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   101. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 14, 2006 at 09:07 PM (#2140531)
I didn't say the Red Sox have never found good bullpen pitchers.

Ok, I guess I must have read you wrong - it seemed like that's what you were saying. Posting between work tasks can take a toll on the old subtlety detector. The FO does generally stink at picking up 2nd-tier bullpen guys.

Were Seanez and Tavarez signed when Theo was GM, or was he on his temporary leave when that happened? I just want to know who specifically to curse when I watch them f' up games.
   102. villageidiom Posted: August 14, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2140538)
The FO does generally stink at picking up 2nd-tier bullpen guys.

By definition, 2nd-tier bullpen guys stink.
   103. villageidiom Posted: August 14, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2140556)
Correction to #101: inflation would have lifted the salaries by $500k, not $750k.
   104. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 14, 2006 at 09:48 PM (#2140587)
Who was the Rudy Seanez of the 2004 Red Sox? No one. I know every team has mop-up guys, but no one on the 2004 Red Sox sucked like Seanez and Taverez suck. No one who had as many appearances as those 2 have this year.
   105. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 14, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#2140604)
Who was the Rudy Seanez of the 2004 Red Sox? No one. I know every team has mop-up guys, but no one on the 2004 Red Sox sucked like Seanez and Taverez suck. No one who had as many appearances as those 2 have this year.

I can't remember Leskanic and Mendoza sucking this much.

The worst thing about Rudian Seavarez: Tavarez has TWO years on the contract. I wish they had just never spent this money.

God I hope we can sign Scot Shields. That guy is America's Greatest Weapon Against Improper Bullpen Management
   106. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: August 14, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#2140617)
2004 has obviously been the high point in terms of bullpens during Epstein's tenure -- Boston bullpen ERAs and ranks among ML teams over the past four years:

2003: 4.83 (28th)

2004: 3.87 (11th)

2005: 5.15 (29th)

2006: 4.11 (13th) -- of course some might think of this as Papelbon (0.90 ERA) and everyone else (4.76 ERA).

I suppose some of Epstein's bullpen moves are understandable, but I'll never comprehend (a) getting David Riske but then not using him and (b) trading him for Javier Lopez.
   107. chris p Posted: August 14, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2140713)
theo, i think the numbers you quote show the effect of having a reliable closer.
   108. villageidiom Posted: August 15, 2006 at 02:12 AM (#2141180)
I ran the numbers for Seanez.

Seanez 2005 Top 10 DS: $3.9 million
Seanez 2005 Top 20 DS: $3.0 million
Seanez 2004 Top 10 DS: $2.8 million
Seanez 2004 Top 20 DS: $2.8 million

With inflation, the range is between $3.3 million and $4.4 million per year. Now, granted, the DS are higher in general; not many relievers are posting sub-3.50 ERAs at ages 36 and 37. Trevor Hoffman shows up in his 2005 comp list twice, and Hoffman's salary certainly can skew the list. But even the median for 2005 top 10 is $3 million. (The 2004 top 10 median is $1.35 million.)

One more addendum to the explanation in #101. The 450ish player-seasons did not include those where the Lahman database lacked salary information for the following year.
   109. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 15, 2006 at 09:29 AM (#2141396)
Because I miss all the day discussion here, let me get this off my chest.

That loss tonight vs. Detroit could have been avoided.

This team while I never doubt the 'never say die ' attitude, is finding new and exciting ways to lose.

When I get here tomorrow I hope to find a reason why we can still make the playoffs. I can think of only a few and they involve a starting rotaion which we don't have and a healthy Foulke...yeh right, exactly.
   110. villageidiom Posted: August 15, 2006 at 02:17 PM (#2141450)
I think it requires a healthy Foulke to be in the starting rotation.

Actually, I'm not that pessimistic.
   111. OlePerfesser Posted: August 15, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#2141491)
village: That's interesting work, thanks. But I think what it proves is that the Ez-boys' salaries are commensurate with what the Ed Wades or Bill Bavasis are likely to pay for such talent. Some of us were expressing disappointment that Theo seemed to be doing stuff that un-creative. But maybe the problem is our unrealistic expectations. (And we should remember that Theo was distracted this off-season by his pi$$ing match with Lucchiavelli.)

