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   1. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 18, 2008 at 05:53 PM (#3032653)
Darren, my only quibble is that 1100 innings at 3B still isn't much of a sample for defensive stats, and he was also a few years younger when he played most of those innings. I'd guess Youkilis is closer to average than the numbers you show there. I agree with your general point though.
   2. Darren Posted: December 18, 2008 at 06:08 PM (#3032679)
I'm skeptical of that number too--+9 at 3B is pretty awesome. I also question the Lowell defensive projection. It looks very high for a guy coming off hip surgery.
   3. Ripwa Posted: December 18, 2008 at 06:35 PM (#3032711)
Thank you.

I wrote a very similar post here. on this very topic about a week ago. I came to the exact same conclusion as you. 3 wins for a team like the Red Sox is a pretty big upgrade and worth the money.
   4. Darren Posted: December 18, 2008 at 07:00 PM (#3032750)
Nice analysis, Ripwa. Where did you get +13 for Youks' UZR? Was that his career #?
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 18, 2008 at 07:14 PM (#3032787)
Say Youkilis is average at 3B, which I think is a more likely number.

If Youkilis is an average third baseman, that means he's exactly as good as Mark Teixeira. Wow. Sign this dude, now.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 18, 2008 at 07:16 PM (#3032792)
Little thing - in the final numbers, there, you mean "runs above replacement", not above average, right?
   7. Darren Posted: December 18, 2008 at 07:18 PM (#3032799)
Crap, yes. I went back and forth on that and forgot to change it. I'll fix it now.
   8. Darren Posted: December 18, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#3032822)
If Youkilis is an average third baseman, that means he's exactly as good as Mark Teixeira. Wow. Sign this dude, now.


Also, just for reference, the projections that I'm using put Youkilis at ~.288/.382/.482, so it's not like he needs to repeat 08 to be this valuable. Assuming Youk was an average 3B and had played there all of 08, he was about as valuable as Tex according to the stats used above. Youk'd be at 38.1/0/2.5/20=60.6. Tex was 46.1/10.1/-12.5/20=63.7.
   9. TomH Posted: December 18, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#3032979)
The pos adjustment from 3B to 1B in the AL is 15-20 runs a year? Wow; bigger than I thought. What is SS to 1B?? The NL, with its pile o' good 3Bmen, must have a smaller 3B-1B difference.
   10. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 18, 2008 at 09:26 PM (#3033031)
I think the only real concern I have is that Lowell is basically unmovable after his surgery. Even a team desperate for a 3B might be wary about Lowell's post-surgery abilities, even if the Red Sox are paying for a good chunk of his salary.
   11. villageidiom Posted: December 18, 2008 at 09:35 PM (#3033044)
And as I've mentioned elsewhere, signing Teixeira now solves one piece of the "Lowell-Youkilis-Ortiz all hit free agency after 2010" problem*, with the thought that there likely won't be another Teixeira-caliber 1B hitting the market between now and then. An extension for Youkilis would solve another part of that.

*Albeit two years early. But I'd rather have the problem of too many talented players than the problem of not enough talented players.
   12. JB H Posted: December 18, 2008 at 09:36 PM (#3033048)
"If Youkilis is an average third baseman, that means he's exactly as good as Mark Teixeira. Wow. Sign this dude, now."

To be fair, Teixeira probably would probably be about as good at third as Youkilis, and he's a better hitter.
   13. JB H Posted: December 18, 2008 at 09:47 PM (#3033068)
The papers seem to think that Youkilis is gonna sign an extension pretty soon. When there's a rumored free agent signing or trade, the final details are almost always worse for the Sox than what you might expect from the initial reports. The one exception is when someone who loves the team wants to sign an extension :). We might see a 2 year/18 million deal with a perpetual $10 million team option.
   14. Darren Posted: December 18, 2008 at 09:47 PM (#3033071)
I don't see where you get the idea that Tex would be a good 3B. He's a pretty average 1B, and was terrible in the 99 innings he played at 3b in 2003.

What do you guys think a 3-4 year deal for Youk would cost right now? I'm guessing 6/9/12/option for 12-15 gets it done, and it quite a good value at that.
   15. JB H Posted: December 18, 2008 at 09:52 PM (#3033082)
I wonder if there's any chance the Sox don't even trade Lowell and do what they did in 2003. Have Youkilis platoon with Drew and give him plenty of 1B, 3B, DH and LF starts. He probably wouldn't mind if he's just signed an extension.
   16. Steve M. Posted: December 18, 2008 at 10:43 PM (#3033139)
I wonder if there's any chance the Sox don't even trade Lowell and do what they did in 2003. Have Youkilis platoon with Drew and give him plenty of 1B, 3B, DH and LF starts. He probably wouldn't mind if he's just signed an extension.
Page 1 of 1 pages

He would definitely object, as his playing time will impact future earnings. Not to mention, Kevin Youkilis should not move in deference to Mike Lowell, as he is a much better player at this point.

Mike Lowell shouldn't even factor into the decision of whether or not to acquire Mark Teixiera. Lowell was signed coming off a career year during his age 33 season, so it was pretty obvious that there was going to be a significant dropoff from 2007 for the life of the contract. The money is guranteed, so its basically a sunk cost at this point. If you can get a little something for him in a trade, that's a bonus.

The bottom line is, Mark Teixiera looks like a pretty good bet to age well and replacing Mike Lowell is about the only place you can really gain a 3 win improvement for this team, short of kidnapping Joe Mauer.
   17. AROM Posted: December 18, 2008 at 10:50 PM (#3033150)
PS. Happy holidays and please nobody tell Youkilis how valuable he is as a 3B. I’d like him to sign a cheap 3-4 year deal with the Sox.


I'll make it my mission in life to let the world know how valuable Youkilis would be as a free agent 3B. Looks like a 20-25 million per year player.

Until either he signs an extension and it's a moot point, or you guys back off on Mark Teixiera.
   18. Darren Posted: December 19, 2008 at 12:21 AM (#3033298)
Tell you what, we'll stay away from Garret Anderson for you. Deal?

