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   1. JB H Posted: December 16, 2006 at 01:42 AM (#2262842)
I like Donnelly alright. The pen could use another Timlin. He makes it easier to keep Hansen in AAA until he learns how to get guys out too

I hate the Romero signing though. He's crap and he's the type of crap that you really don't want to tempt Francona with

Am I the only one who would not be crushed if the Sox didn't get a legit closer? This team is really freaking good as constructed right now so I'm just not that concerned. Part of me is also pretty worried that if they do trade for one that I'll be really disappointed in how much value they gave up.
   2. Darren Posted: December 16, 2006 at 01:45 AM (#2262846)
Am I the only one who would not be crushed if the Sox didn't get a legit closer? This team is really freaking good as constructed right now so I'm just not that concerned. Part of me is also pretty worried that if they do trade for one that I'll be really disappointed in how much value they gave up.

I've got them winning ~100 games with a replacement level pitcher at closer (~5.50 ERA). That being said, my little spreadsheet doesn't account for the leverage of the closer innings.

I badly want them to get a good/great closer, because not having one really threatens to derail the rest of their good work. With one in place, they'd be favorites for the division and well-positioned in the postseason.
   3. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: December 16, 2006 at 01:56 AM (#2262865)
"I've got them winning ~100 games with a replacement level pitcher at closer (~5.50 ERA)."

Given Boston's lack of success with all things bullpen (4.59 combined ERA for its relievers over the past four years), 5.50 sounds about right.
   4. tfbg9 Posted: December 16, 2006 at 02:04 AM (#2262868)
I think Theo said, paraphrasing a lot, "we should have ourselves a closer by the end of the month." I'm with JBH, OK with Mr. Goggles, but will be suprised if Romero's still around come summer, although he might be useful as a LOOGY, he still got the lefthanders out well last year, as he has his entire career, but his stats against righties are horrific in 06, and that's bascially been his on and off problem since forever. So maybe he's just the new LOOGY, and we all gotta lay off.

It is astonishing how much they are rolling the dice (no pun intended) this off-season, 103 mil on Dice-K, 70 mil on Drew, and 36 mil on Lugo. Theo's really out there this time. Hoo-Boy!
   5. tfbg9 Posted: December 16, 2006 at 02:07 AM (#2262876)
He might be an excellent LOOGY: .229 .319 .303 .622 that's what he's given up all time, the OPB is a little high I guess...
   6. Darren Posted: December 16, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2263137)
Maybe Anaheim's secret bullpen advantage is that they let their relievers where goggles while other teams force them to wear contacts.
   7. Josh Wilker Posted: December 17, 2006 at 06:05 PM (#2263775)
I'm not quite as worried about the closer situation as I was before they strengthened themselves elsewhere (mainly by seeming to give up on trading Manny, but also throwing all that dough at Dice-K, Lugo, and Drew). I don't know what this is going to say about my credibility, but I'm big into the online Stratomatic Back to the '80s game and have found that a closer is of negligible importance at best as long as you're scoring runs and have a decent starting staff and a bullpen that can, in general, keep you in ballgames. This seems to be where the Bosox are right now. I realize a similar philosophy to start '03 proved instantly problematic, suggesting that the "on paper" notion of the negligible imortance of a closer doesn't translate to the real world. But maybe the Sox can find somebody to fill the role as Doug Jones did last year for the Tigers--hardly dominant but functional.
   8. Darren Posted: December 17, 2006 at 09:48 PM (#2263894)
Take this as the pipe-dream that it is: Maybe they acquired Donnelly to include in a trade for a real reliever. For example, maybe they want to get Ensberg and Lidge from the Astros, and the Astros like Lowell better than Ensberg (who they hate for some reason?). They just need a decent reliever back to balance the trade. Donnelly fits the bill!

Or perhaps there's a similar situation with the Pirates, in that they want a name reliever back in a deal for Mike Gonzalez. Or Florida. Or... anything. Please help me. I want a damn dominant closer! Ahhhhh!!!
   9. RobertMachemer Posted: December 18, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2264015)
I've got them winning ~100 games with a replacement level pitcher at closer (~5.50 ERA). That being said, my little spreadsheet doesn't account for the leverage of the closer innings.
Your spreadsheet is a LOT more optimistic than I am. Last year's team scored/allowed runs like a .500 team. You think they're roughly 20 games better than that?

