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Friday, July 29, 2022

Dead Line

As of this moment Boston is in last place, and not playing well. They are also, with a solidly mediocre 50-50 record, 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. They are Schrödinger’s Baseball Team. They are simultaneously dead and alive.

The trade deadline is 6 PM on Tuesday 8/2. Between now and then they need to choose which side of the line they’re on, and act accordingly.

I mean, in reality they can make choices well after that deadline. Mike Myers, Bobby Kielty, and Dave Henderson were all post-deadline acquisitions that contributed to pennant-winning teams. However, to be fair those teams were not in last place at the deadline, with several teams ahead of them in the playoff hunt. Regardless, at some point they need to make a decision about the season, and I suspect they made that decision months ago: we’re building toward 2023 and beyond, and if we have success before then we can count ourselves lucky. In that sense, 2022 is already dead.

One of the things that caught my eye when visiting the Fangraphs articles on the top 50 players in terms of trade value (thread here) was that Boston has exactly zero players on the list. Granted, part of that is they traded away one of the people on the list a few years ago. But even setting that aside, they don’t have anyone on the roster who provides that level of trade value. Nobody worth a damn is locked up long-term except Story (who has started off slow/injured) and Whitlock (who isn’t going to provide huge trade value unless he’s a starter). Devers and Bogaerts have value as players, but they’re potentially free agents relatively soon. If they’re setting up for the future can they make a deadline deal that helps accomplish that, given what they have to trade?

I’m going on the record as saying (checks online to see if any Red Sox players have been traded while typing this paragraph) Bogaerts and Devers will still be here after the deadline. So will nearly everyone else. Bloom wants value, and with many teams in the hunt value is not as likely to be attainable at the trade deadline. At least that’s my guess. Like, I totally see Bloom upgrading on backup catcher at the deadline. I don’t see him winning the Soto sweepstakes let alone entering the Soto sweepstakes.

So let’s talk trade deadline. Who do you think is going? Where will they try to improve?

villageidiom Posted: July 29, 2022 at 11:35 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 29, 2022 at 01:55 PM (#6088888)
While you never say never, the reality is that Bloom is not going to give up the kind of quality prospects required to get the kind of deadline talent required to make major changes to the roster. If he wants to be a buyer without giving up much, he can do Robles/Davis kind of trades to add bullpen arms. And maybe there is a left-handed bat who could play some first base to show Cordero some mercy. He is some kind of awful at 1B.

Unlike the last few years, Bloom is not looking to take many more "fliers" on AA prospects with some upside, from teams facing a 40-man crunch, because unlike the last two years, the Red Sox are now the team facing the 40-man crunch. (Think of the 2020 trade where Moreland went to San Diego for Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario; or the Mazza/Springs trade with Tampa for Ronaldo Hernandez; or even the Binelas/Hamilton deal involving JBJ.)

Now, the team needs to be thinking about quality over quantity - they simply will not be able to put a bunch of "eh" prospects on the 40-man. And I'm not sure anybody they could trade except for Bogaerts, and maybe Eovaldi, could net them a prospect worth the trouble.


   2. Nasty Nate Posted: July 29, 2022 at 02:06 PM (#6088890)
I mean, in reality they can make choices well after that deadline. Mike Myers, Bobby Kielty, and Dave Henderson were all post-deadline acquisitions that contributed to pennant-winning teams.
FWIW, the types of August trades that brought in Hendu can no longer happen.

This year I think they will generally be neither buyers or sellers. They might add some kind of first-baseman. Or maybe if some team bowls them over with an offer for JD Martinez, they'd trade him.
   3. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 29, 2022 at 03:00 PM (#6088893)
Lord help me but I like Dalbec at third. It's a lot easier to leave Devers there, and Dalbec is not worth messing with jerking Devers around. So, trade Dalbec to a last place team that can use a cheap 3B, and see if the kid can salvage a MLB career. He won't be in Boston long, anyway, will he?
   4. villageidiom Posted: July 29, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6088901)
This year I think they will generally be neither buyers or sellers. They might add some kind of first-baseman.
A different GM in a different time would have snapped up Josh Bell by now. He'll be expensive for Washington next year: final year of arbitration, and on pace for 5 WAR this year. That would buy them another year of development for Casas, and improve from Dalbec in the meantime.

