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   1. Answer Guy Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4158489)
83-79 over their last 162. At what point do we admit this team isn't very good?
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4158494)
What are the Pyth and component run records over that period?

The Sox came into the season as the worst projected Sox team of the Henry/Lucchino era. Then they got hit with injuries. They're not very good, if "very good" means, up to the quality of the typical Red Sox roster from 2003-2011. That's not a new thing to admit.

The failure of the Dan Bard experiment means that we should see the roster as closer to 88-91 wins to start the season, rather than 90-93. Plus the injuries, that's something like a 84-87 win roster. I don't think there's much difference between the position I've taken and the "not very good" position, but perhaps you mean something even more extreme?
   3. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4158495)
Nicely done, but one correction: the correct term is not 'duh doy,' it's 'adoy yoy.'
   4. Answer Guy Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4158498)
I don't think there's much difference between the position I've taken and the "not very good" position, but perhaps you mean something even more extreme?


Depends on the injuries. If they have to replace Beckett with someone out of AAA then there's a pretty good chance the "L" number will be higher than the "W" number at season's end.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4158502)
If they have to replace Beckett with someone out of AAA then there's a pretty good chance the "L" number will be higher than the "W" number at season's end.
There's a "pretty good chance" that a club with better than .500 talent will win fewer than 81 games. That's just baseball. "Pretty good chance" can mean a lot of things. Are you arguing that the club before the season was actually an 85-win projected team, such that a few added injuries take their projection under .500?
   6. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 16, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4158504)
Perhaps this is the wrong thread for I-told-you-so-ing, but several weeks ago I posted in a ST thread on how impressed I was by Doubront and underling by Bard, and most folks said I didn't know what I was talking about.

   7. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4158507)
On a more serious note, isn't it possible that the events of the coming months will redeem the plan? I mean, Bailey and Melancon could dominate down the stretch, Sweeney could hit a HR at some point, Reddick could fall back to Earth like he did last year, and Lowrie could, you know, be Lowrie. (Also, maybe Miles Head isn't the greatest hitter in the history of A ball?). Of course, if at least some of that doesn't happen, I think your assessment, which is pretty fair right now, would stand up.

There are some parts of the plan that did work as well. You mentioned Doubront, but there was also the decision to deal Scutaro has worked out. Padilla and Miller seem to be doing well in the pen. And pretty soon Mark Prior will be our relief ace!
   8. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4158508)
Hasn't the biggest problem for the Sox been their "stars"? Adrian Gonzalez has been mediocre. Pedroia has been battling a nagging injury. Youkilis has aged dramatically. And the front of the rotation has been blah. If I'm a Sox fan, I am worried about the seeming decline of Lester (that k-rate has gone down in a period when strike outs are the story of the league), Beckett's myriad injury issues are not going away. I suppose Cherington should have anticipated a few of these performances but if they were all playing close to their previous levels, the Sox would be doing fine.
   9. Answer Guy Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4158510)
Are you arguing that the club before the season was actually an 85-win projected team, such that a few added injuries take their projection under .500?


I think I was arguing exactly that pre-season.
   10. Toby Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4158518)
just wanted to pop in and say what 8 said. The core stars of this team have been awful -- the 1b, 2b, 3b, the top 3 starters. Ortiz has been great and Ellsbury injured. But it all comes down to the stars playing poorly. The supporting cast has been great.

I'm tired of reading about injuries, as if other teams have't had them. Here in DC the Nats lost their best outfielder, their star 3b, and their closer for most of the season, too. That hasn't exactly stopped them from success.

I think the Sox FO did a fine job. The bullpen and the bench have been sore spots in the past, and guess what? We have a really effective bullpen and bench -- a bullpen so effective it hasn't suffered much even minus Bard and Bailey and Melancon! A bench so effective it is carrying the team!

Anyone miss Marco Scutaro? I didn't think so.

The problem, again, is not the front office or the 5th starter or the fact that a couple guys we traded are playing well in no-pressure, second-division environments.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4158527)
I'm tired of reading about injuries, as if other teams have't had them.


Agreed. Yes, the outfield has been hit ridiculously hard. But, other than Byrd, the fill-ins have done a pretty good job out there (and the outfield really wasn't expected to be a team strength anyway).

And the pitching staff has been pretty healthy (with the exception of Bailey, who wasn't there to begin with).

I don't see how injuries have been a significant problem for this team.

And I'm also with AG in 9. I didn't think they would be very good back in March, and wrote as much, and yet they've still managed to play below my modest expectations.
   12. Answer Guy Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4158531)
And the pitching staff has been pretty healthy (with the exception of Bailey, who wasn't there to begin with).


I wonder if something is up with Lester...though he's usually a slow starter.

   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4158535)
I'm tired of reading about injuries, as if other teams have't had them. Here in DC the Nats lost their best outfielder, their star 3b, and their closer for most of the season, too. That hasn't exactly stopped them from success.
Ryan Zimmerman played last night. He's missed ten games this season. Which star 3B are you talking about?

The Red Sox lost their star CF, their projected-to-be-good LF, and their closer for most of the season. They have missed a month from their star 3B, their average RF, and their 6th starter, and nagging injuries have cost the team a couple starts from their #2 and a few games from the star second baseman. This is a significantly heavier load of injuries than a team normally expects, and I think it has cost the club several wins in expectation.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4158538)
The problem, again, is not the front office or the 5th starter or the fact that a couple guys we traded are playing well in no-pressure, second-division environments.
What, did I accidentally tune my car radio to 850? I don't buy for a second that Reddick and Lowrie are weak-hearted unmen who lack the character to handle the pressure of Boston.
   15. Toby Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4158551)
I don't buy for a second that that was my point. So pretend I just said Oakland and Houston.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4158554)
Why would Josh Reddick and Jed Lowrie play better in Oakland and Houston than in Boston? Why are their teams or cities relevant?
   17. Chip Posted: June 16, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4158596)
Lowrie has reversed his career splits. With the Sox he was always weaker lefthanded, now it's the opposite. How much is the new home ballpark a factor in that?
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4158602)
Lowrie had about 600 PA as a lefty and 300 PA as a righty coming into the year, and a gap in BABIP of ~80 points. The BABIP gap has reversed this year, and he's currently +.110 from the left side. Probably Lowrie didn't actually have that serious a platoon split in the first place, and this year he's fluking the other way.
   19. booond Posted: June 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4158630)
Blaming Cherington doesn't wash. He was handcuffed with no money, a team which imploded in September (had to replace a beloved manager and pick up after a superstar GM - both having dropped the ball managing the personnel) and then had injuries/poor performance from his most important players.

