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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Monday, March 21, 2022

Things Have Happened

So while I was driving 1,543 miles in two days Chaim Bloom decided to get busy.  After a somewhat frustrating stretch as big names fell off the free agent board he dropped big money on infielder Trevor Story.  I’m a bit conflicted here because I suspect it means that Xander Bogaerts’ time with the club is dwindling.  I think something in me has changed over the last couple of years and having had the good fortune to see four World Series titles I’m a bit more interested in players I want to root for.  This feels like the kind of move that five-ten years ago I’d have seen as good forward planning (and it is that) and recognize that it is the call.  But now, I’m a bit less emotionally charged over it.

But that concern can wait because Chaim Bloom has unquestionably made the 2022 Boston Red Sox better.  Story is the big attention grabber and rightly so but putting Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm in the bullpen mix should be a good depth move if not more.  With that in mind even though we considered the roster just over a week ago it is probably time to reevaluate things and see where we stand now.

INFIELD: Bobby Dalbec, Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Christian Arroyo, Travis Shaw
Minors: Jonathan Arauz, Jeter Downs, Ryan Fitzgerald

Story slots in at second base for now and Arroyo and Shaw fit as utility men.  Adding Story is a big shift for this infield as he represents a massive upgrade over Arroyo and his band of merry men.  There is also the trickle down effect, Arroyo is significantly better than Arauz and if you assume a backup infielder is going to get 250 PA the more of those that go to Arroyo rather than Arauz is a meaningful plus.

OUTFIELD: Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kiké Hernandez, Rob Refsnyder
Minors: Jarren Duran, Franchy Cordero

I may be wrong here but if he’s not going to be the starter I expect Duran to be in Worcester to open the season.  The right-handed Refsnyder is a nice fit to spell JBJ or Doogs against a tough lefty.  Alex Cora has also said that Arroyo and Dalbec will start getting some reps in the outfield though if Dalbec keeps raking he’s going to stay at first base.

CATCHER: Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki
Minors: Connor Wong

Not much to say here.  These are our catchers.  Wong looked reasonably competent in limited appearances last year so I think he makes a nice “uh oh” option if one of the two goes down for a relatively short stint.

DH: JD Martinez

I mean yeah.

ROTATION: Nate Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Tanner Houck
Minors: Connor Seabold, Brayan Bello, Derek Holland
Disabled List: Chris Sale, James Paxton

Sale on the DL is the big news.  The more concerning part is the amount of time he’s expected to miss.  The Sox, like the Padres with Fernando Tatis, look like they shot themselves in the foot a bit with the lockout.  Had the injury been addressed properly day one the Sox might have avoided some of this.  But Chris Sale missing time is not really the most shocking development ever and with Houck the Sox are well suited to absorb some innings.  The big thing for the Sox is how they use Houck and how he lets them use him.  Will he be able to pitch a third time through the order effectively and will Cora give him the chance to do so?

BULLPEN: Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Hirokazu Sawamura, Garrett Whitlock, Jake Diekman, Matt Strahm, Eduard Bazardo, Austin Davis
Minors: Darwinzon Hernandez, Phillips Valdez
Injured List: Josh Taylor

There is a curious lack of left-handed slugging in the division.  Tampa (Matthews, Lowe, Choi) have a few, the Yankees have Gallo and Rizzo and the Blue Jays have no expected left-handed hitting starters.  With that in mind the Sox bullpen is a bit curiously south-facing.  Diekman and Strahm both handle righties as well as lefties though which should help mitigate things somewhat.  The bullpen is like you’d expect with a bullpen, somewhat uncertain with a lot of potential variance.  I generally like the arms the Sox have though they didn’t throw enough strikes for me last year.  Sawamura is one guy I want to really love but he seems to give up a lot of hard contact despite what looks like pretty good stuff.

Anyway, I imagine something will happen to change this in the coming days.

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 21, 2022 at 03:17 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 21, 2022 at 06:06 PM (#6068544)
if he’s not going to be the starter I expect Duran to be in Worcester to open the season.
I agree with you... and yet I'm flipping the switch. Duran will deserve enough playing time that he should remain on the MLB roster.
   2. Jay Seaver Posted: March 21, 2022 at 07:51 PM (#6068557)
I think something in me has changed over the last couple of years and having had the good fortune to see four World Series titles I’m a bit more interested in players I want to root for.  This feels like the kind of move that five-ten years ago I’d have seen as good forward planning (and it is that) and recognize that it is the call.  But now, I’m a bit less emotionally charged over it.


I don't think it's just the winning, at least for me, as I know some folks for whom that's made them even more cold-blooded about this, but just finding that sort of calculation more hollow in areas outside of baseball. It kind of feels like being impressed with savvy has made a lot of things less enjoyable.

Still, there's also something to knowing just how good winning a World Series feels and how, if championships were distributed evenly, they'd be a once-in-a-generation thing. Is frantically and dispassionately chasing one going to be as rewarding as trying but also enjoying the ride wherever it leads?
   3. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 21, 2022 at 08:19 PM (#6068566)
Yeah I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s just I’m getting older. I don’t know, to each his own.

