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Monday, October 25, 2021

Meet the 2022 Red Sox

OK, enough waiting, it was a lovely weekend but now it’s on with the show.  After a 92 win season that culminated with a thrilling, memorable playoff run to the LCS we can start to look ahead to 2022.  The future should be bright for the Boston Red Sox with manager Alex Cora firmly entrenched now (do NOT re-read this post thanks) and Chaim Bloom looking like a guy who can pull the right triggers at the right time Sox fans rightly feel pretty good about where they stand in what looks like a very tough division.  For now I’m not going to worry about the other teams around them who have questions of their own but instead going to look at where the current roster stands;

Starting Nine:
1B - Bobby Dalbec
2B - Christian Arroyo
3B - Rafael Devers
SS - Xander Bogaerts
LF - Alex Verdugo
CF - Kike Hernandez
RF - Hunter Renfroe
C - Christian Vazquez - $7 million club option I expect to be picked up
DH - JD Martinez - $18.5 million player option I expect to be exercised

Fairly optimistically the Sox lineup looks set to be brought back in full if the Sox want to go that route.  My guess is that Bloom and Co. would love to have the name “Kyle Schwarber” in there somewhere and while he looks a bit like a square peg in a round hole there are options.  One is to just accept some limitations to versatility and put him in the lineup every night somewhere while JD plays out the final year of his deal.  Another is to explore trades for one of Dalbec or Renfroe (I’ll have some trade thoughts later in the week or next week).  If the Sox want to re-ink Schwahbah they can do it.  The other question mark is second base where Arroyo’s durability is a reasonable question.  With Kike on the roster they have options and of course the Sox will have some depth.  A name not to write off is Jeter Downs who after a tough AAA season picked it up in September and has been raking in the AFL.

The big name looming in the short term from the minors is of course Triston Casas.  Casas is not likely to be ready to start the season on the big club but assuming a reasonable start from him the All Star Break is not too soon to expect he can contribute.  Beyond that injuries/ineffectiveness could open a temporary spot earlier if he seizes the opportunity (think JBJ in 2013).  Dalbec had a great second half but it felt like his damage was disproportionately done against lesser pitching.  I think he’s a guy with a great future as a guy who slugs lots of home runs for 4th place teams.

Bench:
C - Kevin Plawecki
IF - VACANT (Jose Igelisas?)
IF - Jonathan Arauz
OF - Jarren Duran
OF - VACANT (???)

So the bench can be classified as thin.  If he’s willing to take a part time role I’d be all over Iglesias as a utility man/Arroyo caddy/300 PA fill in.  He was obviously very popular with the boys in the dugout and a true up the middle infield defender on the bench would not be the worst thing for this team.  Arauz seems like a perfectly cromulent utility man.  I don’t know what to make of Duran.  He really struggled in his MLB time but had a great year at AAA.  What’s the real Jarren Duran?  What’s better for him? Playing occasionally in Boston or playing regularly in Worcester?  Beats the crap out of me.  Plawecki has the Doug Mirabelli “good enough to be a backup on a good team” thing going on behind the plate.  With Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez in Worcester as injury support the Sox should be in good shape behind the plate.

Rotation: Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, VACANT

The vacancy is obviously one being established by Eduardo Rodriguez.  I would love to see EdRod back but at the same time I’m not convinced on an Eovaldi type 4/76 deal which is what I think someone will give him.  I know the arguments that his FIP was SO much better than his actual ERA but I don’t know if I want to trust that.  On the flip side, and this is odd to say of someone who missed last season, he’s pretty reliable.  Obviously we are hoping that there isn’t a COVID-22 coming down the pipe so that shouldn’t be an issue and if you ignore 2020 he’s been a pretty steady take the ball every fifth day guy.  As Pivetta showed that can have value and the Sox aren’t flush with options.

Houck is in the rotation but between uncertainty around him, the EdRod vacancy and general WTF that pitchers provide if the Sox are going to spend big this winter this is an area to spend it.  I will say I am very confident in Sale.  I don’t expect him to be the 2017/2018 Chris Sale but I do expect him to be a very good starting pitcher.  He has the stuff, the pitching intelligence and the control and command that is necessary to make an adjustment as velocity declines.  One name that I think should be considered here is Darwinzon Hernandez.  I kind of wonder if Darwinzon might be better served as a starter who doesn’t try to throw 110 MPH on every pitch.  The minors do not look ready to add a lot yet to the rotation.  Connor Seabold is probably on the radar but did not pitch a ton this year and is probably set to be on the shuttle like Houck was.

Bullpen: Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Austin Davis, Darwinzon Hernandez, Hirokazu Sawamura, Garrett Whitlock, VACANT

Like the rotation the bullpen is pretty well set but at the same time an upgrade or two here would not go amiss.  It is not out of the question that the Sox best reliever (Whitlock) winds up in the rotation.  I think it was Tom Caron who noted that the biggest difference between Whitlock and former stud closer Jonathan Papelbon is that Whitlock has that third pitcher that effective starters need.  If he can start he should but then Chaim has some work to do on the bullpen and frankly even now there is work to be done.  There are some options in the minors here; Bryan Bello, Josh Winckowski, Seabold, Jay Groome, who maybe will have a role to play but Bloom can’t sit idly by.

