6-8-2010: A note about Kurt Suzuki

Nick Cafardo writes:

With Victor Martinez unsigned and no prospect ready to assume the catching duties next season, Suzuki will likely be the Sox’ top target in the offseason.

I just don’t see it. Look, I know the Red Sox have long coveted Kurt Suzuki and all that, but that doesn’t mean that they can just go poach him from the Athletics in the offseason. Suzuki is an excellent defensive catcher (watch this video, then watch it again to really appreciate it) who has posted the 5th-best wOBA (.330) in the last 365 days among Major League catchers. He’s right behind Yadier Molina and ahead of (ahem) Matt Wieters. That’s an excellent young player right there. Add to that that Suzuki has not even reached the first year of salary arbitration, which doesn’t figure to be so bad, even for the A’s. Catchers not named Joe Mauer usually don’t make that much money. So tell me again how we’re gonna target this guy?

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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 03-23-2010: Mauer, Crawford, Westmoreland, roster shuffling

In case you’ve been living in a cave the past few days, Joe Mauer signed a prodigious 8-year extension with the Twins. That means Victor Martinez becomes the top free agent catcher after this year. To his credit, he says that the deal doesn’t change anything for him and that the ball in is in the Red Sox’ court.

While we’re on the topic of next offseason, it looks like if we want Carl Crawford, we’re going to have to outbid New York for him after 2010.

Ryan Westmoreland was able to leave the ICU last week after his brain surgery, and the prognosis looks good going forward.

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Links 2-2-2010: Sox bring in Nelson and Molina, the new strategy, looking ahead

The Red Sox signed reliever Joe Nelson to a minor league deal yesterday. Though he’s right-handed, Nelson is a fastball/changeup pitcher who has been more effective against lefties over his career (split over his total OPS is 85R/114L). He does walk too many RHB, but this is a nice, sneaky way to improve the bullpen against lefties without actually adding a lefty. This is a very solid signing, and my suspicion is that he will make the team in a low-leverage/LOOGY role; that’s how Tampa Bay used him last year. We have him projected for a 4.17 ERA over about 45 IP.

The Red Sox also signed catcher Gustavo Molina to a minor league deal last week. No, he’s not related to the Molina brothers, who are all Major League catchers. But he’ll provide some depth for us at Pawtucket.

Boston clearly has a new strategy for 2010 and beyond. Rather than OBP, it is now defense which seems to be undervalued around baseball. Good pitching and defense should be fun to watch.

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Hot Stove 2010: Sign Matt Holliday

You’re going about this all wrong. Would it be nice to get an elite slugger or a young ace this offseason? Of course! But at what price? Despite how it looked at times, the lineup is strong, and finished 3rd in runs scored, despite playing Nick Green and Jason Varitek as much as we did. And the rotation already has four strong pitchers if Daisuke Matsuzaka can come back. Trading Clay Buchholz now is the wrong move; he will give you 80-90% of what Hernandez will over the next four years at a bargain price. The Red Sox have talent and should continue to build from within. We certainly need to address that left field vacancy, as well as the lack of pop in the lineup; signing Matt Holliday should be enough on both counts, and we can fill in as needed around these guys. Here’s how to approach the off-season with measured restraint:

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Looking ahead at Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer is having a season for the ages as a catcher. It’s ridiculous how good he’s been – and if this analysis can be believed, he could be worth some $170M+ when he comes up for free agency at the end of next year. Would the Sox invest that kind of money in Mauer, even if he couldn’t remain a catcher for the whole length of the contract?

Linkage: Milestones all around, minor leaguers recognized

Congratulations to these Red Sox, who achieved notable milestones this past week:

In case you missed it, here is the video of Nick Green’s narrow escape from a flying broken bat last week. My heart almost stopped during this play, thinking, “oh no, this means we have to play Julio Lugo!”

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