The Sox end a streak, Bckett throws a no-no, and Springer explodes, plus much more from the weekend and what to watch today.
The Memorial Day Weekend Takeaway
If you’re going to compile a 10-game losing streak, you’ll need to find some innovative ways to give away games. Like, say, batting around and scoring five runs in the first inning against David Price, then getting shut out for 14 offensive frames before going down with a series of defensive misadventures:
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Taking another look at a deal that was immediately considered, by many, an easy Boston victory.
A narrative about last August’s Red Sox and Dodgers trade has grown up, certainly in Boston and to a lesser extent in the national press. Essentially, the Dodgers foolishly helped the Red Sox by taking a bunch of expensive garbage off their hands. The Red Sox gladly took advantage of the Dodgers, passing off said garbage while also acquiring two top pitching prospects in Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. Weighed down by their expensive Boston detritus, the Dodgers now languish in last place while the Red Sox, freed from these obligations, have floated towards the top of their division. In short, win for Boston, loss for Los Angeles. But I’m not so sure that’s the case.
When the trade was made the players headed to Los Angeles were looked at as under-performing and expensive. That’s mostly because they were. Carl Crawford had played 161 games over two seasons for Boston, producing just over a win in the process, and had followed that up by undergoing Tommy John surgery. Adrian Gonzalez was in the midst of his worst season since his first in San Diego, and was supposedly one of the organizers of a meeting with the front office to complain about manager Bobby Valentine. In retrospect it’s hard to fault Gonzalez for that one, though the optics aren’t great. Josh Beckett had taken his reputation from World Series hero to clubhouse cancer and added the cherry on top of a five-plus ERA. Nick Punto was who cares I don’t know why he was included in the trade. Point is, the players Boston sent west were not at the peak of their trade value, yet L.A. took them, their full contracts, and handed over two pitching prospects to boot.
Seven years later, the book still isn't closed on the mega-deal between Boston and Florida.
After the 2005 season, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein donned a gorilla costume and snuck undetected out of Fenway Park. Going back centuries, this is how Epsteins quit their jobs. A few months later owner John Henry coaxed Epstein back to work. (He wore, as is the family custom, an alligator outfit). While he was gone, the Red Sox’ reins were held jointly by three people: Jed Hoyer, now general manager of the Cubs under Epstein; Ben Cherington, Epstein’s eventual successor as general manager in Boston; and Bill Lajoie, a veteran front office man and former player who ran the Tigers in the mid-to-late ’80s. Despite persistent rumors that Epstein would come back, the Red Sox didn’t sit around waiting. While Mark Loretta and top prospect Andy Marte were intriguing acquisitions, the group’s crowing achievement was sending Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado to Florida for Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota, and Mike Lowell. It was a polarizing trade at the time and remains one to this day.
This past summer, seven seasons after the trade was consummated, an ending of sorts occurred. The Dodgers acquired both Ramirez and Beckett from Miami and Boston, respectively, while Miami dealt Sanchez to Detroit. Thus, as the 2013 season dawns, all of the players in the deal have moved on from their acquiring teams. This seems like the perfect time to look back at the deal.
The Dodgers' 2013 payroll is already around $200 million. Is the Dodgers' 2013 roster a good roster?
You know all about the money. The Dodgers’ new ownership group has taken on the ungodly sum of $260 million in contracts from the Red Sox, and $400 million in total salary obligations (including acquisitions and re-signings). These figures are wholly abstract; they’re so vast that our brains can’t even process them. Us normal folk have no frame of reference.
There’s no question that the moves Colletti and company have made improve the team in the short term. Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez are massive upgrades over Dee Gordon and James Loney. Shane Victorino is better than the three-headed left-field monster of Tony Gwynn, Jr., Juan Rivera, and Bobby Abreu. In a tight National League West race, these late additions might be enough to put the Dodgers over the top. And once a team reaches the playoffs, we all know that just about anything can happen.