Honestly, I can see its happening -- Papelbon does well, Beckett bounces back, Schilling stays where he is, Matsuzaka is as good as hoped, Ortiz and Ramirez and Lowell don't fall back, Crisp and Varitek rebound, Drew stays healthy and good, and so forth -- but I sure wouldn't bet on all those things happening, and I'm not sure I see 20 games worth of improvement without at least a lot of those things happening.
   10. Darren Posted: December 18, 2006 at 03:36 AM (#2264078)
I do what I can to tone down the optimism in my (completely speculative) spreadsheet). After doling out the innings among the pitchers, for example, I lop off 10 percent from each and replace it with a replacement level pitcher. Any innings that don't get accounted for otherwise are also considered replacement level. So, for example, it predicts that 16 starts will be made by a replacement-level pitcher. Most of the player projections use #s very close to ZIPs, with a few tweaks for playing time or factors that cannot be determined by a projection.

So do they look to me like they'll be 20 games better? Yes, that sounds about right. Major improvement areas: CF (healthy Coco), RF (Drew is way better than Trot was last year), SS (sub-.300 OBP tandem replaced with Lugo, who's defense is about the same as those two combined), rotation (Johnson/Dinardo/Clement/Snyder/Pauley combined for 37 starts @ 7.00ish ERA). Big dropoff: closer, which I think will be somewhat offset by improvement from the rest of the pen (not because they're great this year but because they were so awful last year). Catcher's another spot that could see a big boost--even if Varitek sucks again, just staying healthy for 130 games would be an improvement over 250 ABs from Lopez and Dougie (who seems likely to rebound at least a little) last year.
   11. dave h Posted: December 18, 2006 at 04:48 AM (#2264127)
I share Darren's apparent optimism. The Sox were in the fortunate (in retrospect) position of having a few really horrible positions, which are easier to upgrade. One catch is that we're counting on the continued health and productivity of the positions filled well last year - just because the same person is playing them doesn't mean we get the same production. So let's hope Manny and Ortiz keep it up.
   12. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 18, 2006 at 11:01 AM (#2264181)
Anyboyd hear the news that Drew failed the physical?

Jawesome
   13. RobertMachemer Posted: December 19, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2264593)
So do they look to me like they'll be 20 games better? Yes, that sounds about right. Major improvement areas: CF (healthy Coco), RF (Drew is way better than Trot was last year), SS (sub-.300 OBP tandem replaced with Lugo, who's defense is about the same as those two combined), rotation (Johnson/Dinardo/Clement/Snyder/Pauley combined for 37 starts @ 7.00ish ERA). Big dropoff: closer, which I think will be somewhat offset by improvement from the rest of the pen (not because they're great this year but because they were so awful last year). Catcher's another spot that could see a big boost--even if Varitek sucks again, just staying healthy for 130 games would be an improvement over 250 ABs from Lopez and Dougie (who seems likely to rebound at least a little) last year.
I see some of the same reasons for optimism, but I think you miss a few more reasons for pessimism and are overly optimistic in the likelihood of some of the good things happening.

For instance, yes, Drew, if healthy, is a big improvement over Nixon. "If healthy" is WAYYY too tough to predict at this point. Ramirez is coming off his best OPS+ year since 2002, so a regression to his mean is to be expected, and that's even before getting into his putative injury. Ortiz is going to be 31, and has improved for 4 straight years -- it seems reasonable to expect a little regression there as well. Likewise for Lowell.

And the pitching... three fifths of the rotation is coming off injuries last year, Two fifths of the rotation is old and those two are the only ones who have ever pitched well for a full season in MLB. And there's little in the way of backup if any of those pitchers falter or get injured. You say that the bullpen can hardly be worse than last year... but look at the pitchers the Sox had last year and the ones they have going into this year. The pen certainly doesn't look significantly better, even if it doesn't necessarily look worse.

And then there's the defense -- is the defense better, the same, or worse this year? If it's better, I don't see it. Lowell I expect to regress, the only place that looks like it could be significantly better is second base, and several positions could well be slightly worse as they get older.

100 wins? Way too high by my WFG system. Better, yes, but it looks a lot closer to 90 wins than 100, as I look at it.
   14. Darren Posted: December 19, 2006 at 01:52 AM (#2264613)
For instance, yes, Drew, if healthy, is a big improvement over Nixon. "If healthy" is WAYYY too tough to predict at this point.