BTW, Totalzone is awesome.
   19. calhounite Posted: December 19, 2008 at 12:26 AM (#3033300)
before Tex: Lowell - probable valuable commodity, good d, good o...Anderson year or two up, $23 mil/yr cash on hand
after Tex: Lowell - albatross, Anderson blocked permanently, Tex at 23mil/yr somewhere between liability..non-asset
   20. Darren Posted: December 19, 2008 at 01:04 AM (#3033331)
   21. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: December 19, 2008 at 01:05 AM (#3033332)
Anderson blocked permanently

It's not like they can't trade him. Their next big prospect in a system that's been churning out several good players recently? Gotta be worth something.
   22. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: December 19, 2008 at 01:05 AM (#3033333)
Sox may be close to signing Teixeira according to Channel 5. Reading the TFA, the headline oversells the story. The Sox are meeting with Teixeira in Texas and have offered him $184/8 years.
   23. Darren Posted: December 19, 2008 at 01:17 AM (#3033344)
Really, GGMC, that's fascinating! :)

Also, $184 for eight years is only 23 dollars a year--what a deal!
   24. karlmagnus Posted: December 19, 2008 at 01:59 AM (#3033378)
aljunquin, that looks about right. I HATE Tex at 8/184; he's a 5/75 player max and the market's collapsing. Manny with his options picked up at the last ASB, as any remotely sensible person would have done, is an INFINITELY better deal. This way, they get locked into mediocrity until 2017 and have severe budget problems.
   25. Ripwa Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:00 AM (#3033379)
Darren,

Thanks, even though you did a much better job on the topic.

I got +13 from his career UZR/150 at third. Not a great way to measure it but it got the point across. I would assume over the coarse of a full season at third Youks will be something like a +3 or 4.
   26. Darren Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:06 AM (#3033384)
You know Karl, Dan Duquette could have had Tex for the minimum but blew it. :)
   27. AROM Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:09 AM (#3033387)
Tell you what, we'll stay away from Garret Anderson for you. Deal?


Let me think about it.

Nope, you guys are welcome to Anderson. If the Angels meet the Red Sox in the playoffs again, I think he helps our cause much more wearing your uniform.
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:10 AM (#3033388)
aljunquin, that looks about right. I HATE Tex at 8/184; he's a 5/75 player max and the market's collapsing. Manny with his options picked up at the last ASB, as any remotely sensible person would have done, is an INFINITELY better deal. This way, they get locked into mediocrity until 2017 and have severe budget problems.

A 5/75 player? Really? Can you show your work?

Also, can you use INFINTELY less hyperbole, and back up what you're saying with something other than Manny/Duquette fanboyism and total conjecture (severe budget problems?) next time you post about this?
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:12 AM (#3033392)
Anderson blocked permanently,

It's hardly a problem to have an abundance of talent in the organization. They could trade any of Lowell, Youkilis, or Anderson and fill another hole.
   30. Darren Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:14 AM (#3033394)
Okay, we won't touch K-Rod. That's got to be fair, right?
   31. villageidiom Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:15 AM (#3033396)
after Tex: ... Anderson blocked permanently
Theo sees the disease in the knees of Ortiz. Please.
   32. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:33 AM (#3033409)
Oh, karlmagnus. Never change. (And I know you won't!)
   33. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 19, 2008 at 03:43 AM (#3033481)
I think there are 300 PAs for Lowell if he stays on the team
   34. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: December 19, 2008 at 03:55 AM (#3033495)
I kind of agree with karlmagnus. Of course, I'm the only bigger Manny fanboy on the planet than km, so that's probably why. But I just don't see how this makes sense compared to Manny.
   35. frannyzoo Posted: December 19, 2008 at 03:56 AM (#3033496)
There's a large part of me that hates, just hates, all of this. From the dollars thrown around to the worrying about the spending habits of people/organizations we have no real financial connection with. We just wear the hats and cheer for the laundry.

That said, I'm with Karl on this one. 8/184 is insanity of a sort I associate with that weekend Paulson spent convincing everyone that if we didn't give him $750 billion dollars by Monday morning the sky would fall, and that if we did, pronto, the sky wouldn't fall.

5/75 sounds about right, with the emphasis on the 5.
   36. AROM Posted: December 19, 2008 at 04:49 AM (#3033543)
Never let it be said that I don't follow through on my threats.
   37. Hugh Jorgan Posted: December 19, 2008 at 05:04 AM (#3033563)
8/184...Hmmm, that is a serious chunk of change. Personally I would have preferred another starter and a new catcher...but hey WTF do I know.
AROM, I just love it when you and Halofan stroll across to give us your 2 cents. Its always good for a laugh, and yes we will still beat you in some early round of the playoffs.
   38. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 19, 2008 at 05:13 AM (#3033574)
BTW, Totalzone is awesome.

Cannot be repeated often enough
   39. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: December 19, 2008 at 10:09 AM (#3033743)
I'm not quite at the 5/75 level, but 8/184 just seems, well... nuts. OTOH, this is an organization that has Theo and Bill James in it: smart guys, stat guys. OTTH, Theo and James were part of an organization that gave that obviously ridiculous contract to Lowell last year. Getting Teix helps destroy what value Lowell has left, though at this point the Sox may have decided what he has left suits him best to be a supersub, therefore getting Teixeira doesn't change Lowell's value. Still, Teix is leaving his prime years, and his prime included all of two 150 OPS+ seasons. Like most very good, but not great players, he's likely to start to fade over the next several years, then fade badly during the last half of the contract. There's a very good chance he won't be able to cut it as a regular in the last couple of years of an eight year deal. I'm wondering if the Red Sox think that with Tampa Bay in the division, and the Yankees likely to improve quite a bit, there's even a chance of missing the playoffs entirely, such that Teix is worth several extra million a year to them. Still... 8/184? Really?

Darren: I think you're wildly overestimating Youk's chances of playing third well, or even adequately. He's never played the position regularly in the majors, and he's going to be 30 this year. I don't think the question is how good he's going to be at it, but rather, can he still even play 3B as a regular?
   40. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 19, 2008 at 10:39 AM (#3033746)
Well, he's not coming anymore
   41. AROM Posted: December 19, 2008 at 02:08 PM (#3033764)
Well, I guess I have to follow through once my demands are met. Looks like Henry & co have backed off, so I must state that Youk will be a 30 year old 1b who has only shown power in one career year. He should consider himself lucky if he's even offered an extension.

