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Monday, April 25, 2022

Predictions of Ridiculousness

Last year towards the tail end of the season I charted the Sox’ path to 92 wins.  In what turned out to be a bit of serendipity the Sox in fact wound up with 92 wins on the dot (thank you Raffy Devers).  With that bit of good luck I had planned on doing a semi-tongue in cheek prediction for 2022.  I didn’t quite get around to it but what the hell, 16 games isn’t that far.  With that in mind here is my 2022 Boston Red Sox prediction!  It will likely be fun to see how accurate the overall is (I wind up at 87-75) and how inaccurate the series by series forecasts are.  As a side note the one game “series” with Baltimore in August proved to be a bit of a pain in the butt.

I will keep this updated as the year goes on so everyone can have a good laugh.  In the meantime I tried to roll out what I think I would have predicted for these first few series and the Sox are already -2 wins.  Clearly they are doomed.

@NYY 1-2 1-2
@DET 2-1 (3-3) 2-1 (3-3)
MINN 3-1 (6-4) 2-2 (5-5)
TOR 2-1 (8-5) 1-2 (6-7)
@TBR 1-2 (9-7) 1-2 (7-9)
@TOR 1-3 (10-10) 1-3 (8-12)
@BAL 2-1 (12-11) 1-2 (9-14)
LAA 2-1 (14-12) 1-2 (10-16)
CHW 2-1 (16-13) 0-3 (10-19)
@ATL 1-1 (17-14) 1-1 (11-20)
@TEX 2-1 (19-15) 2-1 (13-21)
HOU 2-1 (21-16) 2-1 (15-22)
SEA 2-2 (23-18) (Opportunity starts here with 7 of 8 series against teams that missed playoffs in 2021) 4-0 (19-22)
@CHW 1-2 (24-20) 2-1 (21-23)
BAL 3-2 (27-22) 2-3 (23-26)
CIN 1-1 (28-23) 1-1 (24-27)
@OAK 1-2 (29-25) 3-0 (27-27)
@LAA 2-2 (31-27) 3-1 (30-28)
@SEA 1-2 (32-29) 2-1 (32-29)
OAK 2-1 (34-30) 2-1 (34-30)
STL 2-1 (36-31) 2-1 (36-31)
DET 2-1 (38-32) 3-0 (39-31)
@CLE 1-2 (39-34) 3-0 (42-31)
@TOR 1-2 (40-36) 1-2 (43-33)
@CHC 2-1 (42-37) 1-2 (44-35)
TBR 2-1 (44-38) (Tough stretch here similar to early season with a host of divisional games) 1-2 (45-37)
NYY 2-2 (46-40) 2-2 (47-39)
@TBR 2-2 (48-42) 0-4 (47-43)
@NYY 1-2 (49-44) (All Star Break after this series) 1-2 (48-45)
TOR 2-1 (51-45) 0-3 (48-48)
CLE 2-2 (53-47) 2-2 (50-50)
MIL 2-1 (55-48) 1-2 (51-52)
@HOU 1-2 (56-50) 2-1 (53-53)
@KCR 2-2 (58-52) 1-3 (54-56)
ATL 1-1 (59-53) 0-2 (54-58)
BAL 1-0 (60-53) 1-0 (55-58)
NYY 2-1 (62-54) 2-1 (57-59)
@PIT 2-1 (64-55)
@BAL 2-1 (66-56)
TOR 2-1 (68-57)
TBR 1-2 (69-59)
@MIN 1-2(70-61)
TEX 3-1 (73-62) (September 1 is first game of this series)
@TBR 1-2 (74-64)
@BAL 2-1 (76-65)
NY 1-1 (77-66)
KCR 2-1 (79-67)
@CIN 1-1 (80-68)
@NYY 2-2 (82-70)
BAL 2-2 (84-72)
@TOR 1-2 (85-74)
TBR 2-1 (87-75)

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 25, 2022 at 04:28 PM | 72 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: April 26, 2022 at 10:53 AM (#6073756)
I hadn't taken a close look at their schedule until now. Today I learned...

1. THEY DON'T PLAY KC UNTIL AFTER THE TRADE DEADLINE?

2. They have two series against each of Atlanta and Cincinnati?

3. Boston has three different 1-series road trips. They also have three 1-series homestands - all in September.
   2. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 26, 2022 at 11:02 AM (#6073759)
My gut here is that the schedule this year is flipped from last year's. Last year it seemed like their early schedule was pretty easy and their late season schedule was a bit rougher. This year it feels like they have a tougher schedule early. Looking back their early schedule last year had 3 series against playoff teams prior to Memorial Day. They are already playing their fourth series against a presumptive playoff team this year.
   3. pikepredator Posted: April 26, 2022 at 01:18 PM (#6073774)
Impressive work! I appreciate you putting your reputation on the line for our entertainment. This was a fun thread to follow last year.
   4. pikepredator Posted: June 13, 2022 at 02:12 PM (#6081504)
3-1 and 2-1 and they are exactly where you predicted they would be. Well done!

