Links 10-01-2010: A quiet October in Boston

Well, we’ve been saying it for some time now, but it is now mathematically official – the Red Sox are out of it. Here’s Theo Epstein’s statement on their elimination. Nothing to do but root for the Rays against the Yankees now. And, of course, begin obsessing about the offseason. Sox Therapy is looking ahead too. Don’t cry over spilled milk, like this post does.

Notes on 2010

Go out and show some love for Mike Lowell on October 2, which has been dubbed, “Thanks, Mike” Night. He’s been a class character and I have the utmost respect for the man. And for God’s sake, someone get him his final home run ball.

Looking for a way to explain how the Red Sox could possibly have ranked second in offense after losing Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia for much of the year? Look no further than Adrian Beltre. His season had some of the hallmarks of an MVP year, with much of his success being found on hard-hit fly balls.

BP’s redux on the Red Sox this year was that it wasn’t just the injuries, but the poor starting pitching outside of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz that doomed the Red Sox. All of the focus has been on the bullpen, but I think they looked extra bad because they were forced to pitch tired by the rotation. Things should right themselves next year as Josh Beckett and John Lackey regress back towards who they were (fingers crossed).

There were some rumblings that the Red Sox seemed to fare poorly against poor teams, while they played well against tough opponents. This study at Dugout Central shows them as middle-of-the-pack in this regard.

David Ortiz downplays his 100 RBI season. Good for him. 100 is just a number, as is 20 wins. Lester still matches up against anyone else just fine.

Terry Francona insists that Jonathan Papelbon is all growed up, but Paps’ complaints about the umpiring tell us otherwise. It’s the game, Paps. Just do your job.

For those of you wondering why the Red Sox claimed Felipe Lopez for a stretch run with little hope and little need for him, Francona notes that he was insurance for Marco Scutaro, who was apparently playing with a lot of physical problems for some time. That, and his departure could net the Red Sox a compensation draft pick. He passed up a chance at the playoffs with the Padres to be here, though, so we’ll see what happens.

Looking ahead

The crowd believes Beltre will command 3-4 years at $13M per season as a free agent. If it’s three years, I might do it, but if it’s four, I’d hesitate a bit at that price.

Jay Jaffe at BP notes that all three AL East Beasts are struggling with their rotations as we draw near the end. He also notes that Ortiz has more or less become a platoon candidate, which means the Sox shouldn’t pay him anywhere near $12.5M next season. I tend to agree, though Marc Normandin thinks overpaying is worth it to limit our risk to one year.

For those who are contending that we drop Papelbon and his 4.02 ERA in 2011, there is zero chance the Sox non-tender him. Is he worth the money? No. Does he deserve a raise? Not really. But the question is what will the market demand, and the Red Sox are not about to let this valuable chip walk and get nothing in return. A trade could be possible for a good enough return, but my guess is he begins 2011 right where he began 2010, closing.

The Red Sox will probably add a significant piece or two to the bullpen this offseason. I think Hideki Okajima stays, because he has shown some real improvement lately and will should be relatively cheap after a down year.

Any way you slice it, 2010 was a really bad year for Red Sox prospects. Almost all of our top guys had their stock fall due to injury or poor/inconsistent performance. I think the Sox were given a bit too much credit after graduating high-quality players for several years in a row back when they were winning World Series. No one hits on all of them, but there’s still hope for some of these guys.

Yu Darvish is the latest Japanese prize pitcher who is expected to be posted this winter. His current posting fee is estimated to be around $25M. He is a younger, harder-throwing and more exciting version of Daisuke Matsuzaka; that might be why the Sox haven’t made that much noise about pursuing him. That doesn’t mean they’re not considering, BTW.

Speaking of Dice-K, Red Sox Beacon asks, why not have him relieve next season? His performance has certainly merited the move, but I think it would be a terrible insult to his Japanese sense of honor; my sense is that this would not go well if it were to happen.


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