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   1. Richard Gadsden Posted: August 20, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#2148881)
In 2003/4 so many things came right, almost by chance - Ortiz is the most obvious example, but Mueller, Millar and Bellhorn all worked out better than anyone had any right to expect. Arroyo was nearly as good a fluke as Ortiz. Also, the average relievers who form the bottom half of the bullpen worked out - not just Timlin/Embree, but Curtis Leskanic was useful for a chunk of 2004, frex.

Not only that, every single "sure thing" came through - Schilling and Foulke were expensive, but they both worked.

In 2005/6, very few of the gambles have worked out - Clement and Wells are the most obvious, but the bullpen is always a gamble; I think in general Theo's strategy (starting from the Kim trade in 2003) is to have one really good reliever (Kim/Foulke/Papelbon) and then get lots of averageish guys and see who works out in any given year. The problem is that only Papelbon has worked this year. It's not just that Tavarez and Seanez have been terrible; Delcarmen and Hansen haven't been as good as they should have been. Lowell really has been the only bright spot.

And, of course, for the first time, Theo paid a premium price and got a non-premium player in Josh Beckett.

I think his strategy is still essentially sound, and he'll have an LCS-or-better team any time he drops lucky with the bullpen. This season is about as bad as the strategy can get. I just hope the tactics are a bit better in terms of picking the right relievers next time.
   2. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 20, 2006 at 09:54 PM (#2148882)
There was no flaw. This season went just as I think most people (me, anyway), expected: The Sox reloaded with younger players who were going to develop, rather than old players who would start to suck. This was never a serious attempt at winning the Series. Did they have a good team? Yep. And if they HAD won, it wouldn't have really shocked me, or anyone else that was being honest. But it was never a real "Win Now" attempt at the title.

Darren, I think you're just spoiled by 3 years of playoffs. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but 2-3 months in first place and a solid second place finish isn't anything to sneeze at. It was a good year. Just not a great one.

Wait til next year.
   3. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: August 20, 2006 at 10:14 PM (#2148895)
do they really have that good a young core to justify a couple re-loading years?
   4. Backlasher Posted: August 20, 2006 at 10:21 PM (#2148901)
See the Rosenthal thread. It has this information and this discussion. I adopt by reference all the comments therein.
   5. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 20, 2006 at 10:47 PM (#2148906)
If the plan was to win this year, there were a few obvious flaws: Injury-prone and / or old pitching -- in place, I suppose, so that Lester & Co. wouldn't be blocked into the future, but still broadly vulnerable this season --, the idea that Coco Crisp was really a center fielder (he's not, never has been, and I'm starting to think he never will be), a giant gaping hole at shortstop. Basically, what it came down to was that, with pitching that one could see from the beginning was liable to implode, the Sox were going to have to outscore the league, and by a wide margin, to be a sure shot. They haven't, and they went into the season prepared to, er, not. There was a lot of talk about emphasis on defense and all that before the season started, and while it certainly is nice not to be subjected to the defensive stylings of the world's Mark Bellhorns and Kevin Millars, it's come at the cost of penciling in a .319 OBP every day like clockwork, which is not a way to lead the league in runs. Some of these things -- most of them, I guess -- were gambles that didn't pay off, but some of them were predictable, and preventable: There has never been any indication that Coco Crisp was a valid everyday CF, it's been a long time since there was even a hint that Alex Gonzalez could hit, David Wells has been old and fat for quite some time, and that bullpen looked awfully shaky coming into the season.

We've all sort of seen this coming for a while: The Red Sox are old, even after slotting in Pena and Crisp and Youks and Papelbon, and they've been old for a while. This has manifested itself largely in the bullpen and at the back of the rotation, but we've seen it in Nixon's descent into powerlessness and the fact that he now seems incapable of playing even 100 games in a season, we've seen it in the fact that Loretta's alleged bounceback season isn't actually any better than his fall from grace last season, in the fact that even Wakefield couldn't stay on the field.

Some of it is bad luck. Bad defense or no, no one could forsee Coco Crisp turning into a sort of inflated Neifi Perez at the plate. Varitek's power outage and injury weren't completely out of line with what one might expect from a catcher of his age, but they're also a little outside the predictable. Josh Bard's complete inability to catch the knuckleball seemed to surprise everybody, including Bard.

So, it comes down to this: There were, in fact, oversights or errors on the part of Theo and his people, things that couldn't be glossed with dollars the way the Yankees have done with their outfield. Then it must be taken into account that the Sox lost more gambles than they won this year -- for every Lowell or Youks or Paplebon, there's a Loretta, or a Crisp, or a Clement. And then there's just plain crappy luck. It all combines to make a team that's not even as good as its record, which is probably the fourth or fifth best in the league. Even if the Sox do manage to claw into the playoffs, I don't think anybody expects a deep run.

Sigh.
   6. PJ Martinez Posted: August 20, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#2148920)
"...a giant gaping hole at shortstop."

Alex Gonzalez is basically middle of the pack among AL SS's-- offensively. Defensively, he is probably the best of the bunch. SS does not strike me as a problem. (And did anyone else realize that Jeter ranks only 3rd in OPS among AL SS's? I know OPS is a crude stat, and Jeter's been clutch this year, but still.)

"with pitching that one could see from the beginning was liable to implode"

I for one expected more from Beckett-- an ERA in the low to mid 4s at least. I think that was an entirely reasonable expectation, and would have made a significant difference.

"which is not a way to lead the league in runs."

The Sox have scored 7 fewer runs than the Yankees, and 10 fewer than Chicago. The offense is fine.

That said, I agree with your last paragraph (though equating Loretta and Clement seems like a stretch).
   7. Guapo Posted: August 20, 2006 at 11:33 PM (#2148931)
So what’s the big flaw? How do you assess what’s happened here? What would you change?

Trying so hard to not be snarky here...

Dude, your team is just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card and it's August 20.
   8. Darren Posted: August 20, 2006 at 11:41 PM (#2148935)
the idea that Coco Crisp was really a center fielder (he's not, never has been, and I'm starting to think he never will be), a giant gaping hole at shortstop.

PJ covered the SS thing, but the stats prior to 06 said Coco was a fine CF in limited time and superb LF. The early returns were not good this year, but that was a very small amount of games. Let's give him a full year or more before we proclaim him a failure.

Before the year I saw the plan as pretty good. They seemed to get younger without losing much talent. Maybe that was wishful thinking or maybe they're paying now for sins of the past.

In 2003/4 so many things came right, almost by chance - Ortiz is the most obvious example, but Mueller, Millar and Bellhorn all worked out better than anyone had any right to expect. Arroyo was nearly as good a fluke as Ortiz. Also, the average relievers who form the bottom half of the bullpen worked out - not just Timlin/Embree, but Curtis Leskanic was useful for a chunk of 2004, frex.

I don't love this line of thinking. Things did break fairly well for Boston in 04, but largely because they had done a good job of stockpiling depth. In 03, Giambi was seen as the likely starter, but he washed out and Ortiz got a chance. In 04, they lost one of their starters for the entire year but had Arroyo ready to go. Mueller took the place of Hillenbrand, who was dealt for much needed relief help. Pokey went down and was replaced by Bellhorn; Nomar went down and was replaced by Pokey. Those Sox teams had a pretty normal amount of injuries but had excellent depth to compensate.
   9. Darren Posted: August 20, 2006 at 11:45 PM (#2148937)
Dude, your team is just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card and it's August 20.