The Bard decision was stupid. It made no sense from the beginning and it weakened an already weak spot. This was the wrong path taken and looks worse than it actually was. The Sox aren't missing Lowrie/Reddick, they are missing Ellsbury, Pedroia, AGon, Youk, Crawford, Beckett and Lester. The blame for this season falls more on Theo/ownership/Francona/bad luck and timing than Cherington.
   20. Dan Posted: June 16, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4158639)
They're not missing an RF and a SS that are putting up All Star caliber seasons, since other players are underperforming? There's enough blame to go around to that group and to Cherington as well. He inherited a crappy situation and every move he made (save dumping Scutaro and his contract) has made the team worse.
   21. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4158644)
I'm with 19 to a degree. Cherington's moves haven't been great, but in terms of blame, I only give him a small part of it. He had a lot on his plate and few resources to handle. If this team was going to compete, he was going to have to take some risks. The problem was that he was handed a team that was at its payroll max and still had some holes to fill. That's on Theo. (I also don't really blame the front office for not ponying up more. They likely laid out the cash for Crawford and Gonzalez with the thinking that they wouldn't need to pitch in more for a few years.)

One place the Sox might have scrimped a bit so that they could have more cash for a starter was DH. Ortiz is having a wonderful year, but he's costing about twice what Willingham and Kubel got. I don't think that decision was up to Ben either, though.

   22. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4158645)
He inherited a crappy situation and every move he made (save dumping Scutaro and his contract) has made the team worse.


That's unfair. He put Doubront in the rotation, brought up Middlebrooks, acquired Ross, acquired Shoppach, acquired Padilla, and moved Miller to the pen. These moves helped the team.
   23. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4158650)
Maybe Cherington could redeem himself with certain fans if he'd sign Manny.
   24. Dan Posted: June 16, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4158680)
That's unfair. He put Doubront in the rotation, brought up Middlebrooks, acquired Ross, acquired Shoppach, acquired Padilla, and moved Miller to the pen. These moves helped the team.


Doubront forced himself into the rotation with his spring performance and showing up to camp in good shape, anyone would've done that. Middlebrooks came up because Youkilis was hurt, anyone would've done that. Ross was a decent signing, but worse than having Reddick everyday in RF would be. Shoppach was a solid signing to backup Salty. Padilla was a nice scrapheap pickup. Miller to the pen was an obvious move that should've already happened last year.

So it was a bit of an exaggeration that everything has gone wrong, but the biggest moves have been utter disasters.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4158690)
Doubront forced himself into the rotation with his spring performance and showing up to camp in good shape, anyone would've done that.
I don't agree at all. Fans can never assume it's obvious based on spring performance who should be in the rotation or the bullpen - it's a matter for expert observation and evaluation. If evaluators make the right call, they have to be given credit for it.
   26. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4158745)
I dunno, Dan. It sounds like every decision that worked out gets chalked up to something obvious. Cherington could have put Aceves or Cook in the rotation, Ross would have been useful regardless of whether they had Reddick, Punto could have played 3rd if the GM didn't think Middlebrooks was ready -or- Middlebrooks could have been sent down when Youk got back, and until now, nobody had moved Miller to the pen. I think you have to give credit for moves that work.
   27. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4158760)
Reddick, first 63 games last year: .825 OPS, afterward: .674
Lowrie, first 56 games last year: .803 OPS, afteward: .624

There's a ways to go.
   28. Toby Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4158767)
I don't think it is fair or even rational to look at what Reddick and Lowrie are doing elsewhere. We got value for them and they are gone. Whatever they do is irrelevant. I mean, would it make you feel better if Lowrie were on the DL and Reedick were platooning, for other teams? Would that somehow mean that Cherington has done a better job? Of course not. They are gone, and their performance in other uniforms is irrelevant.

Personally, I think the front office made a mistake, but it was in trying to patch the 2011 team. I would not have minded if they had blown up the team and not tried to contend in 2012. But they made that choice, and having made that choice they did a fine job mixing and matching the secondary parts. The problem, again, is the primary parts not plaing like primary parts.

By the way, it's another minor point, but Zimmerman has missed more than 10 games, and he's been playing hurt.
   29. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4158775)
I don't think it is fair or even rational to look at what Reddick and Lowrie are doing elsewhere. We got value for them and they are gone. Whatever they do is irrelevant. I mean, would it make you feel better if Lowrie were on the DL and Reedick were platooning, for other teams? Would that somehow mean that Cherington has done a better job? Of course not. They are gone, and their performance in other uniforms is irrelevant.


If Reddick got hit by a bus, then it'd be irrelevant. But otherwise, reality is a good way of checking to see if a trade was a good idea.

   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4158776)
I mean, would it make you feel better if Lowrie were on the DL and Reedick were platooning, for other teams?
No. I'm a fan and I want them both to succeed.
Would that somehow mean that Cherington has done a better job?
Yes. His job is evaluating talent and maximizing the quality of his club.

The GM has far, far more information about how good players are than we do. If he trades someone away, and they play better than projected, I don't chalk that up to nothing but luck. It's a failure of evaluation as well.
   31. Darren Posted: June 16, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4158792)
Beckett to DL. Sigh.
   32. Jittery McFrog Posted: June 16, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4159062)
This plan failed. Felix Doubront has done very well in the rotation, but that success is overwhelmed by the disastrous returns elsewhere. Daniel Bard washed out of the rotation, after costing the Red Sox a handful of games (both games he could have saved, from the bullpen, and games an above-replacement starter could have won).


