Offseason In Review: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

This offseason the Red Sox lost a couple of key contributors in Beltre and Martinez, compensating by committing to Crawford and Gonzalez through 2017 and '18, respectively.  Otherwise, GM Theo Epstein retained Ortiz, tinkered with the bullpen, and locked up Buchholz to a flexible contract.

Beltre and Martinez were huge losses for the Red Sox, who did not seem aggressive about retaining either player.  The team was able to maintain great corner infield offense, while improved left field production should make up for a downgrade at catcher.  The draft pick results: the Sox lost #24 to sign Crawford, but gained #19, 26, 36, and 40 for Beltre and Martinez.  The Red Sox once again demonstrated that it's better to sign someone else's Type A and let yours leave rather than re-sign your own.

Carl

The Red Sox flexed their financial muscle with the Crawford signing, agreeing to a contract in the range of what most people expected for the left fielder.  His first 58 plate appearances of 2011 notwithstanding, Crawford adds offensive value with his bat and a little more with his basestealing.  Still, Corey Hart and Nick Swisher offer similar offensive production, and they wouldn't have gotten seven-year deals or $20MM salaries as free agents.  Instead, the Crawford signing appears to be the biggest investment in defense we've ever seen.

Only a few teams could afford to pay Crawford over $100MM, but the battle to obtain Gonzalez was a level playing field.  The superstar first baseman earns just $6.3MM this year, about a quarter of his market value.  Acquiring him for the 2011 season meant luxury tax savings and no draft pick cost.  Gonzalez instead cost three significant young players.  Kelly is a consensus top 50 prospect, and Rizzo fits into the top 75.  Fuentes is also highly regarded. 

Even dealing with the GM who knows Boston's farm system best, Jed Hoyer, Epstein made a good win-now move in acquiring Gonzalez.  A trade like this makes more sense for the Red Sox than waiting for the prospects to develop.  Another benefit: Gonzalez was willing to sign a below-market contract and didn't require the 2011 salary to be overwritten.

The Buchholz extension was of a different type; the Red Sox guaranteed him almost $30MM in the name of three free agent years and possible arbitration savings.  This has been an effective strategy for Boston, but as it gains in popularity the prices rise and the deals become less team-friendly.  Though Buchholz's 2.33 ERA earned him a sixth-place Cy Young finish last year, Baseball Prospectus' SIERA put him at 4.29.  The top-notch ERA estimator placed Kevin Slowey and Luke Hochevar in the same ballpark, so Buchholz isn't an ace yet.  Like Jon Lester after '08, the Sox need Buchholz to take another step forward to make this contract a big win.

Epstein's bullpen tinkering brought in Jenks, Wheeler, Okajima, Albers, Aceves, plus several lefties on minor league deals.  The Red Sox could have purchased a more established southpaw, looking at the free agent market

I agree with the decision to exercise Ortiz's option, even if $12.5MM seems steep compared to certain DH signings.  Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn required at least that much, plus four-year commitments, to essentially serve as DHs.  The trio is a cut above players like Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, and Jack Cust.

Waiting until the Gonzalez extension became official allows me to talk about Boston's slow start; they're 5-10 at the time of this writing.  This is a concern.  If you pegged them as a 95 win team back in March and consider the first 15 games a fluke, they're projected now to win 91 games.  Unless the team balances their start by reeling off a winning streak, I think they'll be aggressive in seeking trade deadline upgrades.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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


4 years 3 months ago

I don’t know how or where they really upgrade? Starting pitching would be expensive in prospects to procure and you’d be competing with the Yankees on anybody worth having. Catcher? If the rest of the lineup picks it up and produces as projected you can live with a black hole at catcher, and is it worth it to trade a couple prospects for a guy who is basically gonna hit .250-.275 tops?

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

#winning.

stl_cards16
4 years 3 months ago

Thank you Charlie.

wickedkevin
4 years 3 months ago

“and is it worth it to trade a couple prospects for a guy who is basically gonna hit .250-.275 tops?”

Fail.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

The saddest part is that he REALLY believes that :(

4 years 3 months ago

I’m confused as to whom he is talking about with that comment.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

adrian

4 years 3 months ago

Oh…so he really is as much of an idiot as I thought he was.

4 years 3 months ago

Pardon me for not making it clear I was talking about who ever the Sox would receive as a catcher in any potential trade.

Thanhxvo
4 years 3 months ago

lol I thought you were talking about Adrian too, then there would be a problem

4 years 3 months ago

The way I see it, a starter or a catcher are really the only two places to upgrade. So I don’t expect the Sox to be very aggressive at the trade deadline, unless of course there’s a catastrophic injury to somebody somewhere.