The two moves I think would be addition by subtraction would be Plawecki and Cordero. I've grumbled about Cordero before: I just don't trust him in the field, especially at 1B. The other night he did the Millar Play again: range off first base, cut in front of the 2B to field a grounder, then throw wildly behind him to the pitcher covering first. He excels at turning a routine 4-3 grounder into a 2-base error. I imagine defensive stats don't penalize that much, since any 1B fielding that ball is likely to allow a 2-base error or at least an infield hit. I suppose it's possible he's worse than the stats indicate. Meanwhile Plawecki is the reason Boston is getting so little value out of C. In half the playing time he negates whatever Vazquez is still able to accomplish. EDIT: One could easily argue addition by subtraction regarding members of the pitching staff, but I suspect anyone they could get as a replacement would be roughly as bad as whoever they drop.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: July 29, 2022 at 07:56 PM (#6088915)
A different GM in a different time would have snapped up Josh Bell by now. He'll be expensive for Washington next year: final year of arbitration, and on pace for 5 WAR this year. That would buy them another year of development for Casas, and improve from Dalbec in the meantime.
No, I think Bell is a free agent this offseason.
   6. Darren Posted: July 30, 2022 at 01:33 PM (#6088990)
FWIW, the Red Sox have told Bogaerts he's not going anywhere. I doubt Devers is either. I wouldn't be surprised to see anyone else dealt. I think they punt.
   7. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 30, 2022 at 02:57 PM (#6088996)
I hope you're right. They can spend money in the offseason, if they like their prospects so much.

I think Bello will be good. I remember Tom Glavine got hit hard in his first couple years in the big leagues. It didn't scar him for life. I'd keep sending Bello out there. Let him learn.
   8. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: July 30, 2022 at 10:44 PM (#6089041)
Yeah, not worried about Bello just yet. Buchholz was pretty rough in 2008 before establishing himself in the majors. It took 6+ years for Cliff Lee and Charlie Morton to break out.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 31, 2022 at 07:23 AM (#6089056)
Bello, Crawford and Winckowski are examples of why I'd rather have the Red Sox be sellers at the deadline and let these guys have a legit major league look than try to get past four other teams for the 3rd wild card by pitching Wacha, Hill, and some deadline acquisition.

This team is very much in rebuilding mode, and the sooner Boston can figure out which young guys are a part of their future, the sooner they can figure out where the holes are - and where they will have cheap solutions that allow them to spend legit FA money to solve other problems.

It is entirely possible they go into 2023 with a rotation something like:

Sale (at least until he gets hurt tying his shoe or whatever)
Paxson
Whitlock
Crawford
Bello

Or maybe not - but you don't know unless you let those young guys pitch.
   10. The Mighty Quintana Posted: July 31, 2022 at 01:07 PM (#6089070)
Guys who need to play a lot in 2nd half: Duran, Arroyo, Bello, Winckowski, Crawford, Dalbec, J. Davis
As Tom Petty said, "Let Me Up (I've had Enough)": Downs, Cordero, Ort, Bradley
   11. villageidiom Posted: July 31, 2022 at 04:48 PM (#6089095)
They mentioned at the end of the broadcast of the win today that it was the first win for a Boston starting pitcher all month. Sheesh.
   12. Rough Carrigan Posted: August 01, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6089176)
Holy crap. A team isn't going anywhere, even in today's game, if you can't get more than that from your starting pitchers. I hope they acknowledge that and sell.
   13. villageidiom Posted: August 01, 2022 at 05:55 PM (#6089266)
Holy crap. A team isn't going anywhere, even in today's game, if you can't get more than that from your starting pitchers. I hope they acknowledge that and sell.
To be fair, 3 of their starting pitchers are on the IL. Also to be fair, even when the starters keep the team in the game either the offense doesn't score or the bullpen blows the lead. It's really been a team effort to go to the last day of July before a starter got a win. It was that kind of a month.

In July, per BB-Ref:
Starters: 7.09 ERA / 93 K / 47 BB / 17 HR / 118 IP
Relievers 5.53 ERA / 131 K / 65 BB / 14 HR / 122 IP
Batters: .288 OBP / .389 SLG / 677 OPS
   14. Darren Posted: August 01, 2022 at 06:36 PM (#6089278)
MLB Trade Rumors says Vazquez is going to the Astros.
   15. Darren Posted: August 01, 2022 at 08:35 PM (#6089312)
Well this has been eventful.

There was some talk last year about the Red Sox coming very close to dealing Vazquez while in the thick of a pennant race. I get the sense that they don't really like him that much.
   16. villageidiom Posted: August 02, 2022 at 12:15 AM (#6089370)
There was some talk last year about the Red Sox coming very close to dealing Vazquez while in the thick of a pennant race. I get the sense that they don't really like him that much.
I think they like him just fine. I also think they want absolutely nothing to do with re-signing him to a free agent contract. And I'm OK with that.

So far Boston has given up:
2 months of Vazquez
1 year + 2 months of Jake Diekman
PTBNL or cash

...and have received:
2 months of Tommy Pham
3 years + 2 months of Reese McGuire
6 years of Enmanuel Valdez
6 years of Wilyer Abreu

Valdez and Abreu are not top prospects, but they are both 23 and in at least AA ball, so that's a good start. Valdez is in AAA - same age/level as Downs, for reference. One of them should prove at least marginally useful at some point.

McGuire is not the solution behind the plate, but he's a better defender than Plawecki. He's not Vazquez's replacement in 2022 as much as he's probably Plawecki's replacement in 2023.

