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The 2018 Lineup

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by TonyPenaNeverJuiced, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. TonyPenaNeverJuiced

    TonyPenaNeverJuiced Member SoSH Member

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    MLB had a graphic up during it's interview with Cora on 2/2, and posted this "potential lineup"

    Regardless of any disagreements here, what major questions do we have beyond:

    1. Do we sign JDM? If not him, who, if anyone? If so, what's the platoon between Moreland/Ramirez?
    2a. When is Pedroia back and what kind of player is he?
    2b. Who could beat out Marco Hernandez? (Holt, Marrero, Lin)
    2c. Where does Pedroia slot in when he's back?​
    3. Should Betts bat 3/4?
    3. Does Cora have any (wild) ideas about how to switch things up?​

    Some not-so-major ones:
    What kind of hitter is Devers across a full season?
    Which Bradley shows up (and when?)
    How many at-bats does León get?
    Does anyone hit for power?
     
  2. BCsMightyJoeYoung

    BCsMightyJoeYoung Member SoSH Member

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    Or is Leon even on the team? Swihart - being out of options - has to play or be traded.
     
  3. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I think 6th is a good spot to start Devers. If things go great for him this year, I think he could be the 3 hitter down the stretch, but he needs to start a bit lower to get his feet wet. His 2017 call up was encouraging as hell, though.

    I also think Hernandez should hit in front of Vazquez unless they are going for that turn the lineup over in the 9 hole thing some teams do.
     
  4. Puffy

    Puffy Member SoSH Member

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    When Cora was hired, he made a point to say that he wanted to bat Mookie Betts leadoff and hinted that Benintendi would bat #2 in Pedroia's absence:

    http://www.weei.com/blogs/rob-bradford/why-mookie-betts-will-be-alex-coras-leadoff-hitter
     
  5. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    I would be shocked if Swihart bumped Leon off the roster. I think Holt would be more likely to lose a job if Blake shows much during spring training.
     
  6. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    I still think Hanley is DFA'd once the dominoes fall. None of the other positions make sense to trade, and he is not going to be a part time player because of the disruption it could cause.

    Betts
    Beni
    DH acquisition
    Moreland
    Bogaerts
    Devers
    Pedey/Hernandez
    JBJ
    Vazquez
     
  7. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Be kinda fun to try JBJ in the 4th slot in the lineup. He's always been better with runners on.

    Still holding out for Castellanos for that third slot. He hit .341/.399/.616 with men on base last year—a .420 wOBA. Muy elite.
     
  8. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

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    That is a pretty weak hitting lineup if they don't sign JD Martinez.
     
  9. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    If we took a poll on which position he'd have the most at bats in, I don't think there would be anything close to consensus.

    He's the guy you can justify hitting anywhere when he gets hot.
     
  10. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    If the Sox were really going to release Hanley in favor of just plugging in any FA/trade upgrade, why haven't they already done it long before now? Which would of at least left him a fighting chance to catch on with another team over the off-season (however remote that chance might of actually been), and had better side stepped the alternative disruption possibility where you have teammates or future FA possibilities left sitting around with the impression that ownership did a guy dirty in the worst possible way.
     
  11. nvalvo

    nvalvo Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    A team with a power bat at leadoff is a team that might want to do that.
     
  12. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    For one reason, because he’s extremely valuable at a league minimum contract, and DFAing him in spring training may give them more control over where he goes. Second, he might be of use in a mutual salary dump trade to help facilitate where he goes.

    It’s not necessarily in Hanley’s best interests. But the Sox would much rather he become the Royals’ or Rays’ cheap DH than the Yankees’.
     
  13. Pozo the Clown

    Pozo the Clown lurker

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    Moreland in the cleanup spot underscores the need for JDM (or another masher).
     
  14. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    If they are that afraid of Hanley on another team, why isn't he good enough to hit in their own lineup?
     
  15. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    If his vesting option is voided by releasing him I can't see it mattering as much to them on where he goes. If it can't be then it doesn't make any real sense to release him and risk having it vest elsewhere if we would end up having to pick up the tab.

