Epstein On Crawford, Papelbon, Gonzalez

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Dennis & Callahan on WEEI that the Red Sox are vulnerable in certain areas, even after a successful offseason. Here's the latest from Epstein, including details on the team's pursuit of its new left fielder…

  • Epstein prefers to integrate young players onto the Major League roster with minimal fanfare. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, for example, came up through Boston’s system and are now top starters.
  • Epstein identified starting pitching depth as a possible area of weakness for the Red Sox. Boston has Tim Wakefield, Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves plus its starting five, but doesn’t necessarily have MLB-ready starters in the minors.
  • Catching depth is another one of the team’s “areas of vulnerability,” Epstein says.
  • The Red Sox didn’t expect Carl Crawford to want to sign with them, but soon realized that he wanted to stay in the AL East. It took lots of research on Boston’s part to determine its level of interest in the left fielder. “We covered him as if we were privately investigating him,” Epstein said. “We had a scout on him literally the last three, four months of the season at the ballpark, away from the ballpark.”
  • The Red Sox never expected to sign Crawford as swiftly as they did, despite their strong interest in him.
  • Epstein explained Boston’s approach to extensions for arbitration eligible players: “Our philosophy, which is actually a policy in writing, is if we’re going to sign arbitration-eligible players long term, we have to get one free agent year and we have to get an option for the club. Because we’re giving the player certainty. We need to be able get some of those prime years back in exchange. That makes it a fair bargain." 
  • It's a near-certainty that Jonathan Papelbon, who never signed an extension with Boston, will reach free agency after the season.
  • Epstein says there’s “no real timetable” for an Adrian Gonzalez extension.


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59 Comments on "Epstein On Crawford, Papelbon, Gonzalez"


jmcbosox
4 years 5 months ago

in theo we trust. (and i always have, i’ll never question him)

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Amen.

woadude
4 years 5 months ago

He is telling you to give me 100 dollars, In Theo we trust right?

Karkat
4 years 5 months ago

That’s my general way of seeing things, except… Eric Gagne :(

0bsessions
4 years 5 months ago

Hindsight is 20/20. Gagne was tearing it up in an even worse hitters’ park than Fenway (Arlington) and basically imploded out of nowhere. You can’t blame Epstein for making that trade.

The only two things Epstein’s done that I would consider clunkers from the get-go are signing Lugo and trading Arroyo for Pena. Everything else he’s done has had some logic behind it and while not everything he’s done has worked out, those are the only two I can think of where the general concensus was “what are you thinking?!” when they happened.

Karkat
4 years 5 months ago

I was always biased against the Eric Gagne deal because I liked Kason Gabbard *and* David Murphy, so I’m probably a bit biased

Actually, the two things I have the biggest problems with were not re-signing Orlando Cabrera after 2004, and then not re-signing Alex Gonzalez after either 2006 or 2009. (On a side note, Marco Scutaro, if he stays healthy, will be the first shortstop to play two full, consecutive seasons with us since Nomar in 02-03.)

TartanElk
4 years 5 months ago

“We had a scout on him literally the last three, four months of the season at the ballpark, away from the ballpark.”

In other words, Theo just said, “We know how often he poops!”

4 years 5 months ago

Theo = stalker

Ben_Cherington
4 years 5 months ago

Theo= The Truth

GoAwayNow
4 years 5 months ago

The Truth = Paul Pierce, so Paul Pierce = A stalker?

jgmaynard
4 years 5 months ago

Not likely. Think of the Venn diagrams. If both Theo and Pierce merge with the truth and Theo merges with stalker, and we assume there is more than one stalker out there, then Paul Pierce is not necessarily a stalker… :O)

East Coast Bias
4 years 5 months ago

I’m really looking forward to watching how Pap’s season plays out.

RedSoxDynasty
4 years 5 months ago

Sometimes the front office overanalyzes players(drew, lugo) but Theo never makes a rash decision that much is sure and we’re lucky to have him running the show!

02waster
4 years 5 months ago

i got the sox and phillies in the series this year, with the sox winning in 7 games

johnsilver
4 years 5 months ago

Don’t really see how the SP is an area oc concern if the keep Wake this season. Sure, Matsuzaka will end up on the DL during the season and probably Wake also if Matsuzaka is on it for any period of time also, but Doubrant will be there and hard to see more than 2 of the starters on it at any given time if Aceves can give them 5 innings.

