Let’s head to Boston for the latest from Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom…
- Bloom thinks the Red Sox should be competitive this season, writes Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez’s return to prominence is a crux of that belief, however, as Bloom notes that they know “how important he is to our lineup and just how much he brings a lineup together when he’s doing what he can do.” Martinez is upper crust when he’s on. He went six consecutive seasons from 2015 to 2019 posting absurd weighted runs created numbers between 136 wRC+ and 170 wRC+. The 33-year-old slugger saw his numbers crater in 2020 to a .213/.291/.389 line worth -1.0 fWAR and 77 wRC+. His isolated power fell to .175 ISO, though a 9.3 percent walk rate and 24.9 percent strikeout rate fell within the range of his career norms. A .259 BABIP was well below his career averages, and while his batted ball profile wasn’t horrendous, it also wasn’t all-world for the first time in his Boston tenure. Martinez needs to be a threat for the rest of the Boston lineup to fall into place.
- Bloom maintains his long-term perspective, hoping to see the next Red Sox core establishing themselves by the end of 2021, writes the Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey. Said Bloom, “That next core that is going to be the center of a sustainable championship contender. To see that core taking shape, both with the players who have been here, who have been part of the core that won the last championship — that are going to continue to be here – and then the players who are going to join that group, whether it’s from within our system, whether it’s guys we’ve acquired, or even guys who might not be here yet. To feel that by the end of the year, we can see that core taking even more shape than we can see right now.”
- There are only so many candidates left that Bloom could be referring to when talking about members of the last Red Sox champ. Ostensibly, that’s Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers on the position player side. The former was extended through 2025, and the latter could be next in line, if indeed Bloom views him as a centerpiece offensive contributor. The Red Sox can clear a lot of payroll space after this season, and only Bogaerts and Chris Sale are on the books for 2023, so there’s plenty of runway for Devers to land a long-term extension.
- Red Sox manager Alex Cora is leaning towards entering the season with a three-man position player bench, a strategy buoyed by the recent signings of Enrique Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez. Michael Chavis is another guy who will move around the diamond a bit. Cora plans on giving Chavis time at third, first, second, and left field. But he wants to see more consistency from the young right-hander at the plate, per Rob Bradford of WEEI sports radio network. Chavis especially needs to mash versus southpaws, though he has just a .257 wOBA against lefties through 158 career plate appearances compared to a .281 wOBA versus same-handed hurlers.
I thought you can only have 13 pitchers on the roster? So don’t you need to have a 4 man bench
you can do whatever you want as long as you stay under the total
You can have as many pitchers as you want but you lose bench players
No they changed it to no more than 13 pitchers, max of 14 in September. I’m assuming the other 2 bench spots would be catchers.
I thought they waived the rule limiting number of pitchers for 2021 as the shortened 2020 and reduced workload for starters means they’ll need more pitchers in 2021.
I’m going to assume that Cora meant a 3 man position player bench, excluding catcher. Add that position, and that’s your 4 man bench.
He meant a 3-man bench including Plawecki, so that would be catcher, Marwin, and probably Arroyo, with Chavis in AAA and Enrique Hernandez on 2B as part of the lineup. That means 14 pitchers.
You are correct, that is the rule, but they suspended that requirement for this season due to the circumstances, so for now they can do a 3 man bench if they so choose.
Actually there is no limit to pitchers in the 2021 season.
“The Active Roster limit will revert to 26 (expanding to 28 in September), but the limit on the number of pitchers on the Active Roster at any given time has been waived for this season.“
Hot take: If a rule can’t be upheld because of a difficult situation, the rule was dumb in the first place.
The team that actually develops their prospects to actually pitch, and doesn’t need as many will have the advantage.
Martinez’s line from 20 were impacted by:
1. The pandemic and the changes in training associated by it.
2. His inability to use video/further change in his routine.
3. Short “season” overdramatizes what was really a “long bad slump”.
I’m expecting a bounce back but not having a lefty power hitter like Moreland behind him will hurt. While Moreland was not a “feared name”, he did provide protection which Vasquez doesn’t give.
He should see some protection from Bobby Dalbec this time. Not as seasoned hitter as Moreland but more powerful to help JD.
Sox in my view need to put a lefty behind JDM and others will disagree but I would flip and put CV second and Fevers behind JDM.
J D Martinez fooled Everyone by saying he’s looking at his swing in the video room. I’m sure he spent more than a few moments watching the ball come out of the pitcher’s hand and the different grips. He’s not fooling me. No video in room equals a lot of swings and misses where he looks bad. I do NOT expect a bounce back this year.
Outside of cheating, you don’t lose it that fast.
Hey, the Sox are only 2 pitchers away from being a solid contender.
Of course, their names are Scherzer and deGrom.
Fortunately, the Orioles are only in year #3 of their 15 year plan.
No disrespect intended but why snipe? What is the point?
Because a team with the Red Sox financial picture has no excuse not to spend whatever it takes every year to win. None, zero, zippo. Every year. No exceptions.
As Dan O’Dowd said over the weekend, when did losing become acceptable, especially when you’re talking about behemoths like the Red Sox? Who said you have to lose during a rebuild? To get a higher draft choice, in a process that’s a krap shoot in any known universe?
No excuse. None. Again, not to indicate that their choices would be the right ones; it’s a baseball, not a crystal ball. But we all know, baring a miracle, what the Sox moves this off season will result in.
Dan O’Shaunessy said it best: This team is utterly faceless. It’s not that they’re bad; it’s that they’re boring, hoping and praying some leftover Free Agents and prospects from a poor system work out. That’s the stiff for other franchises, and actually in some cases it’s legitimate.
In Boston, it is not.
