Discussion: Changes Coming In Boston?

Following the Red Sox' three-game sweep at the hands of the last-place Baltimore Orioles, GM Theo Epstein insinuated that the team may need to make roster changes. In a piece by John Tomase of the Boston Herald, Epstein assesses the current state of his club:

"We’re still playing bad baseball. Unintelligent, undisciplined, uninspired baseball. It’s got to change…. It either changes itself or we have to do something to change it."

The Red Sox ranked first in baseball in offseason spending, investing in players like John Lackey, Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, and Marco Scutaro. The on-field product has underperformed so far though, looking up in the standings at the Rays, Yankees, and even the Blue Jays.

As Tomase suggests, it's hard to single out one player or even one aspect of the team as the root of the problem. However, when considering the likelihood of a drastic roster move, it's worth noting that many of the struggling players are in the final year of their contracts. Victor Martinez has had trouble throwing out basestealers and is hitting just .233/.298/.314. Designated hitters David Ortiz (.159/.254/.381) and Mike Lowell (.222/.300/.333) are underachieving and overpaid. Even Beltre, despite a .330 average, has yet to homer and has played mediocre defense by his standards, committing his sixth error of the season tonight.

The Red Sox are, of course, unlikely to become sellers, but they'll need to turn things around soon or risk falling from contention in a competitive division. If the Sox fail to make up ground on the Rays and Yankees in the AL East, what moves could you see the club making in the coming weeks and months?


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87 Comments on "Discussion: Changes Coming In Boston?"


Bonesaw McGraw
5 years 2 months ago

cut Ortiz

nhlegend
5 years 2 months ago

The Sox have only one day off this month, so they will be tested. At the end of the month I think that David Ortiz will be released, Lowell will be traded (by the All Star break at the latest), Lowrie will be finishing his rehab in AAA and waiting for a call-up and the pitching staff will be May’s MVPs. I have no prediction for Dice-K yet, it’s too soon to tell.

buxfan
5 years 2 months ago

Allright Sox fans, what would you be willing to offer for Ryan Doumit, who’s currently tearing the cover off of the ball for the Pirates?

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

But can he throw runners out? That’s all that matters to them right now, we all know V-Mart is gonna hit sooner or later.

buxfan
5 years 2 months ago

He’s not a great defensive catcher, no. But he’s a true switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate, he’s locked in at a reasonable price, and he’s a good character guy. I was just wondering what kind of value others place upon him, and see what kind of prospect package could be available in exchange for him.

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

Sounds like a Martinez clone to me haha. I think another team looking for a power bat at a position often lacking in good hitters could give a good return for Doumit. Maybe if the Tigers are in the race they could be a potential suitor. Also, teams might prefer Chris Ianetta over Doumit, given his age and a few years of team control left at a good price.

Ferrariman
5 years 2 months ago

Vmart is a DH playing catcher. Doumit is a catcher who plays below average defense.

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

I won’t argue that Martinez doesn’t belong at catcher, but if the Red Sox are going to upgrade defensively, they’re going to UPGRADE defensively. Meaning they would bring in a guy that’s defensive minded, like idk Ramon Castro when he’s healthy, just throwing a name out there. But as a mentioned below, the Red Sox have a bloated roster and are handicapped, so I don’t see them making a major trade this season unless they release Ortiz and/or Lowell, preferably for them both.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

Give Martinez some credit. He is still alright behind the plate and the only area he struggles is throwing guys out which he has improved on and as has varitek (they’ve thrown out the last 4 base steal attempts). I don’t think he is a DH though

Fangaffes
5 years 2 months ago

I read in the paper this morning that the Sox have caught 6 of the last 7 base stealers (pickoffs included). VMart and the pitchers have been working hard on this. Maybe a little patience is due before blowing up the position and payroll.

thehimalayan
5 years 2 months ago

We will take Bowden, Lars Anderson and Victor Martinez. Dream on. Doumit is not going anywhere but is a solid backstop and a great raker.

5 years 2 months ago

its funny because ive been saying that the red sox were gonna struggle this year because of their moronic signings, but no. everyone disagreed when i said they werent going to make it. thats what happened when they got rid of manny. they were still a good team with jason bay, but now he is gone. in the pre-manny era, the sox struggled immensley to be a playoff contender. if you all recalled, when the bocox built their team on pitching and defense in 2006, they flunked. but dont take my word for it. everf sports illustrated predicted the red sox finishing 3rd in the AL east. if u dont believe me, go see for yourself

Nicolas_C
5 years 2 months ago

The same magazine that picked the Mets for the World Series last year?