In the end it is pretty clear that the Sox are in very good shape among their position players.  Upgrades at first base, maybe second base depending on health are worth considering and the bench needs to be significantly strengthened.  The Sox were far too weak there this year.  The pitching looks better simply by adding Sale to the mix but some depth is necessary.  For now here is a list of potential free agents this winter for your perusal.

Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 25, 2021 at 08:43 AM | 73 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 25, 2021 at 04:46 PM (#6048958)
I just noticed that Franchy Cordero was DFA on Thursday. I suppose it's possible someone will trade for him rather than Boston outrighting him off the 40-man, but... If they outright him he'll be Rule 5 eligible.

Either way, he's likely not going to be on the 2022 Boston Red Sox.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: October 25, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6048962)
I saw an update on Franchy today that he passed waivers unclaimed and accepted the Sox assignment of him to the minors rather than choosing free agency.
   3. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 25, 2021 at 07:40 PM (#6048991)
Funnily enough, judging on past performance and age, E-rod would seem to present nearly the best value(FIP based argument) amongst the FA pitchers available; unless someone stupidly overpays him.

Also, for some odd reason, I think Jose Ramirez will be underpaid. I think whoever grabs him for the next 5 years will not be disappointed but I don't think he's getting Rendon money.
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 26, 2021 at 08:17 AM (#6049067)
A few questions/ideas about the 2022 Red Sox:

1) Is there a reasonable scenario where Hunter Renfroe is as valuable as he's ever going to get, and the team trades him for pitching? Then, they can put a re-signed Schwarber in LF for 2022, JD Martinez is the DH one more year, and Verdugo is in RF.

2) In terms of 2B, I'd think the team isn't looking to make any long-term commitments. Arroyo is solid - his main problem appears to be staying healthy. Jeter Downs was young for AAA, missed 2020 on the field, and ended the season well (and is crushing it in AFL thus far). And Nick Yorke is pulling a poor man's Mookie Betts, going from interesting prospect to star potential quickly, and ripping through the minors. He is very young, but if he has a 2022 like he had in 2021, he'll be a candidate to come to Boston before the end of 2023. This is also where Iglesias as a capable backup makes a lot of sense - if (when?) Arroyo misses time, you feel good about Iglesias for a few weeks at a time.

3) 1B in 2022 is very interesting to me. We all know Casas is set to be on the team by the end of 2022, but you don't want to have another year where Boston has the worst production at 1B in the majors through July. Is Dalbec good enough to be their primary 1B entering 2022? Do they do a platoon with Dalbec as the starter against lefties, and they go find a one-year deal of a guy who can hit righties, maybe has a little positional flexibility (basically, a Travis Shaw with more gas left in the tank)? Or maybe they re-sign Schwarber, tell him he'll be playing a lot of games at 1B against righties, and then playing LF against lefties. I like rooting for Dalbec, and he was on fire there at an important time for the team when they were otherwise struggling, but I don't think he is the everyday 1B for a team in 2022 that hopes to make the playoffs again.

4) How will the team look at using Whitlock, entering spring training in 2022? Do they see him as a full year of high-leverage bullpen, doing a lot of 7th and 8th inning? Is it possible they try to make him a starting pitcher? If so, you've got a rotation entering 2022 of Sale, Eovaldi, Whitlock, Pivetta, Houck, plus probably a signing or two akin to Perez or Richards. SEabold is the only guy in the minors who is genuinely a 2022 rotation option if there are injuries. As the game moves increasingly into thinking of starters as more of openers, more bullpen games, etc., having a guy or two that could do what Houck and Whitlock were doing (throwing multiple innings multiple times a week out of the bullpen) may be more important than ever. Maybe that means they keep Whitlock or Houck in the pen all year? The guy in the minors who seems most likely to get a chance to grow into that role before the end of 2022 is Josh Winckowski, who has the tough slider against righties. Otherwise, their best pitching prospects are generally not projected to hit the majors until 2023 (Bello, Groome, Mata...and all of those guys have a lot that can go wrong before then).

   5. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 26, 2021 at 09:03 AM (#6049071)
The Renfroe thing is interesting. I think if the Sox can move he or Dalbec (or JDM though that's less likely) then they will be pretty aggressive on Schwahbah.

EdRod should be an interesting case. I'd offer a QO and I think there is a chance he accepts.
   6. Darren Posted: October 26, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6049086)
ERod's situation reminds me a lot of Derek Lowe after 2004. Very good peripherals, but way too many hits. ERod also seems to have gotten better as the year went on. I'd expect him to get 3-4 years from someone and I'd be good with it being the Red Sox.
   7. Darren Posted: October 26, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6049184)
DH - JD Martinez - $18.5 million player option I expect to be exercised


He's sort of in a weird situation. His last year of his contract (which I think is actually $19.3) is worth almost the same as the QO (18.4). So if he thinks he's just about worth his contract, it would probably only cost him $1 million to find out. He opts out and presumably, the Sox offer him the QO. If there appears to be better offers out there, he declines. If not, he accepts and is only out $800k. The big risk is if the Sox don't offer him the QO, I guess. But you'd think he'd at least get something around the Nelson Cruz $13 million deal.

