Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Red Sox In The Mix For Edwin Jackson

For a little while now, we've known that the Red Sox have been interested in Edwin Jackson. However, only today was it announced that they have offered him a contract-- reportedly in the $5-6 million range. Now, this is probably less than Jackson would take as he is a solid pitcher who put together a 12-9/3.79/148 season in 2011. Jackson had the best season of his career in 2011, by both a standard and peripheral stat standpoint as a 3.55 FIP and 3.73 xFIP accompanied his 3.79 ERA. His strikeout rate of 6.67 was right alongside his career average and his 2.79 BB/9 was the best of his career. Jackson actually pitched in the AL East from 2006-2008, his best season coming in '08 when he went 14-11/4.42/108, so we can't expect a 3.79 ERA again if he comes to the Red Sox. However, a 4.20 ERA could go a long way toward a division or World Series title for the Red Sox.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 Predictions: NL West

1st Place: Arizona Diamondbacks- The Diamondbacks haven't really lost anything from a team that went 94-68 last year. In fact, if anything, they've improved. They acquired Trevor Cahill (right) and Craig Breslow in a shrewd trade with the A's that will net them a solid reliever in Breslow (0-2/3.79/44 in 2011) and a solid starter in Cahill (12-14/4.16/147 in 2011). I expect Aaron Hill (.246/8/61) and Lyle Overbay (.234/9/47) to have rebound years with a change of scenery. The D-Backs could be among the league's elite without a doubt  in 2012.

2nd Place: San Francisco Giants- After winning the World Series in 2010, 2011 was a disappointment for the Giants as they went 86-76 and missed the playoffs. If anything, 2011 just showed that 2010 was a fluke. While they do have fantastic pitching: Tim Lincecum (13-14/2.74/22), Matt Cain (12-11/2.88/179), and Madison Bumgarner (13-13/3.21/191) highlighted the second best rotation in baseball last year, they have no hitting. While they were battered by injuries, Buster Posey (.305/18/67 in 2010) and Freddy Sanchez (.292/7/47 in 2010) will be back for the full year, they just don't have enough offense to compete. The acquired a couple of outfielders in Angel Pagan (.262/7/56) and Melky Cabrera (left) (.305/18/87) but they don't have the offense to compete.

3rd Place: Colorado Rockies- The Rockies were a major disappointment to many who thought that they would ride a great offense to a playoff berth; however, they finished 4th and went 73-89. Still, they have done nothing but improved this offseason, acquiring Michael Cuddyer (right)(.284/20/70), Casey Blake (.252/4/26), Marco Scutaro (.299/7/54), and Ramon Hernandez (.282/12/36) to bolster an offense that was 7th in the league last year. Their pitching is a bit weak, but Jhoulys Chacin (11-14/3.62/150) is a stud and Jorge De La Rosa (5-2/3.51/52 in 10 starts) should be healthy.

4th Place: Los Angeles Dodgers- Like the Rockies, the Dodgers were a disappointment to many in 2011. However, unlike the Rockies, they haven't done much to improve in the offseason. They do have a strong pitching staff, led by NL Cy Young Award Winner Clayton Kershaw (21-5/2.28/248), Chad Billingsley (11-11/4.21/152), and Ted Lilly (12-14/3.97/158). However, their offense lacks any firepower whatsoever behind Matt Kemp (.324/39/126) and Andre Ethier (.292/11/62). Plus, this offseason, the only real players they acquired were replacement level middle infielders like Mark Ellis (.248/7/41), Adam Kennedy (.234/7/38), and Jerry Hairston Jr. (left)(.270/5/31). In other words, the Dodgers lack the offensive firepower to compete, even in a weak division like the NL West.

5th Place: San Diego Padres- Like all too many teams in this division, the Padres have a stellar pitching staff and a terrible offense. However, they have made a move to fix that, trading Mat Latos to the Reds for gifted first baseman Yonder Alonso (.330/5/15 in 47 games), Edinson Volquez (5-7/5.71/104), and a bucket of prospects. They also netted Carlos Quentin (right) (.254/24/77) in a trade with the White Sox-- however, Petco Park should keep Quentin's undeniable power at bay. The Padres haven't done enough to make them a contender, or even close to one.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Maine Becomes A Part of Massachusetts