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

What moronic signings are these? care to name a few and provide a nice reason as to why it was a bad baseball move?

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t see anything major being done outside of an Agonz trade. But I still think they are simply playing worse than they really are.

Ferrariman
5 years 2 months ago

red sox really buried themselves in a hole this time. i doubt the padres would even let adrian go now that they have shocked baseball and are in contention.

who else is left that might be available……? drawing a blank here

zippy18
5 years 2 months ago

bring back Jim Rice, can probably hit better than Papi, hes more fit than Papi!

Twins45
5 years 2 months ago

They need to do something our its gonna become to hard to catch up. Kubel and Ramos for Youk.

I kid, I kid

Yankees420
5 years 2 months ago

I think a 3 way trade involving Paplebon would be smart for the Red Sox, because then they trade a valuable piece that won’t hurt very much due to Bard. They trade to a team looking for a closer while that team gives up prospects to SD, the Sox would probably have to throw in a B prospect or something to complete the deal but I think it’d be worth it for them. Now as a Yankee fan I hope that this doesn’t happen, I hope they trade Paplebon for a marginal return, Bard falters in the majors, and they either don’t trade for offense or get fleeced in a deal where they do.

One dumb thing I believe Boston did this offseason was make it very difficult to make a mid-season acquisition. They signed Beltre which prevents Youk from sliding across the diamond to make room for someone like A-Gon. Add to it V-Mart is looking more and more like a 1B/DH and it jams their roster up even more.

ELPinchy
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah but they expected Lowell to be gone….and expected Vmart to actually hit at least for a decent average.If it were not for that and the injuries it might not look as bad as it does. That being said you are totally correct,they really left no wiggle room.

Yankees420
5 years 2 months ago

True, Boston seems to have had a lot of bad luck this season, and I know that V-Mart will start to hit, it’s just the amount of baserunners that are stealing on him, if you can’t stop anyone from stealing second then it makes the game pretty difficult.

Marcos
5 years 2 months ago

I think that while they would like to get AGonz, it would be better for them to obtain a solid catcher who can handle the bat and throw out runners. The only name that comes to mind right now (even though he is struggling offensively) is Iannetta. But then they play their aquisition at C, slide VMart to 1B/DH and Youk to 3B/1B/DH. Unless they can somehow get rid of Papi, Lowell and somehow Beltre, then they should focus on a catcher. Although a good 1B wouldn’t hurt their offense.

As a yankee, I hope this never happens for them…

quintjs
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t think that is exactly true.

Now they were hoping to unload Lowell.

THe Sox however knew if they got Gonzalez midseason, they needed the offense, which means they probably were not getting offense from 1B or DH.

Lets face it, Ortiz is the reason the Sox need another big bat, so get Gonzalez at 1B, Youk can DH and play LF (has before, odd game when needed) and Gonzalez and Martinez can also have the odd game at DH. Ortiz is released in this scenerio.

The fact the Sox have made no effort to sign Martinez long term is probably a good indicator they do not think he is their catcher going forward.

Marcos
5 years 2 months ago

Ortiz is only a part of why they need more offense, along with Lowell, and a in a very small way Beltre, as well as the Cameron signing (not that it was a bad signing, he’s just mostly glove) and the injury to Ellsbury, as well as poor play by Martinez (who, unless is injured, WILL start batting any moment now), J.D. Drew and Beltre.
Simply put, it’s a “perfect storm” of injury/poor play/sub par players.

adamdm07
5 years 2 months ago

Maybe you could call the Braves. You won’t get McCann but I am sure if you gave a good enough offer you might get David Ross who has swung a pretty good bat and is fairly decent defensively as well. Just a thought!

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

I hope the Sox think like me and don’t trust unproven catchers. Seems like too many of them struggle in the bigs even after being solid in the minors

adamdm07
5 years 2 months ago

I also blieve the Red Sox aren’t this bad. I agree with an earlier comment that they were loaded between catcher and first basemen, then when they signed beltre they lost alot flexibility with guys like youkilis and Lowell. Lowell will prolly be traded but they might have been better off signing a more flexible player instead of beltre, the lineup in my opinion would not have be affected much by Youkilis at third and VMART at first.

bomberj11
5 years 2 months ago

I wouldn’t mind if the Sox became sellers. I mean we have some young guys in the minors who’ll be nice to have in a few years. But what could we sell? Not much, but returns for Ellsbury and Pedroia could be nice.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

No reason to get rid of either though. Pedroia is locked up and cheap and at a premium position and ells still has arb. Not reason to get rid of those young guys. Especially since there is no can’t miss prospect in the minors that they are blocking.

