Offseason In Review: Boston Red Sox

The new-look Red Sox aim to return to the postseason in 2012 after an offseason of trades and restrained free agent spending.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Tony Pena, Jesse Carlson, Rich Hill, Pedro Ciriaco, Scott Atchison, Brandon Duckworth, Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook, Vicente Padilla, Max St. Pierre, John Maine, Ross Ohlendorf.

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Draft Picks Gained or Lost

  • Obtained 31st overall selection from Phillies for Papelbon. Also obtain supplementary first round pick. 

In their final offseason under Theo Epstein, the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford, traded for Adrian Gonzalez and generated an unprecedented amount of hype. The first offseason under Ben Cherington was far more subdued, but the 2012 Red Sox have the makings of a playoff contender nonetheless.

"After two straight offseasons filled with significant contract commitments we knew this one would look a little different," GM Ben Cherington told MLBTR. "We made moves that we hope give us a more balanced roster and give us a chance to come up with good pitching solutions."

The Red Sox traded for relief help and strengthened their bench after making their biggest offseason addition: manager Bobby Valentine. Cherington initially seemed to favor younger candidates such as Sandy Alomar Jr. and Torey Lovullo, but ultimately opted for the experience and energy of Valentine. From a strict sabermetric standpoint managerial hires matter less than player moves, but there’s no denying the importance of this decision. Following a 2011 season that skidded out of control under Terry Francona’s watch, the Red Sox needed new leadership.

After much discussion and speculation, the Red Sox obtained relievers Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz from the Cubs for Theo Epstein. Chances are Epstein will make a bigger impact on the Cubs than Carpenter and Kurcz will on the Red Sox, but Red Sox ownership seemed to lose leverage once Epstein started working for the Cubs. At least they got something for letting their longtime GM go. 

Credit Cherington for offering Papelbon arbitration then letting him sign with the Phillies as a free agent. As successful as Papelbon’s tenure in Boston was, $50MM for a reliever represents a luxury item even the Red Sox should pass on. 

Instead, the Red Sox traded for right-handed relievers Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon, two pitchers whose stuff and makeup impressed Cherington from afar. The Red Sox surrendered some valuable pieces in the process, but the big league team wasn’t counting on Jed Lowrie, Kyle Weiland and Josh Reddick in a major way. Not only are Bailey and Melancon relatively affordable, they're under team control through 2014 and 2016, respectively. 

The acquisitions of Bailey and Melancon freed up reliever Daniel Bard, who has been preparing for the season as a starter. Perhaps the successful conversions of Rangers relievers C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando inspired the Red Sox to make the change. 

The Red Sox showed interest in free agents such as Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson and Hiroki Kuroda and trade candidates such as Gio Gonzalez, but ultimately passed. The team was painfully thin on rotation depth during last year’s collapse, so I expected Cherington to add at least one established starter this offseason. The Red Sox would have done well to acquire an above-average starter to slot in behind Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

"The acquisition cost of proven starters via trade or free agency just wasn’t to our liking," Cherington wrote in an email. "Therefore we are trying to come up with solutions out of a pool of guys who are less proven. It carries more risk but also more upside as there is an opportunity to build value."

Cherington added some interesting names on minor league deals, and perhaps they will prove just as productive as Yankees starters Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia did a year ago. Non-roster invitees such as Carlos Silva (since released), Aaron CookVicente Padilla or Ross Ohlendorf were candidates for the final rotation spot, though left-hander Felix Doubront may get the nod for now. 

As it turned out, Cherington’s biggest free agent signing was not Jackson, or Oswalt or Yu Darvish. Cody Ross and Nick Punto share that distinction after signing for $3MM each. Ross, who can play all three outfield positions and hit left-handed pitching (.912 career OPS against lefties), makes perfect sense for a Red Sox outfield that includes left-handed hitters Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Ryan Sweeney. Punto, a candidate for regular playing time on the infield, provides defensive versatility. Kelly Shoppach, another free agent addition to the bench, offers strong defense in a reserve role.

