Monthly Archives: July 2014

Keep the line moving…

Jake Peavy is gone.  Thanks for helping the Sox in 2013.  But 1-9, 4.72 ain’t gonna do it for us this year.  Can’t even believe that they got a couple bodies for him.  Maybe they make it, maybe they don’t.  But the return is acceptable.  Keith Law is some kind of minor league expert for the four letter network.  But how he thought you could get anything more for Peavy is beyond me.  I don’t care what your “sabermetrics” tell me.

Who is next?  Who should be next?  I’ll tell you here:

*Jon Lester–I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  A few things.  I am never in favor of giving long term contracts…to anyone.  In any sport.  But I think the circumstances dictate giving one to Lester.  Lackey may be gone.  Buchholz is unpredictable.  Doubront hasn’t panned out.  Peavy is gone.  There are 7 kids next in line, but who is to say any of them will make it?  Makes sense to give the “leader” his deal.  Bring stability to an uncertain staff.  Take them to the next generation.  Maybe the Sox have to eat some dough.  So be it.  They have it.  Better Lester than some dude that you don’t know if they can’t handle Boston at all.  Even if he isn’t a true “ace”.  Just do it.

But I don’t think the Sox had any intention from Day One of re-signing him.  Real lowball initial offer.  Just like Damon and all the rest.  The owners can tell the fans “we tried to sign him”…though the fans know better…or they should.  Bottom line…seems like the Sox don’t want him back by their negotiation efforts.  Lester is going to test the market…and some team (Yankees?) will break the bank for him.  May as well send him out at the deadline and see what the return is.

Again, to be clear, I do NOT want to do this.  But I feel it has come to this point.  See what’s out there.

*Koji Uehara–I don’t know why this is even debatable.  LOVE this dude.  But he is a 39 year old closer.  The Sox’ FOURTH choice to close last year.  Someone who hasn’t put in a lot of full seasons since he has been in the States, due mostly to injury.  Free agent at end of the year…though they can tender him at a cool 15 mil or so at the end of the year (a la Drew).  If someone is willing to back up the truck, why are we waiting?  Even if they are willing to give SOME sort of decent return?  We know closers are fungible, so is Koji, whether Sox fans are willing to admit this or not.  Not going to win anything this year…makes total sense to deal.  What are they waiting for?

*Andrew Miller–Putting up some serious numbers this year.  But in close situations he is losing games.  Is he piling up Ks in meaningless situations?  Maybe.  May have finally harnessed his talents, but are you willing to gamble 3 years, 21 million in the offseason that it is permanent?  Me neither.  Middle relievers are interchangable.  Someone else will have these numbers next year.  Deal him for something now.

*John Lackey–Tough to consider dealing Lackey AND Lester.  But Lack ain’t pitching for 500K next year.  So see what’s out there.  Take it from there.

*Clay Buchholz–OK, this is pushing it.  And the value would be low.  So it may be better to keep him for now.  See if he throws a no-no in September against minor leaguers and maybe his value goes up in offseason.

*Breslow, Badenhop, Doubront, Mujica–Ain’t gonna get a case of sunflower seeds for these guys, so may as well keep them.  Maybe put Felix back in rotation and see if you can soak someone in the offseason.

*Jonny Gomes–Maybe someone else will buy the “leadership” crock.  Although he does hit lefties.  He and Nava make a pretty good LF platoon I admit.  But on a losing team, and Gomes being an impending free agent…if someone bites, let him go.  His huge ego takes up too much space in the locker room anyway…

*Stephen Drew–Goes without saying.  MAYBE this would have been a good signing…if they were the same team as last year.  Shiiiii-iiite, I saw him make a few stellar defensive plays tonight.  But never liked this signing…they couldn’t have given him 3 mil?  Maybe someone else will take the bait.  Move Xander back to SS to see really if he can hack it.  Just shouldn’t be here period.