I keep going back and forth on trying to guess what he'll do.
   8. Darren Posted: October 26, 2021 at 04:36 PM (#6049185)
FWIW, the Sox appear to have around $150 million in CBT payroll for 2022. That leaves them somewhere between $50 and $80 million in spending space, depending on the new CBA and the Red Sox feelings about paying the penalty.
   9. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 26, 2021 at 05:40 PM (#6049200)
To be clear when I said I expect JD to exercise his option I meant he would stay. I don't think he'll opt out. But having said that I won't be shocked if he opts out either. A lot hinges on if he thinks he can get a multi-year deal. I've got to think his agent (Boras?) is digging HARD to find out if universal DH is likely. If it is then I think JD waits a year, lets things settle down from the CBA then hit the market. If it's unclear I won't be shocked if he decides that a 3 year deal, even at a lower AAV is worth it to him. But I have no idea.
   10. Textbook Editor Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:00 PM (#6049281)
I've got to think his agent (Boras?) is digging HARD to find out if universal DH is likely. If it is then I think JD waits a year, lets things settle down from the CBA then hit the market.


One thing about this I'm very unclear on is whether the players would vote to accept a universal DH. I mean, they already *did* for the pandemic season... and it would also mean more high-paying jobs (presumably for older players)... So I'm guessing on the whole players would be OK with that (with the normal rumblings from the purist types).

If there's a universal DH I'd almost have to think JD would opt out (and that it's unlikely we'd be able to sign Schwarber), as there's too many NL teams that would see JD at 3/$60 would be a steal, given their internal DH options, whereas Boston would be fine with letting him walk at that price.

I'd still offer him the QO--having a hitter like that on a 1-year deal at basically market value isn't the worst outcome--but I'd also be OK if they didn't want to risk that and instead just offered Schwarber 3/$60 or something...

But really, figuring out the Devers/Bogaerts extension situations is going to go a long way toward determining how everything else plays out. Like with Betts, I'd just back up the truck for both of them, but I'm a bit concerned we might not even wind up with one of them...

I'd also be somewhat curious to hear what Eovaldi might get on the market after 2022. Obviously, a lot depends on his health, but I could see doing a little 2-year extension for him, as while he *might* get another eye-popping FA deal after 2022, given the age/injury history, I'm not so sure that would be the case, and he does seem to like it in Boston. I don't know.

The CBA situation is gonna #### all kinds of #### up until it's resolved.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:24 PM (#6049290)
I'd also be OK if they didn't want to risk that and instead just offered Schwarber 3/$60 or something...
I think Schwarber will push for at least a 5-year deal, and get it. This is his one chance at free agency before age becomes a big factor, and he’ll likely take full advantage of his leverage.
   12. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 27, 2021 at 08:01 AM (#6049333)
All it takes is one motivated bidder to make an offer that changes expectations, but if somebody offered Schwarber 5/$90, I wonder if he would take that over something like 3/$60.

Actually, why wouldn't he just do what JD Martinez did? Put the opt-out clause in a five-year deal: 5/90, with the first three years being 3/60, and then he gets an opt-out after the third year. If he doesn't exercise it, the team pays him 2/30 over the final two years of the deal.

   13. Darren Posted: October 27, 2021 at 02:14 PM (#6049389)
All it takes is one motivated bidder to make an offer that changes expectations, but if somebody offered Schwarber 5/$90, I wonder if he would take that over something like 3/$60.

At his age/situation, I think you either take a one year deal or go for as long of a deal as you can get. Being a FA at 32 doesn't seem more attractive than the extra 2/$30M.

Actually, why wouldn't he just do what JD Martinez did? Put the opt-out clause in a five-year deal:

I'm sure he'd like to just put the opt-out clause in there, but the team signing him might like to have a say. :)

Schwarber is a really tough one to figure. If he's taken a step forward, he's worth 3/$60M or 5/$90M or maybe even more. But for his career he's a pretty average player.
   14. Darren Posted: October 27, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6049390)
My plan for the offseason:

--2 SP, 1 ace-ish, 1 flyer: $30-40 Mil.
--Excellent Defensive SS: $15-25 Mil.
--2 RP, one established, 1 flyer: $6-10 Mil.
--1 Util: $2-5 mil.

SS takes over at SS, shifting Bogaerts to 3B, Raffy to 1B. Defense should improve immensely. 2 starting pitchers push one of Houck or Whitlock to the pen, with the 2 relievers filling out the pen. The utility guy is there because you need a utility guy.

