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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Random Thoughts A Few Hours Out

With game one just about five hours away as I start whacking my keyboard I figured I’d throw together a few random thoughts heading into what is sure to be a challenging series;

Chris Sale, First Time Out - 0, 2, 1, 0, 3, 2, 4, 2, 4, 6, 3, 0, 0, 7…those are the runs allowed by Sale facing his opponents for the first time this year.  Obviously that is skewed heavily towards the early part of the year but the idea that a great pitcher might keep an opponent in knots is not that outrageous.  Additionally both in 2017 and in his career his performance with additional rest is excellent.  On six days rest in his career covering 24 starts he has held opponents to a .557 OPS (.361 in four starts in 2017) and a 1.88 ERA (0.59 in 2017).

What will the infield give us? - I still haven’t seen a roster for the series but it seems likely that Eduardo Nunez will be on it based on comments earlier in the week.  Between Nunez and Dustin Pedroia the Sox are investing in a couple of guys who are not 100%.  If either (or God forbid both) go down the Sox infield gets very thin very quickly.

Hanley and Raffy - For me the key to this series, at least on the offensive side, is Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers.  It does not need to be both but at least one of these guys needs to produce to extend the lineup.  Last year the Sox were unable to put up crooked numbers against the Indians despite having some chances.  Getting something from the bottom half of the order to clean up innings is necessary if the Sox want to avoid another early exit.

Run Run Run - The Astros were the worst team in baseball at throwing out would be base stealers at 12% and generally their defense rates as a bit spotty.  The Sox may have some opportunities to take extra bases in this series with the caveat that the Astro outfielders do throw pretty well.  Still, for an aggressive team like the Sox playing the Astros feels like a better matchup than the Indians would have.

Can Farrell get some consistency - Despite the excellent overall performance of the bullpen this year with the second best bullpen ERA in the Majors I can’t help but fret.  All too often John Farrell seemed to have to pull the trigger on pitchers awfully quickly and against a team like the Astros that is not going to fly.  With David Price looking devastating out there that is a nice start.  Addison Reed needs to be reliable and the Sox are going to need another reliever that Farrell can count on in front of Kimbrel.  Joe Kelly had a somewhat encouraging September.  While he was better earlier in the year I think the fact that he was notching strikeouts much more consistently is a positive sign going forward.  If he can be that guy it is a big step.

Perhaps irrationally I am feeling good going into this series.  The Sox are being set as underdogs much the way the Indians were against the Sox a year ago.  While the Astros SHOULD be favored, I don’t think it is any kind of certainty and I think the time off for Sale could prove pivotal.

UPDATE! And just before I hit “submit” the roster comes out;

Starting Pitchers: Sale, Pomeranz, Fister, Porcello, Rodriguez - no announcement of the order beyond Sale/Pomeranz in 1&2.
Relief Pitchers: Kimbrel, Kelly, Reed, Price, Maddox, Smith - Credit to the Sox for making the tough but correct choices in Maddox and Smith and leaving Barnes off the roster.
Infielders: Moreland, Pedroia, Devers, Bogaerts, Holt, Marrero, Nunez, Ramirez - Yup, Nunez on the roster, Marrero too.  Watch for defensive replacements for Devers.
Outfielders: Betts, Bradley, Benintendi, Davis - Again the Sox make the tough but in my view correct choice of leaving Young off.
Catchers - Vazquez, Leon

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 05, 2017 at 11:02 AM | 79 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 05, 2017 at 11:56 AM (#5545022)
We're still operating with the assumption that Sale is 100%, and/or that the extended rest will get him to 100%, right? I'm more wary of that assumption than anything about Pedroia or Nunez.

Sale's last 8 starts, split to best and worst:

Best : 3 GS, 21 IP, 0 ER, 32 K, 1 BB, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
Worst: 5 GS, 25 IP, 22 ER, 35 K, 11 BB, 11 HR, 7.92 ERA

It is not of great comfort that three of the worst and none of the best were against playoff teams.

If Sale goes Full Severino here, they'll need their other starting pitchers to be near perfect or the lineup to go into Idiot Mode.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 05, 2017 at 12:55 PM (#5545085)
That's a fair concern. Honestly I can't imagine them winning if Sale doesn't win at least one game. Go back to the Indian game and in his six starts since he's been generally good;

3.00 ERA
36 IP
12 BB
55 K
.338 BABIP

The long ball has been a problem (9 HR) and that is a concern but he hasn't done anything close to the Full Severino. I think the three "bad" starts in there get to my point;

NYY 15 days
TBR 6 days
TOR 28 days

that was the time between appearances facing those teams. He hasn't faced the Astros in over a year. I think there is something to that.

