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2007 Free Agent Market: First Basemen

Updated 1-2-07

Today we take a look at the first basemen available as free agents after the 2006 season.  These are players who I think are actually capable of starting regularly at first base.  Aubrey Huff and Darin Erstad - I don't think they'll end up at 1B next year.

Phil Nevin - He made $10MM this season.  The Rangers traded him to the Cubs and Nevin responded with an .832 OPS as Derrek Lee's replacement.  Things didn't go so well after the Cubs traded him to Minnesota, however.  A long shot to start for anyone next year.

Craig Wilson - Wilson hit .251/.314/.446 in his contract year.  He made just $3.5MM and will be only 29 next year.  Wilson can play catcher, first base, and the outfield corners.  He didn't do a thing for the Yankees and could be had cheaply.  The Orioles are having discussions with Wilson's agent.

A very weak crop.  Wilson could be the #1 pick because of his age, price, skills, and versatility.  Teams with holes may try to trade market, which could contain Mark Teixeira, Todd Helton, and Richie Sexson.

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Craig Wilson to Boston to play right and first would seem to make some sense. Hell, they'll need a bat before the summer's over, maybe they can get something done at the deadline.

Also, Rumor, what happened to Nick Johnson? Did he get extended in Washington and I missed it?

...This is probably not the place for this argument, but everytime I read something about Boston's offense being to weak I feel obligated to respond. What is the basis for this assessment? Don't tell me it's their performance through 19 games...because it's only been 19 games.

Boston's pitching and defense are both much, much better then last season, and their offense, when Crisp returns, isn't much worse. Another bat might be nice, but I can't see where Wilson would fit, especially if the Pirates wanted anything of value in return.

Oh, almost forgot, Nick Johnson signed a three-year extension back in March.

desturbd to answer you as to where you need offense. Trot Nixon is old and is at best a platoon partner. Lowell's abt has slowed down a lot but it looks like he could be alright since he has learned how to use the monster to his advantage. Youkilis is an onbase machine but he has very little power. Alex Gonzalez can't hit. Loretta also has very little power. This means your team has very few power threats. Other than Manny and Ortiz there is really no one who could hit 25-30 home runs. Nixon and Varitek will give you around 20 hr if they can stay healthy. Lowell who knows. Youkilis is 403 minor league games only hit 30 home runs so dont expect much from him. Gonzalez, Crisp and Loretta should each give you 15 or so. In the AL east with all the good hitting they are going to get outslugged a couple times. With Lenny Dinardo there 5th starter and Clement a question mark they are going to need a little more offense one day.

Kyle,

Yes they could use a power hitter but their offense is not going to struggle without one. Just look at last year compared to this year. Loretta is a definite upgrade at second and will give you around 15 hrs which is not insignificant. Youk is an upgrade over millar in basically everyway. You have to remember boston was not getting any power from their 1st baseman last year either. Crisp and Damon are really close statistically with crisp actually having more power. I do not see much if any loss there. They did lose a little at ss but it is not that significant. Third base is still a mystery but they did not lose power there. Even last year the Red Sox did not have much power and their offense was still highly succesful. They have not lost half as much as people would want you to believe. Once loretta, manny and varitek get out of their slumps along with crisp returning this team will have plenty of offense. As a platoon in right I would be surprised if willy mo and nixon did not approach 30 hrs. I think nixon could get 25 by himself if he stays healthy. This gives them the power they need in the 5 spot and the rest of the players can do what bostons role players have done during their recent success. Get on base and score runs.

IMO the red sox right now are on a precarious slope. Clement is shaky, DiNardo is bad, and Wakefield has his off days (basically when the weather hurts his knuckler). The red sox have had a very easy beginning schedule and the only good team they have faced so far has taken 4 of 6 from them. Both Beckett and Schilling should return to earth a little bit. And I dont know if this offense is going to be enough to keep up in the AL East.

Pitching will decide the AL East, not offense. A little healthy pitching will go a real long way in that division.

