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   1. tfbg9 Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:03 AM (#2600819)
I'd even go 4/60. He's an asset in the clubhouse as well. That stuff matters. Ask A-rod.
   2. philly Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:06 AM (#2600822)
Assuming they really want him back, pretty much any contract of three years would be fine. Is 3/42 enough to get him to forgo FA and a dance with the Yankees?

It'd be nice to know what the Sox think of his defense and Lowrie's place in the organization as either a guy who can slide to 3B or someone who is absolutely needed at SS for when they dump Lugo.
   3. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:09 AM (#2600824)
3 year deal with a 4th as an option??

I like the 14-15 per year talked above.

I'd like to see not too many changes to the team from last year because we can actually improve on our win/loss record from last year.

EDIT - the Gold Dust twins both want him back as well.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2600826)
think he would accept 1-year $19-million?
   5. rr Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:11 AM (#2600827)
Remember, there’s another team in our division that desperately needs a starting 3B.


You may be right; perhaps Betemit cannot do a decent job. However, I think Cashman sees it differently, as I have mentioned in other Rodriguez threads. Lowell's 2007 home/road splits are something other teams should be aware of and undoubtedly are.
   6. Xander Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:15 AM (#2600829)
2/28 with a 13 million dollar team option for 2010.

If he wants more, then best wishes to him wherever he goes.
   7. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:16 AM (#2600830)
#1
In total agreement, I'd offer 4/60. I think NY will go 5/80 and it'll be up to Lowell. Like Pedro and Damon, we've offered fair dollars and terms in the past, its always the extra year the players seem to go for. In saying that, Lowell seems to be of a different character and will consider many other things besides just cash. I think if our offer is close, he'll stay. I'd love to sign him before FA, but if he's smart, he'll wait and try to get an extra mil or two per after FA.
   8. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:18 AM (#2600831)
EDIT - the Gold Dust twins both want him back as well.


Well that seals it.

I'm hoping for the 3 years with an option for a fourth, but I'd cave on the option if it came to that. I'd really like to see him back.

Edit to add: Nice job entering the offseason firing with the perfect topic for ST, Darren.
   9. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:19 AM (#2600832)
so, i don't want to repeat myself, but as i said here, i think the sox might be better off waiting. if the mitchell report comes out and fingers lowell, and we sign him to any deal, we're up #### creek without a paddle. i think we should be prepared to look internally for a 1B solution (lars?), tentatively pencil youks in for 3rd, and hope that mike lowell is a) not in the report and b) available. though as people pointed out in the other thread, the sox may already have access to the report and know that he's not in it.

if he's not in the report: 2 years, + 1 mutual option year, + 1 team option year. i like 4/55, escalating salary, starting at 13MM.
   10. DCA Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2600838)
Remember when Lowell was an albatross at 2 years $18 million? I think the Sox ought to offer him arb and let him walk if he doesn't take it. He won't be worth his next contract, much less the picks on top of it.
   11. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:29 AM (#2600841)
If he does go, what draft picks would we get?
   12. ekogan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:46 AM (#2600850)
Remember when Lowell was an albatross at 2 years $18 million? I think the Sox ought to offer him arb and let him walk if he doesn't take it. He won't be worth his next contract, much less the picks on top of it.


Who's going to play third base next year then? Or first base if Youkilis moves to 3rd? The FA market is A-Rod, Lowell and scrubs. It'd be nice to trade Crisp for a corner infielder but who'd want him when there are so many FA CF's around.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:48 AM (#2600852)
Who's going to play third base next year then?

Pedro Feliz! Or that lovable rascal, Miguel Cabrera, soon to take the place of Manny Ramirez in fans' hearts.

Aaron Boone is also available. Stick it to the Yankees by snapping up the third baseman who was a Yankees playoff hero!
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:51 AM (#2600856)
I'd have even more respect for Lowell than I have already if he took a shorter contract and stayed in Boston, but I'd sure as hell love to see him in pinstripes. Moving from Fenway to Yankee Stadium would likely cause his production to slide down a bit, but the overall package is still pretty impressive.
   15. Xander Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:52 AM (#2600857)
If he does go, what draft picks would we get?
He'll be a Type A FA. So we will get a first round pick (unless he's signed by a Top 15 team) and a compensatory pick.
   16. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: October 31, 2007 at 01:58 AM (#2600862)
I'd like to see us keep Lowell, but 3/40 with a team option for year 4 is plenty. Anymore than that, well, I'll miss him.

Feliz is going to look funny in pinstripes next year.
   17. PJ Martinez Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:01 AM (#2600864)
A few questions for Temple & DCA:

Who do you want playing 3B next year?
If it's a FA, how much do you think the Sox should pay him?
If it's a trade target, what do you think the Sox should offer?

Saying Lowell isn't worth the money he will likely cost is fine, and very likely right, but I am curious to hear plan B.
   18. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:02 AM (#2600865)
2/28 with a 13 million dollar team option for 2010.

If he wants more, then best wishes to him wherever he goes.


