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   1. Darren Posted: September 15, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4236566)
I would really like to know what Linares could do in the Majors. It'd be nice to be getting him some time in there right now, but the Sox seem more interested in getting ABs for Scott Podsednik (33 PA in the past 2 weeks). Alternatively, it would be nice to be seeing more of what Kalish and Nava have to offer. I'm really confused about why the Sox management wouldn't feel the same way.

At 1B, Mauro Gomez's great minor league #s and .297 .346 .459 in the bigs (looks like a $22 mil. player!) make a strong case that he could be a cheap 1B option next year. The obvious question is his defense. If it's adequate, as Sox Prospects indicates, then he's a real candidate for a near-full-time job in 2013. If it's as bad as BBRef says, he's not a real option. I'd love him to also get some more playing time in these meaningless games. (Loney, who I hoped might blossom away from LA, and still might, hasn't done much.)
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 15, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4236577)
I would really like to know what Linares could do in the Majors. It'd be nice to be getting him some time in there right now, but the Sox seem more interested in getting ABs for Scott Podsednik (33 PA in the past 2 weeks). Alternatively, it would be nice to be seeing more of what Kalish and Nava have to offer. I'm really confused about why the Sox management wouldn't feel the same way.
It's really hard for me not to blame this on Bobby V. Clearly Podsednik has no place on the next good Red Sox team, and both Nava and Kalish very well might. On Linares, though, there seems to be an organization-wide consensus that he's worse than his stats. Some folks at SoSH have suggested he is entirely flummoxed by AAA breaking stuff and thus would be overmatched in the majors. But he's hit either way, and I'd rather see him get a shot.

I think that the slightly underwhelming outfield is partly a function of graduations. Ryan Kalish had a second season mostly lost to injury, but he's still a legit prospect who could be a major contributor next year. Daniel Nava appears to have taken a big qualitative step forward as a hitter and as a fielder, and he looks like he should be at least a 75% regular next year. Josh Reddick developed into an excellent major league... what? oh.

I'm definitely intrigued by the Gomez/Lefty X plan for 1B next year. Looking at random talent to poach, the Twins don't appear to be giving Chris Parmelee the playing time he deserves.
   3. tfbg9 Posted: September 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4236613)
Daniel Nava appears to have taken a big qualitative step forward as a hitter and as a fielder, and he looks like he should be at least a 75% regular next year


I sure hope not.

You wanna give 400-500 PA's at a spot where hitting is relatively cheap to acquire to Nava? He's 30 next year, and he's shown no real offensive skills except being able to get on base against righties at Fenway. He's put up a 102 OPS+ playing LF, and that's with his PA's slanted towards his strenths, IIRC. His outfield play and baseruning are meh. There's gotta be a better option in all of pro ball for the Boston Red Sox and their newfound disposable stacks at LF in 2013 than Daniel Nava/Some Other Cheap Platoon Guy.

I don't mind him on the 40 man, mind you, and he's an easy guy to root for, but c'mon.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 15, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4236691)
Teddy gets to a point I've been thinking about a fair bit the last couple of days. I don't think Nava is a bad player and this is true of several other guys the Sox might be bringing back next year; the Gomez platoon option, Ross, Saltalamacchia, Aviles...the problem is they are all good support players. Evaluating what the Sox should do with any of these players worth to the Sox requires at least some recognition I think that any of these players should also be considered replaceable as the Sox are currently in need of a star caliber player. I think it is difficult to expect the Sox to be a serious contender for with anyone on the current roster as their best player.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4236707)
teddy's entirely right about Nava. I should probably pay more attention to the team I theoretically blog about.
   6. Darren Posted: September 16, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4237227)
I think Jose summarizes it well. You're not going to get a star to fill every hole we have. One of the many possibilities is that we end up with a hole at a corner OF spot, and Nava/Ross/Kalish is a good option for that.
   7. tjm1 Posted: September 16, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4237284)
I think it is difficult to expect the Sox to be a serious contender for with anyone on the current roster as their best player.


I think a team with Pedroia as its best player could easily be a contender. His numbers this year are down mostly because of a stretch where he played hurt. A healthy Clay Buchholz could also be the best player on a contender.
   8. Darren Posted: September 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4237315)
Or Lester or Ellsbury.
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4237334)
I don't think Pedroia can truly be that player. I think a scenario where you compete when he's your best player requires no holes elsewhere in the lineup. It's tough to build a club with that expectation.

Ellsbury CAN be that player. My problem with him is how unlikely I think it is. In five MLB seasons he's got one great season, two injured seasons and two very ordinary seasons. Again, I think it's a matter of expectation and I don't think the sox should be counting on Jaciby Ellsbury to be a star.

I agree that Lester and Buchholz could be that player. I was thinking more of position players.
   10. tjm1 Posted: September 16, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4237341)
I don't think Pedroia can truly be that player. I think a scenario where you compete when he's your best player requires no holes elsewhere in the lineup. It's tough to build a club with that expectation.


