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   101. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4201853)
Based on 142 PAs with a .500 BABIP? Pineda is a 21 year old in rookie ball. He is no one's idea of promising.

Valencia seems like more a move for 2013 than 2012. I wouldn't read much into the timing of it.
looks like a lottery ticket for a lottery ticket. Pineda's probably worthless, but you only get one year of Valencia before you have to non-tender him and make him a free agent.

Valencia is not a good player right now - his hot 300 PA in 2010 look like an obvious fluke when you consider his minor league career alongside his major league stats. But he apparently can play some defense and who knows, a guy who hit some in AA might take a step forward.
   102. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 06, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4201909)
In retrospect, he's healthy, he's hitting, the Boston clubhouse is still reportedly a mess and the team isn't winning any more than before. So, yeah, the subsequent stuff indicates all the reasons nobody would outbid the White Sox were crap. But nobody, not even the White Sox, knew this at the time of the trade.


Nobody knew that that is exactly what would happen, but everyone knew it was a possibility. The expectation value of Youkilis was non-negligibly positive, and the expectation value of what the White Sox gave up was ~0.
   103. villageidiom Posted: August 06, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4201933)
The expectation value of Youkilis was non-negligibly positive,
Yet one team offered ~0, one team was willing to take ~0, and 28 teams presumably offered <0. Maybe all 30 were wrong to do so based on what they knew at the time. But I think their actions accurately reflect what they knew at the time, which is why I brought it up when someone expressed they could not understand the deal given what we know now.
   104. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2012 at 10:15 PM (#4202009)
Yet one team offered ~0, one team was willing to take ~0, and 28 teams presumably offered <0. Maybe all 30 were wrong to do so based on what they knew at the time. But I think their actions accurately reflect what they knew at the time, which is why I brought it up when someone expressed they could not understand the deal given what we know now.
This same reasoning could be used to defend the Scott Kazmir trade, the Jeff Bagwell trade, and so on. It proves too much. I don't see why I should assume that all 28 teams passed, that the Red Sox did all their due diligence, that the Red Sox made this decision in a structured, rational way.

If we assume the Red Sox did everything right, then it's hard to criticize them. But if instead of assuming before the fact that they did everything right, we judge them based on the results of their actions, they did a bunch of things wrong. I don't know where in the process things got screwed up, but I think it's likely that the process was suboptimal.
   105. The District Attorney Posted: August 06, 2012 at 10:27 PM (#4202020)
   106. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2012 at 10:39 PM (#4202023)
Crawford, with a pair of doubles tonight, is now up to 290/325/500 since his return. He started slow, but he's been on a big hot streak for the last week.
   107. Dan Posted: August 06, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4202025)
Crawford has looked like a completely different player. Hopefully he can keep it up.
   108. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 06, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4202027)
Crawford has looked like a completely different player. Hopefully he can keep it up.


He really has looked completely different in just about every aspect of the game. He's been hitting the ball hard, he's running better, and even made a pretty good play off the wall, holding Cruz to a wall-ball single (although I'm not sure Cruz was running all that hard). Granted, that's a play he should probably be making routinely, but it wasn't one he made consistently last year.

   109. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 07, 2012 at 07:38 AM (#4202110)
Crawford has looked like a completely different player. Hopefully he can keep it up.


Crawford looks like the player he was for most of his career.
   110. villageidiom Posted: August 07, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4202138)
If we assume the Red Sox did everything right, then it's hard to criticize them. But if instead of assuming before the fact that they did everything right, we judge them based on the results of their actions, they did a bunch of things wrong.
I'm not trying to suggest they are beyond criticism, or that it was a good trade at the time, or that they didn't do anything wrong. I'm suggesting the prospect of Youkilis being healthy and productive pretty much from the moment of the trade to today (at least) was a significant uncertainty at the time. (Productive if healthy, sure, that was reasonable. I'm not arguing that.) Is that in dispute?

