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   1. karlmagnus Posted: June 23, 2016 at 09:15 AM (#5250387)
If Baltimore wins the WS this year us Duke-lovers will be given a huge new argument (especially if they beat the Cubs in the WS -- ho, ho, ho!)

Maybe it's this team's Duke-ishness, but I like this team much better than the 2012-15 ones, even though 2013 won. It needs some young pitching to go with the young hitting -- stars and scrubs works really well if you can get ENOUGH stars!

In that context, we REALLY need to sign Jason Groome. Price is a marginal ace now, and won't be one for all that long, so we need Groome and a bit of luck with his development. We don't get many chances with top-level draft talent and blew one with Trey Ball, so Groome is a must-sign, because he's much better than a #12 pick.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 23, 2016 at 09:36 AM (#5250401)
stars and scrubs works really well if you can get ENOUGH stars!


I agree with this. I think the Sox have the stars in place, they are being sucked down by the non-stars right now. At some point I want to see if I can figure out a way to do a calculation of WAR based on the top five players or something like that.

I like this team much better than the 2012-15 ones, even though 2013 won.


I loved that 2013 team in no small part for what it represented but this team is a hell of a lot of fun. The last few years when we lost I was really bummed out and depressed about where we were. Right now there is always something to watch every night.

In that context, we REALLY need to sign Jason Groome. Price is a marginal ace now, and won't be one for all that long, so we need Groome and a bit of luck with his development. We don't get many chances with top-level draft talent and blew one with Trey Ball, so Groome is a must-sign, because he's much better than a #12 pick.


I'll be mighty disappointed if we don't ink Groome. That said next year's draft is supposed to be deeper than this year's so it seems like the Sox would have a very good chance to do well with the 13th (compensation) pick. But yeah, Groome is a top 5 talent, I'd hate to lose out on him.
   3. villageidiom Posted: June 27, 2016 at 10:39 AM (#5252842)
Now the benefit of this is that fixing these problems is often a lot easier than trying to improve an 84 win team that is mediocre throughout. It is a heck of a lot easier to find mediocre players than stars and that the Sox have stars already in place should create a platform for improvement. 
It is, indeed, a heck of a lot easier to find mediocre players than stars. The problem is that neither is particularly easy to find midseason.

Let's take the 2000 Red Sox as an example of what goes wrong in a stars and scrubs approach. Here are the transactions (Per BB-Ref) leading into what was to be Pedro's peak year:

- Damon Buford to Cubs for Manny Alexander. Part-time CF traded for utility infielder. No problem.

- Adam Everett to Astros for Carl Everett. In theory, a full-time non-scrub CF, in return for a player made redundant by Nomar.

- Signed Jeff Fassero. He had a horrible walk year in Seattle, eventually getting shifted to the bullpen because even in sillyball times an ERA north of 7.00 isn't approved for the rotation. Traded to Texas where he didn't fare much better. This is kind of like signing Clay Buchholz next year. Well, except that Fassero was entering his age-37 season. Scrub. Pitched OK in Boston.

- Signed Sang-Hoon Lee. Pitched in Korea, then two years in Japan. Did pretty well in Boston, but was only in the majors for that one year before spending all 2001 in the minors and returning to Japan after.

- Signed Izzy Alcantara. Ah, one of the perils of a stars & scrubs approach that is focused on the stat sheet is that sometimes you'll bring in a scrub your manager doesn't want to give playing time to. Don't run out a BIP and Jimy Williams is gonna bench you, no matter how much your GM thinks you can hit. Defensively challenged but hit well in limited playing time.

- Signed Tim Spehr. 1999 was his last year in the majors. A 530 OPS in AAA isn't going to get you anywhere.

- Signed Marty Cordova. Released him at the end of spring training. Had 3 more decent seasons left in him, but 2000 was not one of them.

- Signed Andy Sheets. 2 hits and 0 BB in 21 PA in Boston, the rest of the year in Pawtucket. Only there because they traded away Adam Everett.