You guys all realize that the Yankees are currently a quarter run better than the Red Sox in ERA. I agree that pitching will be very important but you cant win a game without hitting. The Red Sox are going to have issues unless Schilling and Beckett can keep up the insane levels of production they have given them so far. They dont have a viable #5 pitcher, Clement is shaky and Wakefield is nothing all that special. If you dont have a solid rotation and you dont have dominating hitting you arent going to win. The fact that the Red Sox are 12-7 is a bit of a fluke. There run differential is only a +7

Clement's really not as shaky as he looks...he's had one, count em, ONE bad outing this year. His start against Baltimore to begin the season was brilliant through 6 until he gave up a few unlucky hits and Tito left him in for too long. Also, Clement just sucks against Toronto...it's kinda a fact of life. It's also what happens when 3 or 4 players have career batting averages of around .400 against you. As for DiNardo...the guy does not "suck." He posted a 3.15 ERA in AAA last year with a 1.3 WHIP, and he's great at keeping the ball in the park. He also threw pretty damn well against Seattle, but got clobbered by a lefty-mashing Toronto ballclub. Further, every single year someone says "well Wakefield's a knuckleballer, you never know what you're going to get" and every year he wins about double-digit games with an ERA above 4 and 5. Plus I would argue that ERA isn't as accurate a statistic as with most other pitchers, given that Wakefield tends to be lights-out or very solid 2/3 days, then gets hammered on the third to jack up his numbers. A better stat is IP, and he ate up 225 last year.

Now, as for the Trot-as-a-platoon thing...yeah no kidding. I'm well aware of his inability to hit lefties. I'm also aware of the fact that Dustin Mohr and Willy Mo will be capable fill-ins, and that in a contract year, I expect Trot to have a big season. Plus, like walkoff outlined...this team really isn't that much different then last year's was offensively. Even in terms of power; Lowell managed to hit more homers than Mueller last season playing in a pitcher's park; Mueller got on base a TON but didn't have much pop.

Finally, your comments about the "easy red sox schedule." The teams they faced are playing better ball, offensively and from the pitcher's mound, then the teams New York has faced. I'm not saying I expect this to continue, but Texas, Seattle, Tampa, and Toronto have had far better Aprils then KC, Minnesota, Oakland, and Anaheim. Toronto has always been the bane of Boston's existence...like Tampa killed the Yanks last year, if Boston had taken 1 more game vs Toronto, they had the division won.

And yes, Beck and Schill will return to earth a bit. But guess what? Boston's pen has been stellar, and Foulke looks better every day. Know what that means? It means the current bullpen ERA of 3.54 may not increase that much. Ultimately here's my point: Position by position, Boston is not much weaker then last year in terms of offense. They're many times better defensively, their starting pitching is susbtantially stronger. Their bullpen looks to be going from the bottom 5 of the AL to the top. And that's why there's no reason to put Craig Wilson on first base.

I didn't mean to start a debate about the quality of the Red Sox offense; all I'm saying is that it would be a smart move to pick him up this season simply for depth, and to avoid needing to rely on the Willie Harrises of the world for too many games in a row.

If Nixon goes down - which, given his recent history hardly seems unlikely - it's hard to imagine them having patience with the Wily Mo Pena experience on a day-to-day basis (strange though it may seem, people who watch him say he's a better defensive centerfielder than at either corner). Similarly, if Youkilis or Lowell get hurt, the Snow/Choi tandem is decent, but both guys are left-handed. Craig Wilson is a right-handed bat who can get on base and hit for power. It's just a smart move for depth purposes. Let's not forget that the Red Sox will likely have to deal with Manny's annual ten games or so off as well. The bottom line is, no matter how good your offense and defense is, guys like Craig Wilson help your team, and if you can get them at a reasonable price, you make the deal.

Desturbd1 seems to be making the "Where would I play Willie McGee" argument, which I had thought Red Sox fans would have learned from. Wasn't this the same team that got rid of Jay Payton last year because they thought they didn't need him? How many games would he have played in the second half last year?

This is the team that got rid of Jay Peyton after he threw a tantrum in the clubhouse and made them trade him...there was no choice...plus I think having Bradford wound up helping more than he would have given the state of Boston's pen. If Boston can get Wilson for cheap...and I mean CHEAP...then they should. But unless Trot, Youk, or Lowell go down with a major injury, there is no great reason to. I thought you were saying that the offense, as is, isn't strong enough to contend, and I disagreed. If Boston can get Wilson without giving up Delcarmen, Lester, Pedroia, Lowry, Soto, Martinez, or Hansen...then they should go for it. I'd also prefer to hang onto Moss, Murphy, and Ellsbury, but wouldn't be quite as upset to see them go. Again, though, if there's no major pressing need...I don't see a point in trading any top flight prospects right now, especially given the fact that Boston has a veritable stable of young pitchers that are almost ready to fill its pen when guys like Timlin and Foulke move on.

HOWIE KENDRIK WAS CALLED UP FROM AAA FOLLOWING MAICER IZTURIS' INJURY.

desturb1, apparently, you are. Lenny DiNardo most certainly DOES SUCK!!! He has no business being in the rotation on a contending club. He's a fill-in at best.