Dude, my team has a $130 mil. payroll, which dwarfs even its closest competition in the WC. In a similar way that the Yankees are the prohibitive favorite in the East, the Sox are the prohibitive favorite in the WC.
   10. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2149019)
I second Backlasher's motion in #4, and agree with Fly in #2 (his first paragraph).

Funny, but IIRC prior to the start of the season everyone's worries about the rotation hinged on whether Curt Schilling would ever return to form. That's about the only thing that has gone right with the rotation. Everyone else has been some combo of hurt and/or crap.

For the "hurt" portion, well, they've got an old staff. Sometimes it doesn't always go with age (if it did, Schilling would be on the DL and Clement would be healthy... and unfortunately our #1 starter), but you have to expect something like that to happen. Also with an impact to the rotation was Foulke, because Papelbon would have been a serious contender for the rotation when the others started falling. Instead Papelbon, while effective in his role, isn't redeployed in the rotation. But I'd count that with the others, because his injury risk was pretty high given last year.

For the "crap" portion, this rests almost entirely on Beckett. If I had to guess, he's hurt but not admitting it. If so, I'm hoping he doesn't blow 2007 trying to be a hero in 2006. Everyone else has injury as an explanation for their crappiness.

And as I mentioned a while ago, I'm not sure how much of the latter-day failings of the rotation have to do with the loss of Varitek. I think it does, though it's one of those I-have-no-evidence-either-way-so-I-take-it-on-faith things. But there was plenty of crap when he was around, too.

Nonetheless, though I don't think 2006 was supposed to be The Year, they're still competitive and could still make the playoffs. Guapo is right.
   11. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 21, 2006 at 01:12 AM (#2149039)
No, Darren is right. $130 million has to buy a playoff spot, or the season is a colossal failure.

I could find posts where I said Clement would be horrible, but I'm not going to crow about it, because not only would it be impolite, it would also ignore the fact that I also made posts saying Wells would be above-average, and probably that Beckett would be, too. If I said Beckett would implode, it was a reverse-jinx. Now, I didn't expect Beckett to be any better than 4.20, but I thought that was a given.
   12. Darren Posted: August 21, 2006 at 01:24 AM (#2149045)
No, Darren is right. $130 million has to buy a playoff spot, or the season is a colossal failure.

Just to clarify, I think it should buy something very close to a playoff spot. I'm not sure exactly how often they should make it, but I'm thinking upwards of 75 percent at the least.
   13. Toby Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:00 AM (#2149068)
OleP nailed it in the early going when he described this team as "high variance". It was set up so that a lot could go very wrong or a lot could go very right and on the average it would win 93-95 games. Well, right now we are at .566, on pace for 92 wins, so we're only at about 45th percentile, but that could be just a smidgen of bad luck.

As a fan who wants the team to win this year, I would say the real "problems" are (1) the team was set up to win 93-95 games on average, and (2) the team was set up to be "high variance". I'd much prefer that the team be set up to win more like 96-98 games on average, and to be "low variance".
   14. baudib Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:20 AM (#2149097)
This season is a colossal failure no matter how you look at it. If it was a win-now season, well...

If it wasn't, then I have a devil of a time locating the young core who will carry this team to the next championship.
   15. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:24 AM (#2149104)
Toby: I agree. I'd also like them to be a better team.
   16. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:26 AM (#2149109)
Baudib: He's up now.
   17. John DiFool2 Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:27 AM (#2149110)
My feeling is that Coco and Wily Mo would have been good acquisitions-for another team which needed help in LF and DH. Unfortunately those positions are
currently occupied by the Sox's two best hitters, so they have been forced to play out of position. Make W. M. a career DH and he'll probably help you-a lot.
Everyone is crying about the recent awful pitching but I think a large part of that problem is actually the defense. Unfortunately I don't see the D getting
much better over the next year or two-if/when Pedroia steps in I don't think he's a glove wizard, they're probably stuck with Manny until his contract runs
out, it would require a couple of straight-up trades to upgrade CF/RF, and all the while the SS, 3B and C are getting older.

So I see the Sox probably having to really bite the rebuilding bullet for the next two years, but their media position probably makes a full-blown
rebuild disastrous from a PR standpoint (not my position don't shoot the messenger but I don't see Henry as willing to go that far-see post #11). Can they
find someone to take on Manny? Find a new catcher? Young arms for the rotation from the low minors? They'll have to pay the price for these questionable
moves, but they can either pay it willingly and consciously as part of a longer-term plan, or have it forced on them when their old guys drag them down further.
But the Yankees have a similar set of decisions to make too. By 2008 this division could be wide open, and frankly I hope it is-another decade of 1-2 does not
interest me a bit, even if we get the WC most years.

One problem is that it seems to me that it has become progressively harder to move quality veterans w/ big contracts (e.g. Manny & Abreu) than it used to be,
and you invariably don't get equal value for them (I think the Yanks parted with a few "B" prospects for Abreu, but no "A" ones).
   18. Norcan Posted: August 21, 2006 at 07:53 AM (#2149861)
How about thinking that Hansen was ready? He doesn't have much of a trackrecord of success and this goes back to his days at St. Johns where he was only good his junior year. College closers who had instant mlb success like Cordero and Street were dominant every year they pitched in college and they exhibited consistent control. Making that leap from college to great mlb success in short time requires some special players and Hansen wasn't one in college. He was just never in the class of Street.

I think Hansen's got better stuff than some other failed or thus far failed college closers like Aardsma, Looper and Wagner but not by much if his slider doesn't improve. Whatever the case, I don't think I would ever have labelled him an untouchable and he might never have been if they were willing to include him in a trade for Andruw Jones.
   19. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: August 21, 2006 at 07:59 AM (#2149862)
I think fans would be understanding if they out-and-out said they were rebuilding, but they didn't, and their moves don't indicate they are.
   20. Flynn Posted: August 21, 2006 at 08:02 AM (#2149864)
Just to clarify, I think it should buy something very close to a playoff spot. I'm not sure exactly how often they should make it, but I'm thinking upwards of 75 percent at the least.

More than that. If you get a 2001/2002 situation where the wild card wins 101/99 games, that's one thing. But if the White Sox end up winning 94-95 games, that's not acceptable.
   21. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:11 AM (#2149876)
I am over the East, we have no chance there thanks to the ####### Phillys anyway (and our pitching....) We could be a chance if we have a stellar West Coast trip for the Wild card.

This season however will always hinge on that 5 game losing streak to the mighty Rays (who have shat on us from a great height all year) and Kansas City.

BTW, I want to see Timlin shut down for the year or forever. I don't care if there is 6 weeks to go, just shut him down for ##### sake, he is toast.
   22. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:19 AM (#2149879)
   23. Count Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:23 AM (#2149880)
Funny pic. Only Jason Johnson and Julian Tavarez have been way past "on notice" for quite a while. Easily in the "dead to me" category.
   24. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:30 AM (#2149883)
There's no "dead to me" generator
   25. baudib Posted: August 21, 2006 at 10:01 AM (#2149886)
Funny, a SOSH buddy told me a few weeks ago that this Red Sox team could be the best defensive team of the past 25 years.