David Ortiz accepted the team's offer of arbitration, and will play for $14.58MM in 2012. The Red Sox did well to retain Big Papi, the top DH in baseball, without committing to him on a multiyear deal. No team in baseball outscored the 2011 Red Sox, and Ortiz is a critical element of their offense.

It’s not completely surprising that the Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro after exercising his option, but it’s puzzling that they waited so long to complete the deal. If they had made Scutaro available earlier on, they could have engaged teams such as the Brewers, Pirates and Giants and might have obtained more in return than Clayton Mortensen. The trade appears to have been motivated in part by ownership’s interest in avoiding luxury tax penalties. The Red Sox remain a big-market team by just about any measure, but even baseball's most aggressive spenders are now sidestepping the luxury tax.

There's no mistaking this team for the 2011 Red Sox. Gone are Epstein, Francona, Papelbon, Drew and Scutaro. Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield both retired after long careers with the Red Sox, making Ortiz the team's longest-tenured player. Despite the devastating way in which Boston's 2011 season ended, this team is poised to contend in 2012 as long as the back of the rotation pitches as well as the Red Sox think it can.


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


MB923
3 years 5 months ago

“Despite the devastating way in which Boston’s 2011 season ended, this
team is poised to contend in 2012 as long as the back of the rotation
pitches as well as the Red Sox think it can.”

This last sentence says it all. I think the 3 key players for the Sox this year are Daniel Bard, Clay Buchholz and Andrew Bailey. If Bailey gets hurt, do you move Bard to the pen? If Bucholz and/or Beckett get hurt, do you bring up Padilla/Cook (who I guess it’s fair to say are certainly no worse than Lackey, but probably not much better than Dice-K). If Doubront struggles (in which he has in the majors thusfar), who do you go to then? The offense is still there and I think they’ll again remain one of if not the best in the AL. Perhaps the Sox have answered these questions but fill me in.

Losing Papelbon without question hurt but I can’t blame the Sox for passing on him especially after the contract he got. I also think moving Bard to the rotation is big, but let’s not just assume he will be very effective from there (again I’m not saying he won’t, and as a matter of fact I think he’ll be above average).

If the team is fully healthy throughout the year (and that is a big if), I’ll say they win about 93 games.

As a joke, for notable losses, I’d put John Lackey in there.

notsureifsrs
3 years 5 months ago

i’d put them at 95. i think daisuke matsuzaka is going to be a significant factor this season. and i don’t say that with much enthusiasm

ultimately there isn’t anyway the back of the rotation can be worse than it was last year. the question is how good can it be? with an effective bard and matsuzaka, pretty good, really. with an ineffective bard & matsuzaka, pretty darn bad

the red sox are really in a pretty boring spot; there isn’t much to say. they’re a very good team. not the favorites, not the underdogs. just solid. and that’s why the fact that they are talked about coooonstantly is so annoying

MB923
3 years 5 months ago

I agree he’ll be a significant factor too. If Bard is effective and stays in the rotation, then Dice-K becomes the 5th man and whoever he replaces will either be cut from the roster (say Padilla/Cook, especially if they’re ineffective) or possibly put in the bullpen such as Doubront. Unless of course they have to fill in if something happens to Buchholz or Beckett.

Have they officially announced a 5th starter yet? 

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

 “Have they officially announced a 5th starter yet? ”

not yet and not even Bard as the 4th really, even though Valentine was talking up how good Bard looked 2 days ago in his last start and throwing more changeups.

Wouldn’t shock me to see Cook/Doubrant break camp as the 4-5 SP and Bard back in the BP to be honest.

MB923
3 years 5 months ago

I think their bullpen got a TAD weaker (And I mean a tad), which would mean moving Bard back in makes it just as good if not better than last year. For now, at least for the start of the year, with their back end of the rotation being a bit weak, I think it’s good to try him out, because he certainly cannot be worse than Lackey. Same goes for Doubront. On the other hand, I can easily see Cook being as bad as Lackey.