I think your 8 starts is somewhat conveniently leaving off a 7 IP, 4 hit, 1 run, 12 K outing against the Yankees which was the ninth start. I don't think it dramatically changes your point to include/not include that one. There is cause for concern but for now I'm relatively confident.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 05, 2017 at 01:37 PM (#5545148)
Something I meant to mention but forgot to...last weekend watching them up close I was REALLY impressed with Bregman. That kid can play. Not only is he a hell of a hitter his range at third is outrageous.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5545197)
I am feeling good going into this series.

Will this withstand an early-inning one run deficit? Some say doubtful.

I'm a bit conflicted as to whether I should root for the Red Sox, on the theory that they'd be an easier ALCS opponent if the Yankees get past Cleveland, when it's apparent such feelings will never be reciprocated. With the Astros, we'd replicate the Judge - Altuve MVP battle, providing more data points on what promises to be a lengthy debate, so that'd be fun, of sorts. Tough call. Might have to check with Andy, who is the master of secondary fandom. Or is that third-order fandom?
   5. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5545199)
My confidence usually exists until things start going well. Then I get nervous. It's a weird life.

Doug Fister for game three sayeth Farrell.
   6. jmurph Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5545208)
I'm a bit conflicted as to whether I should root for the Red Sox, on the theory that they'd be an easier ALCS opponent if the Yankees get past Cleveland, when it's apparent such feelings will never be reciprocated. With the Astros, we'd replicate the Judge - Altuve MVP battle, providing more data points on what promises to be a lengthy debate, so that'd be fun, of sorts. Tough call. Might have to check with Andy, who is the master of secondary fandom. Or is that third-order fandom?

Well it was determined in a thread on friday that it is frankly immoral to ever root against any team or individual, so I'm afraid you're out of luck and will have to root for both the Red Sox and Astros, equally, at all times.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5545209)
Something I meant to mention but forgot to...last weekend watching them up close I was REALLY impressed with Bregman. That kid can play. Not only is he a hell of a hitter his range at third is outrageous.
Yeah, he's really good. He got a bunch of starts at SS this year, and plenty in the minors.
   8. villageidiom Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5545230)
I think your 8 starts is somewhat conveniently leaving off a 7 IP, 4 hit, 1 run, 12 K outing against the Yankees which was the ninth start.
Fair. It's also inconveniently leaving off a 5 IP, 8 hit, 7 run, 5 K outing against the Indians (the 11th start), which was his first time facing them this year.

I went with last 8 because it was a quarter of his 32 starts. I'd had the intention of splitting to best 4 and worst 4, but it was damn hard to decide which of the 5 stinkers I was going to include with the "best" category. It definitely was not like the others.

Regardless, they need him to keep the ball in the park. They need Chris Sale, not Yard Sale. (Can I trademark that one?)
   9. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:28 PM (#5545245)
They need Chris Sale, not Yard Sale. (Can I trademark that one?)


No. Just no.
   10. villageidiom Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5545263)
I mean, I don't ever want the occasion to invoke the name. But a HR-happy Chris Sale is pretty much asking for that name, right?
   11. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 05, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5545336)
They need Chris Sale, not Yard Sale. (Can I trademark that one?)


Only if you pronounce it '######' Yahd Sale!'
   12. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:52 AM (#5545822)
Oct. 6:

1903 World Series Game 6: PIT 5, BOX 4. It's 5-1 entering the 9th, but BOX puts the winning run on before losing
1929 Bill Carrigan's last game
1946 World Series Game 1: Boston 3, StL 2 (10). BOX tied it in top of the 9th
1959 Oil Can Boyd born
1990 Roger Clemens ejected in playoff start
1991 last game: Dwight Evans
1999 ALDS: Indians 3, Red Sox 2. Cle gets 1 run in the bottom of the 9th
2008 ALDS Game 4: BOX 3, LAA 2. Boston gets series-winning run in the bottom of the ninth
2012 CLE hires Terry Francona as their manager


   13. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 06, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5545841)
To no one's surprise Chris Young has replaced Eduardo Nunez on the roster.
   14. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5545900)
1990 Roger Clemens ejected in playoff start
What a moron. I mean, really.
   15. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5545907)
Fister for Game 3, but if down 2-1 would they really bring Sale back on 3 days' rest for Game 4? I get that maybe they'd want to try that, but then you get into EdRod throwing Game 5 (or 4 in relief, and Pomeranz in G5 on short rest too)...

I dunno. Their best hope was always riding Sale/Pomeranz and hoping to steal wins from other starters. That plan hasn't necessarily changed--and if Pomeranz throws a gem today, you can argue the tide may swing back to advantage Boston--but I think Sale pretty clearly isn't right (for whatever reason), and likely won't be until 2018, so now the plan has to be Pomeranz+someone else stepping up and being dominant.


