The Best and Worst of Theo Epstein, part 2

Considering that my former post on this topic is getting some attention, I’ll post a followup:

This has been consistently Theo’s strongest area. No one can argue with the depth that Epstein has built in our farm system, especially compared with the Dan Duquette era. He’s been incredible at using free agent compensation to our advantage, and his scouting team always hits at least once a year. We have a lot of good, up-and-coming pitchers, and some good depth overall. We do lack power bats in the system, especially in the outfield.

Jonathan Papelbon (++) Taken with the 114th pick. Amazing.
Matt Murton (+) Now a solid outfielder for the Cubs.
David Murphy (-) Not a great return for a first-rounder.
Abe Alvarez (-) Second-round pick hasn’t really panned out.

Dustin Pedroia (++) Was their first pick at 65. And what a pick.
Andrew Dobies (-) Who?

Jacoby Ellsbury (++) From what we’ve seen so far, he’s awesome.
Clay Buchholz (++) More than enough compensation for Pedro.
Michael Bowden (+) A very good pitching prospect in our system.
Jed Lowrie (+) A pretty good midle infield candidate.
Craig Hansen (0) Could still pan out, but we’re still waiting.

Lars Anderson (++) A steal for where he was drafted.
Jason Place (+) A little early to say, but he’s one of the few power-hitting outfielders in our system.
Daniel Bard (+) A fireballer in our farm system.
Justin Masterson (+) Shown signs of being a good one.
Aaron Bates (+) Gives us good depth at 1B.
Bryce Cox (+) Another power arm for the pen.
Caleb Clay (0) Played well in his first short year.
Kris Johnson (0) A great first year followed by a bad one in Lancaster.

Nick Hagadone (+) Has looked good thus far.

Free agents
Free agent signings are notoriously difficult, and probably the part where Epstein has faltered most often. What enrages many fans is that many players sign for big bucks, then come here and struggle (at least initially).

David Ortiz (++) No one could have guessed what he’d become, not even Theo.
Mike Timlin (++) Has been a mainstay in our bullpen ever since.
Bill Mueller (+) He won a batting title and was very solid when healthy.
Kevin Millar (+) Claimed off of waivers, the original cowboy contributed pretty well.
Bronson Arroyo (+) Claimed off of waivers and was a great teammate.
Chad Fox (0) Not expensive, and he pitched like it. Released in July.
Ramiro Mendoza (-) Terrible first year, released in his second year.

Keith Foulke (+) Only the way things ended keep this from being two pluses.
Pokey Reese (0) Personally don’t think his defense was so great, but he didn’t hurt.
Ellis Burks (-) Earned $750k for 33 major league ABs.
Curtis Leskanic (-) Blech.

John Olerud (+) I’m a fan, what can I say?
David Wells (0) Love him or hate him, he was okay.
Edgar Renteria (-) One of the most controversial signings, we was traded in one year.
Wade Miller (-) Low risk contract, but didn’t work out.
John Halama (-) Didn’t provide much.
Matt Mantei (-) Never worked out.
Matt Clement (- -) Probably the worst of the signings.

J.T. Snow (+) I thought he was a great signing.
Julian Tavarez (+) As much as I disliked him, he deserves a lot of credit for this year.
Alex Gonzalez (0) His defense dazzled, and he (sometimes) wasn’t abysmal at the plate.
Tony Graffanino (0) Even.

Hideki Okajima (++) This “hero in the dark” surprised everyone.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (+) Was in line for RoY until fall collapse; will bounce back.
Bobby Kielty (+) This pissed off Brady Clark, but Kielty’s been a great role player for us.
Julio Lugo (-) Another year, another struggling shortstop. He could still make it up.
J.D. Drew (- -) 5 years, $70 million. Probably the biggest disappointment on this year’s team.
J.C. Romero (- -) Maybe we should just avoid guys with double initials from now on.
Joel Pineiro (- -) The most expensive mopup guy of 2007.

Kind of similar to free agent signings, only you know more what you’re getting. So you’d better be on the ball with these. And Theo has been, for the most part. He also has never gone to arbitration with ANYONE in his time with the Red Sox, which shows some of his diplomacy with the young players.

Jason Varitek (+) 4 years, $40M and worth every penny.

David Ortiz (++) 4 year extension WAY below market value.
Josh Beckett (++) 3 year extension below his worth as well.
Tim Wakefield (++) His perpetual $4M team option is a thing of beauty for the team.
Coco Crisp (+) 3 years at $15.5M makes him very tradeable, just watch this offseason.

