Offseason Outlook: Boston Red Sox

Longtime GM Theo Epstein is gone and recently-appointed replacement Ben Cherington will try leading the Red Sox to their first playoff appearance since 2009 by improving the pitching staff and tinkering with the offense.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Contract Options

  • Dan Wheeler, RP: $3MM club option with no buyout (Type B)
  • Marco Scutaro, SS: $6MM club option/$3MM player option with a $1.5MM buyout (Type B)

Free Agents

To fully understand the challenges the Red Sox face this offseason, we must review the events of the past two months. Red Sox fans already know the unpleasant details, so I'll be brief: since the beginning of September, the Red Sox — a franchise no longer accustomed to losing — lost 20 games and their seemingly unshakable grip on a postseason berth. Days after the collapse, they lost their manager and within weeks their longtime general manager left, too. Now, they're about to see their designated hitter and closer hit free agency along with franchise icons Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek.

No, Cherington's first offseason in the GM's office won't be an easy one. But unlike his predecessor, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, Cherington doesn't face anything resembling a rebuilding process. Despite the chaos of the past eight weeks, Boston is well-positioned for success in 2012 and beyond.

It starts with the search for a new manager: someone who can restore order in a clubhouse that apparently featured more than its share of beer and fried chicken in 2011. Boston's search is in its early stages, with the team set to conduct first-round interviews soon.

The September version of the Red Sox played roughly at the level of the 1962 Mets or 2003 Tigers. A whole lot went wrong down the stretch, so it would be unfair to put all the blame on Boston's starting rotation. But make no mistake — Cherington must obtain starting pitching this winter. Pencil Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz in and you have three above-average starters leading the rotation, as long as Buchholz recovers from the lower back stress fracture that sidelined him at the end of 2011. John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka will be recovering from Tommy John surgery, which leaves two openings in Boston's rotation.

Reinforcements could come internally, where the Red Sox have Andrew Miller, Kyle Weiland and Felix Doubront. They could re-sign Wakefield, since the knuckleballer contributes every season and was his usual self in 2011, even as a 45-year-old. Cherington will be looking for more.

At his introductory press conference, the new GM suggested he'll search for buy-low starters. Perhaps this means the Red Sox will offer veteran starters one-year deals and hope for better results than John Smoltz and Brad Penny provided in 2009. Roy Oswalt could be an option, if the Red Sox believe his back is healthy. 

As usual, the Red Sox and Yankees engaged in a bit of gamesmanship at the other's expense last offseason. Boston expressed interest in Mariano Rivera and New York drove up the price for Carl Crawford. Boston should inquire on C.C. Sabathia if he hits the open market this offseason. Sabathia could help the Red Sox and interest from Boston would at least drive the price up for the Yankees, if they successfully re-sign him. While the Steinbrenners spend more than any owners in the game, there's no harm in making the Yankees pay more than they'd like to.

Cherington hasn't publicly ruled out the pursuit of other top free agent starters and until he does, the Red Sox will be linked to the likes of Yu Darvish, C.J. Wilson and Edwin Jackson. The team could also try luring Hiroki Kuroda to Boston, though he appears to favor Los Angeles. 

The Red Sox could inquire on any number of trade candidates, including Fausto CarmonaJonathan Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and White Sox starters Gavin Floyd and John Danks. Though Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie and all the Rays' starters are likely off-limits, the Red Sox should check in on the best arms available on the trade market. Unfortunately for them, the Yankees will be doing exactly the same thing. Depending on how the Red Sox approach their offseason, Jed Lowrie, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick could all be viewed as expendable in trade talks.

Jonathan Papelbon has anchored Boston's bullpen since 2006 and he recorded the final out of Boston's 2007 World Series championship. However, it's no secret he wants to follow the money and the Red Sox have a ready-made replacement in Daniel Bard, who should be fine in 2012, despite his awful September. Boston will surely offer Papelbon arbitration, as he's a Type A free agent, but I'll be surprised if he reports to Fort Myers with the Red Sox next Spring Training.

Like the rotation, the bullpen requires some offseason work. Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Franklin Morales will return and the Red Sox can hope for more from Bobby Jenks in 2012. Dan Wheeler, a valuable yet replaceable reliever, projects as a Type B free agent, so the Red Sox could decline his option and offer arbitration. This would assure them of one of two acceptable results: a draft pick or one more year of Wheeler at an affordable rate. Cherington will likely pursue relief pitching even if Wheeler and non-tender candidates Miller and Matt Albers return.

Lost in the drama of the past two months has been Boston's impressive offensive output. The Red Sox scored more runs than any team in baseball in 2011 and with most of their core players returning, there's no reason to believe they won't have one of the league's best offenses again. The Red Sox are likely to exercise Marco Scutaro's option for $6MM. This would give Jose Iglesias more time to develop and relegate Lowrie to the bench. The rest of Boston's infield is set, with Adrian Gonzalez at first, Dustin Pedroia at second and Kevin Youkilis at third.

The outfield features the American League's most surprising player this side of Mike Napoli and its most disappointing player this side of Adam Dunn, in Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, respectively. Likely joining the two as starters is Reddick, who hit .280/.327/.457 in roughly half a season of playing time. The Red Sox may explore an extension for Ellsbury, not that negotiating with a Scott Boras client coming off of an MVP-caliber season would be easy.

After yet another productive season, David Ortiz is the top designated hitter available on the free agent market. He posted a .309/.398/.554 line, and even though he turns 36 this November, he seems well-positioned for a generous contract. Will the Red Sox finally provide him with the long-term deal he's been seeking for years? Maybe. They'll probably start by offering arbitration, an advisable move given Ortiz's power. But there's no sense in overcommitting to a positionless player who may be approaching his decline phase, so expect the Red Sox to be prepared to walk away. Other free agent DHs are available and Lavarnway is an internal candidate for the job, so Boston isn't bound to Ortiz. 