I'm not sure this part of the plan is blameworthy. Getting one of {Doubront,Bard} as an effective back of the rotation starter isn't such a bad outcome for a team facing the apparent budget constraints the Sox were under, especially with Dice-K as an eventual fallback.

I agree about the trading for cheap relievers having failed, though. They could have scraped the bottom of the free agent barrel and ended up with the same sort of bullpen they have right now.
   33. Chip Posted: June 17, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4159108)
I think the best thing Valentine has done so far is spend April sorting through what was available and make a decent bullpen out of the mostly scraps and converted starters he was handed.

Now watch them all implode at once.
   34. Dan Posted: June 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4159145)
Sox put Sweeney on the 15 day DL with "undisclosed injury".

Yet another injured outfielder. At least this clears room for them to call up Kalish.
   35. Textbook Editor Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4159148)
Yet another injured outfielder. At least this clears room for them to call up Kalish.


And they do!
   36. Darren Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4159152)
Hey guys, great news--I'm playing Rf today! They just called to let me know.
   37. Darren Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4159157)
I was just kidding around. I'm actually not starting, I'll be on the bench.
   38. Spahn Insane Posted: June 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4159167)
I was just kidding around. I'm actually not starting, I'll be on the bench.

I'll be in Section 528. Look up and wave while wearing the Valentine nose/mustache disguise so I know it's you.
   39. Spahn Insane Posted: June 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4159168)
In all seriousness--this OF situation of Boston's has gotten beyond comical. Of course, I'm not a Red Sox fan. (Things surpassed comical for my team a long, long time ago.)
   40. squatto Posted: June 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4159179)
retro, I was wondering if you were going to make any of the games. Charles S. conveniently took himself out of town for the series. I think his dual loyalties might have made both ass cheeks explode. I'm thinking specifically of Soriano's boneheadedness last night.
   41. Darren Posted: June 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4159187)
Will do, retro. When I call my shot, I'll point at you.
   42. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4159274)
Yet another injured outfielder.

There is talk that Alfonso Soriano might be available, but so is Manny Ramirez!
   43. villageidiom Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4159395)
I'll be in Section 528. Look up and wave while wearing the Valentine nose/mustache disguise so I know it's you.
I was in 529 last night, and 231 the day before. I'm in Connecticut now, which is not an improvement.
   44. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM (#4159500)
The Red Sox problem in 2012 has been that they are paying a ####load of money for guys who are:

1) Injured (Ellsbury, Bailey, Youkilis, Crawford, Jenks - those five guys alone are $50 million this year)
2) Underperforming, but we expect will improve (Gonzalez, Pedroia, Lester, Bard - those four guys alone are making $38 million this year)
3) Make money, and are immovably bad and expensive (Lackey, Beckett, Matsuzaka - those three guys are making $41 million friggin' dollars this year!)

Think about it: the 12 guys on this list - which does include Ortiz, Buchholz, Doubront, the entire f###ing bullpen, Saltalamacchia, Shoppach, Ross, Sweeney, Middlebrooks, Aviles, Nava, and others - is making $129 million this year. Except for Ortiz, the guys playing the best are making by far the least money.

The Red Sox problem is they have a payroll of a top-tier playoff team, and the roster of a .500 team. That's it.
   45. villageidiom Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4159654)
The Red Sox problem is they have a payroll of a top-tier playoff team, and the roster of a .500 team. That's it.
And it's Cherington's fault.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4159672)
I guess I should correct something that got muddled in the original post.

I don't think that the failure of Cherington's offseason plan is the primary reason the Sox are several games off the playoff pace. I think that injuries and underperformance from stars are the two biggest problems with the Sox.

However, Cherington had a very clear offseason plan. It was a bold and unexpected plan, and it governed everything the Sox did in preparing their roster for the season. And it has landed with a big, ugly splat. I think that's worth discussing, and worth significantly criticizing Cherington for.
   47. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:11 AM (#4159739)
Buster_ESPN: There are a lot of good people with the Red Sox, but it's hard to imagine another group with more tension than what they have right now.


Buster_ESPN: Wrote about this in the column today: In talking with sources, there are many layers of unhappiness in Boston clubhouse, w/players/staff.


Take it with a grain of salt , but I can see this all exploding soon - unless they start winning, winning is cool.
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:33 AM (#4159743)
Olney could be full of crap, but it's hard to dismiss clubhouse concerns this soon after September '11.

That was the other big offseason decision - to attempt to redeem this roster, and give them another chance to win together rather than break them up. The front office brought in a very different manager and left the core of the roster (and much of its periphery) in place. If the clubhouse devolves, that plan will have been a failure.

I agree with Phil that so long as they win, things will probably be fine in the clubhouse.
   49. Toby Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4159780)
I'm still not buying the conclusion that the plan failed. The purpose of the plan was to upgrade the back end of the rotation and the bullpen without spending any money. The plan was a huge success. Bard was actually the team's best starter for a chunk of the season. Looking at BBRef's WAR, the Sox have gotten +0.2 WAR from Doubront and -0.3 WAR from Bard, which is a very respectable -0.1 from the fourth and fifth starters. Have you forgotten how crappy these spots were last year? Outside of Beckett, Lester, and Buchholz, our starting pitcher WAR was:

+0.2 Bedard (8 starts)
-0.3 Matsuzaka (7)
-0.5 Miller (12)
-0.7 Weiland (5)
-1.9 Wakefield (23)
-2.1 Lackey (28)
----
-5.3 total (83 starts)

Given those numbers, getting 23 starts from Bard and Doubront at -0.1 is basically a miracle.

Sure, I see Lowrie with his +1.8 WAR for Houston and Reddick with his +2.5 WAR for Oakland and I wish they were doing that for Boston. But we've also gotten +2.4 WAR from Aviles and +0.9 from Sweeney.

