Epstein On Injuries, Bullpen, Wood

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein appeared on WEEI's Dale & Holley radio show on Thursday morning to recap and discuss Boston's 2010 season.  WEEI.com's Jerry Spar and ESPNBoston.com both have partial transcripts of the interview, and here are some of the hot stove highlights…

  • In part due to the multitude of injuries that befell the club, Epstein admitted that the team's pitching and defense (the offseason focus on which led to the signings of John Lackey and Mike Cameron) were actually Boston's biggest weaknesses in 2010.
  • The Red Sox will "have to completely fix the bullpen" in the winter.  Epstein said that he pursued several midseason trades for relievers: "We were aggressive with our prospect proposals, and those guys weren’t moved. So, yeah, I would have loved to have made a trade for a reliever. I feel bad, I feel like we didn’t get it done."
  • In regards to three specific bullpen targets (Matt Capps, Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood), Epstein said that Washington wanted Daniel Bard for Capps, the Twins were able to make a move for Fuentes first due to a higher waiver position, and the Yankees "were willing to take on just a little bit more of [Wood's] salary."
  • Epstein admitted that the team can improve the flow of communication between the medical staff and the players.  He didn't comment on whether or not the Red Sox were looking to make some changes to their training staff in the wake of their injury-filled season.


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32 Comments on "Epstein On Injuries, Bullpen, Wood"


fitz
4 years 11 months ago

Wait, what? The Nationals wanted Josh Bard for Capps? Way too much to give up! Don’t think the Mariners like Theo that much.

start_wearing_purple
4 years 11 months ago

You mean Daniel Bard?

4 years 11 months ago

I would have given up Josh Bard for Capps in a heart beat. Daniel Bard on the other hand…

redsox4120
4 years 11 months ago

Yea I think it’s Daniel Bard and I also think that the Nationals were asking for way too much for Bard.

fitz
4 years 11 months ago

I still don’t get it. Why would the Red Sox who need a reliever want to trade their best reliever for another not as good reliever?

4 years 11 months ago

Looking for bullpen help? Then trading Ramon Ramirez of the sub-1.00 ERA (okay, he’s got a 3.87 FIP, but still) for Daniel Turpen probably wasn’t a great move.

4 years 11 months ago

When did Ramirez have a sub-1.00 ERA this year? Last I knew it was around 5.00…

johnsilver
4 years 11 months ago

I think poster was confused with 2009 when both Ramirez and MDC started April virtually unscored upon

start_wearing_purple
4 years 11 months ago

You do realize he was ineffective in Boston.

redsox4120
4 years 11 months ago

Not just ineffective, he threw batting practice in Boston

4 years 11 months ago

I wonder how much they try to move Papelbon given he’s not really the closer he used to be, and Bard really dominating in his role. Or if there’s hope for a Papelbon revival. He’s likely going to get a raise (because arbitration tends to lead to a raise of some sort), and that means upwards of $10M for Papelbon. Pretty big risk to take.

Just to note, they also have decisions to make with:
– David Ortiz
– Mike Lowell
– Bill Hall
– Victor Martinez

Just to name a few. I’d be moderately concerned if I’m a Red Sox fan, just because there are emerging strengths in that AL East. Not that the Orioles are going to turn into the Rays, but they’ll continue to grow. And the Yankees and Rays don’t look to be going anywhere.

Coreno
4 years 11 months ago

there is no decision to be made with Lowell, he is retiring. and the rays will likely take a step back with all the key losses they’ll have to deal with this offseason.

fitz
4 years 11 months ago

You forgot Beltre which may be the most important of the bunch. I have a feeling next years team is going to look completely different which is not unusual given the revolving door that is the Boston Red Sox position players.

4 years 11 months ago

Nope, not concerned at all.

David Ortiz will be back. Either his option will be picked up, or he’ll sign a 2 year deal. I’d prefer his option, but whatever…he was the best DH in the league this year regardless of the hate he received.

Mike Lowell is retiring..no decision to be made.

Bill Hall will seek a starting position elsewhere. He was nice to have, and provided some pop off the bat…but he knows he got lucky/spoiled with the amount of playing time he saw this year…

I don’t expect VMart to be back. I just don’t see him budging on his contract demands. The Sox won’t pay him as a catcher for 4 years, but he’ll expect it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Napoli in a Sox uni next year as his replacement.

I’m actually really excited about the Sox next year. I feel like they “messed up” enough to make Theo want to redeem himself. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a record payroll increase for the Sox. I fully expect it to be a busy offseason.

fitz
4 years 11 months ago

Agreed that Napoli would be a great addition.