I told him he's a moron, of course, but the D was considered a strength not too long ago.

Guess it's not a good sign when people who follow the team can't figure out what the hell they're trying to do.
   26. Count Posted: August 21, 2006 at 10:06 AM (#2149887)
C-Wok, i looked up the "on notice" generator and I can't get enough of it. Just awesome.
   27. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2006 at 01:33 PM (#2149948)
I think fans would be understanding if they out-and-out said they were rebuilding, but they didn't,

I think fans would have been very angry had the team said they were rebuilding. You've got a team that should win 90+ games, and they're not going to try to win? People don't buy tickets to watch rebuilding.

and their moves don't indicate they are.

Other than the Lowell acquisition, there aren't too many moves that smack of win-it-now plans. And (a) that was done while Epstein was out of the loop, (b) it could still be argued that it was the price to pay to get Beckett, who could have been considered a building block for the future.
   28. Sean McNally Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:25 PM (#2150001)
Here's the thing Darren (and co.), the problems of Boston appear to be on the pitching side (too many walks, too many XBH, etc.). I mean if I told you all Boston would score 25 runs in the first four games of the series, wouldn't you all take it in a heart beat?

As a Yankee fan, if some of the younger Boston arms get through their growing pains, things ought to be ok.

The other thing I don't think I realized before this was just how dependent the Sox offense was on Manny Ortez. I'm sure its not this high, but it seems like 80-85% of the teams runs are either scored or driven in by those two.
   29. Fridas Boss Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:37 PM (#2150019)
Sean, what does the yankee fan qualifier add to your 2nd paragraph?
   30. Sean McNally Posted: August 21, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2150038)
Nothing, just grudging respect and acknowledging that I don't watch the team as closely as you folks do.
   31. scotto Posted: August 21, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2150050)
And, of course, for the first time, Theo paid a premium price and got a non-premium player in Josh Beckett.

If Mnookin's book is accurate, that was a Lucchino deal I believe.
   32. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 21, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2150065)
Anyone think the team would have been better for 2007 with Hanley Ramirez at SS, Andy Marte at 3B and Ani Sanchez in the rotation?

Still need a CFer but it doesn't look like Coco can play there either next year.

The team would have saved $$$ on Beckett/Lowell and even Crisp and had another arm to build around.
   33. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 21, 2006 at 03:42 PM (#2150100)
The problem with the Sox, at least as shown in this series, seems to be the pitching. Granted, the OF defense isn't great, but the pitching I think bears the brunt of the responsibility for the Sox poor showing so far this year. Losing Wakefield and Clement, who had in the past been at least reasonably durable average pitchers, and having Beckett suck kills them.

Coco has had a disappointing year this year, both in the field and at the plate, but is there a specific reason to think that he will not get better? I'm curious as to when the idea that younger players generally improve as they got older stopped applying to the Red Sox.
   34. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 21, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2150103)
"See the Rosenthal thread."

Oh, well THAT narrows it down.
   35. AROM Posted: August 21, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#2150113)
Funny, a SOSH buddy told me a few weeks ago that this Red Sox team could be the best defensive team of the past 25 years.

I told him he's a moron, of course, but the D was considered a strength not too long ago.


Some were saying that just last night. That's what you get for looking at fielding % and nothing else.
   36. AROM Posted: August 21, 2006 at 03:52 PM (#2150119)
Funny how last night Manny might have been their best defensive outfielder.

The Melky ball that Kapler made his infamous dive on was probably a hit most of the time. I don't think many RF will get to that, but a great CF would. I know I've seen line drives exactly like that die in the glove of Mike Cameron.
   37. Buster Olney the Lonely Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2150136)
Has anyone looked at the fact that the bullpen has been horrible for two straight years with almost completely different personnel? Outside of Papelbon and Timlin the rest of the guys from 2005 are gone (Embree, Bradford, Jeremi, Halama, Myers, Mantei, Meredith). For all the platitudes about pre-game preparation, the pen never seems to come up big.

Watching Coco bat leadoff is making me go blind.
   38. Buster Olney the Lonely Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2150149)
Anyone think the team would have been better for 2007 with Hanley Ramirez at SS, Andy Marte at 3B and Ani Sanchez in the rotation?

All the moving parts (Hanley, Anibal, Marte) last offseason had me worried. I was in the camp that acquiring Jason Michaels as a short-term fix (until Ellsbury is ready) might have been better in the long run.
   39. Addicted To Glove Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:40 PM (#2150169)
I think posts 12 and 13 have it right. About 80% of the time or so $130M should get you into the playoffs. Who's to say that this isn't the 20% of the time you won't make it? There was a high variance to start the year in starting pitching. There was no way of knowing Wake was going to get injured, but Clement and Wells were sure bets to be DL'd at some point. However, I don't think one could have expected the magnitude of Clement's fall or the bad luck of Wells getting hit in the knee by a line drive.

I don't think the Sox in retrospect to this point have gotten a good return for Arroyo. I think we'd be at least 3-4 wins better at this point keeping Arroyo versus trading him. However, the starting pitching has had more holes than one could have expected.

I would also argue that the El Guapo like collapse of Seanez and Tavarez was a bit of a surprise. I mean we didn't expect them to be world beaters, but neither did we expect them to be the back end of the bullpen.

There are however, quite a number of things that have gone right. Hansen, Delcarmen and Lester are legit major leaguers who come on the cheap. They're young, and inconsistent, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that each of them will be better next year than this year. (Look at how long it took some of DET's young pitching to mature!) Did anybody really know what we had in Papelbon? (Answer: NO!)

I also believe Beckett will be better next year with a full year in the AL under his belt. He'll be able to work on the areas he's been exposed to this year in the offseason, and his HR rate will most likely regress, as will Schilling's.

In short, a lot of stuff just went wrong this year. I believe we'll still win 90 games or so, with more hope than meets the eye for next year. If we win 90 with all that's happened this year, I think that's not so bad.
   40. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2150171)
Make W. M. a career DH and he'll probably help you-a lot.

I don't think Manny is tradeable unless you pay a big chunk of his remaining salary. And that's not to mention his 10/5 rights. Would you try to sell high on Lowell, move Youkilis back to 3B and take your lumps with Ortiz' D at first?
   41. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2150177)
Hanley's down to about where I think his real level of ability is - he's at .268/.337/.417 overall - and that's not a lot better than what the Red Sox have gotten out of Gonzalez and Cora when you consider defense and the likelihood (IMO) that Ramirez would have struggled under the eye of the Boston press far more than he has in Florida.

Sanchez's numbers are decent, but you have to consider that he's started three games against the Nationals so far (and is about to make his fourth start against them), and those Nats have basically a three-man offense with Guillen out and Kearns not doing diddly. From what I saw of Sanchez this year, he's reluctant to challenge hitters, and he doesn't throw enough strikes. Eventually, that's going to leap up and bite him against a good team.