   16. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5545915)
Yeah it's hard to argue that bringing Sale back on short rest is the right call. Shades of 1998 here and I have a lot more confidence in Edgar than I did in Pete Schourek and Schourek spun a beauty. I think you stick to the plan, don't overreact to one or two losses. You need Rodriguez and Sale to win games letting them both do it on normal rest makes more sense than trying to get Sale out there on short rest. He threw 100 pitches yesterday, it's not like he was Severino throwing 30 or so.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5545922)
This is a little premature, but if they make it to game 4, it might be played on Tuesday due to rain Monday.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: October 06, 2017 at 12:58 PM (#5545994)
Marrero, Young, Ramirez - In lineup
Devers, Moreland - Not in lineup
   19. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 06, 2017 at 01:16 PM (#5546009)
Marrero? Not a fan of that one.

Young DH/Ramirez 1B makes sense.
   20. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 06, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5546024)
Marrero? Not a fan of that one.


Agreed. Although Devers did look pretty terrible in his at bats.
   21. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 06, 2017 at 01:42 PM (#5546030)
Devers seems to have gotten into a habit of overswinging, trying to yank everything. This may be an area where for all of our mockery of such things the manager in the clubhouse is seeing or hearing something from him that makes him think "yeah, I gotta get this guy out of there."

But I'd rather him be there. Even if he fans three times he's still one of very few bats that can turn a game around on one swing. The prototypical "in scoring position when he comes to bat" type that we don't really have much of.
   22. Norcan Posted: October 08, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5547225)
I'd like to see them move on from Xander. He's a well-below average player now overall. It's so frustrating that he went from a prospect with oodles of power to one who decided to gear his swing to hit groundballs after his rookie season. I mean, what? I assume it was to help him stay in the majors after a really rough rookie year with a superficially impressive batting average. If they decide to keep him, he's going to need his swing rebuilt.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2017 at 06:46 PM (#5547297)
Is there official confirmation anywhere that tomorrows game would be pushed back to 7pm if the Yankees get swept? Not that it looks like the weather will allow any Boston baseball tomorrow anyway.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 08, 2017 at 08:44 PM (#5547328)
Nate - Yes, they are saying the game is at 1 or 7 tomorrow.

If anyone is interested I took a few pictures today. I lucked out that I got Devers' first career playoff homer. Hopefully the first of many.

Did they say anything about security? There were security guards on the roof on the first and third base side. It was a bit ominous.

FWIW every member of the starting lineup except Hanley gave John Farrell a hug today during introductions. Hanley had a "Believe in Boston" sign which may explain his lack of participation in what looked to me like a message to ownership "this is our guy."
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:27 PM (#5547349)
NN/Jose--I'm assuming they'd lose the travel day and play Tuesday/Wednesday if there's a rainout tomorrow, right?

That would likely mean Sale/Verlander in a Game 4 Tuesday, right? Or would Houston hold Verlander back for a G5 start against a normal-rest Pomeranz? Price would be a heck of a weapon to call upon for a G5 at the first sign of trouble. Not sure all this means I should be praying for rain or not...

I think Xander's biggest fault is he's not Nomar... when (initially) it seemed possible he could be maybe 80% of a Nomar peak. There's no crime in that, of course, but I think partially he's been a victim of his own early success. I still think there's a career year ahead better than any year he's pulled off, but he's not going to have a Nomar-like peak... but that's fine; he's far from terrible and, like I said, I still think he has a peak year (or two) still ahead of him.
   26. Morton's Fork Posted: October 09, 2017 at 03:43 AM (#5547446)
July 6, Bogaerts just missed out on being an All-Star and got his right hand mashed against the bat by a 92-mph fastball.

mlb.com video

After he came back his swing has been just awful. He can't drive the bat head through the low and inside fastball (that's where he has a bit of power) and he can't check his swing on the outside breaking ball (so he's not getting the looping line drives to right, and he's striking out more). Why should the rest of his career be more similar to the three months since the injury than everything before? I agree that Xander is most certainly well below average at being Nomar Garciaparra, but as a hitter, a shortstop, and a teammate I see no evidence yet that he can't end up the superior player.
   27. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 09, 2017 at 08:18 AM (#5547466)

Did they say anything about security? There were security guards on the roof on the first and third base side. It was a bit ominous.


Extra security was in response to learning the Vegas shooter had scoped out events in Boston.
   28. Textbook Editor Posted: October 09, 2017 at 10:41 PM (#5548487)
I haven't seen Farrell comments (or whoever would answer questions on the thought process), but man, they left Sale out to dry. He was clearly (to me) laboring in the 7th and was damn lucky to get out with the lead, you had Reed warmed up... What the hell is Reed there for, if not to pitch the 8th inning with a 1 run lead after sale gives you 60+ pitches/4 IP on 3 days rest in high-pressure circumstances?

So that's Original Sin #1 as far as I'm concerned. I'm no fan of Reed, really, but again, that's what he's there for, you warmed him in the 7th... At some point Sale has to come out; it was a logical spot.

