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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 26, 2009 at 12:28 AM (#3192798)
The problem is that the reclaimation projects aren't the issue. Penny actually hasn't been bad, a couple of crummy early starts mess up the overall numbers. Including today he has a 4.45 ERA over the last five starts and looks pretty good, better control, more swings and misses. The problem so far has been what would have been the 1-2-3 starters when the season began though Beckett is pitching better lately and I thought Matsuzaka looked OK the other night. Lester has been hit or miss but I think he's actually been unlucky in a few starts.
   2. JB H Posted: May 26, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3193291)
Everyone in the rotation is fine except maybe Penny. Beckett might not be a Cy Young caliber pitcher anymore but he's still really good. Lester looks better than he did last year to me.

It looks like they're really anxious to dump Penny. I get the impression that someone will at least eat his salary for us.

I hope Casey Kelly is doing good enough that he's given up on being a shortstop. He's going to rank really high on the year-end lists.
   3. JB H Posted: May 26, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3193292)
The worst part about the minor league season is that it seems like once a week Portland will score 11 runs and you click on the box score and Lars and Kalish/Reddick somehow still went 1-9 with 6 Ks
   4. Hugh Jorgan Posted: May 26, 2009 at 05:36 AM (#3193377)
It all just screams trade really. Surely they'll dump an arm or two to get a bat..(Gonzalez?). I reckon Beckett, Lester and Dice-K will settle in for the rest of the year and each be around 4.00 era for the remainder of the season.
I'd love to find a replacement for Papi at this stage...I hate to say this, but he really does look cooked.
   5. Jack Klompus Posted: May 26, 2009 at 06:25 AM (#3193404)
Looking holistically, here's what the Sox front office should, I think, be looking to achieve as soon as possible and not long after the all-star break, roughly in chronological order:

- Trade or unload Penny, who's now pitched well enough to be desirable;
- Give Buchholz a shot in the Sox rotation; call up Bowden soon, either to replace Buchholz or, most likely, join the pen;
- Send Ortiz to the minors to find his stroke (barring a highly unlikely dramatic turnaround);
- Acquire a bat to replace Ortiz, preferably an infielder (like Nick Johnson) who'd provide insurance in case / once Lowell's wheels fall off completely; the price could be Penny, a reliever or two, and/or Buchholz or Bowden, depending on the bat;
- Smoltz is waiting in the wings to take a rotation or bullpen spot.

The Sox' needs and resources fit together rather nicely, so all these steps should be doable. The biggest question is who replaces Ortiz.
   6. Gregg Posted: May 26, 2009 at 09:37 AM (#3193424)
Penny has some trade value. But two guys have more: Papelbon and Dick-K. Both are relatively young, neither has outrageous contracts. Their trade value will probably never be higher, and we have the depth in the bullpen and minors to absorb the loss of one of these guys.
   7. Josh Posted: May 26, 2009 at 11:36 AM (#3193436)
Matsuzaka has a no trade clause, and isn't going to be traded anyway. Papelbon isn't going to be traded mid-season. Teams in first place don't often trade mid-rotation starters (with no trade clauses) or their closer.

Teams in first place sometimes do trade a back-of-the-rotation starter or a third/later option out of the bullpen -- Penny (as of mid June when they can trade him under the CBA) and Delcarmen are realistic trading options. Bard is tradeable. Bowden is tradeable. Buchholz is very tradeable.

As for the topic - no. Who knows if Buc would be doing this in the MLs and absent signing those guys, they would likely have had to do so (or had Hunter Jones pitch more often if Masterson was a starter from day 1). I think the Red Sox view was that Buc needed time to grow into a major league pitcher. That seemed like the right decision in February. And, with time in the minors, Buc has looked like a good potential ML starter. That is good decision making - not bad decision making. They diagnosed a solution and that solution has worked. Now they just need to follow through by moving Penny around the middle of June if (1) no one else is injured and (2) Smoltz looks like he can still make a comeback.

I'm still not convinced that Bowden is going to be a good ML starting pitcher in Boston, but I suppose I should be more open about it.
   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 26, 2009 at 11:59 AM (#3193447)
I thought the Red Sox would win the World Series back in Bebruary, and I feel even stronger about it today. Why?

1) Beckett and Lester have periodically looked like crap, and Matsuzaka has been hurt;
2) Ortiz is cooked;
3) We have no shortstop, especially defensively;
4) With the exception of Bay's power, nobody in the starting lineup is doing anything terribly surprising (in a good way);
5) We're havng all kinds of trouble beating Tampa Bay.

And we're still in first place, tied for the second-best record in baseball.

And, we can address most of our problems my leveraging our strengths (pitching depth, both immediate-help type pitching, and long-term prospect pitching). It's all good, baby!
   9. John DiFool2 Posted: May 26, 2009 at 01:19 PM (#3193507)
Much of what we perceive as pitching is in fact defense(/Bill James). It's hard to keep your BABIP down when there's two statues on the left side of the infield, esp. if you are a lefty (Lester).

