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   1. karlmagnus Posted: September 13, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2175934)
My own view is that in 1999-2001 Duke was ordered to "win now" because the Yawkey Fondation was selling the team, and consequently neglected development, traded prospects and signed too many non-premium FA (thus losing draft picks unnecessarily.) I felt that once the new ownership was in place, Duke would be able to revert to the long term approach he'd shown in 1995-98, and develop an absolutely 1st class team.

Duke's major triumphs were (i) Pedro, (ii) Manny and (iii) spring 1995 in general, particularly Wakefield. Losing Clemens was a mistake, losing Mo was a blessing, so those almost even out. Some of his minor deals were dodgy, particularly in '99-01 but overall he built the franchise from an also-ran into a perpetual contender, whose best shot appeared to be 2001 until ALL the good guys got injured, as bad as this year.

I was therefore royally PO'ed when the new ownership fired Duke, which I thought totally unfair and driven by the dumber elements in the media (hi there, CHB). I wasn't as impressed with Theo as everybody else was, but either he's improved or I have warmed to him somewhat. His main defect, as far as I was concerned, was "churning" the roster, doing deals for the sake of doing deals, which very nearly lost us Manny and Nomar for A-Rod and Ordonez (NOT an equal trade, especially as we'd have paid more money.) The '04-05 and '05-06 winters have both on balance been failures -- he failed to pick which prospects to lose for Beckett, and gave away Renteria unnecessarily, having signed him in the first place. His successes are Ortiz, and the clutch of players he got in '02-03 -- I regard the Nomar/Cabrera trade as at best a wash, given Murton was a throw-in. His resume NOTABLY lacks a Manny/Pedro level FA signing, and we badly need one within the next couple of years, esp. as Manny may be gone in '09.

They're not going to get Duke back. Pity. I would therefore on balance favor keeping Theo, with instructions that he is NOT to do anything really stupid like trading Manny, not picking up Wake's option, or giving away any more top prospects (Pavano and Armaz were regarded as a level down, even then). If he does any of those, as far as I'm concerned, he has to go. His failures in '04-05 and '05-06 mean he's in a weaker position this year than the last 2, but if he has a good winter, this team can still contend in '07, in spite of losing Lester. At least it's getting younger.

Theo may also be under orders to shave payroll; it's lower than '03 and the hedge fund business hasn't been friendly since the end of '04. In which case, we need to lose owners, not Theo, a more difficult proposition (though they've a long way to go before they're Angelos.)
   2. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: September 13, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2175954)
His resume NOTABLY lacks a Manny/Pedro level FA signing

Karl, I don't disagree with everything you say, but the above is nonsense. Duquette was lucky that those 2 were available when he acquired/signed them. Who of that calibre will be available this off season?
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2175971)
Well, no one of Pedro's caliber is available in any off-season for quite some time, I imagine. A brilliant pitcher in the midst of one of--if not the--most dominant stretches in history. Manny is more doable, an all-time elite hitter but mediocre defender, but only by comparison
   4. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2175983)
That was my point. Karl usually holds Theo to an unfair standard.

Also, it's easy to Monday morning quarterback and tell us who Theo should have signed/acquired instead of Beckett/Crisp/Gonzalez/Pena etc. after the fact.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2175984)
I'd say the Schilling acquisition is comparable to getting Manny. Two Cy Young candidate years out of three, plus a world series. And no Duquette acquisitions are parallel to Papi - a superstar on the cheap.

But I agree that Theo's record with bigger-money free agents and with pitchers in general is not strong. I think he stands up quite well against Duquette, though.
   6. MM1f Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:17 PM (#2175987)
"Karl, I don't disagree with everything you say, but the above is nonsense. Duquette was lucky that those 2 were available when he acquired/signed them. Who of that calibre will be available this off season?"

Well, Theo did have a chance to sign Pedro..
   7. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#2175998)
I wish he did. But the Pedro of 2005 was nowhere near as good as the Pedro of 1997, so that doesn't really qualify as a chance to match Duquette.
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2176003)
IIRC, someone kept Nomar at SS when people were saying that he couldn't hang there. Was it the Duke or a previous GM?
   9. Toby Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2176029)
I personally don't mean to Monday-morning quarterback. I'm looking forward, not backward. And looking forward, I don't have the same confidence in the front office that I had.

It used to be, "the FO is smart, we are in good hands".

Now it's, "the FO thinks it is smart; are we in good hands?"