"Opportunity starts here" was prophetic.
   5. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 04:16 PM (#6081526)
8-2 was a great outcome for the west coast trip, no matter how bad those teams are playing right now. If they go 9-8 against the East those 17 games wrapped around the ASG, I'll be happy. You have to play .500 ball against good teams and beat up on the struggling teams (around .650-.700 ball). So we'll see. Their good hitters are hitting, the SPs have been good, the bullpen has been good when it's rested....we'll see how they do without Eovaldi for the next couple of weeks.
   6. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 04, 2022 at 12:35 PM (#6085500)
Lenny DiNardo just said that if the Red Sox split the next 17 games, they'd be in the driver's seat.
   7. pikepredator Posted: July 04, 2022 at 10:24 PM (#6085537)
Ha! If they do that I’ll eat my hat.
   8. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 05, 2022 at 07:03 AM (#6085549)
Ha! If they do that I’ll eat my hat.


With Eovaldi and Hill and Wacha out, they'll be relying on the WooSox staff. We'll see.

They're 6-4 for their last 10. Not too bad for a team with thin SP.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 05, 2022 at 07:41 AM (#6085552)
I love the increased reliance of younger pitchers, in that it allows this season to be both competitive *and* a building block for 2023 and 2024, when I think the team will be in a much better position to compete for a championship, rather than simply a playoff spot.

That said, I'm more worried about the offense than the pitching. The offense this year has largely been three big bats, and maybe Story hits a home run once in a while.

But one of those three big bats, JD Martinez, has been pretty awful for a while now. Since May 30th (last 30 games played):

133 PAs
3 HRs, 10 RBIs
.212/.293/.348
12 BB, 32 K

He's basically been Bobby Dalbec for the last month, minus even fielding a position.

Meanwhile, Dalbec has continued to be Dalbec. Verdugo has quietly been crawling back up to league-average, which has offset Martinez's struggles, but the fact this team has been so good over the last month with the outfield and 1B they have is a testament to the starting pitching.
   10. pikepredator Posted: July 05, 2022 at 10:03 AM (#6085562)
Sorry cap, I thought you were referring tongue-in-cheek to the impossibility of actually splitting 17 games.

I’ll be bold and predict 10-7, with one W in the bank
   11. villageidiom Posted: July 05, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6085616)
I figure the Predictions of Ridiculousness thread is as apt a place to put this as any. Those who have been around Sox Therapy since the ancient times will recall the site member by the username of kevin. He was insightful but argumentative, and as much as I'd wish to say the former was his dominant trait he argued himself right into a permanent ban of his account from the site for incredibly trollish behavior. He had resurfaced several times under newly-established accounts, and when he misbehaved invariably someone would point out he was back, and that account would be banned as well. On the positive side I remember him being very accurate in his predictions about the development of Jacoby Ellsbury in his Sox years.

Most recently Kevin had resurfaced as cagerfan, and had been hanging out relatively (for him) peacefully in the NBA thread while the Celtics made their recent run. His last post there was during the Warriors/Celtics series. Today it was mentioned in that thread that Kevin passed away last month, about a week after the end of the NBA Finals. His obituary is linked in that thread. I'm mentioning it here because he was an active presence in Sox Therapy for many years, and figured some would want to know.
   12. Darren Posted: July 07, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6085885)
Rip
   13. Ron J Posted: July 07, 2022 at 11:24 AM (#6085888)
Sigh. I feel bad anytime I hear about the death of a primate.

RIP Kevin
   14. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 14, 2022 at 12:59 PM (#6086686)
They have to go 40-33 the rest of the way to get to 87 wins. I'm sticking to my 78 to 82 wins prediction.
   15. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 16, 2022 at 11:54 AM (#6086915)
Thank heavens they won last night's game. Losing in extras would have been ugly.

So, if Sale can stay healthy and continue to pitch like he did the other night, and Eovaldi can stay healthy, they have a chance to make the playoffs. Those are 2 big "ifs". Not impossible. Not likely or unlikely, to me. It's a "we'll see" scenario. I hope for the best.
   16. villageidiom Posted: July 17, 2022 at 02:12 PM (#6087060)
So, if Sale can stay healthy and
Hold that thought.
   17. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 17, 2022 at 03:36 PM (#6087071)
This injury is not a case of him being brittle, obviously. Bad luck.
   18. villageidiom Posted: July 18, 2022 at 09:28 AM (#6087170)
Oh, yeah, obviously. He's on the real IL, with real bone fractures in his pitching hand, from a real baseball injury that he's extremely fortunate it wasn't a lot worse.
   19. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: July 18, 2022 at 09:45 AM (#6087173)
One of the things I love about baseball is how random it is. Bad teams beat good teams all the time. It was one of the things that made doing this post so much fun, I knew it would be ridiculous. There was no way to predict the daily ins and outs of baseball but on a macro level baseball is fairly predictable. Hence the path here hasn't been as expected but the Sox are kind of where we'd have expected.

