Theo stays on the defensive

It was the day after the Red Sox had been knocked out of the 2009 postseason, and general manager Theo Epstein was asked about areas the club needed improvement in.

“There are a lot of different ways to get better,” Epstein said on Oct. 12. “You probably start with your weaknesses because there’s the greatest room for improvement there. And if you look back at this year’s club we weren’t the defensive club that we wanted to be. So I think there’s room for improvement with overall team defense and defensive efficiency.”

And here we are, almost three months later, and Epstein has added Marco Scutaro, Mike Cameron and, pending a physical, Adrian Beltre.

Yes, the Red Sox should catch the ball a whole lot better in 2010 than they did in 2009. And John Lackey will make the team’s run prevention all the more stingy.

But will the Red Sox hit enough? Here is the way the lineup looks as we speak:

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Martinez C
Youkilis 1B
Ortiz DH
Drew RF
Cameron LF
Beltre 3B
Scutaro SS

I think it is most likely that they stick with what they have now on offense, see if Ortiz can have a big rebound at the plate, see what Beltre does, and then evaluate if a big bat is still needed in July.

88 Comments

Well, it looks like Vault will get his wish. Beltre reportedly inking a 1-year, $9 mil deal. While I wish Lowell would be the DH in lieu of Papi, that ain’t happenin’, so I hope when (it appears not to be an “if”) we trade Lowell, that we do better than we were going to do with the Rangers trade. Mike deserves better than a 3rd-string catcher in return. If Beltre can produce with the bat half as well as he does with the glove, we should be OK. We will be missing Lowell’s bat, so that would be a welcome thing if Beltre can produce offensively. We’ll see. GO MIKE! GO SOX!

Will the Red Sox hit enough? If we go with Ian’s lineup, I am skepitcal, unless Papi hits lights-out. I’m not so sure–but it is possible.

So, we take the 09 team, which during most of the year seemed like it was missing a big bat, let Bay, probably our biggest bat, go to the Mets, and then make moves to get rid of Lowell, another productive bat, for Hermida, who didn’t live up to his hype and didn’t have a great year last year, an aging Cameron, who is average at best, Beltre, who had terrible numbers of late (offensively speaking for all of them)…

This “run prevention” stuff.. isn’t it supposed to be only our opponents who aren’t scoring?!

I know – it is a move we have all been expecting, but I am sad not to see Mike Lowell’s name in the potential lineup. Will he be with the team or not when they break camp this spring? People can say what they want about him, but considering how obvious Theo has been in telling the world how much he doesn’t watch Lowell, Mikey has shown a TON of class.

Well…the rumors on the local news this morning are that Mike Lowell could be traded to the METS for a second baseman. Didn’t know we NEEDED a second baseman…

The signing of Beltre doesn’t get me excited, then again that was the case with Scutaro, Lackey and Cameron. I still think the bullpen needs to be addressed by Theo. Remember back in 2006 when Theo wanted a defensive team??? Loretta at second and Gonzalez at s.s. How did that work out for them??? I said it many times during the winter and the reg. season–Ortiz is approaching the 17th green of his career! If Boston is hoping for Ortiz to be the big run producer, they are dreaming!! He isn’t the lethal bat a starting pitcher fears anymore! He didn’t get around on many fastballs last year and his bat has dissapeared in the playoffs the last two October’s.

Is Francona smart enough to make moves in a tight game??? In game managing isn’t Francona’s strength.

Simply put, bigger payroll, lesser team. How does that happen? The Sox would have been better standing pat with what they had. They should have brought back Bay, and if worse comes to worse, use the Youk, Lowell, V-Mart and Tek rotation they used last year. Lowell is still a productive player whose hip has had another year to heal. The thumb injury is insignificant. The biggest benefit is that V-Mart gets a break from behind the plate where we know he has been less productive, Youk still gets to play every day, and Lowell is available as a RH DH and a great PH when he’s not playing. Losing Bay and Lowell to Cameron and Beltre is losing a lot of production. All I can say is that Ortiz better hit 50 HRs, .330, and drive in 140 runs and that may still not be enough. So far, Theo gets a C-. Oh yeah, and don’t forget paying 82.5 MM to a pitcher who has averaged 165 innings over the past two years. Another brilliant move. Make Theo’s grade a D. Hope he proves me wrong.

Peter Gammons seems to be endorsing most of these moves — maybe that is his job, but I have liked most of his points in the past. That said, I am with most of you, luke warm at best with all of these moves.

I think BoSoxBrian really nailed it — what about the bullpen, overlooking this may turn out to be the strategic oversight of 2010 — we were showing seriously vulnerability last year (towards the end) — were it not for Wagner, and now both he and Saito are gone, leaving Papebon, Bard, Oki, Delcarmen, Rameriz (but not one of them performed strong consistently all year, Bard being the closest).

I wanted the Sox to stay far away from Beltre, a colossal underachiever his whole career. But at “a mere” $9 million for what is essentially a 1-year deal, it’s not bad. And it might even be a steal. Beltre, buried in the Sox lineup, with no pressure, in Fenway park, playing for a real contract, might end up being a steal.

I just don’t like that it means the Sox really are out of the running for Adrian Gonzalez.

Dan
http://fansonthefield.mlblogs.com

personally i love all the deals and heres why….lackey(albeit more money than i think hes worth) is a fierce competitor and will run into a wall before he comes out of a game…he wants the ball and thats it…..decent talent with alot of heart….then theres scutaro….a real team guy who will make all the plays he should and give u some obp and good contact hitter….. i just hope he stays healthy,oh ya and hes an awesome clubhouse guy….then theres the beltre deal….beltre is a monster defender…he makes some spectacular plays and has a cannon for an arm..quiet guy who doesnt make waves and gets dirty all the time…i think hes the preverbial player who needs a change of scenery…lettin bay go was just fine with me…he strikes out too much,is a below average fielder and dint really wanna be here….and then theres the cameron deal….great CF and can fill a spot if and when we trade ells for gonzo….i love jacoby to death but gonzo is a friggin gawd….he will destroy pujols every yr if in bostons line up….the additions of kotchman and hermida are pretty good depth plrs to fill in for nancy and or rest yuke or v mart…beltre normally plays 155 games unless he blows a nut lol….yes he was the testacle injury last yr lol….rock on theo and make the gonzo trade happen bro…atleast before july….judge

I like the Beltre signing ($9MM) for just one year with a second year $5MM player’s option or $1MM buyout. That gives Uncle Tito a lot of flexibilities at 1st, 3rd and DH.
You don’t see lot of guys turning down 3 yr/4 yr deals to play for the Red Sox for 1 year.