You don’t win championships by blindly spending money on free agents. Every once in a while you need to step back and reboot. The Red Sox had the highest payroll in baseball when they won the championship and are consistently in the top 5. As a life long fan, who watched the team fumble around for so long before this ownership group came, I have no problem with them curbing the spending for a few years and trying to rebuild their farm system. I like watching young players fight to prove they belong. And as an added bonus my trips to Fenway Park are much cheaper when the Sox are bad.
I completely appreciate what Henry/Warner have done; flags fly forever, all 4 of them. And analysis proves that they’ve spent a higher percentage of revenue on payroll than most teams. But I’d strongly disagree that they need “years to reboot”. Why? To avoid a piddling Luxury Tax of 10M….on a team with with 650M revenues (and we KNOW they’re understating those).? To rebuild a farm system? The Dodgers have one of the strongest systems in the game; when have they “rebooted”?
And the “rules” for Boston are AT LEAST the same as they are in LA; I would argue they’re MORE stringent.
Sox fans deserve the right to expect a team that can win…..every year. No excuses beyond mis-judgements, which are going to happen if you’re evaluating Trevor Bauer or Jake Bauer; nature of the beast.
The Dodgers resetted the CBT years ago and this is the first time they go over. Man how much nonsense in that comment.
I couldn’t agree more, Bob. Teams like the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees have no business going through a cheap rebuild. Fans wait forever for the opportunity to buy good season tickets. Expecting them to wait years then shell out thousands for rebuilding years isn’t right. Of course they could drop the ticket price to reflect payroll but of course they would never do that. The Dodgers set the example a few years ago for how financial juggernauts should rebuild. They took on bad contracts in exchange for premium young talent and draft picks. Their payroll got well over $250 million and they absorbed it easily. They stayed competitive while building a nice farm. The Red Six hiring Bloom and attempting to rebuild the small market way is a big middle finger to their fans. The Yankees tried it a few years ago but then woke up and realized they were the Yankees. They went cheap for 2 off seasons and the fans let them have it. Red Sox fans are not Padres fans and they will not accept cellar dwelling for years just to get a strong farm. This all falls on that jackass Theo Epstein. He lucked into Arrieta, Strop and Rizzo. Plus Baez was there when he got there. He tanked and got high draft picks then signed big free agents. My 12 year old could do that. I wish Beane would have gone to the Red Sox all those years ago. If he had Epstein never would have gotten the job. Sorry about the rant but baseball is the only sport I truly care about. I hate the path the sport has taken the last decade and a half. I agree with some analytics like FIP for starters. It means jack all for relievers though and war is bullshyte at its finest. This nonsense about batting avg meaning nothing is stupid too. I would rather have a guy batting .300 with a .333 obp in the bottom of the 9th with the tying run at 2nd than a guy batting .229 with a .369 obp. Walks don’t score runs unless the bases are loaded. I do agree RBI’s are crap though. Ok I’ll shut up now.
I find it funny when the Red Sox are spending a lot of money you hear complaints about big market teams buying the talent or forcing small market teams to spend more to keep their talent. But when they try a different approach someone else complains they aren’t spending money.
The truth is blank checks wouldn’t have made the Red Sox more competitive this coming season and while several big money contracts have certainly helped the Red Sox others have certainly hurt them. I’m happy the Red Sox are going to try to build actual talent rather than waste money.
I’ve been a Red Sox fan since the 80s and my view of any Red Sox fan who is complaining about the team rebuilding for a year or two is they either only started being a fan after 2004 or have been so spoiled since 2004 that they don’t remember the “Wait til next year” years.
I would argue that Bloom is doing a soft rebuild the kind you can only do in Boston, NY, and LA. You do realize that Boston still has a nearly 210 million payroll in a so called “Re-build”. Honestly what would could Bloom of done in this very subpar free agent class? Let’s be real. What do want them to do go and sign all the top free agents and just bloat the payroll that would be a really solid move. Bloom is doing what he needs to do to evaluate where he will need to invest next year. I’m tired of hearing that Boston is acting like a Tampa North they most definitely are not. This team has an almost 210 million payroll and that is in a rebuilding year. Give me a break.
How is a 200 million dollar payroll small market?
I’m 100 years old (not really) and have been a fan since JFK was building back better. Yes, I remember 5,000 fans at Fenway….they couldn’t give away tickets. And yes, 1967 was as magical as you’ve heard.
And actually I agree; Bauer and Springer MIGHT have made them a playoff team; might not have. Almost certainly not a division winner.
But it would have shown effort, which is all a fan can hope for.
And the notion that Bloom is rebuilding with a 210M payroll is bizarre to say the least. If you can’t win with a 210M payroll (or at least come up with somebody besides Kiki Hernandez, you should be driving a bus.
And I apologize to the bus drivers out there.
Then Bob what should Bloom of done this offseason? If you are going to complain at least have some sort of an idea of what he should of done better.
How can anyone seriously grade Bloom at this time? If anything, he gets the benefit in my opinion as ownership sipped champagne in 18 but as it was happening tried to double down in 19 which left their minor league system with little quality compared to most other teams that have consistently tried to win. Also, 13 was a gift and while it’s not likely 21 can be another unexpected gift to Sox fans.
As to ownership, wins aside, their political rightness is nauseating. Politics and sports should in my view be kept separate as watching has always been a way to escape reality for a little while. I find it bizarre that they have done some of the things they’ve done while lining up with Cora, a cheater. They set the stage for his return at that press conference when he “left”. I know not everyone agrees but why was there a rush to put Papi’s number up with the others? They were capitalizing on the situation and realized if/when it comes out that he cheated, they wouldn’t have been then able to. Or worse, they were ahead of the HOF voters in actually showing approval for PED use.
In a simple world, sign Bauer and Springer. In a more complex one, use your magical metrics to find some significant improvement. And no, I doubt Kiki represents that.