I thought a year ago that Beckett for Ramirez/Sanchez was a reasonable move for the Red Sox, with his health the biggest reason for concern. Flipping Marte and Shoppach for Crisp et al was less defensible, especially since Michaels was available and I think most people were aware of Crisp's limitations in CF, but it wasn't a terrible move, either. The Red Sox, for whatever reason, don't appear to believe that they can afford a year of retrenching along the line, so I think you can always expect the team to make moves like these to address weakness rather than counting upon internal solutions and/or less-expensive external ones.

-- MWE
   42. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2150192)
Flipping Marte and Shoppach for Crisp et al was less defensible, especially since Michaels was available and I think most people were aware of Crisp's limitations in CF, but it wasn't a terrible move, either.

As a Phillies fan I agree than Michaels for Marte and Shoppach would have been the greatest trade of all time. Oh man...we would have a catcher and a third baseman right now...
   43. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 21, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2150194)
Funny how last night Manny might have been their best defensive outfielder.

Manny is a goof in the outfield a lot of the time and he's pretty slow, but he does do a really nice job playing the ball off the Monster. Of course, he's had a lot of practice playing the ball of the Monster lately.

Why does Coco take such bad routes to the ball? He's Matsuian.
   44. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 21, 2006 at 05:04 PM (#2150206)
As a Phillies fan I agree than Michaels for Marte and Shoppach would have been the greatest trade of all time.


I know you weren't being serious, but...

The Phillies weren't going to get Marte and Shoppach for *just* Michaels - to get those two, the Indians had to include Riske and Bard. Michaels for Rhodes was a pretty fair return. The Red Sox didn't have bullpen depth to offer at that point, and it was pretty clear that the Phillies wanted pitching. Maybe Lester for Michaels and something (Victorino?) would have worked.

-- MWE
   45. Sean Forman Posted: August 21, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2150540)
I think the people dwelling on a "$130m payroll requires a playoff appearance..." are overstating their case a bit. First off, the Red Sox have a $120m payroll this year. Second, there are 14 teams over $80m right now. And five teams total over $100m. $120m is not as big an advantage as it was three years ago. Other big market teams are catching up.

One other thing, all but three teams are within $75m the Red Sox $120m payroll. The Yankees are spending $75m more than that. With $75m the Red Sox could have added B.J. Ryan, Bobby Abreu, Roger Clemens, and still had $29m leftover.
   46. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:27 PM (#2150921)
The Yankees are spending $75m more than that. With $75m the Red Sox could have added B.J. Ryan, Bobby Abreu, Roger Clemens, and still had $29m leftover.

Well probably the 29 milliondollars would have had to gone to revenue sharing tax...
   47. Cutter Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:30 PM (#2150923)

Why does Coco take such bad routes to the ball? He's Matsuian.
He took a good route for that diving catch earlier in the year.
   48. jonm Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:41 PM (#2150930)
I don't think Manny is tradeable unless you pay a big chunk of his remaining salary.

Why would the Red Sox want to trade Manny? Despite his behavioral flaws, Manny is an all-time great slugger and to get fair value for him you would need a Manny-type player back. He doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. I don't see how the Red Sox could replace his production.

All in all, the Manny signing has to be considered a great move. That's quite remarkable given everything that has been written about the contract.
   49. sunnyday2 Posted: August 21, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2150944)
>the bullpen is always a gamble

For whom? The Twins don't gamble on the bullpen, for one.

>Why would the Red Sox want to trade Manny?

I agree that they shouldn't/wouldn't, because you wouldn't/couldn't get enough for him.

But if the Sox had simply been in 2nd place all year long (if the Yankees had played like the Yankees), would there be this gnashing of teeth?

By the same token, I personally agree with the theory that for $120 million you gotta make the playoffs. But that's just my Twins fan experience talking. There is no rebuilding nor even reloading for $120 mil.
   50. Norcan Posted: August 21, 2006 at 10:03 PM (#2150968)
I wonder if Manny playing so shallow in Fenway is the reason why his defensive numbers are through the cellar. In theory, playing shallow and taking away bloop hits as well as playing shallow and still holding guys to doubles off balls off the ball is the way people have advocated playing left field at Fenway. But as many bloopers as Manny may catch(and he doesn't really catch that many), he allows more balls over his head that land just short of or low on the wall. Take Damon's double off Beckett that drove in the second run Saturday: even though it was well hit, that's a ball I've seen opposing players catch many times and in most parks that's a out.

From what I've seen Melkey plays a good left field at Fenway. He plays deep so that catchable balls don't sail over his head but he also has the speed to come in and catch shallow balls. Certainly he has more defensive tools than Manny but if Manny and the coaching staff would compromise a bit and he played little bit deeper, about halfway between where Melkey stands and he normally stands, I think it's possible his numbers would normalize. He'll never be great but he won't be the equivalent of a rich man's David Wells playing left field.
   51. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 21, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2150976)
One other thing, all but three teams are within $75m the Red Sox $120m payroll.

So what? Why should what the Red Sox choose to spend (not afford, choose to spend) matter to anyone else? The Yankees choose to spend more, other teams choose to seem less. The Yankees have an edge on the Red Sox but the Red Sox have an advantage over 28 other teams.

It seems like 'having an ownership that is committed to winning' means spending up to what Boston spends but the Yankees are gluttonously overboard. Why?
   52. PJ Martinez Posted: August 21, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2150996)
Well, let's see...

Lowell has had his usual second-half drop-off. Youkilis tailored off, too. Varitek went down. Wily Mo Pena had a terrible series, and Ortiz had a mediocre one. Manny was amazing (and is at .446/.637, second only to Pujols in OPS). Nixon's loss doesn't necessarily hurt offensively, but it makes the team shallower (and probably makes a bad defensive OF worse).

Beckett, at least this year, is not very good. Clement is horrible and injured. Wakefield (usually good against the Yankees) is injured, too. Hansen and Delcarmen are going through serious growing pains (I hope that's what they are), and the Ancient Reliever, Timlin, seems to have tired or something.

Meanwhile, the arms of the Yankee bullpen have somehow not fallen off yet, and they replaced Bubba Crosby with Bobby Abreu.

These last two games were eminently winnable, and, if the outcome reversed, this season would seem like something other than over. But, truthfully, the Sox are probably, at best, the 5th-best team in the two divisions that matter, the AL East and the AL Central. That's not good enough.

I'm looking forward to next year, though. I hope Theo and Co. make some good moves this offseason. Not all of last year's have worked out so far, but I don't think that's particularly indicative of any systematic problems. Except maybe try to spare money on mediocrity, and spend more on superstars, if there are any avaiable.
   53. Sean Forman Posted: August 21, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2151052)
So what? Why should what the Red Sox choose to spend (not afford, choose to spend) matter to anyone else? The Yankees choose to spend more, other teams choose to seem less. The Yankees have an edge on the Red Sox but the Red Sox have an advantage over 28 other teams.

Which is why we need to remove the anti-trust exemption and allow free movement of franchises. Allowing another franchise or two into the NY market would solve most of the issues that we see with disparate revenue streams. What if you found out that George Steinbrenner made $100m last year even with a $200m payroll, would that temper your reaction at all? I would wager, the Yankees could probably support a $250m payroll and still be profitable. The Red Sox could not support a $250m payroll and still be profitable. That has everything to do with "afford" and not "choose".
   54. Darren Posted: August 21, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#2151073)
Sean,

You committed the cardinal sin of saying that the gap between the Red Sox and Yankees is far greater than the gap between the Red Sox and everyone else. Even though this is true, it's proof to most people here that you are a hopeless Red Sox fanboy.
   55. Backlasher Posted: August 21, 2006 at 11:57 PM (#2151084)
Which is why we need to remove the anti-trust exemption and allow free movement of franchises.