Today, the Red Sox added one to their depth moves-- signing starting pitcher John Maine to a minor league contract. Just a few years ago, Maine was an above average pitcher with the Mets before injuries unraveled his career. Maine's best season came in 2007, when he went 15-10/3.91/180 for the Mets, making 32 starts. He also posted above average peripheral stats that year with a 4.18 FIP and xFIP as well as an excellent 8.48 K/9 and 3.53 BB/9. However, injuries really rattled him and he did not pitch in the majors in 2011. He put up a miserable 1-3/7.43/35 line with the Rockies' AAA affiliate to go with a 5.98 FIP. However, this is partially because he averaged a ridiculously bad 7.24 BB/9, even more than his 6.85 K/9 (which is still respectable). According to Maine's agent, the Red Sox have talked to Maine about potentially becoming a reliever. Maine is definitely a bit of a reclamation project, but it never hurts to have depth.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Four Red Sox Prospects Rank In MLB.com's Top 100

Last night, MLB.com announced the top 100 prospects in all of baseball and four Red Sox prospects ranked in this list. The highest ranked Red Sox at #56 was Will Middlebrooks (right) who plays third base for AAA Pawtucket. Middlebrooks had an excellent season in 2011, going .285/23/94 between AA and AAA along with, allegedly, playing excellent third base. Next was Bryce Brentz at #64, who raised his prospect status tremendously playing right field for A Greenville and A+ Salem in 2011, going .306/30/94. Next was #76, Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts raised a lot of eyebrows in 2011, including mine, after going .260/16/45 as the shortstop for the Greenville Drive. However, those numbers don't look all that impressive-- the catch is that he's only 18. Finally was #93 Ryan Lavarnway who we all know had an excellent year and is considered the future behind the plate for the Red Sox. Between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket, Lavarnway showed amazing potential, batting .290/32/93 and getting a cup of coffee at the end of the year. A few of these players are the future of the franchise and I'm very excited to see them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Red Sox Avoid Arbitration With Andrew Bailey

Today, the Red Sox locked up another arbitration eligible player in Andrew Bailey and now only have two remaining. Bailey's deal is worth $3.9 million over one year. Bailey is slated to be the Red Sox' closer in 2012 after going 0-4/3.24/41 in 2011 with the A's. He was acquired in the Red Sox' biggest move of the offseason-- a 5-player trade with the A's in which Josh Reddick was shipped to Oakland. Bailey experienced his worst season in the majors, and was plagued by injuries. However, he still managed a very respectable 3.24 ERA, 2.86 FIP, and 3.52 xFIP to go with 8.86 K/9 and 2.59 BB/9. Needless to say, those are some pretty impressive peripheral stats. If Bailey can stay away from the forearm and neck injuries he suffered in 2011, a $3.9 million deal should come off as a bargain for the 27-year old. I'm glad the Sox locked up Bailey, now only two to go!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Red Sox Add Right Field Option With Cody Ross

Today, the Red Sox agreed to terms with Cody Ross on a contract. Ross will be in the right field mix for the Red Sox in 2012, after going .240/14/52 as the Giants left fielder in 2011. Allegedly, the deal is worth $3 million over a year. Ross has been a consistent outfielder in his career, and his career 162-game average in .261/21/79-- numbers that would be very solid as the Red Sox' right fielder in 2012. I'm a bit surprised that the Red Sox made this move as he wouldn't be all that solid a platoon partner to Ryan Sweeney. He only batted .234 against lefties in 2011 and slugged only .362 off lefties as opposed to .405 total. Even so, however, I'd much more comfortable with a Sweeney/Ross platoon than I am with a Sweeney/McDonald platoon. In his career, right field has been the strongest position for Ross-- however, he isn't stellar anywhere-- his career UZR/150 in right is -0.5. I suppose it can't hurt to have depth but I don't see Ross becoming a star in Boston.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conor Says... Sign Wilson Betemit

After trading away Marco Scutaro yesterday, the Red Sox will be strongly in the market for two things. Those are a starting pitcher and an additional bat off the bench. While I hope they sign Roy Oswalt for the former, the latter takes a bit more work to figure out. A guy that I think could be a really helpful player off the bench would be Wilson Betemit. Mike Aviles will likely take over the starting shortstop role and with Nick Punto off the bench, they have a strong middle infield backup. However, the past few years, Kevin Youkilis has been a growing concern for Red Sox fans as he hasn't played 140 games since 2008. The Red Sox will likely be giving Youk some time off to help him recover and having a guy off the bench who can bat .285/8/46, as he did in 2011. He would likely be available on a short, cheap contract and the Red Sox could do worse to fill out their bench.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Red Sox Avoid Arbitration With Daniel Bard