But I have NEVER seen anything like this. The Sox are like an NBA team. Every series is predictable right now. They lose to the AL East teams, they destroy everyone else. This just doesn't happen in baseball. It's craziness.
   20. villageidiom Posted: July 18, 2022 at 10:02 AM (#6087174)
Looking back on the Predictions of Ridiculousness through the ASB it looks like they're down only 1 game from Jose's standard. They did better than expected for a stretch against an assortment of teams, and worse than expected for another stretch against very good teams. As constituted right now Boston still has a shot at making the playoffs but needs a few things to go right and many things not to go wrong. But even if they get there, they're not built to advance. They're something like 19-25 against the AL teams that would have playoff spots if the season ended today.
   21. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 18, 2022 at 02:06 PM (#6087198)
Taking a look at Jose's "standard", he doesn't have the Red Sox sweeping any series, nor being swept in any series. When has the last time that has ever happened, to any team? Probably never.
Every series is predictable right now. They lose to the AL East teams, they destroy everyone else.
Half right. They're pretty even with the Twins, Angels, White Sox. Lost 2 of 3 to the Cubs. Won two of three with the A's, Cards and Astros. So, except for those 7 teams, and the AL East, they've destroyed everyone else.

I mean, they beat up pretty good on most of the bad to mediocre teams.
   22. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 18, 2022 at 02:10 PM (#6087199)
They're so bad, Jose had them going 1-2 against the Yankees this past series, yet they managed to go 1-3.

I kid. They're not bad, they're mediocre. Maybe the best of all the mediocre teams in MLB.
   23. Darren Posted: July 18, 2022 at 02:22 PM (#6087202)
This past week has certainly made CJB look quite prescient. I still believe that they are an 85-90 win team with a move or two, but admittedly, that's probably what I want to believe.

   24. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 18, 2022 at 02:50 PM (#6087208)
I want to believe it, too, and we'll see what moves they make before the deadline. Will they go after Soto? I'd love it. Pay Soto, pay Devers, Story to SS next year after they let Bogaerts walk, Arroyo at 2B, the Franchy/Dalbec platoon continues, and let's see what happens when Sale comes back healthy next year.

Josh Bell is another guy I'd like to see them get. Then they could let Dalbec go, Franchy could play RF, Kike would likely play CF, Verdugo in LF, JBJ as 4th OF.

The problem I see with their second half this year is that the SP doesn't look like it will carry the bullpen like it did in June. It looks ugly from here out. Paxton says he's looking to come back mid-August. Even IF he does, that may be too late. Eovaldi is much better suited as a #2, but with Sale out, he's back as their #1. Pivetta is up and down, Hill and Wacha are hurt...yuck.
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: July 18, 2022 at 03:09 PM (#6087212)
I don't envy Bloom, as it's really not clear what the best strategy is going forward. If you trade JD, I'm doubtful you get much back (though perhaps some salary relief), but it may open up some DH options going forward for the rest of the season which may not be much of a dropoff from JD's more recent production. If you trade Xander, it's a white flag and I'm not sure how they'd secure even the 3rd WC slot without him in the lineup.

There are so many roster spots opening for 2023--Eovaldi, Hill, Wacha in the rotation; Xander (likely), Kike, Vasquez, JD in the lineup... that it's hard to say that they'd be *more* competitive in 2023 than they are at *this* moment in 2022.

With the Price subsidy ending in 2022, in just JD, Eovaldi, and Price coming off the books--just them--they have $55 million to work with in 2023. Kike, Vasquez, Hill, and Wacha are another $26 million. They could have $81 million to play with for 2023, so the notion that they *couldn't* extend Devers even with an AAV of $30 mil/season is nuts. (And with Sale almost certainly gone in 2-3 years and Xander already baked in at 3 x $20 mil, you could easily raise his AAV to $30 mil/season in an extension and the $ for it would almost all come from Sale going off the books in 2-3 years.)

Now maybe Devers and Xander don't want to extend (or remain in Boston), but the larger point is there is TONS of $ sloshing around from 2023-2025 to more than pay for high AAV extensions for both while also having $ left over to field a competitive team.

Now... if you wanted to NOT extend those two, then there is also ample cash to drop a truckload of $ on Soto, assuming you can work out a deal (that--who knows--maybe includes Xander and Devers to help minimize the prospect cost).

I think I'd be OK with either plan--sellers or buyers--but I want to know there's a clear plan for going forward. I've seen enough players go that while I would miss Xander and Devers greatly (as much as anyone else they let walk/traded--Betts, Lester, Pedro, Clemens, etc.), I also get that this is just more or less what happens--in all sports.
   26. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 18, 2022 at 03:25 PM (#6087215)
I think Bogaerts is gone, unless they eat crow and reverse their course on him. A core of Devers-Bogaerts-Story-Soto-Verdugo would look pretty good.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2022 at 03:40 PM (#6087219)
Will they go after Soto?
If Boston was unwilling to offer market rate to keep Betts or extend Bogaerts, I have a hard time seeing them paying the considerably higher cost for Soto, both in $$ and players in trade.
   28. Darren Posted: July 18, 2022 at 04:17 PM (#6087229)
I think they've decided to move on from Bogaerts due to age/defense concerns. Whatever you think in terms of on-field performance, that's kind of sad.

I'm not sure where they stand on Devers. He was apparently looking for a superstar long-term deal before this season and he seems to have proven he should get one now. I'm hopeful they'll lock him up.

I don't think either of those decisions (nor their decision on Betts) rule out an interest in committing to Soto long term. Soto is younger than all of them and better than all of them except Betts.
   29. Textbook Editor Posted: July 18, 2022 at 09:58 PM (#6087283)
The question is what would Soto cost in terms of prospects. Bogaerts and JD are useless in a deal for Soto (obviously). If you were *not* going to extend Devers under any circumstances (which I hope is not their stance) then Devers has *some* value in a package for Soto because he still has 1 year of control left (and in theory the Nats could flip him next season). If it takes 4 ML-ready prospects to land Soto, I'm not sure the Red Sox have 4 they'd part with that the Nationals would also take.

