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   1. villageidiom Posted: May 02, 2022 at 11:06 AM (#6074758)
To be fair I also considered “that sucked” as a title for this piece and frankly that would have been just as accurate.
You're gonna need that one later in the season.
If the club wants to try and get an internal jumpstart going I think Jarren Duran rather than Triston Casas is the play.
I'm right there with you. I think we give JBJ a lot of rope because we accept that stretches of offensive incapability have always been part of the package. But, like, he's gone 7 months in which his best OBP was .301 and most of the other months weren't anywhere close to that. We took on the contract to buy the prospects, and took a shot at a bounce-back year. And maybe he will still bounce back. But I don't think we'll see it while he's still in a Red Sox uniform.

The normal version of me thinks a decision on JBJ will come in the next 2 weeks. The incredibly jaded version of me thinks we still have two more months of this, with Duran not being called up until late June at which point his accumulated service time plus the remainder of the 2021 season will not add up to a full year.
   2. Buck Coats Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:28 PM (#6074779)
The Major Leagues as a whole did have some decline year to year but only from .699 to .675 so that’s not all the problem.


Wasn't last year's ML OPS 728? That's what bb-ref shows. 728 to 678 is a pretty big drop.
   3. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:37 PM (#6074780)
Yeah but I was only using April since April tends to be a bit lighter hitting in general I didn't want the summer months to skew the data. In either case the drop is susbstantial but doesn't account for the entirety of the Sox underperformance.
   4. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 02, 2022 at 06:03 PM (#6074859)
If a lot of teams are using their bullpens as much as or more than the Red Sox, then their staffs are in trouble, too.

edit...Jordan's furniture is running another promotion: buy furniture now, it's free if the Red Sox win the WS. You in?
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 02, 2022 at 07:12 PM (#6074872)
13 home runs. That's it. In a single, non-analytics deep dive, there's your issue. They're hanging around such luminaries like the Orioles and Reds.

I was giving Jose a hard time on another thread as Renfroe has 5 homers so far this season(of course 4 of them are in like the last 4 days). The bottom of the order is a sucking vortex of batting h*ll.

The SP has been pretty good(not Dodgers good, but still a 3.51 ERA(same as the Giants) for the starters is solid) and I would've liked(yes, I do understand short spring, etc) to have seen a few of them stretched an out or 3 longer on some of their outings. However the hitting has been so poor I'm not really sure if any difference would've been made.
   6. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 02, 2022 at 07:19 PM (#6074875)
The top of the order isn’t exactly Combs-Lazzeri-Ruth-Gehrig.

And Joe the game has changed. The bullpen usage isn’t that big a deal because every team uses 25 relievers. I hate it but it is what it is.

The Jordan’s thing has been every year in some form or another since 2004 right?
   7. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 02, 2022 at 10:04 PM (#6074899)
Responding (or adding to) to #1:

The JBJ trade was like the Ottavino trade a year earlier, noting that:

1) There was more reason to believe Ottavino would be useful in 2021 than there was/is that JBJ will be useful in 2022, but in exchange for that,
2) the prospects Bloom was able to "buy" were markedly better.

Keep in mind that what we are paying JBJ is not the real number: It JBJ minus Renfroe, who makes over $7.5 million this year, and has been pretty bad, too.

The problem is that many of us thought that this deal was primarily a prospect purchasing transaction...not the acquisition of a right fielder. I always thought JBJ would be a 4th outfielder, defensive replacement, etc.

I wondered all off-season what the plan was for acquiring a right fielder...not realizing this was the plan!

By this summer, Duran and Casas will be getting full opoortunities, and if there are some injuries to the starters, then a few more of the young guys will get a shot there, too (maybe Wincknowski, Seabold, Whitlock
   8. villageidiom Posted: May 03, 2022 at 09:13 AM (#6074933)
The normal version of me thinks a decision on JBJ will come in the next 2 weeks. The incredibly jaded version of me thinks we still have two more months of this, with Duran not being called up until late June at which point his accumulated service time plus the remainder of the 2021 season will not add up to a full year.
Hopefully it was obvious that I meant 2022, not 2021. One year of service time is something like 172 days. If Duran is called up before late June and stays he'll make it to a full year of service time by the end of the season. If he's called up in July he will still be just shy of 1 year of service time going into 2023.
   9. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 09:52 AM (#6074936)
every team uses 25 relievers.