Hi all. Just can’t bring myself to get too excited about this off-season. I hate to see Lowell go. I really do. Part of loving a team is loving its players. Lowell has proven his loyalty to this squad, why can’t Theo return the favor? The other moves, as someone previously stated (about 2006) are questionable. But then again, I’m not the GM so what can I do? I’d love to see Beltre shipped to San Diego in a package for Gonzo, with Lowell and Papi rebounding strong. That might slow the bleeding….. Until then, the Yanks own this division.

Hoyer is not going to trade A-Gonz, till the trade deadline. He’s not stupid he’ll get a lot more for him then, plus he just got the job, to trade his best player who is cheap now for prospects is too much a gamble. Padres did good last 2 months of season WITH A-Gonz, if they are out by July 31, he will get a bigger haul.
Beltre is a 1 yr. deal for 5 million and he could become a Free Agent, by adding him into any trade deal your going to have add more prospects. Padres have always been a low budget team, Ellsbury is up for Arbitration next year so he is going to get a good pay raise, if he performs like he has. Thats not a given too, that Padres will want him.
Something like this I think, Bucholz, Riddick, Westmorland, and Kelly. They would be under team control for years, so they are cheap, and all have high ceilings.
Last thing IF, the Sox got him, the first thing they would have to do is sign him FAST, to a monsterous contract, because he will be gone in 2 yrs, after 2011 season Free Agent.
Time to chill out, see what you got going into the season.
Last thing, I think the stipulation from what I heard, is Sox wont be getting any Draft Picks if Beltre becomes a Free Agent.

I’m back – taking a bit of time off from OTM to visit this board and once again I’m amazed at the analysis over here. How many games with stiff legged Lowell at 3B and Jason Bay in LF letting balls plop in did you not see? Its amazing that the defensive part of the game is completely ignored on this site – Do you realize how dreadfully awful we were at fielding the ball last year on the left side?? Beltre is ASTRONOMICALLY better defensively than Lowell and I would argue has at least the equal bat (Bear in mind those of you that like to look at BA, HR and the bubble-gum stats that Beltre played half of his games at Safeco Field which is a haven for pitchers). If you slide Cameron into CF and move Ellsbury over to LF you could argue the Sox would have the best OF defense in the league to go along with the new vaccuum at 3B. Add in the fact that Beltre and Cameron can actually run compared to the not swift of foot Bay/Lowell combo. And add in the fact that you are not locking up huge money long term….and I could go on

Place this new defense behind a pitching staff that was already good in 09 and now has Lackey and full years from Buchholz and Dice-K…

If you want to talk offense – fine….
http://www.overthemonster.com/2010/1/5/1234490/can-the-red-sox-still-hit

Thanks vault — you sound like Peter Gammons — I think I will be positive and abandon my doubts — what about our bullpen though? We really haven’t done anything there, don’t we need to do so?

A little confused by the Beltre signing but also intrigued at having another stellar defender on the team, and looking forward to his becoming a fan favorite. Sad to see Mike Lowell the odd man out though – he deserved another season at least with the Sox. Regarding the bullpen, there’s time to tweak that; with quality starting pitching and excellent defense, the demands on it should be a lot less. http://redsox1027bballcards.mlblogs.com

I feel comfortable about the line up as it stands now. I know everyone wants offense, more big bats. But what?s available out there. Thank God Holliday is close to re-signing with the Red Bird. A Gonzo will likely not be traded until the trading deadline. Surely the Sox will not score as many runs in 2010. But how many games were lost attributable to poor fielding and throwing errors in 2009? Defense wins games too. Go Sox.

I agree with everyone that defense is very, very important. Only thing in a bandbox like Fenway, where 2 singles and a Homer can happen fast, defense cannot equalize that.

Despite the on-going offensive downgrades, I remain dubiously optimistic. If all the players recently acquired have career years at the plate the Sox will be fine.
I will miss Mike Lowell! Adrian Beltre needs to have the biggest year of his career, like when he was a Dodger, if the Sox are going to have a prayer of keeping up with the NYY. 44 RBI from 3rd base isn’t going to cut it. Hopefully, someone will step up and drive in runners. The most important stats in baseball offensively are RBI and runs scored. The Sox will need an RBI man from the looks of this team’s make up so far. As of right now your RBI guys are Martinez and Youk. I’m not sold on Ortiz returning to form. It’s possible. Let’s hope they get it done.
The move that has me scratching my head is replacing Ellsbury with Methuselah Cameron in center. Let the wily old veteran play left. He could get a little rest that way. And if the plan is to trade Ells for Agonz in July, then what to do with Beltre? That might leave Hermida in left.
So we’ll have the Geritol posterboy in center, a left fielder who never lived up to his potential and too many infielders. Sounds good to me!!! Looks like Agonz is not coming to Boston.

