Friday, December 30, 2011

Red Sox Re-Sign Rich Hill

Today, the Red Sox added another cog to what is looking like a very formidable bullpen by re-signing lefty Rich Hill. Hill was on pace for an excellent season in Boston last year-- allowing no runs and striking out 12 in 8 innings early this year. However, as he walked off the field clutching his elbow one summer night, the Red Sox lost one of the key members of the bullpen as Hill went down with Tommy John Surgery about the same time as Dice-K. Despite the recovery time for Tommy John Surgery usually being about a year, Hill is raring to go and could be ready for spring training. The deal is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Hill will be 31 in 2012 and was having a promising but unsuccessful career as a starter before the Red Sox converted him to a reliever in 2010. He excelled there, striking out over a batter per inning in AAA Pawtucket before the Sox called him up late. This could potentially be a big steal for the Sox, as Hill was on pace for an excellent year in 2011.

The Right Field Situation Post-Bailey Trade

Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox were rumored to be in the mix for  some right fielders with Reddick being unproven in the majors. Carlos Beltran's name was thrown around, but he signed with the Cardinals. Michael Cuddyer's name was as well, but he signed with the Rockies. Since the Red Sox traded Josh Reddick over the Oakland in return for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney, they are in serious need of a right fielder. However, since they waited so long, there is only a small market of cheap, mediocre right fielders. Let's look at some options to how the Red Sox could fill the Red Sox right field vacancy in 2012. On the team right now, they have Darnell McDonald and Ryan Sweeney (right) who could potentially fill that spot. This could work perfectly for the Red Sox as Sweeney is a lefty and McDonald is a righty. Each were bad against their pitchers of their respective hands, batting .159 and .189 off of lefties and righties, respectively. However, off of the opposite pitchers, they batted .286 and .260- something which could make an above average platooning partnership. Going out for acquisitions, some available options are Magglio Ordonez (.255/5/32), Ryan Spilborghs (.210/3/22), Andruw Jones (.247/13/33), Ryan Ludwick (.237/13/75), Cody Ross (.240/14/52), Scott Hairston (.235/7/24), and Yoennis Cespedes (.333/33/99 in 90 games in Cuba). Of these, Ordonez and Cespedes would be the most expensive. The least expensive would be Spilborghs and Hairston. In the middle of these would be Andruw Jones, Ryan Ludwick, and Cody Ross. All three are righties, which is what the Red Sox need in their lineup. Against lefties: Ross batted .234, Jones batted .286, and Ludwick batted .264. By these stats, Jones would be the best option for the Red Sox. By fielding statistics, Ludwick has managed a 3.7 UZR/150, Jones has managed a 9.3, and Ross has managed a -0.4. By all my stats together, I would say that Jones would be a great move to fill that position for the Red Sox. However, they could easily manage with platooning McDonald and Sweeney.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Red Sox Pick Up Andrew Bailey, Ryan Sweeney In Trade With A's

Today, Ben Cherington has won my favor with a magnificent trade with the Oakland A's. The Red Sox will acquire Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney for Josh Reddick (.280/7/28 in MLB), Miles Head (.254/7/29 in A+), and Raul Alcantara (0-3/6.23/14 in A-). Bailey had his worst year in the majors last year, going a pretty good 0-4/3.24/41 and saving 24/26 chances. This gets the Red Sox a proven closer in Bailey who won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2009. He also has three more seasons under team control and is eligible for arbitration for the first time-- giving the Sox three more affordable years with a proven closer. Bailey was troubled by a forearm injury in 2011 but still managed 41 games. Sweeney played 108 games for the A's last year, going .265/1/25 and plays all three outfield positions. Sweeney injured his hand in September of last year but didn't miss a whole lot of time. Well, the bullpen is now set and the Red Sox can fully focus on starting pitching; great move by Cherington!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Conor Says... Trade For Jake Peavy

First off: merry Christmas, second off: it's still Sunday so I still have to do the Conor Says. This week's edition will be about the possibility of trading for Jake Peavy. So, the other day I was reading an article about how the Sox should go after White Sox starter Gavin Floyd. Mentioned in the article was the fact that the White Sox may trade Floyd because with Jake Peavy's bloated contract and lack of success, they needed a salary drop. I quickly looked at Peavy's stats to find that in 2011 he had an unimpressive line of 7-7/4.92/95. However, I looked a bit beyond his ERA of 4.92 and saw his gleaming peripheral stats of a 3.21 FIP and 3.52 xFIP. These were not too far off of the 2.84 and 3.34 he posted in his Cy Young season of 2007, in which he went 19-6/2.54/240. Not only that, but his K/9 of 7.66 and his BB/9 of 1.93 are both very impressive. A deal earlier this offseason where the Braves ate some of Derek Lowe's contract and shipped him to Cleveland for just a low-level prospect. Peavy is slated to make $17 million in 2012. If the White Sox could eat about $10, then I think Peavy would be a great shot to fill one of the holes in our rotation.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas To Red Sox Nation

I got Red Sox vs. Indians tickets and a Fenway Tour!!!
It would appear that Santa is not a Red Sox fan and you could consider that September '11 was our coal, which we could sell to the electric companies for a small profit. Sorry, sorry, bad joke. In any case, there's always next year for Red Sox Nation to rejoice over a hopeful championship. Santa hasn't given the Sox a whole lot under the tree this offseason, the biggest present would be Mark Melancon. Hopefully, he could be a decent gift to us at the price of Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland. Meanwhile, Kelly Shoppach and Nick Punto were pretty much sweaters. By this I mean, you're glad you got something, but not necessarily that. In any case, Merry Christmas to anybody reading this post and a happy new year. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good... day?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Offseason Coaching News

