Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

   1. PJ Martinez Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2092661)
Glad you posted this, Darren. In addition to thoughts on the first half, I'd love to see everyone's concerns and hopes for the second half.

Nixon has exceeded my expectations. He's played 77 games, first of all. Second, his OBP is 427! Fourth in the league, just behind Manny, with Youkilis at 8th. OBP has been the great strength of this offense, though their HR and SLG numbers have climbed lately (thank you, Papi). Manny's also been a little better than I expected (4th in MLB in OPS), and Youkilis and Lowell, of course.

Interesting comment re: Coco and Wily Mo. Their defensive abilities/inabilities make them less complementary than one would like, but both are very far from peak value right now, so I don't see how a trade's a good idea any time soon (I realize that you did not say "soon," but only "at some point"). Maybe Pena can really play first, and next year Youkilis can play more 3B and Lowell can sit more. Coco can play RF with Wily Mo in CF against lefties (despite Coco's arm, I think that may be better defensively than the reverse, at least at Fenway).

One of my concerns for the second half include a big Lowell drop-off, per his history. What I'm looking forward to is the continued progress of Lester, Hansen and Delcarmen. The young bullpen (plus Timlin) is probably the most exciting thing about 2006 so far, along with the emergence of Youkilis as a good everyday player. And I like Lester a lot.
   2. Darren Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2092665)
I think the problem is that both Coco adn Wily Mo should be starting pretty much full time, as should Youks. Any arrangement where they're sharing jobs seems suboptimal to me. Also, Wily Mo loses some value as a 1B, IMHO.

I agree that Lowell's in for a dropoff, but he seems to really have adjusted his approach to use the whole field this year. Maybe that will also change his "dropoff in the second half" pattern?

One thing about Nixon that surprises me is that people on SOSH seem to hate him. His defense isn't good enough, he's not ever healthy, he's a platoon player, etc. But the fact of the matter is, he's been well worth his contract in 04 and 05, despite his health issues. In 06, he's been an absolute bargain. And his D is rated as at least decent by the various metrics. I'd love to resign him for the same price. And I have a very sneaking suspicion that Cashman's planning to replace Sheffield with him.
   3. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2092667)
And I have a very sneaking suspicion that Cashman's planning to replace Sheffield with him.

We'll have to see. I don't suspect this. Nixon isn't nearly famous enough to play that way.
   4. Xander Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:26 PM (#2092669)
And I have a very sneaking suspicion that Cashman's planning to replace Sheffield with him.

That's fine. I'll take the draft picks. I have no problem with a Pena/Murphy platoon in RF next year. I like Trot, but I don't have any interest in giving him a contract longer than 2 years.
   5. Xander Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2092673)
W/R/T the infield, lets not forget lil' Alex Cora. He has been tree-mendous. .404 OBP from a back-up middle-infielder? You can't ask for much more than that. His defense at SS isn't as good as A-Gon's, but it is definitely playable. He's a very cerebral player, and that shows through in his play.
   6. PJ Martinez Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2092682)
Also, Alex Gonzalez is batting like .284. That's great, even if it can't last (career average: .245).

What's up with the lack of HRs at Fenway? The HR splits for both the lineup and the staff seem extreme this year, though I haven't checked them lately, so I could be mistaken.
   7. Darren Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:50 PM (#2092686)
We'll have to see. I don't suspect this. Nixon isn't nearly famous enough to play that way.

I don't think Cashman's as concerned with fame as with production.


That's fine. I'll take the draft picks. I have no problem with a Pena/Murphy platoon in RF next year. I like Trot, but I don't have any interest in giving him a contract longer than 2 years.

Are you sure there will be draft picks in the new CBA? Are you willing to risk going to arb with Trot? And what if those picks turn out to be supplemental and a 3rd rounder, like we got for Mueller?
   8. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 09, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2092736)
You left one thing out, Darren.

Catcher: Varitek sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. Offense, pitchcalling, everything. 2007 and 2008 are going to be fun!
   9. PJ Martinez Posted: July 09, 2006 at 05:30 PM (#2092743)
Speaking of OFs, here's a rumor that makes no sense:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5770502

"The Red Sox inquired about Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu, but the talks apparently failed to progress — even though a rival GM describes the Sox's interest in Abreu as 'very strong.'"

Rosenthal cites four reasons the Red Sox could be interested, but only the 4th makes sense to me: "Getting Abreu would keep him away from the Yankees."

Perhaps the Red Sox want to spin him off to another team, perhaps he's part of a much bigger deal, or perhaps (most likely?) they're just trying to drive up the cost for the Yankees (Philip Hughes and...?).
   10. Xander Posted: July 09, 2006 at 05:35 PM (#2092761)
Yea, that's a weird rumor for sure. Trot and Abreu have pretty much been the same player this year, though Abreu is more of a stolen base threat I suppose. I wouldn't trade for him. But if they are showing interest for the reason you may say they are, it makes sense.

Though I would change
(Philip Hughes and...?).

to
(Philip Hughes)

and be happy.
   11. PJ Martinez Posted: July 09, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2092763)
"Are you willing to risk going to arb with Trot?"

