Cafardo On Red Sox, Youkilis, Beckett, Nationals

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders what is at the root of the Red Sox‘s pitching woes.  Some around baseball feel that the club’s hurlers are missing catcher Jason Varitek.  “He did a lot for that team in terms of getting the staff ready for each team,’’ said an American League GM. “They depended on him like no team depended on a catcher anywhere in baseball, with the possible exception of St. Louis, where Yadier Molina seems to have that effect.’’  Here’s more from Cafardo..

  • An AL GM told Cafardo that there could be a market for embattled Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, but the club would have to be willing to eat more than half of his contract.  Beckett will earn $15.75MM each year through 2014.
  • If Red Sox Kevin Youkilis can show he’s healthy, there’s a strong third base market out there for Boston. A National League special assignment scout told Cafardo that the Giants and Phillies are looking while the Rays could factor in, even though they say they aren’t in search of an answer at third base.
  • The Nationals would like to deal left-hander John Lannan but teams appear more interested in Chien Ming-Wang. The Nationals also have a good thing going and have created competition on their staff, as Wang and Lannan could push the other five. 
  • One American League GM doesn’t see the Phillies parting with Cole Hamels via trade.  “The [Blue] Jays are looking to do something big,” said an American League GM. “I just don’t see the Phillies bailing out on Hamels. They can still win it.
  • The Rangers probably won’t let Josh Hamilton leave in free agency, but if he does look elsewhere, the Dodgers could be a fit for him with their new-found dollars.  Signing Hamilton would also allow the club to let Andre Ethier head into the market.


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78 Comments on "Cafardo On Red Sox, Youkilis, Beckett, Nationals"


3 years 2 months ago

Beckett has 4 days to do HIS OWN homework on the upcoming team he pitches against!  Instead of using “his time” to go play golf, I’d think it would be better time spent if he helped his and the Red Sox’s cause by preparing for his next start.  I think 15+ million warrants that!

thesultanofswingandmiss
3 years 2 months ago

Not for Bigshot (Ahem) Beckett. If you’ve ever seen his personality, I don’t think 50 might warrant that in his world.

notsureifsrs
3 years 2 months ago

i don’t know why anyone would believe it’s a lack of scouting that has prevented beckett (or anyone else) from executing pitches

you don’t need jason varitek to tell you that most hitters tend to do well against 90 mph cutters over the heart of the plate

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

I’d hate to be a fan of whatever team that GM is in charge of.

dylanp5030
3 years 2 months ago

If the Phils do have to bail on Hamels, the Jays would be the only team I wouldn’t mind him going to. I really like what they have done, plus we could get D’Arnaud back and maybe another arm.

TOR is one of the teams that would give up a but because they have depth but also they are not a big market team that would draw FA there, but of he’s already they may be able to get something done.

3 years 2 months ago

Would be really surprised to see the jays move D’arnaud for 2-3 months of Hamels. They are too interested in value maximization to let all of that team control of a near ML ready catcher go. Much more likely they would trade some of the lower minor arms. 

3 years 2 months ago

Why in the WORLD would Toronto give up d’Arnaud for four months worth of Hamels, who they have no shot of retaining?

MuskokaBoyInOakville
3 years 2 months ago

 Ummm, Toronto IS a big market team; just not a team currently interested in overpriced free agents.

3 years 2 months ago

The ONLY way the Jays make a move on Hamels is if they can extend him (like Roy Halladay).  Not sure Cole will go for that, but thats the only way. AA has come to far to sell the farm on a rental player.

Redsoxn8tion
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t think trading Beckett

Zach
3 years 2 months ago

Thank you

Ian_Smell
3 years 2 months ago

He has such an unparalleled analysis.  

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

Youk, in SF and especially on that field at 3b would be a perfect way to finish off his career. A FB hitter, where nothing carries and a guy who has issues staying on the field? One of the worst places in the game for him to end up.

