Links 2009-11-23: Holliday vs Bay, shopping Lowell, Manuel claim, Drew’s shoulder, Sox Hot Stove

There’s a really long article with lots of pretty pictures on Baseball Analysts (one of my long-time favorite sites) comparing Matt Holliday and Jason Bay. Holliday seems to cover the plate better, but Bay’s command of the strike zone is impressive; that 15.0% walk rate this year was not an accident. Bay also seems to be a better fastball hitter, though he pulls a lot and Holliday sprays the ball and uses the field more. From the charts it looks like if you want to get Holliday out, you throw a mixture of breaking stuff in the dirt and high heat.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi say that the Sox are shopping Mike Lowell at a 50% discount, which could mean they are considering a plan to acquire a 1B or 3B. I think they are gauging interest in the event that they are able to trade for Adrian Gonzalez or decide to move on a corner free agent. One other thing I could see them trying is giving Casey Kotchman a shot to play first, and moving Kevin Youkilis back over to third base. This would allow more at-bats for Victor Martinez at 1B as well when he is not catching. This scenario would be a big bump to the infield defense, and can only help the pitching staff.

The Red Sox claimed 26-year old right-handed reliever Robert Manuel from the Seattle Mariners this week. Manuel is a converted infielder who tops out at around 87-88 mph, but he’s got a good slider and a changeup he can show to lefties. We have seen the Sox take a waiver flyer on soft-tossing relievers before, e.g. Randor Bierd. Manuel has pitched well at every level of the minors, showing very good control (2.1 BB/9 at Triple-A) while maintaining a decent strikeout rate (6.5 K/9 at Triple-A). That’s a fine addition for bullpen depth, as long as we have the space on the 40-man roster. It’s a long offseason, though, so he may or may not be around come April.

OF J.D. Drew underwent cleanup surgery on his left shoulder, but it shouldn’t affect his offseason preparation. Supposedly it increasingly bothered him this season, yet he went on to post his usual numbers. He had a very strong August and September, so there’s little to indicate this was anything of too much concern. And no, this is not the shoulder that is covered in the contract with a team opt-out clause.

It’s not official yet, but it looks like Ron Johnson may be promoted to first or third base coach. Congrats to him; hopefully his familiarity with our young players and others teams’ guys who have been through the International League will be an advantage for us.

David Ortiz is working hard to avoid a repeat of the first two months of 2009, but he still thinks we could use another bat. If he had to choose, manager Terry Francona says he always advocates for more pitching.

An interesting interview with Clay Buchholz.

Peter Gammons and Gordon Edes make some good points about the Red Sox offseason. I just don’t see them signing Lackey unless they think they won’t be able to re-sign Josh Beckett after 2010; with Jon Lester going through his arbitration years, that’s a lot of money committed to the rotation for the next few seasons. If you do that, you’d better have position players ready to step in when free agents leave. We don’t have that. What the Sox do have is pitching prospects who could fill out a rotation cheaply in a year or two.

Aroldis Chapman has switched agents and is now represented by the more baseball-savvy Hendricks brothers.


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