Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Schilling in 2008

Recently, Curt Schilling has made in known that he wishes to be part of the 2008 Boston Red Sox. it had previously been thought that Schilling would retired after this season, opening a slot for one of the young arms in the rotation. He is looking for a deal similar in price to his current deal. That would mean he would make anywhere from 12-14 million dollars. This is a very high price for a pitcher that will be 40 years old, although looking at the current market for pitchers it isn't as stead as once was thought.

Curt put up solid number last year. In 31 starts, he pitched 204 IP with an ERA of 3.97 and WHIP of 1.22. These are solid numbers for pitching in a hitters division and in some of the most hitter friendly parks. 2005 was a lost year for Schilling, spending much of his time on the DL, including a stint as the closer. Schilling has managed to stay relatively health, so pitching at 40 years old doesn't seem that huge of a long shot.

My problem with this is its potential of derailing our youth. The Red Sox have spent a large time developing quality young arms that should be ready in either 2008 or 2009. I'm not sold that Schilling at 40 will be better than Clay Buchholz at 24 or Michael Bowden at 21 or Daniel Bard at . Nothing is for certain in the realm of minor league pitchers. Many flame out way before sniffing the majors and its not even certain that these guys will be ready. But speaking as your typical excited Red Sox fan, i want to see these kids pitch. This is also disregarding Jon Lester who defiantly deserves a full time spot in 2008, god willing. He has overcame a lot and needs to be given a real chance.

So there you have my argument. An expensive old pitcher would be nice, but i don't like it at the expense of cheap youth. My guess is it gets done before the season starts and Schilling is in Red Sox uniform in 2008, but will i be disappointed if that doesn't happen? No, I wont blink and eye if his demands are just too high. We all love you Schilling for what you did for us, but please be rational.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Predictions

Over at Roto Authority, they have predictions for AL teams starters ERA. As a semi shock, the Sox hold at the top of the list with a 3.86. Following them are the Yankees and Angels. I don't really foresee the Red Sox and Yankees having the 1/2 starters in baseball, but Tim is much smarter than i am. So go check it out and brag to all your Yankee loving friends how the Sox are better than they are.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Win Projections

Lets have a little fun with the numbers from Bill James and try to predict how many wins the Red Sox will have.

Players - Runs

Alex Cora - 32
Coco Crisp - 74
J.D. Drew - 92
Eric Hinske - 43
Mike Lowell - 66
Doug Mirabelli - 15
Dustin Pedroia - 79
Wily Mo Pena - 57
David Ortiz - 110
Manny Ramirez - 94
Jason Varitek - 60
Kevin Youkilis - 101
Julio Lugo - 85

Total = 908

Pitchers - In/ERA/Runs Allowed

Josh Beckett - 208/3.68/85
Manny Delcarmen - 58/3.88/25
Brendan Donnelly - 66/3.41/25
Kason Gabbard - 43/4.81/23
Jon Lester - 78/4.38/38
Jonathan Papelbon - 184/2.98/61
J.C Romero - 45/4.40/22
Curt Schilling - 180/3.50/70
Joel Pineiro - 54/4.50/27**
Kyle Snyder - 80/4.84/43
Julian Tavarez - 75/4.56/38
Mike Timlin - 70/3.86/30
Daisuke Matsuzaka - 186/3.44/71*
Tim Wakefield - 152/4.14/70
Craig Hansen - 78/4.73/41*

Total - 669
After Unearned Runs = 744

97 wins

*James had no predictions for these players so i used ZiPS instead.
**He was predicted to be a started to i adjusted him to relief pitcher.

So there you have my prediction for the season, 97 wins. While this is not very scientific it is still a fair way to judge. While i do not believe this is 100% accurate, due to predictions, inferences, and estimates, i believe it will turn out to be relatively accurate. Injuries could change a lot about this season and how pitchers and hitters maintain these stat lines may change things up. But this was just for fun. But if it comes out that the Sox win 97 games, you can all call me a genius.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Goodbye Trot

