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.
I have to say, I am still undecided on whether I like the Mookie Betts call up at this time. I have strong opinions on many Red Sox items. But I am still up in the air on this one. Maybe throwing thoughts down on paper will help me out.
On one hand, I have been saying all year to “play the kids”. The Sox won the World Series out of nowhere last year. They had a team full of serviceable major league ballplayers, but really only a couple of superstars. Other than Koji and Nava, none of the players really had a “career year”. They all just meshed together well and basically everything fell all into the right places. Quite frankly, it is still hard to believe. They have also won 3 World Series’ in the last decade. They have a pretty good amount of prospects in the minor league system (at least pitchers). In reality, the time is probably right to start implementing kids.
On the other hand, where I was completely willing to watch the Celtics lose every game last season in order to get the best pick they could for the recent, supposedly deep, draft, I am unsure I really want to watch the local baseball team tank completely. It’s kind of the line the Red Sox management team is straddling as well, albeit for vastly different reasons. I just want them to be competitive because I love baseball and want to see winning action. We all know the Sox want to do it for ratings and anything else that leads to them making more money. Even though they will tell you that is not the case. Sure.
In any event, I was all for them working in SOME of the kids from the start, regardless of whether that meant losing a few extra games in the name of development. I certainly didn’t think that this method would kill any chances the Sox had this year if they did that. If the veterans they had continued to do the same things they really always had in their careers, then this plus the kids should have made this a contending team again. I also left open the possibility of working more kids in over the course of the year, as there would be injuries, there would be underachievers, and there would be guys that you could move for value at or near the trading deadline and not sabotage the chances for the current year. I actually thought they MAY be able to straddle that line with some success, while also acknowledging the chances of back-to-back World Series Championships were likely slim anyway.
What I didn’t count on was most of the players not even coming close to what they have done in their careers. As well as a couple of lingering injuries. And a re-signing that made absolutely no sense.
To recap, I was totally fine with Xander being the SS, Middlebrooks the 3B and Bradley Jr. being the CF at the start of the year. If the other 6 spots held their own and the great players were still great players, I figured the offense would be fine. Unfortunately, although Gomes is about the same, Nava plummeted back like he was managing his college team. Victorino has been hurt the entire time (we knew he would be hurt, but not basically the whole first half). Napoli was hurt for a bit and I feel he has underachieved when not. Didn’t love the AJ deal, but for 1 year, I suppose I would be ok. He would at least hit and maybe we could move him at the deadline. Work in Vazquez this year with Ross and with an eye to start next year. But AJ hasn’t really hit. And more importantly, Pedroia and Ortiz, even though Ortiz’ power has been pretty much there, are playing WELL under their career norms. Throw in the fact that even the role players that contributed last year, such as Carp and Ross, haven’t been good either. The Pedroia thing isn’t getting nearly enough play. It could be that his wrist is still hurt and that is affecting his bat. If it is, force him to sit by putting him on the DL and make it right. I’m starting to wonder if his career is heading down the Youkilis path. Youkie played hard all the time and threw his body around so much that it broke down earlier than most players. Wonder if Pedroia is going through the same thing, especially considering his size. Maybe that’s why he bit on the seemingly lowball extension. He knew it.
Sssssoooooo, there goes that idea. Then Bradley has sucked more than we thought (at the plate) and Will sucked and then got hurt…and…although Xander at least hit and was developing at SS, the Sox panicked and inexplicably signed Stephen Drew. Not only is Drew worthless, but Bogaerts has struggled since being pushed back to 3rd. Not to mention that there will be no room for Middlebrooks when he comes back AND he blocks Cecchini from getting any kind of cup of coffee this year to get his feet wet. What a joke. The biggest joke is that they actually caved and gave Drew his prorated 14.1 mil from the qualifying offer that he turned down over the winter. As I said last year when he signed for 9.5 mil, when they gave him his 10 mil this year, with presumably no interest from ANYONE both of those years, couldn’t they have signed him for 3 mil???! Who were they competing with? Who wanted this stiff? But I digress…
As for Betts, he was not one of the prospects I was expecting to see this year. Especially since he was only a second basemen at the start of the year. I figured he was quite a ways away. Additionally, I figured he would have to learn a new position and that may take time…and it would happen in the minors. (Kind of bothers me the Sox are seemingly panicking where they are having guys like Betts, Holt, Cecchini and maybe soon Middlebrooks learning new positions on the fly, instead of perfecting them in the offseason…story for a different day). Mostly, I was thinking the above guys in the field and then some of the pitching prospects. As they have started to with Workman and de la Rosa (Rubby should have stayed and someone else moved or released or something…again, a story for a different day). Then maybe work Ranaudo, Britton, Webster, Barnes, etc. in relief toward the deadline and September, with an eye to rotation spots next year and beyond. Kind of felt Owens was in the same boat as Betts, not here until at least 2015. Figured some of the young pitchers would also be auditioning for trades…after all, not enough 40-man roster (or rotation) spots for all of them.