Alex Cora (+) Is a very good utility infielder and mentor for other players.
Mike Timlin (+) Having him here another year, even hurt, was satisfying to a lot of fans and players.
Doug Mirabelli (0) He needs to go next season, sorry.

Trades take years to figure out if they were good or not, but here’s what we can say.

Josh Thigpen and Tony Blanco for Todd Walker (+) Produced well in his one season for the Sox.
Rene Miniel for Lou Merloni (+) At least Lou was a fan favorite.
Javier Lopez for Ryan Cameron (0) Not an impact trade.
Tyler Pelland for Scott Williamson (0) Even Steven.
Shea Hillenbrand for Byung-Hyun Kim (0) I’ll call it even, since Kim contributed a little, and so did Shea.
Josh Hancock for Jeremy Giambi (-) Hardly played and wasn’t good when he did.
Luis Cruz for Cesar Crespo (-) Yuck. Good thing he wasn’t expensive.
Freddy Sanchez, Mike Gonzalez for Jeff Suppan, Brandon Lyon, Anastacio Martinez (- -) Lost two very good youngsters and didn’t gain much back.

Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa and Michael Goss for Curt Schilling (++) A bloody good steal for the Sox.
Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz (++) Took a lot of guts, but it paid off big time.
Henri Stanley for Dave Roberts (+) You don’t do this deal, you don’t beat the Yankees in the ALCS.
for Mark Bellhorn (+) A key cog for that magical postseason.
for Mike Myers (+) Without him, the bullpen is lefty-less.
John Hatti for Terry Adams (0) You gotta give something to get something.

Ramon Vazquez for Alex Cora (++) Never was there a more unbalanced swap of utility players.
Dave Roberts for Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez and David Pauley (+) A very good deal for the Sox.
Doug Mientkiewicz for Ian Bladergroen (+) Flipping a defenseman for a pretty decent prospect is a nice move.
Carlos de la Cruz and Kevin Ool for Mike Myers (0) We keep wanting you back.
Byung-Hyun Kim for Chris Narveson and Charles Johnson (0) One of those 0 + 0 = 0 deals.
Chip Ambres and Juan Cedeno for Tony Graffanino (0) Graf was okay for a while.
Jay Payton for Chad Bradford (-) Never was there a more unbalanced one of these.
Olivo Astacio for Mike Remlinger (-) Shudder.

Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota (++) Would’ve been nice to keep Hanley, but this was still worth it.*
Doug Mirabelli for Mark Loretta (++) A steal and a half.
Guillermo Mota, Andy Marte and Kelly Shoppach for Coco Crisp, David Riske and Josh Bard (+) This deal is still evolving, but seems to swing in our favor now.
Luis Mendoza for Bryan Corey (+) He’s been a good soldier and September callup for us.
David Wells for George Kottaras (0) Still waiting on this prospect to show up (figuratively, not literally).
PTBNL for Eric Hinske (0) Hinske’s been a solid veteran to have on the bench, but hasn’t contributed much.
David Riske for Javier Lopez (0) Which would I rather have? Neither, really.
Adam Stern for Javy Lopez (-) A desperate move which didn’t pay off.
Edgar Renteria for Andy Marte (- -) We’re still paying for this one, literally.
Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena (- -) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Cla Meredith, Josh Bard and a PTBNL for Doug Mirabelli (- -) The Padres get even.
PTBNL for Jason Johnson (- -) The Indians should have been paying us to take him off their hands.
PTBNL for Jermaine Van Buren (- -) Seems to be a lot of these junk signings this year.

* not Theo’s call

Wily Mo Pena for Chris Carter (+) Not a terrible return for a player we didn’t need.
Phil Siebel for Brendan Donnelly (+) Provided necessary bullpen depth early on.
Joel Pineiro for a PTBNL (0) We’ll leave this one neutral until we see who we get in return.
Kason Gabbard, David Murphy and Engel Beltre for Eric Gagne (- -) There was no way to predict this trainwreck, really, but somehow Scott Boras always benefits.

Players Kept/Lost
One important aspect of a big market GM is knowing when to walk away from the negotiating table. You don’t sign a player because of his name, but based on what he can offer you for the length of the contract to come. Free agents who leave also have a nice side effect- compensatory draft picks.