   15. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 28, 2021 at 11:28 AM (#6049591)
SS takes over at SS, shifting Bogaerts to 3B


I'd be rather hesitant to do this with Bogaerts saying he is going to opt out after 2022 - might not exactly endear him to the team if he wants to continue to play SS. *After* '22? Sure, I def see Devers as a future 1B.
   16. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 28, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6049710)
would the team actually consider signing someone like Semien or Jose Ramirez? Semien is 31 and maybe you get him on a 3-4 year deal and I still think Ramirez is going to be underpaid. It's a lot of cash and I'm not sure this is a direction Bloom would take.

BTW, I gotta support anyone who went to my old uni, UC Berkeley.
   17. Darren Posted: October 29, 2021 at 09:54 AM (#6049827)
The Guardians still have 2 options on Ramirez, so he's not going anywhere. Semien, yes, I think they would sign him.
   18. villageidiom Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:14 PM (#6049876)
Maybe it's finally time for me to take the pessimistic turn, but... In the 2019-20 offseason Bloom traded Betts & Price, and made some low-level acquisitions. In the 2020-21 offseason Bloom traded Benintendi and signed a bunch of players nobody got particularly excited about. At the trade deadline he acquired an injured OF/DH who'd never played 1B to address the 1B situation and a couple relievers nobody thought would be relevant. These transactional periods generally had people fairly disappointed that they didn't do more.

They made it to the ALCS, so, like, we're not particularly disappointed right now. But I'm thinking whatever moves we want Bloom to make, or we think he should make, like... those aren't happening, right? Someone will get traded away, and he'll acquire players who aren't the final piece of the puzzle, and we'll say "meh, good player, was hoping for more" and that's their 2022 roster.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:44 PM (#6049886)
But I'm thinking whatever moves we want Bloom to make, or we think he should make, like... those aren't happening, right? Someone will get traded away, and he'll acquire players who aren't the final piece of the puzzle, and we'll say "meh, good player, was hoping for more" and that's their 2022 roster.
Maybe. But in the past 20 years, across all the different GMs, they have never gone many season in a row without making a "big" acquisition.
   20. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 29, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#6049896)
The thing about Bloom is that I think he's not going to go for "win the off-season" that we've done a little too often in recent years. That's not to say he won't make a move, I think he will. I don't expect it to be as wide-ranging as Darren's suggestion in 14 (largely because I think there are some arb awards that eat into that money) but I expect the Sox to do something splashy. Might be Robbie Ray, might be Scherzer, might be a trade, but for all the complaints about the Sox' cheapness in recent years they've spent about as much as every team in baseball and when they've been in a position to contend they've gone for it. Just looking back;

pre 2004 - Schilling
pre 2005 - Varitek*, Clement, Wells
pre 2007 - Drew, Matsuzaka, Lugo
2009 - Victor Martinez
pre 2010 - Lackey, Cameron
pre 2011 - Crawford, Gonzalez
pre 2013 - An entire starting lineup basically
pre 2015 - Sandoval, Hanley
pre 2016 - Price
pre 2017 - Sale
pre 2018 - Martinez

Not arguing the merit or wisdom of the moves, just noting that the Sox under this ownership group have not stood pat too often. Without really thinking about it the one quiet period of off-season maneuvering came post 2007 and it's worth noting that the worst season between 2007 and 2011 was an 89 win 2010 that featured enough injuries to, well some kind of analogy that is witty and accurate.
   21. pikepredator Posted: October 29, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6049903)
I'd be bummed if Rodriguez goes . . . he a solid pitcher that is at worst a mid-rotation innings eater-type (although that makes me think we need a new name for someone who takes the ball 30 times and gives you 5+), and could be a strong #2 style rotation member. Pitchers are always a gamble, I'd rather have one too many than one too few.

Schwarber has been fun but I'm OK with him walking, Sox could be buying high if they sign him now.
   22. Darren Posted: October 29, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6049912)
That's not to say he won't make a move, I think he will. I don't expect it to be as wide-ranging as Darren's suggestion in 14 (largely because I think there are some arb awards that eat into that money) but I expect the Sox to do something splashy.


To clarify, that $150 number I mentioned includes estimated arb awards.

Maybe it's finally time for me to take the pessimistic turn, but... In the 2019-20 offseason Bloom traded Betts & Price, and made some low-level acquisitions. In the 2020-21 offseason Bloom traded Benintendi and signed a bunch of players nobody got particularly excited about. At the trade deadline he acquired an injured OF/DH who'd never played 1B to address the 1B situation and a couple relievers nobody thought would be relevant. These transactional periods generally had people fairly disappointed that they didn't do more.


I guess the optimistic view is that they were making these moves to get their budget under control and once they've cleared enough bad money, they will invest in star talent again. Right? Right?
   23. villageidiom Posted: October 29, 2021 at 02:14 PM (#6049916)
Worked out great:
pre 2004 - Schilling
pre 2005 - Varitek
pre-2010 - Adrian Beltre (Can't believe you missed this one!)
pre 2013 - An entire starting lineup basically
pre 2017 - Sale - Although depending on his health through the remainder of his contract this could get much worse.