That said, Buchholz needs to be up ASAP.

As far as surprises go, Dustin Pedroia's transformation into a right-handed Wade Boggs would be notable if the guy coming up behind him had driven him in some.
   10. villageidiom Posted: May 26, 2009 at 09:51 PM (#3194370)
Did the Red Sox go too far in signing reclamation projects for their rotation this year.
NO.
   11. Darren Posted: May 27, 2009 at 01:53 AM (#3194903)
Good answer.
   12. Marcel Posted: May 27, 2009 at 02:58 AM (#3195015)
Papelbon isn't going to be traded mid-season. Teams in first place don't often trade mid-rotation starters (with no trade clauses) or their closer.

Most teams don't have two or three guys in the bullpen that could easily step in and do as good a job or better than their current closer.
   13. Darren Posted: May 27, 2009 at 03:00 AM (#3195017)
Do you really think there's any chance at all that they'll deal Pap? Does Fly really want them to or is he kidding?
   14. Famous Original Joe C Posted: May 27, 2009 at 03:13 AM (#3195039)
I have no idea what Fly thinks but I think there's a less than 0.1% chance they trade him.
   15. Marcel Posted: May 27, 2009 at 04:22 AM (#3195118)
I don't think they will. I just wouldn't mind at all if they did.
   16. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 27, 2009 at 05:33 AM (#3195151)
Yeah ditto. But that's just a little TOO much like running the Sox like you would your Mogul or OOTP team (I trimmed salary consistently by making my best OOTP reliever my closer until he demanded to get paid like one at which point I'd dump him and promote the next-best reliever in his place, rinse & repeat). I have no doubt that the Sox bullpen would barely feel a hiccup by trading Paps and being restructured to succeed without him... if that were a realistic possibility. Which it's not.
   17. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2009 at 12:55 PM (#3195222)
If the goal is to buy low and sell high, then yes, it's time to deal Papelbon. But that's not the goal. The goal is to win several championships. One of the ways to help that in the long run is to buy low and sell high. But doing so at every "sell high" opportunity hurts the team's ability to win in the short run.

Good answer.
Thanks. I had a much longer post, but I trimmed it down to the essentials so I wouldn't sound like a broken record skipping CD.
   18. Gregg Posted: May 27, 2009 at 03:09 PM (#3195358)
Agree that selling high at every opportunity hurts the team's ability to win in the short run. But no one is suggesting trading other young established stars like Youk and Pedroia, because they are, currently, irreplaceable and the loss of either one would turn us into a third-place team. It isn't the same situation with Pap at all. He is still perceived to be one of the top three closers in baseball; and our bullpen appears strong enough to proceed without him. He's far from being our best arm out of the pen this year. I'm not knocking the guy, but teams like the Cubs are salivating to get a top-tier closer, and we could use equivalent talent much more effectively elsewhere on the roster.
   19. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 27, 2009 at 07:28 PM (#3195796)
Reasonably, what is the most we could get for Papelbon. He's under a team's control for a few more years, and seems committed to going year-by-year with the contracts, so if he blows out an elbow or something, a team is really not on the hook for multiple years or big dollars yet. He has an established record of playoff success, and as much as I like having him on my team, I believe his perceived value is higher than his actual value (as high as his actual value is).

What would the Sox want? A big bat for the DH position? Major league depth for the OF, SS and the corners? A top-tier hitting prospect, plus a good stopgap SS and a strong 4th OF? It's a pretty specific set of needs the Sox could use for 2009...
   20. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: May 27, 2009 at 07:36 PM (#3195815)
Do you really think there's any chance at all that they'll deal Pap? Does Fly really want them to or is he kidding?

I really want them to. He's cooked, and his value will only go down. If they tried, they could trade him for someone that could really fill a need as a mediocre DH, something we don't have right now.

They won't do it, of course. But I would love it if they did, because he'll be completely worthless come August.

EDIT- My bet: Jonathan Papelbon will save less than 21 games next season.
   21. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2009 at 10:36 PM (#3196183)
It isn't the same situation with Pap at all. He is still perceived to be one of the top three closers in baseball; and our bullpen appears strong enough to proceed without him. He's far from being our best arm out of the pen this year.
Let's say he continues this season on the same pace he's on now. That would put him here, relative to 2008 AL:

Ks: 1st (84)
Saves: T-2nd (42)
K/BB: 7th (2.18)
ERA: 5th* (2.57)
HR: last* (10)

*One fewer HR would put him in the middle of the pack on HR and 4th in ERA (just removing one earned run). Two fewer would put him tied for first in HR.

You're right, Papelbon is perceived to be one of the top three in the league. As it turns out, overall the 2009 Papelbon would have, in 2008, likely been ranked fourth in the AL - behind K-Rod, Mariano, and Nathan. If Papelbon is ranked 4th instead of top 3, I can live with that. If other GMs rank him higher... well, how many wouldn't realize what his arbitration award will be next year? How many would want to take that on? (Probably as many as K-Rod had suitors this offseason, minus the Mets.)