Cliff Floyd (+) He went on to have an injury plagued 4 years with the Mets, but he was good when he played. Sox drafted Matt Murton and Abe Alvarez with the compensation picks.
Ugueth Urbina (+) No more All-Star years for Ugie, but he did sign for less money in Texas.
Todd Walker (+) An average hitter and pretty bad with the leather.
Brian Daubach (+) Essentially a replacement level player.

Pedro Martinez (++) People thought Theo was crazy. They thought wrong. This decision turned into Clay Buchholz and Jonathan Egan, so it’s real hard to argue against this.
Derek Lowe (+) Lowe has been pretty successful in the NL, where he belongs. Plus we got Craig Hansen and Michael Bowden out of it.
Kevin Millar (+) Can still get on base, but after some stopgap players, Youkilis has been an excellent replacement.
Orlando Cabrera (o) People still can’t figure out why we let him walk. At least we got Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie with the comp picks.

Johnny Damon (++) It hurt for a year, but in retrospect a good call. We also drafted Daniel Bard and Kris Johnson with the comp picks.
Bill Mueller (++) He’s retired now, and we got Caleb Clay and Aaron Bates using the compensatory draft picks.

Keith Foulke (++) Good thing we let him go when we did, though he is planning a comeback. Netted us shortstop Ryan Dent.
Mark Loretta (+) No one remembers the stir it caused when we let him go because of Pedroia.
Trot Nixon (+) Not healthy enough to be a regular, and we have enough lefty outfield bats.
Lenny DiNardo (0) A fan fav, DiNardo was not going to do much here. He did have a good start against Boston this year.
Carlos Pena (-) Pena hit a lot of home runs this year for the Devil Rays. Who’d a thunk it? Not me.
Alex Gonzalez (-) Lugo did provide a little more offense, but not much. And he costs a lot more. We did get Nick Hagadone as compensation.

You can get a pretty comprehensive list of moves from Theo’s early years here.

I’d definitely say that Epstein struggled some early on, as he was learning the rules of the game. His free agent signings didn’t account for player makeup, or he projected players incorrectly, and that has cost the organization a lot of cash. But his team handles the business aspects very well, and drafts as well as anyone. Theo does have problems engineering trades sometimes, but who wants to trade with the big powerhouse team? It’s a tough task. Epstein has also made the right calls about when to let players go, except when it comes to acquiring one of his “dream” players (Renteria, Drew, Lugo, etc). Those have usually turned out to be nightmarish.

I think Epstein and Co. are getting smarter about the way they do business, and they are only getting better with experience. They’ll need everything they can muster, with the rest of the AL gunning for us from now on. That’s what happens when you win the AL championship.


27 Responses to The Best and Worst of Theo Epstein, part 2

  1. bleedred says:

    Let us not forget that Gange is a type 1 free agent so even as horrid as that deal panned out to be, we are going to get some good draft picks. At least something will come out of it.

  2. donchoi says:

    Point taken. That deal could be upgraded depending on who we get. I still don’t think we can find anyone who’s happy about Gagne’s performance or all the cash we spent on him, though.

  3. FireDannyAinge says:

    A- Don’t say Leskanic and Mendoza were bad deals. BOTH contributed to the world series title including Leskanic striking out the side in one of the games against the Yankees.
    B- Don’t ever undermined the accomplishments of Brian Daubach. When we was given a chance to play he showed up big time. Of course I believe that was the first time he was here when we foolishly let him go.
    C- NO one I know thought it was crazy not to pay Pedro that money
    D- Willy Mo for Bronson. DUMBEST move ever.
    E- Derek Lowe ALWAYS belongs in Boston as far as I am concerned:) That being said we could have kept D-Lowe and paid him Clement money and he would have pitched all 4 years and he would have shown up in the post season when we needed him most like he did in 2003 AND 2004.

  4. FireDannyAinge says:

    I should also note that Theo has actually done his worst recently. The Drew, Gagne and Lugo deals.

  5. Pat says:

    I think almost everyone was psyched to get Gange when we did.

    Also, the Drew and Lugo deals haven’t panned out yet. It could be very dificult to switch leagues and transfer into Boston. We may yet learn to love these two, but who could say?

    Who else was there to replace Nixon? I think we dropped him at the right time, and got what we could in Drew. I would agree that we overpaid for him, but here we are going into the World Series. He also plays a mean right field.