Update: Red Sox also hire Jerry Noyster as their third base coach and Alex Ochoa as their first base coach.
The Red Sox are, reportedly, close to hiring Bob McClure as their next pitching coach. For the past six years, McClure has been the Royals pitching coach and, this offseason, the Red Sox hired him in a scouting role. The Red Sox are expected to promote him to the role of pitching coach. Curt Young, the Red Sox pitching coach in 2011, returned to Oakland to rejoin the A's, who he had coached for several years prior to joining the Sox. Young didn't seem to be able to adjust to a big market team like Boston and the Red Sox were 22nd in the league with a 4.20 ERA.
     On a different note, the Red Sox have moved Tim Bogar from the 3rd base coach role to the bench coach role. Now, Bogar has been praised for his excellent baseball mind; however, that obviously didn't translate into third base coaching skills. Bogar often found a way to fail the visual test of third base coaching skills by randomly waving Sox players around the bases when they were clearly out and holding them up when they would've been clearly safe. Hopefully Bogar will be better as a bench coach than he was as a third base coach. Go Sox!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Red Sox Jonesing For Andruw

Some reports have indicated that the Red Sox could be interested in free agent outfielder Andruw Jones. Last year, Jones was the 4th outfielder for the Yankees and did a pretty good job of it, going .247/13/33 in 77 games and 190 at bats. He also reached base at a very good .356 clip, fitting him with the Red Sox' patient approach. However, Jones is 34 years old and this has been his first solid year since 2006 with the Braves. From 1998-2006 with the Braves, Jones was one of the best players in baseball and over his career, his 162 game average is a very good .256/32/97. Jones also has a decent glove for a corner outfielder and could relieve Josh Reddick (or a newcomer) and Carl Crawford fairly well. He is considerably better than the 4th outfielder the Sox currently have, in Darnell McDonald, who went .236/6/24 in 79 games and 159 at bats last year. If the Sox could land Jones on something like a 1 year/$4 million contract, I'd be impressed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red Sox In Talks With Francisco Cordero

Allegedly, the Red Sox are looking to keep improving their bullpen and are interested in free agent closer Francisco Cordero. Apparently, the Red Sox had been interested in him earlier in the offseason and talks have picked back up. Cordero had an excellent season as the Reds' closer in 2011, going 5-3/2.45/42 in 68 games and 69 2/3 innings-- also saving 37/43 opportunities. However, his season may have had a bit of luck involved with a 4.02 FIP and 4.14 xFIP. His strikeout rates also dropped by almost 2 per nine innings. However, his walk rates also dropped over 1.5 per nine innings-- balancing things nicely. Even if his ERA and other great stats return to his career averages, he would still be a great option for the Red Sox closer. He averages a 3.17 ERA, 3.51 FIP, and 3.72 xFIP over his career. I would definitely support this move for the Sox to go out and get a proven closer like Cordero.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Conor Says... Sign Jon Garland

The Red Sox' pitching troubles have been well documented this offseason. While they have gotten to improving their bullpen lately, they still need to improve upon their rotation. I think that a fairly cheap and effective way to do that would be to sign Jon Garland. Garland was injured for much of 2011, only starting 9 games for the Dodgers. In those 9 games, he was typical Jon Garland-- going 1-5/4.33/28. Other than 2011, however, Garland has been very consistent as a workhorse. From 2004-2010, he pitched 200+ innings in every year except 2008 (he still had 196 2/3). The Red Sox really need some innings eaters after nobody seemingly was able to go more than 5 innings in September '11. Garland is solid but unspectacular, with a career 4.32 ERA and 4.68 FIP. He doesn't strike out very many people (his career high was 136 in 2010) at just 4.86 K/9 over his career. However, he walks even fewer with just 3.02 BB/9 over his career. I think Garland would be a solid option for the #4 spot in the Red Sox rotation-- plus he'd be cheap.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Red Sox Potentially Interested in Joakim Soria

A report has surfaced that the Red Sox have called on the Royals about the possibility of trading for Royals closer Joakim Soria. Soria had his worst season in 2011, going 5-5/4.03/60 in 60 games and 60 1/3 innings, also saving 28/35 chances. However, his career stats are much better-- as his 162-game average is 3-3/2.40/78 in 68 games and 72 innings. However, apparently the Royals asked for too much in return and the Red Sox rejected the potential deal. I'd feel the same way, as after trading for Melancon, the Red Sox don't need to spend a whole lot of talent on developing the back end of their bullpen. On the contrary, however, having Soria, Melancon, and potentially Bard would make a very formidable bullpen. I think the Sox should wait the Royals out to see if they can get a better deal. If they cannot, they should just nix it. I'd be happy if the Sox got Soria, but not for a huge price.

Why The Red Sox Should NOT Acquire Hanley Ramirez

Since the Marlins signed Jose Reyes this winter; they have decided that Hanley Ramirez will need to move to third base. Now, Ramirez has not been terribly happy with this move and, apparently, has requested a trade. Multiple trade rumors have surfaced and one of those is that the Red Sox have checked in on him. While Ramirez is a great player, and I am not questioning that, I have multiple reasons why he should not come back to Boston. The first and foremost of those reasons is that we do not need Hanley Ramirez. Why trade for a shortstop when your returning shortstop hit .299/7/54 last season? Plus, Ramirez is coming off his worst season in which he hit .243/10/45. That is another one of my reasons, he is coming off of his worst season. I consider him too good of a player to fall off like that (his 162 game average is .306/25/83), and I think it was mostly luck-- but still. Also, he would be extremely expensive. If the Red Sox would be using the type of prospects to acquire Ramirez, trade for Gio Gonzalez. Why trade several great prospects for a player you don't need who is coming off his worst year? Read this and mark my words, Ben Cherington-- don't acquire Hanley Ramirez.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Red Sox To Sign Nick Punto

Just hours after shipping Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to Houston for Mark Melancon, the Red Sox have effectively upgraded both of them. Melancon is clearly better than Weiland, and just now, the Red Sox signed Nick Punto-- who will effectively replace Lowrie. They signed Punto to a 2 year/$3 million contract plus incentives. With his bat, Punto's .278/1/20 2011 season is no better than Lowrie's .252/6/36. However, with the glove, Punto is clearly superior, as the 34 year old is a great defender at second base, shortstop, and third base; all the positions Lowrie played. Punto played for the Cardinals in 2011 after playing for the Twins from 2004-2010 and the Phillies from 2001-2003. His best season offensively came with the Twins in 2006, where he batted .290/1/45. As you can probably tell, Punto doesn't have a whole lot of power; however, he has maintained an OBP of higher than .300 every year but one since 2003. I'm liking the Melancon trade a whole lot more since the Sox made this move.