Yes, he's a bad bet to play 150+ games, but he's a good bet to at least replace Nixon's 114, at a much better performance.

Ramirez is coming off his best OPS+ year since 2002, so a regression to his mean is to be expected, and that's even before getting into his putative injury.

His injury's a double-edged sword, though. Although he had great rate stats, his overall contribution (as measured by WARP, etc) was about the same as it's been the past few years. I expect him to play worse but play more. You're probably right though that Ortiz will drop back a bit, but it's worth noting that his 05 and 06 were both about the same, OPS+-wise.

And then there's the defense -- is the defense better, the same, or worse this year? If it's better, I don't see it.

It's better in the OF, by far. Drew easily outperforms what we had in RF much of the time. 2B is better (a lot better). I don't see why Lowell will regress much. Isn't he generally pretty darn good?

100 wins? Way too high by my WFG system. Better, yes, but it looks a lot closer to 90 wins than 100, as I look at it.

Your system is outdated. We use CFBPS now.
   15. Darren Posted: December 19, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2264619)
I think a 20 game improvement makes sense when you remember the lineups they were trotting out in 2006. Take a look at this page and check out all the hitters and pitchers that contributed negative VORP in large amounts of ABs or IP. I don't see that happening again.
   16. PJ Martinez Posted: December 19, 2006 at 02:18 AM (#2264633)
Pedroia should be a defensive improvement over Loretta.
   17. chris p Posted: December 19, 2006 at 02:46 AM (#2264653)
Take a look at this page and check out all the hitters and pitchers that contributed negative VORP in large amounts of ABs or IP. I don't see that happening again.

take a look at the very bottom of that list.
   18. Darren Posted: December 19, 2006 at 06:15 AM (#2264798)
Dinardo or Mirabelli. I doubt either is anywhere near as bad this year.
   19. Mattbert Posted: December 20, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2265878)
Or perhaps there's a similar situation with the Pirates, in that they want a name reliever back in a deal for Mike Gonzalez. Or Florida. Or... anything. Please help me. I want a damn dominant closer! Ahhhhh!!!

I understand Keith Foulke may be available. The FO is in an interesting position on this issue, though. In reality, the team already has a damn dominant closer. Papelbon is the proverbial bird in the hand, giving the FO the flexibility to pursue different remedies. I know their stated intent and desire is have Papelbon in the rotation, but if an enticing closer can't be acquired at an acceptable price, pursuing a serviceable 5th starter could be a solution. The difficulty, of course, is that the supplies of league-average starter and reliable closers aren't exactly runnething over. That said, having Papelbon allows the FO to at least theoretically explore both of these tight markets instead of being restricted to just one, which puts them in a stronger position than other teams with similar needs.

At first blush, I think the 2007 team has retained some macro-level traits of the 2006 team. There is a substantial amount of talent, but also a substantial amount of risk. The twist for this upcoming season is that it seems to me that the risk has been reallocated from the starting rotation to the offense. I know we were all down on the 2006 club, but that was a f**king juggernaut if more players had been healthy and/or performed closer to (reasonable, not even CFB) expectations. I look at the 2007 roster, though, and find myself thinking the same thing; this team will drop the hammer on some fools, if...

And then I turn into a parody of Peter Gammons.

If J.D. Drew keeps himself on the field, and
If Daisuke Matsuzaka makes the transition to MLB, and
If Coco Crisp is back at full strength, and
If Curt Schilling remains a steady rotation anchor, and
If Josh Beckett convinces us he can be an ace, and
If Manny Ortez is Manny Ortez, and
If Wily Mo Pena continues to develop into an offensive force, and
If Tim Wakefield still has it, and
If Jonathan Papelbon's labrum is sound, and
If Julio Lugo avoids becoming the next Edgar Renteria, and
If Jason Varitek bounces back from a lackluster year, and
If Brendan Donnelly and J.C. Romero help stabilize the bullpen, and
If Mike Timlin can wrestle the giant fork out of his back, and
If Kevin Youkilis builds on his first full season, and
If Mike Lowell stays rejuvenated, and
If Julian Tavarez sacrifices a minor league umpire on the mound at Fenway, and
If Dustin Pedroia wins the Triple Crown, MVP, and Roberto Clemente awards, and
If Craig Hansen finds his filthy slider again, and
If Manny Delcarmen is a reliable crunch time reliever, and
If Theo Epstein leaves a dominant closer in Darren's stocking...

then the Red Sox will be awfully tough to beat. I think the 2006 team was profoundly unlucky and was not constructed to survive many of the maladies that befell it. Some of that was due to oversight and poor preparation, and some of it I feel could reasonably be filed under S**t Happens. I do not expect the 2007 team to have to absorb a similar multitude of injuries and disappointments; however, it is certainly possible that it could.