Certainly, if Beckett or Crisp emerges as a premium player, my confidence level will improve. Right now, though, I go into the offseason not with a sense of hope, but with a queasy sense of dread.
   10. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2176041)
...the Duquette regime really liking Duquette and being excited about his developmental approach, but by the end I felt he had abandoned his developmental approach and (as I remember thinking at the time) he had “morphed into Lou Gorman”.


Gorman was a breath of fresh air when he first joined the Sox, but towards the end, I thought that he had "morphed into Haywood Sullivan."

(If only Sullivan could ever morph into Dick O'Connell.)
   11. philly Posted: September 13, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#2176086)
And no Duquette acquisitions are parallel to Papi - a superstar on the cheap.

Nomar was better.

I realize you mean finding players outside the organization who morph into a superstar (though Lowe/Varitek are a pretty good combo), but the greatest market inefficiency in baseball - the one that never goes out of style - is drafting and developing a superstar.

Nomar was one and over the course of his Sox career he was a better player and a better value than Papi.

In a few years, we might be saying that Duke signed a second star in Ramirez though he was mostly developed in the Theo PD system and the Marlins org.

Fwiw, I have basically the same good opinion of Epstein that I've always had. His run the first two off-seasons was completely unsustainable - to a large extent he was the right person in the right time. He's since struggled in a new more challenging context, but still seems like a pretty good GM to me.
   12. RobertMachemer Posted: September 13, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2176158)
deals for the sake of doing deals, which very nearly lost us Manny and Nomar for A-Rod and Ordonez (NOT an equal trade, especially as we'd have paid more money.)


year  RamWARPGarWARP  Ram$    Gar$  ARodWARPOrdWARP  ARod$   Ord$
2004    6.5    2.4    22.5    11.5     8.5    1.6    22.0    14.0
2005    6.9    0.9    22.0     8.3    10.9    2.3    26.0     7.2
2006    6.0    3.3    18.2     6.0     5.3    3.3    25.7    16.2
(?!!)    
----
TOTAL  19.4    6.6    62.7    25.8    24.7    7.2    73.7    37.4
TOGETHER   26.0           88.5           31.9            111.1 


Admittedly, lots of things can be niggled at here, and I tend to take WARP numbers with many grains of salt, but I do think it's safe to say that it's far from clear that Garciparra+Ramirez > ARod+Ordonez on the field (though if that 2006 Ordonez salary is right, they've clearly cost more than Ramirez+Garciaparra). I do want to point out that those 2004-2006 WARP numbers for ARod are (likely) lower than they would have been for the Sox, who did not have Captain Pasta Diving to force him to play third.

Anyway, ignoring that and many other things, the above numbers suggest that ARod+Ordonez have been worth, on roughly 2 wins more per year than Ramirez+Garciaparra over the last three years, and for a cost of roughly 8 million more per year. Is that a good deal? I dunno, but, again, I think it's still far from clear that the team is better off for not having made the trades.
   13. PJ Martinez Posted: September 13, 2006 at 11:42 PM (#2176190)
"The general sense from that thread, I think, is that few of us think the front office really knows what it is doing."

This isn't what I think. I worry that the FO has gone for middle rather than premium talent at times... but who would you rather have, Matt Clement or Carl Pavano? At least we got one good half-season out of Clement, which is more than the Yankees can say.

They gave up awfully quickly on Renteria, but they seemed to worry about his back.

I think the Beckett and Crisp deals were defensible at the time. Also, the Beckett deal was reportedly Lucchino's more than Epstein's. I personally hope that Epstein has more control this offseason and can execute a careful plan.

The whole Mirabelli thing looks bad now, but the Loretta trade looked like a steal-- perhaps that, like many other recent Red Sox moves, was a failure in scouting. And the trade to get Mirabelli back looks bad, but who was predicting stardom for either Meredith or Bard? There's a lot of hindsight in this thread.

Things have gone badly this year, but, apart from the scouting, I don't see anything to seriously indict the FO's MO. Also, the players seem to like Epstein-- I don't think he has the same PR problem that Duquette had (which was, IMO, at least in part a product of Duke's personality).

Mostly what all this reflects for me is that Boston fans (and media outlets) are impatient, with GMs as well as players.
   14. Darren Posted: September 13, 2006 at 11:59 PM (#2176197)
Just to take a step back for a minute, I looked back at the threads over the past season. Just 1 1/2 months ago, we were all very happy with the team. The midseason review is almost giddy. The July 31 "Papi is great" thread is the same way. And here we are (myself included certainly), just a few weeeks later, seriously questioning the FO's competence. I'm inclined to think that Theo and co. are not nearly as bad as this August has made them look.