This may seem heretical to the 2004 version of me, but trading Bogaerts at the deadline would hurt an awful lot more than trading Nomar did, mainly because I think Bogaerts was a key component in both 2013 and 2018. YMMV.
   30. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 19, 2022 at 07:00 AM (#6087324)
mainly because I think Bogaerts was a key component in both 2013 and 2018.



...and, Nomar was basically done after 2004. He played 3/4 of a full season one year in all of the years after the trade.

I know it's hindsight, but to evaluate the trade correctly, you need distance.
   31. Darren Posted: July 20, 2022 at 02:43 PM (#6087504)

This may seem heretical to the 2004 version of me, but trading Bogaerts at the deadline would hurt an awful lot more than trading Nomar did, mainly because I think Bogaerts was a key component in both 2013 and 2018. YMMV.


This is heretical. Or maybe I've mellowed with age.
   32. Darren Posted: July 20, 2022 at 02:54 PM (#6087508)
Do we want to have a separate Sox Therapy discussion of the Devers extension talks here?
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: July 20, 2022 at 04:00 PM (#6087511)
Do we want to have a separate Sox Therapy discussion of the Devers extension talks here?
Not until the offseason, IMO.
   34. Darren Posted: July 24, 2022 at 05:04 PM (#6088111)
I was prepared to be wrong but not this wrong.
   35. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 24, 2022 at 10:48 PM (#6088125)
The Red Sox have now played 12 series against AL East teams, and are 0-11-1.
   36. John DiFool2 Posted: July 25, 2022 at 09:02 AM (#6088139)
They only have 3 actual hitters, and the best is on the DL. Their 4th best, as such, has a .756 OPS. Everybody else has OBP below .310, often wayyy below .310. [Aside from that one spare part with 97 PAs who has a .950 OPS, despite his career figure being .663.]

Two of those real hitters may very well be gone in a month.

Honestly, how did it come to this? Failure of the farm, who since X & V has given us just Devers? [And the key guy they gave up for Sale currently has a .592 OPS] Fecklessness of the FO when it comes to shelling out for the truly deserving? [I'll give them a pass on Sale's extension, always a gamble to lock up a pitcher]

Face it folks; the only guy who will still be here [and that includes the pitchers] if and when this team contends again will be Raffie. Maybe.

But 2018 will fly forever, and Papi's bust will endure.
   37. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2022 at 10:31 AM (#6088153)
Boston scored 10 runs in the 3 games this weekend, which isn't great but isn't bad, and is actually pretty good when you consider they were missing Devers, Martinez, Story, Hernandez, and sure let's throw Arroyo in as well. The big issue is that you can't say the pitching has been pretty good despite the IL having Sale, Wacha, Hill, Seabold, Winckowski, Strahm, and Danish. The pitching has been bad.

To be fair, the two kids - Crawford and Bello - actually weren't that bad. Bello had a horrible first inning Sunday, but he settled down well enough for the next 3 innings which IMO is a good sign. Also to be fair, a substantial part of the bad pitching has been bad defense. On Sunday Bogaerts must have known Cordero didn't know how to play the wall, as he was in position to field a double off the monster in the 5th - shortly preceding three straight balls in play in the infield that yielded two runs and no outs. And of course Friday we had the inside the park grand slam when Duran was almost in a different ZIP code than the ball, and the classic infield popup that dropped among 3 people. But you don't average 17 hits allowed per game by just bad defense.

   38. Textbook Editor Posted: July 25, 2022 at 10:36 AM (#6088155)
It definitely feels now like there was 2003-2011 and then 2012-Present, and while there are 2 flags in each time frame (and 3 ALCS in each), the paths to getting there in each time period seem vastly different.

I don't see how Bloom can possibly see this team competing for a title as currently formed, so my guess is they are sellers, and possibly sooner rather than on deadline day. (Every extra game a team has an acquired player for is valuable, so the sooner the better, especially for people like Bogaerts and Martinez.)
   39. John DiFool2 Posted: July 25, 2022 at 11:56 AM (#6088175)
The key difference is that even in their down years the Sox never really did a total rebuild, typically they would hang onto a few key guys [Dustin, Papi] even as spare parts got shuffled out and in. Would the fanbase accept a 2-3 year complete reboot before they could return to contention?
   40. Darren Posted: July 25, 2022 at 02:54 PM (#6088204)
It feels like the time since the Mookie deal has already been sold as a rebuild. I don't think fans will stand for a 2-3 year rebuild at this point.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: July 25, 2022 at 03:32 PM (#6088209)
The key difference is that even in their down years the Sox never really did a total rebuild, typically they would hang onto a few key guys [Dustin, Papi] even as spare parts got shuffled out and in. Would the fanbase accept a 2-3 year complete reboot before they could return to contention?
The key difference between what things? They have enough talent on hand and run a big enough payroll that I don't think they need to do a 2-3 year rebuild. I see no indication that they would do that, and I think Textbook Editor was just talking about expiring contracts, not about sacrificing 2023.