*Shane Victorino–While he is hot and “healthy”!!  Ok, wishful thinking.

*Mike Carp–Really, are we even talking about this arsehat??  He requested a trade recently.  Does he know he is Mike Carp?

Think that covers everyone.  Consider packaging prospects for a bat…not likely until the offseason, but see if that angle hits.

It’s just time to face facts.  Sox are done.  Look at the future.

 

 

National League All-Stars

In honor of the Major League Baseball All-Star game played last week, here is my National League All-Star team.  Better late than never…again.  21 position players, 13 pitchers, each team represented.  (S) for starter.  Comments below each position.  The NL team was harder to pick than the AL squad.  Lot of players close together.  Though I refused to take some of the stiffs that Matheny actually took in real life.

C:  Yadier Molina, StL (S), Jonathan LuCroy, Mil, Buster Posey, SF

As noted in the AL column, not a huge fan of taking 3 catchers.  However, there were actually SIX NL catchers all pretty closely lumped together and worthy of consideration.  SIX?!  Since there is technically no DH on the NL ballot, I chose an extra C.  How?  Glad you asked.  The others were Devin Mesoraco, Cin, Miguel Montero, AZ (both of whom made the actual team) and Evan Gattis, Atl.  Montero’s average was in the .260s and Mesoraco and Gattis both missed enough time in the first half so that their at-bats wouldn’t qualify for the batting title, if they were in the mix for that, that is.  That kind of reasoning worked for me.  Take all six if you want.

1B:  Paul Goldschmidt, AZ (S), Anthony Rizzo, CHC, Freddie Freeman, Atl

I actually thought about Matt Adams here as well…but then I thought that was funny.  Justin Morneau is having a nice year.  But he gets penalized for being in Colorado (more on that later).  Pretty cut and dried group in my eyes.

2B:  Dee Gordon, LAD (S), Chase Utley, Phi

Thin.  Daniel Murphy? Neil Walker?  Nope.

3B:  Todd Frazier, Cin (S), Anthony Rendon, Was, Aramis Ramirez, Mil, David Wright, NYM

Frazier is a no-brainer.  Taking 4 third basemen is easier because Rendon can play 2B…as he is doing again with Zimmerman back (well, he was for a bit) in Washington.  Aramis is always steady and Wright pretty much has to be the Mets rep.  Either he or Murphy and I’ve already laughed at Murphy as an All-Star.  That leaves the Fat…er, I mean, Big Panda on the outside looking in…as he should be.

SS:  Starlin Castro, CHC (S), Troy Tulowitski, Col, Hanley Ramirez, LAD

Yup, penalizing Tulo for Colorado too.  And why not?  His numbers are great again and he gets on the team (I suppose partly as the Rockies’ rep too).  But how does .417/14/35 at home and .257/7/17 on the road this year sound?  Awful.  The park effect is real folks.  That’s why I have a good chuckle when people think Larry Walker is a Hall of Famer.  It’s laughable that he is even on the ballot…first year maybe, but going on 5 next year?  If he ever gets in the HOF, may as well throw Andres Galarraga, Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla in there too.

OF:   Giancarlo Stanton, Mia (S), Andrew McCutchen, Pit (S), Carlos Gomez, Mil (S), Yasiel Puig, LAD, Billy Hamilton, Cin, Justin Upton, Atl

Thought the starters were pretty obvious.  Puig may have a case based on his popularity, but the others’ numbers are better.  Puigs’ numbers are pretty comparable to some of the guys left off, but it is an All-Star Game for the “stars” and for the fans and who they want to see, right?  Right or wrong, that puts him in.  Many thought Hamilton couldn’t hit in the majors and he got off to a slow start.  But he has come on nicely.  And I am definitely not rewarding Charlie Blackmon for a fantastic April…in Colorado.