theo’s decisions in FA just continue to baffle the mind. bottom line is rite now without a HUGE year from ortiz (???) this is probably a 3rd place team. yes their pitching is good. so is ny and tampa’s. okay cameron and beltre figure to at least give them more range defensively on the left side therefore in theory making them better in that area. guess what tampa and ny play pretty good d also. so you have a pitching staff that at best is slightly better than your 2 main rivals. a d that is probably about equal. so what’s the difference maker? OFFENSE. you can make a very good argument that all things equal health wise and without bay’s production this is the 4th best offense in the AL east. they should have taken the $$$ they spent on lackey and for what ever reason cameron and used it on holiday. then the beltre signing would actually make sense. they would have improved offensively and defensively on the left side. as it is they’ve taken 1 step forward in pitching and defense and 3-4 steps back offensively. bottom line is lackey ( unless he’s insurance for a future trade of bucholz ) is not a difference maker for this team. they were at least 4 deep in starters already. do you realize over the last 3 yrs. lackey has exactly 4 more wins than dice-k? and in his career he’s won more than 14 games 1 time. as far as sctutaro, what ever. he’s an upgrade over green and at least offensively over gonzalez most likely. i’m not too concerned about the pen though there are some question marks there as well. but again the simple fact is barring a big power year from papi and youk or martinez having career type years in hr/rbi this team offensively just isn’t good enough. any other division in b-ball maybe. not the AL east. theo is doin what he does best. play for second. and that’s if he’s lucky. you’d think he would learn eventually that just because it happened with ortiz you can’t keep gambling on these low risk high return FA’s and expect miracles.

ian, one other thing if you get the chance i beg you please ask theo the logic behind giving a 2 yr deal to a 37 yo outfielder ( cameron ) who hasn’t hit above .250 in 4 yrs and really has no history of being very productive offensively ( even in his prime ) vs. not being willing to go past 5 years for a 29 yo outfielder with hollidays’s career numbers.

Well I tried……but the pessimism on this site is too much….2 WS 5 out of 6 years in the playoffs, 95 wins in a year with a down Ortiz, no Dice-K, Vartiek catching most of it and no real SS option, a drastically improved minor league system (ranked 7th in the majors by BA), Did not trade any of our stud prospects and still filled holes adequately without spending too much future money for FAs (outside of Lackey)….

If you cannot see that Theo upgraded the team overall for 2010 without mortgaging the future both in terms of prospects and future spending money..then obivious my pandering wont help

Adios

Sorry , Vault, we will do fine whether you are here or not. I wish you well, but I will not miss you at all. Theo has been far from a bad GM, but your dissing of Mike Lowell in the guise of “optimism” is sad. On paper projections will not cut it if you want to get to the WS. I hope you learn that one day. Bye, bye, Vault. Take care.

I’m with you Vault. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I see the Sox as a more balanced team in 2010 vs 2009, given the better starting rotation (not only Lackey, but a much improved Dice-K) and defense.

Offensively, I do think Papi will have a better season than ’09, though not quite at his ’04-’07 form. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youkilis and Drew will all probably produce similarly vs. last year. Then you have Bay, Lowell, Varitek and Lowrie/Lugo/Green of ’09 (in order of value at the plate) vs. V-Mart, Cameron, Beltre and Scutaro of this year. I honestly find it hard to pick a favorite there.

Call me crazy, but I think pending a tweak or two in the ‘pen, we’re looking at another 95-win season!

Sorry Vault, I guess we’re just not feeling the love. But we do appreciate your efforts to cheer us up!
If the Sox were in the AL Central they would be fine. Maybe Henry is thinking of moving the team. Perhaps he will trade places with the Tigers. The Detroit Red Sox??? No thanks. But the fact is they have to play in the AL East. They’ve gotten better in the field but at the expense of offense. The goal of a GM is to get better. Not take one step forward and one step back.
But if you turn out to be correct, I will personally write a nice tribute to you next fall.

I will also give Theo and the FO all the credit in the world for putting together the WS titles of 04 and 07. The Front Office, including Theo, deserve credit for putting those teams together. Take care, Vault.

Look at it from this perspective (and try not to cry): last year Mike Lowell played 119 games and drove in 75 runs. Beltre played in 109 games and drove in 44. Let’s pretend that Beltre had played 119 games and drove in 50 runs. That leaves the Sox 25 runs down from last year. Will Beltre make enough great plays to save more than 25 runs, plays that Mike Lowell would not have made?

Jason Bay drove in 119 runs last year. Cameron in ’07 played 151 games and drove in 78. That leaves the Sox short 31 runs over last year. Will the defense of Ells and Cameron save more than 31 runs over last year during the course of next year? Will they be THAT much better on D?

The bullpen is mostly the same. But they will have less wiggle room than last year.

here’s a positive. kotchman won’t be playing first base full time!!!

theo has done a great job in scouting/player dev. made a couple of good trades. decisions in free agency? not so much.

anything is possible. you don’t no what mite happen in terms of injuries etc. v-mart and youk may have career type years. but otherwise you’re asking a team with a comparable ( maybe a lil better ) pitching staff and defense to overcome what is, i would say, a vastly inferior offense to their main competition. i mean barring injuries, etc forget 1st in the east. they will be lucky to beat out tampa for second and hopefully get the wild card. recent history tells us you don’t win big without some big bats in the middle. tb and ny have have that. unless papi channels his former self boston doesn’t.

Arnie, everyone,

To borrow slightly from Sherman T. Potter of MASH:
.
“Theo, you could have had an excellent Red Sox team this year but NO!. You had to put “BE STUPID” on the top of your to-do list!”
.
Goodbye Mike Lowell. You gave to the Red Sox and Theo has sadly thanked you with a slap in the face. It’s disgusting.

Ok, so I couldn’t stay away there’s just too much to shoot down in these posts as its too much fun…..got to be at least one dissenter amongst the dissenters

1. Arnie – really, using relativistic RBIs to compare players? That’s statistical analysis that I’ve never really seen before. Might work with the exception of the fact that RBIs are largely team/circumstance related and not individual player related – I mean was it Beltre’s fault that the Mariners were not as likely to be on base in front of him? If you really think that Lowell at 38 with a thumb injury and a balky hip would put up better numbers than a 31 year old Beltre who’s road numbers are on par our better than Lowell’s then. Heck Lugo knocked in 80 RBIs for the Sox not so far bak maybe we should have brought him back??

2. davecgs – Hey I’ve got nothing against Lowell’s career with the Sox but holding on to him just because he put together a nice career for the Sox….not sure that’s how you run a business…..we just keep around the nice guys regardless of their ability to play or how much they cost? OK….if you say…..

