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   1. Toby Posted: September 12, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#2174533)
Back o' the envelope roster check -- do I have this right?

DH Papi
C Tek
1B Youks
2B Pedroia
SS ?
3B Lowell
LF Manny
CF Crisp
RF Pena

That lineup's not so bad.

SP1 Schilling
SP2 Beckett
SP3 Wakefield
SP4 Clement
SP5 ?

That rotation's not so good.

RP1 Papelbon (or does he go to rotation?)
RP2 Tavarez (ditto?)
RP3 ?
RP4 ?
RP5 ?

Ugh.

Someone please figure out how many $$ we have committed, how many $$ we have available, how we could reasonably spend it. I'm too lazy to work it out myself.
   2. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2174547)
Is Lester more or less officially out for all of 2007?
   3. Sean McNally Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2174549)
Toby,

Hoping to help out, here's what Cot's sez about 2007 (Link):

M. Ramirez - $18 million
C. Schilling - $13 million
M. Clement - $9.5 million
J. Varitek - $9 million
M. Lowell - $9 million
K. Fouke - $7.25 million
D. Ortiz - $10.5 million
J. Beckett - $6 million
E. Hinske - $4.325 million
T. Wakefield - $4million (option)
J. Tavarez - $3.1 million
C. Crisp - $3.5 million
C. Hansen - $1 million
WM Pena - ARB ($1.25 million in '06)
K. Youklis - Reserved
J. Papelbon - Reserved
J. Peoria - Reserved

That's $98 million and change for 13 spots (if they pick up Wakefield's option), plus arbirtation awards for WMP and new deals for the three kids. So for 16 filled spots, the Sox probably have between $105 and $110 million committed.
   4. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#2174554)
So for 16 filled spots, the Sox probably have between $105 and $110 million committed.
Jesus. That's way more than I would've said. Although for what it's worth, I think Boston is only on the hook for half of Hinske's salary, the Jays get the other half. Still a lot of cash though. Of course, that's also the core of a very good team.
   5. Kyle S Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2174559)
I'd put papelbon into the rotation for sure.
   6. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2174561)
Averageing the Sox last three payrolls (although worth noting its gone down every year since 2003, at least according to USA Today) they have about 123 million to play with. Taking the middle ground of Sean's figures, and the roster Toby provided, that gives them roughly 16 million for a starter, a SS and 3 relievers.
   7. OlePerfesser Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2174583)
Dear Theo:

Please do not "churn" the roster. By this I mean: Just because someone has disappointed you this past year doesn't mean you have to discard your initial judgment about him and start over. I'm thinking of Coco and Beckett here. Time may judge those acquisitions to be mistakes, but it's too early to say after one year; their performance is within the bounds of normal variance. Be patient.

Also, please do not try to be too grandiose. Don't distract yourself by constantly working on Nomar-plus-Manny-for-ARod-plus-Magglio-type multi-team deals. This team has a nice core; figure out simple, straightforward solutions to the remaining problems and get those solutions done. Be humble.

Sunshinily yours,

The Ole Perfesser
   8. Toby Posted: September 12, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2174587)
I believe Foulke's option for 2007 hasn't vested and isn't likely to be picked up by the Sox. Is that true?

I see I left off Hinske, Delcarmen, Hansen, and of course Lester, and the other faces -- Kyle Snynder, Kason Gabbard, DiNardo, Carlos Pena, etc.

Are we also on the hook for some of Renteria's salary? Or have we already paid what we had to pay?
   9. PJ Martinez Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2174632)
"...that gives them roughly 16 million for a starter, a SS and 3 relievers."

Two of those relievers are named Hansen and Delcarmen.

If the Sox can't get Zito, who's next on the list? Schmidt?

16 million is barely enough for a top starter and good reliever. If the Sox really won't spend more than 125m, I could see Alex Gonzalez coming back (and, of course, A. Ramirez would not be an option, even if he is available). Which may be too bad, because his defense (which, according to Dial, trailed off in the second half) probably doesn't make up for that 300 OBP. Lugo is not great, and he's 31, but he's not an automatic out.

I think the Sox should make a couple of splashy FA signings (a very good starter, Lugo, maybe a reliever) and hope for the best. That should generate some goodwill with the fairweather fans who pay the bills without sacrificing long-term competitiveness.

Is there any chance Cincinnati trades Dunn? I'm not trying to wish for a pony here, and I agree that keeping it simple is probably the way to go. I'm just wondering if his rising paycheck and .243 BA have soured Krivsky's opinion at all. I could also see the Sox asking Baltimore about Tejada again.
   10. Xander Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2174634)
Dear Theo,

Matsuzaka
Aramis
Speier

Yours Truly,
TUSox
   11. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2174636)
Possible free agent pitchers

1. Jason Schmidt
2. Barry Zito
3. Mike Mussina (option)
4. Roger Clemens (unlikely)
5. Tom Glavine
6. Andy Pettitte
7. Miguel Batista
8. Jamie Moyer
9. Vicente Padilla
10. Greg Maddux
11. Woody Williams
12. Ted Lilly
13. Brad Radke
14. Jeff Suppan
15. Gil Meche
16. Matsuzaka?
17. Jeff Weaver
18. Randy Wolf
19. Tomo Ohka
   12. WillYoung Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2174646)
Brad Radke is retiring. The dude has a torn labrum and a broken shoulder.
   13. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2174650)
In no particular order, btw.

Gonzalez again or Counsell at SS could be an (awful) option. Maybe Cora? None of them are great, but the idea of overpaying Lugo just kills me. Maybe some kind of platoon?

I think Foulke has a player option for $3.75M, but I could be wrong.