Philly would be ok. Decent stadium for him and a better overall situation, only Philly doesn’t have any payroll flexibility, so neither is either a fix because of the stadium, or payroll. Cafardo had better dream up other potential teams in his fantasy world.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 2 months ago

 He’s from Cincinnati and they will have an opening for a third baseman.  It’s a small park that would play well for him I think.

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

Cincy would be fine also.. Small to middle sized/playing field would work and one with **natural** grass would be key also. Youk, especially in the NL would have to be able to play some 1b if any team is going to expect him to play 3b more than 80+ games without the DH option.

His health now, pitchers using him as a target, and him being a flyball hitter pretty much would make him a not really productive hitter at places like San Diego, LAD, SF and several more in the NL who could use a 3b.

He could really rock pretty well at Cincy, as long as could stay healthy.. No high wall in LF to knock down his high, towering shots in that direction.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 2 months ago

 If we’re going all NL, he could also fit with the Cubs and Phoenix and the Nationals if he’s willing to fill in for Zimmerman’s injuries and play first base at other times.  In fact, I like him for the Nats the best-he’s also got some playoff experience and experience in the pressure cooker.

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 Maybe Votto should play 1b and 3b after that nice GS to top off a 3 HR game.. WHAT a performance. Youk would sure give him more protection however.

Maybe Votto could hit 50 with Youk hitting in front of him?

jakec77
3 years 2 months ago

J Bay for J Beckett

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 Wrong.. Beckett, even with the issues is of more use than Bay and not that don’t think Bay isn’t capable of returning to some type of form, but beckett still has the #2-3 potential and Bay just will never, ever be a middle of the order bat again.

Now if the Mets would take Lackey and the difference? Sure thing…

Hodor
3 years 2 months ago

 How about we send you a grounds crew worker and a bucket of balls for Lackey.  Seems like a fair deal.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 2 months ago

The Red Sox are on their third pitching coach in three years AND have changed catchers.  On the other hand there are many different resources and people available to help prepare pitchers on a team.  Not to mention that pitchers that have been there awhile should have absorbed information….The Sox pretty much chose to bring back a lot of the same pitchers expecting better results and they haven’t really gotten that.

Boston is a pressure cooker environment for a pitcher-maybe it just simply wears on some of them after a time.

3 years 2 months ago

The thing(s) with Josh Beckett are this:
Is he healthy?
If he does get a change of scenery, will his attitude change with it?
Is he motivated? I mean he has two World Series rings! Is he hungry for another?

As for Youk, why would the Phillies want him? If the Red Sox are looking to get rid of him, there must be an issue.

Lastly, if the Phillies are offered a good enough package for Hamels, they will take it!

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 2 months ago

Well anyone is technically available if a team is offered a good enough package. Though if you’re suggesting the package would come from the Sox, then I highly doubt it. A hypothetical Hamels trade would cost the Sox Middlebrooks plus probably 2 of Barmes, Bradley, and Bogaerts, another prospect and probably will require a 3rd team to ship off a nearly ready pitching prospect to the Phillies. 

melonis_rex
3 years 2 months ago

That “issue” may be that Will Middlebrooks is good and that Youkilis is becoming increasingly redundant.

There are some terrible, terrible starting 3B in MLB. Youk would be a significant improvement for several teams, including contending ones.

jammin502
3 years 2 months ago

How about a swap of Beckett for Alfonso Soriano? A swap of bad salaries that are already sunk costs, and a change of scenery might benefit both players. For the Cubs this would open an outfield spot where they have depth, and for the Sox they could use an outfielder. This might also allow the Cubs to then move Demp or Garza for prospects.

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 
The one further above for Bay made more sense (still virtually none) as Soriano is worth nothing and Beckett still can pitch.

Tko11
3 years 2 months ago

Podsednik>Soriano

alphabet_soup5
3 years 2 months ago

Youkilis is so over-rated. He didn’t even become a regular until age 27 and has not played in 140+ games since 2008. You would never hear about this guy if he wasn’t on the Red Sox.