Red Sox Acquire Melancon From Astros For Lowrie, Weiland

Today, the Red Sox made a move to significantly bolster their bullpen-- acquiring Mark Melancon from the Astros. In doing so, they had to give up Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland. Melancon has proven himself very effective the past couple of years, going 8-4/2.78/66 in 71 games and 74 1/3 innings. Melancon was traded from the Yankees to Houston in the Berkman deal at Trading Deadline 2010. He'll get his chance to annoy the Yankees, as they gave up on him pretty quickly. I'm kind of surprised the Red Sox traded both Lowrie and Weiland for Melancon. Lowrie was expected to be traded this offseason, but I would've thought they could get a starter for him. Weiland was expected to serve a role in the bullpen this upcoming year, but Melancon will be taking that role from him so he may as well go. I'm excited that Cherington finally made his first real move, but I'm surprised they gave up so much for him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Sox Go Shopping

Congratulations to Ben Cherington, who has now made his second acquisition who could potential start the season on the major league roster. The Red Sox have come to terms with catcher Kelly Shoppach on a 1 year/$1.35 million contract. Shoppach was formerly the crown jewel of the Red Sox farm system. He will be coming back to Boston after stints in Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Up until a few years ago, he was considered an all-bat-no-glove catcher, going .245/43/141 in four years as the backup catcher for the Indians. However, with the Rays he has evolved more in the opposite direction. Last year, behind the plate, he threw out a stellar 41% of baserunners while going a measly .176/11/22 with the stick. His best season came in 2008, where he batted .261/21/55. Shoppach is an all-or-nothing type hitter, displaying a fair number of homers for a backup catcher but a very low batting average. I don't really expect Shoppach to be on the MLB team out of Spring Training. I think it should and will be Ryan Lavarnway as the backup to Salty, but you never know.

Red Sox Non-Tender Rich Hill, Re-Sign Albers

Last night was the non-tender deadline, which means: If a player has more than 2 1/2 years of MLB experience, then they are eligible to be non-tendered (basically, cut) in which case they would become a free agent. The Red Sox had a list of players eligible last night containing nine players. The only one of those is Rich Hill, who has likely seen his Red Sox tenure over after not allowing a run and striking out 12 in 8 innings before hurting his elbow and having to go through Tommy John Surgery. The Red Sox could still could sign him as a free agent, though, so don't count him out. Another one of the players on the list was not "tendered" per say, but the Red Sox re-signed Matt Albers. The contract is for one year and is worth $1.07 million. For four months of the season, Albers was one of our better relievers; however, he was overworked and broke down. His final stats were not terribly good at 4-4/4.73/68 in 56 games and 64 2/3 innings. We look forward to seeing Matt Albers' early season form and to see Rich Hill possibly in a Red Sox uniform.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bard To Stretch Out As Starter In Spring Training

Yesterday, Ben Cherington confirmed that the Red Sox were going to test Daniel Bard out as a starter come 2012. Daniel Bard was a starter at UNC and the Red Sox used him as a starter in their minor league system. In 2007 as a starter in A league, he went 3-5/6.42/38 in 17 starts and 61 2/3 innings. In 2007, in A+ league, Bard was worse, going 0-2/10.13/9 in 5 starts and 13 1/3 innings. When the 2008 season started, the Red Sox turned Bard into a reliever, where he has been very successful. In three seasons as a reliever in the major leagues, Bard has been stellar at 5-13/2.88/213 in 197 innings. I'm not sure if I like this move, as he was bad at starting even in the very low-level minors. What will that translate to in the majors? I would prefer if the Red Sox stuck Bard as their closer and tried to acquire two starters through trades and free agency. After all, there are more starters on the market than there are closers.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Conor Says... Trade For Bobby Parnell

In my opinion, Daniel Bard should be the Red Sox' closer in 2012. However, if Bard is to become to closer, then who should become the set-up man? I think the Red Sox should fulfill this need by trading for the Mets' reliever Bobby Parnell. Parnell is coming off a pretty good year in 2011 in which he went 4-6/3.64/64 for the Mets. He became the closer late in the season for the Mets, but was not very successful-- only saving 6/12 chances. However, his stats of 4-6/3.64/64 would adequately replace Bard's 2-9/3.33/74. That would leave the Red Sox' bullpen looking like this: Bard (closer), Parnell (set-up), Albers (mid relief), Morales (mid relief), Jenks (mid relief), Another acquisition, and Aceves (long relief). I think that to improve the Red Sox bullpen, they should get Parnell and possibly a few more arms to help out the back end.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Red Sox Improve Depth By Signing Mathis

Ben Cherington was very honest when, in his press conference, he said that he wasn't going to sign many big free agents and display more of a drafting/development type approach. When your two biggest acquisitions of the offseason on December 10 are Jesse Carlson and Doug Mathis, that is very true. As you probably have picked up, the Red Sox signed Doug Mathis. Mathis is a right-handed pitcher who did not play in the majors in 2011. He played with the Rangers from 2008-2010, going 1-1/6.04/10 in 13 games and 22 1/3 innings for the Rangers in 2010. His best season came in 2009, when he went 0-1/3.16/25 in 24 games and 42 2/3 innings. Mathis played in the minor league systems of the Giants and the A's last season before going to Korea to finish the year. He provides a cheap option for more depth in the Red Sox bullpen and rotation. I'm neutral on this move, as we probably won't be seeing him in the majors.

