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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Warning: Actual Baseball Content

With the Sox supposedly and hopefully getting spring training going on Wednesday I suppose some random thoughts on the coming season are appropriate.  Like many of you I find myself befuddled by quite a bit.  Who is healthy, how do the rosters (especially the taxi squads) work, is this a good idea, is the full 60 game season going to be played?  There is just a lot I don’t know and from what I’ve seen on the various interweb searches I’ve done uncertainty is the name of the game.  So rather than try to get particularly insightful or comprehensive here I’m just going to share a few random thoughts;

- After all the hubbub of the off-season I am looking forward to seeing Alex Verdugo in a Red Sox uniform.  The trade was disgusting but all things considered Chaim Bloom did a nice job to land Verdugo as well as a couple of nice additional pieces in Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.  Verdugo has issues of both health and previous off field incidents that are of concern.  I feel like the off field concerns are both incredibly disturbing and also unclear enough that I am not comfortable saying anything particularly declarative about them.  So for now I am interested in seeing a highly talented player take the field for the Sox.

- Speaking of Chaim Bloom I liked what he did with the draft.  I think baseball’s rules about not trading draft pick made the selection of Nick Yorke in the first round seem a bit worse than it was.  This feels like the pick Bill Belichick would have made if he had to play by the rules of MLB’s draft system.  Every year Belichick trades down and gets a couple of good players instead of a stud.  Bloom and the Sox did effectively the same here.  They saw the guy they felt was the right pick and feeling they couldn’t land him in the third round decided that rather than worry about public reaction they would make their pick.  They then used that to land Blaze Jordan in the third round who is a quality of player they were not expected to get in the third round.

- The situation with Minor League Baseball is distressing.  Baseball is better played more widely and living 10 minutes from LeLacheur Park (home of the Spinners) I can attest to how much fun going to a minor league baseball game is and in particular how much kids enjoy it.  I hope baseball gets this right.  These teams mean a lot to smaller communities around the country and if we lose those teams that is a bad thing.

- Reading WEEI.com this morning I saw that the expected MLB schedule will feature ten games against each of the four divisional opponents then twenty games overall against the corresponding interleague division (i.e. NL East for the Sox).  However what struck me is that they are expecting four series of two or three games for those divisional matchups.  Given the issues surrounding travel at the moment that seems like a bad idea.  Why not make it two series of five games each?  Limit travel.

- On that same idea while you don’t want “home umpires” I think having umpires do two successive series in a given city would be a prudent decision.  Again, limiting travel right now seems like a good idea.  Less opportunity for exposure and also less fatigue.

- Hey, baseball is going to be back!  This won’t be much of a Red Sox season given the off-season moves and the sixty game schedule the phrase “it’s a marathon not a sprint” is going to be turned on its ear which should make for some intriguing stuff.  The 2012 Sox were 29-31 after 60 games, not good but not the shitshow that the season became.  On the 1996 and 1997 Sox (both 24-36 after 60 games) have been truly poor right from the start.

- Three person booths are usually pretty bad.  Given the chemistry that Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy the decision by NESN to do a three person booth with those two and Dave O’Brien for all sixty games is a good one.  I suspect there should be some pretty entertaining stuff from these guys.

Here’s hoping everyone is safe and healthy both physically and emotionally and with luck we will have some baseball.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 28, 2020 at 08:51 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 28, 2020 at 08:07 PM (#5960063)
Based on the Twitterz Ryan Westmoreland got married today. That’s a long way back for the kid. Good for him.
   2. villageidiom Posted: June 29, 2020 at 09:50 AM (#5960106)
Reading WEEI.com this morning I saw that the expected MLB schedule will feature ten games against each of the four divisional opponents then twenty games overall against the corresponding interleague division (i.e. NL East for the Sox).  However what struck me is that they are expecting four series of two or three games for those divisional matchups.  Given the issues surrounding travel at the moment that seems like a bad idea.  Why not make it two series of five games each?  Limit travel.
I think for teams that are flying on charter flights the exposure on the road is less about the literal travel and more about the hotels, the dining, etc. The less free time they have in any location, the easier it probably is to minimize what they do for exposure in that free time.
   3. villageidiom Posted: June 30, 2020 at 05:22 PM (#5960451)
So what happens with the payroll reset, in a shortened season? Like, every team will be under the threshold this year based on actual payroll. I assume they use the annualized payroll for that purpose.

