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Friday, November 16, 2018

Let’s Get Off-Seasoning!

So it’s been a couple of weeks since the Boston Red Sox WON THE 2018 WORLD SERIES…let’s take a moment…OK and now it is time to look ahead to 2019.  Apologies for the delay but I am on a bit of a vacation in Florida but sadly the weather here is awful, only 72 degrees and clear skies.  I can’t imagine anywhere else in the US is having worse weather.

Anyhoot…I think there is not a lot to talk about for the Red Sox for the coming winter months.  Unlike last year when there was a lot to do over the winter Dave Dombrowski does not have much on his plate, at least regarding the 2019 Red Sox.  In all likelihood the most important thing Dombrowski can do this winter is prioritize and lay the groundwork for the future deals on the big stars on this team.  Looking at the players able to be free agents or opt out either after 2019 or 2020 I would prioritize them in the following order;

Mookie Betts (after 2020)
J.D. Martinez (after 2019 - opt out)
Xander Bogaerts (after 2019)
Rick Porcello (after 2019)
Chris Sale (after 2019)
Jackie Bradley Jr. (after 2020)

Mookie is a gimme.  If I’m running the Sox we are basically looking at a blank check situation here.  There is absolutely no reason for a team like the Red Sox to let a superstar like Mookie get away when his club control expires and I do not expect it to happen.  The big question for me is J.D. or Xander.  I am probably foolish but I feel like J.D. is a guy who can follow the Ortiz path (not that good of course) while Xander, who I love, may have just had the best season he will ever have.

Porcello over Sale may seem like nonsense but hear me out.  I assume Sale is going to get a massive deal, by contrast if Porcello’s deal is a bit more modest his ability to throw 200 innings may make him the better buy. Sale is amazing of course but how much money are the Sox willing to invest in a guy who frankly is unreliable.  Of course with that unreliability comes brilliance but I suspect he is a guy who is going to get a massive amount of money from someone and I suspect that someone is going to regret it.  Bradley is a good player and fun to root for but will be entering his age 32 season after 2020 and probably is likely to be on the downside.

All of the above makes rough assumptions about contracts.  Obviously if the Sox can sign any of these guys on cheap money they should do it but I’m assuming a big market value.

So what about the 2019 Red Sox?  David Price did not opt out, Eduardo Nunez picked up his player option so those decisions are made.  What other decisions are there?

Bullpen - Naturally this is where the big decisions lay for Dombrowski.  Craig Kimbrel predictably declined the Qualifying Offer and is a free agent.  Assuming he gets a multi-year offer worth $30 million and up I’m content to see him go.  He had his ups and downs with the Sox and I enjoyed watching him pitch (usually) but I think letting Matt Barnes or another option take that role is the way to go.  Post-season star Joe Kelly has been exasperating as all get out over the years.  There is a sense that he “figured it out” late in the year and might be worth it.  Given how unreliable relievers are I would not mind taking a flyer on the devil we know rather than spending similar money on a free agent though I’m skeptical that the guy has figured it out at age 30.

Rotation - While you never have enough pitching the Sox are in a good starting place for 2019.  Sale, Price, Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson alone is a heck of a start.  I would dearly love to see Nathan Eovaldi come back.  The post-season heroics should not overshadow that his regular season track record is fairly ordinary at best.  He is reminiscent of another former Marlin A.J. Burnett as a guy who may spend his career being pretty good but perennially viewed as a disappointment.  Steven Wright is also expected back though he has recently had a procedure to repair his knee which has officially reached “problematic” status.

Other Stuff - A few other random thoughts;

- I hope Steve Pearce comes back.  He fits the roster well much the way Hanley Ramirez did a couple of years ago.

- Of the big name relief options on the market Zach Britton is the guy I would be most interested in.  I love closers who keep the ball in the ballpark.

- I will be shocked if the Sox are a player for any of the über-free agents.