Today marks the en of an era. Nixon signed with the Cleveland Indians today with a one year deal worth 3 million. I believe Trot will fit in well with the Tribe. It might be difficult for them to get Nixon many more than 300 AB, but i believe he is deserving. Trot had his worst season on record last year posting an OPS of .767. His OBP was still solid but his SLG took a big hit this year. If he can raise his numbers back to 2005 or 2004 status he will be a steal. He can still play solid defense and everyone knows he is a dirt dog and will be loves by fans. Personally, I wish him all the success and can't wait to see him again in Fenway. Here is to you Trot, good luck and best wishes.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Snyder Signs

A little late on this one, but on Saturday Kyle Snyder signed a one year deal with the Red Sox. No other details are known about the contract. Snyder put up a 6.56 ERA last year, with a 4-5 record. He came over last year after being waived by the Royals. Not quite sure how he fits in with the Sox surplus of starting pitching, but he could end up being serviceable.

News on Drew

The title is misleading. Their really isn't any news on Drew. Their seems to be no doubt that Drew will be a member of the Red Sox next year, the only sticking point is the contract. After find an injury, the Sox back off on the 5 years 70 million dollar contract that was agreed upon. Boras, Drew's agent, is remaining strong on that contract while Theo is looking for less guaranteed money. All that being said, it remains a matter of time till Drew is officially a member of the Red Sox.

Henry Speaks

While this is not true yet John Henry, owner of the Red Sox, confirmed that the Sox will make a strong push for Clemens after he makes his decision on his future. Clemens agent has said all along that it remains a 3 team race, Yankees, Astros, and Red Sox. What a Clemens signing would mean for the rest of the pitching staff is still unclear, but it could mean a return of Wake to the pen and another year in AAA for Lester. It will probably take, in excess of, 20 million, which will be pro-rated for the amount of games he pitching, for half a year of service.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pitchers Projections

Curt Schilling

Actual 204 15 7 3.97 28 28 183
ZiPS 190 15 7 3.98 25 28 163
James 180 12 8 3.5 22 30 177
Shandler 174 13 8 3.83 21 35 155

Average 181 13 8 3.77 23 31 165

Josh Beckett

Actual 204.7 16 11 5.01 36 74 158
ZiPS 182 14 10 4.55 26 61 143
James 208 13 10 3.68 24 75 191
Shandler 203 15 11 4.3 27 72 176

Average 198 14 10 4.18 26 69 170

Daisuke Matsuzaka


ZiPS 186 15 8 3.44 18 34 131

Shandler* 185 15 7 3.46 25 51 197
PECOTA 187.3

4.01 19 52 167
Average 186 15 8 3.64 21 46 165

Jonathon Papelbon

Actual 68.3 4 2 0.92 3 13 75 35
ZiPS 113 7 3 3.66 14 27 106
James 184 14 6 2.98 17 48 181
Shandler 174 11 6 3.47 19 46 157

Average 157 11 5 3.37 17 40 148

Tim Wakefield

Actual 140 7 11 4.63 19 51 90
ZiPS 178 11 12 5.16 31 63 114
James 152 8 8 4.14 21 55 108
Shandler 160 10 10 4.4 21 57 103

Average 163 10 10 4.57 24 58 108

Thank you Sons of Sam Horn for the compilation of these stats, I do not have Shandler, ZiPS or PECOTAs stats on hand so this was really nice.

When i was going through the James handbook it was shocking as to how well James had rated Papelbon. It is truly hard for these great minds to establish how good his numbers will translate from closer to starter, but if these are correct we should be very encouraged about him. Everyone has him with a high K/9 rate and a low ERA. The wins don't really mean all that much, but the innings are kind of discouraging. I would like to see him get 200 innings but thats probably not going to happen and these stats portray that.

For Dice-K, he, like Paps, is expected to have a good ERA. His K/9 are not as steller but still solid. I expect Dice-K to reach 200 innings, but apparently I am in the minority. He has prove to have a strong arm, and looking at his stats in Japan are misleading, since they had a 6-man rotation. Sadly, James had no predictions in his book about him but the other sources seem to have a decent consensus, and a good one at that.

Besides James, everyone has Beckett and Wakefield having a relatively disappointing year. Beckett will improve his numbers, but no one is expecting him to be the Ace that Red Sox fans have been dreaming of. That being said, I would not be let down if Beckett puts up a 4 ERA in 200 innings. Speaking on Wake, if he preforms how ZiPS is projecting, I would not be shocked to see him in the bullpen and Lester in the rotation. Like Beckett, if we can get a year like James predicts, we could be looking at a AL East title. The odd thing is all foresee Wake raising his innings, Ks, and HRs.

