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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: November 24, 2010 at 03:54 PM (#3696695)
The case for Beltre is more the case against any possible replacements. The Sox decided to punt on VMart, despite a similar problem finding someone to replace his value. I'd re-sign him, mainly for that reason, even tho I hate the idea of not being aggressive in making this team younger.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:25 PM (#3696726)
One of the things that makes Beltre appealing to me is his durability. Obviously with a 31 year old guy you run some risk there but Beltre has been extremely durable (though even he can't survive a line drive to the onions) and I think that is a big point in his favor.
   3. Pingu Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:33 PM (#3696735)
Agree wholeheartedly. In terms of value to the Red Sox: Beltre >> Crawford > Werth.

-----

OT, but the Rays offered arbitration to Brad Hawpe. If I'm him, I accept. I cant imagine him getting much on the open market, prob not more than he'd get in arbitration. This might put a bind in Tampa's plans.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 24, 2010 at 04:37 PM (#3696742)
I would bet that Hawpe is another of those guys who has agreed to decline the arbitration. That seems to be pretty common and Hawpe's story (DFAd, signed late in the year) seems to fit other guys that have done that.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 24, 2010 at 05:05 PM (#3696766)
I would think the value that Beltre provides is mitigated by the fact that he could be replaced by Kevin Youkilis. I don't know how serious Youkilis or the Red Sox are about him switching over (honestly probably not very serious, but this is November, so who cares), but if we throw that possibility into the mix, it opens up some options. Granted Beltre is a very good defender and likely gains a win or two over Youkilis with his glove, but Youkilis is a better hitter, and I imagine it would mostly even out. Then, should you be averse to offering longer contracts to Beltre/Werth/Crawford, the Red Sox might be able to get something shorter term with Dunn or (gulp) an unholy platoon of Burrell/Pena.

I should say I agree that Beltre is probably the best option if your guesses about contract length and $ are correct. Barring crazy trades, if Dunn could be had for something like 3/$30, that's something you'd have to think about, particularly since Ortiz may be on his way out next year. That said, it seems like the Red Sox really do value defense at 1B, so I'm doubting they would value Dunn or some Frankenstein's monster at 1B as highly.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 24, 2010 at 05:21 PM (#3696778)
I would expect Dunn will get closer to 4/60. There are quite a few clubs out there that need a 1B bat.
   7. Darren Posted: November 24, 2010 at 05:44 PM (#3696798)
Dunn's not getting 4/60 (said fearlessly without any actual information to base this on). I just can't imagine that he would after what he got last time around and the other options available. 3/42 maybe.
   8. Mattbert Posted: November 25, 2010 at 11:55 PM (#3697372)
One thing to keep in mind this offseason is that MLB has changed over the last 5 years. Strategies must evolve as well. Happy Thanksgiving! --John W Henry
Um...what?
   9. Accent Shallow Posted: November 26, 2010 at 12:35 AM (#3697381)
Um...what?

Sounds like the Sox are going cheap here?
   10. OCD SS Posted: November 26, 2010 at 01:49 AM (#3697392)
What is the plan if Beltre would rather play on the West coast? He already turned down more money from the Sox to play on the West coast after his last big contract year; by how much more can/should the Sox top an offer from the West coast? Oakland's offer feels a lot like the Orioles being in on any big free agent, but I have a very hard time seeing the Sox top 5/$64M (without considering an "East coast premium"), and I also suspect the Angels are going to be very involved.

I figured Beltre was gone as soon as the details of the A's deal came out. I think the Sox refuse to let go of Adrian Gonzalez, so will go with a one year stop-gap if they can't trade for him. My vote is for a Youks/ Lowrie/ Pedroia/ Derek Lee IF to start the season.
   11. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 26, 2010 at 02:15 AM (#3697398)
Does signing Beltre to a big deal basically take the Sox out of the running for Adrian Gonzalez, or, dare I say, Albert Pujols? I don't know the Youk deal, but I wonder how much the opportunity to get those guys is influencing what they're doing now.
   12. Dan Posted: November 26, 2010 at 05:31 AM (#3697450)
One thing to keep in mind this offseason is that MLB has changed over the last 5 years. Strategies must evolve as well. Happy Thanksgiving! --John W Henry


Perhaps this cryptic comment is an allusion to a continuation of the roster being built around guys with stellar defense? That would probably point toward Crawford and Beltre ending up on the team for 2011, but I'm not sure who it would mean behind the plate. Ostensibly that would also be the big reason the Red Sox didn't outbid Detroit for VMart.

