Red Sox Notes: Cherington, Valentine, Bard, Cook

A look at the Red Sox following last night’s ugly loss to the Yankees..

  • Saturday was the symbol of an organization that has made too many poor decisions in recent years, both under Epstein and new GM Ben Cherington, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The club shouldn’t be blamed for failing to match the Phillies’ offer for Jonathan Papelbon, but they can be faulted for failing to find adequate replacements for him and Daniel Bard, knowing that they planned to make Bard a starter.
  • After last night’s game, Cherington, president Larry Lucchino, and principal owner John Henry met with Bobby Valentine.  Not much was said after the meeting but in a brief phone interview with Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Henry said “This is not a 14-game problem, this is 41-game problem (including the Red Sox’ 7-20 mark last September). Our pitching has been terrible over the last 41 regular season games.”
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks that the Red Sox should put Bard in the role of closer and recall Aaron Cook from Triple-A to fill in the back of the rotation.  Cook can request his release if he’s not on the 25-man roster on May 1st and again on June 1st.
  • Cherington hopes that Marlon Byrd will turn over a new leaf in Boston, write Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “He’s been a good major league center fielder for a long time and is off to a tough start,” the GM said. “But our hope is that a change of scenery and maybe a new environment may get him going.”


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76 Comments on "Red Sox Notes: Cherington, Valentine, Bard, Cook"


Julian
3 years 3 months ago

What’s Rosenthal talking about?  They went out and got Bailey to fill Papelbon’s role.  Just, he got injured.  You can’t fault Boston for that.

Jason_F
3 years 3 months ago

Well, you know, except for the part that Bailey has been hurt more often than not in his career thus far.

wickedkevin
3 years 3 months ago

And Mark Melancon is pitching in Pawtucket.  Not really a replacement for Bard, eh? 

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

The theory was ok.. Getting both Bailey and Melencon on the cheap while Bard went to the rotation.

Anyone would have to admit that even during ST a late inning corp consisting of Aceves/Melencon and Bailey is very good on paper. Having problems/injury to 2 was a really unforeseen problem.

wickedkevin
3 years 3 months ago

I liked both trades.  Don’t get me wrong.  But they should have gotten one or two more guys.  There were a ton of options out there!  The FA market was loaded with RP.  There’s no excuse for our bullpen to have Aceves as closer and relying on Scot AAAAtchinson.  

Paps is an elite closer, and Bard an elite set-up man.  So if you’re going to replace them, you need either two elites, or a few above average guys.  They got two question marks for the AL East.  Fine, do that.  But then get at least Joe Nathan or someone!

ugotrpk3113
3 years 3 months ago

The problem was that Boston was putting all it’s eggs in the Bailey basket and Bailey usually doesn’t have the healthy arm to carry that basket.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

No they weren’t, that’s why they went out and brought in Melancon as well, it just so happened that he crapped the bed to begin the year.  Coming into the season they had two guys with successful closing experience; one got injured and the other fell completely apart, they should have been fine.

melonis_rex
3 years 3 months ago

Melancon and Aceves were also both very good last year. Both have been terrible this year. That isn’t “putting all the eggs in the Bailey basket”

MB923
3 years 3 months ago

I expected Melanon to be terrible. I remember when they acquired him that some author wrote that he should be successful in the AL. 

His ERA against American League teams (both while with teh Yankees and in interleague play with the Astros) was near 6. I said I don’t expect a Houston like performance, he’ll prob have an ERA in the 4’s.

Boy I was off by about 45 runs.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 3 months ago

I think Melancon will be good in the long run. However, to say that Bailey, Melancon and Aceves were good replacements for Paps and Bard I think is a stretch.

Melancon was largely unproven. He’s had 1 1/2 decent seasons and it came while pitching in low pressure situations with a last place team in the AL West. I’ve always liked him as a Yankee and feel that he will be fine in time but expecting a 2011 season in Boston this year may have been too optimistic.