We know now that Youkilis would be healthy after the trade, because it has happened; it's indisputable. A big factor in not being able to comprehend the trade given what we know now is that what we know now was not a given.
   111. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4202144)
I basically agree with #110. (Though, well, I still don't comprehend the trade. Uncertainty is no defense when the trade is Kevin Youkilis plus the money to pay Kevin Youkilis' salary in exchange for AAA roster filler.)

What I took issue with was the claim that we can conclude from the fact of the Youkilis trade that there was a complete consensus in baseball, among all 30 teams, that Youkilis was not worth anything at all. That is not an assumption that I find viable.

Further, if there was uncertainty about Youkilis' value, then trading him for nothing is obviously a bad idea. It's only if there is practical certainty that Youkilis has no value, or negative value, that trading him for nothing can be advisable.
   112. TomH Posted: August 07, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4202150)
wow, he is a stunner (to me) of a smal item: David Ortiz leads the Red Sox in walks. Who has drawn the next most free passes? I would have needed about 10 guesses.

   113. chris p Posted: August 07, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4202161)
Who has drawn the next most free passes? I would have needed about 10 guesses.

i got it on the first guess. who else would you think?
   114. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 07, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4202270)
What I took issue with was the claim that we can conclude from the fact of the Youkilis trade that there was a complete consensus in baseball, among all 30 teams, that Youkilis was not worth anything at all. That is not an assumption that I find viable


I agree with this. What I do think is that while the other 30 teams may not have valued him at 0 the Red Sox clearly did, which is why they gave him away for peanuts. This is an instance of a manager negatively affecting trade value of a player by being unable to work with him (and obviously Youk deserves some blame). Fact - Youkilis was injured and playing poorly. Fact - that is a bad time to try and trade a player. So either Cherington doesn't know enough to not trade a player at their lowest value, which I doubt, or the trade was all motivated by clubhouse issues. The White Sox threw out a crap offer and the Red Sox jumped at it to get ANYTHING back for someone they wanted out ASAP. I think that is a much more reasonable guess at how Youk was valued.

And clearly, since the clubhouse is a basket full of roses now, players aren't complaining to the front office about the way the manager treats other players, and the team has ripped off two months of amazing baseball it was all Mr. SweatPig himself Kevin Youkilis...
   115. Joel W Posted: August 07, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4202738)
Youkilis was scratched again tonight for "sore knees". Can we admit that maybe his medical records were part of any trade? I know he's made it all of 35 games with only two injuries, but maybe lots of teams just didn't want him because they thought he was mostly broken.

There is value to a roster spot, to having somebody that is functional night in and night out, especially when so much of your team is injured. Maybe the team thought, along with all the other factors, that even if there was uncertainty about his production, and that he could have some real positive value, the uncertainty in itself was of negative value, especially in the context of a team that injured.
   116. villageidiom Posted: August 07, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4202746)
What I took issue with was the claim that we can conclude from the fact of the Youkilis trade that there was a complete consensus in baseball, among all 30 teams, that Youkilis was not worth anything at all. That is not an assumption that I find viable.
The "consensus among all 30 teams" thing was not meant as evidence that everyone thought he was useless, but rather to emphasize that there is a complete lack of evidence that anyone thought he was useful. (Or more properly, that he was worth giving up much of anything for.)

Here's a contemporary snapshot on the prospect of trading Youkilis. In a separate article I can't find right now, the Pirates were scouting Red Sox games at the time, but their scouts expressed they wouldn't be interested in Youkilis at all. Pretty much all reports on scouting of Youkilis at the time suggest teams concluded they wanted nothing to do with him, especially not at his salary. Teams were expressing disinterest. That's evidence of the market. We could dismiss it as posturing, but there is nothing in the evidentiary trail to suggest it was.

When it was suggested upthread that the expectation on Youkilis at the time was non-negligibly positive, and there is nothing in scouting reports, team actions, and team inactions, to suggest that was the case, it's worth pointing this out. A trade "market" for Youkilis basically did not exist.