Ditto what TUSox said. I hope Theo & Co. go hard after Matsuzaka.
   14. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2174651)
In addition to Foulke's option not vesting, Toronto's also on the hook for half of Hinske's salary.

RP6 may be Breslow. They'll need a second Jew with Kapler and Stern out of the picture in 2007.

Kapler is out of the picture, right? They wouldn't seriously consider...

*deep breath*
   15. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2174653)
Dear Theo:

Ask about Shonsuke Watanabe for 5th starter/swingman/ROOGY.

Ask about any other Japanese reliever with at least 4/5 seasons of success (ERA, peripherals, etc.) over there with good "stuff" that the scouts like too.

Never ever take Kevin Youkilis off the leadoff spot.

I'm never ever going to condone a hate crime, but if Gabe Kapler is still on the roster next year, I may make an exception.
   16. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: September 12, 2006 at 05:53 PM (#2174654)
Aramis

I'd be willing to bet that the Cubs re-sign him. They can't afford a bad winter.
   17. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2174674)
So with the corrections to Foulke's and Hinske's commitments, you have $5 mill more to play with, or $21 mil using the thought experiment above. Delcarmen and Hansen are two of the options above, Lester is a SP6? whose healthy return would be upside. If you could actually attain a good FA pitcher, the rotation of Schill/Wake/FA/Beckett/Clement doesn't seem too bad. Commitments in the BP are: Papelbon, Delcarmen, Hansen, Foulke, (Breslow/LOOGY?), FA. You certainly need more BP depth there -- another FA or Edgar Martinez? But it's fundamentally not too bad.

The positive spin -- let's call it the OleP take -- is that with the lineup proposed above you could sign two impact FAs and apparently have a solid-to-good rotation AND bullpen, with some upside if Lester can come back strong, or Gabbard/Snyder turn out to be anything. The negative spin is that Foulke, Hansen, Delcarmen, and Clement could all be 100% busts, and the expected case could be 2 busts. Then you're back to hoping that Gabbard/Snyder can play meaningful roles, which seems unlikely, or that Buchholz/Bowden/Seibel step up and are ready to go sooner than expected.

But $21 million could get two attractive FA pitchers if you're willing to live with basically what you have in the field...and Schilling, Lowell, and Clement come off the books in '07, giving back some breathing room in the payroll. Doesn't seem like a bad time to me to take an aggressive run at top-notch free agents.
   18. Sexy Lizard Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2174680)
How does the expiration of the CBA play into this? IIRC, the Sox have been trying to stay around the luxury tax threshold and not go way over. If that threshold disappears or goes up -- is this possible? likely? -- could we be looking at a higher payroll?
   19. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:27 PM (#2174692)
Dear Theo,

Matsuzaka
Aramis
Speier

Yours Truly,
TUSox


Have they even made contact with Matsuzaka's team? I've got to say, I"ll be shocked if he's not a Yankee or Mariner next year (assuming he's posted).
   20. chris p Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#2174705)
i'd like to see some accountability in the scouting department. it appears that the scouts assigned to amateur baseball are miles ahead of those watching professional baseball. same goes for the pitching coach(es). the number of veteran pitchers who have suddenly become ineffective or injured over the past few years seems a bit high.

as for hte roster...

c: tek's getting old, mirabelli looks toast. hopefully one of hte kids (exposito, egan, wagner) will be ready when tek is done, but they need to find a replacement for mirabelli.

1b: i'd like to move youks back to 3rd and get a real power hitter. or get a real power hitter for 3b.

2b: petunia. unless they can get callaspo ;)

3b: trade lowell, see 1b

ss: keep alex gonzalez. i think he improved at the bat over the season until he was hurt at the end. credit goes to him for putting int he time, and to papa jack, the one red sox coach worth a damn. also, he can really pick it.

lf: manny!

cf: coco i guess. he gets one more chance and then it's ellsbury. if coco doesn't look like he can stick in center then you cannot trade ellsbury.

rf: wily mo!

dh: david arias.

sp: ugh. i'd like to see them make a real attempt at matsuzaka. beckett needs to figure out how to pitch. does schill have one more year in him? i hope wake comes back. that leaves the 5th spot open, right? i'd like to see tavarez get a shot at the 5th starter spot.

rp: get guys taht don't suck. hopefully mdc and hansen can improve. papelbon should close again. timlin is probably toast.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: September 12, 2006 at 06:52 PM (#2174709)
dear theo

get a new pitching coach
   22. ekogan Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2174713)
K. Fouke - $7.25 million

Foulke has a team option worth $7.25 mil, $1.5 buyout and $3.75 player option. There's little chance that the team will pick up the 7 mil option, so whenever Foulke will be back next year depends on wherever he thinks he can get more than $2.25 mil (3.75-1.5) on the open market. How likely do you guys think that is?

I'd think that having Foulke for $3.75 mil is a good deal, since he's a good bet to outpitch Tavarez/Seanez next year, and $3 mil seems to be the going rate for that kind of pitcher. By that logic, Foulke will not be in Boston next year.
   23. ekogan Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2174717)
Dear Theo,

over the offseason, please do the following:


Sign a contract
   24. ekogan Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2174722)
Matsuzaka


If it's comparable money, I'd rather go after Zito. Less of an unknown quantity and extremely durable. An considering that getting Matsuzaka would require paying a posting fee in addition to his salary, the money will probably be comparable.