Bailey is injury prone and spent the majority of his career in the AL West in a pitcher friendly park. 

Career 1.94 FIP/2.61 xFIP at home vs 3.61/4.27 on the road.

Aceves, is another guy I’ve always liked but why assume that his transition as a spot starter/middle relief pitcher was going to be smooth? 

For that matter, I never understood why they didn’t go harder for Oswalt or Ejax and keep Bard in the pen vs acting as if Bard’s conversion to a starter was a no-brainer?

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Papelbon and Bard to Bailey and Melancon was certain to be a step back, but it wasn’t unreasonable to think that it would be a more than serviceable back of the bullpen.

ugotrpk3113
3 years 3 months ago

It was unreasonable. Bailey can’t stay healthy. That was the problem from the start. Melancon could be servicable, but to think he was an 8th inning guy was a mistake also. He is that 3rd/4th arm. Shouldn’t be considered a setup/closer guy.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Counting on two guys who have had good success in the past (including last seasons and including in areas that are not park/league specific and stats that are adjusted for park and league) to be successful again this year is not unreasonable.  In fact, it’s the only way you can build a team; if a guy was not on your team the previous year, that is exactly what you have to do.

ugotrpk3113
3 years 3 months ago

I guess we can agree to disagree. You can build a team with successful players, but you can’t build a house with questionable wood. Which is what they tried to do.

3 years 3 months ago

 “You can’t fault Boston for that.”  You can if you’re Ken Rosenthal.

ColonelBoston
3 years 3 months ago

Theo Epstein put this team in such a hole with his terrible moves over the last couple of years & his protege, Cherington, is NOT helping by trading away a good reliever in Bowden, for a bad outfielder in Byrd. This has NOTHING to do with Valentine. The Sox vets have become incredibly entitled, stubborn, arrogant, egotistical & aloof in the last 2+ seasons. The Sox brass should just do the smart thing & have a fire sale & rebuild — as long as players like Beckett & Lester are unwilling to adapt or care, their demeanor will seep through the clubhouse like a cancer. Regardless, the Sox are only a 70 win team under the brightest of stars..

qbass187
3 years 3 months ago

 Disagree. Bowden is NOT a good reliever. If he was a good reliever he’d have actually struck with this team in one way or another over the last 4 years. The only reason he broke camp with the RED SOX is that he was out of options. Theo let Bowden die on the vine like alot of other “Highly touted” prospects he had in the past bunch of years… The D’Backs offered Miguel Montero STRAIGHT UP (!) for Bowden back in 09’… Theo said he’d prefer Bowden rot in AAA. he did this to ALOT of players because (in my opinion) he was made to look like a gigantic dope with the Wily Mo Pena for Bronson Arroyo deal. He coveted his Red Sox prospects to a fault.
One thing Cherrington as done since he took over that i really like is that he’s moved some of these dead end “prospects” like Lowrie, Reddick & Weiland.

3 years 3 months ago

Bowden is out of options and was designated for assignment. Since you obviously don’t know what that means, let me explain. When a players options are all used up, they can no longer be sent to the minor leagues without passing through waivers first. When a player goes on the waiver wire, if he is claimed by another team, the player goes to the new team and the old team GETS NOTHING. If the Red Sox did not find a trade for Bowden..there is a very good chance another team would claim him and he would be gone and the Sox would get NOTHING for him. The Red Sox are lucky they found someone to make a trade, since the other teams know that he was going to be on waivers.

jed_hoyer
3 years 3 months ago

still got nothing for him

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Most of the time when players are DFAd they literally get nothing for them (they literally just give them away), so getting a major league CF (even if it’s one who would normally only be a depth player) is a lot better than what should have been expected.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 3 months ago

Wow…I love to see Sox fans like become rattled. What you’re saying about Theo is a joke. He made two bad moves in signing Crawford and Lackey, and really…they were bad moves not because of what happened in 2011 and 2012 but because of the length and $$$$ given to both and what there long term contributions would be at the end of each deal. No way anyone could expect Crawford to be this bad. Injuries happen. neither had a history of poor health prior though.