4 years 3 months ago

The Red Sox also do not really have the prospects to make a trade for a starting pitcher of any worth. Wakefield, Aceves, Miller, and Doubrount are the only real pitchers they could have spot start as well. The sox pitching is mighty thin. Salty doesnt hit well but he doesnt need to. His defense is the concern. No real upgrade to be had there.

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

“The sox pitching is mighty thin.” Seriously? The Sox are probably deeper in starting depth than anybody.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

Early Season Slump Got You Down?

Call the blue jays! We bust your slump or your money back!

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

Thanks for that by the way

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

Oh don’t mention it. Least we can do.

I’m sure Dice K has already sent over a basket of oranges to John Farrel

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

That wasn’t Dice K on the mound today. It was a prototype cyber organism provided by the Japanese government as a sign of honor and good faith. Unfortunately, it’s already been loaded back on the plane to Tokyo and the real Dice K will be pitching next Saturday…Hope for the best..

j6takish
4 years 3 months ago

And the “2010 Seattle Mariners Award” goes to the Boston Red Sox

wickedkevin
4 years 3 months ago

Holy April, Batman!

notsureifsrs
4 years 3 months ago

yes good point there the situations are very similar

wickedkevin
4 years 3 months ago

You could probably post that same thing every single day in April.

4 years 3 months ago

I have often thought of that same xkcd comic here… Nice one.

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

It’s not often I’ll defend something Red Sox, but dude seriously? Bad start. It happens, but, by no means should the Red Sox and Mariners be considered in the same sentence.

The 2011 Mariners have managed to attain a goal set by no other team in history. They’ve removed the M from MLB. Just League Baseball for them homey and that’s probably a stretch in itself..

4 years 3 months ago

And I thought the Angels had a bad offseason. I would hate to be a Red Sox fan…..

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

Yeah. It’d be awful to be 4.5 back with 147 to play….

4 years 3 months ago

Nobody has ever come back from that big of a deficit to win the division before.

wickedkevin
4 years 3 months ago

2004 ALCS. 2004 Playoffs-8 wins in a row. Other things never done before.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

thats usually because only really bad teams get off to starts like that. Its not because the defecit was too great to overcome.

C’mon shake your head

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

2001 A’s started 2-10 and won 102 games

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

They we’re unbelievable down the stretch, I remember that

4 years 3 months ago

Yeah didn’t they have like a 20 game winning streak that year? I remember the Minnesota Twins were the ones that snapped that streak.

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

If I remember right their longest was 11, but they had several 8-10 game winning streaks toward the end of the season.

4 years 3 months ago

I just looked it up, it was the 2002 Oakland A’s who had a 20 game win streak. Which is the record for a 162 game season.

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

And the wild card. Unbelievable. Freakin Mariners.

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

Is this a joke? I want to think you’re kidding, .

1951 New York Giants:
Started 2-12
Finished 98-59
*NL Pennant*

1914 Boston Braves
Started 3-11
Finished 94-59
**World Series Champs**

1991 Minnesota Twins
Started 4-10
Finished 95-67
**World Series Champs**

1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
Started 4-10
Finished 98-64
**World Series Champs**

1974 Pittsburgh Pirates
Started 4-10
Finished 88-74
**Division Champs**

2001 Oakland A’s
Started 4-10
Finished 102-60
**Wildcard**

1982 Baltimore Orioles
Started 4-10
Finished 94-68
**Second Place**
(94 wins is good though)

2007 Philadelphia Phillies
Started 4-10
Finished 89-73
**Division Champs**

hawkny1
4 years 3 months ago

1st week of the regular season, Pedroia Gonzalez start to hit
2nd week…..add Lowrie… starts to hit
3rd week….. add Saltalmacchia, Ellsbury…same
4th week….. project… add Youkilis..same
5th week….. project… add Crawford, Drew..same

by Memorial Day… Red Sox team @ +/- .280

Red Sox will win 100 games..
Count on it.

4 years 3 months ago

The Red Sox are too good of a team not to win 100 this year.

4 years 3 months ago

Not with that rotation. Dont be so blind.

notsureifsrs
4 years 3 months ago

i don’t think they’ll win 100 games, but you don’t have a leg to stand on with a “weak rotation” argument

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

you forgot to add which week Lowrie will get hurt and Salty will stop hitting

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Funny you bring up the Angels and their off season. Ain’t looking so bad at the moment eh? Many people jumped all over Reagins and neglected to consider that sweetheart deal for Haren last season..