- If the Sox DO make a big move this winter I would guess a trade involving Rafael Devers would be the path.  I don’t expect that to happen but Alex Cora unleashed a bit of tough love on him during the summer and he feels like the guy who would go if that happened.

- A few names to consider from the system in advance of Spring Training; Josh Ockimey (1B), Bobby Dalbec (3B), Durban Feltman (RHRP), Travis Lakins (RHRP) are all guys who may contribute to the big club next year.

- I am not counting on Dustin Pedroia but with Brock Holt, Nunez and even Tzu-Wei Lin I feel like the Sox are well suited.

- Hey how about that American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts!?!?!?!?

Sorry I am not giving a ton of specifics.  I don’t have MCoA’s ability to put together the financial pieces so as I said earlier, all my assumptions sort of assume general market value.  I have written a lot of words that amount to “it will be a quiet off-season” but I suspect that is the case and as far as the 2019 Red Sox go I think that’s the right call.  Not surprisingly the team that won 108 games and then won the World Series is pretty good.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 16, 2018 at 04:45 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 16, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5788624)
And on cue the Sox re-ink Pearce to a one year deal.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 16, 2018 at 08:39 PM (#5788664)
And on cue the Sox re-ink Pearce to a one year deal.


That's World Series MVP Steve Pearce to you buddy!

I like Pearce. Is it me or did he actually look pretty credible over there at 1B also? Eh, dWAR says -.4 so the eyeball test fails again! But he seem to make some good stretches on errant throws, maybe his range is rubbish. Im too lazy to look all this up.

   3. John DiFool2 Posted: November 16, 2018 at 09:56 PM (#5788696)
Mookie Season!
   4. villageidiom Posted: November 16, 2018 at 10:30 PM (#5788714)
Im too lazy to look all this up.
We're halfway into November and you're in mid-season form already.
   5. Jay Seaver Posted: November 16, 2018 at 10:40 PM (#5788718)
I'm only half-joking when I say that the biggest hole the Red Sox have to fill for 2019 is in the booth - now that they know Remy won't be going on the road and Dennis Eckersley is not inclined to, they really need to find someone better than Lyons and (shudder) Gomes to fill that void. Lenny DiNardo seemed fairly solid when filling in back in 2017, but maybe there are better options.

   6. The Run Fairy Posted: November 17, 2018 at 12:26 AM (#5788742)
I like Pearce. Is it me or did he actually look pretty credible over there at 1B also? Eh, dWAR says -.4 so the eyeball test fails again! But he seem to make some good stretches on errant throws, maybe his range is rubbish. Im too lazy to look all this up.


I really need to create a bot that does nothing but respond to dWAR posts by saying "remember, dWAR includes the positional adjustment." -0.4 dWAR isn't bad for a guy like Pearce.

Really odd fact: as of right now, baseball-reference has forgotten that Steve Pearce played 1B this year. No, really, his 2018 stats on the main page lists him at DH, LF, RF, and nothing else. His fielding game logs are intact, his advanced fielding stats work properly, but you can't find his 2018 1B stats on his main player page.

For his career (ignoring 2018 for now), he's a slight positive at 1B according to bb-ref and Fangraphs. DRA likes him more, claiming he's in the 71st percentile for 1B, but DRA also thinks he's an elite LF (87th! percentile.).

I'd say "pretty credible" sums it up well.
   7. villageidiom Posted: November 19, 2018 at 08:45 AM (#5789107)
Of the big name relief options on the market Zach Britton is the guy I would be most interested in.
I am more than mildly interested in David Robertson, though I suspect his supposed interest in Boston is just a negotiating ploy to get more from NY. He's the one guy in the Yankees pen who I feel like the Boston hitters couldn't figure out how to hit.
   8. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5789553)
I'm only half-joking when I say that the biggest hole the Red Sox have to fill for 2019 is in the booth


I know they won the WS and all, and I don't necessarily think the Sox need to go outside of the organization to fill the spots, but per WAA they were last in baseball at C and 3rd and better than only Washington at 2B. Those are pretty clearly huge gaping holes that could be filled. Literally every organization in baseball got more production out of 2 infield spots.