Absolutely.
   12. chris p Posted: July 09, 2006 at 06:12 PM (#2092850)
What's up with the lack of HRs at Fenway? The HR splits for both the lineup and the staff seem extreme this year, though I haven't checked them lately, so I could be mistaken.

well, it's never been a great home run park plus, and we've had some nasty weather. i'd expect more home runs at home now that we've been getting some summer weather.
   13. John DiFool2 Posted: July 09, 2006 at 06:43 PM (#2092943)
I think everyone's been too hard on Tek. His secondary average
is just a bit off his career norms-he's basically missing about
7 singles: big whoop. I dunno about the D and pitch calling-
the latter is too hard to sort out from what the pitcher does.

It may be tho that they will have to find a starter in a trade:
I'm not sure about this staff's chances in the postseason as
currently constructed. I still think a lot of Beckett's HRs
are a matter of bad luck, but I could be wrong: 21% of his
balls in the air (acc. to ESPN) are homers? In terms of
outfield flies that would likely be pushing 30% or so, which
would be completely unprecendented for a whole season.
   14. nycfan Posted: July 09, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2093051)
I still think a lot of Beckett's HRs
are a matter of bad luck


Probably true, but his .245 BABIP is good luck. In the end, they probably balance each other out.
   15. Darren Posted: July 09, 2006 at 10:16 PM (#2093383)
Don't know why we'd want Abreu, other than the fact that he's a great hitter. Maybe their defensive metrics like him.
   16. Addicted To Glove Posted: July 10, 2006 at 02:45 AM (#2093715)
I think you'll see Wily Mo in CF and Coco in RF next year, and Trot somewhere else. As has been pointed out anybody who signs him to a long term deal is playing with fire.

All told, I have to say that if you had told me in March that we'd get zip from Clement and almost zip from Wells, and both Seanez and Tavarez were sucking, that we'd have won 50 games at the break, I'd be very happy with that.
   17. Joel W Posted: July 10, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2093801)
Beckett's HR/FB is insanely high. It's about twice what the average pitcher does. I'm sure it's a mixture of Darren's hypothesis (I lean towards Tek's gamecalling) and luck. If it falls to 13-14% for the rest of season he could be better. Frankly his component line is very weird. Very few LDs, a huge number of flyballs turning into homeruns. I think he might be throwing too many fastballs. The hard fastballs might keep the LDs down but will also increase the HRs?

Arthur I sort of like that Wily/Coco thing for next year too; though maybe Coco in left on the road and Manny in right? Do teams ever do that?
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 10, 2006 at 12:06 PM (#2093951)
Great post, Darren. Not much with which to quibble, but I'll do my best.

For the Beckett stuff, it seems like THT's stats are interesting in this case. ERA of 4.75, FIP of 5.75, xFIP of 4.50. So, exactly as nycfan said, the line drives and the homers pretty much balance out. There's been way too much hard contact off Beckett for him to be an effective front-of-the-rotation starter. I didn't really expect that. As I've discussed before, I'm really growing to dislike Beckett for his apparent inability or lack of desire to make adjustments. There's no way a guy with his stuff should be struggling so consistently. I don't like it.

The Wily Mo question you bring up is a good one. Really, the Sox as presently constructed are a terrible fit for Wily Mo. He seems like a liability at every defensive position, and the Sox have the best DH in baseball. Not only that, but putting Wily Mo at LF or 1B would entail moving an excellent hitter to a defensive position where he'd be quite a bit worse, thus doubly hurting the team defense. I guess the happy scenario is that Youkilis is a solid average 3B, and Wily Mo can be such at 1B. I think htat's pretty unlikely, but I guess it's possible.

The idea of Wily Mo taking Nixon's job scares the hell out of me, and out of the Red Sox pitching staff. What will they do with him next year?
   19. PJ Martinez Posted: July 10, 2006 at 01:31 PM (#2094010)
I doubt the Sox will move Manny around; comfort seems a major concern for him. Perhaps Wily Mo could play CF at home and RF on the road? Coco's arm is not made for RF, so I wouldn't expect him to play there full time, and I think he has better range than Wily Mo, even if neither of them are great. Not the easiest set of guys to work with defensively.
   20. Dizzypaco Posted: July 10, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2094017)
My only quibble with the post is batting Manny before Ortiz. There have been a few games won by the Sox this year because the opposition didn't walk Ortiz with the game on the line, and the reason they didn't walk Ortiz was that Manny was on deck. I'm usually not a believer in this stuff, but in this case, I want a great hitter hitting after Ortiz.
   21. Dave Cyprian Posted: July 10, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2094110)
Darren, nice post. I completely agree the team is doing quite well considering expectations. Around here we want them to come in and win right away, and so far they have been doing that. However, Trot Nixon is not going to sign with the Yankees next year. No freakin' way. Trot dislikes the Bombers, its obvious. There's a reason he was the one smashing the cooler after 2003 ALCS.

Interesting thoughts on the outfield and Coco/Wily Mo specifically. I'm sorry if I'm missed some posts or chatters or something but what the heck are all of you talking about Wily Mo playing center field when he returns? He was doing that when Coco was hurt, that was it. He's a CF back-up strictly, two reasons. One, Theo is in love with Coco and will give him at least a year and a half (call it Millar-time) to get his feet wet. Second, they already admitted as much by trying to get him some time at 1st base.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 10, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#2094123)
Varitek's another one. He's hitting 230/315/385, which is, you know, bad.