Really?
   10. John DiFool2 Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:12 AM (#6074938)
Could be worse. Could be the Diamondbacks, who are hitting in the .180's, 7/9 starters under the Mendoza Line...
   11. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:13 AM (#6074939)
HA HA HA HA vi said something wrong on the internet! He will be mocked for decades!!!!
   12. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:27 AM (#6074940)
2021 Pitchers Used for AL teams over .500

Yankees 30
Rays 41
Red Sox 37
Blue Jays 38
White Sox 27
Astros 32
Mariners 38
Athletics 27

So the A's and White Sox managed to use "only" 27 pitchers (so call it 22 relievers). Honestly I pulled the number out of my ass but it's actually surprisingly accurate.
   13. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:32 AM (#6074941)
This site tracks SP innings (and maybe all pitchers, I didn't do a deeper dive). Eovaldi shows up on page 1, with 28 innings or so. The next Red Sox pitcher to show up is Pivetta, tied with a bunch of guys at #74. Then, Wacha is tied with a bunch of guys at #79. So, the Red Sox have 3 SPs in the top 100 Ps innings pitched. That's not good.
   14. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6074944)
Rodon had 24 starts for the White Sox, # 5 on the staff. They White Sox used a spot starter 17 games, so, call it 21.

The A's used a spot starter for 18 games. So, 21.

For the Red Sox, they listed 6 SPs, and then 12 "spot" starts. (Sale got 9 of those). So, call that # "30". Yeeeeeeechhhh. We're doomed.
   15. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:48 AM (#6074945)
Joe I think you are fixating on an issue that is not as big as you think it is. If Tanner Houck had recorded one more out then the Sox would have the same number of pitchers in the top 100 as the Blue Jays. I mean you can play all kinds of games with this stuff at this point. The Sox have six pitchers with over 15 innings; the Yankees only five, Toronto four and the Rays three!!!! I'd love the Sox to let their starters go deeper but they aren't using them dramatically different from any other team.
   16. villageidiom Posted: May 03, 2022 at 10:52 AM (#6074947)
HA HA HA HA vi said something wrong on the internet! He will be mocked for decades!!!!
Will be?
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 03, 2022 at 11:49 AM (#6074952)

The JBJ trade was like the Ottavino trade a year earlier, noting that:

1) There was more reason to believe Ottavino would be useful in 2021 than there was/is that JBJ will be useful in 2022, but in exchange for that,
2) the prospects Bloom was able to "buy" were markedly better.

Keep in mind that what we are paying JBJ is not the real number: It JBJ minus Renfroe, who makes over $7.5 million this year, and has been pretty bad, too.


Ottavino was pretty much a straight cash buy from the Yankees - the 'player to be named later' has still not been named.
Trading for Binelas & Hamilton has cost the Sox $3.35 million in salary diff between JBJ and Renfroe, and to date there's a -.7 WAR difference between the two. Contrary to popular belief Renfroe is hitting well, he's got a 120 OPS+
   18. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 01:12 PM (#6074966)
Count da trips to the IL!!!
   19. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 03, 2022 at 02:58 PM (#6074980)
So, the Red Sox have 3 SPs in the top 100 Ps innings pitched. That's not good.


Isn't that roughly what you would expect? An equal distribution of pitchers would give each team 3.33 in the top 100, I don't see why you'd think there'd be much separation at this point in the season.
   20. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 03, 2022 at 03:52 PM (#6074984)
An equal distribution


To do a deeper dive, they have one at #16 or 18, then one tied for #74 and one tied for #79. An equal distro would have one in the 2nd third. The way they've been going, they'll be in the bottom half of SP innings, and I think that will tax the bullpen beyond their abilities. And given that the team has too many easy outs (add Story to the list, he looks awful...I don't see any pop in his bat at all), that bodes poorly. Most of the year, they'll be under water in terms of runs scored/runs allowed. This is a lost year, unless the roster changes dramatically.

   21. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 03, 2022 at 09:47 PM (#6075090)
To do a deeper dive, they have one at #16 or 18, then one tied for #74 and one tied for #79. An equal distro would have one in the 2nd third. The way they've been going, they'll be in the bottom half of SP innings, and I think that will tax the bullpen beyond their abilities.


And now they are at #20, #36, & #85, one in each third...clearly doom is upon them!
   22. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 04, 2022 at 10:17 AM (#6075136)
And now they are at #20, #36, & #85, one in each third...clearly doom is upon them!


