4-29-2011: April wrapup, the team

With two games left in April, the Red Sox find themselves at 11-13 on the young season, 4 games back of the Yankees, and right on the heels of Tampa Bay and Toronto in the standings. Thanks to a terrible 2-10 start, our Sox have not yet been on the right side of .500, though things seem to be evening out now. With these two games against the lowly Mariners and Felix Hernandez not due up until game 3, I have hope that we can finish the month above the .500 line.

Time to take stock of what we’ve seen so far, and separate the real from the illusion. Today we’ll look at the overall team performance, and in a later post we’ll look at individual players.

Offense

This lineup got a lot of positive reviews before the season even began, with some calling it possibly the best Boston lineup ever. I thought these expectations were overblown, but 4.3 runs a game and a .318 team wOBA is not what anyone had in mind. This lineup has actually been below average, which is mind-blowing. While they haven’t pounded fastballs much worse than anyone else, the Sox as a club have really struggled against hard breaking stuff (sliders and cutters).

Read more of this post

Links 10-15-2010: This year, next year, and prospect news

About This Season

Pitching and defense¬†didn’t work because we didn’t pitch well and we didn’t play defense. At least not well enough. But we did still finish 6th overall according to this sabermetric ranking of teams. The Giants? Eleventh.

What exactly did the injuries cost us this season? Could we still be playing, had things gone differently? It’s a question many people are asking, including Brian MacPherson. On the other hand, putting our injuries into the context of MLB shows that while we did lose a lot of position players this year, our pitching staff actually fared quite well.

He didn’t miss much time because of it, but Marco Scutaro was playing hurt a lot this year. I was quite pleased with his performance for the most part, but the OBP was slightly disappointing.

Exactly how good was Jon Lester this year? If you look at the total of no-hit innings pitched this year by each pitcher, Lester finished second, behind Felix Hernandez. That’s pretty good company. On the other hand, we should expect a bit of regression next year from the lowest ERA on our staff.

Read more of this post

Links 8-27-2010: Make it or break it in Tampa, random links

It seems like the 4th or 5th time I’ve written this, but the Red Sox’ playoff hopes may ride on this series. Tonight they begin a three game series in Tampa, and if they don’t win at least two of these three, the season may be sunk. History is not on our side for a sweep, but what a great story it would be!

However, Dustin Pedroia looks likely to pack it in for the year and have surgery on his foot, which makes it all the less likely we can go anywhere in October.

Kolbrin Vitek has impressed with the bat, but his fielding has always been sort of questionable. It looks like the Sox might try to transition him to third base. We could use another good prospect there, if he can handle the position.

An interesting article looking at exactly how much clutch hitting figures into baseball, at least statistically.

Tom Tango says that ejected or not, Adrian Beltre made the better bet with Felix Hernandez for that game.

Part 2 of that knuckleballer series is up, and now we see that R.A. Dickey throws his knuckleball much harder than Wake does.

Links 12-08-2009: Minor signings, Francona speaks, ZiPS likes Scutaro, Kelly is a pitcher

The Red Sox signed two lefties to minor league contracts this weekend. 25-year old-to-be Fabio Castro has bounced around a bit, and you already know Kason Gabbard. The 5-7 Castro throws a 90-mph fastball, a good curve and a changeup; he has exhibited passable peripherals (for a lefty) and keeps the ball in the park. He figures to provide LOOGY depth at Pawtucket a la Javier Lopez, while Gabbard will be stashed away as an emergency starter.

Terry Francona gave an interview this weekend, touching on various topics. He reports that David Ortiz has lost 10-12 pounds and is serious about bouncing back in 2010; Jason Varitek is fine with his switch to a reserve role; and Daisuke Matsuzaka is taking his offseason conditioning seriously, committing to three weeks at API in Arizona. He is psyched about his new shortstop and gushes praise for Marco Scutaro.

Read more of this post

Hot Stove 2010: Options for a SP

I started doing these summaries as one post, and it just got too darn long. I just ad to throw away my shortstop post today. Anyway, on we go to starting pitching.

The Sox rotation is young (apart from Tim Wakefield) and strong, but lacks veteran depth. Behind a budding ace in Jon Lester and a very solid Josh Beckett, we’ve got (at worst) a middle-of-the-rotation filler in Daisuke Matsuzaka and some young talent. The Sox could easily go their typically conservative route, or they can trade away some of those juicy prospects for an upper-tier pitcher:

Read more of this post

Hot Stove 2010: Sox ‘making push’ for Halladay

According to the NY Daily News, the Red Sox are “putting on a full-court press” in an attempt to trade for Toronto starter Roy Halladay before the Winter Meetings on Dec 7. The article suggests that Toronto would want Clay Buchholz and Casey Kelly back, but I seriously doubt that’s gonna happen.

Is Halladay worth paying one of our Major League starters plus a prospect for? I think the answer is an unequivocal yes, though I don’t think that prospect should be Kelly. People wonder why acquiring a 33-year old pitcher is desirable, given we have a 26-year old stud in Buchholz; I think it’s a little underappreciated exactly how good Halladay is.

Read more of this post

Links: Varitek exercises option, Bay, and Hot Stove chatter

As expected, catcher Jason Varitek has chosen to exercise his $3M player option to stay with the Red Sox in 2010. My guess is that the front office will keep him on as the backup catcher until he starts hitting (er, whatever that was) like he did in the second half of 2009. The Sox have already announced that they plan to make Victor Martinez the “full-time” catcher next year, which basically means he’ll be catching a lot more than 50% of games, as he has done for the last few years. Let’s hope his body and hitting hold up under the extra workload.

All the comparisons have been between Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, but Dave Cameron touts Mike Cameron (no relation) as a better free agent signing. Preview: it is about the defense, but even if you discount the UZR numbers 50%, it still works out in Cameron’s favor. Bay is likely to sign for as much as 5/85, while Cameron may get 1/10. R.J. Anderson confirms what I said about the rumor that the Sox had an offer of 4/60 on the table for Bay, that it’s probably¬†just a Scott Boras lie.

Read more of this post

Hot Stove 2010: Trading for Felix Hernandez

Look, you’re being too short-sighted here. Getting a big bat would be great, but this is a contract year for Josh Beckett and we don’t know what we’ll have in Daisuke Matsuzaka. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are great, but two guys does not a rotation make. What are we gonna do if Beckett flies the coop for a deal near $20M/year? What we really should be doing is trading to ensure our future. Solidify the rotation, then you you can go and build the rest of the squad. And there’s no better building block out there than 24-year old Felix Hernandez. Here’s fantasy off-season option B:

Read more of this post

Post-2009: Setting a plan for this offseason

It’s all well and good to consider all of the free agents and trade possibilities out there, but in my mind, you have to set a direction by placing the most important piece of the puzzle first. Then you fill out the roster based on what you have to do to get that piece. Here’s a look at some of the major pieces available, and what it might cost to land them.

Read more of this post

Post-2009: Roster locks and losses

We’ve covered our impending free agents here. Now we need to step back and see what the team looks like, sans those guys we’re gonna let walk. Then we can examine our strengths and weaknesses and formulate a plan for the offseason. Let’s take a look at what the Red Sox have already in-house, and what players could be gone:

Read more of this post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.