Links 12-1-2010: The plan forming, Victor as a DH, compensation picks, trading Scutaro, Guerrier, Parraz, Spring Training schedule

It’s starting to look like a near certainty that the Red Sox will sign one of either Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford. As I’ve said before, I like the idea of adding Werth as a long-term right-handed bat with some punch, though Crawford would be a good add as well. Werth is pretty good on defense as well, while Crawford is stellar in that category. Signing either would go a long way towards replacing the offense we’ve lost from last year’s team.

Yes, it’s been a slow offseason so far, but before you start complaining about how the Sox never spend money, read¬†this.¬†They are simply waiting it out. Werth is a Boras client, so any offer made now would simply be used as leverage to drive up the price. Werth will almost certainly not sign before Christmas, and may even hold out until late January.

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2010: The Year in Review

I’ll spare you the same comments again about the team’s overall performance here, but let’s go and examine each phase of the game and each player in detail.

Offense

We predicted the offense to be capable of scoring upwards of 832 runs this season, and the 2010 team scored 818 runs (still good for second in the AL), which is understandable given the injury situation. So offensively, things went more or less as planned, or even better. There were a number of big surprises from individual players.

Projected Actual
Name AB BA OBP SLG AB BA OBP SLG
Jed Lowrie 275 0.260 0.334 0.391 171 0.287 0.381 0.526
Adrian Beltre 581 0.277 0.326 0.444 589 0.321 0.365 0.553
Bill Hall 337 0.230 0.293 0.396 344 0.247 0.316 0.456
Kevin Youkilis 517 0.292 0.393 0.514 362 0.307 0.411 0.564
Jason Varitek 196 0.222 0.328 0.380 112 0.232 0.293 0.473
David Ortiz 514 0.258 0.358 0.483 518 0.270 0.370 0.529
Dustin Pedroia 630 0.300 0.369 0.451 302 0.288 0.367 0.493
Victor Martinez 499 0.298 0.374 0.480 493 0.302 0.351 0.493
Marco Scutaro 540 0.285 0.369 0.404 632 0.275 0.333 0.388
Mike Cameron 477 0.254 0.337 0.458 162 0.259 0.328 0.401
J.D. Drew 437 0.273 0.386 0.487 478 0.255 0.341 0.452
Mike Lowell 463 0.285 0.343 0.461 218 0.239 0.307 0.367
Jeremy Hermida 226 0.255 0.338 0.402 158 0.203 0.257 0.348
Josh Reddick 92 0.252 0.312 0.429 62 0.194 0.206 0.323
Jacoby Ellsbury 541 0.290 0.347 0.410 78 0.192 0.241 0.244

At the top of the table, you see those players who outperformed their predicted OPS by the greatest margin, and at the bottom are the laggards. Although he wasn’t the biggest plus on a pure OPS scale, playing time meant that Adrian Beltre was this season’s offensive MVP. Jed Lowrie was a big boost at the end of the season, and performed surprisingly well at the dish after finally recovering from mononucleosis.

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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.

Links 7-1-2010: Bullpen troubles, Beltre’s increasing value, Rivera’s cutter

The bullpen woes continue. Manny Delcarmen, who has actually been pretty good the last month or so, has an elbow issue that led to a terrible outing against the Rays yesterday. He may go on the DL, which leaves us with precious few relief options other than Daniel Bard and the rapidly deteriorating Hideki Okajima. If he goes on the DL, I expect to see Robert Manuel up here shortly. To improve depth, the Sox have signed Milton native Rich Hill to a minor league deal, and he will start out at Pawtucket.

His success this season pretty much guarantees that Adrian Beltre won’t return next season, but Brian MacPherson points out another likely benefit of Beltre’s great year – Type A free agent status and two compensation draft picks for the good guys.

Via David Pinto’s Baseball Musings, the New York Times has a really cool video explaining what pitch makes Mariano Rivera the best closer of all time.

6-18-2010: Sox sweep Dbacks, Manny happy returns?

Game notes: The Sox draw to within just TWO GAMES of first place! Both John Lackey and Dan Haren are having down years, in what should normally have been a pitcher’s duel last night. Lackey was shaky all game, working high in the zone and they were smacking him all over the ballpark. That errant throw to first in the 3rd was very ill-advised. Anybody else find David Ortiz’s slide in the first inning to be hysterical? Judging from Kevin Youkilis’ out at second, the Sox could use a refresher on sliding. Manny Delcarmen allowed some baserunners, sure, but he was locating alright and getting ground balls; they just found their way through the infield. Lastly, is it jsut me, or has Jonathan Papebon dropped his arm slot even more? It looked like he has moved to a low 3/4 slot yesterday, which allowed him to locate heat right at the knees. Hope it doesn’t indicate anything health-wise for him.

As the Dodgers come into town tonight, this article by Peter Abraham just about sums it up. I can tell you for my part that I will not be cheering for Manny Ramirez. Yes, he did a lot for this ballclub in his day, but he received all the applause he’s getting from me. I refuse to support that kind of player.

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