Look, the REAL income disparity in MLB isn’t that the Sox can afford a 210M payroll, while the Rays can barely afford a 100M one. It’s that the Sox (and Yanks, and Dodgers et al) can EASILY afford TWICE that 210M, and still be profitable. The Rays would be at their limits with anything above 100M and be able to keep the doors open.
It’s not unlike the fact that, because of reverse integration, and ownership of their media outlet and stadium, the Sox’ advantage isn’t just the attendance disparity; I’ve seen it estimated (Maury Brown) that the Rays would have to draw EIGHT million fans a year to even come close to the Sox profitability. And again, same with other large market/small market teams.
They have the ability; this CBA nonsense is just that, nonsense. As a Sox fan, tell me about the warm and cozy feeling you get when the Sox come under the Luxury Tax.
I prefer the feeling I got when Cora ran around the field with the trophy.
Ok Bob let’s say that Bloom went out and signed Bauer and Springer. That would bring Boston’s payroll let’s be generous and say 250 million. My question to you do signing those two make Boston the favorite to win the division? Would they even be the favorite to finish 2nd? The point I’m trying to make is this isn’t the year to sign long term big cost free agents. Let’s see what happens this year see who steps up. I think I would do something similar to Bloom and evaluate then go into next year with a better game plan. In short you have a triple whammy against you this if you are Boston. 1) Short season last year to really determine where need help 2) No minor leagues last year to see where your upcoming pieces are coming from and last but not least a very weak free agent market with few if any real difference makers for this team. My view this just wasn’t the year to go above the lux tax without the payoff.
Bruin012 – For me, your focus is on the wrong number. Yes, they have a high payroll and it has very little to do with Bloom because he’s been sitting on his hands waiting to dump the 2018 roster to make this HIS team. The number you should focus on is the hundreds of millions of profits the Red Sox have made since these owners bought the franchise.
Is their current payroll relevant to a true big market club like the Red Sox? NO. Bloom spent $11M on JBJ in 2020 when he could have avoided it to get the payroll down from the $232M it was at when he took over. If the new payroll is $221M then it’s below the 2nd threshold and the MAX tax is $10M. $10M is NOTHING to this ownership and if this ownership planned on staying below the 1st threshold going forward with Bloom then the only consequence of keeping Price and Mookie in 2020 was a max tax of $10M.
Instead, of acting like a big market club, they hired a small market GM who was part of a successful team in TB but nobody knows what percentage of the good decisions were thought of by him, developed by him or even agreed to by him. Many have said about Bloom is doing what ownership wants so if that’s true why would that not have been the case in TB too? This inexperienced big market GM has done no big deals except a trashing of the top two black players on the team. Mookie could have played in Boston in 2020 and Bloom could have spent his time convincing Mookie to stay like the Dodgers did but that didn’t happen. Why? If it wasn’t the money then why did Mookie want out and why did the #2 SP cost the organization $48M over three years to leave? I think we all know the answer here is a monumental issue between Mookie and ownership and it seems very likely Price was part of that issue.
So, a wealthy big market team refuses to pay $10M in luxury tax and sends it’s generational player to the new GM’s mentor and then this new GM pays his mentor $48M so the Red Sox #2 SP can pitch for another team. That seems so wrong on so many levels!!
So lets ask the question, is the Red Sox situation caused by money? Personally, I don’t think so. Hundreds of millions of profit suggests the luxury tax issue was nothing more than a diversion from the truth. Is the new plan to stay under the 1st threshold? It appears to be the plan which negates the need to move Price’s and Mookie’s salaries.
The Red Sox are allowing Bloom to behave like a small market GM to buy time for the dust to clear from the horrible choices they have made since firing DD. It’s like ownership has hit the PAUSE button to let the smoke clear. They have also added all kinds of diversions to keep the discussions from being about their racism. Hiring a female black coach and a convicted under qualified minority manager. It’s all part of their plan to let the smoke clear and stay out of the limelight where they would be forced to discuss their diversity issues with Mookie..
Is it Bloom’s fault that no money is being spent? No. It’s his fault for taking a job that was going to be so ugly. Has Bloom EVER transacted a deal that brought in a highly paid star? NO. Is there any reason to expect that in the near future? NOPE.
The Red Sox are straddling a picket fence after landing their privates on one of the pickets. They need Bloom to clean out the remnants of DD and the success he had and replace it with a new model of austerity with consistent success. Unfortunately, those concepts are mutually exclusive as proven by the TB franchise who has no rings.
The smoke will clear in another year or two and at that time either the franchise will be sold and all the growth in value capitalized or Bloom will be fired and a whole new approach will be adopted similar to the one DD used to make the franchise successful.
Right now all Bloom can do is not move because his privates are against the picket and he wants to avoid further pain. If he goes for money to exceed the threshold then Mookie and Price get revisited. If he plays where’s waldo with minor league players like he’s doing he gives the impression of being busy without really being busy. Think of the janitor who stands with his broom motionless giving the impression of being busy. That’s Bloom. Maybe he’s been ordered to behave like that or maybe he just wants to protect his privates. Hard to say.
People simply continue to observe his lack of motion and then everyone debates why. You believe it’s about money despite the hundreds of millions in profits. I believe it’s got nothing to do with money, it’s about ownership and their need to let the smoke clear. Either way, it’s a disaster for fans and it makes them look like the laughing stock of baseball. If you watched the Bloom and Cora interview yesterday, it was both sad and pathetic. He can reassure fans all he wants that they have a quality product but the fans know that’s not true. They have a few remaining players from the great 2018 team but that’s about it. They also have a few farm system players from the great 2018 team that are now making it to the majors. All the hope provided by Bloom’s new acquisitions is nothing more than Bloom trying to justify his performance. People can rave about some of his acquisitions but the facts show that he’s not done much. Heck, Downs continues to fall in the prospect rankings and soon won’t be in the top 100. So what did we get for the 1 and 1/2 years of effort from Bloom?