Just recently after trading Marco Scutaro to Colorado, Ben Cherington jumped right back into action, agreeing to a contract with Daniel Bard. The deal will be worth $1.6125 million over a year. Bard had his worst year as a major league pitcher, going a very good 2-9/3.33/74. However, Bard, who has been the Red Sox' set-up man the past two seasons is expected to move into the rotation in spring. During spring training, Ben Cherington has said the Sox expect to stretch Bard out to join a potentially very good rotation. They have a very strong front three of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz and they have "intensified their interest" in Roy Oswalt after trading Scutaro. Bard was a starter in college and for a year in the minors (2007) when he went 3-5/6.42/38 for the Greenville Drive. The Sox then transferred him to a reliever and the rest is history. Hopefully, Bard works out as a starter and the Red Sox develop a strong pitching rotation.

Red Sox Ship Scutaro To Colorado

Today, the Red Sox completed a move that broke the heart of many Red Sox fans, including me. They shipped scrappy fan favorite Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies in return for Clayton Mortensen. This move is likely just a payroll dump as they are trading Scutaro, who will make $6 million in 2012 for Mortensen, who is not even arbitration eligible yet-- this could secure some payroll space for a guy like Roy Oswalt. Mortensen finally broke through as a major leaguer in 2011, going 2-4/3.86/30 for the Rockies. However, he got lucky as his FIP stood at 5.34 and his xFIP was 4.67; plus, his K/9 of 4.63 and BB/9 of 3.70 are less than impressive. Mortensen is no more than depth just like Aaron Cook, Carlos Silva, and Vicente Padilla. At shortstop, the Red Sox will likely platoon Mike Aviles and Nick Punto. If this move translates into Roy Oswalt, I will be happy-- if not, I will be very mad at Ben Cherington.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Red Sox, Rockies Talking Marco Scutaro

Earlier today, the Red Sox and Rockies were reported to be talking about trade possibilities for Marco Scutaro. Scutaro had a great season in his second year with the Sox in 2011, going .299/7/54. However, the 36 year old shortstop has only gone .270/10/59 in his 162-game average. Trading Scutaro would leave no real shortstop heading into the season with the best free agent shortstops available being Miguel Tejada, Ryan Theriot, and Edgar Renteria. I have no idea who the Rockies would have traded the Red Sox but a few realistic options for Scutaro would probably be a major league pitcher or two. However, the Rockies don't have very solid pitching and they'd be unwilling to trade Jhoulys Chacin (11-14/3.62/150 in 2011) for as little as Scutaro. Maybe Jorge De La Rosa? Point is, I don't know, and I don't see these talks going anywhere.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crawford Had Wrist Surgery, May Miss Start of Season

Earlier today, Carl Crawford underwent a surgical operation on his left wrist. Crawford may miss opening day, but will be the starting left fielder for "the bulk of the season." Crawford had a tough first season in Boston after signing in December 2010 for a 7 year/$142 million contract. He struggled, batting just .255/11/56 after extremely high expectations before the season began. Apparently, it's a relatively routine operation that has low risk and Crawford should be batting in spring training, according to Ben Cherington. Allegedly, Crawford began to feel pain in his wrist around New Year's Day when he began to amp up his hitting workouts. Red Sox fans everywhere hope that Crawford can play in 2012 and will live up to the lofty expectations that Red Sox Nation gave him before the season started. I really hope that injuries do not affect the Red Sox in 2012 as they have in 2010 and 2011.

Red Sox Agree To Contracts With Ellsbury, Aviles

Today, on the day of the arbitration deadline, the Red Sox have signed a couple more players: Jacoby Ellsbury (right) and Mike Aviles. Now they only need to agree to contracts with four more players. Ellsbury's deal was worth $8.05 million over one year after his near MVP season. Ellsbury won the Sox.Rox Player of the Year Award after going a remarkable .321/32/105 after a lost 2010 season in which he only played in 18 games. Hopefully, Ellsbury can continue that production as the Red Sox' center fielder and leadoff hitter for the next several years. Next is utility infielder Mike Aviles, whom the Red Sox acquired midseason from the Royals. In 91 games this year, Aviles batted .255/7/39; however, he was very good with the Red Sox, going .317/2/8 in 38 games down the stretch. His deal is worth $1.2 million over one year. With Jed Lowrie gone, Aviles will probably be the primary bat off the bench so expect to see more of him. I hope the Sox can come to an agreement with the remaining four players tonight.