Schilling is expected to be Schilling. He is getting up there in age, and this is probably his last year, but he has the potential to be a very good pitcher. He will eat innings, get strikeouts, and have a solid ERA. He could very well be the stabilizing force on this young staff. I think these predictions are well done and if they pan out the Sox have a great staff that could easily make the playoffs, maybe even the World Series (knock on wood).

Saturday, January 13, 2007


An often overlooked statistic, solid base running can be the difference between a win and a lost. We all remember the difference Dave Roberts made in 2004. So lets take a look at how Bill James rated our starting 9 for this season based on last year stats.

Crisp +11
Drew +8
Lowell -14
Lugo +9
Mirabelli -9
Ortiz 0
Pedroia N/A
Pena +3
Ramirez -11
Varitek +0
Youkilis +11

So overall we have a pretty good running team. Speed is in abundance, but it doesn't need to be. A smart runner is much more valuable then a fast one. Mistakes can be inning killers and game changers. The new players to the list are both above average runners, Drew and Lugo, which should help the team a great deal. Youkilis is a small shock that he is rated so highly, being tied for the best runner on the team. If you add all those numbers together, you see that the team should be a +8, pending on Pedroia. +8 is a very solid number and should help to improve on last years record.

Sox Sign Ochoa

The Red Sox sign Alex Ochoa to a minor league deal today. Very unlikely he will make the team but was he was invited to spring training all the same. Ochoa has spent the last 2 years in Japan, with marginal success. He has played with 5 major league teams, last being with the Angels.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Coco Crisps Future

The future of Coco Crisp is an issue that will become of great importance over the next 2 years. The Red Sox really didn't give up all that much to acquire him last summer. Essentially, we gave up Edgar Renteria, who had a terrible season for the Sox the year before, to acquire him. Now, with Jacoby Ellsbury waiting in the wings to be our starting center fielder come 2008 and Wily Mo Pena, a semi-capable center fielder looking for at bats, trading Crisp looks like a true options. If the Red Sox were to trade Crisp now, they could put Pena at center then when Manny leaves move Pena over and put Ellsbury at center. Coco has recently put his house on sale in Middleton. While this might not have anything to do with a trade, it could show his disappointment with his time in Boston.

Where could Coco go? Looking at teams and their needs, there are about 7 teams that could be interested in his abilities. The list is Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Seattle Mariners. Several of these teams have been linked to Crisp in resent months, looking at that the list can be shorten to the White Sox, Pirates, and Rockies.

The White Sox are desperate to fill a hole they have in left field, currently Scott Podsednik in occupying that position and his .683 OPS just isn't cutting it. It doesn't help that they have a completely unproven center fielder, Brian Anderson, and a shortstop that could miss the season with legal problems, Juan Uribe. Add to that the need to the White Sox for a 5th or 6th starter, which the Red Sox have, this trade seems very possible. A trade with the White Sox would be confusing because what the Red Sox would want in return is complicated. The White Sox have very little that the Red Sox currently have. Possibly a package of prospects, Josh Fields?, could be in line.

Logically speaking, the Pirates and Rockies are not as natural of a pick as the White Sox. The Pirates have young players at RF and CF and a lack of a solid 4th outfielder. If Crips was acquired you could through him at either RF or CF and put either Duffy or Bautista as the 4th. This out of all of the options is the most unlikely. While the Pirates have shown interest, they are not going to be giving up Mike Gonzalez for an OF that will, best case scenario, is blocking nice young players.

The Rockies have shown interest in Crisp over the past year. He would fill the one gaping hole in the Rockies line up. Currently, Willy Taveras is the starting CF and his stats are very lackluster. Crisp would be a nice player to throw in that young lineup. What the Rockies would give up is a little less clear than the reason why they would want Crisp. The best case we can work out a way to get Brian Fuentes. He would be a great arm to close games and could be expendable for the Rockies. Ubaldo Jimenez and LaTroy Hawkins could be used in the closer role, which would make him expendable.