I think you're whistling past the graveyard. I won't mind if I'm wrong.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 04, 2022 at 11:59 AM (#6075149)
I think you're whistling past the graveyard. I won't mind if I'm wrong.


I agree with you on the whole regarding the team's outlook, but your deep dive into the starting pitchers innings thrown is just off. You're not paying attention/not believing/being obstinate (take your pick) and ignoring that starting pitcher usage has changed, and the Sox are right in the middle of the pack.
   24. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 04, 2022 at 01:52 PM (#6075168)
I see that quality starts are less common than ever, across the league. I think it hurts the Red Sox. It makes no difference that other teams are in the same boat. The Red Sox play in a hitter's park, putting them at a disadvantage. They're gonna have to hit like the late 70's Red Sox to have any chance at all, and it isn't happening any time soon.

If their plan is to replace Bogaerts with Story, this team is in for several years of mediocrity.
   25. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 04, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6075235)
It makes no difference that other teams are in the same boat.



wow that's a weird statement.
   26. Textbook Editor Posted: May 04, 2022 at 11:01 PM (#6075272)
It appears my decision to forego MLB.tv this season may prove to be the correct one.

That Matt Barnes extension looks worse and worse with each passing day. It's not an albatross, but when he's released before the end of the 2023 season there'll be some dead money there.

We need an over/under on extra inning losses for the season. From what I gathered online, it appears the record is 18 by the 1943 St. Louis Browns. Tonight is the 5th extra inning loss in 25 games. We're on pace for ~32. Something to shoot for!
   27. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 07:48 AM (#6075297)
wow that's a weird statement.


No, YOU are!

Seriously, though, it would have been weird if I didn't type the next couple of lines.

Oh look! Another bullpen fail last night!
   28. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:07 AM (#6075299)
The problem isn't that the bullpen is tired from overuse, the problem is that the bullpen sucks. Man that was brutal last night.

I'm getting 2014 vibes. Some reasons for optimism in the upper minors but a team that overachieved a year ago underachieving right now. I stand by my expectation for the team but they are digging a hole right now. 3-6 in one run games, 0-5 in extra innings, that has to give at some point. I just hope they don't overreact and move Whitlock to the bullpen. He's looking like the real deal. Now Houck, hey I could go with him being the closer.
   29. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:55 AM (#6075309)
Casas/Dalbec Watch:

Dalbec: .141/.215/.225 1 HR, 5/24 BB/K ratio

Casas: .261/.383/.500 5 HRs, 17/23 BB/K ratio

I get that a lot of Casas's positive stats come from home games in Worcester. I also don't want to rush Casas - simply being better than Dalbec is not necessarily a good enough reason to bring Casas up yet. But the team's decision not to find a short-term platoon partner for Dalbec, or find a legit right fielder, is kind of going worst-case scenario right now.

Which is too bad, because despite the poor start to the season, the starting pitching has generally been good: Eovaldi, Houck, Wacha, Whitlock, and Hill have all done their jobs well. Pivetta has been terrible.

I also would like the team to see what they have in Seabold pretty soon. He is pitching really, really well in AAA right now, and one could see a scenario where they make him a #5 starter, move Pivetta to the bullpen and see if he can give them good short outings, etc.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:09 AM (#6075311)
The problem isn't that the bullpen is tired from overuse, the problem is that the bullpen sucks. Man that was brutal last night.
I'm beginning to loathe the Robles-Diekman tandem.
   31. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:38 AM (#6075317)
I like Robles. He's been really good. Bad night last night but generally really good. The little things but I think this all feels a lot different if Story makes that play in Tampa.

Diekman I don't get. His stuff looks SO good sometimes and other times so pedestrian.
   32. pikepredator Posted: May 05, 2022 at 11:27 AM (#6075341)
May is unfortunately feeling a lot like April. The first nine innings were great drama . . . but they just couldn't get the job done with the crowd on their feet in the 9th. So close and then blown out, and it felt like everything started deflating when Robles and Diekman couldn't find the strike zone. At least I could feel myself deflating, but maybe that's the dejection in Joe C's voice.

Today is a new day!
   33. villageidiom Posted: May 05, 2022 at 11:28 AM (#6075342)
See, the thing with Diekman is that I said I liked the Diekman experience. He was bound to disappoint after that. My bad.