I would be pretty surprised if this comment meant that the Red Sox wouldn't be spending big this offseason. It could mean that they want to fill their holes via trade rather than free agency, but I guess we'll see within the next several weeks. I know that a lot of people seem to think the Red Sox may lower payroll after it reaching a new high last year, but with the lagging interest in the team last season (and cratering TV ratings) I'd be positively shocked if they didn't make at least one big splash in the FA market.
   13. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: November 26, 2010 at 05:39 AM (#3697459)
He’s often considered a malingerer who never got the job done for the Mariners, but I’d say he actually was a perfectly fine contributor.


I don't think you meant "malingerer" - if anything he sucked it up and played hurt. If you substituted "underperformer" in that sentence, I'd agree with it in its entirety - some thought he didn't deliver, but he really did provide good value.

I'd resign the guy if the price is on the order that's mentioned here, but I think Scott Boras will start off asking for nine digits, and could conceivably get 5/75 out of someone.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 26, 2010 at 01:45 PM (#3697490)
One thing to keep in mind this offseason is that MLB has changed over the last 5 years. Strategies must evolve as well. Happy Thanksgiving! --John W Henry
John Henry really, really likes people paying attention to him. Now we're parsing a wholly content-free tweet. And I'm sure so is SoSH and even WEEI and so on.

Or - is there any offseason strategy the Red Sox could possibly pursue that is ruled out by this statement? I don't think there is.
   15. OCD SS Posted: November 26, 2010 at 02:08 PM (#3697494)
I thought it just meant that any holiday wooing and plane trips would be taken over Christmas.
   16. RJ in TO Posted: November 26, 2010 at 02:23 PM (#3697502)
I'd resign the guy if the price is on the order that's mentioned here, but I think Scott Boras will start off asking for nine digits, and could conceivably get 5/75 out of someone.

Given that I've heard rumours that the A's have already offered something around 5/70, you could certainly be right.
   17. OCD SS Posted: November 26, 2010 at 02:54 PM (#3697519)
Or - is there any offseason strategy the Red Sox could possibly pursue that is ruled out by this statement? I don't think there is.


While I agree that it's pretty cryptic (what would you expect from a tweet?), if it means anything I'd look towards a model that eschews signing free agents for big deals on the wrong side of 30. With the steroid era winding down it looks like we can expect to see a return to traditional aging curves. The better teams will probably need to be younger and more athletic, and build substantially out of their own farm as a means of acquiring that foundation.
   18. Darren Posted: November 26, 2010 at 03:44 PM (#3697549)
No good place for this right now, but we're supposed to hear the results of the Nishioka posting today. Anyone hear anything?
   19. RJ in TO Posted: November 26, 2010 at 03:58 PM (#3697558)
Nothing yet. A bid has been accepted, but the specific team isn't known yet.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 26, 2010 at 03:58 PM (#3697559)
Nishioka doesn't make any sense for the Red Sox - their best or second-best player is a 2B, and they have two shortstops. Quickie googling suggests that the Twins are expected to be front-runners, which makes all kinds of sense.
   21. Darren Posted: November 26, 2010 at 05:23 PM (#3697609)
The reports were that they were interested. I could see if they decide to move Lowrie to 3rd and deal Scutaro he'd fit nicely.
   22. RJ in TO Posted: November 26, 2010 at 05:28 PM (#3697611)
Twins won the negotiating rights.
   23. Darren Posted: November 28, 2010 at 09:35 PM (#3698360)
I like Beltre and I think 4 WAR is about right for him. If that's the case, the Sox can pretty comfortably pay him 5/67 or so. My only worry is that he's headed west regardless.

But I do feel like the 3/2/1 Marcels are selling the others short a bit. It captures a fluky injury year for Crawford, and doesn't account enough for how young he is. Maybe it's better for Werth but I bet ZiPS has him a bit higher. I like all of these guys but I don't think there's a big hole in the OF.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 29, 2010 at 05:16 PM (#3698667)
Maybe it's better for Werth but I bet ZiPS has him a bit higher.
I doubt it. I mean, I dunno, but a 5/4/3/2 projection for Werth is about 280/370/500. That's a good hitter. I don't think I'd take the over on an 870 OPS.

(Kelly Johnson put up a 370/496 line last year in 670 PA, and Fangraphs has his offense worth about 26 runs above average. That's exactly what I've got Werth projected to above.)