When he introduced Boston's new general manager, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino pointed out that Cherington will not have the luxury of a peaceful start. “He will hit the ground running, in full stride, and no one will outwork him,” Lucchino said. The way the 2011 season ended, there's no other choice.


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133 Comments on "Offseason Outlook: Boston Red Sox"


notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

reigning offseason champs look to repeat! (this thread is gonna suck)

xfipMachine
3 years 9 months ago

this site reported Scott Atchison is a super-two

3 years 9 months ago

LOL at multiple guaranteed contracts

Nyankss28
3 years 9 months ago

LOL at Bobby Jenks starting

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

I guess I’m missing something, don’t most teams have multiple guaranteed contracts?  And isn’t it a good thing to have stability like that, especially when they are mostly quality players?

slider32
3 years 9 months ago

After the greatest collapse of all time, their is only one way to go and that is up. Finding two good starters could be a challenge in this market. If Papelbon goes to the Phils and Ortiz leaves the Sox will have to make two more good decisions. The bad news is the Yanks and Rays don’t look like they’re going anywhere!

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

“Finding two good starters could be a challenge in this market.”  It could be pretty easy too, all it would take is money.  I expect (and hope) that the Sox will get more creative in finding starting pitchers, but really all they would have to do is throw money at two of Darvish/Wilson/Buehrle/Jackson.

As far as Papelbon and Ortiz go, I don’t think it will be a big deal if either of them leave.  As noted, there is a more than capable replacement for Papelbon already on the team in Bard (as well as quality free agents, who would be cheaper than Pap), and I’m not convinced that Ortiz leaving wouldn’t be preferable anyway.  If Ortiz left they could save a good deal of money while also using the DH spot to keep their fielders fresh without losing their bats (particularly Youkilis), and it would give them a way to keep Lavarnway in the lineup until they decide if he can take over at catcher or not.

slider32
3 years 9 months ago

Bard was not too good at the end of the year this year. If he pitches like that as a closer he will be a failure.

BoSoxSam
3 years 9 months ago

Well, that’s pretty shortsighted. If Mariano Rivera always pitched like that one night he blew the save, well darn he’d be pretty bad too. Bard had one bad month after being heavily worked the whole year, only to see his use go up near the end because of all the failure in the starting rotation. His stuff was always electric, he just lost some control right near the end and had a few bad days.

slider32
3 years 9 months ago

Your first mistake is to compare Bard to Rivera.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

So we should ignore what he did for the first 5 months of the season (and previous years) and focus completely on one month?

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

We can name the many reasons the Sox missed the playoffs, but if you want my honest opinion, I think he was the main reason the Sox missed the playoffs. He had 9 losses, that lead all relief pitchers in baseball. 7 of those 9 losses came in April and September, Boston’s 2 worse months of the season.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

It’s foolish to put it on one player; if the starters hadn’t sucked in September he wouldn’t have been overused and likely would have been a lot more effective (and not needed as much even if he did still suck), likewise if other relievers had been more effective in September they wouldn’t have always had to go to him and again he wouldn’t have been overused (and again not needed as much even if he did still suck).

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

As I said, we can name many reasons. I don’t put full blame on Bard, I said I think he was the main reason. For the September collapse it was definitely the starters at fault, but 4 losses in a month by a relief pitcher is a lot.

Debageldond
3 years 9 months ago

Going by pitcher wins and losses is always silly.  Bard is in a unique position in Boston’s bullpen to receive a loss.  He pitches more high-leverage innings than anyone, including Papelbon.  He’s the guy who they’ll put into a tie game with runners in scoring position and one out.  A small mistake by him leads to disaster more often than a small mistake by any other player.  As a result, he racks up losses.

I am not anti-Papelbon by any means, but he has a much easier time of it.  He typically pitches with a lead, often with a 2- or 3-run lead.  He’s usually not on the hook for a loss until he allows 2 or 3 runs.  Other relievers often pitch in lower-leverage situations where we are already winning or losing.

Certainly, Bard had a bad month.  Unfortunately, that was more a symptom than a cause of the collapse.  Bard failed in the end essentially because everyone else did, and he can’t hold the whole bullpen/team on his shoulders the entire season.  He became overworked because we had too many bad 5-inning starts and the other bullpen arms, outside of Papelbon and Aceves, were not to be counted on.  It’s unfortunate that Bard crumbled as such, and it’s irritating to think about, since one or two more wins at any point would have had us in the postseason, but you really have to take everything into account when claiming someone was “the main reason”.

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

“Going by pitcher wins and losses is always silly.”

Not Losses for a relief pitcher. Set-up men like Bard have 1 job, to hold the lead or keep the game tied if it’s tied. Bard obviouly did not do that at least 9 games this year in 70 appearances. Losses for a relief pitcher is an underrated stat. Wins I do not use for them though.

“He’s the guy who they’ll put into a tie game with runners in scoring position and one out.  A small mistake by him leads to disaster more often than a small mistake by any other player.  As a result, he racks up losses.”

A loss in that case would go to the pitcher who is responsible for the runners on base, not Bard.

Debageldond
3 years 9 months ago

Right.  Starters aren’t supposed to allow runs either.  In fact, all pitchers have one job: don’t allow runs.  Unfortunately, they do, and most allow many more than Bard.  As I said earlier, it’s hard to ignore his overuse, and his overuse was mostly due to failure on the part of the starting rotation and other relievers.