I'd have to agree with this. There's no way in God's Green Earth I give him a 4th year.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2600867)
Saying Lowell isn't worth the money he will likely cost is fine, and very likely right, but I am curious to hear plan B.


matt clement and david wells?
   20. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:06 AM (#2600869)
In this market Lowell is worth $15 mil per at 3 years, it'll take the 4th year option to get him. If he's around .285/.350/.475, which is consistent with his career, then I think its worth re-signing him.
Is A-rod really twice as good? I don't think so. I'd rather have Lowell, then try to pick up Kazmir, Santana or Bedard when they come available. IMO a starter who gives you 23-25 quality starts is worth more then any position player anyway.
   21. Xander Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:07 AM (#2600872)
Who do you want playing 3B next year?
If it's a FA, how much do you think the Sox should pay him?
If it's a trade target, what do you think the Sox should offer?

Plan A- Lowrie to 3rd
Plan B- Youkilis to 3rd and Moss to 1st

Keep in mind though, I'm more apt to cut the Sox some slack the year after winning a championship. They get a complete pass from me next year; I'd rather they just take the picks and re-infuse the farm system like they did in 2004. I'm not saying they have to take a complete mulligan, but I think we can compete without Lowell and Schilling next year, and the picks are just gravy.
   22. Toby Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:11 AM (#2600875)
We can't look at the Lowell situation without looking at the outfield situation: four outfielders, three spots. So I say, Youks to 3b. Drew to 1b.

Much respect and affection for Mike Lowell but I had respect and affection for Billy Mueller too. I don't want to go even quite to Tek money for him: I'd go 3/30 with some sort of vesting option for a fourth year. And he'll be offered a lot more than that.

I see this team making another Hanley/Beckett/Lowell type of trade, where we give up something like a Buchholz and Delcarmen and get back something like an Oswalt and Lidge. I'm not sure I agree with that approach, but I do expect to see that sort of approach.
   23. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:13 AM (#2600881)
Plan A- Lowrie to 3rd
Plan B- Youkilis to 3rd and Moss to 1st


What about a platoon? Against LHP, Lowrie/Youk, Against RHP, Youk/Moss.

Also, Chris Carter may be an option, but apparently he makes Jack Cust look like a Gold Glover.

I threw out a Jeff Kent for short-term 3B idea somewhere, but I got reamed for it. The condition was that we give up virtually very little for him and that he keeps his mouth shut, but I still got reamed.
   24. philly Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:17 AM (#2600889)
I threw out a Jeff Kent for short-term 3B idea somewhere, but I got reamed for it. The condition was that we give up virtually very little for him and that he keeps his mouth shut, but I still got reamed.


Just in general I dig Kent. He's not coming, but if he did he'd go to 1B and Youk would slide to 3B.
   25. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:19 AM (#2600891)
If they blow up LAD, Jeff Kent might be available at firesale prices.

I think if there was a clubhousse that could shut Jeff Kent up, it would be this one. If he kept his mouth shut and stayed out of the way, it wouldn't really matter. And if he said somethign dumb, Ortiz would punch him.

Edit: for this idea i was called a "WEEI Calling idiot"
   26. villageidiom Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:21 AM (#2600896)
One more wrinkle to this is that Lowell's got 9 years and 20 days of MLB service time, the last 2 with Boston. If he goes beyond 3 years, he becomes a 10-and-5 player. That 4th year had better be a pretty safe bet, and I don't see it. AT MOST I'd prefer to see a vesting player option for the 4th year. I'm always in favor of a club option, but I'd understand if Lowell isn't.

I also want to point out that Boston already has a viable 3B solution in Youkilis, and 1B is ostensibly an easier position to fill. Mind you, I'd like to have Lowell back; but I'm not worried if he doesn't come back. I don't want him in NY, but he's a downgrade for them, and Boston could actually improve without Lowell and without picking up A-Rod.

Did I already mention I'd like Lowell back?

EDIT: OK, that was a lot of Youk-to-3B suggestions while I was typing. So much for original thought...
   27. villageidiom Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2600901)
So I say, Youks to 3b. Drew to 1b.

Could Manny handle 1B?
   28. villageidiom Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:27 AM (#2600903)
On a separate note, I totally forgot to get a free taco today.
   29. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:27 AM (#2600905)


I think if there was a clubhousse that could shut Jeff Kent up, it would be this one. If he kept his mouth shut and stayed out of the way, it wouldn't really matter. And if he said somethign dumb, Ortiz would punch him.


That in an of itself would be worth signing Kent for. Could we give Papi a performance clause that pays him $500K each time he punches Kent?
   30. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:28 AM (#2600907)
Could Manny handle 1B?

No. Do you want to see Manny in a rundown?
   31. PJ Martinez Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:29 AM (#2600909)
Drew to first seems like a terrible idea to me. He needs to hit more than he did this year and play RF well just to earn what he's already getting paid. And if we move him to first, he spends a season there, he's a little older-- teams would most likely consider him a first baseman, and value him in trade accordingly (i.e., very little).

I can understand going cheap for a year with the idea that the Sox are still competitive and can beef up the farm system a year after winning the WS. That did seem to be the MO after 2004.

I can't understand going cheap on Lowell and then turning around and trading Buchholz for Oswalt, say. Especially after bring Buchholz along so carefully.