But what about the Mike Leakes and Ian Desmonds of the world? If they opt out of this season, they're not getting paid. But do they still count against payroll, for the sake of the threshold? I'd assume so; they're still under contract.
   4. dave h Posted: June 30, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5960466)
I tuned out after the Betts trade (that happened, right?) So you can imagine how little I care about whatever is left of this season. Which is to say, as little as possible for someone posting on a baseball message board at 6 pm on a Tuesday. But what is everyone's over/under on games they'll watch this season?
   5. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 30, 2020 at 07:25 PM (#5960472)
3 - I know the Sox can be considered under the luxury tax for this season IF the season is played to completion. I don't know if that means it is based on a proration or simply is deemed that every team is under the threshold. I don't know anything about Leake/Desmond type situations. Or Collin McHugh who I believe is not getting paid at all since his March advance is more than his prorated salary would be (pretty sure they aren't requiring him to pay any back).

4 - I'm a sucker/diehard so I'll watch. It's baseball, baseball is fun, I love baseball, why wouldn't I? I'm not expecting the Sox to be particularly good, the pitching is a shambles, but modern baseball with Openers and whatnot is ripe for teams with no recognizable pitchers to succeed and Bogaerts/JDM/Devers is a 3-4-5 that I'll matchup against anyone.
   6. dave h Posted: June 30, 2020 at 07:47 PM (#5960474)
Yeah I love baseball too. I'm not coaching baseball for the first time in a few years because my younger son's league was cancelled and my older son doesn't want to move to kid pitch. I'm sadder about that than I am about the loss of most of the MLB season - the Betts trade really turned me off. Watching baseball on TV for me is as much about the feel as anything (if that makes sense) so I'm just not interested. We'll see if that changes when the scores start coming in, but I don't think it's about how good the Sox are.
   7. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: June 30, 2020 at 08:08 PM (#5960480)
I get it, I really do. I would never be so bold as to tell someone else how to feel and honestly I’m feeling a bit less enthusiastic than I usually would be (and was even in March). I know myself enough to know that when a pitch is thrown in anger I’ll turn into a raving lunatic.

And that sucks about your son’s league getting cancelled and your other son not wanting to play kid pitch. We’ve been having practices for a couple of weeks now with opening day hopefully next week. It has been wonderful to see the kids. I miss the high fives and some of the intimacy (not sure that’s an appropriate term) you get from working closely with kids rather than having to stand six feet away but it’s better than nothing. It’s 90 minute increments a couple times a week but so far the kids seem to be handling things pretty well.
   8. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: June 30, 2020 at 09:36 PM (#5960496)
I tuned out after the Betts trade (that happened, right?) So you can imagine how little I care about whatever is left of this season. Which is to say, as little as possible for someone posting on a baseball message board at 6 pm on a Tuesday. But what is everyone's over/under on games they'll watch this season?
This is very much where I sit as well. I would say that because of the state of things, I will probably watch more games (maybe 20-30) than if things had been normal, while (I think) caring less.
   9. villageidiom Posted: July 01, 2020 at 10:36 AM (#5960534)
I get where everyone is coming from regarding the team and the season. But if they actually play this season as planned, I'm actually looking forward to it. At nearly every position Boston has a player I'm looking forward to seeing in 2020. Given variability blah blah blah it seems like Boston stands a good chance at being at least in the postseason hunt all season long.