Red Sox Interested In D-Backs' Lefty Joe Saunders

Yesterday afternoon, the Diamondbacks made it clear that lefty Joe Saunders was on the trading block. Many teams are reportedly interested, and those teams include the Red Sox. Saunders enjoyed the second best season of his career in 2011, going 12-13/3.69/108 for the division leading D-Backs. While Saunders is not the greatest pitcher available, he has many qualities that I like. One of those is that he is a workhorse-- he has pitched 200 innings twice in the last 3 years. Another is that he is a winner, he posted 33 wins over 2008-2009, with 17 in '08 and 16 in '09. While wins and losses are not the most meaningful statistics, it does say a little bit about the pitcher, and I do like it when guys have lots of wins. Saunders would fit in nicely behind Clay Buchholz and in front of.... Miller, Aceves, Bard, Weiland? It would probably take one high tier prospect or two mid-tier guys. A package like Bryce Brentz OR something like Kolbrin Vitek and Oscar Tejeda. I'd be quite happy if the Sox could land Saunders.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Red Sox To Sign Jesse Carlson

The Red Sox have made their first meaningful signing of the offseason (not counting re-signing Scutaro and Ortiz), signing lefty reliever Jesse Carlson. Carlson did not pitch in 2011, after undergoing an injury to his left rotator cuff. In 2010 with the Blue Jays, he went 0-0/4.61/8 in 20 games and 13 2/3 innings. His best season came as a rookie in 2008 when he showed his potential, going 7-2/2.25/55 in 69 games and 60 innings. Carlson signed a split contract-- meaning he will make more money if he makes the team out of spring training than otherwise. He would be competing with Franklin Morales as a lefty in the bullpen as in 2010, he held lefties to a microscopic .158 batting average. I think that Carlson is a good sign for the Red Sox. I can't imagine that he costed very much to sign, and he has been a fairly average relief pitcher. He also has AL East experience, as he pitched for three years with the Blue Jays. I'm glad they made one move, now let's see some more!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

David Ortiz To Accept Arbitration, Yes!

Well, there's two big moves down-- we hired a manager and re-signed Papi, and it's about time. David Ortiz has reportedly decided to accept the Red Sox offer of arbitration. The Red Sox had an offer on the table of 2 years and $18 million. However, this would present a decrease in pay from $12.5 million in 2011 to just $9 million in 2012. Papi obviously wouldn't have been happy with a pay decrease after his fantastic .309/29/96 season in 2011. He wasn't too shabby in 2010 either, winning Sox.Rox Player of the Year and going .270/32/102. Ortiz is the best DH in baseball, and this presents a major move in the offseason plans for the Red Sox. With Papi back in the fold for 2012, the Red Sox will not have to worry about signing a heavy-hitting outfielder like Carlos Beltran or Josh Willingham and can instead go for cheaper players. It also means they can focus full out on signing at least one solid pitcher. I am very happy that the Sox have locked up Papi, he would have definitely been missed in Boston.

Red Sox Re-Sign Andrew Miller

For some depth, the Red Sox re-signed lefty Andrew Miller. Unfortunately, it may not just be for some depth as they signed him to a major league contract. Miller had an awful season for the Sox in 2011, going 6-3/5.44/50 in 17 games (12 starts) and 65 innings for the Red Sox. In the minors at AAA Pawtucket, he fared much better, going 3-3/2.47/61 in 13 games (12 starts) and 65 2/3 innings. Miller started off the season very well for the Red Sox, jumping out to a 4-1 start. However, he trailed off due to control problems and was very bad for much of the season. The Red Sox tried him out in the bullpen later in the year, and he pitched without too much success-- same control problems and everything, including a 6 runs in 1 1/3 innings performance in Texas. I don't really know why the Red Sox signed him to a major league deal, as I don't even want him on our roster as a #5 starter.

Red Sox, A's To Discuss Andrew Bailey

Since Jonathan Papelbon has left, the Red Sox do have a vacancy at the closer position. They have yet to be really aggressive (that we know of) at acquiring a closer. However, some reports have surfaced that the Red Sox will meet with the A's regarding trade possibilities for closer Andrew Bailey. Bailey had his third straight solid year as the A's closer, going 0-4/3.24/41 as well as racking up 24 saves in 26 chances. While his ERA of 3.24 was higher than his stellar marks of 1.47 and 1.84 in 2010 and 2009, respectively, don't be alarmed. His FIP (a more advanced and accurate statistic regarding pitchers) was pretty much on line with the rest of his seasons as he put up FIP's of 2.56, 2.96, and 2.86 in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. Bailey would be a proven closer that could fill in for Papelbon while Daniel Bard stayed right where he was, or converted to a starter. I would be happy if the Red Sox traded for Bailey, but we can't give up too much because we do have a potential closer in the wings.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Red Sox Interested in Hiroki Kuroda

Like just about every other decent starting pitcher remotely available, the Red Sox have shown interest in Hiroki Kuroda. And why not? Kuroda had a fantastic year with the Dodgers in 2011, going 13-16/3.07/161 in his best season in MLB. The other day, the Dodgers signed Chris Capuano to effectively replace Kuroda in the Dodgers' rotation. This means that his suitors are down to the Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Angels, and Diamondbacks. Earlier this year (at the trade deadline), Kuroda said he did not want to move to the east. However, since the Dodgers don't necessarily want him back, he has changed his views. He is 37 years old, so he is in no position to demand a long, luxurious contract. He could probably ask for about 2 years/$20 million. I would be all for Kuroda signing with the Sox; I think it would be a move that would definitely make us one of the best teams in baseball.