As far as some of the other comments on the Red Sox offense and pitching, yes, I do indeed believe that pitching may well decide the AL East race.

I live in NYC and see the Yankees often, as a Bronx fan. While the Yankees offense is indeed a scary machine, maybe even moreso this year with Giambi really looking like he's about to turn the corner and have a monster year, the Red Sox offense is more than capable.

I think many of you are underestimating the value of Mark Loretta. He's a very solid hitter who can produce a lot of runs hitting behind Youkilis and/or Coco Crisp. He's a proven veteran bat who should give you at least .290 once he's on track, and remember, its only April.

Youkilis is fine at first...he knows his role, and will get on and provide oppourtunites for other hitters to drive him in...power is not necessarily a prequisite for him.

Lowell, as stated, seems to be learning how to use the Monster and Fenway to his advantage, and he brings more solid leather to third than Boston has seen in years.

Craig Wilson's addition would make most sense both in terms of his versatility and as a platoon partner for Nixon in right. I think Youkilis is fine at first, and while Wilson could spell him over there, he's a notorious lefty masher who would benefit Nixon most by sharing time in right. Wily Mo, as always, holds intriguing potential, but his value may be more long-term and future pending his continued development. He's still awfully raw, and far from polished defensively. I'm not sure he'll contribute in a major way as a regular in 2006.

Yes, it will come down to pitching, and here Boston holds a clear advantage over New York. With Beckett and Schilling pitching the way they are so far, they hold a distinct advantage over New York. Mussina has been the best Yankee starter by far up til now, and he's a righty junkballer at best at this point in his career. Big Unit has his days, but I fear his time as a consistently dominant starter is behind him, though he still holds potential to revert to that form in a seven-game series, provided the Yankees can actually get to one. Wang has not looked sharp so far, and while Chacon still looks good, Jared Wright looked like shit against Minnesota. Much depends on Carl Pavano, and that's a scary thought.

Wakefield, contrary to some opinions, is indeed a solid, innings-eating workhorse, and he can at times baffle and dominate with the floater. Yes, weather plays a part in that, and he'll get more effective as the days warm up and the humid air helps his signature pitch. Don't underestimate his value.

Clement's effectiveness is key for the Sox. He's a far better pitcher than he's shown so far in Beantown, and if he turns it on, watch out.

Much may come down to the Boston bullpen. Craig Hansen was actually sent to Portland instead of Pawtucket with the specific assignment of refining and commanding his secondary pitches. Theo Epstein is no dummy. If, for whatever reason, Clement falters, and Hansen pulls it together, don't be surprised to see Hansen called up to close while Papelpon brings his considerable game to the rotation. If Foulke, Manny Delcarmen (another sleeper) and maybe Jermaine Van Buren step up to provide some setup depth with Timlin, that could well be the deciding factor that puts Boston over the top.

The Yanks bullpen, Mariano aside, is no where near as ready to rumble as Boston's. Farnsworth has been shaky at best, and Joe Torre already shows a reluctance to put him in a tough spot.

While the Yanks can certainly outslug Boston at this point, they may not have the arms to match the Red Sox when all is said and done. Good pitching beats good hitting.

Watch and see, my friends...

"Wakefield has his off days (basically when the weather hurts his knuckler)"

Peculiar argument. Has he been playing in a dome the previous years or something? He has his bad games than any knuckler has and still puts up his numbers. If you wanted a real argument you could point to problems at catcher but those should improve over the course of the year. One nice thing about the knuckler is that september/october weather usually treats it pretty well.

The run differential argument is hard to put as much stock in as we did in the past considering what the white sox did last year.

Hansen is in AA to get extended work instead of spotty innings here and there. He still has a ways to go before he will be good in the majors. I would be really surprised if he jumped all the way to closer this year.

Heh, nice post Sunny. Maybe I do have a bit of a man-crush on Lenny...or at least his AAA numbers, and I never for the life of me understood why, with all of last year's bullpen trouble, he wasn't given a shot at middle relief; but that's neither here nor there. You basically seem to agree with everything else I wrote, which is nice, but I'd like to add a bit more in response, if I may.

First of all I never said DiNardo would be Boston's fifth all season...I just said to give the man another start before completely throwing him away. I mean I'm not expecting a 4.40 ERA out of the guy...but more often then not I think he can keep Boston in games until something better presents itself.