Matt goes beyond the obvious and processes the Mega-Trade from Boston's perspective.
As you’re certainly aware, the Red Sox and Dodgers pulled off the super-crazy extreme mega-trade of this or any other century last Friday night. BP’s own R.J. Anderson and Kevin Goldstein already delved into the specifics of the deal, but if I may be permitted, I’d like to share some further thoughts.
It’s being called the Mega-Trade, and hooray for that because what we need now is to put names on specific trades that make them sound like Transformer knock-offs. The Dodgers next deal will be dubbed the Decepti-Deal and it will turn from a reasonable trade into a franchise stomping dino-car.
Josh Beckett isn't the ace he was in 2007, but what about him has changed over the past five seasons?
In 2007, Josh Beckett finished second in the AL Cy Young voting. He led the league with 20 wins. He was a 4.8 PWARP player, good for third in MLB. He struck out 8.7 batters per nine innings and finished with 194 punchouts.
Fast forward to 2012. Beckett’s win-loss record is 5-9; more importantly, his walk rate is up, and his strikeout rate is down. He’s been worth 0.5 PWARP, good for 174th in baseball.
Before we can talk about what the Red Sox can do, we must figure out what the Red Sox are.
By July 31st, teams usually have a good sense of how their season is going. Some are doing well. Some aren’t. In either case that certainty, unwelcome as it may be in the latter case, makes decisions easier. First place teams are “buyers,” last place teams are sellers. As a GM you know that it’s time to bolster the major-league roster, or conversely, that it’s just not happening this year. Time to sell off some pieces and live to fight another year. Things are easy when it’s that simple.
It gets stickier when teams are in between those extremes. This is a land where cogent arguments for both buying and selling exist. You could even argue coherently for doing nothing and not be burned at the stake. Mostly though, it’s a dangerous land, one where the wrong decisions can haunt a franchise for years.
Josh Beckett's alternating good and bad seasons resembles the career of a former major leaguer.
On Tuesday—his 32nd birthday, coincidentally—Josh Beckett fired seven innings of four-hit shutout ball against the Mariners, taking advantage of one of the league's weak-sister offenses to rack up a season-high nine strikeouts. The outing pared Beckett's ERA by exactly a run, from 5.97 to 4.97, and more importantly, it allowed him to put an embarrassing sequence of events in the rear-view mirror. The Red Sox had scratched Beckett from his May 5 start due to a stiff latissimus dorsi muscle; the decision was made three days in advance because the Sox wanted to prevent a minor injury from getting worse. On the day of his next turn, a report surfaced that Beckett had played a round of golf the day after the announcement—hardly beyond the pale for a pitcher between starts, but questionable conduct for a player who was supposed to be recuperating.
Andrew Bailey will be hitting the surgical table soon, a pitcher finds extra discomfort while vomiting, and the AL East bullpens suddenly look much thinner.
Andrew Bailey, Boston Red Sox (Right Thumb Surgery)
The Red Sox were not giving many details about Bailey’s thumb injury largely because they could not pinpoint when Bailey was injured. The pitcher’s visit with Dr. Graham confirmed he’ll need surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb and will be out for several months at least.
Major acute ligament injuries in the thumb can almost always be attributed to a specific incident. The player may not remember the exact play, but in the following days there will be bruising, swelling, and/or pain. True acute injuries do not just hide and then pop back up 10 days later without something new to aggravate the injury. Bailey was apparently able to pitch a few more times before he felt pain while showering.
Josh Beckett may have started this season as the Red Sox' number four starter, but he still hopes to lead them to a pennant.
Josh Beckett entered this season as almost an afterthought in the Red Sox's starting rotation. The right-hander was no longer considered the ace, having ceded that designation last year to left-hander Jon Lester. When manager Terry Francona set up his rotation to begin this season, Beckett had fallen to No. 4 behind Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey, and ahead of only the perennially disappointing Daisuke Matsuzaka.