Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lester to Greenville

The Red Sox have decided to start Lester at single A Greenville. He will spend the better part of April there, making 4 starts, before the Red Sox will take another look at him. He will most defiantly spend time at AAA Pawtucket after those starts before rejoining the Red Sox sometime in May or June, assuming all goes well. For the mean time, Red Sox fans are stuck with Julian Tavarez pitching every 5th day. For that reason, among many others, lets all wish Jon a quick recovery.

The Pen is Set

It was announced today the members of the bullpen to start the season. The list is;
Jonathan Papelbon
Joel Piniero
Brandon Donnelly
Kyle Snyder
J.C. Romero
Javier Lopez (holding Timlins spot till he is healthy)
Hedeki Okajima

Most definatly not the most impressive group of arms but its what we have. Interestingly, their are 3 lefties in the bullpen. Lopez will be gone soon, leaving only 2. Personally, i don't see the point in have Romero and Okajima. Romero is completely useless against righties. I was hoping they would cut ties from him leaving his spot up to grabs between Hansack ,Breslow, and Corey. Sadly, that didn't happen and Red Sox fans will have to wait for him to emplode before those very deserving guys get a shot.

Papelbon being there really makes this pen look almost respectable. He will be able to sure up the 9th and put guys like Timlin and Donnelly in the roles they should be in. I see no reason for a Sophmore slump for Paps unless the injury bug hits him again. If the trio i mentioned above get a shot, i really think this bullpen could be above average. That is saying a lot considering how weak people thought this was going to be, myself including.

Delcarman and Hansen are going to get a chance to regain what they had in Pawtucket. I really like that move. I think the Red Sox really rushed them last season. I can see their confidence being shot, so maybe playing so lesser competition will do them some good. I don't see them down there very long, considering the injury problems a lot of these pitchers have. If they can keep them down till summer i think that would be wise.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Traing Starters

Here are the Spring Training numbers of our starters as of March 26, 2007.


Schilling, Curt 16.1 1 1 2.20 0.86 9 2 12 4 .226 .333

Beckett, Josh 23.2 3 1 3.04 1.10 24 4 22 13 .290 .301

Matsuzaka, Daisuke 17.2 1 1 2.04 0.91 19 7 9 4 .243 .262

Wakefield, Tim 15.0 0 0 4.20 1.60 10 1 23 9 .348 .448

Tavarez, Julian 12.2 1 0 3.55 1.34 5 7 10 7 .351 .298

A pretty damn good spring if i say so myself. Beckett has looked great and he has done exactly what everyone wanted him to do this spring, kept the ball in play. As a whole they hardly walked anyone and were very efficient at striking people out. It's just spring but its very encouraging.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Top 150 under 25 2007

Project Prospect recently put out its Top 150 players under the age of 25. Here are some of the highlights.

  • The top 5 are: Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez, David Wright, and Prince Fielder in that order.
  • Jeremy Bonderman is the second ranked pitcher over the likes of Cain, Kazmir, Hamels and teammate Verlander.
  • The highest ranked player with no Major League experience is Alex Gordon at 10th.
  • The Yankees have 6 representatives; Hughes (21), Cano (32), Tabata (65), Cabrera (78), Betances (145), Chamberlain (147).
  • Tampa have 10 representatives; Young (6), Kazmir (14), Longoria (26), Upton (52), Brignac (60), McGee (75), Dukes (79), Niemann (97), Hellickson (138), Talbot (148).
  • Baltimore have 4 representatives; Markakis (19), Loewen (63), Erbe (94), Penn (120).
  • Toronto have 2 representatives; Lind (71), Snider (88)
  • The Red Sox have 6 representatives; Ellsbury (87), Buccholz (92), Lester (110), Pedroia (118), Bowden (130), Bard (140).

Bill James Handbook 2007

Here are just a couple of this i got from the Bill James Handbook this year.

  • Josh Beckett needs a third pitch. This might sound obvious, but James points out that 68.2% of his pitches are Fastballs and 21% were Curveballs. Those percentages put him in 5th in both categories. Only Justin Verlander finds himself in the top 10 in both categories. To Beckett's credit, he lead the American League in pitches of 95 MPH with 1072. I don't know if that's a good thing or not but it is impressive. He is also amazing vs. the leadoff hitters, leading the league with a .231 OBP.
  • Julian Taveraz might not be an awful starter. In less than 100 innings he was able to induce 24 double plays. That is good for the 6th highest total.
  • Jonathan Papelbon is an amazing reliever. He is top 10 in just about every important category for a closer.
  • Ortiz and Manny are still beasts. They, along with Jermaine Dye, are in the top 10 in OPS vs. Leftys and Rightys. They are also both in the top top in RC on the Road and Home.
  • Only Grady Sizemore saw more pitches than Kevin Youkilis last season, 3019 vs 3009.
  • Mike Lowell needs to stop hitting into double plays, 22.
  • If you go by OPS, the Yankees IF was by far the best. They had the leading 1st baseman, 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman, and second best shortstop.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Theo the GM

Is it possible to trade a GM? If so i believe that this would be the best thing the Red Sox FOs have done since buying the team for $700 million. Clearly this is not an option, maybe we can let his contract run out and get a 1st round pick? Again, kidding. My point is Theo is viewed to be a good to great GM, but no facts truly show this. Lets take a look at his trade history.