You (Sunny) basically agreed with me on Boston's 1-4 and pen depth. However there are a few other intriguing young arms for us to keep an eye on. First, since Delcarmen is already with the big club, he'll get first crack at landing a permanent slot in the pen. Van Buren certainly didn't hurt his value in that 3 inning stint vs Toronto, so I expect to hear his name come up in the coming months if he continues to dominate AAA. And speaking of dominating AAA...Abe Alvarez may finally be putting it all together, throwing 23 innings so far with a 1.93 ERA and ridiculous .78 WHIP. Matt Ginter, who I had never even heard of until recently (Apparently he was signed as a FA over hte offseason) is right behind Abe, with a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings and, oddly enough, the exact same WHIP. Ginter's K/BB ratio is 14/2, though, compared to Alvarez's 12/7, so it seems Abe may need to work on his control before any sort of callup. I bring these two into the discussion, of course, as possible fifth starters if my boy Lenny tanks again.

As for additional bullpen arms...anyone else remember Cla Meridith? He was a highly touted prospect once...drafted in 2004...during a brief callup last year Tito stuck him into a close game at Fenway park with the bases loaded, where he gave up a cheap (popup down the rightfield line next to Pesky's Pole) grand slam to Richie Sexson...then went back to the minors and sucked the rest of the year. Well, he may be back, having logged 11 innings as a AAA reliever with a 2.45 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He had actually been close to perfect, and extremely dominant, for his first 10 innings, but had one rough outing a few days ago to skew his numbers a bit.

Now AA is where the REALLY exciting arms are at. I'm talking, of course, about Craig Hansen and Edgar Martinez. Hansen is probably major league ready right now. He has two dominant pitches: A high-90's heater and a high-80's, biting slider. And he's got great control. He dominated this spring and, similarly to Scott Kazmir, who also gets by on a fastball-slider combination, needs that final offspeed pitch become truly dominant. He could function in the bigs if he had to, but there's no reason to rush. Given that his stated goal in AA is to throw his changeup for strikes far more often then he normally would, (sort of what we see in spring training with pitchers working on stuff) you might expect his numbers in AA to be subpar. Well, including today's game, Hansen has thrown 11 innings, allowed 1 earned run, struck out 12, walked 4, and given up only 4 hits. Again, this is him working on a changeup...which according to reports is coming along nicely.

Edgar Martinez, the converted catcher who started pitching in late 2004, has been fairly unhittable himself. Over 8.2 innings, he has allowed 0 ER, 5 hits, and struck out 14. And all this with zero walks.

Yeah, Boston's pen is in pretty good shape right about now. Oh yeah, and didn't they get some guy from the Indians...David Riske? He might be useful whenever he gets back too, huh? (Though honestly, given the lack of information, I'm not optimistic about him) Seanez has shown signs of the pitcher Boston thought they were getting...his breaking stuff's been filthy but he can't seem to get a handle on his fastball, which has had the tendency to drift over the plate and get whallopped. I don't see why he can't figure it out, though.

Other random responses... Chacon has looked good? His ERA is 5.59 and his k/bb is 14/8. Yeah, his last start was impressive...but other then that... Agree with your point about Pavano's importance to the Yankees' chances, but I'd also add Dotel to that list. He could be a HUGE acquisition and setup man after Farnsworth attacks a fan, or teammate, or a taxi cab...the man's nuts, is my point.

Guess that about covers it. I'd also like to mention that as bad as Jon Lester has been since the Spring...he struck out 6 over 4 innings the other day in AAA...good sign? Hopefully. Later.

My argument in this whole thing was that the Red Sox pitching is kind of shaky, and you guys have all pointed it out. Wakefield is what he is some days he is dominant and some days he is a batting practice pitcher. He will eat innings at a respectable ERA. Schilling looks like he has returned to his old form, which bodes well for the Sox. Beckett looks like a warrior who should make a very good #2, and the Red Sox have proven you can win with two great pitchers and some filler after that. Wells IMO is done, his knee has no cartilidge and I would not be suprised if he retires before the end of the season.

Hansen, is a confusing case since it looks like he is either being groomed to be a two inning closer or to start as he is currently on a schedule of pitching two innings, day off, bullpen session, day off, and then pitch again.

Papelbon going back to starting could work but he will probably need 2-3 weeks to rebuild up the stamina to be able to start.

Clement is the key in my mind, just as Pavano may be the Yankees key. If he can pitch up to his ability you should be good.