   10. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 01, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5960538)
I get where everyone is coming from regarding the team and the season. But if they actually play this season as planned, I'm actually looking forward to it. At nearly every position Boston has a player I'm looking forward to seeing in 2020. Given variability blah blah blah it seems like Boston stands a good chance at being at least in the postseason hunt all season long.


You know who really has a player that I would really like to see in 2020? The Dodgers. I am still holding out hope that the season never happens, Betts signs with Bos in FA, and his BBREF page only lists BOS as team(s) played for.
   11. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: July 01, 2020 at 04:24 PM (#5960608)
Jacksone - The problem with that is if the season doesn’t get played the luxury tax doesn’t reset and presumably the Sox have zero chance/will to re-sign Mookie. A season that plays out with the tax reset is probably the best hope (possibly with JDM opting out as well).
   12. villageidiom Posted: July 01, 2020 at 09:22 PM (#5960653)
You know who really has a player that I would really like to see in 2020?
The Red Sox do.

I mean, I'm talking about a bunch of players on the team who are worth rooting for, and your response to it sounds the same in my ears as saying "ALL lives matter". Xander Bogaerts, among others, deserves better than to have you pouting that he's not Mookie Betts.
   13. dave h Posted: July 02, 2020 at 09:01 AM (#5960670)
VI, that's a pretty obnoxious analogy, but even if you go there I think you have it backwards. We're saying that we don't like what happened with Betts, and you're saying "but what about everyone else!" Speaking just for myself, I understand why many people are just moving on, and I'm not actually sure why it's affecting me so strongly. But it's not unreasonable to say "my favorite team traded away a hugely popular generational talent, that drastically decreases my interest". I am genuinely curious how many games people expect to watch. With the short season, I can see people saying that the Sox are in the hunt and so it'll be exciting (and they might especially need a diversion). I don't think my interest is based on how good the remaining team is, though maybe I'll change my tune if September rolls around and they're in first.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: July 02, 2020 at 09:22 AM (#5960673)
Yeah, VI your analogy was backwards.

But I think your overall point that other players that they still have are very interesting is a sound one.
   15. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 02, 2020 at 10:46 AM (#5960686)
Damn VI, I never said a word bad about any of the other players on the team. Xander and Devers are great, Devers has that smile Xander just the quite chill. Pedroia is awesome and I would LOVE to see him come back in any way. JBJ (while infuriating at times) can be spectacular to watch. I've got nothing invested in JDM. But you know what? None of those guys have much chance at being one of the top 5 players in Red Sox history. At this point in his career there is literally nothing bad you can say about Mookie - really stretching it, maybe he could be a more vocal leader, on the other hand, it did seem like he and Xander were stepping into the gaping leadership hole that Ortiz and Pedroia left. AND THE ONLY ####### REASON HE IS NOT ON THE TEAM IS BECAUSE OF $$$!!!! So, since it costs me money to watch the Sox...I am just not going to. Maybe this will be a one year reset and I'll be back in 2021.
   16. villageidiom Posted: July 02, 2020 at 11:07 AM (#5960693)
VI, that's a pretty obnoxious analogy, but even if you go there I think you have it backwards. We're saying that we don't like what happened with Betts, and you're saying "but what about everyone else!"
No, it's apt. We've all acknowledged Betts is gone, and that that sucks. But in discussing how much we'll pay attention this year - YOUR question, mind you - I said there's stuff I find compelling about this team and season. That thought couldn't exist here for even an hour without someone trying to trump it with the one point y'all want to make again. Like, if you think I was out of line by responding I plan to pay attention to the team this year, then maybe don't ask the ####### question?

Xander Bogaerts was worth rooting for, this time last year. Now he's not, because someone other than Xander Bogaerts changed the right fielder? Rafael Devers is no longer worth rooting for, because someone else will be removing his helmet when he returns to the dugout after a HR? Benintendi and Bradley are not worthy of attention now that they'll be celebrating wins with some other guy? I mean, if you're saying the analogy is reversed then you're saying you want me to stop constantly bringing up Red Sox players who aren't Mookie Betts when talking about the 2020 Red Sox. That, my friend, is obnoxious.

