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Defending the Front Office


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#1 OCD SS


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 04:57 PM

Very little has been more frustrating than sitting back this off-season and watching the FO's strategy unfold and then having them get killed in the media as a rudderless ship whose refusal to follow conventional media wisdom about baseball has lead to the 2006 season being cast away on a deserted isle... To hear them tell it the Sox FO is Gilligan's Island.

It's been more frustrating because so far I've been advocating some of their moves for awhile. I wanted Belli moved to open up a space for Shoppach. I did not want Damon back for anything more than 3 yrs (and even that was softening, 2 + an option when I was feeling like Stalin). I wanted the Sox to set up a core of strong players who were young enough to sustain championship runs for years to come.

I think the Sox are moving in this direction, but it certainly isn't based on a model that is going to win any points with the sports media. They (think) big name stars are needed because if the player's names aren't instantly recognizable then the audience will not watch. The Sox/Yankee rivalry makes a lot of money, and if the Sox seem to lack the star power to fill out their end of the rivalry they see some of their money as being in jeopardy.

Of course they also have no accountability. They need things to talk about now, and this is the best they've got. If the Sox come out of the gate strong, even with a young team, they'll all say how smart they were to build from youth. Whatever it takes to fill space. They're not giving good analysis because they're thinking/talking in sound bites. Sound bites do not lend themselves towards long-term thinking.

As an example, all Colin Cowherd had to say after the Damon to the Yankees signing was that the FO is dysfunctional, that they didn't have a plan, and that they make their stars beg and grind out what they deserve. He pointed out some of the problems with the "Red Sox Nation" fan base, but he just threw all his points into a blender and didn't differentiate. He wouldn't touch on the idea that maybe JD wasn't worth $52M in his age 32-35 seasons. He kept linking the botched Theo extension to JD not being resigned. As much as I think Theo could/should've been kept, Damon isn't a comp for Theo. If anything, Varitek is, and he was signed. Cowherd could just yell and be histrionic because he can come on in a month and say the exact opposite and no one's going to call him on points made earlier. I'm sure itís the same all across EEI and every other media outlet. Ranting about disaster sells.

As a certain SoSH sig line goes: "Trust the Process."

Right now the Sox do have holes, but less than we think.

C, 2B, 3B, RF, LF, and DH are all filled. 1B is Youks. SS is Cora, with Pedroia in the wings. They have enough trade chips to upgrade some of the above. The problem isn't what they've got, it's that they might acquire middling veterans to clog up the roster with minor moves (Alex Gonzalez, Patterson, etc). Its not easy for us, but this is the sort of plan that requires discipline to execute in its entirety. The FO hasn't shown any inclination to punt in the past, and there is no reason to think that's what they're doing now.

#2 5belongstoGeorge


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 05:26 PM

As an example, all Colin Cowherd ...

I would much rather to listen to my Mother-in-law give me marital advice and then follow said advice than listen to even a 30 second segment of of Colin Cowherd. That guy makes Hazel Mae seem downright insightful. Insightful.

Anyone that wants to attack the Front Office should look at the W/L record since they came aboard. I don't care about the "inherited talent" argument. I'm guessing Henry/Werner/Lucky could have bought a different franchise if they wanted to. Point Lucky for getting in on buying the team that had Pedro, Manny etc.

Just because they do not do what I want or what you want it does not make them wrong.

Of course, if things go badly in 2006 I will be the first to bitch about them. Give these guys credit, they do this fo a living. All they have done here so far is win, and win in a rather spectacular fashion more often than not.

The whole rudderless ship metaphor is just ridiculous. A Billion dollar enterprise does not run itself. Attack the front office for making the wrong moves if you must, but to even hint that they do not have a plan strikes me as going beyond silly into infantile.

#3 irinmike

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 05:51 PM

Of course they have a plan, and hopefully its to get younger and acquire talent that can formulate a core for the future. However as some have said, controversy and perceived incompetence in the FO sells. I will wait until the product that is put on the field takes shape in March.