My offseason plan then is: leave WMP, Coco & Pedroia in RF, CF & 2B, resign Gonzalez for SS (if he comes cheap & for no more than two years), and spend the rest of the budget chasing Zito, or Schmidt if he comes significantly cheaper. And don't bring back Mirabelli, knuckleball catching genius regardless.
   25. PJ Martinez Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:15 PM (#2174726)
"c: tek's getting old, mirabelli looks toast. hopefully one of hte kids (exposito, egan, wagner) will be ready when tek is done, but they need to find a replacement for mirabelli."

With Kottaras in the fold, and Wake still around, I assume the plan is to hold onto Mirabelli for one more year, with Kottaras taking his place in 2008, and, if all goes well, taking over for Tek when his contract is up.

Why would anyone pay Keith Foulke 3m next year? If that's how his contract works, I imagine he's back in Boston-- unless he hates it here and just wants to get out of town.
   26. ekogan Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2174740)
Why would anyone pay Keith Foulke 3m next year?


Foulke has got a 4.0 ERA since returning from injury with 7K/2BB. I'd think that next year, if he's used carefully he can give you sub 4 ERA in 60+ IP. That's a decent middle reliever.
   27. b Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2174741)
Never ever take Kevin Youkilis off the leadoff spot.

Which Youk is the real Youk? April through June or July through now? Neither? Did pitchers figure out that if you throw him strikes, he won't do much with it?
   28. Walt Davis Posted: September 12, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2174749)
That's $98 million and change for 13 spots (if they pick up Wakefield's option), plus arbirtation awards for WMP and new deals for the three kids. So for 16 filled spots, the Sox probably have between $105 and $110 million committed.

Those last numbers are way too high. It's $98 M for 13 spots even counting Foulke and Hinske at full price. But WMP's arb award is gonna be around $2-2.5 M -- yeah, he had a nice season but is still a bench player and bench players don't get big arb awards for obvious reasons. None of the kids are arb-eligible so they basically get no raise at all and those 3 kids cost you about $1 M total. Plus that's 17 spots not 16.

So it's $101 for 17 spots or more likely $96 with the Foulke/Hinske corrections, leaving the Sox with $25-30 M for 8 spots. Two of those are presumably Delcarmen and Kottaras (assuming Mirabelli isn't back but he'll be cheap anyway) who will be at or near league minimum. Feel a bit better now? :-)
   29. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 12, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2174788)
rp: get guys taht don't suck.

Brilliant!
   30. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: September 12, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2174790)
Possible free agent pitchers

1. Jason Schmidt
2. Barry Zito
3. Mike Mussina (option)
4. Roger Clemens (unlikely)
5. Tom Glavine
6. Andy Pettitte
7. Miguel Batista
8. Jamie Moyer
9. Vicente Padilla
10. Greg Maddux
11. Woody Williams
12. Ted Lilly
13. Brad Radke
14. Jeff Suppan
15. Gil Meche
16. Matsuzaka?
17. Jeff Weaver
18. Randy Wolf
19. Tomo Ohka


I like Wolf most of the non-stars on this list. He's going to come pretty cheap, and he's looked good after finally making it off the DL. He's certainly a risk, but I like the idea of pairing Wolf with the Clements of the world at the back of the rotation. Wolf has the potential be a difference maker, which has more value if you lose out on the top tier.

On the hitting side, if Trot goes and we need someone to replace the 10th hitter mantle, Craig Wilson would make sense even if he isn't terribly good in the outfield.

Does anyone think a Lowell trade is a possibility? I'm guessing after this last season, and since he's just a one year committment, the Sox could maybe get out of his salary if they wanted to give him away. Does this interest anyone? I'm not sure, but thought I'd throw it out there.
   31. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 12, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2174876)
Which Youk is the real Youk? April through June or July through now? Neither? Did pitchers figure out that if you throw him strikes, he won't do much with it?

He was still the best hitter in the lineup when we had our AAA lineup a couple of weeks ago. It was sad.
   32. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 12, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2174899)
I have to belive that Clement is gone, and I think it would be a good idea to try and move Lowell, since he's making so much $.
   33. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: September 12, 2006 at 11:53 PM (#2174936)
Probably should sell high on Lowell to help the pitching staff. Stick Youkilis at 3rd and find a cost-effective 1B who can hit some or a high-priced 1B who can really mash...
   34. 1k5v3L Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2174942)
Dear Theo,

Please hire kevin as a clubhouse masseur.

Yours,
Dustin Pedroia
   35. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:21 AM (#2174957)
Probably should sell high on Lowell to help the pitching staff.

MIPK, I hate to piss on the carpet at ST like this, but the time to sell high on Lowell was around the ASB - teams around baseball have seen him struggle and look old at the plate in the second half of the season.
   36. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:43 AM (#2174976)
MIPK, I hate to piss on the carpet at ST like this, but the time to sell high on Lowell was around the ASB - teams around baseball have seen him struggle and look old at the plate in the second half of the season.

If we eat a lotof salary, it's hard for me to believe that a .820 OPS 3B with arguably the best 3B glove in the AL would have low value
   37. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#2174985)
with arguably the best 3B glove in the AL would have low value


You could make an argument for him this year, though I'd put Inge above him, but over his career he's basically average. He has value, but I doubt he'd fetch much.
   38. Darren Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:52 AM (#2174993)
TVE, he always has a better first half, and I think teams know that. I'm not sure the Sox could've gotten much more for him at the ASB than they can now. I wouldn't deal him unless I could unload 1/2 or more of his salary and get something of value in return. Then again, his good D has probably helped the pitching, and his WARP3 is 7.2 (including 25 FRAR), which seems to be worth $9 mil these days. Maybe they should hold him til the 07 ASB.

I second the idea of getting new pitching coaches. Guys are good, go to Boston and stink, then leave and get good again. It seems you'd at least want to see if it's the coaching that's the problem. Like Nate I like Wolf, but I haven't followed his health. I assume he's shot.