He might not be the best arm out of the pen to date, but to describe him as far from that is absurd. Are you establishing an ERA+ over 500 as sustainable? Those guys are the only ones he's far from.
   22. Gregg Posted: May 28, 2009 at 10:20 AM (#3196979)
Well, here's how he compares with the rest of the Sox pen, limited to the seven guys with 10 innings or more:

WHIP: sixth (only Lopez is worse)
ERA: third
HR's: seventh
K/9: second
K/BB: fourth

I think WHIP is the most telling...

It isn't that Pap is bad -- he is doing fine. But he isn't anchoring the pen the way he used to -- and we have lots of other weaknesses. I like the guy, I just think he is the one who will bring the most and who we can most live without given the current construction of the team.
   23. tfbg9 Posted: May 29, 2009 at 04:34 PM (#3198692)
You guys are nuts. Paps makes people swing and miss at balls right down the middle--that's a rare pitcher.
Trade Bowden and Buchholz and Bard for Hanley. Presto!
   24. Sean Forman Posted: May 29, 2009 at 06:01 PM (#3198832)
Penny to the Phillies seems like a no brainer.
   25. Dan Posted: May 30, 2009 at 01:30 PM (#3199877)
So when are they going to leverage this pitching depth to trade for a bat that isn't a black hole of suck in the middle of the order?
   26. Darren Posted: May 30, 2009 at 01:35 PM (#3199880)
Buchholz for Ibanez! :)
   27. Raskolnikov Posted: May 30, 2009 at 01:35 PM (#3199881)
Trade Bowden and Buchholz and Bard for Hanley. Presto!

Uhh, sure. How about Lars and Lugo for Greinke?
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2009 at 01:56 PM (#3199886)
Honest question: Why are you all worrying that much about Papelbon?

As of May 21st---nine days ago---he had an ERA of 0.95. After that he had two appearances where he gave up two runs in one inning. So now his ERA's up to 2.45. But it's still only late May.

I can see the concern with the WHIP numbers, and yeah, he's a bit of a head case (but so are many other closers), but how much of this concern is based on all of two games? The greatest closer in history has had plenty of two or three games stretches where he's stunk up the joint, but I don't remember too many Yankee fans wanting to dump him.

Or is the minor league depth that good, and that certain to transfer to the Major League level, that you all feel that you can replace Papelbon without missing a beat? All I can say as a Yankee fan is that that sort of confidence makes me jealous.
   29. villageidiom Posted: May 30, 2009 at 02:34 PM (#3199898)
The greatest closer in history has had plenty of two or three games stretches where he's stunk up the joint, but I don't remember too many Yankee fans wanting to dump him.
No, but in each one of those stretches for Rivera many Yankees fans have been wondering aloud what's wrong with him, and whether this is the end. It strikes me as a similar reaction, with a different conclusion.

The differences in conclusion - dump him vs. whadda we do? - are threefold. First, there's the WHIP - that's been a concern since the start of the season, and it indicates the problem is beyond the two games you mention. Second, the perceived value of Papelbon and the value of his current contract still have a wide gap between them, while that hasn't been true of Rivera for quite some time. Trading Rivera has never been a viable option. Third, Papelbon has had a pretty significant injury that has required constant care and monitoring since, and might have resulted in the need for new mechanics that have lessened his control... while Mo has been keepin' on with his cutter year after year. Roll it all together, and you have a young guy with greater trade value (right NOW) and potentially a time bomb for his right arm, who has been showing bad signs of performance since the start of the season, vs. a top-shelf closer with a top-shelf contract who only goes through short stretches of ineffectiveness. It's not quite as comparable.

I was tempted to take the "Yankees fans would rather see Rivera stay and play 3B in place of that loser, and bring back Paul O'Neill to close out games, than to dump Rivera" path, but that's a bit unfair.
   30. Dan Posted: May 30, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3199922)
Also of note: if Bard can throw a decent breaking ball like he had last night, then he might actually be ready to be a dominant reliever for the major league club.
   31. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 30, 2009 at 03:34 PM (#3199929)
I can see the concern with the WHIP numbers, and yeah, he's a bit of a head case (but so are many other closers), but how much of this concern is based on all of two games?


I think if you look there was concern well before those two games. He's really come very close to blowing 4-5 saves already; the game in Anaheim and the Tampa game come to mind right away.

If you watch Papelbon regularly you just can't escape the fact that he hasn't been the same this year. Not just the walks, the additional base runners but he's behind in the count more, has completed the transition to being a completely one pitch pitcher, he's just not right.

Now, he started from such a high point that even 75% of himself is still better than most closers but as Villageidiom points out, his value in the trade market at the moment probably exceeds his value to the Sox. I think Delcarmen (or Saito, Ramirez or Okajima) could probably close games at a fairly similar rate as Papelbon and the Sox could probably get a better bat for him than trading any of those guys would bring.
   32. Darren Posted: May 30, 2009 at 09:39 PM (#3200270)
Casey Kelly and Bryan Price recently got bumped up to Salem (High A). Price got hit hard in his first game, Kelly's first start is today.