  6. donchoi says:

    FDA, thanks for the comments. You could be right on Mendoza, but I still think Leskanic wasn’t worth bringing in. As for Pedro, I still remember the talk shows there were a LOT of people calling for Theo to re-sign Pedro (I remember b/c I was shocked by it). They insisted that he was worth the money. Lowe would have been better than Clement, guaranteed, but then you have to play to have a chance, right?
    Pat, yep, Gagne seemed like a coup at the time. Now we just can’t wait until free agency. I think Drew will still be a good player for us next year, just not a $14M/year player.

  7. trizzonius says:

    I was actually pissed off when we went for Gagne. Kason Gabbard had had some great starts for us, and we already had Okajima doing superbly well and Papelbon being lights out. Snyder, Delcarmen, Timlin, the whole crew back there is pretty solid, why did we need to add a guy past his prime? I could not believe we gave up a pretty good pitcher we could bring up from Triple A to start, and who was doing a decent job at it. IF there’s one thing we all know, it’s that good pitching wins games. In my book, you don’t hand off a young, decent starting pitcher for a reliever when you’ve got a pretty stacked bullpen as it is. Even if Gagne was doing well, I still wouldn’t like that move, especially in the context of Theo’s philosophy of keeping the cheaper but effective young players around. I think it was more of a “keep this guy away from the pinstripes” move, and I hate that kind of stuff and we got burned on it.

    I also was not happy with the lack of patience we had with Bard. I just think how much that guy could be learning from Tek right now, and we’d have a potential guy in waiting for whenever Tek starts slowing down, just like how the Yankees had Posada waiting in the wings when Girardi was slowing down. I was not happy with the Lowe and Aroyo purges either. But I was and am still hopeful with Drew. Maybe he’ll have a big year next year.

  8. THEO says:

    1). Epstein would NOT be where he is today if not for Lucchino. That is a Baltimore, San Diego & Boston Fact. He is groomed by Lucchino.

    2). With the exeption of smart drafting he is grossly overrated. He is overrated because he is from Boston. However smart drafting = Fantastic Farm System

    3). The franchise was already built to win when he showed up. Credit: He got Ortiz (for cheap).

    4). Why all this money for Dice-K and not Johan Santana ? Knowing that Schilling was hurt since early January ! POINT: The trade value would never be higher for Ellsbury, Lester and whom ever else. You make that trade.

  9. THEO says:

    5). Will this guy ever figure out the SS position ? Renteria deserved another year. Theo allowed (ATL) to bend the Sox over.

    6). Wily Mo (dumbest move ever). Kindda like ‘shooting from the hip ‘

    7). Gagne (most unnecessary move ever). Sox were already to ride Beckett and friends on-through OCT 2007. Kason Gabbard himself could have filled that role.

  10. THEO says:

    8). Smartest pickup ever

    Dead wrong on Leskanic. Pressure is on extra innings ALCS 2004 (on the verge of elimination no less), bases LOADED and your facing A-Rod. Swinging strike three and he is credited with a Game 4 win. Worth every penny for 1 1/3 innings of work in the playoffs. They got better production in the playoffs from Leskanic (2004) than from Gagne (2007).

  11. redsoxtalk says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, but I simply don’t agree with some of the points above. The team Theo inherited was probably about 60% done, but you just don’t win in 2004 without Ortiz, Schilling, and Foulke. You probably don’t even reach the playoffs. And considering what little we paid for those guys, Theo did work some magic.

    Everybody hates the Gagne move in hindsight, but at the time he was pitching well for the Rangers, Okajima was tiring, and Papelbon’s shoulder was still a question mark. I don’t think this move was unnecessary at all. Gabbard is a great guy, but would never stick in this rotation anyway.

    Dice-K vs Santana. This is not even a comparison, because one, Santana was not available last season when we needed to add a starter and two, you don’t have to give up 2-3 top prospects to get Dice-K. We paid the money for Matsuzaka because we got him as a free agent. And he will prove himself worth the money. Santana is the prospects PLUS $150M.

    Wily Mo. If he had turned into a 35 HR guy, you wouldn’t be criticizing this move. And he still could for the Nats. I agree it wasn’t well thought out, but not totally unreasonable.

    Leskanic. You can say he had a great outing, or you can say he got lucky. I think he got lucky, considering his regular season (not to mention his career).

  12. THEO says:

    I will play fair. Theo made good pickups 2003-2004. No complaints with the initial results (ie 2003/2004 breaking records with runs scored and the world series). I was really excited for the franchise at the time.