The main difference between 2006 and 04/05, though, is singles. Singles account for a bit more than 2/3 of the decline. So, one could argue that luck plays a part.

The thing that makes me pause, however, is that Varitek's LD% and HR/FB are both down by notable margins this year. That suggests he just isn't hitting the ball very hard. It seems reasonable - especially having watched Varitek hit this year - to assume that the grounders he's hitting this year are less likely to turn into base hits than the grounders last year. And so a good chunk of the decline would be quite real.

I think Varitek's a good bet to get back up toward a 750 OPS, as I am sure he's not a real .230 hitter. But I don't expect a particularly good second half.
   23. PJ Martinez Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:38 PM (#2094194)
"There have been a few games won by the Sox this year because the opposition didn't walk Ortiz with the game on the line, and the reason they didn't walk Ortiz was that Manny was on deck."

But presumably they would pitch to Manny in that spot, too, right? Flipping them in the order means he's the one at bat in those situations, and I have no problem with that.

I'm with most people on this board in thinking that Youk/Nixon/Manny/Ortiz would be fantastic. Loretta could hit second against lefties.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2094206)
According to THE BOOK, teams should never bat their best hitter 3rd, especially if he has great on-base skills. The 3rd spot in the order is the least likely to lead off an inning, and the most likely to bat with the bases empty and two outs. Players with excellent on-base skills have less value in the #3 spot than in the surrounding spots (1-2, 4-5).

Batting Manny after Ortiz is exactly what the Red Sox should be doing, according to our best statheads, according to my memory.

I can agree with wanting someone else in the two-hole, but that would have to be Nixon, and then you've gotta switch Manny with Ortiz, which is apparently a downgrade. It's probably still worth it to get Trot up there, depending on how much of his OBP spike is real, but I don't see it as that much of an upgrade.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#2094207)
Youks-Manny-Papi-Lowell-Nixon?

But, of course, that will never happen. I think it's probably the way to go, if anyone could sell it to the players.
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2094221)
How many MORE runs do the Sox need to score to make you folks happy? The team is averaging 5.65 runs per game and on pace for over 900 runs scored this season.

I think Sox fans should be more interested in Loretta/Lowell/Nixon all staying healthy and productive for the second half rather then fussing over who hits where.
   27. chris p Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2094232)
every little bit counts, harveys. we really could have used another yesterday afternoon ... err evening.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#2094238)
How many MORE runs do the Sox need to score to make you folks happy? The team is averaging 5.65 runs per game and on pace for over 900 runs scored this season.

I think Sox fans should be more interested in Loretta/Lowell/Nixon all staying healthy and productive for the second half rather then fussing over who hits where.
I think we're happy and we're interested in people being healthy, but it's Home Run Derby day. What should we be doing - working?
   29. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2094248)
it's never been a great home run park

Actually, it used to be a great home run park (especially for RHBs, of course). Across the 1960s and 1970s it was one of the best HR parks in baseball. What's happened in more recent decades is that many other parks have come to be just as HR-friendly, of not moreso, so on a relative basis Fenway is no longer a great HR park.
   30. PJ Martinez Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2094254)
"According to THE BOOK, teams should never bat their best hitter 3rd, especially if he has great on-base skills. The 3rd spot in the order is the least likely to lead off an inning, and the most likely to bat with the bases empty and two outs. Players with excellent on-base skills have less value in the #3 spot than in the surrounding spots (1-2, 4-5)."

Most teams don't have a Youkilis to lead off, though, or an Ortiz to bat cleanup. Maybe that doesn't change the above, but my own sense is that lineup rules have to be adjusted some from team to team.

And, yes, these are minor quibbles, but I'm not sure what else to discuss. I don't see any obvious trades that make sense (the whole Abreu thing clealry doesn't), and I'm fairly happy with the way the bullpen is shaping up.

On the other hand, what's this I hear about Tavarez possibly maybe perhaps getting a start at some point? Seems worth a gander to me. I imagine he'd be a bargain as a 5th starter if he could keep his ERA around 5 or so, and go 5-6 innings per start.
   31. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2094256)
Steve:

I believe some renovations in the late 80's also having an impact. I seem to remember a SABR presentation discussing the Fenway homer rate dipping around 1990 or so. But perhaps my neurons are misfiring..........
   32. Jon T. Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2094268)
They put in the .406 club seats behind homeplate and it changed the wind currents around the park, decreasing home runs.
   33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2094280)
jon:

When was that renovation work done?
   34. Josh Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2094284)
This year.
   35. Dizzypaco Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#2094286)
When was that renovation work done?

It was back in the 1980's, I believe. Wade Boggs was the first to notice that the hitting environment was changed after the 406 club was put on.

The Red Sox have constantly tinkered with Fenway over the past twenty years, looking for ways to add revenue. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other changes that affected wind currents.
   36. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:04 PM (#2094288)
They put in the .406 club seats behind homeplate and it changed the wind currents around the park, decreasing home runs.

Actually, they just destroyed the 406 club this year, but they did build three new towers right next to the field that I'm sure have effected wind.