I’m aware of the rules regarding loss assignments; the point I was making is that he is more often than not put in a very difficult position in which he could easily fail.  He’s the one who gets thrown into the fray, and he typically performs admirably.  The reasons for his high loss count are twofold: 1) large sample size, that is to say, most no-win, no-save high leverage situations; and 2) overuse.  Certainly, there’s also the fact that he screwed up sometimes, but on the whole, he screwed up a lot less than the vast majority of the pitching staff, which taken as a whole is the “main reason” we collapsed.

If Bard had pitched better in September, we’d be in the playoffs.  That is also true of Lackey, Lester, Beckett, and most of the bullpen.  If Wakefield had not lost so many times en route to 200 wins, we would have been in the playoffs.  It seems to me that Bard has a much better excuse for his poor performance than most of the pitching staff.

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Starters are obviously going to allow more runs than relievers though. I wouldn’t think a starting pitchers number one goal is to allow 0 runs. I wouldn’t call 70 games pitched overused considering David Robertson also pitched exactly in 70 games too (but threw 6 less innings) and he had 0 losses.

You do have to blame the team and mostly the entire pitching in September. I never sad Bard is the full to blame, don’t get me wrong.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 9 months ago

I think there are other ways to evaluate a relief pitcher. Like it or not, he knows what his job is. It’s to hold a lead and keep inherited runners from scoring. That’s the job description.

In 2011…

Bard had the 5th worst LOB% of ANY relief pitcher with at least 50 IP in the majors at 66%. That’s easily the worst % of his young 3 year career.

The odd thing is that there isn’t a noticeable difference between OPS w/o RISP or w/ RISP.

He definetly seems to create his own problems though when he starts off the inning as well as he has oppenents have a .857 OPS when he starts the inning off.

That’s not to say he’s a problem going fwd and it sure is a one season sample size but he simply didn’t do what he’s suppose to. 

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Right and I’m disagreeing that he is even the main reason.  The starting pitching falling apart caused his problems, and even if he still would have stunk it wouldn’t have mattered if the starters hadn’t fallen apart.

Debageldond
3 years 9 months ago

Exactly.

Shu13
3 years 9 months ago

the problem w/ that theory is a relief pitcher can come into a 6-5 game w/ the tying run on and if he gives up 1 hit (hr) then the loss is his…what about the rest of the runs that were given up by the starter?

Blame should be laid on the team not a player…team game…team win…team loss

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Well if the score was 6-5 that means obviously both teams gave up a handful of runs and in games like those usually comes down to the bullpen. If that was the case, yes that relief pitcher should get a loss. I do think W-L can be adjusted however, such as making a pitcher who gave up the deciding run take the L. Like if a starting pitcher gave up 1 run in 8 innings trailing 1-0, the bullpen allowed 5 runs in the 9th to make it 6-0, then his team scores 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th and loses a heartbreaker 6-5, the starter unfortunately gets the loss.

slider32
3 years 9 months ago

Bard is a good pitcher, but all I’m saying is there is a big difference between the 8th and the 9th inning.  There is a long list of relievers that have had bad years after just having one good one. Soriano, Wheeler, Jenks to name a few. All had better track records than Bard coming into this year. It’s a crap shoot for the most part with relievers. The Sox would be better off with Bell or Madson.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

There really isn’t a big difference between the 8th and 9th innings believe it or not, you have to get three outs in both of them.  And I agree that relievers are a crap shoot, but why would it be any less of a crap shoot with Bell or Madson?  It would just be a more expensive crap shoot.

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

– goodbye to wakefield, varitek, and drew, and jackson

– arb & conservative contract offers to papelbon and ortiz. 4 draft picks would be an acceptable outcome

– somehow i don’t think erik bedard is going to be interested in returning to the circus, but make him a strong offer anyway

– exercise scutaro’s option; decline wheeler’s & offer him arb

– no big splash signings pls. aggressive short-term offers to guys like oswalt are ok, but otherwise just look for a quality non-star starter through trade

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

You might want to be careful going to arbitration with both Pap and Ortiz. The market this offseason is pretty heavy with players of similar caliber and both may be aware of that and both may accept in arb and look for better contracts in the 2012 offseason. Likely, no, but I do think Pap would at least consider taking it for a year. 

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

i’d be very happy if papelbon came back on a one year deal

BoSoXaddict
3 years 9 months ago

Same with Papi..

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

oi vey..

You guys do realize there is a business to this and money needs to be allocated a little better going forward. Papi and Pap for one year at what likely will be around $30mm-$32mm combined isn’t exactly thrifty and doesn’t really build much towards the future, but hey, what do I know. 

3 years 9 months ago

Clearly not much.  The 30-32mm figure isn’t accurate.  Also, the concept of one year deals isn’t for “building towards the future”. Papelbon has no shot at accepting arb either. Strawman arguments FTW.

Are you just trolling, or do you really believe what you write?  Dead serious here.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

What do you expect Pap and Ortiz to be awarded in arbitration? Serious question.

3 years 9 months ago

Ortiz would be awarded close to his 12.5m current salary.  Papelbon won’t accept…it’s a near mortal lock.  This is like asking what if CC Sabathia doesn’t opt out, it’s pointless.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

To be entirely fair, he did get all whiny about people constantly assuming Sabathia would opt out just a week or two ago.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Even if they were to both accept and both get slight raises it’s not like it would be 30mil more, it would be the same as this year + a couple mil.  Not that big of a deal, especially with a few guys’ salaries coming off the books.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

True, it would be the same as this year, maybe with a slight increase to Papi. Papelbon will probably fetch $15mm even. Papi, maybe up to $13.5mm. I just feel they can spend that a little better to augment other areas of the roster. 

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

They might be able to spend it a little better, but they are going to have a little money to play with (even if those two accept arb) and I think the chance of getting four draft picks is well worth the chance of them accepting arb. 

