…as far as what moves the Boston Red Sox should make coming up to the Major League Baseball non-waiver trading deadline on Monday.
What, you thought Eduardo Nunez was enough?
I didn’t. Actually, I don’t even really want Nunez here. It’s not like he’s going to make a huge difference, for one. I don’t care how hot the Sox brass tells me he has been in recent weeks. There’s a bigger reason I don’t particularly want him here…and we will get to that. Since the Sox didn’t give up really anything for him (Gregory Santos? Shaun Anderson?), I suppose it can’t hurt to have him around though. I mean, with Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge, Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero still hanging around on the team or close down the road in Pawtucket, it can’t ever hurt to have more utility infielders than you can handle, right? Oh wait, Nunez and Holt are All-Stars…nevermind…
Anyway, my view of what the Red Sox should do prior to the trading deadline will be much different from what actually happens. Why? Because I’d actually consider selling. And with the Sox in first place, there is no way the organization will do that. They will be buyers.
But this team is more than another 1B/DH bat and a reliever or two away from winning a championship. In my opinion anyway. Sure, the American League is mediocre. Apparently it is Houston and everyone else at this point. So the Sox brass will surely say, “we get in the playoffs and anything can happen”. And they are probably right.
However, they won’t be the only team trying to improve themselves before Monday. In fact, the Yankees, Twins, Royals, Mariners and Rays have themselves made deals already. None of them would probably considered blockbusters, but those players should help all those clubs. In addition, I don’t believe the Indians have hit their stride as of yet. Maybe the Royals too, though their pitching is suspect, to be kind.
Then you have the National League. Which looks like the Dodgers and Nationals. Oh, and the Cubs. The Cubbies have been heating up and I expect them to continue to.
So you’ve got the competition being one reason I don’t believe the Sox are winning anything. Then you have the team itself. Which, other than a select few, is underachieving. Or are they? We think Xander Bogaerts is underachieving. But maybe he is what he is…a decent shortstop with little power, but will hit around .300 every year. Seems to me the way he is trending. Mookie Betts has some numbers, but it feels like he should be more. Jackie Bradley Jr. is definitely what he is and no more…great defensive outfielder with some power. But not really feared when he has the bat in his hands. Andrew Benintendi has had a fairly good year…but he ain’t there yet. You could do worse for catchers but they aren’t world beaters. Etc.
Bottom line is that this lineup isn’t scaring anyone. Hard to believe basically just subtracting David Ortiz from the equation caused this much of a drop off, but…
Now, the pitching. Chris Sale has been otherworldly. But he has faded down the stretch in his career. And does anyone really expect him to keep up this pace? David Price? Ugh…more on him in a moment. Rick Porcello apologists like to point to the fact that the Sox offense hasn’t scored while he was on the mound in like 10 of his starts. But they conveniently forget his mid 4 ERA. And the fact he won a lot of games in 2016 because he got like 16 runs a game to support him…therefore always pitching with a huge lead and…no pressure. And…how many bombs has he given up this year? Eduardo Rodriguez…can he be trusted? Drew Pomeranz has been better than expected. But does anyone expect him to have continued good health the rest of the way?
By the way, the rest of the starters behind them? Some combination of Brian Johnson, Doug Fister, Kyle Kendrick or Hector Velasquez. Yikes! Wait, no Henry Owens? Nope. He walked 60 guys in 69 innings in Pawtucket before getting DEMOTED to Portland (AA). He’s walked 23 in 20.2 innings down there. With a 5.23 ERA. In 5 starts. Yup, about 4 innings a start. A former can’t miss prospect…that clearly missed. Par for the course it seems with the Sox organization. Sure guys have come up and played well. But they have seemingly had so many “can’t miss” guys over they years that they refuse to trade and then they just suck in the end. Subject for a different day.
Lastly, the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel has been as awesome in his role as Sale has been in his. But that’s about it as far as bullpen arms that inspire confidence. I’m not even going through the rest of the jamokes that have rotated out there all year. The bullpen has been surprisingly good this season, I will admit, even with Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes being your other late inning guys. And sometimes Heath Hembree. But…c’mon. I don’t want those guys anywhere near the mound late in games when the pressure mounts as the playoff race heats up. Maybe Carson Smith is coming back…wait, I doubt that. Tyler Thorn…nevermind.
