Offseason In Review: Boston Red Sox

Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Red Sox.

Major League Signings

  • John Lackey, SP: five years, $82.5MM.  Also gave #29 pick to Angels.
  • Mike Cameron, CF: two years, $15.5MM.
  • Marco Scutaro, SS: two years, $12.5MM.  Includes $6MM club option/$3MM player option for '12 with a $1.5MM buyout.  Also gave #78 pick to Blue Jays.
  • Adrian Beltre, 3B: one year, $10MM.  Includes $5MM player option for '11 that can become $10MM with 640 PAs.
  • Victor Martinez, C: one year, $7.7MM.  Exercised club option.
  • Tim Wakefield, P: two years, $5MM.
  • Jason Varitek, C: one year, $3MM.  Exercised player option.
  • Scott Atchison, RP: one year, $430K.  Club options at near league minimum for '11 and '12.
  • Fabio Castro, P: one year, $400K (estimate).
  • Total spend: $137.03MM.

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

The Red Sox did most of their tinkering in free agency, bringing in an ace starter, a center fielder, and a new left side of the infield.  The defensive improvements could add eight or nine wins, theorizes John Dewan.  Last year I liked the additions of Brad Penny and John Smoltz, but the pair contributed a 6.24 ERA in 171.6 innings for more than $10MM.  This time around Lackey projects at a 3.97 ERA, while #4-5 starters Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka project in the low 4.00s.

Worried about the offense?  Don't be, as CHONE projects the Sox will very nearly match last year's 5.38 runs per game.  That's optimistic, since the starting nine won't play every single game, but it still looks like a deep crew.  The revamped Red Sox remain one of the best teams in the AL.


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67 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Boston Red Sox"


rzepczynski
5 years 6 months ago

fabio castro was the ebst signing its a shame there is no room in the rotation for him and he will lose value heading to the pen, if bucholz faulters and when wakefield gets injured look for castro to steal the 5th spot, boston will have wished they shipped clay for ago or doc

5 years 6 months ago

Anyone know their projected 2010 payroll?

quintjs
5 years 6 months ago

think they are about 170million at the moment, but current 2011 committments are barely 80 at the moment.

Basically a once of Red Sox payroll that high, once they unload Lowell, Ortiz etc, Payroll won’t be higher than 140 next year.

5 years 6 months ago

Their defense for certain improved, and it’s very smart of them to put Cameron in CF and Ellsbury in LF.

Heck they have probably a good 4 players who can win a Cy Young. Cameron, Youlk, Pedroia, Beltre. Even Cameron possibly.

And with 3 very good pitchers, they will be 1 dangerous team

I certainly can see them winning 95 games, maybe even more.

Only question is, will they win the East or the Wild Card. Because there’s probably a good 99% chance that the Red Sox and Yankees will once again make the playoffs.

Russell210
5 years 6 months ago

“Heck they have probably a good 4 players who can win a Cy Young. Cameron, Youlk, Pedroia, Beltre. Even Cameron possibly.”

Very well thought out…

Drew
5 years 6 months ago

Ah be nice I think we’ve all figured out by now he means Gold Gloves…

Deanezag
5 years 6 months ago

Even worse

5 years 6 months ago

lol oops

5 years 6 months ago

I still can’t see them really contesting the Yankees for the division, but the WC shouldn’t give them as much trouble this time around.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

Baseball Prospectus disagrees with you.

jhd5787
5 years 6 months ago

you say that like it actually means something.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

It’s based on something sensible, which sets it apart from most of the comments here — yours included.

chowdah70
5 years 6 months ago

Mike923,
Payroll is at about 166 mil..also, just wondering how 4 position player could win a cy young when its a pitching award? unless im misunderstanding you..But I do agree that this team is definitely a 95 game winning team or better..

5 years 6 months ago

Yes, yes, I did not mean Cy Young, sorry guys

I’m human

ELPinchy
5 years 6 months ago

“Heck they have probably a good 4 players who can win a Cy Young. Cameron, Youlk, Pedroia, Beltre. Even Cameron possibly.”