Worked out good:
pre 2007 - Drew, Matsuzaka - They did what they were paid to do.
2009 - Victor Martinez - It's easy to forget how much of a bright spot he was in the lineup in that time.
pre 2011 - Gonzalez - The entire contract was, in retrospect, bad. But Boston was able to package him in the Punto trade and avoid most of the consequences. And he did play well in Boston.
pre 2018 - Martinez

Problematic:
pre 2005 - Clement, Wells - good when healthy, but not healthy enough
pre 2010 - Lackey - They thought he was injured, so they signed him to a contract with a min-salary trap door in case the injury was real. That gave Lackey the incentive to pitch poorly for a year while hiding the very real injury, then miss the next season or so for surgery, and then he basically forced a trade so Boston wouldn't get the benefit of the trap door. If not for 2013 this would have been so much worse.
pre 2010 - Cameron - Not great, and also forced the move of Ellsbury to left field Adrian Beltre's path.
pre 2016 - Price

Worked out really bad:
pre 2007 - Lugo
pre 2011 - Crawford
pre 2015 - Sandoval, Hanley

Of all of the great ones, the 2013 cavalcade is more like what we should expect from Bloom. But I think he's far more likely to avoid attempting the splashes because of how many end on the problematic/bad side. It's almost like a coin flip.
   24. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 29, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6049919)
I guess the optimistic view is that they were making these moves to get their budget under control and once they've cleared enough bad money, they will invest in star talent again. Right? Right?


They've got the fifth highest payroll in baseball, just won 92 games and have Bogaerts, Devers, Sale and JDM on the team. It's not like they've STOPPED spending. How much do you think they should spend? There is a larger discussion to be had about how much MLB teams spend in general, teams like the Sox, Yankees, even Dodgers, almost certainly can afford to spend magnitudes more than they do but relative to the rest of the league the Sox spend pretty aggressively.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2021 at 02:37 PM (#6049924)
I don't need to argue again about how much/little it worked out, but you guys are missing the Beckett/Lowell acquisition.
   26. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 29, 2021 at 02:42 PM (#6049926)
Yeah good call Nate. Forgot about that one.
   27. Darren Posted: November 01, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6050475)
They've got the fifth highest payroll in baseball, just won 92 games and have Bogaerts, Devers, Sale and JDM on the team. It's not like they've STOPPED spending. How much do you think they should spend?


My poorly worded point wasn't that they should be spending more. It was that they just be clearing room and doing these smaller deals to clear dead money, etc. Now that they have much smaller commitments this year and next, they may be more willing to sign bigger, longer term deals.

However, aside from that, they really did seem to change their tune about the cap. What was once sold as a chance to reset the CBT by getting under is now the default upper limit.
   28. villageidiom Posted: November 01, 2021 at 10:00 AM (#6050485)
The tough thing about getting under the threshold is nobody knows what the threshold, if any, will be in the new CBA. In the current CBA:
There shall be no Competitive Balance Tax in place following the 2021 championship season, and the Parties expressly acknowledge and agree that the provisions of this Article XXIII [the CBT section -vi] (except those concerning the collection and distribution of the Competitive Balance Tax proceeds for the 2021 Contract Year and the assessment of any associated penalties for exceeding the Base Tax or Surcharge Thresholds) shall not survive the expiration of this Agreement.
That's a long way of saying this system is done as of the current CBA, and if it's to be continued in the next CBA it needs to be negotiated.

And that's a long way of saying they don't know what the default upper limit is, if there is to be one.
   29. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 07, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6051792)
JD Martinez has not exercised his opt out and will remain a member of the Boston Red Sox for the 2022 season.
   30. Darren Posted: November 07, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6051795)
Again surprised!
   31. Darren Posted: November 07, 2021 at 06:04 PM (#6051819)
Vazquez's option picked up, ERod gets the QO.
   32. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 07, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6051821)
Good news about Vazquez. EdRod seems like one of the more interesting guys on the market. I have no sense as to what kind of deal he’s going to get.
   33. villageidiom Posted: November 08, 2021 at 09:40 PM (#6051982)
The 40-man roster is now at 33 men. It was 32 with a bunch of recent free agents, but Boston also claimed Tim Locastro off waivers from the Yankees. Nothing precludes anything, but I'd assume the presence of Locastro means Duran will start 2022 in the minors playing full time until he demonstrates he's more ready than he was in 2021.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2021 at 08:54 AM (#6052024)
I don't share that assumption. I've noticed you seem interested in things that prevent Duran from being in the majors. You are over-thinking it - if he shows that he's good, he will be in the big leagues. His next chance to show that he's good is spring training. It would take an OF acquisition of much more significance than Locastro to change that.
   35. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 09, 2021 at 09:17 AM (#6052027)
One thing about Locastro is he is right handed. A way for the Sox to ease Duran in would be to platoon him in center with Kiké playing second base every day.
   36. villageidiom Posted: November 09, 2021 at 09:24 AM (#6052030)
The presence of major league players should prevent Duran from being in the majors. I mean, I like Duran, and I look forward to him holding down the CF job eventually, but I believe it doesn't do him much good developmentally to have him sit on the bench in Boston. Tim Locastro, OTOH, has developed. He'll be 29 next season and he is right now probably as good as he'll ever be, which is as a spare outfielder and pinch-runner. Sure, Duran could do that right now. But I don't want Duran to do that. I want him playing every day, improving his OBP, cutting his Ks way down.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6052034)
I can envision relatively likely scenarios in which neither are on the roster to start the season, both are, Duran is and Locastro isn't, or Locastro is and Duran isn't.