They will also both likely be productive players next year, so it’s not like it would hurt the team to have them on it.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

They have two guys to compete for right field next year adequately, Drew’s $14 million is off the books, Lackey’s AAV just dropped and $4 million for Varitek and Wakefield is coming off the books.

The competitive balance tax was at $178 million last year and has gone up roughly $7-8 million every season (Based on the last two increases, we can assume $8 million). Meaning that the CBT will in all likelihood be $186MM next season. The Sox have $127 million in obligations to 2012. Adding back in Papelbon and Ortiz at estimated arbitration awards of up to $30 million (Which is about the drastic max they’ll get, I’d estimate $28MM) puts them at $157MM leaving them $29 million to play with before hitting the luxury tax. The Rays went into 2011 with a $42MM payroll, I think we can plug our holes with that much cash.

JB3
3 years 9 months ago

Agree with everything you said, $30M may be a bit high, but it wouldn’t be less than $27-$28M between Paps and Papi on their arb offers working from salaries of $12M and $12.5M respectively.  I don’t think that $2M-$3M is enough of a reason to call someone out like that.

3 years 9 months ago

No, you are correct, its not enough of a reason to call someone out on that.  I called him out for saying it’s remotely possible that Papelbon would accept, along with all the other stuff he’s said in this thread…like everyone else has done. The payroll increase of them accepting arbitration would be so minor on a team like the Red Sox, yet he’s talking about building for the future and questioning whether those guys should get arb offers…which is insane.

BoSoxSam
3 years 9 months ago

Yeaaaah, 30-32mm is insane for two players for one year. It’s not like the Yanks have got an aging 3B getting paid……..oh hey, look at that. 32m. Interesting.

You sure you want to argue the “thrift” point?

YanksFanSince78
3 years 9 months ago

As long as it’s 1 year deals it’s not going to prevent them from having flexibility beyond 2012. Whoever, replaces them, most likely not rookies, are going to cost more money and years anyway. I don’t think the bullpen is strong enough to hand over closer duties to Bard right now and Lavarnway probably needs a year @ AAA for them to move Youks to DH as he is the more logical one to replace Ortiz as an in-house option.

Bertolucci
3 years 9 months ago

there is no-way Papelbon inks a one year deal with Boston with teams out there that will offer him multi year deals. It will take 3 years minimun to secure his services. I want him back but i understand it is big biz and big bucs.

bglaszcz
3 years 9 months ago

Be careful??? That would be ideal…

Lars Chunks
3 years 9 months ago

The top priority should be the bullpen.  I still don’t know how Theo thought the likes of Albers, Wheeler, and Jenks would cut it.

wolf9309
3 years 9 months ago

they literally have three starting pitchers on the roster, and the bullpen is the top priority?

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Probably because Albers had done it in the AL East (not particularly well, but I don’t think they were counting on anything more than middle relief from him), Wheeler had done it in the AL East (and pretty well I might add), and Jenks had pitched really well (despite his ERA) in Chicago.

jmcbosox
3 years 9 months ago

albers was looking like a great acquisition before the all star break, he quickly went downhill as the season progressed.  id like the bullpen to be built with longshot, low salary guys rather than the likes of jenks and other veteran mediocre RP.  grab a bunch of 1-1.5MM relievers and see what shakes out.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Yep, relievers are super volatile, so there’s really no reason to spend big money on any of them (aside from possibly closers assuming your idea of “big money” isn’t really all that big).

jmcbosox
3 years 9 months ago

its a total crapshoot.  because a reliever has an amazing 2011 doesnt mean he wont be dfa’d by mid season 2012.  happens too often, money is wasted on relievers, aside from closers, way too frequently.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

It’s going to be a tough offseason for this crew. They are way too top heavy in some areas and way too thin in others, including not having a lot of quality depth in the minors at the moment. This team is heavily in transition and I think more than people really want to believe. They’ll be competitive to an extent next season, but I think they need this offseason, the trade deadline summer 2012 and then offseason 2012 to move around quite a few pieces and wait for some of the quality prospects to get another full season in the minors under their belt. Obviously St. Louis just proved you should never count a team out and many people felt once Wainwright went down, they had no chance this season. So the same wisdom applies, but my gut feeling is that the Sox don’t have a great season next year. The team lacks cohesiveness. As it currently stands, at a minimum, they need to sign a SS, a veteran catcher, 2 starting pitchers, RF, maybe 3rd (pending Youks progress as he might have to DH for a while), if not , then a DH, and a lot of bullpen personal including technically finding a closer or re-signing their own. That’s a lot of moves and it doesn’t solve the problem with LF and having a player who’s skill set doesn’t apply and maybe one more year from an all star center fielder who will be seeking a big payday.

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

lol

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

You know some of the points I made are correct and don’t say lol again. It’s not funny. 

3 years 9 months ago

Oh what’s that?  Century, the biased Yankee fan who constantly writes absurd comments about the Red Sox thinks they are in trouble?  *GASP*

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

The last 30 days must be a figment of my imagination then. They sure do look like a team that’s currently having a little trouble. Pretty interesting that I called some of the same things last offseason. This team doesn’t even have a manager at the moment. It’s not being bias or as people say “hating”. Whatever I guess..

3 years 9 months ago

“This team doesn’t even have a manager at the moment”

OH NO! How will they ever win the game tomorrow?  Oh wait..