Here's what they did at A:

Kelly: 48.1 IP, 32 H, 0 HR, 9 BB, 39 K, 1.12 ERA
Price: 44 IP, 37 H, 2 HR, 12 BB, 40 K, 2.45 ERA


Would like to see more Ks, but those are some impressive numbers, especially for the 19-year-old Kelly. Hope he's done playing SS.
   33. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 01, 2009 at 06:02 PM (#3202033)
Kelly's line in Salem debut"


Kelly (L, 0-1)- 5.2, 9H, 8R, 3ER, 4-1 K/BB, 5-6 GO/FO, HRA

Good discussion of his outing at soxprospects.com
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 03, 2009 at 10:55 AM (#3204652)
Seems like the question of the value of the pitching depth acquired by the Red Sox will turn on what they do with it going forward.

In particular, do they risk some of that depth for a SS or a DH? I think SS is a much more pressing problem, because unless the team decides to send Ortiz off on an injury rehab (which, if it were what they were going to do, surely they'd have done it already), I don't see any way to bench him. The upside of sticking with Ortiz is way too high, and the certainty of his remaining this sucky is way too low.

But they need to trade something for a shortstop. I have no idea what or for whom, but I have a lot of trouble believing there isn't a crappy team out there that doesn't want a shiny young pitcher in return for their passable shortstop.
   35. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 03, 2009 at 11:29 AM (#3204658)
To me trading Bowden is a no brainer. He should have some value but I don't think he's a guy the Sox aer going to build around in any meaningful sense. With Lester, Matsuzaka and Buchholz you've got 3/5* of a fairly long term staff in place and they are better off using Bowden as a chip for this year and next.

* I don't think Beckett is a sure thing to be here long term. He's shaping up as a guy whose value on the open market will be more than his value to the Sox after next year.
   36. OCD SS Posted: June 03, 2009 at 11:52 AM (#3204663)
What do yo think Bowden will bring back? I think the cost of the impact bat they're looking for is going to run more than Bowden.
   37. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 03, 2009 at 12:04 PM (#3204667)
I'm usually pretty crummy at coming up with hypotheticals. It seems like a Bowden for Nick Johnson swap might work as a DH plug and I would think that Bowden would be a good starting point on a Victor Martinez deal.

I don't know what you do at short. Do we sit and wait/hope for Lowrie to be the man or do we get aggressive and go after a Jack Wilson or a Cristian Guzman (thanks Darren!)?
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 03, 2009 at 12:09 PM (#3204670)
Are they really looking for an impact bat? Where would he play? Other than DH, there are zero available PA for said bat, and giving up on Ortiz seems like a bad idea to me.

To me, the Sox should be looking first for a passable shortstop and then maybe for a better-than-Bailey DH bat to caddy for Ortiz. In neither case should this cost more than Mike Bowden.
   39. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 03, 2009 at 12:21 PM (#3204675)
How long do you wait on Ortiz Matt? This is a multi-year issue, not only is he killing us this year but even if there is some rebound for the final 2/3rds of the season I think we'll need someone there next year.

I agree with you that SS is a bigger hole. I think landing a quality SS is tougher than finding a bat and with Lowrie around there would appear to be a potential ready made solution to the issue.
   40. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 03, 2009 at 01:03 PM (#3204707)
I'd wait on Ortiz all year. I'd definitely have every physician and imaging technician in the Harvard system looking at Papi's wrists - and really all of Papi - but if their best recommendation is that he should be playing in the majors rather than resting or rehabbing, then I'd stick with him all year. His upside is far too high not to.

EDIT: Ortiz is under contract for one more year after this. That's not really "multi-year", it's just next year, and I have absolute faith that Theo Epstein, given an entire winter, can find a one-year solution at DH. I don't think it's an issue that should be taken into consideration until then.
   41. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 03, 2009 at 01:15 PM (#3204720)
I have absolute faith that Theo Epstein, given an entire winter, can find a one-year solution at DH. I don't think it's an issue that should be taken into consideration until then.


I'm with you on Theo filling the hole for 2010, I just wonder how long we can go with two gaping wounds in the lineup. Part of my concern is that while he's been great so far I keep waiting for someone to pull the rug out from under Varitek and if that happens this lineup gets really thin if Ortiz doesn't have some bounce back.

Things are shaping up pretty well for the Sox though. The Central and West aren't producing a Wild Card team and with the Rays up and down the immediacy isn't quite as crucial as it might otherwise be. I do agree that shortstop is the bigger concern though.
   42. OCD SS Posted: June 03, 2009 at 01:20 PM (#3204728)
Are they really looking for an impact bat?


According to some of the talking heads they are being very aggressive about it. I would like to see that bat be able to play 1B so that Lowell can be given a rest as well (his defense is really falling off).
   43. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 03, 2009 at 01:29 PM (#3204743)
Are they really looking for an impact bat? Where would he play?