3. Offense – really where does everyone get off saying the Sox offense will be that bad in 10? You are saying it but not defending it…so far I’ve seen “no big hitters in the middle”…”can’t match the HR/RBI lost from Bay” type of arguments. The 09 Sox scored 870 runs last year WITH – Nick Green, Jason Varitek, Alex Gozalez, Julio Lugo chewing up singificant at bats as well as 1/2 of a season where Ortiz resembled Nick Green at the plate……Does it matter if your offense comes from numerous players who hit 15-20 homers each and drive in 70-80 runs each or does it have to come from 2 big bats in the middle…..runs matter – not where they come from. I’ll stand by this – a V-Mart, Scutaro, Cameron, Beltre offense will not be a big drop from a Varitek, Green/Lugo, Bay, Lowell offense.

4. Run Prevention: Lack of knowledge on run prevention which by all means does take a bit of research and time to understand. A very good defensive player can save his team 20-30 runs in prevention over a below average defender. Balls that drop in can become outs, balls that go through the 3B-SS hole become outs or even potential DPs

For those who do not like statistical analysis how about an AL East manager’s perspective on defensive prowess?

?[Beltre is] clearly the best [third baseman] I?ve ever seen in person,? said Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. ?I think [Evan Longoria] is good, I used to think Scott Brosius was really good. ? [Eric] Chavez was good, but Beltre was stupid good. I think Beltre is the best who I?ve ever seen with my two eyes ? defender, not just third baseman, but defense”

Really Vault? We can’t discuss or compare players’ RBI when trying to determine who might be better for the team? I’m using actual RBI numbers not relativistic ones. And if RBI is a team stat explain why some players are considered RBI men no matter what team they are on? Mike Lowell has shown over the years that he drives in runs. And do you really think Mike Cameron will replace Bay at the plate? Relativistically speaking, I say NO. Who will protect Vmart in the order? Youk? I love Youk but he’s not Zazu. Once a pitcher can get past the #4 hitter of the Sox the production drops like a rock. Ortiz is on the decline, Drew is Drew, he can be great for a month but very average otherwise, Scutaro doesn’t scare pitchers, Cameron is not a “big bat”, and Beltre remains to be seen . Will he produce? You say Yes, I say Who knows, but I’M not counting on it.

Look Vault, I hope you are right, and that Beltre will play third like Brooks Robinson and hit like Frank Robinson, but until he does I will not make that assumption. He did have that one good year though. I’m hoping you are right.

IMO all you have to do is look at recent history. you don’t win it all without 1-2 power bats in the middle of your order. if you don’t have it you become too dependent on drawing walks and/or stringing together multiple hits and against decent/good major league pitching that doesn’t happen. NY has tex/a-rod and TB has long./pena. boston has no one who compares to that power. and oh btw the “run prevention” of those two figures to be as least close to as good as the sox.

I understand that Kotchman likely will be traded to the Mariners. (We can’t say the Red Sox and the Mariners have not been busy this off-season! Theo was true to his word on that!) Ian’s article (citing WEEI) said that Kotch would be dealt for “a Minor League player to be named, a Major League role player and cash.” Ian, Carlos, anything further on the PTBNLs and the $$ amount? GO SOX!

Here’s hoping Beltre can regain his 2007 form when he hit 25 HR’s and 99 RBI. That would be awesome. I’d prefer it if Tito somehow convinced him it was ’04 all over again, but I don’t want to be greedy.

ARNIE I am SOOO with you on Mikey. Sorry Vault – BUT not only has Lowell produced for the team (did I imagine the 2007 WS MVP?) there is something he brings to the team that you can not measure with a nice, neat stat. He brings leadership, consistency, and a calmness to the game. HE shows up to play everyday….and that is worth a lot. FAR more, in my opinion, then some of the stats that “fans” love to throw around. So sorry if we here don’t measure up; thanks for visiting. Enjoy the rest of the Hot Stove Season.

GREG – this is what the Boston Globe has on Kotchman: http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2010/01/report_sox_may.html

Holliday, 7 years, $120 mil with the Cards!
Thanks, Julia! :)

Interesting that the “Major League role player” might be Bill Hall. Another one that I will be interested to see translate his game to the AL East. We’ll see!
I hope Beltre does translate his game into the pressure cooker atmosphere that is the AL East. If he even approximates those 07 numbers, and plays his usual defense, I will be plenty happy. Then, which 09 Papi shows up this year, the first half Papi, or the second half?
GO SOX!

Julia,
You used the perfect word to describe Mike Lowell’s game: Calmness. He always brings a calm demeanor to the game and makes it appear as if it is going much more slowly than it really is. I like it!

Wow! Holliday cashed in big time!

I see a lot of “ifs” going on this whole off-season. If Papi can regain his form. If Beltre can regain his form. If Drew can stay healthy. If Scuturo can match his career year of last year. (Which wasn’t all that.) If Lackey can go 200 innings. If the bull pen can go on what is there right now. If Cameron can regain his numbers from FOUR years ago. Ellsbury in left and Cameron in center? That seems backwards to me. Ellsbury gets to everything….Cameron has lost a little range and Ellsbury is ready to gain more range. Seems like some changes were made that haven’t really helped. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see IF this team has really improved. Two things make a pitcher confident. Good defense which the Sox definitely have. The other is knowing that the team will consistently back you up with a few runs which I am not sure will happen consistently right now. Seems like the Sox are trying to convince themselves that they are ready to take on the Yankees and Tampa Bay. Ellsbury in LF….Wow! Go Sox!

i’ll certainly admit this team has slightly better pitching and much better d. prob top 3-5 in the league in both problem is so do the yankees and rays. to be a good offense you have to do one of two things. preferably a lil of both. hit for power OR hit for a high average throughout the lineup. this lineup really does neither based on historical averages anyway. pedroia has the highest career avg at .307. nobody else is even .300. 1-4 have decent OBP’s traditionally but what figures to be 5-9 have very avererage numbers in terms of power ( except for ortiz and not lately for him ) and more imortantly, as they’re constructed, batting average. so even if the top of the lineup gets on base consistently ( their strength ) who is gonna knock them in consistently? they’re certainly not gonna draw a lot of walks at 5-9. except for drew that is. and then he figures to have the beltre, cameron, and scutaro following him. expect a lot of 2-1, 3-2 games is all i can say.