Robles gives me an Alfredo Aceves feel, which doesn't fill me with confidence. His stuff is better than Aceves' but he doesn't seem to get more out of it. I don't find myself yelling at the TV "GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD AND PITCH, DAMMIT" to Robles, but I don't recall yelling "FOCUS ON LOCATING PITCHES RATHER THAN FINDING A NEW WAY TO GET AWAY WITH BALKING" at Aceves. It feels about the same, though - like at any given moment either of them will decide their mission is something other than getting outs.
   34. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6075354)
The problem isn't that the bullpen is tired from overuse, the problem is that the bullpen sucks.


Yeah, it could be both, though. Weaknesses are revealed when RPs make too many appearances. I believe they wouldn't be as bad as they have been if they weren't constantly called on in close games. So many high leverage situations, they cracked.
   35. John DiFool2 Posted: May 05, 2022 at 02:26 PM (#6075361)
That Matt Barnes extension looks worse and worse with each passing day.


Did he come down with Steve Blass Disease? Mind boggling how someone can go from lights-out to dogmeat literally overnight (Aug 8 & 10 of last year).
   36. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 03:20 PM (#6075374)
I think with Barnes it's as simple as "he's a reliever." It's not like he's ever been Greg Maddux but he missed enough bats to get away with it. My personal opinion, and I don't know if this is backed up by numbers, is that for whatever reason he's fallen in love with his curveball. Looking at FanGraphs he jumped his frequency with it in 2019 which doesn't seem to have had an obvious effect.

I'm always looking for comps and this season is building a 1996 feel in my mind. That team finished 85-77 after winning the division but dug too deep a hole early in the year (6-19 out of the chute). I can see this team doing that. Like this team that team was more than talented enough to contend but had some holes (hey let's put Wilfredo Cordero at second base!) Clay Davenport has the Sox as .500 in third order winning percentage which would be 13-12. In other words, 13-12 with a semi-competent bullpen. I stand by what I said the other day, this team should be expecting to contend and I expect them to come around, the key right now is not digging too deep a hole.
   37. pikepredator Posted: May 05, 2022 at 03:40 PM (#6075384)
this team should be expecting to contend


Today's game is still well within reach . . . RISP has been a sore spot for Boston and they're not gonna OPS .601 in those situations the whole season. Hell that .634 OPS isn't going to last, either. C'mon regression, we're rooting for you!
   38. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:02 PM (#6075389)
It is no longer in reach.

But yeah, we can talk about all kinds of things but the entire team effectively is underperforming. That will turn at some point. The trick is going to be hanging on long enough to make it matter.
   39. Textbook Editor Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:36 PM (#6075396)
What’s maddening is that so far they’ve had pretty decent SP outside of Pivetta. I mean, Wacha has to be at like the 95% of what you could have hoped he’d do. Same thing with Hill.

I’d really almost be tempted to go with openers to get some relievers straightened out and not pitching in high leverage situations, and then maybe bring in a Hill or a Whitlock in the 3rd or 4th to try to get you 5 innings... but I realize that’s probably way too crazy an idea to ever happen.

And also of course at some point it would be nice for the 2/3 of the lineup not hitting to hit and actually score.

   40. pikepredator Posted: May 05, 2022 at 05:11 PM (#6075410)
It is no longer in reach.


my timing is no better than that of boston's lineup.

When they go off the rails, they REALLY go off the rails. Yikes.

What’s maddening is that so far they’ve had pretty decent SP outside of Pivetta


That's what I keep thinking. thus far, the offense hasn't been able to put together the big innings where the offense just keeps rolling. It will be fun when that finally happens! I think the Angels fans probably enjoyed those monster innings the last couple of days.
   41. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 06:40 PM (#6075422)
I mean, Wacha has to be at like the 95% of what you could have hoped he’d do.


I'd say Wacha is at about 200% of what I hoped he'd be able to do. He's been better than I expected by a lot.
   42. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 05, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6075430)
Introducing your Boston Red Sox.

Keeping every game close until the inevitable collapse at the end!
   43. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 06, 2022 at 10:43 AM (#6075511)
Kiké out with COVID symptoms but no positive test. Jarren Duran on his way to Boston.
   44. The Mighty Quintana Posted: May 06, 2022 at 11:21 AM (#6075514)
Wow, Story looked helpless yesterday....whatcanyahdo? It looks like the Angels may not waste another historic season by Ohtani, they actually have pieces around him and Trout that work.
   45. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 06, 2022 at 12:02 PM (#6075519)
I am not suggesting the Red Sox should go into "sell mode" or something in early May, but I'll just note the following:

1) They are in a very, very tough division, and have gotten themselves into a pretty big hole very quickly.