So easy to focus on Craford and Lackey and ignore the players that came thru the system and the smart pick ups like Agonz for two players that have yet to distinguish themselves as mlb uber prospects yet.

erm016
3 years 3 months ago

I’m not even really sure Crawford is a bad contract. One bad year, yes. It happens. Look at Dan Uggla after his big extension with Atlanta. Look at Pujols this year. 

I have a feeling Crawford will be a beast. If you don’t want him, we’ll take him in Atlanta. You can have Prado.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Crawford was a bad contract the day it was signed, but not considerably worse than the typical free agent contract. 

melonis_rex
3 years 3 months ago

Disclaimer: not a Red Sox fan.

1- The Red Sox only missed the playoffs last year because of something that was an UTTER and COMPLETE fluke. Completely, and historically borderline unprecedented. That is not Theo’s or Cherington’s fault.

2- Lester is still a top 10 pitcher in the AL. He’s not Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez but there are only two of those in the AL. I would love to have a lazy ace on the team which I root for.

3- Byrd is not a bad outfielder.

ColonelBoston
3 years 3 months ago

@Julian Miller: Bailey has been an egg his entire career. He has never given anyone any reason to believe he can stay off the DL and on the field.

qbass187
3 years 3 months ago

That’s not true actually.

ctownboy
3 years 3 months ago

Francona was there and the team tanked in September.

Valentine was hired and the team is off to a bad start.

After Valentine made his comments about Youkilis, some players said it wasn’t Valentine’s team it was THEIR team.  Well, if two different Managers are getting the SAME results and it is the PLAYERS team then maybe it is the PLAYERS who are the problem.

Maybe instead of booing the Manager when he goes out to make a pitching change maybe the fans should boo the PLAYERS when they go out to take their positions or when they make an Error or when they Strike Out.

Just because some of these players were on the team in 2004 or 2007 and brought a World Series championship to town doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held accountable NOW.  What a player did five years ago doesn’t help the team win now.

If  Boston fans are not booing a guy for failing now just because of what they did in the past then the problems are going to continue and the losing is going to continue.

BitLocker
3 years 3 months ago

 I really don’t see why Valentine is getting the blame here. A baseball
manager isn’t as important in the sport as say in Basketball and
Football where their decisions really matter the most. Obviously the
root of the problem goes to the players

3 years 3 months ago

The root of the problem is the result of injuries, and the poor planning for injuries by the front office, by both Epstein and Cherington.

rockfordone
3 years 3 months ago

yeap

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

It’s really not even the result of poor planning – they went and brought in backups for their backups – the problem is the extent of the injuries (and ineffectiveness) all at the same positions.  The team is down three guys who would be in their starting outfield (one they knew would be out coming into the season), and they are three deep into their closer depth at this point too.

With this team healthy* you would have an outfield of Crawford, Ellsbury, and Ross with Bailey closing, Melancon setting up, and Aceves/Padilla/Morales in the 7th.  Instead you have Ross, Sweeney, and McDonald/Repko (now Byrd) in the outfield (still pretty good considering they would normally all be depth guys) with Aceves closing, Padilla/Morales setting up, and Albers/Thomas (OMG WHY?!) in the 7th.

*as healthy as they were expected to be when there were still opportunities to add depth (just prior to spring training). So this doesn’t even include guys like Kalish, Jenks, Matsuzaka, Lackey, or Hill; all of whom would have a major impact on the team as well.

3 years 3 months ago

 “It’s really not even the result of poor planning – they went and brought in backups for their backups”

Quality, not quantity… seems they either forgot or didn’t give it enough thought.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

A lot of their backups could be starters on about half the teams in the majors, so I don’t think quality was a problem, and they had the typical “AAAA” type guys to back those up, so I don’t really think quantity was a problem either.  The problem is the number of injuries all at the same positions are so extensive.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 3 months ago

Yes, injuries have played a big part of this year but also there are several major players who are under performing. Now…that being said……IT’S ONLY APRIL. BUT let’s not ignore the fact that Pedroia, Agonz and Youk are under performing and that Lester, Beckett, Bard, Buchh and Doubront all have ERAs, FIPs and xFIPs well above 5.00 and the bullpen is posting 10’s across the board. On top of that, they also have one of the worst team defenses in baseball (unfortunately not as bad as the Yanks who rank last).