He's won an MVP. I think he's just as good now as he was then.
   11. PJ Martinez Posted: September 16, 2012 at 09:42 PM (#4237548)
The "can you win it all with him as your best player" question seems way more suited to basketball than to baseball. The Red Sox need lots more good players, but I don't know that any single one of those new players has to be better than every player they've currently got.
   12. tjm1 Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM (#4237678)
The "can you win it all with him as your best player" question seems way more suited to basketball than to baseball. The Red Sox need lots more good players, but I don't know that any single one of those new players has to be better than every player they've currently got.


I totally agree. Also, a lineup which has a good-but-not-great player at every position is much less susceptible to having the whole season go down due to an injury or two than a lineup based on star players.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2012 at 07:13 AM (#4237694)
The question in baseball is much more, "can you win it all with this core?" Even though baseball is an individual game, evaluating a baseball team is all about the collective.

Pedroia-Ellsbury-Ortiz-Lester-Buccholz is a core that, to me, only maybe could win it all. If you get everyone on a good year, on a healthy year, then that's a playoff core. But I would definitely want two more core talents before I projected them as a good contender and playoff club. The job of the offseason is going to be firing Valentine, but then the next job of the offseason with be disinfecting the manager's office, but after that, Ben will have to find a way to acquire not just complementary talent, but one or two more stars.
   14. tjm1 Posted: September 17, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4238058)
Pedroia-Ellsbury-Ortiz-Lester-Buccholz is a core that, to me, only maybe could win it all.


Sure. There are some other guys on the roster who might be good enough to contribute at the level of "core" players. Middlebrooks was awfully good most of this year, and seems like a raw enough talent to have a good chance to get a lot better in a hurry. What will a healthy John Lackey do? Was his decline related to the injury, and if so, will he rebound to all-star caliber when he returns from injury? They need to acquire some real talent at 1B, but if Middlebrooks and Lackey step up and are +3.0 WAR players, which seems plausible, then they can probably get by with guys like Saltalamacchia filling other positions.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4238097)
CF Ellsbury
2B Pedroia
LF J Hamilton
1B/DH Napoli
DH/1B Ortiz
3B Wily Mo Middlebrooks
RF Kalish/Nava etc
C Saltaralphmaccio
SS barf
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4238100)
Sorry for the non-sequitur lineup
   17. Mattbert Posted: September 17, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4238591)
The job of the offseason is going to be firing Valentine, but then the next job of the offseason with be disinfecting the manager's office, but after that, Ben will have to find a way to acquire not just complementary talent, but one or two more stars.

They have to go hard after Justin Upton. Everyone in the minor league system bar Bogaerts and Bradley should probably be on the table.

LF J Hamilton
1B/DH Napoli


If they do that, they should have just kept Gonzo and Crawford.
   18. Mattbert Posted: September 17, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4238593)
Nice roundup, Jose, by the way...
   19. tjm1 Posted: September 17, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4238630)
If they do that, they should have just kept Gonzo and Crawford.


I can't see Hamilton and Napoli costing as much as Gonzalez and Crawford. Also, the Red Sox got a bit of talent back for Gonzalez and Crawford in the deal. If they can expect the same performance from Hamilton and Napoli, then that would definitely be a good set of moves to make.
   20. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4238658)
If they do that, they should have just kept Gonzo and Crawford.at L.A.

Uh, well sample sizes be damned! but this is Gonzo's line in LA thus far..233/287/372 OPS+...81! Oh and the celebrated homer he hit in his first game in LA...yeah, it's the only one thus far.

As for Crawford, we won't know for sure until next year, but I'm expecting him to continue sucking...no analysis needed.

Surely Hamilton and Napoli will exceed that.

   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 18, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4238853)
I agree with Mattbert about Hamilton/Napoli. It seems unwise to me to unload bad contracts then sign a couple of guys who look likely to be bad contracts themselves.

On the minor league front NBCSports is televising tonight's one game playoff between Pawtucket and Reno (Arizona) for the AAA Championship of the World! All kidding aside it's kind of a neat thing and it's not only a chance to see the Sox minor leaguers but Trevor Bauer is scheduled to start for Reno again Nelson Figueroa.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4238855)
I can see the case for Hamilton - he's a truly brilliant baseball talent, and he might be well served to take up a low-stress defensive job like Fenway LF and just focus on hitting. You're taking on huge risks by signing Hamilton, for all the obvious reasons, but I can see the case for his upside.

Napoli makes no sense to me at all. Outside of one fluke season (powered by a BABIP 40 points above his career average), Napoli has never been a good enough hitter to be a real asset at 1B/DH. The Red Sox have depth at catcher, so they wouldn't need him there. What's his purpose? (I guess if the Sox traded Lavarnway as part of a deal to get another star, you might do some sort of job-sharing with Napoli and Salty, but Napoli's likely to want a lot of money for that job.)
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4238858)
Uh, well sample sizes be damned! but this is Gonzo's line in LA thus far..233/287/372 OPS+...81! Oh and the celebrated homer he hit in his first game in LA...yeah, it's the only one thus far.

As for Crawford, we won't know for sure until next year, but I'm expecting him to continue sucking...no analysis needed.