I think, given Epstein's comments, the Sox are going all-out to sign Lowell, a la Varitek. A lot of people here will think he got overpaid. They may even be right. (Though Varitek's contract has worked out okay so far. He was very good in 2005, and decent this year. If he's pretty good next year, that will be three out of the four years, which seems like a good deal. Plus, maybe they don't win the WS without him this year.)
   32. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2600911)
While we're throwing out wild scenarios, I don't know much about Morgan Ensberg, but his defense seems decent and his 370/446 ZiPS in Petco might translate pretty well to Fenway. He could semi-platoon with Lowrie, who could also serve as the back-up MI.
   33. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2600912)
Edit: for this idea i was called a "WEEI Calling idiot"
If I were a WEEI caller, I'd be offended by that.

LA isn't firing Little only to hire Joe Torre just to blow up the team. Kent isn't going anywhere.

(As an aside, I don't see any reason to suspect the Sox are a clubhouse that could keep him quiet, they couldn't keep Jay Payton quiet. And he's not a famously big-mouthed fellow like Kent is.)

EDIT: To add I don't think any clubhouse can keep Kent quiet
   34. PJ Martinez Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2600915)
Ensberg is intriguing, although there's a significant risk he'll be terrible. What's his contract status? Is he a FA?
   35. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:33 AM (#2600917)
LA isn't firing Little only to hire Joe Torre just to blow up the team. Kent isn't going anywhere.


I got the blow-up idea by reading, I don't know, every BBTF Dodger thread.

Ensberg is intriguing, although there's a significant risk he'll be terrible. What's his contract status? Is he a FA?

Agreed.

He could platoon with Lowrie, who could also serve as the back-up MI.


Morgan ensberg can't play a middle IF position.
   36. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:37 AM (#2600924)
Morgan ensberg can't play a middle IF position.


I meant Lowrie would be a supersub, replacing Cora. If Ensberg winds up being terrible, Lowrie might not be a bad plan B. I admit this plan is probably a little too risky.

The Padres already have a good young 3B in Kouzmanoff. They picked Ensberg up off waivers I think, and I believe he has one more arb year left. The Padres may very well have plans for him, but he seems like a guy worth taking a chance on - if he could be gotten cheaply, of course.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2600934)
I think, given Epstein's comments, the Sox are going all-out to sign Lowell, a la Varitek. A lot of people here will think he got overpaid. They may even be right. (Though Varitek's contract has worked out okay so far. He was very good in 2005, and decent this year. If he's pretty good next year, that will be three out of the four years, which seems like a good deal. Plus, maybe they don't win the WS without him this year.)
That Varitek contract looks pretty damn good right now, doesn't it? WARP of 6.2, 2.6, and 5.4. By Darren's MORP estimates, Varitek has had two $15M seasons out of three.

Sign Lowell. He's wicked great. He's beloved, and for the all the right reasons - good player, smart on the field, good citizen, and he's very attractive. 4/55 should do it, and I'd have no problem with that. Obviously 3/40ish would be better, but that sounds pretty unlikely to me.

Temple brings up Lowrie, who, well, I dunno. His straight stat projection is surely terrible, since his 2006 translates to, basically, me. So if the Sox like him a lot, a lot, then maybe he gets a shot. But he's been pretty terrible in the AFL, and he's never played 3B before. I don't see much reason to think he's ready, or that he's ready at a new position. (Plus, he was supposed to be a kick-ass SS and take over for Lugo in August, right?)
   38. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2600935)
On a totally unrelated matter, if Schilling leaves, I would love to see the Red Sox sign Greg Maddux. Not that I think he would do that well - I'd just like to see another Hall of Famer pitch.
   39. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:50 AM (#2600936)
If there is an one-year stopgap veteran starter, I want Andy Pettite.
   40. Fat Al Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:54 AM (#2600942)
If there is an one-year stopgap veteran starter, I want Andy Pettite.


Wow, what a Yankee fan thing to say.
   41. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:54 AM (#2600944)
I'm in the "big contract if necessary" school of thought here.

Similar to the Varitek situation, we re-sign him not because we think he's going to be worth it in year 4, but because we have no other reasonable choice for year 1, and he's a decent bet for years 2-3. You get enough value from him in the first years to balance out the dead weight in the latter years.

You give him the 4th year because you have no other choice. You give him the 4th year because the alternative is one which seeks to maximize efficiency, rather than wins. We have to spend the money somewhere. There are no free agents out there worth pursuing. We have no upcoming free agents to lock up. There is nowhere else to spend the money, now or in the near future. The question is who gives us the best chance to win - and I don't see how that's anyone other than Lowell.

The only caveat is if Miguel Cabrera becomes available. Then you take your shot there.
   42. Fat Al Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:54 AM (#2600945)
And it's Pettitte.
   43. plink Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:57 AM (#2600948)
I'd kind of rather the Sox not resign Lowell if it takes 4 years. He's been great, but I doubt he'll continue to be great.

Chris Carter, Lowrie, Ensberg, I'm sure there are plenty of potential 4C players (Branyan?) the Sox could grab for a platoon. I'm still holding out hope that the Sox sign Dunn to play 1B next year.

I'd miss Lowell's slides, though. Lowell sliding into home is a thing of beauty.
   44. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2600954)
And it's Pettitte.

