Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Red Sox, Headley, Clippard

Nine years ago today, the Devil Rays signed Lou Piniella to a four-year contract and named him their manager. As compensation for hiring Piniella away from the Mariners, Tampa sent All-Star outfielder Randy Winn and minor leaguer Antonio Perez to Seattle. Another manager was traded just a few weeks ago, as the White Sox dealt Ozzie Guillen (and minor leaguer Ricardo Andres) to the Marlins for prospects Jhan Marinez and Osvaldo Martinez. At some point in the near future, the Cubs will officially send prospects to the Red Sox and Padres for front office executives Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod.

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42 Comments on "Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Red Sox, Headley, Clippard"


John Arguello
3 years 10 months ago

Headley for Brett Jackson. That’s not going to happen.  Why is it that when other team’s bloggers want to trade their spare parts they think they can get the other team’s top prospect?  Jackson provides OBP skills, power, and speed from a premium defensive position, fits the mold of what the Cubs want to add, not subtract…why on earth would they trade him for a corner infielder with no power?  Headley to the Cubs is a reasonable idea, but the exchange for Jackson is nonsense.

Drew Tweedie
3 years 10 months ago

Did you even take the time to look at his home/road splits?

John Arguello
3 years 10 months ago

Yes.

TgIGoToS
3 years 10 months ago

I’m not so sure 3rd base isn’t a premium position especially with this years free agent market.  This writer didn’t suggest a straight up swap.  He’s suggesting a package with Headley for a player like Jackson.  He’s suggesting a trade for a player like Jackson that could fit the Padres philosophy in Petco Park.  I think it’s a great idea, but the Padres would have to kick in some pitching or a prospect of their own in my opinion.    You saying Headley has no power is nonsense.  He’s showed plenty of power outside of Petco Park and would likely be a very solid hitter in Wrigley and the NL Central. 

John Arguello
3 years 10 months ago

Epstein has already said he wants to build strength up the middle.  The Cubs are also much more likely to be able to fill 3B, where the Cubs have the most depth in their system, than CF.  As for the dearth of 3B in free agency, that’s irrelevant. The Cubs aren’t about 2012 and the Cubs need a CF for the long term as well…why would they trade from an area of less depth to get a player at a position where they have a lot more?  It just doesn’t make any sense from the Cubs side of things, which is what I’m essentially saying the piece failed to consider.  As I said, Headley would be a nice player for us, but you don’t trade an equally valuable piece at a position that’s more difficult to fill.

NYBravosFan10
3 years 10 months ago

I’ve almost decided to stop reading Capitol Avenue Clubs’ articles, they are complete b/s and offer zero intelligence

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

The article on Lackey brings to mind question I have not seen addressed anywhere:

I’d been wondering for a few days whether or not the TJ surgery would trigger that sixth year option and that brings me to wonder how this will affect payroll.

As has been noted before, countable payroll is calculated on a per year average of the contract rather than the individual yearly salary to avoid teams gaming the system by juggling backloaded/frontloaded contracts. With this in mind, does the league minimum option having been triggered affect the calculation of his salary?

Looking at his contract, he had three years and $48.3MM remaining, leaving him with an AAV of $17.1MM. Now that the option has trigged, we add a year, but only half a million on, bringing the total remaining to four years and $48.8MM, with an AAV of $12.2 million.
So is there an MLB workaround on this, or did the Sox just end up clearing up about $5 million worth of payroll annually for the life of Lackey’s deal (Though spreading the commitment to payroll into another year). Frankly speaking, considering that was about the most the Sox could have hoped to get back in a trade of Lackey, this situation has an added benefit beyond not having to watch Lackey pitch for 12-18 months.

Could anyone with more knowledge of the system enlighten me on this?

ETA: Okay, turns out this was addressed by Rob Bradford on EEI days ago. It WILL create luxury tax savings. Win-Win!

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

As you say, win-win. My father is convinced it’s a conspiracy theory, they’re quietly paying him to not play.

3 years 10 months ago

Yeah, they put the clause about his elbow 2yrs ago planning on tommy john surgery now.  So they could spread out his salary cap hit.  Theos a genius!

But seriously, they did same on JD Drews pre-existing back problem. But didnt cover themselves nearly as well (Boras factor maybe?). I forget exact details but clause never kicked in, even though his back was bad from what seemed like day one.

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

Yeah, from everything I’ve read it will create luxury tax savings assuming that the surgery does indeed trigger a vesting option.  There is some debate though about whether it is a vesting option or it just triggers a team option; if it is a vesting option it is considered guaranteed, but if it is just a team option the money wouldn’t be guaranteed and therefor wouldn’t affect the AAV of the deal.

3 years 10 months ago

“The one bit of relief to the Red Sox is that the injury kicks in a 2015 vesting option, whereby Lackey will only be paid $500K for that season.” from mlbreports above.

If that can be considered 100% accurate.

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

I honestly don’t know if it’s accurate or not, I’ve seen reports saying that it’s a vesting option, and I’ve seen reports that it’s a team option.

3 years 10 months ago

agree, but even if its not spread out it would turn into huge savings on 2015 salary cap instead of spread out savings for other years.

