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The GYS Network
Red Sox Blog, but other Boston Sports Welcome!
Just three months ago...
I posted that the Yanks could be soon facing their own 93 loss seasons. I took some liberties in that post. Suggesting regression for many and maybe some injuries. But so far, it's been even more pronounced than I ever expected.
Arod missing at least the first half
We have danced on their graves before. And we've celebrated their injuries too (Aaron Boone blowing out his knee in 2004). But maybe, just maybe.....
Okay, I failed. And I wasn't even as ambitious as Jose Canseco
So in my last post, I put in the comments that I might compare/contrast the 2003/2004 Sox versus the 2013 (potential) Sox and see if there is any chance of the current version becoming the juggernaut of a decade ago. I failed. I didn't do it. Didn't really get past thinking about how I would do it. Using my gut, you know, Joe Morgan style or using some of these new crazy statistics that Billy Beane made up in his book.
But, I did say I might. I didn't promise. I got busy. Houston, by sucking, force me to watch the Pats when I hadn't planned on watching a meaningless game. But at least I didn't fail like Jose Canseco is going to fail in achieving his New Year's resolutions:
In case it gets deleted. Here they are in all their beaty. And they are exact word for word. Including typos. And two number 5s. Which are most bizarre or ridiculous? Feel free to discuss.
1. spend more time with my daughter
2. get stronger and fitter
3. help people who are getting screwed wherever i can
4. return to pro baseball as player or manager and have dinners with McGwire, La Russa, Bonds, and Selig.
5. Fight Shaq in MMA cage match
5. develop and launch Ponce de CAnseco a real anti aging drink
6. Get elected to a important political office in the U.S. or canada to help all people and governments with there problems
7. Become a world class entreprenur and found at least two great companies that make peoples lives better and funner
8. Write a third book and do a move deal for Juiced!
9. Do at least 100 promotional deals for good companies and products like Animal Rights, Human health, Environmental, and Beer companies
10. Use position as A List entertainer doing reality, TV, movies, blogs, columns, appearances to be able to do more charity
I am underwhelmed
So, Joel Hanrahan
. Talk about an underwhelming move. And it feels like we've made this same move at least twice since Papel-douche left. Acquire the closer from a small market team to come into the big boy division and be the closer. Oh and he has medical concerns and/or a bad history against the AL East. Even better. Andrew Bailey. Check. Mark Melancon. Check. This feels exactly the same.
Every article I've read talks about how Hanrahan's velocity was down last year. And his walks were up.
Frankly it feels like we traded Mark Melancon for the second coming of Mark Melancon. Oh and we threw in two of the Dodger prospects we got, along with Stolmy who ahs shown some slow developing progress over the years.
I am sure they know more than me, but would the Sox have been worse off keeping Melancon and hoping one of the kids develops? Or use them for a piece that the Sox really need?
The AL East Knuckling Under?
Are the Jays the new Marlins? Looks like a deal is done that will send Dickey from the Mets to Toronto. In return the Mets get a top-rated (but injured) catching prospect and a box of Yodels.
The question now must be asked...How will the rest of the East respond? Do they need to?
Adding Dickey goes a long way toward making the Jays rotation deep.
But...the question is how good?
Josh Johnson has yet to pitch in the AL. His career numbers are outstanding pretty much across the board, but is he a top of the rotation guy in the AL East?
Buerhle is a high innings guy, but his results vary. Since '05 he's been basically a .500 pitcher. How will his soft throwing style be received in this heavy hitting division?
Dickey was outstanding last year. What was so different? He's been barely serviceable over his career. Will he revert?
Morrow and Romero both have talent, but (again) will they finally produce?
Looking at every other rotation in the East brings much of the same. X posted a bunch about the Yankees rotation. The Sox rotation, even with Dempster, contains all sorts of high-end potential, but just as many question marks.
It looks as though the Jays are loading up for a run THIS year. Overall, I see a cluster at the top of the AL East this year. The unbalanced schedule is going to make it a fierce competition. I don't see one team that stands out. My prediction is that 3 teams finish between 88-93 wins. The fourth place team will have at least 85 wins. The last place team won't be far below .500.
When will the Yankees have their 93 Loss Season
Okay to follow up on Dino's "request" for a separate post....
Yes, I think the Yanks could very soon have a disaster season just like the one the Sox did. I will say right up front that I will employ some shady slight of hand here and apply non-scientific analysis in MANY instances. But this is really a bar room argument. Not a scientific thesis.