The Red Sox made two mistakes and only two mistakes (more like 1.5 imo) .5 not letting the market develop a little better for Crawford and what I mean by that is there really weren’t bids put on the table publicly before the Sox swooped in. Not saying it’s a bad signing, but I think many in baseball feel Crawford is having a hard time adjusting to his new found wealth. The stuff of him adjusting to the Red Sox is a bunch of bs. He’s fine. I think his issues are 100% mental. He’s got to live up to that contract and he needs to adjust to that thinking..He’ll be fine, but it’s safe to say the Sox overpaid a little. The big one is catcher. Not sure what to say there…It is what it is…

All teams make mistakes throughout the year with signings and trades..

I wouldn’t count your chickens just yet. The Sox will be right in the mix of this thing in a few weeks..

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

“Not saying it’s a bad signing, but I think many in baseball feel Crawford is having a hard time adjusting to his new found wealth”

Source??

He made 10 million in 2010, I dont see how going from rich to really rich is going to change his attitude.

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Good point; considering you forgot to factor in $132mm more in guaranteed income.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

Does he have that 132 million in his bank though??

He was already rich, saying something like people in baseball feel Crawford is having a hard time adjusting to his new found wealth is completely unfounded

He was already rich its not new at all.

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

oi vey..you’re missing my point. Certain players adapt to contract status and money differently. For some people the money motivates, like A-rod, Tex, and so on..I’m not necessarily sure that Crawford is your A typical money ball player. He has never given me that impression. I willing to bet when his agent called him on that fateful night and said..”the Red Sox are willing to go as many as 7 years for $142mm” I’m going to go out on a limb and say he probably crapped his pants..Where as Tex and Arod and others expected that..I may not have been clear with my point, but I am sure there are a few on here that will agree..

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

His agent had told various teams that the first team to hit 140 million would be the winners of the Crawford sweepstake. His agent placed his value pretty accurately, so Carl new the money was coming..

Sorry, I don’t mean to be argumentative, but I really have heard nothing and don’t understand the notion that he’s strugglying to adjust to his new wealth.

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

We just have two different views on this…No worries.

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

Plus A-Rod reacted to his big money pay day in Texas by taking steroids to calm his nerves or something like that. I hope Crawford doesn’t do the same.

East Coast Bias
4 years 3 months ago

I love comments like this.

Almost as much as I love Manny and Papi’s steroid non-admissions that helped them win the world series.

BoSoxSam
4 years 3 months ago

And I love people who keep acting like it was only a privileged few that took steroids during that time period.

East Coast Bias
4 years 3 months ago

And I love… oh forget it. It went over your head, little man. The point was people try to force in a comment about something totally unrelated to the topic being discussed. It’s ok, that was a difficult one. [but not really]

4 years 3 months ago

Take it easy on the slow ones.

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

Actually it was on topic ECB. The statement I was responding to was that CC was having problems coping with his new big money contract. That was the same excuse A-Rod made when he admitted he took steroids in Texas. It was on topic. Your response to me however, was not.

Jimmy Hoffman
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t really understand how taking steroids would calm your nerves, wouldn’t they have the opposite effect? AKA the rage

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

You would have to ask the man that took the steroids.

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

And if you want to get into it how many people on steroids helped the Yankees win? A-Rod, Clemens, Pettitte. And that was just the ones who got caught. So stones and glass houses.

Jimmy Hoffman
4 years 3 months ago

At least our players on steroids were better than yours.

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

The Sox won 2 world series in the last decade. The Yankees won one. Tell me how yours were better?

East Coast Bias
4 years 3 months ago

We both live in glass houses, though. Now stop peeking!

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

NEVER! You must work out.

4 years 3 months ago

Money does funny things to people. I can believe he’s struggling due to his new found wealth.

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

You lost all credibility a few posts ago.

Yeah. It’s really hard going from making $10mm to never having to worry about money the rest of your life.

TheHotCorner
4 years 3 months ago

I think he is just trying to increase the total number of posts he has. After all we know that: High # of posts = intelligence.

RedSoxDynasty
4 years 3 months ago

Riiiigght! He has a really big “post” that hes trying to make bigger. If u ask Tyler he’ll probably tell us his post is the biggest!

4 years 3 months ago

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

And in terms of source. I think every sports writer in every publication on every channel has touched on this subject of Crawford putting too much pressure on himself, likely because of his desire to validate the contract. Can’t fault him and if that’s the case, I’ll look at that positively since the motivation to succeed is there..He just sputtered..

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

ahh well thats an entirely different issue..

Trying to play up to expectations of a huge contract is different than adjusting to new found wealth…

When someone says they are strugglying because of new wealth it usually means they have become complacent or lazy because they are set.. I don’t think anyone has accused Crawford of that…

Gripping the bat too tight and feeling like he has to do something spectacular every at bat is a completely different issue.