The Yankees are shaky and other than Mussina no one has really been consistent. Mussina looks great he has incorporated a slider and is dominant. Randy Johnson is having some early issues and has looked dominant in two of his starts and pretty crappy in two. Wang so far has been excellent when no one is on base but he is getting hammer with runners on, I have absolutely no clue why, probably something wrong in his mechanics. Chacon had two bad starts to start the season where his curveball wasn't biting, he worked with Guidry and that didnt appear to be an issue in the last start. The reason I think the Yankees will be better off is that the Yankees have built a glut of starters on there AAA team who are all capable of sliding in in case of injury.

With Papelbon in the bullpen, Wells hurt, and Arroyo gone the Red Sox really don't seem to have much depth. Who is going to start when Beckett makes his one or two annual DL trips for blisters?

Every team in the AL has issues. Pitching alone doesnt win games you need a balance. All the teams in the AL East have issues and it will be there ability to overcome that and most importantly health that will determine the winner. Health to me is the key and not pitching. Everyone has enough pitching to win the division but one injury could kill either the Yankees, Jays, or Sox

I have to agree with Sunny Reiser on this one but who knows what pitchers are available come July 31st(Dontrelle Willis)for the Red Sox to go get to fill that void and the options down in the minors(Ginter and Alveraz)are interesting fill-ins.I do think one thing to the Red sox bulpen that in the end could really help,is Julian Tavarez he may be some what of a hot head but he could really help

Yeah, I didn't mention Abe Alvarez or that other kid Pauley, since I think it would be premature to factor them in at this point, but Alvarez could indeed be a big factor if he's ready and gets the call.

I'm not a big believer in Riske...he has shown the propensity in Cleveland to give up the longball, and while he's an ok guy for the 6th or 7th inning, I don't think he can be trusted in a tight spot.

Delcarmen is intriguing...he certainly has the stuff, and if he can be consistent, he can be huge.

As far as Hansen goes, don't count on him starting. I was surprised by the move to Portland, but I've been following him closely, since I drafted him (along with Turnbow, Zumaya and Fernando Cabrera) to be the foundation of my bullpen on my rebuilding Strat-O-Matic team...LOL. He was definitely sent there to refine his secondary pitches, and the relatively conservative way they've been using him is, I'm sure, a move to keep him fresh in case he's needed. By all accounts I've read, he was ready last year, looked great when he pitched, and would move quickly from AAA to start the season. I think it's yet another astute move of foresight by Theo Epstein to get him the "right" work at Portland now, and with the depth the Red Sox have in the 'pen, it makes total sense.

Tavarez, who I neglected to consider as well, could also play a large set-up role, much as he did for LaRussa.

another poster mentioned balance as the key, and I couldn't agree more. Though I'm a definite Yankee fan, I have to give the nod in that department to Boston.

Yes, Mussina has been very good this year...he's also started using a knuckle-curve with regularity that has become another effective weapon in his arsenal. Chacon has looked good of late, and he'll contribute mightily if he keeps it up, much as he did last year. But despite the Yanks obvious offensive superiority to Boston, the Red Sox are a far more balanced club. They look really good to me so far, despite the injuries.

Credit Epstein again--he's built a club where guys know and are comfortable with their roles, and the sum of the parts working in harmony has so far been impressive. That's what it really takes to win championships, much as the Yankees did in '76-'78.

Also, much, MUCH overlooked is the way Terry Francona handles the club, along with the voracious Boston media hoardes. He has been nothing short of spectacular in handling the closer situation, alienating no one but leaving no question that there is a firm hand at the wheel who will make the decisions. Francona seems to be the perfect skipper for Epstein's type of team, and his skills as a manager become more impressive with time. He's vastly underrated, and deserves more praise than he gets.

Good for the Sox! Despite my pinstriped heart, AL East baseball is always best when the Yankees and Red Sox have a healthy, competitive rivalry, and God knows fans in New England have been deserving a top-flight club forever. Good for them!

kyle, I just do not buy the argument that it is going to help your team more to have 8 inconsistent options for the 4/5 spot in the rotation while it will hurt the red sox so much to only have 3 or so options. Those spots in the rotation are not going to make or break a team.

Sunny, funny enough I finally find someone with my view of francona and he is a yankees fan. Francona def deserves more respect than he gets even from his own fans.

Always good to hear from an intelligent Yankee fan. Not to say that most are morons...but the most vocal Yankee or Red Sox fans are, often, the most obnoxious. Case in point: 2 guys in full Boston gear at a Nationals-Mets game a few weeks ago. First they tried to start a Yankees Suck chant, then ran around drunk trying to get people to do the wave. Next, when a Nats fan called them idiots, they started screaming about what a terrible team the Nationals are and how great Boston's record was. It's shitheads like that that give us a bad name.