Is Leon really worth anything, even with his supposed amazing pitch calling? And can Devers actually figure it out a bit this year?
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 20, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5789590)
I wouldn't mess with Devers. He'll never be a great defender but I think he'll hit enough. We've seen similar seasons from Xander and JBJ early in their careers. Heck, Ellsbury went through a similar thing in 2008 (remember Crisp starting over him in the LCS). He's still only going to be 22 next year so I think we just ride it.

I think second base will be better next year. Forget about Pedroia for the moment, I think we will see more of Holt there if Nunez struggles. This is the spot among position players I would try to upgrade if I was making a move though.

Catcher is weird. I shouldn't admit this here but I just don't fully trust the numbers here. Vazquez is excellent defensively and it is worth noting that his BABIP was only .237 this year. Somewhere between that and his .348 in 2017 is a reasonable expectation so I expect he will be fine next year. I won't be shocked if Leon is gone next year. I think Swihart is going to be your backup catcher/utility guy next year. Once he started getting some regular playing time he was solid (.261/.311/.414 from July 7 to end of season).
   10. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 20, 2018 at 07:46 PM (#5789861)
Sox protect Darwinzon Hernandez, Michael Chavis, Travis Lakins, Josh Taylor and Denyi Reyes from the Rule 5 draft. Josh Ockimey left exposed. Good point by Ian Cundall of SoxProspects that as a guy who struggled with lefties and is limited to first base it’s a tough thing for a guy like that to stick in the day of the 13 man pitching staff. Still it will be a big disappointment if we lose him.
   11. villageidiom Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:22 PM (#5789897)
Accurate yet opaque headline option: New Red Sox Brewer Was Padre

That's Colten Brewer, who was traded to Boston by the Padres for Esteban Quiroz. Brewer had 63 K in 48 IP in AAA last year, and less success in a more limited MLB stint. He has a decent cutter, but it seems like it gets pounded when he leaves it up in the zone.
   12. Mike Webber Posted: November 20, 2018 at 10:43 PM (#5789901)
John Sickels on Red Sox Minor Leaguers There's also a pod cast covering those guys, but I haven't listened to it yet.
   13. villageidiom Posted: November 26, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5791129)
Quick offseason hits:

1. Christian Vazquez got married.

2. Hanley Ramirez - remember him? - is playing in DWL for Licey. Erick Aybar, Emilio Bonifacio, Julio Borbon, Yamaico Navarro, Roberto Perez, and Engel Beltre are also on that team.

3. Postseason full-shares for Boston are around $417,000. It's lower than last year with Houston, but Boston chose to have 10% more full shares than Houston did. No word on who got them. The team had 44 players appear in at least one game, including Tony Renda who played in only one game (and just as a pinch-runner). They have 11 coaches. That leaves 11 more full shares, assuming all of those guys got one. And they have something like 10-11 partial shares.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 27, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5791376)
Spring Training tickets on sale at 10AM on Saturday. Someone was asking awhile ago about the experience and I can't recommend it enough. It is a ton of fun, very relaxing and if you are someone who enjoys taking pictures (as I am) it is a great opportunity to do that. The autograph thing is also a lot easier than the regular season but it doesn't seem to be quite the boon that it used to be.

Pro tip: if you are making the trip get tickets on the 3rd base line, you'll get some shade the last few innings which is huge.
   15. jmurph Posted: November 27, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5791389)
Spring Training tickets on sale at 10AM on Saturday. Someone was asking awhile ago about the experience and I can't recommend it enough.