The added bonus of not having to hit against him.
   45. Xander Posted: October 31, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2600955)
I see this team making another Hanley/Beckett/Lowell type of trade, where we give up something like a Buchholz and Delcarmen and get back something like an Oswalt and Lidge.
I know you're not endorsing this trade, but I would take a 3-year leave of absence from being a Sox fan if such a trade were made. Buchholz and Delcarmen are better respectively than Oswalt and Lidge RIGHT NOW. I'm so sick of that fughazy Oswalt and his declining stuff, I would be happy if I never heard his name again.
   46. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:01 AM (#2600957)
brad Lidge would be the next Eric Gagne.
   47. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:03 AM (#2600960)
You give him the 4th year because you have no other choice. You give him the 4th year because the alternative is one which seeks to maximize efficiency, rather than wins. We have to spend the money somewhere. There are no free agents out there worth pursuing. We have no upcoming free agents to lock up. There is nowhere else to spend the money, now or in the near future. The question is who gives us the best chance to win - and I don't see how that's anyone other than Lowell.
Exactly. I agree with every word.
   48. Raines Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:09 AM (#2600970)
I don't want Lowell on this team 4 years from now. Offer him bigger money for 2 years but don't even go three. I'd rather Lowrie or Youklis.
Ensberg has a terminal case of teh suck. Kent would be nice for a year but I can't see LA letting him go.
   49. Darren Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:18 AM (#2600984)
I can understand the Red Sox wanting to 'take a year off,' restock the farm, and save some bucks, but I cannot for the life of me understand a fan thinking that's okay. They're making money hand over fist, there's just no excuse to go cheap.

I should have mentioned the other options out there. There's Cabrera of course, and the Red Sox likely have a pretty good idea about whether he's available already. If he is, then yeah, Lowell can walk if we get him. There seems to be a bit of a logjam in the Dodgers infield, one from which they might be able to pluck LaRoche for a decent price. And there are a couple other options.

Fantasies of getting Lowell on a 2-year contract or getting him to accept arbitration are just that. Dreaming of a 3-year deal is acceptable. On the other end of the spectrum, this talk of 4/55 or 4/60 sounds too high to me, but I always seem to guess low. ARam, incidentally, got 5/75 and is much younger and a consistently better hitter (a bit worse with the glove).

That Varitek contract looks pretty damn good right now, doesn't it? WARP of 6.2, 2.6, and 5.4. By Darren's MORP estimates, Varitek has had two $15M seasons out of three.


It's not my MORP, it's BP's. And that's not a really good usage of it. The MORP calculator is calibrated for the market in 2007. Varitek was signed in the market after 2004. (He's still probably an okay deal.)
   50. Darren Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:19 AM (#2600988)
Oh, and I should probably know this, but what about Japan? Anyone coming from there?
   51. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:21 AM (#2600991)
I'd offer him 2/30 with a team option for a 3rd year at 15 million and a player option for a third year at 12 million maybe. There are plenty of other options with the flexibility of shifting Youkilis back to third. You could get someone like Dunn or Miguel Cabrera via trade (obviously not cheap, but certainly within the realm of possibility). And I'm still not convinced this team won't be looking at ARod. They know very well that Manny is only signed through 2008, and at 20 million per or whatever for his options for 2009 and 2010, you're looking at paying 2/3 of what ARod would make for similar offensive production in probably fewer PA, and much worse defense at a far less important defensive position. Obviously not every offense needs 2 stars hitting 3rd and 4th, but it's a model the Red Sox have been built around since they signed Manny, and it's been pretty damned successful. I'd love to keep Manny till he retired if we could slot him at DH, but we can't, and I don't doubt the front office feels similarly. Manny is already a defensive liability; yeah, he can hit, and will probably continue to hit, but he already missed significant time to injuries in each of the past two years, and he's only getting older. Signing ARod would provide the big bat to hit 3rd ahead of Ortiz or 4th behind him for the next several years, even if it means overpaying him at the end of the contract.

And as far as the negative PR from letting Lowell go and replacing him with ARod, I think this FO has shown repeatedly that they don't especially care about public outcry with their personnel moves. They were more than willing to let Pedro and Damon walk instead of signing them both in their decline years. These are two guys who were two of the most popular players at the time, and had been popular for far longer than Lowell has been. Granted, the replacements for Pedro didn't work out, and CF has been a mixed bag too, but this is a chance at signing a legitimate superstar, and certainly a contract the Red Sox can afford. I'm not going to say I expect them to sign ARod, but I think most people are far too quick to rule it out.
   52. PJ Martinez Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:21 AM (#2600992)
I'm leaning toward #41, too.
   53. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:27 AM (#2601000)
Oh, and I should probably know this, but what about Japan? Anyone coming from there?

GET HITOKI IWASE DAMMIT
   54. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:31 AM (#2601006)
I'm so sick of that fughazy Oswalt

I'd prefer a Steady Diet of Clay & Delcarmen as well...
   55. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 03:34 AM (#2601008)
Lidge and Oswalt would be marginal upgrades at best, significant downgrades at worst. And would cost about 15 times as much. That trade idea is a complete non-starter. If any young pitching goes anywhere in trade, it's probably Bowden, Masterson, Hanson, Pauley-type guys.
   56. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:04 AM (#2601027)
it's probably Bowden, Masterson, Hanson, Pauley-type guys.