    I don't see Hanley being extremely valuable even at league min in this over-crowded market either. As far as some plan to use him as a salary dump piece...again, the odds of your hopeful lineup upgrade materializing out of that are lottery ticket slim at best and/or would of already happened by now imo.

    That said, I totally get why seeing that JDM'less lineup on paper and this close to ST isn't any fun atm.
     
  16. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Because vesting his $22M option in 2019 would be really stupid for a team that needs to pay >$20M in arb increases, replace Kimbrel/Pomeranz/Kelly, and potentially play in an historic FA market in one year.

    We can't cut or bench Hanley in July if he's OPSing .850 (which is a fairly likely scenario). It'd trigger a grievance in both the clubhouse and players' union, and would further corrode our already pretty shitty ability to attract free agents.

    It's kind of a brutal scenario and I'm not saying it's good, but if we want to stay under the secondary luxury tax threshold in 2019 and avoid getting dropped in the draft, the Red Sox's success in 2018 should not be in any way dependent on Hanley's.
     
  17. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Again - I am expecting that they add a bat. There is no room for him in the lineup if they do. If they do not add a bat, then he's their guy to start the season.

    He has been terrible regardless of his contract status, so the DFA is justified by performance. I can see the argument if he were performing reasonably well that it would hurt the team image a fraction of a percent, but .. meh. Unless he is a mammoth bat this year - like better than he was in 2016 - it's still not a good contract and one that teams in similar positions would be looking for takers on or getting rid of altogether.

    I don't think it's any worse than the Cubs doing something like keeping Bryant in the minors in order to avoid paying him. And it hasn't hurt them attract free agents.
     
    #17 grimshaw, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  18. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    Hanley was also a key cog to this team's success as recent as 2016, and you are left reaching way overboard with the "justified terrible" claim there imo. It's not like he was Pablo Sandoval terrible last year, and where you see not liking the concept of having to pay a DH $20m to OPS .750 on the season his teammates might see a guy/friend who gutted out the year for them on a bum shoulder.

    C'mon man. The Cubs playing the control game on a unproven minor leaguer with a bunch of club control years and his whole career ahead of him, however hyped they may be at the time, isn't anything even remotely similar to a releasing veteran Hanley into an already crapfest market on the eve of ST play.
     
  19. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    That's a good point. I love Mookie as a lead off hitter, even if he's likely the best hitter on the team right now.

    FWIW, I'm still 99% sure he's going to end up with the Red Sox when all is said and done, but with some bounce backs (Mookie, JBJ, Hanley) and some growth from young players (Benintendi, Devers), not to mention some benefits from Hyers tweaking swings (Bogaerts in particular), that could be a slightly better than a middle of the pack offense. So adding Martinez should put them well into the territory they need to be in if they want to match up well with teams like the Astros and Yankees at the plate.

    There's enough variability from him year to year that simply cutting him leaves them vulnerable to him having an up year for another team. It's not a lock, but it shouldn't shock anyone if he has an .800 or better OPS this year with 25-30 HR, just like it shouldn't shock anyone if he has another shitty year.

    That said, no, they're not cutting him. Even if they cover 80% of his salary in a trade, that little bit of relief could be a big deal at the deadline. If/when they sign Martinez (or bring in another bat), they'll find a trade partner who is willing to bet on the upside on a massively subsidized Hanley.

    Maybe the Twins? They've currently got Grossman slotted in as their DH. And if Hosmer ends up back in KC, maybe they will want to hedge their bets a bit with the Wild Card.
     
  20. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Wouldn't that set the Twins up into hitching their playoff hopes to having to pay 35-year-old Hanley $22M in 2019, then? Seems unlike them.
     
  21. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    FWIW, Steamer actually likes Hanley (.268/.343/.477) to outhit Morrision (.244/.337/.459) and be pretty on par with Duda (.245/.344/.491).
     
  22. Jerry’s Curl

    Jerry’s Curl lurker

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    Moreland batting cleanup leaves much to be desired. Obviously a lot depends on JDM coming to town but that’s not a lineup to get excited about unless both Betts and 10D have big years while Devers continues to progress as a major league hitter.
     
  23. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    It’s not that Hanley is projected to be bad, it’s that his production is effectively replaceable in this market, highly volatile, and expensive at a time when we can least afford it.

