A stench will linger from Boston's collapse, but the Sox will be elite again in 2012
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
Oh, the mascot. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are as much a part of today's game as nine-figure contracts, HD ribbon boards, and journalistic digs at Alex Rodriguez.
These costumed, oversized creatures are clearly intended to appeal to the elementary school set, with their bright colors, funny shapes, and/or cartoon influences, but one need not look far to see that they often appeal to much older groups. The Racing Sausages, Mariner Moose, the Phillie Phanatic... people of all ages get excited by these classic mascots on a nightly basis.
The Red Sox add a second big bat in Carl Crawford, along with news and notes from around the major leagues.
The Yankees always say that if they don't win the World Series then it has been an unsuccessful season. Their main rivals, the Red Sox, don't have standards quite that high, but it's close. When the Red Sox fail to make the postseason, Red Sox Nation considers it a failure.
The basis of baseball's biggest rivalry may not make sense, but there is no denying the passion it sparks among fans.
(Editor's note: This is the first installment of Prospectus Perspective, a regular feature that will feature the opinions and perspectives of various Baseball Prospectus authors, notably Christina Kahrl, on a regular basis.)
The Red Sox could be playing in the wrong division in the wrong season as 95 games might not get them into the postseason.
Should the Red Sox pick up their pace by just a few games, they could find themselves in a unique place in the standings. While a handful of teams, such as the 1942 Dodgers, 1954 Yankees, and 1980 Orioles have found themselves locked out of the postseason despite winning 100 or more games, no team has ever won 100 games and finished third. The Sox, currently on a pace for 95 wins, would need to win 60 of their remaining 94 games to be the first, an unlikely but not impossible 103-win pace over a full season.
Terry Francona believes in his new-look club, the Blue Jays move on without Doc, plus other MLB notes.
FORT MYERS, Fla.—The buzz phrase in Boston in the days following the Red Sox' quick elimination from the postseason last October was "bridge season." That is what Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said 2010 was going to be, because many of the organization's top prospects were not going to be ready to help at the major-league level until 2011.
Revisiting a conversation with the long-time official scorer in Boston.
Chaz Scoggins has been the primary official scorer at Fenway Park for over 30 years. A long-time sportswriter for The Lowell Sun and a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Scoggins sat down for this interview in December 2004.
It's a fourth spin in six years for these two teams, but will the outcome change this time around?
Well, this certainly seems familiar. One of the reliable features of a divisional playoff slate that involves twice as many ballclubs and wild-card teams makes for a few rematches, so it's not too much of a surprise that we get to see the Red Sox and Angels square off for a fourth time in six years in October. Perhaps it's the easy isolation of living in the Midwest, but there seems to be little of the overwrought provincial self-absorption for Angels fans, where they might deserve to be filled with equal parts trepidation and anticipation. Where the hysterics of Red Sox Nation would treat three series losses to the same opponent in five years in October-the very same opponent from the epic '86 ALCS no less-there seems to be no such elaborate attention devoted the equally desperate concerns of Angels fans for having to be the ones who have seen their team fight and falter before the Red Sox in those three LDS matchups. It can't be taken as too much of a surprise; no doubt there are Rangers fans still bitter over how their team was squashed thrice in four seasons by the Yankees in the late '90s, and no doubt Yankees fans, those East Coast sophisticates, were like so many crushers and enjoyed the stomping, and Red Sox fans are no doubt no different when it comes to their post-season entertainments.
How much do the Red Sox stand to gain if their waiver claim goes through?
By signing Francisco Rodriguez to a lucrative three-year deal and acquiring J.J. Putz from the Mariners over last winter, the Mets virtually ensured that their ties would be cut with Billy Wagner, the injured left-handed closer with an $8 million club option for 2010. After all, Putz has an option valued at $8.6 million next year, but with his market value plummeting due to ineffective outings and a subsequent injury and the team not willing to spend over $16 million on injury-prone set-up men or closers, Wagner clearly became the odd man out. Entering the season, PECOTA did not factor in Wagner's recovery from ulnar collateral ligament surgery, projecting a 3.03 ERA and 1.9 WXRL in 49 1/3 innings. Though his rehab and recovery was always going to preclude him from amassing a good chunk of playing time, many thought of Wagner as a potential bullpen boon to a contending Mets team upon his scheduled August return. Wagner did return this month, but with the Mets' nonexistent playoff hopes and confirmed lack of interest in exercising his option, as well as the waiver claim placed on his services by the Red Sox, Wagner may still find himself in the position to provide a bullpen boon to a contending team. But can he deliver, if given the chance?