25 runs above average at a corner, with averageish defense, projects to a four-win player, give or take. Crawford's got some wiggle room to project/wishcast to the kind of contract he's likely to command, but I'm having trouble seeing it for Werth.

EDIT: stupid, pedantic thing. Properly speaking, these aren't Marcels. These are just weighted, regressed averages. Tango said they were the projection system a monkey would come up with. Then he said, what if it was a smart monkey - like Marcel from Friends? That monkey would add in park, league, and age adjustments. I'm not doing any of those things, because that would take more time.

Also, for weighting these monkey projections, I'm doing 5/4/3/2 for hitters and 3/2/1/2 for pitchers because Tango said that was the right way to do in a blog post some years ago.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 30, 2010 at 02:40 PM (#3699161)
So, ZiPS is out for Crawford - it pegs him at 345/458 with 44 steals. Back of the envelope run projection puts that season about 18 runs above average on offense, slightly better than the 5/4/3/2 numbers but not significantly so. By ZiPS, then, Crawford needs to be a consistent +15 to +20 defender to be worth the contract he's likely to command.
   26. Josh Posted: November 30, 2010 at 02:57 PM (#3699166)
I think OCD makes a great point (here and elsewhere): the Sox have one OFer on the roster in 2012 (Ellsbury), and a second in Kalish who likely is good enough to start. That means they'll have to either (1) re-sign a mid-30s Drew, (2) sign Crawford/Werth, (3) sign an OFer next year (Hart? Willingham? Beltran? Dejesus?), or (4) make a trade (and I think OCD is right that any trade for a ML OFer, like Upton, likely includes either Ellsbury or Kalish, so we are back to 1-3).

They could wish for Lin (who I really like, actually) or Reddick to turn into MCoA's proverbial pony, but let's assume they don't do that.

Giving those possibilities, I think you commit to signing the best of this group, whoever you think that best is, either this year or next. Waiting until next year seems awfully risky.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 02, 2010 at 12:42 PM (#3700680)
Gordon Edes has an article up on ESPN.com about the Sox offseason. It's not exactly bursting with content, but it lays out generally what the team is looking for.

-meeting with Werth and Crawford, looking to sign one of them
-in the mix for Beltre
-looking for someone (probably not Varitek) to share the C job with Saltalamacchia
-looking at options for 1B/3B

I guess when you write it out in bullet points, it sounds more content-free than it seemed in the article.
   28. OCD SS Posted: December 02, 2010 at 02:12 PM (#3700697)
The issue with this off-season is that the Sox have the exact same holes as the Angels; OF and bullpen help, and a corner IFer (where at least the Sox can move Youks or Lowrie to 3B, but the Angels need a 3Bman).

The Angels really seem to have targeted Beltre and Crawford. I think the Angels probably have the inside track on Beltre (with his west coast bias), but if they are able to spend big and also sign Beltre the Sox wind up with the Angels 3rd round pick, which is less than I think we'd like to see.
   29. Dan Posted: December 02, 2010 at 05:19 PM (#3700899)
-meeting with Werth and Crawford, looking to sign one of them


I'd prefer Werth, I think his patience and power play better in Fenway than Crawford's game.

-in the mix for Beltre


I'd love to have Beltre back, but like OCD SS I have some doubts that he'll re-sign here over going back to California.

-looking for someone (probably not Varitek) to share the C job with Saltalamacchia


It should be interesting to see today what happens with Russell Martin. If he's non-tendered, he'd be a perfect guy to pair with Saltalamacchia. Salty hits RHP pretty well, and Martin destroys LHP. Both have the potential to take the lion's share of the playing time by hitting their upside.

-looking at options for 1B/3B


If Beltre's a goner, I really like going after Dunn. Play him at first base for a year, and then go sign Gonzalez and shift him to DH. Or hell maybe the Sox get lucky and Rizzo or Anderson puts it all together and takes the 1B job for 2012 and shifts him to DH. In any case, he'd play first base for a year or maybe two and then take over at DH from Ortiz.
   30. Darren Posted: December 03, 2010 at 01:59 AM (#3701330)
I think what I'm stuck on here is that we all sorta agree that Tex was worth 8/160+ and Holliday 7/130, so how is Crawford only worth 5/70? I think maybe his defense is being regressed too much.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 03, 2010 at 02:24 AM (#3701347)
Well, I was always skeptical of that kind of money for Teixeira, I think.

