck with injuries, bad luck with run distribution, and choking down the stretch, then those losses off the club - and Beckett's status is still entirely in the air - don't seem terribly significant.

I mean, Crawford and Lowrie combined for 0.3 WAR last year, and neither Scutaro nor Reddick were exactly world-beaters. Is replacing Reddick and a month or two of Crawford with Ross and Sweeney really that bad a downgrade? Likewise with Puntaviles for Scutaro. And I'm waiting on actual information before I conclude that Bailey's thumb injury means that the Sox replaced Papelbon with nothing.

Beckett and Bailey suffering non-shoulder, non-elbow injuries, neither of which has been confirmed to be at all serious, isn't nearly enough to push me off my 91-95 win projection for this club.
   91. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4094742)
Why I feel good - One of the three best offenses in baseball, a potent top three in the rotation and a legitimate reason to enter the season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. The potential for pluses outweighs the potential for minuses for the reasons MCoA lays out in #90. While there are ups and downs every year for every team I feel like the Sox' "ups" have more room to go than the "downs" do.

Why I feel bad - The bullpen scares the hell out of me, the competition has improved so even with the added Wild Card 90 wins probably ain't getting it done, the manager is an absolute wild card and I am not optimistic and I think they are thinner than they have been.
   92. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4094755)
Why I feel good - One of the three best offenses in baseball, a potent top three in the rotation and a legitimate reason to enter the season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. The potential for pluses outweighs the potential for minuses for the reasons MCoA lays out in #90. While there are ups and downs every year for every team I feel like the Sox' "ups" have more room to go than the "downs" do.

Why I feel bad - The bullpen scares the hell out of me, the competition has improved so even with the added Wild Card 90 wins probably ain't getting it done, the manager is an absolute wild card and I am not optimistic and I think they are thinner than they have been.


From an opponent's perspective, I largely agree. The offense will be very good unless Ortiz absolutely craters, or Valentine insists on giving Iglesias 600 PAs at a 500 OPS.

The weakness that gets you, I think, is the pitching depth. The rotation is too heavily reliant on the top-3 giving you close to 90 GS, and the pen is too reliant on a closer that gets hurt every 15 minutes.

Basically, you're 4th SP is about as good as the Yanks' or Rays' 6th or 7th SP, and after the top 5, your depth's even worse.
   93. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4094758)
I felt so good about this team about 36 hours ago,


Why? It's a team of glass cannons.

I haven't felt good about anything this team has done since about September.

   94. Dale Sams Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4094766)
Well that's why i said Beckett and Papelbon are the only real probs. Though I think Reddick will do well in Oakland.

   95. Nasty Nate Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4094767)
Why I feel bad - The bullpen scares the hell out of me, the competition has improved...


How would you feel about the Sox bullpen if its lynchpins were a pair of 35-year-olds named Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta?
   96. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4094768)
I don't believe I've heard ever heard the phrase "glass cannon" before. Although some light Google work reveals that it is indeed a thing*. How about that.

*Not literally, of course, but you know what I mean
   97. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4094775)
Longer reply to follow this evening...

Felix Doubront's projected ZiPS ERA+ is right in line with the projections for Hughes and Garcia. The CAIRO projection for Bard as a starter would make him the 2nd or 3rd best pitcher on the yankees.
   98. Joel W Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4094782)
"The manager is an absolute wild card." Really? We have tons of data on our manager, and almost all of it is good. Really good against pythag historically, gets great performances out of his players. The only wild card is what the stupid media thinks of him, and why do I care about that?
   99. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4094785)
Felix Doubront's projected ZiPS ERA+ is right in line with the projections for Hughes and Garcia. The CAIRO projection for Bard as a starter would make him the 2nd or 3rd best pitcher on the yankees.

Yes, but I don't think anybody really believes that.

Reliever/starter projections are inherently speculative. I'm sure David Robertson would project as a 2.75 ERA starter if you ran him through the models, but that tells you almost nothing about how he'd really perform. Phil Hughes was every bit as dominant as Bard in relief, and that has yet to translate into a good SP (I'm optimistic this year).
   100. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4094789)
How would you feel about the Sox bullpen if its lynchpins were a pair of 35-year-olds named Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta?


It depends. If the Sox had a track record of putting together great bullpens seemingly out of thin air I'd feel alright. Alas, they don't but your point is a valid one. I probably should have added in my "why I feel goods" that I think both Tampa and Toronto are being overrated. I think the perception is that Tampa is clearly ahead of Boston, I don't think that's fair.

Keep this goin' Nate, I'm rallying! (oh it's going to be a long year).


"The manager is an absolute wild card." Really? We have tons of data on our manager, and almost all of it is good


I don't think it's all good. While I think too much is made of it I think it's fair to note that he's never finished first east of the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, he represents a massive change from the previous guy, assuming that that will work like a charm is not a given.
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