12-23-2010: Sox offense in good shape for 2011

Nobody yet knows what lineup Terry Francona will use next season, but we know that whatever lineup he uses will be pretty good. We also know that should a player go down, whether in the infield or outfield, we’ve got some pretty good contingency players in Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron, guys who could be starters for some teams out there.

If you plug in our projections into the Baseball Musings lineup analyzer, you get an average of 5.502 runs per game, or about 891 runs on the year. Take away 8% due to the play of substitutes, and we project this squad for 820 runs in 2011. This is actually slightly lower than what we projected for the 2010 squad by 12 runs. But assuming that our regulars play more than they did this year, we are still looking good.

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5-10-2010: Brief thoughts about catchers

Victor Martinez is doing a better job holding runners, with only(!) 13 successful steals in the 18 games since that 9 steal debacle on April 20th against Texas. In those 18 games, we’ve caught 8 runners overall using a variety of pitchouts and pick-offs. But my feeling is that something still needs to be done to address the catching issue late in games. The last thing we want to be worrying about in the late innings of a close playoff game is one of our relievers walking a leadoff man, only to have him steal second and reach scoring position. With that in mind, I’ve been musing on possible solutions:

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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.

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On the Horizon: Casey Kelly

Two-way players in high school? Sure. College? Maybe. But in the pros? Not many. Not many at all. Meet 19-year old Casey Kelly, a successful two-way player in the Red Sox farm system. His father, Pat Kelly, briefly reached the Major Leagues in 1980, and managed at the minor league level for some time. Out of Sarasota, FL, the younger Kelly is as athletic of a guy as you will find in baseball; not only can he pitch, play defense and hit, but he was a highly recruited quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers (that’s NCAA Division I football). That’s some rare talent right there, and you can start to see why the Sox balked when J.P. Ricciardi reportedly asked for Kelly as part of a deal for Roy Halladay this year.

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How do you replace David Ortiz?

David Ortiz continues to struggle, even though it seems as if he is hitting some balls harder recently. I don’t think he is done done, but he is certainly hurting the team. Now that we are two months in, it is time to seriously start considering trade options and what they might cost. Unless Papi goes on the DL for 60 days, I think we should look at a right-handed platoon mate for Ortiz, or else a left-handed outfielder who can slot into left and allow the defensively challenged Jason Bay to DH. Here’s a quick rundown of candidates that have been mentioned and what they might cost:

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2008 Offseason: GM Meeting update

The first round of GM meetings is well underway at a fancy resort in Dana Point, CA. Here are some news items:

Is Lugo tradeable?

Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press has this suggestion: trade Julio Lugo for Dontrelle Willis in a “change of scenery” (disappointment) deal. Both players have inflated multi-year contracts remaining, and both have been big disappointments with their new teams.

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27-19: Sox sweep Milwaukee at home

The Red Sox swept the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend in a three game series, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Seems like it’s feast or famine with this 2008 team, as they go on winning streaks directly after losing streaks. Ah, gotta love that inter-league play, right? Sox fans have been treated to a record the past three years against the NL, and 2008 doesn’t look to be too much different. It was good to have Terry Francona back in the dugout; he inspires so much confidence just by his presence there.

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