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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4084314)
There's a little bit of duplication between the two reports- that's my fault. Jose sent these emails to me and somehow hotmail called them junk email. I only just found 'em. I hope I haven't missed emails from anyone else due to these problems.

I like the confirmation that spring training is different this year. I'd suggest that (1) it probably is better in the aggregate for players to do more drilling in spring than less, and (2) even if the amount of drilling is indifferent, the change is likely to be a very good thing. This club needed something new, and Bobby V appears to be very much that.
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4084323)
Aggression is going to be the name of the game with Valentine. The Sox have already executed a couple of double steals and third base coach Jerry Royster seems to be under instructions to be very aggressive. Alternatively, Royster is going to be Wendell Kim 2.0 but for now I am going for the optimistic view point.
This is something I'm planning to track over the season. My guess is that Valentine is being aggressive in spring to get players to work on executing plays, and when the games start he won't be that much more aggressive with plays on the bases than Francona was. Over his career, Valentine has called for below average numbers of sac bunts and steals.

Hopefully the aggression will show up elsewhere, in the use of the bench and bullpen, and in platoon matchups.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4084327)
One more thing, in regard to the Bowden observations. I'm excited about Mike Bowden. He should make the roster, given that he's out of options, and he's been unhittable in four outings this spring. Alex Speier reported that Bowden has added a split-finger to his arsenal, which is the sort of spring training news everyone loves.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 19, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4084353)
One player I didn't mention that I'll add is Clayton Mortensen. I saw him pitch in one of the first couple of games and in just an inning you could see the good and the bad. His stuff was absolutely electric, hard moving fastball, nasty, sinking change up but he would throw a pitch down the middle then the next one would be 3 feet outside.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 19, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4084366)
It sounds like Bobby V is bringing some new energy and enthusiasm to the team, which seems great. It should be a good change, although I can imagine having a hyped-up Bobby V in your face for a whole season could get a little annoying over a long season. I could see a more reserved guy like Gonzalez getting irritated, but he seems like too much of a professional for it to effect his play.
   6. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4084444)
With Carl Crawford almost certain to open the season on the disabled list, the Sox will carry a player that otherwise was not expected to make the 25-man roster. A strong candidate: Jason Repko, a backup outfielder with the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers over the past six seasons. Repko’s career has been sidetracked by injuries -- a severely sprained ankle suffered crashing into a wall cost him 67 games in 2006 and a torn hamstring that required surgery to reattach the tendon caused him to sit out the entire 2007 season.

With Ryan Sweeney having missed the last week with a strained quadriceps muscle, an extra outfielder makes eminent sense. The Sox will have to create a spot on the 40-man roster to keep Repko.


If Repko makes the roster, who is going to be kicked off the 40-man? The quote above is from Edes, who is betting that Bowden, Doubront, and Miller will probably make the team. Thankfully, Valentine is saying all the right things about Ciriaco not making the roster, despite his great spring.
   7. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4084445)
Pitchers (12): Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Andrew Bailey, Alfredo Aceves, Mark Melancon, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller and Michael Bowden

Catchers (2): Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach

Infielders (6): Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Aviles, Kevin Youkilis, Nick Punto.

Outfielders (5): Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, Jacoby Ellsbury, Darnell McDonald, Jason Repko.

Disabled list: Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Bobby Jenks, Rich Hill, Ryan Kalish.


For those who don't want to RTFA.
   8. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4084446)
This is something I'm planning to track over the season. My guess is that Valentine is being aggressive in spring to get players to work on executing plays, and when the games start he won't be that much more aggressive with plays on the bases than Francona was. Over his career, Valentine has called for below average numbers of sac bunts and steals.