Agreed on any youngsters (other than Doubrant) near MLB ready. Weiand, Fife and Wilson look like future relievers at this point with only Tazawa being a possible starter as of now for close to immediate help.

rockfordone
4 years 5 months ago

What about Bowden? MLB ready? or bust

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

At this point he’s more of a potential league average reliever.

redsox4120
4 years 5 months ago

He is still only 24 but hasn’t shown he’s ready for the show. So far, he’s a bust, but there is still time to redeem himself. If he is to redeem himself it’d be in the pen, not the rotation, i think.

Crackis4lovers
4 years 5 months ago

Bowden would have had to be highly regarded to be a bust. He’s not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but anyone who’s watched the kid over the last several years and thought he’d end up as anything but a serviceable back end of the rotation guy was fooling themelves. His stuff has never looked like it would play long term at the ML level.

If he really harnesses his control though, he could turn himself into an extremely valuable Keith Foulke like clone.

More likely, I see him as one if the first guys to go in a trade.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Actually I more see Bowden as one of the first to see the door if a roster crunch is happens.

woadude
4 years 5 months ago

Exactly, if he was to be in a trade, it would of happened already.

redsox4120
4 years 5 months ago

Yea, I agree. He’s still got time to be somebody if he gets his stuff together. I can also see Bowden sent somewhere in a trade along with Lars Anderson too, he’s got no future on the Sox.

woadude
4 years 5 months ago

Reliever not SP.

Fangaffes
4 years 5 months ago

The fact that Theo didn’t even mention him as starter depth pretty much tells you all you need to know about what they think of Bowden.

rockfordone
4 years 5 months ago

thanks – kid had a lot of promise – Sox should trade him to AAAA – Pittsburg, KC, SD

Karkat
4 years 5 months ago

I see him being a pretty solid setup guy down the line, but that’s about it.

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Whats the deal with Jason Place?

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Pretty much off the radar. Probably will get released soon.

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Too bad, considering he wasn’t a bad defender in CF. That guy had the talent but if you don’t mash in Lancaster theres usually a problem.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Yeah, great potential talent. But not every high risk high reward works out.

woadude
4 years 5 months ago

Same Thing about Lars Anderson.. I think he has a tattoo that says AAA for life.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

I’m not sold he’s gone yet, the guy’s only 23. If he has a good enough year in AAA then he might even be a candidate for DH in 2012.

redsox4120
4 years 5 months ago

I think he’s good as gone. Remember? The Sox are getting Pujols to DH next season!!!! haha.

MaineSox
4 years 5 months ago

I saw an interesting article about Lars a while back, it essentially said that he has had a similar career to other opposite field power hitters so far; apparently hitters with that type of skill tend to develop differently and are not regarded as highly early on in their careers. Through their age 22 seasons Lars actually put up similar numbers to Votto.

I’m not even going to try to post a link to it here but if you want to see it just google “Lars Anderson opposite field power” and it should be the first one that comes up; it’s at overthemonster dot com, particularly the last part where they talk about “the hitting skill”.

rockfordone
4 years 5 months ago

Trade Anderson and Bowden to AAAA Pirates for a Catcher

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

His swing can become so awkward.. It gets really slow and he takes a long time to get through the zone.

Karkat
4 years 5 months ago

Lars Anderson will be playing in the majors in a couple years, I think, but not for the Red Sox. I’m hoping he shows enough promise in AAA this year that he becomes a good trade chip.

garylanglais
4 years 5 months ago

No Starting Pitching depth? I figured an already established starting 5 while naming a sixth, seventh and EIGHTH would qualify as SP depth. If there was a sixth man (SP) of the year award I think Wakefield is/has been the favorite for past couple years. Doubront is a LHP who can spot start and Buster Olney tweeted today that Aceves is “commanding the ball well, has lost weight and improved his conditioning.” I would say having EIGHT potential SP’s would qualify as a strength, not an “area of vulnerability.”

Fangaffes
4 years 5 months ago

I agree, but Theo claimed that the average team uses 10 starters in a season.

danofhate
4 years 5 months ago

Doubront is almost out of options if I’m not mistaken. Therefore, the spot start issue can’t really occur. Unless he stays in the bullpen and they get rid of someone else to make a spot on the roster. I believe what Theo was talking about is another pitcher like Doubront who can do what Doubront did last year coming up from AAA.

Cody
4 years 5 months ago

On avg a team will use 10-11 starters a year for varies starts. We have about 8 including Bowden, I’m not including Aceves because he will be out for a lest the first month if not two. I did not just make this up Theo said the same thing. Saying Lars is AAA for life is crazy, he has all the talent to be a very good 1B/DH if he can bounce back this year.

garylanglais
4 years 5 months ago

Valid point. I wouldnt discount Aceves. And fine if we include Bowden that gives us 9. And I think if we include Bowden then we would have to include Tazawa (who is coming off TJ surgery) bringing the number to 10. Here are how many players started games in past 6 years with number in parentheses showing how many from total started 1 game and 1 game only
2010: 8 starters (1)
2009: 11 starters (1)
2008: 11 starters (2)
2007: 9 starters (1)
2006: 13 starters (0)
2005: 10 starters (2)

I think the 10 named provides sufficient depth to warrant it a moot point at worst.