#4 Marbleheader


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 05:57 PM

It's interesting how the conventional wisdom is that pitching is the key to a successful team, and although the best pitcher to change teams in the offseason was acquired by the Red Sox, the offseason is a disaster and the Sox are in full rebuilding mode.

#5 Tangled Up In Red

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:07 PM

I think it is most important to recognize that the FO has an accepted philosophy (moreso than a plan). Within this philosophy, which includes youth, pitching, defense & financial flexibility, there are many directions in which they may steer the ship.

It takes a great deal of luck to win the WS. Luck on the field, in signings, trades, etc. Luck with injuries, luck from players playing above expectations. A great organization should field a team every year that, with some luck, can win it all. This is what I believe the FO is attempting to accomplish.

Consequently, a definitive plan is less important, because you can achieve your philisophical goals in many ways, and may do so differently depending on the time of the off-season / season.

They know what they want to achieve, and I have to believe that they believe they will be able to do so. Until they start deviating from this philosophy (desperation signings, fear-driven trades, etc.), I have faith that the team on the field will have every chance to succeed.

#6 WSD2

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:20 PM

I think all fans should be concerned with this offseason.

Let's recap:

-Theo stomps off after Larry proves what an asshole he really is. JWH shrugs and cries, questions if he's fit to run the business.

-They put these two inexperienced kids in charge but don't even commit publically to a time for their contract. A real vote of confidence.

-They raise ticket prices on all box seats. Same as it ever was.

-The FO trades their best prospect for Beckett and his MRI reportedly looks so bad that Mota gets thrown in by the Marlins at the last minute, not exactly a huge demonstration of confidence in their pitcher's health. Oh yeah and they throw in a $9m guy who the year after steroid testing is introduced has the worst season of his career and there are whispers about him throughout the league....yet already we expect he will have a better year than Mueller did.

-They dump Renteria and pay $11m dollars to do so! something that should drive all those who worry about JWH's pocket book vs their own, crazy....yet strangely doesn't. They make this trade for a great prospect Marte who chafed the Atlanta FO by not wanting to move from his position for Chipper, but the Sox plan to use him in a different position.

-They trade the best backup catcher in the game who it is shown makes Wakefield better, for a 34 y/0 guy who played few games last year and may be great, but has one year left on his contract and has never played in the AL. Why won't HE decline...but Damon WILL? Because he's a Red Sox now dammit!

-They anticipate that Graffanino will decline arbitration, and he takes it, giving them yet another 2nd baseman. Pedrioa ready just in case.

-They say publically that Damon is their #1 priority! Yet...somehow don't anticipate when he is finally leaving and are surprised, and find out after the fact that they could have had him cheaper if they showed him some love.

-They have a great slugger who wants out and who they say they will try to move.

-They have one effective lefty who wants out and they say they will try to move him.

-They don't sign anyone of consequence this offseason. They let Ryan Burnett Milwood go by the board and show financial "restraint" in a bad market, yet they don't fill many of their biggest needs.

-Their division rivals sign Burnett and Ryan, trade for Glaus to compliment Hallday Lilly and the rest of a decent core of starters and young position players, making the competition tougher in the AL East.

-The Yankees overpay for Damon and have a CF and a leadoff hitter that though POTENTIALLY declining over the life of the contract, will probably make them the best offense in the game....The Yanks also bolster their bullpen. Starting rotation still a question, but not exactly filled with schmucks.

-We sign Seanez and hope he is the 2005 NL version, not the 2004 version.

-Oh almost forgot, steal Flaherty from the Yanks!

I don't know about you....but I am BRIMMING with confidence!!

Edited by WSD2, 27 December 2005 - 06:41 PM.