EMC Club
   37. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2094301)
The Red Sox have constantly tinkered with Fenway over the past twenty years, looking for ways to add revenue. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other changes that affected wind currents.

No doubt. But other ballparks get tinkered with all the time too.

I think it's a very safe assumption that the primary driver in making Fenway stand out less as a HR and run-scoring park in the modern era has far less to do with the structure itself than it has to do with the collection of ballparks it's being compared against.
   38. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2094325)
Steve:

Quite possibly. But I am fairly certain the research I saw showed a pretty dramatic dip that remained with respect to home run frequency.

Now if I could just FIND it. Grrrr.........
   39. Dizzypaco Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2094328)
I think it's a very safe assumption that the primary driver in making Fenway stand out less as a HR and run-scoring park in the modern era has far less to do with the structure itself than it has to do with the collection of ballparks it's being compared against.

Without seeing any studies, I don't think this is a very safe assumption at all. My instinct is that the degree to which Fenway has dropped as a HR park in the last twenty years is much greater than what would be predicted by the introduction of other parks. At least I think this is true, once again, a study would be helpful.

And its also very possible that the tinkering has had a greater impact on Fenway than it would on other parks.
   40. chris p Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#2094334)
aside from whether fenway has become less of a home run park over the last 20 years, i'd guess that open air parks in the north have a lower run scoring environment for the first couple of months of the saeson (and in october). again, a study would be helpful.
   41. Darren Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:17 AM (#2094957)
My only quibble with the post is batting Manny before Ortiz. There have been a few games won by the Sox this year because the opposition didn't walk Ortiz with the game on the line, and the reason they didn't walk Ortiz was that Manny was on deck. I'm usually not a believer in this stuff, but in this case, I want a great hitter hitting after Ortiz.

Even if we take it as given that such protection exists, you're playing a zero-sum game here. If the Red Sox are winning games because teams have to pitch to Ortiz, aren't they also losing games because teams are able to pitch around Manny. Wouldn't flipping them mean that teams would no longer be able to pitch around Manny (who's actually a better hitter)? I actually think it would be even more effective, protection-wise, because Ortiz has more of a reputation as a super clutch god.

According to THE BOOK, teams should never bat their best hitter 3rd, especially if he has great on-base skills. The 3rd spot in the order is the least likely to lead off an inning, and the most likely to bat with the bases empty and two outs. Players with excellent on-base skills have less value in the #3 spot than in the surrounding spots (1-2, 4-5).

I'm a little surprised by this. But still, you're going to have one of your best hitters, either Manny or Papi, in the #3 spot. I would think that simulations would show that it's better to have the big OBP guy (and better all-around hitter) getting more PAs and hitting in front of the big power guy. As you note, the best way to accomplish this is probably to bat Manny 2nd, but that ain't happening. (Neither is my idea, of course.)
   42. Steve Treder Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:27 AM (#2094972)
Without seeing any studies, I don't think this is a very safe assumption at all. My instinct is that the degree to which Fenway has dropped as a HR park in the last twenty years is much greater than what would be predicted by the introduction of other parks.

Why? There has been unprecedented turnover in ML parks over the past 20 years, as well as unprecedented revision in the scheduling practices. Fenway is being compared against a wider variety of new and different parks in the modern era than ever before, by a long shot.

And its also very possible that the tinkering has had a greater impact on Fenway than it would on other parks.

It's possible, of course, but why should be think it likely? Parks such as Oakland and Anaheim have had vastly more significant reconfigurations than Fenway.
   43. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:29 AM (#2095062)
Has the AL been affected by the more offense-friendly ballparks as much as the NL? It would seem that the addition of Safeco and Comerica would mitigate much of the offensive improvements in the other new parks (Arlington, Jacobs, Camden Yards, Trop, New Comiskey), with Arlington the only one that seems to really boost offense. That, plus the fact that Fenway's PF may be somewhat artificially boosted by the club's seeming ability to find hitters that excel there would lead me to believe the renovations have had a bigger impact than Steve suggests.
   44. Dave Cyprian Posted: July 11, 2006 at 12:29 PM (#2095148)
Good article here from Bruce Allen at BSMW re: Manny and the media. I think Allen does a good job ripping the media for their incessant attacks on Manny's trivial character flaws while minimalizing his exquisite ability. He rightly speculates the true origin of this mess is Manny's refusal to speak to the media. That would annoy me if I was a sportswriter, but it certainly wouldn't give me license to 'pick on' him from my bully pulpit.

Manny is the best hitter on the Red Sox, will be and has been for years, and I'm sure glad we never traded him.
   45. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: July 11, 2006 at 12:52 PM (#2095157)
I'd like to see Rudy Seanez suffer a debilitating disease.

That would make me happy.
   46. PJ Martinez Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:45 PM (#2095195)
So, does no one want to make a trade to beef up this roster? That seems typical, on the one hand, as SABR-friendly fans, in my experience, are more wary of mid-season deals than most. In this case, I tend to agree-- not that I'm opposed to the Sox making a deal, by any means, I'm just not sure how they could acquire an impact player without giving up players who are already helping them, thus mitigating the impact.