This team has more than enough talent to blow away the vast majority of its competition, it's simply a matter of getting that talent to play up to potential and play often. If they fall short of those two overarching goals, as they did last year, they'll be another f**king juggernaut that never made it off the paper. If they are fortunate in those two areas, as they were in 2003 and 2004 (and as the Angels were in 2002, for another example), they'll be a f**king juggernaut for real this time.
   20. Darren Posted: December 21, 2006 at 05:14 AM (#2266185)
If all your ifs come true, the Sox win 130+ games.

I do think we're do for a juggernaut though maybe not quite that juggernaughty.
   21. Mattbert Posted: December 21, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2266558)
If all your ifs come true, the Sox win 130+ games.

After last year, it'll seem like they're absolutely charmed should even 60% of those ifs come true. And 60% should be good enough for a playoff spot.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 22, 2006 at 10:02 PM (#2267464)
If Dustin Pedroia wins the Triple Crown, MVP, and Roberto Clemente awards, and
If??
   23. Mattbert Posted: December 27, 2006 at 07:43 PM (#2269465)
Everyone knows the Clemente award is a bit of a crapshoot, Mikael.
   24. SABRJoe Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:06 AM (#2270576)
Red Sox will announce the signing of Joel Pineiro (pending physical.) One year, 3 or so million. Plan is bullpen and 6th starter.
   25. Darren Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2270597)
Wow. I really liked Pinero when he came up. I don't see how he'll be anything but terrible as a starter. Hopefully, he has the requisite stuff to be a good reliever.

Kind of a big blah overall.
   26. Xander Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:47 AM (#2270615)
Where are you hearing that SABRJoe?
   27. philly Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#2270620)
So the pen would be:

Tavarez - 3.1M
Pineiro - 3
Timlin - 2.8
Romero - 1.6M
Donnelly - ~1.5 in arb?
Okijima - 1.25

Delcarmen makes the majors only if they go with 12 pitchers, which I guess is possible. They've only got 13 position players right now anyway. Well, 12 not counting Drew.

That can't be the pen in April. Somebody with a contract has to get moved for something, somewhere.

Eh, the whole damn thing looks like place holders until the real pen shows up.
   28. Darren Posted: December 29, 2006 at 04:58 AM (#2270625)
Who's the real pen? Where are they coming from? Can they hurry up a bit?
   29. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:12 AM (#2270637)
Donnelly's OK but man, we got the wrong Angel relievers. I wouldn't overreact though -- if no one steps up and there's no way to restore the Papelbonator to his throne they can always overpay for someone in May, too. It's only an emergency if we make it one.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:25 AM (#2270646)
They'll definitely go with 12 pitchers. There's no place for a 14th man on the roster - Cora, Hinske and Wily Mo are a great and versatile bench, covering the whole field and offering good RH/LH pinch-hitting skills. The 14th man would be redundant or a pinch-runner.

So, Delcarmen makes the team no fuss, but still, yeah, this is a pretty weird bullpen.

Back when Pineiro was good, he was ridiculously great as a reliever. He had ERAs around 0.50 out of the pen in both 01 and 02, about 30 innings combined. That's the optimistic take on him. I don't see the case for putting Pineiro in long relief - Julian Tavarez has already shown he's a perfectly fine 6th starter, so it'd be crazy to pay Pineiro $3M to do the same thing, probably less well. Pineiro only makes sense if they think he has a shot to do something useful in the bullpen.

This is closer-by-committee. There are a couple guys in the pen with conceivable closer upside (Delcarmen, Pineiro, Okajima), and a couple guys who can be counted on to not suck, at least as much as you can count on non-great relievers (Timlin, Donnelly, Tavarez). And the reason why no one ever tries closer-by-committee is that it's very possible for none of those guys to be particularly good, and it's really hard for the pitching coach and manager to sort out a working usage pattern before things just explode.