Red Sox Lock Up Franklin Morales

Last night, the Red Sox agreed to terms on a contract with lefty reliever Franklin Morales. Morales' contract is worth $850,000 over 1 year. Morales came over to the Red Sox from the Rockies in May of last year in a move that many expected would be minor. However, Morales became the sole lefty out of the Red Sox' pen. He had a pretty good year too, as it appeared he needed a change of scenery out of the hitters' paradise of Coors Field. He went 1-2/3.69/42 in 50 games and 46.1 innings split between the two teams and with the Sox, he went 1-1/3.62/31 in 36 games and 32.1 innings. Even though it seemed I was often frustrated with Morales throughout the season for walking a bunch of guys or something, but his stats were pretty good. He put up a 4.26 FIP and 4.39 xFIP to go with an 8.16 K/9 and 3.69 BB/9 (I expected that walk rate to be a bit higher, but it turns out he was alright!). I expect that Morales will be the primary, if not sole, lefty out of the Red Sox bullpen in 2011 and good luck to him.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Red Sox Sign Vicente Padilla

Today, the Red Sox came to terms on a contract with Vicente Padilla. A few days ago, the Red Sox were linked to Padilla, who will be one of the group of Aaron Cook, Carlos Silva, and now, Padilla-- who will be competing for the #5 spot in the rotation. Padilla had a lost year in 2011 due to injuries, going 0-0/4.15/9 in 8.2 innings out of the bullpen in 2011. For the majority of his career, however, he has been a largely average starter for the Phillies, Rangers, and Dodgers. In 2010, his last year as a starter, he lived up to his expectations, going 6-5/4.07/84 in 16 starts, plus a 4.21 FIP and 3.74 xFIP. So far, it appears at Padilla will be healthy heading into 2012, and has been playing in the Nicaraguan Winter League, where he has been clocked at 95-96 miles per hour. The Red Sox have been linked to Roy Oswalt as well in the past few days. If the Red Sox were to sign Oswalt, it would be unlikely for guys like Padilla to make an impact. However, if they do not sign Oswalt, then Padilla will have a shot at the #5 spot in spring training.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Sox Keep Some Salt In Their Lineup

Today, the Red Sox avoided arbitration with another potential case by locking up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The contract is reportedly worth $2.5 million over 1 year. Saltalamacchia was having a pretty good year as the Red Sox' starting catcher in 2011; however, he faded down the stretch, batting .221 in August and .162 in September. On the season, he finished .235/16/56 and setting career highs in just about every category. Like we expected entering the season, Salty displayed a fair amount of pop, slugging .450 with an isolated power of .215; the league leader was Mike Napoli with .312, but behind him was J.P. Arencibia, who had .219-- not far ahead of Salty. The former top prospect also threw out 31% of baserunners from behind the plate, a very good mark for an unproven but talented catcher like Salty. This was pretty much expected, and expect several more signings like this as the deadline approaches.

Conor Says... Trade For Brett Myers

Of the many things that you can say about Brett Myers, two of them are exactly what the Red Sox need: he works a lot of innings and he is consistent. Myers is the lesser of three fairly solid pitchers that the Astros have (Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, Myers). He is coming off of a season in which is he went 7-14/4.46/160. While those stats show that he was pretty average last year, his peripherals show that he was pretty good, he put up a 4.26 FIP and 3.75 xFIP. He also put up very good strikeout vs. walk numbers, striking out 6.67 per nine and walking 2.38 per nine. Those stats show that Myers would be a great addition for the #5 spot in the Red Sox rotation. Since the Yankees acquired Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda two days ago, it's looking like the Red Sox need a strong rotation to compete in the AL East. Adding Brett Myers as the #5 starter would be a step in the right direction.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Red Sox Avoid Arbitration With Ryan Sweeney

Today, the Red Sox agreed to terms with Ryan Sweeney on a contract which would help the sides to avoid arbitration. The deal is worth $1.75 million over 1 year, and the Red Sox potentially have to face arbitration with 8 more players this offseason. Sweeney batted .265/1/25 in 2011 and in his career has averaged .283/5/58 per 162 games. If the season started today, the Red Sox would likely have Sweeney platooning with Darnell McDonald as the starting right fielders. Sweeney, being a lefty, would face righties in this platoon, and in 2011, he batted .286 off of righties. McDonald batted .260 off of lefties. The two would form an unspectacular but effective duo for the right field spot. Sweeney is a pretty good outfielder, having to man the spacious Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland for several years. He would probably adjust well to Fenway as he has compiled a 16.0 UZR/150 in his career in right. Solid move by the Sox to lock up a potential right fielder for a low cost.