Surely Hamilton and Napoli will exceed that.
Well, if the Sox sold high on Crawford and Gonzalez, good for them. But if Crawford and Gonzalez suck now, then it's not useful to compare possible acquisitions to them. The bar for major new signings has to be set much, much higher than "not terrible".
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4238865)
I guess the case for Napoli would be that he'll improve as a hitter once he's not forced to catch regularly? I could see that, if he weren't 31. But slow, thick guys in their 30s with a lot of catching wear on their legs don't immediately strike me as good upside plays.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4238888)
Napoli makes no sense to me at all. Outside of one fluke season (powered by a BABIP 40 points above his career average), Napoli has never been a good enough hitter to be a real asset at 1B/DH.


Career 126 OPS+ plays fine at first especially compared to the Sox' other options. They don't need to acquire 'real assets,' they just need more talent on the team. And he may come cheapish coming off a year dragged by a BABIP 20 points below his career average.

I guess the case for Napoli would be that he'll improve as a hitter once he's not forced to catch regularly?


Yes, this is also what I was thinking. Let him concentrate on hitting.
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4238897)
And he may come cheapish coming off a year dragged by a BABIP 20 points below his career average.
If Napoli is cheap, I mean, sure, what the hell. I'm assuming that Napoli's going to get something like 3/32 to 4/40, and I don't think that's a good price.
   27. Mattbert Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4238898)
Two expensive guys on the wrong side of 30 with a recent history of nagging injury problems! With the Red Sox medical staff! What could possibly go wrong?
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4238903)
Well, the idea would be that you make Josh Hamilton a left-fielder and throw away Napoli's shinguards, so you immediately cut down on their wear and tear. I can talk myself into Hamilton a lot more easily than I can talk myself into Napoli, but in both cases I start somewhere between 90/10 and 70/30 against.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4238909)
If Napoli is cheap, I mean, sure, what the hell. I'm assuming that Napoli's going to get something like 3/32 to 4/40, and I don't think that's a good price.


My idea was contingent on him signing for less than that.
   30. Mattbert Posted: September 18, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4238913)
Hamilton is a better bet from a performance standpoint, but back issues never really seem to go away. And then you've got the whole Boston media scrutiny thing. I can't see how that's anything but a disaster waiting to happen for a guy with a history of substance abuse problems and other personal crap.

Napoli is one of my favorite players in baseball, but I'd let him be someone else's eight-figure commitment through his mid-30s. If his bat speed goes, even a little, there ain't much left.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4238915)
Hamilton has not been as good as I thought he'd been in recent years. WAR 3.5 and 4.1 B-R, 4.1 and 4.8 by Fangraphs. He's got that huge 2009, but he also has a totally lost 2008. A guy who projects around 4 WAR getting $20M per season for at least five years? That's a big overpay with a lot of downside risk, and I can't see Hamilton signing for less than 5/100.

The Sox have assigned themselves a tough job. Talent is risky and expensive and the Sox need to acquire more talent using mostly money.

My crazy idea - trade for Cliff Lee. He's still a great pitcher, he's only signed for three more years, and he probably won't cost much talent. (This is, of course, if Amaro wants to deal, but he's at least very much worth looking into.)
   32. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4238922)
I like the idea of Lee a lot. A three year commitment for a guy who should be very very good is a hell of an acquisition.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4238926)
You'd rather pay Lee 4/$100m or 3/$88m than have Hamiltion for 5/$110 (hypothetically - just using the estimate in your post) ?
   34. Mattbert Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4238941)
Heavens, yes. Barring catastrophe, this will be five straight seasons of 200+ IP for Lee. At an average ERA+ of 141.

Hamilton's great, but he's also pretty much a lock to miss about a month's worth of games over the course of a season. When "healthy".
   35. jmurph Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4238945)
Let me jump on the "acquire Lee" bandwagon. I would love for them to make that happen. I can't imagine it would take much to convince Philly to part with him either, considering that, if my math is correct, they have more than eleventy-seventy chillion dollars committed to about 4 guys next year.
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4238953)
I'd bet that Lee misses more time in the next 4 years than Hamilton.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 18, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4238963)
I think Hamilton is going to require six years to sign and as Mattbert notes, health is not exactly part of the Josh Hamilton package. I think if the Sox acquired Hamilton he would quickly become my favorite player, I love watching him play, but I think his contract is going to be a problem fairly quickly.

I don't think I appreciated just how big Lee's deal is. I still like the idea of landing him ahead of trying to snag a Greinke or someone like that on a 6-7 year deal. My guess is that the Phils would try to unload Howard as part of a Lee deal based in part on the Sox' recent deal.
   38. Dan Posted: September 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4238982)
Didn't the Dodgers already try to get Lee's contract before taking on the Red Sox guys?

As I recall, Amaro said he was building around his three $100M pitchers, not dumping salaries.
   39. Jittery McFrog Posted: September 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4238986)
Not sure I'd favor signing either one, but I'd favor Hamilton over Lee.

