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   1. Toby Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4253826)
Is it wrong to find it appropriate that none of the guys we traded during the season -- Youk, Shoppach, the Dodgers quartet -- made the postseason either?
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4253835)
I was rooting for Youk, though.

I was shocked at how poorly Gonzalez played. Maybe he really is carrying a bad shoulder. I expected Beckett to pick it up, too, but he pitched like exactly the same sudden mediocrity he'd been all year in Boston.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4253841)
I was shocked at how poorly Gonzalez played. Maybe he really is carrying a bad shoulder. I expected Beckett to pick it up, too, but he pitched like exactly the same sudden mediocrity he'd been all year in Boston.


I will be perversely amused if Beckett continues his pattern of odd-year success next season. I wish the Sox traded him last offseason.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4253844)
In a perverse way I liked what I saw from Iglesias. While there were a couple of "too much flash" errors I think his overall defensive work showed that the reports on his defense are spot on and he is Gold Glove caliber. He may not hit but for now I'm taking solace in the fact that the positive aspect of his game is in fact a legitimate positive. I'm still hopeful that the bat is eventually going to show something useful.

I think the bullpen has some pieces capable of going Baltimore next year. Tazawa I think is for real and I think by next August he'll be closing games once Bailey is successful and traded or crappy and hurt. I've become the biggest Clayton Mortensen fan alive. He has the occasional stinker but I think is generally pretty good. What I especially like about him is he's got a funky delivery and funky stuff. As a once through the lineup type guy I can see him kind of getting guys off their rhythm. Add in guys like Melancon, Miller, Morales and Bailey and there are some potent arms out there.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is another positive. He's God awful streaky but he now has two perfectly solid seasons under his belt and at a position that isn't exactly loaded around baseball should probably be counted on to do what he's done the last two years. There are worse things than a relatively cheap, average player.

I've been less optimistic about Middlebrooks than most I think but he certainly had a fine season. I'm looking forward to seeing him play every day next year. I think a low-OBP/30 homer season is well within his grasp. What can I say, I'm a Red Sox fan, righty sluggers are in my wheelhouse.

With Lavarnway I'll note that in his age 24 season Jason Varitek was playing AA ball but he looked helpless when I saw him this month.

I'm not so keen on what I expect Cody Ross to get for a contract (3/27ish). I think he's a guy who looks more impressive because of the garbage surrounding him. If the Sox are giving out multi-year deals I'd prefer something better than a poor defensive corner outfielder with a 113 OPS+ who turns 32 in December. Having said that he's a fun guy to root for and I think there may be some value both to the fans and in the clubhouse to keeping around a guy who is (apparently) well liked after guys like Martinez and Beltre were allowed to leave.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4253845)
Iglesias touters have been tweeting about his good defensive stats.

ESPN's Jerry Lundblad:
Worth noting, Jose Iglesias has 6 def. runs saved in 174 innings. Small sample, but the defensive hype is real.

Alex Speier:
Difficult to imagine a DP combo with faster hands than Pedroia/Iglesias.
Iglesias/Pedroia DP combo is pretty amazing. Iglesias has avged roughly a DP every 11 innings; AL avg is 1 per 14 innings.
If there is ever a time when Middlebrooks, Iglesias, Pedroia start in same IF, the collective range would be unbelievable.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4253877)
I don't disagree that Iglesias looked pretty great in the field. My intuition is that the math just doesn't work out. Let's see...

Quickie MLE and linear weights has Iglesias producing about 30 batting runs in 450 PA. An average hitting shortstop, playing in reasonably friendly parks, should produce more like 50 runs in those PA. So, if Iglesias is really an extremely good defensive player, he should be close enough to league average to be playable. Huh. I didn't expect that.

The key for Iglesias' numbers, here, is that the MLE for a guy with exceptionally poor secondary skills will look a lot like his AAA numbers. So Iglesias' AAA OPS was 635, his MLE OPS is 565. That's terrible, but it's not quite as terrible as you'd expect. The move from AAA to the majors really hurts high-K and high-HR players, and secondarily high-BB and high-BABIP players. Since Iglesias doesn't have any of those skills, he translates as merely a very bad hitter instead of an unfathomably bad hitter. So long as he's a very bad hitter, Iglesias probably deserves the SS job.