So combine all of the above with what I wrote yesterday…about clubhouse turmoil and an inept manager…and I’m selling at the deadline. It’s really hard for me to root for this team now. They are pretty much unlikable from top to bottom. A big part of me doesn’t even care what happens the rest of this year. I’m almost onto the Patriots already and they just opened camp. Depressing, but true.
In any event, once again, they will not sell and probably none of what is proposed here will happen in real life. But just for sh%ts and giggles, this is what has been going through my mind this week on the moves I would like to make. If not at the deadline, then maybe the offseason. In no particular order:
*Trade David Price. Yes because he is an arseclown, whiner and all of that. But also because his elbow may well explode at some point. We all know he may need Tommy John surgery at some point. If he blows out his elbow here in September and isn’t around the club all of 2018 and then opts out of his contract and gets out of Dodge, that may be a win-win situation as well. But perhaps they can cut all that off and get something for him now.
Impossible you say? Maybe not. If teams treat him like he has one year and change left on his contract and is sure to opt out when he can, maybe someone will jump. Maybe a team with World Series aspirations and deep pockets will do it anyway. Perhaps the Dodgers will bail the Sox out again? Clayton Kershaw is out for several weeks now. Hmmmmmm…the Nationals with Stephen Strasburg out, supposedly only for one start, but…the Cubs, with their rotation struggling a bit (and knowing Jake Arrieta is probably coming off the books after this year).
Price wants to be moved, that much is clear. Would the Sox consider it? Would anyone bite? I do not think it will happen. But it IS certainly possible to move that contract. More than people think. That’s what I believe anyway.
*Keep Rafael Devers in the majors and give him the majority of starts at 3B. With Nunez here I doubt he plays much and I believe he will be shipped back to Pawtucket soon enough. Too bad. What have they got to lose by playing him? Well, if he produces like Yoan Moncada did last year, maybe it’s a mistake. But you know who was absolutely putrid in 95 plate appearances in 2016 down the stretch? Aaron Judge. .179 average, .608 OPS and 42 of his 69 outs were K’s. I’m not saying Devers will be Judge next year if he gets major league experience this year. But it may be in the teams’ best interest long-term if Devers takes his lumps in the majors the rest of 2017.
*Release Mitch Moreland and Chris Young. Recall Sam Travis and…gulp…Rusney Castillo. Maybe you can trade Moreland and/or Young to a contender for some fungo bats and used baseballs. And if Moreland has truly sucked the last month or so because his toe is broken, then maybe just put him on the DL. But I have no use for these two really. Young’s contract is up after this year, and he isn’t really good. Add to the fact that this veteran was apparently one of Price’s biggest backers in the Eck thing…see ya. Let’s see if Travis can hit in the bigs. Let’s also see if Rusney can be salvaged. He seems to have been playing well in AAA and supposedly can play all the OF positions still. Why the hell not?
*Release Allen Craig, Jhonny Peralta and Pablo Sandoval. Oops…already done. So there are a few positives.
*Release Doug Fister. Kind of obvious. But I’m covering everything.
*Give Brian Johnson Price’s rotation spot through the rest of the year. This guy throws junk and I’m not convinced he will ever make it. But he has shown some flashes. Not sure what he has left to prove in the minors. He’s 26 years old. Let’s see what he can do. And if he’s truly part of the future.
*Fire John Farrell. Another obvious one. Nothing more needs to be said here.
*Trade Hanley Ramirez. Good luck. A guy that really doesn’t care. Or that cares once in a blue moon. Maybe they can sell his contract to Japan or something. Or to Manny’s Korean team.
*Trade Xander Bogaerts. WHAT?! Ok, it’s not that simple. And it’s something that should be investigated in the offseason and not over the next few days.
I have no real particular issue with X. Disappointed with his progress, or lack thereof. Maybe the reason for his poor performance lately is the ball he took off the hand. But how do we explain before that? His numbers are down across the board this year…since the All-Star Game in 2016, to be exact.