Valentine said somewhere the other day that all of this bunting and stealing and hit & run is just to show teams that the Sox have it in their back pocket. He's said that there's a time and a place for these things, but I wouldn't expect it to show up all that often. He will be more aggressive about throwing to first and trying to keep runners on. That'll be a refreshing change.
   9. villageidiom Posted: March 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4084471)
1. He seems reasonably well liked. As I wandered around on Thursday I passed by David Ortiz holding court with several players and Ortiz said in a joking way “our manager he is on cocaine.” Just watching the interaction of the players with Valentine seems to confirm this.
When I first read this I thought you were confirming Valentine is, in fact, on cocaine.
   10. Dan Posted: March 19, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4084507)
I'm beginning to think that Melancon might not be such a good acquisition. There's a very real chance that Weiland is a better pitcher right now, and he cost Lowrie too. Lowrie might never be an everyday SS but at worst he's a lefty mashing utility IFer.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4084540)
If Repko makes the roster, who is going to be kicked off the 40-man?
The most obvious candidate is Exposito, I think. He doesn't look like much of a prospect, and he isn't much of a player yet. He should slide easily through waivers. A trade involving one of the marginal prospects on the 40-man is also possible.

This is very minor, but I don't love Repko as 25th man. What purpose does he serve? Isn't he the exact same player as Darnell McDonald? Why carry two RHB backup outfielders? It seems to me that what the Sox bench could use is a good LH bat, to pinch-hit for Aviles or Shoppach/McDonald/Ross in some situations. Lars Anderson should probably be in Pawtucket for his own development. Is Josh Kroeger still a possibility for the roster? He seems like a more useful 25th man.
   12. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4084607)
Why carry two RHB backup outfielders?


Well, if CC is on the disabled list, that leaves them awfully thin (only 3 OFs). I don't like adding Repko to the team because he almost certainly will waste a roster spot, but so is Exposito at this point. There is no way they have 2 backup OFs on the roster if CC is healthy.
   13. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 19, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4084614)
Well, if CC is on the disabled list, that leaves them awfully thin (only 3 OFs). I don't like adding Repko to the team because he almost certainly will waste a roster spot, but so is Exposito at this point. There is no way they have 2 backup OFs on the roster if CC is healthy.


Who are you not including?

Sweeney
Ellsbury
Ross
McDonald

With Crawford on the DL they DO have a backup OF. The question becomes do you want to have a 5th outfielder or someone else? Seems to me the options at this point for that 25th spot are;

Lavarnway
Anderson
Ciriaco
Repko
Kroeger
yet another bleeping pitcher

With off days this early in the season I don't see a need to have a 13th pitcher. Personally I'd like Anderson or Lavarnway if you assume it's a short stay (couple-three weeks). It's not going to wipe out their development and they are probably the two best players on that list.

Repko-Kroeger may come down to defense. Repko seems pretty good to me, I didn't see a lot of Kroeger in the outfield, he has played a bit of first base so I wonder if his range fits. The other option is Ciriaco and while I'm not buying the bat he has a speed/defense profile that may come in handy from time to time and in a pinch he or Aviles could act as a fifth outfielder I assume.
   14. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4084621)
Who are you not including?


Hilarious and embarrassing! I wasn't counting Ellsbury. If you can believe this, he completely slipped my mind. :)
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4084635)
Repko-Kroeger may come down to defense.
Certainly Repko's value is in his defense, but when would his defense serve a purpose? If you need a backup CF, Sweeney or Ross can handle it. If you need a capable corner outfielder, that's McDonald. There's no need on this team for a defensive replacement in the outfield. The use for another outfielder is his bat, and a lefty bat would fit the roster a lot better.
   16. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4084651)
Certainly Repko's value is in his defense, but when would his defense serve a purpose? If you need a backup CF, Sweeney or Ross can handle it. If you need a capable corner outfielder, that's McDonald. There's no need on this team for a defensive replacement in the outfield. The use for another outfielder is his bat, and a lefty bat would fit the roster a lot better.


Now that I remember Ellsbury is on the roster, this makes a bit more sense.

