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Thursday, December 06, 2018

The Band Is Back Together…Now What?

The Sox are slowly but surely putting the band back together.  Sir Nathan The Unnecessary* is returning on the heels of the Steve Pearce re-signing making the Sox a pretty complete outfit.  Obviously there is work to be done in the bullpen and that is almost surely going to be Dave Dombrowski’s focus at the Winter Meetings but the Sox still could make a splash if they choose to.  I do not expect a free agent signing other than a reliever or three but beyond that they could still make some moves if they choose too.

* - He was Knighted after his yeoman work in game three of the World Series.

Option 1 - Eduardo Rodriguez - With David Price not opting out and Eovaldi locked in the Sox have a bit more freedom to move a starter if they desire.  With four more years of club control Rodriguez and his career 107 ERA+ would have serious value.  Of course similarly his value to the Sox is not insignificant, with Price, Eovaldi and Rodriguez the Sox have the makings of a strong rotation.

Option 2 - Rafael Devers - What is Devers?  The dream is he is the next David Ortiz who becomes the middle of the order pure power hitter the Sox have not produced since…what? Mo Vaughn?  I’m probably missing someone.  Anyway the counterpoint is he is an infuriating low average/High K/weak defender who gives back a lot of his value. Reading between the lines I felt Alex Cora was a bit frustrated with Devers “compete level” (yes I’m watching the Bruins and listening to Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley) and the Sox might feel his value is as good as it is going to be.

Option 3 - Andrew Benintendi (h/t Darren) - This would devastate the women of New England (and 10% of the men according to studies) on one level and on another he’s a heck of a player.  However is Benintendi a star or is he Nick Markakis, a nice player but not a building block?

Option 4 - Christian Vazquez - I expect that Vazquez has fairly limited value in a trade but baseball people love their slick defensive catchers and Vazquez is that.  I would not be shocked to see Vazquez moved for a reliever or something of that ilk.

Great, so the Sox have some pieces.  But what does that do for them?  What would they target?  Incredibly for a team that won 108 games and are DEFENDING WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS they have some legitimate holes that could warrant attention from Tradin’ Dave.

Second Base - I love Dustin Pedroia, you love Dustin Pedroia, we all love Dustin Pedroia.  Counting on Dustin Pedroia at this stage of his career is a fool’s errand though.  He is aging, he is declining and obviously his health is a serious question.  With Eduardo Nunez, Cyclin’ Brock Holt \o/ and Tzu-Wei Lin the Sox are not in crisis at second but an improvement can be had. 

Name To Watch: Scooter Gennett - Cincinnati - Gennett’s name has been out there lately and he has become a pretty solid player.

Third Base - Depending on where the Sox are mentally with respect to Devers this may be an area to look at.  Potentially the Sox could see big improvement at this position simply by letting Devers develop they may want a bit more certainty.  The versatile Holt again provides some cover there and the system has potential long term options in Bobby Dalbec and Michael Chavis available. 

Name To Watch: Eduardo Escobar - Arizona - With the Paul Goldschmidt deal and rumors of Zach Greinke out there the Diamondbacks seem to be in “sell” mode.

Catcher - In theory the Sox are set with Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon.  In reality this is not exactly a strong group and improving this spot is more than feasible. If the Sox want to make a splash there is one place to go, the lovely city of Miami.

Name To Watch: J.T. Realmuto - Miami - Hey, if you want to make a splash this would be the guy and the Marlins are willing to deal as we know.

Starting Pitcher - You never have too much starting pitching.  Darren in the thread he discussed considering a Benintendi deal was offering up the idea of chasing a Noah Syndegaard.  With Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and the three guys inked beyond 2019 the Sox are strong in 2019 but going for a stud to augment EdRod and Sir Nathan The Unnecessary. 

Name To Watch; Noah Syndegaard - New York (N) - Not surprisingly the teams likely to “sell” are not exactly blessed with stud starters.  Would the Mets move Thor?

So having spent the last hour typing, thinking and typing some more my bet would be this has all been an exercise in mental masturbation and the Sox will do nothing other than land a reliever or two.  Still, the Winter Meetings are a time to dream a bit and if the Sox want to go big these are some pieces that could be involved in such a decision.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 06, 2018 at 07:37 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Morton's Fork Posted: December 07, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5794942)
It's maybe a bit off-topic, and just a little thing, but regarding Dustin Pedroia: Please let us not forget.