He will be 25 on October 1st. Still plenty of time to tap into that talent he supposedly has. But what do we have so far? A .300ish hitter with doubles power who plays a decent, if unspectacular shortstop? If that is what he ultimately is, will he be worth all the money that Scott Boras will want in his first big contract? Nope.
I’d rather give a boatload of money to Betts. Perhaps Andrew Benintendi earns some money down the road too. And Devers…if he pans out of course. Bradley Jr.? Sure, but he should come cheaper. If not? Work on moving him and put either Betts or Benintendi in center. That conversation can come later however.
One huge thing to consider is that the Sox need some power. How will they get it? Seems like a trade is the only way. Have to give up something to get something. If teams are still enamored by Bogaerts’ potential, doesn’t that make him a prime candidate to go? Especially considering all of the above.
Taking a look at the current 40-man roster, who is untouchable? Sale, Betts, Devers (for now), probably Benintendi and Kimbrel. Who else? Bogaerts is probably next on the list. Someone like him may be able to be packaged with a little more to get that proven power bat…whoever that may be. Everyone always points to Giancarlo Stanton, since Miami is always selling players off and he has a huge deal. But there may be someone else available for the right price that we don’t know about.
I’m not trying to run X out-of-town. But, you have to admit, something like that may make sense.
That’s about it on the suggestions. What, nothing about Dustin Pedroia? After yesterday’s piece? Yeah, trouble is, I love him on the field. Not to mention he will be 34 in August. And is a 10/5 guy. Not sure he will waive his rights to not be traded. Or if the Sox can get any value for him anyway. Looks like he is here to stay. Maybe he will eventually grow up though…
As promised, NL squad below. Only 32 players this year, down from 34 in recent years. 22 position players, 10 pitchers, with each team represented (Again, I don’t necessarily love this rule…but…it is the rule). (S) for starter. Comments below each position.
C: Buster Posey, SF (S), Yadier Molina, StL
Sticking with the 2 catcher maximum here. Kind of had to, with these two being their teams sole representatives. So yup, that means I didn’t select Carlos Martinez for my team. Oh well. He’ll be here more than a few times in the future more than likely. Anyway, the only other real option here was J.T. Realmuto. I can’t believe Realmuto has been on the fringe of my team for two years running. Maybe I should reevaluate him.
1B: Joey Votto, Cin (S), Paul Goldschmidt, AZ, Ryan Zimmerman, Was, Freddie Freeman, Atl
This is what I wrote last year, “You can probably pretty much pencil in (Anthony) Rizzo and Goldy every year for the forseeable future, barring injury or change in leagues.” Oops. No Rizzo this year. He has rebounded nicely from his early season woes, but it wasn’t enough. Check the water in Zim’s locker. The last time he made an All-Star team was 1909…er, I mean, 2009. But you get the point. .218 in over 400 ABs last year and now at age 32 these numbers? Ok, but he deserves to start. And so does Goldschmidt. But I picked Votto. His numbers are a hair above both. Freeman could probably start too, but he missed half the season. And now he is playing third base. But I couldn’t justify any other Atlanta player being on my team. I don’t care how good Ender Inciarte is defensively.
2B: Daniel Murphy, Was (S), Anthony Rendon, Was, Justin Turner, LAD
Ok, I clearly cheated here. But I had to. To me, Murphs was the only legit 2b I could really consider here. Josh Harrison is a nice player, but not an All-Star. DJ LeMahieu? Nope. Colorado, for one. But secondly, I really don’t understand the infatuation. Whatever. So I am going with a couple of backups that play exclusively 3b now, but have played plenty of second base in the past. And I picked Rendon before his 6 ribbies on Saturday. Turner missed some time due to injury in the first half. But hard to ignore his .377 average and 1.000 plus OPS at the break.