Sin #2 was... WTF are they doing leaving Kimbrell in for 38 pitches to give up that run in the 9th when--again--he was clearly laboring and--again--you had Reed warmed up.

These two decisions were not as egregious as Grady Little... but it was in the ballpark of Grady Little, and I'd love to hear the explanations beyond the "we decided to go with our horse(s)" bullshit.

I'm angry, not sad. This was preventable--or at least there was a conventional way to approach those last 6 outs and they made a complete shitshow out of it. This pissed off feeling isn't going to go away for a while.
   29. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 07:45 AM (#5548570)
Looking back it was the wrong call to have Sale go back out for the 8th - that being said I was in favor of it. Figured he should be pulled after anyone got on base. Same goes for Kimbrel - that guy has the ability to turn it on and strike out anyone on 3 pitches.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 08:09 AM (#5548580)
TextbookEditor, I suspect that if pitchers were removed as often as you diagnose them as clearly laboring, the entire bullpen would be used every game. Or to put it another way, against this Astros lineup, Reed is in effect clearly laboring from pitch one.
   31. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 08:24 AM (#5548583)
I didn't like sending Sale back out for the 8th but at the same time like TE I'm no fan of Reed so I didn't mind seeing him go back out there. It's an important decision that didn't work so Farrell deserves criticism for it but I don't think it was anything close to a slam dunk.
   32. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5548616)
I don't love Reed, but the 7th for Sale was clearly harder to get through than the 6th, or 5th, or 4th, and he's throwing on 3 days rest with a different-than-usual warmup process... I just think it's unreasonable to push him further than the 4 great innings he did, especially in light of the last few weeks of his season.

Moreover, again: what is the point of trading for Addison Reed if not to use him in just that spot? If he can't be trusted with THAT situation, why is he on the roster? He's a FA so it's a moot point--he won't be signing with us--but for all the concern about "sending messages" with pitchers, Farrell quite clearly sent the message he trusts Reed 0%, which, win or lose yesterday, wasn't going to help matters going forward either.

[turning page]

I think Pedroia may well be toast, at least as any kind of everyday 2B. The quotes I've seen are pretty ominous--like he could miss all of 2018 is surgery happens, which makes me wonder if this is an ACL/MCL issue of some sort (I've never seen any clear discussion regarding what--exactly--the "knee injury" is--and so this off-season they're going to have to get a caddy/full-time 2B to cover for him, and, further, figure out what to do with his position if he can't play 2B... My concern is his bat doesn't really play anywhere else, though I suppose if you had a monster DH (probably not Hanley at this point) you could maybe play him at 1B and, on aggregate, get the same production as you would from a normal DH/1B combo... But this seems a stretch. David Ortiz ain't walking through that door...

The future looks a lot more concerning to me today than last year or 2015. It's not clear any of the kids will sign extensions (for various reasons), so the window on this wave of youngsters could be far shorter than commonly thought. Add to all this the certainty that Dombrowski's gonna Dombrowski this offseason and... I'm feeling this might be closer to the end of something than the beginning.

All right, I'm good and depressed now. Time to stare out the window and wait for spring.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5548620)
Moreover, again: what is the point of trading for Addison Reed if not to use him in just that spot?
To pitch in situations in which clearly better pitchers were not available and/or the season wasn't hanging on the line by a tiny margin.

If you want to take Sale out, you go directly to Kimbrel.
   34. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:36 AM (#5548625)
TE - I get feeling a bit maudlin after a disappointing end to the season but;

Xander - 2 more years
Mookie - 3
Benintendi - 5
Devers - 6
Bradley - 3
Vazquez - 3
Sale - 2

And by the time all those guys come to free agency Craig (11 million), Sandoval (18), Castillo (12), Ramirez (23) and maybe Price (33) will be off the books. The Sox have just won consecutive division titles and frankly, I think we underachieved a bit this year. I'm actually working on a post for later this week whenever this Swahilian Death Flu I have goes away but other than Vazquez is there any player on the 2017 Red Sox that you think really had a surprisingly good year?

As of right now I'm EXTREMELY optimistic going forward. And if you're worried about "Dombrowski gonna Dombrowski" doesn't that suggest that keeping these stars is more likely than not? When he's had access to money he's kept stars, perhaps to his club's detriment.

Live in the moment TE. The next couple of years at least should be very very good.
   35. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:39 AM (#5548629)
Yep, the Yanks and the Red Sox are stocked with young stars, and looking to be entrenched at the top of the AL East for the next few years. Just like old times. Bring it on!
   36. John DiFool2 Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5548637)
The issue with the kids isn't their contract status, but whether they will develop significantly next year. This year at least nobody had any great leaps forward (other than Devers of course), and some regressed.