    Fine they needed to add a starter. Invested 106 million for Dice. Money is not an object to this team why not add a 2 time cy young award winner setting the franchise up with two aces Beckett and Santana ?

    The trade value for Lester, Crisp, Buccholz would & will NEVER be higher. Your bringing in 2 time cy young award winner. Reload from the farm for a fifth starter if Tavarez doesn’t cut it.

    Tavarez or Masterson or (anybody….. it’s the fifth starter).

    *Schilling is not walking through that door (Rick Petino), lucky to see him on the expanded 40 man roster this September. I would be shocked to see him pitch in Fenway before then. THUS he should be replaced.

    Don’t give me this ‘ IF ‘ crap on Willy Mo Pena. Trading a starting pitcher for a fourth outfielder, you gotta be kidding me ? Last I checked Wily Mo hitting 35 HR for the NATIONALS doesn’t help the Sox win games.

    They gave THREE prospects for Gagne: Gabbard, Murphy, Beltre. Gagne wasn’t so key in the playoffs.

    Gabbard was qualified to be a starting pitcher in Boston, not qualified to be in the bull pen as a setup man ? WHY NOT.

    The way this thing is going now with the starting pitching, the bullpen will be spent and THEO will trade back for GAGNE and Wily Mo given his track record of trades.

    Cant Wait.

  13. redsoxtalk says:

    It’s really important that you don’t overreact to the current performance of the rotation. Lester and Buchholz are barely getting their feet wet, they can’t be expected to dominate right away. But they are under the Red Sox’ control for a combined 11 more years, and they will become worth a lot in that time. Would we love to have Santana right now? Of course. What team wouldn’t? But let me explain why they didn’t pull the trigger.

    The Johan Santana thing could have gone either way, IMO. The question is which is more valuable: Santana or Lester + Ellsbury + Lowrie + Masterson + $150M. You say money is no object, but that’s only partially true. Signing Santana for $25M/year most likely means that we can’t afford to extend Manny, unless you want to let either Papi or Papelbon walk a couple years after that. We can’t afford all those contracts because of bloated deals like Drew and Lugo, and for that Theo does deserve some blame.

    Another reason Theo didn’t trade for Johan is the contract length he was looking for. The Sox don’t do long pitcher’s deals. While getting Santana would have been a major coup, it still isn’t a guarantee of how he’ll pitch in seven years, let alone three years from now. His stats trends show that he will most likely steadily decline, and by the end of his current contract, PECOTA says he’ll be a 10-win pitcher. Do you want to be dishing out $25M for 10 wins in 2014? That money will keep us from signing the next big stud in 2011 that could really power the team for years. There are a lot of star players; the point is you have to find and sign the right one for you.

    You’re totally missing my point on Pena. It was a gamble; at the time you didn’t know he’d be only a 4th outfielder. The way it turned out, yes, it was a bad trade. But at the time, it’s not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. Hindsight is always 20/20, but the problem is you don’t have it until it’s too late. Would you criticize Theo for signing Ortiz if he had remained a .260 strikeout machine? Of course you would have. But you can’t play it both ways. Give him credit for taking the risk. Bronson Arroyo was a great guy, but not that huge of a loss to the team performance-wise, though the guy deserved better than what the FO did to him.

    Gabbard is not a prototypical setup guy. Because he throws only 86 mph on his heater, he isn’t as effective in that role, and he doesn’t WANT to set up. He can’t make nearly as much money as a reliever as he can as a starter. Murphy is a 4th outfielder, which you clearly have contempt for. And Engel Beltre is talented, but may never sniff the bigs. Check out his low batting averages. He can’t make contact, and unless that changes, when he fills out and slows down, he will lost a lot of his value.

    My message to you is just be patient. The rotation has been poor, but good enough for us to be 8-6, even with the long road trip and a lot of injuries. It’s a long season, and Lester and Buchholz will make big strides this year.

  14. THEO says:

    Please, Please tell me that your not the guy who just watches the REDSOX and nobody else………

    We see Santana different, a guy of his caliber may appear once, maybe twice a decade. Thats it. No more about it.

    What both sides of any fence am I playing ?

    Theo from 2003/04 to now ? I gave credit, now I critisize.

    Oritz was signed as a free agent, NO TRADING.

    NO GIVE UPS!!!!!NO RISK!!!!!!!Like I said before for ‘CHEAP’

    If ORTIZ were simply a Brian Daubach (strike out machine as you put it) and then eventually let go. No loss. Who cares. Thanks for your service. (Jesus I sound like Jim Rome).