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

fair enough..good point

4 years 3 months ago

Fun facts on Andrew Miller’s first two appearances for AAA Pawtucket: 7.1 IP, 7 K, 1 ER, 4 H.

Sounds good, huh? Also: EIGHT WALKS.

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

You liar! That wasn’t fun at all!

East Coast Bias
4 years 3 months ago

how the hell did he only escape with one earned run?!

notsureifsrs
4 years 3 months ago

andrew “marmol” miller

4 years 3 months ago

To be fair, to have truly pulled a Marmol, it’d be more like 15 K and 5 BB.

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

“Still, Corey Hart and Nick Swisher offer similar offensive production”

If you are talking purely about hitting it’s close enough that you could consider it similar (.370 wOBA for Crawford over his last three healthy years, .359 for both Swisher and Hart) but stealing bases, and taking extra bases (stretching singles, going first to third on singles etc.) are also offensive production and the other two are nowhere close as far as any of that goes. Sure, a lot of his value comes from his defense, but saying that he is a similar offensive player to Swisher and Hart seems like quite a stretch.

notsureifsrs
4 years 3 months ago

actually fangraphs wOBA does incorporate stolen bases. i wish they’d park adjust it so i wouldn’t have to jump around

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

Serious? Did not know that. Never mind me then.

Jimmy Hoffman
4 years 3 months ago

“Still, Corey Hart and Nick Swisher offer similar offensive production”

Again, you are right that Carl Crawford is not a similar offensive player to Nick Swisher and Corey Hart, but Tim wasn’t saying that. He said they offer similar production at the end of the day.

Fangaffes
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t care if Varitek never gets another hit if he can make Dice-K and Beckett pitch like that all the time.

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

Exactly. Guess what? Beyonce is a lousy cook. Enough said.

SierraM363
4 years 3 months ago

Maybe the Yankees should have taken the Swisher approach when they paid their SS for his past contributions and not future production.

iheartyourfart
4 years 3 months ago

i think they tried to take the swisher approach when they signed nick swisher. jury is still out on him.

SierraM363
4 years 3 months ago

What approach did they take with Jeter? Wishful thinking?

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

Tyler Durden 17 minutes ago in reply to soxfan0928

Nobody has ever come back from that big of a deficit to win the division before.

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

Actually I didn’t type it. I copied and pasted it from another forum. So…you’re dumb.

stl_cards16
4 years 3 months ago

“Nobody has ever come back from that big of a deficit to win the division before.”

You can’t even remember your argument. Pretty much every year someone comes back from 4.5 games at some point in the season to make the playoffs, dummy.

MaineSox
4 years 3 months ago

Deficit of money. Like the government, silly…

4 years 3 months ago

Tyler Durden [Moderator] 28 minutes ago
And I thought the Angels had a bad offseason. I would hate to be a Red Sox fan…..

4 years 3 months ago

Am I on punked? You guys all in on this?

CaseyBlakeDeWitt
4 years 3 months ago

For example, the Giants did it last year.

GoAwayNow
4 years 3 months ago

I love when people say “your” dumb. They have no idea of the irony involved. Successful win sir.

soxfan0928
4 years 3 months ago

I think you just explained it for me. Thanks.

stl_cards16
4 years 3 months ago

The Reds did also.

4 years 3 months ago

No they didn’t

stl_cards16
4 years 3 months ago

May 4, 2010

St. Louis 18-9 —
Chicago Cubs 13-14 5GB
Cincinnati 13-14 5GB

You are really good at this stuff.

stl_cards16
4 years 3 months ago

Just randomly picked a day for ya here.

July 4, 2010

San Diego 49-33 —
LA Dodgers 45-36 3.5 GB
Colorado 44-38 5 GB
San Francisco 41-40 7.5 GB

Do you even watch baseball?

4 years 3 months ago

Never happened. Those are made up

TheHotCorner
4 years 3 months ago

You just keep proving everyone’s point all on your own.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

your callous use of that word is offensive and paints a very ignorant picture of yourself

4 years 3 months ago

I don’t understand.

TheHotCorner
4 years 3 months ago

Not shocked.

4 years 3 months ago

Why are you not shocked.

4 years 3 months ago

Cry me a river.

Lunchbox45
4 years 3 months ago

good one

Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Why is it that I see the same level of excitement in your comment as the excitement in the eyes of my girlfriends dog as it humps a stuffed rabbit..just saying..

RedSoxDynasty
4 years 3 months ago

Talk to yourself much?

ellisburks
4 years 3 months ago

As long as they are the stuffed ones and they consent there is nothing wrong with that.

East Coast Bias
4 years 3 months ago

I knew it!!