11-15-2010: The Andrew Miller trade

On Friday, the Red Sox swapped young lefties with the Florida Marlins, obtaining former first-rounder Andrew Miller for 26-year old Dustin Richardson. They are both big lefties who don’t look like they will pan out as big league starters, but might have some promise in a bullpen role.

The two significant differences between them that led to this trade? Miller made $1.8M last year and is out of minor league options, while Richardson is making the league minimum and can be sent to the minors. That’s always a consideration for the Marlins. So what do we get out of this? We get a guy who was once truly dominant in the low minors and with the Tar Heels in college – he was the Anthony Ranaudo of his day. Sure, he hasn’t impressed in a while now, but once a guy’s demonstrated a high level of talent, there’s always some chance he can replicate it later on; Richardson lacks that distinction. At age 25, Miller is actually a year younger than Richardson.

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8-18-2010: So you’re saying there’s a chance, bullpen, outfield, draft signings, etc

This AL East race is just maddening. Every time the Sox look like they’re about to go on a run, they stumble, and every time they stumble, so does either New York or Tampa Bay. This is the season that just refuses to die.

The porous bullpen has been better of late, though it is still prone to blowups. It seems that Felix Doubront has surpassed Dustin Richardson on the depth chart, since Richardson was sent down to make room for Dustin Pedroia.

The outfield situation is beginning to look especially dire, given that Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron are out for the year. Yes, those would be our only real center field options for 2010. Add to that Eric Patterson going on the DL, and we’re looking at a whole lot of Ryan Kalish over the next two weeks. Hey, he’s been playing great for us, but any rookie who is pressed into duty will get exposed a bit… On a related note, Kevin Youkilis thinks he could play in October if we make it that far. Mike Lowell is filling in admirably at first base for now, and with Carlos Delgado on the shelf, we may not have many other options. The Diamondbacks’ Adam LaRoche just cleared waivers today, so there’s an off chance that we could try to bring him back if we get back in the race.

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Links 7-22-2010: Trade outlook, getting healthy is painful

There is about a week and a half left before this year’s non-waiver trade deadline, and it appears that the Sox are trying to upgrade their bullpen, outfield and catcher. To me, this year has been all about health, and it may not make sense to pull the trigger on a big trade at this point; Sox Therapy agrees.

According to various reports, the Sox have shown interest in the following players:

Relievers: Scott Downs (TOR), Leo Nunez (FLA)
Outfielders: David DeJesus (KC) , Cody Ross (FLA), Corey Hart (MIL)
Catchers: Chris Iannetta (COL), Chris Snyder (ARI)

That doesn’t mean much in July, however. Everyone’s calling around about options, but that doesn’t mean something’s necessarily going to happen. The market for relievers is notably bad this year – Blue Jays initially asked for Jose Iglesias in exchange for Downs. That shows you how tough it is to actually get a deal done as a buyer. I’m on board with the names on this list, but not so big on spending a lot to get Ross or Hart, not when we already have Jeremy Hermida, Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava. With Jacoby Ellsbury out until God knows when and Mike Cameron being slow to heal, I’m convinced we need someone who can play a passable center field, and DeJesus fits that the best.

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Links 7-8-2010: Swept in Tampa, the bullpen, Youk’s All-Star chase, Injury turnaround?

Ugh. Not a fun series to watch, as the Sox got swept away last night by the Tampa Bay Rays. We are now two games behind them and 4.5 games back of the Yankees in the AL East, and that All-Star Break can’t come quickly enough.

Game 1: I am usually a Daisuke Matsuzaka apologist, but this game was a disaster for him. He kept stepping off the rubber and delaying, so he could never get into any kind of rhythm. He just doesn’t look confident out there. Admittedly, he had some long half-inning breaks, but he just looked terrible. When the bases are full, he has no problem attacking hitters and going ahead 0-2, but the rest of the time he was nothing. Terry Francona should have pulled him earlier, yes, but who could he go to that is any better right now? A lot has been made of Dice-K’s botched bunt play, but that’s the least of his issues right now. That play shows how much he’s putting pressure on himself and not just playing the game… Eric Patterson had 3 XBH, including a double and two home runs, his first multi-HR game of his career. The first one was a fully legitimate one, but he was lucky to golf the second pitch, a low breaking ball from Andy Sonnanstine. You could just see the disgust and disbelief on Sonnanstine’s face on that one.