#7 glennhoffmania


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:32 PM

-The FO trades their best prospect for Beckett and his MRI reportedly looks so bad that Marte gets thrown in by the Marlins at the last minute, not exactly a huge demonstration of confidence in their pitcher's health.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


i'm pretty sure you meant mota, not marte. and from everything i read, this is not why he was added to the deal.

-Their division rivals sign Burnett an and Ryan, trade for Glaus to compliment Hallday and thee rest of a decent core, making the competition tougher in THE AL East.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


the burnett and ryan deals were ridiculous. i would have been shocked if the sox made those deals, and people on here thereafter applauded the FO for these moves. and personally, i'd much rather take a shot on lowell if that's what it took to get beckett and mota than trade young talent for glaus.

come on man, it's december. let's back away from the ledge just a tad.

#8 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:39 PM

I'm not sure I've seen anyone else complain about the Mirabelli for Loretta deal, so that's nice to see as a novelty item :)

#9 Pumpsie


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:41 PM

I don't have any major problems with the decisions which have been made so far this offseason. It was a VERY bad year to go after free agents, as we have seen. Everyone is getting far more money than they are worth. This is the off-season for trades.

The trades we've made have been good ones. We need a few more, though, and the final grade for this offseason will rest on who is playing center and who is playing shortstop for us on Opening Day.

#10 Guest_8_*

Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:51 PM

i'm pretty sure you meant mota, not marte.  and from everything i read, this is not why he was added to the deal.
the burnett and ryan deals were ridiculous.  i would have been shocked if the sox made those deals, and people on here thereafter applauded the FO for these moves.  and personally, i'd much rather take a shot on lowell if that's what it took to get beckett and mota than trade young talent for glaus.

come on man, it's december.  let's back away from the ledge just a tad.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

NooB meet Hate...Hate NooB.

Nice to see you chime in here from time to time Mr Hate..WE MISS YOU!!!

#11 TheoShmeo


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 06:57 PM

I don't have any major problems with the decisions which have been made so far this offseason.  It was a VERY bad year to go after free agents, as we have seen.  Everyone is getting far more money than they are worth.  This is the off-season for trades.

The trades we've made have been good ones.  We need a few more, though, and the final grade for this offseason will rest on who is playing center and who is playing shortstop for us on Opening Day.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is of course true.....it is a bad year for free agents....the Loretta and Beckett/Lowell/Mota trades look great....and the report card is not issued in December.

But it's also true that the two holes you mentioned -- SS and CF -- are pretty fundamental ones, and it is not at all clear how they can or will be filled. The names we've heard (Reed, Michaels, Lugo, among others) have been out there a while and it does not appear that the potential trading partners are all that anxious to buy what the Sox are selling. Perhaps that will change with Millwood off the board for big dollars and when Spring Training draws nearer.

And it's also true that the MFY addressed one of their biggest holes (CF) at the Sox expense and the Blue Jays have improved themselves in several areas....while the Sox FO has promised to act and, specifically, to re-deploy the Damon money, but has not yet acted post-Loretta.

So, bottom line, I think that the FO still has plenty of time to act and that it's likely that they will be able to make moves that improve the team....but I think it's equally true that if they don't address SS and CF, and don't add one more impact player somewhere in the mix (Clemens?), that the doomsayers will be more right than the optimists.

#12 doctormoist


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:08 PM

I don't know about you....but I am BRIMMING with confidence!!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Everything will be just fine. We have the secret weapon, Kevin Youkilis. Youks will play first, but if Lowell falters, he'll take over third. If Foulke falls on his face, I'm confident Youks can come in and close games. It really is all about Youks.

My guess is we'll all be pining for Shea Hillenbrand by late July.

#13 The Last DiMaggio

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:11 PM

The trades we've made have been good ones. We need a few more, though, and the final grade for this offseason will rest on who is playing center and who is playing shortstop for us on Opening Day.