Sure, the Yankees won 95 games in 2012. Get it. And suire the roster is not set for next year. But so far they have lost Russell Martin and look to be losing Swisher and Soriano.
They probably get a catcher like Pierzynski who would be about a wash with Maritn. Rivera is back to replace Soriano next year. Does anyone think that Mo at 43 will be as good as Soriano was last year? Soriano had a 2.6 WAR which is basically what Rivera had the last three full seasons before 2012. Do you think he steps in and picks up where he left off? Maybe. Maybe not.
Swisher gone - replace by Gardner. Swisher's WAR was 3.5 last year. Gardner has the potential to match that. And has twice in his career. But he is coming of an Elsbury-eque season - injured, non performing, disappointing. Its possible he fails massively to pick up the slack.
As for the rest of the offense, I will just lump them into two categories. Those that played WAY over their heads last year (Cano, Jeter, most notably) and players that careers are on a downward path (Arod, Texeira, and Granderson.) I won't bother with WAR or VORP or any stats but I will jsut say that those last three guys make a lot more outs now than they used to. And I say that even having watched the Sox lose nearly every game to the Yankees this year. Usually by 10 runs.
And their pitching.
Sabathia - wasn't his elbow hurting at the end of last year? He had hsi worst season in 5 years.
Kuroda - 38 years old. Seems like to come back to earht and not repeat ERA+ 126
Petitte - he's old
Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia?? These are guys that scare you?
So let's just say every starting Pitcher and Rivera are one game worse than last year, that's 6 wins. And then they 7 old guys in the field are one game worse. That's back to .500. And then its just one big injury or PED suspension away from mayhem. And seriously, sure ARod will miss the start of the season. And Rivera was out from early May last year. And Gardner missed most of the season. But really when was the last time the Yanks had a Major offensive piece go down with an injury for the year? Is their luck set to run out?
Its coming baby. And I love that they have a budget. They'll have noone to blame but themselves.
Say it ain't so youk!
My brother sent me this email this morning, which I think is fairly indicative of what some of Red Sox nation will be thinking today: "I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways to crowdsource the $12 million Youk would be paid by the Yankees. We could offer it to him to NOT play in the Bronx. We could get Red Sox Nation to pledge money to the Jimmy Fund in his name – but only if he walks out of the deal. In that case, the money would go to the Jimmy Fund and a big banner would be placed on the Dana Farber building thanking Youk. If not, the money could be paid for banners to fly over Yankee Stadium every time he comes up to bat reminding him that he let down the kids… including this one." I am an huge Youk fan, I was happy for him to go to Chicago because the situation last year was eating him up. I didn't agree with the move, but I think it was necessary. Youk had become too frustrated with our team and he is the type of guy that will/does spill over emotionally. We know he had issues with other players in the past. All that being said, I don't blame him for getting his pay day with the Yankees. After all we traded him! He has no loyalty to us what so ever.
Don't count the Patriots out... just yet
I am not sure how the other GYSers felt about last night's game heading into it, but I was NERVOUS. I thought the Texans had a nice balanced game and would prove too much for the Patriots. I was convinced that the Texans would establish a decent ground game and force us into man-to-man coverage in the secondary. This would over tax our "up and coming" secondary and cost us the game. Not to mention their swat-tastic defense would stiffle Brady and force some tight spots or bad decisions. Well not only did none of those issues happen, but it was like the Patriots stole the Texans' game plan and used it against them! Our secondary really stepped up last night. Yes, you read that correctly, our SECONDARY really stepped up last night. Our ability to play man-to-man on the outside WR allowed us to put 8 in the box to keep Foster from having a field day. This forced Schaub to read our secondary which as it turns out is a little tricky. I guess having a lot of quasi-cornerbacks in your secondary allows you to mix up coverage a lot. The end result was one critical pick and a tentative Schaub. On top of that, we played more 4-man fronts than we do typically thus allowing us to keep their offensive line guessing and, wait for it, put pressure on their QB! End result, more swatted passes than the swat-tastic Texans! The question is, is this a sign that the Patriots have sorted out a winning formula? Has the secondary cleaned up its act, or at least has Belichick figured out a way to make them effective? The 49ers will be a good test. Sure they are down their starting QB, but Kaepernick seems to have stepped in nicely. Certainly, it will be a better test than the Dolphins. Anyway, comments are welcome!