To say, "He is aging, he is declining and obviously his health is a serious question," whilst not a lie, does constitute a refusal to acknowledge the reality of things: Manny Machado ruined the man's career. It was a dirty slide, intended to cause harm, like many dirty plays Machado has performed before and since.

Please let us not forget. Just sayin'.
   2. villageidiom Posted: December 07, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5794943)
Cyclin’ Brock Holt
Given the PED connotation this is not a welcome nickname. Let's just go with Griffin's Dad.

Catcher - In theory the Sox are set with Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon.  In reality this is not exactly a strong group and improving this spot is more than feasible.
Agreed it's not a strong group, offensively. Subtracting either Leon or Vazquez (pleaseletitbeLeon pleaseletitbeLeon pleaseletitbeLeon) makes them stronger, but then the question arises about the extent of playing time Swihart would realistically get at catcher.

To me, though, the key thing is that Boston just went through an entire season of catchers not hitting, and it wasn't the only position where they had this issue, and they had a crazy-good offense nonetheless. Sure, if Betts goes down they're in trouble, but that's true even if they had Realmuto.

I'm with your last paragraph. Their need through most of 2018 was the bullpen, and they have two positive contributors (Kimbrel and Kelly) who might not be coming back.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: December 07, 2018 at 10:31 AM (#5794947)
Option 1 - Eduardo Rodriguez - With David Price not opting out and Eovaldi locked in the Sox have a bit more freedom to move a starter if they desire.
I don't think they have enough depth to trade him unless another mlb-ready SP is coming back (either in that trade or in another transaction).
   4. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 07, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5794999)
Don't worry Morton, Manny is on my forever shitlist for that one.

Nate - Yeah trading EdRod would be more than a bit risky. Brian Johnson is reasonable depth and if they use Wright as a starter option you'd still have; Sale-Price-Porcello-Eovaldi-Wright-Johnson-Velazquez. I don't think that's unreasonable, I'd prefer one more competent starter out there but if the return is worth it then I think you can at least listen now. Without Eovaldi in the fold I think you can't really even afford to listen on EdRod (barring someone massively overpaying).
   5. Darren Posted: December 07, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5795062)
Unless they plan on going way over even the higher cap, I don't understand what's happening here. They shelled out $6M for Pearce, who I really like, but is in a class of players who tend to go very cheap these days. He's also slated for a part time role. And then they pay big money for Eovaldi who has not been durable and has not been great. For all his velocity and adjustments, he's still getting the same results, basically. All this while spending almost nothing on the pen, where they lost Kimbrel and Kelley.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: December 07, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5795071)
They're going to spend big, and they will sign a reliever or two.
   7. Darren Posted: December 07, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5795090)
Do you think they'll sign a $10-15MM closer plus another?
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: December 07, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5795104)
Do you think they'll sign a $10-15MM closer plus another?
I think they'll sign one at that level (if it works out, there aren't many $10-15m guys if we count Kimbrel as above that), and then another lesser FA reliever.
   9. Darren Posted: December 07, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5795149)
The notoriously negative Steamer has Eovaldi at 2.7 WAR next year. If he's that good, fine.
   10. Bad Fish Posted: December 08, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5795386)
If they have intentions of moving someone, Devers makes the most sense. He is young enough, has shown enough and has enough team control left that he can be a serious trading chip. I think the play would be to make Swihart the starting 3rd baseman. The production and promise of either Swihart or Devers has to be roughly similar, Swihart can still be the third string catcher, and they have solid infield relief with Holt, Lin and Nunez.
   11. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: December 09, 2018 at 04:14 AM (#5795470)
Am I the only one who has thought about moving Devers to second? It feels like the inaccuracy of his arm is his biggest problem to me. And looking it up, he led the league in throwing errors from third (tied with Chapman, but with only about 2/3rds of his assists, so comfortably ahead on a rate basis).