To blame it just on injuries would be a cop out. The stars are clearly not performing as expected.

EarlyMorningBoxscore
3 years 3 months ago

Blow up the pitching staff. Just do it now. Get it over with and start over. 

3 years 3 months ago

Does anyone think any of this is related to their pitching coach, or is this just a completely untalented group? I remember last season, Curt Young took a lot of heat for the state of the pitching staff.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Are those my only two options?  It’s either the pitching coach’s fault, or they aren’t talented?

3 years 3 months ago

I have been very pro- Bard as a starter, but I have to agree with Cafardo at this point. The Red Sox need Bard more in the bullpen. They should call up Cook.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Moving Bard back to the ‘pen isn’t going to fix it (if he’s the closer he never even makes it into the game yesterday), they need at least a couple of good relievers to add to the ‘pen.  Plus, taking Bard out of the rotation makes the rotation worse and puts more strain on the ‘pen, so moving him back there likely makes the problem worse, not better.

Another problem with using Cook in the rotation is that he is an extreme ground ball pitcher (that’s how he has his success is keeping the ball on the ground and away from solid contact), and with Boston’s terrible infield defense (on the left side of the infield anyway) I don’t think it would work out all that well for him.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

Lots and lots of variables to moving Bard back into the pen that could come into play and even get the team going, so please bare with me and *not* saying I am going to agree with them:

Iglesias becomes the starting SS and Aviles super utility player, plays 3b couple of times a week also as well as SS.

Moving Bard back into the pen does allow Aceves to slide back into the multiple innings role he held before and makes him more valuable as a multi inning reliever than he is now and can team with Atchison in that role.

Removal of Repco and replacement of either Lin/Ciriaco for both defense at take your choice.. Infield positions/OF in either case and both have good speed and can be used for pinch running to steal bases.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

In my opinion you’d almost have to bring up Iglesias if you brought up Cook, but the offense would take a dive (especially if you brought up both Iglesias and Lin).

Your best chance to get quality pitching out of Cook would be to bring up both Iglesias and Middlebrooks (Gonzalez, Pedroia, Iglesias, and Middlebrooks would be a phenomenal infield defense), but Iglesias is a pretty big step down from Aviles offensively (and Aviles is already a weak offensive player), and while Middlebrooks is a very good hitter he’s not going to come close to replacing Youk’s offense.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

 Was going to add Middlebrooks also, but really.. His lack of patience at the plate thus far is a time bomb waiting to get exposed at the AAA level and probably would take no time at the MLB level.

Middlebrooks is just going to have to learn pitch selection eventually. His lofty stats early on have been phenomenal at Pawtucket, granted, but those 3bb vs 20k in less than 70AB really stick out.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Middlebrooks has only struck out 9 times, not 20 times, and his lack of walks is more about aggressiveness than it is about pitch recognition.  He make a lot of contact, and doesn’t chase a ton of bad pitches, he just doesn’t work counts for a lot of walks, and the major area he would strike out in the past has been on fastballs on the inner part of the plate, but scouts have been impressed with how much better he has been this year at covering the inner part of the plate (he’s actually been taking pitches that he would previously have struck out on and has been hitting doubles and home runs on them).