Nothing significant. That needs to change but it’s unlikely to happen because the smoke hasn’t cleared.
Bob – Great stuff. Loved everything except the last comment because you used Cora as a reference. That’s an image that should have been shredded when he got his insufficient suspension.
Everything about the disparity is baseball is so true. Again, great stuff.
Sox fans pre-2004 “Must be nice that The Yankees can just buy their way to the World Series”
Sox Fans now “They are no excuses! They should spend all the money. Whatever it takes to be competitive and win a World Series!”
justkidding – Why do you think a team needs to step back and reboot? It sounds great but I simply can’t find a valid reason to take such actions
DD planned the make-up of the roster through 2022. Things were going as planned except for the mistake he made hiring Cora. You, yes I’m saying justkidding, could have managed the 2018 Red Sox to a World Series ring, that’s how good the players were that year. BUT in 2019 if you had managed I bet the pitching screw-up in Spring Training doesn’t happen. Couple that with key injuries and a bad schedule to start the year and the great roster of 2018 starts off terribly in 2019 and ends up 10 games back by May 1. Was the talent level of 2018 still there? Yep. Were some players falling back to norms after career years? Yep. Was 2020 going to be more like 2018 or 2019? It all depended on the injuries. 2019 saw many more injuries than 2018 which contributed to the down year. 2020 was going to have one key injury to Sale before COVID hit. There was no reason to think 2020 couldn’t have been a somewhat competitive year with Sale out and 2021 and 2022 were to be years where the Red Sox competed for rings again.
Instead, this reboot you think the Red Sox needed happened which sent their best player and #2 SP to LAD for next to nothing but was justified because ownership had offended Mookie and hated Price. Lets be fair, that’s not a reboot, it’s an owner shooting himself in the foot.
If curbing the spending is approved by you as a fan despite the hundreds of millions of profits made by this ownership group and the billions of dollars of raised value in the franchise enjoyed by this ownership group then there is something wrong with you. Ticket prices aren’t going down but the team is significantly worse than 2018 or 2019. I’m not talking about their record, I’m talking about the qualify of players on the roster today since Bloom arrived compared to the roster DD had.
You assume they are curbing spending despite the huge profits for just a few years. What if it’s permanent until they sell? Does that change your viewpoint? Since NOTHING they have done since firing DD makes sense why are you assuming logic dictates they will spend again? Logic went out the window when they fired DD. Logic went out the window when they gave away Mookie and Price. Logic went out the window when they hired a small market GM to run a big market team.
Logic no longer is a way to predict ownership’s moves. Curbing spending after making hundreds of millions on the fans is a slap in the face to the dedicated fans. Those are the fans that waited 86 years for an ownership group to come in and spend with the Yankees. Will the fans need to wait another 86 years because this ownership team chose to CURB their spending? Not all fans are complacent like you. Many enjoyed the rings after all those years when curbing spending occurred beginning with the sale of Ruth. Be careful what you wish for. That curbing of spending could be permanent.
Dicklesox – You must be referring to the late 90s with your first quote. See the Yankees bought half the championships between 1920 and 1962 by outspending everyone. Then, after 1962, the Yankee front office became quite inept. They still spent millions more than everyone but they couldn’t figure out how to buy championships any more. So buying championships for 100 years is a far more accurate representation how old time Red Sox fans think even though they really only bought them for about 50 years and in the late 1990s..
Now that a Red Sox ownership group attempted to level the playing field, which I’m sure aggravates Yankee fans who have suffered through the NYY front office ineptitude since 1963, the Red Sox can be looked at more similarly to the Yankees (and the Dodgers, Astros, Angels and a few others who have stayed cluster far behind the Yankees in payroll since the 1990s) and your comment is fair because it addresses the screwed up competitive balance in baseball.
I actually agree with you that competitive balance doesn’t exist in baseball BUT if nobody is prepared to do anything about it every team should be sold to owners with big bucks who can level the playing field without the revenue streams of the Yankees, Dodgers and others. Boston as a city can’t compare to NY, LA, HOU and CHI from a population perspective but they do have significant revenue streams others don’t. Those streams allowed this ownership group to prosper over the last 20 years and allows them to be one of the big spenders.
So should a team with great revenue streams try to create competitive balance with the Yankees and other big market teams since there is nothing in the future that suggests baseball will fix the competitive imbalances that exist? I say YES. Your quotes don’t reflect a fan base that is two-faced, it reflects a fan base desiring a level playing field with the Yankees and other big market teams. It doesn’t necessarily care that others can’t achieve the same level of payroll, it only cares that it can keep the Yankees within an arm’s length so a superior front office can ensure rings in their future. Boston had both when DD was the GM and the owners were spending money. Now they have neither and are far more like other big market teams who haven’t figured out how to compete and win. You might say they’ve taken a page out of the Yankee playbook in that they still are spending near cap money but their front office and ownership have performed so badly that rings are not in their future. Bloom no has as many rings as Cashman since 2010!!
Honestly KD I think you have it all wrong.
I simply argued that this was not the year to go over the lux tax and gave my reasons which I think are arguable but very solid and valuable points.
I’m not sure what you are talking about in regards to the payroll they are going to be a top 5 payroll again. If you are just arguing that they big market teams such as NY, LA, Boston, etc. always have a 250 million plus payroll and lux tax be damned then yes they aren’t acting like a big market club. The problem is that no ownership group are doing that on a consistent basis so hard to fault Boston for that. The real reality is that even in a perceived down year the Red Sox will have 200+ million so no this is exactly how a big market club acts in todays baseball world.