3B: Jake Lamb, AZ (S), Nolan Arenado, Col, Kris Bryant, ChC, Travis Shaw, Mil
Once again, Arenado gets penalized for playing in Colorado. But once again he deserves to be on the team. Just not starting. I really should have started Bryant, but Lamb has the superior numbers this year. By the end of the year that may be different. Bryant didn’t make the real team. That’s a crime. Sure, he isn’t putting up the MVP numbers of last year, but it’s not like he’s hitting .220 either. He has to be on the team, you know, being the reigning MVP and all. Numbers this year are good enough, I say. To boot, he is somehow my only Cub. Little disappointing over there in ChiTown this year. At least Wade Davis won’t blow my game like he did the real one. Last, but certainly not least…Shaw HAS to be on the team. First, Milwaukee is in first place and deserves more than the one rep they had in the real game. Second? What a stupid offseason trade by the Red Sox. Listen, I wasn’t the biggest Travis Shaw fan. He did fade as the year went on last year. But did they have to basically throw him in the trade for Tyler Thornburg? A middle reliever with apparent arm problems? Just seemed like the prospects the Sox sent should have been enough there. And now Thornburg will not pitch this year and the Sox are rotating between various minor leaguers at third base…after they finally pulled the plug on the Pablo Sandoval experiment. Sigh…
SS: Corey Seager, LAD (S), Trea Turner, Was
Thin yet again. Seager is easy. Turner should be easy…and yes, I know he is hurt. Doesn’t matter. Zack Cozart? Really?
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Mia (S), Marcell Ozuna, Mia (S), Bryce Harper, Was (S), Cody Bellinger, LAD, Charlie Blackmon, Col, Wil Myers, SD, Aaron Altherr, Phi
Seven outfielders, four third basemen, four first basemen…of course some of those guys will fill the DH role. Once again, the starters were no-brainers. Though I suppose if Bellinger had been in the majors all year, he could have supplanted one of them. Since he’s a rookie, he will have to defer this year, either way. Blackmon has his Colorado numbers, but belongs on the team. I suppose I should have listed Myers at first, since he actually plays there. But I didn’t like the look of five first basemen for some reason. And Myers came up as an outfielder. So…who cares anyway? Myers and Altherr represent the Padres and Phillies, respectively. I don’t care how well Brad Hand pitches in the 6th-7th inning, I couldn’t stomach him being the Padres rep, as he was in reality. He’s a middle reliever on a team that has a closer with a 5.30 ERA (Brandon Maurer). If Hand can’t close over Maurer, he’s not an All-Star. As much as we all love Pat Neshek, same deal in Philly. If he can’t seize the closer role from any of the clowns that have closed for that squad this year (Hector Neris??!)…he is also not an All-Star. I feel better about picking Altherr this year than I do about picking Odubel Herrera last year, I can tell you that much.
P: Clayton Kershaw, LAD (S), Max Scherzer, Was, Zack Greinke, AZ, Robbie Ray, AZ, Gio Gonzalez, Was, Jacob deGrom, NYM, Ivan Nova, Pit, Corey Knebel, Mil, Greg Holland, Col, Kenley Jansen, LAD
Kershaw is a pretty good pitcher, eh? Once again putting up video game numbers. 14 wins at the break. Nice work. Max and Zack doing what they do. Robbie Ray coming out of nowhere. Well, he was a top prospect, now it appears he has taken the next step at age 25. I took Gio over Strasburg, but both could be here. deGrom is the Mets rep. Toyed with Jay Bruce, but had enough bats already. Nova is the Pirates rep. Underwhelming, I know. The apparently resurrected Andrew McCutchen would probably have been a better choice. But having to take Myers and Altherr and all those other bats left him off in favor of a pitcher. Knebel has been absolutely filthy for the Brew Crew and what Holland is doing in his comeback in Colorado is nothing short of amazing. Jansen has an ERA under 1.00 on that Dodger juggernaut, so he closes my game if it gets there.
There are a few pitchers that may have deserved better…Strasburg, Carlos Martinez, Alex Wood (10-0 at the break, but less innings than other starters), Wade Davis and gulp, Jimmy Nelson (??) could have arguments here. If you like middle relievers, Hand, Neshek and Archie Bradley (1.10 ERA at the break) could be in the discussion as well. Everyone can’t make it. As usual though, I think I nailed both teams!