He also can not control his emotions on the field.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I mean how much would it suck to have a guy on your team who’s been as valuable as A-Rod and Tulowitzki since 2008, and for the last four years has been the 5th best hitter in the game behind Pujols, Miggy, Votto, and Manny?

Oh, and this guy is only paid $12M this year and $13M next if you decide to pick up his option.

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

So true.  If he was on, say, the Pirates or the Padres he would pretty much be facing retirement right now.  The press done loves them some east coast hype.

bob barker
3 years 2 months ago

We here on the giants say hell no to Youkilis unless you guys want Aubrey Huff in return. Pablo is going to be back in a month, don’t need an over the hill 3rd baseman.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

They could play him at third until Sandoval comes back and then move him over to 1st (where he likely belongs at this point anyway), and do whatever with Huff (play him in LF, put him on the bench… cut him).

Crucisnh
3 years 2 months ago

I agree, MaineSox.  Youk’s value moving forward should really be more for 1B than 3B, though I suppose that the fact that he can do both doesn’t hurt either.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

Someone could pick him up for 3B, and he would be a valuable player for them there, but his defense is considerably better at 1B (legitimate plus defender at 1B, and below average at 3B), and he would likely stay a lot healthier and more productive for them at 1B.  So I think he would make the most sense for a team looking for someone to play 1B.

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

Not that want Youk to end up playing half of his games in that mausoleum that the Giants call a stadium.. But really.. It’s not like that team has any offense is it? Youk goes to that team and instantly becomes pretty much the only power + on base threat..

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 2 months ago

The Hamilton instead of Ethier theory doesn’t make much sense. The only way this could possibly happen is if neither player’s contract is extended during the season. Does anyone seriously expect both of them to go to free agency?

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 Am so GIDDY!! This is deserving of an entire post!

Darnell McDonald was just added to the DISABLED list! HOORAY! Boston is finally berid of him for AT LEAST 15 days now.

They just called up Mauro Gomez (a retread) who can maybe only move 3″ to his left and right as a 1b, but it gets McDonald outta’ site for a couple of weeks :-)

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

I really don’t get calling up Gomez; his defense is barely acceptable even at 1B, and he’s been DHing in AAA.  What good is a backup DH on this team?

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 None really.. I would have preferred.. Lin… Was mostly happy that McDonald is outta here.

Lavarnway made sense, but story in Cafrado today says he is trying to catch 5-6 games a week.. Soo long way of getting to why Gomez called up? More to Ortiz’s heel injury and he may be next in the injury list and the immovable object Gomez could be that guy.

I still would have rather seen Lavarnway bat only as a DH, but Gomez was hitting and Lavarnway only some at Pawtucket.

That’s my take on why he was probably recalled. What’s yours Maine?

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

If they believe Ortiz is going to need some time off so his heel can heal I guess it could make sense, but Ortiz has been playing well, and he’s in the lineup today, so I don’t know that that is the case.

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

Off of the ortiz injury thing..

That Middlebrooks shot today off the facade had ‘headhunter” written all over it did it not? That ball looked like some of the blasts Jimmy Rice used to hammer over the wall it was hit so hard and went out so fast.

Good thing those fans sitting in the monster seats moved.. That ball would have hurt had they tried to catch it!

$6101468
3 years 2 months ago

Beckett is a good pitcher who is living off the past – 2003 and 2007. Beckett is suppose to be a very smart guy but as the saying goes “Being the smartest in the room does not mean being the brightest.” His pronouncements were said at the wrong time and certainly in the wrong town and just represent some of his indiscretions.  

So the Sox want to move him?  (maybe). His price is rather low because of the baggage but his market value could increase dramatically based on other teams needs and his own performance – like I said “Still a good pitcher.”

Gomez may be just a short term bat until more is known about Ortiz. But where is the versatile Pedro who is doing rather well at 3A?

