Links 11-15-2010: Free agents, offseason progress, Hot Stovespeak

It’s a tough choice this offseason: Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth? As I’ve discussed here, I think getting either one would be a very nice addition, but perhaps Werth is a better fit long-term as a right-handed power bat. Patrick Sullivan agrees, also citing the length of the expected contracts.

As far as Cliff Lee goes, we could certainly afford to sign him, but it’s not the right move this offseason unless he can play third base or catcher. It looks like it’ll be a bidding war between the Yankees and the Rangers (and Nationals???) at this point anyways.

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2010-2011 Offseason: The catcher gap

I have begun churning out my first projections for 2011, and here’s what I get for the catchers I can project:

Victor Martinez 464 15 76 0.289 0.359 0.458 0.366
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 259 7 32 0.242 0.320 0.388 0.321
Dusty Brown 218 5 28 0.243 0.321 0.380 0.321
Jason Varitek 340 11 41 0.222 0.310 0.380 0.314

I don’t think I need to comment here. The dropoff from Victor Martinez to anyone else is precipitous, and that’s putting it lightly. Not only is Jason Varitek not looking like an everyday option, he’s looking worse than our other backup options, so I really don’t expect the Sox to sign him out of sentimentality.

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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.

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2010-2011 Offseason: Catcher

With the offseason coming up soon, we need to begin analyzing what we already have in place for 2011 and where we could make improvements. Here’s a look at our situation at catcher.

Without a doubt, this is the most worrisome position for us this offseason. Victor Martinez is a potential free agent, and entering his age 32 season, the Sox are reluctant to commit the money and years to sign him (perhaps as much as 4 years, $60M). With his certain Type A status, there’s even less incentive for the Red Sox to outbid another aggressive team for Martinez. Martinez has indicated a desire to stay, but also to continue catching for the duration of his next deal (which the Sox are not on board with, if their two-year offer to him is any indication). However, the loss of a team leader and 4 WAR player is not going to be easy to any team to absorb. And with the essential role the catcher plays, you’ll need a familiar face somewhere on the roster.

Also a free agent this offseason is team captain Jason Varitek, who entering his age 39 season and with his declining skillset is even less desirable of a signing than Martinez. Varitek started the year strong, but quickly got injured and seemed to run out of gas this season. Tek wants to retire as a Red Sox, and the team would like to oblige, but not at the cost of a bloated contract and a wasted roster spot.

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Links 4-26-2010: Sox add Van Every, sign Ibarra, pitching staff shakeup

The Red Sox apparently really wanted to send Josh Reddick back to Triple-A pretty badly, because they traded a PTBNL to reacquire Jonathan Van Every from the Pirates. It makes sense that they’d want to keep Reddick starting every day and limit his exposure at the Major League level. It controls his service time and retains his value as a trade chip. Recently claimed RHP Santo Luis was designated in order to make room on the 40-man roster. Both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury will travel with the team on this next trip, meaning they could step back in at any time. Good news.

Boston has apparently signed a Major League deal with Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra worth a reported $4.3M. That means he’ll go right onto the 40-man roster, and one of the upper-tier catchers (Dusty Brown?) may have to be designated.

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Sox add Dusty Brown, Lowrie

Things are going swimmingly for the Red Sox so far in September. They are winning and players are returning to health – sort of. The Sox recalled Josh Reddick last week, and they added Dusty Brown and Jed Lowrie this week to deepen the bench and hopefully get people healthy.

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06-29-2009 Injury report

Jason Varitek has been playing through some neck stiffness, perhaps revealing why the Sox saw the need to call up Dusty Brown, even for just a day. Keep pluggin, captain. Josh Beckett has been battling some stuff, but didn’t show it in his last start against the Braves. He should be just fine.

Mike Lowell has ridden his hip too hard this year, and he is feeling it now; he will receive an injection of Synvisc to lubricate the joint, but don’t be surprised if he has to go on the 15-day DL.

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