How about we get Sheffield? :)
   39. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:59 AM (#2175000)
How about we get Sheffield?


I would love that, if he plays the OF. I don't think he's going to be anything special next year coming back from a wrist injury at that age and with that swing, and he's absolutely brutal in the field. Not to mention all the other fun stuff that goes along with having him on your team.
   40. Darren Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:10 AM (#2175008)
Yeah, that wrist injury does worry me. Here's the thing about his D, though: he can't be worse than Wily Mo in RF. That guy is buuurruuutttalll. Maybe he'll get better (or maybe he did this year and I don't realize) but blech. I'd advocate trading him to the Angels or Twins for some young, solid pitching. Could he bring back Ervin Santana? Scott Baker? Someone else?

I wouldn't mind bringing Nixon back on a short money/short term deal. His defense is still decent and he can still hit. He's likely to miss 60 or so games with platoon/injuries, but that's where a decent 4th OF comes in.
   41. MikeinMI Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2175029)
What would you all think of bringing back Nomar as a 1b if you could deal Lowell?
   42. JB H Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2175054)
- They really need Trot back. I doubt Pena will project to be better than average vs RHP next year. Getting Trot for 1/$5 or 2/$8 would be nice.

- Lowell will probably be undervalued in the trade market (1/$9 is a pretty fair deal), but they should still trade him. Free 1B/Youks/B prospect/$$$ is better than Youks/Lowell. They should also explore trading Youkilis instead, although that makes 2008 pretty complicated

- None of the big name pitchers are very interesting IMO, except maybe Matsuzaka who I don't have much of an idea about

- One of these years the FA reliever crapshoot has to go in our favor, right?

I really don't see a scenario where we don't give up a ton of runs next year.
   43. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:03 AM (#2175086)
Theo, now that Travis Lee is available you know you owe it to yourself to let him continue his scenic tour of the AL East. Oh, and Jose Lima. He's really really good.
   44. villageidiom Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:38 AM (#2175095)
Dear Mr. Epstein,

Do not make any moves based on ideas presented in this or other weblogs.

Sincerely,

villageidiom
   45. PJ Martinez Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:44 AM (#2175105)
"I have to belive that Clement is gone"

I don't see how the Sox deal Clement. Perhaps if they pay half his salary and trade him to an NL team for nothing. And perhaps that's a good idea.

With Lowell, trading him seems to make sense, but are you really going to get anything for him? And how much can you upgrade with, say, a C. Pena/Hinske platoon (or something... do I even have the handedness right?) at 1B? That would be a downgrade defensively. I suppose if the Sox needed to save money to spend on pitching, and some team was going to pay most of Lowell's salary, it might be worth it.

Lowell has worked out okay this year. My concern with him is that he looks old and will decline. But I don't think it will be easy to upgrade.

I don't really see how Sheffield fits on this team, since we already have 3 DHs (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Wily Mo is better than Sheffield defensively at this point-- Sheffield looked terrible last I saw).

Still seems most logical to keep it simple: buy the best pitcher(s) you can, and maybe Lugo (or A. Ramirez if he's available, in which case you dump Lowell). The Sox need Schilling to stay good, Beckett and Crisp to bounce back, and the bullpen to come together. It's quite possible none of those things will happen, which is why I think the FO should spend cash and not prospects.

I'm intrigued by the idea of Papelbon in the rotation, but with our bullpen the way it is, I don't see how that's possible.
   46. villageidiom Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:49 AM (#2175214)
Given the general inability to build a strong bullpen - whether it be due to ignorance, bad luck, or something else - the temptation would be to keep Papelbon in the pen. But they need to rebuild the rotation with arms that can pitch 7 innings in the latter half of the year. If Papelbon is one of those players, and if closers are somewhat fungible, you need to put him in the rotation.

The reason they need to have starters who can pitch 7 is that the fortunes of the team are less dependent on the last 1-2 pitchers coming out of the bullpen, who are almost always guaranteed to stink. As I like to point out, the difference between starters going 7 and starters going 6 is a 50% increase in the bullpen workload; and your best relievers, who would pitch a lot if the starters went 7, aren't going to bear the brunt of the extra workload nearly as much as the worst ones are.

In theory, the 2006 Red Sox were built for this with each of Schilling, Wakefield, Wells, and Clement owning a decent track record of pitching deep into games. But thanks to injuries and/or ineffectiveness the team never got to see the expected benefit.

Of the free agent pitchers above, recent IP/G track records earn them the following grades:

A Schmidt
B Zito, Clemens, Moyer
----------------------------------
C Pettitte, Maddux, Glavine
D Weaver, Mussina, Suppan, Wolf
F the rest

It wouldn't surprise me to see the Red Sox take a flier on Moyer, as he'd likely be the budget-conscious choice, but I'd be disappointed if he were considered the total solution to the problem. If he's the #5 starter - though that's hard to do with Clement around - I'm OK with it. Moose was close to 7 IP/start in 2003, but hasn't sniffed it in any of the last three years. Williams, Padilla, Ohka, Meche, and Lilly are lucky to give you 6, let alone 7.

Naturally the list skews toward good pitchers: pitch effectively and you'll go deep into games. But some of the C's and D's on the list above are fairly effective pitchers. For them to be truly effective, though, you need a top-notch bullpen; and I have confidence that the Red Sox will NOT have that, no matter what they do in the offseason.
   47. 1k5v3L Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:12 AM (#2175265)
F the rest


There really is no point in using profanities to express your feelings.

Oh, and dear Theo,

Please sign Timlin to a three year extension and make him the closer.