Anyway I didn't mean to imply that Hansen would ever be a starter, though with 3+ pitches he'd probably be successful. His arm mechanics are sort of scary...if you watch him throw, it always looked to me like he puts an insane amount of stress on his elbow. Definately better off relieving.

Yeah this should be a real interesting year. I mean Mussina is throwing the ball better then at any point last year, and while RJ's health is still a question mark, his last outing was good. K's are down, but this is the AL after all. Chacon/Wang...I'm going to be honest, I'm really not afraid of them. Their K/BB ratios and K/9 last year were abysmal, and these are, in my eyes, 2 of the more important stats. In Chacon's case, I tried to take a look through his career numbers, and nothing about last year was dramatically different from his terrible early years except he gave up a lot fewer homers. Wang did look great last outing, and I think has a better shot at repeating a respectable ERA, but I also feel like he's going to be the victim of a lot of shoddy defense. I mean I just have this image of Derek Lowe getting constantly screwed by Boston's crappy infield D back in the day...and Wang makes him look like a flyball pitcher.

And then there's Aaron Small. Are you confident that all 3 of last year's saviors can keep it up this season? It just seems to me that the odds would be bad, and that Small in particular can't be counted on for anything. But I guess if the Yanks get at least 2 decent starters out of Wang, Chacon, Pavano, and Wright, they'll be in good shape. And that's actually pretty likely.

Gonna be a fun year. Last year was sort of weird, having just broken an 86 year old dry spell, but this season in the AL East should be tighter than ever. Although I'm going to predict right now that if TB doesn't keep hurting NY, Boston better figure out a way to handle Toronto or their chances take a nose dive. Last but not least, I agree with what you guys said about Tito...he's a great clubhouse manager and has done a better job with the media and Manny then anyone in recent memory. That being said, the reason he gets bashed is because of his...ocasionally questionable in-game decisions. I mean he's nowhere near as bad as many make him out to be, in fact I think he's extremely underrated in terms of overall game management, and he's been great so far this season, but he'll sometimes do things that just drive people crazy. All that being said, I'm glad the guy's here through at least 2008.

"kyle, I just do not buy the argument that it is going to help your team more to have 8 inconsistent options for the 4/5 spot in the rotation while it will hurt the red sox so much to only have 3 or so options. Those spots in the rotation are not going to make or break a team."

I was not saying that 8 mediocre options are better than 3/4 I am saying having options is important. Pitchers get hurt that is what they do and if Beckett goes down who is going to pitch for the Sox those couple games. Lenny DiNardo is alright but other than that there really isnt many starter options. VanBuren could work. The Yankees pitchers have issues but I think that they should be able to pull a couple respectable pitchers out of the pile.

I dont know who said run differential isnt a good judge since the last bunch of posts is huge and I dont feel like reading them again, but I completely disagree. The White Sox got lucky last year. One run games are a crapshoot some teams fair very well one year and then suck last year. The Red Sox so far have been getting by by the skin of there teeth and I dont think you can expect that to continue. As an aside, I dont think many of you realize that the Yankees team ERA right now is better than the Sox. The Yankees don't have a full rotation and are pitching better than the Sox are against more difficult teams. It is still early but I think the Red Sox are going to have trouble beating the better teams in the league unless they can get more offense. There pitching is good but it is not great. They probably have the best pitching the AL East but only by a very slim margin. Toronto and NY both have pretty good pitching. And Baltimore could get better with the help of Mazzone. It is just my opinion that the Red Sox don't have enough offense to win the division.

Kyle dont read into team Era this early in the season the offences the Yankees have played have been mostly the worst offences of the American League(twins angels oakland kansas city)While the Red Sox have played better offensive teams(texas,baltamore,tampa bay,toronto,seatle is just okay i guess)The Yankees have played alot of weak offensive teams (except toronto(2 games)and Baltimore)while the Red Sox have played deep offensive texas line up a pian in the rear devil ray offence,the line ups the red sox have played are better then the line ups the yankees have played

Yankees team ERA-3.80
Red Sox team ERA-4.04

that isnt a huge difference compared to the line ups each pitching staff had to face
Kyle the Red Sox have a better pitching Staff then the Yankees end of story

I beg to differ. We can't judge the pitching staffs based off 17 games but at the end of the season I have no doubt the team ERA's of the Sox and Yanks will be close.