They'd find a spot. It's possible - not likely, but possible - that they could move Drew to CF and package Ellsbury and one of the pitchers in a trade for someone like Holliday, for example.

-- MWE
   44. Nasty Nate Posted: June 03, 2009 at 07:29 PM (#3205211)
you don't need to "fill" DH. If they want to cut Ortiz' playing time, they can try to acquire who can field a position. And then rotate Ortiz, new guy, and starter-who-plays-same-position-as-new-guy in the DH spot. They'd be stupid to target guys just because they currently DH or because they are all hit/no field.

That being said, shortstop is the bigger problem and each day Lugo's quotes become more delusional.
   45. Marcel Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:03 AM (#3205953)
What do you guys think it would take to get Branyan? He obviously isn't *this* good, but he's also showing that he's capable of being an above-average hitter if just given the chance. He's definitely going to be available, it's just a question of what the Sox would have to give up to get him.

Depending on how much they like Cedeno, the Sox could probably get both of them for something like Bowden and a C+ position prospect.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2009 at 02:12 PM (#3209969)
So, Buster Olney is reporting that the Sox are working on getting a shortstop. All I've got for a link is a SoSH post excerpting an Olney insider article that I can't access, but here it is:
The Red Sox are accelerating their search for someone who can play shortstop, according to sources. They have had conversations with the Oakland Athletics about Orlando Cabrera, who was the Boston shortstop when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, and they also have continued to talk with the Pirates about Jack Wilson, although it appears that Boston and Pittsburgh don't match up in a Wilson deal.
Orlando Cabrera makes a good bit of sense. Jack Wilson doesn't, really.
   47. Joel W Posted: June 08, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3210031)
Well, the Sox are going to need to move Brad Penny or somebody in the rotation ASAP with Smoltz ready and Buchholz banging on the door.
   48. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 08, 2009 at 09:17 PM (#3210406)
Orlando Cabrera makes a good bit of sense. Jack Wilson doesn't, really.

I don't know. The rumors about Cabrera are making the rounds. It seems like the Red Sox front office is on of its patented whisper campaigns.
   49. puck Posted: June 08, 2009 at 10:06 PM (#3210453)
Would the Sox be interested in Matt Holliday? There is the question of what you would then do with Ortiz, as it doesn't seem Holliday has ever played RF. However, his OPS+ is up to 131 (since May 1 he's put up .435 / .528). He's a better fielder than Bay, so you could play him in left, put Bay at DH, and after the season is over, sign one and collect the draft picks for the other.
   50. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 08, 2009 at 10:34 PM (#3210461)
Why doesn't Wilson make sense? Unless his glove has slipped he seems like he's pretty similar to Cabrera.
   51. Joel W Posted: June 13, 2009 at 03:56 PM (#3217903)
So at what point do the Sox start making Bard the 8th inning guy, or at least attempt to do so. He's still a bit wild for my taste, but good god can he get swings and misses.
   52. Jeff K. Posted: June 13, 2009 at 04:06 PM (#3217908)
I thought the Red Sox would win the World Series back in Bebruary,

Well yeah, but you know the old saying, "In Bebruary, everyone's in first place."
   53. pkb33 Posted: June 13, 2009 at 04:20 PM (#3217915)
Don't think many are still arguing the depth isn't real and valuable at this point...
   54. Textbook Editor Posted: June 20, 2009 at 03:32 AM (#3225722)
I'm done with Dice-K. Done.

Next!
   55. John DiFool2 Posted: June 21, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3226809)
...and he's done with the rotation for likely a month, if not more.

I hope Smoltz still has something left in the tank.
   56. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 03, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3241441)
So, the beginning of July is when I start getting irrationally excited about hot starts in the short-season leagues. And Derrik Gibson is having a doozy, he's hitting .400 with 7 of his 16 hits for extra bases, and he's walked 13 times while striking out only 7. 400/556/625. The questions about Gibson coming into the season were his development from a kid with a pretty swing to a actual baseball player, and whether his power would play at a corner position. For a 19-year-old high school draftee from a cold weather state (Delaware), so far he's showing very advanced hitting skills, and nearly half his hits have been for extra bases. He's young enough, and the NYPL is pitcher-friendly enough, that one can project some of those doubles to turn into homers over time.

Obviously it's only 50 PA, and Gibson would only need one bad week to get down to 260/370/360, and look like an American version of Mitch Dening, and, really, of 95% of the hitters to emerge from our overseas programs.

Jose Alvarez has had two hot starts in Lowell, with 15 Ks in 9 innings and just one run allowed. I remember Temple being really excited about him as a 18-year-old out of Venezuela, and he pitched (poorly) last year in hte Sally League, so now he's a 20-year-old in the NYPL. But he's doing well.
   57. Mister High Standards Posted: July 03, 2009 at 06:20 PM (#3241456)
Thanks for the update MCOA, I'll be at Staten Island tomorrow, and will let you know how Gibson looks. I'm also excited to finally get to see Westmoreland get on the field. =
   58. JB H Posted: July 03, 2009 at 06:23 PM (#3241457)
I think the fact that the team didn't try and find ABs in Greenville for Gibson says a lot more about his talent than his quick start in Lowell. Hope I'm wrong.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 03, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3241461)
Gibson's a third baseman, and Greenville had both Almanzar and Will Middlebrooks there. Though Almanzar's now in Lowell, that's basically to give Middlebrooks the full job in Greenville. I don't think we can read too much into Gibson's promotion schedule, due to the glut of 19-year-old third basemen in the system.