I think this is an interesting thread topic, I'll add my two cents to the comparison later.
   15. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 14, 2006 at 12:01 AM (#2176198)
but who would you rather have, Matt Clement or Carl Pavano? At least we got one good half-season out of Clement, which is more than the Yankees can say.


Before he signed, ESPN was reporting the Red Sox had offered Pavano 4 years, $40 million as well. The Red Sox may have simply been luck in this case, assuming of course ESPN / whoever they used as their source was correct.

I also wonder how much credit Theo deserves for Ortiz. He obviously deserves some, but it's not like he had any idea Ortiz would be this good, otherwise he wouldn't have preffered Durazo or Jeremy Giambi.

I think the Schilling deal was the equivalent to the A-Rod deal for Cash: no-brainer trade talent wise and each GM deserves a lot of credit for finding out if the players would be open to the move, it's just that there isn't one GM in baseball that doesn't make that move.

Did Duquette trade away any prospects that developed into good / very good players? I can't think of any off the top of my head, but that may be an indictment of him as well since there really weren't that many top prospects during his time with them.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2176201)
Things have gone badly this year, but, apart from the scouting, I don't see anything to seriously indict the FO's MO.
Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln... I mean, if the scouting has such a bad year that hte Sox are dead in the water by September 1st, and they see their former prospects and semi-prospects flourishing for other teams, that's a huge deal. Scouting accounts for at least half of the important information used by the front office - if it's bad or they're using it wrong, we're screwed.

It could be variance, and bad years are always in part variance, just like good years. But I'm extremely wary of that explanation because it can explain everything and nothing, and I tend to think that Theo doesn't think that way either- eg, his explanation of the 2004 deadline deals.

The general inability to identify mid-grade, or even high-grade pitching talent is a very bad problem that needs solving, as chris p has been harping in the other thread.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2006 at 12:08 AM (#2176206)
I also wonder how much credit Theo deserves for Ortiz. He obviously deserves some, but it's not like he had any idea Ortiz would be this good, otherwise he wouldn't have preffered Durazo or Jeremy Giambi.

I think the Schilling deal was the equivalent to the A-Rod deal for Cash: no-brainer trade talent wise and each GM deserves a lot of credit for finding out if the players would be open to the move, it's just that there isn't one GM in baseball that doesn't make that move.
So, the only acquisitions that GMs deserve credit for are high-priced free agent contracts?

GMs deserve credit (and blame) for everything, because they run the show. Every attempt to parse it out beyond that ends up primarily reinforcing previous biases - as we see here with a Yankee fan finding a way to remove Theo's credit for his two best individual moves.
   18. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 14, 2006 at 12:15 AM (#2176211)
So, the only acquisitions that GMs deserve credit for are high-priced free agent contracts?


Did I say that? He deserves plenty of credit for Foulke, rebuilding the farm system, developing Papelbon, getting Millar, Mueller, and I'm sure a lot of other guys I'm not thinking of. His best move was one where he had no idea what he had, which isn't really trying to put him down as no one could have predicted that. He deserves credit for seeing Ortiz had talent and potential, I just think you have to recognize there was quite a bit of luck to it as well. And I said he deserves credit for the Schilling deal, but it's not some genius deal considering Arizona practically giftwrapped him for Boston.
   19. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 14, 2006 at 12:22 AM (#2176216)
How do you know what was going through his mind, or the minds of Lucchino, Lajoie, Port etc?


I don't know too many teams that would bench a guy they think will be one of the game's best hitters for Jeremy Giambi.
   20. JB H Posted: September 14, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2176226)
GMs deserve credit (and blame) for everything, because they run the show. Every attempt to parse it out beyond that ends up primarily reinforcing previous biases - as we see here with a Yankee fan finding a way to remove Theo's credit for his two best individual moves.

The results based judgements on this forum have always disappointed me.

I'm a professional gambler. It's been drilled into my head to constantly re-examine the reasoning for your actions and to pretty much also always ignore short-term results. A GM's entire career is going to fall into the short-term, he just doesn't make many decisions.

Reaching conclusions like that Theo isn't very good at finding pitching talent based on a pretty limited number of high variance trials is a lot more emotionally satisfying than it is useful.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2006 at 01:26 AM (#2176273)
I'm a professional gambler. It's been drilled into my head to constantly re-examine the reasoning for your actions and to pretty much also always ignore short-term results. A GM's entire career is going to fall into the short-term, he just doesn't make many decisions.
That's fair, but I think the alternative is worse. In gambling, you know the basic odds and can guage the quality of your play accordingly. We have so much less information on baseball moves that we can't usefully claim to separate luck from skill. All I see, looking around and the attempts to separate the two, is apologetics rather than science. Fandom pretty much determines how you separate a GM's luck from his or her skill.

