CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article So You Need: Middle In... (11/11)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article GM for a Day: Colorado... (11/09)
Next Column >>
Premium Article GM for a Day: San Dieg... (11/12)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Ar... (11/11)

November 11, 2010

GM for a Day

Boston Red Sox

by Jay Jaffe

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Theo Epstein spent a good portion of the winter of 2009-2010 with run prevention as his mantra. Much to the chagrin of a sizable contingent of media and fans who felt what the Red Sox needed was a big bopper and not all of this sabermetric hooey, Epstein raided the free-agent market for four players—John Lackey, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, Mike Cameron—who could bolster Boston's pitching staff both directly and indirectly, upgrading a defense which had finished a sorry 13th in the league in Defensive Efficiency in 2009. Alas, the joke was on both Epstein and his detractors. The Sox did improve to seventh in Defensive Efficiency, but the team slipped from third in the league to 10th in runs allowed. Though they survived a wave of devastating injuries to score more runs and hit for a higher True Average than any AL team except the Yankees, the Sox missed the postseason for the first time since 2006.

It's against that backdrop that I assume Epstein's chair as the Red Sox general manager. In doing so, I've got a tough act to follow given that on Epstein's watch the Red Sox won their only two world championships of the past 92 seasons. The natives are restless; six playoff appearances in eight years under Epstein has produced Yankee-level expectations among followers, and if not a Yankee-level payroll, then one that nonetheless was the majors' second highest at $162.4 million this past opening day. Without the added bump of post-season revenue to justify another major increase, I'll keep things in that ballpark, perhaps even trimming some fat.

Luckily, I have considerable room to maneuver given a pair of sunk costs coming off the books in the form of the contracts of Mike Lowell ($12.5 million) and Julio Lugo ($9.25 million). The former retired, the latter was last seen mailing it in at Camden Yards on Theo's nickel. Neither departure from the payroll leaves any holes in my 2011 plan. Meanwhile, I've got more money coming off the books in the form of the contracts of Adrian Beltre ($9 million), Victor Martinez ($7.7 million), Jason Varitek ($3 million) and Bill Hall (the $1.4 million not covered by Milwaukee) which I'll need to spend to fill vacancies at third base and catcher while also bolstering my bench. That's about $43 million to play with right there. I've also got decisions to make regarding the 2011 option of David Ortiz ($12.5 million) and the contract of Jonathan Papelbon, who's headed into his final year of arbitration eligibility and figures to increase last year's $9.35 million salary.

I don't have a ton of options or decisions to make when it comes to a rotation which mixes good news with bad. On the positive side, Jon Lester is locked in at $5.75 million as part of his five-year, $30 million deal, and Clay Buchholz isn't even arbitration eligible yet. The bad news is that I've got about $152 million committed over 10 player-seasons to three pitchers who combined for a 4.84 ERA while missing around 15 starts—nearly half a season between them—due to injuries. Lackey had a mediocre first season in Boston (4.51 ERA, .470 SNWP, 6.3 K/9, his lowest since 2002) and is owed about $64 million dollars over the next four years. Josh Beckett had an even worse season (5.77 ERA, .401 SNWP), and his four-year, $68 million extension is just kicking in. Daisuke Matsuzaka was subpar in 2010 (4.72, .476 SNWP) and has $20.7 million remaining over the final two years of his deal. Luckily, some of those woes were simply bad luck; that trio combined to yield 0.9 homers, 3.5 walks and 7.3 strikeouts per nine. Their combined 4.19 SIERA is much more palatable, and with some better luck on balls in play and homers per fly ball, they should be able to compensate for some expected regression from the young and inexpensive duo up front.

Still, I'm not just going to sit on my hands. Backed by some of Nate Silver's findings, Marc Normandin made the case that Matsuzaka could work better out of the bullpen given both the uptick of his performance with men on base over the course of his MLB career, and the general tendency of starter-turned-relievers to lower their walk rates. I'm at least willing to entertain that proposition, and to fill the gap, I'll look to one of his countrymen. Lefty Hisanori Takahashi had a solid year first year stateside as a swingman with the Mets, putting up a 3.61 ERA and 3.72 SIERA in 122 innings which saw him start and close. He's a free agent after failing to reach a deal with the Mets, and I'll gladly meet his three-year, $5 million demands. I could give him first crack as the number five starter, knowing that I could bring back Matsuzaka or try Felix Doubront if things go awry, then look to upgrade at the trade deadline if that doesn't solve the matter.