As for the last 30 days, the team scored the 3rd most runs in baseball.  They had a ton of injuries on the staff, and it was their fault they didn’t have adequate depth.  However, guys like Bard, Papelbon, Beckett, and Lester were flat out terrible, and that has nothing to do with 2012.  In fact, the Red Sox still could have made the playoffs if it wasn’t for the most absurd final day in the history of baseball…they didn’t deserve to make it, but you are fixating on a month of baseball from a team that will be very different, and ignoring the fact that over 130 games from April-August it was the best team in baseball.  Stuff happens, the Cardinals just won the WS.  You ARE delusional.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I was more so implying the circus in the 30 days after the season was over. And I don’t think blaming it on injuries or the baseball schedule really proves a point. Whatever. I am not hating on the Sox, I am being sincere actually and just feel this team needs to make a lot of moves.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

They were the best team in the league all summer. I think people forget that, just like we in Philadelphia forget that we had the best team for 162 games. This is a World Series contending type of line up and team.

They don’t need to fix a whole lot. Get a good starting pitcher, whether it’s a trade or free agent. They need a closer if they don’t think Bard’s ready (Madson or Papelbon). They need a set up man IF Bard is ready.

What Boston needs is for the players they already have under contract to perform at the levels they are capable of.

This isn’t the Houston Astros. The Red Sox have a great team, it’s a matter of finding the right complementary pieces to make them successful.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Preach it!

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

can’t sell papers with “they’re gonna be fine”, but it’s true

just like you couldn’t sell papers with “they have a pretty good shot” instead of “BEST TEAM EVAR”

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

They lacked cohesiveness so badly that they were drinking beers together during the game right?

I think the lack of cohesiveness is greatly exaggerated, and whether you agree or not, this is still a team that won 89 and 90 games the last two years and both times it was considered underachieving based on their actual talent (and both years dealt with injuries to key players).

There is almost no chance they get as little production out of LF next year as they did this year, Gonzalez’s power will have fully returned (power is generally the last thing to return after a shoulder surgery), and they will presumably get more production out of RF next year.

They don’t need to sign a SS – they have Scutaro; they don’t need to sign a veteran catcher – Saltalamacchia proved himself more than capable to cover the position last year; all they need for starting pitchers is stopgaps, but if they decide to get something more, there a definitely options; RF they have at least two internal options should they decide to go that route; if Youkilis goes anywhere it is because they feel Middlebrooks is ready (or if it’s Youk temporarily/occasionally moving to DH Lowrie can play a reasonable 3B); and DH can be covered by Lavarnway and/or a rotation of Youkilis/Lowrie/etc.  That leaves the bullpen needing to be upgraded, but really, how many teams can’t claim the same need?

There are/were issues with things that happened with this team last year, but it wasn’t anything that can’t be cured by a new manager, and enforcement of stricter rules.  There is enough talent on this team to still contend for the division next year without any significant changes.

3 years 9 months ago

At the end of the day we lose, because we keep responding and giving him a platform.  We all agree, he’s biased.  Let’s move on.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I’ll agree with much of what you said and it very well may not be as bad as I make it sound (only one opinion). Something just isn’t sitting right with me about the team as currently constructed. Yes, I am a Yankee fan and I want my team to win, but when I make these comments I do stand behind them and I’ll admit that everything the Sox do is closely tied to the Yanks and vice versa so I’ve invested more thought into making some of these comments. They are not entirely baseless. 

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Honestly the people who are exaggerating the extent of the problems the most are in the Boston media, so I can’t really blame you specifically for that.

It’s funny to me how the tone can go from “this might be one of the best teams in the history of ever” to “this team needs to be completely torn apart and rebuilt” over one bad month (talking about the media).  The reality is that this team probably wasn’t quite as good as people thought it was at the beginning of the year, and it’s not nearly as bad as people think it is at the end of the year.

Some minor tweaking, and better discipline, and this team should be able to win 95ish games next year.

MetsMagic
3 years 9 months ago

You are forgetting that, despite losing 20 games in the last month of a season, this Red Sox team still managed to win 90 games and they still have lots of cash to spend. I’m not saying that either the Red Sox or Yankees will make the playoffs next season, with the Devil Rays and Blue Jays looking increasingly competitive, but they don’t have nearly as many holes as a team like the Orioles. 

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 9 months ago

WALL.

BoSoxSam
3 years 9 months ago

It’s going to be a BUSY offseason, yes. The team is not a disaster though.

“As it currently stands, at a minimum, they need to sign a SS, a veteran catcher, 2 starting pitchers, RF, maybe 3rd (pending Youks progress as he might have to DH for a while), if not , then a DH, and a lot of bullpen personal including technically finding a closer or re-signing their own.”

The SS and veteran catcher “needs” are made up by you and are just silly. Scutaro for SS and Salty/Lavarnway for catcher is more than adequate. 2 back-of-the-rotation starters, RF, DH and bullpen sounds like pretty much any other teams laundry list. DH will likely be another more minor issue too, as I’d be pretty surprised if Ortiz doesn’t come back. Everyone needs to work on their bullpen every year. Everyone needs more starting pitching.  RF is the only “hole” I really see for them this year.

So, yes. They have a LOT to do. But it’s not a trainwreck, as much as you’d like to believe it is. There is nothing on their list that looks like it’ll be HARD for them to find this year. Yes, they have other concerns down the road, but again, every team has them. Your good ol’ Yanks have huge concerns coming up, with a bunch of aging stars on huge contracts. And assuming NY gets CC back for 6-7, that’ll be another contract to add to that list.