Pham will cost them $2m for the rest of this year, and another $1.5m to buy out his 2024 season (he has a $6m mutual option that I'm assuming won't be exercised). They save that (and then some) by getting rid of Diekman, who started well and then became less reliable than Robles.
   17. John DiFool2 Posted: August 04, 2022 at 10:18 AM (#6089961)
And JBJ finally reaches the end of the line.
   18. villageidiom Posted: August 04, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6089964)
And JBJ finally reaches the end of the line.
The only thing that makes me sad about this is that it doesn't make me sad.
   19. Bad Fish Posted: August 04, 2022 at 01:01 PM (#6089991)
The Bradley trade is a prime example of the darkside of Bloom's approach. We traded a cheaper an outfielder who was, with reasonable obviousness, projected to be better for two middling prospects and the hope for a dead cat bounce. It's always a bad off-season move for an aspirational contender to degrade the MLB team at the expense of the MiLB teams.
   20. Textbook Editor Posted: August 04, 2022 at 02:48 PM (#6090010)
Wow. I'm sure at the MLM he'll latch on somewhere, but I'm a bit sad about this.

I really do think that non-baseball-related reasons had to be a part of trading Renfroe. No idea what they may have been, but the trade didn't make much sense at the time, even if the prospects they got were also highly valued by Bloom.

But in any event the last of the OF B's from 2018 exits Fenway. And to think in 2018 it was reasonable to think all 3 might still be with the Red Sox in 2022.
   21. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:41 PM (#6090023)
Yes, this seems to be Bloom's M.O. for now, judging by the Renfroe/Bradley and Vasquez/McGuire swaps. Take a slight hit at the MLB level for boosting the overall pipeline.

Maybe once he gets the organizational talent up to a certain level, he switches to Dombrowski-mode.
   22. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 04, 2022 at 03:42 PM (#6090024)
Now just hoping Duran can cut down the strikeouts...the defense seems to be progressing.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 04, 2022 at 04:07 PM (#6090036)
Maybe once he gets the organizational talent up to a certain level, he switches to Dombrowski-mode.


Have you paid any attention to how the Rays run things?
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: August 04, 2022 at 04:21 PM (#6090041)
Does Bloom run the Rays? Have the Rays signed a free agent contract as big as Story's since the Bush administration?
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: August 04, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6090048)
I think certainly one of the things Bloom was tasked to do when hired was just to get the farm system back to some kind of middle ground, as it was essentially bare in the aftermath of Dombrowski. Having a bevy of young, cost-controlled players teams can dream on are the baseball equivalent of compiling NBA draft picks.

But one thing I would say is that this is already starting to pay some dividends. If this had been 2019 or 2020 and they had 4/5 of their rotation go on the DL, they'd be claiming guys off waivers to then start games at Fenway. I'm not saying Crawford, Winckowski, and Bello have been lights-out or anything (though all have shown flashes, and I'd say Crawford looks pretty good), but again the absolute dreck we had as our #6/7/8 starter options in the past have been terrible, and they've at least either been serviceable or shown flashes of what they might be able to do once they adjust to the majors. (Of course, the other aspect of having to start those 3 guys has also meant they're not available as tandem starters or as multi-inning guys, which would have helped take some strain off the bullpen.)
   26. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 04, 2022 at 07:08 PM (#6090061)
Look, I think Bloom has made mistakes. For example, trading for JBJ was a mistake - which is different from saying that selling high on Renfroe was a mistake, because he was right to do so.

But I think some Red Sox fans are forgetting how indescribably bad the team was in 2020 - less than two years ago. (This may be, in part, because it was the 60-game COVID year). 30 of their 60-game season was started by one of: Zack Godley, Chris Mazza, Austin Brice, Colten Brewer, Josh Osich, Mike Kickham, Kyle Hart, Matt Hall, Andrew Triggs, and Robinson Leyer. That is remarkable.

The next year, they get to Game 6 of the ALCS. That is pretty remarkable, too.

And in 2022, people are pointing to the ~$210m payroll and asking where the championship team is. The answer: Not playing. $16m is David Price. $30m is Chris Sale. That's more than a fifth of the entire payroll - neither of them a contract Bloom signed.



   27. villageidiom Posted: August 04, 2022 at 10:15 PM (#6090099)
In other news, Wacha pitched the majority of the innings in Worcester's combined no-hitter against Durham tonight. He threw 63 pitches, 8 Ks and 1 BB.
   28. John DiFool2 Posted: August 08, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6090714)
Marcelo Mayer got promoted to high A, yay.
   29. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 09, 2022 at 08:14 AM (#6090790)
Yes, a high A prospect and a hope that a QO is not accepted so the team can get another draft pick! Next stop, World Series!!
   30. Darren Posted: August 10, 2022 at 08:15 PM (#6091163)
Seems that Sale is trying to personally act out every malady in the Simpsons baseball episode.

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