I couldn't tune in last night's game, Phil, so I don't know the specific blunders to which you refer, but one thing I'm sure talkradio will be focused on today is how disappointing Beckett seems to be. He keeps tantalizing us with solid work here and there--and inopportune meltdowns. If his whole career is going to be like that, watching him is going to be torture.
   112. villageidiom Posted: August 15, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2141588)
But I think what it proves is that the Ez-boys' salaries are commensurate with what the Ed Wades or Bill Bavasis are likely to pay for such talent. Some of us were expressing disappointment that Theo seemed to be doing stuff that un-creative.

If you're expecting that free agents will sign with the Red Sox for less than what other GMs would be willing to cough up, I think your expectations are too high. I've never seen the FA market work that way.

I certainly think the Red Sox FO should be able to get fair - or unfairly good - deals in trades; I think they should be able to draft better than the average team; and I think they should be able to pick the waiver wire & nontenders well. Under no circumstances do I expect them to find bargains in free agency. Any FA "bargain" comes with risks; after all, the risks are what drive down cost.
   113. OlePerfesser Posted: August 15, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2141659)
If you're expecting that free agents will sign with the Red Sox for less...

Not at all. Again, the thrust of my (and others') sentiments was that you don't really need to fill out your bullpen with such mediocre, elderly FAs. That's Wade-ian. "Creativity" ==> finding the next Chad Bradford or Byung-Hyun Kim.

Anyway, it may be that the dollars wasted on middle relievers are small beer with a budget like ours. The big question is whether the players you lock up with big bucks, long-term contracts play to expectations and are truly elite.

One worry is that Beckett might be less elite than everybody thought. I hope the kid gets it going soon.
   114. villageidiom Posted: August 16, 2006 at 02:54 AM (#2142595)
Not at all. Again, the thrust of my (and others') sentiments was that you don't really need to fill out your bullpen with such mediocre, elderly FAs.

I guess my point is that, for the last spots in the pen, you don't need much more than mediocre, elderly FA's.

Furthermore, I think the ZiPS projections on Tavarez and Seanez for 2006 (average around 4.00) aren't that far off from what Kim and Bradford actually contributed (average around 3.75). Nor were the salaries ($5.25 mil for S&T in 2006, $5.6 mil for B&K, adjusted to full season and adjusting for inflation). The big difference, of course, was that the Sox also had to give up talent for Kim and Bradford.

Anyway, it may be that the dollars wasted on middle relievers are small beer with a budget like ours. The big question is whether the players you lock up with big bucks, long-term contracts play to expectations and are truly elite.

One worry is that Beckett might be less elite than everybody thought. I hope the kid gets it going soon.


I agree on these points 100%.
   115. OlePerfesser Posted: August 16, 2006 at 01:01 PM (#2142743)
...the Sox also had to give up talent for Kim and Bradford...

Sorry not to be clear: when I plucked those names out of the memory banks, I was looking for examples of pitchers plucked from obscurity who gave their initial teams high-quality relief innings at not much cost (i.e., "finds"). By the time they came to the Sox, they were neither cheap nor particularly good. Which exemplifies the problem we were trying to articulate.

But we've no doubt beaten this horse long after dead and cremated; we got some bigger problems going on now.

This Detroit series was very big. Win it and you keep the momentum going after a nice little sweep, and you build your confidence 'cause the Tigers are playoff bound. You feel strong going into Do-or-Die Weekend.