For his career Hamilton has averaged ~5.4 bWAR per 162. It's true that Hamilton can be expected to miss a month or so per season, so one can only expect a portion of that*. But for a team with some $, there's no reason that month or so of games needs to be filled by a replacement level player. Hamilton + a month of (say) Cody Ross could still give you (say) ~4.5 wins, and then you've got a Cody Ross around for when Hamilton is healthy and other guys are not. In $/year, I'm guessing this sort of arrangement could be had for <= Lee alone.

(One would of course be exposing Hamilton to the Red Sox medical staff, which is an additional risk. But I don't think there's any realistic way for the Red Sox to be competitive again without an improvement in the way the organization handles injuries. Talent is going to be hard enough to come by as it is without avoiding talented players with injury histories.)

*EDIT: and then regress that, etc. Just talking loosely here.
   40. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4239166)
they have more than eleventy-seventy chillion dollars committed to about 4 guys next year.


Holy crap, you're right. The Red Sox have $44.4M in guaranteed contracts next year to 5 guys. They have 4 players with guaranteed contracts above $2.6M, although of course Ellsbury/Bailey/Salty etc will be making more than that. Total payroll including expected arb contracts looks to be $109.8M. With luxury tax at $178M, that's like $70M to play with. That's crazy. The Red Sox could afford to overpay Napoli (or Youkilis, if he'd be willing to come back) on a shortish deal and not even blink.

The 2014 FA class looks quite weak for position players (Ellsbury may be the class of the group, with Morse, Morneau, Morales, Reynolds), although there's some decent starting pitching (Johnson, Garza, Lincecum).

To tie this in with the thread theme, I don't really want the Red Sox to trade away a bunch of minor leaguers unless it's for someone exciting like Upton. Even Andrus might be exciting enough. But now that the Red Sox can't just buy young, cost-controlled talent in the draft or on the international market like they used to, I think prospects are probably more valuable now than ever. Most of the Red Sox high-ceiling minor league talent is at least a year or more year away from being dependable MLB starters (if they even get that far), so the Red Sox are going to need several impact guys from outside to bridge that gap.

   41. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4242109)
The Sox certainly now have some money to spend, but this does not mean they have to spend it this off-season. Anything is possible, I suppose, but this does not look like a team that will be competing at an elite level in 2013. I think the team has to look at 2013 as an opportunity to truly figure out if some of their talent is capable of being quality contributors on the next elite-level team. For example:

C - Can Lavarnway be a guy who is a primary catcher on a very good team? Salty is going to start making some money now, and I don't think he's getting any better than what we are seeing right now. We have a couple of guys in the minors who may be major-league starters in a few years, so if I'm the Sox, I plan for a 2013 with Lavarnway as the primary catcher, a low-dollar veteran backup behind him with strong defensive skills/decent OBP skills, and let go of Salty.

2B - Pedroia
3B - You let WMB play a full season, and let's see if he can hack it.
SS - I'm not just saying this because he hit a HR last night, but why not let Iglesias go into 2013 as the likely starter? Right now, I suspect his trade value is marginal, and you can't really keep him hangin out in AAA for all of 2013. We know he can field, and we know he's a better hitter than he's shown in the last few weeks. How bad does his bat have to be for it to more than counteract the defense, long-term team control, and millions of dollars of savings for 2013?
OF - I hate to sounds like a broken record, but how much value is Ellsbury really going to have on the trade market this winter? Damn little. Play out the contract, be open to a trade at the deadline if he's raking in 2013, but the team is struggling, and take your draft picks in the off-season. Pretty good chance Jackie Bradley will be playing at Fenway in 2014...
In terms of the other OF spots, I think this is an area where the team can spend money. Put Kalish in one spot, let him be the primary bat in one corner slot, maybe suppliment with a bat who can hit lefties, and spend money on one corner OF.
DH - Give Ortiz another higher-than-market-will-pay one-year deal.
1B - I honestly have no idea what to do with this. You hate to spend big money on a 1B unless they are uber-elite, and there is nobody in the system waiting for a chance...

SP - Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Morales, Lackey, Tazawa, right? Is that where we start the off-season?
RP - Bailey, Melanson, Miller, Breslow...if Bard comes back, it would probably be as a reliever, yes? Given the injuries, the Melanson implosion, etc., I think the team did a very good job of keeping the bullpen together for most of the year.

I'm willing to be patient, as a Red Sox fan, as long as the team shows they have a plan. If they want to play Lavarnway, WMB, Iglesias, Kalish, Tazawa, Doubront, and other youngsters big time in 2013, so that we can assess what we have, and what we need, I'm cool with that. But playing Mike Aviles next year, or Cody Ross, or Aaron Cook...guys like this have nothing to do with being really good again.
   42. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4242907)
Good stuff SBPT. I like the idea of Iglesias at short. They aren't going to contend so let's throw him in there.
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4242909)
Some awards for the minor leaguers today;

Player of the Year - Bogaerts
Pitcher of the Year - Brandon Workman
Defensive Player of the Year - Bradley
Base Runner of the Year - Cecchini
Latin Player of the Year - Margot
Latin Pitcher of the Year - Kelvin Heras
Lou Gorman Award (Dedication) - Daniel Nava
   44. Dan Posted: September 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4242919)
1B - I honestly have no idea what to do with this. You hate to spend big money on a 1B unless they are uber-elite, and there is nobody in the system waiting for a chance...