Yeah, all the more reason not to trade him at that time...
   117. villageidiom Posted: August 07, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4202767)
There is value to a roster spot, to having somebody that is functional night in and night out, especially when so much of your team is injured. Maybe the team thought, along with all the other factors, that even if there was uncertainty about his production, and that he could have some real positive value, the uncertainty in itself was of negative value, especially in the context of a team that injured.
When a player performs below expectations - be it straight performance, health, or both - how much time do you give him to prove he's who you want him to be? For those who answer "more than a freakin' month", how much rope did you give Julio Lugo? Matt Clement? Edgar Renteria? Nomar? John Smoltz? Mike Lowell? Keith Foulke? How much do you give Matsuzaka? How much did you give Crawford?

Knowing when is the right time to trade a player is hard. Knowing when to stop writing his name on the lineup card is hard. You don't know if he's slumping or just plain done, and you won't find out by benching him. The only way to find out is to keep sending him out there every day - and if he is done, sending him out there every day will kill your team. By the time you know he's done, you can't get rid of him.

A lot of factors are involved in the decision. With Foulke, the team had a viable alternative in Papelbon. They switched almost immediately. With Lugo, they probably would've given up sooner if Lowrie could have stayed healthy, but they didn't. Age probably factored into Smoltz; injury history and demeanor factored into Nomar. Some of these were great decisions, some were bad; some looked bad at the time but turned out fine in the long run.

The one certainty is that, after time has passed and the correct path is obvious, there will be no shortage of people to tell you they KNEW ALL ALONG that was the correct path. Hell, I might be one of them.
   118. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 07, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4202863)
...which is why I brought it up when someone expressed they could not understand the deal given what we know now.


When it was suggested upthread that the expectation on Youkilis at the time was non-negligibly positive


Well, I think I'm both the "someone" and the "it", so allow me to respond...

What I said in the first instance was two separate things:

1) That the premise that "Youkilis wouldn't have performed for the Red Sox as he has for the White Sox", even if it were knowable and true, shouldn't affect how we evaluate the trade. It's what he's worth for other teams that should matter.

Obviously we can't use what he's done since the trade and treat it as an inexorable outcome that we could have known. But it's data to be integrated with the rest of what we know of the situation.

2) and that, as a separate matter, I couldn't understand why apparently no team was willing to offer more for Youkilis than the White Sox did.

Neither of those is really the same as what you attribute to me, which I gather is the "after time has passed and the correct path is obvious, there will be no shortage of people to tell you they KNEW ALL ALONG that was the correct path."

On the question of whether Youkilis was really worth > 0:

It seems to me that if you think "Yeah, all the more reason not to trade him at that time..." then you've essentially conceded the point -- if it would have been a better bet for the Sox to hold him than deal him for peanuts, then he was worth more (in an expectation value sense) than peanuts. Or, if he was really worth ~0, then there was little harm in dealing him for ~0.
   119. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4204295)
1) That the premise that "Youkilis wouldn't have performed for the Red Sox as he has for the White Sox", even if it were knowable and true, shouldn't affect how we evaluate the trade. It's what he's worth for other teams that should matter.

Obviously we can't use what he's done since the trade and treat it as an inexorable outcome that we could have known. But it's data to be integrated with the rest of what we know of the situation.
Agreed. I was getting the sense that the later data is making people completely forget the perception of Youkilis at the time. If I'm misreading that, it's my bad.

2) and that, as a separate matter, I couldn't understand why apparently no team was willing to offer more for Youkilis than the White Sox did.
Youkilis was somewhat expensive and it wasn't clear if acquiring him would blow up in the face of the acquiring team.

Neither of those is really the same as what you attribute to me, which I gather is the "after time has passed and the correct path is obvious, there will be no shortage of people to tell you they KNEW ALL ALONG that was the correct path."
Not directed at you, or anyone specific in this thread. It's just a riff on the "it's hard to tell when someone is done" notion I brought up earlier in the post. It is hard, but there will always be someone proclaiming (in hindsight) how easy it was.

