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Monday, January 13, 2020

Who’s In Charge?

I’m putting the cart before the horse a bit here but based on the suspensions and subsequent firings of Jonathan Lunhow and AJ Hinch in Houston it is looking likely that the Boston Red Sox are going to need someone to manage the team for a large chunk of 2020 and potentially beyond.  I’m just going to throw out a few points and I figure this is as good a place to speculate while we wait for the inevitable hammer to fall on Cora (as it should based on available evidence);

- I think firing Lunhow and Hinch, and by extension Cora being fired is a bit unreasonable.  This assumes that upper management knew nothing of what was going on and…yeah not buying it.  It’s like say if hypothetically the President of the United States had his campaign chairman, lead attorney, National Security Advisor and foreign policy advisor all arrested for breaking the law you’d probably assume the hypothetical President (let’s call him President Naranja) was crooked too.  Same thing here.  I’m not excusing Lunhow/Hinch but I think to believe Jim Crane is shocked, SHOCKED to find gambling in this establishment is nonsense.  With that in mind I don’t think the Sox should fire Cora based on what we know at this point.  Serve his suspension and move on.

- If the Sox are going to retain Cora I think it is reasonable to assume that Ron Roenicke would take the reins (say that three times fast) for the year-ish that Cora is chilling at home with the kids.  Roenicke had success in Milwaukee as a manager and seems to be a “good baseball man.”  I don’t love the idea of the 63 year old Roenicke being viewed as a long term solution but for a year or two I can see him filling the role the way Mike Port did as GM between Dan Duquette and Theo Epstein.

- Unless ownership has gotten a collective case of the stupids (editor: I doubt they have) they won’t make a “hey this would be fun” kind of hire like they did with Youknnowwho prior to 2012.  I expect that if they choose to move on from Cora the next step would be someone more in the Alex/Tito/Farrell mode.  Maybe not the most exciting guys but stable guys who succeed.  I have a theory that Boston sports does not do well with the bombastic coaches.  That doesn’t mean these guys aren’t good coaches but the successful ones in my lifetime (incomplete but representative list; KC Jones, Parcells, Belichick, Julien, Stevens, Rivers, Raymond Berry) have for the most part been fairly dour, straight-laced types.  By contrast the guys that are a bit more free-wheeling; Voldemort, Mike Keenan, Steve Kasper, Pete Carroll, Rick Pitino…these guys weren’t necessarily bad but they weren’t the right fit.

- One name I’ll throw out there as a wild card that I don’t expect is Bruce Bochy.  Tom Werner was part of the Padre organization that gave Bochy his first managerial job and if the Sox want a splashy name he’d be a good one.  Like I said, I would put the odds of the recently retired Bochy below 1% but hey, it’s fun to speculate.

- With all that said I think the Sox are more likely to look internally than externally for a long term hire.  If they are going to move on from Cora I suspect someone with a long link to the club might appeal to them.  Three names to watch;

Billy McMillon - The former outfielder has been a part of the organization for over a decade with managerial stints in Greeenville (Lo A), Salem (Hi A), Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA) which included managing players like Mookie Betts (you thought I wasn’t going to get him in this?).
Carlos Febles - Frankly I’d make Febles my early non-Roenicke favorite if it wasn’t for the fact that he was third base coach in 2018 which opens up the old “what did he know and when did he know it” line of questioning.  Not only have I never heard anything negative about Febles everything about him has been relentlessly positive.
Ruben Amaro Jr. - As I remember it Amaro’s reasoning for taking the 1B coaching gig was to ready himself to be a manager.  I don’t know if that is still a goal but my recollection is he was regarded well by the organization.

Anyway, like I said my goal here is to just kind of give a place to discuss the future managerial options on the assumption that Alex Cora is not likely to be one of those options.

Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 13, 2020 at 03:58 PM | 138 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Ron J Posted: January 31, 2020 at 12:39 PM (#5920778)
#99 That's 2 WAR plus a roster spot. The roster spot has to be worth something.
   102. Darren Posted: January 31, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5920782)
Who would take that roster spot?
   103. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5920783)
I'm with Darren. This isn't about the Sox contending. It's a smart organization with a track record of success and with or without Mookie the foundation of a great team exists. Frankly from what I've seen of the rumored deals Bloom is doing a great job here, if he can Verdugo and Gonsolin plus a bit that looks like a good haul for one year of Mookie.

This is about the fan in me. Mookie is a special player. This is the kind of guy you wait your whole life for. A start to finish superduperstar. Even if the Sox moved on from him like this with Boggs and Clemens in his mid-30s you get the prime of this special talent. And like I've said, it's one thing if they get outbid next winter, but to give up a year of him just irks me. I'm reminded of Lester saying that one of the things that made signing with the Cubs easier is the few months with the A's showed him he could live life outside the Sox organization. Why not just make the pitch to Mookie of money AND "the only organization you've ever known." Develop charity work around his bowling or whatever. Make him part of Boston like Ortiz.
   104. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 12:53 PM (#5920784)
Peter Abraham made the point on Twitter today that while it sucks to trade Mookie, Bloom has done well to wait out the market. Presented with what I assume was an instruction from above he's executing a bad plan as well as he can.
   105. Darren Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5920791)
I'm reminded of Lester saying that one of the things that made signing with the Cubs easier is the few months with the A's showed him he could live life outside the Sox organization. Why not just make the pitch to Mookie of money AND "the only organization you've ever known." Develop charity work around his bowling or whatever. Make him part of Boston like Ortiz.


Do you think they haven't tried this and more? I think it's safe to say that Mookie is already quite comfortable with the idea that he could live his life outside the Red Sox organization. If anything, maybe this will make him realize what he liked about Boston.



   106. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5920792)
We really need a Truck Day miracle
The idol worship is strong here.
   107. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:33 PM (#5920801)
But even putting that aside and assuming we're going to compete, why is it impossible to believe that a Mookie trade absolutely ruins this team's chances. If they get Verdugo and say Gonsolin, that's maybe 4 WAR in place of Mookie's 6. Is it worth losing 2 wins in 2020 to secure those 2 young players, plus a prospect, for 2021 and beyond?

I'm at a loss as to why LA would do that, much less take a bunch of Price's contract too.
   108. Darren Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:34 PM (#5920802)
Just quoting the rumors. But if I had to guess, it would be to get a great player.
   109. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5920803)
Do you think they haven't tried this and more? I think it's safe to say that Mookie is already quite comfortable with the idea that he could live his life outside the Red Sox organization. If anything, maybe this will make him realize what he liked about Boston.


My point is don't give him that experience. Keep him here. If somehow at the end of this he's in a Sox uniform this year he's going to be cheered at every turn.
   110. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5920804)
Just quoting the rumors. But if I had to guess, it would be to get a great player.

For one year. In which they are already heavy, heavy favorites.
   111. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5920808)
I hope snapper is right and they don't do it.
   112. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 31, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5920820)
People are talking about 2020 as if the Red Sox are big-time contenders as is, and I agree based on what we know. But there is so much we don't know that the Red Sox front office does, mainly the health of their starters. Just based on what we know, I'm not confident that all of Price, Sale, and Eovaldi will contribute in 2020. If they lose significant time from that trio, we're in big trouble.
The Red Sox were only 3 games above .500 last season, in 3rd place, 12 games behind the Rays & 19 behind the Yankees. They haven’t done anything significant to improve in the off-season, so unless they are extremely lucky with unheralded minor leaguers and previously fringe MLB players, they will need Price, Sale & Eovaldi to return to top form in order to contend. Maybe I’ve missed something, but it seems that Boston has been rather opaque about their precise injuries and prognosis for 2020. However, IMHO, they aren’t acting like they expect everyone to be fine; it’s more like getting under the cap and obtaining something for Mookie would be the silver linings of a lost season.
   113. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 31, 2020 at 02:15 PM (#5920822)
I hope snapper is right and they don't do it.

The proposed LAD-BOS trades have made no sense for either team from day one. I'm completely perplexed by their longevity.