AirmanSD
3 years 10 months ago

According to Cots Baseball Contracts its a club option not a vesting option. “2015 club option at Major League minimum
salary if Lackey misses significant time with surgery for pre-existing
elbow injury in 2010-14″

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I do not have any knowledge of the system. Ha. After the news the other day I did check the numbers and I can confirm that you are correct that he will be paid $12.2mm per season going forward and my belief is that the Sox do benefit with a luxury tax savings. With the AAV being lower, the Sox will have more flexibility to trade him going into 2014 season (2013 offseason), which would likely be the first legitimate opportunity to bring it up again. With the lower AAV the Sox could eat one year and move $12.2mm for both years of 2014 and 2015. I still don’t think the situation is really all that great overall and I think fans just need to concede that regardless of luxury tax savings or not seeing him pitch need year and maybe part 2013 it is still a suck cost upwards of $32mm or 2/3 of the remaining contract.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

Compared to watching him pitch as our #3 starter next year, I’m still sticking with it’s a win.

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

It was a sunk cost either way. This way, we get to avoid having to watch him pitch AND we’re saving about what we would’ve saved trading him anyway. Considering the undeniable facts of the situation, this is about the best (realistic) case scenario. As the article states, there’s always the (remote) possibility he comes back a bit more humble and once healthy, maybe he won’t be so incredibly hittable (Of course I expect it’s much more likely that he becomes complacent and blames the injury for all of his recent struggles, sits on his duff for a year and comes back just as bad and unaccountable as before).

Think of it this way, imagine there was a clause in Burnett’s contract that meant you didn’t have to watch him pitch every fifth day AND your team ended up saving money because of it.

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Fair enough, but at least AJ makes it interesting sometimes and I usually tune in anyway when its his turn with the hope that he’ll go 8 throw a 1 hitter and strike out 10-12. We’ve seen that, even this season, like once, but its there. I totally get your comparison, but Lackey is a whole other level of awful. 

3 years 10 months ago

oh no. This has been good baseball talk. Dont turn this into Burnett vs Lackey thing.  Cause then the dicussion goes downhill,  with all the haters coming out of the woodwork.

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

No worries. Not going there and yes, Burnett sucks and I can admit that as a Yankee fan, but truth is he has that one gem in him once in a while. 

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

Lackey held the Phillies, who finished with the best record in baseball, to two runs in 7.2 innings. Burnett’s three best performances (and most of his best in general, outside his nine K’s against the Rays, his best strikeout performance against a .500+ team was the Angels with 6) this season were against the Royals and White Sox, two sub-.500 teams and the Red Sox in September (Which really shouldn’t count for much of anything, the Orioles lost like one game to us that month). They’re both at pretty much the same level of awful when it comes down to it. Either one is technically capable of going out and shutting down the opponent (Both of them threw exactly four games giving up one run or less this season), but anyone who’s realistic goes into any game either of them is pitching ready to see some runs crossing the plate (Lackey gave up 7+ runs five times, Burnett four).

Lackey and Burnett are both effectively god awful pitchers at this point. Who knows how much his arm trouble may or may not have affected Lackey’s season, but as noted, they’re pretty much on the exact same level of awful.

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Fair enough and I’m not really going to argue this point much because yeah, they both suck. No argument there. At least when AJ’s contract is done and over, he hopefully will have lived through it healthy and as posted yesterday or the day before, despite AJ’s obvious and glaring shortcomings, there are teams (if a deal is structured right) that would take AJ. The Royals, Pirates, Padres, Nats, are just a few that pop to mind. So at a bare minimum, for both of their terrible performances, AJ present day, has a little more value and I just think when comparing the two, this is also considered.

3 years 10 months ago

Not sure reading you correctly, you have typo in last sentence.  But, usually dont lose 2 full years from TJ surgery.  Besides how do you 32 mil for those 2 yrs, when you say yourself its 12.2 mil per season.  Not following logic.

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

” But, usually dont lose 2 full years from TJ surgery.”
The recovery time is 12-18 months, and that’s not accounting for getting back into top form (On the rare occasion someone gets back in to games on the short end of that, they’re generally ineffective upon their return, see Joe Nathan, who went down during ST in 2010 and was largely ineffective most of this season). The fact they’re doing it in the offseason means he’s likely to miss less gametime than he could, but missing a full season and a half is not out of the realm of possibility. Heck, a pitcher needing TJ in April could quite feasibly miss two full seasons on the recovery time.

3 years 10 months ago

Arent we talking bout Lackey, he needs it now, not April. Nor are we talking about closers.  Arent AJ Burnett, Chris Carpenter, Ryan Dempster, Tim Hudson better examples.  None took more than 18mo off, and all pitched very well when they came back.  Tim Hudson surgery after 3 starts came back the next year 17-9 2.83. And again whered you get 32mil for 2yrs?  You got any accurate things you want to say instead of hating.

Casor_Greener
3 years 10 months ago

Mud ain’t playing….

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

I didn’t say anything about 32 million over two years, nor have I done any “hating,” I’m just pointing out that it’s not entirely uncommon for a pitcher to lose two full years to TJ surgery (A starter example for your benefit would be Junichi Tazawa, who went in for TJ in June of 2011 and managed to pitch maybe 14 effective innings in 2011).