Lets start with his first really big trade, Shea Hillenbrand to Arizona for Byung-Hyun Kim. Lets take it back to the time, 2003. The Red Sox were in desperate need of a closer, and that is what BK Kim was. The bullpen was full of players like Chad Fox, Alan Embree, and Ramiro Mendoza. Mendoza, a great free agent signing which we will touch upon in part 2, was brutal. In 66.7 innings he posted a 6.75 ERA and a 70 ERA+. For Kim's credit he was pretty good that first year. In 80 innings he post a 148 ERA+ and collect 16 saves. That is defiantly an upgrade over Brandon Lyon, who was the closer pre-Kim. Also, that year, Hillenbrand was completely average. His raw number look pretty impressive, BA 303 with 38 RBIs in 185 ABs, but those numbers don't tell the true story. If you look at his OPS+ you will see that he was completely average, posting a 100. So, at the time, it looked pretty even. Fast forward to 2004. Kim pitched in just 17 innings posting a 6.23 ERA and 1 K/BB ratio. Looking back, that team could have won the World Series if it wasn't for the reliance. Looking at Hillenbrand, he has keep pretty close to what he was doing in Boston, around a 100 OPS+. Although he has been a headache, his skills have no diminished quite like Kim.

Freddy Sanchez and cash for Jeff Suppan and Scott Sauerbeck. God, i can talk about how bad this trade was for hours if i truly wanted to. I'm not even going to do any analysis. The combine ERA of the 2 pitchers that came to the Red Sox was 5.74 and they were not retained after the season. Freddy put up and OPS of .851 last season, and won the batting title. I don't know if this was bad scouting, or just a deal made out of desperation but either way it stinks and has no justification.

The Next 2 trades Theo made were actually pretty good. Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, and Jorge De la Rosa for Curt Schilling plus received Mark Bellhorn in a combination trade with Colorado. What Schilling has done is well documents, he has been an ace in all sense of the word. Fossum, Lyon, and De la Rosa have turned into nothing special. As much as i love the deal, its hard for me to give Theo much credit here. Maybe its my bias against him or the luxury of foresight but i thought this was a no brainer. Belhorn, while in 2005 was brutal, was extremely strong in 2004. He was an above average hitter, playing second base, for a World Series championship team. I can say nothing bad about this deal, great trade.

The most infamous trade of Theo's career is the Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. Hard to judge this deal. It achieved the ultimate goal, which is win the World Series, but in the end we sort of lost. Murton and Nomar are still playing, relatively well too. Cabrera and Mientkiewicz were not retain at the end of the season. Hard to say this was a bad trade. Personally, I am neutral to it. It gets a lot of hype, but i really don't see much in it. But hey,we won it all so I'm not going to complain. Another quick trade that gets associated with this on is the Henry Stanley for Dave Roberts. Who is Stanley? You have me beat. Roberts had the most famous steal in Red Sox history. Whether or not it matter is up for debate, but it worked and we won. Besides that, Roberts did very little but since we gave up nothing what does one expect?

During the '05 season, the Red Sox essentially trade Dave Roberts for Chad Bradford. Yes, we got Jay Payton for Roberts than flipped Payton later for Bradford, and i will touch on that. Dave Roberts was really an odd man out for the Sox. Its truly a shame because he is one of the most underrated players in resent history. That is the reason for trading him, and its a valid reason. What we got in return was just dumb. What we got back was another OF, Payton, that was skilled but a headache. The reason for him being a headache was we didn't need him. Clearly Payton wasn't a 4th OF and that's what we were asking of him. When he started to complain we traded him for Bradford. Do not get me wrong, Bradford is and was a fine pitcher, but Theo was employing the sell low technique. Are you telling me that the best we could get for a solid Outfielder was a middle reliever? It was just stupid to trade him when they did, not to mention the precedent it set. Hey, in Boston, if you complain enough you can get out of town. Ultimately, why did he acquire Payton? It doesn't make sense, and please don't talk to me about the prospects, they were all throw ins.

Edgar Renteria for Andy Marte than Andy Marte for Coco Crisp. Once again, there are other minor players in the deal, such as Josh Bard, but these were the major players. First off, trade Renteria is slightly shocking. He only had once year, and his year wasn't all that bad. While .276/.335/.385 isn't anything to get excited about, it also isn't something to panic about after one year. That being said, i think getting Marte for him was a very good deal. Marte was the 9th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America. When we flipped Marte to Crisp it was slightly questionable, but they needed a replacement for Damon and Coco looked like he could have been. This is a trade that a good deal of Sox fans hate. I agree that there is reason to hate this, but i personally do not. If you look at it as Renteria for Crisp, its pretty fair. Neither had great first seasons, but i still think Crisp has potential. He is healthy this year, supposedly, and if he can return to his plays with the Indians he will be solid.