John DiRienzo
3 years 9 months ago

except our lineup was better than yours this year and Beckett/Lester/Buchholz beats any combo of SPs in your rotation. and the fact that we didn’t even get anything out of Crawford.

some of what you say amazes me. bias can only go so far

3 years 9 months ago

What points exactly?  You claim they need a SS..Scutaro says hello.  You claim they need a veteran catcher..why?  Salty and Lavarnway are more than adequate.  You claim Crawford’s skill set doesn’t apply, which is insane, he just had a terrible year.  I’ll keep going if you want…

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
3 years 9 months ago

BLOW IT ALL UP

Stonehands
3 years 9 months ago

Ideally, i would love if the Red Sox made a splash in the trade market, attempt to acquire a pitcher from a team with a lot of debth, needs a shortstop, and is offensively hopeless. That brings 2 teams to mind right away, the Giants and the A’s. You could put together an offer to the giants that would send Youk, Lowrie, Reddick, and anywhere from 1-3 prospects to acquire Cain and Sanchez. We solve the rotation problem and SF can convert Youk back to 1b, they would have a viable SS, and decent OF debth from that trade. As for the A’s, depending on the asking price, we could either send Youk (he’s on the verge of diminshing in skill so now it the time to trade, he’s injury prone, and he’s a club house cancer) for Gonzales, and if they don’t want Youk-, send Lowrie and Reddick/Kalish, possibly a low level prospect as well if they want more…From the free agent market…pick up Scutaro’s option, pull a Robert Kraft and set a price on Papi and Pap, and don’t go over it, if Pap walks sign Madson/Bell, if Papi walks slot in Youk if we keep him or Lavarnway. If youk walks sign Betimet, or if you want Youk as a full time DH, still sign Betimet…Sign a RF like Willingham, Swisher if he’s available, or in house options…Stay away from giving years to Beltran. Sign low risk high reward players for the ‘pen…(Broxton, Capps, Nathan, Zumaya) and let Wake and Tek walk…best case scenario for the sox in 2012:
Starting Rotation:
Lester
Beckett
Cain/Gonzales
Buccholz
Sanchez/Bedard/Danks from CHW???

Bullpen:
CL: Madson
SU: Bard
RHP: Aceves, Broxton/Nathan/Capps/Zumaya(pick 2)
LHP: Doubront, Morales

Lineup:
Ellsbury
Pedroia
A-Gon
Willingham
Crawford
Lavarnway
Saltalamcchia
Scutaro
Betimet

Bench:
Kalish
Aviles
(pick a catcher)
Conor Jackson

BoSoxSam
3 years 9 months ago

……What the heck.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

Willingham’s defense would kill whatever he can do to hit. If you brought him in, it for darn sure be as a DH.

Harrison
3 years 9 months ago

Good ideas, u might have over done it with the youkilis lowire reddick 1-3 prospects part. Plus I believe Beltran would be a better option bc he’s a switch hitter and he willnt cost us a draft pick. I believe we should trade for a elite starter and then trade for a pitcher like liriano, or volquez. For the bullpen I’d let pap walk of the bidding gets up to 50-60mm. Sign Madson, and broxton.

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

“Will the Red Sox finally provide him(Ortiz) with the long-term deal he’s been seeking for years?”

Is 2 years long term?

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Might be too long term if you ask me.

slider32
3 years 9 months ago

Boston biggest problem is upper management and their fans. They all through their players under the bus along with the manager and general manager. They should take some lessons from the Cards fans and support their team. Last year Theo and Tito were the genius’s, now I can’t believe their both gone.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Well actually, the players should have been thrown under the bus because they were the ones who actually blew it.

wickedkevin
3 years 9 months ago

I agree.  It is definitely my fault they had the historic collapse in September. 

3 years 9 months ago

I’m hoping they don’t make any bad moves that screw us over in the long run, especially with SPs. I don’t want to overpay for Sabathia, Darvish, or Wilson.

Lets hope we get some people like Oswalt, Bedard, Kuroda, Capuano, Harden, and Vazquez. Underrated guys that we can get on 1-year deals, so we can spend big in the 2012 offseason.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

I think Jim Thome would be a good addition for the Sox, IMO.

He can still hit you 15-20 home runs depending on the amount of at bats he’s given. He isn’t going to be an every day DH like a David Ortiz, so he wouldn’t be stealing that many at bats away from Lavarnway. Great clubhouse guy, a leader, respected around the game, etc.

MetsMagic
3 years 9 months ago

Jim Thome will definitely retire in Cleveland. 

tomymogo
3 years 9 months ago

First job, backup catcher, or better yet, a good platoon partner with Salty. Ramon Hernandez would be a good choice.

Let David Ortiz walk, sign Josh Willingham. Now pitching, I think they need a change since Papelbon has had problems…… Ryan Madson would be my player of choice. Let Wakefield, Varitek, and Bedard leave. Sign Roy Oswalt, Rich Harden, and Jason Marquis. 
In the miracle that everybody is healthy use Harden and Marquis as relievers/spot starters.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Or do basically none of that aside from letting Wake, ‘Tek, and probably Ortiz walk.

tomymogo
3 years 9 months ago

so let them walk and replace them internally? They need to do something.

They need 2 starters, a backup catcher, a closer, and a DH. Hopefully the DH would be a right handed bat

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Lavarnway can be their primary DH and backup catcher (or having a catcher as a DH they could really carry a third, and they have guys in the minors who are well suited for backup catchers), they can get a couple scrap bin guys to compete for the 4th and 5th spots, and/or use Doubront/Weiland/Aceves.  And Bard can (and likely will) be their closer.

3 years 9 months ago

How about Salty, Lavarnway, and Doumit? That would provide a ton of flexibility as far as C/DH/OF/Bench Bats…

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

“Jason Varitek (Type B C)”

Wait, so Varitek would net us a draft pick? So he’s officially more useful playing for someone else at this point. This is a tried and true testament to how ignorant people are when they say Saltalamacchia wouldn’t be an adequate catcher. When Jason Varitek, after his last four seasons, is STILL a ranked free agent, you know the talent pool at said position is thin.