This seems especially true given that the team's greatest need is a good starting pitcher, a 2 or 3, and those guys don't come cheap. I have enough faith in Delcarmen and Hansen to be not terribly worried about the bullpen at this point, the offense is fine, and the defense is decent. Should they trade for a bench player? Cora has been surprisingly effective, I'm ok with Kapler. Could they use (and acquire, for that matter) a Craig Wilson type? Or are we set with Wily Mo coming back eventually? And wouldn't it be nice if Hee Seop Choi was hitting at all?
   47. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:48 PM (#2095199)
So, does no one want to make a trade to beef up this roster?

I just want to get Wily Mo Pena back, and Choi freed.
   48. Toby Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2095214)
The roster is fine, especially if we can get anything useful from Wells and Foulke in August and September.
   49. Jon T. Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2095290)
I would like one more average starting pitcher, so we don't need to see the likes of Jason Johnson anymore.

Harvey, the first season with the .406 club was 1989 I believe. The new renovation should further decrease homers according to the studies the club did. The difference is supposed to be very small though.
   50. chris p Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2095300)
well, we need another 1B of some sort. i think youks, loretta, and mirabelli are the only guys on the roster with experience at 1B.
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2095307)
This seems especially true given that the team's greatest need is a good starting pitcher, a 2 or 3, and those guys don't come cheap. I have enough faith in Delcarmen and Hansen to be not terribly worried about the bullpen at this point, the offense is fine, and the defense is decent. Should they trade for a bench player? Cora has been surprisingly effective, I'm ok with Kapler. Could they use (and acquire, for that matter) a Craig Wilson type? Or are we set with Wily Mo coming back eventually? And wouldn't it be nice if Hee Seop Choi was hitting at all?
I don't really follow. You seem to be dismissing the possibility of acquiring a starter, and I think that's exactly what the Sox need to do. The offense is good and the bench is good. The bullpen is good. The starting pitching, particularly the back of the rotation, is terrible.

The Red Sox need to weigh the likelihood of Clement or Wells returning and pitchign effectively. If that's not too likely, they need to get into the starting market. As any pitcher with something like 2-3 ability will probably cost a ridiculous amount, I'm hoping the Sox go for just someone competent - someone like Jason Johnson circa 2005. Someone like Jeff Suppan circa 2004, I guess, except I want it to work out.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2095325)
well, we need another 1B of some sort. i think youks, loretta, and mirabelli are the only guys on the roster with experience at 1B.
Wily Mo claims to have played a bunch of 1B in the winter leagues, and he's been playing there some on rehab. And, of course, our DH can play a position in a pinch. I don't think a backup 1B is too necessary on the roster, especially since Youkilis should be playing pretty much every day regardless.
   53. PJ Martinez Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2095376)
Well, I dismissed the idea because, in my opinion, the Sox need more of a frontline starter than a back one. I'm more optimistic than some, I guess, that someone within the organization can fill that 5th spot adequately. I certainly don't want the Sox to trade someone of significant value for a 5th starter type. I don't think it was just bad luck that the Suppan trade didn't work out-- the Sox gave up a reasonably promising player for a mediocre guy having a decent year. I realize there may have been various circumstances that made such a risk palatable, but in general I think that's a bad move.

I guess the Sox could make another Johnson-esque deal where they basically take someone off a team's hands. This might be easiest if there's an ok but not that good starter who makes good money on a bad team. Anyone fit that description? Or are there any particular starters people think the Sox should and could acquire?
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#2095390)
No thread on the Red Sox hiring Allard Baird? C'mon, you guys could be on the verge of trading Jon Lester for Neifi Perez!
   55. chris p Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2095435)
Wily Mo claims to have played a bunch of 1B in the winter leagues, and he's been playing there some on rehab.

oh right i forgot about him.
   56. Jon T. Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:42 PM (#2095441)
We hired Baird?
   57. Dizzypaco Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2095468)
Yup, he's now a "special assignment scout" for the Red Sox. Whatever that means.
   58. esturminator_CT Posted: July 12, 2006 at 02:27 PM (#2096642)
Getting back to the review at midseason, and in particular to the catching situation . . . I love Tek, and I'm happy to have Belli back to handle Wake, but I really wish we didn't have to trade Josh Bard to reacquire Dougie. It sounded like everyone on the club thought very highly of Bard at the time. Apparently the FO thought enough of him to trade Shoppach, who was one of the Red Sox top rated prospects, for him in the Coco deal. Since moving on to San Diego, he's .384/.435/.607 with 20 RBI and only 18 K's in 44 games. Even in his 7 less than stellar games in a Red Sox uniform his OBP was .381. Shoppach meanwhile is .294/.368/.441 in a much smaller sampling with Cleveland (only 14 games). While Tek has great value to the team as a leader and in calling games for the pitching staff, his .232/.316/.386 is a little worrisome in that it represents really a 3 to 4 year trend in decay of offensive performance. If I use Morong and Arneson's Line-up Analyzer, a catcher with Bard's OBP and SLG could make as much as a 0.5 Run/Game difference to the production of the Red Sox line-up as it currently stands. Certainly Belli, who is 2 years older and whose offensive numbers are far worse than Tek's is not a long term replacement. Who do the Sox have in the system currently in the event Tek gets injured and who can also be around for catching the promising young arms on this staff in the future? That is my biggest worry right now with this team. Otherwise the bench is solid, the regulars are productive, the defense is the best we've seen in years, the starting staff is a little ragged due to injuries but is still perhaps adequate or better when compared to most other staffs around the league, and the bullpen is coming into it's own reasonably well now that Francona seems to be focusing on the young guys and Timlin. I wouldn't mind seeing Baird et. al. identify a useful back of the rotation guy or a serviceable long reliever that allowed Tavarez to slot in as a temporary starter until Clement and/or Wells are back healthy. Speaking of Baird and his KC ties, what is the status of Zach Greinke and would the Royals welcome a deal for this troubled kid?
   59. bwright Posted: July 12, 2006 at 02:36 PM (#2096652)
Catcher is an issue, but with Tek locked up and Mirabelli required, we're likely to see no movement. That's okay, stick them at the end of the lineup. As for lineup construction - I think Ortiz gets more value from Manny's protection than vice versa. Manny is self protecting. Manny then Trot also exposes other teams to making tactical mistakes. They will want their lefty for Ortiz or Trot, but not agaist Manny.