Red Sox Offer Varitek A Minor League Deal

Today, it was reported that the Red Sox have offered a minor league deal with an invite to spring training to Jason Varitek. Varitek is the team captain and has played for the Red Sox his entire career (1997-2011). His 162-game average for his who career has been .256/20/79, however, he has definitely tailed off from those prestigious numbers in recent years. In 2011, Varitek batted just .221/11/36 as the backup catcher fro the 2nd straight year. Varitek's last solid season came in 2007, when he batted at .255/17/68. While Varitek's game-calling skills behind the plate haven't deteriorated at all, his skills behind the plate have diminished. In 2011, he threw out just .14% of batters, as opposed to 31% by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a league-leading 41% by Kelly Shoppach. Varitek would likely be slated at #4 on the depth chart for catchers, behind Salty, Shoppach, and Ryan Lavarnway. If I were Varitek, I'd accept the fact that his distinguished career is over and retire.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Red Sox Interested In Vicente Padilla

Just days after signing low-profile free agent pitchers such as Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook, and Justin Germano-- the Red Sox are on that path again, as they are interested in free agent Vicente Padilla. In 2011, Padilla suffered a forearm and neck injury and missed quite a bit of time. However, when he was healthy, he pitched mostly out of relief for the first time since 2001 with the Phillies. In 9 games of relief with the Dodgers, he went 0-0/4.15/9, picking up 3 saves. You'd have to go back to 2009 to find Padilla's last predominantly healthy season. In a season split between the Rangers and Dodgers, he went 12-6/4.46/97 in 26 games (25 starts). His career pitching line is 4.31/4.43/4.39 as he has been a solid, average major league starter. If the 34 year old Padilla can stay healthy in 2012, he would be a solid addition as a possible #5 starter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Red Sox Trade For Brad Emaus

Today, the Red Sox acquired minor leaguer Brad Emaus from the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Emaus is a middle infielder who has had success in the minors which, at 26, could still translate into big league success. After starting the season as the Mets' starting second baseman, Emaus struggled-- he batted just .162/0/1 in 14 games. However, he was traded to the Rockies midseason and had quite a bit more success with their AAA affiliate. In 45 games, he batted .309/9/28, getting on base at a .389 clip and slugging .564-- great for a second baseman. His isolated power has grown each year as he ages, topping out at .252 this past year-- remarkable for a second baseman. In comparison, Robinson Cano's isolated power in 2011 was .231; Emaus was that good in the minors. Chances are that, unless Dustin Pedroia goes down with injury, Emaus will not see much playing time in the majors. However, he provides some depth and a potential trade chip in the future.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Red Sox Sign Justin Germano

Well, the Red Sox just keep on making minor signings-- I guess Ben Cherington is looking for a diamond in the rough. Last night, the Red Sox came to terms with reliever Justin Germano. Germano pitched 9 games with the Indians last year, going 0-1/5.68/5, as well as a 4.92 FIP and 6.08 xFIP. His strikeout and walk rates will need some work, as both clocked in at exactly 3.55. He actually finished last season with the Samsung Lions of Korea last year, however. He fared much better with the Indians in 2010, however, when he put together an 0-3/3.31/29 stat line with a 4.83 FIP and 4.08 xFIP. That year, his strikeout and walk rates were normal, at 7.39 and 2.04, respectively. This is likely a very minor signing, and Germano is unlikely to make an impact at the major league level. However, in spring training he could be one of the Bowden/Doubront/Jenks/Tazawa competing for a bullpen spot. This is not a very big move in all likelihood though.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Red Sox Cook Up Another Potential Starter

Last night, the Red Sox agreed to a contract with free agent starting pitcher Aaron Cook. This is likely just a depth move, but Cook could potentially compete with Carlos Silva and Andrew Miller for one of the remaining spots in the rotation in spring training. Cook was not healthy in 2011, which is becoming a trend-- the last time he played a full season was 2008. This past year, he had a tough season, going 3-10/6.03/48. But remember, his home park for his entire career is Coors Field-- where the thin air lets the ball fly for home runs more frequently than any other park in the majors. His peripherals show a different tale as his FIP was 4.54 and his xFIP was 4.37. His K/9 of 4.45 is ironically higher than his career average of 3.83 while his BB/9 was also higher than his career average at 3.43 to 2.80. However, the biggest reason the Sox signed Cook is that he is an epic ground-baller. In 2011, 55.1% of at bats ended in a groundout, just lower than his career average of 57.4%. The deal is a minor league contract, but if he gets called up to majors it is worth $1.5 million. The deal is very similar to Carlos Silva, and I like how they are taken proven major league pitchers and putting them as depth.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Red Sox Still Interested In Ryan Madson