Oakland has some guy named Miles Head who hit for a 191 wRC+ in Hi A ball. Maybe they can find a guy like that to be the future at 1B?
   45. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4242926)
Oakland has some guy named Miles Head who hit for a 191 wRC+ in Hi A ball. Maybe they can find a guy like that to be the future at 1B?


I know you're just ######## about the trade but I think apples to apples Travis Shaw looks every bit as good as Head. 166 wRC+ at Hi A and better K and BB rates. Both got promoted with Shaw having a bit more success at AA than Head though Head was there longer. They are pretty similar right down to body concerns.

I haven't seen Head but from what I saw of Shaw he was underwhelming from a pure scouting standpoint I thought. Obviously one game is not enough to get too worked up over.
   46. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4244063)
C - Can Lavarnway be a guy who is a primary catcher on a very good team? Salty is going to start making some money now, and I don't think he's getting any better than what we are seeing right now. We have a couple of guys in the minors who may be major-league starters in a few years, so if I'm the Sox, I plan for a 2013 with Lavarnway as the primary catcher, a low-dollar veteran backup behind him with strong defensive skills/decent OBP skills, and let go of Salty.


Salty has one more year of arbitration - I would certainly keep him for 2013. At a bit over 1 WAR he is 'worth' 5 mill a year or so. I'd like to see him and Lavarnway as the catchers for next year. Get Lavarnway a set schedule of playing time and it might help Salty - he tends to do worse in the last third of the year.
   47. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4244069)
I haven't seen Head but from what I saw of Shaw he was underwhelming from a pure scouting standpoint I thought. Obviously one game is not enough to get too worked up over.
Miles Head is supposed to be the epitome of the bad-body slugger. A future DH was what all the scouts said a year ago. Apparently he played 3B in the Oakland system, so maybe the Sox screwed up that evaluation too.

Or maybe he's a future part-time DH who's being overrated based on huge numbers in the California League. I have developed a strong preference for just ignoring California League numbers, or characterizing them in very broad terms on a scale of "not good", "good", and "great", and waiting to see what sluggers do once they're playing on our planet again.
   48. Textbook Editor Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4244080)
My crazy idea - trade for Cliff Lee. He's still a great pitcher, he's only signed for three more years, and he probably won't cost much talent. (This is, of course, if Amaro wants to deal, but he's at least very much worth looking into.)


FWIW, the view of Joe Average Fan/talk radio in the Philly area is that Lee's lack of wins this year is... pretty much entirely his fault; something about lack of knowing how to win, blah, blah, blah. He's pitched better of late so the boo-birds of July aren't quite as vocal, but the "trade Lee so we have the money to pay Hamilton or Michael Bourne!!" contingent is still pretty vocal 'round here.

Which is a long way of saying: I think Amaro would entertain the option, but just know he'll likely either ask for Ellsbury or for premier pieces. Which is not to say the price wouldn't come down eventually, just that at the start he'll ask for an insane return on Lee, despite the fact anyone taking him on is doing him a bit of a favor, since there's essentially no money left in Philly to do very much aside from tinker around the edges of things.

I like the idea of bringing Lee in, but I don't for a minute think he won't start getting hit harder in the AL East; he's likely to slide up in ERA, etc. Still worth picking up if the cost is not much in talent and just taking on salary, but you're not getting his NL performance if you acquire him.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4244087)
As I recall, Amaro said he was building around his three $100M pitchers, not dumping salaries.

Yeah, I don't see any way Lee' available; unless you gave them substantial MLB talent.

Phillie has to be all in while there's still a chance Halladay, Utley and Howard will be good.
   50. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4244954)
Alex Speier at it again. Today he looks at guys who may or may not be added to the 40 man roster. The most interesting name on the list of guys he thinks won't be added is Alex Hassan based largely on his lack of power this year. I think he took a step back but without spending a lot of time with the 40 man roster I'd be surprised that the Sox don't have room for him when all is said and done.

Generally it's a pretty interesting piece.
   51. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4245374)
Baseball America has their Top 20 Gulf Coast League prospects out. The Sox have two players on the list; SS Tzu-Wei Lin (#8) and RHP Francellis (Frank) Montas (#20).

Couple of comments from the scouting reports (subscription required);

Lin - "After the season, Lin played in the 18-and-under world championships again and was named the tournament's most outstanding defensive player."

Montas - "Montas' fastball touched 100 mph last year and did so again consistently in 2012, sitting at 94-98"
   52. Nasty Nate Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4246252)
Varitek is being hired by the Sox in some capacity.

Part of the coaching staff next year?
   53. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4246306)
That was my thought too. I dearly hope it's not as manager though. I don't have any clue whether or not he'd be a good manager but if they hire him for that role now it's going to have a "win the off-season" feel to it rather than a well thought out search for the right guy.
   54. Nasty Nate Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4246315)
That was my thought too. I dearly hope it's not as manager though.