@mike923: SAY WHAT?!

5 years 6 months ago

Dear God, come on, you should all know I made a mistake (bad one but still) and meant GOLD GLOVE

bobmac
5 years 6 months ago

Defence=8 or 9 wins.Uh,no.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

Are you going to link us to your article explaining the new, better way to quantify the significance of defense in baseball? I’m sure it’s enlightening.

rickswanson
5 years 6 months ago

link to insidethebook.com

The formula for defense will be Reaction Time divided by Range Distance

5 years 6 months ago

Solid team, but I doubt that 8-9 wins is accurate. Maybe if you plug their new found defense into the numbers we have for the 09 season but I’m still very hesitant to do that. As we know you can’t play sports on paper accurately.

Are the sox good enough to win the division? yes
Can I see them finishing third in that crazy AL east? yes

gs01
5 years 6 months ago

“bringing in an ace starter” Lol, I don’t know any so called aces that haven’t thrown over 180 innings 2 years in a row. Boston overpaid big time for Lackey but with nobody else on the market I guess that’s what happens.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

Greinke 553.2 IP 149 ERA+
Halladay 710.1 IP 141 ERA+
F. Hernandez 629.2 IP 133 ERA+
Lackey 563.2 IP 129 ERA+
Sabathia 593.1 IP 129 ERA+
Beckett 587.1 IP 126 ERA+

DarthVader87
5 years 6 months ago

There’s too many things to take into consideration when it comes to who will win what. In the end, it will come down to injuries more than likely in the east. Pitching and defense are obvious, we have all been hearing about it. What I’m curious to see is whether Ortiz bounces back and if Betlre and Cameron can take advantage of Fenway like Theo seems to think they can. Scutaro could bat below Mendoza and I wouldn’t care, as long as Julio Lugo isn’t at short. It’s going to be a very interesting season.

sbanc
5 years 6 months ago

What draft picks did RS pick up for Bay and Wagner?

TreyIII
5 years 6 months ago

They got #20 (from Atlanta) and #39 as a comp pick for Wagner

They got #57 (from NY Mets) and #36 as a comp pick for Bay

New York’s first rounder is protected since their win-loss record was in the bottom half of the league in ’09

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

Trey,

Since you clearly understand the draft pick process better than myself:

Can you please explain the whole situation for me. The sox got the picks for who they lost, they lost picks for who they signed.

All in all did they end up in a better drafting situation or worse, if so how good or bad?

TreyIII
5 years 6 months ago

No problem, ronny…

The Sox went into this offseason having the #29 pick (1st rounder) and #80 pick (2nd rounder). I am skipping a lot here (the 18 players who were offered arbtritation and signed elsewhere, picks granted to teams for failing to sign their 2009 1st and 2nd round draftees, etc).

Basically the Sox lost their #29 pick for signing Lackey and their #80 pick for signing Scutaro. Lackey had a higher type A rating than Scutaro (even though they were both type A’s), so Toronto got the short end of the stick by getting Boston’s 2nd rounder v. their 1st rounder.

Because both Bay and Wagner (type A’s) were offered arbitration, declined, and signed with other teams, they gained 4 picks. 2 from the teams who signed them (Atlanta and NY Mets), and 2 compensation picks (these picks are sandwiched between round 1 and 2. So they essentially picked up the #20 (Atlanta), #36, #39, and #57 (NY Mets) for the 2010 draft while losing the #29 and #80 picks.

So, bottom line, they are much better off going into the draft than they were before the offseason started. This is why so many Mets fans criticized the Wagner trade.

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Trey,

I get it now and i appreciate your time.

Seems like the system is a little flawed tho,

Lets say next year and im a sox fan, the sox don’t sign ortiz & lowell (and they don’t trade them, they’re both type A’s and they offer arbitration). Someone else signs them. Lets say the Twins resign ortiz on a one year deal and the braves sign lowell. Effectively, the sox would not only gain the draft picks from smaller market teams than themselves for not wanting to overpay old players; but they would also get to comp. picks that would lower the overall picks of the 2nd round for all the teams that were terrible the year before.