Papelbon needs to establish himself as a starter next year.

Better yet, trade Papelbon for a proven 1Bman and veteran leader (i.e., Tony Clark).
   48. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:37 AM (#2175302)
If Mike Timlin were a horse, I'd shoot it.
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 11:52 AM (#2175412)
The big question on offense seems to be, where do all the moving pieces at 1B/3B/RF end up? Wily Mo has gotten into a game or two at first - can he play the position at all? If he could learn the position to a level of competency, one could trade Lowell or Youkilis. With Theo in charge, though, I doubt we'll see any good starting players traded. If Wily Mo can handle first, I would assume that Theo will look to bring in another outfielder and create a four-man rotation. Possibly Dave Murphy could fill that role, starting only against RHP, but that's a call for the scouts.

I definitely re-sign Alex Gonzalez on short money. No more big contracts for guys who aren't even all-stars. Gonzalez is a perfectly average ballplayer, and I like him. Carlos Pena works as a lefty bat off the bench, and I'd like to see Cora back as the reserve infielder. With this roster, I think 13 position players is the way to go given the potential disaster on the pitching staff, so they might prefer a Willie Harris type to Carlos Pena, though the Willie Harris experience might dissuade them.

The Red Sox definitely need another starter, at least one more. They currently have the highest-variance rotation ever assembled. All four pitchers have the capability to be above-average, and Beckett and Schilling could compete for the Cy Young. None of them would surprise us with a 5.00 ERA or a 60 IP season, though. The 2007 Red Sox will be an even bigger crapshoot for the projections than the '06 team, and I didn't really think that was possible.

Because of that problem, I want the Sox to pick up a real All-Star starter, and I don't see one on the FA market. That's why I tend to like Matsuzaka - he's young, he's got great stuff, he could be a dominant pitcher. Another 4.40 ERA type wouldn't kill the rotation, but he'd run the risk of a 5.40 ERA, and the Sox can't afford that.

I also really like Francisco Cordero, if the Brewers don't re-up him. Cordero's a legitimate closer who got dropped from the job early this season while giving up far more runs than you'd expect from his components. Cordero's never had that problem before, and he has a 0.5 ERA with the Brewers as their closer. He'd probably be expensive, but he's the only reliever out there that I have particular confidence in. If you sign Cordero and one other (Speier?), you might be able to move Papelbon to the rotation.

Let's see where this gets us...

C Varitek (Mirabelli)
1B Youkilis (Pena, Pena)
2B Petunia (Cora)
SS Gonzalez (Cora)
3B Lowell (Youkilis, Cora)
LF Ramirez (Murphy?)
CF Crisp (Murphy?)
RF Pena (Murphy?)
DH Ortiz

SP Schilling
SP Matsuzaka
SP Beckett
SP Papelbon
SP Wakefield / Clement (and fill in for inevitable injuries in spring)

RP Cordero
RP Speier
RP Delcarmen
RP Hansen
RP Timlin???
RP Breslow???
RP Gabbard

Gabbard's the 7th starter. The Sox need at least six starters coming into the season, which is why I'd like them to stretch out Papelbon if it's medically feasible. You go maybe 3/20 for Cordero and 4/40 for Matsuzaka, 2/7 for Speier, 2/6 for Gonzalez. I think that all adds up relatively well. Of course, I have no idea what the markets will look like - I'm relatively hopeful that Cordero won't command anything like BJ Ryan's contract because he got dropped from the job this spring, but that could be completely wrong. I realize the Sox are not front-runners for any Japanese player, but I think that Daisuke is the way to go.

That's sorta spitballing, but what do y'all think?
   50. NTNgod Posted: September 13, 2006 at 11:58 AM (#2175415)
Wily Mo has gotten into a game or two at first - can he play the position at all?

When he was rehabbing and tried to play first, the Globe said the FO nixed the idea after seeing him play at 1B.


I also really like Francisco Cordero, if the Brewers don't re-up him.

He's got a team option for $5m, which the Brewers have said they're going to exercise.
   51. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:01 PM (#2175416)
I'm relatively hopeful that Cordero won't command anything like BJ Ryan's contract because he got dropped from the job this spring, but that could be completely wrong.

Didn't Foulke get dropped from the closer role prior to signing that contract with the Sox?
   52. NTNgod Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:04 PM (#2175419)
When he was rehabbing and tried to play first, the Globe said the FO nixed the idea after seeing him play at 1B.

Might have been the Herald, now that I think about it... not that it changes the larger point.
   53. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:06 PM (#2175423)
He's got a team option for $5m, which the Brewers have said they're going to exercise.
Poop. They'd be crazy not to.

So, the Sox need to spend on two pitchers, and the only pitcher I particularly like is Matsuzaka. My guess is they'll try to work some sort of trade for another pitcher, but it's hard to say.

On Wily Mo at first base, I just realized I got screwed up by hte multiple Penas - I thought hte Pena in the box score was Wily Mo, not Carlos. So scratch that, too.
   54. karlmagnus Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM (#2175427)
Please, not Timlin. What's wrong with Clement for long relief -- about all he's fit for; unless Wake's unfit he's probably #2 starter on that list, not #5. Foulke might be worth bringing back, provided in a suitably lowly position. I'd favor Hansen/Delcarmen as the closer team, whichever's doing best at the time. What about Ellsbury as 5th OF -- can either he or Murphy backstop 3B?

I agree with the general approach on stocking up with pitching and bringing back A Gon/Lowell (but not Loretta, who was a mistake.) We have enough position players; we need pitching.
   55. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:15 PM (#2175430)
Ask about Shonsuke Watanabe.