- Signed Hipolito Pichardo. This was classic Duquette. 18 saves in 90 games finished from 1994-97 with KC, then converted to a starter, then injured for a year... Then signed as a reliever with Boston. 147 ERA+ in 38 appearances in 2000. One of the keys to stars & scrubs is finding the right scrubs.

- Signed Juan Diaz. Eventually played 8 games for Boston in 2002, but stayed in the minors throughout 2000.

- Signed Gary Gaetti. THIS WAS THE DAY BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED. He went hitless in 5 games.

- Signed Pete Schourek. SAME DAY. In this case, however, Schourek was released by the Pirates a few days earlier, after turning in a 5.34 ERA for them in 1999. He turned in almost 1 WAR in 2000.

- Acquired Curtis Pride. Signed to a MLB contract one year after independent-league ball, Pride turned in a 977 OPS in the minors that year, but only appeared in 9 games for Boston that year.

Those are the transactions through April 2000. It's fair to say that by this time they had the roster they'd intended.

STARS: Nomar, Pedro, Varitek. In retrospect, that was it.

STAR PERFORMANCES: Nomar, Pedro, Everett, Derek Lowe (as closer), maybe Tomo Ohka as a midseason rotation call-up. Maybe you could count Rich Garces and Pichardo as well, and Rod Beck (165 ERA+). Varitek had an 83 OPS+ that year, which for a catcher might be good, but for a player coming off 3 straight 120 OPS+ seasons, not so much.

SCRUBS: Most of the rotation (Fassero, Schourek, Ramon Martinez, Wake) and the bullpen. C (Varitek) to some degree played like one. 1B (Mike Stanley). 2B (Offerman). LF (O'Leary), RF (Nixon). DH (Daubach). And then there was the revolving door at 3B.

At 3B they had Valentin intended as the starter, but he was injured two games into the year. He came back for about a week in the middle of May, then missed the rest of the year. They played Wilton Veras through the first 3 months, plus Manny Alexander. They rescued Lou Merloni from Japan. They traded for Ed Sprague, then released him a little more than a month later. They signed Sean Berry, played him one game, and released him, all within 3 weeks. Although it's easy in theory to find scrubs, this highlights just how hard it is after the season starts.

In July they acquired:
- Bernard Gilkey (released by Arizona)
- Sean Berry (released a month earlier by Milwaukee)
- Rolando Arrojo and Mike Lansing (trading away Jeff Frye, Brian Rose, and the Wayback machine)
- Lou Merloni (couldn't hit a breaking pitch in Japan)

And in August:
- Rico Brogna (waived by Philadelphia)
- Midre Cummings (trading away Hector De Los Santos)
- Dante Bichette (trading away John Curtice and Chris Reitsma)

And in September:
- Hector Carrasco (trading away Lew Ford)
- Steve Ontiveros (hadn't pitched in the majors since 1995, released by 6 teams in the interim)

The Red Sox were 2.5 games out of the wild card at the trading deadline. And all their acquisitions were scrubs, intended to spackle over the holes left by more scrubs. It's possible that was the right approach at that time, but it was immensely frustrating to see them digging through other teams' trash looking for treasure at a time when their prior reclamation projects (Ramon, Wake, O'Leary) were already performing poorly.

This team, the 2016 version, has more stars, or at least stars in the making. That's what a stars & scrubs approach needs. But it also needs the stars to perform like stars, which they're not getting from David Price.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2016 at 10:52 AM (#5252852)
I don't think the two front offices that created this team took a stars and scrubs approach, even if the result might be described that way.
   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 27, 2016 at 12:21 PM (#5252935)
I don't think the two front offices that created this team took a stars and scrubs approach, even if the result might be described that way.


I would agree with that. I don't think the Sox are here because they expected this to be the set up, they are here because results have put them here. The pitching is the real killer. I really thought that there was enough depth that a workable staff existed in house but...ugh.

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