One of these is not like the others.
   57. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:11 AM (#2601033)
Was there something about Oswalt that I missed? I thought those rumors were done last year?
   58. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2601035)
Wok, they're obviously very different pitchers with different performance in the minors and such, but the point is that they're all more of the uncertain type of pitching prospect than guys who we're almost 100% certain can help the big league club right now.
   59. Big Ears Teddy shouldn't see TFTIO Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:16 AM (#2601038)
I'd prefer a Steady Diet of Clay & Delcarmen as well...

I laughed.
   60. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:17 AM (#2601041)
To just post an opinion before reading the others, I'd say you offer him something token for two years, and wish him luck when he walks out the door. He's not remotely indispensable. Youk can play third, and a 1B/DH/LF-type is almost never impossible to find. Signing him to anything longer than two years is an error, and PR reasons aren't compelling enough to do it. Not getting Lowell would not be a good reason to go for Rodriguez, either, which would be a much larger error.

Now I will go read the thread and probably change my mind.
   61. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:20 AM (#2601044)
I also agree with #41. It's the sound move, and I think the most likely.

However, this is the internet, so I say trade Coco and some B prospects for Tejada!

Where's levski offering Chad Tracy for Buchholz?
   62. nycfan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:22 AM (#2601048)
Hold on, you really think Buchholz is better than Oswalt right now? Oswalt has a career 3.07 ERA, and was only just above that last year at 3.14. Buchholz is a very good prospect, but he's still a pitching prospect.
   63. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:27 AM (#2601053)
Okay, so 3.14 ERA in the NL is probably 3.8 in Fenway, at least. I wouldn't say that Buchholz is better right now, but I also wouldn't say that Oswalt is $15 million per year better than Buchholz over the next 5 years.
   64. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:35 AM (#2601056)
Hold on, you really think Buchholz is better than Oswalt right now? Oswalt has a career 3.07 ERA, and was only just above that last year at 3.14. Buchholz is a very good prospect, but he's still a pitching prospect.


Better? Probably not. As good as? Very good chance. A 3.14 ERA in the NL Central isn't as impressive as it might appear to be. I also think Oswalt would translate particularly poorly to the AL.
   65. Xander Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:36 AM (#2601057)
I can understand the Red Sox wanting to 'take a year off,' restock the farm, and save some bucks, but I cannot for the life of me understand a fan thinking that's okay. They're making money hand over fist, there's just no excuse to go cheap.
Assuming you think that the front office has a clear vision and specific goals it hopes on achieving along the way, why would it be so hard to imagine a fan having that same type of foresight? So sue me because I don't need a competitive team every year. I'm not doing it because I'm a masochist; I'm doing it because I think there's a greater good.
   66. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:46 AM (#2601066)
On the level of "maximizing efficiency" versus "maximizing wins", I don't think that argument holds. Yes, it holds for next year, but I think the Red Sox can easily find solutions for next year that can put them in the playoffs. Not necessarily WILL, but can. And they come without the disadvantages of signing Lowell and thereby jamming up the system with a large -- and possibly untradeable, if he doesn't play well -- contract.

Every extra day that the Red Sox have to look for third baseman (or first baseman, or DH, or LF) makes it more likely that they will find a replacement for Lowell that costs NOTHING on the "maximizing wins" side of the equasion, and in fact allows them to win more games. Mike Lowell is a nice guy, I love him for his contributions this season and postseason, but he is by no means an irreplaceable part for next season, much less subsequent seasons. What I've read here makes me feel a little less bad about the idea of signing Lowell, but I still think it's the wrong solution to the problem, and may indicate that we're not even asking the right question, let alone getting the right answer.
   67. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:48 AM (#2601069)
So sue me because I don't need a competitive team every year.

I'm not necessarily with you on that -- the Red Sox have the resources to be competitive all the time, and anything less would be dereliction of duty unless it set up a real dynasty -- but I think they can be competitive without Lowell next year, and are more likely to be competitive without him thereafter.
   68. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:54 AM (#2601073)
We can look up his numbers at baseballreference. But I want to know... Does Mike LOL?

lol
   69. plink Posted: October 31, 2007 at 04:58 AM (#2601076)
I do absolutely agree with #66, though I would be more than happy to offer a decent, shorter contract, maybe a little higher than #6. But there really are alternatives out there which would cost the Sox less than a win, and put them in much better shape in 2009/2010.
   70. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:07 AM (#2601080)
I guess to me the fact is that Mike Lowell seemed like a great guy, and I loved him this year, and his 2007 production was great and a boon to the team. But Mike Lowell 2008 isn't a great bet to replace that production, nevermind Mike Lowell 2009, 2010, etc. People can compare him to Varitek, but it's really not a similar situation. There were pretty much zero plausible alternatives to replace Varitek's production with the bat, even if we ignore his captaincy and everything that may or may not truly entail. Mike Lowell just doesn't seem like the kind of guy that this front office has doled out big contracts to, he's far more analogous to a Johnny Damon than to a Jason Varitek.
   71. JB H Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2601082)
You give him the 4th year because you have no other choice. You give him the 4th year because the alternative is one which seeks to maximize efficiency, rather than wins. We have to spend the money somewhere. There are no free agents out there worth pursuing. We have no upcoming free agents to lock up. There is nowhere else to spend the money, now or in the near future. The question is who gives us the best chance to win - and I don't see how that's anyone other than Lowell.
The problem is that Lowell by the 3rd year is probably a below average starter. Do you really want to be stuck paying a lot of money for a bad fielding 3B putting up a 730 OPS?