Which franchise in recent history has been restrained from moving? Who has tried to move and not been allowed to within the last few years?
   56. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:10 AM (#2151097)
I would wager, the Yankees could probably support a $250m payroll and still be profitable. The Red Sox could not support a $250m payroll and still be profitable. That has everything to do with "afford" and not "choose".

I guess its a good thing Pedro and Damon didn't sign with Boston, as it sounds like the checks might have bounced. Why is it that the owners like Pohlad and Loria are villified but John Henry is just being fiscally responsible?

Why is it imperative to close the gap between Boston and the Yankees via franchise relocation but the overall disparity in spending is due to cheap or imcompetent (or both) ownership?
   57. rr Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:10 AM (#2151098)
What if you found out that George Steinbrenner made $100m last year even with a $200m payroll, would that temper your reaction at all? I would wager, the Yankees could probably support a $250m payroll and still be profitable. The Red Sox could not support a $250m payroll and still be profitable. That has everything to do with "afford" and not "choose".

To an extent. I expect, however that the Red Sox could spend more than they do and still make a shitload of money.
   58. AROM Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:26 AM (#2151123)
Which franchise in recent history has been restrained from moving? Who has tried to move and not been allowed to within the last few years?

Nobody, but I think its assumed that some moves would not be permitted. If there was nothing MLB could do to stop it, I think Jeffrey Loria would move the Marlins to the NY area as soon as he got a temporary stadium set up.
   59. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:48 AM (#2151160)
If there was nothing MLB could do to stop it, I think Jeffrey Loria would move the Marlins to the NY area as soon as he got a temporary stadium set up.

I wonder if the Elysian Fields in Hoboken are available.
   60. Backlasher Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:50 AM (#2151165)
Nobody, but I think its assumed that some moves would not be permitted. If there was nothing MLB could do to stop it, I think Jeffrey Loria would move the Marlins to the NY area as soon as he got a temporary stadium set up.

If that is the case, I'm not sure how what is left of the Antitrust exemption would be applied here. If Loria does not do so because he is respecting a cartel like behavior, he would not have a suit under Antitrust.

If one of the Dolan boys wanted to sue, then I can see how that antitrust exemption would be problematic.

I mean I don't suppose that people want the AG to trustbust MLB and force it to sell off part of the partnership so their is split control. I don't suppose they want to compel a random percentage of the owners to divest themselves of the teams.

I don't see how the antitrust exemption as it still remains valid law will work against the stated goals. I may be missing something in what people have in mind though.

If I'm not suppose to talk about this, somebody please let me know the protocol for responding to these interesting points.
   61. Srul Itza Posted: August 22, 2006 at 12:58 AM (#2151178)
Which franchise in recent history has been restrained from moving? Who has tried to move and not been allowed to within the last few years?

BL, there is a difference between moving into an open area, and moving into an area where a team has exclusive rights. As an example, the issue of San Francisco's exclusive rights has made it difficult for Oakland to move to San Jose, I believe.
   62. Srul Itza Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:03 AM (#2151190)
From an Article on Baseball Prospectus:

In 1998, Congress passed the Curt Flood Act, which partially repealed the antitrust exemption to give the Players Association the same rights as the unions in the other major sports. Congress specifically stated that the exemption was still intact with respect to relocation, the reserve clause, the minor leagues, and broadcasting contracts. This Act also had the effect of writing the antitrust exemption into law, ensuring that a full repeal will only come from Congress, and not the Supreme Court.
   63. jonm Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:12 AM (#2151203)
I wonder if the Elysian Fields in Hoboken are available.

This is probably not the place to discuss this, but I've always wondered how well a third team in NYC would do. I know about the demographics...but, the problem it seems to me is that both the Yankees and the Mets seem to have pretty strong fan loyalty (brand loyalty). I don't think that I know any Yankees or Mets fans who would switch their loyalties to the Hoboken Marlins. The Mets aren't really an apt comparison; they reaped old Giant and Dodger fans.

The Hoboken Marlins probably would be more like the New Jersey Nets, who still aren't popular even after several years of absolutely horrible Knick management.
   64. Srul Itza Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:20 AM (#2151218)
Following up, here is the other part of the Curt Flood Act:

(b) No court shall rely on the enactment of this section as a basis for changing the application of the antitrust laws to any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements other than those set forth in subsection (a). This section does not create, permit or imply a cause of action by which to challenge under the antitrust laws, or otherwise apply the antitrust laws to, any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements that do not directly relate to or affect employment of major league baseball players to play baseball at the major league level, including but not limited to -

(1) any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements of persons engaging in, conducting or participating in the business of organized professional baseball relating to or affecting employment to play baseball at the minor league level, any organized professional baseball amateur or first-year player draft, or any reserve clause as applied to minor league players;

(2) the agreement between organized professional major league baseball teams and the teams of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, commonly known as the `Professional Baseball Agreement', the relationship between organized professional major league baseball and organized professional minor league baseball, or any other matter relating to organized professional baseball's minor leagues;

(3) any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements of persons engaging in, conducting or participating in the business of organized professional baseball relating to or affecting franchise expansion, location or relocation, franchise ownership issues, including ownership transfers, the relationship between the Office of the Commissioner and franchise owners, the marketing or sales of the entertainment product of organized professional baseball and the licensing of intellectual property rights owned or held by organized professional baseball teams individually or collectively;


Now, the fact that the act does not "permit" such a cause of action, does not mean that any such cause of action is prohibited. The fact that the section may not be relied on to change the practice, does not, to me, mean that the Court could not revisit it based on the existing laws.

I mean, if Congress wanted to have the following Acts exempt from the application of the Antitrust laws, couldn't they have said so in much simpler terms? To me, this Act DOES NOT say that the Baseball Antitrust Exemption is now codified. Rather, it says that the Baseball Antitrust Exemption is hereby stricken ONLY for MLBPA issues, and for everything else, we are tossing this hot potato right back to the Courts.
   65. Backlasher Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:32 AM (#2151242)
From the actual text of the act (not citing lexis for everyone's benefit)

That does not look like "Congress specifically stated that the exemption was still intact with respect to relocation." It sounds like to me that the Act cannot be used as evidence that any common law doctrine cannot be applied to relocation.

And maybe I'm missing a case, but a federal district court has said in dicta, the relocation of franchises could fall within the league structure exception, but nobody has held that as of yet. Piazza v. Major League Baseball, 831 F. Supp. 420 (D. Pa. 1993).

Moreover, I didn't think the Stadium Finance and Relocation Bill was ever codified into law. Am I mistaken? But I think Piazza is nice persuasive authority that the reserve clause exception (which was obliterated in Flood) and the league structure exception have to be part of the gravaman of the issue for antitrust exemption to apply.
   66. Backlasher Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2151273)
Oh well we crossed posts and believe it or not we actually agreed.
   67. Toby Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:53 AM (#2151283)
Here's the official Public Law print of the Curt Flood Act of 1998, from GPO.