Meanwhile, Bailey is a good pitcher who had a freak injury, and Melancon has actually pitched very well this year -- albeit for Pawtucket. I expect both of those guys to be useful.

Again, I get that everyone has some remorse that Lowrie and Reddick have done well in other laundry. You see the offseason plan as empty ("disastrous") while I see it as at least half full and probably better than that.
   50. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4159785)
I think there was a decent process in a lot of cases but Lowrie, Reddick and Bard are all moves that simply have failed so far. I'm all for grading on a bit of a curve but giving Bard credit for being only a little below replacement level is just too much of a curve for me.

I still think the Lowrie move is going to look OK but I've long been less impressed with him than others. So far that move has been a bust.

I think it's awfully difficult to call the decision to go with Valentine anything better than "meh." I'll concede I was unfairly harsh on him earlier in the year but even with the injuries I don't see .500 as a particularly impressive achievement so far.
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4159791)
Looking at BBRef's WAR, the Sox have gotten +0.2 WAR from Doubront and -0.3 WAR from Bard, which is a very respectable -0.1 from the fourth and fifth starters.
No it isn't! That's replacement level performance. There is absolutely nothing respectable about replacement level. The Red Sox could have replaced Dan Bard with a collection of scrap heap arms and done just as well in the rotation while having Dan Bard, ace reliever, close out games. (Or, better, they could have had average major league starter Alfredo Aceves in the rotation in Bard's spot.)

The success of the bullpen has mostly been a function of excellent pitching from Atchison, Miller, and Albers. Aceves has not been good, in the aggregate, and neither has Padilla. Melancon has been worthless and has shown no real upside beyond "maybe he could be another Matt Albers". The fact that guys we already had in the organization have been effective relievers isn't evidence that the plan worked, it's evidence that the plan was even worse than we thought - trading good young talent for relievers should not have been necessary in the first place.
   52. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4159793)
the nl central isn't the load of heaping garabage so many around bbtf like to claim but jed is playing on a team that nobody takes seriously and is often behind in 2 out of 3 games. toss in being healthy and i think a guy who may have struggled with health and pressure is likely to perform when nobody is paying attention.

i would cut the sox front office slack on that one.
   53. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4159797)
Aceves has not been good, in the aggregate, and neither has Padilla.


While I agree with your overall point I think we need to figure out a better way to judge pitchers than the aggregate. Someone (maybe Ray) noted in the AJ Burnett thread a few days ago how great he has been outside of one horrible outing. Just using Padilla as an example his ERA looks bad due to that horrible outing against New York. Now I'm not going to say "oh, his ERA should be 2.52" because you can't just dismiss the bad outing of one pitcher without dismissing the worst outing of every pitcher for comparison purposes.

I think Padilla has been very good though. A large portion of his outings have been good to great and he has augmented that with spectacular numbers on inherited runners. That all may have zero predictive value but in judging his season I think it is relevant.
   54. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4159813)
by all accounts padilla is one of the most loathed players in the league

he typically creates at least one ugly brouhaha a season
   55. Toby Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4159852)
There is absolutely nothing respectable about replacement level. The Red Sox could have replaced Dan Bard with a collection of scrap heap arms and done just as well in the rotation


Except that in 2011 they couldn't. And gee, in 2010 they couldn't, either -- we used basically six starters that year and the bottom three had WAR of +0.8, -1.1 and -0.8, for a net of -1.1. It's actually not that easy to do.

This team has a Pythag record of 36-30. All of the problems with the secondary parts that they had last year were fixed in the offseason. They decided to stand pat on the primary parts, and that has been the problem. If the primary parts had played well and we'd played even with the resulting Pythag, we'd be something like 40-26 and we wouldn't be having this discussion. Bobby V would be on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the story would be about how he was pushing all the right buttons to keep the injury-riddled Sox in contention. (I'm not saying that would be deserved.)

There's nothing wrong with this team that winning won't cure and there's nothing stopping this team from winning than the performance of the supposedly core players.
   56. Toby Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4159855)
And really, Mikael, I don't see how you can say in the intro that "Felix Doubront has done very well in the rotation" and then, in 51, say of Doubront's +0.2 WAR performance "That's replacement level performance. There is absolutely nothing respectable about replacement level." Which is it? Very well or nothing respectable?
   57. booond Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4159856)
Cherington was handed no money, a team in chaos - Manager/GM lost control of players and the team collapsed in September - and a roster which was aging and of suspect health - mental and physical. Most of his star players have tanked and he has significant dollars sunk in lost causes - Lackey, Dice-K, Crawford? AGon? Beckett?. And the season's his fault because Bard sucked as a starter and Reddick/Lowrie are playing above, or at, their peak for 65 games.

Possibly, this team wasn't as good as you thought.

Aceves has not been good, in the aggregate, and neither has Padilla.


Judging relievers in the aggregate is a dangerous game for a partial season. Aceves allowed 8 of 18 earned runs in two games.

   58. Nasty Nate Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4159858)
I said this off-season that they should have traded Beckett! It would have killed several birds with one stone.
   59. Nasty Nate Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4159861)
Judging relievers in the aggregate is a dangerous game for a partial season. Aceves allowed 8 of 18 earned runs in two games.


Yes but those weren't meaningless runs. If you don't want to judge his season w/ the aggregate, you can judge it by saying he lost 2 huge leads in the first 2 months of the season. That is not having a good season so far.
   60. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4159864)
However, Cherington had a very clear offseason plan. It was a bold and unexpected plan, and it governed everything the Sox did in preparing their roster for the season. And it has landed with a big, ugly splat.
The key components of that plan - converting Bard to a starter, acquiring Bailey and Melancon - were moves not just for 2012 but beyond. We're a little more than two months into a plan that I'd think was intended to pay multiyear dividends.