I guess that we can say that the Red Sox rated Gibson below Middlebrooks and Almanzar coming into the season, but we already knew that based on their bonuses and amateur pedigrees, and it's not a huge knock on a kid to be rated below a couple of million dollar talents.

EDIT: thanks MHS - look forward to the update
   60. JB H Posted: July 03, 2009 at 06:45 PM (#3241465)
Are you sure he's a 3B? I always thought he was a 2B. That's what he's listed at on minorleaguebaseball.com
   61. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 03, 2009 at 06:52 PM (#3241468)
You're right. By all accounts, he's a middle infielder. Don't know why I put him at third.

Your worry about the Greenville promotion stands, then. 19 in the NYPL isn't bad, though.
   62. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: July 03, 2009 at 06:58 PM (#3241471)
For a 19-year-old high school draftee from a cold weather state (Delaware)

Is Delaware really considered a cold weather state? At least in scouting circles? Being from Delaware, I've never thought so. In fact, where Derrik is from is farther south, near where everyone goes to the beach during the summer. If Delaware is a cold-weather state, does that make Philadelphia a cold-weather town?
   63. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 03, 2009 at 07:01 PM (#3241472)
One thing to remember - Portland (in particular) and Pawtucket are pitcher-friendly ballparks in (mostly) pitcher-friendly leagues.

-- MWE
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 03, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3241479)
Do you mean hitter-friendly parks? I thought Portland was rocking a 110 pf or something.
   65. Darren Posted: July 03, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3241495)
I'm generally depressed by the non-Casey Kelly portion of our minor league system.
   66. Mister High Standards Posted: July 03, 2009 at 08:21 PM (#3241527)
Whatelse is new. You are to sox therapy what a cold a shower is to teenage boy.
   67. JB H Posted: July 03, 2009 at 09:37 PM (#3241596)
I'm generally depressed by the non-Casey Kelly portion of our minor league system.


There's been a lot of disappointments but they're still in great shape. The amount of money they spend on amateurs is just about always going to keep them in good shape.

Just because I'm bored, here's my top ten:

1) Kelly - I think the hype on him is going to get out of control once the Baseball America year end issues go to print
2) Bowden
3) Tazawa
4) Reddick
5) Navarro - Liked him a lot before the season and I don't think the injury changes much
6) Lars - Worried that the emperor has no clothes. His MLE OPS as a 20 and 21 year old are .622 and .589. He's still young, but it's a long road from "not even close to replacement level" to "championship caliber starting 1B"
6) Hagadone
7) Westmoreland
8) Tim Fefejdiodiwicz
9) Pimentel
10) Doubront
   68. JB H Posted: July 03, 2009 at 09:54 PM (#3241608)
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/07/03/redsox.iglesias/

Apparently they're about to sign a 19 year old Cuban SS for $8 million (!!). I had seen reports about that guy before, but nothing suggested he'd get a massive bonus like that.

Pretty sure that's the most money anyone's ever gotten without coming from college or Japan. He's now 1a) on my list :)
   69. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 03, 2009 at 10:22 PM (#3241625)
You know, a month later those ERAs from Darren's opening post look a lot better.
   70. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 03, 2009 at 10:31 PM (#3241631)
Do you mean hitter-friendly parks? I thought Portland was rocking a 110 pf or something.


My recollection is that Portland has been a pitchers' park to a fair extent for a few years now but I don't have any numbers to support that. For now, we'll just assume I'm right, that makes me happy.

Is anyone else getting curious about our catchers (in a good way)? We've got a few guys at lower levels who are hitting well and seem to be regarded at least reasonably well if not better defensively. Wagner (.887 OPS), Federowicz (.973) and Exposito (.780) are all playing well enough that it seems that at least one could pan out enough to be a regular.

And I'm with JB H on Anderson. How long can the power not appear before we get concerned?
   71. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 03, 2009 at 10:41 PM (#3241636)
Wow. $8M is a ton of money. Sounds like Iglesias is great defensively but at best raw on offense (not clear if hitting tools are there). But if they're spending $8M, they surely think he can hit. The Red Sox don't have a great track record - they don't have a track record - of turning raw offensive tools into offensive production, but given that they drafted for skills for a couple years, while at the same time they did not have any meaningful presence in the Dominican or Venezuela (where the typical age at signing means pretty much everyone is raw), they don't have a long list of failures either. And in theory they are working to get better at this, it's kind of important.

