10-13-2011: Some random thoughts on free agents

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to leave all this clubhouse talk behind and start thinking about next year. We’ve got a number of decisions to make on our own guys, and I’ve heard lots of names bandied about, which I’d like to weigh in on and discuss.

David Ortiz, DH (age 36 next year)

The guy has been great for us, and he had a wonderful bounceback year. I expect he’ll be wanting a three- or even four-year deal, but I would like to see the Sox spend no more than 2/20 on him if he stays. Is anyone convinced that he will definitely duplicate his numbers next year? How about in two years? Three?¬†Given his age and his recent comments, maybe we SHOULD let him go, take our draft picks and let Kevin Youkilis DH. We can sign a stopgap third sacker and let him compete with Jed Lowrie/Mike Aviles for the job until Will Middlebrooks is ready.

C.J. Wilson, SP (age 31 next year)

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6-24-2011: Gonzalez, Ortiz and inter-league play

I’m not sure what all the uproar is about. Adrian Gonzalez is the better hitter. He’s the better fielder by far at first base. Ergo, David Ortiz should grab some pine and be ready to pinch hit.¬†Okay, nine games is a long time, and maybe you want to give Papi a start or two in there, but nothing more than that.

As for Gonzalez out in right field (or left)? The man is a $150M investment and a Gold-Glove first baseman. I understand that he’s willing to do whatever helps the team, and he’s not totally inexperienced out there, but he’s not used to running full-tilt to snag flies, or catching balls against the wall or rushing a throw to the plate. Why put him in an unfamiliar situation where he might hurt himself and be out for much longer than a game with Big Papi at first?

Link 3-24-2011: BA’s ranking of farm systems

Baseball America lists the Red Sox system at 17th, even after the loss of Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo this offseason, plus the uncertain situation of Ryan Westmoreland (that’s not too bad, considering). The Padres are notably 8th on the list.

One slightly worrying thing: three of the the top 5 farm systems are in the AL East, and Tampa Bay has stockpiled draft picks like no one else. I expect them to be back in force in a few years. The one that’s missing? Baltimore at number 22.

2-3-2011: Those free-spending Sox

Sox Therapy has looked at the numbers, and this year’s Red Sox is pretty much spending what last year’s Red Sox did, maybe with just a touch of inflation. I’d say it’s a much better team for the money today, wouldn’t you?

Oh, and in case you missed this post at The Hardball Times, Matt Binder shows MLB team spending over the last 10 years by team and division. Pretty interesting to see it all out there like that. The AL Beast is a hungry salary monster, outspending every other division, and not by a little.

12-9-2010: Why Carl Crawford is (probably) worth $20M per year

As I wrote my about the signing of Carl Crawford last night, lost in the ecstasy of the moment was the realization that we had just paid over $20M/season for a guy with a career .337 OBP and .444 SLG percentage. Like many others, this morning I started thinking: was it really worth it for us to spend like a drunken sailor on Crawford? And after doing some due diligence, I think the answer is yes. Let me explain.

Defense is underpaid in today’s game

Remember Moneyball, and how teams started signing players based on OBP after it came out? The real point of the book was not so much that on-base percentage was everything. Rather, it’s that you go after whatever is undervalued in the market to gain a competitive advantage. It has been suggested, and not by a few, that today’s undervalued asset is defense, primarily because it’s hard to measure and evaluations can be so subjective.

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12-5-2010: Red Sox trade for Adrian Gonzalez

It happened a bit faster than what I projected, but the Red Sox are reportedly close to completing a deal that would send Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes and a PTBNL to the San Diego Padres for one Adrian Gonzalez. According to many sources, he has passed his physical and it is a done deal. The Red Sox have until 2 PM today to negotiate a contract extension with Gonzalez, who has just one year left on his contract.

If they don’t extend him right now, the deal can still be completed and he can be extended later on, and that might actually be beneficial, points out Alex Speier. So don’t be shocked if no extension gets announced along with the trade.

What we are getting

Gonzalez is a bona fide superstar, having topped 30 HR each of the past four seasons and 100 RBI in three of those (he had 99 RBI back in 2009). Consider that the Padres offense as a whole has been abysmal, not even reaching 700 runs scored since 2007, so he regularly gets the Barry Bonds treatment (35 intentional walks last year alone). Add to that the fact that PETCO Park is one of the worst hitters parks for left-handed batters in all of baseball, and his track record there is just incredible.

Adjust for the transition to the AL, then playing half his games in Fenway against the AL East, and we get a conservative line of .279/.364/.509 for 2011. That’s more than 4 wins based on offense alone. Once you add everything else, we’re talking about a 5-6 win player.

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Links 11-24-2010: V-Mart reactions, catcher

The news yesterday of Victor Martinez signing with the Tigers has ignited a lot of skepticism about the Red Sox for next season, but it’s still WAAAY too early to judge this offseason. It’s hard to keep perspective on the situation when Detroit’s winning bid was just $8M more than our best offer; for a team like the Red Sox, that’s easily absorbed over four seasons. They simply didn’t like him as their catcher for the long haul, and we have plenty of other needs to fill.

What do we do about catcher now? Everyone is agreed that we have some potentially good options in the pipeline, but we’ll need to sign someone for the short-term while we wait to see what exactly we have in Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty knows he needs to capitalize on this opportunity; let’s just hope he doesn’t pressure himself too much, because the fans won’t cut him much slack, I’m afraid. With the departure of Martinez, catcher could become our new shortstop, that seemingly unfillable position that leaves fans dissatisfied every year.

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