I hear ya Greg….I just hate to see the fastest guy on the team in LF. I’m sure I’ll get over it. (Like that matters!!!!) It seems like the Sox are putting together a team that they hope will make it through the year so that they can sign Mauer next year. That won’t happen though…the Yankees will be ready to replace Posada after this year so that shoots the hole through that theory. It seems like Theo is looking ahead to 2011, which I guess is a good thing for a GM to do…but at the same time it looks like a survival year this year. First time I’ve been pessimistic in an off-season in a long time. Hopefully I am wrong. Go Sox….

Craig, I am not surprised that much with the move to LF for Ellsbury. After a head-on collision with Carlos Beltran when with the Mets, that all but ended Cameron’s days at the corner OF positions. (Beltran, arguably, has not really fully recovered form that collision). Cameron, to his credit, was reportedly willing to play either CF or LF. I hope he and Ellsbury can avoid a similar collision in left-center, as Cameron basically has only one gear when in the field–full throttle, or nothing. I’m not worried about Cameron’s defense in CF, though. Offensively, we’ll see. GO SOX!

Greg,
My last post is out of order…gee when has that ever happened on here????? One other thing…there are a few people on here complaining about Bay’s whiffing a lot but are drinking the Cameron kool-aid. He whiffs as much as Bay with a lot less production. I heard a lot of complaining about Bay’s fieding too. He may not have been a gifted fielder….but he left nothing on the field when he was done and I can respect a guy like that. He always gave a great effort. I still say there will be some of those folks on here who are glad Bay is gone saying that we should have kept Bay. Probably around May you will here some of that. Unfortunately…he went out kind of sheepishly but what can you say. Go Sox!!!

Amen Greg,
It’ll be interesting for sure. I think most hitters are streaky…and when the numbers pile up at the end of the year you look at them and don’t realize the streakiness….unless you watch them every day. I watched Adrian Gonzalez a lot out here and he is streaky too. But since most of us don’t watch him every day….his 40 HR and 99 RBI look very impressive. His glove is awesome though but most likely a lot of folks on here would be complaining about his streakiness before all is said and done. Just like someone who did not watch Bay every day would be drawn in by his 36 HR and 119 RBI. I’m sure the Mets are excited and they should be. I will not take those numbers for granted whether I watched him every day or not. If some of these folks watched Yaz every day……and a lot of us on here did…they may be surprised because he was VERY streaky. But he was also VERY clutch. When you are clutch…a lot of other things fade in to the background. OK…back off my soap box now. Thanks for listening to me vent Greg….I’ll need some more later!!!!! Go Sox!!!!!

You’re right, Craig, as you know–we’ve been “posting into the future” for quite a while, for some crazy reason. It makes us look like prophets! Hmmm!…
I am not sold on Cameron, or his probable platoon-mate, Jeremy Hermida, with the bat. Cameron’s OPS is something like .840–not great, but not tragic, either; we’ll see how the two of them do offensively. Cameron seems to either blow the cover off the ball and out of the park, or gets K’ed. We complained that we had too many streaky hitters. We likely have replaced a streaky hitter with another one. But hey, if Drew gets a hangnail or a papercut, Hermida can be slotted in at RF–then we can see if both of them can pull their weight with the bat. GO SOX!

Hi there all! Pollyana checking in. Lots of posts to tackle but I’ll just throw a couple of thoughts in the pot. take a look at the Sox in 04. Who would have thought that the Dave Roberts would have been such a difference maker in the end? I guess what I’m trying to say is that we dont know what is going to happen with the new roster and we dont know what might have or might not have happenend had the roster stayed the same. This is just going to be another wait and see situation. I just know that I’ll be here, as usual, win or not. And yes, I had my prescription rose colored glasses upgraded. Anyone care for a half full glass of milk??

Ellen,
Once again you prove your leadership qualities. I’ve been stewing over the same possibilities. Baseball is a funny game. There is no other job where you are paid to basically fail. Think about it.
Even a 300 hitter will fail 7 out of 10 times. 40 home runs a year over 162 games is nothing to brag about. I mean essentially most of the time, the bigget bats will see K next to their plate appearance. Then there is injuries and errors. Pitchers are paid tons of money to win maybe 20 games. That’s 20 out of 162 games…if they are lucky and get all this bullpen support. I mean what if a baseball player were an average office worker. They would miss 7 out of 10 calls, be out sick a lot of times. Make tons of mistakes and then get a raise.
Dave…

Thanks Ellen,
My glass half empty mode stops now. I think I have it all out of my system now. Not sure what came over me this off-season but I am ready to get in to 2010 game mode now. I am behind whatever the Sox throw out on the field this year. Who knows……Go Sox!!!!

A thought: last season, alot of people looking at the Sox lineup were saying this was the team to beat. And the team fell far short of expectations.

This season, many are skeptical about the team’s chances. So maybe this year they’ll surpass expectations.

But alas, like many others, I’m expecting a pretty lean year in 2010. I don’t believe this team has made the moves to compete with the Yankees this season, and the WC isn’t going to be a cinch either.

And if you think about it, with the loss of Jason Bay, we have basically nothing to show for the loss of Ramirez (other than, I guess, room for salary). That’s a pretty big hole in the batting order that has been left largely unfilled, without have to trade away some major talent. Holliday was the last chance.

Sure, Beltre-Cameron-Hermida might pick up some of the slack (alot of “ifs”) but too many Papi-Lowell questions as well. This is looking like an 84 & 78ish season at best.

Nevertheless, I can’t wait ’til April. I’m sick of snow and hockey.

I was just thinking that all of you guys (and Julia) must be going BONKERS with all of the snow. Its inusually “cold” here in South Florida.. Now I dont need to hear that “I dont know what cold is…” I realize that our high 30’s and low 40’s at night don’t even come close to y’alls “hell freezing over” temps. I dont know how you all do it!!! Anyway, I’ll pray for an early spring thaw and baseball!!!!!