It seems to me that if you think "Yeah, all the more reason not to trade him at that time..." then you've essentially conceded the point -- if it would have been a better bet for the Sox to hold him than deal him for peanuts, then he was worth more (in an expectation value sense) than peanuts. Or, if he was really worth ~0, then there was little harm in dealing him for ~0.
Part of trading is value, part is timing. The former can swing wildly due to the latter. It was pointed out in the link I provided that the White Sox were not bidding for Youkilis, despite the obvious need and little reason not to take the risk. A little while later, they were defining the market for Youkilis. A little while after that, Middlebrooks was hurt, which meant not just that the Red Sox could use Youk more but that the White Sox would have to bid more to overcome that.

As confident as I am that the trade accurately reflected the market for Youkilis at the time, I am likewise uncertain about whether that was the right timing for the trade. I never can tell when the right time is.
   120. karlmagnus Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4204365)
If we hadn't traded Youk, we'd have had to play him in some kind of platoon with Middlebrooks (or sent WMB down -- see below). That would probably have resulted in substandard Youk and cold-streak Middlebrooks, as both would have been disrupted by not having established day-to-day roles (Youk mostly because of temperament and entitlement, WMB because he was trying to figure out the needs of playing in the bigs.)

So Youk's 2012 value to the Sox was considerably less than zero (except for the 2 weeks Middlebrooks was injured.) Given that nobody else was offering more, it was a good deal unless the White Sox beat out the Sox by less than say 2 games for the Wild Card.

If we'd sent Middlebrooks down to the minors, he would have been new to the bigs in 2013, and we would have had a rookie Middlebrooks instead of the established productive Middlebrooks we will presumably get. Might have lessened but not eliminated the cost in 2012 (Youk being today a somewhat inferior player to WMB) but would have subtracted value from what could be a more WS-relevant 2013.
   121. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4204428)
If we hadn't traded Youk, we'd have had to play him in some kind of platoon with Middlebrooks (or sent WMB down -- see below). That would probably have resulted in substandard Youk and cold-streak Middlebrooks, as both would have been disrupted by not having established day-to-day roles


They had already established Middlebrooks' role as the starter. They could have continued that, with Youk pinch-hitting for Aviles or Sweeney. And then Youk could start when Middlebrooks got hurt, and again at DH once Ortiz was hurt. That way the only guy 'disrupted' by the ever-changing roles is the guy who isn't a part of the future anyway.
   122. Dan Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4204720)
Agreed. I was getting the sense that the later data is making people completely forget the perception of Youkilis at the time. If I'm misreading that, it's my bad.


Except that nearly everyone's reaction here on the day of the trade was that Youkilis would be better than he had been so far and that selling him for nothing was pants-on-head stupid. It's not as if the consensus was "thank god the Sox dumped that washed up has-been" and then after he started hitting in Chicago people wanted him back. People were panning the trade from the get-go.
   123. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4204725)
Not directed at you, or anyone specific in this thread.


Oh, OK. My mistake.

Part of trading is value, part is timing. The former can swing wildly due to the latter.


I agree with this in general, but it doesn't really alleviate my puzzlement regarding the Youkilis trade. As far as I can tell there were a number of teams for whom Youkilis would have been a worthwhile bet at the time.
   124. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4204790)
Except that nearly everyone's reaction here on the day of the trade was that Youkilis would be better than he had been so far
False. You get credit for remembering that people thought they should have gotten more in return, but nobody is disputing that part.

I look forward to your rebuttal from the day of the trade that shows the thread where nearly everyone's reaction was that Youkilis would be better than he had been so far. I don't have the time to keep searching, but given your certainty it should be easy for you to find.
I agree with this in general, but it doesn't really alleviate my puzzlement regarding the Youkilis trade. As far as I can tell there were a number of teams for whom Youkilis would have been a worthwhile bet at the time.
That's fine to speculate. The available evidence doesn't support any team other than the White Sox agreeing with that notion, but I guess that's the puzzling part.