I agree. Maybe he could manage after being the bench coach for a while ... but I want whoever is the next manager to be able to choose his staff, rather than having Varitek foisted onto him.
   55. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4246532)
I thought it was Cafardo who brought this up recently, but I cannot find it now. According to the article I read Iglesias' original contract is up and his arbitration might be prohibitive. But I looked up his contract and it had a $6million bonus with $2 million in salary. Is the figure for arbitration is salary this year, presumably around $500K and not the salary plus the amortized value of his contract?

If the original article was mistaken, it would explain why I cannot find it.
   56. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4246547)
From Boston.com today this on Varitek's role;

It will probably not be as part of the major league coaching staff. “I will be involved in some way. We’re just putting the finishing touches on something and we’ll have it finalized soon," Varitek said.


Re: Iglesias I don't think he'd be arbitration eligible yet since I'm pretty certain the arb clock starts by playing in MLB, not signing an MLB contract. More importantly, there is no way his arbitration deal would come down as prohibitive. The guy who does sort of meet that criteria is Daniel Bard who even with the nightmare season probably can get a decent deal. I don't think any deal he'd get would be so outrageous as to cause the Sox any concern, particularly with the obligations they jettisoned last month.
   57. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4246563)
The premise of the article was that if you are basing arbitration off of his $2 million/year average value, he can get down to only $1.5 next year. It's not prohibitive, but it's not a bargain or saving much money for the projected production.

Again, cannot find it and it was Cafardo so it may have been wrong.
   58. karlmagnus Posted: September 26, 2012 at 08:32 PM (#4246740)
Since there isn't a separate thread for it, what about an all-Fenway team that forgets the existence of Tris Speaker? CFs are Lynn, Dom DiMaggio and Reggie Smith. Also Rich Gedman as second reserve catcher!

They have Smokey Joe Wood, so it's not a question of forgetting the original championship teams.
   59. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4246868)
That's what happens when you let fans vote for stuff. It was a pretty well done ceremony, lots of fun. Cool to see Clemens in the house, seems like they are greasing the skids to welcome him back in the fold fully if/when he gets elected to Cooperstown which is excellent as far as I'm concerned. Nice touch to have relatives of various deceased members of the All-Fenway teams do the "Play Ball" right before the game.
   60. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: September 27, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4247416)
I just stumbled over this little tidbit, Cherington on Dennis & Callahan:

One of the things, as I look back at last offseason, that didn't go perfectly was simply the amount of time that we spent on the manager search and what that did to the rest of the offseason. I would like to spend less time on it this offseason, that's for sure.


Presumably this is just Cherington displaying his weakness in the art of speaking much while saying little, but it's funny regardless.
   61. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4253608)
Baseball America has their top 20 for the Sally League out. The only Red Sox (Greenville) prospect to make the list was catcher Blake Swihart who clocks in at #17. From the subscription section of the scouting reports; "If Swihart continues to develop and adds discipline at the plate, he could be a plus hitter with average home run power."
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4253640)
Also, the Sox have secured the #7 pick in the draft for 2013. This represents a massive opportunity. The Sox have not had a lot of high picks, just one top ten pick in the last 40 years (Trot Nixon also #7 pick) which is a good thing. Here is the last 25 years worth of #7 picks from BBRef;

Year                                      Tm Pos  WAR Type
2012         Padres        Max Fried
(minors)      LHP   HS
2011   Diamondbacks  
*Archie Bradley(minors)      RHP   HS
2010           Mets      Matt Harvey
(minorsRHP  1.8  4Yr
2009         Braves       Mike Minor
(minorsLHP -0.1  4Yr
2008           Reds    Yonder Alonso
(minors)  1B  1.3  4Yr
2007        Brewers     Matt LaPorta
(minors)  1B -1.5  4Yr
2006        Dodgers  Clayton Kershaw
(minorsLHP 24.0   HS
2005        Rockies  Troy Tulowitzki
(minors)  SS 25.7  4Yr
2004           Reds     Homer Bailey
(minorsRHP  2.2   HS
2003        Orioles    Nick Markakis
(minors)  OF 21.6   JC
2002        Brewers   Prince Fielder
(minors)  1B 19.8   HS
2001        Orioles      Chris Smith
(minors)      LHP  4Yr
2000        Rockies  Matt Harrington
(minors)      RHP   HS
1999         Royals      Kyle Snyder
(minorsRHP -0.0  4Yr
1998           Reds    Austin Kearns
(minors)  OF 11.5   HS
1997         Royals     Dan Reichert
(minorsRHP -0.7  4Yr
1996         Giants       Matt White
(minors)      RHP   HS
1995        Rangers Jonathan Johnson
(minorsRHP -1.1  4Yr
1994        Rockies     Doug Million
(minors)      LHP   HS
1993        Red Sox       Trot Nixon
(minors)  OF 19.0   HS
1992         Giants    Calvin Murray
(minors)  OF  1.9  4Yr
1991         Royals     Joe Vitiello
(minors)  OF -1.0  4Yr
1990           Reds       Dan Wilson
(minors)   C 10.9  4Yr
1989      White Sox     Frank Thomas
(minors)  1B 69.7  4Yr
1988         Astros    Willie Ansley
(minors)       OF   HS
1987        Orioles      Chris Myers
(minors)      LHP   HS 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/4/2012.