Betts has only played a handful of games above Single-A and is learning a bunch of new positions on the fly. Yes, he has passed every test, at bat and in the field. But is this pushing it? If he comes up and looks foolish, does it stunt his growth? Is he going to be a worse hitter than Bradley? I’ve long held that the Sox keep their players in the minors for way too long, but I was ok with it in this case. Just seems too fast.
At this point, I really don’t believe the Sox are going to make some noise in the playoffs however (or to GET to the playoffs, for that matter). They aren’t that far away in the standing now, with several teams between them and a spot though. The indications are there that it just isn’t going to happen however. Even though they will never admit it, some of the vets are surely comfortable after the win last year. It subconsciously affects them, I am sure of it. Some of the guys just actually suck, like Drew and Carp. AJ has brought a “Beckett-type” attitude with him, I am sure of that as well. That can never be a good thing.
To me, after half a season of evaluation, it is time to start moving some of these vets while they can get something of value for them. Even a box of baseballs for some. It’s just not the same feeling. I’ll detail some of those thoughts in another piece.
But where that leads me to on Betts…is that as this appears to be a season of going nowhere, the Sox may as well have him up and give him regular at-bats until the All-Star break at least. If the results are bleak, they can ship him back quickly. If there are positive results, they should play it out kind of like how they seem to be riding it out with Holt (who saw that one coming, by the by?). But there is no harm in seeing Mookie play a few games at the major league level, I have come to that conclusion.
Opening Day is right around the corner! Well, I’m not really counting the Australia games. Did anyone actually pay attention to them? And I guess I am not counting the Sunday Night Baseball game either, but at least we can all follow it.
Red Sox open up Monday at 3:00. Seems to have snuck up on everyone…well, me anyway. The Bruins have been smoking hot, the Celtics have been the opposite (much to most people’s delight this year though) and the Patriots have made a few impact free agent moves.
The fact that this Sox camp has been largely uneventful is probably another big reason as well. Not to mention that instead of coming off a “chicken and beer” year or a Bobby Valentine debacle year, they are coming off a World Series Championship year. I suppose that helps keep things in perspective. (Side note: speaking of “chicken and beer, have I mentioned that the strength coach for the Sox that year is now working (at least part-time) at a small gym in Billerica, MA? Seems like quite a fall…especially considering he apparently was on the Diamondback staff during their World Series as well. Feel kind of bad for the guy actually. The players walked all over him in Boston, he said a few things publicly the ensuing winter suggesting as much, the team pretty much made him a scapegoat and canned him…and now he seems to be blackballed out of baseball completely altogether. He probably deserved better. But anyway, I digress…)
The team came to Spring Training this year without much controversy. Dempster “retired” right before camp. No big deal, he was basically insurance anyway. Wouldn’t have minded that insurance, but I guess that is why they got Chris Capuano. Not sure why they had to do that, as Workman seemingly had earned that spot on the roster, based on his work specifically in the playoffs. But that’s really kind of a minor issue. There weren’t really any spots up for grabs on the roster. You knew most of the kids (other than Bogaerts and maybe Bradley) would be seasoned more in the minors…cuz that’s how the Sox roll. Certainly the young pitchers. Always good to have 15-20 pitchers that can contribute to the pitching staff of a team over the course of the year. So try the Badenhop’s and Capuano’s early. Keep guys like Francisco Cordero, Tommy Layne and Rich HIll in Pawtucket if they are ok with it. Keep the kids down until they prove they are ready. Gonna need them all.