It all comes down to risk assessment. Youkilis was oft-injured, and recovering from injury. He was not performing well. There were suggestions of clubhouse issues. He had $7 million left on his contract, plus a $1m buyout of a $13m option for 2013 that you surely wouldn't exercise. He's a corner infielder. And in the not-too-distant past he was in MVP conversations. That last part is the upside, but there was not much to suggest it was going to happen. Teams likely saw him as a lottery ticket, possibly unfairly so at the time, and certainly unfairly in retrospect. But there it is. For a typical lottery with a $1 million prize, you don't pay anywhere near $1 million for a ticket. You pay almost nothing.

As I suggested earlier, knowing when to cut a player loose is hard. It almost seems like Cherington would rather let someone else deal with the uncertainty if he can. It's kind of like the Scutaro trade, in a way. Will Scutaro's defense continue its decline, or will he bounce back? Should he be the starter, or is he closer to done? I think Cherington's response is, "I'll just make that someone else's problem." I don't know if that's the right approach in general, or even the right approach in the specific moves he's made, but I've seen situations (outside of baseball) where that's a marvelous approach. Rather than take a gamble on how something might work out in the future, let someone else assume the risk.
   125. Jittery McFrog Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4204814)
He had $7 million left on his contract, plus a $1m buyout of a $13m option for 2013 that you surely wouldn't exercise.


According to BB-Ref, the Red Sox are on the hook for $11.13M of his $12.25M 2012 salary. If that's right*, then including his $1M buyout Boston unloaded a total of $2.12M of responsibility.

*Is there some bonus or something that BB-Ref doesn't include? I'm not so clear on these things.
   126. Dan Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4204816)
Almost everyone in that thread says they think the Red Sox made a bad trade. That implies that they think Youkilis is a better player than the .692 OPS he had posted to date. If people didn't think he was going to perform better than that going forward, why would they have hated the trade? If people really thought Youkilis was that bad then getting him off the team and opening up a roster spot for a useful player would be worth the trade by itself. Anyone who says the trade sucked is obviously basing that opinion on thinking Youkilis wasn't washed up to the point of being a 83 OPS+ 3B with unspectacular defense. Based on a quick glance at that thread, the only Red Sox fan I see who says "Youkilis is done, good to get rid of him" was Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer. I could very well be wrong, I know that was why I hated the trade and maybe others just thought Cherington should have gotten a better return even though Youkilis was no longer any good, but to me the number of people saying they hated the trade implies that most of those people thought Youkilis was a significantly better hitter than his 83 OPS+ at the time indicated.

As for your last point, to me the key difference with the Youkilis trade and the Scutaro trade (beyond the fact that Youkilis has a history of being a far more valuable ballplayer) is that the Rockies assumed the entirety of Scutaro's salary, while Cherington sent the money to cover nearly all of Youk's remaining salary along with him. Even if Scutaro had bounced back to be as good as he was in 2009 or 2010, at least the Red Sox wouldn't have been paying him to play for the Rockies. And of course there's also the fact that the Red Sox are possibly (at least in theory) competing with the White Sox directly for a wild card spot, while the Rockies are in the other league. If Cherington is really so uncomfortable with uncertainty that he would rather have mediocrities than players with track records of all star caliber performance then he's not someone I want running my favorite team.
   127. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4204824)
Rather than take a gamble on how something might work out in the future, let someone else assume the risk.

But that isn't what the Red Sox did, they assumed nearly all the possible downside and tossed away the upside.

They paid 6 million for a guaranteed zero value when the alternative was to pay 8 million for what Youkilis could produce.
   128. Dan Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4204858)
Swedish chef did a much better job of explaining what I was trying to get at in my second paragraph.
   129. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4204874)
Almost everyone in that thread says they think the Red Sox made a bad trade. That implies that they think Youkilis is a better player than the .692 OPS he had posted to date.
Oh, oh, it was impliiiieeeeed.