    Nothing against him. He’s one of my top-3 players on the team. But that Duda forecast shows how replaceable he is.
     
  24. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    Yet we are already pot committed to one, which effectively cuts into the more cost efficient appeal under any release one to sign the other scenario.
     
  25. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    For 2018, yes. For 2019, no.

    You don't have to take my word for it. Add up next year's projected payroll after arb increases yourself.
     
  26. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    Already have. Hence my preference we had hadn't re-signed MM and went for our cheaper lineup grade there, and passed on this whole JDM possibility.

    Looking like I might not be the only one both thinking and actually stating that soon enough though. Especially if the OP in this thread is right and people have to start speculating more on the possibility of Xander/Moreland in the 3/4 spots. Which on that note I think I'd honestly prefer swapping X and Betts around, at least while assuming Xander was going to hit back at a level that put him in the all star discussion.
     
  27. Buzzkill Pauley

    Buzzkill Pauley Member SoSH Member

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    That guesstimated lineup is too slavishly L-R alternating for my tastes. Best hitters should hit higher, with an emphasis on OBP.

    With the roster as-is, I go with this:

    1. RF (R) Betts
    2. LF (L) Benintendi
    3. SS (R) Bogaerts
    4. DH/1B (R) Ramirez
    5. 3B (L) Devers
    6. CF (L) Bradley
    7. 1B/DH (L/R) Moreland/Brentz
    8. C (R) Vázquez
    9. 2B (L) Hernandez
     
  28. Jerry’s Curl

    Jerry’s Curl lurker

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    I like that lineup the best as the team is currently constructed, but would X provide good enough run production to bat in three hole?
     
  29. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    That could be a good lineup or not. I honestly cant say. For it to be the former some of these guys need to hit like 2016

    A wise man might be uncomfortable with this lineup when looking at the Yankees and Astros lineup. We won 93 games last year but that was by going 15-3 in extras which requires some luck

    That said, see where it takes us and then bolster the lineup at the trade deadline and replace the underperformers (if any)
     
  30. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    These projections frequently overestimate guys in the decline years and underestimate guys who have just broken out.
     
  31. dynomite

    dynomite Member SoSH Member

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    But you saw them last year, when that exact lineup scored the 10th most runs in baseball.
    “Hit like they did in 2016” means scoring the most runs in all of baseball. And as many have mentioned before, they’re gettting a full season of Devers at 3B instead of the complete disaster there for most of last season.

    So I think it would be far more accurate to say: “I know it will be a good lineup, but will it be a great lineup?”
     
  32. keninten

    keninten lurker

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    I`ll bet there`s a chance he gets released right after a JDM signing. Hopefully another reason not to sign JDM. I`d rather gamble on Hanley than JDM.
     
  33. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    Or DD flips Bradley for the reliever he's hinting around about wanting (which at least hopefully nets us somebody that fits the roster like a Brad Hand), and then keeps Hanley in the 5 spot.

    Guessing we'll see either way soon enough.
     
  34. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Why? Martinez is a way better hitter and this team should be looking to pounce on their current window. You stop worrying about being efficient with your dollars at the margins at this point. Sign the elite bat.
     
  35. Green (Tongued) Monster

    Green (Tongued) Monster lurker

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    If Dombrowski trades Bradley for a relief pitcher, he should be fired on the spot.
     
  36. crow216

    crow216 Dragon Wangler SoSH Member

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    I agree with you on this. I'm not sure I understand the sentiment of the people who are concerned with $28m vs $25m a year and willing to walk if they don't get a perfect deal from JDM. He is an elite bat and he is absolutely a difference maker. Waiting until next year's offseason, shaping to be one of the most competitive ever, and possibly missing out entirely on getting a premier bat isn't a great option.
     
  37. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Agree. And because excluding relievers (and Pomeranz), none of next year's premier free agents is a clear or even reasonably conceivable fit for our team.
     
  38. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    I mean - he's had a wRC+ of 106 with the Sox. Thanks for 2016 and all, but he killed us the other two years. As a hitter - not terrible. Add the contract and other parts of his game in - and ya. Terrible.