All that being said though, even if he reaches his full potential he isn’t going to replace Youkilis’ offense (especially not in his first season), and there’s no way he actually pushes Youkilis out.  The only chance he has at the major league roster this year is through injury.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

 “Middlebrooks has only struck out 9 times, not 20 times”

Thx.. Just looked again and ur right on.. Was sure it said 20 when looked.. LOL

Hope he can hold off with pitches when he does get the call, because if this current team does not improve? That option (13m) is less and less likely to get picked up for next season and the entire LH side of the IF is going to be brand, spanking new.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

I think Youkilis’ option is about 99% likely to be exercised, but he’ll probably take Ortiz’s place as DH (and part time 1B/3B), with Middlebrooks taking over at 3B.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

 I sure hope so.. We keep reading over and over how he is a goner, yet of all the LT contract guys they have? he has earned his money as good, or as well as anyone, other than Pedey.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

He walked 2 more times tonight.  Once after being down 1-2.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

 Cheers.. Just looked over Portland and saw they put 5 on the board the last 3 innings, but hadn’t checked on Pawtucket..

You know.. If Portland was included in the MILB broadcast package.. Even Salem or greenvile if any of those 3 had TV locally to broadcast.. I would get the MILB package along with MLB that currently have…

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Greenville actually does have MiLB broadcast at their home games, but only two other teams in their league have it, so it’s basically only at their home games.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

 I checked the MILB TV broadcast schedule for teams and didn’t see them listed.. Are they really on there now? IF greenveill is, I’ll definately go ahead and get it, even 1/2 the TV for Greenveill on TV (MILB) would be cool, I just wanted to see more than the PawSox.

Can u lemme know if ur getting it please Maine? Cheers.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Today’s game wasn’t on there because it was an away game, and I’m not getting it myself this year, but the guys on SoxProspects have been talking about it and they say they have it for all of their home games.  And if you go back to April 20th on their schedule (a home game) they have it as available that day.

Also, FWIW, Middlebrooks walked two more times today without a strike out. (7BB to 10 K now)

lefty177
3 years 3 months ago

bring up Cook, get Mike Gonzalez, get Oswalt? Henry said he’d be willing to go over the luxury tax if it means they’ll win more games, send Bard to closer, & i don’t know who they’d send down though, DFA McDonald?

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Oswalt wouldn’t be ready to pitch until mid-season, and Cook’s numbers are going to be hurt a lot by the left side of Boston’s infield defense.  Your best bet, for right now, is to leave Bard in the rotation and try to figure something else out with the ‘pen.

I like the idea of Gonzalez in the ‘pen though.

johnsilver
3 years 3 months ago

 Still locked in on Bard in the rotation? Aces is looking shakier and shakier as a closer. That one tonight was as awful as can be and get the job done.. Looked like a 100% imitation of Marmol/Gregg.

Poor Buch got bad luck tonight. Sure he couldn’t get the ball down and asked for those last 3 runs, but the middle relief was just awful. They needed Aces in that 6th inning to go long.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

I definitely still am.  I don’t think that the entire ‘pen falling apart is reason to take Bard out of the rotation; he’s not going to fix the problem on his own, and at this point it looks like they need at least three good relievers.  Also, the rotation isn’t exactly running on all cylinders right now either, so taking one of the better starters (to this point) out of the rotation to fix the ‘pen is making one problem worse just to fix a different problem (and a quality rotation is considerably more important than a quality ‘pen).

Henry Hazel
3 years 3 months ago

Aceves was the closer and he got into the game yesterday.Last year Bard would have came into the game in the 7th.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

This isn’t last year, Bard wasn’t the closer last year.  Aceves came in in the 8th because he can go multiple innings, that’s not something that Bard does as a reliever.  The game was already out of control by the time Aceves came in anyway.

Leonard Washington
3 years 3 months ago

The pen is the problem here not the whole staff. Aceves is a 7th-8th inning guy not a 9th inning guy. That and Bobby gained too much trust in Morales after a couple nice outings, i’m not saying he can’t get righties out but against the elite ones I would rather have gone with Albers or Tazawa. I think the nucleus is there and we can improve but they have royally screwed us to begin the season. If it wasn’t for the pen you could easily add two wins a piece to Lester & Doubront. One for Beckett too. leaving us at 9-10 and weirdly right in the midst of things. Beckett, Bard, and Lester have had one bad start a piece thats it. Doubront has been doing well and seems to be getting even stronger. The decision to throw him in the rotation has been successful. Bard has made strides as well I mean if analyst can say Darvish is coming along with his mediocre stats I don’t see why Bards progress should be overlooked. The lineup has still put up runs despite injuries too. Its just so bad in the bullpen that 9 points is not enough at least right now. If the pen can get itself together we will be fine. 