2) It is difficult to imagine a team that can win the World Series with five-ninths of their starting lineup being Verdugo/Hernandez/JBJ/Dalbec/Vazquez, at least the way they are playing right now. And I am largely in the camp of those fans who think that there are three kinds of teams: The ones who are trying to win the WS this year; the ones who are in the process of playing the young guys who they hope can be part of the next WS-competitive team; and teams that are neither competing for the WS, nor largely playing the guys who are going to be around when the next WS-competitive team is lined up.

Right now, the Red Sox are heading towards category #3. Hernandez, Vazquez, JBJ, Dalbec - these guys have nothing to do with a 2023-and-beyond team competing for a WS. Hill and Wacha? One year guys to bridge for longer-term solutions, as well. And Xander looks headed out the door after this season.

3) So at a certain point, especially given Bloom's track record of doing very well on both the "buy" and "sell" side of in-season trades, you could see a lot of "sell" ammo this summer:
- Xander, if he would waive a no-trade clause to be on a contender
- JD Martinez is in the final year of his deal, and if he continues hitting, would be a valuable deadline pickup
- Hernandez and Vazquez
- Eovaldi, Wacha, Hill, and many of the short-inning relievers
- Xander, J.D., and the starting pitchers are obviously the ones who could fetch the best return

4) By later this summer, then, one could see Bloom replacing some of these players with prospects who might actually be upgrades on the field by then, anyway:
- Casas for Dalbec
- Story to SS, and put Downs or Hamilton at 2B, see what you've got.
- Duran in the OF
- Seabold, Winckowski, Bello, Walter, Darwinzon Hernandez, Frank German, etc.

Of course, you have to give the current team more of a chance to improve. Also, if some of the above minor-leaguers are struggling in 2022 in the minors, then they are not ready for the bigs. Also, if the veterans you'd trade are injured or struggling, they won't fetch much a return. All I'm saying is that, as the hole gets deeper and calendar moves forward, we should be open to this possibility. We have a number of players at the end of deals with real value, and an executive in Bloom who appears very good at this sort of thing.
   46. Textbook Editor Posted: May 07, 2022 at 07:58 PM (#6075701)
As I was saying, Barnes may well be a sunk cost sooner rather than later.

6 extra inning losses. That record of 18 certainly seems doable.
   47. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 07, 2022 at 08:11 PM (#6075705)
Chris Sale has reportedly broken a rib while rehabbing, but so far no explanation other than “personal medical issue”, which seems a bit unusual. Should something more interesting than ‘washing his truck’ be suspected?
   48. Darren Posted: May 07, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6075710)
I think it was DiFool who predicted the possibility of Story being Crawford. Ha ha ha, I said.
   49. John DiFool2 Posted: May 07, 2022 at 09:35 PM (#6075713)
At least he, um...[I was expecting a + number for his D, but BBRef has him at -2 already).
   50. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 07, 2022 at 09:46 PM (#6075715)
It’s amazing. They are over .500 if they can protect ninth inning leads. It’s really amazing how bad they’ve been in the ninth.
   51. Textbook Editor Posted: May 07, 2022 at 10:00 PM (#6075717)
Sale’s extension certainly looks like it might be headed for Mike Hampton territory.

Thing is, there’s like nothing to be done here. Bring up Duran I guess. And others. But like you can’t massively overhaul the team. There’s no new tactics to try other than “don’t suck” or “stop chasing bad pitches” and “hit damnit.”

It certainly feels like it’s either gonna turn around or go so far south in such a hurry as to make September 2011 look like a picnic. And I’m not at all sure Cora survives an actual last-place implosion.
   52. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 08, 2022 at 02:11 AM (#6075738)
It’s amazing. They are over .500 if they can protect ninth inning leads. It’s really amazing how bad they’ve been in the ninth.


For the most part, they are getting good to decent starts from the SP.
Intuitively it makes more sense for Whitlock to start and he's pretty much shut been lock down for the 22 innings he's pitched.
The more guys he gets out, the better it is for the team.

However, if you decide to just punt his starts, have him close(up to 6 outs) most of the decent starts, do you win more games?

They are getting a decent start nearly every game and blowing 3/5 of them(even the Whitlock starts).
If you just plan on getting 4 decent starts out of 5, but have Whitlock close(long relief) in 3 of those are you more likely to win all those games therefore winning 3/5 of your games?