Next, Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena. Lets just start off with why? Personally, i don't really know. I understand the Arroyo was our 6th starter and Pena was a nice young players but to say that is to ignore key facts. Pena was ready to be a starter, he was not going to be given that chance here. With Coco, Manny, and Nixon the OF was set. How was Pena going to start is beyond me. Its great to have a 4th outfielder, but its really not important. What is more important than a 4th Outfielder is a 6th starter. Pitchers are so fragile and go down every year. Why would we not keep an extremely solid starter just in case? Its not like they got a player that was helping them here and now. What makes me the most upset is what they did to Arroyo. They sign him to a new deal, in which he took a hometown discount, than quickly flip him to the Reds. I'm sorry but that just really tough love, to the point of it being classless.

Finally, Josh Bard and Cla Meredith for Doug Mirabelli. This is another dozy of a trade. Not only did Josh Brad play out of hit pants last year, .333/.404/.522, Cla Meredith did as well. Cla was one of the best relievers in the game last year posting a 1.07 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP. He would have been a nice addition to an extremely lackluster bullpen that the Red Sox had last season. How did Doug do? Depends on your standards. If you think .191/.234/.328 is good, well than he did fine. But if you are actually looking for a solid backup catcher, those numbers are brutal. The only reason why this trade happened is because of Bards ineptitude to catching the knuckle ball. He was never really given a shot, as most people understand. This was just an example of trigger finger that cost the Sox greatly.

So there you have it, the major trades during Theo's time as GM. Not the best record of trades. He made many trades that made no sense and several where he could have got more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Here is a look at players that the Red Sox have under contract for the 2010 seaon, the roles they will play, and the amount they will be earning. Some of the players are arbatration eligable. These players salaries are hard to guess considering baseballs economy is constantly changing. I am going to make some guesses, their will be no science or research behind the guess they are just hunches. Keep in mind i'm going to but them higher than they probably will assuming these players have very strong '07s 'and '08s.

C -George Kottaras >$.5M
1st - Lars Anderson >$.5M
2nd - Dustin Pedroia >$.5M
SS - Julio Lugo $9M
OF - J.D Drew $14M
OF - Jacoby Ellsbury >$.5M
DH - David Ortiz $12.5M

SP - Daisuke Matsuzaka $8M
SP - Josh Beckett $12M (club option)
SP - Jonathan Papelbon $? (arbatration eligable) $4M
SP - Jon Lester $? (arbatration eligable) $4M
SP - Clay Buchholz >$.5M
SP - Michael Bowden >$.5M
SP - Daniel Bard >$.5M

RP - Manny Delcarmen $? (arbatration eligable) $1M
RP - Craig Hansen $? (arbatration eligable) $2M
RP - Edgar Martinez >$.5M
RP - Bryce Cox >$.5M
RP - Justin Masterson >$.5M

So there you have the Red Sox of 2009. Potentially, there will only be 5 open spots, a catcher, 3rd baseman, Outfielder, and 2 relievers. Using these numbers the Red Sox should have about $70M on the books. Considering inflation, this is a very small number even for a small market team. Since i excluded the bench lets bump the total to $75M, still low.

So knowing all this, where are we going to spend the money. Lets start with the catcher position. This is almost completely irrelevant. Assuming by 2009 Kottaras can handle the starting job, no one is going to be up in arms about who is the backup catcher. We can easily pick up a journeyman catcher to play every 5th day. Lets put him at $5M.

3rd is going to be the true splash. While the Red Sox could easily go out on the free agent market, i feel they will go the path of a trade. For whom? Miguel Cabrera. At this point Cabrera will be one season away from hitting free agency, and more important out of Florida. Because of this i see no reason why the Marlins will not trade. The Sox and Marlins FOs are no strangers., most recently the Beckett trade. After the trade Cabrera will be signed for something in the range of 7-9 years from $20M-$25M. This deal could take him from the age of 26 to 35, a pretty sweet deal for a guy that would never be a free agent. Cabrera could easily become the next Manny, well less power but a lot less annoying. He will be the face of the franchise and hopefully be the leader as well.

The Outfield could potentially be filled by players already on contract. Manny has a club option for $20M for both '09 and '10. While I still think Manny will have value in those years, i do not believe those options will be picked up. It is just too much money for a player his age. The other option is Coco Crisp. He is actually under contract for $5.75M with a club option for '10. I feel like this could happen, but its very unlikely. Watching him this spring and last year i don't see him in Boston very much longer. Sorry Coco, its not that i don't think your a great guy but you just aren't very good. The last options we have in house are the trio of Murphy, Moss, and Place. Hell, maybe 1 of those 3 players will make it, but i would hope on it. Personally, i have no clue whats going to happen, but for argument lets just say the job goes to Coco. He is under contract after all. So there is $5.75M

The 2 relievers will be non-factors much like the backup catcher. With the turnover of bullpens in baseball, there will be plenty of bad relievers for teams to bid on. More likely than not we will end up with 2 poor-average pitchers for too much. With that being said, i don't see these relievers costing any more than $10M combined.

All told, our team has a salary of $115M. That seems about right, although i would suspect is approaches $150M by 2009. Lets up everyone pans out, we could have a hell of a team.