To me this is the real high wire act -- not whether we signed Damon or not or what to do with Bill Mueller or Kevin Millar. Can we finish putting together the April - July 31 team by trading guys we want to trade (or are willing to trade), like Clement, Arroyo, Wells, Graffinino or even Trot and avoid trading the big four pitchers -- Hansen, Papelbon, Delcarmen and Lester.

I'm assuming that potential trading partners will try like hell to pry someone like Lester away from us. IMO it is something we need to resist.

In Theo, I still trust. :)

#14 Pumpsie


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:11 PM

My guess is we'll all be pining for Shea Hillenbrand by late July.


NEVER!!

Shea is a legend in his own mind. I always enjoy his atbats against us.

#15 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:17 PM

The Yankees (and a few other teams) would KILL us if we were to play them right now. Luckily, no one has ever won or lost a World Series in December. And this year is no different, as the games are still more than 3 months away.

You wanna have a negative attitude about the team, FINE, just don't expect me to follow in your wallow. This management team gave us a World Series Champion just 1 year ago. Sure, Theo is gone, but *his* team won as many games in December of 2003 as this team is going to win in December of 2005. You want to panic, go ahead. I'm waiting and seeing what shows up on Opening Day.

(oh, and you'd rather they raise the price of the cheap seats and let the Fat Cats get in for the same price in 2006? Who are you, W?)

#16 Catch Me Bruno


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:26 PM

Of course, if things go badly in 2006 I will be the first to bitch about them. Give these guys credit, they do this fo a living. All they have done here so far is win, and win in a rather spectacular fashion more often than not.


It seems that bitching is the real hot-stove season. I think to anyone who's really been paying attention to contract status, nothing that's happened is a big surprise in terms of Sox player movement. What's surprising is JD's salary, of course - I just think Steinie's nuts and clearly is willing to pay whatever price he needs to in order to win. How that affects the rest of baseball is probably another story, and a long book in the making.

I think second-guessing is fine for what it is, but given the track record any comments on our part should be tempered with "Jesus, they won the Series and are still competitive - let's wait and see". The Sox FO didn't create free agency, or player contracts, or wildly disparate competitive markets. They just live there.

#17 bsj


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:26 PM

The problem here is that the benefit of the doubt was lost not in losing Damon, or out on Glaus, or on Millwood. The benefit of the doubt was lost when Theo was lost. Fans now see the front office run by a committee with no proven track record, and thus these moves which on the surface appear detrimental are taken at face value as opposed to in the "In Theo We Trust" light that they may have been had the same moves been made under Epstein.

The fact is, the off season is only half over by the calendar. Absolutely and without question do fans know how to read a calendar. But if you look at the # of free agents available, far more than 1/2 of the quality players have been signed, and very few of the Sox holes have been filled.

Edited by BoSoxJeff, 27 December 2005 - 07:29 PM.


#18 Manny's Hammies

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:34 PM

The Yankees (and a few other teams) would KILL us if we were to play them right now.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If they could get on base, that is. As of now, our pitching looks pretty good.

I dunno -- I would agree that the offseason's been...odd, with Theo's revolving door status, Henry's periodic outbursts and the circumstances surrounding Damon's signing w/ the MFY's. But the trades they have made are fascinating, having managed to add the only top-flight starting pitcher on the market before anyone else realized he was even on the market (and no, I really don't buy the "Beckett's MRI revealed a missing labrum!!" story). In their moves and non-moves, it seems pretty clear that the Sox have decided that pitching is by far the more important commodity -- and I am more than in agreement with that.

So, am I the only one here who finds all this uncertainty and potential upside to be a little unnerving but also kind of exciting? I mean, all this intrigue and drama, these traitorous signings and emotional outbursts from the Owner to the GM on down to the 'EEI folks? Positively Red Soxian...

Edited by Manny's Hammies, 27 December 2005 - 07:36 PM.