It's no guaranty that he'd be a great defensive 3b, but to anyone who wonders if he can even play 3b as a regular, did you watch the same playoffs as I did? He made every play anyone could have hoped for.
   42. Darren Posted: December 19, 2008 at 10:58 PM (#3034347)
Darren: I think you're wildly overestimating Youk's chances of playing third well, or even adequately. He's never played the position regularly in the majors, and he's going to be 30 this year.


But he's played it some every year and looked good doing it. The numbers are certainly higher than I would have guessed and are probably not representative of his true talent, but I don't think there's any doubt he can play it adequately or better.
   43. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: December 20, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#3034389)
AROM and Darren, my point wasn't that Youk can't play third, but rather I have doubts as to whether he can play third 5 or 6 or 7 times a week for a full season. He's only been averaging 145.7 games per as it is, and third is more of a grind than first. I'm not saying he can't, but he's getting elderly in baseball years, and I therefore won't assume it's at all a given he can pull off a full season at the hot corner. (Too, if he can't, and Teix is signed for eight years, we've largely wasted a pretty good ballplayer.)
   44. chris p Posted: December 20, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#3034690)
i agree with ark here. last year was the first time he didn't fade significantly down the stretch.
   45. Marcel Posted: December 21, 2008 at 03:03 AM (#3034938)
But he also played more innings at 3B last year than he had since 2004 so the toll on his body should have been even higher last year than in the last few seasons since he's become a regular. I'm not going to say for certain whether or not he can handle it, but he seems to have gotten more serious about his conditioning over the last couple of years.
And that average of games played has to take two things into account. First is that Ortiz plays 1B during the majority of inter-league games at NL parks. And second is that everyone gets a bunch of days off with Tito managing them. Pedroia is the only player on the team that appeared in more games than Youk did last year.
   46. OCD SS Posted: December 21, 2008 at 03:59 AM (#3034981)
... That's a total of 6 years, 100 million. If the team doesn't want to pay so much, he should simply wait two years and then get a contract for his full free agent value.


It would be great in 2 years to see Moreno declare Youks his offseason priority, and then only make an offer for less money after the other interested teams have had large offers on the table for a week or two.
   47. tfbg9 Posted: December 24, 2008 at 12:54 AM (#3037359)
Not that good anyway.
   48. J. Sosa Posted: December 24, 2008 at 01:48 AM (#3037389)
I see Henry is crying poor again. Great.
   49. karlmagnus Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:15 AM (#3037424)
Henry IS poor and has been for most of the year; that's why they didn't extend Manny and engaged in that despicable PR campaign to convince people it was his fault. The hedge fund bubble is OVER and while Henry still has substantial assets he's very likely heavily overlevered as well. Given the likely length and depth of this recession the Yankees will very likely regret this winter for years to come. Apart from his quality as a player, Manny's great virtue is you can get him on a short deal, so the overall commitment remains manageable if revenues tank.
   50. Darren Posted: December 24, 2008 at 04:03 AM (#3037441)
Oh gosh karl, do you ever STFU when you have no idea what you're talking about?
   51. JB H Posted: December 24, 2008 at 05:05 AM (#3037472)
Either the Herald or Globe reported that Henry made a shitload of money in the market this year.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 24, 2008 at 05:13 AM (#3037475)
MCOA, I understand your frustration, but don't you think it is wise for the Red Sox and Angels to come to a figure that works for them and then not try to outbid the Yankees if the Yankees bid?
Picking up from the other thread, certainly I think the Red Sox should spend their money in what they consider the most effective manner. I am more than willing to say, in late February, hey, I'm glad the Red Sox didn't risk overspending on Sabathia and stuck to their plan, because it was a way better one. I can't remember a more exciting January! What happened to my pants? I'll say stuff like that.

But I have no idea what that plan could possibly be. Looking over the free agent market and the known trade market, they could maybe swing something for a young catcher, but will probably re-sign Tek. That'll happen regardless of CC/Teixeira. Maybe they could sign Lowe. Unless they find some other double-secret player to spend their money on, though, they'll still be leaving a lot of cash on the table and fielding an inferior team.

My read on the offseason, from the beginning, was that the Red Sox had lots and lots of money and very few open roster spots, so they needed to go after the best free agents available. They did, with one, but they failed to get him. Theo needs to have another Smile up his sleeve to make up the wins that they could have gotten from CC or Teixeira.
   53. karlmagnus Posted: December 24, 2008 at 01:52 PM (#3037598)
Darren, as a banker for 25 years and a financial journalist for the last 8 I know about hedge funds. That whole sector is going bye-byes, and about time too.
   54. Vin Middle Posted: December 24, 2008 at 01:54 PM (#3037599)
I am not sure how Karl is talking out his ass, besides the incessant many manlove. Henry is definitely in much worse shape than two years ago. His funds have done extremely well this year, with some posting over 50% returns.

JWH in 2008

The problem is that his AUM (assets under mgmt) have plummmeted. He went from multi-billions to less than $400m. So even with the outsized returns, he isnt making much coin. HF managers get the most out of their mgmt fees. And with the recent events, especially the Madoff affair, Henry will not have the same opportunities to either leverage up or attract new funds. Even stellar fund managers are facing huge redemptions.

Couple that with the overall economic backdrop and I can see the financial frugality. The Janks had a ton of money off the books this year so the next 2-3 yrs will mostly be ok. The back ends of these deals will be the killers.
   55. Darren Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:42 PM (#3037619)
Karl is full of it because he's been saying that Henry is poor and cheap EVERY SINGLE YEAR, while they outspent all but one other team. And he's been saying that they've been pushing Manny out the door, ignoring Manny's constant requests to be traded or moved. He may finally be right about Henry's financial situation and that MAY affect the team's payroll. But he's been wrong every other time he's said it so far.

MCOA, it's not Smile, it's Magnum. Smile is weak. Magnum stops bullets.
   56. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:15 PM (#3037639)
Also, have we ever been really clear on the relationship between Henry's financial situation and that of the Red Sox. Obviously in extreme cases (I'm thinking here of John Moores, but I'm sure he isn't the only example) the financial peril of the owner can affect the team.

On the other hand, the Tribune Company is up #### creek money-wise, but no one is talking about the Cubs having to perform a San Diego like firesale, in fact, they are often cited as a destination for San Diego's highest salaried player.

Even if he say that karl is 100% correct in his assessment of Henry's cashflow, is there any reason to think that Henry poor --> Red Sox poor is a sure thing?