I agree that they shouldn't (and probably won't) have Duran there in April only as a 5th OF/pinch-runner. But I think they would use him as a part-time starter (or more) if they think it will help the team, and they won't let the presence of Locastro get in the way, much like they didn't let Duran's impending Olympics involvement stop them in '21.
   38. villageidiom Posted: November 09, 2021 at 10:10 AM (#6052040)
Oh, yeah, of course. Locastro isn't standing in the way of Duran getting a starting role in MLB; Verdugo, Hernandez, and Renfroe are, and to a degree Duran's development is. Locastro is standing in the way of Duran having a bench role. I'm just saying that's a good thing, because Duran shouldn't have a bench role.
   39. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 09, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6052043)
A bench role for Duran wouldn't be a bad thing. The fourth outfielder is going to get 300PA without much difficulty and that might be better for him than another year at AAA.
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: November 12, 2021 at 09:36 AM (#6052645)
I had an idea for a 6-man starting rotation for next year: Scherzer-Sale-Kershaw-Verlander-Eovaldi-Houck
   41. Darren Posted: November 15, 2021 at 10:16 AM (#6052947)
No Greinke, Nate?
   42. Darren Posted: November 15, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6052948)
So E-Rod is out. I've been assuming they try to sign a good starter (E-Rod level) and a flyer, but I'm rethinking that a bit. Maybe they go with 2-3 lower level starters (Matz/Cobb types) and limit them to 4-5 IP, then spend on the pen.
   43. Nasty Nate Posted: November 15, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6052949)
Oh I forget he was a free agent, too. OK, he bumps Houck to the 110-inning-swingman-meets-closer role.
   44. Darren Posted: November 15, 2021 at 10:32 AM (#6052952)
You think 5 HOF starters is enough?
   45. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 15, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6052953)
I like Matz a lot. He'd fit in nicely as an ERod replacement.
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: November 15, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6052954)
You think 5 HOF starters is enough?
No, but deGrom and Cole ain't free agents.
   47. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 15, 2021 at 12:04 PM (#6052957)
Julio Lugo passed away.
   48. pikepredator Posted: November 15, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6052966)
I would've been fine with Boston going 5/80 for Eduardo or thereabouts. Five years of a solid starting pitcher from 28-33 has a lot of value. Sucks to see him go, but I'm hoping the talent evaluators are smarter than I am.
   49. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 15, 2021 at 01:03 PM (#6052967)
Yeah 5/80 for Eddie is one of those deals where I'd have been fine doing it and I'm equally fine not doing it.
   50. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 24, 2021 at 08:11 AM (#6054448)
Steven Matz to the Cardinals 4/44. Dammit I'd have done that.
   51. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 24, 2021 at 08:28 AM (#6054449)
At the end of 2020, when Steven Matz had just completed a season where he went 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA, I wonder what he would have said if you told him, "Don't worry about it. After next season you'll have a 4/$44m signed before Thanksgiving!"

Also, fun fact about Matz I did not know: When he was traded to the Blue Jays from the Mets after the 2020 season, the Mets got three players back for him, including...minor-leaguer Josh Winckowski! It all comes around...
   52. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 27, 2021 at 09:14 PM (#6054944)
I still expect the Sox to acquire another starter but if they don’t Wacha gives them something between Perez and Richards, 25 or so starts, 90-95 ERA+. Not great but useful over the course of 162 games and with some potential upside from that.

That allows the Sox some wiggle room with the rotation. They can stretch out Houck and Whitlock but have one of them in the bullpen.
   53. Darren Posted: November 28, 2021 at 03:43 PM (#6055009)
As I said in the other thread, it looks promising that he might have figured something out, but at this point these decisions just seem far beyond what we can know as fans.

Also, I was apparently way off on their payroll on earlier comments (having said they were around $150-160 million). They are apparently at about $190 mil after this signing. My apologies.
   54. Nasty Nate Posted: December 01, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6055514)
Tim Locastro was non-tendered, I make no assumptions on how that impacts their plans for Duran.

James Paxton has been signed. He is coming off surgery, so this deal is more about 2023 and 2024, for which they have team options.
   55. villageidiom Posted: December 01, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6055528)
James Paxton has been signed. He is coming off surgery, so this deal is more about 2023 and 2024, for which they have team options.
I like this deal in concept. 2/$35m is a reasonably fair deal if Paxton returns to his former capabilities.