Who is considered the best run franchise in baseball today? Is it a team that is run by an ex Tampa Bay Ray head of baseball operations? The Red Sox didn’t hire Bloom to become the Tampa of the North they hired to become the Dodgers of the East its as simple as that. I just don’t understand how Red Sox fans cant see this. Bloom isn’t trying to dump the 2018 entire roster so he can make this his team. Listen to yourself you sound crazy when you make statements like that. He is simply following the Dodgers model of self sustainability for a big market club.
The only thing I kind of agree with you is the Mookie Betts trade. It was devastating to see that happen from an emotional standpoint. I think the return was fine but seeing your best homegrown player in decades let go was devastating. Still I have to believe that ownership was at least partially sure that he was good to his word and would not sign an extension in Boston. There is no other explanation that makes sense to me they must of been convinced they were going to watch him walk for just the comp pick and didn’t want to take that chance.
I think if we just wait a couple of years we will see a team that makes the playoffs every year, if not wins the division most years, The incredible run that Boston was on since 2004 was just that incredible going to the World Series 4 times and not losing any of those times. It was great but it was fortunate a team like the Dodgers that gets there every year is the model that you want. Its just simple math there is luck involved in winning the World Series but more chances you get the more you will win.
Honestly KD I know that I cant convince you, you are set in your ideas but seriously lets see what the product looks like after next offseason before you crucify Bloom. I think you will be pleasantly surprised what happens. I am also more convinced then ever that ownership will spend when it is in the contention window.
Bruin012 – First, I agree with you about not going over the cap. Second, I tried to show how you end up in no man’s land by doing what they did to Mookie and Price. If you have the money (and they do) to compete with the biggest spenders in baseball YOU DON’T THROW THE FRANCHISE AWAY BY DUMPING MOOKIE AND PRICE. Friedman NEVER made the mistakes that Bloom either made or was force to make. As a result, the road back will be radically different than Friedman’s journey while sitting on top of a mountain rather than in a ravine like Bloom.
You clearly believe what I consider to be media bs in that Friedman a TB guy went to LA and fixed their system using TB techniques. That’s a huge exaggeration of what happened. The Dodgers had Kershaw at the end of 2014 when Friedman showed up. They had Kenley Jansen, Greinke, Ryu, and even Baez as a set-up man. They also had Justin Turner at 3B, Puig, Joc Pederson, and Matt Kemp plus several big price tag guys they got from Boston like Beckett, Crawford and AGON. They also had Hanley but he turned down the qualifying offer and went the free agent route to Boston. Even without Hanley, that’s a very competitive and expensive line-up created by his predecessor. Oh yeah, they also had a farm system with Bellinger, Seager, Muncy, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Keibert Ruiz and Julio Urias..
What did he do? in 2015 he drafts Walker Buehler with the 24th pick in the draft and deserves credit for selecting the right guy. It is very fair to argue, however, that he only hit on ONE of his 42 picks that year. Not great percentages but sometimes it only takes one good one for writers to forget about 41 bad ones.
So Friedman got there and they had a bloated payroll so did he start claiming worthless minor leaguers or did he go crazy making moves? The latter which is very UNLIKE Bloom. Friedman made no less than 15 deals from OCT 15th until Jan 1 of 2015. To me, that gives fans a sense of action by the new GM, unlike what Bloom did with a bloated payroll.
I always complain about no impact players so far and you say give him time.. By Jan 1 Friedman had added Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal to his bloated payroll. The Red Sox added Perez by comparison. The Dodgers won 92 games during his transition year because they didn’t give Kershaw and Turner to another team. The Red Sox finished 4th worst despite having a beginning roster that could have won 92 or more if healthy.
In 2016 Friedman did a better job drafting by selecting May in the 5th round and Gonsolin in the 9th round. His first round pick has had lots of hype but hasn’t produced yet, Gavin Lux. His second pick of Wil Smith may turn out excellent too. That was a great draft hitting on 4 of 40 picks. Also, to start his tenure in LA he dumped a popular manager named Mattingly and hired Dave Roberts of Boston and LA fame. Bloom did just the opposite by firing the cheating Alex Cora and promoting his bench coach to the temporary post of interim manager until the baseball jail sentence was up on Cora. Friedman replaced the entire coaching staff and Bloom only replaced a few coaches. In the end, 2016 was the year many players left to free agency lowering the payroll without any significant adds by Friedman. The impact was they won 1 less game thanks to the already excellent roster.
2017 – the draft was a bust with no star players added. It was so bad that their 3rd round pick Wong ended up 5th on the catcher depth chart when traded to Boston 3 years later. Friedman made lots of inconsequential deals in the off season adding no new stars but he was smart enough to re-sign a few key free agents in Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen. Friedman had selected an organization with such a great roster that in three years he had done nothing except let some free agents part and let some of the pre-existing minor league talent rise and they won 92, 91 and 104 games!!!
He takes credit for that success but basically did nothing to change what was going to happen anyway. Great GM? I’m not seeing it at this point. He had one good draft out of 3 and rode on the coat tails of his predecessor. The Roberts move at this point may have been his most impactful action or his very first pick in his first draft, Walker Buehler. Was the franchise doing well? Sure they lost to a cheating Astros team in the WS but that wasn’t because of Friedman, they got to the WS with his predecessor’s talent. Yu Darvish was added to the roster at the trade deadline for next to nothing so he gets credit for the move but Darvish had very little if any impact on the 2017 team performance.
2018 – the draft is another bust missing on 40 picks. That’s one for four on drafts but his only good pick in his first draft does allow Friedman to start taking credit for what happens in 2018. Walker Buehler arrives in LA. The Dodgers win another NL West Division title with 92 wins and get beat by Boston in the WS. Their starting 8 were all part of the Dodger system before Friedman arrived except Grandal. Their pitching staff only had one Friedman guy and that was Buehler. That’s how good the team was that he inherited. All he had to do was not destroy it like Bloom and ownership did. One other thing Friedman brags about is the success of his minor league affiliates. In 2018 many of them won championships and he was credited with their success despite most of the players coming from his predecessor. The myth grows whenever there is success to take credit for. It’s no different than people who think the success of Houck should be attributed to Bloom.