Not sure which stadium finance and relocation bill you mean, BL, but I'd be glad to look it up if you can give me more to go on. The attorney who does all the antitrust drafting for the House shares an office with me.
   68. Backlasher Posted: August 22, 2006 at 01:59 AM (#2151293)
Not sure which stadium finance and relocation bill you mean, BL, but I'd be glad to look it up if you can give me more to go on. The attorney who does all the antitrust drafting for the House shares an office with me.

Stadium Financing and Franchise Relocation Act of 1999 (Introduced in Senate)
   69. Toby Posted: August 22, 2006 at 02:45 AM (#2151378)
thanks. Sure doesn't look like it ever came close to being enacted.
   70. Sean Forman Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:37 AM (#2151465)
What overall disparity is due to cheap or incompetent owners? The overall disparity is likely due to the difference in marginal revenue earned by a win. Some of that is due to the quality of the Yankees management, but a large part of it is due to the difference in markets. Do you really think that if we plopped the Yankees down in Kansas City, they would have a $200m payroll?
   71. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:43 AM (#2151467)
Do you really think that if we plopped the Yankees down in Kansas City, they would have a $200m payroll?

No, but I think if we plopped the Yankees management down in Boston, they'd have a $200 million payroll, and that's the relevant point.
   72. PJ Martinez Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:23 AM (#2151495)
"No, but I think if we plopped the Yankees management down in Boston, they'd have a $200 million payroll, and that's the relevant point."

This is a pretty interesting hypothetical. It seems clear to me that Steinbrenner hates to lose, and will spend a great deal in order to win. That spending has reportedly driven down Yankee profit margins in the last few years.

The Red Sox are a highly profitable team, and I think John Henry wants very much to win. However, he and Theo and Co. seem to believe that one can win year in and year out with careful planning and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-125 million dollars for player salares. Is this attitude necessitated by being in Boston as opposed to New York?

I'm inclined to think it is. The Yankees are one of the top two or three most recognizable sports franchises in the world (Real Madrid maybe ranks above... anyone else? Man United?). YES is a very successful network in the largest media market in the country. The Yankees have been appraised at something like 33-40% more than the Red Sox have. All of that, I suspect, plays into the relative willingness of Steinbrenner and Henry to lay out more than 125 million dollars on player salaries.

As for myself, I take all of this as a given, and don't really care. I know the Red Sox can win under these circumstances; after all, they have a more recent title than New York. And Boston has more money to spend than any other franchise that isn't the Yankees. Yes, they're in the same division, but the Wild Card means they can have a lesser record than New York and still make the playoffs. So, for me, this is all a side discussion (an interesting one, yes, but basically redundant or unnecessary when discussing "what the hell happened").
   73. 1k5v3L Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:36 AM (#2151503)
Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10m. And the City of New York built his stupid stadium.

The Red Sox owners paid just a little bit more than $10m for their team. Pardon them if they aren't shy about pocketing a profit on occasion...

People should stop complaining that the Red Sox cannot make the playoffs because they have ONLY the second highest payroll in baseball. It's dumb.
   74. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 22, 2006 at 11:50 AM (#2151626)
People should stop complaining that the Red Sox cannot make the playoffs because they have ONLY the second highest payroll in baseball. It's dumb.

If Boston fans at the beginning of the season were lamenting the fact that the Yankees were just too good to compete with because of their massive payroll advantage then maybe they could be taken more seriously.

In a way Red Sox fans are like the shorter guy at the park who challenges you to a game, starts out talking trash and then after you put him to rest starts complaining about how you should win given your height advantage. (And the fact that his catcher was injured.)
   75. Sean Forman Posted: August 22, 2006 at 02:19 PM (#2151780)
Gardening (no answer to this??) Do you really think that if we plopped the Yankees down in Kansas City, they would have a $200m payroll?

If you'll read my first post, I was pointing out to the people that assume a $120m payroll is a clear advantage and demands a playoff appearance, that the rest of the league is catching up to that pretty quickly, and therefore the clear advantage is disappearing. The Yankees, however, are clearly in a different ballpark altogether when it comes to spending and if you think that other owners could easily match them, I have a bridge for sale that I would like to speak to you about. It may even be part of your daily commute.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Red Sox have a substantial debt service from their purchase (I'm assuming it wasn't a cash deal). It will be interesting to see if the Yankees cut back at all when their new ballpark starts to rack up expenses and cost overruns.
   76. esturminator_CT Posted: August 22, 2006 at 02:22 PM (#2151783)
I believe what happened is as easy as this. . .

The Red Sox FO put together a competitive team with an eye on not mortgaging the future in order to win today. 2004 was an anomoly in that everything went as well or better than could be reasonably expected. In 2006 fate has not been so kind. Meanwhile the Yankees have no restrictions on what they can do to try to win today.

The Red Sox have a 2006 team that can play competitively with most teams mainly because Manny and Papi can keep them on the scoreboard offensively. However the losses of Clement, Wakefield, Wells and Foulke for most of the year, the undervalued performance of Beckett, and the overexposure and overuse of the young, inexperienced arms combined with the loss of Varitek was critical. Loretta, Gonzalez, and Lowell have all worked out reasonably well and Pena could turn out to be a good addition if he learns plate discipline and how to handle the offspeed pitches.

The team was still competitive, even with the Yankees, until Aug 1st. On August 1st, the Yankees added Bobby Abreu to their line-up for the first time and Cory Lidle to their rotation and the Sox lost the services of Captain Jason Varitek. Since Varitek's move to the DL the team is 6-14 with over a 6.00 team ERA. I posted on a thread here just after the All-Star break that my biggest concern for this year's Red Sox was the lack of catching depth and lack of a "catcher of the future" anywhere in the organization. Most of you "poo pooed" my concern and responded that this was not an issue. I still think it is a major issue.

In addition, Coco Crisp has never been and never will be the player that the Boston Brass apparently assessed him to be. Following the loss of Varitek and the collapse of the pitching staff, the next biggest factors in the 5 game sweep by the Yankees were the removal of Youkilis from the lead-off spot and the failure to stock the bullpen with lefties heading into the series. Crisp was hideous in the lead-off role. 1 for 19. I suppose the move was made to try to protect Manny in the line-up. That worked great. How many times did the Yankees walk Manny in the 5 games? The one time where Youkilis could have made the move pay, the coaching staff asked him to bunt. And where were Craig Breslow and Javier Lopez when they were needed? The lefties in that Yankee line-up killed the Red Sox . . . . Damon, Abreu, Giambi, Cano, and Cabrera killed the pitching staff and even the switch hitters Bernie and Posada had productive performances against the righties . . . and there was no lefty for Francona to bring in to stop the carnage. Then after bringing Lopez back up for the final two games they still went to Timlin to start the eight in the Sunday game and then brought the kid in with the tying runs already on and no outs to pitch to Abreu - nothing like easing the kid into the game! The one lefty that the Red sox did give a chance on the mound was Wells and he held that line-up in check over his innings on the hill.