The Yankees OTOH saw several leaps. Next year that coin could certainly flip right back around, but we've been here before (early 90's: Greenwell, Burks, Carlos Quintana)-4 years later none of them were doing diddly for the Sox.
   37. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:22 AM (#5548666)
Pomeranz should be added into the developed nicely category. Innings are still a bit lower than ideal, but he's now had 170+ the last two years, and he increased his ERA+ from 126 to 137.

The roster as it stands now:
C - Vazquez/Leon/Swihart - Cromulisious
1B - Sam Travis - need an impact player
2B - Pedroia - needs a caddy
SS - Bogaerts - not a star, but not a detriment, better than average
3B - Devers - will go thru growing pains, will hopefully put an end to the 3B shitshow
RF - Betts - still great
CF - JBJ - See Bogaerts, X
LF - Benintendi - Can he improve? Or is he merely solid?
DH - Ramirez - Needs improving
Utility - Holt/Rutledge/Marrero - Fine
4th OF - Need one

P#1 - Sale - CYA Candidate
P#2 - Price - Solid
P#3 - Pomeranz - Solid
P#4 - Porcello - Solid...as a #4
P#5 - Rodriguez - Needs more consistency. Can he leapfrog Porcello?
P#6 - Wright - Anyone know if he is still alive?

R#1 - Kimbrel - Very good
R#2 - Smith - Looked solid
Pen - Inconsistent, but solid. Don't really actually NEED to do anything here.

So, catastrophic injuries aside, one of DH or 1B really needs to be addressed. Otherwise, there really aren't gaping holes. 2B is actually the easiest infield position to fill, Brock Rutledge is a step down offensively and defensively, but the gaping cesspool that has been 3rd need not be repeated.
   38. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5548671)
I'm pretty much on board with everything in #37. I expect an impact acquisition this winter to address the power deficit. I think the rotation is our big advantage over the Yankees right now. With all due respect to what they did this year I'd be shocked if they got a repeat from Sabathia and Tanaka. Adding a full season of Gray makes up some of that though I question if Severino can repeat his 2017 also. He can be very good next year and still drop off.
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5548683)
2B - Pedroia - needs a caddy
.
3B - Devers - will go thru growing pains, will hopefully put an end to the 3B shitshow

It would be nice to have a player like Holt circa '14: someone who could take starts at 2b during Pedroia injuries and against some righties, and who could also be a defensive replacement for Devers in the late innings when they are leading. I don't know if such a player exists and is available... Tommy LaStella?
   40. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5548690)
39 - Why can't Holt be that player? Obviously this year was a lost year for him but if he can recover fully from the concussion he's been pretty consistent. I'd love to see them re-sign Nunez who I think might want to come back. He'd be a terrific caddy for Pedroia, Devers and even Bogaerts.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5548697)
39 - Why can't Holt be that player?
Maybe he can, but I fear he's past his prime.
   42. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5548699)
It would be nice to have a player like Holt circa '14: someone who could take starts at 2b during Pedroia injuries and against some righties, and who could also be a defensive replacement for Devers in the late innings when they are leading. I don't know if such a player exists and is available... Tommy LaStella?


Someone not named Brock Holt? I mean, he's not all that special, and he shouldn't be more than a utility player/short term fill in, but he is cheap, and is already on the team. LaStella gets you 1 more *projected* win? Holt is pretty much a -1 - +2 WAR player, LaStella is 0 - +2? Holt has at the very least proven he can handle pretty much all positions defensively (except for 3rd unfortunately).

What's Michael Chavis up to? Is he worth carrying as a 3B/1B backup?
   43. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5548701)
Shoulda refreshed...coke to Jose.

I'd love to see them re-sign Nunez who I think might want to come back


Sort of have to determine the knee injury first. I could see the Sox signing him to a cheap 2 year deal, with the understanding that he is out for the next 9 months.


Maybe he can, but I fear he's past his prime.
He's only 29. Maybe the league has caught up to him at the plate, but he should be athletically fit enough for a few more years.
   44. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5548715)
My fear with Holt is the concussion has ended him. Concussions can mess a guy up.

The problem with Chavis is I don't think he is any kind of option up the middle and clearly we need some kind of caddy for Pedroia. I don't think Chavis is ready yet, at best mid-next year if he shows he can handle AAA pitching.
   45. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5548726)
I'm pretty much on board with everything in #37. I expect an impact acquisition this winter to address the power deficit. I think the rotation is our big advantage over the Yankees right now. With all due respect to what they did this year I'd be shocked if they got a repeat from Sabathia and Tanaka. Adding a full season of Gray makes up some of that though I question if Severino can repeat his 2017 also. He can be very good next year and still drop off.