    Acquistion of Ortiz to the aquistion of Wily Mo Pena is comparing apples to bowling balls. Less a starting pitcher.

    Frankly your not acknowledging what an asset and more of a COMMODITY Bronson Arroyo was.

    Bronson Arroyo was durable, very durable.

    His durability over those years of proven service (and playoff experience);
    were worth more than an undiciplined 4th outfielder (STRIKE OUT MACHINE as you put it earlier).

    Arroyo could pitch out of the bullpen, or give 6 strong innings as a starter. Whatever the role.

    He had zero trips to the DL in his tenure with the Sox.

    And the biggest of all HE WAS CHEAP STARTING PITCHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just like Tim Wakefield is.

    Theo traded Arroyo in spring training 2006. HUGE MISTAKE. And a STUPID GAMBLE.

    Starting pitching in MLB is alot like the real estate market.

    Year to Year changing, The demand is based on the HEALTH of other staring pitching and relief pitching of CONTENDING teams (ie Cubs, Mets, Rockies, Padres, Cardinals , Yankees, Redsox and currently the resurgance of the Brewers).



    The media hipes this, constantly throwing a spin on GM’s to make a move. ‘ THIS GM’S JOB IS IN JEOPARDY ‘

    Point proven the Sox with Gagne last year. They went and traded for a NAME and they got a less than 100% of a pitcher.

    So Texas made out great. They got 3 guys who they can control on there ‘cheap payroll’ for years to come.

    Texas got three prospects and didn’t give up a damn thing (Gagne was on a 1 year deal). He only really closes, not very durable coming off Tommy John Surgery.

    Front offices’ freak out when they think that they don’t have enough to contend. ‘ And someones’ job is on the line ‘.

    If THEO was looking to move Bronson Arroyo so badly why not wait until the trading deadline of 2006 ????

    And see what other contending teams could use a durable, experienced, playoff pitcher. AND HOPEFULLY YOU GET YOUTH IN RETURN.

    Wouldn’t of that made more sense, to have the upper hand on a organization ?

    The Cardinals won the world series in 2006 with record of 82-79 for $hits sake.

    With numerous pitching issues Mulder, Isringhausen were both out. Jason Marquis was pure junk. They had no long relief.

    Now what could of the Redsox really of gotten for a Arroyo if they would of held on to him until the trading deadline… ?

    Could of they have moved him to St. Louis when the Cards were so desperite that they ( ie traded for Jeff Weaver from Anaheim) ? Are you kidding me. Jeff Weaver. Not his Brother!!!!!!!!!!

    C’mon man, that is what Theo’s job is all about. To get on the phone / email and sell his realestate for more probable gain.

    There was NO demand for Wily Mo Pena on the Sox in Spring Training 2006. Just a stupid experiment.

    That was ridiculous, a waste and not the way things should be done.

  15. redsoxtalk says:

    Look, more exclamation points and CAPS LOCK doesn’t mean you are right.

    I’m sorry, but you are all over the place, and it’s hard to understand what your separate points are. Let’s take them one at a time.

    You obviously think we should have gotten Santana. As I said before, I am on the fence on this one, because of the length of the deal he wanted. Of course Santana has been more than great; but he was also an old rookie, meaning almost all of his prime years are behind him. I’m not sure that I want 7 more years of Santana at $25M/per. Make it four years, and I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    Next up, Arroyo and Wily Mo. Please read my posts on Wily Mo Pena (there are a lot of them) and you’ll see where I stand on him. Yes, Arroyo is durable; he also was very ineffective last season after being abused for 240 IP by the Reds in 2006. I see him kind of as a younger Livan Hernandez. He has some value, but so does Julian Tavarez in the swingman role for us. It all depends on how much you pay and for how long. So I don’t think losing him left an insurmountable gap on this team. Pena was a bust for us primarily because of his terrible defense and lack of minor league options. His similarity scores suggest he might likely be a Pete Incaviglia/Jesse Barfield type (which is not the worst thing in the world to be), but names like George Bell, Andres Galarraga and Willie Stargell also show up, suggesting that there is real breakout potential there. I might liken trading for him in 2005 to getting someone like Chris Duncan of the Cardinals in the present day. Is that worth a swingman (which is what Arroyo really is)? Yeah, it could be.