Instead, they've relapsed, losing winnable games, discouraging the Nation again, and putting an awful lot of pressure on themselves.
   116. karlmagnus Posted: August 16, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2142752)
One thing the last few weeks have shown is just how important Wakefield is. The ownership will have the opportunity to make a historic blunder this offseason, because of his contract, and let him go. Real IQ test for Epstein, which I'm not entirely confident he'll pass.
   117. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 16, 2006 at 01:30 PM (#2142766)
What's the current record for highest payroll without a playoff appearance? A recent Mets team?
   118. RobertMachemer Posted: August 16, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2143156)
One thing the last few weeks have shown is just how important Wakefield is. The ownership will have the opportunity to make a historic blunder this offseason, because of his contract, and let him go. Real IQ test for Epstein, which I'm not entirely confident he'll pass.
Doesn't Wakefield have a very good (from the team's perspective) contract? Renewable in perpetuity at a relatively low cost? Considering Wakefield was having his typical year this year, showing no signs of any great age-related decline, why on earth would you think Epstein would consider getting rid of him? (Other than a general pessimism about Epstein's ability to make good decisions)?
   119. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 17, 2006 at 05:12 AM (#2144219)
Is a 5 game sweep to much to ask?
   120. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 17, 2006 at 05:13 AM (#2144220)
Is a five game sweep too much to ask?
   121. 1k5v3L Posted: August 17, 2006 at 05:18 AM (#2144225)
5 game sweep? No. Five game sweep though... far too much to ask.
   122. karlmagnus Posted: August 17, 2006 at 12:45 PM (#2144293)
Robert, general pessimism about Epstein's decision making sums it up. He's often good, sometimes inspired, but there have been some clunkers too.
   123. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 17, 2006 at 12:55 PM (#2144300)
Robert, general pessimism about Epstein's decision making sums it up. He's often good, sometimes inspired, but there have been some clunkers too.

Karl, please stop hocking a chynek about Epstein. Name a GM with no, as you put it, "clunkers" on his resume.
   124. OlePerfesser Posted: August 17, 2006 at 01:37 PM (#2144329)
Hocking a chynek?

I have no idea what that means, Joe, but I'm probably gonna use it a lot from now on. Very slick.

karl, of course, will not be happy until Theo summons Dan Duquette from retirement and holds a press conference at which he says "I was too young and inexperienced for this job from the get-go, and now I've brought back the man who built the foundation of this team to act as my guru. I promise to defer to him on all baseball decisions, and also erect a monument to Dan outside the Cask and Flagon."

Of course, if the Sox don't play their asses off the next few weeks, there will be a lot more people who will be on Theo pretty hard.
   125. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 17, 2006 at 01:50 PM (#2144336)
Hock mir nisht en chinik


http://www.pass.to/glossary/gloz1.htm
   126. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 17, 2006 at 01:50 PM (#2144337)
He's often good
Manny Ramirez
Not overpaying for Mo
Troy O'Leary, among others off the scrap heap
Mike Stanley
Brian Daubach
Many, many others

sometimes inspired
Pedro!
Varitek/Lowe

but there have been some clunkers too.
Bragg for Moyer
4 years for Troy O'Leary?
Steve Avery
Dante Bichette
Ed Sprague

Hmm.
   127. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 17, 2006 at 01:51 PM (#2144339)
I have no idea what that means, Joe

What that means, with a slightly different spelling

I mean, really, OleP, as Denis Leary showed us so subtly last night, how can you be a fan of this team and not speak a little Yiddish? Farshtaist?
   128. OlePerfesser Posted: August 17, 2006 at 02:19 PM (#2144364)
Exactly, Doug.

BTW, you left the Clemens Defection off your clunker list, Joe. Darren will arrive shortly to hock some major chynek.
   129. villageidiom Posted: August 17, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2144874)
I think this is the last follow-up on the Seanez/Tavarez comparisons I'd run earlier. Just for fun I ran every qualified reliever's comparables for 2005 and 2004, based on the same methodology as before. B.J. Ryan had been available on the free agent market last year; let's look at his top 10 comparables for his 2005 season:

2002 Billy Wagner
2003 Octavio Dotel
2003 Terry Adams
2004 Braden Looper
2003 Joe Borowski
2002 Jason Isringhausen
2004 Julian Tavarez
2003 Felix Heredia
2002 Armando Benitez
2003 David Riske

And for his 2004 season:

2002 Scott Sauerbeck
2003 Octavio Dotel
2004 Julian Tavarez
2004 Scott Linebrink
2004 Eric Gagne
2003 Guillermo Mota
2003 David Riske
2003 Francisco Cordero
2004 Keith Foulke
2003 Keith Foulke

Again, I'm just using number of appearances, ERA, and age to compare... so it's a bit of a blunt instrument. But I found it interesting that many of the names above have been tried by the Red Sox, including Mr. Tavarez. For relievers, they seem to be willing to try someone if they've had one season of considerable success.