(Speaking as a Yankee fan, of course, I would root for that in a perverse way. But I don't see any reason to think it true.)
   57. Darren Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:24 PM (#3037652)
RB,

On a slight tangent here, I too thought of "Tex Marks the Spot" for Sterling's call. I thought it was so clever and then saw you had come up with it before I did. So you must be very clever too... or we're both stupid. Nahhhh.
   58. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:29 PM (#3037661)
I am looking forward to have Teixeira in the Yankee line-up (you can see this because I have already learned where the i's go in his name) but I am not looking forward to the first time he and Nady have a good day and Sterling starts rambling on about "The Tex and X Connection" or some goddmaned thing.

(Also, I'm thinking he might go with "It is high, it is far, it is...gone! Deeeep into the heart of Texas!")
   59. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:32 PM (#3037664)
The upshot for me is that this team I have known as "the Yankees" for the last few years is once again MFY.

So there's that...
   60. Darren Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:38 PM (#3037674)
The worst part of the "It is high, it is far, it is gggaawwwnnnn" call is that it's used on balls that are not high and far. A good HR call should be accurate. Plus Sterling apparently can't see anymore, so that doesn't help. He's still no worse than Trupiano was. Every time I have the slightest complaint about the current Sox radio guys, I think back to 10 years of Trup and count my blessings.
   61. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:45 PM (#3037680)
Sterling has lately mixed it up a little bit on his HR calls, he doesn't break out the "It is high..." quite as much on line-drive home runs, I think because he knows now that he does nine innings of play-by-play people won't stand for it.

That being said, I'm not defending him since at least once a month he breaks out the "It is high, it is far, it is...off the top of the wall!" thing, which just makes me ####### nuts.
   62. Darren Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:51 PM (#3037688)
I've noticed a few times that he'll use phrases like "Now they're saying he caught it," when in fact there was no controversy, just a completely missed call by Sterling. That makes me chuckle.

And if you're annoyed by bad HR calls, you would have hated Trup. Several times a week (once a game maybe?), he would go into his "way back, WAY BACK" fit before declaring the ball had been caught. It seemed that he particularly enjoyed getting these wrong on Red Sox hitters.
   63. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 04:06 PM (#3037711)
I suspect this was a vision issue rather than a competance thing, but no one was worse at that than late career Bob Murphy. It got embrassing, he's launch into his home run call and Gary Cohen would sort of clear his throat and go "Well, actaully, Bob, it looks like Jim Edmonds will take a couple of steps in and put that one away to end the inning."

Michael Kay isn't up to the Trup level, I gather, but he does call every fly ball hit with any power (and some that aren't) as "deeep to right field." Sterling has a habit of annoucing catchable fly balls as "not deep" which I think must have developed in (subconcious) response to that.
   64. karlmagnus Posted: December 24, 2008 at 11:13 PM (#3038002)
Monday April 20th v. Baltimore. That's my entry in the sweepstakes of when the Sox home sellout streak ends. Cheapskating has a cost, particularly in a recession.
   65. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM (#3038031)
Monday April 20th v. Baltimore. That's my entry in the sweepstakes of when the Sox home sellout streak ends. Cheapskating has a cost, particularly in a recession.
I will put it on the record here, just for the record, that I think the Red Sox keep their sellout streak out intact through all of 2009.
   66. villageidiom Posted: December 28, 2008 at 07:54 AM (#3039127)
Monday, April 20, otherwise known as Patriots Day... Here's how they've sold that day vs. other days in recent years (skipping 2006-08, since 2005 makes the point well enough).

2005 paid attendance
35,243 Patriots Day attendance
35,670 highest attendance for month (4/26)
33,702 lowest (home opener... lots of comp tickets for ring ceremony?)

2004 paid attendance
35,027 Patriots Day attendance
35,614 highest (4/29 game 1)
34,286 lowest (4/11, only a few tickets behind home opener)

2003 paid attendance
34,370 Patriots Day attendance
34,370 highest
26,688 lowest (4/16)

2002 paid attendance
33,864 Patriots Day attendance
33,864 highest
31,115 lowest (4/9)

2001 paid attendance
33,373 Patriots Day attendance
33,525 highest (home opener)
26,302 lowest (4/11)

2000 paid attendance
33,240 Patriots Day attendance
33,240 highest
20,313 lowest (4/12)

Looks like they've had no trouble selling tickets on the local holiday / day game / marathon / all-out party day. The day they used to have trouble selling out was the first home game after the home opener. FWIW, Wednesday, April 8, 2009 is already down to single-seat availability.
   67. Mattbert Posted: December 30, 2008 at 02:34 PM (#3040160)
Any chance the Sox should be kicking the tires on Adam Dunn in hopes of turning him into a passable first baseman until he inherits the DH mantle from Ortiz?
   68. karlmagnus Posted: December 30, 2008 at 02:47 PM (#3040165)
Villageidiom, you're right. I forgot about Patriots day. Probably the 22nd against Minnesota therefore (I guess first games of a series sell marginally better) or maybe even as late as May 20 vs. Toronto. But I'd be very surprised if the streak doesn't end before the end of May.

Like the Penny deal, though it's not Wade Miller -- Sox are paying 3 times as much.
   69. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 30, 2008 at 02:53 PM (#3040168)
I'm fascinated at the idea that the Sox are being cheap. They offered Teixeira 21 million dollars a year. That they got outbid doesn't mean they are cheap in my opinion, it means they had a different valuation of the player. I'd hate to see them go after Dunn here. The WORST thing that the Sox can do now is spend money just for a PR kick. That's how you end up with a bad contract. They didn't get Teixeira, fine, move on. Don't go out and spend big money on a lesser player you don't need.

Of course as Karl will point out, this group is cheap and incompetent. It's not like they put together 2 World Series titles and 4 ALCS berths in 6 years the way the Harrington/Duquette partnership did.
   70. Mattbert Posted: December 30, 2008 at 03:03 PM (#3040176)
My query about Dunn was a bit cryptic. If they think he can handle 1B defensively (others have said he's a butcher there as well as in the outfield), he could be a good signing depending on the price. I certainly wouldn't offer anything close to what Teixeira got. More like half the length at $15M per and hope that Dunn's flashy negatives (bad defense, strikeouts, etc) throw other suitors off the scent.
   71. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 30, 2008 at 03:24 PM (#3040188)
It's not like they put together 2 World Series titles and 4 ALCS berths in 6 years the way the Harrington/Duquette partnership did.

