5-25-2010: Lackluster Lackey?

First of all, yes, I agree that so far the Red Sox haven’t gotten what they paid for in John Lackey, who was supposed to make up the third leg of the best starting three in baseball. The 31-year old hasn’t been a force on the mound yet, and his numbers are just plain bad at 5.6 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, a 5.07 ERA, and a 5.15 xFIP. That’s fewer strikeouts, more walks and a lot more runs than we were expecting him to give up. Some had chalked this up to bad command, while others have mentioned his curveball being a problem. Things look bleak right now for Lackey and the Red Sox, who just committed almost $83M this offseason. The only bright spot would seem to be his 4-3 record. But the whole point of me writing this is to try and convince you that Lackey hasn’t suddenly just lost it.

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Links 5-11-2010: Beckett tweaks back, Drew out with vertigo, the future

It was announced yesterday that Josh Beckett would be pushed back a day, with Tim Wakefield taking the ball on Wednesday against the Blue Jays. I’m thinking maybe there’s a dead arm issue or something, but now we find out that he tweaked his back taking BP for the upcoming Inter-League series against Philadelphia. Should be a non-issue, but this begs the question, are the Sox going to that pseudo-six man rotation?

David Golebiewski takes a look at Beckett’s peripherals and reaches the same conclusion as I did – nothing seems to be terribly wrong.

J.D. Drew was out with another bout of vertigo yesterday, with Jonathan Van Every taking his place in right field against Toronto. Good thing they were able to salvage that one, after basically being handed the win by Brandon Morrow in the second. It sure felt good to see both the Yanks and the Rays to lose yesterday…

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Links 4-28-2010: Embree called up, Castro down, Sox sign Rosario

Thanks to Clay Buchholz taking advantage of an impatient Blue Jay offense, lefty Fabio Castro was never needed in last night’s game. He was promptly optioned to Pawtucket in order to add Alan Embree. The move gives the Sox three lefties in the pen, but both Hideki Okajima and Embree can be used against RHB as well as PHB, so Terry Francona’s got some options. Embree had to be added to the 40-man roster, so the Sox designated IF Kevin Frandsen this morning as part of the move. Dustin Pedroia goes back to being the shortest player on the roster with Castro’s demotion.

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Links: Some more Papi reading and trade rumors analysis

The David Ortiz conundrum is reaching national status. His eyes checked out, so there’s not many reasons left for his decline. Either he’s way older than we thought, or there’s something wrong with his head. Last night’s long homer and the seven game hitting streak notwithstanding, we still have to have some doubt as to when and how much Papi will rebound. Here’s one exit strategy, given by Craig Calcaterra at THT.

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Sox prevail over Bucs, 5-3

The Red Sox beat the Pirates 5-3 today in a Spring Training game. I don’t know about “sharp”, but Daisuke Matsuzaka was satisfactory over three innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks, and the offense mustered 10 hits, including the first extra base hit for Manny Ramirez, a double off of Pirates starter Phil Dumatrait. 21-year old Argenis Diaz turned in a 3-hit game, Sean Casey doubled in a two-hit effort, and Mike Lowell narrowly missed his 2nd HR of the preseason.

Jonathan Papelbon threw a perfect 4th inning, but the bullpen on the whole gave up four walks, which isn’t encouraging. It was good to see Craig Hansen throw an inning scoreless, even if he did walk a man.

Speaking of Paps, he came out yesterday talking about his contract. He’s not pleased with the number that’s been put out there by Sox management, thought to be around $600k for 2008. Look, I understand that as a young star player, you want to have the nice things all the veterans have, and you need to take care of not only your family, but all your relatives and friends too. Fine. But voices like Cole Hamels and Prince Fielder need to stop yapping to the press and talk to their union that negotiated this arrangement. Everyone agrees, they are worth way more than what they’re getting. But they aren’t the first to be “wronged” by this process, and they won’t be the last. You’re still making more than all of us for playing a game you love. Just play ball, guys.

I also think it’s kind of silly for these guys to be whining over $100k now, when they will all sign outlandish contracts in a year to 4 years. These guys will all have their payday, as long as they do what they’re supposed to do and do what they can to stay healthy.

It seems the Sox have been exploring a multi-year deal with Papelbon, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, as a pre-arbitration third-year player, Papelbon has no negotiating power, and the Sox could technically simply extend him at his $425k salary from 2007. He’s looking at Ryan Howard‘s $900k from last year, while others are looking at players like Bobby Jenks, who renewed for $525k this year. I don’t think Paps is going to turn it into an issue or anything, but I just hope that he can keep his head straight heading into this season.

2008 Offseason: Sox retain Kyle Snyder

The Sox have signed a one-year contract with reliever Kyle Snyder worth something upwards of $800k for the 2008 season. Snyder was one of three arbitration-eligible players on the 25-man roster, and now both he and Javier Lopez have signed new deals with Boston.

Like I’ve said many times before, I have no problems with Snyder, and Lopez is actually better than many other LOOGY options right now. Those contracts do not really impact the Sox’ payroll, so even if they bomb, it’s not a big deal to replace them in the bullpen.

Only Kevin Youkilis remains on the list of arbitration-eligible players, with a fairly substantial gap remaining between the two sides on what Youk should be paid next season. Youkilis is asking for $3.7M, and it’s hard to criticize him, given his value to the team and the fact that Ryan Howard just turned down $7M from the Phillies. The Red Sox offer last stood at $2.5M. I would expect the front office to focus all of their attention now on Youkilis, and that they will get a deal done very soon. The final number will land somewhere in the middle on a contract, maybe just a tick above $3M.