I think it's fair to say that we don't really know whether Theo's any good at acquiring pitching. But I'm certainly not going to assert that he must be ok at it because I liked Matt Clement's projections last winter. If you're going to go agnostic, you pretty much have to go all the way. That may be right, but it's boring.
   22. Flynn Posted: September 14, 2006 at 01:42 AM (#2176297)
Using hindsight to excuse moves is a cop out. Look, if I was as good or better at predicting moves than Theo, then I'd be running the franchise. GMs are supposed to know more about baseball than us, or at least be better administrators with better people around them. Some of it is bad luck - I'd harbor a guess that close to 80% of everything Theo touched in 2003/4 was a success, so there had to be some leveling out. But I think the franchise is a little confused, and maybe even a little too numbers reliant. We say we have a long term plan, but we traded a bunch of prospects over the past few years to go for it - let's not forget Freddy Sanchez, possible NL batting champion, was traded for Jeff F'in Suppan. Maybe people didn't predict greatness for Cla Meredith, but let's not forget the franchise buried him after one relief appearance in Yankee Stadium.

Maybe it's just me, but I find the long term plan confusing. The Yankees go relatively hell for leather every year, and it works for them.
   23. Toby Posted: September 14, 2006 at 03:15 AM (#2176397)
I don't think it's inconsistent to be happy with the team's chances at midseason and to be uneasy about the future.

The big problem, I think, is that so many of the young players we have shipped out have done well, and so many of the young players we have kept have not. There's no doubt we are producing a lot of talent, but we are not retaining a lot of talent. Maybe we are indeed a "$100 million player development machine", but the players we are developing we seem to be squandering.

In other words, I am not too bothered about Beckett and Crisp being disappointments. I am bothered that so many of the players we have traded are proving to be useful, even good, major leaguers. Maybe it's a fluke that so many have panned out, but maybe not.

What was so fun about the way the 2003-2004 teams were constructed were the bargains. Everyone thinks Ortiz only, but Millar, Arroyo, Walker, Bellhorn, Mueller, these were all bargains. When my wife goes shopping she likes to get a steal of a deal; when I follow my team I like to see them get a steal of a deal too. I'm pretty neutral about these value-for-value deals, like the Beckett and Crisp trades, but what we've seen in 2005-2006 is mostly other teams getting the deals at our expense.

Bottom line, for me, is I want to see a lean and hungry organization trying to find cheap talent. That's what we had, but lately we seem to have a big-market organization whose success (such as it is) seems much more due to payroll than to smarts.
   24. ekogan Posted: September 14, 2006 at 03:41 AM (#2176422)
The general sense from that thread, I think, is that few of us think the front office really knows what it is doing.


The general sense from all of these threads is that even a place that bills itself as "Baseball for the Thinking Fan" is dominated by knee-jerk reactions. Two months of bad baseball and it's "GM's an idiot", "run all the underperforming players out of town on a rail!", "fire the pitching coach and the medical staff!". Of course, the majority of people reading BTF maintain a sense of perspective, it's just the Internet, even more than real-world discourse, is dominated by the vocal minority who are ticked off about something. The only people who feel a burning need to post are the guys who have an ax to grind, a bee in their bonnets, thorns in their sides, bats in their belfrys, flames to fan and dead horses to beat. They're EX-Happy!

Well, it could've been worse. This could've been Sons of Sam Horn.
   25. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: September 14, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2176430)
et's not forget Freddy Sanchez, possible NL batting champion, was traded for Jeff F'in Suppan.

You mean the Freddy Sanchez who was 25 and still in AAA? The Freddy Sanchez who hit .280/.322/.377 in 500+ ML AB's before this year? The Freddy Sanchez who in effect brought back Sauerbeck and Suppan, both of whom were league average or better (using ERA+) both immediately before and after pitching for the Sox?
   26. Toby Posted: September 14, 2006 at 02:54 PM (#2176731)
ekogan,

I'm not ticked off about anything. I'm just saying, the evident philosophy and strength of the front office have both gone from clear (philosophy: develop from within, strength: finding bargains and avoiding being stuck long term with nonbargains) to ambiguous. We seem to be at a tipping point. I hope we tip the right way.

I think we will. Exhibit A is that we didn't panic at the trading deadline, and kept our kids. But I think the question is worth asking. That's what being a "thinking fan" is what is about, in my view.