As for the bullpen, I'm going to hold on to Papelbon, who's coming off by far his worst season as the Sox closer (2.1 WXRL, 4.33 Fair Run Average). I'll absorb the raise (figure about $12 million via arbitration), hope for some regression towards his 3.30 SIERA, and take the two draft picks when he departs. That leaves Daniel Bard in the setup role, perhaps joined by Matsuzaka as well as Tim Wakefield and lefties Hideki Okajima and Doubront, with Junichi Tazawa possibly contributing late in the year as he returns from Tommy John surgery. I could still use another solid right-handed option; Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain and Jon Rauch are all Type B free agents who won't cost a draft pick. None made even $2 million last year, so a two-year, $5 million deal is probably the high end to get something done.

As for the offense, my key move is to do what Epstein couldn't: pry Adrian Gonzalez loose from the Padres. I realize it will take a considerable package of players—not to mention an extension of Teixeira-sized proportions—but that's that's the purpose of a strong farm system. I start with the premise that first base prospect Anthony Rizzo, who surpassed Lars Anderson on the organizational depth chart this past year, is part of the package, but that the Pads will also need at least one MLB-ready talent. I'm willing to part with the arbitration-eligible Jacoby Ellsbury, but the Padres may crave an even cheaper outfield alternative with more years under club control such as Ryan Kalish, or a capable middle infielder such as Jed Lowrie given the free agencies of David Eckstein and Miguel Tejada and the questions about Everth Cabrera. Depending upon whom the Pads prefer from that lot, I'll round out the package with a lower-minors prospect or two. No, the Pads won't get Casey Kelly, but they'll find something worth taking a flyer. Drake Britton? Reymond Fuentes? Will Middlebrooks? Those are a few suggestions offered by Normandin, our in-house fan of both the Sox and Padres, and someone with a reasonable stake in a fair deal for both sides.

Gonzalez doesn't add much to my 2011 payroll ($5.5 million), but he'll cost at least $23 million per year beyond that, so I need to be careful about other long-term entanglements. I'm free to shift Kevin Youkilis back to third base (where he played 99 games in 2008-2009 and was more than acceptable according to FRAA, UZR and Plus/Minus) and bid farewell to Beltre, who's coming off a fantastic 2010 showing, but also 31 years old, with too spotty a track record to make a long-term deal seem wise. I'm also going to pass on returning both Martinez and Varitek in favor of a catcher who's capable of shutting down the running game—Sox opponents stole 169 bases last year, at an 80 percent success rate—while contributing something with the stick as well.

So long as I don't get too hung up on low on-base percentages, I've got a few options from which to choose. John Buck, Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Olivo and Yorvit Torrealba each made less than $3 million last year, and threw out baserunners at a clip which equaled or bettered the major league average (28 percent). Hernandez is a Type A who'd cost me a first-round pick, so he's out. As for the rest, they're hardly perfect, but they'll do. I'll offer two years and $6 million with an option for a third year and a $1 million buyout and see who bites; I shouldn't have to spend much more than that.

Hopefully Jarrod Saltalamacchia is healthy enough to serve as a backup and heir apparent. If not, I could take a look at Luis Exposito, who hit .260/.339/.416 at Double-A Portland while throwing out 38 percent of stolen base attempts, or Mark Wagner, whose 2010 at Triple-A Pawtucket was mostly wrecked by a broken hamate but who has thrown out 39 percent of stolen base attempts in his minor league career, and who profiles as a solid big league backup in the making. How much worse could either be than Kevin Cash or Gustavo "No Relation" Molina?

