8-2-2010: Minor moves at the deadline, Lowell still in play

The Red Sox, expected to land an additional bullpen arm by the deadline, dealt one instead, and made another small acquisition at catcher. It was hard watching the Yankees land Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns, and this is a signal from Boston’s front office that while we’re not giving up on this season, they’re content to let it play out and finish third if we have to. Theo Epstein is clearly thinking 2011 at this point, and I don’t really blame him.

What it will take

Currently at 60-45, the Red Sox sit 6.5 games back of Tampa Bay. If the Rays play .600 baseball the rest of the way, they will have a 100 win season, and we need to go 41-16 to edge them. If they play .550 baseball, they will still have 97 wins and we will need to go 38-19 (.667) the rest of the way. Is this team capable of that? With a healthy rotation, an easier second half schedule and the impending returns of Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, you have to think that it’s at least possible. But it means we will have to win just about every series, and probably sweep the Rays in at least one of our two remaining series. We can’t play any worse than taking two of three from the Tigers, or we’re done. That’s why the management decided to go conservative at the deadline.

Let’s look at each move that was made:

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7-13-2010: All-Star second-guessing, trade candidates

Congrats to David Ortiz, who took the Home Run Derby crown last night. Too bad he can’t face BP pitchers all the time. Heckuva time to ask for a contract extension, though I doubt this will factor too much into the calculation.

The All-Star rosters and starting lineups are out. Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price will get the ball first. Not terrible choices, but Jon Lester is more experienced, plays in a home park that inflates runs, and is just better. People point to the ERA gap, but our numbers suggest that Lester’s ERA should be at 2.58 (2.21 FIP) in a “neutral” AL run environment. Price would be at 2.48 (3.40 FIP); the ERA is better, but not by much at all. Price would have 89 Ks and 41 walks, while Lester would have 119 Ks and 43 walks. Not much of a contest here.

In another ballpark-unadjusted injustice, Paul Konerko was selected over Kevin Youkilis because he had “better numbers”. Not sure which numbers Joe Girardi is looking at, since Youk owns a .421 wOBA and Konerko is at .401. But if you mean the traditional stats, let’s adjust those for home park and league:

Youkilis: .292/.411/.572 with 17 HR and 54 RBI
Konerko: .298/.380/.544 with 19 HR and 56 RBI

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