(The other issue here, which requires more discussion as the offseason moves on, is that there just aren't any solutions out for shortstop. The free agent market is a wasteland, and I don't see any obvious trade targets. I've just about talked myself into giving Iglesias a run at short for 2013, honestly.)

EDIT: I should note, though, that Iglesias was unfathomably bad in the majors, not just very bad. It's entirely possible that the MLE calculations are way overselling how easy it is for a guy with as few and as limited batting skills as Iglesias to compete in the majors. If he's more of a 450 OPS hitter, obviously he can't play. The Sox have a decision to make there. And I've talked myself back out of Iglesias again...
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4253881)
I'm not so keen on what I expect Cody Ross to get for a contract (3/27ish).
I'm expecting Ross to be a lot cheaper than that. We'll see. I think 3/15 or 3/18 is more reasonable, and I think I'd pay that.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4253903)
What about a Stephen Drew / Iglesias combo at SS next year? Give Drew the bulk of the starts, and have Iglesias ready as a defensive replacement in games in which they have the lead. Give Iglesias a few starts against lefties, and have Drew ready to pinch-hit in those games. Drew might settle for something like 1/$5 million in hopes of having a good season and then getting a big deal next offseason, right?
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4253912)
I'd be perfectly happy with Drew at the right price, but that would put Iglesias in AAA. He has another option remaining, by my count. If Iglesias is going to be a quality MLB player, he has to learn how to hit, and he's unlikely to do that without consistent reps. The Sox already have a capable UIF in Ciriaco.

Should note I overlooked Drew in my quick research on shortstops. I had him logged as having a cheap team option, but he's actually got a $10M mutual option. I guess there's no doubt Drew would choose to take $10M, but it does seem reasonably likely that the A's won't pick it up.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4253951)
I was assuming the A's would decline the option.

It's possible that the Sox should give up on Iglesias becoming a quality MLB player and just use him as a defensive specialist.
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4253970)
The offensive bar for Iglesias is awfully low. I've said all along that Jack Wilson is a decent comp for the low end. Even with an OPS+ of 60 Wilson put up a tolerable 1.2 WAR in 2011. If they can get Drew I'd love it but I have a failing the best option is going to be to give Iglesias the shot.
   12. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4253982)
Were there any respectable projection systems that had the Sox losing 93 games in 2012, even as a low-percentage downside? My off-the-cuff prognostication before the 2012 season had them about .500 in the worst case, but likely to be playing meaningful games in September. I'd have actually wagered a mortgage payment if someone were silly enough to give me good odds on the Sox's record ending this badly.

My projections going forward:

Pedroia will not finish the 2013 season in Boston. I think he's likely to be traded this offseason.
The scrappy 2013 team will fall short, but fans will point to "green shoots".
Playoffs made in 2014.

*EDIT*

The "Bobby Valentine Era" takes on added significance over the years, becomes shorthand for the worst type of baseball team, and a book with that title is eventually released.
Over/under on books written about this season: five.
   13. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4253991)
Loney did not look like a future bench player. He looked like somebody who shouldn't be in the majors. Although somebody will probably give him a million bucks guaranteed money this offseason.
   14. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4253992)
If Ciriaco's future is not in Boston, it needs to be elsewhere in the AL East. He has absolutely nuked the Yankees since Day One, and it would be a shame if he didn't get those opportunities as often.
   15. jmurph Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4254004)
Unless they're pretty clearly the highest bidder, I can't imagine JD Drew's brother choosing to sign in Boston. Though like you guys, I'd be in favor of it.

   16. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4254011)
Were there any respectable projection systems that had the Sox losing 93 games in 2012, even as a low-percentage downside?