I'm not trying to sell anyone on rooting for the 2020 team. I just hope we can talk about the team that is, without always immediately squashing that discussion to discuss the team that isn't.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 02, 2020 at 11:47 AM (#5960705)
I'm not trying to sell anyone on rooting for the 2020 team. I just hope we can talk about the team that is, without always immediately squashing that discussion to discuss the team that isn't.


Fair enough. Seeing as there hasn't been any team news to speak of since Betts left, I figured he was still fair game. I do understand constantly bringing him up mid-season would get tiresome. Remember though, if/when Verdugo or Pillar struggles in RF (is Verdugo healthy yet?) Betts WILL be mentioned.
   18. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: July 02, 2020 at 04:42 PM (#5960776)
Betts will get mentioned a lot and I plan on finding it tiresome. I’m not much for “what if” type discussions. He’s gone and I want to see Verdugo succeed. I like Mookie so I hope he succeeds for the Dodgers while hating it there and deciding he wants to be back in Boston. It’s like the Beckett deal when in 2006 people constantly mentioned what Hanley and Anibal were doing. It’s just not that interesting to me.

As for Verdugo I read recently that he’s ready to go. I hope so because he can be a very good player. I think one of the real lost angles on the Mookie trade is that Bloom got talent back. I mean it’s a lousy deal for the reasons outlined by many (including myself) over time but if you make such a deal Verdugo/Downs/Wong plus unloading Price’s contract is a pretty good bit of GMing.

Circling back I can completely understand someone being turned off by the trade. As vi notes there is a lot to enjoy on this team but I have to confess I feel a bit gut punched on this trade. If you are looking for something to like on this team, it’s definitely there but if you’re pissed or hurt by the trade, yeah I get that too.
   19. John DiFool2 Posted: July 02, 2020 at 04:53 PM (#5960777)
Their BBRef clones [ https://www.baseball-reference.com/sim/teams/BOS/2020.shtml ] are currently 13 below .500--the rest of the rotation outside of ER is a total mess-Eovaldi has an 8 something ERA, as does Ryan Weber, JDM & AB are mired in massive slumps, the bullpen is likewise imploding (outside of Matt Barnes)--only good news is that Xander & Devers are still above average and JBB is hitting (Mitch M is still Mitch M fwiw). Chavis has only 2 homers.

Ironic thing tho is that Betts has only an .828 OPS. Price has a 2.68 ERA, and overall the Dodgers are playing .750 ball.
   20. dave h Posted: July 02, 2020 at 07:52 PM (#5960801)
VI, you're doubling down on the obnoxious, from the f-bombs to putting words in my mouth. I'll show myself out - just not worth it at this point.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: July 03, 2020 at 02:36 AM (#5960841)
You're better than that vi.

No one questioned your interest in this year's team (dave h didn't take exception to your answer). jacksone (a different poster than the one who asked the ####### question in the first place), said the player he's most interested in seeing this year is in LA, and you responded in the most obnoxious way possible.

   22. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: July 03, 2020 at 10:39 AM (#5960860)
Sox are being linked to Puig. I’m not sure about that one. I like Puig as a fan, he’s a dynamic player, flamboyant with more than a bit of duende. But I suspect he’s a pretty bad fit. As someone who is a lightning rod in the best of times I think the current state of the Red Sox is ripe for a scapegoat and I can see Puig being that guy. Also he’s really not THAT good, just a 109 OPS+ over the last 5 years.

If it’s a one year deal, hey he’s worth a shot. I don’t think he’s worth any kind of multi year deal.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 05, 2020 at 08:12 AM (#5961133)
Sox are being linked to Puig.


How tight to the lux tax are the Sox now? Can they easily do one-year tryouts like this?

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