Any team of mine will have at least one submariner pitcher.
   56. karlmagnus Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:16 PM (#2175431)
C-Wok, I agree about submariners -- losing Bradford was one of many FO stuff-ups last season
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:24 PM (#2175434)
I'd favor Hansen/Delcarmen as the closer team, whichever's doing best at the time. What about Ellsbury as 5th OF -- can either he or Murphy backstop 3B?
I haven't seen anything from Hansen that suggests he should be pitching high-leverage innings on a good team. He has the stuff, but he hasn't figured out how to use it. And even if you do bump Delcarmen up the ladder, you need either Papelbon + 1, or two more good relievers. I see no point to burying Ellsbury on a major league bench where he'd add very little to the team. He should play at Pawtucket next year and we can hope he looks good.

But I completely agree that the Sox should spend on pitching. We've learned this year how low the replacement level is for pitchers brought in by the Red Sox, and they need to avoid going to the scrap heap again - they appear to pick randomly, at best.
   58. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:26 PM (#2175435)
Oh, and Tavarez takes one of hte "???" spots on my bullpen back there. He's shown enough to pitch mop-up innings.
   59. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:34 PM (#2175439)
(but not Loretta, who was a mistake.)

Is this opinion shared by other Sox Therapy patrons? I hadn't seen this in print.
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 12:39 PM (#2175441)
Is this opinion shared by other Sox Therapy patrons? I hadn't seen this in print.
Seems pretty clear.

Pedroia's MLE is better than Loretta's production, and Loretta's glove is below average. Graffanino had a better year, too. And then, getting Mirabelli back cost a good reliever and a good catcher.
   61. JC in DC Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:00 PM (#2175448)
Is it really reasonable to expect Papelbon to move to the rotation? You guys follow this stuff more closely than I, but the guy was all world as a closer this year, which not only assures the team he can do it, it assures the PLAYER he can do it and make money at it. IOW, there's not only the question whether the brass would like to move him, but whether the player would resist the move. Again, I don't know, which is why I ask y'all.

And, I may be very wrong about this, but I see little reason to be optimistic about Pedroia. I would want a Loretta type on my bench at least.

Wily Mo is awfully enigmatic. It seems like it won't be long before he's merely a DH, and I'm not convinced over the next 2 years Sheffield wouldn't be a much better hitter than him. If I'm Boston, I seriously consider Sheffield and look to cash Wily Mo's "good" season in for a few prospects.
   62. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:05 PM (#2175452)
The originally Loretta deal was Mirasmelli for Loretta straight up, right? If the Sox hadn't lost their heads trying to get Smelli back and had played Petunia part-time at that position, keeping Loretta around to get around 300 ABs (and decimate Yankee pitching for some reason), wouldn't an old backup catcher be worth a backup 2B who can start sometimes?
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:11 PM (#2175454)
Josh Bard couldn't catch the knuckleball. It was really painful to watch. They needed someone to do that job - I don't think they lost their heads trying to get Mirabelli, I think they screwed up in assuming that just anyone could be the regular knuckleball catcher.
And, I may be very wrong about this, but I see little reason to be optimistic about Pedroia.
Have you even watched him play, or are you basing this on two bad weeks of statistics? All the scouts say he'll be a good major league regular. His career numbers say the same. It's an obvious decision at this point.
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2175457)
If I'm Boston, I seriously consider Sheffield and look to cash Wily Mo's "good" season in for a few prospects.
But Sheffield can't play defense at all. The Sox would then spend at least 5-7M of their limited funds to get no real upgrade at the position. The money needs to be spent on pitching. Spending and making hte defense worse is pretty much the last thing the Red Sox should do.
   65. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:18 PM (#2175465)
Who was it who speculated that the Sox would have actually been better off by releasing Wakefield because they had no one to catch him early this year than by making that deal.

And Matt, I'm going to stand by the "lost their heads" part of my statement. Did they really assume that Belli was the ONLY catcher on the planet capable of catching a knuckleball?
   66. karlmagnus Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:24 PM (#2175468)
Add DiNardo to the bullpen mix -- perfectly competent if healthy. One advantage of continually emphasising youth on at least 75% of the squad, having more youth than age and aging players mostly the few FA superstars, is that each year the squad tends to improve, which was the problem in 2001-6 -- too many of them were at the stage where they start decaying, so you had to spend like mad to stay in the same place. I'd want to find out whether Kottaras can catch the knuckler as early as possible, for example, because if he can you can ditch Mirabelli and remove some of the age undertow of decline at catcher. For the same reason, loyal though he's been, I wouldn't favor bringing Nixon back.
   67. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:25 PM (#2175469)

And Matt, I'm going to stand by the "lost their heads" part of my statement. Did they really assume that Belli was the ONLY catcher on the planet capable of catching a knuckleball?
So, the Sox should have kept trading for random catchers until they found one who could catch the knuckler? I'm sure htey looked into a number of possible backup catchers, and considered Mirabelli to be the best option.
   68. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:31 PM (#2175472)
So, the Sox should have kept trading for random catchers until they found one who could catch the knuckler?

Nope. Combed the minors - there must be a knuckleball pitcher somewhere who has a catcher.

Meanwhile, get Bard to practice on a pitch machine which tosses balls without spin for eight hours a day until he gets it.