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

If the reason they are calling someone up is really because they want to give Ortiz some time off Gomez makes more sense than Ciriaco (who has almost zero power), but if they are simply looking for a bench player Ciriaco would have made a bunch of sense.

notsureifsrs
3 years 2 months ago

beckett has never cared about media/fan scrutiny. he’s been in boston for 6 years; everyone knows that by now. it isn’t new. in fact, when he’s pitching well, people find it endearing. but when he pitches poorly, suddenly it’s outrageous the root of every problem he has

but it’s neither of those things. something is up with beckett and it needs to be addressed, but it has nothing to do with golf or his disinterest in telling people what they want to hear. that’s a lazy explanation. it’s also an explanation that sells newspapers, though, so here we are

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

I’ve been wondering if there isn’t something physically wrong (even before the lat issue came out).  All of his pitches are down 2-3mph, other than his change up (which means his FB is about 91 and his change is about 88; not nearly enough separation to be effective).

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 I thought Beckett’s FB was lacking last year also.. 91-92 and we discussed this at the beginning of this season.

Bucholz is only rarely getting his over 91 as well, like I saw less than 5 over 92 yesterday, some even as low as *89* in the 6th. I am wondering if that back issue from last year had anything to do with it. Bucholz was throwing 95, even 96 occasionally before that back issue and now his control is gone, the FB is down 3-4mph.

It’s just bad news all around for both those guys.

We also went over lester and his FB drop…

$6101468
3 years 2 months ago

 How frustrating must it be to have one of your star employees make comments that actually irritate Jane and John public.  You would hope that employees would have enough sense to actually not create PR nightmares.

Beckett is in the process of transition from more of a power pitcher to less of a power pitcher.  

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

Let Ethier go in favor of Hamilton?  With the new ownership, why not try to get both?  Hamilton could play 1B while Loney looks for a job somewheres else.

Won’t happen, though.  Rangers are not gonna let Hamilton hit the market.  He’s the face of the franchise.  But a guy can dream…. *sigh*

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

If the Dodgers had both Hamilton and Ethier, and one of them was going to play 1B it would definitely be Ethier.  Hamilton is serviceable CF and a very good defensive corner outfielder; Ethier is a terrible defensive outfielder.

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

Terrible?  You’re talking about 2011 Gold Glove winner Andre Ethier?

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, the very same.  Gold gloves are absolutely meaningless.  Since the start of the 2008 season Ethier has been the second worst defensive RF according to both UZR and Total Zone rating, and the absolute worst according to Defensive Runs Saved.

Wes Whitenack
3 years 2 months ago

I’m Happy to see someone understands defensive stats and that you need multiple seasons worth of samples to properly evaluate it.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 2 months ago

Nobody actually “understands” defensive stats, but that won’t stop them from quoting them as if they were the gospel.

johnsilver
3 years 2 months ago

 LOL. I get hammered on here (and other places) for using my own personal judgement (called my eyeballs) for judging defensive abilities.. You know.. The way it was done for over a century before these fancy defensive metrics came about.. Right?

Though admit several seasons ago did begin to use (look over) stats/UZR etc.. a bit more. Have found that still trust my sight more, as does yourself and we just learned that way.. Maybe we look at plays different….

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 2 months ago

Likewise. I don’t think many GMs use or trust these stats, maybe none. The biggest problem is that they are black boxes. In fact they are worse than black boxes, because with a black box at least you know what goes in. In this case the inputs and the method of analysis are both proprietary, so it’s a real swan dive of faith to trust the results. If you tried that sort of thing in any kind of science, you’d be laughed off the planet.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

UZR, DRS, and TZL are all described, in detail, on FanGraphs.  Anyone can understand how they work if they take the time to read about them.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 2 months ago

I have taken the time to read about them, which is how I know that they are based on proprietary data and formulas. What you are not understanding is why this is such a big problem.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

I could see how that would be a problem if it were true, but Fangraphs tells you exactly how they derive the statistics.  The only info that isn’t given is the play-by-play data they get from BIS (the actual percent of the time certain plays are made, on average, around the league).  And that data isn’t used for Total Zone, so that gripe doesn’t even apply to that stat.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 2 months ago

If that were true it would still be a problem, but in fact the datasets are private and so is the formula. The method is described only generally, not exactly. The critics of defensive stats are many, particularly within the game and particularly of the way the data is collected, but they tend to get shouted down or ignored by the fantasy gamers.