The team that need Betts the most is the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers have to be one of the small handful of teams that need him the least. A BOS-NYY trade makes more sense.

As a Yankee fan, I should be gung-ho for the Sox to punt the next few years, but it's really bad for baseball. Betts should retire a Red Sox. Pay the man.
   114. jmurph Posted: January 31, 2020 at 02:45 PM (#5920840)
The Red Sox were only 3 games above .500 last season, in 3rd place, 12 games behind the Rays & 19 behind the Yankees.

They had the component stats of an 88 or 89 win team and project to win about 92ish this year (if I'm parsing fangraphs correctly). I will be surprised if they project to be behind anyone other than Houston and the Yankees in the AL.
   115. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: January 31, 2020 at 03:58 PM (#5920870)
The proposed LAD-BOS trades have made no sense for either team from day one. I'm completely perplexed by their longevity.

The team that need Betts the most is the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers have to be one of the small handful of teams that need him the least. A BOS-NYY trade makes more sense.

As a Yankee fan, I should be gung-ho for the Sox to punt the next few years, but it's really bad for baseball. Betts should retire a Red Sox. Pay the man.

The Dodgers want to win the World Series and having another superstar would seem to help. The Red Sox want to save money or, depending on your perspective, be cheap and are willing to sacrifice 2020 wins to do it.

If the Red Sox want the most talent in return the Dodgers will build a package around Verdugo for Betts. If the Red Sox want to save the most amount of money the Dodgers will take Price's contract in exchange for sending less talent (depending on how much of Price's contract it may be no talent).

FWIW, I don't think the Dodgers would actually trade Verdugo and Gonsolin for Betts (let alone include an additional lottery ticket type prospect). Which may be why nothing has actually happened.
   116. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 31, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5920875)
The Dodgers want to win the World Series and having another superstar would seem to help.

Sure, everything extra helps. But they're already a huge favorite in the division, and have plenty of OFs. A position player is unlikely to be a huge difference maker in a short series.

Getting a top-SP who isn't constantly hurt, or beefing up a mediocre bullpen, would seem to be the moves if they want to improve their WS odds.
   117. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: January 31, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5920876)
Getting a top-SP who isn't constantly hurt, or beefing up a mediocre bullpen, would seem to be the moves if they want to improve their WS odds.

Nothing about acquiring Betts (at the rumored cost) would prevent them from addressing those issues via a trade during the season.
   118. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 31, 2020 at 05:09 PM (#5920896)
Nothing about acquiring Betts (at the rumored cost) would prevent them from addressing those issues via a trade during the season.

Well, they'd have $27M less payroll room (more if they take a piece of Price), and they'd have fewer young players to trade.

The Dodgers trading for Betts makes about as much sense as the Yankees trading for Areando. Sure he'd make them better, but it's totally unnecessary.
   119. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 05:31 PM (#5920906)
The Red Sox were only 3 games above .500 last season


Nitpick. I would argue they were six games over .500.
   120. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 05:35 PM (#5920907)
FWIW, I don't think the Dodgers would actually trade Verdugo and Gonsolin for Betts (let alone include an additional lottery ticket type prospect). Which may be why nothing has actually happened.


Yeah, I've been of the opinion that the trade wasn't going to happen all along until Verdugo's name got mentioned. The Padre stuff got a bit silly with the Padres supposedly worked up about $15 million of Will Myers over three years which seems insane to worry about if you are getting Mookie Freakin' Betts. Verdugo seems to be the tipping point. From the Sox perspective you can sell the deal a lot better when you put a top 50 prospect who has shown the ability to play at the big league level in it. My WAG is that at this point the Sox are trying to do Verdugo and Price and the Dodgers are saying nope, either or.
   121. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 31, 2020 at 05:45 PM (#5920912)
The Red Sox were only 3 games above .500 last season
Nitpick. I would argue they were six games over .500.
81-81 is .500 over a full season; Boston won 84.
   122. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 31, 2020 at 05:47 PM (#5920913)
And lost 78. They would have needed to lose 6 more games to be .500.

I've heard it the way you did it but I hear it much more regularly the way I did it though.