Just by a simple WAR analysis, Holliday and Teixeira are pretty clearly superior players. If you do a 5/4/3 average of the three seasons before hitting free agency for Teixeira, Holliday, Crawford, and Werth, there are clearly two tiers of quality. (This is an average of Fangraphs and CHONE).

5.60 - Holliday
5.57 - Teixeira
4.72 - Crawford
4.64 - Werth

If these guys are a little less than a win worse, you want to pay them a little less than $4M less per season.

130 / 7 = 18.5 - 3.5 = 15 * 5 = 75

Liking 7/130 for Holliday and 5/75 for Crawford seems pretty reasonable. The contract is two years shorter, but you typically give fewer years to lesser players.

Now, if Crawford is really as good as his Fangraphs defense numbers, he could be worth a contract in the range of 6/105 or something. He still won't project to be as good as Holliday projected to be.

I've grown a lot more skeptical of all our defensive numbers over this last season - Colin Wyers at BPro has demonstrated what appear to be systematic problems in the PBP data. We all learned that the underlying data for traditional defensive stats was problematic, and it appears that we're learning something analogous with the PBP stats. So I'm hesitant to accept a rating of a player that is so heavily dependent on the PBP data.
   32. Dan Posted: December 03, 2010 at 04:59 AM (#3701442)
I've grown a lot more skeptical of all our defensive numbers over this last season - Colin Wyers at BPro has demonstrated what appear to be systematic problems in the PBP data. We all learned that the underlying data for traditional defensive stats was problematic, and it appears that we're learning something analogous with the PBP stats. So I'm hesitant to accept a rating of a player that is so heavily dependent on the PBP data.


I'm really buying into Wyers' analysis too. Tango's said basically the same things in creating WOWY. I think WOWY and nFRAA are both probably more useful than UZR, TZ, or DRS after reading the articles those two wrote. The charts showing batted ball distribution on the infield according to HitFX and according to BIS data were pretty conclusive (with the BIS zone data showing distinct peaks in frequency of balls in the zones where the 4 infielders are typically positioned and the HitFX showing a smooth curve of distribution).

One thing I never see anyone mention in determining Crawford's worth is the fact that he cannot hit left-handed pitching. Adding him to a lineup that already had two players who were abysmal against LHP in 2010 seems like a bad move to me (referring to Ortiz and Drew). Now obviously his splits are already baked into a context neutral stat like batting runs or any version of WAR, but it seems to me that a guy who can easily be neutralized late in important situations by bringing in mediocre left-handed relievers is worth less than his value according to WAR.
   33. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: December 03, 2010 at 05:16 AM (#3701454)
And if you do a 3/2/1 average of Fangraphs WAR Crawford comes out at 5.77. A 5/4/3 weighting puts too much emphasis on his outlier 2008 season. Crawford also plays in the league that consistently wins 57% of the time in interleague play, which has to be noted in any comparison of him and Holliday. Skepticism about defensive metrics is justified, but is there really any question that Crawford is an elite defensive outfielder? There's a long history of great numbers, scouts say he's a plus plus defender, and he's the best basestealer in the game. Maybe he's secretly a mediocre fielder, but if that's your argument, I think it's on you to prove it.
   34. Dan Posted: December 03, 2010 at 05:54 AM (#3701482)
Looks like all of the stuff about Beltre wanting to go back to the west coast may be overblown:
Beltre hopes to return to Red Sox


"I got used to seeing that park full in the first inning and still full in the ninth inning. I liked that atmosphere," he said during an exclusive interview with the Globe. "If everything was close to the same, I would go back to Boston. But we have to see. The number of years is what is important to me."