I'm excited that there's a player, who is apparently worth $8M as an amateur, whom the Red Sox are going to sign. I hope that they get better at teaching baseball skills to players like Iglesias.
   72. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: July 03, 2009 at 10:53 PM (#3241647)
Dan has Portland as basically neutral:
2008 MiL Multipliers
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 03, 2009 at 10:56 PM (#3241649)
Dan has Portland as basically neutral:
2008 MiL Multipliers
Must be the weather. That place is a bandbox. I bet there are crazy splits between the spring, summer, and fall.
   74. Darren Posted: July 07, 2009 at 02:52 AM (#3243968)
Aaron Bates called up to the big club tonight, despite the fact that he's shown no sign of being a Major League caliber hitter. Cripes, I'd rather see Jeff Natale.
   75. Dan Posted: July 07, 2009 at 07:37 AM (#3244072)
Aaron Bates starting at 1B is a sign that we're past due for a trade to get a bat. Holy ####, Aaron ####### Bates? This is worse than the Mets with their Omir Santos and company.

I went to the game tonight, and hopefully I can say I saw Aaron Bates' lone ML start, because he is not even remotely useful at this point.

Also, since when does Brett Anderson throw 97? He was absolutely dominant tonight.
   76. Darren Posted: July 08, 2009 at 05:50 PM (#3246046)
Maybe I'll get to see Aaron Bates flail at the ball tonight in person. Wish me luck on the weather.
   77. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 08, 2009 at 06:14 PM (#3246078)
Looks like you'll be OK on the weather. Maybe a bit of a drizzle but nothing too serious. Good seats?
   78. Joel W Posted: July 11, 2009 at 03:27 PM (#3250135)
Small Sample Size alert: Papelon has 7Ks and 1BB in his 5 July appearances. His pitch counts have also been much better. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to catch the games really. Has he actually looked any better?

Also, Jon Lester I knew could be very good, I did not think that he'd be a 10 K/9 guy with a FIP in the top of the league.
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2009 at 03:40 PM (#3250142)
Papelbon looked great last night. Eck pointed out that he was finally getting on top of the fastball, and it was riding, getting up on the hitters and inducing swings and misses or easy popups.

Lester seems like a case study in what two or three extra mph can do. Now that he sits 94 on the fastball, everything else is that much more nasty. I have no idea where that velocity came from, but it makes him one of the best pitchers in baseball.
   80. Raskolnikov Posted: July 11, 2009 at 03:45 PM (#3250145)
I have no idea where that velocity came from, but it makes him one of the best pitchers in baseball.


I thought you were just being hyperbolic. But wow, is it one of the less publicized stories of '09? He keeps up that K rate and K/BB rate, and Lester moves comfortably into the 1st tier of pitchers in baseball.
   81. Darren Posted: July 11, 2009 at 04:17 PM (#3250172)
A quick look through the Sox Therapy threads will reveal how down I've been on Lester through the ages. I'm amazed by his transformation. Credit to the organization (apparently Farrell was adamant about not trading him) for sticking with him. He's a joy to watch, and I'm never surprised to see him throwing 96+, which is rare for a lefty.

One misconception about Pap is that he's going with a new delivery. According one interview with him, he's reverting back to his 07 form, which does have a history of working for him. So it wouldn't be shocking if he was able to use it to dominate again.
   82. RobertMachemer Posted: July 11, 2009 at 04:31 PM (#3250185)
Lester's 2008:

Apr: 4.31 ERA, 22 SO and 23 BB in 39.2 IP. He allowed 5 HR.
May: 2.97 ERA, 27 SO and 13 BB in 36.1 IP. He allowed 2 HR.
Jun: 3.03 ERA, 19 SO and 3 BB in 32.3 IP. He allowed 2 HR.
Jul: 2.05 ERA, 28 SO and 6 BB in 30.2 IP. He allowed 0 HR.
...

Lester's 2009:
Apr: 5.40 ERA, 33 SO and 10 BB in 30.0 IP. He allowed 5 HR
May: 5.86 ERA, 41 SO and 14 BB in 35.1 IP. He allowed 6 HR.
Jun: 1.85 ERA, 40 SO and 6 BB in 34.0 IP. He allowed 2 HR.
Jul: 0.61 ERA, 17 SO and 5 BB in 14.2 IP. He has allowed 0 HR so far.
...

What to make of any of this ought to be left up to better tea-leaf readers than I. He is striking out more batters per inning this year, and in his weaker months this year, he's still doing better at avoiding walks than in his really bad month of 2008.