Sure, I know it's not linear like that, but it's still a fun question to ask. Where is Whitlock more valuable in light of the fact this team cannot hold any lead right now.
   53. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 06:55 AM (#6075739)
They are over .500 if they can protect ninth inning leads.



Always look on the bright side of life.
   54. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 06:56 AM (#6075740)
Bring up Duran I guess.


They just sent him down.
   55. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 07:04 AM (#6075741)
- Story to SS, and put Downs or Hamilton at 2B, see what you've got.


I get what you're saying. Let's throw the dice. The implication is that they're desperate, and I agree. The farm is weak to mediocre, at best. There are no Wander Francos or Juan Sotos or even Oneill Cruz's on the horizon. It seems like this team will have to spend its way out of the miserable state they're in, but they won't.
   56. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 07:07 AM (#6075742)
When the weather gets warm, it's possible that the bats---Bogaerts, Devers, JD, Verdugo, and Story---get hot and carry this team to .500. I doubt they win 81, but you never know in baseball.
   57. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 07:21 AM (#6075743)
They did sign Carlos Martinez to a minor league deal. He had 24 saves in 2019, so, maybe help is on the way? The Giants let him go, but the Giants pitching situation is quite different than Boston's.
   58. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 08, 2022 at 08:16 AM (#6075747)
Obviously, things aren't going well, and we shouldn't be that surprised - they overachieved last year, got extremely lucky with pitching health, and didn't really upgrade anywhere except maybe second base.

(I say "maybe" for 2B because last year 2B went through a lot of players, so we perceive that it was an offensive sinkhole, but Arroyo was solid, and for the month that Iglesias played 2B, he was pretty awesome. That made 2B - as a position - not so bad offensively for the team in 2021, and it means that Story will actually have to be pretty good for the offense to be measurably better at the position than it was in 2021.)

In terms of the pitching, I'm increasingly frustrated the Red Sox don't see they have an in-house solution to address their late-inning woes. The team lacks a traditional closer - Barnes and Robles are not the answer. But some are worried about taking Whitlock out of the rotation, where he has been so good, and where he theoretically gives them more elite innings than he would as a a reliever.

But Bloom has done an excellent job of quickly developing legit starting pitching depth in the organization, with a number of guys who could be perfectly fine 4/5 starters, give you 5 innings, 2 runs, etc., and allow the team to put Whitlock in the 2-3X a week, 2-3 innings an appearance role.

Connor Seabold is 26, an ERA of 1.63 in Worcester, 23/6 K/BB in 28 IP.
Josh Winckowski is 23, an ERA of 3.06 in Worcester, 17/4 K/BB, in 18 IP.

I would much rather try Seabold as a starter in Boston, and move Whitlock to the bullpen, than what we are doing right now.

The team is 9.5 games back already in a very tough division, with two of their three best bats free agents at the end of the year, neither likely to re-sign with the team. Their ace starter just suffered a setback that will keep him out potentially deep into the summer. Their best starter (Eovaldi) is a free agent after the season, too. Two of their three OFers (Hernandez and JBJ) are FAs at the end of the year, and aren't producing, anyway. Why wouldn't you try a few of the young pitchers in the rotation in an effort to overhaul the bullpen:

Eovaldi
Wacha
Hill
Pivetta
Seabold

Bullpen multi-inning guys:
Whitlock
Houck
Winckowski

Then use the remaining bullpen guys as short-inning arms (and it would be relatively limited usage, given the multi-inning strategy I'm suggesting). I think this plays to the organization's greatest strengths, to deal with its current weaknesses. And we've got nothing to lose, really.
   59. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 08:56 AM (#6075749)
I'm serious about Carlos Martinez. Pitching rich SF signed him to a deal which allowed him to opt out on May 1st if they didn't bring him up from the minors, and they released him a few days early because they don't need him. The Red Sox grabbed him. He may be helpful in late innings. It's worth a shot, presuming he's healthy.
   60. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 09:03 AM (#6075751)
Also, I don't consider Seabold "young". He's 26 and has been a career minor leaguer. If he hasn't made it by now...

The other kid, sure. Maybe. Give him a few outings and let's see.
   61. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 08, 2022 at 09:56 AM (#6075759)
I hate, hate, hate that their poor start to the year has cast the Xander decision as fait accompli that he will leave. I am going to be incredibly bummed if the Sox lose Betts and Xander in just a few years, with both of them still being in their primes.
   62. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 10:34 AM (#6075764)
OK, so, the farm system isn't as bad as I thought. They've got some players that are a few years away, like Mayer. Casas, no reason to rush him up this year. Maybe give him some ABs in September.
   63. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 11:22 AM (#6075766)
I think the idea of using Whitlock as a multi inning closer is an interesting one. The way they’ve used Houck has been perplexing at best. I’ll quibble with whoever said they didn’t really improve second base, Arroyo was good but Story projected as a sizable upgrade (hasn’t panned out yet).