That doesn't sound like someone who wants to play in Oakland or Anaheim. But the years may be the sticking point for the Red Sox (as usual). And of course it could all just be a load of bullshit he was instructed to say by Boras to try and keep the Red Sox in the bidding war.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 03, 2010 at 01:19 PM (#3701582)
PCR - he doesn't need to be "mediocre" in the field for a 100M contract to be a questionable investment. Crawford needs to be, by a significant margin, the best LF in the game for a 100M contract to be a reasonable investment. I think it's quite possible he's that good, for the reasons you describe, but I think it's also possible that he's merely a very good defensive player, and as such more of a 70M guy.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 03, 2010 at 01:21 PM (#3701583)
I'm really buying into Wyers' analysis too. Tango's said basically the same things in creating WOWY. I think WOWY and nFRAA are both probably more useful than UZR, TZ, or DRS after reading the articles those two wrote
This is the one thing I don't get, for what it's worth. We already know there are massive possible shifts in ball distribution that can have big effects on raw data like plays made. What Wyers' work shows isn't that numbers based on plays made are trustworthy, it's that the PBP data is not trustworthy.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 03, 2010 at 02:06 PM (#3701605)
To be clear, I'm not opposed to a big money signing of Crawford. I'm just saying I don't know how good Carl Crawford is, because I don't know how good his defense is. It's possible Crawford projects to be worth the money he'll likely get, it's possible he doesn't. I hope he's really that good and that the Red Sox sign him, but that's hope, not knowledge.

What I am verging on opposed to is a big money signing of Werth. At best, Werth is as good as Crawford, most likely he's worse by a solid margin. Unless Werth can be had for significantly less money, he doesn't seem like a good answer for the Sox.
   38. OCD SS Posted: December 03, 2010 at 02:18 PM (#3701613)
Another point to consider is that we may be entering a period where we see more salary inflation and that the $4M per win figure will no longer hold. FA's truly worth signing are becoming fewer and farther between, so if you want to sign a good player you're going to have to be willing to overpay.

The bottom line is that the Sox need one of Werth or Crawford, or you have to be prepared to start 2012 with Kalish/ Ellsbury/ Reddick as your OF. The Sox can either overspend on Crawford to get more prime years out of a better defender, but one who has problems with LHP; or they can pay a premium to sign a Boras client who's a more traditional RHH power bat, but is probably going to enter his decline years.
   39. Jon T. Posted: December 03, 2010 at 02:53 PM (#3701636)
"The bottom line is that the Sox need one of Werth or Crawford"

Or they could trade for Justin Upton
   40. Darren Posted: December 03, 2010 at 03:03 PM (#3701645)
First and foremost, if someone could provide links to the Wyers piece and the Tango WOWY piece, I'd appreciate it. I'm way behind the curve on these things.

I get the skepticism on defensive numbers, but Crawford is the last player that I would apply that skepticism to. He is one of the fastest players in the game and he is playing an OF position where he is being judged against some of the worst outfielders in baseball. A +15 as a LF is, according the positional adjustments done by Tango and others, about equal to a +5 CF. +5 CF sounds like a very, very reasonable number for someone like Crawford. Holliday, on the other hand, is a big beefy power hitter. I find myself far more skeptical that his defense numbers are as good as UZR says.

As to the length of the deals, I would think that Crawford's age and profile are better factors to consider than his not being elite enough. He's much, much more likely to age well than Holliday and Tex are. If I were willing to go 7 years on either of those guys, I'd go to seven for Crawford without thinking twice. That would mean, by your numbers above, that he'd be up for a 7/105. If you further think that he will lose value more slowly than the other two, and you think his injury in 08 was a fluke, you'd probably be willing to get into Holliday territory. (Also, considering that Dunn just got 4/56 and Victor got 4/50 to DH, we may have to reconsider the value of a win on the open market these days.)

I agree on the relative merits of Werth.
   41. OCD SS Posted: December 03, 2010 at 03:05 PM (#3701649)
Or they could trade for Justin Upton


I've been arguing that the reason to add an OFer now is because they will have to add 2 next year with Cameron and Drew leaving, and the market next year is terrible. If the Sox trade for Upton I think it's safe to say that it will take one of Kalish or Ellsbury, which means that the net number of OFers is the same and the Sox still need to sign one through FA.
   42. Cat Named Manny Posted: December 03, 2010 at 03:09 PM (#3701654)
There's also an assumption at work here that we've seen the best of Crawford and Werth. While you certainly don't want to gamble a ton of money on the possibility that we have not, Crawford's age makes him far more likely to repeat or exceed his 2010 season than Werth, in my opinion.

I think the Sox are likely to bite the bullet on the length of Crawford's contract because of his age. They gave five years to J.D. Drew and John Lackey after their age 30 seasons. Why would they only go five on a 28-year-old Crawford when seven years would take him to the age 35 cutoff that the Sox seem to see as something of an imperative? (Drew and Lackey signed through age 35, Youkilis and Beckett through age 34).
   43. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 03, 2010 at 04:36 PM (#3701759)
Dunn to the White Sox for 4/56. There goes that option. I guess technically you were right Darren...

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