Just feels like he might benefit a lot from having the much shorter throws from second. If he can be even close to average on defense, he will be a really really good player. But if he is around the -15 runs range...
   12. Darren Posted: December 09, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5795501)
Looks like ZiPS for the Red Sox is coming out tomorrow. Dan S has posted the depth chart graphic and a screenshot of the hitters WAR projections with comps:

https://twitter.com/DSzymborski/status/1071541992121909249
https://twitter.com/DSzymborski/status/1071524429530841088

Some interesting things:
--Mookie's 6.7 is lower than the 7.2 from Steamer. His top comp is Kaline.
--Both systems have Eovaldi at 2.7. That'll be good.
--Three top hitters have HOF comps: Betts/Kaline, JD/Tony Perez/Xander/Trammel.
--Rotation: 6.6, 3.9/2.6/2.7/2.3--wow.
--One good arm would really solidify the pen.

   13. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 09, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5795581)
The Band Is Back Together…Now What?


Going back to back is the obvious answer.

I'd be satisfied with winning 95+ games and going from there. As a fan, that is all you can realistically ask for a big market team who is placed as the Red Sox are right now.
   14. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: December 09, 2018 at 07:26 PM (#5795595)
Name To Watch: Eduardo Escobar - Arizona - With the Paul Goldschmidt deal and rumors of Zach Greinke out there the Diamondbacks seem to be in “sell” mode.

IIRC, as a new free agent signee, he cannot be traded until June.
   15. villageidiom Posted: December 10, 2018 at 09:46 AM (#5795842)
IIRC, as a new free agent signee, he cannot be traded until June.
Welcome to the loophole!

The clause in the CBA (XX.B.5.a):
Any Club signing a contract with a Player under this Article XX(B) after the expiration of the Quiet Period described in subsection 2(b) above may not assign his contract until after the next June 15. However, notwithstanding the foregoing, such contract may be assigned for other Player contracts and/or cash consideration of $50,000 or less prior to the next June 16 if the Player gives written consent to such transaction.
Now for some definitions.

Article XX is the reserve system; XX(B) is about free agency.

A player becomes a free agent at 9 AM the day after the last game of the WS.

The "Quiet Period", per XX.B.2.b, is the "period beginning at the time when the Player becomes a free agent as defined in subparagraph (a) above and ending at 5 P.M. Eastern Time on the fifth day following the day that the last game of the World Series had started". It's during this period that any team can begin discussing their interest with any player, and vice-versa, but cannot negotiate contract terms. Only the team the player has left for free agency may negotiate terms and/or sign a contract during the Quiet Period. After that, free agents and teams are free to negotiate with each other.

Putting all that together, in 2018 players became free agents at 9 AM on October 29, and any free agent who signs with a team after 5 PM on November 2 cannot be traded until after June 15, 2019, unless the player gives his written consent.

Eduardo Escobar signed his contract on October 22, a week before he would have become a free agent. The 6/15 trade restriction does not apply to him.
   16. Darren Posted: December 14, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5797741)
There is some talk of the Sox being willing to deal Porcello or Bogaerts, should we all be obsessing about that?


If they're to cut payroll, here's another idea: extend Porcello or Price. For Porcello, tear up his current deal and replace it with 5/$75MM, dropping his AAV. Give him an opt-out after 2 years. For Price, tack on 1 year, $5MM, making his new deal 5/$132MM, dropping his AAV. He could get an opt-out after one year.

There are certain assumptions in play here. First, you have to assume that you like Porcello enough to want him for at least a few years. For the Price thing to work, he'd have to really value the opt-out.
   17. jmurph Posted: December 14, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5797765)
There is some talk of the Sox being willing to deal Porcello or Bogaerts, should we all be obsessing about that?

I like both, and losing Xander in particular would be a bummer, but I guess I need to know what they'd be looking to get in return. I understand the financial situation gets precarious soonish, but this is the last year with Sale (probably full stop, but it's at least the last year of cheap Sale) and Porcello, and they obviously have the talent to win it all, so I'd prefer them to just run it back.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 14, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5797770)
I'm not ready to obsess about it because I think it's unlikely either guy gets dealt. I think they are willing to listen but absent a situation where they are blown away (particularly on Bogaerts) I'd be surprised if they made a deal.
   19. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: December 14, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5797851)
15- Fantastic! I had no idea, very cool!

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