The moves made for short term concerns - Scutaro out, Aviles starting, Padilla acquired, Miller converted to relief, Shoppach backup to Salty, Ortiz arbitration, Ross acquired, Sweeney acquired, Aceves closing - have on balance gone considerably well, without hurting the team long term. (Marlon Byrd did not work out well, but we're talking offseason moves.)

In a sense the Bard conversion is similar to the Crawford and Lackey contracts, in that it was supposed to be for both short-term and long-term, but the short term was so disastrous that the long-term value is unlikely to be attained. Bard produced negative value as a starter, and has taken a step back developmentally. While this worked out OK with Buchholz a few years back, there's no guarantee Bard's MLB career will ever return significant value.

The difference between the Bard conversion and the Crawford/Lackey contracts is that the backsteps with Bard do not hamstring the rest of the club. Bard is now in the minors and taking up a spot on the 40-man roster, and is signed to a contract they could eat if they had to. That's it. Crawford and Lackey are drawing huge salaries to sit on the DL, where they are producing more value than they did on the field. Their salaries are a key part of what we perceive as budgetary problems for the team, restricting the players they can pursue.

EDIT: Now that I review the list again, I suppose converting Miller to relief could be argued as a "long term" move rather than "short term". IMO it was done to shore up the bullpen, but YMMV.
   61. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4159866)
There is no way to spin Daniel Bard's performance so far as good. He has been quite poor whether you look at a start to start basis or an aggregate basis. That he has been better than John Lackey does not mean he has been good.

And the season's his fault because Bard sucked as a starter and Reddick/Lowrie are playing above, or at, their peak for 65 games.


The problems on this team I think are heavily on star players not performing for one reason or another (Gonzalez, Pedroia, Lester, Ellsbury, Crawford). However, Cherington made a series of moves that did not work and it is more than fair to be critical of him for those;

Bard to the rotation - Failed
Trade Reddick - Failed
Trade Lowrie - Failed
(all "failed" are so far, they could turn around)

Those are major failures that have had a sizable impact to this team. I liked the Reddick for Bailey deal but we don't get to be surprised when an injury-prone pitcher goes down with an injury. I liked the Lowrie move but Melancon has been awful so far. The fact is that the Red Sox would be considerably better off with Jed Lowrie at short, Josh Reddick in right and Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon in Oakland and Houston respectively.
   62. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4159874)
I think Cherington could be forgiven for thinking, "We have a lot of outfielders and Reddick's value is unlikely ever to be higher, so let's get a closer." With Crawford/Smellsbury/others, the offseason thought was that the Sox were strong in the OF, less so in the 'pen. I know that you said you liked the move at the time, Jose, but:

The fact is that the Red Sox would be considerably better off with Jed Lowrie at short, Josh Reddick in right and Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon in Oakland and Houston respectively.


is not the point, unless you are penalizing him for not being "Clairvoyantington".
   63. booond Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4159882)
Those are major failures that have had a sizable impact to this team.


Zips projected Lowrie at 89 ops+ and Reddick at 85. Trading players with projected seasons like those and having them blow up doesn't constitute a major failure.

In my mind, Lowrie was a bad deal from the start as it forced Aviles into a fulltime gig and gave them less flexibility around the infield.

Reddick looked like the better trade but Bailey got injured and Reddick has had a 65-game career year.
   64. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4159887)
It may not be entirely fair but the job of the GM is to make good moves and create the best team possible. That Cherington made moves that failed is absolutely a fair thing to be critical of. I think that is especially true in this case where at the time the moves were made there was reason to both support and not support the moves. It's not like I'm sitting here criticizing Cherington because Marco Scutaro is hitting .350 or something, the performances of the relevant players in these deals are all within the reasonable range of expectation.
   65. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4159890)
While I agree with your overall point I think we need to figure out a better way to judge pitchers than the aggregate. Someone (maybe Ray) noted in the AJ Burnett thread a few days ago how great he has been outside of one horrible outing. Just using Padilla as an example his ERA looks bad due to that horrible outing against New York. Now I'm not going to say "oh, his ERA should be 2.52" because you can't just dismiss the bad outing of one pitcher without dismissing the worst outing of every pitcher for comparison purposes.
Likewise on Aceves, who has had an ERA under 3.00 in his last 26 appearances, following a 0 IP, 5 ER performance against the Yankees.

The plan was a huge success. Bard was actually the team's best starter for a chunk of the season.
And then he descended to a point where he sucked, completely lost confidence in himself and the coaching staff, and had to be sent to AAA to prevent further damage to the team. That he had a good month prior to his implosion does not make it a huge success.

I still think in the long term it was - and is - a good move. But success? No, not yet, not at all.

- - - - -

Competing for a playoff berth while pulling off the Bard conversion would have been like pulling off the roommate switch. It was an ambitious plan that didn't have much margin for the kind of result they had.

Ask yourself this: What conditions would have allowed for the team to attempt to convert Bard to starter? (EDIT: Just to be clear, this is a hypothetical. Given a hypothetical roster with hypothetical skill, including Bard in the bullpen, what would they need those hypotheticals to be in order for the transition to be worth attempting?)
   66. booond Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4159894)
I'm not disagreeing that the moves - Bard, Reddick, Lowrie - haven't worked out but neither Reddick nor Lowrie were considered prime players on the roster at the time. Both were, at best, fighting for playing time. To look at this as he traded all stars away and got scrubs, and should've known it, is dreaming, at best.

   67. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4159896)
Ask yourself this: What conditions would have allowed for the team to attempt to convert Bard to starter?


AAA, or Kansas City.
   68. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4159901)
I mean, Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey also had good projections coming into the season. The conversion of Dan Bard to starting projected to give the club an average or above average starter. If all we can go on is publicly available projections, then those were pretty good moves.

I think that's a bad and unrealistic way to judge a GM. A GM is not a fan or a blogger. He has scouts and coaches and professional numbers guys, and he's supposed to be way better at this than we are. Particularly with young players, who have a wide range of possible projections and future value, we should judge a GM based on whether he picks the right young players and gives away the right ones.