The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their latest inductees later today. As usual, I have my own opinion as to who is worthy of entry into the Hall. Also as usual, those opinions are likely better than at least half the clowns that actually vote for the honor. To wit, what about the writer that came out a couple of weeks ago and said he wasn’t voting for Curt Schilling anymore because he was offended Schill called Hall of Fame voters “scumbags”? Well, I guess that comment was the tip of the iceberg anyway. Yeah, the writer is playing the “character” card now. But Schill’s character hasn’t really changed, probably over his entire life. And it didn’t stop the writer from voting for him earlier in Schilling’s candidacy. You may think that Schill isn’t worthy regardless. And you will find out below if I think Schilling should be enshrined or not. But that particular writer’s behavior seems kind of silly to me.
Last time I wrote on this topic a few years back, I ranted on the whole steroid thing. I promise I won’t do that again. But the short story is that I won’t exclude anyone from that era. I refuse to guess on who was using and who wasn’t…like some of these voters are wont to do. I just assume everyone was doing something to chemically enhance their bodies to improve performance. Even if it was just one solitary legal supplement. Players are always trying to take the next step and to also gain any edge they can. Sure, some went overboard. But I have to believe everyone was dipping in to some degree.
Moving on, let’s get down to business. 34 names on the official ballot. I added one write-in of my own.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens-Speaking of “scumbags”, these two are probably at the top of the list. But their Hall of Fame talent is undeniable. It’s time to give these guys their plaques. It may not happen this year, but it will undoubted happen someday. May as well be now.
Manny Ramirez-You may be able to include Manny in the class above. But I am not sure he was actually a “scumbag”. Sure, he pushed the Red Sox traveling secretary down once, which may fit the description. And was stupid enough to get caught taking ‘roids…more than once. Of course he had many other smaller “incidents” that made people shake their heads. But was he really a bad person? Or just kind of living in an alternate universe? I say the latter. He was also f’n great. My sense is that he will get in eventually, but will have to wait along with Bonds and Clemens for a while. But how can you keep him out forever?
Ivan Rodriguez-Pudge is yet another one that is linked to steroids. I know, it’s a long list. So again, this for sure will keep him out of the Hall this year. And maybe for longer than the three above. His career OPS is a smidge under .800 (.798). That’s not ideal, but remember he was a catcher. Close to 3,000 hits (2,844), over 300 bombs (311), 14 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glover (you know I don’t love this award, but 13 is hard to argue against), MVP award in tow (though it should have gone to Pedro, as two writers left Martinez off their ballots entirely…but Pudge did win it, so it counts), threw out 46% of base stealers for his career, blah, blah, blah. This isn’t a Hall of Famer?
Pete Rose-Here’s my write-in again. He may even surpass Clemens and Bonds on the dirtbag meter. He got caught gambling as a manager…probably as a player too…but you can’t tell me gambling isn’t rampant across all locker rooms in any sport. Maybe not to his degree, but still…I’m putting him in for what he did on the field. You can leave him out because of his character. That’s the beauty of America…ability to make a different choice. But…he belongs in the Hall.
Fantastic careers, but falling a smidge short:
Vladimir Guerrero-I wrestled with this one since it is his first year on the ballot. I reserve the right to change my mind on him down the road. Hit for average, power and even stole some bases in his prime. Cannon for an arm, however inaccurate it could be sometimes. The end came quick though.
Jeff Bagwell-Speaking of the end coming quick. Similar numbers to Vlad, but based on the era he played in, I feel like the numbers come up a little short. I’ve felt this way for years, so I’m unlikely to change course on him going forward. Don’t feel bad for him though. He will likely be enshrined this year in real life. So I won’t have to think about his candidacy again really.
Pretty damn good careers, but we can’t induct everyone:
Trevor Hoffman-Because of the 600 plus saves, people like to kind of add him in with Mariano Rivera a little bit. Rivera (career 82-60, 2.21, 1.000 WHIP, dominant postseasons) vs. Hoffman (career 61-75, 2.87, 1.058 WHIP, not much to see in the postseason, however, not dominant). I don’t see it. But the 600+ gets him in today anyway.