Parting ways with V-Mart and Beltre won't ruffle too many feathers, but my next move might: I'm reversing Epstein's decision and declining Ortiz's $12.5 million option. I've tossed and turned on this one, copped to my own premature burial of him. It's not that he didn't have a good year; with 32 homers and a .304 TAv, he absolutely did. I'm just not in the mood to bank on a repeat performance from a 35-year-old whose value in 2010 (3.8 WARP) was higher than in 2008-2009 combined (3.2), not at that price. For much less money—say $4 million with an option—I'd spring for Jim Thome, who made just $1.7 million including incentives last year while hitting 25 homers in 340 PA. He's 40 and he needs a platoon partner; if I haven't used Lowrie to get Gonzalez, one option would be to play him at third base against lefties (against whom he's hit .324/.403/.541 in his big-league career), and DH Youkilis. Another is to consider Mike Cameron, who's coming off abdominal surgery and under contract for $7.25 million for 2011; he's hit .269/.372/.494 against lefties in his career. If I can't get Thome, lefties such as Russell Branyan or Jack Cust can fill the platoon DH slot at a similarly low price.

By going lean on the retained free agents, I've now got room for a run at Jayson Werth, who will cost a draft pick while commanding a price somewhere in the neighborhood of the $16-17 million per year which Jason Bay and Matt Holliday drew last winter. For 2011, Werth's my left fielder, with Ellsbury (if not traded) or Cameron in center and J.D. Drew in right. When Drew's contract expires after next season, Werth slots into right, with either Ellsbury or Kalish in center, or one in left and one in center if it's Lowrie who goes to San Diego. What I do know is that for the near term, I need to get some power out of my outfield, and Werth's a better fit than Carl Crawford when it comes to that.

Assuming it's Kalish that I've parted with in the Gonzalez deal and that I've still got Ellsbury to play center, and Cameron and Lowrie (who could possibly unseat Scutaro at shortstop, turning him into a utilityman) in bench roles, I don't need to re-sign Hall, whose 18 homers and $8.4 million 2010 salary will likely leave him eying a larger piece of the pie. I've got utilityman Eric Patterson under club control as well as Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald, with Josh Reddick at Triple-A, too. My bench should be in good shape.

Assuming about $8 million spent on raises for Ellsbury and Okajima via arbitration—and even with my largesse with some of the smaller contracts—that brings me in around $150 million for the 25-man roster, nearly 10 percent less than last year's opening day payroll, and that's without creativity in backloading any deals. I might be able to shed a few million more (but almost certainly not the entire contract) by trading Cameron once he proves he's healthy. That leaves me with about $122 million committed to 2012 salaries, with Papelbon, Drew and Scutaro coming off the books to help absorb Gonzalez's increase.

In Gonzalez and Werth, I've bought the Sox a couple of big bats to anchor their lineup in a post-Papi world, and I've augmented a bullpen which ranked 12th in the league in WXRL, improved the defense behind the plate if not in the infield. I think this team can compete with anything else the AL East has to offer.

Jay Jaffe is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jay's other articles. You can contact Jay by clicking here

Related Content:  A's,  Out Of My League,  The Who,  Manager Of The Year

42 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

David Schwalb

Since I'm a Sox fan, I would gladly take your proposed package to acquire Gonzalez. However, is that rich enough for the Padres with a full year remaining on his contract? I would think they'd want a high quality pitching prospect in the mix.

Nov 10, 2010 05:40 AM
rating: 3
 
Marc Normandin

One year isn't that much when the Padres know they can't add much payroll and are going to lose Gonzalez at the end of 2011 anyways. Picking up a quality replacement like Rizzo, a near-MLB ready outfielder like Kalish and a pair of prospects in High-A or Double-A would be quite the haul for one player, especially when the alternative is draft picks.

Nov 10, 2010 06:37 AM
rating: 0
 
timhulettfan

I think that trade offer is very lopsided. Ellsbury maxes out as a solid regular and kalish, lowrie, and rizzo might not even be that.

Nov 11, 2010 04:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Marc Normandin

Maybe, but the Padres won't want Ellsbury, is the point. He doesn't have enough years of team control left, and his increase in salary lines up with many of their other players, meaning they would end up having to make some decisions they aren't going to want to have to make to retain him by his last arbitration year given their payroll constraints.

Nov 11, 2010 06:37 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Just wanted to reiterate my thanks to Marc for lending his insights to this piece and to the conversation in general.

And furthermore, thank you all for the kind words. I've literally been thinking about this piece for weeks. There was a misunderstanding between myself and our editors about the artistic license regarding my turning back the clock on the Ortiz decision, which resulted in a different version of this piece briefly appearing on-site yesterday; I apologize to all concerned for any resultant confusion. I wrote this the way I did because I think it's a far more interesting conversation about where to go if not with Ortiz than to simply take things as etched in stone 24 hours before the article aired.