Or don't start Wakefield.
   69. JC in DC Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2175476)
Matt:

My point is that I think Sheff's offense is a surer thing than Wily Mo's. Quite frankly, I think Sheff is a superior defensive player as well, though both are so bad I wouldn't rest any argument on that.
   70. chris p Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:49 PM (#2175485)
We've learned this year how low the replacement level is for pitchers brought in by the Red Sox, and they need to avoid going to the scrap heap again - they appear to pick randomly, at best.

stop picking randomly. sit down and figure out why we suck at picking pitchers. figure out who is responsible (and fire their ass). fix this now! hell, throw a huge pile of money at this problem if you have to--it'd be cheaper than spending a bazillion dollars on dreck like matt clement.
   71. chris p Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:51 PM (#2175489)
My point is that I think Sheff's offense is a surer thing than Wily Mo's.

but it's not. he has to be healthy for his offense to be a sure thing.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:55 PM (#2175494)
stop picking randomly. sit down and figure out why we suck at picking pitchers. figure out who is responsible (and fire their ass). fix this now! hell, throw a huge pile of money at this problem if you have to--it'd be cheaper than spending a bazillion dollars on dreck like matt clement.
I agree 100%. The most important thing for the Red Sox is to look back carefully and figure out how they ended up spending a bazillion dollars for a 4.83 ERA, and fix as many problems as possible, whether at the scouting, coaching or stat analysis levels.

I don't see the problem as easily or immediately fixable, though. And there's no way for hte Sox to know if they've fixed hte problem, either. Given that, I think it's a good idea to spend big money on stars and build up depth to prevent the Sox from havign to use their (revamped) scrap-heap methodology.
   73. karlmagnus Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:56 PM (#2175495)
Sheff's aging, expensive, overrated, fragile, immobile, poisoned by having been a Yankee and a clubhouse cancer. Apart from that he'd be great.
   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:57 PM (#2175500)
Maintaining the infinite ratio of proven roiders on the Yankees roster to confessed roiders on the Sox roster would be a plus, too.
   75. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:59 PM (#2175504)
I'd be willing to bet that the Cubs re-sign him. They can't afford a bad winter.

Can't afford, can't afford...Ramirez, maybe.
   76. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 01:59 PM (#2175505)
(should be "proven" both times, or "confessed" both times, either works. I need to edit completely, or not at all.)
   77. JC in DC Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:07 PM (#2175512)
Maintaining the infinite ratio of proven roiders on the Yankees roster to confessed roiders on the Sox roster would be a plus, too.


Well there is that.

Sheff is no clubhouse cancer in NY. He's been nothing but fine. Unless your clubhouse is precariously fragile, as Boston's may be, Sheff is no problem.

He's not "overrated," either. I'm saying even coming back from injury, I think he's a better offensive bet over the next year or so than the extremely enigmatic Wily Mo. We'll see.

And I don't know what "poisoned by having been a Yankee" means, unless you're willing to sacrifice your team's good b/c a player played for the arch rival. Damon's been pretty good for us, Red Sox "poison" and all. But you go w/Yankee-free Coco and Petunia.
   78. chris p Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:11 PM (#2175518)
Given that, I think it's a good idea to spend big money on stars and build up depth to prevent the Sox from havign to use their (revamped) scrap-heap methodology.

they've been reluctant to acquire stars through free agency. and they have a 50% success rate at getting a star pitcher when they try to trade for one. i mean, beckett could still be a great pitcher, but right now he's a huge bust. i don't have confidence that the red sox can correctly determine that a pitcher is a star worth spending big money on. except for matsuzaka. he's good. and of course, i have 0 confidence that they can acquire quality depth. getting better at evaluating and coaching pitching talent is the #1 priority. it needs to be addressed before they throw a ton of money at non-matsuzaka pitchers.
   79. AROM Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:26 PM (#2175529)
I'd advocate trading him to the Angels or Twins for some young, solid pitching. Could he bring back Ervin Santana? Scott Baker? Someone else?

Wily Mo for Santana? Jeez, why don't you just demand Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick as throw-ins?

And I don't know what "poisoned by having been a Yankee" means, unless you're willing to sacrifice your team's good b/c a player played for the arch rival.

Don't think that's an issue with the Red Sox front office. They did sign David Wells.

I think any chance of Papelbon to the rotation is dead. If his shoulder can't stand up to 80 innings in the bullpen, I don't see how it will take 200 innings in the rotation. Maybe its easier to handle more work with 4 days rest in between instead of pitching back to back days, but given the general splits pitchers have between starting and relieving, and the fact that they throw harder in relief, I doubt it.
   80. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:30 PM (#2175533)
Brad Radke is retiring. The dude has a torn labrum and a broken shoulder.

That's why he was #13 on the list...get it? Unlucky 13? Never mind...

Mirabelli reminds me of Babe Ruth...physically, with that belly. I hope he is not brought back.

Crisp better hit next year like he started out hitting this year before the injury. Can they afford to give him the benfit of the doubt? If yes, how long do they give him to show that he can hit? He's not good enough defensively to forgive a weak bat.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#2175534)
Sheff's aging, expensive, overrated, fragile, immobile, poisoned by having been a Yankee and a clubhouse cancer. Apart from that he'd be great.


amen. i dont want sheffield anywhere near the red sox.
   82. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 13, 2006 at 02:53 PM (#2175555)
amen. i dont want sheffield anywhere near <strike>the red sox.</strike> my family and friends

Corrected it for you
   83. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2175576)
Besides Bard, Cla Meredith was the other part of the Mirabelli deal. He has given up 3 runs in 40 IP for the Padres. 29Ks, 5BBs 0 Hrs.
   84. FrankEsther Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2175579)
Theo -

Please sign Vernon Wells. Pay him Johnny Damon money. He's entering his prime and he's one of the top outfielders in the league.