It can't imply that, even if Youkilis is a 692 OPS player, they didn't get enough in return from an acquiring team that needed him desperately?

It can't imply that, even if Youkilis is a 692 OPS player, if we have a good GM he should still be able to con some team into thinking he was still more than that?

It can't imply that, even if Youkilis is a 692 OPS player, Middlebrooks isn't all that, and they can't afford to go all-in on him with a backup plan of Mauro Gomez?

Hey, maybe the sentiment was really that everyone thought Youkilis would bounce back. BUT NOBODY SAID THEY THOUGHT YOUKILIS WOULD BOUNCE BACK. More people said he was done than said he would bounce back, though both are a small sample. I think you infer too much.

But that isn't what the Red Sox did, they assumed nearly all the possible downside and tossed away the upside.
If they kept him, the downside was that they continue playing Youkilis because they think he's not done, and he is done, and they pay him $8 million* to suck while blocking Middlebrooks at a time when their offensive stars save one are struggling. Or slightly better, Youkilis remains injured, and they pay him $8 million to do nothing on the DL, or to clog up a roster spot while he goes day-to-day, or to piss off everyone in the clubhouse because he takes his own misery out on other people. The upside is Youkilis is not done, and not unhealthy.

If they trade him, the downside is Middlebrooks might not be ready and they mess up his development while still paying $5.5 million for Youkilis. The upside is that he is ready, and they pay Youkilis $5.5 million for Middlebrooks' production**.

I get the sense that the expectation, and the variance, of trading him was better than that of the option of keeping him - at the time of the trade. Again the perception of Youkilis at the time of the trade was rife with downside.


* $7 million left on the contract, plus the $1 million option buyout.

** To date, Middlebrooks' OPS is right in line with Youkilis' 2012 ZiPS preseason projection, which is pretty cool. I put this in a footnote because I didn't want this bit of interesting trivia to be mistaken for an attempt at retrospective justification.
   130. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4204896)
According to BB-Ref, the Red Sox are on the hook for $11.13M of his $12.25M 2012 salary. If that's right*, then including his $1M buyout Boston unloaded a total of $2.12M of responsibility.
The numbers I've been quoting, and I think others too, have been based on reports at the time that Youkilis was owed $7 million in salary for the balance of 2012, and that Boston was kicking in $5.5 million of that. From what I recall the option buyout was not part of those numbers. We could be wrong.
   131. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4204910)
I will take this time to point out that the Sox did receive Zach Stewart, who could be an asset at the major league level at some point.

I remember in the offseason when discussing the Scutaro trade that some in this neck of the woods considered Mortensen worthless or worse.
   132. Dan Posted: August 11, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4205943)
If you didn't hate the Youkilis trade enough yet, Middlebrooks now has a broken wrist, and the Red Sox will be calling up Valencia.

Pete Abraham on twitter

Just have to hope now that this doesn't sap his power next year or even beyond that. God ####### damnit.
   133. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 11, 2012 at 12:50 AM (#4205953)
I remember in the offseason when discussing the Scutaro trade that some in this neck of the woods considered Mortensen worthless or worse.


Given his performance up to that point, I don't think you can blame people for that. Mortensen still looks like he's getting crazy lucky to me.

There's not much in Stewart's history that leads me to believe he'll ever be an asset, but I guess crazier things have happened.
   134. Dale Sams Posted: August 11, 2012 at 02:56 AM (#4205996)
If you didn't hate the Youkilis trade enough yet, Middlebrooks now has a broken wrist, and the Red Sox will be calling up Valencia.


Abraham says Valencia will receive the lions share of time. This is what I was talking about in the 'Let Ciriaco play thread'. I'm not clamoring fo the open spot to be given to Siri either directly or by moving Aviles over...I'm complaining that rather then give the spot to some 3 year vet who will probably provide negative WAR...Either let Gomez butcher it up or bring up Iglesias and move Aviles over....or play Ciri. Think outside the box. Don't just drop the spot in the hands of a guy who you know has almost no chance of helping the team out.