With stuff like this I've always been wary of unintended incentives, ever since the Lackey deal. I don't think there's much reason to be concerned in this case.
   56. Darren Posted: December 01, 2021 at 02:14 PM (#6055598)
Some seem to think that this mean the Sox are definitely going past the CBT if there is one. I hope that's what it means, but I could also see them deciding to try to squeeze in Schwarber and calling it a day.



With stuff like this I've always been wary of unintended incentives, ever since the Lackey deal. I don't think there's much reason to be concerned in this case.


Me too. Also possibly came into play with Penny, Smoltz, and Drew. I guess you have a similar incentive here in that he would want to get back and pitch and prove himself so they pick up that option. But in this case, it cuts both ways, slightly. If he comes back and is really good, he'd probably prefer to go to free agency, so there's a small incentive to take his time. Also, his rushing back doesn't get him the option in the way that Lackey rushing back helped him avoid the option at the minimum. He has to come back AND be good, so perhaps this will align his incentives with the team's.
   57. Darren Posted: December 01, 2021 at 02:29 PM (#6055602)

James Paxton has been signed. He is coming off surgery, so this deal is more about 2023 and 2024, for which they have team options.


One interesting thing about the deal is that they actually have one option to pick up after 2022, which covers 2023 and 2024. Not sure I've seen that before.

Thinking this through a bit, it feels a little on the high side? You're risking paying $10 mil to get nothing and the upside is what? Seems like 2 years in 2023-24, at ages 34 and 35, a total of about 5 WAR would be about the best you can hope for. So if all goes well, you're getting 5 WAR for about market rate?

Of course, the health issues are a black box from the outside.
   58. Nasty Nate Posted: December 01, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6055604)
If he comes back slowly/poorly, he won't beat 2/$25m in free agency.
Thinking this through a bit, it feels a little on the high side? You're risking paying $10 mil to get nothing and the upside is what? Seems like 2 years in 2023-24, at ages 34 and 35, a total of about 5 WAR would be about the best you can hope for. So if all goes well, you're getting 5 WAR for about market rate?
I guess the best-case scenario includes some innings in late 2022.
   59. villageidiom Posted: December 01, 2021 at 04:07 PM (#6055639)
You're risking paying $10 mil to get nothing and the upside is what? Seems like 2 years in 2023-24, at ages 34 and 35, a total of about 5 WAR would be about the best you can hope for. So if all goes well, you're getting 5 WAR for about market rate?
You're also spreading the AAV over 3 years, to the extent that that still matters in the new CBA. He'd count $10 million toward the 2022 payroll, then $12.5m toward each of 2023 and 2024 if they exercise the option. That's better from an AAV view than waiting until 2022 and then counting $17.5m per year. It also buys them oversight & control on his recovery, and as NN notes it gives them the potential for fresh pitching in late 2022.

I think we can infer that Boston feels either generally that TJ recovery is a non-issue now and they should not be shy about signing someone coming off the surgery, or specifically that Paxton's recovery to date looks promising.

As I mentioned elsewhere you can look at the $10m as having greater upside, at lower cost, than whatever they paid Dustin Pedroia last year. It's an improvement!
   60. Darren Posted: December 01, 2021 at 10:03 PM (#6055738)
Rich Hill signed for a year. Could be good, right?
   61. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: December 01, 2021 at 10:18 PM (#6055741)
He’s been pretty good on a consistent basis for a few years now. I mean he’s going to be 42 so who knows but if you look at the rest of his track record it’s really good. His ERA+ since leaving the Sox after 2015 are; 193, 125, 106, 169, 143, 103. He’s not exactly super durable but he’s made more starts than I’d have expected; 20, 25, 24, 13, 8, 31. And that 8 isn’t that bad since it’s the 60 game season. If he can make 25 starts for the Sox he’s a good get.
   62. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: December 01, 2021 at 10:28 PM (#6055746)
One other thought here is that with the lockout 90 minutes away there may be some benefit to making this kinds of deals now. The Sox can enter this dead period with a little certainty in the rotation rather than some late January rush depending on how this all plays out.
   63. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 01, 2021 at 10:46 PM (#6055751)
I like the Paxton/Wacha/Hill trifecta.It is all short money, and honestly is better than the Richards/Perez duo signed to play sort of a similar role last off-season. Actually, the 2021 REd Sox entered the season needing Richards and Perez, because there was no Chris Sale, and there was no assumption that ERod wouldbe back from COVID complications; that Eovaldi could hold up at a high level for a full season; or that Pivetta would be as solid and durable as he was.