P:  Clayton Kershaw, LAD (S), Adam Wainwright, StL, Johnny Cueto, Cin, Zack Greinke, LAD, Julio Teheran, Atl, Madison Bumgarner, SF, Stephen Strasburg, Was, Craig Kimbrel, Atl., Rafael Soriano, Was, Aroldis Chapman, Cin, Jonathan Papelbon, Phi, Francisco Rodriguez, Mil, Huston Street, SD

Ugh…I hate being a hypocrite.  But admittedly I am being one here.  This is what I wrote in the AL piece, “My inclination is to take way more starting pitchers than closers and certainly middle relievers…etc…”.  Then for the NL team, half the staff is closers.  Well, at least the real team had 3 middle relievers and I didn’t take any of them here.

Just looking at the numbers…there are some NL starters I left off that are having decent years and merited consideration.  But they didn’t wow me in the end…talking about guys like Tim Hudson, Tyson Ross, both Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija before they got dealt to the AL, Alfredo Simon and his 12-3 record, Cole Hamels, hell, even Josh Beckett.  And Jake Arrieta is having a great couple of months.

But Soriano, Pap and Street have ERAs hovering around ONE.  Pretty impressive.  K-Rod has been great all year.  Chapman is averaging 2 K’s an inning.  And no one is better than Kimbrel in the NL.  Felt like for these purposes, they outweighed the starters’ contributions.

 

American League All-Stars

In honor of the Major League Baseball All-Star game played last week, here is my American League All-Star team.  Better late than never.  21 position players, 13 pitchers, each team represented (as much as this pains me, I suppose since the roster is so damn big, everyone should have a guy there at the very least…though they don’t do that in the NFL).  (S) for starter.  Comments below each position.  The AL team was actually not that hard to pick.  Not as many great candidates as one may think.

C:  Salvador Perez, KC (S), Yan Gomes, Cle

Perez is pretty much a no-brainer.  Gomes is my choice as the backup.  Plays full-time and numbers are decent enough.  MLB took Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki as backups.  Those guys have OK numbers, but split time with others on their team.  If you can’t play full time on your own team, you are not an All-Star.  There are better candidates for Minnesota than Suzuki.  I see no use for 3 catchers either, especially when the pool is thin.  Put it this way, if AJ Pierzynski hits like he normally has in his career, he may have been the backup.  And he just got released.

1B:  Jose Abreu , CWS (S), Miguel Cabrera, Det

Either way is fine.  Miggy is still great, though homers are down.  Can’t ignore the rookie’s numbers.  Yeah, they are calling him a rookie.  Albert Pujols was actually back to meriting consideration here, but felt like he didn’t have enough, comparatively speaking.

2B:  Jose Altuve, Hou (S), Robinson Cano, Sea, Ian Kinsler, Det, Brian Dozier, Minn

Not enamored with taking 4 second basemen.  But the first 3 are legit.  And despite the low average, Dozier fits as the best Minnesota candidate, in my opinion.  Suzuki was a lukewarm option and the only other legitimate option was probably closer Glen Perkins.  Decided his numbers weren’t dominating enough to add to the squad.

3B:  Adrian Beltre, Tex (S), Kyle Seager, Sea, Josh Donaldson, Oak

Did you know that Beltre had over 2,500 career hits?  Neither did I, until recently.  He keeps doing what he is doing for a couple more years and now we are talking Hall of Fame consideration.  I feel like this came out of nowhere.  Seager is having a nice year.  Donaldson has a low average, but has the power numbers.  Was an MVP candidate last year and team is doing great this year, so feel like he is a worthy candidate in the end.

SS:  Derek Jeter, NYY (S), Alexei Ramirez, CWS

Been through all this in the previous Jeets post.  Weak crop.  Erick Aybar?  No thanks.  JJ Hardy?  Maybe, but where has the power gone?  Wonder if the Red Sox left Bogaerts at short and he was something like .280/8/40 by now instead of slumping horrifically…maybe he gets a third nod at SS.  What is done is done, however.