You need an extra bat on the bench, that bat is Willy Mo. He covers for all three outfielders getting injured, the DH, the 1b, and the 3b, how? Any OF gets hurt he takes their spot. Ortiz gets hurt he slides in. Youklis gets hurt, Ortiz and him split DH and 1b. Lowell gets hurt Youklis slides to 3b, see above. Longer term, he is insurance if Nixon leaves, if a great Manny or Coco trade comes up, etc. Manny's knee will need some rest until he can have cleaned in the offseason, so between spotting Coco, resting Manny, and platoonning on the road with Nixon, PH and Lowell and Youklis getting time off, he'll get his ABs in.

Pitching is a concern. Lowell is the big question, if he gets his stuff together we are fine. Clement or Lowell will be okay. I'm hopefull about Foulke. BTW the FA bullpen thing: Timlin and Foulke were both good signings. Whatever they pay Foulke is more than made up by the fact they won the World Series.
   60. bwright Posted: July 12, 2006 at 02:42 PM (#2096659)
This team could have gotten away carrying a third LH catcher too.
   61. Dizzypaco Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:04 PM (#2096694)
While Tek has great value to the team as a leader and in calling games for the pitching staff, his .232/.316/.386 is a little worrisome in that it represents really a 3 to 4 year trend in decay of offensive performance.

3 to 4 year trend in decay? His OPS+ from 2003 to 2005 was 120, 121, and 125. I don't think this qualifies as a decline. I think its more accurate to say his performance was remarkably stable, and then fell off a cliff this year.

I love Tek, and I'm happy to have Belli back to handle Wake, but I really wish we didn't have to trade Josh Bard to reacquire Dougie.

It would have been nice if Bard could catch a knuckleball, but he couldn't so it was a no-brainer.

Apparently the FO thought enough of him to trade Shoppach, who was one of the Red Sox top rated prospects, for him in the Coco deal.

I think its more accurate to say the Red Sox didn't think particularly high of Shoppach, had Varitek locked up for three more years, and desperately needed a center fielder. I doubt they ever though particularly highly of a back up catcher with a .289 on base percentage. They probably thought he would be adequate as a back up catcher. I don't think there was much of a reason to think Bard would outhit Mirabelli, and there was no way in Hell he was going to get Tek's at bats.
   62. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:27 PM (#2096727)
Nixon against lefties makes me emo
   63. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2096750)
"It would have been nice if Bard could catch a knuckleball, but he couldn't so it was a no-brainer."

It would have been nice if someone in Boston's front office had KNOWN that Bard couldn't catch a knuckleball before he was acquired, in which case these trades wouldn't have been needed in the first place. That strikes me as the no-brainer.
   64. Dizzypaco Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2096761)
It would have been nice if someone in Boston's front office had KNOWN that Bard couldn't catch a knuckleball before he was acquired, in which case these trades wouldn't have been needed in the first place. That strikes me as the no-brainer.

I don't see what the front office should have done differently. First, I didn't like the idea of trading Mirabelli, but they were getting Loretta in return, so it would have been difficult to turn that down. Second, how could they have known which catchers could learn to catch the knuckleball and which couldn't? Its not like most catchers have a whole lot of history doing it in the past.

In the grand scheme of things, its hard to imagine how things could have worked out better - the Sox ended up getting Loretta and Mirabelli to catch Wakefield.
   65. cal Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2096764)
why is it written in stone that the backup catcher has to catch Wakefield. Can't the backup catch once a week on a given day or just any other starter. If your answer is that catching the knuckler is too tough for the starter to do every time, then let the backup catch two games a week. I like Dougie (he's a stud who at one time hit bombs) but I still don't really understand why they gave up on Bard so quickly. He didn't have to keep catching Wakefield.
   66. SoSH U at work Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2096785)
why is it written in stone that the backup catcher has to catch Wakefield. Can't the backup catch once a week on a given day or just any other starter. If your answer is that catching the knuckler is too tough for the starter to do every time, then let the backup catch two games a week. I like Dougie (he's a stud who at one time hit bombs) but I still don't really understand why they gave up on Bard so quickly. He didn't have to keep catching Wakefield.