And to be honest, I don't care too much about the fanbase at large.
   42. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 25, 2022 at 04:34 PM (#6088216)
I understand that feeling, but, what else can they do? If they come to the conclusion that the best thing they can do, going forward, is rebuild, then rebuild is what they'll do, and the fans will have to accept it. If they suffer, attendance wise, for a few years, then so be it. When the team starts winning again, the fans will return.

I haven't paid much attention to attendance #'s for this year, but there sure seems to be a lot of empty seats these days. Now, those seats may be sold and the owners of the seats are either staying home or can't unload them on the secondary market...I don't know. My guess is that for every season ticket given up, they sell say, 1/2 of a season ticket? 1/3? I can't imagine that attendance would totally crater. They've marketed Fenway as an attraction, to the "casual" fan (the VERY casual fan), and that may keep them afloat.

edit...42 was in response to 40. Nate may be right. I can't see them as buyers this year, though. They are dead for this year.
   43. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2022 at 04:41 PM (#6088218)
It definitely feels now like there was 2003-2011 and then 2012-Present, and while there are 2 flags in each time frame (and 3 ALCS in each), the paths to getting there in each time period seem vastly different.
I'd put the dividing line at 2010, frankly. 2011 and 2012 were teams full of talent that should have won more than they did - and that's been the story for all the down years. When they're up they're awesome, but they get into extended (sometimes season-long) funks and lose an impossible number of games for a team that talented.

As I highlighted earlier, Boston in this moment has 4 of their top 6 starters on the IL, and maybe 5 of their top 7. At least two of their starting options entering the season - Eovaldi and Whitlock - are currently healthy but recently came back from IL stints. In the last couple of weeks their downfall has absolutely been their pitching, and it's not hard to see why. Their defense hasn't helped, and injuries to the offense have also hurt them this past weekend. But the fact that their rotation is their #2, #3, #8, #9, and #10 starters is why they are losing right now. No team is going to win with that, and no team can appropriately plan for that.
   44. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2022 at 04:58 PM (#6088219)
I haven't paid much attention to attendance #'s for this year, but there sure seems to be a lot of empty seats these days.
I know you're saying "these days" instead of "this weekend" but I'd expect many fans who would otherwise have been at the game were in Cooperstown this weekend. My kids went to the Saturday game courtesy of a friend who did that. His tickets were non-transferable*, so he gave my son his logon credentials for the Ballpark app so they could electronically pretend to be him and have access to the tickets. I assume most people in a similar scenario would just eat the cost of the tickets.*

* He got the seats through the "Neighborhood 9's" promotion. Any resident of Fenway, Kenmore, and Audubon Circle could buy 4 seats per game for 5 games at $9 per ticket. Prices in his section were listed around $110 per ticket for most games, so these aren't lousy seats.
   45. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2022 at 05:53 PM (#6088223)
As I watched the defense floundering yet again this weekend I'm starting to wonder again about Alex Cora. He came in in 2018, set the tone, and they performed far beyond expectations. In 2019 they did more than regress. He was suspended for 2020. They brought him back in 2021, he set the tone, and they performed reasonably higher than expectations. In 2022... I mean, with the injuries it's hard to say what is the managerial effect. But, like, this team has absolutely been unfocused for at least a month. Their defense has been making bad plays or failing to make normal plays. BB-Ref now shows "Rgood", which is runs above average based solely on exceptional plays and obvious misplays. Boston is now at -6 on the year. Only the Rangers (-8) are worse than Boston.

A decent amount of this is the Franchy Effect, I'm sure. But he's by no means alone. Bad routes, bad throws, and bad communication permeate the roster. Yes they had a short spring training, but by my estimation their competition in every single game also had a short spring training, and it's ####### July. In 2019 I recall they had the same issue - ease their way into spring training given they had an extended postseason, and then they simply played poorly for a long time. This is not the first Cora-led Red Sox team to be fundamentally unsound.
   46. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 25, 2022 at 06:40 PM (#6088230)
I know you're saying "these days" instead of "this weekend"


I've seen a lot of empty seats for much of the season. Again, those tickets might not be unsold, just that the seats are unoccupied.
   47. dave h Posted: July 26, 2022 at 01:18 PM (#6088311)
AFAICT the Sox have a pretty odd pricing system. Many tickets are outrageously expensive. Randomly looking at Thursday's game, field box seats are up to $200. $88 for grandstand, $50 for bleachers (before fees). Maybe I'd buy bleachers tickets for my family of 5 once or twice a season at those prices. (And I think many other games are even more expensive.) But, they also have several random discounts. They'll sell 4 packs of tickets including a hot dog and soda for $100. Depending on how you value the food, that's like a 75% savings (though not very useful for families of 5, argh). Kids Nation is free and comes with two free games, as long as an adult is with them, and I got 8 free tickets for the NESN+ subscription. I'm guessing if they're out of it in September there will be some more promotions. So I'll probably go to a half dozen games or more, but it would be nice if there were some middle ground. Maybe I'm missing something?
   48. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 26, 2022 at 01:26 PM (#6088313)
Are you looking at Red Sox ticket office prices, or secondary market prices? I thought all the field box seats, at least, were season tickets.
   49. Nasty Nate Posted: July 26, 2022 at 01:38 PM (#6088317)
No, you can buy field box seats for single games.