Ellen, yes it is unusually cold for you down there–I hope your state’s crops don’t get hit too hard. But I am that crazy guy who LOVED winters in Milwaukee, so this weather to me, with the snow we’ve been getting, is PARADISE. (Even with the school closings…) I’m the guy who would be walking around in your area saying “Cold? What cold?” I could not get out of the LA area (let alone FL in the summer of 07) fast enough, I WAS SO HOT! I HATED IT! Give me snow ANY DAY–just dump it all on my lawn, I’ll take it all! (NOT kidding, either!)

Dont say “anyday” Greg.. We dont want snow on April 1st or 2nd (I cant remember what the start of the season is).. I remember 2 years ago Cleavland had to move their opening series to Milwaukee!!!!!

Ellen, Opening Day happens to be on my birthday–April 4th–which also happens to be when Easter falls in 2010. I remember that series moving to Milwaukee, and with the snow and temps there, I found that more than ironic! Minnesota will be opening its new OPEN AIR stadium. I can’t wait to see how many “snow days” they’ll have!

ronkelly really summed it up pretty well. basically by not adding a holiday ( or ideally tex last year ) or retaining bay the production they used to get from one spot in the lineup it now takes a min of 2. so if you think about it they’re really playing with 8 vs. 9 in terms of hitters comparitively speaking anyway. that said while i think it will be a challenge for them to score enough to ultimately prevail i think they will be competitive with TB for second they should be more competitive than 84 w’s. if they dominate ( relatively speaking ) everyone outside of NY and TB i think 90-95 wins is doable. ortiz is gonna have to hit somewhere near .300 for that to happen though.

Morning everyone,
Snow…in Nashville? It brings back memories of home. Greg, if I could have heavy snow all winter it would make winter fun. Michigan, where I lived had too many days of cold and no snow and then a lot of snow and three days of melting. It made ski trips to the nature centers (cross country) so hard to do when to skied on ice and slush. I miss snow a lot but I do like hot weather. I must admit that.
As far as 2010, no sense brooding. It is what it is. We don’t have Manny Ramirez or Jason Bay. Terry Francona said it was a lot easier when you had that big bat. Well the sox have no bats right now. They got rid of Lowell and Bay. Drew will be too hurt to do any good and nobody else has that kind of power. However, with baseball, you never know what will happen so don’t feel like its over. You never know. It’s a strange game.

Does anyone know why Lee Smith never comes close to getting into the hall? Every year I watch him get snuffed out and I can’t figure out why. He dominated his position during the time he was playing and their are a lot of guys in the hall without a championship under their belts. If Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage are in there…….Oh well…Go Sox!

craig,
Is this the same Lee Smith that the Red Sox got as a closer or is my aging memory failing me again because if he was, ya, that would be a good choice but consider Jim Rice. Look how long it took him and he got lucky that enough stink was raised that he got in the hall. That was a great moment for me to see him inducted.

McKinny, I still do not wish we had Teix–not at the price he was asking, and not at Mike Lowell’s expense. Lowell was not the problem we had. If he could DH for us, I’d be thrilled.
Craig, Smith has not sniffed the HOF for this long for the simple reason of his position. It took quite a while for Sutter and Gossage to get the respect they deserved, and get their HOF votes. Smith MIGHT get some more respect (his votes went up somewhat) now that Sutter and Gossage are in, but we’ll see. Jack Morris should get more consideration than he does, also (forget his ERA, he was a CG MACHINE!); he made it over 50% this time; maybe he’ll get more consideration.

gotta love the article/interview with ol theo on sox.com. this year is a “bridge to the future” , ” i know we’re going to be really good in 2 years when our elite farm prospects are ready”. i swear billy beane wrote that answer for him. with the resources they have what GM would plan on being REALLY good in 2 yrs. and be content with being “competitive” in the interim. oh well as a wise man said it is what it is.

McKinny, that is what got some of us (incl. me) irked on here, with the idea that we are in a “bridge year/ holding pattern/ etc.”, and that 95 wins and the playoffs was the org’s goal–mission accomplished. Uh, yeah right.
For those of you who have read “Moneyball”, you may have remembered reading that Beane almost became the Red Sox GM, instead of Theo. If it had happened, we would have gotten him as our GM, and “in exchange”, we would have sent Youk, the “Greek god of walks”, to the A’s! Dave, things could be worse…

Epstein’s comments were certainly interesting, but to me he comes off like a politician who’s laying the groundwork to announce an unpopular policy decision. I don’t hear an abundance of confidence in his words. He doesn’t even appear guardedly optimistic, he’s more guardedly pessimistic. He sounds like my last employer a week before they laid me off.

Still, Yankee fans notwithstanding, you can’t reasonably expect your team to win the WS every year. But you hope they can at least compete.

The comment about not wanting to make any long-term commitments (other than Lackey), and the inference that there might have been more to the Bay negotiations than what met the eye…these are interesting comments. Because on the surface, I would have rather seen the money given to Bay (and forgo Lackey) than the other way around.

And I wish there was a way they could keep Lowell and dump Ortiz. If Lowell regains his form, I believe he would be a much greater asset as a DH.

This morning it was minus friggin’ 6 degrees!! You’d love it Greg! The saving grace is the sunshine. I doubt I could handle the 5 months of gray New England skies anymore.