OF:  Mike Trout, LAA (S), Adam Jones, Bal (S), Michael Brantley, Cle (S), Jose Bautista, Tor, Brandon Moss, Oak

Trout and Jones are obvious.  You could argue Bautista over Brantley, but really doesn’t matter.  Moss is a nice story, but also having a pretty good year.  So he makes the cut.  Maybe could make a case for Cespedes, but took Moss instead.  Alex Rios is having a decent year, without power though.  Alex Gordon?  Nah.  And Melky Cabrera was .301/11/44, last I looked…just couldn’t consider it overall though.

DH:  Nelson Cruz, Bal (S), Victor Martinez, Det, Edwin Encarnacion, Tor

‘Nuff said.  Lots of numbers here.  David Ortiz always wins this vote by a landslide.  Not this year.  He can’t even make the team with these guys.

P:  Felix Hernandez, Sea (S), Masahiro Tanaka, NYY, Jon Lester, Bos, Max Scherzer, Det, Chris Sale, CWS, Yu Darvish, Tex, Scott Kazmir, Oak, Garrett Richards, LAA, David Price, TB, Corey Kluber, Cle, Koji Uehara, Bos, Fernando Rodney, Sea, Greg Holland, KC

My inclination is to take way more starting pitchers than closers and certainly middle relievers.  Great starters are infinitely more important to their team and that is why they get the big bucks, as they say.  Closers historically get hot for a year or three, but unless they are Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, they inevitably fail and fall back into middle relief or the minors or out of baseball.  Very few of the elite ones that can do it for 10 years plus.  Middle relievers are usually failed starters AND closers.  So even though they can be dominant, it usually doesn’t last.  And if it does, they will go back to another key role.  But look at two middle reliever All-Stars from last year, Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil, both from the Blue Jays.  Both are no better than average (maybe worse) this year.  Hideki Okajima was an All-Star in 2007 for the Red Sox…no idea where he is now.  I do get that sometimes middle relievers are key…such as if they come in with the sacks juiced and 1 out in the 7th inning and have a 1 run lead…while the closer comes in fresh at the start of the 9th with a 3 run lead and gets credited with a save.  If they both close the door, who is really better?  But we all know getting the last few outs can sometime take a different animal, mentally for sure.  So I give some leeway for that.

Anyway, King Felix is a pretty obvious choice to start, though if Tanaka was healthy and if Sale didn’t miss time, arguments could be made for them as well.  Scherzer’s ERA is high, but he is still pretty dominant and is reigning Cy Young winner, so can’t complain there.  Lester and Price don’t have the win/loss record, and Price’s ERA is also higher than I would like.  But Jon belongs with his overall numbers and Price is Tampa’s rep.  Richards and Kluber kind of came out of nowhere, but both have excellent ERAs and average over a strikeout an inning, so are worthy.  Kazmir is a nice story having a nice year.  Can’t exclude Darvish as well…good numbers on a bad (though injury ravaged) team.  Mark Buehrle made the real team, but despite his 10-1 start (now 10-6), his overall numbers just didn’t compare.  Didn’t see a lot of other starter candidates for the team out there really.  Dallas Keuchel?  John Lackey?  Nope and…nope.

As for the relievers, Koji has been dominant since he took the role midseason last year.  No-brainer there for me.  Rodney has been very good and Holland has been as well.  As stated earlier, maybe could’ve made a case for Perkins.  The other big admission was Sean Doolittle of the A’s.  Having an outstanding year, but still leaving him off.  Why?  Going back to the middle relief thing.  A great deal of his numbers were accumulated as a middle reliever.  And he gets penalized for that unfortunately, in my world.  Jake McGee has closed some games and pitched great.  Same deal.  Zach Britton of the Orioles too.  Wade Davis and Dellin Betances have been exclusively middle relievers.  And have been dominant.  But not All-Stars in my book.

 

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