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 8-11-2010: Lowell/Delgado/Saltalamacchia controversy, roster moves, looking ahead

Despite yet more heroics yesterday, the Red Sox have made it abundantly clear that they don’t trust Mike Lowell to play every day at first base. Jerry Remy also thinks Lowell will be somewhat limited. First they signed Carlos Delgado to a minor league deal, and now with Kevin Cash on the DL, they have called up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, probably to be the backup catcher/left-handed first baseman. It makes sense to employ a platoon at first base to try and replace some of the production lost with Kevin Youkilis, says Matt Klaassen. For his part, Lowell is confident that he can play regularly, and he doesn’t see himself being ousted by former teammate Delgado.

Hideki Okajima hit the DL with a hamstring issue, and Felix Doubront has gotten the call to the bullpen. Apart from the solo HR he allowed yesterday, Doubront has looked every bit the part of a strong Major League reliever.

Jeremy Hermida cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket this week. That really says something about how far his star has fallen; nobody wanted him for free (besides his remaining salary, which isn’t nothing). He’ll be called up on September 1 when the rosters expand, but he’s running out of time to convince the Red Sox he’s worth a roster spot.

August 17. Circle that date on your calendar, because that’s when The Laser Show (TM) comes back to town. That’s right, Dustin Pedroia has a due date.

The Red Sox signed 6th-round OF pick Kendrick Perkins for a $600k bonus this week. Perkins is super-athletic and has drawn comparisons to Carl Crawford.

Beyond the Box Score ranks catchers by overall value this year, and finds that Red Sox catchers are smack in the middle of the road, thanks primarily to Victor Martinez.

MLB Trade Rumors looks at teams who may pursue Adrian Beltre in the offseason. I think if the Red Sox can’t land him, it’ll be the Tigers or Angels.

Links 7-27-2010: Sox addressing bullpen and catcher, Lowell, Ellsbury, and random stuff

Rumors are flying. The Sox were pursuing Scott Downs, but then the Jays wanted Jose Iglesias. Still sane, Theo Epstein said no. That’s just fine, says Brian MacPherson, because Downs might add only one win to the team anyways. Daniel Bard even suggests that we might not need to add an arm; ah, the ignorance of youth.

Then there were rumors that the Red Sox were actually trying to trade one of their relievers, rumored to be Manny Delcarmen or Ramon Ramirez. I think we’d be alright without either one, but you’d better have something else lined up besides Michael Bowden and Robert Manuel. That proposed deal would have brought veteran catcher Rod Barajas, who the Sox have liked in the past, to be our backup catcher; however it doesn’t seem like it’s still in play.

We’ve got Victor Martinez back, but catcher is far from settled at this point. The brass would definitely like to see someone in there with some experience who can play defense and hit some more than Kevin Cash as Jason Varitek insurance.

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7-5-2010: 5 Sox All-Stars, vote for Youk, the importance of Cash, injury updates

Even though the popular vote wasn’t too Boston-friendly, the AL roster voted by the players is replete with Red Sox, including Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Beltre, Buchholz and Lester are all first-time selections, and Ortiz making it is a great tribute to his turnaround season (it still doesn’t mean we should exercise his team option, though). Kevin Youkilis still has an outside shot of making it if enough fans vote for him in the special runoff vote. Support Youk here!

Speaking of Beltre, his standout season will likely earn him comeback player of the year and Type A free agent status. Should Scott Boras take him to free agency, he will land a hefty free agent deal which I don’t see the Sox matching. For all his ability, the guy just doesn’t seem to fit in with this team’s style of play or personality. It would also be a mistake to expect a repeat of this season next year, even in Fenway.

The Replacements

With our top two catchers hitting the DL in the same week and a mess of injuries at Pawtucket, our catching depth had never been so poor. Luckily for the Sox, Kevin Cash had just been DFA’d by Houston. It’s not that Cash is anything at the plate (his lifetime batting line looks like a typical pitcher’s line), but his familiarity with the Sox staff and Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball in particular made it a no-brainer to go get him. We were lucky, because I could see us losing a lot of games in this stretch without him.

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Links 7-2-2010: Catcher crisis, MDC to DL, Gammons, SaberCards are back

Like Deepwater Horizon, the Red Sox DL just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Jason Varitek has a broken foot and will miss 4-6 weeks. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except our other catcher, Victor Martinez, has a broken thumb. So the Red Sox went out and got Kevin Cash, trading away Angel Sanchez as a temporary stopgap. Gustavo Molina will act as the backup for now. Neither of these guys can contribute much offensively, so we just have to hope that Martinez returns quickly.

Manny Delcarmen is also going on the DL today with what is being called a forearm strain. It is thought that Michael Bowden, who has been pitching well recently, might get the call. But he’s been throwing as a starter, and we need bullpen help right away. The recently-signed Rich Hill could be called upon as well.

Peter Gammons talks about the Red Sox woes. Interestingly, he brings up Kerry Wood and his 98 mph fastball as a possible deadline acquisition.

For those of you who love the SaberCard idea (like me), there’s another update, this time featuring our own David Ortiz.

Another baseball visualization, the season TripTik. You can quickly see how hot we’ve been at home in June, and that July and August are going to be tough for the Sox, with so many games on the road.

2009 Offseason: Baldelli hopeful, Cash non-tendered

Rocco Baldelli, a talented right-handed hitting outfielder from Rhode Island, would make an excellent addition as a fourth outfielder, but the Red Sox have hesitated to sign him, as he was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disorder which may severely limit his playing time. Now it seems that the diagnosis is not as bad as initially thought, and Baldelli is drawing interest from several teams. He is an athletic defender who can play all three outfield spots and hit with some power. I project him to hit roughly .262/.303/.462 in 2009.

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