You're right that the talent pool is finite, but the Sox are in a unique position because everyone in baseball wants to trade for Manny if the price is right. There's also a bunch of Japanese players this year who look like they could be good values.

I also don't really get why people are bringing up Varitek. Isolating one data point of an extension that worked out well doesn't really tell us anything about whether or not resigning Lowell is a good idea.
   72. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:16 AM (#2601083)
I just had an interesting thought. This seems like a great chance for the FO to kind of repeat what they did with Jeremy Giambi, Millar, and Ortiz in 2003. Grab a few discards who project well, and see who sticks. Two guys I'd like to see them grab for this are Ensberg and Dan Johnson. Ensberg is likely a non-tender, or an easy throw in along with a young arm in a trade for Coco. And Dan Johnson would probably be relatively inexpensive, since Oakland already has Buck and Swisher for the OF corners, Barton for 1B, and Cust for DH, leaving him without a real spot. Both of these guys project really well from projection systems I've seen, and odds are that at least one of the two ought to perform. You could even potentially go for a third guy, although I'm not necessarily sure who that would be.

As far as the freed up cash, I'd rather see it go to a 1 year deal for Schilling, and a bona-fide 2nd guy in the pen (someone to be what Gagné was supposed to be this year).
   73. JB H Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:24 AM (#2601086)
Someone should make a general offseason BS thread

Gordon Edes says the Sox are talking to Hiroki Kuroda: http://www.japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=986

Just from eyeballing his stats he looks like he's about halfway between the Daisuke/Schilling group and the Lester/Wake/Tavarez group in our rotation
   74. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2601087)
Lowell's 2007 home/road splits are something other teams should be aware of and undoubtedly are.

True, but Lowell did have an .878 OPS at Yankee Stadium this year.

Lowell's coming off a great year capped by a World Series MVP performance. At his age, he must realize this is his last shot at another big contract. He probably hasn't forgotten that the Red Sox were pretty eager to trade him to Colorado for Helton. He may enjoy playing for the Red Sox, but I wouldn't expect him to leave millions on the table for the privilege. If Boston values him significantly less than the market, he's gone.
   75. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2601088)
I also don't really get why people are bringing up Varitek. Isolating one data point of an extension that worked out well doesn't really tell us anything about whether or not resigning Lowell is a good idea.


The Varitek example isn't merely a situation where an extension worked out - it's a situation where there we no plausible alternatives. That's where I disagree from 70 - there are no plausible alternatives here.

You're looking for a good value - I'm looking for a good player. What player gives the Red Sox the best chance to win in 2008? What's the purpose of value if it doesn't lead anywhere? Lets say you save some money on a Lowell replacement? Where is that money going to be spent that we can't otherwise afford to spend it?
   76. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:28 AM (#2601089)
I like Dan's scenario a lot better than spending a lot of money on Lowell for anything longer than two years. I'm not sure about spending the money on Schilling, but the pen could use showing up. I think Delcarmen is a legitimate number two guy in the pen, but Oki, god love him, has a high novelty factor and even disregarding that will almost certainly be less effective next year than this.
   77. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2601091)
there are no plausible alternatives here

I just don't think that's true. Several have already been thrown out there, if you ask me.

What player gives the Red Sox the best chance to win in 2008?

But that's not all that's at issue here. You have to worry about whether the guy that gives the Sox the best chance to win in 2008 decreases their chances of winning in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Mike Lowell almost certainly does. Looking at just next year is a way to turn into the New Model Yankees, rather than the older, more successful version.
   78. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2601092)
As far as the pen: I like Delcarmen and Okajima, but Delcarmen still needs to prove himself somewhat before I'd make him an 8th inning guy, and even if Okajima is for real and can repeat his performance, we need another top notch bullpen arm to take some of the load off of him.
   79. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2601093)
As far as the freed up cash, I'd rather see it go to a 1 year deal for Schilling, and a bona-fide 2nd guy in the pen (someone to be what Gagné was supposed to be this year).


We can use the money from the guy who started game 2 of the World Series to re-sign Schilling if we want.

Who is the 2nd guy in the pen you want? I hear that Eric Gagne is available...
   80. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:35 AM (#2601094)
I just don't think that's true. Several have already been thrown out there, if you ask me.


I guess we have different definitions of plausible. Jeff Kent? Morgan Ensberg? Really?
   81. JB H Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:40 AM (#2601097)
The Varitek example isn't merely a situation where an extension worked out - it's a situation where there we no plausible alternatives. That's where I disagree from 70 - there are no plausible alternatives here.