   63. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4255154)
Baseball America reached the Eastern League today. It's not at all surprising that the Sox did well here with Bogaerts (#2), Barnes (#3) and Bradley (#4) high on the list. Catcher Christian Vazquez checks in at #17 as well. I find myself wondering if BA inadvertently grouped the Bs together based on being teammates but even if they get shoved around a bit, say 2, 4 and 7, it's still a good showing.

I think it's somewhat interesting that Vazquez makes the list and Travis Shaw doesn't. Acknowledging positional differences that make it tricky it seems that is a different ordering of those two players than most of what I have read.

From the subscription required scouting reports;

Bogaerts - "He's capable of staying at short for a while, though he lacks the true quickness for the position and figures to outgrow it once he fills out."

Barnes - "He'll need to refine his secondary pitches as he advances, but he made good progress this year and profiles as a possible No. 2 starter."

Bradley - "He has a strong arm that also earned recognition as the league's best. He relentlessly works on his defense, shooing pitchers out of his way as he shags balls during batting practice, and opposing managers praised his dedication."

Vazquez - "With an average arm that plays up because of his quick release and sound footwork, Vazquez regularly gets the ball from home to second in 1.9 seconds."
   64. booond Posted: October 06, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4256626)
Also, the Sox have secured the #7 pick in the draft for 2013. This represents a massive opportunity. The Sox have not had a lot of high picks, just one top ten pick in the last 40 years (Trot Nixon also #7 pick) which is a good thing. Here is the last 25 years worth of #7 picks from BBRef;


What a difference a new century makes. The 20th Century yields on HOF in Frank and one solid player in Trot while the 21st Century already has four guys better than Trot, who knows if any will reach Frank status but it looks like a much better job of drafting of late.

Nice job on the article, Jose.
   65. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4259346)
John Sickels has preliminary top 50 pitchers and top 50 hitters lists out. The Sox have two hitters on the list;

#4 - Xander Bogaerts
#24 - Jackie Bradley
   66. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4261486)
Top 20 from the Eastern League came out yesterday. The Sox have two players on the list; Jackie Bradley (#5) and Drake Britton (#20). Britton's name came up in two separate articles yesterday as possible compensation for Farrell. I think that would be a mistake by the Sox. Bogaerts did not spend enough time at AA to qualify for the list;

Bradley - "Though he's an average runner on the stopwatch, he has above-average speed underway and uses it uses judiciously on the basepaths and in the outfield. He has solid arm strength but needs to improve his accuracy."

Britton - "On the one hand, he's a 6-foot-2 lefty with easy 92-94 mph velocity and sinking action, the ability to spin two distinct breaking balls and frequent feel for a changeup. On the other, he appears to rattle easily and ran up a 6.56 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 143 innings in high Class A."

EDIT - I said in #62 that was the Eastern League, that was the Hi A Carolina League. I have this mental block that Barnes is at Portland when he was never there. Of course next year when he IS there I'll be all screwed up.
   67. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4261487)
Matthew Eddy who wrote the piece about the Eastern League for BA did a chat afterwards and said this about Britton;

"I've set aside his performance in the Carolina League and come to terms with the fact that few pitchers develop in a linear fashion, and with lefties, sometimes there are no rules."

I found that an interesting perspective. I think he's 100% right that pitchers don't have the smooth development (or aging) patterns that we see with hitters.
   68. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4267873)
Baseball America is done with the Red Sox relevant top 20 lists after doing the International League yesterday. In what they describe as a "lean year for the league" the Sox place two in the top 20; #6 Lavarnway and #11 Iglesias;

#6 Lavarnway - "He'll never be a plus defender and has fringy arm strength, but he has a quick transfer and makes accurate throws, erasing 32 percent of IL basestealers."

#11 Iglesias - "Iglesias finished his IL tenure by batting .329/.402/.397 in August, improving his pitch recognition and ability to sting mistakes. His hands work at the plate and he has bat-to-ball skills that allow him to make contact."

   69. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 13, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4268048)
#6 Lavarnway - "He'll never be a plus defender and has fringy arm strength


How does this square with their ranking him as the best defensive prospect in the IL?
   70. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4268059)
How does this square with their ranking him as the best defensive prospect in the IL?


I think it was best defensive catcher in the IL, and its voted on by managers rather than BA. Apparently there are a lot of terrible defensive catchers in the IL?
   71. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 13, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4268069)
How does this square with their ranking him as the best defensive prospect in the IL?


I think the comment about it being a lean year in the league may explain that. As it was Lavarnway is the only catcher listed among the top 20 prospects.
   72. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4275416)
Baseball America has their draft report cards up. (sub required). It's not a graded report card, just kind of an update on what they did plus a bunch of "Best Fastball", "Fastest Runner" type stuff. A few things of note;

Closest To The Majors: Brian Johnson, provided he doesn't have any setbacks after taking a liner to the face in mid-August. (also most intriguing background, his mother was a Doublemint twin)

Power Hitter: Among the long-term hitters, 1B Nathan Minnich (8) has the most usable pop. (Johnson and Austin Maddox actually have more power according to BA but as pitchers it's not really relevant)

Best Secondary Pitch: Ty Buttrey, who signed for $1.3 million, has a knuckle-curve that needs more consistency but could develop into a true out pitch.
   73. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4289212)
Top 10 prospects sayeth Baseball America.