Duquette got us Manny, Pedro, Varitek, Lowe...and other important pieces of those teams...right, Karl?
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 30, 2008 at 04:01 PM (#3040214)
I'm fascinated at the idea that the Sox are being cheap. They offered Teixeira 21 million dollars a year. That they got outbid doesn't mean they are cheap in my opinion, it means they had a different valuation of the player.
Sure, fine. But they've still got a payroll way, way under what should be expected, based on history and revenues. Are you just fine with John Henry pocketing that money? Do you think that they're going to use that money to build a $180M team in 2011? Which players do you expect them to sign in order to construct that roster?

I mean, I guess it's fine to say that whatever the Red Sox do, you trust them because they won two world championships. Ok, you trust them. I don't trust them in all things. I expect that given the money we all shovel into Henry's maw, the Red Sox will spend accordingly to create the best team possible. Right now, it looks like given the failure to sign Teixeira or Sabathia, they will end up holding a good chunk of that money. That's my problem. Certainly, as I've said before (see #52), I would love for the Red Sox to prove me wrong, to find much better ways to spend their money and produce a better team than they would have had if they'd gone 8/190 for Sabathia or 8/200 for Teixeira. That would be awesome. But I think it's incumbent on those who defend the team to offer more content than "I trust them" to defend the Sox choices. What do you think they'll do that will justify your faith?
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 30, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#3040222)
If they think he can handle 1B defensively (others have said he's a butcher there as well as in the outfield), he could be a good signing depending on the price. I certainly wouldn't offer anything close to what Teixeira got. More like half the length at $15M per and hope that Dunn's flashy negatives (bad defense, strikeouts, etc) throw other suitors off the scent.
My understanding is that Dunn was, like, Piazza-bad at first base. I don't see the Red Sox going after him. He was in the range of 20-25 runs below average there when tried in 05 and 08. He was better in 02, but he was also pretty good in left field then.

I also don't think he's worth 4/60. According to Tango's calculations on fangraphs, Dunn has been worth $15M just once in his career. (Accounting for inflation, he was worth $20M+ in today's dollars in 2004, to be fair.) When you play a non-essential defensive position and still give back 15-20 runs per year with the glove, you have to hit like Manny Ramirez to be worth the big contract. Dunn doesn't.
   74. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 30, 2008 at 04:40 PM (#3040247)
Sure, fine. But they've still got a payroll way, way under what should be expected, based on history and revenues. Are you just fine with John Henry pocketing that money? Do you think that they're going to use that money to build a $180M team in 2011? Which players do you expect them to sign in order to construct that roster?


They're going to have to spend some money in the next couple of years to keep or replace some players (Youk, Lester, Beckett, Papelbon, and Bay) and obviously they still need a hitter a couple years out as Ortiz and Lowell reach the end of their deals. We'll see how Lars Anderson develops of course and I imagine if they don't extend Bay this off-season they will be serious players for Holliday next winter. There's already talk of Mauer of course in two years and obviously there may be trades to be made that haven't even been considered yet. My feeling is that Epstein has demonstrated enough acumen for putting together a quality baseball team that I'm willing to take on a little blind confidence that the job will get done.

My original point is that a failure to spend isn't indicative of cheapness though. They were clearly willing to spend big money on Teixeira, they got outbid and I believe they were going to be outbid regardless of what they offered. It's just a fact that the Yankees can spend more and had an obvious need. If they were cheap they wouldn't have even explored Teixeira. I think the lower payroll this year is due in large part to an organizational success that they have developed many young players who have not reached a point where they are being paid market value.

If you are feeling like Henry has some obligation to give money back by lowering ticket prices well that would be nice but it's simply not realistic. I'd like to see them go hard after Sheets (I'm a big fan) and I wouldn't mind another reliever but I'd hate to see them spend just to reach an artificial payroll number just to satisfy the fans. I'd prefer to go into 2009 with a $110 million payroll than have a $130 million payroll but have money tied up in a 3 year deal for a mediocre middle reliever or a 4/60 type deal for a guy like Derek Lowe.

They won 95 games last year and I think are capable of doing that again. By the same token I think the division is tight enough that they could win 90 and finish third.
   75. karlmagnus Posted: December 30, 2008 at 04:45 PM (#3040254)
Joe Bivens, you can add Damon and Wakefield to that list. I think the current Sox management are above average, but they have made errors of commission (Lugo, Renteria, Clement) as well as errors of omission (Manny, to a large extent Pedro, Hanley Ramirez). The current problem is that both Henry and the NYT are short of $$$, so it seems that the urge to splurge just isn't there. They may well be trying to run with the 5th or 6th budget in baseball at least till the economy starts to recover. Not a bad strategy economically, but not fan-friendly.
   76. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 30, 2008 at 04:49 PM (#3040261)
If you are feeling like Henry has some obligation to give money back by lowering ticket prices well that would be nice but it's simply not realistic. I'd like to see them go hard after Sheets (I'm a big fan) and I wouldn't mind another reliever but I'd hate to see them spend just to reach an artificial payroll number just to satisfy the fans. I'd prefer to go into 2009 with a $110 million payroll than have a $130 million payroll but have money tied up in a 3 year deal for a mediocre middle reliever or a 4/60 type deal for a guy like Derek Lowe.
Do you have faith that this money will come back into the team, then? The only way that 4/60 for Lowe could be a problem in the future is if you expect those $15M to actually get spent in the future, in the service of an even larger payroll. So, you're arguing that if the Red Sox choose not to spend their money this offseason, they will proceed in 2010 and 2011 to go well over budget by spending their savings from this offseason?
   77. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 30, 2008 at 05:01 PM (#3040276)
Do you have faith that this money will come back into the team, then? The only way that 4/60 for Lowe could be a problem in the future is if you expect those $15M to actually get spent in the future, in the service of an even larger payroll. So, you're arguing that if the Red Sox choose not to spend their money this offseason, they will proceed in 2010 and 2011 to go well over budget by spending their savings from this offseason?