The idea that a team with two top 20 prospects doesn’t have any studs on the horizon makes little sense to me nor does the idea that a team that has the sixth highest payroll in the game (and hasn’t been below that mark since the 20th century) and just spent to sign one of the top available free agents two months ago won’t spend money.

Look, the Sox are 10-18, that’s terrible. They are pretty much team wide underperforming in every way AND are underperforming that under performance (by three games on third order wins). The hole they have dug is significant and likely to be fatal but there is every reason to expect things to get better before long.
   64. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 11:27 AM (#6075767)
Oh, and I’m done with Dalbec. Bring back Mitch Moreland, bring back Dave Stapleton, I can’t watch him anymore. Nice guy, seems to work hard, but just terrible.
   65. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 12:25 PM (#6075772)
I see no reason to think that things will turn around.

I see no reason to think that this team will spend themselves much more over the cap. (Per this, they're 11M over right now.)

Who says the team is underperforming? I see projections every year but once they're made, they seem to be forgotten. I haven't been able to find any "report cards" that evaluate how accurate pre season projections, relative to players' individual performances, pan out. Can you point me to any such report cards? Otherwise, I take projections with a grain of salt. This team looked weak from the jump, and they've performed as expected.
   66. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 12:37 PM (#6075774)
they've performed as expected


According to who? On the one hand we have you saying they suck, on the other hand virtually everyone else saying they don't. Forget about projections, just compare the numbers of every player to what they've done historically. This isn't complicated.
   67. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 12:56 PM (#6075778)
OK, they have 4 guys in the lineup who shouldn't be in any starting lineup. That puts tremendous pressure on the 5 guys who can hit. A good lineup requires pitchers to work every AB, this team doesn't have that, so they bear down on the 5 guys and cruise through the other 4. Every game. It's really not complicated.

Kike Hernandez, JBJ, Bobby Dalbec, and sadly, Christian Vazquez, who you used to be able to hide in there because the other 7 or 8 guys were all dangerous. (Hernandez had one or two good years where he could get away with being there, but that's in the past.)
   68. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 01:23 PM (#6075780)
Kike Hernandez has a career OPS+ of 98, effectively average.
JBJ is 86, a bit low but with his defense fine.
Vazquez has been good but he's not hitting this year.
Dalbec, yeah he sucks.

Joe my issue with your comments is that you act like the Sox are somehow unique. They aren't. Just to give an example (career OPS+ since you don't like projections);

82 vs. 62 (Vazquez vs. Higashioka)
86 vs. 82 (JBJ vs. Kiner-Falefa)
98 vs. 99 (Kike vs. Hicks)

I mean really. Why would you expect dramatic differences (and by the way Higashioka is actually hitting worse than Dalbec which I didn't think was possible.

The problem is simply that they are not playing well. Trevor Story by any measure should be much better than he's been. Same with Verdugo and frankly everyone other than JD, Raffy and X. The problem is that 5 of the nine guys are underperforming their track records by a LOT (technically six but Dalbec I think is what he is. I think this was somewhat predictable). You can argue that JBJ was also predictable and I won't argue much with you. The failure to have a useful option as a RHB OF and a 1B caddy in the event that first half Dalbec was the real thing, not second half Dalbec are both mistakes that Bloom owns. But this team IS better than they are playing. Will they play better? Beats the #### out of me. Will it be enough? Probably not. What's the old adage, you can't win anything in April but you can lose it. The Sox are doing their best on that front.
   69. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 01:30 PM (#6075782)
One thing that seems to be a team wide issue at the plate and I'm not sure why it would be is the walk rate has cratered. Last year 8.4%, 8th in the league and almost exactly league average. This year 6.2%, only the White Sox are worse. I'm not sure why that change would happen
   70. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 01:41 PM (#6075785)
Hernandez' OPS+ is a function of 2 or 3 good years and a bunch or garbage years. He looks like he's in one of those garbage years, and it shouldn't be a surprise. Why would you predict that at 31 (in August), he'd have a good year, with his track record? That's just fanboyism.