(I mean, how do you judge drafts? Is Kolbrin Vitek still a solid pick because he was projected in the middle of the first round? Was Dustin Pedroia just an eh selection because he wasn't seen as a first-round talent? At some point with young players, you have to judge based on outcomes, not just expectation.)
   69. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4159904)
And really, Mikael, I don't see how you can say in the intro that "Felix Doubront has done very well in the rotation" and then, in 51, say of Doubront's +0.2 WAR performance "That's replacement level performance. There is absolutely nothing respectable about replacement level." Which is it? Very well or nothing respectable?
I was talking about Bard.

Doubront hasn't produced much of any value for the Sox yet, but I think he has pitched well and I expect him to do better as the season goes on. I was giving Cherington extra credit there, beyond what value has been produced from his decision to put Doubront in the rotation, because I think based on observation that he made the right call.
   70. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4159908)
He has scouts and coaches and professional numbers guys, and he's supposed to be way better at this than we are


It depends on who he listens to, which might be a fair way to judge the GM anyway. But if all the scouts said, "Bard will be great in the rotation!" and no one said (as I saw here) "We could lose a reliable and dominant bullpen arm AND a starter if this goes badly", did he make the "right" move? Reality says "clearly not", but maybe in that moment it was absolutely the right call.
   71. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4159918)
Except that in 2011 they couldn't. And gee, in 2010 they couldn't, either -- we used basically six starters that year and the bottom three had WAR of +0.8, -1.1 and -0.8, for a net of -1.1. It's actually not that easy to do.
And in 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and 2006 and 2007 and 2008 the back end of the rotation was replacement level or above. Sometimes you'll end up at replacement level with your replacements, sometimes below, sometimes above. Just because the team has done badly on this score for the last few years doesn't make it impossible, or even terribly difficult.
   72. booond Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4159934)
I think that's a bad and unrealistic way to judge a GM. A GM is not a fan or a blogger. He has scouts and coaches and professional numbers guys, and he's supposed to be way better at this than we are. Particularly with young players, who have a wide range of possible projections and future value, we should judge a GM based on whether he picks the right young players and gives away the right ones.


I agree that he has to judge on what he sees and hears. But there is no evidence, outside of a small sample, that he pulled the wrong triggers. It's not like they didn't have extensive knowledge of Reddick and Lowrie. They decided what their value was. They may have been mistaken. It certainly isn't the reason the Sox are struggling. That lies at the feet of the established players.

(I mean, how do you judge drafts? Is Kolbrin Vitek still a solid pick because he was projected in the middle of the first round? Was Dustin Pedroia just an eh selection because he wasn't seen as a first-round talent? At some point with young players, you have to judge based on outcomes, not just expectation.)


This is not equivalent to judging players who've been in your farm system for four years. A draft has a much larger margin for error.
   73. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4159942)
No love for "Clairvoyantington"? I worked hard on that.

   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4159946)
Again, the main reason the Sox are off the playoff pace is underperformance of Pyth.

The next major reasons are injuries and underperformance of stars.

However, I think the club has clearly been hurt by the failure of Ben Cherington's offseason plan, as they could have won more games with Lowrie and Reddick in the lineup or coming off the bench, with Dan Bard in the pen and Aceves in the rotation, and money saved that could have been spent on a better 5th/6th starter.
   75. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4159951)
But there is no evidence, outside of a small sample, that he pulled the wrong triggers.
I can accept this, to some degree. If Melancon and Bailey pitch like aces down the stretch, if Dan Bard gets his #### together and starts winning games in the rotation, if Lowrie gets hurt and Reddick cools way off, then the plan will be a big success. If several of those things happen, the plan will have turned out fine enough.

I don't think that's likely. I think Reddick is pretty clearly legit, Melancon is pretty clearly a disaster, Andrew Bailey is going to cost more than he produces before hitting free agency, and Dan Bard is really unlikely to be a good major league starting pitcher. And so the plan is at best unsuccessful, with major failure being the most likely outcome. But it could conceivably all turn out great and I'd love to be proven stupid.

(Well, I don't want Reddick to fail or Lowrie to get hurt. I wouldn't love that. But I'd love for all the guys Cherington acquired or shifted positions to be great, and I wouldn't be so badly concerned about overpaying for talent if it were clear he acquired major talents or moved his players to positions where they'd be most successful.)
   76. booond Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4159963)
However, I think the club has clearly been hurt by the failure of Ben Cherington's offseason plan, as they could have won more games with Lowrie and Reddick in the lineup or coming off the bench


This we don't know. You're projecting one outcome for another situation. We don't know if it is transferable.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4159968)
Would you agree with me if I put a "probably" in there? Human events are uncertain, and I didn't mean to imply that I know for sure what's happening on Earth-2.

But if we can't make any judgments about counter-factual situations, we can't evaluate trades at all. Which claim are you making?
   78. Toby Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4159972)
I am going to try to find some common ground here and agree that the Lowrie and Reddick trades haven't worked out so far, and the conversion of Bard to starter hasn't worked out so far either.

I guess where I come down, though, is that the moves involving those three players were just three moves, they weren't "the whole plan" (and they haven't worked out "so far"). I'd rather look at the offseason as a whole rather than cherry-pick a couple of transactions. Otherwise where does it end? Yes, clearly we should have signed Edwin Jackson and salary-dumped Kevin Youkilis.
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4159973)
I guess where I come down, though, is that the moves involving those three players were just three moves, they weren't "the whole plan" (and they haven't worked out "so far"). I'd rather look at the offseason as a whole rather than cherry-pick a couple of transactions. Otherwise where does it end?
See the quote in the original post.

The plan all fits together - in order to save money, you convert relievers to starters. In order to re-stock the bullpen, you trade young players for relievers. Those moves are all of a piece, so they can be evaluated together. I'm talking about them because I identified them before the season started as a clever, risky plan by Ben Cherington to build the roster on the cheap.