I guess Aceves is not in the rotation. I think that’s the right move despite him being a good pitcher. I don’t think he has a lot in the tank to even make it past 5 innings.

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

Even with Bard in the pen IMO the pen will be strong with Bailey, Melencon and Aceves.. As long as Bailey is healthy at least. Would it be stronger with Bard? Absolutely, but it looks like they might still want to give him a shot as a SP, though nothing has come out of camp for sure yet and Valentine said yesterday he has been keeping his roster decisions close to himself and the FO.

Think they had a meeting last night between themselves also, so possibly a few more cuts/assignments today could be coming forth and possibly an announcement could be coming forth on at least one of those SP assignments as well.

Edit:

I should have mentioned beyond the few cuts they already announced this morning which only included 1 person (iglesias) whom actually might have helped this team.

chico65
3 years 5 months ago

I think counting on Buchholz to make it through the year without missing a stretch is especially foolhardy, but it’s not like there are great alternatives out there to the current cast of characters at this point in time to bolster the rotation. Joe Blanton?  Please.

I’m praying that Bard and Doubront hold up- they’ve got to be better than the likes of Lackey and Wieland, but the Sox are going to need another strong starter or two over the course of the summer.   

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

I don’t really see why it is especially foolhardy to count on Buchholz to make it through the year.  He missed significant time for the first time in his career last year (with an injury that is 100% healed at this point); before that he missed ~3 weeks in 2010 because a base running related injury (not likely to happen again to an AL pitcher) but still managed to make 29 starts and throw over 175 innings, and he missed 2 weeks in 2008 because he tore a fingernail and couldn’t grip a baseball well enough to throw it.  Nothing there suggests any sort of injury prone-ness.

rockfordone
3 years 5 months ago

Nice team – short on mound = 3rd – Yanks and Rays arms too much.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

It took a historically epic collapse (literally, that’s not an exaggeration) for them to fall one game behind the Rays last year (and still win 90 games).  This year they are essentially replacing Wakefield, Miller, and Lackey (who had the worst season by a Red Sox starter ever) with Buchholz, Bard, and Doubront (or Cook or Padila).  The starting pitching is as close to being guaranteed to be better as anything gets in baseball.

rockfordone
3 years 5 months ago

Call it what you want a collapse but that is why they play all 162. If they had a bad May instead of Sept. What would it be called? Being short on the mound = 3rd. No Pap and Bard in bullpen will hurt. Red Sox played alot of 7 inning games with those two.

Lunchbox45
3 years 5 months ago

 The gap between the rays arms vs the red sox arms is smaller than the gap between the rays bats vs the red sox bats.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this on here before, and I know I’ll catch flack for it, but I don’t see why people are anointing the Rays rotation as one of the great rotations in the game already.  They almost surely have some of the best potential talent of any rotation, but the only guy that they can really count on to be great this year is Price, the other guys have questions as serious as any pitcher in the Red Sox rotation (at least they do as far as this year’s performance is concerned).

Actually, you guys can say what you want, but the Red Sox rotation probably has the most proven talent in it of any of the AL East rotations.

Lunchbox45
3 years 5 months ago

mmm I like the sox, and I think they win the division. however, I think the Rays have the best or atleast a top 3 rotation in the AL.

Yes they do have a lot of unproven mlb talent.. But Strasburg is unproven at the major league level, most expect him to atleast hit some sort of that potential this year, he wont peak, but he will be good..

I put Moore in that class, not quite as dynamic, but as close as its going to get.  Add in Price and Hellickson and thats a pretty good group..

Shields is an outlier, last year his FIP was almost a full 1.00 under his 2010 mark..  but regardless he’s a lock for 200+ innings. even if he’s not quite as good as last year he should still be good..