Are you advocating for Lars here? If you take out Lavarnway, he's the best bat of the bunch. Lavarnway is almost certainly starting the year in Pawtucket, as Bobby V has indicated multiple times.
   17. Dan Posted: March 19, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4084689)
Kroeger was also my preference for 25th man until Crawford returns, and reading this thread hasn't changed my mind. If it's Repko, there's about a 99% chance he never gets into a game unless it's a massive blowout.
   18. Textbook Editor Posted: March 19, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4084789)
Any chance we jettison a Nick Punto to the Phillies? Seems they may need a 2B...
   19. Pingu Posted: March 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM (#4084878)
The infield is pretty thin as it is. At this point, Iglesias looks like the first call up after a non-Gonzalez infield injury.

The bullpen is going to be a huge key (as well as #5 SP obv, but they've got a bit of time to figure that out). Theo's biggest weakness (and Tito's to some extent) was picking the right pitchers from a mess of averageishness.

Bowden, Doubront, Miller, Morales, all have no options if I'm not mistaken. I think its ok to cut bait on Miller, but not Doubront or Bowden. But what if they struggle? Going to be a tough call. And what about Padilla, he's gotta make the roster at this point, right?

If Valentine can coax a decent bullpen out of this, I'll prob start to warm to having him around.
   20. villageidiom Posted: March 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4085050)
Bowden, Doubront, Miller, Morales, all have no options if I'm not mistaken.
Correct.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4085621)
Watching Bard pitch on MLBtv tonight. The knock on him that he doesn't have the pitches is definitely wrong - he's showing a good changeup with a nearly 15 mph gap from the fastball. He needs to improve his consistency and command, which I figure is what spring is for. The one bad inning came when he walked a couple of guys trying to work through command problems on the secondary stuff, and Snider was able to sit on a first-pitch fastball with the bases loaded. Bard's fastball is excellent - he jammed Jose Bautista with it - but he needs at least one of his other pitches working for it to be effective.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4085634)
It's obviously just one inning, but Bowden looks like DFA fodder tonight. His fastball is unimpressive and not that well commanded, and his splitter looks more like a blah changeup than a real strikeout pitch.
   23. tfbg9 Posted: March 21, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4085788)
I was peeking in at Bard here and there. When I was watching, he seemed to be almost pitching backwards, ala John Burkett-curves on the 0-0, 0-1, and 1-0.

Shoppach looks really beefy, and might help the team with the bat in his role as the lefty-mashing platoon backstop.
   24. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4085981)
And what about Padilla, he's gotta make the roster at this point, right?


Padilla strained a hammy working out yesterday. Should know more tomorrow on how severe.
   25. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4086038)
So this from Peter Abraham today


Bobby Valentine believes 22-year-old Jose Iglesias is ready to play in the majors. But he did not say he wants him to be the Red Sox shortstop on Opening Day.


"Whether it’s his time is the question with all the other contributing factors including [that] Mike Aviles is doing great"
sayeth Bobby


"I think [Iglesias] can hit and hit on the major league level. I don’t know if he can make this major league team and perform right now the way we need him to perform in this setting, in the group that we have. It’s just my opinion Again, there might be other opinions. And that could change, can’t it? Hopefully not."
more from the shy Valentine
   26. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4086224)
Sean McAdam is saying that the Sox might be going Bard in the 'pen, Aceves/Doubront as 4/5. His tweet and the article title seem a bit more definitive than the linked article is.

One Red Sox staff member has told others outside the organization that, when all is said and done, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront will have spots in the rotation, with Daniel Bard returning to the bullpen.
   27. Sunday silence Posted: March 21, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4086422)
The knock on him that he doesn't have the pitches is definitely wrong - he's showing a good changeup with a nearly 15 mph gap from the fastball..... The one bad inning came when he walked a couple of guys trying to work through command problems on the secondary stuff, and Snider was able to sit on a first-pitch fastball with the bases loaded. Bard's fastball is excellent - he jammed Jose Bautista with it - but he needs at least one of his other pitches working for it to be effective.