By the same token you really can't judge the opposing teams offenses by there production so far. Oakland is a very talented hitting team. They are slumping right now but they have many good hitters. Texas is not as deep as they used to be. They are relying heavily on Phil Nevin who is having a great streak. Baltimore, Toronto, Seattle are all decent teams offensive wise. And I will admit that KC and Minnesota cant hit.

The Yankees pitching has been better so far. That will probably tail off a bit and I wont be suprised at all if Boston is better by the end of the season, but it wont be by much. On the other hand the Yankees offense is significantly better than the Red Sox, and I also believe that the Yank's bullpen is better as well. But we will have to wait and see. They play each other in the beginning of May we will see how that goes

Nicely put Kramerica...and also, I'm not sure why the "Well if something happens to their aces their team is screwed" argument doesn't apply to NY, Kyle. If Randy and Moose don't pitch well all year...they're screwed. Same with Beck and Schilling. And if you really think that out of whoever winds up in the bullpen, I'm assuming Small and Wright, either will be able to fill in capably...well you're wrong. They're no better then DiNardo or any of Boston's AAA options. Oh, and please don't point to Small's 10-0 start last season...he's a 30-something journeyman who's had one good year and cashed in on it. That's all he is. And take a look at who he played...not a challenging schedule.

Lastly run differential may still be important, on this we agree, but you seem to think that Boston's +7 is going to be typical over the course of an entire season. It's been 19 fricken games. Run differential means nothing with that small a sample, especially since Boston's lineup has been unhealthy and slumping, and the only important numbers in terms of pitching are individual statistics that show how guys like RJ, Moose, Beckett, etc. are playing.

Just saw your latest post...can you explain how NY's pen is better then Boston's? Because you're literally the only person I've ever seen make that argument. The same goes with your assertion that their staffs will put up similar numbers over the course of a season. And take a look at the offensive numbers SO FAR. You can't sit there and bash the Sox offense for not putting up big numbers and then defend Oakland's. I mean yeah, Oakland will be solid at year's end, and they're just off to a slow start...but so is Boston. Opposing teams' run production is currently the only thing we can look at in such a small sample to judge how well Boston and NY's staffs have done...and Boston has faced, in the month of April, better offensive teams.

How is the Yankees pen better lets go player by player and compare.

Closer:
Rivera vs. Papelbon

Papelbon has been great but Rivera may be the best closer ever Rivera gets the edge

Set-Up:
Foulke vs. Farnsworth

This is a close one both were closers, Farnsworth has the better stuff but Foulke is more consistent when healthy. Since Foulke's numbers are better so far ill give him the edge.

Middle Relief:

Timlin vs Sturtze

Timlin wins

Tavarez vs. Proctor

Proctor has looked great so far and supposedly learned a slider in the offseason, Tavarez is a consistently decent reliever, his career ERA is a 4.3. Proctor is younger but Tavarez has a better track record I will call it a push.

Riske vs. Villone

Riske got traded away because his coach didnt trust him at all. He is susceptible to home runs Villone is a lefty who is effective against both lefties and righties. Villone gets the edge.

Seanez

He has had a couple good years sprinkled in his big league career. The last time he pitched in Boston like three years ago his ERA was above 6.

Mike Myers

I really couldnt compare him to Seanez since they have different purposes, but Myers is the best LOOGY in baseball so thats a plus over not having a lefty guy in the bullpen.

Long Guys:

Small/Wright vs VanBuren/DiNardo

Small learned a new sinker last year which helped with his success but I doubt he will repeat it. Wright was great under Mazzone but has been very injury prone so who knows. DiNardo is a solid long relief option. VanBuren a little less solid which is why he is back in AAA.

Minor League options:

Boston:
Hansen, Alvarez, Meridith only names I can remember

Yankees:
Matt Smith, JB Cox, Colter Bean, Scot Erickson, Jose Veras

Bostons guys are more highly regarded but the New York guys are decent. The edge goes to the Red Sox but not by much.

Overall the Yankees have a better closer equal set-up men, slightly worse middle guys, worse long men but on the whole are younger and have higher strike out rates. I will take the Yankees pen over the Sox pen any day.