BoSoxFan1950
4 years 11 months ago

What about the Captain? Or are we to assume that he is “retiring” with Lowell? Can’t say I’d be happy if we didn’t find a way to bring V-Mart back. Napoli or no Napoli. V-Mart AND Napoli? Now that’s a backstop combo I’d be happy with! Salty? Package him with some others for a big trade for a stone-cold reliever. And let’s not forget Beltre. Big decision there. I’d be wiling to drop a bundle of $ and years on Beltre. Youk at first, Pedey at 2nd, Lowrie at SS and Beltre at 3rd. Scutaro on the bench or as part of a multi-player trade for pitching or outfielder(s). Darnell in Left, Ellsbury in Center, and Drew in right seems pretty good if we can’t get a Crawford.

derekbellstutu
4 years 11 months ago

If the Sox can get Napoli, I’d be OK w/ bringing Tek back as a backup. Then the Sox could send Salty, Lars Anderson, and Doubront/Bowden to KC for Soria. They should deal Papelbon because if they non-tender him, he may sign w/ the yanks.

0bsessions
4 years 11 months ago

I’m a Sox fan and even I think that’s a terrible offer for Soria.

derekbellstutu
4 years 11 months ago

Would Salty & Doubront get it done?

4 years 11 months ago

That’s insulting to Soria…

4 years 11 months ago

Honestly, what value does Salty have anymore?

4 years 11 months ago

Apparently only to Theo because he gave up two decent prospects…especially Mendez. That kid has top of the rotation potential, I think that deal will come back to haunt the Red Sox.

4 years 11 months ago

For Soria? Please.

1.) Eric Hosmer makes Lars look like a life-long minor leaguer.
2.) Doubront and Bowden haven’t done much and aren’t proven like Soria, and Bowden isn’t even that good.
3.) Papelbon, to the Yanks? Ew.
4.) Eric Hosmer is wayy better than Lars.
5.) I wouldn’t trade Soria because the Royals are about 3 years from contention with all that talent they have in the minor leagues. If they should trade anyone, it should be Betancourt, Billy Butler, Zack G., and Mike Aviles as his salary increases, and so does his value for a high batting average.

BoSoxFan1950
4 years 11 months ago

Omigod! I forgot Big Papi! Of course we keep David.

Steve_in_MA
4 years 11 months ago

Uhm, yeah, you really should feel like you didn’t get it done, Theo. Prolly cuz YOU DIDN’T! Its called FAIL. If you cared about this season, then I believe you would have gotten something done.
Moving on, we need a new conditioning team using state-of-the-art techniques to keep guys off the DL. Most of the injuries we had this year were unpreventable. But hamstring injuries (Buchholz and Drew) are very preventable.
Aside from the trade and FA acquisitions that can be made, we need to take teaching the basics to pitchers and infielders much more seriously during spring training. I can’t believe how badly the BoSox positioned themselves this past season. First basemen too deep in the infield on taking cut offs, short stops who abandon the infield without back up, pitchers who don’t cover empty bases or back up behind the throwing base. We made a ton of fundamental defensive mental errors that don’t show up in the statistics.

It should absolutely be incumbent upon both the staff and players to make sure that everyone knows how to lay down a bunt and how to move a runner along. Somehow, the BoSox players and staff think they are too high and mighty to perform/coach/call for these basic tasks. That’s BS. Everyone must able to and will do the job of getting the run across, or they should have no job.

Lastly, a note to Theo. If we had a team consisting of 25 exact copies of Darnell McDonald, making ML minimum, hitting as he does, catching as he does, throwing as he does, running as he does and caring as he does, we’d have another World Championship team at a payroll of around $11MM. Retain Darnell and find and sign more like him. He has all the tools; he’s a complete ball player. That’s what we need.

0bsessions
4 years 11 months ago

You’re either absolutely joking, delusional or you’re McDonald’s agent. He was an absolute butcher in the field, has no plate discipline and flashed just above average power to go with league average batting. McDonald played above replacement level, but that was more than likely a lightning in a bottle situation. He is FAR from the focal point of the Sox and calling him a “complete player” is an absolute joke.

As to the “fail” remarks, I just don’t get people. Youk and Pedroia were BOTH on the DL by the time the deadline hit. There was absolutely ZERO chance of the Sox advancing in the playoffs without the two of them, so giving up anything of value to plug their relief issues would’ve been moronic. Yeah, making the playoffs would’ve been nice, but they would have been one and done.

Jeffrey
4 years 11 months ago

Agree. I’m a constant optimist and really enjoy rooting and watching for the Sox, but I realized the season was over around Labor Day. At that point, they were about a 20% shot to make the playoffs. But even if they made it, they would have needed a lot of luck to get by the ALDS, and even more to get by the ALCS. It took me about a month longer than Theo (and other front office types) to realize what was happening. They played it right, as far as I can tell.

Steve_in_MA
4 years 10 months ago

Obsessions, I am neither joking, delusional nor an agent.

As far as McDonald goes, his batting average is better than the team average of both the Yanks (.268) and the Rays (.249). His OBP is the same as the team averages for both the Reds and Rangers. His slugging percentage is about the same as the team average for the Yanks. His OPS is the same as the team average for the Reds, and better than those of both the Twins and Rangers. He has hit homers at a rate better than both the Twins and the Braves, and near to that of the powerful Rangers. His RBI rate is a little low compared to the rates of playoff teams, but that is explainable by the fact that he has been platooned quite a bit, and when in the line-up, he’s been hitting either 2nd or 8th, neither of which are prime RBI slots. He far exceeds the average of all playoff teams, except the Rays, in terms of stolen bases and percent of successfully stolen bases.