Dempster and Lohse at the top of the list
I think we can all agree that we need some serious improvement to our starting rotation. A quick scan of MLBtraderumors.com shows that really only two names are in the running: Dempster and Lohse. Both achieved a 3.3 or higher WAR (according to Fangraphs) in 2012, which puts them at or slightly better than Lester in 2012. To that point, I think we all agree we need more than another Lester (2012). What this tells me is that Cherrington and crew are hoping that Farrel will work his magic and get Lester to improve. We can then supplement the line up with another Lester type (e.g. Dempster and Lohse). Feels to me like this is a stop-gap.
Are the Red Sox done with their lineup? Will there be other moves? One's answer to these questions would need to be based on which opinion you hold: 1. Is this a bridge/rebuilding year or 2. Are they trying to win now?
The Sox just completed a 3-year deal for Shane Victorino. That's the third multi-year contract they've handed out this off-season. Why do all these multi-year deals if you have younger guys ready to go? Why go from Cody Ross to Shane Victorino, especially with other teams driving the latter's price up?
Put me in the camp of the Sox think they can make a run with this new look team. So, to me, they aren't done wheeling and dealing. As of now here is their opening day lineup:
C Saltalamachhia/David Ross
That's a pretty deep lineup, a little weak at the bottom, but they are not done. They are in a position to deal Salty and have Ross teach Lavarnway how to call a game. They could trade Ellsbury. There are still outfielders to be had. And let's not forget the Victorino is a natural CF. Swisher and Hamilton may still be in play.
The school of thought out there is that they need another starter. But what if Lackey's woes were because of his injury? Would a 1-2-3 of Lester, Buchholz, and Lackey be horrible? The answer is no, but it wouldn't be enough against the pitching depth of the Yankees and Rays in the AL East, not to mention the other Wild Card competitors. So they need another top of the rotation guy. They obviously have major league talent to trade for it. Ellsbury could bring you that. And, heck, Greinke is still out there as a FA.
Put me in the column of "The Sox have a plan". They have a lot of flexibility, and signing all of these guys to 3-year deals makes it seem like they aren't mailing it in for one year to wait for the youngsters...
Napoli On Board
I am going to continue with my analysis of the Sox. Readers or not...
Napoli agreed today to join the Sox. The roster is shaping up, but it isn't what Sox fans generally expect. They are going for good guys, but are they going for good players.
The two additions they've made this far are Gomes and Napoli. This is not the Crawford or Gonzalez of the past. They will/should make for a better clubhouse, but will that translate to competing in the AL East?
Current Sox lineup:
This is not a bad lineup. I am thinking they will now go hard after Swisher. He fills out the RF role, and can play 1B while Napoli could catch. That would most likely make Saltalamacchia a trading piece.
Again, let's not forget that there's been a lot of talk about Hamilton including Lucchino saying they wouldn't do long deals but then quickly taking that back. That could mean a change of position for Ellsbury (RF) or a trade.
Having Ellsbury and Salty available for pitching may go a long way in this FA dry off-season. Are the Sox building for a run this year despite all this talk of bridging and rebuilding? It is starting to look that way.
A Sox and GYS Reboot?
Well, it has been a while. I am thinking that this off-season might have the flavor of some of the original posts here at GYS. The Red Sox had a terrible season. Their roster is gutted. They've got to make some moves.
So where to start? How about a typical Grieve-ous posting?
The big complaint is that the Sox cannot compete this year. While I say that it was disastrous last year, I do not see why they can't drastically improve. Here's how the lineup stands right now:
1B Mauro Gomez
The top of the lineup is solid, and while the free agent market is thin, there are some opportunities out there. Right now there is active discussion about Nick Swisher and Mike Napoli. Let's plug them into the lineup...
That's a pretty good 1-7. Weak hitting at SS, and LF is unpredictable. There are many teams that would take their chances with this lineup.
There is also talk about the Sox going after Hamilton. That would either make Ellsbury trade-able or he could be moved to left field (making Gomes a platoonable outfielder for the Sox). The lineup then is DANGEROUS.
Now the starting pitching as it stands today.
If Lester can bounce back (and this is more likely than not...Farrell is returning), this could be an imposing 1-2-3. Doubront was very good until late in the season when he tired. Morales is the number 5...they could go with him or look elsewhere to strengthen the rotation.
The pen is a bit of a mess, but they still have some quality out there. Farrell might be able to do something with Bard as a setup guy or closer, and Bailey should be healthy out of the gate.
In a division with an aging Yankees team (that will still be good and most likely win the division), an Orioles team that rode a large wave of 1-run wins, and a Rays team that can't hit all the well, the Sox have a shot at number 2 in the division. How will the other divisions play out? Who knows? At this point, I would look at the possibilities and say that they could very well contend this year.