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6-15-2010: What moves could be made?

As we are now fully into the month of June, we know that the two-month “evaluation period” is over, and the Red Sox are looking for ways to improve their team. After a horrid start by Boston and a torrid one by both New York and Tampa Bay, it would be easy to discount the Sox, but the truth is that Boston has the best record of all three teams since May 1 and has climbed to within 4 games of the division leaders.

Team W L Pct RS RA Diff
Boston 26 16 0.619 250 186 64
New York 25 16 0.610 237 173 64
Tampa 23 17 0.575 189 160 29

And that’s been done with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron missing a huge chunk of that time. So it’s not like anything is irreparably broken, but there’s always room for improvement, right?

Evaluating areas of need

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6-14-2010: Nava!, roster shuffling, draft signings, the Ellsbury fiasco

Daniel Nava stands a stocky 5-10, 200 lbs. He is 27 years old, and has never played above Double-A ball until this season. After not making his college team initially, he was an undrafted player out of Santa Clara, and went to play independent league ball. The Sox signed Nava in 2007 for $1. Seriously. He’s not supposed to be in the big leagues. Yet here he is, slugging a grand slam in his first Major League game; no, check that, first at-bat; no, check that- on the first pitch he ever saw in the Majors off of Phillies starter Joe Blanton, a legitimate big league starter. Nava is actually a very well-rounded player; it’s just that none of his tools predict any level of success at the highest level. His journey is a great story, and I hope that he does stick somewhere, if not with us. Sabermatricians have said that Nava’s excellent minor league numbers bode well for him at this level.

With Josh Reddick already sent back to Pawtucket, Nava was called up to replace the injured Jeremy Hermida, who went on the DL with a severe case of Adrian Beltre. Reliever Joe Nelson was designated as well, making room for Jonathan Papelbon to return to active duty. Unfortunately, Nelson proved ineffective in his stint here, and his future with the team is uncertain. Also called up was left-handed reliever Dustin Richardson, as Daisuke Matsuzaka was suddenly placed on the 15-day DL for forearm problems. He immediately came out and said that it wasn’t a big problem at all, which is a good thing, but I think he should keep his mouth shut more on issues like this.

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Links 3-26-2010: The bullpen, Lowell, Beckett gets the ball first, all-time best Red Sox

The bullpen for 2010 is starting to take shape. Yesterday the Red Sox released 41-year old left-handed reliever Brian Shouse. Rather than keep him as a second LHP to complement Hideki Okajima, it looks like Boston will take advantage of Joe Nelson’s reverse split and use him in situational lefty spots for now. It’d be great if Dustin Richardson could come back up in a LOOGY role later this year.

The Mike Lowell drama continues. At least one scout says that Lowell doesn’t seem to have improved his mobility at all from last year, making him borderline untradeable as a third baseman. For his part, Lowell feels strong enough to play, but he knows he’s not his pre-injury self. All that talk about the Marlins reacquiring Lowell may be a bit overblown; their interest is tepid at best, and Lowell himself doesn’t really see much of a fit.

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Links: Sox to meet with Beckett, Hazen staying, AFL update

The Red Sox plan to meet with Josh Beckett to discuss his future with Boston. This is a contract year, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him locked up for a 2-3 more seasons.

Despite interviewing with the San Diego Padres and their new GM Jed Hoyer, director of player development Mike Hazen has decided to stay with Boston. That’s despite the fact that Hazen was a player in the Padres’ system at one time; that’s an encouragement.

Dustin Richardson has been selected to the AFL All-Star team. After his star dimmed a bit over the last year or so, the lefty looked impressive with the Sox this year and is throwing harder than ever. Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias are splitting time at shortstop, and Kelly hopes to decide soon – offense or defense?

Dustin Richardson called up; Sox DFA Chris Carter

Lefty Dustin Richardson may get a look in this last week of regular season baseball; he was called up to bolster the bullpen, perhaps in light of Michael Bowden’s spot start. Richardson is a tall lefty with a good sinker and a plus curve, and he’s excelled in relief this year after being converted from a starting role. He’s got some command issues, and can’t really fine-tune location, but his stuff makes him a decent lefty option who can give you some length if needed.

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2009 Spring Training: Game On

The ProJo has the lineups and expected pitchers for tomorrow’s games, the first of the spring. Read more of this post

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