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

I’d like to see them throw about half of the bullpen guys (okay, maybe not half, but 2-3 anyway) out the door and call up some of the depth guys/minor league guys.  They couldn’t be worse, and some of them would probably be likely to be better.

Leonard Washington
3 years 3 months ago

I think you would be surprised how bad some A to AAA nobody’s could do. As much as I want to wig I’m not going to because its way too early. Padilla has had one bad outing. Same with Morales. Same with Albers. Tazawa showed some stuff against the Yanks the other night and I still think he is a sleeper for an important role down the line. Atchison has been good. Honestly we have had a tough schedule to start the season and I think we will get better as the season goes on. Hill should be a boost when he comes back too.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

I’m not talking about the A to AAA nobodies, I’m talking about Cook, Ohlendorf, Mortensen, and/or maybe Wilson.  And Albers is one of the guys I would probably get rid of (or at least bring up enough other guys so that he doesn’t have to be counted on for anything more than blowouts); he was never a good pitcher in Baltimore, he started last year pretty well, and then he went back to pitching the way he did in Baltimore, so there’s no reason to think that the half a year to start last year was anything more than a fluke.

Leonard Washington
3 years 3 months ago

Yeah I mean if we are sending Bard to the pen then Cook is a given. The rest of those guys haven’t done much special down there so far.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

No, I mean I’d call Cook up to pitch out of the ‘pen.  And all three of Cook, Ohlendorf, and Mortensen have been lights out so far this year (albeit in very small sample sizes), and would be at least as good as the guys they would be replacing in the ‘pen.  And Wilson is still starting at this point, but has actually been very good (again in a small sample size), and while he is actually starting pitching depth at the moment he is probably best suited for relief in the long run anyway (his fastball plays better in shorter stints/higher velocity).

Leonard Washington
3 years 3 months ago

I’m pretty sure they have a unwritten contract that Cook is a starter only type. I would def welcome him in the pen though if he would allow it.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

I don’t know about unwritten, but the actual written contract just states that he has to be on the 25 man roster by May 1st or he can opt out.  So they could make him the right fielder, as long as he’s on the 25 man roster.

Leonard Washington
3 years 3 months ago

Gentlemens agreement kind of thing. He wants to be a starter and nothing else. Rightfully so he has pitched well down there and in spring training.

$6101468
3 years 3 months ago

Now he is a starter and then he isn’t. Great methodology. And why will Bard solve the bullpen problem? Might just be another dud. What happens to get to Bard?  Folks – there is nothing there.  This is the bridge to nowhere.

Now part II is the starters.  Am I impressed?  This is not a staff that has solidified.  Maybe after a few more starts a better read will be available. Right now it is just ho hum.

Then comes the fact that the current starting lineup is populated by fringe starters. 

3 years 3 months ago

look papelbon is awesome and irreplacable, but at that time people, were acting “you know what at least we got Bailey” now it’s different so in my mind I’m thinkin Bard closes, and sign Javier Vazquez

hawkny1
3 years 3 months ago

It is still to early in the season to push the panic button on this team.  For the most part this is the same group that went 83-40 (67.5%) less than a year ago.  At the start of last year, there were a few rotten apples in the barrel who were eventually sorted out and discarded.  The same will happen this year one way of the other, over these next few months.