BoSoxSam
5 years 2 months ago

But Ells and Pedey are exactly the kind of guys you’d want to hang on to if you became a seller…that makes no sense. If they were gonna be sellers, they would start unloading guys like Youk, Beltre, Cameron, V-Mart, etc. Still this is much too good of a team to be sellers. As a couple other commenters said, they are playing much below their potential right now.

ELPinchy
5 years 2 months ago

They won’t unload Youk but all the guys that are done at the end of the season (Ortiz,Lowell,VMart,Beltre,Tek) or like Drew who has one more year left. I can see them unloading any of them for some roster fillers in the low minors if they fall out of contention.

dodgers1
5 years 2 months ago

big papi to LA

ELPinchy
5 years 2 months ago

I will start packing his bags.

BoSoXaddict
5 years 2 months ago

Obviously, the Sox don’t have a ton of options for trading Major League pieces unless they decide to part with Youk or MDC, neither of which seem likely. Buchholz also isn’t going anywhere at this point unless it’s for A.Gonz, Fielder, Cabrera, etc. and none of those players seems likely to be traded anytime soon. But since Ortiz is a likley candidate to be released, and Lowell a POSSIBLE trade candidate they’ll need a new DH most likely..a slot V-Mart would slide nicely in to provided they could trade for a catcher. Ianetta seems like a legit possibility to me and they still have a good amount of quality lower minors pitching prospects like Doubront, Pimental, Bowden, Fife, Weiland, etc. that I’m sure would interest the Rockies.

Steve_in_MA
5 years 2 months ago

I’d be for outright radical changes if I thought we could do something to replace everyone I’d release or trade. The problem is, I’d release or trade about 7 guys, who I don’t think we could adequately replace, even if I’d accept a third place finish. Tops on my list would be Scutaro. His errors have him at a -3 WAR. He’s less than adequate on D, and I don’t care about offense from a shortstop. If I couldn’t get a bucket of balls for him, I’d release him in a heartbeat. Eat all $12MM. In my opinion he blows along the lines of Julio Lugo, with a slightly better OBP.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

This summer’s next blockbuster hit, Kid General Manager!
(Does best Don LaFontaine impression) ….armed with WAR, small sample sizes, and a foolish GM, watch how one man can set the record for dumb decisions and make Julio Lugo look like a good signing.

Dumping Scutaro would be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And you CAN NOT NOT NOT NOT I REPEAT NOT USE SMALL SAMPLE SIZES FOR WAR. You need a long term sample to get anywhere near usable measure for WAR. and this means more than 1 season. A guy doesn’t just lose their ability to field when he changes teams, especially an infielder where OF walls and OF size aren’t even a problem.

Steve_in_MA
5 years 2 months ago

Considering that I vigorously advocated for us to retain Alex Gonzalez last year and NOT SIGN this miserable twerp, its more like I’m boy genius and your the town dunce.
link to fangraphs.com Screw you and your sample sizes. I’m talking about 3 REAL ACTUAL games he’s COST the BoSox. I can name them. I bet you can too. Its not a stat. Its fact. We don’t need no stinking samples.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

I know that article I read it earlier and he has a freakin .319 OBP! that is terrible. Who cares if he is hitting the ball hard if he isn’t going to get one base? he will revert to normal form (as the article says at the end) and you will be sitting here cheering for Scutaro like the rest of us. In fact, you can make an argument that Scutaro has been better than Gonzalez so far. And comparing Scutaro to Lugo is ludicrous. Why not compare Victor Martinez to Jose Molina while you’re at it.
Scutaro >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gonzalez.

Steve_in_MA
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t care what a short stop does offensively. All I want is a human groundball vacuum combined with a throwing machine. He’s hitting ninth anyway. Anything on O he does is a plus, just like an NL pitcher. But on defense, I want as near perfection as possible. Many championships have been won by clubs with anemic offense from the shortstop position; dynasties have occurred under these circumstance, in fact. Not to mention that Gonzalez could have been had for about half the cost of signing Scutaro. Plus Scutaro’s 2010 error pace of 3 in 26 is right on track to match Julio Lugo’s best year with the Sox. That’s about 19 errors per season, which is precisely what Lugo had in 2007 over 145 games. Certainly not a quality defensive performance .