The biggest noise came from the contract situations (see previous post). Jonny Gomes shot his mouth off about how great he is. And the endless Stephen Drew stories. (Love how he is still completely delusional…as well as Boras. Scotty Boras generally gets his guys deals that most people can’t fathom, but this time…not so much. Kind of telling that when a great team like Detroit loses their SS, likely for the year (old friend Jose Iglesias), they go out and trade for two others not named Drew within a week: Some Romine guy no one has ever heard of…and the corpse of Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez used to be a wizard at short, but A: He is 37 years old, B: He hasn’t been able to stay healthy for years and C: Milwaukee actually played him at 1B last year, as I believe Baltimore was doing this spring before dealing him. So much for Stephen Drew. But Boras said recently that he has a 3 year, 39 million dollar offer on the table for him. Sure thing chief).
Oh, Jonathan Herrera beat out Brock Holt for the utility infield role. That was pretty major…not. They actually could use a guy like Drew as a backup on the left side of the infield. Solid veteran who could help out if Bogaerts and/or Middlebrooks falls flat on their face. But not for 14 mil per. Goes without saying. Glad the team is going with these two guys though. Xander should be playing SS, until he proves otherwise. And I didn’t want to give up on Middlebrooks yet. Which brings us to about the only story on the actual playing field this spring…and the last kid who was SUPPOSED to be in the starting lineup on Opening Day, Jackie Bradley Jr.
Not that the Sox were handing Bradley a job, but they kind of were when they let Ellsbury walk and didn’t sign anyone else of significance. Grady Sizemore was supposed to be a gamble…anything he could give you would be a bonus. Hadn’t played in two years, has been essentially useless for five. Now he is the darling of camp. Just cuz he played a few games. 33 at-bats and all of a sudden people are talking like he will be a 30-30 guy again this year. Let’s pump the brakes on all this folks. Grady was a pretty good player in his early to mid-twenties. But now he is 31 and hasn’t done much for a half a decade. Everything he will do this year IS a bonus and we can’t forget that.
That being said, I’d have him break camp with the big league club. If he has anything to offer, might as well get it out of the gate. Instead of him going to Pawtucket, or probably extended spring training, and wasting his hits down there. Problem is, you’ll need someone capable of playing CF when he can’t. And apparently we can’t count on Victorino to do that, because of injury and whatever else. The talk of playing Nava there is a joke (remember a stint he had out there last year when Ellsbury was a late scratch one night and Victorino was unavailable? It was ugly if you don’t remember. And another side note: What is all this talk by Farrell about “trying” to get Nava some time in center and “trying” to get Carp some time at 3rd still? Haven’t you had the last 6 weeks to get those guys time at those places? Many games, major, minor and intrasquad? You are the manager, if you want to get them experience at those positions, just put them in the lineup already).
Bradley should also break camp with the team. As opposed to last year, he has done squat in the spring. But so has Papi with his 2 for 35. OK, different situations, I know. But Bradley can stay here for his defense and pick up some valuable major league at-bats in at least a platoon scenario. Unfortunately, the way the roster is constructed, there may not be room for him. Because you still have Nava, Gomes and Carp in the OF as well. Do you really need all of those three though? I’d rid myself of Gomes personally, since he extremely overrates himself and Farrell feels the urge to play him too much. But they won’t. Nava should suffice since he is serviceable at LF/RF/1B and switch hits. Carp is expendable. They love how he can hit cold off the bench, but so what? That was one year and he was atrocious in the playoffs. There is supposedly trade value out there for him. What are they waiting for? You can find a Mike Carp anywhere. Deal him, open the spot for Bradley. It’s best for the team. Mike Carp? Please.
My favorite part about the beginning of the regular season? In all honesty it could quite possibly be the end of two straight months of “feel good” stories from all the local blowhard writers that are everywhere. Enough already…nauseating…