I'm trying to convince myself that this is a better bullpen than they had going into 2003, or maybe that they just had bad luck(~!~!) that year, but, yeah, not so easy.
   31. SABRJoe Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:37 AM (#2270656)
Where are you hearing that SABRJoe?


From someone within the organization. I hate people who do what I'm doing but this thing is 100% for real and I thought it'd make good conversation piece until this Drew thing gets cleared up (which I think will be soon now that Boras is done with Zito.)
   32. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:49 AM (#2270663)
I hate people who do what I'm doing but this thing is 100%


You hate people who deliver completely reliable information? You're a tough man to please...
   33. SABRJoe Posted: December 29, 2006 at 06:01 AM (#2270672)
Well, how often is it reliable though?

Thanks for your trust though. Should be announced fairly soon.
   34. 1k5v3L Posted: January 01, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2272054)
http://redsox.bostonherald.com/redSox/view.bg?articleid=174781

The Red Sox [team stats]’ search for a closer carried into the new year apparently no closer to a resolution.
The club remains interested in Washington Nationals right-hander Chad Cordero, who went 7-4 with 29 saves in 33 opportunities last season, but is currently unwilling to part with a top pitching prospect.cw-2cw-2
The Nationals have interest in Craig Hansen and right-hander Michael Bowden (9-6, 3.51 ERA in 24 starts at Single-A Greenville) but are mostly focused on Clay Buchholz, who the Sox have refused to deal. The 22-year-old, a sandwich pick (42nd overall) in the 2005 draft, went a combined 11-4 with a 2.42 ERA in 24 starts between Greenville and Single-A Wilmington.


Bed OR Breakfast plus MmmmBop for Chad Cordero? Yay or nay?
   35. philly Posted: January 01, 2007 at 08:29 PM (#2272069)
Nay, but only because I'm not sure Cordero is that good. Quite tateriffic last I looked, iirc.

I would draw a line between Buchholz and Bowden and say that Buchholz isn't on the table for a closer but Bowden (and Hansen) would be.
   36. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 01, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2272098)
It doesn't necessarily mean that. If taken to indicate that they are willing to trade two of those prosects, or even one of the, then it could mean that the reporter who reports it is full of crap, or it could mean that the Red Sox do have confidence in their projection of the players involed and that's why they're willing to trade them. But I didn't read it as indicating a willingness to trade Hansen or Bowden either; it says that the FO is "currently unwilling to part with a top pitching prospect," which is exactly where they should draw the line on Cordero or any ninth inning saves pitcher. Pinero would probably be a perfectly fine save-getter if they signed him. I just hope they don't bow to media pressure and put their third-best starter back in the bullpen.
   37. Xander Posted: January 01, 2007 at 10:17 PM (#2272110)
That news item levski provided just reinforces the idea the Red Sox front office have no faith in their own ability to project young players to the major leagues and would rather go with "proven veterans", even though that means trading their minor league talent for 50 cents on the dollar.

I don't understand this. It says nothing about the Sox dangling their minor leaguers in a trade. All it says is that the Sox have interest in Chad Cordero. The rest is about who the Nationals want from the Sox in return.
   38. Darren Posted: January 01, 2007 at 11:42 PM (#2272147)
I would draw a line between Buchholz and Bowden and say that Buchholz isn't on the table for a closer but Bowden (and Hansen) would be.

That may be the definition of a fine line! Here's what Sickels said about them:

2. Clay Buchholz, RHP, Grade B+ (good combination of stuff and command)
3. Michael Bowden, RHP, Grade B+ (good combination of stuff and command)


Bucholz had a great finish to the year last year and probably nudged ahead of Bowden. But he's also older and more physically mature. I can't imagine drawing a line between these two. If I were willing to deal one, I'd almost certainly deal the other.