The face values of tickets vary a ton based on month/day/opponent. The grandstand tickets that are $88 plus fees Thursday are only $34 plus fees for a Thursday in September against Baltimore.
   50. Textbook Editor Posted: July 26, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6088330)
I'm not 100% sure I understand the Cordero Experiment--at least in the outfield--as long as JBJ is available to play. The Red Sox may believe facing tough LHP gets JBJ into a slump, but Duran and Verdugo desperately need a JBJ to cover for them in the OF. I don't see how anyone other than JBJ, Verdugo, and Duran should start in the OF unless one of them is injured/being rested--the OF defense just is a complete mess otherwise.

The Dalbec/Cordero time share at 1B is, of course, also a defensive disaster.

Honestly I wonder if other than Whitlock there's a player on the 25-man roster who will be on the next Red Sox playoff team.
   51. Nasty Nate Posted: July 26, 2022 at 04:09 PM (#6088340)
Honestly I wonder if other than Whitlock there's a player on the 25-man roster who will be on the next Red Sox playoff team.
Oh my god, the Sox haven't had that kind of playoff drought since the 80's when there weren't even wildcard teams. I know the recent terrible streak had brought them down to the terrible depths of, uh, .500, but that's no reason to get sports amnesia.
   52. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 26, 2022 at 04:38 PM (#6088343)
They've gone from last to first before, but with a more stable roster. If they lose Bogaerts, and can't shore up the SP, and can't won't sign any stars, it may be a while before they compete again.
   53. Nasty Nate Posted: July 26, 2022 at 04:44 PM (#6088345)
If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.
   54. dave h Posted: July 26, 2022 at 07:38 PM (#6088385)
The face values of tickets vary a ton based on month/day/opponent. The grandstand tickets that are $88 plus fees Thursday are only $34 plus fees for a Thursday in September against Baltimore.


I picked this Thursday figuring it wasn't a premier game. No one cares about Cleveland, right? So that's just July vs September. I guess they have their data, and presumably summer vacation matters, but I wouldn't pay 2.5x for July.
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: July 26, 2022 at 07:45 PM (#6088386)
I'm also surprised weekdays vs Cleveland are premium. I guess Fenway gets a lot of July tourists?
   56. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 26, 2022 at 11:06 PM (#6088469)
If they lose Bogaerts, and can't shore up the SP, and can't won't sign any stars, it may be a while before they compete again.


Now you're just talking crazy stuff. Even though they are sucking on the teat of futility right now, these are the BOSTON RED SOX, 4 TIME WS CHAMPS THIS CENTURY. I'm sure they'll be able to find many takers for the funds they are looking to distribute in the near future.

If they can get the pitching healthy and a few of the young hurlers are consistent, they'll be decent next year.
Of course they'll need to win every game 2-1 because they don't have any MLB players who can hit.
   57. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 27, 2022 at 08:57 AM (#6088495)
Bloom was interviewed yesterday, and was pretty direct about how he sees what his job in Boston has been in his 2 1/2 years here. He basically said that the Dombrowski years paid off with a wire-to-wire dominant team that won the World Series in 2018...but it came at a heavy price of emptying the farm system, leaving behind some big contracts, and being difficult to sustain. He definitely sees this team as still being in rebuild mode, and 2021's 92-win team as an outlier in the plan...and he is right.

The team is spending a lot of money this year - they just aren't spending it on guys that are on the field every night:

- David Price is having $16m of his salary paid by the Red Sox this year (but not all $32m, which is part of what Boston "got" in the Betts trade)
- Chris Sale is getting $30m this year to thrown five innings

Before we even get to Eovaldi's $17m to be on the IL; or Matt Barnes' $8.1m to not pitch (or to suck when he does); or Paxton's $6m to not pitch this year; or Hernandez's $8m; etc., let's just focus on the fact that Bloom begins the construction of a pitching staff this year $46m in the hole for two guys who aren't even pitching. And those two contracts aren't his fault - Dombrowski offered them.

I mean, in Bloom's first year (2020), he was paying $5m to friggin' Pablo Sandoval - who hadn't even been on the team since 2017!

He's done a great job of trying to build the plane while flying the plane the last two seasons, but the crazy success of 2021 probably set expectations way too high for casual Red Sox fans entering 2022. Those are the fans who will likely be most upset if Boston goes into fire sale mode next week.
   58. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2022 at 09:25 AM (#6088500)
The team is spending a lot of money this year - they just aren't spending it on guys that are on the field every night:

- David Price is having $16m of his salary paid by the Red Sox this year (but not all $32m, which is part of what Boston "got" in the Betts trade)
- Chris Sale is getting $30m this year to thrown five innings

Before we even get to Eovaldi's $17m to be on the IL; or Matt Barnes' $8.1m to not pitch (or to suck when he does); or Paxton's $6m to not pitch this year; or Hernandez's $8m; etc., let's just focus on the fact that Bloom begins the construction of a pitching staff this year $46m in the hole for two guys who aren't even pitching. And those two contracts aren't his fault - Dombrowski offered them.