The real needs moving forward are left handed arms, a catcher who can play a back-up role now and the starting role in the near future, and a line-up design that keeps a pair of high OBP guys in front of Papi and Manny and a reasonable power threat behind them - that is the only way teams will continue to pitch to these two extraordinarily productive hitters.
   77. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 22, 2006 at 02:49 PM (#2151821)
Gardening (no answer to this??) Do you really think that if we plopped the Yankees down in Kansas City, they would have a $200m payroll?

Well, we can answer that question for the Red Sox with a resounding 'no' based on John Henry's ownership of the Marlins.

Since the Yankees have such a big advantage over the Red Sox, are you in favor of a salary cap to limit spending?

When Henry bought the Marlins in 1998, he inherited the terrible stadium lease former owner Wayne Huizenga had "negotiated" with himself for the Marlins. Henry vowed to build a new park with his own money if necessary...but within a year or two he was saying, "Well, I'll use my own funds if I must, but if I do there won't be any money left to sign players, so can't the taxpayers spare a few hundred million?"
   78. Sean Forman Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2151852)
Gardening (no answer to this??) Do you really think that if we plopped the Yankees down in Kansas City, they would have a $200m payroll?

I have already stated my preferred solution, as I have many, many other times. Allow one or two more teams to move into the New York market. Let the free market work.
   79. Sean McNally Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:27 PM (#2151859)
Buster Olney weighed on this earlier this week with some interesting perspective:

"The Red Sox may not spend as much as the Yankees, they may not believe that they should. But consider the incredible sources of income for the team -- perhaps the best local revenue streams of any club, with NESN and tremendous local radio coverage and advertising; the expansion of Fenway Park; the highest seat prices in the majors; the surprising and enormous dollars that every team is getting for the success of MLB.com; dramatically increased concessions, with dozens of additional beer taps in the park to charge big money for the brew. It is apparent that the Red Sox are grossing enormous amounts of money.

The Red Sox have basically held to their budget since they won the World Series in 2004. I don't have access to their books -- the next writer who does will be the first -- but this does beg a question: Where is the additional money going?

George Steinbrenner has rightly been criticized over the years for exorbitant spending, for crazy financial decisions on mediocre players. But he plows a lot of his profit back into the team.

Are the Red Sox doing that?

The new ownership group has been wonderful for the franchise, a blessing, and has worked overtime to make sure that a fan's experience at Fenway Park is enhanced.

Are they spending the extra money needed to make sure they have a left-handed reliever or two down the stretch, or to make sure that Johnny Damon doesn't sign with the Yankees?

This year, they didn't.

When the Yankees play the Minnesota Twins, or the Oakland Athletics, it is a David vs. Goliath type situation. The Twins cannot compete with the Yankees' resources, and they'll never have multi-million dollar middle relievers and bench players.

I don't begrudge any privately owned company the right to make money, and keep it. The Red Sox are a terrifically run business. They can spend or not spend as they see fit; that is their right.

But let's not be fooled here. The Red Sox have money."
   80. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2151863)
I have already stated my preferred solution, as I have many, many other times. Allow one or two more teams to move into the New York market. Let the free market work.

Would Oakland be free to move to San Jose? Let's say that any territorial rules were abandoned. What do you see happening? It seems like Loria's Marlins would be the logical team but where would they play? Who would fund the stadium?

No snarkiness - how do you see it playing out if the free market reigned?
   81. RobertMachemer Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2151867)
Coco Crisp has never been and never will be the player that the Boston Brass apparently assessed him to be.
I really do not understand the level of pessimism about Crisp expressed in this post. Crisp was pretty much THE SAME as Damon in 2004 and 2005 -- how good do you think the Boston Brass assessed him to be?

I've done this before, but I'll do it again: pick out Damon's last season with the Sox from the trio below...

.297 AVG, .344 OBP, .446 SLG, 106 OPS+
.316 AVG, .366 OBP, .439 SLG, 113 OPS+
.300 AVG, .345 OBP, .465 SLG, 119 OPS+

Perhaps you can pick it out -- it's the middle one -- but the other two, being Crisp's 2004 and 2005 seasons, look pretty damned similar to me. If Crisp was assessed to be about as good as Damon, it seems like a very reasonable assessment to me.

Put another way:
Here are Damon's OPS+s for his time in Boston: 113, 94, 117, 113
Here are Crisp's OPS+s for his age-24 and age-25 seasons in Cleveland: 106, 119

They sure as heck look similar to me. Damon may well be slightly better (especially if we weight OBP appropriately), but then he was in his prime years (the ones Crisp's just entering).

It's almost certainly the injury. Maybe Crisp will never be healthy again, maybe he'll never return to his 2004-2005 levels, but if he doesn't, it's incredibly likely that it's beause of the injury.
   82. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2151884)
Let's assume that of the AL teams, Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Anaheim, Texas and Seattle will stay put due to location/stadium situations (Minnesota has a stadium approved, correct?). That leaves Toronto, Tampa, KC and Oakland as relocation possibilities.

In the NL you have Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Houston, Chicago, Colorado, San Francisco, San Diego, LA and Arizona seemingly unlikely to move due to location/stadium situations, leaving the Marlins as a relocation possibility.

Do you see more than one of Florida, Tampa, Oakland, Toronto and KC moving into the NYC market? Oakland would likely jump to San Jose and I'm not sure if Toronto would risk it.

Could the NYC market support the Yankees, Mets, Royals, Marlins and Devil Rays?
   83. attaboy Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2151893)
This discussion has gone off in many tangents but the real question is what has happened. The one true answer is not money or injuries. The Red Sox had their chance to put significant distance between the yanks and themselves when Matsui and Sheff went down and the yanks did nothing to replace them for months. Those series, where the sox could have built up a big lead to withstand an inevitable slump, were split and the sox could not put away their rivals. As a Mets fan, I kept hoping that you would but I have to admit, I was in awe of how the yanks kept winning without those two players and now, of course, without the yanks being put away by the sox, the vaults have opened and they probably will win the WS with an upstoppable offensive machine (the power of OBP is shown again to remind those non-believers)...I can only hope that Pitching can truly stop hitting in the playoffs as has been shown time and time again (that is Minn or Det pitching because the mets don't have enough to do it)!
   84. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:50 PM (#2151894)
The Yankees' half of the NY market (that is, NY market divided by two teams) is about twice the size of the Boston market. The Boston market is about three times the size of the KC or Milwaukee or Cincinatti markets. So, should we have three teams in Boston and twelve in New York? Or two in Boston, six in LA, and eight in NY, with no teams in eleven current MLB cities?

And I'm pretty sure that this:

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Red Sox have a substantial debt service from their purchase (I'm assuming it wasn't a cash deal). It will be interesting to see if the Yankees cut back at all when their new ballpark starts to rack up expenses and cost overruns.

is just wrong. Henry et al doubtless have substantial debt service, but they also have substantial depreciable assets as a result of the recent purchase, and I believe that al of that can be used to offset revenue (and thus reduce revenue sharing payments). The new Yankee Stadium will also significantly reduce Steinbrenner's revenue sharing payments.
   85. Sean McNally Posted: August 22, 2006 at 03:50 PM (#2151896)
Just moving more teams the NY-metro area would not the problem solve.

Just by being a new team in town does not engender fan support. Would a new team in Boston engender the same feelings that the Red Sox have? The Mets had a "built-in" fan base because there was huge number of jilted NL fans. D.C. is building a fan base (a bit to the detriment of Baltimore) but even that promises to be a long process.