And, anyway, what else did Cherington do this offseason? He converted Aviles to short and traded Scutaro, he signed Ross after Crawford's injury, and he signed a bunch of cheap depth arms. The major set of moves this offseason were the plan I've been talking about.
   80. John DiFool2 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4159987)
Doubront hasn't produced much of any value for the Sox yet, but I think he has pitched well and I expect him to do better as the season goes on.


You're kidding, right? He has 9.9 k/9 and a K/W ratio around three, and Fangraphs with its FIP-based WAR has him at 1.2, which makes more sense given what he's actually done than BBRef's pathetic and ridiculous 0.2.
   81. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4159992)
I can't tell what you're disagreeing with.

The point I was making there is that I expect Doubront's runs allowed numbers to improve over the course of the season, and we clearly agree about that.

It seems like you're making a DIPS argument, based on a relatively minor aspect of my argument, and not one that was germane to my discussion with Toby. If you see Doubront's high runs allowed numbers as simply a function of bad luck, and you see his value as primarily recorded in his context-free HR/BB/K numbers, then you can argue that his value to the team has been pretty good. I tend to be skeptical of hard-DIPS like that (we know it isn't true, in general), and I tend to err on the side of giving pitchers credit or blame for preventing or allowing runs.

In either case, the disagreement in about a minor methodological point, and we agree about the major consideration.
   82. Toby Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4160053)
And, anyway, what else did Cherington do this offseason? He converted Aviles to short and traded Scutaro, he signed Ross after Crawford's injury, and he signed a bunch of cheap depth arms.


And you are not giving him nearly enough credit for these moves. I mean, by WAR, Aviles has been better than Lowrie and Sweeney/Ross has been as good as Reddick. Scutaro has zero WAR and turned out to be a great salary dump. Bard and Doubront have been, well, I'm not sure how in your world you'd want to compare them -- but they've combined to be only slightly worse, by WAR, than they combined for last year. (Bard was not exactly good last year, remember.) Aceves has been far worse than last year but that's not on the front office -- he's been kept in more or less the same role (bullpen) as last year and it wasn't the front office's plan to make him the closer. In fact, I think the front office's offseason plan was for Aceves to start, but the injury to Bailey and the emergence of Doubront caused them to reverse course.
   83. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4160072)
Sweeney/Ross are about 1 win worse than Reddick in a combined 50-60 more PA. That's hardly a plus. Aviles has so much of his WAR wrapped up in defense that I'm skeptical of calling him a clear success over Lowrie. FWIW FanGraphs has Lowrie about a win ahead of Aviles in WAR.
   84. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4160123)
I just don't understand why some of you place so much importance on 2 months of a shitty season when trying to project the overall offseason success of a plan put into place by a new GM. Right now the team is frustrating to watch no doubt about it, but why always take the negative view?

Lowrie - will never get hurt again, nope, not going to happen
Aviles - sucks at defense and will revert to his terrible form, no credit given to the GM who traded away the two players in front of him on the depth chart
Reddick - obviously has made the jump to superstardom, will haunt the fanbase for the next 12 years
Bard - ###### beyond all reasonable repair
Doubront - come on, we all saw it coming, and he really isn't that good at all
finding 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th outfielders of the season and having only one suck - see above re Reddick, he would have been able to play CF and RF by himself, problem solved
sticking with Salty, picking up Shoppach - shh, this doesn't really matter anyways
Bailey - will never pitch again, will never contribute to the Sox
Melancon - yeah, he sucks, no snark here
$$ - wow, he sure has spent a lot of money for all of his moves...

Did I miss anything that Cherington has pooped on? Can we please just wait and see how the entire season goes?
   85. jmurph Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4160142)
Did I miss anything that Cherington has pooped on? Can we please just wait and see how the entire season goes?


1. That was a pretty ridiculous description of what is being said here.
2. No. "Too early. Come back in 4 months." would make for a super boring blog post. I hope MCoA doesn't take that advice.
   86. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4160148)
I would disagree that what you are saying in #84 is the position of any of the people who think Cherington did a poor job. Just addressing a few;

Lowrie - I said up thread that I still think this move is going to wind up good both because of Lowrie doing what Lowrie does and I believe in Melancon.

Aviles - He doesn't have to revert much. He's rocking a .284 OBP and I think it's fair to be a bit skeptical of his defense though it has been very good. I wouldn't be stunned if that is a very real improvement.

Reddick - I think Reddick is looking very much like a player who has taken that next step forward. I thought he was the right guy to deal in January but that's looking like the wrong call. It's not just the power or defense (both of which we knew existed) it's the great improvement in plate discipline.

Bard - No one has said he's ###### beyond repair but shifting him to the rotation has not worked so far.

Doubront - I agree he has been good and MCoA has said the same. But he's not Cy Young, he's been a good pitcher, that's what he's been.
   87. Toby Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4160155)
Scutaro -- he was not actually a $14M player as MCOA projected in January.
   88. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4160190)
I definitely agree with #87.
   89. karlmagnus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4160196)
Lowrie's the one that annoys me. He had already proved repeatedly that when healthy he was a very good player. The wittering from bloggers here about "Arrgh, he's cursed, the witches won't let him ever play well for us" obviously extended to Cherington and made him do a foolish deal. The reality was he had several random injuries, as has Ellsbury (well, hiring outfielder-maiming Beltre had something to do there.) Lowrie wasn't permanently cursed, any more than Lester's strange new ineffectiveness should be assumed to have nothing to do with the illness that kept him out for a year.

This isn't a very good team anyway, but that's mostly the legacy of Theo's mistakes. Ben hasn't helped, but the main thing now is that he should avoid trading the very good young players and prospects that may well if kept make the future brighter.
   90. booond Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4160225)
Reddick - I think Reddick is looking very much like a player who has taken that next step forward. I thought he was the right guy to deal in January but that's looking like the wrong call. It's not just the power or defense (both of which we knew existed) it's the great improvement in plate discipline.