I'm not as impressed with the Red Sox starting pitching as you seem to be, but you're definitely right about the Yankees' need for at least one or two more reliable rotation members. Tanaka's still only 28, but other than Severino none of their other starters have shown any sort of consistent ability to go deep into games. And when 4 of your 5 starters are consistently making early exits, the greatest bullpen on Earth can't make up for that in the long run. The bullpen might be enough to steal them one more game tomorrow night (though I doubt Kluber will allow that), but there's no way they can compete with the Astros unless all their starters can really step up. Just look at what happened to the Red Sox.

The one sleeper here isn't really a sleeper to Yankees fans, but to much of the league he might be. And that's Jordan Montgomery, who's almost a physical clone of Pomeranz and with equally nasty stuff. He was on an innings limit this year, but give him another year to develop a bit more stamina and he could wind up right behind Severino. Like I said, the next few years should be really interesting, because both of those teams are loaded with young talent.
   46. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5548750)
Yankees SP - Severino, Gray, Tanaka, Montgomery, ???, ???

CC and Pineda are FA, correct? And they need a DH as well.
   47. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5548762)
Do people think there's a chance Hanley goes back to being the primary 1B?
   48. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5548771)
Do people think there's a chance Hanley goes back to being the primary 1B?


It wouldn't surprise me though I don't know if that's my own desire shining through. Engaged Hanley just seems to be a so much better player than Out of the Way Hanley.
   49. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5548774)
Tanaka can opt out of his current contract this offseason. He has 3 years and $67 million remaining, and if he doesn't opt out he will be a FA ahead of his age-32 season.
   50. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:57 AM (#5548782)

Do people think there's a chance Hanley goes back to being the primary 1B?


I don't see why. What FA DH is worse defensively than Ramirez? Unless you think moving to Hanley to 1B makes him better at the plate, anybody the Sox target for 1st would seem to be better there than Hanley. I'd like to see them go for Carlos Santana and, unless he turns it around in a big way, find ways to limit Ramirez to 470 AB's so his option does not get picked up. After 2018 that still leaves a hole, but puts Devers and Santana in two of the 3B/1B/DH spots.


Otherwise, flier on Logan Morrison? Re-sign Moreland? Pay way too much for way too long for Hosmer?
   51. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5548790)
I don't see why. What FA DH is worse defensively than Ramirez? Unless you think moving to Hanley to 1B makes him better at the plate, anybody the Sox target for 1st would seem to be better there than Hanley.
Fair points. I guess I was thinking that having him at 1B would allow them to use an OF bat at DH, which might be easier to acquire than a 1B.

But your Carlos Santana idea seems like a perfect fit.
   52. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5548797)
Fair points. I guess I was thinking that having him at 1B would allow them to use an OF bat at DH.


Hadn't thought of that. Carlos Gomez maybe?
   53. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5548826)
The problem with the 1B/DH slot is that--for better or worse--Pedroia will be playing lots of games in that role, either in 2018 or shortly thereafter. If he's done as a 2B, he doesn't slot in anywhere else (not enough arm for 3B).

Although that said, Pedroia strikes me as a guy who would walk away rather than spend the next 4 years getting 350 ABs as a part-time DH/1B. As in, I'd give that maybe a 10% chance of happening over the 0% chance I'd give it for almost any other player.

Maybe my sullenness today is from watching Pedroia slip coming out of the box on that last out and thinking it might be all over for him. TE Jr.'s life has basically tracked Pedroia's career, time-wise, and it will be sad when he hangs them up, which today seems much closer to me than it did a few weeks ago.
   54. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5548858)
#53 -

I don't see Pedroia moving off 2B permanently. We'll see how next year goes, but after that he is 'only' owed $40M for 2019-2021, I think your guess on retirement over embarrassment is correct, although I imagine the Sox will do something to help alleviate the financial hit.

Can someone refresh me on buyouts in MLB? Are the Sox allowed to offer him 50% to retire? Offers of working for the club in some capacity? Will definitely be bummed when he is off the team, and I really hope he doesn't have to shlub around with some other club before he is done.
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5548860)
Can someone refresh me on buyouts in MLB? Are the Sox allowed to offer him 50% to retire?
I think they are allowed. But why would he accept? If he's bad enough to be an embarrassment, they will just release him and he will get 100% of the money, like Sandoval and Ryan Howard etc... And if he's good enough to be on a roster, even as a backup, why would he want to quit? It seems like the guy eats and breathes baseball. He has no trade protection, so he doesn't have to worry about being sent to some team he doesn't want.
   56. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:21 PM (#5548872)
Yankees SP - Severino, Gray, Tanaka, Montgomery, ???, ???

CC and Pineda are FA, correct?


I can't imagine they'll be counting on Pineda, but I can see them offering CC a decent one year contract that's topheavy with incentive clauses. Anything longer than that would be relying too much on a pair of bad knees. They really need to go after another starter or two, given what we've seen out of this year's rotation.

One other possibility is Cessa, who's got electrifying stuff but has yet to prove much on the Big League level. He had a late season rib cage injury, but he should be okay by Spring training.