Cody
4 years 5 months ago

I can’t see Tazawa starting any games this year. He’s just getting done recovering from TJ. The only way he could start is if both Bowden and Felix got hurt and he still would have to wait till at lest June or July to get his stamina back up to start. Plus you don’t rush a TJ guy back to quick. I was just saying what Theo said in a interview today.

0bsessions
4 years 5 months ago

“Sox should trade him to AAAA – Pittsburg, KC, SD”

I’d like it noted that the Padres had a better record than the Red Sox last year, and while I consider injuries a valid defense when comparing them to the Yankees or Rays, our replacement levels weren’t much of any worse than some of the Padres’ opening day starters.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Alright, as long as I can point out the Red Sox were in a division with 2 of the 3 best records in baseball and they were in a league where 9 out of the 14 teams had winning percentages of .500 or more.

nhlegend
4 years 5 months ago

I think that utility infield depth may be a concern as well. Hopefully someone will step up as that backup to Lowrie. If a starting infielder goes down, I hope they leave Iglesias in the minors to get at bats everyday.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Unless Iglesias suddenly starts hitting .400 in Portland and Pawtucket, my bet is he only sees a couple of ABs in Boston in late September. Other than that Luna and Navarro are the back up infield depth in the minors.

Cody
4 years 5 months ago

I think the call up order if injures happen would be Navarro, Lars, Reddick, then Middlebrooks (AA). Lars could make the team out of spring tho so could Reddick. Middlebrooks is intriguing but is blocked by Youk at third unless injury happens, I don’t know if he can play another position.

Cody
4 years 5 months ago

Kalish will I think make the team out of spring as a bench player to back up Drew and Cam, with Drew’s health concerns and Cams age he is the best OF we have here and in the minors, i really liked what I saw of him last year when he got called up. As for

Cody
4 years 5 months ago

Lglesias will not be call up this year I don’t think unless he is hitting like crazy and Scoot is hurt.

BoSoXaddict
4 years 5 months ago

If Scutaro gets hurt, Lowrie starts at SS no problem. Not Iglesias. And that’s assuming Lowrie doesn’t win the starting SS job away from Scutaro to begin with also..

Fangaffes
4 years 5 months ago

I have to agree with blackcourt here. Kalish has the most talent by far, but will start the season in Pawtucket in order to not use up his cheap “service time” sitting on the bench behind Cameron. They’ll probably start out with Darnell McDonald as the 5th OF.

danofhate
4 years 5 months ago

Kalish will spend the majority of the year in AAA to get steady at bats. Remember he is the leader to replace drew next year. Breaking camp you’ll have Darnell MacDonald as a fifth outfielder, and Lowrie as your super utility infielder. Barring injuries of course. Nava will most likely be at AAA also, but would more than likely be brought up over Kalish if the need arises. The biggest thing is for Kalish to continue his progression so he can go right into Right field next year. Unless JD has a horrible injury that takes him out for most of the year.

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Who cares?

Cody
4 years 5 months ago

Agree I was just saying there was a chance but a small one. I completely forgot about Nava but I don’t know if we need him right away I like Kalish way better to back up the OF with Cam.

Fangaffes
4 years 5 months ago

I agree. The kid has a lot of talent and has pretty much flown under the radar.

BoSoXaddict
4 years 5 months ago

He could be traid bait this year or during the offseason since he’s pretty much blocked..

BoSoXaddict
4 years 5 months ago

The only reason Pimentel is on the 40-man was to protect him in the Rule 5. That such a young prospect is on the 40-man is evidence of how little Major League ready pitching we have in the system at the moment, but if someone were to get the call other than Wakefield, Doubront or Aceves..my guess is it would be Stephen Fife or Kyle Weiland. I wouldn’t say either is really “ready” to make their Major League debut..but they would probably be 9th and 10th on the depth chart. Unless, that is, someone like Miller, DiNardo or Duckworth is somehow deemed capable..which is not completely out of the question…

BoSoXaddict
4 years 5 months ago

It was just announced that Weiland and Pimentel will each start exhibition games against Northeastern torwards the end of spring training. That COULD indicate the Sox see Pimentel as a possible candidate for a spot-start this season..