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

looks good, but i don’t expect oswalt to want to come to boston. ideally:

beckett
lester
buccholz
bedard
CC SABATHIA

just kidding, i don’t care who the fifth starter is. looks like dice is going to take it back by july anyway (who’s excited!)

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I highly doubt that Oswalt would accept an offer from Boston. 

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Willingham in RF? Isn’t he barely cut out for LF?

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

Willingham is essentially J.D. Drew except with bad defense, no thank you.

3 years 9 months ago

This.  100%.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

THEY NEED A VETERAN CATCHER. THEY NEED A VETERAN CATCHER. THEY NEED A VETERAN CATCHER. Lavarnay is fine and will be a more than adequate back up and young guy to have around, plus looks like he can hit. As I said, no chance, zero that Oswalt, a guy that’s contemplated retirement jumps into the lions den for a year or two. 

slider32
3 years 9 months ago

There is pressure becuase the Sox haven’t made it to the playoffs in two years with championship talent. If they don’t make the playoffs next year they will be considered a major failure if they aren’t already!

3 years 9 months ago

Why do they need a veteran catcher?  A catcher of similar quality just won’t do unless he’s a veteran?  And even if they did, they could bring back Varitek for next to nothing, but they won’t, because they don’t need to.  I won’t be surprised if you say its to manage the pitching staff, which is obviously idiotic…and thus very fitting.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I’ve got it. You don’t get it. That’s cool. Not taking jabs here, but Varitek again? Seriously. Perhaps you’re confusing the use of the word veteran. They need a Jose Molina or Kurt Suzuki type for a year or more. Salty is not going to cut it. And no I wasn’t insinuating they need a better catcher for the pitchers. They need a better catcher that can play catcher. 

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

Thank you for applying your well thought remarks about the state of the Red Sox. This isn’t the forum to convey such opinions and I need to work on that. Instead I’ll start directing my energies to calling people names and shooting down whatever they say. Seems to incite better responses from others.

3 years 9 months ago

No take jabs, I don’t respect your opinions anyway, I’m just having fun with it.  I don’t want Varitek on this team next year.  I realize that Salty and Lavarnway are more than good enough.  Salty put up 2.5 WAR season last year in his first full season despite an awful start, he’s a fine catcher, and Lavarnway has real offensive potential and can catch enough to be a backup.  The fact that you say Salty can’t cut it is laughable, what is this based on?

BoSoxSam
3 years 9 months ago

“Salty is not going to cut it.”

Okay, well then you’re wrong. Why would a Jose Molina be any better? Just cause he can grab a few more balls in the dirt? Does that really outweigh the 2.5 WAR that came with Salty this year? 2.5 WAR from Salty plus 0.5-1.0 WAR, conservatively, from Lavarnway getting 1/3 playing time, would be combined a better catcher than nearly every other team. Salty can throw it to second at least close to league average now, and while they may both be shaky behind the plate, in this case I think the offense they’ll get from the position is worth it.

3 years 9 months ago

Salty was just fine at catcher. he threw out 37 runners (top 5) and also had a fielding% of .992 (top 20). His only weakness defensively was passed balls.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

I wasn’t really questioning whether his bat would be a good fit or not; I’m not convinced that they would want his terrible LF defense patrolling Fenway’s RF every day.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Are you talking about Ortiz?  There’s no way he gets a three year deal.  Not from the Sox.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

He can use them as leverage all he wants, but everyone already knows the Yankees have absolutely no interest in signing him. Similarly, I could go to my boss tomorrow morning and say “I want a raise, or I’m going to take that job offer to be the new Manager of the Red Sox!”

In either case, both of our bosses are competent enough to know that neither of us is getting a job offer like that.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Sure, but even that was only for one game in Adrian’s case (and even then only because he wanted to keep one of the best hitters in the game in the lineup), and in Aviles case it was only a few times, and only because they didn’t really have an every day right fielder.  I don’t think anyone would want to see Adrian or Aviles in RF every day, and I don’t think they’ll want to see Willingham out there every day either.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

They put Adrian in the outfield because you can’t have a DH in a National League Park and David Ortiz needed at bats.

I think they did it twice, but when he did it in Philly, it was a relatively small yard (I hate saying that) and luckily, there wasn’t anything hit at him besides a few easy fly balls.

dc21892
3 years 9 months ago

Awesome, but he’s not.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

“would be combined a better catcher than nearly every other team.”

Well, that’s a wrap for me for the night. I’m not going to argue about this anymore as there is nowhere to go, but down.

yanksallday
3 years 9 months ago

they just dont understand that they actually do need some help

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

There’s always pressure to win in Boston, so it’s not like it’s something new, and personally I’d almost be willing to take another postseason-less year if it meant all the fair weather-band wagon fans would go away.

(though if we’re going to have another postseason-less year anyway it would nice if they could really go for it and get to draft at the top of the draft for once…)

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

Boston is just like any other major east coast market. Listening to talk radio in Philadelphia after they lost to the Cardinals was an experience… let’s just say that.

There’s never NOT been pressure to win in Boston, especially when your biggest rival has 27 rings.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

WHAT!?! The season ended badly for the Red Sox!? How did I not know this before now!?!

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 9 months ago

Trading Youkilis is the worst thing to do. You won’t find another third basemen as productive offensively as him (despite his “poor” season this year, he still ranked highly amongst 3rd basemen).

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

willingham is also a type A. no thanks

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

We won the National League Pennant in December though.

Just as an aside, I considered Boston the best team in baseball and considering they own us almost every year in Interleague, I figured they’d win the World Series in 7.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 9 months ago

Is he a third baseman long term or is he going to have to DH in the near future? (not antagonizing… serious question, since I assume you watch him play everyday whereas I do not).