#19 OCD SS


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:40 PM

But it's also true that the two holes you mentioned -- SS and CF -- are pretty fundamental ones, and it is not at all clear how they can or will be filled.  The names we've heard (Reed, Michaels, Lugo, among others) have been out there a while and it does not appear that the potential trading partners are all that anxious to buy what the Sox are selling.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I am not certain as to whether or not it is a matter of teams "not buying" or the Sox holding back to get the best deal/ address particular need.

Right now I think SS is viable (Cora and Pedroia), Reed for Arroyo would shore up CF to an acceptable level to start the season.

IMO Manny is still the biggest question; In order to get top value they need to at least keep the positonal return open. Now, with Glaus gone and the Mets very unlikely to trade Beltran, the only viable return is going to be Tejada or top shelf pitching. The downgrade to prospects would leave too much in flux.

#20 941827

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:53 PM

The fact is, the off season is only half over by the calendar. Absolutely and without question do fans know how to read a calendar. But if you look at the # of free agents available, far more than 1/2 of the quality players have been signed, and very few of the Sox holes have been filled.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


How does the FA market have anything to do with the holes the Sox have? Did I miss the reasonably-priced CF and SS on the market?

Is it impossible that the FO is doing its best to wrest the best possible value from its assets, meaning that it's not diving into any deals without vetting all the possibilities first? If you can swing a deal involving Wells that nets you a CF, it would be silly to deal Arroyo for Reed.

I'll panic when it's February 15th and the Sox are without a CF or non-Cora SS.

#21 Montana Fan


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:54 PM

Yanks top 7 hitters.

Damon: 13 million
Cap'n Jetes: 21 million
ARod: 20 million
Sheffield: 13 million
Giambi: 19 million
Matsui: 13 million
Posada: 13.5 million

Too bad our FO isn't savvy enough to make deals like those.

If Reed or Crisp is plugged in in CF then all we need to fill is SS, RHH platoon for Trot and a LHH 1b. Give me a 90% Schilling and Foulke and I'm ready to go to war.

Edited by Montana Fan, 27 December 2005 - 07:55 PM.


#22 behindthepen


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:54 PM

Here's one way to evaluate the FO, is there one FA signing away from the Sox that they should have executed? I can't think of one. Burnett, Ryan, Damon, Mueller, Byrd, just to name a few.

And they have 2 solid trades on the docket. And I'm not sure we could have made a decent trade for Glaus and we haven't given away Manny.

The report card is incomplete

#23 Manny's Hammies

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 07:57 PM

Here's one way to evaluate the FO, is there one FA signing away from the Sox that they should have executed?  I can't think of one.  Burnett, Ryan, Damon, Mueller, Byrd, just to name a few.

And they have 2 solid trades on the docket.  And I'm not sure we could have made a decent trade for Glaus and we haven't given away Manny.

The report card is incomplete

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Agreed. And let's also remember that it's entirely poss. that the Sox are sitting on a Manny deal that really works for them but are waiting for one or two last pieces to fall into place. It's been really quiet on that front for a while now...

#24 Guest_Spacemanlee2000_*

Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:00 PM

Reed for Arroyo would shore up CF to an acceptable level to start the season.


Arroyo for Reed is a bad bad deal for the Sox.

In Arroyo you have a guy who can start, setup, give you long relief and possibly close.

In Reed you have a guy who will never be Griffey Junior, Damon or even Bernie Willimams, he may be Coco Crisp but he could also very likely be Darren Bragg or Darren Lewis.

Bronson Arroyo is too much to give up for such an unknown. Seattle thinks so little of him that they have signed Carl Everrett. Why the heck would the Sox unload Arroyo for so little? It makes no sense. With Wells on his way out, Beckett and Schilling injury prone and the bullpen barely improved from last year, trading Arroyo for this guy is just silly.

Arroyo for Crisp, reluctantly.

If it's Arroo for Reed, I say hand the starting job to Stern or even sigh Terrance Long.