Frank
   85. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:23 PM (#2175583)
Wells isn't a free agent until after 2007.
   86. AROM Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:26 PM (#2175586)
Vernon Wells laughs at Johnny Damon money and waits until offered Carlos Beltran money.
   87. chris p Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#2175593)
Vernon Wells laughs at Johnny Damon money and waits until offered Carlos Beltran money.

carlos beltran money? is he that good? maybe a bit less?
   88. AROM Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2175600)
He's not as good, but he's got 3 years of inflation working in his favor, plus his value is more concentrated in his triple crown stats. That should pay off.
   89. chris p Posted: September 13, 2006 at 03:46 PM (#2175609)
He's not as good, but he's got 3 years of inflation working in his favor, plus his value is more concentrated in his triple crown stats. That should pay off.

wells is 5 months younger than beltran is now, so he'll be almost 3 years older after 07 than beltran after 04. and beltran was coming off a 38 homer where he was a monster in the playoffs. beltran also had 2 years of 900 ops, while wells' 2005 is pretty crappy. wells needs to maintain his production in 07 to get even close to what beltran got.
   90. Kyle S Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2175641)
i'd say wells gets vlad guerrero money minimum. in theory, there should be lots of teams looking for guys like him. although andruw will be a FA the same year, which will push prices down. if i had to bet, i'd say 6/80 for wells and 5/70 for andruw next year, but anything could happen between now and then.
   91. Kyle S Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2175646)
also, wells' birthday is december 78, andruw and beltran are both april 77 (born 1 day apart! quite a coincidence), so wells is roughly 20 months younger.
   92. Kyle S Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2175648)
oops - sorry for spamming the thread, but that should be 6/90 for wells.
   93. AROM Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2175659)
Wells will certainly get more than Damon - he'll be 28 where Damon was 31. I agree Vlad money seems like his floor, and he'll have to have another year like this one or 2003 to get in the Beltran range.

It hurts that neither of the NY teams will be in the market for a CF in winter 2007, but with Boston, LAA, and Texas all interested, Wells will get paid.
   94. karlmagnus Posted: September 13, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2175706)
Career OPS+ of 104 to 2005. Pass.
   95. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: September 13, 2006 at 07:28 PM (#2175906)
matsuzaka is a ####### pipe dream. the yankees have expressed strong interest in him as far back as LAST november. seibu says they're not going to post him this year. just scroll down and look at the articles about the yankee love. and MCOA, you're crazy if you think the sox will get him with a weak offer of 4/$40 (which is sensible, but with the yankees in the market for him, anything reason goes out the window). i bet he goes to the yankees (if he plays in the US at all) for 5/$55 or more. the yankees will outbid the sox without question.

http://www.japaneseballplayers.com/en/player.php?id=matsuzaka

look out chairs....
   96. veer bender Posted: September 13, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2175925)
OT, but I just watched the ninth of last night on reply, and I have to say that performance by Timlin is the worst in-the-strikezone pitching I can remember seeing. I've never seen a pitcher look so completely cooked - his velocity is still there, but there is no movement at all on the fastball.

Also, the amount of time it took Francona to pull him was simply staggering. From the boxscore it didn't seem that bad (the number of hits, lack of outs), but actually having seen Timlin pound in one after another straight 92 MPH pitch thigh high in the middle of the plate, Francona's lack of action is more obviously excrutiatingly awful. He only got strikes when batters went up there planning to take the first pitch. He only got outs on a hard shot from an out-of-sorts Tejada and a bad call on a check swing from Gomez (who inexplicably took TWO meatballs before thinking about swinging).

In the light of day (rather than the fog created by trying to watch this team at night) it was just incredible.
   97. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:05 PM (#2175962)
Vernon Wells would mash at Fenway. He always does. Give him 81 games a year there and he'd be a 50 HR guy.
   98. Cris E Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2176005)
sit down and figure out why we suck at picking pitchers. figure out who is responsible (and fire their ass). fix this now!

It's very hard to pick relievers. They stray all over the place from year to year, and most teams who go out and try to buy them end up disappointed. It's a lot of fun to make fun of Ed Wade and Jim Hendry and the rest of the gang that stumbles when constructing bullpens, but the truth is it's quite difficult. Schurholtz and Stoneman and Ryan do well by not being shy about mixing in their own young arms, trying out lots of guys in the spring without keeping most of them into April, but frequently they just get a little lucky.

Starters should be easier to address, but honestly if you feel a need to Fix This Now then you're going to to limit your selections to stock on hand. Some years you can find good players that fit your needs and some years you give tens of millions of dollars to young Marlins who get injured. It just depends on that year's names, but it's part and parcel of the FA lifestyle. In broad strokes, what made it work for so long in NY was that they freed up money for opportunistic in-season grabs when teams decided to turn away from expensive players. BOS hasn't ever done as much of that, which means they shop the limited selection in winter vs a wider group year-round. There's a sweet spot between lesser players like Loretta and the fourway ARod, Nomar, Manny and Honus Wagner trades Theo's been working on, and the Abreau fits in there. Be realistic, start hitting for average instead of jacking for the fences: doubles are good when the wind is blowing in and soft-tossing lefties are starting to appear on the top of wish lists at Fenway.
   99. Cris E Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2176009)
And Vernon Wells would be a good pickup for just about anyone. He's can hit, plays good D and seems like a solid citizen. (I'm from out of town, but from here he looks nice enough.)
   100. PJ Martinez Posted: September 13, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2176031)
What little I've read about Matsuzaka suggests that Piehole is right. Which probably means that Zito is the best target. I know that Zito's peripherals have often left people around here unimpressed, but he has thrown over 200 innings every year since 2001 and is still reasonably young. Maybe if Matsuzaka is posted, the Yanks will throw all their money at him and the Sox will have a more reasonable playing field in the Zito sweepstakes.
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