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

So let’s (hypohetically) it is after the first game and Scutaro had an error in that game you be saying he were on pace for 162 errors and saying he sucks? Scutaro is a better defensive player by miles than Lugo. Scutaro may not have the range but he makes up for it by not making many errors. Yes he had some rough games, who cares? Lowell made 3 errors in one game in I think 08 and people didn’t freak out then. Over the course of the season his defense + offense will be better than Alex Gonazalez’s value. Nice stat using your WAR: Alex gonzalez’s career high in WAR = 2.8. Scutaro’s WAR last year = 4.2.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

and scutaro made a nice defensive play tonight to get the second out of the 4th inning when the angels had a chance to have 1st and 3rd with 1 out and the score tied. And went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and a run scored.

Steve_in_MA
5 years 2 months ago

Gonzalez has a career UZR/150 of +7 and Scutaro has a career UZR/150 of -3.3. Scutaro’s career Fpct at SS is only 6 points higher than Gonzalez, despite the fact that Gonz gets to about 10% more ground balls. Scut’s Fpct at SS is below league average for shortstops by 8 points. I’m not sure how you get that he doesn’t historically make alot of errors. I’m glad Scuts had a good game last night, but I’d still prefer Alex Gonzalez to be out there, flashing solid leather and ranging wide.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

I know that article I read it earlier and he has a freakin .319 OBP! that is terrible. Who cares if he is hitting the ball hard if he isn’t going to get one base? he will revert to normal form (as the article says at the end) and you will be sitting here cheering for Scutaro like the rest of us. In fact, you can make an argument that Scutaro has been better than Gonzalez so far. And comparing Scutaro to Lugo is ludicrous. Why not compare Victor Martinez to Jose Molina while you’re at it.
Scutaro >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gonzalez.

Vmmercan
5 years 2 months ago

Edgar Renteria

soxxxxx
5 years 2 months ago

i think everyone is making mountains out of molehills. Sure they are playing bad but it is just may. Besides, the pitching has settled down lately. Lester’s last two starts have been great, Buccholtz has been good all season, Lackey has been solid lately, and Becketts last performance was great. The team just needs to get on the same page and start clicking. It begins with the starting pitching, i think theyll turn it around soon.

5 years 2 months ago

Ortiz by the end of this month will be released.
Then Lowell will get traded in june but in the mean time plays DH. Then when he does get traded Vmart to DH and bring either Dusty Brown or Mark Wagner two very solid defensive catchers to either start over Varitek or more than likely platooning with him.

went9
5 years 2 months ago

Right, bring up Mark Wagner with a broken bone in his hand. While you’re at it, let’s have Jed Lowrie take over for Scutaro and bring up the talented Junichi Tazawa for Dice-K. Playoffs!

Rich G
5 years 2 months ago

I agree Ortiz will be released at some point but I don’t agree with the rest of your point. In the past few games Martinez has been improving his throw out rate on attempted steals. I would think if anything you could see Lowell in the DH role for the rest of season platooned with some old veterans like JD, Varietk, Martinez, Youkillis. There are a lot of possibilities.

But lets be honest, Mark Wagner and Dusty will not get the job done at the plate. We know Martinez and Varitek have both proven a great platoon offensively this season. It is also a good sign Martinez has been throwing runners like I mentioned previously.

If anything, I could picture Dice K going. I mean, did you notice his enthusiasm when he attempted to act like he was holding the runners on during his last start?

Oh and, Red Sox minor league update:

Casey Kelly continues to get knocked up in the past 4 starts of April.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=P&sid=t546&t=p_pbp&pid=543391

ArmchairGM
5 years 2 months ago

He had a 1.36 WHIP with 1 ER in 8.2 innings in his first 3 games. He had a bad game last time out, which happens. He’s pitched a grand total of 10.2 innings this year. I think it’s of an overstatement to call his past 4 starts “getting knocked up”. Which admittedly sounds a bit awkward anyway.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

Dice K has a full no trade clause and can’t be sent to AAA. What are you going to do release him lol?

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

Dice K has a full no trade clause and can’t be sent to AAA. What are you going to do release him lol?

Steve_in_MA
5 years 2 months ago

Only really one bad outing on 4/28, otherwise, he’s been decent. More importantly, it seems Luis Exposito’s bat is coming around a little in late April/early May.

Sd_brain
5 years 2 months ago

once mauer gets back i could see the red sox making a trade for ramos (good defense and pwr bat) using pap…

counciltucky
5 years 2 months ago

Wow — can’t believe the negativity regarding the Red Sox. I’m a Yankee fan, so I naturally hope the Red Sox’s struggles continue (at least to an extent — it is fun when both the Yanks and Sox are good when they play each other), but it sounds like a lot of people here are ready to nail the coffin.