You don't give up pitching depth for a Reed

#25 hytem

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:06 PM

First of all, forget about the media. They're usually wrong about most predictions--check their track record. Besides, they're hostile to the Red Sox in Boston (especially that S-guy at the Globe), and ESPN and the internet media are all NY oriented. That's their base. They fawn over the Mets and the Yankees.

Having said that, it certainly looks like Henry/Werner do not run a tight ship. Maybe Lucchino is the loose screw. Losing Epstein, and then Damon are abundant hints. You don't mess with your winning chemistry--and these two guys were obviously a part of that. What value do you place on chemistry? More than money.Because you don't know you have it until you have it. And it's hard to figure out how to get it back if you lose it. That's why you don't want to mess with it.

So forget about Glaus and Millwood. It's Epstein and Damon who count--or counted.

#26 jacklamabe65


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:07 PM

I can't wait for all of the Chicken Littles to jump ship and follow the Cowboys once again. This is so tiresome. They are being smart - that's all.

#27 Steve Dillard


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:08 PM

I agree with the basic philosophy of these moves towards youth. I do think they misstepped with the Damon non-signing and had planned to keep him to soften the holes at SS and the "WIP" at 1B. I'd have a different read on this if not for the "woe is us" press conference, which sent my confidence plummeting that they had some sort of plan. (Thank God these guys weren't running England during the seige). They may have a fall back plan, but I think it leaves us a lot weaker, as they had a lot riding on Damon keeping the 1-4 part of the order strong.

Also a little peterbed by the IMO mistakes of non-arbing Myers. For a rich team, they could afford to take a chance on the rumors of the Yanks already offering 2 years, they would be (1) getting the Yanks #1 pick, or (2) having him accept and have to pay him max $1 mil or as trade bait or otherwise, (but not in the Yanks' hands).

They now have depth to cover all the holes but SS and CF, and trade bait in Graf and pitchers. I'll allow them to get out of that hole before jumping off the bridge.

#28 Manny's Hammies

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:11 PM

One last thought before I head out to dinner: while I believe they are still making sound baseball decisions, if the FO has been definitively poor at anything this offseason, it's been the marketing/press side of things. Theo had a Belichick-ian brilliance about everything he said, making it sound like he was answering your question while, in actuality, saying very little while still giving you confidence.

The Go2+LL don't apparently have that skill -- the Damon press conf. seemed positively FUNEREAL and totally unnecessarily. People here have made perfectly good cases for not signing him. Same goes for the whole Mota add-on to the Beckett deal -- absent needless leaks to the press re. Beckett's MRI we'd unanimously be singing the deal's praise.

Executive Summary: it seems like the press office has taken a bigger hit this offseason than baseball operations. And if you don't believe me, check the tone of EV's posts...

#29 woofer

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:13 PM

Arroyo for Crisp, reluctantly.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I understand the general point that in this market cost-controlled pitching has a lot of value, but Arroyo for Crisp is not a close call at all.

#30 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:29 PM

I can't wait for all of the Chicken Littles to jump ship and follow the Cowboys once again.† This is so tiresome.† They are being smart - that's all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

These are all the people the media wrote about after 2004 who said that Red Sox fans are happier when they think the team is doing badly than when they think they're doing well. They can't WAIT to say "I told you they were going to suck".

Face it, folks, 29 teams LOSE every year. So if you want to predict gloom and doom, you've got a better than even chance of being right. But how the hell you KNOW what this team is going to be 90 days from now (never mind 9 months from now) is beyond me.

But enjoy wallowing with your fellowship of the miserable. Prove CHB right about your negative attitudes. Tell me, though, what team DO you root for? And why are you here if you're just gonna shit on the team and the Front Office when the off season isn't even half over?

Edited by Lose Remerswaal, 27 December 2005 - 08:30 PM.


#31 semsox

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:30 PM

I understand the general point that in this market cost-controlled pitching has a lot of value, but Arroyo for Crisp is not a close call at all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I don't think Arroyo for Reed is either. Arroyo's a guy who is completely dependent on his slurve. It's no surprise his K rate has declined and his ERA has risen. All the AL East teams know to lay off his curve and wait on the fastball. As long as Arroyo can't locate his fastball, he'll never become much more than a league average pitcher. Sell high.