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

I think the Rays have a top 3 rotation based on potential, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that they could be closer to the middle of the pack nest year.

Moore is a relative unknown (he dominated in a a couple of relief appearances last Sept, and in the minors) and it wouldn’t be shocking to see at the end of the year that he had been more of a #3-4 pitcher than a #1.

Hellickson put up a great ERA last year, but all of his peripherals were between 4.40 and 4.80 and he had poor K/9 and BB/9 numbers to go along with a crazy low BABIP; he could very well raise his peripherals closer to his ERA rather than his ERA dropping closer to his peripherals (the talent is certainly there, but there’s no guarantee of that.

Shields, as you suggested, is probably the biggest question mark.  He’s pretty much always been good for 200 innings of 4.00ish ERA pitching, but then last year he pitched out of his mind all year long, so who knows which Shields shows up next year.

Davis and Niemann are Davis and Niemann…

Lunchbox45
3 years 5 months ago

I guess where we differ is that I believe Moore is going to have a significant impact at the major league level… he has a career minor league 12.7 k/9 to go with a 3.8 bb/9 (fueled by his first few years, that number has come way down)

I also think that Hellboy will progress as well.

either way, I think the rays lack the offense to do any damage. but it should be a good race this year.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

And I’m not really even saying that they wont (or even that I don’t necessarily think they will), just that I think the anointment as a top 3 rotation is premature until they actually do it.  This isn’t a case like the Angels this year or Phillies last year where they have 3 (4 in the Phillies’ case) proven top pitchers, where you know what you are getting, the Rays staff is very unproven.

There are as many questions about the Rays rotation as the Red Sox rotation (different questions, but questions just the same).  People are more sure of Hellickson and Moore than they are of Beckett and Buchholz (guys who have actually done it before and are more or less known quantities).

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

They went from being 9 games up on the wildcard and 1.5 games up on the division, to losing the wildcard in less than a month.  That’s almost unheard of no matter what time of year it is.

3 years 5 months ago

They had a bad April and we called it digging a hole and a lousy start. Pap was great but remember Bard coughed up like a dozen leads or ties last year as his 2-9 record suggests.

3 years 5 months ago

It’s hard to say. This is basically the same team that went 81-40 between the 2-10 start and 7-20 finsh. 7 of 9 starters return and the changes at shortstop and rightfield combined are a wash from last year. They are likely the best offensive team in baseball. Their rotation is in the same condition it was last year (even though most people thought it was the best in the division going into last year). The bullpen may not be quite as good without Bard and especially Papplebon but lets see what happens with a trio of Bailey, Melancon and Aceves. Bard had a decent ERA and K/BB rate but gave up a ton of leads last year as he was (2-9). I’m a Sox fan but if I were to pick a division winner it would be the Yankees. I think the Red Sox and Rays are real close on paper and the Jays are not far behind. We all like to pump our home teams but  any educated baseball fan who would tell you that any three of the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox could easily win the decisions depending on how injuries, age and performance go. Tis the reason they play the games.

3 years 5 months ago

Hopefully Crawford can pull it together

3 years 5 months ago

Still can’t believe that Papelbon contract. Ruben Amaro is insane. 

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

Avoiding injuries and playing solid defense, especially up the middle, will make this team very special in 2012.  Keys to 2012 will be the return to a high level of performance by Youkilis, offensive improvement by Saltalamacchia, a return to form by Crawford, and Buchholz.  Plus, a solid year from Bailey as the team’s closer. With any luck, this team is capable of winning 100+ games this season.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

The team certainly has the talent to pull off a 100 win season, but betting on anything more than ~95 wins for any team is always a bad idea (not that that is what you were doing, just saying that the likelihood of it is very low despite the talent being there).

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

 95 and I am all smiles.. that’s only 5 more than last year and people here act like the team from last season was some sort of dog.. odd isn’t it?