Thanks for contributing. Please continue.
   27. PJ Martinez Posted: September 14, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2176735)
Has anyone else looked at Andy Marte's last 6 games? Pretty good.

On the other hand, his numbers for the year are still crappy, in 119 ABs. What do people around here think of his future?

One complicating factor with the young players we shipped out is that, other than Marte, they all went to NL teams. I won't say that explains everything by any means, but I'm fairly confident all of them would be doing at least somewhat worse in the AL. Seth Mnookin posted the numbers of our young pitchers against the NL, and compared them to A. Sanchez's numbers. They were nearly identical (slightly better, actually). It's a small sample, but suggestive nonetheless.

And, yes, I realize that if our scouting is bad we're screwed. But that's not the same as using some bogus methodology, is it? I mean, if the Sox hire better scouts and use the same plan, all could be well, right? Right?
   28. OlePerfesser Posted: September 14, 2006 at 02:56 PM (#2176736)
The midseason review is almost giddy. The July 31 "Papi is great" thread is the same way. And here we are (myself included certainly), just a few weeeks later, seriously questioning the FO's competence. I'm inclined to think that Theo and co. are not nearly as bad as this August has made them look.

Good point, Darren--and it actually is quite consistent with Toby's broader point about the similarities between Theo and Duke.

Historical perspective: The Duke was fired after an epic meltdown in late '01, a season in which Nomar, Pedro, and 'Tek suffered devastating injuries but the team contended a while--like Wily Coyote running off a cliff and staying aloft until he looked down.

We're feeling similarly about Theo because of recent history; our opinions are weighting these last couple months too heavily 'cause that's the way memory works.

That said, note that The Duke proceeded to put a 100-win (Pythagorean) team on the field for '02, snagging Damon and rebuilding the staff and installing insurance policies for the injured in that off-season (before he was canned).

Our memory that "he was OK a while, 'til he morphed..." is therefore a bit misleading. And that applies to Theo.

As I posted in a thread a week or so ago, Theo's Pythag WPctg over 2003-6 is .566, and The Duke's over 1999-2002 is .563. They really are pretty comparable GMs--and in both cases we're excessively pessimistic in our reviews because of the last few data points in the sample.
   29. Flynn Posted: September 14, 2006 at 03:51 PM (#2176795)
You mean the Freddy Sanchez who was 25 and still in AAA? The Freddy Sanchez who hit .280/.322/.377 in 500+ ML AB's before this year? The Freddy Sanchez who in effect brought back Sauerbeck and Suppan, both of whom were league average or better (using ERA+) both immediately before and after pitching for the Sox?

You mean the Scott Sauerbeck and Jeff Suppans who were below replacement level for the Sox, who helped a struggling pitching staff so much that they didn't even make the playoff roster? The Scott Sauerbeck whose arm fell off, and the Freddy Sanchez who hit 291/336/400 last year (boy, that would have been nice at second base), all while making 322K? That guy? Yeah.
   30. OlePerfesser Posted: September 14, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2176812)
One clarification on Theo, relating to a few earlier posts: While it didn't take a genius to decide that Schilling would be a nice add prior to '04, Theo deserves a lot of credit for getting the deal done. Remember T-day dinner with Curt & Shonda and the fam? He had to want to come, and Theo made that happen.

I think "gets stuff done" is an under-rated tool for a GM. Successfully negotiating with other GMs, agents, and occasionally players after you've decided what you'd like to have happen is something not everybody can do.

And I say again: based on the evidence, Theo is no better than The Duke at doing it--but no worse, either.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2176849)
Just to take a step back for a minute, I looked back at the threads over the past season. Just 1 1/2 months ago, we were all very happy with the team. The midseason review is almost giddy. The July 31 "Papi is great" thread is the same way. And here we are (myself included certainly), just a few weeeks later, seriously questioning the FO's competence. I'm inclined to think that Theo and co. are not nearly as bad as this August has made them look.
What do you mean by how "this August has made them look"? The Red Sox were 63-41 on July 31st. Since the walk-off, they are 14-27. So, no one really thinks the front office is as bad as this August has made htem look - cause this August has made them look like Dave Littlefield on quaaludes.

Rather, I think that people are looking at 2006 as a whole, and finding it unimpressive. The reason it is unimpressive, yes, is August, but I think August is being weighed perfectly fairly against hte other months - no one is calling Theo a rank incompetent, not even karl. I just think that missing the playoffs by 10 games on a $130M payroll requires a lot of screwups, and it makes sense to discuss them.