Conor Says... Trade For Jeremy Guthrie

The Red Sox obviously need pitching, and in a weak free agent market, they may have to go to trades to satisfy their needs. I think that one trade the Red Sox should explore is for Orioles righty Jeremy Guthrie. With just one year until Guthrie becomes a free agent, the Orioles may be shopping him to get something in return. Guthrie has not been fantastic in his years with the Orioles, but he has been consistent. In 2011, Guthrie had a fairly middle-of-the-road year, going 9-17/4.33/130 (ignore the W-L, he's played for the Orioles!). He doesn't strike out too many people, at only 5.63 per nine innings, but he doesn't walk many either, with 2.86 per nine. Another thing is that he has been this consistent in the AL East, meaning it's not out of the question that he could adjust to the pressure cooker of Boston. I think we could give up a package of prospects like Sean Coyle and Stolmy Pimentel plus cash. I think this would give the Red Sox the #4 starter they need to win.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Red Sox Interested in Joel Zumaya

Apparently, the Red Sox have expressed interest in free agent reliever Joel Zumaya. Zumaya missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow in May. He also missed much of his 2010 season after hurting his elbow in June. However, before his injuries, he was a very effective reliever for the Tigers. In 2010, he had a pretty good year, going 2-1/2.58/34 in 31 games and 38 2/3 innings. In his best year, his rookie year of 2006, Zumaya was stellar, going 6-3/1.94/97 in 62 games and 83 innings. One of the reasons Zumaya is so effective is because he is a fireballer. And when I say "fireballer," I mean faster than Bard (who reaches the high 90's easily). Zumaya has thrown the most pitches over 100 mph in MLB history and holds the unofficial record with a 104 mph fastball. Zumaya would accompany Bard as fireballers in the bullpen and give the Sox a very solid setup corps. I would be for this move, as he'd likely come cheap, but would be great if healthy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Will This Go Down As Valentine's Day In Red Sox Nation?

Today, the Red Sox formally introduced Bobby Valentine as their next manager. Valentine reportedly signed off on a 2 year deal earlier today and will definitely be the next manager. There have been mixed reviews about Valentine's hiring. I have seen many reports saying how great a move this is and how it is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in the face of Red Sox nation. To be honest, I'm just glad that the whole managerial interview process is over. However, I am excited about Valentine. He brings a personality that I like to the table as he is colorful but firm-- something this clubhouse is in dire need of. I look forward to seeing how Valentine performs as the Red Sox manager in 2012 and (hopefully) beyond.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Be Red Sox Nation's Valentine?

After a long, excruciating process, the Red Sox have finally hired their next manager-- former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine. He has been a decent manager in his time, compiling a .510 winning percentage. He definitely has far more experience than any other candidate the Red Sox had, managing about 15 years. Another thing Valentine has is charisma, and a definite personality. He has worked as an analyst on ESPN the past few years, which is pretty much the only thing I've seen him on being a fairly young baseball fan. However, I heard a story that cracks me up about Valentine. I hear that in one Mets game, he was ejected, but he came back into the dugout with a fake mustache on. A loose personality like that would definitely help this stuffy clubhouse full of "beer and chicken." I don't know enough about Valentine to make a definite decision, but I'm glad this whole ordeal is over.

Red Sox Re-Sign Minor Leaguer Tony Pena Jr.

I am a bit frustrated by the Red Sox moves this offseason, or lack thereof, so I've begun to just report every little detail I get. So, here's the next little detail-- the Red Sox have re-signed Tony Pena Jr. Pena pitched for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox the whole year in 2011 in his 2nd full year of pitching after being a shortstop for his previous career. He was actually quite effective, going 9-6/3.56/65 in 33 games, 14 of which were starts. Pena is a guy who I'm surprised the Red Sox didn't call up during the September '11 collapse. I think he's a guy who probably could have started a few games here and there instead of Tim Wakefield, John Lackey, and Kyle Weiland. The Red Sox signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training which includes an additional $650,000 if he makes the major league team out of Spring Training. I'm all for Pena sticking around and possibly making an impact in 2012.

Red Sox Show Interest In Broxton

Update: Nevermind, he signed with the Royals.

Reports have surfaced that the Red Sox may be looking into possibilities for free agent closer Jonathan Broxton. Broxton will likely come for a cheap price, as he was injured and ineffective for much of 2011. He finished 1-2/5.68/10, saving 7/8 chances in 12 games and 10 innings. The fireballer had surgery on his throwing elbow in 2011, but if healthy would likely be a good pitcher. He has shown that he can be effective consistently after going 5-6/4.04/73 and saving 22/29 chances in 64 games. In 2009, he was even better, going 7-2/2.61/114 and saving 36/42 chances in 73 games. I would certainly not mind signing Broxton for bullpen depth, but he looks a lot like Bobby Jenks to me and I would not trust him in the closer role. Like Jenks, he is a closer who has been injured and declined over the past few years. He would probably be available to a 1 year/$2.5 million contract. As I said, I would like Broxton to compete for a bullpen job, but nothing more.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Red Sox Check Into Wandy Rodriguez

The Red Sox search for good pitching through trades continues as reports have indicated that they have contacted the Astros about lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez completed his fourth straight season with an ERA under 4.00, going 11-11/3.49/166 in 191 innings and 30 starts. Rodriguez is the only remotely good player in the Astros system, so it would probably take quite a bit of prying to get him. He would probably be just under what Gio Gonzalez would demand from the A's. The Astros would probably part with him for a package around Will Middlebrooks and/or Bryce Brentz, quite similar to Gio Gonzalez. Rodriguez would be a guy who would probably fit in as the #3 or 4 starter in the Red Sox rotation and would make one of the most formidable rotations in baseball when healthy. Just like Gio Gonzalez, I would be thrilled if the Red Sox could acquire Rodriguez; but only for a certain price.