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

Yes, I don’t know how many times I’ve pointed out that the hugely disappointing team from last year still won 90 freaking games.

MB923
3 years 5 months ago

Very true, but do keep in mind they were projected to be far and away the best in the AL and should have gone to the WS, some even projected to win it.

Everyone of the ESPN “experts’ picked the Sox to win the AL East, and 11 experts picked a team aside from the Yankees to win the wild card

Yes 90 wins is in general a lot of wins, but for a team that has high expectations to win it all, missing the playoffs altogether I would say, is disappointing without question.

The AL East was their division to lose from the start of the season.

This year is a toss up for all top 3. Toronto is improving.

The only thing we can guarantee, is Baltimore will be in 5th.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

They were being over hyped before last year (challenge the ’27 Yanks for best team ever? Riiight…), and they are being over looked this year (85-88 wins and 3rd or even 4th place? Also no).  The truth is that both years they were somewhere in between the two expectations.

Not making the playoffs was a disappointing outcome to be sure, but according to pythagorean win-loss the Red Sox should have won 94 games last year even with the horrible start and finish to the year, and it wasn’t like the team wasn’t as talented as people thought it was either; they didn’t have a bunch of guys who weren’t as good as people thought they would be (aside from Crawford), their downfall was clearly due to injuries.  Barring another year of zero production from 3/5 of their rotation and 2/3 of their outfield they should do better than what they ended up doing last year, so I don’t think 95 wins is at all unreasonable.

MB923
3 years 5 months ago

I really don’t buy into the pythagorean W-L record thing. At one point during the middle of the season, every single team in the AL Central, including the Tigers, had given up more runs than they scored.

You can lose back to back games by a score of 1-0 and then win a 3rd game by a score of 20-1.

The Tigers finished 1 game bhind the Rangers in the standings. In the end, the Tigers outscored opponents by 76 runs. The Rangers outscored opponents by 178 runs.

The Giants finished 86-76 but were outscored during the season. The Dodgers who finished 4 games behind the Giants, scored 32 more runs than allowed.

The Padres finished 2 games behind the Rockies (for 4th and 5th in the West). The Rockies were outscored by 39 runs, and the Padres were outscored by 18 runs. By Pythagorean, that leads to about a 78 win team. Rockies won 73 and Padres won 71.

I understand why they have it and all, but I don’t find it all that useful.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

Saying they “should have won” 94 games according to pythagorean win-loss was a poor choice of words on my part, what I should have said was “a team with their runs scored vs runs allowed would be expected to win” because that’s what pythag expectation is really about.  The idea is that over the course of a full season those 1 run losses and 10 run wins even out, and more often than not it ends up pretty close.

hawkny1
3 years 4 months ago

When the Red Sox started play, by taking the field in their 135th game, during 2011, they were on a pace to win exactly 100 games.  This despite starting out 0-6, then 2-10 at the start of the season.  Lets suppose they start out 6-0, then 10-2 in 2012.  This is an 8 game turn around.  Would you say, at that point, the current edition of this team can win 100 games in 2012?

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

One has to be positive about these things.  Even after a 2-10 start in 2011, the Red Sox were on track to win 100 games before their September swoon.  Think about it for a second…..no Mike Cameron, no J.D. Drew, no Tim Wakefield, no John Lackey, no Jason Veritek and no Tito Francona…..  

We know the Ross and Sweeney tandem will perform better than Drew & Cameron.  No starters with ERA’s around 6 will be on the club either… no catchers who are unable throw runners out in 2012 sitting on the bench,  A manager who isn’t a yes man and knows how to motivate his players, etc..