PLEASE NOONE FREAK OUT I”M JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT HERE I KNOW THIS WON”T ALL HAPPEN.

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

That is only true IF Ortiz and Lowell are type A’s AND the Re Sox offer arb AND Ortiz/Lowell reject the arb. Now theres no way the Red Sox will offer either guy arb, and theres no way either guy would reject arb from the team. Also no team in their right mind would give up first rounders for the decaying corpses of Lowell and Ortiz.

TreyIII
5 years 6 months ago

In this hypothetical situation, yes, that is what would happen.

However, Lowell is making $12 million this year and will never be offered arbitration. Unless Papi returns to ’07 form, the same is probably true for him (he makes $12.5 million). And I am not even sure if either are on pace to be a type A after this season.

Beckett and VMart will most certainly be offered arb and both will be type A’s unless catastrophic injuries interfere.

But to answer your real question, a type A free agent nets the original team 2 draft picks. A type B only nets the team one pick in the sandwich round (the team that signs a type B does not lose their highest pick).

The worst 15 teams from the previous year have their 1st rounders protected. That’s why the Wagner to the Braves signing was big for the Red Sox. The Braves had the 4th highest unprotected pick in the 2010 draft (20th overall).

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

THANK YOU TREY FOR REALIZING IT WAS A HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION.

WHICH FOR ALL THOSE WHO DON”T UNDERSTAND, MEANS THAT WHILE IT ISN”T REALISTIC I NEEDED AN EXAMPLE.

ELPinchy
5 years 6 months ago

Please relax with the caps.

Russell210
5 years 6 months ago

I disagree with all of this. The Red Sox are getting older, have an offense of last year minus bay plus cameron (lol), and still maintain one of the Biggest Papi Fraud’s in all of baseball.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

OFFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS AMIRITE GUYS

TreyIII
5 years 6 months ago

You failed to mention the Sox had a one-legged 3B in Lowell and a AAAA player playing SS for the majority of the season last year. Nevermind the disasterous seasons from DiceK, Penny, and Smoltz… they still managed to win 95 games.

I don’t see how Lester/Beckett/Lackey/Buchholz/DiceK does not get this team at least 95 wins this year with the massive upgrades they made defensively.

chowdah219
5 years 6 months ago

minus bay plus cameron….Thats your argument? Wow..do a little more homework..FAIL!!

Subrational
5 years 6 months ago

Can we please get a salary cap?

elclashcombo
5 years 6 months ago

…and 30 MLB owners smile in agreement.

Subrational
5 years 6 months ago

And that is exactly what we need. Sounds like a nice majority.

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

Russel, your wrong; It is not the same lineup as last year minus bay plus cameron.

yes that is a major difference.

But you are missing two major factors.

1. Victor Martinez catching 125 games instead of VARITEKS HORRIBLE BAT.

2. Marco Scutaro @ Short 140+ games instead of NICK Flippin GREEN.

There are also factors such as Youk missing multiple games last year, Lowell not being 100%, and Ortiz’s obvious struggles in the first 1/3 of the season.

I am not saying all of the above stars will align and the sox will go undefeated. I am just saying that there is no way “this is the same offense minus bay plus cameron..lol”.

Absolutely no way

R_y_a_n
5 years 6 months ago

V-Mart probably isn’t catching 125 games.

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

Thats like saying its 6:00 o’clock when its really 5:58; then your ten year old sister says “no its 5:58 not 6:00 Dummy, nanana boo boo”.

I realize he may not catch 76% of the games, he may catch 73 or maybe 65% of the time. The point is that he will be a large improvement over Variteks production, and whether he is replacing Tek behind the plate or is giving (slumping again?) Ortiz some time off, he will be in the lineup and that is an improvement in and of itself. He’s a good if not great hitter and having him in the lineup instead of Tek or Ortiz if he hits another wall, as well as having him on the team for the FULL season instead of 60 or so games will be a huge difference.