Think outside the box. Look for a 31 year old RHB on a hot streak in somebodys minor league org and see if they can get him through waivers. Or do minor league players have to clear waivers?
   135. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 11, 2012 at 07:14 AM (#4206017)
Oh, oh, it was impliiiieeeeed.

It can't imply that, even if Youkilis is a 692 OPS player, they didn't get enough in return from an acquiring team that needed him desperately?

It can't imply that, even if Youkilis is a 692 OPS player, if we have a good GM he should still be able to con some team into thinking he was still more than that?

It can't imply that, even if Youkilis is a 692 OPS player, Middlebrooks isn't all that, and they can't afford to go all-in on him with a backup plan of Mauro Gomez?
Your language here gets it exactly right. "Even if" means "in the worst case scenario." Everyone thought there was a chance that Youkilis was done, but that a 700 OPS was basically a worst-case scenario, and there was also a chance that Youkilis would play up to his projections. Even in a worst-case scenario it was a bad trade. Ray says of Youkilis in the thread, "obviously his real value is greater than his perceived value" and no one disagreed. The thread turned immediately to the question of why the Red Sox had run Youkilis out of town on a rail for no return, precisely because it obviously didn't make baseball sense to anyone, because Youkilis had projected baseball value.
If they trade him, the downside is Middlebrooks might not be ready and they mess up his development while still paying $5.5 million for Youkilis. The upside is that he is ready, and they pay Youkilis $5.5 million for Middlebrooks' production**.
What? The downside is that the Red Sox need a 1B/3B/DH bat and they're forced to make Danny Valencia and Pedro Ciriaco everyday players. The thing that actually happened. That is going to cost the Red Sox several wins over the course of the summer.
   136. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 11, 2012 at 07:31 AM (#4206021)
The Red Sox traded Youkilis after the 72nd game of the season (well during that game really). Assuming Middlebrooks is out for the year the Sox will have played 79 of the following 90 games with one of Gonzalez, Ortiz or Middlebrooks injured and unavailable. Trading a useful player for what appears to be no benefit (and if I'm wrong on Stewart like I was on Mortensen I'll cop to it) at the cost of limiting your "Plan B" options is unwise.
   137. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 11, 2012 at 07:53 AM (#4206027)
As a note, this was the conclusion of my blog post about the Youkilis trade:
I don’t know if the Sox are right to be shopping Youkilis, and of course much depends on the quality of the return. I do worry, looking back on Youkilis’ career, that betting against him in another moment of crisis might not be the right call. He has a history of surpassing low expectations by finding the right adjustment.
   138. Darren Posted: August 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4206472)
Well aren't you a genius. :)
   139. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 11, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4206557)
Youkilis or no Youkilis, this team is going nowhere. And he wasn't going to be back in 2013, anyway. Man, from the perspective of a Red Sox fan who watches lots of games every summer, but has been totally turned off by the 2012 team, the Olympics could not have come at a better time. I actually chose to watch a quarterfinal handball game between Croatia and Iceland over the Red Sox several days ago.

If you are making that choice, then I guess it's fair to say Kevin Youkilis being traded or not traded doesn't really mean ### to me this year...
   140. Dan Posted: August 12, 2012 at 12:02 AM (#4206629)
You're right, of course, that having Youkilis the whole year instead of dumping him at the end of June wouldn't bring this team into real playoff contention, but the issue here is greater than just one move. It was just another decision in what is now a significant history of poor decisions made by the management of this team over the past few years, and especially since last season ended. The fact that enough people in the Red Sox FO thought that move was a good idea to actually make it happen is distressing.

