Links 10-15-2010: This year, next year, and prospect news

About This Season

Pitching and defense didn’t work because we didn’t pitch well and we didn’t play defense. At least not well enough. But we did still finish 6th overall according to this sabermetric ranking of teams. The Giants? Eleventh.

What exactly did the injuries cost us this season? Could we still be playing, had things gone differently? It’s a question many people are asking, including Brian MacPherson. On the other hand, putting our injuries into the context of MLB shows that while we did lose a lot of position players this year, our pitching staff actually fared quite well.

He didn’t miss much time because of it, but Marco Scutaro was playing hurt a lot this year. I was quite pleased with his performance for the most part, but the OBP was slightly disappointing.

Exactly how good was Jon Lester this year? If you look at the total of no-hit innings pitched this year by each pitcher, Lester finished second, behind Felix Hernandez. That’s pretty good company. On the other hand, we should expect a bit of regression next year from the lowest ERA on our staff.

Mike Lowell’s farewell address as he retires, for those who missed it. Just a great, great guy and a very good player for many years.

Don’t miss this interview with Daniel Bard by David Laurila.

Another reason to love Darnell McDonald: he played through a thumb injury he sustained in APRIL, and he was still pretty decent. He had successful surgery on it recently and expects to be ready for Spring Training.

A good theory on J.D. Drew and his disappointing stint with the Red Sox.

Several Red Sox, including Drew, had a problem with the calling of balls and strikes this season. Clearly, there are bad calls that can be pointed out all day long. And there has been speculation that the strike zone might be responsible for the so-called “Year of the Pitcher”. The Freakonomics people claim that it wasn’t the steroid ban. And Jeremy Greenhouse did a quick study, and he found that umps may have been lowering the strike zone this season, which could explain it.

About Next Season

Here are the dates you need to know for this offseason. The Sox have some serious money to play with, though I suspect they will be reducing the payroll slightly.

Boston removed Kevin Cash, Dusty Brown and Robert Manuel from their 40-man roster, meaning they can choose to go to Pawtucket or become free agents. There’s a good chance that these guys will not be back with us next season.

The Red Sox are taking care of some business early, signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a one-year split contract for 2011 and avoiding arbitration. He’ll make $250k as a minor leaguer or $750k if he’s on the big league roster. They traded talent to get him, so they’ll pay to keep him. Makes sense, since they still think he could pan out.

The deadline to re-sign free agents like David Ortiz will be earlier this year, so expect to know something about him by the end of the month.

Peter Gammons thinks that Adrian Beltre will be tough to sign for the Sox.

Is Jason Varitek going to be back next season? It’s not clear, but it appears that the Sox are prepared to let him walk if they manage to re-sign Victor Martinez. If not, we might see him for one more go-round. That’s why Theo Epstein is hedging his comments on the situation, I believe.

There has been some speculation that Daisuke Matsuzaka could be on the move to make some room in this rotation, and there are a good number of teams that have expressed interest, but that’s because they’re hoping to get something for nothing. The Red Sox will choose to continue to keep rolling the dice rather than get nothing for their investment. In all, he hasn’t been all that terrible. It’s the expectations and the money that have people mad.

What should we be expecting out of Mike Cameron going forward? If we take a look at Raul Ibanez as a comparison, we might expect that he will make a full recovery and be effective again – eventually.

The Red Sox coaching staff members are being actively recruited by other teams, so don’t be surprised if there are some changes this offseason.

Red Sox Beacon asks if we should be considering Carlos Pena as a first base option for 2011 if Beltre leaves via free agency. While Pena (a hometown boy) has pop and plays good defense at first, I’m not convinced that he hits enough to be our plan A (.326 wOBA in 2010, though he is expected to bounce back from that). If his price drops to a one-year, $2-3M number, I’d be willing to give him a chance to win a spot on this roster; but I don’t think it’ll get that low.

One thing is for sure: if we’re moving Kevin Youkilis off of first base, it better be for an MVP-type player. It just so happens that two of them will be reaching free agency at the end of 2011: Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez. As one of the few big market teams that could pay out a $200+M contract (and Mark Teixeira signed in New York forever), I think that we have a very good shot at landing one of these guys.

The Tampa Rays are going to go through a turbulent offseason, and likely lose a lot of players to free agency. But they have a ton of talent stockpiled in their farm system, and I expect that their pitching in particular won’t suffer any losses in performance from this year.

Prospect News

The Red Sox have a number of prospects playing the Arizona Fall League right now, and Casey Kelly had a strong first outing the other day.

Bad news: it appears that the Yankees farm system may have leapfrogged ours this season. Big signings for them plus better prospects equals big problems competing for us in the future.


2 Responses to Links 10-15-2010: This year, next year, and prospect news

  1. hawkny says:

    At 38, I am willing wager that Mike Cameron, if on the 25-man roster in 2011, will play less than he did in 2010. He has the type of health issues that men on the verge of middle age never shake off… nagging muscular and tendon issuew that never fully go away. To this day, I am befuddled by the fact the Red Sox front office game him a $15M/2-yr contract at age 37 with so many other less expensive options at their disposal… What were they thinking?

    • redsoxtalk says:

      Hawkny, thanks for reading and your comment. I appreciate your frustration with Cameron this year, but I find it hard to believe he won’t play at least double what he did this season, even as a fourth outfielder. Cameron is NOT most middle-aged men, but keeps himself in great shape. The year before the Sox signed him, he played in 149 games and averaged 140 games in four seasons!

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