Callis responded to a tweet saying that if eligible Middlebrooks would have been #2 and De La Rosa would have slotted in with Barnes and Webster in the 3-5 range. I think that it's encouraging that they still show Iglesias as high as they do. The other thing that I liked in their scouting reports (sub required) is they mention Bogaerts' intelligence and work ethic. That's a recurring theme that I read about him and I find that a serious positive for such a highly regarded prospect. They also reiterate the idea that a move off shortstop is more based on expectation of growth rather than an inability to handle the position.

1. Xander Bogaerts, ss
2. Jackie Bradley, of
3. Matt Barnes, rhp
4. Allen Webster, rhp
5. Henry Owens, lhp
6. Blake Swihart, c
7. Garin Cecchini, 3b
8. Bryce Brentz, of
9. Jose Iglesias, ss
10. Deven Marrero, ss
   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4289249)
Very encouraging on Bogaerts. Interesting that Workman got "best curve" and "best control" but didn't make the top 10.

And what did Bryce Brentz do to make the top 10? I was always under the impression that his tools were unimpressive, and that he didn't have the upside that often comes along with poor control of the strike zone. He's 23, so he's not exactly super young for the high minors. There are a whole bunch of guys I expect BA will list in the 11-30 range whom I rate over Brentz.
   75. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 31, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4289282)
And what did Bryce Brentz do to make the top 10?


Obviously the 30 HR he hit in 2011 have something to do with it, but like you say, he didn't really follow it up with a big power year last year, his plate discipline isn't great, and he's not getting any younger. That said, I'm not sure anyone below him has made that strong a push to move past him. It's mostly just toolsy projectable guys who haven't done much yet.
   76. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 31, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4289297)
Reading the scouting report it seems that the Sox are higher on Brentz than we are and Callis is building that into his rankings. He says that the Sox view him as a "solid regular" in right field. I think Brentz gets a boost from being closer to MLB ready than the players who would be ahead of him. They aren't perfect matches for Brentz but I think you can look at Reddick and David Murphy at comparable points and make a decent case that Brentz has a future.

For what it's worth Sox Prospects has him 6th and that includes have DLR in the list.
   77. philly Posted: October 31, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4289306)
re: Brentz

Callis gives him 65 raw power and an above average arm. Apparently a lot of the errors he made in 2011 we as a result of carelessly showing off his arm strength which is something I guess.

Pretty encouraging reports on the top 3 pitchers (Barnes, Webster, Owens) I thought and if De la Rosa is comparable to Barnes and Webster, then all off a sudden that's a pretty solid trio in the high minors. Is one #2/3 starter and a hi-lev reliever too much to ask for? That would help a lot.

Workman was addressed in the chat. A bit less stuff than the guys who made the top 10, but just missed and is a guy that gets "overlooked".
   78. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 31, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4289324)
Trying not to crib too much from the subscriber chat but Manuel Margot is a guy the Sox spent some pretty good money on and Callis had this to say about him;

"Margot has the potential to be a plus hitter/runner/CF defender with average power, though he is a long ways away. There is a lot of buzz about him in Red Sox circles."
   79. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 31, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4289328)
Reading the scouting reports and the chat it is clear that Callis views the Sox system as extremely deep. He mentions how much he likes the depth at one point and just in general he seems to have a lot of positive things to say about pretty much every player he is asked about. Even a high-20s guy like Coyle is someone he thinks can be a big league regular.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4289330)
65 power and a plus arm? That's not bad. What about his range? I have an image in my head of Brentz as a barely-acceptable corner defender. If he's better than that, then maybe he's got some Reddick in him.

Margot had the numbers a potential star from the beginning, and I assumed he had the tools based on his signing bonus. I really like his speed and control of the strike zone in the DSL. It's great to see the Sox talking him up, too.

The Sox system is really deep, I think that's right. They had a wonderful year in the minors, even with no draftees playing particularly well in their first shots at pro ball. If they get a couple wins from the 2012 draft like they did from 2011, this system will be all kinds of awesome.
   81. philly Posted: October 31, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4289359)
Mostly focused on Brentz power, arm and strikeouts, but mentioned average range and that he's a below average runner.

Not really in Reddick's class as an overall athlete/defender. How is Alex Gordan's range? I always assumed mediocre since he started out as a 3B, but he scores well as a defensive left fielder due to a very good arm. Seems like that's more Brentz's defensive upside.

And yeah, I'm not sure how well a below average runner really works in Fenway's RF. Maybe a surprisingly good defensive LF as an upside?
   82. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 31, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4289372)
If Brentz' range is truly "average" I think that works at Fenway's RF. I think in Fenway you need a cannon arm, the ability to go back on the ball well and the smarts to play some tricky angles well. The range can be accounted for a bit because your center fielder can shade toward right a bit because of the small left field.

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