Conor Says... Sign Francisco Cordero

With Jonathan Papelbon having left for the Phillies, the Red Sox are without a proven closer in his position. That is why I think the Red Sox should go after Francisco Cordero, a free agent closer who pitched for the Reds in 2011. Cordero is coming off a fantastic season in 2011, in which he went 5-3/2.45/42 as well as saving 37/43 opportunities. Cordero certainly has had some experience pitching in tough ballparks for a pitcher, as he has pitched in Great American Ballpark, Miller Park, and Rangers Ballpark-- three major hitting parks. Also, he would likely come cheap as he will be 37 at the beginning of 2011 and there is a fairly good market for closers out there with Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, and Matt Capps. I think he would be signable for 2 years/$16 million-- and for a guy who may even be better than Papelbon. I don't really expect the Red Sox to do this, I expect them to stick with Bard, but if they were to make a move-- it should be for Francisco Cordero.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Red Sox Interested In Luis Ayala

Reports have surfaced that the Red Sox may be interested in free agent reliever Luis Ayala. Ayala had a magnificent season out of the 'pen for the Yankees in 2011, going 2-2/2.09/39 in 52 games and 56 innings. The Rays have also looked into Ayala, and I'm sure that after that season, the Yankees would be very happy to have him back. In that case, he would not be an easy sign and probably would want a guaranteed spot on a major league team's roster-- not something to just throw away to a reliever who hasn't been spectacular for much of his career. He has a career 3.47 ERA over 5 teams, and his career line would be much better if not for rough years in 2008 and 2009 before missing a whole season in 2010. The last time the Red Sox plucked a reliever from the Evil Empire it worked pretty well (Alfredo Aceves), so I'd be all for trying it again!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Red Sox Emerge As A Contender For Gio Gonzalez

It is fairly widely known that the Oakland A's have amazing pitching and terrible hitting. It is also fairly widely known that would be shopping one of their pitchers (probably Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill) to get some offense in return. Yesterday, I heard a report that the Red Sox were "very high" on Gio Gonzalez, a lefty who has emerged as one of the better pitchers in baseball over the last couple of years. In 2011, he had his second straight great year, going 16-12/3.12/197. On a better team, like the Red Sox, Gonzalez could easily become a 20-game winner and a perennial Cy Young candidate. Of course, the Red Sox are not the only team in on Gonzalez, as multiple reports have surfaced of him possibly going to the Marlins or *gasp* the Yankees. Now, the problem is how to get Gio. After the Adrian Gonzalez trade, many of our high-caliber prospects are gone. However, seeing as Gonzalez is one of the best starters in the game right now, I would be very open to making a package around Will Middlebrooks or Bryce Brentz. If the Red Sox could land Gonzalez, I would be incredibly happy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Red Sox Offer Ortiz, Wheeler Arbitration

The title says enough that I don't have to write a topic sentence here. I'll do one anyways though; the Red Sox have offered arbitration to David Ortiz (right) and Dan Wheeler. Ortiz had a monster year in 2011, hitting .309/29/96, reverting back to his masher form from 2003-2007. Ortiz would be a Type A free agent, so we would get a draft pick if he signed elsewhere. However, he has stated that he would like to stay in Boston. He also has said he would like a multi-year deal, something he may not get with arbitration. However, he would get a raise from the $12.5 million he earned last year-- something that may tempt him. Wheeler had a fairly mediocre year last season in the bullpen, not quite living up to expectations. He went 2-2/4.38/39 in his first (and possibly only) year in Boston. Through arbitration, the Red Sox would have to offer him at least $2.4 million. This may be tempting to him, because after a mediocre year, I doubt he'd get more than that on the open market; I also doubt he'd get a multi-year deal. I think Wheeler is a good chance to resign, and Papi is a something like 60% in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Red Sox Make Three Minor Moves

For pitching depth, the Red Sox have made moves to acquire three minor league free agents. These include former Pirates lefty Justin Thomas (right), Padres righty Will Inman, and Orioles righty Chorye Spoon. Of the three, Thomas is the only one with major league experience, as he pitched 12 games for the Pirates in 2010 and 8 games for the Mariners in 2008. He has compiled a career 0-2/6.35/7 line in 17 innings in the majors. With the Indianapolis Indians (the Pirates' AAA affiliate) in 2011, Thomas had a pretty good year, going 8-2/3.89/59 in 63 games. Inman had a tough year in 2011 to say the least, going 5-11/6.15/120 in 42 games (17 starts) with the Tucson Padres (the Padres' AAA affiliate). Chorye Spoone was average in a season split between the Bowie Baysox (AA) and Norfolk Tides (AAA). Between the two, he went 7-6/4.50/80 in 31 games (19 starts). Of the three pitchers, I see Thomas as the only one who potentially would make an impact as a reliever at the major league level. On a different note, minor leaguers Drew Sutton and Tommy Hottovy have signed elsewhere: Sutton with the Braves and Hottovy with the Royals.