    It’s great to be a franchise liek the Rangers, where you can gamble and actually play promising prospects. In Boston, if you’re gonna play youth, you better be sure they can play at a high level. That’s why the Gagne deal was done. Partly because of the Yanks, probably. But at the time, the pen was shaky, and Gagne was the perceived best arm available. We weren’t the only club trying to land him.

  16. THEO says:

    Forgive my absence. I actually do have a job and have been away.

    By the way I have seen enough of your posts in regard to player personel. whatever.

    (I apologize for the Caps Lock……. PUMPKIN,I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings).

    You Would Never Catch Santana on a shitty 4 year gig.

    I was willing to put the Santana issue to bed and forget it.

    Point: 1).

    The market for outstanding pitching doesn’t work on a mere 4 year contract

    (ESPECIALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! pending Santana to lift a no trade clause)…..?! He is not El Duque (Orland Hernandez),
    He is a bit better.

    Theo’s evaluation does not make the market.

    You really should know better , and really no the circumstance of the player.

    Building a baseball team is quite a bit more complicated than making a bolgna sandwich.

    Its more like Poker.

    I seem remember a twenty something Pedro for a seven year glorious tenure. Even with a torn Labrum toward the end;

    (not to Wily mo the point: BUT… Pedro did fanstastic his first year as a NY Met).

    Name me the last pitcher in his twenties, who was a previous Cy Young award winner who committed to a mere 4 year contract as his next contract. ????

    Or Less than 4 Years. Happy Hunting.

    My only hope is a non sweep against Toronto.

    How would this trade look today ?

  17. redsoxtalk says:

    You are exactly right that Santana would not sign for 4 years, that’s why I believe we did the right thing by not trading for him; thank you for making my case. Pedro came to the Red Sox when he was 26, which is a very different story than Santana, who is 29, and would be 30 in the first year of the new contract. The difference between paying big money for a pitcher’s age 30-32 years and age 33-35 years is tremendous. Look at even Pedro’s age 33-35 seasons. Pedro did great his first year, yes, but he made 28 starts the last two years and this year doesn’t look any better. The Mets are on the hook for the whole contract, not just the first year. Would you pay $100M for that? That’s why you pass on a 7-year deal with Santana. Roger Clemens and Tom Seaver were the only other recent pitchers who matched or bettered Santana’s performance, but are you willing to bet that he’s going to be one of them? Signing any pitcher, even Santana at that age for that money, is to be seriously weighed. It’s just not the slam dunk (bologna sandwich) you think it is.

    There are actually other ways to win championships, just ask Theo, who you seem to disrespect. He’s played poker pretty well the past four seasons by anyone’s measure. Just look at the Sox being 15-12 despite a lot of April adversity. How many teams do you know that could lose their #2 starter (Schilling, probably for the whole season), their third baseman, two utility players, a centerfielder, their #1 for two starts in April, half their bullpen for a week and a half and still be competitive?

  18. THEO says:

    In your previous post you said this in regard to Santana:

    “Make it four years, and I’d do it in a heartbeat.” That was your point.

    I was condecending in my remarks because you allude a belief that signing Santana to a mere 4/Year contract would have been possible.

    Thus that was your point SHORT TERM DEAL. ?

    I didn’t make any case for you.

    It would be impossible to do that, Thus that is where I thought your mind set was.

    Theo can’t make the market with a guy with fanstastic credientials. My point pay him, get him.

    You can bring up the age(s) all you want. My counter point is and was ‘ A guy of his caliber may appear once maybe twice a decade’. The trade value of your existing talent would and will never be higher.

    I am not a fan on evaluating wins and losses however more ERA.

    However his winning percentage is currently 9th all time. Round the numbers up and this guy wins nearly 7 out of 10 games he pitches.

    Just about any team with a decent farm system can function and stay afloat this EARLY ON with conditions like this (flu, DL) whatever. Oakland is one of those teams, Both NY teams, St. Louis and Arizona are other examples.

  19. redsoxtalk says:

    Yes, I wrote about four years to show what would be a safe contract for a pitcher Johan’s age, not to say that it was actually possible. Of course Theo can’t set the price, so that’s why I think he may have been right to pass on him.

    You are right that Santana is probably the top pitcher of this decade. And Johan has won nearly 7 of 10 games *in the past*, during the prime years of his career. But that is no way a guarantee that he will continue to do this. In fact, it’s almost 100% likely he won’t after the age of 33-35. Take a look at what happens to pitchers in that age bracket, even great ones. He won’t keep up that K rate, and his hit rate will likely increase. His caliber is scheduled to decline, while his salary is not, and there’s nothing the Mets can do about it. Hey, if it works out and he plays out that contract at his current skill, congrats to Omar Minaya; if it doesn’t, well, the Mets are familiar with those kind of contracts. Come talk to me in 2011 or 2012 about how great a contract the Mets have in Santana. I don’t think they’ll win 2 WS in 4 years because of Johan, which is what the Sox have done without him.