Of course, the thing about B.J. Ryan is that he has demonstrated some level of consistency: his own 2004 season is 16th in the comparable list for his 2005 season. Hence the repeats in the two lists.

What it appears to me is that the Sox are paying relievers based on one good season, in the hopes that they repeat it. Furthermore, it doesn't look like they're overpaying for that one season; the earlier analysis, though on a two-pitcher sample, suggests they're either in line with market (Tavarez) or underpaying (Seanez) based on past performance.

Their track record for success is better when they find someone with 2+ successful seasons (Foulke in theory, Timlin, and Embree for a while).
   130. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 17, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2144918)
If the Red Sox can put together another hot streak and somehow make the playoffs, I think they have just a good a shot as any team in the AL. If Beckett settles down and Schilling continues to pitch well, with Wakefield coming back and Wells looking at least half decent, it doesn't look as bleak as it did to some of you last week, does it?
   131. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 17, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2144987)
it doesn't look as bleak as it did to some of you last week, does it?

Ask me again on Monday.

On a side note - I didn't want to intrude on the fun, but have a look at today's Yankee game chatter. It reads like a...a...Sox Chatter!
   132. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 17, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2144990)
Yes, it's a big series, but I could see either team taking 3 of 5, and it's still a race.
   133. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 17, 2006 at 10:43 PM (#2145116)
Imagine if we had spent big money on BJ Ryan too, and we had BOTH Ryan and Papelbon in the bullpen instead of Tavarez/Seanez.
   134. Darren Posted: August 17, 2006 at 11:38 PM (#2145149)
By the time they came to the Sox, they were neither cheap nor particularly good. Which exemplifies the problem we were trying to articulate.

Maybe this is going off on a tangent a bit, but Kim was a 24-year-old elite closer/good starter making $3.2 mil when he got to the Sox. He was both good and cheap. Bradford was cheap and served a purpose. One was a acquired for a redundant piece (who bore quite a resemblence to Mr. Hinske) and the other for a "clubhouse problem" that Mr. Player's Manager couldn't handle. I'd say that both should be considered good acquisitions, the former may even be considered a great one.
   135. chris p Posted: August 18, 2006 at 12:15 AM (#2145168)
Maybe this is going off on a tangent a bit, but Kim was a 24-year-old elite closer/good starter making $3.2 mil when he got to the Sox.

problem was, he was dead set on becoming a starter.
   136. Darren Posted: August 18, 2006 at 12:45 AM (#2145188)
And he was doing quite well at it with the Dbacks. Then he came to the Red Sox and he offered to do whatever would help the team most. Apparently the Sox took that to mean that they could simply abuse the crap out of him.
   137. Mattbert Posted: August 18, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2146418)
If the Red Sox can put together another hot streak and somehow make the playoffs, I think they have just a good a shot as any team in the AL. If Beckett settles down and Schilling continues to pitch well, with Wakefield coming back and Wells looking at least half decent, it doesn't look as bleak as it did to some of you last week, does it?
You should call up ESPN and offer to fill in for Gammons with all those 'if's. Haven't we been waiting hopefully for Beckett to settle down since early May? I guess if Pedroia can find the hot streak that was elusively imminent for so long, maybe Beckett can finally cool it with the gopher balls one of these days.
   138. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 18, 2006 at 08:32 PM (#2146480)
maybe Beckett can finally cool it with the gopher balls one of these days

Well, he hasn't given up any for the last 2 games. Not that he's been that great anyway.
   139. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 19, 2006 at 11:43 PM (#2148140)
You should call up ESPN and offer to fill in for Gammons with all those 'if's.

Why, thank you, kind sir!

Believe me, I'm as sick about how this weekend has panned out so far as anyone. They're playing awful right now. Schilling pitched well last time out. Let's see what he has tomorrow. And the let's watch wells get crushed on Monday. Giving up 4 runs vs Detroit's line-up = how many against the Yankees? 11?
   140. baudib Posted: August 20, 2006 at 12:42 AM (#2148203)
It's nice to finally see the window slam shut on this team.
   141. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 20, 2006 at 06:25 AM (#2148438)
Well, he hasn't given up any for the last 2 games.

He gave one up to BERNIE WILLIAMS today.
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