Then that happened.... Catching up
Sorry about the lack of attention. So here is a quick catch up on what happened while we were out:
We had just started June with 10 straight wins. Entering the "easy" inter-league stretch of the month, we were 11-2 for the month and in first place. We took 2 out of 3 against the Brewers and then promptly fell apart, blaming it on the stupid "rules" of the game. Yes, that is right. We complained about the fact that Papi couldn't play DH in the national league parks. (This was not my proudest moment as a Sox fan). The embarrassment amounted to considerable egg on our face as we went 2 and 4 against the lowly Padres and Pirates. (The Pirates to their credit are 1 game out of first in the NL Central). We didn't do much better as we rolled through Philly. In the end, we made the NL road trip respectable by sweeping the H'astros and going 6 and 6.
For June we ended up 16 and 9 (.640 winning percentage). That still rocks, but we did lose our grip on first place.
We are now at the All-star break and we've have started July with a blazing 9 and 1 record. Once again we're back in first with an overall record of 55 and 35. Will we have another mid-month slump?
Our pitching situation is looking bleak. Beckett's knee is sore, Lester isn't 100%, Bucholz is working through a back strain, Lackey is working through a severe case of the SUCKS and DiceBB's arm has fallen off. Wakefield has regressed from previous years and while Andrew Miller has added some spark, I don't see him making a lasting contribution to the Red Sox second half. Through 2011, the Sox starting staff has been entirely mediocre netting 7.0 wins above replacement (WAR) value. In comparison the Yankees have netted 8.7. (The Phillies led the league with 15.4).
One ray of hope is the bullpen. It hasn't been as streaky as last year and overall the team is the second best in the league (WAR), netting 3.7. The Braves have the top spot in the majors with 4.9 WAR.
All said and done, I think we might be in the market for an arm as we approach the trade deadline. I think we will be fine in a 7 game series with Beckett, Lester and Bucholz, but to get there we will need some help.
Five weeks later
About 5 weeks ago, we had a bunch of dialogue on here about the Sox, the AL East, and particularly 95 wins. At the time they needed a .619 clip the rest of the season to win 95. And there was much consternation that this level of success could be achieved. Since that post they have gone 24-9 (a .727 clip).
So they are far exceeding that pace. Obviously they have played some great ball (the current 8 game winning streak, the two sweeps in NY, the 13- 2 stretch at one point), but this appears to be a streaky team. But now they have had three really long excellent stretches and only the bad start on the downside. And sure they will have one or more cold spells at some point. But, I'm saving my best for last......
As of right now, the Sox are 38-26, a .594 pace. Which over the full season works out to 96 wins. So even after the awful start they are on pace for 95, 96 wins. Right on pace.
Red Sox draft Matt Barnes with 19th pick overall
The amateur draft started yesterday. Besides the exciting news of drafting a decent looking pitcher, Matt Barnes (see below) in the first round as well as a switch hitting catcher
Blake Swihart, the first round and supplemental first round featured a couple of interesting notes. Specifically, Tampa had a total of 9 picks in the first 60 and New York had 1, Dante Bichette Jr.
. No joke.
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Swept and Sweep - Not sure how I feel about that
So that was a little weird. I posted
the other night that we needed 1 more win to exceed
our expectations for May. Then we got swept by the Chi Sox. Only to make up for that by sweeping the A's in spectacular fashion
. Although the series against the A's showed some holes in the Red Sox rotation as Bucholz finally came back to earth
and PapelBOMB finally exploded.
Looking ahead, the rest of June consists of 9 games against our top AL East foes (NY, Blue Jays, and TB) and 12 games against random NL teams (Padres, Brewers, Pirates and Phillies). On top of that 15 out of 21 games remaining are on the road! On the surface June is going to continue to be a tricky month. Amazingly, we're 1 game out of first which is a huge improvement, but I really don't see us gaining any ground in June. Frankly, I would be happy to get out of this month 3-4 games back. My guess is that we'll go 4 and 5 against the AL East and we'll split the 12 games with the NL teams. Which means we'll end up 1 game under .500 for June.
Lack of Posts
Can't concentrate on Sox right now...B's are in the Cup Finals.
I am going out on a limb and talking about something other analysts haven't. This series won't come down to the featured match-ups. It won't be the top line of Vancouver against the top D line of Boston. That will be great to watch without a doubt.
I think that this comes down to the third lines of each team. Why? Both teams are stacked on the top two lines. Boston I think has a slight advantage on line 2, but it isn't worth mentioning as Vancouver's second D-line is better.