No question the Sox will win 98 games or more in ‘010. Theo replacing the aging Mike Lowell was a stroke of GM genius. I predict Beltre will hit 30 home runs and drive in just a tad over 100. With his sterling defense he will prevent 60 runs from scoring. We needed a new Mike so Theo picked up the aging Cameron to replace the youthful Bay. BUT, he will defy the ravages of time and have his best year ever, fearlessly patrolling center and hitting 40 home runs!!
JD Drew will be briefly hospitalized with toe nail fungus, but in a fluke accident, will be cured at the Planetarium’s Laser Light Show when a stray laser beam strikes JD in the shoe and burns off his fungus! That laser will also have the effect of energizing JD in a way no scientist could ever have predicted. Our once fragile right fielder will become an iron man and play all the remaining games hitting 45 HR’s and driving in an astronomical 145!!!
David Ortiz just emailed me to ask for my rib recipe and also added that he guarantees us 50 HR’s and 156 RBI.
With our impeccable new defense, our pitchers will pitch to contact [even Dice-K!!] and the team ERA will hover at just over 2 for most of the year.
Manny Delcarmen will have an out of body experience at the shrine of Lourdes. The Lady will grant him a boon. MDC will ask for complete control of all his pitches. The only pitches out of the strike zone MDC throws next year will be purpose pitches! No more meltdowns!!!
It will be year to remember!!!!!!!

greg1969. you’re glad we don’t have tex’s 40 hr’s and 125-30 rbi’s each year for what accounting for inflation is pretty much what manny’s deal was per yr. and with ortiz possibly being gone after this year i believe? considering with youk locked up for awhile that could have potentially given you a 3-4-5 of v-mart ( c ), tex. ( 1b ), and youk. ( 3b ) i don’t understand it but to each his own.

i don’t rem moneyball that well ( i actually tried to forget it )but i know beanne was a huge youk fan and wanted to draft him for oak. so why would he be in oak. if beanne had come to boston? was that part of a “trade” so to speak. beanne for youk.?

let’s fact it folks rite or theo/this org. play for second ( in the AL east ) every year. assuming that will get them in the “tourney” and anything can happen from there. theo has said numeous times they expect NY to win appx 100 every year. i’ve never heard him say they expect to compete with that and 95-97 has been number to this point to accomplish the “goal”. that’s been their formula since day one and i can’t really argue the results to this point. they’ve been really good. especially when compared to the previous regime. the problem is i don’t think they ever planned on TB being this much of a threat to that formula and at this point they are.

ronkelley. again. you nailed it re his comments. he’s trying to spin it positively but you can just tell he knows this team, barring CAREER years offensively from 3-4 guys, simply isn’t a threat to do anything other than possibly make the playoffs.

i don’t expect to win a WS every year but let’s face it. thier house may not be as big BUT boston at the least lives in the same neighborhood as the yankees when it comes to revenue and resources. so to say ” we know we’re going to be really good in 2 years” just amazes me personally. they should be really good most every year if handled correctly. he’s opted away from a couple of young proven ML guys the last 2 yrs. counting on unproven “prospects” that won’t be ML ready for at least 2 more years.

i hope with all my heart the “plan” ( with the beltre deal ) is to re-sign v-mart long term move him to first next year and do what ever it takes to sign mauer. assuming he doesn’t get locked up by Minn. but i have very little confidence based on his track record in FA that’ll happen. i honestly think theo wont be happy until he turns this into a maxi version of the twins and pretty much every key player comes from the farm system.

To each his own, indeed, McKinny. Not for 8 years, not at Mike Lowell’s expense. If Lowell had been the DH instead of Papi last year, and we’d had Youk playing 3B, fine, but that was not happening. We needed Lowell’s bat, and he did not disappoint. Tex for 7-8 years? No thanks. To each his own, indeed.

Youk would have gone to Oakland, McKinny, in a deal with his friend and would-have-been GM in Oakland (had Beane come to Boston), that would have sent Youk to Oakland as “compensation”. You are right, Beane loved Youk for his supposed “Greek god of Walks” OBP idea, but as Francona quipped when we retained Youk, “I’ve seen Youk in the shower, and I wouldn’t call him the Greek god of anything”.

The “would-have-been GM” in Oakland would have been Beane’s friend, Paul DePodesta.

greg. i’m a lowell fan also BUT given his health issues i’d have to say you’re thinkin with your heart and not your head. ortiz in bad yr last year was more productive. probably due to said health issues but it is what is. and REALLY! i won’t even do mikey the injustice of comparing his numbers to tex’s. even if he had played 162 games it ain’t close.

good news is when that 8 yr deal with ny expires tex, after hitting about 350 hr’s and driving in about 1100 over that period, will only be 37 so based on theo’s recent history maybe he’ll go after him then when building the next bridge. ha. please note intended sarcasm.

As far as Theo trying to play the Minnesota Twins game with salaries, I’d have to say : not even close! The Sox have had the second highest salary for many recent years. But Theo can only spend what Henry let’s him spend.
Having said that; it does sometimes seem that Theo is penny wise and pound foolish. Some of his moves are really mysterious, Drew, Lugo, the Bay non-deal, all the other SS’s, Gagne—-ouch!! But then, the Evil Empire has shown that spending money does not always work. Sometimes it does, but a lot of things still have to go right.
We’ll see how the “defense first” theory works in 2010, I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I really look forward to writing on here how right Vault was, and how wrong I was! Cmon Beltre, do your best!!!!!

arnie. wasn’t suggesting he wanted a twins salary level. just that type of organization in terms of developing pretty much all your own talent. that’s fine if your in a position $$$ wise where you have to IMO. he’s not. plus while minn. is a great organization when is the last time they were a legit theat to win it all?

OK, I understand, Scott.
And I agree, developing your own talent is a great thing, but you need to be able and willing to go and get a player or two sometimes to fill a void. Also, the Sox don’t have the luxury of competing in an easy division.

one other thing i personally found interesting in that article. he made a point of sayin he’d never “tank”/give up on a year. as he has been accused of doing before not just this year. i won’t accuse him of that BUT i will say that he absolutely does not do all possible to put the BEST team on the field EVERY year. he’s more concerned with putting the best team as related to his buisness model. assigning values, not going over 5 yrs. etc. good in theory. but any good business person will tell you that sometimes IF you are concerned with putting the best most competitive possible product out there you have to be flexible. for example. he knows this team is severly challenged offensively hence making that original offer to holliday instead of lackey. but holliday wanted another couple of years. his erage avanual $$$ is actually a lil less with stl. than boston offered ( 17.5 ). he wouldn’t budge and as a result the card’s are a legit WS threat. same basic scenario with tex last year. as a reasult the yankee’s are set up to continue their dominance of the AL east and a serious WS threat. i’ll admit there have only been a couple of impact bats available the last 2 years but boston with a little flexibility could have had either one locked up long term. as a result we have a couple of “bridge years ( barring a mauer deal which isn’t likely ) and then hope of one or both of those “elite prospects” is as good as tex or holliday. BTW ( i may be wrong ) but i dont think boston has a position player rated even in the top 50 prospects in the minors. i know they didn’t at the start of last year. and i know kelly is top 15 as a pitcher. oh well. nuf complainin. roll tide!!!