Obviously his bat is amazing at the third base position.

Bertolucci
3 years 9 months ago

If I am the Red Sox I trade Youk now while he still has value. If you look at the team Youkilis is the really the only person that can be traded and get you value in return. Package Youk in a deal to his home town Reds. Perhaps we could get Bronson Arroyo back as part of the deal. Also I have heard where Youk is not a real positive influence on the team. I would like to see the Sox carry a third catcher that can DH and play other postions. Had we kept Victor Martinez the Sox make the playoffs. Likewise with Adrian Beltre. I don’t know his contract statis with Texas, maybe we could resign Beltre. If I am the Sox I let Ortiz walk. He signed his ticket out of town when he disrespected Francona while Tito met the press. We can rest guys more and mix and match at DH.
lastly I hope the Sox get former Boston catcher Tony Pena as manager. Tony knows Boston and more importantly he knows the enemy as bench coach at the “evil empire. If not Pena my choice is Providance native Davey Lopes. Both Lopes and Penna have managed in the bigs. My longshot is Bob Brenly who managed the Diamondbacks to a world series title in 2001. 

Bertolucci
3 years 9 months ago

OK, Beltre is signed long term. As I wrote I did no his contract. There is an alternative when you trade Youk and that is Jimmy Rollins. And What is wrong with Brenly? He has coached under Roger Craig and Dusty Baker, he won the world series in his first year in Arizona, he made it the playoffs the following year. Yes his team went down the tube later but his record was better than Tito’s when he got hired.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t see any reason he can’t play 3B at least for the rest of his time in Boston.  He’s obviously not good there defensively, but he can hold his own.  The question for me, more than how his defense will be, is how his body will hold up over the course of a season which is why I don’t know that I would bring Ortiz back.  With an open DH spot they could play Lavarnway there most of the time, but be able to give Youkilis a start there once a week or so to help keep him fresh.

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 9 months ago

He’s only signed in Boston for one more year plus a $13M option for 2013 I believe. He doesn’t play great defense at 3rd as he does at 1st, but he should be able to play 3rd for the duration of his contract. The main issue, as MaineSox pointed out, is his health.

In a few years time, he will be looking for a DH spot, but until then, he’s fine at 3rd. Plus, trading him now would be selling low, and most importantly, the Sox won’t be able to find a 3rd basemen to match his offensive production. The only player close is Ramirez…but he would command a multi-year contract (longer than the rest of Youk’s contract), so I don’t think that will be worth it (not to mention he’s older than Youk).

3 years 9 months ago

I’m not thinking about the past; i’m thinking about the future. Why pay $20m a year for someone like Darvish when we can get by with what we have and capitalize on the rich market if 2012-2013. Signing Darvish is a very short-sighted move, and our rotation isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be.

Lester, Beckett, and Bucholz are great for a top 3. We could easily get some of the pitchers I mentioned to fill out the rotation and hopefully get some nice surprises. 

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

That I did not know.  Definitely not in that case.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

27 RINGS!!!

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

HOLY CRAP!!!  IT WAS EPIC TOO!?!?

3 years 9 months ago

lol Pap ain’t getting 4 years. Why would you have Miller in the rotation but Doubront in the BP? There are also a bunch of underrated SPs that can hold down a spot to tide us over till next year.

Harrison
3 years 9 months ago

I’d let pap go and sign Madson, and broxton. Let Papi walk and sign Beltran for smae amount and plus he’s younger and hes a switch hitter. For SP I’d go after liriano, danks, volquez. We could trade youkilis for a pitcher or the prospects for a pitcher.

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 9 months ago

Salty will be the primary catcher. Lavarnway’s defense is not ready. However, Larvarnway could fill in the DH spot if Papi walks.

As for the rotation, they need to acquire an established pitcher, whether it’s Danks, Buehrle, Oswalt…etc. Or they need to sign a few low-buy pitchers to battle out the fifth spot. After the collapse of the rotation in 2 consecutive years, I think we’ve learned a valuable lesson: you can never have enough. You should be counting Dice-K and Lackey out of the equation (Lackey is out, and Dice-K won’t be back until at least July). And with Dice-K out for half of the season, are you really ready to give the job to Miller? Or even let Miller and Weiland battle out that spot? They’ve shown how inconsistent they were down the stretch in 2011.

Offer Papi and Pap arbitration. Pap is almost guaranteed not to accept, and Papi probably won’t accept either as he searches for a multi-year deal. Bring Papi back if we can get him to sign for 2 or less years at $10M or less per year. Otherwise let him walk and collect the draft picks. Bring Pap back for 3 years or less at $13M or less. $39M/3 probably won’t get it done, so let Pap walk too and sign one of the other many closers on the market (Heath Bell?).

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

Ramirez is worse than Youkilis at everything at this point anyway.

MaineSox
3 years 9 months ago

I’m not sure how I feel about Darvish on the Sox to be honest, but I really doubt he’s getting $20mil a year.

notsureifsrs
3 years 9 months ago

and you’re right. matt holliday would look a lot better than carl crawford in that lineup (and not just because he had a bad year)

angryredmenace
3 years 9 months ago

Youkilis for Bronson Arroyo.
Resign Beltre, a player who just signed a 6 years deal eight months ago with the rangers.
Bob Brenly being mention as a managerial candidate.

Please kid, just say no to drugs.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

“I’m not going to argue about this anymore as there is nowhere to go, but down.”

I’d normally disagree with you, but considering you hit rock bottom months ago and yet continue to dig yourself deeper into a hole of nonsense, I’m inclined to agree.

aricollins
3 years 9 months ago

One year from now: Cain, Hamels, Greinke, Danks, Anibal Sanchez.