Reddick's had a very strange season. In May he walked more than ever and 40% of his hits went for homers. In April and June he looks like the player in 2011, except in June he's rocking a .400 babip. It will be interesting where he ends up.
   91. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4160229)
1. That was a pretty ridiculous description of what is being said here.


True. And I feel like judging the success of a 1st year GM after 2 months is fairly ridiculous as well when the team has been beset by numerous injuries and has had poor production from major components of the team that was formed by his predecessor.

edited for clarity
   92. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4160232)
By the way, if I'm Oakland, I listen to offers for Reddick. His value may never be higher, and arguably Oakland would be better off in a 3-1 deal for offensive players. They need more than one hitter.
   93. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4160239)
...as they could have won more games with Lowrie and Reddick in the lineup or coming off the bench, with Dan Bard in the pen and Aceves in the rotation.
(a) Feel free to quantify.

(b) Again, this judges the 2011-12 offseason moves, some of which were to have long-term impacts, based on the first two months. That's fine, but you can't really say a long-term plan failed in the first two months unless the long term is irrelevant, or if the short term performance is so hopeless as to negate all possible long term value. Neither is the case.

The offseason moves that can have only short-term impact have generally been positive. The moves that have long-term impact have not, so far, but we're far away from being done with that. To wit:
Melancon is pretty clearly a disaster
...two months into the five years the team has him under their control.
   94. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4160267)
I don't think it was a long-term focused plan. They gave up five years of Reddick and two years of Lowrie for five years of Melancon and two years of Bailey. That's not a plan angled to winning years four and five - it's a plan focused on getting the best team on the field in 2012. (Which, I think, is exactly what the Red Sox GM should be doing. If I thought Cherington was sacrificing the present for the future, over the offseason, I would have been unhappy with him. This is a championship quality core.)

It is certainly true that the long term could work out, but I think that was relatively unlikely before the season started, and more unlikely now.
   95. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4160309)
Adrian Gonzalez: 0.4 WAR

Jon Lester: -0.3 WAR

Josh Beckett: 0.7 WAR

Clay Buchholz: -0.6 WAR

Kevin Youkilis: -0.1 WAR

The End.
   96. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4160353)
I didn't realize this about A-Gon. At the end of this year, the answer to "How many years will Teixeira finish with better numbers during Adrian's contract" may well be "one".
   97. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4160458)
I come down more on the "stars are sucking" side of this discussion, though I also agree with most of what MCoA says.

I hated Lowrie for Melancon at the time, and said so. Hated it more when Punto was the offsetting move. Hate it more now. Would Lowrie have been able to succeed in Boston this year? We'll never know. Maybe he would have gotten the fluke injury that, in our timeline, landed on Bailey instead. But having two infielders that can actually hit would have been nice. Then again, if the Sox had Lowrie to put at third, probably WMB never gets called up in May.

And if they keep Reddick instead of Sweeney, probably the Ross signing doesn't happen - this could mean a host of consequences, including the possibility that the Byrd move happens much earlier. Or that Reddick is seen as a potential solution rather than stopgap/platoon bat (like Sweeney), and there IS no corresponding preseason move - this could mean signing Edwin Jackson. Who may or may not have been any good, surely not as good as he's been in our timeline. Of course, if they used OF savings to sign a decent SP, seems likely that Doubront never gets a shot in the rotation (as they were pretty committed to the Bard thing).

So, there you go - Reddick had to get traded for us to find out that Doubront is awesome, and Lowrie had to get traded to make Youk "expendable".

TVE - that was a good one. I briefly considered changing my handle (seriously).
   98. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4160518)
I don't think it was a long-term focused plan.
I had a rather long response to this which I deemed unfair. Instead I pose this:

If Cherington's offseason plan was as focused on 2012 as you are focusing it, then Cherington has failed as a GM almost regardless of what the 2012 results are. To do a good job the GM must balance short term and long term needs. At the least, you can say the long-term plans, to this point, have failed to address their 2012 needs. That might be what you're saying, in which case I agree. If you're saying the offseason moves were only with 2012 in mind, then I'd say you're attributing to Cherington an asinine plan, then blaming him when the plan fails. If so, I suggest you reconsider whether the plan was what you think it was. If it was with more than 2012 in mind, then it might not have failed in the long run, but two months in is not the time to evaluate that.

If you break up the offseason moves based on duration of solution, the long term moves haven't helped yet, while the short term moves have mostly helped - yet to no avail because of the extended suckage of players not considered problems.
   99. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:15 PM (#4160600)
If Cherington's offseason plan was as focused on 2012 as you are focusing it, then Cherington has failed as a GM almost regardless of what the 2012 results are. To do a good job the GM must balance short term and long term needs.
Certainly I think that Cherington's plan balanced long- and short-term needs. The balance, given the quality of the current core, was to make a reasonable sacrifice of future value in exchange for the best arrangement of present-day value. The club believed they needed relievers and felt they had an extra young outfielder and an extra young infielder, and so even though young position players have obviously more upside than equivalently young relievers, they made the trades. It is not "asinine" to plan to maximize present-day value at a loss of future value when you have Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and David Ortiz already under contract.

What I'm saying is that if you have a plan whose balance of short-term and long-term value originally tilts to the short-term, and it turns out to be a short-term failure, I think we can be critical of the plan a couple months in.

I do think that Cherington hoped to get big long-term value out of the conversion of Daniel Bard to the rotation, and it's certainly true that if Bard turns into a good starter, that will overwhelm many of my criticisms here. I am making the assessment, right now, that Bard doesn't appear to have much of a future as a starter. I would love to be wrong.
   100. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 19, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4161257)
Cody Ross back in the lineup today. No news yet on what the corresponding move is.

Cherington with a "no comment" when asked about Youk trade talks. To the extent that confirms that he's at least trying to move Youk I suppose that's newsworthy but I don't think anyone is particularly surprised if that is the case.
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