The voice lied to you... sometimes if you build it (or move it) they won't come.
   86. WalkOffIBB Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2151905)
I was in awe of how the yanks kept winning without those two players ...

Why?
   87. rr Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2151909)
However, he and Theo and Co. seem to believe that one can win year in and year out with careful planning and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-125 million dollars for player salares. Is this attitude necessitated by being in Boston as opposed to New York?

No, but I think it IS necessitated by Henry's relationship with Selig. People don't talk about it much anymore, but recall the "arrangements" for Henry's purchase of the Red Sox. Also, when the Red Sox went over the luxury tax a couple of years ago, and had to pay a few $M in penalties, Henry made a public statement to the effect that he was a bad boy and Bud's policies rock, etc.
   88. Backlasher Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2151911)
The voice lied to you... sometimes if you build it (or move it) they won't come.


But the bigger point is that nobody is really building anything.

Has there been an investment group that stated they wanted Northern NJ, has there been any stadium development in Northern NJ? The issue hasn't even presented itself.

And if it did, there is no guaranty the league says "No". The last time this was tested was ALL OF LAST YEAR, when Angelos wanted to prevent the Nats from coming to DC. We saw how that played out.

And if MLB did say no, so what. There is no statute or court decision that says they have that authority. There is dicta that suggests they might have that authority under certain sets of facts.

And its not like Al Davis didn't make a sport out of winning decisions to allow him to move the Raiders.

I have a hard time buying people want "the free market to work". If that is the case, you might want to pop another team down on the Wharf in Boston. It sounds more like they want to leech away the Yanks ability to invest in themselves.

By and large, I can live with various types of salary cap systems, so I don't care that much. And the Yankees do have a resource that other teams do not have, but that is tough darts. Either change the rules after the season or play by the rules. Bringing it up after you get your ass handed to you, sounds a lot like excuse mongering.
   89. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:08 PM (#2151913)
What the hell happened?

The pitching staff crumbled. It happens. Pitchers are hard to predict and notorious for up-and-down performances from year to year. A lot of us thought the Red Sox had a good staff going into the season. (I especially liked their bullpen! Shows what I know.) Also, the outfield defense has been notably poor and they can't stop the running game at all, both of which have contributed some.
   90. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:08 PM (#2151914)
is just wrong. Henry et al doubtless have substantial debt service, but they also have substantial depreciable assets as a result of the recent purchase, and I believe that al of that can be used to offset revenue (and thus reduce revenue sharing payments).

Wasn't 2006 the last year that the Red Sox owners are allowed to attribute half the purchase price of the team to the acquisition of player contracts, writing off the value of these contracts?

Does anyone know what the impact will be on Theo's budget now that they don't have these substantial paper 'losses' to reduce their tax liability? Seems like they'll be losing an annual net benefit even though they've been doing so well overall.
   91. attaboy Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2151917)
their line up was: a struggling Arod, a strugging Giambi, Jeter, Damon, Posada, Melky, Bernie, andy phillips. Not a scary line up and their pitching was, at best questionable. Cano was hurt much of that time, as well. Yet they kept winning at a .580-.600 clip. The only areas that excelled was relief pitching and Jeter. Sorry if you are too jaded to be impressed by what they accomplished but I can give the devil his due and they deserve some props for maintaining a high level of play before the boss opened up the purse strings and were given the gift from the Phillies.
   92. Swedish Chef Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2151926)
Why not move the Marlins to Boston? Surely there is room for another team in that baseball-mad market, especially as Fenway can't take all that many fans.
   93. greenback calls it soccer Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:25 PM (#2151938)
Does anyone know what the impact will be on Theo's budget now that they don't have these substantial paper 'losses' to reduce their tax liability? Seems like they'll be losing an annual net benefit even though they've been doing so well overall.

I believe economists call such a benefit "rent".

The whole Red Sox organization turns silver into gold, or maybe it's gold into platinum. Whenever they acquire a good player at market rates, they come out ahead financially.
   94. WalkOffIBB Posted: August 22, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2151945)
Sorry if you are too jaded to be impressed by what they accomplished but I can give the devil his due and they deserve some props for maintaining a high level of play before the boss opened up the purse strings and were given the gift from the Phillies.

Because those purse strings had previously been closed? I guess my standards for being awed are just a bit higher. I expect a line up with Arod, Giambi, Jeter, Damon and Posada to be pretty damn good. They have done a nice job of winning games, but that is hardly something I am in "awe" over.
   95. attaboy Posted: August 22, 2006 at 05:04 PM (#2151981)
Sorry, playing a bunch of not ready yet kids and too old veterans, put together with a rotation who no one expects any great shakes from (and few were delivered) they still managed to win well more than I expected. I would have expected around a .520-.540 team until the trades hit but they easily bettered that and the key is they played the sox even when it counted most, in head to head play. I'm giving them credit for that even if you don't think it was much, I do.
   96. WalkOffIBB Posted: August 22, 2006 at 05:17 PM (#2151994)
I'm giving them credit for that even if you don't think it was much, I do.

This is probably really a definitional disagreement. I give them credit for doing a good job. If the Twins lost Mauer and Santanna for two months and still won 57% of their games, I would be in awe. With the Yankees line up, not so much. It is nice and all, but nothing all that special. Obviously, YMMV.
   97. attaboy Posted: August 22, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2152006)
Before the injuries, the Yankees had a 1-3 record against the sox. After the injury but before the trades, they were 4-2 against the sox. With the bulk of the sox playing and healthy, certainly the core players, the sox needed to put the yanks away but could not, in fact, they could not even split the games! The yanks did put the sox away (probably) when they had the chance and the sox had the injuries, though. Still, 4 more games to go, it would be nice if they were meaningful.
   98. Sean Forman Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:14 PM (#2152082)
Gardening (no answer to this, again??) Do you really think that if we plopped the Yankees down in Kansas City, they would have a $200m payroll?

I have zero problem with another team in Boston if someone wants to put one there. There used to be one there you know.

As for which teams would move, why move one, expansion to 32 would solve the problem nicely. Suppose Selig said tomorrow, "We are expanding to 32 teams. The two teams will go to the highest bidder and they will be AL teams and will be allowed to play in whatever market they want and the league will provide $150m in debt financing for the construction of a ballpark." What do you think the most likely outcome would be? I think another team in the NY area would be a given in that situation.

I know that a lot of team loyalty drives fandom (especially among this set). But a lot of the games that I go to in Philly, not a lot of the people of there to appreciate Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. It is a great entertainment option.
   99. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#2152092)
I could be wrong, Sean, but I think you seriously overestimate the willingness of potential new money to challenge Steinbrenner (or even Wilpon) on his own turf. IMO, the highest bidders would want a defined and protected market of their own.
   100. Sean Forman Posted: August 22, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2152103)
I think it would take someone audacious with a secondary reason for wanting to do it, but someone like a Dolan, Ratner, Trump??, might be willing to do it. I think people are underestimating the amount of income sloshing around the NY market. In every major sport, their franchises are at or near the top of revenue generated.

Do you really think it is a coincidence that the Yankees won all of those titles while having no A.L. competition in the city?
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