I hope vi is right about Duran. It’d be great to have a player with that kind of speed on the roster.
   4. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 21, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6068569)
I like the move, and I want Story and Duran in the same lineup, damnit! Speed don't slump...
   5. Rough Carrigan Posted: March 21, 2022 at 11:01 PM (#6068582)
I watched the Cardinals in St. Louis in the 1980's. Yes it does. Just not as completely.
   6. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 22, 2022 at 01:13 PM (#6068629)
Haha, I know. Just wanted to pay tribute to Larry Bowa, that was a favorite of his.
   7. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 28, 2022 at 10:43 AM (#6069400)
Jarren Duran officially outrighted to the minors. Also, hunt down the clip of him scoring from second base on a sac fly.
   8. Darren Posted: March 28, 2022 at 11:21 AM (#6069406)
I like Raffy but I'm not convinced he's the kind of guy you lock up for 8-10 years. Even if you think his defense is passable, he's still a very good but not great player. He's only 25 this year but his inconsistency from year to year and his conditioning worry me too.
   9. John DiFool2 Posted: March 28, 2022 at 01:53 PM (#6069432)
A comment on the Fangraph's CF Power Rankings hinted that Jackie Bradley Jr. has either been traded or released, as he wasn't listed on the depth chart. I just spent 10 minutes scouring the 'net for any news, only to find absolutely nada.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: March 28, 2022 at 02:11 PM (#6069435)
A comment on the Fangraph's CF Power Rankings hinted that Jackie Bradley Jr. has either been traded or released, as he wasn't listed on the depth chart. I just spent 10 minutes scouring the 'net for any news, only to find absolutely nada.
I thought I saw that article on the site, but now it's not there. Maybe you found the 2021 one, or a 2022 that they published before it was ready.
   11. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 28, 2022 at 02:21 PM (#6069436)
I don't see power rankings for any position other than catcher on FanGraphs site. Where you seeing that?
   12. John DiFool2 Posted: March 28, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6069457)
Yeah, someone on FG must have screwed up (and I didn't notice the date). Let's do the time warp again...
   13. Darren Posted: March 28, 2022 at 09:17 PM (#6069491)
FG still has Bradley in the Red Sox depth charts as the starting RF and backup CF, so probably that was some kind of typo.
   14. pikepredator Posted: March 29, 2022 at 12:39 PM (#6069525)
I haven't been able to watch any of spring training but the pitchers seem to be doing quite well . . . are they just getting lucky against AAA-type lineups, or are they really dealing?
   15. Darren Posted: March 29, 2022 at 01:05 PM (#6069531)
After looking at the projections a little, I think I may have been wrong about Devers. Trying to extrapolate from the value of the Story contract (wins worth ~$7.5 mil now, ~3% inflation), it seems like Devers might be worth something like 7 years/$200 mil up to 10 years, $300 mil (with the deal starting in 2022), I could see the Red Sox doing the low end of that and possibly up to the middle somewhere. Meanwhile, by that same accounting, Bogaerts would be worth (including 2022) 6 years/$160 mil to 8 years/$180 mil. Again, something I could see the Red Sox being willing to do.

Seems unlikely they'll do both, but they certainly could if they felt they were worth it. Hard to say which is the better choice.
   16. Darren Posted: March 29, 2022 at 01:10 PM (#6069532)
I wonder if Ryan Fitzgerald has a shot at earning one of the 28 roster spots coming out of the spring. He had a nice year at AA/AAA last year, hitting .270 .350 .512, playing mostly SS but also getting time at all the other infield and outfield positions. This spring he's hitting a robust .313 .450 1.063. Of course, he's 28 and not on the 40 man, so it's probably a long shot.
   17. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 29, 2022 at 01:36 PM (#6069535)
I think it's highly likely that Fitzgerald makes the roster. That 28 man roster is perfectly suited to a player like that. From what the Sox prospects guys say he's extremely well regarded by the organization in the 'good soldier" way. He's a slick glove and can field at several positions. He'd be a good fit to cover a lot of different positions in an emergency situation.
   18. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 30, 2022 at 10:35 AM (#6069632)
Presumably today's lineup is what Gerrit Cole will be seeing in 9 days;

Hernández CF
Devers 3B
Bogaerts SS
Martinez DH
Verdugo LF
Story 2B
Dalbec 1B
Bradley Jr. RF
Vázquez C
   19. Darren Posted: March 30, 2022 at 01:04 PM (#6069652)
I like that lineup. :)
   20. pikepredator Posted: March 30, 2022 at 04:24 PM (#6069699)
Yeah that is a fun lineup! Bodes well.
   21. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 30, 2022 at 05:05 PM (#6069707)
Yes, very nice...but can we get Verdugo before the RBI men?
   22. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 30, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6069713)
I think I like Verdugo there. He's got enough pop to do some damage in the middle of the order and can get on base and make things happen for Story and Dalbec. I'd rather get the extra PAs out of Devers and X.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 31, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6069809)
Cora likes to stick with positional line ups, right? (Or am I misremembering that?) Only issue I see is if/when X or Devers takes a day or two and the presumed super sub Arroyo is filling in for them, does Arroyo stay at the top of the order? Switch with Story? OF is fairly easy, if Duran is back in MLB, presumably he's hitting enough to replace Hernandez in CF if needed, if he's replacing JBJ then the 8th spot is appropriate, and if Cora likes a Duran-Hernandez-Verdugo alignment, then Verdugo just stays in the 5th spot.
   24. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 31, 2022 at 03:07 PM (#6069812)
Apparently the plan is what we see above against righties. Against lefties Story would move to second, Devers 4th, JDM 5th and Verdugo 6th.

As for days off, I can't imagine Devers gets too many days off against a righty. If Bogaerts or JD is sitting I assume everyone behind them just moves up one spot and Arroyo plops in wherever he plops in. If Hernandez is sitting and Arroyo is in there I'd bet Arroyo leads off just to keep it simple.

Against lefties when Devers sits again, I assume everyone moves up one and Arroyo plops in somewhere around 7th.

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