I do agree that the main problem with any possible Cordero trade is that Cordero isn't all that great. 22 HR in 150 IP over the past 2 years, with a home park of RFK is not too good. Plus his K rate for a closer is nothing special. Being only 25 next year has got to be a plus, though.
   39. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 01, 2007 at 11:43 PM (#2272149)
Chad Cordero is only 25 years old in 2007 and is still quite inexpensive. He's a fan favorite and I don't see the Nationals trading him away cheap absent some undisclosed [to the press] medical issues. Thus, any deal for Cordero is likely to require sacrificing some long-term potential for the short-term. I think Boston would be willing to do that before relying on Joel Pinero, who had ERAs of 4.67, 5.62 & 6.36 the last 3 seasons.
   40. Xander Posted: January 02, 2007 at 06:26 AM (#2272263)
That may be the definition of a fine line! Here's what Sickels said about them:

Eh, I don't know. I think BA had it right when they said that Buchholz's ceiling was a #1 while Bowden's is a #2/#3. I also don't really buy the physical maturity argument. Buchholz has a much more projectable frame than Bowden and he is one of the best athletes in the organization. If anything, because of his lack of pitching experience, I would say he has more potential than Bowden.
   41. karlmagnus Posted: January 02, 2007 at 01:06 PM (#2272301)
On past form, trading Hansen while his value's low and hanging onto the Bs merely postpones for a year the point when they'll trade the Bs for 50 cents on the dollar.
   42. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: January 02, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2272325)
"That news item levski provided just reinforces the idea the Red Sox front office have no faith in their own ability to project young players to the major leagues and would rather go with 'proven veterans', even though that means trading their minor league talent for 50 cents on the dollar."

1. The Red Sox front office shouldn't have any faith in their own ability to project young players to the major leagues. They gave up three rookies last off-season, who posted the following VORP figures:

Ramirez: 54.9 (22nd among all MLB position players)
Sanchez: 36.2 (41st among all MLB pitchers)
Meredith: 27.9 (63rd among all MLB pitchers)

Yikes! That strikes me as historically bad. Add in the other players lost (including but not limited to Arroyo, 64.9 VORP; Damon, 42.3 VORP; Renteria, 37.4 VORP; Bard, 29.7 VORP; Bradford, 19.2 VORP), and the "braintrust" SHOULD be having a crisis of confidence.

2. Chad Cordero turns 25 years old in March. Do we really need to refer to the guy with the obviously pejorative phrase "proven veteran"?

3. This front office has always sucked at putting together a bullpen, and they've pretty much always tried to put together a bullpen on the cheap, with the idea that "I bet [random reliever X, coming off a good year] will be just as good as those expensive closers!" After a few years of this, it's obvious that the front office's plan hasn't worked (Boston's rank among all MLB teams in reliever ERA, since 2003: 28th, 11th, 29th, 21st). How about a new plan? Or is your concern that the new plan (good prospects for Cordero) is too similar to last year's plan (good prospects for Beckett and Lowell)?
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2007 at 04:56 PM (#2272359)
Not that Buck Mulligan nee Ken E. Bunkport is wrong here - the Sox had a pretty horrific 2005 offseason with regard to 2006 performance - but it's funny how he and his gleeful recountings of Red Sox failure have reemerged after a long absence.

I agree with him that the Boston Red Sox would be practically delusional to have particular faith in their ability to project relievers. They've been really bad at it. This, of course, applies also to acquiring good-not-great closers out of pitchers parks in the national league. Cordero <> Foulke. I don't know what the Sox ought to do, but I think Bucholz for Cordero is a bad idea, and I don't see why I should trust this front office to know better when it comes to relief pitching.

I don't really know what Buck means by "on the cheap". They've never gone on the cheap. They brought in a bunch of $2-4M relievers in '03 instead of a closer, but then they traded for a closer in May, and paid 3/20 for a closer the next offseason. The Sox have spent quite a bit of money on relievers, most of it at market price. They've jsut spent poorly.
   44. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: January 02, 2007 at 05:36 PM (#2272381)
"Not that Buck Mulligan nee Ken E. Bunkport is wrong here - the Sox had a pretty horrific 2005 offseason with regard to 2006 performance - but it's funny how he and his gleeful recountings of Red Sox failure have reemerged after a long absence."

How often am I supposed to post about Red Sox failures? A few times per season seems sufficient, given my work and family commitments. Unless the Red Sox front office wants to hire me full-time to tell them how much they suck -- I didn't go to Harvard undergrad, but my law degree is from a very good school, so maybe they'll have some interest!

"I agree with him that the Boston Red Sox would be practically delusional to have particular faith in their ability to project relievers. They've been really bad at it."

A pleasant development from our exchange last January. Perhaps my work here is done. (Until next January, that is.)
   45. OCD SS Posted: January 02, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2272386)
I think it's safe to say that both Bowden and Hansen have more upside than Cordero does.