Are you kidding? How hard is it to find a decent corner IF? Someone just mentioned Dan Johnson. Dan Johnson plus an Olmedo Saeanz type is probably like a 1.5 win downgrade for 2008. The Lowell compensation picks will likely be worth more than what we give up for Johnson. Buy an extra reliever for 2008 with the money saved and the team isn't any worse in the short term and is in a significantly better position goign forward.

You can also get creative with crazy trade ideas too
   82. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:43 AM (#2601099)
Unless you think Mike Lowell's jump of 40 points in BA is sustainable, and should be expected to continue in 2008, then yes, those are plausible alternatives for similar production. This is a guy who hadn't ever hit higher than .293 over a season before 2007, and who has a career BA of .280. His defense seems to be already on the decline, both in errors and in advanced metrics (UZR had him at something like -2/150, I think?). And yes, Mike Lowell seemed to be going the other way more often, and all that jazz, so maybe he mgiht hit well over .300 again next season. But those are the same kinds of things we were saying about Youkilis in the first half, and his BA proceeded to plummet back toward his career average. Mike Lowell is just not a guy that projects especially well into his mid-30s at the price that he's going to command after his season and his post-season.
   83. villageidiom Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:44 AM (#2601100)
I guess we have different definitions of plausible. Jeff Kent? Morgan Ensberg? Really?

Kevin Youkilis.
   84. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:45 AM (#2601101)
Morgan Ensberg and Dan Johnson both strike me as completely viable options. There's a possibility that Morgan Ensberg is a better player than Mike Lowell next season, and there's a strong possibility that he's a league-average 3B. The two in tandem would be a strong option. Johnson might not be free, but no player is going to be free.

Remember that what we need, really, is a 1B or a 3B. That flexibility makes this a much less difficult problem to solve. And beyond that, I think the playoffs are available next year at 90 wins. I don't love the Wild Card, but there it is. We could play somebody who was replacement level and win 90 games next season. There's no need to bestride the Earth in total dominance every year, especially if doing so next year makes it more difficult to do so in subsequent ones.
   85. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:46 AM (#2601103)
By the way - the fact that the free agent market blows as much as it does this year suggests to me that players are pretty seriously underpaid. I suspect we will continue to see salary inflation until that ceases to be the case.

This is connected to the aging issues for a lot of players - while players do decline, they tend to decline in value at a pretty similar rate as salaries increase in baseball. I think it was MGL who found this originally, but salary inflation tends to keep pace pretty well with player decline. They both happen at around 11% annually. It's a nice little symmetry which keeps a lot of so called albatross contracts manageable.
   86. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:49 AM (#2601104)
By the way - the fact that the free agent market blows as much as it does this year suggests to me that players are pretty seriously underpaid.


I intend no snark with this at all: Why does it make you think that? I'm not seeing the connection, but if there is a plausible case to be made for one, I'd like to hear it.

It's a nice little symmetry which keeps a lot of so called albatross contracts manageable.


That is a nice little symmetry, but the fact is, as other people said, we're trying to maximize wins, not efficiency. I don't think Lowell does anything like that beyond 2008.
   87. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:52 AM (#2601105)
Just for a second, lets assume Dan Johnson is in fact made of the same stuff which Tom Brady is made of(pure magic), and will be as good as ZiPS projects...

What are you going to spend the money on again? We can re-sign Schilling without dropping Lowell. Which players specifically do you want to target?
   88. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:56 AM (#2601109)
Is it absolutely necessary to spend all all ALL of your money if it doesn't help you win past next season?
   89. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:56 AM (#2601110)
Perhaps save the money for Santana or Miguel Cabrera when they hit FA? Someone who is actually a star, and worth a big contract, rather than someone coming off a career year on the cusp of falling off a cliff as he ages, both offensively and defensively? Hell, having 10 million free for flexibility would allow you to pick up someone mid-season in a dump, like the Yankees got Abreu last year. Just because you have the money doesn't mean you need to go and throw it at Mike Lowell. I would honestly prefer to sign an ARod at 30 mil/year than throw 15-16 million/year for Mike Lowell. No, ARod likely won't be twice as good, but he's a real star, and worth investing in, and will be likely to remain an asset as he declines. Players liek Mike Lowell are the guys you let sign somewhere else and grab draft picks for.
   90. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 05:57 AM (#2601111)
I intend no snark with this at all: Why does it make you think that? I'm not seeing the connection, but if there is a plausible case to be made for one, I'd like to hear it.


There is a shortage of a good (quality talent) available to purchase. A shortage is generally symptomatic of prices being too low.

That is a nice little symmetry, but the fact is, as other people said, we're trying to maximize wins, not efficiency. I don't think Lowell does anything like that beyond 2008.


My guess is that Lowell maximizes wins for 2008, is probably on par for 2009 with anything else we can find, and is a poor bet for 2010-2011. I'm willing to eat those last two years in exchange for 2008, given that we have cash to spend, and I don't see anywhere else to spend it.
   91. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2601113)
What is Morgan Ensberg's defense like?
   92. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2601114)
Perhaps save the money for Santana or Miguel Cabrera when they hit FA?