Remember, the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

nhlegend
5 years 2 months ago

I’m a Red Sox’ fan that lives in Connecticut, so I get to hear the “doom and gloomers” and “we need change now” crowd of the Mets, Red Sox and Yankees. Most fans would never last as a general manager because they are short-sighted. There are no significant trades to be made, not in the first week of May. Almost every team out there can still claim to be a legitimate contender for a playoff berth this early. Unless the Sox want to do something stupid and give up young talent for a bad contract, there’s no significant trade coming any time soon.

I think tonight’s game did a lot for the moral of the team and I hope they rally in May. I also think that Ortiz will eventualy be released when Lowrie is ready to play.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

I hate the negative people who talk about the Red Sox. I just assume they don’t know much about baseball.

wakefield4life
5 years 2 months ago

For all the talk of the sox offense and Papi and Lowell needing to get the axe, what’s really hurting the Sox right now is pitching. There is a lack a quality SP right now. In another month or so, this won’t be the issue b/c Beckett and Lester are starting to put it together. Lackey and Buchholz have been solid contributors. The Sox need to consider moving Dice-K to the bullpen. Wake’s numbers are just going to balloon in the small sample size he gets. He can really only contribute as a starter. It sucks b/c the Sox spent all this money to get Dice-K a couple years back, and you’re really not getting value for Dice-K if he’s in the pen, but it just might be the best move they can make. Dice-K could make and incredible longman and has the stuff to setup. Schoenweis and Attchison are not cutting it. These are the guys that should really be considered getting the axe. We need more pen arms that aren’t dumb and dumber. A big bat could always help, but the problem right now is with the pitching.

But as far as offense goes, I think Lowell will get traded (hopefully for a pen arm or a C) and Vmart will find his way to DH. The Sox won’t release Papi – he’ll sit on the bench. Tek might find his way back behind the plate, but I don’t think so. He’s a notorious fast starter who dwindles out as the season goes on. The Sox are going to try to acquire a rent-a-catcher that plays good defense and probably won’t be able to hit, b/c leading the league in giving up SBs is not a stat you want to have on your resume.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

Sox already said they weren’t going to get a catcher who couldn’t hit.

wakefield4life
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I agree that’s probably what they’d like to do. But when you can’t contain runners and the entire league knows it, they’re gonna run on you. I don’t think a good hitting and fielding catcher is going to be available for them when they go shopping, and they’re going to get the best catcher they can get, and he probably won’t be able to hit. It’s gonna be one of those “it’s our best option” pickups like Beltre and Scutaro were before the season. Unless, of course, our catchers start containing runners. If either tek or vmart can develop the arm, then they probably won’t go shopping for one.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

just a little side note that hopefully becomes a trend, Sox catchers have thrown out the last 4 SB attempts

wakefield4life
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I noticed the last couple nights Vmart getting up and throwing strikes to second. I didn’t realize it was the last four, though. Hopefully, it’s a positive note and not just a footnote. I’d absolutely love for the trade deadline to come around and have the Sox not have to shop for a catcher. The first time I saw it, I gave him a little razz applause, but he looks like he’s improving. His biggest problem has been keeping the ball down. He’d release to second and it would fly out of his hand and Petey would almost always have to jump for the ball.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

yeah that is what they have been working on. Raising his elbow so he gets on top of the ball when he throws and doesn’t sail it to second.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

just a little side note that hopefully becomes a trend, Sox catchers have thrown out the last 4 SB attempts

wakefield4life
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I agree that’s probably what they’d like to do. But when you can’t contain runners and the entire league knows it, they’re gonna run on you. I don’t think a good hitting and fielding catcher is going to be available for them when they go shopping, and they’re going to get the best catcher they can get, and he probably won’t be able to hit. It’s gonna be one of those “it’s our best option” pickups like Beltre and Scutaro were before the season. Unless, of course, our catchers start containing runners. If either tek or vmart can develop the arm, then they probably won’t go shopping for one.

Fangaffes
5 years 2 months ago

When Theo said this was a bridge year, he was being serious. They have about $55M in expiring contracts, many of which could be useful for other teams making a playoff run. I would love to see them become sellers this year and restock the farm system. The rotation is set for years to come. It’s time to rebuild the position players around the Youkilis/Pedroia/Ellsbury core. I’m more than willing to sacrifice this season to do that.