Winding down the disappointment…
…otherwise known as the 2015 Boston Red Sox season. 17 games left. Pitchers dropping like flies or getting shut down. Position players playing all over the diamond in a bit of spring training-ish experimentation. Journeymen getting called up to actually throw in real games down the stretch. All that and more to look forward to over the last couple of weeks. Per usual, a bunch of haphazard notes will follow, in no particular order:
*President/General Manager: Haven’t commented on the Dave Dombrowski hiring yet. Probably didn’t really need to actually. It was no secret that I thought Ben Cherington should have gotten the gate even sooner than he did. And that I wanted some sort of “baseball” guy in place in that chair, instead of some young whippersnapper whose main focus was sabermetrics. Again, sabermetric analysis absolutely has a place in today’s game. Just not as much as people think it should have.
DD hasn’t tangibly done much to this point, from what I can tell. Unless you count the waiver deadline deal of Alejandro de Aza something worth noting. I don’t, but if you do for some bizarre reason, then that has to be a positive, right? In any event, it’s only been exactly a month since he was hired. Plus it is toward the end of a lost season. So there really isn’t anything we should have expected him to do by now. The offseason will be the time for changes on and off the field and I am excited for those. And I am sure he is doing his homework all around right now. So some of my faith has been restored in the organization as we sit here now. Let’s hope it keeps trending in the right direction. And the ownership group, specifically Tom Werner, let him do his job.
*Manager: Sorry that John Farrell got cancer. Don’t wish that upon anyone. Well, maybe some people…but I have no real reason to wish it upon him. But at the same time, I am happy that he is not managing the team anymore, as macabre as that sounds. Look, I just used a big word! Hopefully I used it correctly…anyway, I was done with Farrell long before the diagnosis.
I have no interest in seeing him return to the team as manager next year. Hopefully Dombrowski sees it the same way. Delicate situation? Of course. But that’s why people spend big bucks on public relation firms. One of the heavyweights in that field should be able to help the Sox spin it to make it look like they are focusing on Farrell’s health…or doing him some sort of favor by not retaining him. John Henry can afford it.
Is Torey Lovullo the answer? My sense is no. After all, he has been under Farrell since Johnny’s Toronto stint. So some of the same habits have to have seeped into Lovullo’s managing acumen, no? (Another big word I hope I used correctly!). And he has said some really stupid things along the way while closing out this season. To wit: After Matt Barnes’ first Major League start, where he gave up 6 runs in 5 innings, Lovullo said, “Matt did exactly what we wanted him to do out there tonight”. Excuse me? Wow, aiming high I see. It’s one thing to support your players. It’s completely another just blatantly lie like that. At least I hope he was lying…
The team has played better since Lovullo took over, I will allow. But I chalk that up to a variety of factors. Some of the opposition playing out the string. September minor league callups diluting the talent in the majors. Pitchers such as Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly and Wade Miley throwing games more at their level of mediocrity than the level of atrociousness they were throwing at earlier in the year. The lineup doing more damage as the year has gone along. A great deal of the youngsters stepping up their game. Possibly the “Dombrowski effect”, where players are now not feeling comfortable under Cherington’s excuses for them and knowing the new guy in charge now can drop the hammer. Probably others too. But I am not convinced it is Lovullo’s skills that have led the charge.
Who do I want to be the next manager? Good question. Depends on who is available in the offseason for one. I’ll give that some more thought as time goes on…
*First base: Does having Hanley Ramirez play 5 games or so at first base at the end of September really make a difference? Why bother? DD also mentioned “6, 7 weeks of Spring Training” to evaluate him there. Didn’t Hanley have that time last spring to adjust to left field? How’d that work out?
I think it’s all a smokescreen. My opinion is that DD eats a ton of dough and unloads Hanley in the offseason. To whoever will take him. Just a gut feeling. For now, everyone is just saying the right things.
I also think Travis Shaw will not be at first next year. He’s had a decent run. But not sure he is the long-term answer. May even be time to deal high. Brock Holt? Garin Cecchini? Fat Panda Sandoval? Surely, you jest.
I think the one major offensive piece Dombrowski gets this offseason is here. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be “major”. Just someone competent. So maybe it is Shaw that sticks. Chris Davis? Leaning toward “no thanks”. Too unpredictable. Plus I just found out Scott Boras is his agent. He will get Davis his big contract, but hopefully elsewhere.
*Outfield: Despite his scorching hot 6 week run or so, I am still not convinced Jackie Bradley Jr. can consistently hit major league pitching. Case in point is his recent 1-27, 15k slide. But again, .225-.250 will do it for me here. He is that awesome defensively. Since trading Dustin Pedroia and moving Mookie Betts to 2nd is a pipe dream, Betts is out here. Along with Rusney Castillo. Funny how Castillo gets a few hits and all the “he looks like he never played the game of baseball” clowns from the spring all of a sudden flip back to how they loved him back last September.
Anyway, the big focus is on how these three will align going forward. I say, who cares? If all three are above average defensively and each can play all three positions out there, can’t you just mix and match by stadium if you are to play to defensive strengths? For instance, Bradley could play RF at Fenway, LF at Yankee Stadium and CF most other places? Something like that?
People will whine, “baseball players are creatures of habit…they want to know where they are playing every day…blah, blah, blah…”. I say, that is total garbage. Brock Holt can play all over the diamond, especially last year when he picked up a new position every day, but these guys can’t have some sort of rotation? Plenty of other people can move around too. So why can utility guys do it successfully, but BETTER players can’t do it? Jeez…I see where Texas has had Mike Napoli in LEFT FIELD a couple of times recently. Napoli?! People may point to the Hanley Ramirez failed experiment. But he is older, bulked up too much and really didn’t fit the OF mode anymore. Plus, it doesn’t help when you don’t practice and seemingly don’t care. But I guess that is besides the point. In any event, these kids are young and fast. Shouldn’t be a problem.
If they insist on staying in one position, I’ve got that answer too. Castillo, Bradley, Betts, left to right. Castillo has the better arm for 81 games in right at Fenway Park, but Betts is the better fielder and athlete, so he goes there. I want my best defender in center. So despite Betts being more than competent there, I want JBJ in center. Period.
I’m also not ruling out a trade. This Manuel Margot dude down on the farm is rising fast. Maybe not for good next year, but possibly for a cup of coffee or so. If he is the real deal as scouts say, then this has to play into the outfield picture I would say.
As usual, I am not done…but done for now…
Posted on September 18, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged American League, Ben Cherington, Boston Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, Dustin Pedroia, Fenway Park, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., Joe Kelly, John Farrell, John Henry, Major League Baseball, Manuel Margot, Mookie Betts, Rick Porcello, Rusney Castillo, Sabermetrics, Tom Werner, Torey Lovullo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.