R_y_a_n
5 years 6 months ago

Was simply stating I think 125 games is to optimistic and V-Mart’s catching abilities are overrated. If he has to convert to 1B, he’s just another 1B/DH that can post a .850-.875 OPS. Good player, but nothing special.

jhd5787
5 years 6 months ago

why wouldnt he? I would love to hear your logic on this. Their next best catcher is the corpse of jason varitek, so i would think v-mar will take on the majority of the catching.

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

Probably because he isnt a great catcher and doesnt control the running game well. Also he might not be able to stay healthy playing the position for most of the year. There’s a reason hes played DH and 1st more and more in the last 3 years

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

Varitek is not a great catcher anymore either. In 2005 and before he was a great catcher. Carl Crawford set the major league record for steals in a game off of Varitek.

and even if the sox believe that at this point V’Mart is worse defensively than Tek, which i deff think is untrue, the obvious increase in offensive production would net Martinez 2/3 to 3/4 of the playing time. Period

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

I agree Varitek isnt a good defensive catcher, but that doesnt make Martinez any better. He suffers from the same problem as Vtek, they both are horrible at throwing out baserunners. Look up Martinez’s caught stealing percentage (pitchers have an impact on this as well) and its below average. The last time Martinez caught 100 games was 2007. Catching takes a toll on players knees and over the course of a season can sap a hitters power. Martinez is a good player because of his bat NOT his defense, if that bat takes a hit then he becomes alot less valuable.

If he plays 90 games at catcher and the rest at 1st/DH hes a very valuable guy. Im not sure he can maintain his health or production if he plays 125 games.

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

“I agree Varitek isnt a good defensive catcher, but that doesnt make Martinez any better”

i’m not saying V’Mart’s better or worse than Tek Cosa. I’m saying that if its even close, no matter who is slightly better, the difference in the offensive production makes Martinez the obvious choice to be the normal starter behind the plate. Of course you can’t catch everyday in the bigs.

Pudge caught 140 games 4 or 5 times and Mauer did it once a couple years ago. But thats not what i expect from Martinez.

And as far as offensive production for the team, having Martinez to play in place of the Tek of 09, a slumping Ortiz of 09, and/or an injured Lowell of 09 will make a huge diff.

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

I meant if his offensive production drops due to the stress of catching that many games. Not that his production wont be leaps and bounds better then Lowell,Tek and Ortiz last year. My point more is that right now Mart is a bad catcher with a good/great bat but if the strain of catching(something he’s not good at) lowers him to a bad catcher with a slightly above average bat he loses value.

125 games to me isnt realistic and might actually do more damage then good. This would be a non-issue if Vartik hadnt fallen off a cliff defensively and offensively. This is just my opinion, Im not saying you are wrong or crazy for your idea, just thats not how i see things.

0bsessions
5 years 6 months ago

Varitek’s problem isn’t just caught stealing problems. He’s also getting to the point where he’s terrible at blocking the plate. I distinctly remember two nights in a row last year where he let the same pitch get right by him and both occasions cost the Sox the game.

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

Varitek has 1 passed ball last year and allowed 108 stolen bases. Im not sure where to find out how many Wild Pitches took place when he was catching but unless it was 40-50 the 108 stolen bases are more the problem. He played in 108 games and allowed a stolen base in every game, only throwing out 16 runners. That is out of this world bad.

Martinez wasnt good either in this respect, he played 85 total games at catcher allowing 56 steals while throwing out 9 guys

0bsessions
5 years 6 months ago

I hate, hate, HATE citing intangibles, but I’m going to do it anyway: Varitek’s defense dropped to a painful degree last season. In that way that’s not necessarily quantifiable on paper (Especially when it comes to catching when there’s so few valid ways of judging it other than just watching), Varitek is just a butcher behind the plate at this point.

Most catchers are just not all that great at throwing out runners and the run game isn’t even nearly the threat some people make it out to be. Each MLB lineup really only has one big stolen base threat and a lot of teams don’t even have that. As long as Martinez hits well and the ball stays in front of him the vast majority of the time, I could care less how effective he is at stopping people from stealing.