    It's not a huge stretch to think that that he also gutted it out, so he didn't have to miss extended time. I don't blame the guy by the way. If I had 22 mill on the line, I'd do the same thing. But he did do this in his first year as well, and they finally shut him down after the season was lost.
     
  39. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    IDK, seems they are being fairly generous as far as our young guys are concerned. Especially in Mookie's case considering the year he just had, and who they have posting an OPS that falls a hair short of JDM's.
     
  40. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    My optimism for the 2018 Red Sox as currently constructed lies in two factors: (1) I believe that for the guys that hit great in 2016 and not-so-great in 2017, their true value is at least somewhere in between those two seasons. Which would mean a *significant* offensive upgrade for the Red Sox across the board. And (2) that the new hitting approach (the "launch angle revolution") will be a big, big benefit, especially to someone like Bogaerts, who seemed like he was intent on pounding every pitch into the dirt. He may lose some OBP but I fully expect his power numbers to go up in 2018.

    Moreover, I expect the pitching to be terrific.

    My pessimism for the 2018 Red Sox as currently constructed is that the offense will struggle and that Sale will fade and Price will be hurt and Pomeranz will be a mirage and it will all go to hell.

    Fortunately, I'm more of an optimist than a pessimist.
     
  41. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    I am really hoping that Cora comes in with an open mind on the catching situation. If Swihart could get back to his 2015 health and production, as he claims he got to over the winter in the article in that thread, then giving him a lot of time at catcher over at least Leon would be a material improvement in the offense. If Vázquez slides back offensively at all, I wouldn’t hesitate to have Swihart start a few more games for him and use Vázquez for defensive replacement either.

    Edit: on second though and checking stats, Vázquez really came into his own offensively in H2 2017. So Swihart is mostly competing to take backup at bats away from Leon and his .290 OBP. But even if we just give 2nd half Vázquez 125 more at bats and take those away from Leon, that’s a good 25 games with improved catcher production.
     
    #41 Plympton91, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  42. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    I just heard that Bradford chatted with Swihart yesterday and he lost 25lbs due to a parasite from the Dominican Winter League.

    The guy just can't get a break.
     
  43. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    Speaking of Swihart, apparently Cora sees him as part of the mix at 2B in Pedroia's absence.

     
  44. TonyPenaNeverJuiced

    TonyPenaNeverJuiced Member SoSH Member

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    I'd take Biggio 2.0 in a heartbeat.
     
  45. Dewey'sCannon

    Dewey'sCannon lurker

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    I think there's about a 1% chance of Hanley getting cut before April, regardless of whether they sign JDM or not. If he's hurt, or sucks, he won't reach the PA, and maybe he gets released in July/Aug, but probably not before then. If he's good, and his option vests, he'll be back - or maybe they can find a place to trade him, coming off a good year. There's enough potential for an 850+ OPS this year that they won't cut him preemptively (preseason) just to prevent the option from vesting.

    I also think there's a less than 10% chance JBJ gets traded. All indications are that they value his D very highly, and think there's a good chance that he can be good, or at least adequate, with the bat.

    As for Swihart, I fully expect him to make the team (unless he's on the DL for some reason). And if he's hitting, and Leon is not, by the time Pedey gets back, it could be Leon who goes at that point.
     
  46. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    The big grain of salt with Cora's statement is that 2B is the one position Swihart says he's never played at any level, including childhood.
     
  47. nvalvo

    nvalvo Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Which makes sense, given that he has a catcher's throwing arm.
     
  48. NJ_Sox_Fan

    NJ_Sox_Fan Member SoSH Member

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    Lord do we need a power bat or two. A 3-4-5 of Bogaerts/Moreland/Hanley could be pretty ugly.
     
  49. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    Let's not get carried away. As a group, those three guys have averaged 21 HR apiece the past two years. More power would be a good idea, but we're not quite sending three Juan Pierres up there.
     
  50. dynomite

    dynomite Member SoSH Member

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    Couldn’t agree more.

    This might not be a “scary” middle of the order, but at the risk of being repetitive the Sox finished 10th in runs scored in baseball last year and in 2018 will be getting a full season of Devers.

    They could upgrade, sure, but they aren’t the Padres. This is already a really good lineup with the potential to be even better than they were last year.
     

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