Nov 11, 2010 08:20 AM
 
timhulettfan

Thanks Marc (and Jay).

I guess my general sentiment is that I would be surprised if the Red Sox can build a package for AGon that does not include Kelly and/or (but especially 'and') Iglesias that the Rays/White Sox/Jays/etc. would not readily top.

The Red Sox have a lot of depth, but I'd be surprised if another team wouldn't part with prospects with much higher ceilings than those listed above for AGon, even if it's for one year (plus picks).

Nov 11, 2010 12:39 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

The most detailed "GM for a Day" article so far. Great job.

Nov 10, 2010 05:54 AM
rating: 5
 
Matt Kory

Seconded.

Nov 11, 2010 12:25 PM
rating: 0
 
yekkel

Agreed. This is probably the best example so far of what has been a very entertaining series.

Nov 11, 2010 15:18 PM
rating: 0
 
SC

I also agree, though a summary list of the lineup, rotation and bullpen would be nice additions.

Nov 11, 2010 17:58 PM
rating: 1
 
cosmic
(742)

Only one suggestion here. Given the $12 M you still have to play with, why not non-tender Okajima and spend $4 M and get Scott Downs?

Nov 10, 2010 06:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Downs is a Type A free agent, and the marginal cost would have been a second-round draft pick (the Blue Jays would get the first round pick, the Phillies the 2nd-rounder based upon reverse order of finish). I meant to include a line to that effect in the piece, particularly since the Sox have been acknowledged as suitors. The idea has some merit, but it's a now/later tradeoff.

Nov 11, 2010 08:23 AM
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

And of course, I'm an idiot for not figuring out that at worst, if I signed Werth and Downs, the draft picks issue would come out in the wash, since V-Mart and Betre are both Type A free agents.

Nov 11, 2010 15:24 PM
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Ortiz probably would be as well. And the beat goes on...

Nov 11, 2010 15:26 PM
 
Emma Span

Interesting idea about Matsuzaka, I'd be curious to see how that would work. My first thought was that his control (or lack thereof) makes him more viable as a starter, but I hadn't seen that Nate Silver data... food for thought.

Nov 10, 2010 07:16 AM
rating: 0
 
IvanGrushenko

If I'm the Padres I'd want higher ceiling prospects than that -- Iglesias, Kalish and a flyer or two

Nov 11, 2010 05:33 AM
rating: 1
 
Matt Kory

Then I'm guessing you'd probably have to trade Gonzalez to a different team. I don't see Boston giving that much up for one year of Gonzalez.

Nov 11, 2010 12:03 PM
rating: 0
 
tdogg217

No way the Bank of Boston moves it's prime stock without working out a long term deal so I assume they wouldn't make a move without the extension being in place.

Nov 11, 2010 18:46 PM
rating: 0
 
BigNachos

Youkilis is a plus defender at first, but he's entering his age 32 season and isn't exactly the most athletic guy out there. I'm pretty skeptical he'd be anything but below average at third at this point of his career.

Nov 11, 2010 07:04 AM
rating: 0
 
Marc Normandin

He wouldn't be a plus defender at third, that's for sure (he wasn't in 2009) but his bat would more than carry him there. Youkilis is a premium hitter at first, and the third base offensive requirements are light years behind those of first.

Nov 11, 2010 14:28 PM
rating: 0
 
spmcguire

Jay,

Greatly enjoyed this fantastic, thoughtful article. Found the analysis of the tough decisions - letting Papi, VMart and Beltre go, and the utilization of the Sox considerable minor leagues for bench players and trade chips to land Gonzalez - particularly interesting. All while reducing payroll. Well done.

So, what do you think of trying to move a bloated SP contract - Beckett, Matsuzaka, or Lackey - in a free agent market with relatively few 1-2 starter quality pitchers available other than the Cliff Lee lottery? And if so, what would the market be for them? Would the Twins, Rangers (Beckett after Lee jumps to the Yankees), or Rockies be a match with interest in the trio? The Sox could make a play for Greinke or a cheaper option of DeLaRosa. Do the Sox have the prospects to make two major trades (Gonzalez/Greinke). Finally, do you see the Rays regressing with all the FA departures, the Yankees aging at key positions (even with Lee), and these moves sufficient to launch the Sox back into the playoffs and equipped for a deep run in '11?