I mean, in Bloom's first year (2020), he was paying $5m to friggin' Pablo Sandoval - who hadn't even been on the team since 2017!
These are good things to consider. But that is just the natural state of affairs for the majority or top payroll teams, isn't it? There's always someone in the inefficient part of a big contract, a big money pitcher out with TJ, or a payment to a guy not even on the team, etc. It's almost impossible to be high-payroll team without those kinds of things. Even the 2018 Sox were paying $40m for nothing out of Rusney/Hanley/Pomeranz.
   59. Textbook Editor Posted: July 27, 2022 at 10:47 AM (#6088514)
I suppose while "dead money" may be the normal state of affairs, if it could be avoided--or even just cut in half from whatever is considered a "normal" amount--it does give you more flexibility with roster construction, extensions, etc.

Of course, IIRC it was Bloom (not Dombrowski) who gave the Barnes extension, right? I'm not particularly sure even at the time that went over as a great decision, but it also wasn't a crazy overpay... it was just Lesson #452 that long-term contracts for relievers are kind of insane.

Watched David Price pitch for LA the other night (and get a save!), and it probably will always bug me that he didn't get the WS MVP; if he doesn't do what he does in that series I'm not sure they win it (especially Game 5, of course). I don't think anyone would have predicted it at the time we acquired Sale, but it's quite possible Price will have achieved a higher WAR/$ with Boston that Sale when all is said and done (and cost less overall as well).
   60. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 27, 2022 at 10:50 AM (#6088515)
These are good things to consider. But that is just the natural state of affairs for the majority or top payroll teams, isn't it?


That is probably true: Invariably, if you spend big money on players, some of them are not going to work out (injury, ineffectiveness, age, etc.).

I think John Henry and Chaim Bloom and the rest of management are thinking of players increasingly the way NFL teams think of stars on their rookie contracts. There may be no competitive advantage in pro sports greater than finding a superstar quarterback in the draft, and enjoying their first five years on their rookie contract. An above-average quarterback (say, Kirk Cousins or Dak Prescott) is going to cost $35 million a year. The Patriots' Mac Jones was a solid quarterback as a rookie, and will likely be about as good as Kirk Cousins this year...and will carry a cap hit of $3.5 million (and a salary of $1.4m). Theoretically, the Patriots have a $31.5m "rookie contract dividend" over Minnesota this year - enough to acquire several other quality players to fill other needs.

I suspect Henry, Bloom, and the team are trying to get the team to a place where they can enjoy a similar "pre-FA dividend" with a number of guys coming up the system. If they can use the rest of this season to feature a rotation of something like Ballo, Crawford, Winckowski, Pivetta, Seabold, etc., then figure out which two of them can enter 2023 as starters, which one or two could be strong relievers, and which one(s) aren't part of the future...that's very valuable. Then, they can pencil certain spots on the team as "pre-FA dividend" players, along with Casas at 1B next year; Yorke in 2024; Mayer in 2025; etc. If they know this, then they can feel aggressive about making Devers one of their big-money guys.

A problem with the team is that if they go all fire sale this week with the position players, who is going to fill those roles for the rest of this year and for 2023? Most of the non-Casas prospects that are ready to contribute are pitchers. There is no catcher in the system to succeed Vazquez (Wong is a good backup, so he can replace Plawicki next year). Downs is not ready to be an everyday player at 2B next year, when Story moves to SS. They have zero outfielders from within to upgrade those positions next year. Who is the DH next year? That guy is probably not in the organization right now.

This is Bloom's biggest challenge: How do you address the position players not named Devers, Casas, or Story between the trade deadline next week and, say, the mid-2024, when real help from the minors appears poised to help? Can you really just keep signing the next Hernandez/Renfroe/JBJ/Arroyo/Cordero/Marwin Gonzalez/crappy two-year contract guys as FAs to bridge to these prospects? Because that's what we are looking at for 2023-2024.
   61. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2022 at 11:00 AM (#6088519)
A problem with the team is that if they go all fire sale this week with the position players, who is going to fill those roles for the rest of this year and for 2023? Most of the non-Casas prospects that are ready to contribute are pitchers. There is no catcher in the system to succeed Vazquez (Wong is a good backup, so he can replace Plawicki next year). Downs is not ready to be an everyday player at 2B next year, when Story moves to SS. They have zero outfielders from within to upgrade those positions next year. Who is the DH next year? That guy is probably not in the organization right now.
Well hypothetically if they went full fire sale, they would have whatever they got back in trade.
   62. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2022 at 11:14 AM (#6088526)
This is Bloom's biggest challenge: How do you address the position players not named Devers, Casas, or Story between the trade deadline next week and, say, the mid-2024, when real help from the minors appears poised to help? Can you really just keep signing the next Hernandez/Renfroe/JBJ/Arroyo/Cordero/Marwin Gonzalez/crappy two-year contract guys as FAs to bridge to these prospects? Because that's what we are looking at for 2023-2024.
I agree that's his big challenge. But why assume they won't get better players than that tier? They have such a long history of bringing in players from a more expensive class (for better or for worse) - Story, JD Martinez, Hanley, Sandoval, Napoli, Victorino, Gonzalez, Crawford, JD Drew....
   63. The Mighty Quintana Posted: July 27, 2022 at 01:06 PM (#6088569)
I would hope Hernandez makes a full recovery in time to be our starting 2B next year. It's his best position, IMHO. A Story/Hernandez combo gives you good defense and power (albeit with a lot of Strikeouts).
   64. Textbook Editor Posted: July 27, 2022 at 01:53 PM (#6088583)
Hernandez is a FA after this season.