McKinny, I’m not comparing Mike’s numbers to Teix’s or (before him) A-Rod’s at all. I am not even going to pretend to. I am saying that for the contract demands that Teix and A-Rod had, no way am I investing that kind of $$ for that length of time. I am also saying that if we were going with Lowell over A-Rod (!), why would we go with Teix instead?
If I am thinking “with my heart” (or as Lowell’s agent), or anything else you want to call it, guilty as charged. Advocating not trading Lowell, and putting Teix in instead, is what prompted me to start blogging at all in the first place. I advocated STRONGLY, as I still do, to not sign Teix, at Lowell’s expense. I have a lot of respect for a guy who will play hurt, gut his way back from injury, and at least try to prove his doubters wrong. Aside from the fact that he has a 3-year contract that we still will pay him, no matter what, then I say let him DH. Papi’s numbers are historically outstanding, but he has been on at least as much of a decline as anyone, let alone Lowell, and Lowell’s bat is still productive. If we could plug in Lowell and (the old) Papi, or Lowell and Adrian Gonzalez, etc. be my guest, I’d be for it.
But I don’t think it will happen, as much as I would wish it so. Mike wants to play full-time, and if that means trading him, so both parties are happy, so be it. I am not naive to that fact that he wants to play every day, and would no longer get that option here. I get that, even though I don’t like it. So I would hope that we get a better piece than we were going to get from the Rangers in return. If we are already paying his salary, I’d LIKE to see something better than a 3rd-string catcher in return. I then would love to see him return healthy, show up again in the post-season, and prove everyone else wrong again. If he can’t do it, and he has to retire, at least he goes down swinging. Yes, I am a Lowell apologist, and I do not apologize for it (play on words intended).
(Steps down from soapbox)…

One last thing, McKinny, it has been said before by other bloggers, “I am ready for the Papi Era to end”. If it were less expensive to trade Papi instead of Lowell, I would do so, as Papi’s hitting at or below the Mendoza Line was a great part of our problem last year. Lowell’s bat was at least productive. If Papi were to return to anything CLOSE to 04-07, I’d love it. I do not see that happening, and a DH hittiing .200 for half a year will not cut it. If it were up to me, I’d take Lowell at DH over Papi.

Hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.
Just beginning to catch up on all of the transactions.
My comment on Run Prevention: Hopefully having Martinez as our starting catcher will cut back on the stolen bases. It seems every time someone reached first he would wind up at second without the next batter ever hitting the ball. We have to concentrate on holding the runners close to the base and have our pitchers focus on developing good pickoff moves. Re: Wakefield- all we can do is hope and pray that anyone that reaches first trips on his steal attempt. Stopping the stolen base is key to Run Prevention. Otherwise- Let’s Go Sox in tewny-ten.

I agree with you Greg. Especially regarding the dh role. If nothing else, being that we will be paying him, as you pointed out, make the desiganted hitter a platoon role for the time being.
I can’t imagine what its like for Mikey to be there when he knows that Theo has made it clear that he doesnt want him there.
That has to be uncomfortable at the very least.

happy New Year Phil.

Happy New Year, Ellen. Hope you are keeping warm in FL. Here in AZ, the weather at this time of the year is beautiful. We have the heat in the summer but thank goodness for Air Conditioning. It’s going to be an interesting Spring training and a more interesting season.

greg. as i said before when the markey dictates it if you truly wanna field the best team you have to be flexible. the last couple of years there were a limited number of impact bats avail, very productive ones thoughth, in holliday and tex. so they had a lil leverage because of the lack of competition. i think we’d all agree either of them make this a better team. whether it’s for 5 yrs or 6-8.

as for lowell. again i’m a huge fan of the guy. but watching him run to first last year was painful. plus he’s 36 and coming off another surgery to his thumb. i don’t think ortiz will ever regain his old form either BUT he’s 2 yrs younger and relatively speaking a lot healthier. so if either of them are to have an impact type year it’s most likely papi IMO. personally i’d love to see lowell hang around and play a lil 3rd and maybe fill in at DH. not sure it’s feasible though.

Some thoughts on Adrian Beltre. I live near Seattle, so I have had a chance to watch Beltre alot and have become a big fan. But I hope all the hype about how well he’ll do at Fenway is justified. I took a look at his hitting stats at Fenway:

From 2005-2008, he’s had 44 ABs at Fenway, only 9 hits (.205 BA) and no HRs (9 BBs, 7 SOs). And if you look at only the last 3 years, his BA at Fenway is worse, .121 (4 hits in 33 ABs). Small sample size, yes. And as a pull hitter it makes sense that he’d hit well in Fenway.

I believe that Ortiz should bat 7th to begin the season, avoiding the possibility of wasted AB’s. But that is just me…

http://www.statisticianmagician.com/

We’re not going to agree on that, McKinny. As we said at the beginning of this, to each his own. I still think Lowell will be playing in another uniform by ST.

GREG – The Red Sox are going to give you a birthday present by BEATING THE YANKEES on Opening Day!!

I still not sure what to make of the addition of Beltre. I guess time will tell. AND I still want Mikey to stay with us! I think he would be great to protect against Ortiz NOT hitting early in the season.

Ron,

Beltre didn’t exactly light up Fenway with his offensive prowess, but remember, he WAS competing against the Fenway Faithful, which isn’t always an easy task for a non- AL-East opponent, and against some GRRRREAT Boston pitching. I’m interested in seeing how he turns it around, now that he’s not “the enemy”.

Why don’t we keep Lowell and platoon him with Ortiz at DH. Lowell can still hit and with Papi’s lousy last 2 years it would be a great insurance policy. And, if Beltre can’t hit we would still have Lowell to knock in some runs. Keep Lowell.

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