Yes I expet them to spend the money going forward as they sign the players I referenced before. I don't think it will be as direct as "we spent $15 million less in '09 so we have to spend $15 million more in '10" but what should they be spending on right now to reach whatever number you feel is appropriate? I don't think their payroll in '09 is going to be "well" under budget but that's a matter of semantics more than anything else. Spending money on a player like Lowe ties up not just the money but a roster slot. I would submit that the Sox would have been much more aggressive on Teixeira had they not re-signed Lowell last year though obviously that's unprovable.

In fairness it should be pointed out that they spent $194 million in 2007 (adding in the posting fee) so an argument could be made that a payroll reduction in 2009 is paying for that expenditure which we can all agree worked out OK with the WS title. I don't think that's what this is though. I think this is simply a case of a good team not having a need to spend a ton of money. They could easily add $30 million in payroll by signing Dunn and Lowe for example but would that really make the team better? I don't believe it would.

I get the impression you feel that Henry should be giving money back to the fans in some form. If I'm wrong I'm sorry but emotionally I agree with you but that's just not realistic. My company recently reduced it's payroll and I can assure you we are not returning money to our customers either.
   78. Darren Posted: January 02, 2009 at 04:52 PM (#3041970)
I really want the Red Sox to spend because they are taking a lot of our money for the team. I want their payroll to be as high as possible. But there are some mitigating factors. First, there's the economy. It's hard for me to begrudge them wanting to sit back and see how things shake out a bit. If they go into the season at $115M or $120M (compared to 143 and 133 in the past 2 years), that's sort of understandable. But it had better be an exception, not the rule.

You also have to credit the team for spending in ways other than the Major League payroll. They've dropped loads on the draft and have ramped up in the international market too. Maybe they're amortizing Dice's bonus over the first 3 years of the deal, when they figure to get the most value out of him? And maybe they'll be ready to throw another ridiculous (in a good way) fee out there to get Darvish or some other star.

Then again, if the team keeps winning, I have a hard time saying that they should be spending more money. As long as they're making the playoffs every year, if their spending is dropping. If they get to a point where they feel their draft and international spending is feeding the team with enough talent, and their payroll drops to say $100 mil. (a $100 mil development machine!), who am I to complain. The money leaving them won't make me happier. That said, they better be in the playoffs EVERY SINGLE YEAR if they try to pull that. There better be no time where I say to myself, 'Shoot, if they only had a decent [blank], they could have made the postseason."

I get the impression you feel that Henry should be giving money back to the fans in some form. If I'm wrong I'm sorry but emotionally I agree with you but that's just not realistic. My company recently reduced it's payroll and I can assure you we are not returning money to our customers either.


I think you're reading this the wrong way. I see it as the Red Sox are presenting product as a premium product and charging accordingly. As a Red Sox fan, I'm very happy with this arrangement, but when they appear to be skimping on acquiring talent, that pisses me off, because I'm paying for a premium team.
   79. OCD SS Posted: January 02, 2009 at 05:45 PM (#3042000)
Sure, fine. But they've still got a payroll way, way under what should be expected, based on history and revenues. Are you just fine with John Henry pocketing that money?


Whatever happened to the money they had set aside to bring Clemens back? I'm not at all that comfortable with the idea that they'll reinvest this money down the road. Of course right now there isn't anyone worth spending that money on other than their own players, so maybe we see an extension for Lester before the Season starts. I also don't expect them to outbid the Yankees for Holliday next year, either.

I'm annoyed with losing out on Teixeira because it looks like it completely screwed up their entire off-season/ longterm plan plan. I seem to remember reading that when the FO went to Dallas that Theo was willing to go to $190M; I don't buy the "Tex really wanted to be in NY" as anything other than Boras trying to soothe ruffled feathers with a big spender and think that the Sox could've closed the deal that weekend if they'd put an 'exploding' offer on the table then.
   80. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: January 02, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3042007)
Down economic times are precisely when teams with money should be opening the checkbook. All signs point to an increase in teams' purchasing power. Sabathia and Teixeira signed huge, but not absurd contracts. And a lot of the rumbling about available free agents make them seem like pretty good deals: Dunn, Abreu,Sheets, Lowe. We don't know what those players will wind up with, but they appear to be pretty solid deals right now. Compare it to a few years back when the average MLB salary dropped by 2.5%. That season brought about a slew of free agent bargains (Vlad, et al.).

It might hurt to spend a team into unprofitability when liquidity is all the rage and it appears likely that franchise values will be falling. Still, two or three years from now, I'd guess that many teams who took a dip in the FA market in 2008-2009 offseason will be happy. Just my guess though.
   81. Darren Posted: January 02, 2009 at 05:56 PM (#3042010)
Boras has shown repeatedly that he has no fear of 'exploding offers.' He would have said thanks but no thanks, walked out, and waited. And even at $190, there's little reason to think the Yanks couldn't or wouldn't have gone higher.
   82. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2009 at 06:14 PM (#3042020)
It might hurt to spend a team into unprofitability when liquidity is all the rage and it appears likely that franchise values will be falling. Still, two or three years from now, I'd guess that many teams who took a dip in the FA market in 2008-2009 offseason will be happy. Just my guess though.
I agree generally, but I'm not sure what the specific lesson should be (other than, we shoulda bid more for Sabathia / Teixeira). The remaining free agents don't really appeal to me, and don't fill holes on the Sox roster.

Other than Derek Lowe. If the only offer on his plate is 3/36, the Sox absolutely have to get into the bidding.
   83. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: January 02, 2009 at 07:37 PM (#3042081)
What about Ben Sheets or Adam Dunn? Rumor has it teams are only offering 2 years on Sheets. That would allow the Red Sox to choose between Sheets or Beckett after 2010. Dunn at first base would probably be only a bit below average defensively and his bat would be a pretty big upgrade over Lowell's. Obviously, a 150 OPS+ guy would be ideal, but a 130 OPS+ guy has his uses. If Dunn works out & Ortiz struggles, the Red Sox could wave goodbye to Cookie Monster after 2010, too.
   84. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2009 at 07:54 PM (#3042093)
Mike Lowell is better than Adam Dunn.

Take a four-year sample of their wRAA + UZR from fangraphs. I'm taking a four year sample because it is the worst possible for Mike Lowell.

I get 0.4, 3.5, 5.2, 3.5 for Lowell (total 12.6) vs. 2.7, 2.0, 3.1, 1.9 for Dunn (total 9.7). Give that any sort of normal projection weighting and Lowell comes out even better. Adam Dunn hits lots of homers and draws lots of walks, but he does everything else so poorly that he's not much better than average overall. I don't see any reason to ignore Dunn's terrible defense. (I thought Dunn sucked in the OF when I watched him, and all his other numbers are bad, too.)