Thanks again, great article - love the segment! Sean

Nov 11, 2010 07:08 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I think it would be very hard to move any of the Beckett/Lackey/Matsuzaka trio without eating a large portion - perhaps as much as 50 percent - of the contract, similar to what the Yankees face with A.J. Burnett, and in this case that could amount to somewhere between $10-30 million.

Beckett and Dice both missed significant chunks of time with injury last year, and while Lackey took the ball every fifth day, his decline certainly suggests he's not the same pitcher as he was 2-3 years ago. Based on their track records and their peripherals, I don't think it's a bad gamble to see if they can restore their value, perhaps strengthening the market for them in the process.

As for Greinke, I'm wary of how his psychological issues would be affected in the fishbowl of Boston just as much as I would be in New York. De La Rosa is an interesting target, but he's got some of the same issues as Dice - high walk rate, bouts of inconsistency, and injury history.

I do think that both the Rays and Yankees regress in 2011, and that it's one of those two teams who miss the playoffs, not the Red Sox so long as their winter goes well and their wounded players heal. Right now, I'd guess Rays given their financial constraints, but ask me again when pitchers and catchers report and the answer might be different.

Nov 11, 2010 08:33 AM
 
Morris Greenberg

I like the Matsuzaka idea. If they sign Brandon Webb too, that would be an interesting platoon as a 5th starter/long reliever combo.

Nov 11, 2010 07:29 AM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

Re: Red Sox cathers: If it were my day to be GM, I'd say, "Let them steal their way out of a big inning at Fenway. Give me a catcher who can get on base."

Nov 11, 2010 08:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

The value of each individual stolen base isn't great, but in volume, at that success rate, they add up. They also do away with double play opportunities, the lack of which are a problem on a staff that hand the second-lowest GB% in the majors. The Sox tied for 10th in the AL in DPs.

Furthermore, I don't think it's at all a coincidence that guys like Papelbon and Beckett and others underperformed with men on base relative to their career standards as guys ran wild on them, and why they allowed so damn many runs overall.

Nov 11, 2010 13:20 PM
 
Ogremace

I think the whole point is that they did run - but because of the catchers, NOT out of the inning. An 80% success rate is adding a lot of runs for other teams on the bases.

Nov 11, 2010 14:38 PM
rating: 0
 
smallflowers

I wonder how much the SB-against totals will naturally drop no matter who's behind the plate given that Crawford is likely to leave the East....

Nov 11, 2010 19:21 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Is it laughable to think the Blue Jays or Orioles will surprise everyone and sneak into the post season while the big three regress and/or age? If Drabek keeps progressing, Toronto could have an awesome rotation. If Bautista can keep it up - and I believe he can - and Snider, Hill, and Lind perform up to expectations, hey, I can see it happening. (Though, I live in Toronto, so I am biased.) As for Baltimore, a new manager might be able to do wonders with all that young talent. It will be an interesting season to see what pans out.

Nov 11, 2010 10:16 AM
rating: 1
 
Matt Kory

Jay, great article. Thanks for the in-depth explanations and ideas. Frankly, this is exactly what I love from BP.

My only quarrel is with the Ortiz decision. Maybe its my Red Sox colored glasses, but I don't understand why you aren't picking up his option. I'd much rather have Ortiz as my DH than Thome, Cust or Branyan. You can throw Matsui and Vlad on that pile too for good measure. To my mind Ortiz's production is much more certain and likely much better than either of those guys (although I'm a big Thome fan).

In the end the world difference between Ortiz and someone else is about $8 million, which isn't peanuts, but its also not a huge issue on a one year deal to a team with the Red Sox payroll. I'm also not sure that the inevitable reaction from the fanbase isn't worth avoiding on some level, but even ignoring that aspect, isn't it worth it for the Sox to pay a bit more (or a bit more than a bit more) to get more production from the position? The end result in an ultra-competitive division could be the difference between making the playoffs or missing them for the second year in a row. I don't see any compelling reason to take that chance.