Strong hitting, speed on the bases, excellent defense, and improved pitching are characteristics of this team in 2012.  I could go on…. but, the main thing, like I said, is one has to think positive and set goals that are beyond the norm but not unachievable.  Saying the team can only win 95 games, after winning 90 last year…isn’t saying much IMHO..they will do better in 2012, with Bobby V. cracking the whip from day 1 for 162 games…

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

I’ve warmed up to the idea of Valentine as the manager but I still don’t see it as a positive, so you’ll have to forgive me for not agreeing on that part.  I agree with most of the rest of what you said though, and as a said, I think the team has the talent to win 100 games, but counting on 100 wins (literally from any team ever) is a bad idea.  So many things happen over the course of a season, and baseball is such an unpredictable sport that you just don’t predict things like that.

Give me a team made up of the best player in the history of the game at every position and in the prime of their careers and I still wouldn’t set the over/under at 100 games (maybe an exaggeration, but it really is that bad of an idea).

bosox7
3 years 5 months ago

Aaron Kurcz is the PTBNL going back to the Red Sox in the Theo deal. 

APNDaveR
3 years 5 months ago

A nitpick:  Mike Cameron was traded to the Marlins in July.  I’m not sure he really counts as an offseason loss….

3 years 5 months ago

Cody Ross has been killing the ball this spring and no one in the press has mentioned it.

Snoochies8
3 years 5 months ago

if you’re talking about the red sox press then yes, it’s a surprise they haven’t.

if you’re talking about general media:it’s the spring, it’s not worth mentioning.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

Eh, it’s not really surprising from the Boston media either; it wouldn’t fit their whole “Boston’s probably going to suck this year” narrative.

Snoochies8
3 years 5 months ago

really? it seems like every team always has at least one player they go “oh my god!! he’s having such a great spring training! this guy has to start!” eric sogard and to a lesser extent, wes timmons (purely just a feel good story) are those guys for the a’s

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

The Boston media likes to be super negative all the time. Everything is always worst case scenario for Boston and best case scenario for their competition with the Boston media.

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

Cody Ross will be one of the biggest bang for the buck signings of any player of the season IMO.

This guy can kill the ball. I enjoyed him as marlin, he didn’t do too bad in another stadium (SF) where power goes to die and now, finally gets to play in a stadium that will play up to his skills. i expect him to put up 20+ HR and drive the ball off of the LF wall on a constant basis, once Bobby V realizes a platoon with sweeny is not in the teams best interest.

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

Another Felix Mantilla?

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

 I am *shocked*.. someone here bringing up one of the RH boppers that took advantage of the wall from decades past! :-)

Yes.. Like Mantilla, but Ross won’t get the advantage of the wind to help blow balls out going from where that new, goofy press box now sits and Petrocelli had aid him as well. Ross will get that close wall for doubles though.

You know? I wish they would tear down that “new and improved” press box they built..When was it? 1990-91? So the other teams fans would have a reason to complain about HR at fenway again, plus players like Nick Esasky could waltz into Fenway for a year and hit 30HR out of the blue…

3 years 5 months ago

I take it you don’t read the boston globe.

3 years 5 months ago

Ben–Good work. You obviously only have so much space to touch on a plethora of issues, but the Bobby Valentine hiring is quite a departure from the norm for the Sox front office. Many a critic is anxious to point to ownership for being too involved in baseball operations. Most people, including myself, expected a less experienced manager to take over as skipper, someone who would have been inclined to toe the company line. Valentine clearly is not that guy. It is certainly a counterpoint to those who believe that brass has too much influence on the happenings on the diamond.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

Despite the idea that Valentine was a Luchhino guy, and Cherington didn’t want him, it seems sort of like a Cherington move to me (at least from what little I know about Cherington and have read about him).  Cherington is supposed to be a guy who likes to hear all sorts of input from different types of people (sabermetric and/or traditional types), and was said to be a guy who thought that internal debate helped lead to making the best possible decision.  Cherington is definitely a guy who can, and is willing to, offer good internal debates.

hawkny1
3 years 4 months ago

Spot on, Mainer.  From what I read as quotes from RS management, in the front office and on the field, this is exactly the way they are functioning.  No rancor, no domination by strong personalities, no pulling rank….   ” Here is the problem, what can we do to solve it?”
“Lets go around the room for input”.   