In the RLYW projection blowout, they had a mean of 91 wins with a 10 win standard deviation. If you assume the distribution around the mean is symmetric, 69-93 would be about the 1.5%ile. Conversely, Baltimore's win total was their 99th percentile, and Oakland, FWIW, hit their 96th percentile win total.

Unsurprisingly, given two such extreme outcomes, while the Sox and O's finished 24 games apart in the real standings, they were only 8 games apart by pythag.
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4254012)
A few points:

1) I watched very little Red Sox baseball after the All-Star break this year, but one of the only things I was interested in following was Iglesias, particularly to see his defense first-hand. I have to say, it's the real deal. The other night, Ichiro hit a check swing grounder to Iglesias - one of those classic Ichiro infield hits where he's practically out of the box before he makes contact. I couldn't believe how fast Iglesias got rid of the ball with a strong, accurate throw. It's the fastest I've ever seen a SS catch a grounder and make a throw. He easily got Ichiro. If Aviles is playing SS, I think Ichiro is safe, which then leads to the pitcher throwing from the stretch, the real threat of a stolen base, a run scoring on a base hit, etc. I'm not one of these guys that thinks you can afford to have a total offensive zero playing SS, but the most important position to have superior defense is SS, and the number of assists he'll get over a full season at short will be extraordinary. Besides the extra outs he helps record, how many pitches thrown would he save? Does he allow Middlebrooks to play a little closer to the line, cutting off a couple of doubles a month? You get the idea...if he is as good with the glove as it appears, he may end up being one of the most valuable defensive players in baseball. Just saying...

2) What stinks about the injuries is that a couple of the guys who got hurt - people like WMB and Kalish - could've really used this opportunity to gain experience in a low-pressure environment.

3) I question how good Salty is going to b, going forward. Doesn't he start making money this off-season?

4) I've heard people talk about how histroically bad this team was, given their $190 million payroll or whatever. The thing is, this was never really a team with that payroll. They were paying out a ton of money, but they never had anything like that payroll actually out on the field. Of course, for the final two months, some of that payroll wasn't even on the Red Sox (Dodgers trade). How much "payroll" was on the field in the final six games this year? Ciriaco? Iglesias? Loney? Salty? Ross? Gomez? Miller?

5) Finally, after two months of the big Dodgers trade, one would have to say that the trade is working out even better than the elated Red Sox fandom originally thought. AGon and Beckett have been lousy, and Crawford is out, anyway. Loney gave us a warm body to play for a couple of months, and he didn't make any problems. If we had not made the trade, instead of 69-93, what would the Sox have finished? 72-90? Maybe? Who cares? Getting rid of those players was easily the highlight of the season, and makes me actually give a #### about 2013.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4254033)
If Aviles is playing SS, I think Ichiro is safe


I think you need to update your scouting report a bit. Ichiro still hits like he has supersonic speed, but competent, MLB-average guys can field and throw in enough time to get him.

Not to take away from the defensive play there, but this was not Ichiro! from 2004.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4254052)
3) I question how good Salty is going to b, going forward. Doesn't he start making money this off-season?
Not yet. He's arb 3, I'd guess he'll take maybe $4M.
   20. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4254065)
The offensive bar for Iglesias is awfully low. I've said all along that Jack Wilson is a decent comp for the low end. Even with an OPS+ of 60 Wilson put up a tolerable 1.2 WAR in 2011. If they can get Drew I'd love it but I have a failing the best option is going to be to give Iglesias the shot.


It really is low - I could see Iglesias competing to set a new record for lowest OPS+ for a regular MLB player while having an ok WAR. Just by virtue of being a SS a guy can have a surprisingly good WAR - Mike Aviles put up 2.0 bWAR this year, in what many would call a pretty lousy performance. Ciriaco had 1.3. It kinda makes me think WAR is overvaluing SS defense a little.
   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4254078)
one would have to say that the trade is working out even better than the elated Red Sox fandom originally thought.