And they need a DH as well.

True that, though they've got a surplus of outfielders to rotate in and out of that spot if they don't want to keep Holliday.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tanaka can opt out of his current contract this offseason. He has 3 years and $67 million remaining, and if he doesn't opt out he will be a FA ahead of his age-32 season.

Tanaka would have to be insane to opt out of that contract. Who's going to give him a better deal than that, with his history of injury and his erratic performance this year?

Not that I think he might not turn out to be worth that $67 million through age 31, but it's not as if we're talking about Kershaw or Kluber in terms of consistency.
   57. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5548879)
Who's going to give him a better deal than that, with his history of injury and his erratic performance this year?
The Yankees.
   58. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5548880)
Tanaka would have to be insane to opt out of that contract. Who's going to give him a better deal than that, with his history of injury and his erratic performance this year?


When in doubt take the "over" when it comes to FA contracts.
   59. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:37 PM (#5548895)
Who's going to give him a better deal than that, with his history of injury and his erratic performance this year?


The Yankees.

It's funny because it's true.
   60. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:41 PM (#5548900)
I think they are allowed. But why would he accept?


Because conceivably the Sox could pay him $40M to be in the front office and get his money off the books as far as payroll taxes are concerned. Which leads me to believe they can't buy him out? Awfully big loop hole.
   61. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5548913)
Because conceivably the Sox could pay him $40M to be in the front office and get his money off the books as far as payroll taxes are concerned. Which leads me to believe they can't buy him out? Awfully big loop hole.
No, they couldn't do that to get around the luxury tax calculation. But otherwise I think buyouts are allowed. Michael Cuddyer got one from the Mets, I believe.
   62. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2017 at 02:40 PM (#5548963)
The issue with the kids isn't their contract status, but whether they will develop significantly next year. This year at least nobody had any great leaps forward (other than Devers of course), and some regressed.

I think that is the big question for the Red Sox. Will 2016 or 2017 be better indicators for Betts, Bradley & Bogaerts, and does Benintendi develop into a star, or is he closer to an average MLB player? The Yankees have similar questions about how good the Baby Bombers will be in the future, although they didn't have the 2017 off years, except for Greg Bird, where injury was the problem. Pitching remains an issue for both teams, but the Yankees signing Shohei Otani might tip the scales in their favor going forward.
   63. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5548968)
No, they couldn't do that to get around the luxury tax calculation. But otherwise I think buyouts are allowed. Michael Cuddyer got one from the Mets, I believe.


Huh, look at that. Cuddyer retired & got paid 2M instead of 12.5M. According to Spotrac that $2M is listed under 'retained salaries', with the 10.5M coming off the books.

   64. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5548970)
I really hope he doesn't have to shlub around with some other club before he is done.


I could be really wrong here--and hell, I said the same thing about Utley and Philly and that didn't turn out that way--but I really would be surprised to see Pedroia not end his career with the Red Sox. But I also think he's done one way or another once the current contract is up (and I suspect before the contract is up).

I mean, he'd have *some* value as a "veteran leadership"/PH bat on an NL team at the end of his career, I'm sure, unless the legs are truly gone, but I just don't see him doing a year-to-year thing across 2, 3, 4 teams in 4 years or something like that.

Tanaka will opt out and someone will give him a better deal--or the Yankees will re-sign him to some sort of deal *slightly* better than the current one so face is saved all around and everyone can claim victory.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 02:54 PM (#5548979)
Who's going to give him a better deal than that, with his history of injury and his erratic performance this year?

The Yankees.


Except they won't have to, unless Tanaka opts out and gets an (extremely unlikely) better offer.

I guarantee when Tanaka was originally signed, the Yankees weren't expecting significant time lost to injury in the first 2 years, 4 years of 13 wins a year and an ERA of 3.56, with the 4th year being the worst. That's hardly the worst possible outcome, and he's still only 28 with #1 stuff when he's on, but no other team right now is going to look at that record and figure he's worth more than $67 million going forward. Way too much risk involved.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5548983)
Except they won't have to, unless Tanaka opts out and gets an (extremely unlikely) better offer.
I think you might be right that he doesn't opt out. But are you forgetting the past instances of Yankee players opting out, or at least preparing to opt out? The team didn't wait for better offers before making the contracts bigger.
   67. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 03:05 PM (#5548991)
I guarantee when Tanaka was originally signed, the Yankees weren't expecting significant time lost to injury in the first 2 years, 4 years of 13 wins a year and an ERA of 3.56, with the 4th year being the worst. That's hardly the worst possible outcome, and he's still only 28 with #1 stuff when he's on, but no other team right now is going to look at that record and figure he's worth more than $67 million going forward. Way too much risk involved.