    “Just about any team..” Not really. None of those teams you mention has had as many key players miss time in 2008, and none of them started the year with a ridiculous 21-day road trip to Japan. Oakland went, of course, but promptly came home.

  20. THEO says:

    Atlanta is another one. *This early on* is what I said.

    Tampa Bay has no Kazmir. How they do last weekend.
    Not to mention there Tampa Bay; less the cream of the crop starters and depth.

    Japan is a weak excuse to use beyond the first week.

    What the hell are you talking about 21 day road trip. 14 maybe. If I remember right they left the 23rd of March and were back home the by the April 6th , day-off , home operner 4/8/2008.

  21. THEO says:

    I am almost 100% convinced the bottom line was John Henry’s blessing for the investment of Santana: Probably negated due to his recent business misfortunes.

  22. redsoxtalk says:

    Atlanta, I’ll give you. They’ve done a good job despite all the injuries. I know Tampa has no Kazmir, but they haven’t been missing too many valuable regulars beyond that. Unless you think Willy Aybar is a big loss. Their depth is great all around; it’s more a lack of superstars (and experience) that’s keeping them from breaking out.

    As for the opening road trip, they left on March 20th, making it 19 days, not 21. My bad. Remember they went through Japan, California, and Toronto during that time. Of course it only applies to the first week or two, but how’d the Sox start out of the gate? 3-4 before they made it back to Fenway. So they could easily be a game or two better than they are now.

  23. THEO says:

    I mentioned those teams because if they faced the same circumstanecs as the SAWX, they could stay afloat within there divisions. Now I consider staying afloat .500-.550 baseball.

    A-rod went on the DL today, Posada just went on the DL, relief pitch Bruney on the DL. They will stay afloat.

    Fine long road trip (two weeker) days off in between. If this is still used as an excuse in the next couple of weeks and beyond it will be even more weak.

    Flu, and minor injuries I don’t care. No excuse to be swept by TB.

  24. redsoxtalk says:

    I hope the sweep by Tampa is not really bothering you so much. All three of those games could have gone either way, so I don’t feel bad about those games at all, except for the fact that we couldn’t hit their pitchers and take advantage of their still suspect bullpen. Shields is a legitimate pitcher, though we should have totally taken Edwin Jackson to town.

    As I state above, Japan only applies to the first week to ten days of April. Agreed, the Yanks are not to be counted out; just look at last year.

    The flu was a significant issue because it took Tek out for over a week, and it caused members of the bullpen to be unavailable on key days. That coupled with some shorter outings by starters was real bad.

    What I am saying is this team has had some tough breaks (as most teams do). No Japan trip, maybe another win or two. A couple of key base hits, they could have taken the first two games in Tampa. They had their chances. That would put them at 19-10 or 20-9 or something like that. So they’re not playing as “badly” as 17-12 says they are. But, coulda woulda shoulda, right? We need to keep moving forward.

  25. tom says:

    he has made some really good moves and some absolutley horrendous moves so hes about even there, but he has built a great farm system so i think hes over the even line.

    Another terrible trade nobody talked about, how about doug mirabeli for justin duscherer, the guy is an all star now look at the season he is having, theo is now learning to stay with the kids and dont sign these okay player(julio lugo) for 9 mil a year.

  26. redsoxtalk says:

    Tom, I don’t think many people fault Theo for trading Duchscherer, who was an 8th round pick and didn’t show a great deal at the age of 23 when he was traded. I don’t think it was a great trade at the time, but it did fill a catching need and provided us with a lefty-masher.

    The Duke’s stuff is not spectacular, and he’s not exactly a physical specimen (he has had a lot of injuries). He was just converted to a starter this year, and everyone (Billy Beane included) is surprised at how well he is pitching. Of course now, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems like a terrible deal, but Mirabelli did contribute a lot to this club over the years. It might help to remember that Duchscherer was also traded for Luis Vizcaino, who is not exactly a luminary, either.

  27. redsoxtalk says:

    The always excellent MLB Trade Rumors has a complete history of Epstein’s trades here:

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