Ellsbury Gets This One Stolen From Him

Usually, it's Jacoby Ellsbury doing the stealing; this time, he's getting stolen from. I expect most casual Red Sox fans know that our stud Jacoby Ellsbury finished 2nd in MVP voting to Justin Verlander. Now, I am going to say that Verlander was fantastic. He absolutely deserved the Cy Young, but I don't think that somebody playing every five games should win the MVP award. Pitchers do have their own award after all. Verlander was probably more valuable to the Tigers than Ellsbury was to the Sox, as I don't think they would have won the division without him. However, I am of the personal opinion that the MVP award should generally go to a batter. Yes, I'm guilty. If a Red Sox pitcher wins the MVP, I won't be saying this. However, it's not all about the Red Sox as I was predicting Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays to win the MVP and would have been surprised if Ellsbury did. Ellsbury had a great season, going .321/32/105 with 39 stolen bases: becoming the first 30-30 man in Red Sox history. He had a career year, and I hope he continues his stellar career as a member of the Red Sox. Congratulations to Justin Verlander as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Conor Says... Sign Aaron Harang

In my opinion, I think that a move for Aaron Harang is a no-brainer for the Red Sox. He'd likely be cheap, and he gave the Padres a great season last year, going 14-7/3.64/124. He is exactly what we need in an innings-eater, as he put together 3 straight 200+ innings seasons from 2005-2007, and put up 160+ in 2008, 2009, and 2011. He is not a strikeouts pitcher, with only 6.5 strikeouts per nine and doesn't have the best control with 3.1 walks per nine. However, he has an ability to just get people out, unlike some people who don't get many strikeouts either.... *cough cough... Lackey and Wakefield... *cough cough. While he did put up this season in Petco Park, a well known pitcher's park, he also had some very good seasons with the Reds in Great American Ballpark, a well known hitter's park. I think we could get Harang for fairly cheap, probably something like 2 yr/$20 million and could probably get a very solid pitcher out of him. I think he would definitely be superior to whatever anybody on the current roster beyond Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz could give.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Red Sox Meet With Agent Of Oswalt, Wilson

According to multiple sources, the Red Sox have met with Bob Garber, the agent of free agent pitchers Roy Oswalt (right) and C.J. Wilson. Of the two, I would definitely prefer Oswalt-- not because he is a better pitcher, but because he would be less likely to be a bust. Wilson is the best pitcher on a fairly weak free agent market after going 16-7/2.94/206 in 2011 and will probably get a very large deal of something around 5 years and $85-90 million. Oswalt, on the other hand, had an injury-hampered year in 2011, but it was the first time in 7 years he had not made 30 starts, he made 23 for the Phillies. In those 23 starts, he was certainly not bad, going 9-10/3.69/93. He is definitely not the Roy Oswalt in his prime, where from 2001-2008, he rattled off 8 consecutive years with an ERA under 4.00 to begin his career. However, he would be much more affordable that Wilson, and his consistency would be a huge asset. It may be difficult for Oswalt (and Wilson, less so) to adjust to the AL East, having played in the NL his whole career, however, I bet he could handle it. I would be very pleased to have Oswalt, but I'd be a bit surprised if they heavily chased C.J. Wilson.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Red Sox To Scout Cuban Phenom Yoenis Cespedes

It has been announced that new GM Ben Cherington will be shipping down to the Dominican Republic to watch Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is expected to be a hot commodity for many this winter. However, he really makes sense for the Red Sox. He is a right-handed right fielder who hits for power and has good speed. Last season in Cuba, he had a remarkable season, hitting .333 with 33 home runs in only 99 games. Since he has not played in MLB or Japan, I don't have too many stats on him right now-- however, pretty much every site I've seen says he is a 5-tool player and I assume I'll believe them. However, as I said earlier, he is a hot commodity for many teams across the board, and as usual when there's a good player involved, the Yankees are one of them. The highest contract ever for a Cuban defector was Aroldis Chapman in the 2009 offseason, and that was for 6 years/$30.25 million. Cespedes is expected to get that, and possibly more. I think if the Sox don't overpay for him, this would be a great move for Ben Cherington.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Conor Says... Sign Mike Gonzalez

In 2011, due to many posts and comments on certain blogs-- I saw that many Red Sox fans were unhappy with Franklin Morales. Acquired in May from the Rockies, Morales pitched for a 1-1/3.62/36 season in 36 games with the Sox. That is not bad at all, however, his walk rates and FIP of 4.26 tell a different tale and scare me a bit. In that case, I think it may not be a bad idea to have another lefty in the bullpen, and one free agent who comes to mind in Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez had a somewhat tough year in 2011, split between the Rangers and Orioles. He was 2-2/4.39/51; however, he was hurt for some time. Through 2010 and 2011, Gonzalez certainly did not live up to the hype of his 2 year/$12 million deal struck with the Orioles. This likely means the lefty would be available for a 1 year/$3-4 million deal due to his recent injury history. Also, he could fill in the closer role from time to time as he has some experience as a closer (He saved 24/24 chances with the Pirates in 2006).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Red Sox Finish Phase One of Managerial Interviews

After the Red Sox interviewed Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont today, they have their final five candidates. These include Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Dodgers third base coach Torey Lovullo, and Lamont. Many reporters have indicated that Sveum (right) is the front-runner for the position, with Alomar not too far behind. However, reports have stated that Ben Cherington is "high on Sveum, and the rest of the interviewing process may just be a formality." Sveum was the Red Sox third base coach from 2004-2005, and was very bad, apparently-- I wouldn't know. My top candidates would be Mackanin and Alomar. I like Mackanin because he has stated that he is very into statistics, which could really help our club. Alomar would command respect from the players because he was a good player in his day, and he would also help the latino players. I look forward to the Red Sox naming their manager for 2012 and (hopefully) beyond.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Papelbon Leaves For Phillies

Well, it's official-- star closer Jonathan Papelbon has left the Red Sox, signing a 4 year/$50 million contract with the Phillies today. Papelbon had a very good year with the Red Sox in 2011, going 4-1/2.33/87, along with saving 31 of 34 chances. Papelbon is the only closing pitcher in history to save 30 games in the first 6 full seasons of his career. He also is the Red Sox franchise saves leader, with 219, as he has been the primary closer for the Red Sox since 2006. HOWEVER, he is not worth $50 million and here's why. Yes, he is an above average closer-- top 5, I'd say. Still, he has directly ended the Red Sox season for 3 consecutive years, less so in 2010 though. In 2009, he was unable to protect a 5-2 lead in Game 3 of the ALDS which ended the Red Sox season. In 2010, he was just bad. This year, he was unable to protect a 3-2 lead with 2 outs and nobody on in the 9th inning of a crucial Game 162. I wish you well, Paps, you had a great career with the Sox.