Oh that was me, thanks for the heads up. Still not totally sure it's going to happen, but hopefully!
   16. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 27, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5791457)
If you can swing it even for a long weekend do it. Also it's worth remembering that the Twins are also in Fort Myers and Tampa is in Port Charlotte which is about 45 minutes north.
   17. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: November 27, 2018 at 06:17 PM (#5791627)
Darwin Hernandez is getting a lot of attention lately. Talk of him becoming an ace reliever in MassLive and the write up for Fall League prospects.
   18. dave h Posted: November 27, 2018 at 08:34 PM (#5791670)
Pro tip: if you are making the trip get tickets on the 3rd base line, you'll get some shade the last few innings which is huge.


My wife and I went to Mets and Sox spring training games after she handed in her PhD thesis (what are you doing now - I'm going to Disneyworld!) As northeasterners, we were unprepared for the sun on the Space Coast and got a nice burn - but just on one side. It's something I don't think about nearly enough (we're often in the bleachers at Fenway in August).
   19. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 30, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5792519)
Bigfoot gets a one year deal and the Sox are expected to extend offers to all non-tender candidates. Thornburg was the big question and I suspect had they not reached a deal they would have non-tendered him.
   20. Darren Posted: November 30, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5792599)
Be bold: Benintendi for Thor.

   21. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 30, 2018 at 08:33 PM (#5792694)
The fact that I’ve spent 20 minutes sitting here think about it makes me think it’s probably a reasonable deal. The interesting thing about Thor is the Sox get him for three years, I would have expected he was closer to being an FA than that. I don’t know if I want to do it but I wouldn’t complain if it happened. It would be interesting.

I think if you do it you have to be comfortable with JDM in left and the bigger issue is you have to get his deal solidified since he has the opt out after this year. It certainly gives you a bit more wiggle room if/when Sale walks.

Ugh I don’t know man, it’s interesting.
   22. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 30, 2018 at 08:56 PM (#5792703)
On the less thrilling side a few names on the non-tender list worth a gander;

Brad Boxberger - My guess is he’s good enough that he will have enough suitors that he’ll get a pretty decent looking deal for himself. I’d take him but I don’t think he’ll be the usual cheap non-tender option.

Alex WIlson/Blake Parker - Serviceable relievers who probably should at least be able to do the job Heath Hembree did this year.

Jonathan Schoop - This is a bit of a scary one because it feels like a 1980s Sox move, get the guy because he’d crush at Fenway. Second base is a big question and Schoop probably woudl be better than Nunez at least and give cover if Pedroia can’t play regularly (or at all). My hunch is he will look for a more certain starting job (which he likely will get).

Wilmer Flores - Effectively another Nunez but younger. The numbers aren’t particularly keen on his defense but younger and healthier might help.

James McCann - So the Sox in theory have three catchers already but is Leon really going to make the roster? The bat has gone from weak to grim to helpless. Sign McCann and you can use Swihart in the utility role still if the Sox aren’t comfortable with him behind the plate.
   23. Darren Posted: December 02, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5793161)
Okay, what about Devers for Thor? Five years for three, but it's a position for which the Sox have their best depth.

What about one of these guys for Realmuto?
   24. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 02, 2018 at 06:30 PM (#5793245)
Giving up Devers scares me because I think he’s got a really bright future and it’s a “sell low” situation. But right now it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t be a good move. There are reasons to think he might not be anything more than a slugger with a low average and no defense.