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

John Henry wants to win it all in 2012.  2011 was an embarrassment for him so he is throwing away the old 90-95 wins per year formula of the past decade!  The dead wood is gone from this year’s opening day roster.

Mr. Henry will do whatever it takes to turn things around, including dumping those prima donnas on the team who refuse to play up to their potential.  

The go-along-to-get-along days of Epstein/Francona are over… I hope those guys who carry around big egos  in the dugout get the message…win or else in 2012.

Lunchbox45
3 years 5 months ago

will win the division this year. sigh

3 years 5 months ago

Cherington certainly has paid his dues. He started working for the organization in 1999 as an area scout and is a native New Englander. He knows Boston, the Red Sox, and the experience that comes with being involved with this franchise. I believe he will be an excellent GM, especially after getting through his first year, first trade deadline, etc. His pedigree allows him to combine traditional scouting with the sabermetric aspect that has permeated the game. If Andrew Bailey stays helathy and Mark Melancon continues to develop into a reliable bullpen arm, Cherington will look good as both players are under team control for the foreseeable future.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

I like the make up of the front office in general.  Cherington, assistant GM Mike Hazen, and VP-Player Personnel Allard Baird have all run scouting departments (Cherington and Hazen with the Sox, and Baird with the Royals), and assistant GM Brian O’Halloran also has a background in scouting.  Cherington and Hazen have constantly been at the Minor League fields this spring.

ugotrpk3113
3 years 5 months ago

I guess I am one of the few pessimistic Red Sox fans here. I don’t at all guarantee a full season from Beckett and he is more of a 4.00 ERA pitcher than the pitcher he was last year. Buchholz still hasn’t pitched a full 180 inning year. Plus you have a project starter in the 4th spot and a rookie who is getting shelled in the 5th. 

Offensively, we should be great. Ellsbury will come back down, but still an elite offense.

I think they fight for 2nd, but more realistically 3rd. I wouldn’t be surprised if Toronto finishes 2nd, Boston 3rd, Tampa 4th.

notsureifsrs
3 years 5 months ago

toronto would need everything to go perfectly — no injuries, #2 stuff from alvarez, ace stuff from morrow and romero, snider rebound, rasmus rebound, lind rebound, johnson rebound, arencibia breakout — in order to finish 2nd

it’s fine to be that optimistic, i guess. but why wouldn’t you apply that blind optimism to every team? if you do that, toronto’s in 3rd of 4th. they’re poised to be a force as early as 2013, but they aren’t there yet

ugotrpk3113
3 years 5 months ago

I guess. With Boston though, they are no question 3rd place team. They just have way too many holes in pitching staff. It’s hard to ignore the question marks after Lester…

notsureifsrs
3 years 5 months ago

“they are no question a 1st place team” – this time last year

ugotrpk3113
3 years 5 months ago

Right. I think it’s pretty safe to say that last year proved why this year I am not very confident…

notsureifsrs
3 years 5 months ago

it isn’t safe at all. how many things went wrong last season? crawford, lackey, matsuzaka, buchholz, historical collapse in september

…still a 90-win team in the AL East. last year proved why it was foolish to be over-confident. you don’t compensate for that by going to the other extreme. they were very good team last year; the are a very good team this year

ugotrpk3113
3 years 5 months ago

Lackey and Matsuzaka were always bad. Buchholz was still a question mark last year but was pitching well before getting hurt. The hype last year was a joke and not necessary.

The problems last year were pitching. Nothing changed from last year to this year. You get Buchholz back, without a full year, and you get the average Beckett. 

I’m not being under-confident here. I don’t see how anyone sees a legit playoff contender with tons of questions in the rotation and bullpen, plus some leveling off for Ellsbury.