Obviously, we don't know how well Lowell's going to return from surgery, but replacing him immediately with a highly-paid player who may not even be able to fake it at first (he's been really, really horrible there the last couple years and reportedly dislikes playing the position) doesn't seem like a good idea. I was lukewarm on Teixeira replacing Lowell - though obviously it would have been a solid upgrade - so I'm definitely not interested in Dunn.

Derek Lowe filling our empty 5th starter slot, though, sign me up. I'd be interested in a healthy Ben Sheets, but I don't think one exists. I watched him pitch that last game in Milwaukee, and he was a shadow of his former self.
   85. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 02, 2009 at 08:14 PM (#3042123)
I'm hugely on the Sheets bandwagon. I understand the concern about his health but he's similar to Burnett in that when you look at his GS and IP over the years it can be a bit surprising how much he's pitched. He may have been worn out last year but he pitched more than he had in several years and I think he's a guy who even if he only gives you 22-23 starts that can be pretty good.
   86. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3042143)
I'm not worried about Sheets' injury history, I'm worried about his current injury. He wasn't "worn out" at the end of the season, he was badly hurt.
   87. villageidiom Posted: January 02, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3042144)
Sure, fine. But they've still got a payroll way, way under what should be expected, based on history and revenues. Are you just fine with John Henry pocketing that money?
Yes (for reasons Darren articulates above). Why do you think he bought the Red Sox? He already owned a baseball team. The main difference between the Marlins and the Red Sox is that the owner of the Red Sox can compete and make a lot of money, not really having to choose between the two. While the same might be true of the Marlins some day, it's a long way off. So, yeah, I expect John Henry to be pocketing a lot of money he could otherwise be using to enhance the roster. That said, I think he and the front office recognize the team needs to compete in order to maximize profit.

I expect the Red Sox to get outbid by the Yankees for any free agent the Yankees want. I also expect most, if not all, of those free agents to choose the highest bid. In my mind, I think the best way for Boston to compete is (a) to develop a lot of prospects, (b) identify quality players on other teams, (c) use some of (a) to acquire some of (b) 1-3 years before free agency, and (d) in that span sign those players to long-term extensions. Signing free agents should be Plan B.

Down economic times are precisely when teams with money should be opening the checkbook. All signs point to an increase in teams' purchasing power.
Absolutely correct, if the "down economic times" are short-lived. If they persist the team would be at an economic disadvantage, those huge-but-not-absurd contracts looking more absurd each day. (I'm not going to pretend to know what the economy will look like 2-3 years hence.)
   88. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2009 at 08:34 PM (#3042162)
Yes (for reasons Darren articulates above). Why do you think he bought the Red Sox? He already owned a baseball team. The main difference between the Marlins and the Red Sox is that the owner of the Red Sox can compete and make a lot of money, not really having to choose between the two.
That wasn't the question. I didn't ask about John Henry making a profit. I asked about John Henry suddenly cutting payroll by tens of millions and pocketing those brand new tens of millions on top of the normal profits.
   89. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 02, 2009 at 08:50 PM (#3042193)
I asked about John Henry suddenly cutting payroll by tens of millions and pocketing those brand new tens of millions on top of the normal profits.


Personally I'd be in wait and see mode on this. If the Sox become a team that is consistently 7th-10th in payroll when they have the werewithal to be top 3-4 (i.e. the Boston Bruins model) I'll be irritated. I think the current incarnation of the Sox is in a position with several key young players under control and a couple of others (Ortiz, Beckett and Bay specifically) who are underpaid relative to market so I feel it is unfair to assume Henry is in money hoarding mode here. It's a perfect storm for Henry where he has a team that is capable of a 90+ win season AND can do so on the cheap (in Red Sox terms).

In a couple of years if guys like Lester, Papelbon, Youkilis get away without viable replacements for want of a couple of bucks, then I think some criticism is more than warranted.
   90. robinred Posted: January 02, 2009 at 09:17 PM (#3042215)
Yes (for reasons Darren articulates above). Why do you think he bought the Red Sox? He already owned a baseball team. The main difference between the Marlins and the Red Sox is that the owner of the Red Sox can compete and make a lot of money, not really having to choose between the two. While the same might be true of the Marlins some day, it's a long way off. So, yeah, I expect John Henry to be pocketing a lot of money he could otherwise be using to enhance the roster. That said, I think he and the front office recognize the team needs to compete in order to maximize profit.



That wasn't the question. I didn't ask about John Henry making a profit. I asked about John Henry suddenly cutting payroll by tens of millions and pocketing those brand new tens of millions on top of the normal profits.


This has been discussed before. None of us really knows, of course, on a certain level. My guess is the Red Sox could go up to $210M or so plus luxury tax if they really wanted to. I certainly don't blame Henry for not doing so. That said, it is important to recall that when the Red Sox went over the luxury tax line a few years ago--by like 3 or 4$M--Henry issued a public statement apologizing for it and explaining how he is 100% behind Selig's economic policies. So, essentially, the Red Sox payroll will be as high as Bud Selig allows it to be if Epstein thinks that going that high makes the team better.

In terms of this year's FA class, I think the Red Sox also decided that Sabathia wanted too many years and Teixeira isn't quite good enough to go 8/190 on. When Epstein said a few weeks ago that if you talk yourself into thinking you "need" a player, "you're lost", that was an indicator of what was going to happen. Finally, it may be true that the Yankees would have just kept going no matter what it took to get Teixeira and Sabathia--but no one knows that, either, except the Steinbrenners.
   91. villageidiom Posted: January 02, 2009 at 11:02 PM (#3042315)
That wasn't the question. I didn't ask about John Henry making a profit.
And that wasn't the answer. I said that John Henry owns this team (instead of the Marlins) to make a lot of money, not just "a profit". You seem to be defining "a lot of money" as whatever he made in the last few years. And maybe that number is too low for John Henry given the investment. I don't know what the right number is for John Henry's pocket, nor for the payroll. So, yeah, if he's pocketing more money in 2009 while keeping the team competitive, I don't have a problem with it.