Absolutely worthless headology but ventured anyway: I think he's mostly just challenging hitters more, that when he first came back from cancer, he was unsure of himself, unsure of his ability to blow pitches past hitters, so relied more on nibbling. Since then (Schilling's influence? Sure, why not ascribe it to him, while we're making stuff up), he's slowly figured out that his stuff has come back enough where he doesn't need to nibble. He'll have bad months where people hit home runs off him, but for the most part, he's going to be a really terrific pitcher.
   83. Darren Posted: July 11, 2009 at 04:41 PM (#3250194)
One thing that chart shows (I think) is that Lester didn't let the HRs discourage him from pounding the zone. That's great news.
   84. Raskolnikov Posted: July 11, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3250199)
Not that Bosox Primates care about Mets prospects, but that's why I'm happy with the Matz pick and the Urbina signing for the Mets. Lefties who throw hard are a rare commodity, and their potential often justify the investment.
   85. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3250203)
John Farrell said that the big thing that improved for Lester in 2008 was his lower body strength, as he recovered from cancer, and that having a solid base gave him much improved command. At least according to Farrell, it wasn't Lester's approach that changed, it was his ability to execute. He became able to throw stikes on command, rather than deciding that he would try to throw more strikes. I obviously don't have any way to evaluate Farrell's claim, but I tend to trust him, and it makes sense enough.

This year, he came in throwing 93-96 with slightly worse but still very good command. According to the pitch/fx data at Fangraphs, Lester had a big uptick in velocity last fall, as well, which has continued and improved this year. So the data seems consistent with improving velocity coming from Lester being on a full training regimen post-cancer.
   86. JB H Posted: July 11, 2009 at 07:25 PM (#3250315)
Yeah Lester has looked unreal good this year. Even when his ERA has been crappy I've thought that he looked better than ever. I really don't think there's any pitcher in baseball that's more than a hair better than him right now.
   87. John DiFool2 Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:40 PM (#3251010)
I read something recently on him getting swinging strikes on c. 30% of his fastballs, which was around 5th in the majors.
   88. Xander Posted: July 12, 2009 at 03:57 PM (#3251018)
The cutter is raw heroin.
   89. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 12, 2009 at 04:43 PM (#3251045)
OK, I'll say it...Jon Lester is:

1) the best starting pitcher on the Red Sox, and
2) Jon Lester is a more valuable commodity than Mr. Trade Deadline Guy, Roy Halladay.

Why?
1) He's SEVEN YEARS YOUNGER than Halladay, with crazy-fewer miles on him than Halladay.
2) He's signed (with a club option) through 2014...when he'll be 30 - still two years younger than Halladay is today.
3) While Lester was excellent last season, and very good so far in 2009, the trend lines are moving in Lester's direction. Halladay has better control (incredible control), but Lester has among the most Ks/9 innings in the majors...and it's going up. His velocity is higher, his control is better, he has gained back his body weight.

I don't know if Lester is the most valuable pitching commodity in baseball right now, but he's more valuable than Halladay.
   90. Raskolnikov Posted: July 12, 2009 at 04:53 PM (#3251050)
I don't know if Lester is the most valuable pitching commodity in baseball right now

He's not.


but he's more valuable than Halladay.


Agreed in general, although it would depend on the team. The exception would be the team that is pretty confident of making the playoffs and wants the stud who can give 7-9 Halladay-level starts in postseason.

But Halladay is the most valuable pitcher who is realistically available on the market.
   91. Joel W Posted: July 12, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3251317)
In case our Lester love fest was making Josh Beckett feel bad, well, he's pretty damn good too. 121 IP so far is esp. impressive given his history.
   92. Joel W Posted: July 13, 2009 at 09:04 PM (#3252180)
Brad Penny May to the All-Star break:

76IP, 56Ks, 18BBs, 5 Hrs, 3.79 ERA

John Smoltz has struck out 17 and walked 4, giving up no HRs in his 20 IP. So his FIP is pretty low.

Oh hey, that Bard guy has been pretty good 29 Ks/10BBs/0 HRs in 24 IPs. When does he become the go to 8th inning guy?

Anyway, point is: The pitching seems to be poised to have an excellent second half, especially because an injury to anybody but Beckett or Lester might actually make the rotation better. If the offense is even reasonably capable, the Red Sox will likely have an excellent second half.
   93. Darren Posted: August 30, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3309184)
So, this is an interesting topic now. Not to pick on Joel, but #92 is fun.
   94. Joel W Posted: August 30, 2009 at 09:30 PM (#3309287)
Pick away. Quite embarrassing.
   95. Joel W Posted: August 30, 2009 at 09:30 PM (#3309288)
Of course, Smoltz has had two great starts in the NL...
   96. philly Posted: August 30, 2009 at 10:00 PM (#3309303)
I had hoped the last post would be bragging about the latest minor league callup Paul Byrd. Smoltz and Penny who?
   97. Darren Posted: August 30, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3309315)
In the NL? Pfft. Even Pedro can pitch in the NL.
   98. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 30, 2009 at 10:43 PM (#3309321)
I had hoped the last post would be bragging about the latest minor league callup Paul Byrd. Smoltz and Penny who?

Does anybody on Toronto still have a pulse? Byrd was sitting in a Barcalounger when the season started.
   99. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 30, 2009 at 11:03 PM (#3309328)
Paul Byrd! Only 1 swinging strike! It worked against the Jays....against NY, I'm not too confident. Actually I know he'll get hammered against NY.
   100. Textbook Editor Posted: August 31, 2009 at 02:48 AM (#3309442)
Smoltz faced the Padres and the Nationals. Please.
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