I don't really get the "you're all overreacting" post (#27) - which is a genre perfected at SoSH, ironically - are you suggesting that fans shouldn't care about a failed season, or that the front office actually did a good job but got felled by bad luck, or that the fact that the front office didn't do a good job shouldn't concern us?
Historical perspective: The Duke was fired after an epic meltdown in late '01, a season in which Nomar, Pedro, and 'Tek suffered devastating injuries but the team contended a while--like Wily Coyote running off a cliff and staying aloft until he looked down.
Nah, I don't think you can talk about the failure of 2001 without talking about 2000. That 1999 team got everyone's hopes up, but didn't have enough to hang with the Yankees. In 2000, the Yankees fell of considerably, and Nomar and Pedro had two of the greatest individual seasons in Red Sox history, and they ended up squeaking over .500 and dropping out of the race with a month to go in the season. It was the failure in 2000, which can be deservedly laid at Duke's door, that greased the wheels for his exit two years later.

You're right about 2002, and that was probably Duquette's second-best offseason, arguably only stopped short by the new regime's choice of manager. (Though it was Duquette who put them in that position by naming the widely-loathed Kerrigan to the position in the previous season.)

I think Duke did a good job overall, and I think there are useful and illustrative parallels between him and Theo. I just want to revise the revisionism a bit.
   32. Flynn Posted: September 14, 2006 at 04:51 PM (#2176855)
One clarification on Theo, relating to a few earlier posts: While it didn't take a genius to decide that Schilling would be a nice add prior to '04, Theo deserves a lot of credit for getting the deal done. Remember T-day dinner with Curt & Shonda and the fam? He had to want to come, and Theo made that happen.

Funnily enough, Omar pulled that move on Theo with Pedro.

I think Theo's certainly not gone past the point of no return, but the player evaluation skills after 2004 have sucked. This needs to be fixed.
   33. OlePerfesser Posted: September 14, 2006 at 05:58 PM (#2176916)
I just want to revise the revisionism a bit.

You make a good point that 2000 was a disappointment, MCoA. But I didn't mean to imply that The Duke's firing was entirely about the last two months of '01 (though it's probably reasonable to interpret "The Duke was fired after an epic meltdown in late '01" that way).

My key point there was that our over-weighting of the most recent (bad) data in our evaluative state of mind is one of the "parallels" Theo and The Duke share, i.e., we feel worse about both guys than they probably deserve. But we seem to agree that there are a lot of useful and illustrative parallels, in any case.

I also agree that it's defensible to look at '06 overall (and not just at the last couple months) and find it unimpressive. My guess is that it's possible to look at any GM's career and say the same thing, 'cause nobody bats 1.000 in that job (as I've said before).

It's also possible to look back at '05 and find disappointing things. Especially the bullpen, which was hugely expensive yet one of the worst in MLB. Going forward, Theo needs to do a lot better in that crucial area.

One last historical non-parallel: Though The Duke's last 4 years and Theo's first 4 years are a virtual dead heat, Pythag WPctg-wise, it's worth noting that Theo took over a 100-win talent base. The Duke took over a sub-.500 team (.451 in '92, .494 in '93, and .470 in '94, when he was hired in late January) and built that talent base.

What we are going to watch over the next couple of years is whether Theo can also build a solid talent base that contends almost every year.
   34. Toby Posted: September 14, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2176975)
what is most disturbing about 2006 is not what happened in August, it is that *during the season* we gave away Adam Stern, David Riske, Josh Bard, and Cla Meredith, not to mention a couple of other Players Toby Named Later (a PTBNL for Hinske, a PTBNL for Jarvis), for essentially nothing.
   35. Darren Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:03 AM (#2177290)
I don't really get the "you're all overreacting" post (#27) - which is a genre perfected at SoSH, ironically

Hey, now, that's hitting below the belt. I included myself in that group, so I clearly wasn't saying "you're all overreacting." Maybe it'd be better if I just talked in terms of myself. For me, I was pretty fine with the way things were going until a ~late July. Now, just a short while later, I feel like any decision they make is doomed to failure. It seems to me that I'm jumping the gun, and that I should give them a little more slack.

On Duke v. Theo, I don't think it will surprise anyone that I don't think that's a great comparison. There are so many different circumstances that's impossible to judge.