Apparently, and I don't know why, the Red Sox are still interested in free agent closer Ryan Madson. After the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey, I figured they'd probably be done shopping for expensive relievers. However, reports have surfaced that the Red Sox (along with many other teams) could be interested in Madson if his price drops. That price would have to drop quite  a bit for me to be content-- earlier this offseason, he and the Phillies had seemingly agreed on a 4 yr/$44 million contract before the Phillies signed Papelbon. Madson had a good year in 2011, going 4-2/2.37/62 in 62 games and 60.2 innings. His FIP was 2.25 and his xFIP was 2.95, as he was very good in his first year as the full time closer. He also saved 32 games to go with his 9.20 K/9 and 2.37 BB/9. Madson is very, very good-- and that is why he is such a commodity. I'd prefer if the Red Sox spent the $10 million or so it would take to sign Madson on starters.

Conor Says... Sign Livan Hernandez

First, I apologize for not posting the Conor Says last week, I had no internet connection and I forgot. Next, the Conor Says! Calculations have shown that the Red Sox are approximately $2 million off of the luxury tax threshold. While they will probably have to cross the threshold to field a competitive team, they are looking for cheap options. One of those cheap options to fill out the #5 spot in the rotation is Livan Hernandez. Hernandez was his usual solid self in 2011, going 8-13/4.47/99 in 175 innings for the Nationals. He also put up an FIP of 3.96 and an xFIP of 4.28 to go with a 5.08 K/9 and 2.36 BB/9. Those numbers are all very close to his career averages. While Hernandez did not reach 200 innings in 2011, he was hampered with a few injuries and only made 29 starts. The previous year, in 2010, he pitched 211.2 innings-- also for the Nats. Hernandez will be 37 when the season starts and this raises a few question marks and one solid plus. The question marks are: he's getting older, his strikeout totals are going down, could he survive in the AL East? The plus is that he will come on a cheap, one year contract. If the Red Sox could pick up Hernandez on something like a $3 million contract for one year to fill out the rotation-- I'd be happy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Red Sox Interested In Paul Maholm

Reports have surfaced that the Red Sox are interested in free agent lefty Paul Maholm. Maholm had a great year in 2011 for the Pirates, going 6-14/3.66/97 in an excellent year. He also put up a 3.78 FIP and 4.03 xFIP with 5.38 K/9 and 2.77 BB/9. Maholm is effectively the opposite of a power pitcher: he doesn't strike out too many people, doesn't walk too many people, his fastball only sits around 87 mph on average. However, he gets people out on a great ground ball ratio of 49.9%, and only allowed 0.61 HR/9 in 2011. Maholm has also been mentioned by several other teams, including the Mariners, Cubs, Orioles, Padres and Pirates. After a good year like the one he had in 2011, Maholm would likely be in the range of something like a 2 year deal averaging $8-10 million a year. Something like a 2 yr/$17 million contract could probably secure Maholm as the Red Sox' #4 starter for a couple of years.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Red Sox Sign Carlos Silva, Pedro Ciriaco

Today the Red Sox made two minor league moves: signing Carlos Silva (right) and Pedro Ciriaco (left) to minor league deals. If the 2012 season started today, Silva would probably be slated to be the Red Sox' #5 starter. I fully expect them to make another, bigger, move; however, since they have not yet, he'd be #5. Silva has had some trouble the past couple of years, and did not pitch in 2011 after being released by the Cubs and Yankees at different points. However, he did pitch in 2010, and he was decent for the Cubs, going 10-6/4.22/80 in 113 innings. Silva is not a strikeout pitcher or a walk pitcher, averaging 4.03 K/9 and 1.73 BB/9, the latter being the best of all active pitchers with at least 750 innings. In 2010, he also put together both a 3.75 FIP and xFIP. Pedro Ciriaco has spent the past couple years as a shortstop in the Pirates organization. In 2011, he batted .303/0/6 in 23 games; however, he did not fare so well in AAA, batting just .231/2/24 in 71 games. He is an above average fielder at shortstop, compiling a 9.7 UZR/150 in the major leagues. I think these are solid signings for the Red Sox, but I don't expect either to make a huge impact.