Heh, Deadspin had an article about just this. Evidently it was a Twitter thing a couple years ago.
   123. Mayor Blomberg Posted: January 31, 2020 at 06:01 PM (#5920916)

I've heard it the way you did it but I hear it much more regularly the way I did it though.

I've never heard it your way before, and I hope never to again. ;)

How about this: Team A 82-80, Team B 81-81. That's a two game difference, one win one loss. Or if you say, that it's one game, a win converted to a loss, then Team A is only one game over 500. 162 games is all there are.
   124. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 31, 2020 at 06:13 PM (#5920920)
The Dodgers want to win the World Series and having another superstar would seem to help.


Sure, but the 2019 Dodgers were a notably deep team, especially in the outfield, where Verdugo was a regular and promises to be a good one again next year. If the Dodgers need help -- and it's debatable that they need the kind of one-year help Betts provides -- it's in the infield, at catcher, and in the bullpen. The marginal gain from Betts is about as low as it could be, unless you genuinely believe that Betts or Chris Taylor is going to displace Hernandez at 2B or insure the 34-year-old Turner at 3B, both of which strike me as fanciful. The Dodgers currently have one of the best outfields in baseball and don't have a DH at which to stash somebody; giving up value for Betts seems like the kind of mistake that they are unlikely to make. If they really think Betts is someone they want long-term, they can drop $350,000,000 (or whatever) on him next winter; they don't need him next year.

Would Betts make the team better? Sure. He'd make any team better. But unless they're confident in their ability to trade Verdugo for a 2B or catcher, not by as much as other options might.
   125. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 31, 2020 at 06:53 PM (#5920922)
I've heard it the way you did it but I hear it much more regularly the way I did it though.
During the season, I think folks use the Win-Loss spread - 35-25 is 10 games over .500 - just because it’s easier, but when all the games have been played measuring by games above or below 81 makes more sense, since every gain in the Win column is also one less Loss, and vice versa.
   126. Darren Posted: February 01, 2020 at 12:19 AM (#5920935)
This is what we're doing now? We're arguing over the meaning of X games over .500? Come on, stick to trolling over the Mookie trade.
   127. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 02, 2020 at 12:06 AM (#5921061)
Sure, but the 2019 Dodgers were a notably deep team, especially in the outfield, where Verdugo was a regular and promises to be a good one again next year. If the Dodgers need help -- and it's debatable that they need the kind of one-year help Betts provides -- it's in the infield, at catcher, and in the bullpen. The marginal gain from Betts is about as low as it could be, unless you genuinely believe that Betts or Chris Taylor is going to displace Hernandez at 2B or insure the 34-year-old Turner at 3B, both of which strike me as fanciful. The Dodgers currently have one of the best outfields in baseball and don't have a DH at which to stash somebody; giving up value for Betts seems like the kind of mistake that they are unlikely to make. If they really think Betts is someone they want long-term, they can drop $350,000,000 (or whatever) on him next winter; they don't need him next year.

Would Betts make the team better? Sure. He'd make any team better. But unless they're confident in their ability to trade Verdugo for a 2B or catcher, not by as much as other options might.

I spent a day trying to make sense of this, but it is just doesn’t add up. The Dodgers are very comfortable with Lux at 2B and Smith at C. Clearly they want Betts because he is one of the best players in baseball and no team can ever have too many of the best players in baseball. Obviously, no team can expect to have all of the best players in baseball, but if one is available why not try?

In a perfect world the Dodgers would have added a 5+ WAR pitcher, but Cole preferred New York, Strasburg was locked in with Washington, and they weren’t going to give up Lux for Clevinger. Adding Betts does not in any way prevent them from adding an expensive starting pitcher at the deadline (picking up most of Price’s contract might).

It is true that the Dodgers don’t have to do anything to make the playoffs in 2020. However, why should they stop trying to improve their team? The playoffs are a crap shoot, but having as many great players as possible seems like the best way to tilt the odds in your favor.