Defensively, he has made only 2 errors in 767 innings (.990 FPCT) with 9 assists (top 5 in AL and MLB). Yes, his UZR/150 is relatively poor, reflecting on his range, but he hasn’t even played in 150 games yet (he’s been in the equivalent of just 85 games), so there’s a very inadequate sample for this advanced metric. His standard UZR is much better that his UZR/150 and is a truer reflection of how he has performed. Fangraphs has him at a +1.3 WAR and a performance value of $5.1MM.

A team that, on the whole, performed as McDonald did this season would certainly be a playoff contender.

I have to respectfully disagree that there was ZERO chance of making the playoffs once Youk and Pedey went down. Our offense this season has been amazingly good, despite their long absences. We were in it down to the three-game series against Tampa at the end of August, where we lost 2 of 3. I fully contend it was the PITCHING that did us in. Beckett (-9 wins), Lackey (-4 wins), Papelbon (8 blown saves), Bard (7 squandered leads), Okajima (4 huge losses), and the bullpen, generally, were all worse than expected or downright terrible.

My FAIL point actually had nothing to do with offense or replacement of Youk/Pedey. It was entirely directed to the failure to get support for the bullpen. I guess I should have made myself more clear on this. I believe Theo had a duty to get two quality (by history) relievers and should have given up prospects to do so. Even if they failed to pan out, at least the effort would have been successfully made. Instead, he overvalued our prospects and overestimated our future need for those prospects, versus our definite need to be competitive now. I’m not in favor of fire sales or mortgaging the future, but I think it necessary to give value to get value. It was clearly possible to do deals at reasonable value, because Cashman, Wren and others did so. That is why I say Theo FAILED.

4 years 11 months ago

Typical Red Sox fan who judges things like “desire and heart” higher than actual talent and performance. A team of 25 Darnell McDonald’s would be worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates. I’d rather have a team of 25 2004 Manny Ramirez’s thank you very much.

Why are we talking about bunting? This isn’t the Red Sox philosophy at all, get over it. They bunt very few times over the year, and when they do it means the offense has been struggling. You have to be kidding me, if you can’t bunt you can’t have a job? What is that…actually the more I read your comment, the more I think you were just joking. If you were joking, well played…if not…well, wow.

Steve_in_MA
4 years 10 months ago

Brian, I did not judge “desire and heart” over talent. The numbers justify my opinion. McDonald’s numbers equal or exceed the key average numbers of almost every playoff team for this past season.

A team of 2004 Ramirez’s would certainly provide tons of offense, at a payroll of $500MM, who can’t play defense worth a damn (-24.2 UZR/150). I’m sure that would be part incredibly exhilarating and part suicidally frustrating to watch. No doubt it would lead to a championship, but not good baseball. And since I’m not a manic depressive, I don’t want a wild mood swing every half inning.

We’re talking about bunting because every one of the playoff teams, except the Yanks, had at least 40 sacrifices. In fact, the powerful Rangers had 53. It is now officially improbable to beat teams playing “big ball” that can and do sacrifice or move runners along. We have not been successful in our so called “philosophy” in the last 3 seasons. Its time to adapt, or perhaps a better word is “evolve.”

Steve_in_MA
4 years 11 months ago

Uhm, yeah, you really should feel like you didn’t get it done, Theo. Prolly cuz YOU DIDN’T! Its called FAIL. If you cared about this season, then I believe you would have gotten something done.
Moving on, we need a new conditioning team using state-of-the-art techniques to keep guys off the DL. Most of the injuries we had this year were unpreventable. But hamstring injuries (Buchholz and Drew) are very preventable.
Aside from the trade and FA acquisitions that can be made, we need to take teaching the basics to pitchers and infielders much more seriously during spring training. I can’t believe how badly the BoSox positioned themselves this past season. First basemen too deep in the infield on taking cut offs, short stops who abandon the infield without back up, pitchers who don’t cover empty bases or back up behind the throwing base. We made a ton of fundamental defensive mental errors that don’t show up in the statistics.

It should absolutely be incumbent upon both the staff and players to make sure that everyone knows how to lay down a bunt and how to move a runner along. Somehow, the BoSox players and staff think they are too high and mighty to perform/coach/call for these basic tasks. That’s BS. Everyone must able to and will do the job of getting the run across, or they should have no job.

Lastly, a note to Theo. If we had a team consisting of 25 exact copies of Darnell McDonald, making ML minimum, hitting as he does, catching as he does, throwing as he does, running as he does and caring as he does, we’d have another World Championship team at a payroll of around $11MM. Retain Darnell and find and sign more like him. He has all the tools; he’s a complete ball player. That’s what we need.

4 years 11 months ago

Class act. Generalized personal attacks make you look intelligent.

It did irk me a little bit that they didn’t spend that “little extra” to get Kerry Wood, but I’m guessing they didn’t receive a counter-offer either. It was probably a “one bid” process, as it was so close to the deadline, and the Yankees initial bid just happened to be more.