On Duke's magical 02 offseason, I think you're all being a little to generous. First of all, he kept making moves despite the fact that the incoming owners obviously didn't want him to. And though Damon was a nice signing, he also acquired Hermanson, Burkett, and Clark. That's a bunch of crap and one good player. Second, I think Duke did a brilliant job in 95 though.
   36. TomH Posted: September 15, 2006 at 12:56 AM (#2177349)
sorry if this is a highjack, but it seems like the best thread to ask a Q:

Sox have gotten press for their record-low pace error totals. Does anyone have home/road splits for errors? And for those who see amny games, what's the general consensus on home team scoring? I grew up watching Larry "gold glove" Bowa almosy NEVER get charged with an error in Philadelphia, so I know the scorer can greatly influence this kind of thing.
   37. philly Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:03 AM (#2177357)
Traditionally there have been many more errors in games played in Fenway than on the road. Not sure about this year, but the Fenway scorers aren't generally homers.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:31 AM (#2177381)
Hey, now, that's hitting below the belt. I included myself in that group, so I clearly wasn't saying "you're all overreacting."
I worried that was gonna be unclear. I was referring to ekogan's post #27, which makes hte preemptive SoSH-comparison strike - I was merely responding in kind. I shoulda quoted him to make clear I wasn't responding to you with that paragraph.
   39. this space for rent Posted: September 15, 2006 at 05:58 AM (#2177488)
(Pavano and Armaz were regarded as a level down, even then)

Pavano was Baseball America's #9 prospect in baseball (and #4 pitching prospect) in 1998, the list that was published in the same offseason as the trade for Pedro. He was a better prospect than anyone the Red Sox had coming into this year.
   40. OlePerfesser Posted: September 15, 2006 at 01:27 PM (#2177569)
This is off-morphing-topic, but as I watched last night's game I wondered whether Theo and Tito are communicating very well.

E.g., Even if Loretta has a future in Boston (which I doubt), he's a known quantity. And we know what Lowell can do, too.

So why is Loretta getting PT at 1B? Why aren't we looking at Carlos Pena to see if he's going to get a spot on the 40-man this winter?

Why aren't we playing Hinske every day, at 3B, 1B, and OF to see how he fits into the puzzle?

For that matter, why aren't we getting Youkilis PT at 3B, to see what our options are there?

Why are we playing the post-knee-surgery Varitek at all? Can that be helping his longevity?

You can probably think of more questions, but in my view these last couple weeks should be entirely about (a) getting information and (b) rehabilitation. I don't see it.
   41. villageidiom Posted: September 15, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2177653)
As I posted in a thread a week or so ago, Theo's Pythag WPctg over 2003-6 is .566, and The Duke's over 1999-2002 is .563. They really are pretty comparable GMs--and in both cases we're excessively pessimistic in our reviews because of the last few data points in the sample.

Anyone know what the Pythags for Boston's minor league teams were in those spans? I seem to recall - as does karl in post #1 - that Duke burned the farm completely to produce those teams in that time. Yes, the same happened this year under Epstein (and notably during his hiatus as well), but here's what I have for actual (not Pythag) minor-league records for Boston affiliates in 2002 vs. 2006, digging through The Baseball Cube:

2006: 279-271, .507
2002: 280-362, .436

As a point of reference, that "stocked" minor-league system we had before 2006 produced a .512 winning percentage (354-337) in 2005. The difference between the two years, translated to a more familiar 162-game schedule, is less than one win.

The winning percentages above are a decent measure of quality, but are deceiving. After all, the 2006 numbers are helped considerably by the GCL Red Sox, who had a .648 record, and those prospects are far from the big club. The 2005 results had winning records for almost every Red Sox affiliate, including at the top level. But it does suggest that the pipeline is still cranking along despite the lost prospects this year. Duke's last year had nothing: every affiliate performed weakly in 2002.

So, in that respect, Theo is not morphing into Duke. And while the major league rosters had similar pythags for those four year samples, the 2006 edition is better poised for the long-term future.
   42. Toby Posted: September 15, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2177699)
OleP,

playing Loretta may make sense. IIRC, playing time is a major factor in what "type" grade a free agent receives, and that in turn dictates what sort of compensation we'd get if he signed elsewhere.

But I agree about the overall point, especially about Carlos Pena and Eric Hinske. My hope is that at least one of these guys turns into a "bargain" in 2007.
   43. Toby Posted: September 15, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2177714)
In today's papers, Schilling says he expects the Sox to spend heavily this offseason and to emphasize starting pitching. He takes a dig (good-natured?) at Theo for thinking there was a surplus.

Here's a weird quote from Henry in response:

“It doesn’t make sense for us to disclose our offseason plans in advance, whether it is player acquisitions or payroll,” principal owner John Henry said in an e-mail. “However, I know Theo and all of us are determined - much like we were heading into the 2003-2004 offseason - to compete aggressively for a championship.”