But obviously we will never agree on this point. So lets agree to disagree and we can figure it out later in the season when we have more time to judge

Kyle look at Seanez's numbers last year 84 strikeouts in over 60 innings thats a horrible strikeout rate right?Look at Riske's strikeout rate the red sox bulpen sucks at striking out guys?What about Papplebon he cannt strike out guys either Your just a bum Yankee fan that wont face the facts the Yankees are going to have a tough year pitching

Riskes strike out rate? He struck out 48 people last year in 78 innings. That is a 5.5 K/9. Tavarez last year 47 strikeouts in 66 innings which is a 6.4 K/9. Timlin 59 in 80 innings a 6.6 K/9. Foulkes career number is an 8.4 K/9 that is pretty good. Seanez was the only one better last year. He posted a 12.6 K/9 and has put up a 9.5 on his career which is very good. And Papelbon so far has 9 K's in 11 innings which is good.

Here are the Yankees numbers from last year:
Farnsworth: 11.2
Villone: 9.8
Rivera: 9.2
Sturtze: 5.2 (He sucks)
Dotel: 12.9 (In 2004 he should be back by the end of May)
Wright: 4.85
Proctor: 7.4
Small: 4.4

So Small, Sturtze and Wright dont strike many people out but everyone else is very good at striking guys out. The Sox have Seanez and Foulke with good K rates.

If you are going to argue with me cool but can you use some stats or something instead of just your opinions I am doing all the research here and it is getting exhausting

Ok let's take a look at New York's strikeout rates. And since that's COMPLETELY pointless without bringing walks into the picture, let's include that too. Here are some K/BB stats from each player's last full season.

Proctor: 36/17=2.11...Not good. (He's also off to an 8/9 start this year)
Villone: 70/35=2...Bad.
Farnsworth: 87/27=3.22..Good
Dotel: (in 04) 122/33=3.7...Very Good

We all know how good Rivera is so I'm not gonna bother looking him up...the other important thing to look at is BB/9-innings.

Proctor: 3.43.
Villone: 4.92.
Farnsworth: 3.47.
Dotel (in 04): 3.48.

There's a lot of stuff here to look up, so I'll just deal with the 4 you mentioned: Riske, Tavarez, Foulke, Seanez. I'm not going to go into Papelbon, because we seem to agree that he's pretty damn good and I don't think using his minorleague numbers would be fair. If I don't specify, I'm using last season's numbers since that's what you used earlier. The first number is K/bb, the second is BB/9.

Riske: 3.2, 1.86.
Tavarez: 2.47, 2.6.
Foulke (career): 3.8, 2.2.
Seanez: 3.82, 3.28.

So what does this tell us? Dotel and Seanez walked a lot of batters last season, with BB/9's above 3, but both struck out enough to make up for it. Besides that, the one common theme through the Boston pen is that it will not issue a great deal of walks. I mean looking at BB/9...the highest walk rate of the 4 Boston guys is Seanez at 3.28/9, and that's still better then all 4 Yanks.

So, yeah, you know you're right about the Yankee pen striking out a few more guys then Boston's. But Boston isn't going to let as many reach base. What matters more to you, walks or K-Rate? I think a balance needs to be struck...and since New York isn't going to strike out THAT many more people, and may well issue a lot more walks, I still like Boston's pen better.

I am sorry about the Riske comment but i mean really-
Carrer Era's
Farnsworth-4.45
Villone-4.74
Rivera-no comment
Sturtze-"sucks"
Dotel-3.63(impressive)
Wright-5.18
Proctor-5.18
Small-4.90

V.S

Foulke-3.23(better then Dotel)
Timlin-3.49(better then Farnsworth)
Paplebon-(not enough innings to count but he is solid)
Riske-3.59(better then villone)
Tavarez-4.33(better then Farnswoth)

There is one thing the Yankees have over boston hitting thats it-
Timlin(4.04 career in play-offs) and Foulke(2.53 career Era in play-offs) are more reliable in key spot over the Yankee set up men over Farnsworth(career 7.36 era in the play-offs) and Dotel(career 6.75 era in the playoffs)

How is that for numbers?

You make good points Kramerica (where did you come up with that name). I may be dumb in my choice of the Yankees bullpen but I think it is just a more balanced and better bullpen. Both the Sox and the Yankees did a lot to improve there bullpens over the winter.

I will give up arguing about the Yankees pitching but I am sticking to my opinion that unless the Red Sox get some unexpected performances there pitching will not be enough to cover for there hitting.

I guess we agree to disagree on this one we will see come October
Kramerica Industries is from Seinfeld my all time favorite tv show

No Seung Yeop Lee on this list?
It looks like he's gonna make the jump to the majors and cash in this weak 1B class of 06

I haven't understood for a couple years now why Red Sox and Yankee fans argue about there bullpens, neither have had a good one for quite sometime, the Yankee's have merely always had Rivera.

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