But it couldnt be that he doesnt have a variety of pitches? No, it couldnt be that.
   28. Joel W Posted: March 22, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4086937)
The book is still out in the hearts and minds of Red Sox fans on Bobby V: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/03/boston-red-sox-poll.html
   29. Pingu Posted: March 22, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4087071)
It's obviously just one inning, but Bowden looks like DFA fodder tonight. His fastball is unimpressive and not that well commanded, and his splitter looks more like a blah changeup than a real strikeout pitch.


Disappointing on Bowden. I thought he looked at times last year like he was starting to put something together. I'm pulling for him, if for no other reason than I think theres still the upside for back of the bullpen work there.
   30. Pingu Posted: March 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4087075)
From the poll Joel linked:

-It's a close contest between Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia for most popular player honors. 29% say Ellsbury is their favorite to 25% for Pedroia with David Ortiz the only other person we tested in double digits, at 16%. Kevin Youkilis at 6%, Josh Beckett at 5%, Jon Lester at 4%, and Clay Buchholz and Adrian Gonzalez at 2% round out the field.


So, lets see. 29% of the people polled were female between the ages of 14 and 24. 25% of those polled actually paid attention to the team. 2% of those polled went to sleep before 8:30. Another 2% of those polled were in hibernation for the last 12 months. Oh, and 5% of the people polled were ########.
   31. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 22, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4087083)
Bobby Valentine believes 22-year-old Jose Iglesias is ready to play in the majors.


Bobby believed Rey Ordonez was a Major Leaguer.
   32. Textbook Editor Posted: March 22, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4087089)
#31--Well, it all depends on how much offense you can punt at SS relative to (presumed) gains in RF, 3B, and LF (without suffering too much drop-offs at CF, DH, 2B & 1B).

I can definitely imagine a situation where Iglesias becomes the everyday SS, but I think it's smart to wait 2 months, see what kind of offense you have, and then see if you can afford to punt the SS offense 4-5 days a week.

If it turns out they mash the ball from the get-go, I'm more than fine with punting SS so you get a glove guy in there.
   33. Darren Posted: March 22, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4087093)
Ah but Ellsbury smoked Pedroia in WAR last year.
   34. Dan Posted: March 22, 2012 at 07:30 PM (#4087095)
I think it's really more a matter of Iglesias progressing with the bat than the production from the rest of the offense. If Iglesias can get on base at a .330 clip or so then he can be an asset. I doubt he'll ever hit for power.
   35. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 22, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4087120)
#31--Well, it all depends on how much offense you can punt at SS relative to (presumed) gains . . .

Well, Ordonez averaged a 57 OPS+ with the Mets, which seems like a lot of offense to punt. More than I'm guessing Boston would accept.
   36. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 22, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4087140)
I think it's really more a matter of Iglesias progressing with the bat than the production from the rest of the offense. If Iglesias can get on base at a .330 clip or so then he can be an asset. I doubt he'll ever hit for power.


If Iglesias can field like he is supposed to a .330 OBP makes him n All Star. With a .300 OBP he is a perfectly cromulent starting shortstop.
   37. Dan Posted: March 22, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4087182)
Anderson with a strong double deep off the monster towards center tonight. His opposite field power stroke might have arrived.
   38. Textbook Editor Posted: March 22, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4087199)
With a .300 OBP he is a perfectly cromulent starting shortstop.


What Jose said--I could live with Ozzie Smith with the glove and a .300 OBP, given the rest of the lineup.
   39. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 23, 2012 at 01:06 AM (#4087267)
Anderson with a strong double deep off the monster towards center tonight. His opposite field power stroke might have arrived.


That was another good at-bat by Anderson, I believe he doubled on the 9th pitch of the at-bat. There is one caveat here: the pitcher had just given up three consecutive hits, 2 doubles and then a single. Lars's double made it 4 in a row. He's shown good opposite field power this spring. I'd like to see him keep it going in AAA.

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