2019 – The 2019 draft is tough to evaluate thanks to COVID. Time will tell if he rebounded and had a good one or not. 2019 was the year of the salary dump to Cincinnati. They somehow talked Cincy into taking a bunch of slugs. Give Friedman credit for delivering this fleecing. Basically, they got Homer Bailey and two young minor leaguers named Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray. Guess which one is better and should have been included in the Mookie deal? NOT DOWNS!!! Anyway, Russell Martin gets picked up at catcher by Friedman along with Joe Kelly and AJ Pollack. 2019 brings 104 wins and yet another division championship using all but a few players that pre=dated Friedman. Did he get the key trade done to make them winners? Nope they got beat by Washington who went on to win the WS.
2020 – Thanks to his protege Bloom, Friedman steals Mookie Betts and David Price from the Red Sox for trinkets reminiscent of the US buying Manhattan!! They win a world series in a shortened season that is highlighted by numerous super stars having off years BUT NOT MOOKIE!!
The 8 non-pitchers included Muncy, Bellinger, Turner, Seager and Pederson from the old regime and BETTS, Kiki Hernandez and AJ Pollack from Friedman. The Starters included Kershaw, Urias and Stripling from Friedman’s predecessor and Buehler, Gonsolin and May from Friedman. Finally, Friedman actually can take credit for a major portion of the roster. BUT it took a suspicious trade with his protege to make it happen!
Friedman has had two great trades and one great draft in 6 years. He’s a legend but I think it;s only in his own mind. The data shows otherwise. He simply inherited a great team and didn’t destroy it. Bloom inherited a great team and either destroyed it or was forced to destroy it.
There is no plan or path for Bloom to end up like Friedman with sustainable success. Friedman’s continued success was created by his predecessors and he simply didn’t screw it up. Bloom had a very similar situation but the pooch got screwed and now it will be years before a full recovery can happen. Yes, DD and his predecessors loaded the farm system with guys that will now follow in the footsteps of those who have graduated since 2013 but so far the negative impact of losing Mookie and Price has not been off-set by any of Bloom’s moves.
You like the guy and I simply feel sorry for the guy because he’s a patsy. He can use this opportunity to get a good job after Boston, but while in Boston he’s going to be the face of a franchise in complete disarray. I think he knew it going in when they said Mookie has to go and he felt it was a no lose situation. If the team is bad, it’s on ownership. If they rise back to their old level after the abrupt tear down, he gets credit.
If you see things turning around soon you’ll need to be specific because I see a team that lost a guy who got on 260 times a year, was a premiere lead-off man, a great defender and an upbeat positive influence on the clubhouse. I also see a team without a solid #2 pitcher who had a polarizing personality and too many visits to the IL but the stuff a #2 is made of. Those two holes have not even come close to being filled. Now add the fact that the players in their prime when DD was fired will be leaving their prime in 2022 when DD had planned to turnover the team with contracts expiring. It’s a disaster and Bloom can’t fix it without making lots of trades and then going into FA pool when quality players are there and trying to replace Mookie and Price.
Honestly, I don’t think we are that far apart in our opinions. You simply are more optimistic that Bloom isn’t in a hole that he can’t get out of.
KD, have to wonder how much of the personnel input through the draft came from Friedman and what came from Zaidi. Or, the scouting director.
Love reading your posts. Only thing to add regarding your take on the Yankees between 1920-62. Inept? Sure. I’d argue more competition hustling for the best players. With expansion the Yankees lost some of their best scouts and front office talent to other clubs. Organized drafts also changed the game.
WereallJustGuestsHere – The inept years were post 62. They won 20 times from 1923 to 1962!! They’ve won 7 since 1962 and the late 90s gave them 4 in 5 years. so in the last 100 years they had 45 years that produced 24 rings and they had 55 years that produced 3 rings.
BUT in almost all of the 100 years they have led baseball in spending and in most of the years the second biggest spender was at 75% or less of the Yankee spending that year. A few years ago when Boston first outspent the Yankees significantly in 2018 I checked and the Yankees cumulative spending from 1988 to 2018 had surpassed the Red Sox by $672M or an average of $22.4M more per year on average. What makes that so astonishing is that during one third of those years total payrolls for both teams were $100M or less so that’s a lot of excess spending by NY.
During those years we have 4 rings and they have 5. That’s why I call it inept. Face it, if Cashman is the GM in Boston he’s gone by 2012!! Success isn’t a criteria for NY, being competitive is. They are very competitive most years by spending $20M to $40M more than their nearest competition but they can’t figure out how to win the big one. Baseball is lucky right now because if they ever figure it out, we’ll be back to the results of the 1923 to 1962 era!! Competitive balance in baseball will never happen in my lifetime.
i agree with your first comment because I firmly believe Bloom did very little in the selection process in TB and it may be that Friedman wasn’t the one that said lets take Walker Buehler. We’ll never know. It makes perfect sense that a scouting director, a head of analytics and the GM could debate who to take but in the end, I think the GM will get his way unless the owner vetoes his choice..
Most of the big market teams that do well do lose personnel to other teams like you said. Couple that with their late round picks and it’s hard to find impact players in the draft in round 1. The truly great drafts are the ones when a guy like Tom Brady goes in the 6th round.and becomes a legend or a guy like Mookie Betts goes in the 5th round and becomes a legend in another city!!
Sabermetric Acolyte – One other choice might be that some of us waited nearly fifty years for a ring, got used to winning and look forward to the Duck Boat parades. As a short-timer you don’t have the same sense of doom older fans have. Your 2 year turn around continued to not happen for 86 years so we are more skeptical than you.. Many, many times a promise of turning things around in two years was made and broken. Some of us remember the misery and see the moves made by ownership that make no sense and feel like we are experiencing deja vu all over again.