But those third lines...This is where I think the B's get the edge. Seguin, Kelly, and Peverley (or Ryder). If these guys perform, the B's take this series.
Well, this doesn't suck
So it's May 31st and we have 1 more game to play before we head into June. A couple of weeks ago we had a thread
about what the sox needed to do to get back on pace for 95 wins this year.
As it turns out, they got their 15th win on Sunday afternoon (which assures them a .614 or better winning percentage) and almost swept their second series in May with a 4-3 loss to the Tigers that evening. I was hoping last night was our night with Lester on the mound, but alas his game needs some tweaking. Perhaps Aceves will extend his winning streak tonight and we'll be a game ahead of plan heading into June.
Regardless, we've got a share of first place and our 2 for whatever start seems like a distant past.
Is it time to compare DJ Werd and Tort Noxin?
Keeping up the Earl theme, besides having a more AWESOME backwords name than Trot Nixon, JD Drew may actually be a better RF for the Red Sox. Or not.
Trot obviously had a much longer career with the Sox and even the untrained eye can see that he put up more impressive offensive numbers during his time guarding pesky's pole. In contrast, we all waited an entire season for JD Drew to get a "hit". Fortunately, for him and for us that came in the form of a pretty clutch grand slam against Cleveland.
Obviously, there are a lot of ways to skin this cat and none is perfect. After doing some looking I finally settled on WAR (wins above replacement) for one simple reason, it combines offense and defense. The other aspect of WAR that was appealing is that it is a direct comparison in that it compares the value of each player over a "replacement".
Finally, how to adjust for the fact that Trot patrolled RF for the Sox for 10 years and Drew is just in his 5th? I think the only way to do this is to take the best 4 consecutive years of Trot's career and compare them to Drew. With that in mind and the simple fact that Drew was apart of the 2007 World Series Champions, we have to pick the best 4 years around 2004 for Trot, otherwise Drew will have the only stat that really matters: "winning," as Charlie Sheen would say.
So with that in mind here are the numbers:
Trot 2002-2005: 2.8, 4.9, 1.1 WS Champs, 3.7 (total 12.5)
Drew 2007-2010: 1.9 WS Champs, 4.1, 5.0. 2.5 (total 13.5)
Ok so that's settled. Or not. Drew was hurt in 2004, which pretty much makes up the difference between them. If you substitute 2001 (3.5 WAR) or 2006 (1.8) for Trot's 2004 season this would be a different story. They would either be the same value or Trot would be more valuable.
Of course we should consider the cost. One can argue that the lower costing Trot allowed the Sox to spend more on other players. However, by the time Drew was signed the Sox weren't exactly cutting corners on their budget. That being said the facts are that Drew cost $56 million over those 4 years while Trot a mere $18.7 million. Again this might have more to do with the fact that home grown talent is ALWAYS cheaper than free agent signing.
So there you have it, or not. Maybe it comes down to the fact that DJ Werd might just be one of the best backwards names ever to play for the Sox. but Tort Noxin does have a nice ring to it.
Millwood to join the Sox?
is reporting that Kevin Millwood has joined the Red Sox organization to help stem the tide as DiceBB and Lackey are sidelined on the DL.
Millwood is 36 and pitched 31 games last year for the Orioles with a 5.10 ERA.
Um... We honestly don't have anyone in AAA that is better?
Then THIS happened...
(From Yahoo) Then Albers (0-2) relieved in the eighth and Boston’s chances of winning faded fast.
“I didn’t think he pitched as bad as the line’s going to show,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Darwin Barney(notes) and Starlin Castro(notes) singled and Ramirez walked, loading the bases. Carlos Pena then walked in a run before Johnson doubled to left, putting the Cubs ahead to stay. Alfonso Soriano(notes) followed with a popup to short left field where shortstop Jed Lowrie(notes) let it bounce off his glove for an error as Pena scored.
“Overran it, misjudged the wind,” Lowrie said. The conditions have “been tough all year. It’s no excuse, just got to play it. What can you do?”
Franklin Morales(notes), obtained Thursday from Colorado, relieved Albers and his first pitch went for an RBI double by pinch-hitter Jeff Baker(notes). Koyie Hill(notes) struck out and Barney flew to right, where J.D. Drew’s(notes) catch was only the beginning of a bizarre play.
He threw home and Soriano, who had tagged up, headed back to third. Catcher Jason Varitek’s(notes) throw ticked off third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ glove. Youkilis was charged with an error and left fielder Carl Crawford(notes), who backed him up, threw wildly to home for another error as Soriano and Baker scored.
Castro followed with an RBI double, making it 9-3.