Lets look, for moment at the current situation:

1. 2/3 of the regular outfield is on the shelf.  These two, Ellsbury and Crawford, happen to be the speediest players on the team and both play stellar outfield defense.  They also add power to the lineup.  New players, targeted for right field platoon duty are trying to fill in under very trying circumstances and intensive media scrutiny.  A difficult situation all the way around.  Ross and Sweeney were not prepped for this role in spring training.  Both the offense and defense are suffering in the outfield at the moment.

2. The right side of the infield is stable with Gonzalez and Pedroia playing daily
but the left side is very unsettled with questionable field play on the part of the shortstop and third baseman.  One has to ask if Youkilis is playing with injured legs or is he, in fact, just not really healthy.  Youkilis’s offense has deserted him thus far…has his body done so too?  He is not talking right now after unnecessarily causing a row a week ago with his manager that was widely covered in the media.  As for Avila, his hitting leaves much to be desired at this point in the season and he is weak defensively.  Both the infield’s offense and defense are suffering here, without  a doubt..  

3. The catching on the field has been adequate but Salty is again very slow coming around with the bat.  Is he pressing again?  If he feels pressured because he is the #1 guy he may not be the solution he was projected to be to stabilize the catching department long term.  Perhaps the manager knows what is going on with Salty but he is not talking publicly about it if he does.  The offense is noticeably suffering behind the plate.

4. The DH is performing offensively as expected.  No negative impact  to note here. Consistent, very consistent, thus far

5. The bench, made up of MacDonald, Punto and Shoppach has not made much in the way contributions to either the offense or defense.  Although, to Shoppach’s credit he has shown more hitting ability than Salty has, thus far. Whether the bench is helpful, or not, depends upon what one’s initial expectations of this group are.  On a scale of 1 to 10, have they earned a 4?

6. Every starting pitcher has had at least one very bad outing.  Several have had at least two poor starts. Beckett, Lester, Bard and Doubront have also had two good outings but Buchholz the #3 starter, has not had a single good one yet.  In four of the team’s 10 losses to date, starters have pitched well enough to win, but did not because the relief corps did not contain the opposition’s hitters as the should, once the game was turned over to them.  Buchholz’s readiness to pitch regularly has to be seriously questioned after his injury plagued 2011.  The team is definitely hurting because of inconsistent pitching from some starters.

7. The relief corps lacks an effective closer to anchor the team’s late inning performances.  Aceves is not a closer.  He lacks the killer instinct and is not able to strike out batters when he wants to or needs to. He is a long reliever and occassional starter, and, it should be said, a very good one, but he is not a closer.  Tazawa has shown potential but he once did as a starter too, until he blew out his arm in 2010.  Padilla can strike out batters but his performances are always erratic.  Dennis Eckersley he is not, right Dennis?  The rest of the relief group has been in and out, mostly out, as their roles have not been clearly defined nor have the pitched with any degree of effectiveness thus far to latch onto a spot.

8. The team has a new manager, Bobby Valentine, a native New Englander with a completely different approach to managing the team than his predecessor.  He has been brought in, presumably, to gain control of on-the-field decision making and providing the kind of enthusiastic, competitive leadership that appeared lacking in 2011 edition of the Red Sox.  He has met with player resistance, in fact, he has been challenged by several not-so-bright veteran players who are unaccustomed to his  assertive style of interaction and managerial control.  This apparent “resistance to change”  and player insubordination is a serious matter if left unaddressed by upper management.  Ownership should be strongly supporting the manger and general manager’s efforts to gain control over field operations but, thus far, ownership seems reluctant to step in. 

9. The team has a new general manager, who for all of his career in MLB baseball has taken orders from a supervising general manager, rather than give them.  He has yet to show the public aggressiveness of his predecessor, in the leadership department.  Good or bad this is another facet of team operations that has changed in ways not yet fully understood by all interested and/or affected parties.

10.Boston’s sports media has been critical of every move and every decision made by team management since the September collapse of 2011.   Writers and broadcasters who have never played MLB baseball are repeatedly second guessing the new manager and the new general manager at every step along the way. Writers and pundits seem to be doing all they can to stir up controversy, which presumably sells newspapers and/or increases fees charged for advertising but has to erode team and fan morale a great deal.  Media hostility has to be a major contributor to the negativity surrounding the team right now. 