Do you?
   92. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2009 at 11:32 PM (#3042325)
I expect that if they slough off 20M in payroll every year for the next decade to line Henry's pockets, they will miss more postseasons than they would if they didn't slough off that payroll. you're ok with that?

EDIT: in your post, "keeping the team competitive" is doing all the argumentative heavy lifting. And it seems based on a binary, rather than relative, conception of competitiveness. My point is that a team can always become more or less competitive, and in general, adding payroll is a good way to be more competitive. If they choose to run with a lower payroll - entirely to give more money to John Henry, as you said - they will be less competitive.
   93. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2009 at 11:45 PM (#3042330)
There's an argument out there, made by Jose et al, that Henry has been a good owner and Theo a good GM, and the current roster projects to 90-95 wins, and that as such, we should trust that we will see no drop-off in competitiveness. They may not kick the payroll up to $170M next year to make up for 2009, but they'll spend and they'll win. That seems a fair argument, though I trust our ownership group less than some.

vi, though, is arguing that since the Red Sox can be "competitive" in some absolute sense without as large a payroll, he's ok with John Henry just redirecting $20M in Red Sox revenues from payroll to his pocketbook. That's a very, very different argument, one that I find utterly bizarre coming from a Red Sox fan.
   94. Darren Posted: January 03, 2009 at 12:28 AM (#3042360)
I don't understand the distinction, MC. If we define competitive as making the postseason every year, then I really have a hard time getting upset at whatever the payroll is. Again, though, it's imperative that they are making the postseason every year. No complainng about bad breaks and throwing up your hands if you're not in. If you don't make it, you failed miserably.
   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 03, 2009 at 01:04 AM (#3042376)
If we define competitive as making the postseason every year, then I really have a hard time getting upset at whatever the payroll is.
There are certain things that I'm quite confident will make the team have a harder time getting to the playoffs every year. One of them is the thing that vi has no problem with - cutting payroll by 10-20M as a matter of policy.

Obviously, if I'm wrong, and the team is equally good at getting to the playoffs every year under tougher financial straits, then, ok, I'm not upset. But I don't see any reason to believe I'm wrong.
   96. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 03, 2009 at 01:17 AM (#3042381)
vi, though, is arguing that since the Red Sox can be "competitive" in some absolute sense without as large a payroll, he's ok with John Henry just redirecting $20M in Red Sox revenues from payroll to his pocketbook. That's a very, very different argument, one that I find utterly bizarre coming from a Red Sox fan.


Not only am I OK with it, I favor it. I'd rather see the Red Sox win with a lower payroll than a higher one. Not because I care whose pockets the money goes into*, but because I think winning the next World Series** with a payroll more in line with the rest of baseball will likely be more satisfying than one obtained primarily through flexing the club's considerable financial muscle.

* Unlike most of us here, it's important to point out that it isn't any of my money. I live more than 1,000 miles from Boston, so I'm not shelling out any dough for the high ticket prices or whatever the cable package might be. I'm likely to be a lot more indifferent to the club's payroll than season-ticket holders.

** I'm certain my attitude about the most satisfying way to see the club win would be much different if Boston didn't have two World Series titles in the last five years. I consider myself pretty spoiled.
   97. OCD SS Posted: January 03, 2009 at 04:14 AM (#3042458)
Boras has shown repeatedly that he has no fear of 'exploding offers.' He would have said thanks but no thanks, walked out, and waited. And even at $190, there's little reason to think the Yanks couldn't or wouldn't have gone higher.


Darren, I think it depends on which part of which post Tex-to-the-Yankees reports you believe. I tend to think that if JWH has told Tex face to face that he'd give him $190M, but the offer was leaving the room with him that he and Boras (who were looking at a previous best offer of $168M from the Sox) would probably jump on it just like Damon did. Maybe Tex only wanted to go the Yankees, but I tend to think that as a Boras client he was following the highest offer, and it's not like the Sox couldn't afford to pay him at that level.

Now it appears that they're going to have to try and pay in talent for something that they had a chance to get for just cash. What are the chances that they don't overpay in prospects for the type of hitter they're trying to get?
   98. villageidiom Posted: January 03, 2009 at 04:47 AM (#3042469)
There are certain things that I'm quite confident will make the team have a harder time getting to the playoffs every year. One of them is the thing that vi has no problem with - cutting payroll by 10-20M as a matter of policy.
Let's see... how did they cut that payroll? Well, they lost Schilling... and they replaced Manny with Bay... And they're not paying Matt Clement any more... Or Timlin... Tell me how that made them less competitive - in a binary, abolutist sense, or a relative sense, whatever floats your boat. As of now, they look to be about the same team as the one-game-away-from-the-WS 2008 team, at a lower cost (assuming they resign Varitek, and at a similar cost to last year, though neither of those is certain).

Yes, obviously if they spent more money - and spent it wisely - they could do better. I'm still not seeing where they've lost an opportunity to spend money wisely. I suppose they could've spent money unwisely - improving but at a cost that makes John Henry get less than he expects to get - but the business model they have seems to have worked pretty well to date.

To their credit, they extended Pedroia. They cleared out Coco, too. If they can find a way to sign a good player to a non-regrettable salary, great. I'm not disappointed if they don't, and I'm thrilled if they do.
   99. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 03, 2009 at 04:53 AM (#3042470)
The quality of teams isn't determined in a vacuum, though; it's determined by relation to the other teams in a division, league, etc. Thus, the Red Sox aren't as good as last year even if they play exactly as well, because the Yankees are better than they were last year, and thus the same play that got the Red Sox into the playoffs last year may not do so this year. They need to improve in order to ensure their position.
   100. villageidiom Posted: January 03, 2009 at 05:00 AM (#3042471)
it's not like the Sox couldn't afford to pay him at that level.
Nor is it likely that the Yankees couldn't afford to pay him more than that. Seriously, when's the last time this management team landed a free agent* who the Yankees also wanted? Has it ever happened? There seems to be a lot of wishcasting, now that the numbers are out there, that Boston could have had Player X because they could afford to pay more than what X got from the Yankees. Well, if Boston could've paid more, why couldn't the Yankees have paid more? Did they suddenly run out of money last week? There's NOTHING in the track record to suggest that when both teams are in the bidding the free agent in question will choose Boston.

*Matsuzaka wasn't a free agent.

EDIT: Honestly, I'm seeing this wishcasting moreso from other people than on this site. As you can see, it's getting to me.
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