Martinez ($22 mil)
Eovaldi ($17 mil)
Hernandez ($7 mil)
Vasquez ($7 mil)
Wacha ($7 mil)
Hill ($5 mil)
Strahm ($3 mil)
Pawlecki ($2.25 mil)
Robles ($2.25 mil)

+ Price ($16 mil) comes off the books after 2022.

So that's $88.5 million off the books (1 DH, 1 CF/2B, 3 SPs, 1 C, 1 backup C, and 2 relievers). If Xander opts out that's $108.5 million to work with, to replace 3 SPs, 1 SS, and 1 C. (I'm going to assume they rotate the DH slot going forward, use Wong as the backup C, and basically fill Hernandez's role with Duran/JBJ (see below)/Downs. I think some of those SPs will be some of the SPs currently filling in (in the 4/5 slots). I don't see them spending a lot on a C or a SS (because Story will move to SS). So really they have the free cash to extend Devers even at $35 mil/yr. if they wanted to. (And that's before you consider Sale's $25 mil/yr comes off the books 2 years into any Devers extension).

The point is there's a LOT of $ to play with this off-season, and what worries me is they go all Hanley/Sandoval instead of actually being smart.

Other bits and bobs roster-wise:

Paxton got $10 mil for this year. His 2023-2024 options I don't quite understand, as they're listed as a player option of $4 mil for 2023 or a club option of $13 mil for (I think) each of 2023 & 2024 (and they have to be picked up together). As he's basically a figment of Bloom's imagination at this point, I suppose I'd assume the club declines the options and if Paxton takes the player option, the Red Sox will be happy to deal with the problem.


JBJ has a $8 mil buyout or a $12 mil option for 2023; I actually think they may just pickup the option because it's only a $4 mil difference.

One last note--there's also plenty of $ to extend Xander as well, of course, but I suspect a market offer is just not going to be made to him by Boston--they decided when they signed Story that if they could extend X at their price, great! If not, that's fine for them. I don't agree with this thinking, but I think it's clear that is their thinking. I'll be shocked if Xander is in the Red Sox lineup on Opening Day 2023.
   65. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 27, 2022 at 02:25 PM (#6088587)
If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.


As Joaquin Andújar liked to say...youneverknow.

But I hear you.

   66. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 27, 2022 at 02:27 PM (#6088588)
Story will move to SS
Is that a given? I’ve seen some stories suggesting that with his elbow injuries Story may now be a better fit at 2nd, at least for this year, and perhaps longer depending on how his arm strength returns or how much wear & tear you want to risk on that elbow. Haven’t really seen enough of him this season to have an opinion on how his arm looks - anyone been paying close attention?
   67. Nasty Nate Posted: July 27, 2022 at 02:42 PM (#6088595)
It's not a given, but it's still the most likely thing for 2023 if Bogaerts signs elsewhere.
   68. The Mighty Quintana Posted: July 27, 2022 at 02:48 PM (#6088598)
Story's arm looks good to me, but can't speak to pain/wear & tear. He's just great to have out there in the middle of the field, so CF would seem to be an option to me. (like Yount when he started getting elbow issues)
   69. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 27, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6088601)
I like him at 2nd. His bat there makes him one of the best in the league (when he hits like he can).
   70. villageidiom Posted: July 27, 2022 at 06:43 PM (#6088664)
This is Bloom's biggest challenge: How do you address the position players not named Devers, Casas, or Story between the trade deadline next week and, say, the mid-2024, when real help from the minors appears poised to help? Can you really just keep signing the next Hernandez/Renfroe/JBJ/Arroyo/Cordero/Marwin Gonzalez/crappy two-year contract guys as FAs to bridge to these prospects? Because that's what we are looking at for 2023-2024.
Bloom hasn't been around long, but 5 of the top 10 in WAR this year are guys he brought in. Three were brought in this year (Wacha, Story, Schreiber). Of the five, Story is the only one costing them substantial money.

Even in the Epstein years they got good value out of "crappy two-year contract guys". Like, Mark Bellhorn and Pokey Reese are not unlike what you're talking about there. The championship teams generally had a bunch of those guys. They also had legit superstars, which I think is the concern given they have 3 right now, but one is injured and the other two are not yet extended.
   71. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 14, 2022 at 02:02 PM (#6091574)
It didn't help that Hernandez was probably hurt from the start of the season...we'll see how much Bloom likes him.


Bloom has a head start in Boston in comparison with what he started with in TB. I hope he has as much success here, fielding a competitive team.
   72. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 15, 2022 at 12:15 PM (#6091710)
Bloom has a head start in Boston in comparison with what he started with in TB. I hope he has as much success here, fielding a competitive team.


How so? He was promoted in 2008 to run the Ray's minor league organization, the same year they went to the WS, was promoted in 2011 to head of baseball ops for the MLB club, and was promoted again in 2014 when Friedman left. He may not have had the payroll to play with, but the Rays org was pretty darn good by then, certainly much more consistent than the boom-t0-bust Sox have been.

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