Red Sox Have Contacted Grady Sizemore

As I pointed out the other day, the Red Sox are in need of a right fielder for 2012. I also pointed out that they have been extensively linked to Carlos Beltran. However, it has been reported that, while they are interested in Beltran, they have actually called Grazy Sizemore. Earlier in the offseason, the Indians declined Sizemore's $9 million option for the 2012 season, meaning he would likely be available for less than that. I think he is widely seen as a low-risk high-reward option, as he has been consistently injured since 2009. From 2005-2008, he put together 4 straight All-Star seasons in which he consistently batted over .265 with more than 20 home runs and 75 RBIs, as well as 20 steals. However, since then he has been much worse, going only .224/10/32 in 71 games this year. If the Red Sox were able to pick up on Sizemore and he could bat .250/20/65 with 20 steals, I would be very happy with this move.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red Sox Reported To Be Interested In Carlos Beltran

This afternoon, multiple reports surfaced that the Red Sox are pretty heavily into outfielder Carlos Beltran. After injury-filled years in 2009-2010, Beltran resurfaced as an everyday player and a star in 2011. In a year split between the Mets and Giants, Beltran went .300/22/84. Of the free agents who are outfielders, Beltran is clearly the best option available. He is reported to be interested in a 2 year deal, and the Red Sox appear to be the biggest suitor. If the Red Sox were able to sign Beltran, they would become an absolutely dynamic offense. Beltran would fill the only question mark in our lineup with a plus bat that, to top it off, is a switch-hitter. He is slightly better against righties, but he still batted .286 off of lefties in 2012; as this would add another big bat to an already great lineup. If the Red Sox were able to sign Beltran for a 2 yr/$20 million deal, it would be a great move.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Conor Says... Sign Michael Cuddyer

Heading into 2012, the Red Sox only position in need of improvement will be right field. Josh Reddick started off very hot, but once pitchers made adjustments on him, he faded down the stretch, batting .235 over the final two months. That is why I think the Sox should sign a more consistent right fielder in Michael Cuddyer-- a guy who batted .284/20/70 in 2011 for the Twins. However, his best year was in 2009, when he went .276/32/94 to help lead the Twins to a division title. Another asset would be his versatility, as he can play the corner outfield positions, as well as every infield position except shortstop. For me, he would be the starting right fielder, as well as giving Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez a few breaks at first and third base. The Phillies have been linked to Cuddyer-- but I think we could pry him away for a certain price. I think that 3 years for $25 million would be reasonable, but nothing too much more than that. Thanks for reading and comment what you think!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Three Is The Magic Number For Sox, As Silver Sluggers Are Announced

Right after three Red Sox took home Gold Gloves last night, three Sox took home Silver Sluggers today. In fact, two of the three players that won Gold Gloves last night, won Silver Sluggers today. The three Silver Sluggers for the Sox are first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (right), and designated hitter David Ortiz. They all had great offensive seasons, with Gonzalez going .338/27/117, Ellsbury going .321/32/105, and Ortiz going .309/29/96. The most special of these was definitely Jacoby Ellsbury, who won Sox.Rox Player of the Year with a great year. After an injury-riddled 2010, nobody expected this kind of production out of Ellsbury-- including me. His power output was tremendous compared to his previous 2 full years, as he more than doubled his total. Gonzalez was great up until late in the year when his power disappeared, but he still had a fantastic season. Ortiz was good as well, as the 2010 Sox.Rox Player of the Year was even better in 2011, as he really rebounded from a seemingly never-ending slump. I'm really proud of our Sox, and we have a very solid chance in 2012!

Three Sox Take Home Gold Gloves

Last night, the Gold Glove Award winners were announced; at the time, 4 Red Sox were finalists for an AL Gold Glove. These players were first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, second baseman Dustin Pedroia (right), third baseman Kevin Youkilis, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. As things turned out, everyone but Kevin Youkilis took home a Gold Glove at their respective position. This was Gonzalez's 3rd Gold Glove ('08, '09, '11), Pedroia's 2nd ('08, '11), and Ellsbury's 1st ('11). Ever since the Nomar Garciaparra trade on July 31, 2004; the Red Sox have really made a move to improve their defense. Many years that I've been watching NESN they've showed the defense and I've heard that the Red Sox rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th in errors that year. In fact, this was the first time that 3 Red Sox teammates won the award since 1979 when Rick Burleson, Dwight Evans, and Fred Lynn did it. It was even the 1st time since 1990 that multiple Red Sox won it when Mike Boddicker and Ellis Burks did it. I'm proud of all these guys and happy they are on my team!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Red Sox Decline Options For Wheeler and Atchison

Well, I figure I don't need a topic sentence for this post, as you probably got the gist of it from the title. However, two Red Sox relievers may not be coming back for 2012. The Red Sox declined Dan Wheeler's $3 million options and Scott Atchison's option for league minimum. I would say there is about a 50/50 chance that the Sox keep Wheeler, but they probably won't bring back Atchison. Wheeler had a decent year in 2011, but he did not live up to expectations, going 2-2/4.38/39. Scott Atchison bounced between Boston and Pawtucket for pretty much the whole year, but while he was in Boston, he was pretty effective, going 1-0/3.26/17. I would not mind seeing either of these guys back in the bullpen, especially Wheeler, as he's proven to be more consistent over the years. I don't see them bringing back Atchison for any less than his option so he's probably gone; however, if they could get Wheeler at around $2 million- I'd consider it a good move.