I don't see that as the case. So far the Sox have gotten absolutely nothing out of that trade except money. If de la Rosa or Webster comes through or they land a big free agent that's great. That Gonzalez struggled in LA (Beckett pitched well, I don't get this idea that he didn't) is pretty irrelevant. If the Sox don't replace those guys with quality players it's a pointless trade.
   22. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4254095)
Mike Aviles put up 2.0 bWAR this year, in what many would call a pretty lousy performance. Ciriaco had 1.3. It kinda makes me think WAR isn't quite right.


Brendan Ryan had 3.3 bWAR/1.8 fWAR with a .555 OPS. In 470 PA's.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4254109)
It kinda makes me think WAR is overvaluing SS defense a little.


I think there is probably a good chance of that being true. One thing of note is that the Sox have the 4th highest ground ball rate of any 2013 AL team (3rd this year, plus Houston) so that probably makes Iglesias a bit more valuable than he otherwise would be.

Getting back to the Wilson comp. Even if you want to change that 1.2 to 0.7 I don't think the fundamental answer is radically different. It is possible that by virtue of skill and position Iglesias has the lowest offensive level of accomplishment necessary to be a positive MLB player.
   24. jmurph Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4254139)
Mike Aviles put up 2.0 bWAR this year, in what many would call a pretty lousy performance. Ciriaco had 1.3. It kinda makes me think WAR is overvaluing SS defense a little.


If I'm reading correctly, Aviles had the 4th worst OPS+ in all of baseball this year. I think the bolded bit might be an understatement.

EDIT: Just the AL. My fault. Either way, he's terrible.
   25. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4254143)
I don't see that as the case. So far the Sox have gotten absolutely nothing out of that trade except money. If de la Rosa or Webster comes through or they land a big free agent that's great. That Gonzalez struggled in LA (Beckett pitched well, I don't get this idea that he didn't) is pretty irrelevant. If the Sox don't replace those guys with quality players it's a pointless trade.


I'd agree with this too, as ut's certainly wayyyyy too soon to tell one way or another. The Big Trade is as much about 2015-2017 as it is about 2013-14. If you get Crawford and Gonzalez playing to their career averages next few years while the Red Sox struggle to acquire impact talent and win 85+ games, then that trade isn't looking as good. Another factor to consider is possible salary inflation. It's unclear how the new CBA and TV deals will effect FA salaries, but it's possible the Crawford contract looks positively reasonable in the next few years. It'll be interesting to see this year's offseason goes.
   26. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4254181)
Mike Aviles put up 2.0 bWAR this year, in what many would call a pretty lousy performance. Ciriaco had 1.3. It kinda makes me think WAR is overvaluing SS defense a little.

If I'm reading correctly, Aviles had the 4th worst OPS+ in all of baseball this year. I think the bolded bit might be an understatement.


The bitting bar is so low for SS right now - AL SS hit .306/.368 on the whole, an 85 OPS+. Aviles (76 OPS+) was 7 runs above replacement on offense. He had the 4th worst OPS+ among batting title qualifiers, yes, but there were a lot of guys who hit so poorly they didn't get that kind of playing time. I don't know that I buy that he's really a +13 fielder, though.

   27. jmurph Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4254210)
I don't know that I buy that he's really a +13 fielder, though.


I guess that's what I'm saying, too, in a dumber way. I realize this is a sort of crude "calculation," but I'm just struggling to believe a guy who can't hit a damn bit is still somehow a + contributor without being the second coming of Jesus on defense.
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 04, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4254251)
To put Aviles in a different light: of those players who got the majority of their PA at SS, Aviles was 9th out of 18 in OPS. The bar is just so low right now Only six of those guys reached a .700 OPS, none .800. He was defnitely above replacmement level as a hitter.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4254413)
It kinda makes me think WAR is overvaluing SS defense a little.
As Joe C points out, WAR isn't "overvaluing" defense in general. It's comparing shortstop offensive production to league averages, and then adding on defensive credit. The issue is that DRS thinks Mike Aviles was a Gold Glove shortstop. If Aviles was only average with the glove, he's a 0.7 WAR SS, which fits perfectly well with a normal valuation of 280/380 offense in the current baseball context.