I think the FO remembered the last time the starting catcher tried to catch Wakfield (ALCS against the Yanks). They probably figured his skills hadn't improved much through disuse.
   67. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2096786)
"Second, how could they have known which catchers could learn to catch the knuckleball and which couldn't?"

If you are acquiring a person whose main job is to catch a knuckleball pitcher, then wouldn't you want to know (1) whether the person actually CAN catch a knuckleball pitcher and/or (2) how difficult it is for a catcher with no experience to catch a knuckleballer? If you are getting rid of a guy who catches a knuckleballer, isn't it imperative that you do this analysis?
   68. Dizzypaco Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2096798)
If you are acquiring a person whose main job is to catch a knuckleball pitcher, then wouldn't you want to know (1) whether the person actually CAN catch a knuckleball pitcher and/or (2) how difficult it is for a catcher with no experience to catch a knuckleballer? If you are getting rid of a guy who catches a knuckleballer, isn't it imperative that you do this analysis?

Well for the first question, you still didn't answer how they are supposed to do this analysis. How do you figure out whether this guy or that guy can learn to catch a knuckleball when none of them have had to do it in the past? There's no data, no reliable information. All they knew is that Bard works hard and was willing to give a full effort to try, which seems pretty reasonable.

As to the second question, I think they knew that it would be difficult, but its not like they had a whole lot of other options. They figured that some guys could learn it and some couldn't, and they'd take a chance on someone.

The only other option they had was not trading Mirabelli in the first place, which means not acquiring Mark Loretta.
   69. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2096801)
It's written in stone because somebody has to catch Wakefield and Varitek apparently stinks at it. It was a bummer that Bard couldn't learn it a little more quickly, but it was costing the team games. It was a trial by fire that just didn't work out, sadly. It would have been awesome if Bard had been able to do it, and he'd probably be starting twice a week (or more, depending on how bad Varitek's pulled butt is) now if he were here.

(1) whether the person actually CAN catch a knuckleball pitcher and/or (2)how difficult it is for a catcher with no experience to catch a knuckleballer?

I'm sure the Red Sox would have loved to do that analysis, if they didn't do it already. There's a sample size of what, like 3 guys? I'm guessing the result would be something like, "it's not easy, but with some practice you could learn." There's only one guy in the majors who throws a knuckleball well (ie, throws it 90% of the time), so trying it out is pretty much the only way you're going to be able to do an "analysis". I'm sure the Indians weren't going to let Wakefield throw to Bard to find out. It's a pretty specialized skill, and since Mirabelli was bringing back Loretta, I think they were understandably willing to give it a shot with Bard.
   70. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 12, 2006 at 04:44 PM (#2096802)
Whoops. I've gotta refresh before I post.
   71. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:30 PM (#2096846)
I think it's too early for Sox fans to jump ship on Tek. A year ago Yankee fans were saying much the same about Posada, and he's been stellar this season.
   72. esturminator_CT Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2096871)
Glad to see there are others out there as concerned about the long term catching role on this team as I am.

I think I pretty much understand what went into the original acquisition of Bard and can't really fault the Red Sox FO too much on the moves one-by-one. I just wish there was more of a plan going into it.

Loretta for Dougie was a good move if they weren't bringing back Mueller or going back after Todd Walker at 2B. After all, Loretta plays everyday vs. Mirabelli once a week and heck, Loretta's an All-Star. Still, I hated to see Dougie go, because I feel Wake has been an extremely important piece of the puzzle over the past several years and I doubted he'd be as comfortable or confident with anyone else behind the plate. Once Belli was gone, and they apparently didn't think Shoppach could learn to handle Wake's Knuck (and perhaps that he was overrated as a prospect anyhow) they needed to make another acquisition. They brought in Bard, Flaherty, and Huckaby from Toronto (what's up with him? I see he has a .456 OPS in 57 Games w/ Pawtucket - YUCK!) as potential back-up/specialist for the Knuck. Unfortunately the moves were all too close to the start of the season and they had not enough time to really allow any of these guys to fully learn the trade. I mean Wakefield can only throw so many pitches a week. So, they either needed to bring Dougie back or stop pitching Wake with anyone on base. With the pitching staff as it was/is the only option was bringing Belli back - and then obviously San Diego needed to save face with a decent catcher coming in exchange for what they had traded Mark Loretta away for.

But that leaves the Sox no catching long term. The top guy in either AAA or AA currently has an OPS of .669. They need to address this void in the system ASAP! I know there is a shortage of quality catchers league-wide, but a team with the resources of the Red Sox needs to be better stocked than this. It is a glaring, gaping hole when you look toward the last year or two of Tek's contract and beyond. From what I've been able to find, you need to look all the way down to 22 year-old Mark Wagner at Greenville, 21 year-old Roberto Sosa at the Gulf Coast, or 19 year-old Luis Exposito at Lowell to find any catcher in the organization showing signs of being able to put up reasonable offensive numbers.

Anyway, who has been catching Charlie Zink in the minors the last couple of seasons? Couldn't theat guy have served as the back-up and Wake's personal catcher while Bard put in the work to learn how to handle it more effectively?