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

I watched Dice-K’s last start.  He was pitching with pain, and had been since the start of the 2010 season.   Rotator cuff, since, operated on, and he is the the healthiest he has been since 2009.  He will be the #4 starter by Memorial Day.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

Lackey was never (and still isn’t really) 6.00 ERA bad, and Matsuzaka was and is better than the guys that replaced him last year (all the hype that surrounded him make it hard to be objective about it, but he really is still an above average major league pitcher when he’s healthy).

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

Despite all the disappointments, the Red Sox were on pace to cruise to a 100 win season until Labor Day rolled around in 2011.  Something inexplicable happened that lackluster leadership couldn’t stop in September but that won’t happen again in 2012.  Count on it.

hawkny1
3 years 5 months ago

Man, you are  typical New Englander who was brought up to think the worst…but hope for the best (all be it mildly).  The pitching will be okay, and Ellsbury is only gonna get better….watch.  This club will win 100 games, believe me….they are that good.

MaineSox
3 years 5 months ago

Where do you get the idea that Beckett is a 4.00 ERA pitcher?

ERA is a very poor indicator of a pitcher’s actual talent because things like defense and official scorers (things completely out of the pitcher’s control) have very big affects on it.  If you look at his peripheral stats it is abundantly clear that 2010 (and not 2011) was the outlier:

FIP
2007 – 3.08
2008 – 3.24
2009 – 3.63
2010 – 4.54
2011 – 3.57

xFIP
2007 – 3.31
2008 – 3.19
2009 – 3.30
2010 – 3.86
2011 – 3.58

SIERA
2007 – 3.32
2008 – 3.22
2009 – 3.40
2010 – 3.82
2011 – 3.43

ADD: And Buchholz has never thrown 180 major league innings in a year, but he threw 177 1/3 in 2010 (not technically 180 but c’mon) and 191 the year before (split between AAA and MLB)

wakefield4life
3 years 5 months ago

I think that given the fact that they couldn’t spend this off-season, Ben put together a very competitive team.  He’s being pressured to put together a fantastic team so that last year never happens again (and to show Theo what he’s going to miss), all the while having both hands tied behind his back by not being able to spend where you need to during free agency (in a class that featured CJ Wilson, Albert Pujols, and Jose Reyes, no less).  It must have been very tempting to try and take a run at a SS that isn’t Nick Punto, but at the end of the day, he filled the holes as inexpensively as possible while being able to put together a team poised to compete in the AL East, and he managed to do so using pieces that were expendable but still valuable.

Slopeboy
3 years 5 months ago

If it’s really that hard for you see how Boston contends with NY or Tampa, look again at their roster. If you still can’t see it, get a seeing eye dog. They had a terrific team last year, when the wheels came off, stuff happens. Look at the so-called losses this past off season and you’ll see that there was nothing they didn’t remedy,even Paps. This team is loaded for bear, and motivated as hell,so don’t count them out.
As for Valentine, he’s not a Horse’s Keester, he just likes to act like one.

3 years 5 months ago

He is a Horse’s Keester but that may be just what this team needs. In the words of the great Leo Durocher “Nice guys finish last” For all Tito’s success in Boston, being a nice guy finally did him in last year. This Red Sox team is also the most talented team Bobby V has ever managed. Attitude and effort had alot to do with the Red Sox problems last year. Bobby V is not gonna put up with a bunch of entitled divas. These players are gonna respond one of two ways and if it isn’t Bobby’s way he’ll throw said players under the bus. I have a feeling their is no middle ground for the RED SOX this year. No chance its a 90 win team. Its a 98 win team or its an 82 win team.

johnsilver
3 years 5 months ago

 ” he’s not a Horse’s Keester, he just likes to act like one.”

HAHAHA.. The “total package” manager went to my other favorite team.. The Marlins… Tommy Hutton (my favorite announcer) am just waiting on how long it takes for him to say something about him also on the air other than “biting my tongue”…

hawkny1
3 years 4 months ago

Who? Me, turkey?