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

The Dodgers organization hasn’t jumped on the sabermetrics wagon (yet), but we seem to be doing just fine.  Last I checked, we have the best record in MLB.  How’s sabermetrics working out for the Sox these days?

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

What a ridiculous statement.  Sabermetrics have nothing to do with either team’s success or failure this year.

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

Exactly.  So who really cares about Ethier’s UZR?

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

What?  Using or not using sabermetrics isn’t the reason for either team’s succes (or lack thereof), but that doesn’t mean sabermetrics don’t tell you how good or bad a player is.  Ethier’s defense is really really bad, and you don’t have to use sabermetrics to figure that out, scouts have long said the same thing about him.

It’s not just UZR either, all of the defensive metrics come up with the same conclusion with Ethier.

vilifyingforce
3 years 2 months ago

 What does team success/failure have to do with personal success/failure? Ethier churned out negative WAR last season and has every season except his rookie year.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 2 months ago

It probably won’t happen for that reason, but it’s even more improbable because both players need to go to free agency — and it’s almost equally unlikely that the Dodgers won’t find a way to retain Ethier. I suppose conceivably Hamilton could call an end to extension talks during the regular season, but even that would give other teams a shot only if the Rangers don’t make a deal with him during the exclusive period. Talk about your long odds.

hawkny1
3 years 2 months ago

Red Sox most significant questions on this date..:

1. What to do with Youkilis when he comes off the DL.?
2. When is Ellsbury coming back and will he be effective offensively?
3. When should Matsuzaka  be reactivated and should he start?
4. Gonzalez’s home run swing, how to find it or find out where it went?
5. So, Youkilis, Ellsbury and Dice-K are activated who gets dropped from the 25-
   man roster?

Tko11
3 years 2 months ago

The Red Sox have a really good offense without a doubt. Gonzalez is not hitting for power, Crawford isnt even there, Elsbury is injured too and they still have one of the best offenses. Middlebrooks has been great as well as Papi so what they need to do is use their surplus on the offensive side to address their pitching needs. They should probably send Middlebrooks down to the minors (although he is ready for the majors) and let Youkilis rebuild his value a bit and hopefully they can trade him for some pitching. I would also pose the question about what they want to do about Beckett. Do they let things just cool off and see how he does the next few starts? Do they shop him? The team is by no means a last place team and once they address their rotation and bullpen, they will without a doubt make a run at the playoffs.

hawkny1
3 years 2 months ago

At 15-19, I am hesitant to agree with your rosy estimates especially with a Casey Kotchman-like bat at 1st base.  The offense has been good at times, but it is inconsistent. Once (and if) Papi’s bat cools off they won’t have a starting player capable of hitting 25 dingers in the starting lineup, without Gonzalez somehow chipping in.  And, lets face it, when Ellsbury went on the DL (to join Crawford) the Red Sox team speed almost disappeared.  Nava and Middlebrooks made the team look good against Cleveland with their hustle and bats but when Tampa, New York and Toronto roll into town (or host the Sawx)….I will get concerned, unless the starting pitching gets really, really sharp, fast. Kudos to Sweeney and Ross who have been steady in the OF and major contributors with the bat.  
With respect to pitching, particularly Beckett, I have watched him twice this year.  Both times he got rocked..but he has had several good outings according to his stats.  He should come around unless he is injured. Buchholz looked sharper last time out but weakened in the 7th (please note Bobby V.) Bard and Doubront seem to be gaining confidence and strength as starters as the season progresses.  Lester?  Are we seeing the real John Lester or a facsimile?  If John shapes up, there is hope for the starting five the team now has, so why bring in unknown arms from the outside? They also have Dice-K bringing up the rear. 