JBJ is fine on a team with 6 or 7 guys raking from day 1. Same as Kiké.

Vazquez...see "Hernandez".


Dalbec, I feel sorry for. He is lost.

They aren't playing well because they are not a good team. They have good players. But as a team, they suck.
   71. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6075786)
I'm not sure why that change would happen


Are you watching today's game? JD swung at the first pitch and GiDP, killing that inning.

I'm really not interested in analyzing and dissecting their weaknesses. They're evident, to me. If virtually everyone else doesn't see what I see, good luck to them and the Red Sox, as the saying goes.

The team will be battling the Orioles for the cellar.
   72. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 08, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6075794)
One thing that seems to be a team wide issue at the plate and I'm not sure why it would be is the walk rate has cratered. Last year 8.4%, 8th in the league and almost exactly league average. This year 6.2%, only the White Sox are worse. I'm not sure why that change would happen


Jose noted this, and I did a quick look at 2022 vs 2021 to see what might stand out (besides relatively small sample size in 2022). Entering Sunday:
- The walk rate of the players from 2021 who are not a part of the 2022 team was 8.5%. It was a relative group of free swingers, propped up by the amazing Kyle Schwarber, who walked 33 times in 168 PAs. The rest of the PAs (a lot of it Renfroe) combined for a walk rate of only 6.8%. So, a part of explains the decline is simply the departure of Schwarber.

- The walk rate of the guys on the 2022 team who were not a part of the 2021 team is almost identical to the total rate of those who are gone: 8.4%. Basically, it is JBJ and Story. Neither of them are hitting, but they both are walking at a decent clip.

The main difference between 2021 and 2022 among the returning players is Martinez, probably, whose walk rate is thus far a fair amount lower than last year (5.7% vs 8.7%). Verdugo is down a fair amount, too.

It is too bad JD Martinez's contract did not end last year, because I suspect the team would have re-signed Schwarber to be the DH, maybe play a little LF and 1B, and it likely would have been a little cheaper than what he ended up getting from Philly (4 years, $79m). He is struggling with the BA thus far, but the walks and home runs are definitely there, and the average will come up. I also think the team has liked Dalbec to an almost-irrational extent, and I'm sorry...he is not an everyday major league regular. But it is my take that the combination of having a defense-less Martinez, plus wanting to stick with Dalbec in 2022, made it tough to find a place here for Schwarber. Instead, they could have played him at 1B for most of 2022, until Casas is ready, and then replace Martinez with Schwarber at DH after the 2022 season.
   73. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 05:11 PM (#6075795)
Yeah, they cheaped out on Schwarber vs. Dalbec.
   74. Textbook Editor Posted: May 08, 2022 at 05:26 PM (#6075798)
3) So at a certain point, especially given Bloom's track record of doing very well on both the "buy" and "sell" side of in-season trades, you could see a lot of "sell" ammo this summer:
- Xander, if he would waive a no-trade clause to be on a contender
- JD Martinez is in the final year of his deal, and if he continues hitting, would be a valuable deadline pickup
- Hernandez and Vazquez
- Eovaldi, Wacha, Hill, and many of the short-inning relievers
- Xander, J.D., and the starting pitchers are obviously the ones who could fetch the best return


As Steve points out, there are a lot of moveable pieces here come the trade deadline. I'm not sure what the point of no return is where you might start shopping guys, but I'd argue a record like 15-30 or so would make me pull the plug on the season and start selling off anyone who's not going to be around in 2024. In fact, the sooner they raise the white flag, the better the return could be on what they'll be selling, and that might possibly benefit the 2023 team (not just the 2024 team). And yeah, I realize I'm advocating white flagging it on May 8th, but this article (from May 1) lays out how grim the situation is. Yes, the playoffs are expanded for this year but... It's still pretty grim.

Again what kind of sucks here is that the SP plan--29 games in--DOES seem like it is going about as well as could have been hoped for. It's all wasted, of course, but I suppose lost in their general suckitude is that Bloom's SP selection/plan is about as close to ideal as could have been expected. But, as has been pointed out by many, the bats of 5/9 of the lineup have just cratered and in the AL East that's never going to get you close to contention.
   75. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 08, 2022 at 05:57 PM (#6075802)
As a side note related to the title of the piece, May kinda sucks so far.
   76. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: May 08, 2022 at 07:05 PM (#6075813)
0-2 runs scored in 14 games
3-5 runs scored in 12 games
6+ runs scored in 3 games

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