Friday, December 30, 2011
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
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
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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
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
Saturday, December 10, 2011
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.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.