Setting aside Bowden, I think Hansen is pretty comparable to Cordero. Both were late first round draft picks from NCAA schools who rushed to the majors at age 21 in the same year they were drafted. Their peripheral numbers are quite similar. The difference is that Cordero has had more sucsess than Hansen thus far.

The concern about Cordero's HR rate is certainly valid, but at the same time they can be fluky; does anyone not expect Beckett to be better than he was last year?
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2007 at 06:08 PM (#2272399)
A pleasant development from our exchange last January. Perhaps my work here is done. (Until next January, that is.)
Of course, last offseason we were arguing about whether the 2006 bullpen would be good or not. It turned out about average (2.69 WPA). An actual gotcha would require me to have been arguing that the Sox have not been bad at projecting pitchers, which is something I've been arguing against for several years now.
   47. chris p Posted: January 02, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2272445)
Setting aside Bowden, I think Hansen is pretty comparable to Cordero. Both were late first round draft picks from NCAA schools who rushed to the majors at age 21 in the same year they were drafted.

not really, though. cordero went to cal state fullerton and was a polished college close while hansen went to st johns--a much less competitive conference and was thought of as kind of raw coming out of college. hansen was rushed, cordero wasn't.
   48. Xander Posted: January 04, 2007 at 01:26 AM (#2273529)
I'll never question you again SABRJoe.
   49. SABRJoe Posted: January 04, 2007 at 01:52 AM (#2273544)
I'll never question you again SABRJoe.


:)

I really like the signing. I like the pieces Theo & Co. are putting together in the 'pen.
   50. RobertMachemer Posted: January 06, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2275541)
I really like the signing. I like the pieces Theo & Co. are putting together in the 'pen.
$4 million dollars and a player option (thus, if he sucks, the Sox owe him money, and if he's good, the Sox likely lose him) for Pineiro, who has been mediocre to bad for three years, and you like the signing? What do you like about the deal? Do you think he's worth $several millions more than, say, Hansack? (And it's not as if the current management has had the Duquette/Kerrigan/Williams touch at turning injury-prone, formerly-good sows' ears into silk purses, so I'm not sure why to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one). Why do you like the signing? What am I missing?
   51. 1k5v3L Posted: January 06, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2275544)
The Red Sox appear to be assembling their 2007 bullpen the same way they assembled their 2006 bullpen.
   52. villageidiom Posted: January 06, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2275560)
FWIW, it's a mutual option for 2008.

The part I like about the deal is that he's always done well in relief. Whether it merits $4m guaranteed is another story.

The scouts apparently liked what he did after he dropped his arm angle in '06 when he was moved to the pen. The Mariners liked his performance so much that they made him a starter again... and he gave up 7 ER in 4 IP before being moved to the pen for good.
   53. chris p Posted: January 06, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2275578)
The Red Sox appear to be assembling their 2007 bullpen the same way they assembled their 2006 bullpen.

they assembled their 06 bullpen by using their top pitching prospect as a reliever. i guess if you consider hansen their top pitching prospect then their are similarities.

i have a little bit of hope for this group, but not much. i think there are 3 guys that figure to have a chance to emerge as the closer: hansen, piniero, and okajima. hansen needs to forget about that changeup that we heard so much about last year and focus on his mechanics, throwing the fastball for strikes (those 2 are probably pretty closely related), and getting more consistency with his slider. why this team decided to take a big, raw, fireballer like hansen and try to make things more complicated for him--the changeup--before he had a handle on the basics is really astounding. pineiro's chance at becoming a closer is based on the idea that when he only has to pitch an few inning or so he'll add a little bit to his fastball and remind us all why he was such an exciting prospect a few years ago. i think if he can get his fastball up to the low 90s with some movement (they said he had better movement out of hte pen) and focus on one breaking ball (is it the overhand curveball? i hope not--that's not really a closer's pitch), there's some real potential. okajima is the third and for him, it's just a matter of adjusting to the US and proving that 06 wasn't a fluke--at the same time.

i think we'll end up with another crappy bullpen for at least a few months, as at least one of the reliable old guys will implode, hansen still won't find his slider, pineiro will struggle to throw strikes consistently, and okajima settles at a performance level somehwere between 05 and 06, which adjusted for the level of competition is good, but nothing special. maybe a scott williamson type will be available for cheap.

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