But you’ve got to give to get. Realmuto or Thor is going to cost and I’d be a LOT more willing to move Devers than Benintendi. I think the Sox are giving up more upside but a substantially lesser amount of certainty. I’d do it.
   25. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 02, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5793247)
If the Sox are chasing Realmuto I’d see if the Marlins might go for quantity and see if a Vazquez/Dalbec/Darwinzon Hernandez package might tempt them. I suspect not. I woudln’t if I were them.
   26. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 03, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5793374)
James McCann


Not sure I follow your logic here. How is he an upgrade over Leon? His bat may be better, assuming last year was just a down year for McCann, but it's not like he's a good hitter, McCann has a career OPS+ just 10 points higher than Sandy's - 77 to 67. Couple that with his pitch calling probably being worse and it seems like a lateral move that maybe saves $1M.
   27. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 03, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5793438)
The problem is I think McCann is likely to be a better hitter this year than he was in 2018 and I won't be shocked if Leon is even worse. The pitch calling thing...I just don't know. I don't feel like we have a good handle on how "true talent" that all is. Is Leon good enough to make up the flaws at the plate? I have to say watching games night in and night out Leon looks like he could be. I mean if someone came from the heavens and declared via stone tablet that Leon was the best game caller in baseball and worth 1.5 wins on that alone I wouldn't be flabbergasted. But at the same time it's pitch calling...is it really making that big an impact? I just don't know.

Of course with all of this is that McCann is a guy who might be willing to come to camp and see what happens. Maybe he shows up and Leon looks like he's solved his offensive woes to return to "lousy" rather than "helpless" then you let McCann go find a gig elsewhere. Alternatively Leon is lost and you decide to move on.
   28. villageidiom Posted: December 06, 2018 at 08:29 AM (#5794482)
Several sources are reporting that Eovaldi is likely coming back to Boston. Heyman reports 4 years and close to $68m.
   29. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 06, 2018 at 08:56 AM (#5794490)
Wow, I like that deal a lot to bring him back. I thought he'd get more than that.
   30. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5794529)
Rosenthal says it's done pending a physical.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5794540)
Cool. They definitely needed to acquire some starting pitching this offseason.
   32. jmurph Posted: December 06, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5794581)
Love it. Same as Jose, I expected he'd get more from someone.
   33. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 06, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5794582)
Seems like they are pretty set now though, as long as the understanding is that the last two spots are pretty much "throw whatever healthy #### there is against the wall and see what sticks".
Sale
Price
Porcello
E Rod/Eovaldi
Wright/Velazquez
   34. John DiFool2 Posted: December 06, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5794636)
And poor poor Drew Pomerantz gets zero love. Our new LOOGY?
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: December 06, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5794645)
He's not on the team right now
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: December 06, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5794647)
I'm not sure Wright is part of the SP depth any more. His future might be bullpen only.

Sale
Price
Eovaldi
Porcello
Rodriguez
Velazquez
Johnson
Wright?

Unless there are some Pawtucket or Portland guys I am forgetting, I think they'll add a little more depth, even if it's just a guy on a minor-league deal.
   37. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 07, 2018 at 07:51 AM (#5794909)
Unless there are some Pawtucket or Portland guys I am forgetting, I think they'll add a little more depth, even if it's just a guy on a minor-league deal.


There's always Henry Owens...oh, wait...
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: December 07, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5794912)
Henry Owens: A poor man's Felix Doubront, or a rich man's Anthony Ranaudo
   39. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 07, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5794956)
I would love to hear from Amaro and/or Cherington on who exactly was requested/offered for Cole Hamels back in 2014. I know Betts was mentioned as a piece at times, just wonder if Swihart/Owens/other minor piece would have made the deal happen.

I've seen JBJ/Cecchini/E Rod/Barnes all as other potentials, but most rumors also had Swihart as untouchable.
   40. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5794993)
I know I didn't want to move Swihart in such a deal but I was more than willing to move Owens. It would be interesting to revisit. I think most "prospect for vet" trades are going to skew in favor of making the deal though.
   41. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5794996)
Well here you go...kind of;

Amaro let then-Red Sox GM Ben Cherington know exactly what he wanted: Outfield prospect Mookie Betts and catching prospect Blake Swihart.

Cherington refused. Amaro modified his demand, swapping one of them for pitcher Henry Owens, but still no one budged.


That "swapping one of them" is doing a lot of heavy lifting. Which one it is dramatically changes the perception of the deal.

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