Curt Schilling-Not because of his mouth or politics or tweets or any of that stuff. But because there were too many career ups and downs for my liking. Despite any postseason heroics.
Tim Raines-The Montreal years were great. The rest? Not so much. Too much mediocrity for me. But looks like he will get in today as well. I hope at his induction he re-tells the stories where he kept a vial of coke in his back pocket during his heyday, so he only slid headfirst so he wouldn’t break it. Those were fun times!
Edgar Martinez-Edgar gets a ton of support. But as a DH only for the bulk of his career, the numbers have to be extravagant for me to put him in. Like say…David Ortiz-like. And they aren’t quite that.
Mike Mussina-Good pitcher for a long time. He won 20 games in his final year. Funny thing is, if he stuck around for maybe 3 more years and won 30 more games, the 300 wins and 3,000 K’s (ended 187 shy) would have put him in automatically.
Lee Smith-Maybe the Red Sox years scar me. I remember Big Lee being far from automatic. Then they went and signed Jeff Reardon to replace him. Career ERA (3.03) and WHIP (1.256) simply too high for a Hall of Fame closer.
Fred McGriff-The Crime Dog was a solid player pretty much from beginning to end. But that does not make you a Hall of Famer.
Jeff Kent-His position of 2B helps him here. But he can probably thank the SF years of batting cleanup behind Bonds for keeping him on the ballot every year.
Larry Walker-Colorado effect. I don’t know why he keeps getting the support. Why no love for Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichette or Andres Galarraga?
Gary Sheffield-I really didn’t think too hard on this one. There’s usually a reason a great talent bounces around and plays on 8 teams. Didn’t we all see it coming when he came up with Milwaukee as a youngster, they asked him to play third base, he didn’t like it, and as a result fired balls into the stands on purpose?
Billy Wagner-I like Wagner better than Hoffman actually. But Hoffs pitched in almost 200 more games. If Wags stuck around for a couple more years, would he have gotten Hoffman-type support?
Sammy Sosa-I said I wasn’t going to discriminate against steroid users…or alleged steroid users. And I’m not. 609 homers is nice. But almost half of them (292) came in a 5 year stretch…of an 18 year career. His .878 career OPS doesn’t even compare to Bagwell or Vladdy. Nor do many of his other career totals. With only 7% of the vote last year, maybe this is the year he dips under 5% and falls off. Then we don’t have to talk about him anymore.
Are these guys seriously on a Hall of Fame ballot?:
Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Jorge Posada, Magglio Ordonez, Derrek Lee, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria, Melvin Mora, Carlos Guillen, Casey Blake, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Arthur Rhodes, Matt Stairs-Matt Stairs? Casey Blake? Tim Wakefield? I personally don’t know how these guys even get on the ballot. Lifetime achievement award I guess. Posada may actually get more than 5% of the vote and stick on next year’s ballot I am afraid. Just because he was on a bunch of winning Yankee teams. People around Boston actually think Varitek should be legitimately considered. Fun fact: Pudge threw out 46% of base stealers for his career, as noted above. Varitek? 23%! But they are on the same ballot. Yuck.
One more note: How does Javier Vazquez not warrant a spot on the ballot this year? Don’t get me wrong, Vazquez is nowhere near a Hall of Famer. But compared to some of the swill on the list above, his omission is kind of surprising. Another fun fact that only I care about: Vazquez is 30th all-time in strikeouts. He retired at age 34 after a decent season (13-11, 3.69). He was 464 K’s shy of 3,000. There are only 16 pitchers that finished with over 3,000 career K’s. 14 are in the Hall, 1 should be (Clemens) and 1 may someday be (Schilling). Now, Javier’s other numbers were mediocre at best. But if pitched 3-4 more years, he would have gotten to 3,000 and could have been an interesting trivia answer, if Ron and Schill eventually get in the Hall and make it 16 for 16. Seems to me this alone should give him a spot on the ballot anyway.
I know, only I care about this. Vazquez probably even doesn’t…