A mere 18 months ago, this team would have been on the short list if you were discussing the best run organizations in MLB. The fact that they've fallen this far in such a short time is simply incredible.
   141. karlmagnus Posted: August 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4206729)
Even 18 months ago, it would have been wrong to put them on such a short list (Lackey had already happened, after all.) From 2005 it has been clear that there is a major ongoing power struggle between the GM and Lucchino, that Lucchino is likely to win many of the personnel decisions, and that Lucchino is an ignorant blowhard. That is NOT a well run organization.

Yawkey may have been an obnoxious racist, but his executors, in the form of the Harrington/Duquette era, are responsible for much of the strength of the 1998-2009 Sox.
   142. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 12, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4206776)
I think it's become evident that there was more to Theo's stewardship than we all realized. I mean, that's the 800 lb gorilla in this room, right? His last couple of seasons were a little rough, but since he left the ship has been sinking pretty quickly. I had got in the habit of thinking of the Red Sox front office as a hydra-headed beast, and if Theo got lopped off a new one would grow, but that doesn't appear to be the case, does it? Yes, the team's been playing in bad luck this year, but Dan's right that the Youkilis decision, while not totally critical in itself, is an exemplar of the kind of decision that's been made for the last nine months or so.
   143. Jim Wisinski Posted: August 12, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4206806)
I think it's become evident that there was more to Theo's stewardship than we all realized. I mean, that's the 800 lb gorilla in this room, right?


I had no idea the costume was that heavy.
   144. Dale Sams Posted: August 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4206837)
Well yeah Yost. I said back in May that something should be said for the value of continuation of leadership. For respect and a little fear of the people there.

I want to put out there also: In 2006, Theo said the team would not win as many games as last year and probably wouldn't make the playoffs. So the FO said "Well, we'll tell people otherwise" and Theo flipped out. Now I think Theo was a little naive, but fast-forward a few years and Theo is talking 'bridge year', sure enough RSN flips the #### out. Next thing you know we have John Lackey and Theo is backpedeling on definitions on 'Bridge Year.'

All this is leading to my theory that I don't think Theo wanted Lackey. Or Crawford the next year at that price. I think he just said, "Fine, I'll just go out and buy the most expensive players on the market so I don't have to hear any more #### about not spending or trying to win."
   145. OCD SS Posted: August 12, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4206958)
Yes, the team's been playing in bad luck this year, but Dan's right that the Youkilis decision, while not totally critical in itself, is an exemplar of the kind of decision that's been made for the last nine months or so.


The real issue is who's making those decisions. Lucchino was the one who talked very openly about ownership having a spot at the baseball ops table, and I think it's hard to look at what Ben has done and lay the blame at his feet, when you can't tell who was responsible for the decisions.

I think the new CBA really caught H/W/L and the FO off guard. Before they could be pretty laissez-faire about worrying about the CBT payment since it made more sense to spend that money than place any limits on competitiveness. But with the introduction of the new CBA and its absolutely draconian penalties, the Sox went from thinking it would really nice to get under to really having to get under. And that leads to an absolute order that the Sox cannot add longterm payroll.
   146. villageidiom Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4207931)
Everyone thought there was a chance that Youkilis was done, but that a 700 OPS was basically a worst-case scenario, and there was also a chance that Youkilis would play up to his projections. Even in a worst-case scenario it was a bad trade.
I'll stop you right there, because you're making my point for me. How can we use { objection to trade } as evidence of { everyone thought he would bounce back } when you admit even if Youkilis were done it was an objectionable trade?
What? The downside is that the Red Sox need a 1B/3B/DH bat and they're forced to make Danny Valencia and Pedro Ciriaco everyday players. The thing that actually happened. That is going to cost the Red Sox several wins over the course of the summer.
I was countering the notion that in the trade "they assumed nearly all the possible downside and tossed away the upside." At the time of the trade there was significant downside to keeping Youkilis, and significant upside to trading him.

Is your objection that I was not precise enough in listing all the possible upsides and downsides in my rather simplistic appraisal? Or do you dispute my overall point?
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