In sum, this is a mess. Injuries,  inconsistent offense, defensive weaknesses, erratic pitching, lack of media support, player arrogance and just plain bad luck have turned this potential championship caliber team into a disorganized, disgusting, last place franchise.  A winning road trip after the completion of this current home stand could mitigate some of the growing negativity surrounding the Red Sox but a repeat of the 1-5 start of the season, next week, on the road, could bring about major personnel roster changes, which, save and except its public relations value, may have no meaningful impact on performance nor turn this team’s fortunes around.  The players will have to do that on their own and we fans are just going to have to be patient to see if they can or are willing to do it.  This is an awful lot to ask baseball crazy New England isn’t it? None the less, we have to give this situation time to work itself out. It is the only way to go, even if they are 5-15 this time next week.  Oh, that is an awful thought, simply awful.

BTW, win or lose, the sun will come up over New England every day that it is not raining (or snowing).  Fear not.

  

BoSoXaddict
3 years 3 months ago

It’s not fair to Bard (especially when he has been pitching pretty well as a starter) but the Sox really don’t have any viable alternative to making him the closer right now IMO. Not with the way Aceves has been pitching. I wouldn’t trust Padilla in the role either. Get rid of Thomas to make room for Bard in the pen. Call up Cook to take Bard’s role as 5th starter. When Rich Hill is ready, get rid of Albers if he is still underperforming or option back Tazawa. And when Daisuke is ready to rejoin the rotation put Doubront back in the pen as well. Perhaps by then Melancon will have figured things out or maybe give Alex Wilson a shot in the pen too..

YanksFanSince78
3 years 3 months ago

Granted…Bard has better peripherals than his 4.63 ERA indicate but the on field results have been dismal.

he’s kept the ball in the park (no hrs) and is missing bats (10k/9) but he’s getting hit (22% LD, .375 BaBIP) and he’s wild (BB/9 near 7).

IF he can learn better control and learn how to pitch thru a lineup 2 or 3 times then he has a shot. But right now let’s call the results what they are so far…..not very good.

Here’s the key. How long will it take for Lester, Buchh and Beckett to get THERE act together? If you have a strong 1-2-3, a good bullpen and a good offense then you can afford to be patient while your #4 and #5 guys work thru their struggles. Problem is, Sox don’t have that luxury. So how long can you wait for Bard to be the guy you guys want him to be before you make changes? 

Lester, Beckett and Buchh aren’t going anywhere. They are staying in the rotation barring some supremely awful continuance thru the summer. It’s not too late nor a bad idea to send Bard back to the bullpen in hopes he’ll be a dominant closer vs a mediocre starter. Also, it depends on what becomes available on the market (Bartolo Colon ????). 

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

The only concerning thing has been the BB/9.  The .375 BABIP actually suggests that he should get better, and he has the second lowest contact% in the game (second only to Chapman – a reliever), so he really isn’t getting hit a lot.  His 22% LD rate is also barely higher than league average (about 21% so far this year): Price, Gio Gonzalez, Strasburg, Greinke, Jaime Garcia, Felix, Haren, Hamels, and 3/5ths of the Yankees rotation (Sabathia, Nova, and Garcia) are all among the pitchers with higher LD rates than Bard.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

It was the combination of Bailey getting hurt and Melancon falling apart at the same time that did it.  With either one of them pitching and/or pitching as well as they should/could have, there wouldn’t be this huge problem.

chico65
3 years 3 months ago

Okay, second attempt.  Thanks disqus.

It wouldn’t be AS huge of a problem, but nobody was going to mistake this for a Kevin Towers bullpen

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

With both of them it had the chance to be a very good bullpen, but with both of them out it pushes people into roles they have no business being in.

chico65
3 years 3 months ago

If everything broke right they might have been very good.  They’re just plain broken right now.