Nov 11, 2010 12:37 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I don't think it's nearly the given you do that Ortiz can maintain superior production to guys who could cost 1/3 what he does, particularly given the potential for distraction he can (and already has) create given his uncertain future in Boston, publicly agitating for an extension. Did Derek Jeter worry publicly about coming back to New York?

That said, I think in the end, you can make a case that if taking on Ortiz's salary doesn't mean increasing payroll from last year, then it's a path-of-least-resistance decision to pick up the option and placate the fan base. I think that's a dangerous road to go down - the line about it being better to trade a guy a year too early rather than a year too late certainly applies - and I think it's the GM's job not to be swayed by the emotions of the moment.

But it's very easy to me to pontificate about being dispassionate in a hypothetical situation, and almost certainly much harder for Theo (and, almost certainly, John Henry) to tell a guy who's one of the great heroes of Red Sox history to take a hike. So I get where you're coming from. All of which points back to exactly why this article was so fun to write.

Nov 11, 2010 13:04 PM
 
asbasb

Why is everyone certain that Papelbon will get a big raise in arbitration? Last year, he was an average closer. How many closers earn $12 M/yr? He'd never get that as a free agent.

Nov 11, 2010 18:16 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Because the stats used in an arbitration case tend to be much less nuanced than the ones we kick around here. Such as the fact that Papelbon has more saves than anyone except K-Rod since assuming closer duties in Boston in 2006. K-Rod, Joe Nathan and Francisco Cordero are all getting $11-12 million per year, you can expect Papelbon's agent to argue for that kind of money too, particularly as he's closed out a World Series, unlike that trio.

Nov 11, 2010 18:39 PM
 
JayhawkBill

If a reader were to make a post alleging that a 32-year-old player who had played a combined half of a season at a more demanding defensive position two to three years ago was fine to move back full time, disregarding that he'd played first base all of the last season and the majority of both of those two (and disregarding that he'd finished the previous year on the DL with a serious thumb injury), just because he'd been average at that harder position in part-time play in his twenties, the reader would be laughed off the site.

Kevin Youkilis has never been a regular third baseman in MLB, never even playing a simple majority of his team's innings at the position. His career UZR at 3B is 8.3, with 7.0 of that value earned in 2004 at age 25 and a net 1.3 earned at ages 26-31 the last six years. He played 15 innings at third base last year.

Kevin Youkilis might be able to play third base. He might very well do badly were he asked to play there, though. Red Sox fans are not kind to infielders who struggle. Were I Boston's GM, I might not pencil in Youk at third, just as I might not expect the Padres to surrender their ultra-popular franchise player first baseman for a "fair price."



Nov 11, 2010 18:53 PM
rating: 0
 
BigNachos

If they signed Gonzalez to an extension as the article suggests, Youkilis wouldn't be forced to 3rd for just his age 32 season. He'd also be there for at least his age 33 and 34 seasons as well.

Given the organization's lack of depth at 3rd and the dubiousness of Youkilis's defense there, I think it would make a lot more sense to try to bring Beltre back instead.

Nov 11, 2010 19:35 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt Kory

It might make more sense to bring Beltre back if you think there is a chance he repeats his offensive heroics (or some facsimile thereof) next season and into the future. But if you think that's unlikely to happen, and you think the team needs offense, then there's no better way to do it than to add one of the best hitting first base men in baseball to the team without subtracting anyone's bat.

Nov 11, 2010 19:49 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Some fair points in there, but if you've interpreted what I've written as suggesting that he's a lock to be an above-average third baseman, then I probably should have clarified somewhere.

Even if Youkilis is 5-10 runs below average at third, his bat can still support him enough to be an above-average package at third base, and note that I've presented a route via which he can also pick up bats at DH when Thome/Branyan/Cust sits against lefties. Presumably he'd be the backup first baseman as well for when Gonzalez sits or mans the DH for a half-day off too. So I don't think I'm signing up for 150 games of Youkilis at third base.

Furthermore, I haven't put this team in a position where he has to stay there beyond 2011 - the DH slot will be open in 2012.

Nov 12, 2010 06:39 AM
 
PeterBNYC

Jay: Terrific job. If I were Cashman, I would be afraid, very afraid....