Another thing to take into account is that the CS and SB stats are pretty much garbage in terms of really judging a catcher as it also depends on who’s running on them and how much they’re even getting run on not to mention the pitcher comes into the equation just as much. A catcher catching someone with a slow throwing motion (And let’s not forget that Martinez caught Tim Wakefield multiple times last year, someone that the corpse of Babe Ruth with a bad leg could steal off of) is going to have a terrible caught stealing number. It’s just a terrible stat that’s overall about as reliable a judge of a player as RBI and wins. I’m more concerned with whether or not they rush the throw and let a speedy runner get from first to third on a steal than if they throw out a guy at all.

While elite defense at the catcher position is nice, it’s not going to sink your team to have an average catcher who hits well.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

“Most catchers are just not all that great at throwing out runners and the run game isn’t even nearly the threat some people make it out to be.”

The Angels are intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

“Another thing to take into account is that the CS and SB stats are pretty much garbage in terms of really judging a catcher”

“Slightly more open to outliers than other statistics” = “pretty much garbage” hey? Doubt it.

The nature of the CS% statistic means that a larger sample size than with other statistics may be required to warrant the same degree of confidence. That matters little in the case of Martinez, however, as in 4 of his 6 (and 3 of his 4 full) seasons at catcher he has reported a CS% below league average. 100 bases were stolen off of him in 2006. There is not a lot of room for doubt about his abilities there.

His other skills as a backstop have always been suspect and subject to criticism. He showed occasional flashes of MEDIOCRITY his entire career, and blossomed into defensive adequacy in 2007 (so adequate that he has not played a full season there since).

He is a very good hitter from both sides of the plate. He is an adequate catcher for his current price under current conditions. But his value going forward is nowhere approaching premium catcher money, as he’s part asset – part liability.

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

You will get no argument out of me on Varitek he is dreadful. A stolen base every now and then isnt important but we are talking about well more then that. These two were atrocious last year at throwing runners out that there were games were teams would just run wild on them.

I acknowledged earlier that pitchers had a hand in controling the running but this wasnt a new staff for Varitek in 09 he had caught most of these pitchers in past seasons and posted average numbers. So either the entire staff all of a sudden slowed down in throwing the ball to the plate or both Varitek and Martinez are pretty terrible when it comes to preventing guys from taking free passes. Against those guys teams dont need “big stolen base threats” basically anyone with decent speed should feel comfortable swiping a bag. Take the Rays Crawford, Upton, Longoria, Perez and Bartlett should all steal every time they are on base. With the Yankees Granderson, Gardner, Jeter, and Arod should feel comfortable. If either guy was average i wouldnt argue this but both were so insanely bad that I think its an issue.

Also Im not sure Martinez will be able to hold up and produce playing the majority of games at catcher. If catching wears him down to the point where it starts to effect his bat then its more of hinderance then a bonus. I dont think limiting him to 80-90 games to keep him healthy and not overexpose his problems defensively is such a ridiculous statement. There must have been some reason the Indians made a part time catcher, even though it would diminish his value.

BoSoxSam
5 years 6 months ago

Because it is pretty clear that V-Mart’s defense behind the plate is slipping, and his constant second-half struggles seem to show that catching that often wears him down pretty quickly. Therefore, he might likely get a lot of time at DH, if Ortiz doesn’t bounce-back, spend some time at first, etc. I don’t remember who the third catcher for the Sox is, but he’ll probably get more playing time than any other third catcher. They are also hoping that Varitek will bounce back offensively as a backup, when he’s not getting run down by the slog of playing all year. I think at most V-Mart will play 120 games; depending on how strong Varitek is as a number two, and how well Ortiz plays, he could cut that down to 90-100 games. He’ll be in the lineup nearly every day, but not always as the catcher.

R_y_a_n
5 years 6 months ago

Uh…because he physically can’t. It’d be too much wear and tear.

ReverendBlack
5 years 6 months ago

don’t listen to em man. theyre just gonna use data and statistics n stuff. as if that means n e thing ya know?