It just seems like everything came about as isolated transactions rather than moves with a master plan thought out in advance. Much like the whole SS thing. Alex Gonzalez has turned out to be alot better than I thought he would be, because his defense is great and he's dramatically reduced his number of K's while apparently focusing less on the the dillusion of putting up big power numbers like he had in the past. But really, trading Hanley Ramirez in the Beckett/Lowell deal because they had Edgar Renteria signed for multiple years and then trading Edgar to get a chip to trade for Coco smacked of no real plan at SS. Sure the trade for Beckett and Lowell was a "no brainer" and Coco was obviously a major target for Theo - but did Hanley have to be included in the deal with the Marlins? I think Florida was mostly interested in nearly MLB-ready prospects for dumping of large contracts. Couldn't this have been done with other OF prospects as easily as a soon-to-be-needed SS? In retrospect the whole Nomar ---> OC ---> Edgar/Hanley ---> AGon progression over the past 2.5 seasons seems pretty ridiculous.

That's just my "hot button" at this point in what is otherwise a very successful and promising season to date.
   73. Dave Cyprian Posted: July 12, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2096888)
esturminator, if Varitek was seriously hurt, the Red Sox would trade for the best catcher they could possibly acquire. Its not really the giant organizational failure or mismanagement you are making it out to be. 'Tek has stunk it up quite a bit this year, much more than reasonably predictable. Thats really more his problem then the FO's.
   74. esturminator_CT Posted: July 12, 2006 at 07:54 PM (#2096997)
Dave, thanks for the counterpoint. I love 'Tek. I think I said that earlier. He's my favorite player on today's Red Sox. I have faith that, barring injury, his numbers will improve in the 2nd half to more closely represent those on the back of his baseball card for the past several years. Still, I am concerned about the long term plan. 'Tek's not getting younger. I don't want to wait for an injury or ultimately his retirement and then deal for the best catcher they can possibly acquire because the cost will be too high once the need is urgent. I'd like to have a guy there that 'Tek and 'Belli can mentor. I'm not trying to blame the FO for lack of offensive production at C. It's not a real issue at this point. 'Tek is doing enough to allow the Red Sox to win consistently and he'll heat up after the All-Star break. His value to the young portion of the pitching staff probably far outweighs his offensive role at this point anyhow. My only issue with the FO is a plan for the future and a hole that in my opinion should be filled before they are dealing from a position of dire need.
   75. bsperounis Posted: July 13, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#2097635)
Hanley Ramirez was the key piece in the deal for the Marlins to move Beckett. No Hanley in the deal and no Beckett.

The best OBP guy should bat 4th and Manny has historically been that bat and hits in that spot. Papi is good in the #3 hole. An argument could be made that Nixon is the best choice for the 2-hole against righties but Loretta makes a solid #2 hitter and hitting him there provides consistency at the top of the lineup.

I would not be shocked to see the Red Sox make a move for Abreu and quite a bit of logic exists for such a move. The money Abreu would cost basically comes off the books after this season with the contracts of Nixon and Foulke expiring. If such a deal were to be considered, I would suggest moving Nixon and Crisp in such a deal for Abreu. I think Wily Mo can handle playing CF as Crisp is not that great there as it is and I would move Crisp for Abreu. Nixon is irrelevant as he is gone at the end of the season anyway. Youks, Loretta, Ortiz, Manny, Abreu, Wily Mo, Lowell is a formidable front 7.
   76. PJ Martinez Posted: July 13, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2097794)
"The best OBP guy should bat 4th"

Why is this?

Nixon and Crisp for Abreu might make some sense, though I don't think it's likely. Crisp's defensive numbers so far have been very bad-- but that's in a pretty small sample. Anecdotally, he seems to get bad reads fairly often, but usually makes up for that in speed. When he does get a good read, he can catch almost anything, it seems. Overall, I think he might be slightly below average in CF, but not the -17 currently showing up in Dial's metrics, or the -24 showing up in mgl's.

Those defensive numbers are crucial, because if there really isn't a big difference between Wily Mo and Coco defensively, then dealing Crisp and Nixon for Abreu might work. Obviously, it depends on how highly Philly rates Coco (I'm presuming the Sox would not also need to include a major prospect-- no one in their top 5; otherwise, it's too much).

Or maybe the trade could be Nixon and Wily Mo, if Philly likes Pena? I do wonder to what extent marketing would play into this-- Coco was clearly made a big part of Sox marketing this spring. Of course, they traded Nomar, and, thanks to the injury, I don't think Sox fans have gotten that attached to Coco. But it would at least appear to be a pretty significant change in direction.
   77. NTNgod Posted: July 14, 2006 at 09:07 AM (#2098629)
Looks like Wily Mo will be behind Kapler on the depth chart, at least to start with:
Outfielder Wily Mo Pena (left hamate surgery) is expected to get 10 to 15 more at-bats on his rehab assignment with Pawtucket through the weekend. He could rejoin Boston Monday, but Francona acknowledged yesterday he wasn't sure how he'd be able to use Pena because the outfield is crowded already, with Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp and Trot Nixon the normal starters and Gabe Kapler as the fourth outfielder.

But Francona did say that Pena will not be playing first base in Boston, saying that if he wanted to rest Kevin Youkilis for a day or if something were to happen in a game that necessitated a change, he would use second baseman Mark Loretta at first base.

Providence Journal (RR)

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 1.0225 seconds
60 querie(s) executed