Kudos, thus far, I must say, to Miller, Padilla, and Aceves who, BTW,  is muscling up his fastball to 95-96 mph, as closer… he is getting a meaner look on his face too…..  :).   As a tandem, they have been dynamite lately, showing durability, consistency the ability to strike out hitters when needed. Stick five-pointed stars on the forehead of Pedroia and Papi for their consistency.  And, what do you say….Nava stays up, MacDonald goes down?  Also, should Cherington turn Bobby V. loose on these guys?

ps…No comments to offer right now for the catching or shortstop situations. Salty looked like Johnny Bench yesterday.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 2 months ago

 My Dodger-loving son would cry tears of joys if that outfield combo were to happen.

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

Then maybe we could put Rivera or Abreu at 1B.  What a line-up that would be!

MetsMagic
3 years 2 months ago

If you’re going to fantasize, why are Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu still around? 

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

Well, Rivera because he has a 2013 option. He’s a career .276 hitter with a .773 OPS.  He’s getting older and he’s injury-prone now, but he’d be a better bat than James Loney.  Abreu simply because he’s looking good in Dodger blue and the fans are eating it up.  Could probably get him on the cheap too.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

Youkilis’ splits aren’t any more extreme than average (it’s unusual for a player not to hit better at their home ballpark).  And even if you only use ‘away’ stats he ranks as the 12th best hitter in the game over the last four years.  Fenway actually suppresses home runs, and the park he plays in has nothing to do with the number of walks he draws.

You also realize that Uribe is paid $8M this year right?  The upgrade from Uribe to Youkilis would be well worth the additional $4M dollars.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

I was going to give you an intelligent response until I read “Look at Beltre who couldn’t hit worth a crap(except 1 steroid enduced contract yr w/ the Dodgers)” and then I decided you probably wouldn’t understand it anyway.

3 years 2 months ago

But Loney has way more plus defense duder. 

DodgerCyan
3 years 2 months ago

Absolutely he does.  And I hate to spout cliches, but you really need someone who can hit playing 1B.  Loney is way too hot & cold.  He has 68 HR in 7 ML seasons.  It’s time to let him go.  He’s had plenty of chances to get it together.  Enough!

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

And 2010 and even 2011, but yeah, he totally sucks now.

Look, I understand that Youkilis is in the twilight of his career (he’s 33, most players start their decline at about that age), but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable player for the remainder of his time under team control, and it doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t still be very underpaid at $12M this year and $13M next.  He was on a 5 WAR pace again last year and being paid like a 2 WAR player.

That wasn’t even his argument though.  He was arguing that Youkilis has never been a good player, and that he was only ever valuable because of the park he played in, which is a completely ridiculous statement even if you believe that Youkilis is done at this point.

MaineSox
3 years 2 months ago

“His splits home vs away are severely skewed in favor of that SMALL
ballpark in Bawston so unless he goes to the Rockies or Rangers or
Philly the acquiring team better not expect him to put up to anywhere
close to his HOME numbers”

No where in there do you even hint that this is a new thing, you’re simply talking about the player, and the way you emphasize the word small is certain seems like you’re implying that he’s a product of Fenway.  If you wanted people to know that you think this is a new problem for him you should say it.

And anyway, splits don’t really work like that.  You need several years worth of splits to even begin to get a clear picture of a player’s actual talent because you are talking about partial seasons, so the sample sizes get too small to draw any conclusion from.  Most offensive statistics don’t even begin to stabilize until 500 or more at-bats.  You have to get back into the 2009 season to have a 500+ at-bat sample size where his stats would start to stabilize, so anything from the last couple years isn’t a sufficient sample to say that he has “become” a product of Fenway.  Maybe he has, but there isn’t enough statistical evidence to draw that solid conclusion.