Something to chew on - do you consider Tanaka better than Porcello? Because at least one front office has shown the willingness to pay Porcello as much as Tanaka is making now.
   68. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2017 at 03:10 PM (#5548996)
Because at least one front office has shown the willingness to pay Porcello as much as Tanaka is making now.


<facepalm>
   69. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 03:25 PM (#5549022)
I guarantee when Tanaka was originally signed, the Yankees weren't expecting significant time lost to injury in the first 2 years, 4 years of 13 wins a year and an ERA of 3.56, with the 4th year being the worst. That's hardly the worst possible outcome, and he's still only 28 with #1 stuff when he's on, but no other team right now is going to look at that record and figure he's worth more than $67 million going forward. Way too much risk involved.

Something to chew on - do you consider Tanaka better than Porcello? Because at least one front office has shown the willingness to pay Porcello as much as Tanaka is making now.


I'd like to know what front office that might be, and anyway AFAIK Porcello doesn't have an opt-out clause. You can correct me if I'm mistaken.

But to answer your question: I think Tanaka's got a significantly higher upside but somewhat greater durability concerns. I don't think either of them is worth any more than what they're owed in their current contracts.

The other thing about Tanaka is that by all accounts he's happy in New York, and of course given that there's no more popular MLB team in Japan than the Yankees,** from a future financial standpoint staying in pinstripes is going to be worth more down the road for him than finishing his career anywhere else.

** Not necessarily most beloved, but certainly the best known by the Japanese casual fan of MLB. The corporate taint the Yankees have here is likely seen more of a feature than a bug over there.
   70. John DiFool2 Posted: October 10, 2017 at 04:10 PM (#5549089)
RF - Betts - still great


Only if you look solely at the WAR totals (where a lot of said value depends on iffy defensive stats-yeah, he's awesome out there, but...)-his RBat was only +5. Is 2016 going to be his career year, never again approached?
   71. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5549122)
Is 2016 going to be his career year, never again approached?

Depends on how many future rainout dates can be moved to Camden Yards. (smile)
   72. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 04:41 PM (#5549129)
John - I just put up a post getting into some of this stuff but regarding Mookie;

2016: .322
2017: .268

Those are his BABIP numbers the last two years. I'll bet we never see him at .268 again.
   73. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 10, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5549138)
Only if you look solely at the WAR totals (where a lot of said value depends on iffy defensive stats-yeah, he's awesome out there, but...)-his RBat was only +5. Is 2016 going to be his career year, never again approached?


Looking at Rbat for Betts sorta misses the forest for the trees. He's the best defensive RF. He is one of the top 5 baserunners in the game. Those are two solid building blocks to a very good player. Harper and Stanton obviously have much better bats, but provide little value otherwise and get hurt often.
   74. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 10, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5549165)
Looking at Rbat for Betts sorta misses the forest for the trees. He's the best defensive RF. He is one of the top 5 baserunners in the game. Those are two solid building blocks to a very good player. Harper and Stanton obviously have much better bats, but provide little value otherwise and get hurt often.

Betts is also only 24 years old. It's hardly inconceivable that he'll add more power over the next few years. Even today he's certainly one of the best all-around players in baseball, the sort of 5 tool player that any team would love to have.
   75. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 10, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5549241)
Betts is also only 24 years old.


This is the thing. I kind of see him as the Altuve of RF. I will surprised if he doesn't develop more as a hitter over the next couple of years and then sustains a real good hitting peak until his early 30's. As others have pointed out, he already does everything else really, really well. We know he can rake with the stick when it goes right and the low BABIP is not really indicative of a player of his type. Guys that spray the ball all over the field and don't K much just don't have lifetime BABIP in the .270's.

With Sale and a healthy Price, I think that's a nice 1-2 punch at the front end. Pomeranz probably isn't this good and Porcello probably isn't this bad, E-rod is the guy that really needs to become consistent; and of course not injure anything getting out of bed in the morning.

A healthy pen with Smith, Reed and Kimbrel could be quite formidable.

Sale was a huge boost in 2017, however not a whole lot was ideal this year and they still had a pretty good year. Lots of guys, as noted, sort of plateau'd, Price was injured all year long, Porcello became the gopherball king and much of the pen had injuries. 3B was a dumpster fire until Devers should up, Hanley was pretty sh*t until the playoffs, Moreland was Moreland, Pedroia was injured more often then not.... a lot of stuff just didn't quite work out.
   76. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2017 at 07:30 PM (#5549267)
Moreland and Reed are FAs now and I'd bet neither is likely to return.
   77. John DiFool2 Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:22 PM (#5549341)
I won't miss Moreland (despite seeing myself on video in the background of a homer of his at Cleveland).
   78. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:14 PM (#5549410)
I liked Moreland a lot. He seemed to come up big in a lot of key moments.
   79. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:22 PM (#5549416)
Moreland was ok but not enough. They need a RH power bat badly.

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