KD there is so much more then just drafting well to running the organization and it is going to be hard to quantify the player development from a GM point of view but the D0dgers as an organization are excellent at this. I’m hoping that is an area that Boston will get better at especially developing pitchers.
The Dodgers have by a wide margin been better with the draft then other teams that are consistent late drafters. That 2016 draft is going to go down as one of the better drafts in recent memory for someone whos first round pick was at 20.
We can go back and forth all you want but the fact is the Dodgers under Friedman is a well oiled machine and the kind of organization that Boston and Bloom should strive to be like. I am convinced that Boston and Bloom will spend money when the time is right.
KD just perusing the trade history of Friedman its at least a solid trade history. When I look at all the facts the drafting, the development, the trades, the international signings this is well run organization. I’m not really going to judge the 2018 and 2019 drafts just yet far to early.
Bruin1012 – Since we can’t get inside the Dodger organization it is difficult to determine if Friedman is the true impact person. I’ve shown that his acquisition of talent wasn’t much until he stole Mookie and Price. I’ve shown that he had one excellent draft and several not good drafts.
I agree that other aspects of the organization may have helped the situation. For instance, an average or not excellent manager could prevent winning. When Mattingly was replaced and Roberts brought on board, that may have triggered the winning. Maybe all the coaches that were replaced help the organization improve, it’s really hard to say. One thing is for certain, the GM prior to Friedman isn’t getting the deserved credit for finding the key players that make up the Dodger roster in the years that Friedman has been there.
Talent is the primary key to success. The talent was on the roster or in the pipeline when Friedman arrived. Same for Bloom. Time will tell whether Bloom can turn around the disaster that was created in Boston. Friedman simply jumped on the opportunity that gave him more talent than most organizations and frankly he has NOT primed the pump as well as his predecessor. Friedman has not made big mistakes like Bloom (or the ownership if you believe it wasn’t Bloom’s fault that Mookie and Price were given away) but Friedman’s actions can’t compare to DD. Friedman started with a better roster than DD, it took him longer to get a ring than DD AND DD never had a protege bail him out after failing several years in a row to make the last step and win a ring.
I think we won’t agree because I believe it’s the job of the GM to bring in impact players at all costs. Friedman didn’t do that until he embarrassed Bloom in January 2020 over 6 years after he got his job. DD came in, got Sale (an impact player) and won a ring. He traded over-rated minor league talent like Espinoza, Moncada and Kopech and gave the Red Sox roster a big infusion of talent that it needed to win. Friedman got to LA, let free agents go, didn’t procure any big names and let the players in the minors that existed prior to him showing up graduate to the majors and provide the new blood that created the sustainability he claimed he created!! Giving Friedman credit for what his predecessor did seems really unfair. The irony is that Bloom could have done the same thing but didn’t and now he has a disaster. Unlike Friedman, he can’t just sit back and see the team win 92 games or more a year because he threw away two key components and a third has missed nearly 2 years.
I love your optimism but you can give Bloom 10 years and I don’t think he has the skills to win one ring in that time. I’m not even sure he can finish 2nd let alone 1st in the division during that time period. Why? Because he has NEVER procured an impact player in his career through Free Agency and the ONLY impact player he ever procured through trade was a controlled player who later developed into an impact player. Do you realize how long it will take if he can’t pick up impact players through Free Agency and his hit rate is what it’s been on trades involving long-term investments like Glasnow? 2030 is an aggressive guess using his proven skill sets when Boston MIGHT be ready to compete for a division championship again. That’s a heck of a long wait. Since ownership fires their GMs after 5 years, I don’t think he’s going to make it. If they keep him, I don’t think the fans will like reverting back to the early 60s with the quality of team put on the field.
Like I said, I think you are extraordinarily optimistic and for the sake of Red Sox fans I hope you are right. I’m buried in realism and I simply don’t see it.
Tanner Houck is key into any aspirations they have for wild card spots in 2021…..he looked good but in only three appearances.
Technically the Orioles are heading into year #4, of a rebuild that’s probably 5 years.
2015-19 is five consecutive seasons, not six.
Outstanding work. Any baseball thoughts?
He’s referring to a mistake in the article, you jackwagon
Wow another genius. Appreciate your baseball take. Thanks.
Gary, I was simply pointing out a mathematical error in a rather straightforward calculation, which should have been caught. Your reply to my comment was worth even less than my initial comment.
I do agree with your take above that a bounce back from Martinez is unlikely. He, Javier Baez, and others have spoken about the detriment effects of not being able to watch video between at-bats. If that’s the case and the rule remains, Martinez is likely to struggle, and it could really impact any extension or FA contract Baez hopes to sign.
gbs42, I make mistakes all the time and I believe others do too. I like giving people slack because I think they see their own mistake and feel terrible about it way before we see it and point it out to them. That may not be the case here with this article because it’s not corrected, but they’re pumping out material and doing the research and I’m the beneficiary of a lot of wonderful information. And hey, at least I gave you a compliment.., then respected your baseball opinion enough to ask for it.
I’m sure Martinez is just trying to get his swing perfected down to the tiniest Little movements and I respect his desire to chart and watch video and go the extra mile to become better, but I think there’s a little more to it. As mentioned above I think he watches the pitcher’s grip and release and tries to guess what’s coming based on delivery and arm angle Etc, even though that’s harder and harder today specially at the major league level where everything looks the same coming from the mound until it’s at the plate. A little video May clue someone like JD Martinez to what’s coming. Just a hunch.
In terms of the three man bench, is Cora including the trash can he brought over from Houston or will it be three man plus the trash can?