Now they enter 2022, and it strikes me that the acquisition of a mid-rotation starter via trade is the big piece left. You read that Luis Castillo is available from the Reds, and he has been quite good for a while now. He's got two years left before free agency, and is starting to make some money now (therefore, on the trading block). If you get a guy like that, your rotation is something like this:

Eovaldi
Sale
Trade Acquisition (Castillo, Sean Manaea,etc)
Pivetta
Hill or Wacha

- Whitlock and Houck start the season in the bullpen
- Seabold and Crawford start the season in AAA, with Winckowski quickly putting himself in a position to be the first call-up from AAA
- Paxton is rehabbing for most of 2022
- AA Portland, for the first time in a while, has a legit fleet of starting pitchers with a chance of being helpful by late 2023 (Bello, Groome, Mata, Murphy)

What would it take to get Cincy to trade, say, Castillo and Cessa (for bullpen help, he's also starting to make money)? I'm open to trading Duran if he is still widely perceived as a Top 100 prospect;we would probably also have to include a pitching prospect (Seabold? A lower-level, higher ceiling lottery ticket guy?) I don't have a good sense as to how well-regarded any of our prospects are outside of Casas, Mayer, and Yorke (who are the three Untouchables, IMO).

That's a much, much better starting place than in 2021
   64. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 02, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#6055802)
Renfroe was traded for JBJ + two minor league guys. Not really sure I see the logic here unless Schwarber is signed (which won't be for a while...).
   65. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: December 02, 2021 at 09:30 AM (#6055811)
I suspect the logic is no more complicated than sell high on Renfroe and buy low on JBJ and pick up a couple of prospects in the deal. The Rays do this all the time. Small wins on deals add up eventually.
   66. Bad Fish Posted: December 02, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#6055814)
I have uniformly liked Chaim's moves, they almost always are an incremental improvement that maximizes opportunity and mitigates risk. The Paxton/Wacha/Hill signings are all good signings in this vein. The Renfroe trade is a departure. It makes the big league team much worse for a fair bit more money, all for the opportunity of 2 mid-level prospects?

I love JBJ, but his time has come and gone. He is not going to be close to the hitter that Hunter is, and might not even be the same defender.
   67. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 02, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6055815)

I suspect the logic is no more complicated than sell high on Renfroe and buy low on JBJ and pick up a couple of prospects in the deal. The Rays do this all the time. Small wins on deals add up eventually.


Except this increases the Sox payroll, and the 'prospects' are not good. This is a Rays trade alright, for the Brewers.
   68. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: December 02, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6055816)
and the 'prospects' are not good.


What is your basis for this? Binelas was a third round pick last year who then hit .309/.390/.583 in his first pro season.
   69. villageidiom Posted: December 02, 2021 at 10:17 AM (#6055826)
The Renfroe trade is a departure. It makes the big league team much worse for a fair bit more money, all for the opportunity of 2 mid-level prospects?
My understanding - which, mind you, I've arrived at in like the last half hour - is that Binelas was expected to be a first-round pick but had a weaker than expected final season in college and slipped to the 3rd round. In his intro to minor-league ball he was hitting well with an insane exit velocity. Like, I'm not sure he's worse than Blaze Jordan (another 3rd-round strong-hitting corner infielder), and Jordan is soxprospects' #7 prospect. And then there's Hamilton, who missed 2 years due to injury and COVID (remember - the minors basically shut down for 2020) but just had a 916 OPS in the Arizona Fall League after doing well enough at AA to warrant the invite to the AFL.

If things at the major-league level go well - not saying they will - then they might get as much out of JBJ as they would have gotten out of Renfroe, in which case Boston basically bought a couple of prospects. If they don't... I mean, let's be real, I'm not even sure JBJ gets enough of a chance to play to make that happen. There's a nonzero chance that Boston signs another OF and a 2B, and JBJ is just a better-paid Danny Santana. If that's the case, then we shouldn't worry about JBJ being worse than Renfroe, and we should just consider losing Renfroe to be part of the payment for the prospects.
   70. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 02, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6055834)

What is your basis for this? Binelas was a third round pick last year who then hit .309/.390/.583 in his first pro season.


I'm sure vi's read on it is better than mine, but the initial info I had seen was the prospects were mid-teens in the Brewer's org. Maybe the Crew just has a really good system and these guys are better than expected, who knows.

We'll see how this all plays out, but right now the Sox OF is pretty weak.
   71. Darren Posted: December 02, 2021 at 10:55 AM (#6055838)
As with the Benintendi trade, I'm a little underwhelmed with the pedigree of the prospects involved--mid-teens r tankings in the Milwaukee system. This trade also continues their willingness to add payroll on the current team for the sake of the futures. If they're going to ignore whatever limit is in place this year, I guess that's fine.
   72. pikepredator Posted: December 02, 2021 at 12:33 PM (#6055854)
I'm super confused by all these recent moves. I have no idea what to think about a string of pitchers with highly variable outcomes and the return of JBJ at the expense of Renfroe.

Assuming there is baseball in 2022 I will approach it with the same "Here we go! Let's see what happens!" approach that worked so well for me in 2021.
   73. Darren Posted: December 02, 2021 at 12:50 PM (#6055866)
I get the Jordan comp but I think the 3 year age difference make Jordan a much better prospect.

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