Mooks
5 years 6 months ago

For all the upgrades the Sox made on run prevention, a lot of it will go directly down the toilet having V-Mart catching regularly all season. Last year he threw out 11% of would-be base stealers (for reference, Varitek threw out 13% and we saw what Crawford did to him). The league average is usually around 28%. There is a chance V-Mart can turn things around and throw guys out like he used to in Cleveland, but he is 31 and the last time he spent a full season behind the plate was 2007.

So unless the pitching and defense is so good this year that opposing batters do not even reach base, teams are going to be off to the races against the Sox this year.

TreyIII
5 years 6 months ago

“So unless the pitching and defense is so good this year that opposing batters do not even reach base, teams are going to be off to the races against the Sox this year.”

So what? As you pointed out, Varitek threw out 13% of the runners last year. Is VMart going to be that much of a defensive downgrade? Besides, the team still won 95 games…. with CS% being the least of their problems.

But yes, with improved defense and pitching, you’re right, there will be fewer runners on the base paths – making your whole point of “a lot of it will go directly down the toilet” null.

ronny9
5 years 6 months ago

Russel, your wrong; It is not the same lineup as last year minus bay plus cameron.

yes that is a major difference.

But you are missing two major factors.

1. Victor Martinez catching 125 games instead of VARITEKS HORRIBLE BAT.

2. Marco Scutaro @ Short 140+ games instead of NICK Flippin GREEN.

There are also factors such as Youk missing multiple games last year, Lowell not being 100%, and Ortiz’s obvious struggles in the first 1/3 of the season.

I am not saying all of the above stars will align and the sox will go undefeated. I am just saying that there is no way “this is the same offense minus bay plus cameron..lol”.

Absolutely no way

5 years 6 months ago

Bosox offense can certainly get it done with the depth they have. Now with the starting pitching they have the Sox wont always need the bats to win games. To me the Red Sox have the combination of the deepest and most skilled starting rotation in the MLB, and they certainly paid for it. I still say the Red Sox finish behind the Yanks for the Wild Card spot and surprise surprise its a Red Sox Angels division series.

jhd5787
5 years 6 months ago

I would agree with you except that the angels are going to have a tougher time this year in the west. They lost lackey, vlad, and figgins, and the mariners added figgins, and cliff lee.

jwp619
5 years 6 months ago

BoSox fans keep your fingers crossed: Being a San Diegan, I have been bombarded with local media that constantly tells us Padres fans that A. Gonzales being a Redsox is inevitable.

elclashcombo
5 years 6 months ago

It does seem like Theo’s offseason decision to go the free agent route was part in plan to hold onto prospects for a mid-season big bat trade. Though im not convinced Adrian Gonzalez is inevitable like man y other Sox fans (and SD media apparently). I think it may take a 3 team trade to pull that off.

Also, that makes an odd 3B/1B/DH dynamic for Youk/Beltre/Papi/Gonzalez.

0bsessions
5 years 6 months ago

The A-Gon idea is less considered a foregone conclusion from a trade standpoint as it is from a free agency standpoint. A-Gon pretty much definitely isn’t moving this year. The big thing is the Padres have come out and say they probably won’t be able to afford A-Gon when he hits free agency. With the Yanks having Teixeira locked up long term, the Sox have a pretty clear shot at him in free agency.

That aside, the trade route for next offseason gives the impression that there aren’t many teams other than the Sox that have the prospects to land him AND the money to keep him. The Angels and Mets have the money, but not the prospects. If he hits free agency, one of them COULD swoop in on him, but the odds are very much in the Sox’ favor.

tonyyanksfan
5 years 6 months ago

The Angels have some good prospects to pull it off, but I would look more at the Rangers as a threat. If they repeat their success of last year and Rich Harden is healthy, they could blow anyone out of the water with the prospects to nab Adrian Gonzalez and make a push to win it all next season. Obviously, with their money troubles, they couldn’t lock him up long term, but a world series championship could provide that type of money or could bring in the type of buyer who would spend the money necessary to keep him. Plus, that would keep him closer to home, which seems important to him.