Now, why is does he refer to the 2003-2004 offseason? Why doesn't he say "much like we are heading into every offseason"? Maybe he's just trying to evoke positive feelings about the pre-Championship season, but it comes off like a concession that they lacked determination heading into the 2004-05 and 2005-06 offseasons.

Full article:Herald
   44. Toby Posted: September 15, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2177719)
One more off-topic item from the Globe's version of the Schilling story:

"Julian Tavarez and Kyle Snyder will start for the Sox in tomorrow's day-night doubleheader, while Sunday's starter remains undecided. Tavarez left last night for New York. He said he has a custody hearing involving his son, an issue that has preoccupied him all summer."

This was news to me. Maybe it explains, in part, why Tavarez has struggled this year. If so, perhaps there is reason to think he will bounce back strong next year.
   45. veer bender Posted: September 15, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2177726)
Usually custody hearings (when they're nasty at least) are some sort of she-said/he-said in regards to the other being an unfit parent. Why bother with the hearing when Julian's ex can either point to broadcast footage or summon a few hundred thousand eyewitnesses?

Regarding the Henry comment, I'd like to read into it that they're going to "try harder" or something this offseason, but it was probably your first guess. Henry's a smart guy who's not too good at giving the media Bull Durham answers (e.g. "we're just going to take it one off-season at a time, give 110%").
   46. OlePerfesser Posted: September 15, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2177779)
...what sort of compensation we'd get if [Loretta] signed elsewhere...

I thought draft pick compensation was on its way out? Is it certain to be part of the equation this off-season?

In any case, I'd be leery about offering Loretta arbitration--a necessary condition for getting draft pick compensation, IIRC. You might get stuck with him at an arbitrator's price when you've got the much cheaper Pedroia likely to supply equivalent offense and better D.
   47. AROM Posted: September 15, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2177785)
The winning percentages above are a decent measure of quality, but are deceiving.

Very deceiving, since you can get a great record by stocking your farm system with 29 year olds at the high levels and college seniors in rookie ball. Using winning % to judge a farm system's quality is worse than using winning % to judge a pitcher's quality. You'll be right more often than wrong, but easily fooled by the Russ Ortizes and Storm Davises of the world.
   48. OlePerfesser Posted: September 15, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2178024)
Since we've been hearing all season about the wonderful D the Sox have, I overlooked this, from BProsp:

Bottom 5 AL Team Defenses, by Defensive Efficiency

Team, DEF_EFF

Tampa Bay Devil Rays, .682
Boston Red Sox, .684
Baltimore Orioles, .685
Kansas City Royals, .685
Cleveland Indians, .686

Not park-adjusted, of course, but still...
   49. John DiFool2 Posted: September 16, 2006 at 12:13 AM (#2178246)
Up til August IIRC, they were over .700, but then we know what happened then...
   50. Xander Posted: September 16, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2178269)
I think our defense is definitely overrated, which is partially due to the fact that broadcasters harp on fielding %. It's pretty much the same old defense, just with less errors. But one of the few redeeming parts to watching this season end is watching Alex Gonzalez play everyday. He does something new to amaze you everyday.
   51. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:16 PM (#2179657)
interesting, just by watching Lowell he seems surehanded, but fairly stationary.
   52. villageidiom Posted: September 19, 2006 at 12:43 PM (#2181787)
Using winning % to judge a farm system's quality is worse than using winning % to judge a pitcher's quality. You'll be right more often than wrong, but easily fooled by the Russ Ortizes and Storm Davises of the world.

Besides, your analogy is still a bit overstated. Winning % for a pitcher can be an inaccurate estimate of the pitcher's quality because that winning % reflects contributions from the offense and from fielding, sometimes significantly so. In this case I'm looking for the aggregate contributions from offense, fielding, and pitching. Were I to take all pitchers on a staff and aggregate their win %'s, I'd have an inaccurate measure of pitching quality, but a fairly accurate measure of team quality. As such, I don't see how the latter in aggregate is worse than the former on a one-pitcher sample, as you assert.

Regardless... For this simple exercise, doing something that is right more often than wrong was fine with me.
   53. AROM Posted: September 19, 2006 at 01:08 PM (#2181804)
Were I to take all pitchers on a staff and aggregate their win %'s, I'd have an inaccurate measure of pitching quality, but a fairly accurate measure of team quality.

W% will give you a good estimate of the quality of the farm team, but who cares? What most people want to know is the quality of the prospects. You can't get that from a minor league winning %. That's why the analogy is valid.

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