Links 8-26-2010: Consensus building, Damon, Lackey and lefties, Reddick back

I’ve been saying it since Dustin Pedroia went back on the DL, but it appears that more and more people are priming their forks to stick into the 2010 Boston Red Sox. The playoffs are a tough sell at this point, but hey, anything can happen in baseball.

For every good thing that happens to the Sox, it seems that there is a black lining to it. Jon Lester was cruising along, but then he gets blown up in his last start. Josh Beckett is back, supposedly healthy, but he still looks shaky. Clay Buchholz has been dominating, but Patrick Sullivan reminds us that his numbers rest on a lot of “luck”. Hideki Okajima is being held at Pawtucket because of his last poor outing. They don’t want him to come to the Majors on a bad note.

There are some interesting names on the waiver wire, though I don’t expect the Red Sox to be able to land any of them. Scott Downs and Manny Ramirez are both out there. I’d like to add Downs, but no way would I claim Manny. The White Sox are reportedly interested in getting him, though. And guess what else? Man-Ram wants another contract extension. Surprise, surprise.

Unlike some, I was not at all surprised at Johnny Damon’s decision not to return to Boston. With the Sox on the very fringe of contending, what reason does he have to come here? The management refused to pay him what he thought he was worth, the fans have given him an icy reception several times, most of his “idiot” friends have moved on, and most of all he knows how this club works. If he came here, he’d be a part-time guy who would only play against righties. I don’t blame him in the least, though I think he could definitely help this team right now.

It appears that more than one observer has commented on John Lackey’s inability to put away left-handed hitters this season. Southpaws have hit .308/.381/.435 off of him this year, but righties hit him to the tune of .301/.353/.493 back in 2008. Splits can be tricky, because of sample size. We don’t know if this is a real problem or just a blip due to a bad year, and we won’t know until at least next year.

For those who have been discouraged by the performance of our prospects this season, there’s some good news – Josh Reddick has been on a tear recently, and is quickly rebuilding his status as a top prospect at Pawtucket. Try .356/.383/.622 with 6 HR in 90 ABs in August. Ryan Westmoreland will also get back on the field for the last week of the season, though I’d expect this to be more of a symbolic thing than anything else. Junichi Tazawa is also making his way back from TJ surgery, and should be ready for next Spring. First-round pick Kolbrin Vitek has impressed, and has been promoted to Single-A Greenville.

Red Sox Beacon thinks we should re-sign Adrian Beltre for $12M/year. I don’t think Scott Boras is biting on that number unless we offer at least five years, to which I say no way. I think the market for Beltre is being underestimated here, and I could see him getting 3-4 years at $14-15M per year this offseason.

Marco Scutaro has turned it back on lately, hitting .362/.404/.468 since Aug 13. He does strike out a lot looking, but he’s an excellent contact hitter and he’s been dealing with pain all year. Considering the .263/.316/.364 line of the average AL shortstop, I don’t see much to complain about with him.

David Ortiz commented on expanding strike zones as the year goes by, but a study by Jeff Zimmerman suggests that the claim could be a bit exaggerated.

After experiencing a season in which Mike Cameron never really got started, Sox fans might be a bit gun-shy about bringing in veteran free agents next year, but that could be a mistake, according to Patrick Sullivan. There is a lot of potential value to be found in those creaky bones.

Speaking of creaky, Mike Lowell made it clear that he is retiring after the season. Period.

And in other creaky news, Beyond the Box Score is starting a detailed study of current knuckleballers, a.k.a. Tim Wakefield and some other guy. Check out part 1 here.


2 Responses to Links 8-26-2010: Consensus building, Damon, Lackey and lefties, Reddick back

  1. Pat says:

    Reddick’s bat reminds me of Beltre’s (more 2007 than 2010). Good contact, lots of power, lack of walks. It would be stunning if both he and Kalish were MLB ready when Cameron and Drew leave.

    Though Kalish is clearly almost there already.

    • redsoxtalk says:

      Heya Pat- I totally see your analogy of Reddick and Beltre. They are the same type of hitter, at least plate discipline-wise. I’m not sure if Reddick will have quite as much power as Beltre, as he is not built the same; he’s more wiry strong than rock-hard.

      As for Kalish, I think he could be ready soon, but another half-season in the minors wouldn’t hurt. If we have more injury issues next year, he could get pressed into duty.

      With these two and Nava (and McDonald if we keep him), we have some very nice, cost-controlled outfield depth for the next few years. That’s always a plus.

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