Ciriaco, who was also mentioned, only rated a +2 defender across 2B/3B/SS. His value comes from hitting for a 88 OPS+ - not bad for a middle infielder - and running the bases like a madman, rating +6 in baserunning and DP avoidance combined. That all seems pretty reasonable. The problem for Ciriaco isn't the WAR evaluation of his offense or defense, it's that he needed a .350 BABIP just to put up a passable batting line. With a more normal BABIP, he's not an asset as anything more than a utility guy.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4254423)
I started to laugh at Joe Girardi for intentionally walking Ciriaco a couple days ago, but then I realized that Iglesias really sucks as a hitter right now.
   31. Darren Posted: October 05, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4254878)
I'm having a hard time figuring out how a 280/285 line can be part of an average player, but I think it's because I'm not mentally figuring how rare a +20 SS (in 450 PA) is. That's basically a guy who's putting up. Quickly eying Rdrs on BBRef, it looks like Brendan Ryan and Clint Barmes are good bets to be around +20/135 games (and that should probably be knocked down to match 450 PA) consistently but anyone else in that territory is a fluke. (Ozzie Smith was +13 for his career in Total Zone.) So, is Iglesias that good? He looked good, but even consistently +10 would be awesome, right? With that, he's a below average player.

As far as who to get, I'd argue that there's a chance that the Marlins, after a disappointing season, might be willing to deal Reyes and Buerhle, now that they've used up their cheap first years. Heck, we might even be able to pry away closer Heath Bell!
   32. Darren Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4254908)
Also, don't forget that the Red Sox are definitely going to get Andrus for Ellsbury.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4254943)
Iglesias/Pedroia DP combo is pretty amazing. Iglesias has avged roughly a DP every 11 innings; AL avg is 1 per 14 innings.


Of course, wouldn't the Red Sox have allowed many more baserunners than average over the last month of the season, and wouldn't this affect the DP rate simply because there's more opportunities for DPs (because there's more baserunners than average)? I may be missing something...
   34. villageidiom Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4260274)
And you can talk about Junichi Tazawa, who’s going to be an ace reliever for the next five years if he can stay healthy. His stuff and command is elite.
More of this.

Right now I'm irrationally optimistic about John Lackey. As much as people have tried to make comparisons between him and Beckett, I think Lackey is, right now, far more motivated to turn things around than Beckett ever had been. And all reports suggest that that motivation is producing good results.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4260403)
Right now I'm irrationally optimistic about John Lackey. As much as people have tried to make comparisons between him and Beckett, I think Lackey is, right now, far more motivated to turn things around than Beckett ever had been. And all reports suggest that that motivation is producing good results.


The Sox actually have some decent organizational pitching depth after the trade. This includes enough relief arms that they won't have to give some FA closer a big contract or repeat the Reddick/Bailey trade. As far as starters, they don't have a Price/Verlander type at the top, which is a negative, but a lack of one of those guys isn't a death sentence (eg this year's Orioles, last year's Cardinals, etc). I think they need one good starter from outside the organization; maybe somebody along the lines of E-Jackson, Peavy, or Anibel Sanchez.

What's really important for next year's pitching staff is getting a manager/pitching coach combo that has some expertise and will work cohesively.
   36. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4260424)
Why is everyone talking like Beckett wasn't good in LA? He had a 2.93 ERA (131 ERA+).
   37. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4260468)
Why is everyone talking like Beckett wasn't good in LA? He had a 2.93 ERA (131 ERA+).


Yeah, that was odd. I mean, MCOA's post #2 is a head scratcher:

I was shocked at how poorly Gonzalez played. Maybe he really is carrying a bad shoulder. I expected Beckett to pick it up, too, but he pitched like exactly the same sudden mediocrity he'd been all year in Boston.


Beckett had the 131 ERA+ as noted - with matching peripherals - and Gonzalez hit exactly the same as he did in Boston: a 116 OPS+ in both places, with similar shapes of performance. Yes, Gonzalez initially slumped for a while with the Dodgers before finishing strong, but so what? In-season splits, and small samples, are meaningless except insofar as they indicate or are the result of an injury.

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