Well, I'd bet against either of those players ever seeing free agency, but even if they do, we can afford them regardless, with Manny's contract coming off the books by the time they're available. If there was good reason to think Lowell would keep us from having a good shot at these two, I'd be a lot more inclined to bite the bullet and go with Morgan Ensberg or some other scraphead solution.

I don't think that that's the case however.
   93. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:02 AM (#2601115)
And as far as arms the Red Sox could look at getting to bolster the bullpen:

Kerry Wood
Scott Linebrink
David Riske

If Wood's physical checks out, he could be an amazing 8th inning guy. And he could pitch the 9th on days Papelbon isn't available. Would seem to be a generally good fit, as long as he is healthy. The Red Sox system they described in the article on Papelbon would probably help keep him healthy too, perhaps.
   94. bibigon Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:03 AM (#2601116)
I would honestly prefer to sign an ARod at 30 mil/year than throw 15-16 million/year for Mike Lowell.


From a purely on field perspective, I think this is probably the correct move. There are outside factors which prevent this however.

If A-Rod didn't have lots of baggage, much of it Red Sox specific, I'd bid Lowell farewell, bid Schilling farewell, and use their money, along with Clement's, to make a play at A-Rod.
   95. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:08 AM (#2601118)
If A-Rod didn't have lots of baggage, much of it Red Sox specific, I'd bid Lowell farewell, bid Schilling farewell, and use their money, along with Clement's, to make a play at A-Rod.


I agree and think also now that the Red Sox won the World Series, that they don't really need to make a play at A Rod.

In saying that, I wouldn't complain if they landed the ########.
   96. Dan Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:09 AM (#2601119)
For all the "Red Sox baggage," I seem to recall ARod and Ortiz acting very chummy on-field before a game at some point this season. It just seems to me like this Red Sox clubhouse could finally be the place that ARod would fit it, and Francona would be the kind of manager to get the most out of him. Francona always supports his players, the clubhouse is very loose, there's plenty of other guys to help shoulder the load so he doesn't have to be The Man every day. And far too much is made of Red Sox fans not liking ARod. The NYY fans warmed up to Boggs and Clemens pretty quickly with their play, and it would be the same if ARod were to sign in Boston. A few bombs over the monster, and who the #### cares that he batted a ball out of Arroyo's hand in 2004? Who cares that he and Varitek got into it? The story line of "ARod didn't come to Boston in 2004 and they've won two World Series since then just because he went to NY instead" is pretty stupid, and I'd love to see it die.
   97. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:10 AM (#2601120)
There is a shortage of a good (quality talent) available to purchase. A shortage is generally symptomatic of prices being too low.

But with such a limited supply of quality talent, I don't think that really works. In a market in which supply can be made broadly available if the price is right, this theory makes sense. But in a market in which there are really a grand total of maybe 900 legitimate specimens of the product, and maybe more like 50-60 high quality products for half as many buyers, it might just mean they're under contract already. The market for major league baseball players has been extremely volatile the last decade or so, rocketing up, creaking back down, and rocketing back up again. I don't really believe that prices are going to start going down, or stop going up quickly, either, but the answer to that question must be much more complicated than a Microeconomics 101 maxim.

Have teams been buying low the last few seasons, thus tying up those players for this season? Maybe. But it wasn't that long ago that the market for players was ebbing, and a certain number of good players were purchased at low prices then. With the supply so limited to begin with, I think that has an effect.
   98. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:13 AM (#2601121)
I think that making a hard play for A-Rod is, in an unqualified way, the wrong move. I've gone over this a million times in a million places lately, but the length of contract he's going to command strikes me as a deal breaker. The cost of highest-end free agents hasn't moved in years. You don't want to end up paying A-Rod like he's the best player in the game when he's a good-hitting first baseman.
   99. JB H Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:19 AM (#2601123)
Just for a second, lets assume Dan Johnson is in fact made of the same stuff which Tom Brady is made of(pure magic), and will be as good as ZiPS projects...

The implication here seems to be that you're better at projecting performance than ZIPS, which isn't true.

Just eyeballing baseball reference, Lowell's 3-2-1 weighted OPS+ is 109 and he's gonna be 34 next year. Johnson is trickier because his playing time is less even and he's crushed in the minors some, but he's probably at about 105, and he'll be 28. I don't really see why it's so hard to believe that there's not a big difference between the two going forward?

If the two choices are signing Lowell and going through the rummage bin, then maybe

2008: Lowell +1.5 wins
2009: Lowell +.5
2010: bin +.5
2011: bin +1.5

and that's before accounting for the massive $ difference
   100. JB H Posted: October 31, 2007 at 06:30 AM (#2601125)
Another less obvious benefit of going the rummage bin route is that you have no long term commitments.

So if you're in essence signing the rummage bin to a 3 year deal, you don't project Dan Johnson's VORP for 3 years. If Johnson falls apart, you ditch him and find the next Dan Johnson. If Lowell falls apart you stick with him or pay another team a bunch of money to take his contract.

I'm sure that (Dan Johnson's projections - his collapse years) > (Mike Lowell's projections)

Of course, there's a transaction cost to finding the next Johnson and you have to play Johnson in the majors in his collapse years to find out he's toast, but the effect is still there.
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