Is Devers really the type of player you want to sign long term? Seems to be a bat only player, and while solid, not elite.
He is exactly the type of player you sign to a long term contract, yes. He rakes at the plate. Would you honestly let a guy like that walk if you were a GM? I wouldn’t.
He maybe a fan favorite, but defense is below ave. if the price is right, every player is worth giving a long term contract. What price and years would you be willing to sign him for? Keep in mind CJ Cron just had to take a minor league invite.
What does CJ Cron has to do with Devers?
What does CJ Cron have to do with Devers?
Given his age, the years wouldn’t scare me. I’ll use Bregman as a model there though and say five years.
He reminds me of Ozuna in some ways. Great hitter, but some defensive questions. Devers is younger, however.
Ideally, I’d like to get him for 5yrs/80m. I’m not entirely sure he’d bite on that, and I’d be comfortable going 5yrs/90m on him. That’d probably be my ceiling.
Where would you go?
I think they are waiting to see how he performs under Cora this time around. If Cora can help him furthermore, they probably will be locking him down for several years.
Good call. I agree.
Would they be locking him down as a 3B who makes 24 errors a year or will they be locking him down as a DH? If it’s their future 3B, I’d pass and never have a second thought about it. If it’s as their long term DH, I’d make the contract long enough to get him to his mid prime years. The kid can hit. He simply can’t play defense which defines him as a DH based on skill set.
Devers’ best season was also the year of the juiced ball. As much as I love the kid, his defense makes me want to see another half season at least before locking him up unless he takes a team friendly deal.
belongsinthehall – Completely agree. In fact, if you look at the impact of the juice in the baseball as the single greatest correlation to home runs in the history of the game you’ll understand why players who came on the scene beginning in 2016 have done so well hitting home runs.
In the history of the game the most juiced balls have occurred in:
1 – 2020 (shorten season) – 1.28 HIGHEST EVER JUICE FACTOR
2 – 2019 – 1.26
3 – 2017 – 1.26
4 – 2000 – 1.17
5 – 2016 – 1.16
6 – 2018 – 1.15
7 – 1999 – 1.14
8 – 2004 – 1.12
9 – 2001 – 1.12
10 – 2006 – 1.11
Since 2016 the juice in the ball has accounted for 5 of the top 6 juice levels of all time. Think about that when comparing the monster years that new players are putting up since 2016 compared to years ago.
Since 1871 the juice factor has virtually dictated the number of home runs in the game of baseball. Some baseball experts have dubbed the dramatic drops in hitting as dead ball eras. The 1920s, 1942 to 1945, 1963 to 1968 and most recently 2010 to 2014.
Each of these dead ball eras impacted home runs and were caused by many different things happening in the world or baseball. The 1942 period was due to issues with the material that was used to construct the baseball. It was war time and one of the materials used was in shortage so baseball manufacturers improvised and lessened the liveliness of the ball. In 1963 the strike zone expanded and some say HRs were impacted by the change while others go back to the make-up of the baseball changing. I’m sure both had some impact on the dramatic drop in HRs but the consistency of umpiring suggests that the overall drop was more from the ball than the strike zone. The most recent dead ball era in 2010 can’t be explained by anything other than the ball. It was baffling how after a 15 years of the juice level above 1.0 it dropped from 1.04 in 2009 to 0.95 in 2010. To put that in perspective, that’s the same juice factor that existed in 1961 when Maris beat Ruth’s record. That shows how far the juice had dropped since the so called steroid era (which happened thanks to the baseball not the steroids).
Anyway, with the juice up 10 to 20 percent since Bond’s time you’d think there would be more statistical outliers with respect to home runs. Since there aren’t it suggests to me that the modern player is not as good as the players of the 1990s. There are fewer exceptional players and more overall home run hitters than the 1990s.
Devers has ridden a tide of the highest juice rates in history to be the offensive powerhouse that he is today. Will the lessening of the juice in the ball destroy his numbers? Hard to say. Will the lessening of the juice in the ball impact the CBA and the money paid players in the future? I think it will.
If you look at the careers of Bonds and Hank Aaron and tie them to the juice you can see the huge impact it had on both of them. Hank came in during the hay day of the live ball of the 50s so his numbers were high like players today, then after the dead ball era of 1962 hit his numbers tailed off and everyone assumed it was age but it was really the juice level dropping.
Bonds, experienced just the opposite. He arrives in the dead ball era prior to 1994 and doesn’t have big HR seasons but still wins two MVPs then he takes advantage of the new highly juiced ball introduced in 1994 and he goes on an incredible tear. His HR staying power had nothing to do with steroids, it had everything to do with the juice in the ball. Will we be talking about guys like Acuna and Tatis in 20 years and saying the less lively ball really impacted their careers and the huge contracts were mistakes or will there be no impact from the less lively ball? Should be fun to see what happens, especially with a CBA on the horizon.
Sorry but I have made a typo. The 2019 HRS/GAME was actually 1.39 and represents the highest juice factor in history. 2020 is second with a 1.28.
Compare that to the 0.37 juice factor when Ruth hit 60 HRs and it becomes very easy to say who the greatest HR hitter of all time was. Aaron benefited from the juice in the ball from 1950 to 1962, Bonds benefited from the juice in the ball from 1994 until he retired and Ruth never saw a season with a juice factor greater than 0.63 yet still hit 714 home runs.
J.D. makes the offense go so they need him to get back to some kind of decent form.
Agree totally. I think the best way to do that is with him batting 3rd behind Bogey and Devers. If Verdugo hits behind him he’ll get the protection that Vazquez hasn’t provided since the idiot manager moved JD from the 3 hole during his first tenure.
JD won’t have a good year in the 4 hole with Vazquez behind him. Maybe Dalbec can have a break out year and hit behind him. That’s another possible way for JD to have success. The in game video watching will be back in 2021 so that should help..