3 years 10 months ago

He’s a MINOR LEAGUER of course you take as much time as you can with them cause youre payin them next to nothing.  Whats wrong with comparing STARTING MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHERS MAKING BIG LEAGUE SALARIES with the same.  Again get real.

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

Because rushing a MLB player back helps so much?

Considering the fact the Red Sox missed the playoffs because of rotten pitching in September, I have to imagine it’d be more likely they’d rush a minor leaguer in to fill in because he’s getting paid peanuts and if it destroys his arm, so what? He’s cheap.

3 years 10 months ago

So comparing him to one foreign minor leaguer much more accurate, than say Hudson, Carpenter, Burnett, or Dempster because why?

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

Because that “foreign (why does that matter?) minor leaguer” is in the same organization as Lackey, and would be more likely to show how that team handles pitchers who have had TJ surgery than pitchers in different organizations.

3 years 10 months ago

foreign because they have different traing regiments.  Dont you know this from Matsusaka?  Who knows how long Tommy John surgery takes to recover from in Japan.  I dont, doubt you do either.  

Hes got a ridiculous point, and all his bitcctch come to defend him.

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

Good job making yourself look like a 14 year old and all, but you don’t seem to have any idea what you’re talking about.

If we were talking about a guy like Daisuke who had pitched his whole young life in Japan you might have a point, the problem is we aren’t talking about Daisuke, we’re talking about Tazawa, who has been in the states since he was 22 (he never pitched professional baseball in Japan).  He started pro-ball at about the same age as most college players, so the fact that he grew up in Japan is irrelevant.  He’s also definitely not currently in Japan, so how long it takes to recover from TJ surgery in Japan is also irrelevant.

The fact is, Tazawa is in the Red Sox system, so is Lackey, and when you want to know how long an organization likes to give a player with a specific surgery to recover the best thing to do is to look at what that organization has done in the past.  No two scenarios are exactly the same, but what that specific organization has done in the past is a better point of reference than what other organizations have done.

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

Should read he came back from TJ surgery in June of 2011, not went in for.  He had the surgery in April of 2010.

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I hear you. No typo. My rational is this; I do not expect Lackey to return to form quickly. I’m fully aware that TJ surgery doesn’t require 2 years, but then again it kind of does. The likelyhood of Lackey showing up in Spring 2013 fully able and throwing 200 productive innings that year is practically zero in my opinion. Im accounting for 2 years which included 2012 surgery and rehab and 2013, most likely being a combination of continued rehab and perhaps a May-June 2013 return. The Sox would be better served, in my opinion, proceeding very carefully as to preserve whatever drop of value may remain and by doing that, they’ll pitch him in a short season in 2013. Then perhaps they can re-evaluate what the future holds for both. You really can’t expect much of anything before that at this point. I know this seems like I’m over-estimating the time frame, but think about it for a moment, not very many pitchers recover in just one year. Even Strasburg (very young) took a full year and then had the short season. In theory, other than bookend starts and finishes, two seasons were chewed up. 

Pertaining to the money involved, you figure the Sox have two definite seasons of very limited value if any at all 2012 and 2013. $12.2mm x 2 = $24.4mm. If going into 2014 they have a buyer for the remaining two years, they would still likely have to eat 50% (at a minimum) of whatever is remaining of the contract at that point (which is 2 more years 2014/15 at $12.2mm per year) If the Sox pick up 1 of those years $12.2mm, ultimately their total remaining investment in Lackey should be around $36.6mm minimum, should they get a trade partner to pick up $12.2mm for two years. That’s actually a little more than my original comment of 2/3. More like 3/4 might be a sunk cost. 

I guess now that I think about it more, I can understand some of the other comments about how this is a good thing. As it was 2 weeks ago, he was a candidate for a full outright release, or a full salary paid trip to San Diego in return for a C prospect. I guess the way things could go now is that the Sox might be able to actually retain a little money.

3 years 10 months ago

So “not seeing him pitch need year and maybe part 2013″ makes sense to you? Good grammar school. And who says 2013 is a COMPLETE loss? You are writing off the whole year’s salary as a loss. Thats an extreme assumption.

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

“So “not seeing him pitch need year and maybe part 2013″ makes sense to you? Good grammar school. ”

Huh? 

Yes, I agree, grammar is important. 

Guest
3 years 10 months ago

…and you can’t really expect much for 2013 and its not like he’s coming back and being immediately traded. Maybe he gets 15-20 starts and hope that half are effective. Sure I am being conservative, but again, we’re not talking about Strasburg here and no one should expect Lackey to come out and go 9-2 in a short 13 season and pitch to a sub 4.00 ERA. If that happens, I’ll eat my shorts and post on youtube.

Alex
3 years 10 months ago

Some of these blogs are terrible. That Blogging Mets article added absolutely no insight whatsoever.

3 years 10 months ago

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NYBravosFan10
3 years 10 months ago

couldn’t have said it better myself

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 10 months ago

I think Chase Headley would be a nice fit at third base for the Phillies if the Padres make him available.