Nov 12, 2010 16:24 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt Kory

Jay, if you're still checking these comments, in today's GM for a Day on the San Diego Padres, Christina Kahrl suggested Adrian Gonzalez deal to Boston for the following package:

Jacoby Ellsbury
Yamaico Navarro
one of Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish
one of Michael Bowden or Felix Doubront

If I was the Red Sox I'd jump all over that assuming I could do the first two of the alternatives rather than the last two. What do you think?

Nov 12, 2010 17:53 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I think that's far too much to give up given that he's only under the Padres' control for one season. I would part with Navarro, but probably only one of the four guys below him if the first two were in the package.

Nov 13, 2010 11:19 AM
 
escapingNihilism

Takahashi want(ed) $5 million per year not total.

Nov 13, 2010 11:09 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Somehow I missed that first time around. I don't think it's a given he gets that much money if he gets three years (he's 35) but I'd have plenty of room to bring him in on a multi-year deal without exceeding 2010's payroll.

Nov 13, 2010 11:21 AM
 
John Carter

Re: catchers (Post Reply does not work on my computer)

Of course, having a better catcher against the steal will help any team. The question is whether that is as important an attribute for the Red Sox as it is other teams. Given equal marginal expendature and the high run environment that is Fenway, is it as important to invest in a catcher that has a good arm as it is for a catcher that has a high on base average? I say not.

1. Having more runners in a high run evironment is relatively more important that getting a runner in scoring position.

2. It could be the Red Sox pitchers are as much at fault.

3. The league average SB rate was 73.6% creating an average of 38.6 caught steals based on average 146 attempts. If Red Sox opponents try to steal 200 times with an 80% SB/CS rate, that would create 40 outs. Granted the fewer double plays should more than make up a couple of extra outs getting caught stealing, so yeah, having lousy catching is indirectly contributing to more runners. The Red Sox made only 132 double plays as compared to the league average of 148. However, we don't know how much of that DP discrepancy is due to weaker fielders or flyball-or-high-strikeout pitching - or other types of double plays. At any rate, I see whatever catcher the Red Sox get or keep, he has to have a pretty high OBA relative to CS/SB rate to make up the differnece.

I certainly don't mean this as a criticism of Jay's suggestion. I do like this series of articles and he was right to address this problem. I was just trying to point out that it is a bit less of a problem for Boston than an equally bad armed catching situation would be for almost any other team.

Nov 13, 2010 12:27 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article So You Need: Middle In... (11/11)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article GM for a Day: Colorado... (11/09)
Next Column >>
Premium Article GM for a Day: San Dieg... (11/12)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Ar... (11/11)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: Andrew McCutchen Has A Cold St...
Premium Article Pitching Backward: PITCHf/xing and Pitcher F...
Painting the Black: Truth-Testing TRAA
Fantasy Rounders: Yard Sale
Premium Article Prospect Profile: Austin Meadows
Rubbing Mud: The Ongoing Rise of Rizzo
Premium Article The Call-Up: Blake Swihart

MORE FROM NOVEMBER 11, 2010
Premium Article Manufactured Runs: Derek Jeter And The Philo...
Spinning Yarn: Pitcher Release Points
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Are the Adjusted Standin...
Premium Article So You Need: Middle Infielders

MORE BY JAY JAFFE
2010-11-24 - Premium Article GM for a Day: New York Yankees
2010-11-22 - Prospectus Hit and Run: Billy and George
2010-11-16 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: Marvin Miller and Pa...
2010-11-11 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Boston Red Sox
2010-11-10 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run: Examining The Expans...
2010-11-04 - Prospectus Hit and Run: Sandy's The Man
2010-11-03 - Premium Article World Series Prospectus: Series Notebook
More...

MORE GM FOR A DAY
2010-11-16 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Atlanta Braves
2010-11-15 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins
2010-11-12 - Premium Article GM for a Day: San Diego Padres
2010-11-11 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Boston Red Sox
2010-11-09 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Colorado Rockies
2010-11-08 - Premium Article GM for a Day: Chicago White Sox
2010-11-05 - Premium Article GM for a Day: St. Louis Cardinals
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2011-02-14 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Winning the Winter, AL ...
2010-11-24 - Premium Article GM for a Day: New York Yankees