So there are the places he could go. Whether its Coco or Pena or Murphy or Ellsbury, someone has got to go. You can't have this 4 players for one position. We have resources to fix problems now, relief pitching, or the future, hitting depth. Lets go Theo, work your magic.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Cordero, 2007 Closer?

The issue that is most immenent for the 2007 Red Sox is the closer situation. We have very lack luster option. Some internal options could end well, while other internal options have very low ceilings and are all but doomed to failed. If we decide to pick from the inside it seems to be an option between Craig Hansen, Joel Pineiro, Mike Timlin, Craig Breslow and Devern Hansack. None of those are exactly screaming "closer" but potential can be found in some of those.

Hansen, Breslow, and Hansack look like the best options just because of the potential. Timlin and Pineiro (no matter what people tell you) have very little upside.Hansen has really good k/9 rates in college and his time in AA. Sadly, last year his K/9 rate dropped to 7.11. If those numbers don't improve he really wont be able to cut it but i expect an improvement in 2007. Hansack is a long shoot but he looks like he could do it. He has yet to play in AAA, which means that he will at least start the season there unless he can wow the team. He has been a starter for most of his career which means his numbers are harder to translate as a reliever. He could be anywhere from a flop to a strike. He has a good ERA and WHIP, his strikeouts could improve but they are bound to improve if he continues to act as a reliever. Neither of these guys are likely, but the Sox are getting to the point of desperation.

Breslow has done nothing to say he couldn't cut it in the closer role. His ERA has been under 4 at every level including time in the majors. His WHIP has been a little too high in his 2 stints in the majors but in Pawtucket this year he posted a great WHIP. He was averaging a strikeout every inning, which is pretty solid reliever and he can only improve on all of this. It is going to be a struggle for this to happen because the pen is already stacked with average veteran arms that will be hard to replace. I hope Theo can see the potential and at least give him a shot in the pen.

So if none of these players seem very attractive what is the alternative? Chad Cordero seems to be the most realistic option for trade. The Nats are really interested in Wily Mo so a deal could be struck. Examining Cordero we see that he has potential. His neutralized stats are strong, with a long ERA and WHIP. He has alright strikeout rates, but he is defiantly at pitch to contact pitcher. In WXRL and ARP 16th and 31st respectively. Not very impressive and it only gets worse. Cordero pitches in an extremely friendly pitchers ball park and the NL East is no where near the hitters park that the AL East is.

So after looking at our options and the most likely outside option what is the verdict? Throw a dart at a board and see what hits. Any of these internal options could work and we wouldn't have to have them. Cordero is no lock and giving away a potential 40 player seems a lot for that amount have a better idea of whats working here and else where in the league. Maybe Lidge turns it around and that puts either him or Wheeler on the market. Possibly, players that have yet to be mention come as an option due to teams lack of success. Hey, maybe we find that diamond in the rough and we don't lose anything in a trade but rather keep our prospects and possibly flip them for some other missing piece. Patience is a virtue.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

3,000 Hits

3,000 hits just isn't what it use to be. Look at the list of players with 3,000 hits and you will see some of the best baseball players in history. Rose, Cobb, Aaron, Wagner, Ripken, and so on. Currently, their are 26 members of this elite group of hitters. Craig Biggio should, by the end of the season, join the 3,000 hits club. That will put the list at 27.

In the 2007 Bill James Handbook, James examines players chances to reach such career milestones such as, 600 and 700 home runs and the all-time RBI record. The list for 3,000 hitters has 45 (that includes Biggio). Although some of those 45 have less then 1% chance but the point remains, they have a chance. While the old list was full with the cream of the crop, this list is full of average players with no shot of the Hall of Fame. Kotsay, Castillo, Green, Beltre, and Pierre don't exactly strike fear in the hearts of pitchers.

I know that most of these people will never each this milestone, but it does shed light on the problem with MLB. The pitching is the worst it has ever been. With expansion comes dilution and with dilution comes inflation. These stats are losing all its meaning. When Adrien Beltre has a 23% chance of reaching 3,000 hits, we need to reevaluate the meanings of many things. Many 4,000 should be the new milestone. Or maybe we should look into contraction. Whatever the coarse of action is, people need to look deeper into these players and what their accomplishments truly are.