   128. villageidiom Posted: February 02, 2020 at 08:01 AM (#5921067)
It is true that the Dodgers don’t have to do anything to make the playoffs in 2020.
The Dodgers aren't as good in 2020 as their record in 2019. Arguably the Padres, absent any other moves, aren't as bad in 2020 as their 2019 record indicates. The Padres have already added 10+ wins' worth of talent. Adding Betts and Price could be another 10+ win improvement in talent.

Talent doesn't always translate to wins; just ask the 2019 Red Sox. There's no guarantee that the Padres will be division contenders in 2020. But if the Dodgers are looking to improve it's worth considering doing so by taking away one of the Padres' only remaining options for substantial improvement in 2020.

Also, whether real or not there's probably a perception that whoever trades for Betts has a real chance of signing Betts. Keeping Betts in LA, and out of SD, for the next decade has value.
   129. Darren Posted: February 02, 2020 at 08:35 PM (#5921197)
I spent a day trying to make sense of this, but it is just doesn’t add up. The Dodgers are very comfortable with Lux at 2B and Smith at C. Clearly they want Betts because he is one of the best players in baseball and no team can ever have too many of the best players in baseball. Obviously, no team can expect to have all of the best players in baseball, but if one is available why not try?


What you're not considering is that any trade possibility that might benefit the Red Sox must be dismissed in some way.

   130. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 02, 2020 at 08:50 PM (#5921199)
So the news du jour is Gammons saying that the proposed deal is Verdugo, Jeter Downs and a A ball pitcher named Caleb Ferguson. Rob Bradford is saying that his sources are saying that ‘s NOT the proposed package. It seems to me that the Sox are pushing Verdugo to be in the deal and it may be that the Dodgers have to decide if they are willing to give up Verdugo in a rental deal.

That’s just a guess of course. Obviously reports are just that and not meaningful but so far I haven’t seen anything from the Padres that makes me think the Sox should/would prefer their offers over what the Dodgers’ proposals. If Verdugo is off the table that changes in a hurry.
   131. JJ1986 Posted: February 02, 2020 at 08:53 PM (#5921200)
I think the Dodgers also should have at least a minor concern that too many of their best hitters are left-handed.
   132. Darren Posted: February 02, 2020 at 09:05 PM (#5921202)
Ferguson is not an A ball pitchers. He's pitched in the big leagues for the Dodgers for parts of 2018 and 2019. I think the confusion is that Gammons capitalized "A" when saying "A" prospect in his tweet. And though it's hard to read Gammons speak, I read it as Ferguson was just his guess as to who that pitching prospect might be. ???
   133. Darren Posted: February 02, 2020 at 09:19 PM (#5921207)
Sure, but the 2019 Dodgers were a notably deep team, especially in the outfield, where Verdugo was a regular and promises to be a good one again next year. If the Dodgers need help -- and it's debatable that they need the kind of one-year help Betts provides -- it's in the infield, at catcher, and in the bullpen.


ZIPS sees RF as the Dodgers weakest position, a full win behind catcher and more than a full win behind any infield position.
   134. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 02, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5921212)
Thanks Darren. I didn’t realize that. So Ferguson is basically a lesser version of Gonsolin I guess?
   135. Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: February 03, 2020 at 09:38 AM (#5921281)
Technically, Clapper is right. 81 wins = .500, 82 wins = app. .506, 83 wins = app. .512, and 84 wins = app. .518, so by % points, 84 wins is 3 wins over .500.
   136. Dock Ellis Posted: February 04, 2020 at 09:19 PM (#5921675)
this sux
   137. nick swisher hygiene Posted: February 04, 2020 at 10:07 PM (#5921692)
Hmmmmm—what if Mookie’s tainted by the cheating scandal? or what if he’s “tainted”—the Sox think they can pin some yet-to-emerge stuff on him??

We live in an age of conspiracy theories.....

I just wonder how pissed off I’d be if I was a youngish Red Sox fan. Or are all the 11-15 yr olds hardened virtual GMs at this point?
   138. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 07, 2020 at 11:28 AM (#5922618)
Speier tweeted that Ron Roenicke will be named manager as soon as the investigation is completed.
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