#32 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:38 PM

First of all, forget about the media. They're usually wrong about most predictions--check their track record. Besides, they're hostile to the Red Sox in Boston (especially that S-guy at the Globe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


A-freaking-men.

The same media that has its panties in a bunch over not having a transparent or at least translucent plan in front of them is the same media that:

---Thought Pokey Reese was going to be the starting second baseman in 2004
---Had no idea who the hell David Ortiz was, much less that he'd destroyed minor league pitching and intermittently MLB pitching with the Twins.
---The same media who thought acquiring Bronson Arroyo was just the compugeeks in the F.O. playing roto games
---The same media that thinks the idea of a closer by committee is to intentionally have no guy good enough to close and simply keep rotating all the various subpar options
---The same media that was skeptical about Keith Foulke when he was signed because, while he'd had 5 excellent seasons in a row, he didn't throw fast enough to hear the seams cutting through the air from the press box
---The same media that thought trading Nomar would mortally wound the 2004 Sox
---The same media that thought the Sox should be placing a premium on stealing bases all season long but didn't see any point in acquiring Dave Roberts at the trading deadline in 2004

etc etc.

To be fair, that's a blanket indictment and not fair to some of the writers. But seriously, what, was the crystal clear plan before the 2003 season? What was the crystal clear plan before the 2004 season when the Sox pinballed around from ARod trades to Nomar contract offers to dinners with Schilling.

Is there ever a "plan" besides make the best value deals possible to make the team as good as possible?

#33 irinmike

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:46 PM

In a market as fluid as baseball is, especially this time of year, you are right about a plan being in flux. However there are still basic principles that can be adhered toand that in essence is a plan.

#34 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:46 PM

I don't think Arroyo for Reed is either.  Arroyo's a guy who is completely dependent on his slurve.  It's no surprise his K rate has declined and his ERA has risen.  All the AL East teams know to lay off his curve and wait on the fastball.  As long as Arroyo can't locate his fastball, he'll never become much more than a league average pitcher.  Sell high.

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Amen again. I like Bronson but the guy's out pitch is never a strike, seldom close, and he has a really hard time against reasonably patient teams. Sell high.

#35 Guest_Spacemanlee2000_*

Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:00 PM

Amen again. I like Bronson but the guy's out pitch is never a strike, seldom close, and he has a really hard time against reasonably patient teams. Sell high.


On this I agree, excepting that all pitchers, even great pitchers have a hard time with pattient teams. I have no problems selling high with Arroyo. It's categorizing Jeremy Reed as high where I have a problem.

#36 BigMike


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:21 PM

If they could get on base, that is.  As of now, our pitching looks pretty good.

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Yeah the Sox pitching looks pretty good right now, and there is upside, but there is a whole lot of downside as well. I expect Beckett to be easily the #1 starter next year, but I also expect him to miss at least a month a some point during the year. After Beckett I wouldn't be the least bit surprisef if we don't have another pitcher who posts an era below 4.25 with more than 80 Innings

Agreed. And let's also remember that it's entirely poss. that the Sox are sitting on a Manny deal that really works for them but are waiting for one or two last pieces to fall into place. It's been really quiet on that front for a while now...


No I really don't see that as possible.

Yes they may still trade Manny. Yas it may end up being a positive deal. but no way have they been just sitting on a great Manny deal just waiting for a couple other things to happen. If they get a great Manny deal, they will make it in a cocaine heartbeat just so the other teams(s) don't back out

#37 DieHard3


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:54 PM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Very little has been more frustrating than sitting back this off-season and watching the FO's strategy unfold and then having them get killed in the media as a rudderless ship whose refusal to follow conventional media wisdom about baseball has lead to the 2006 season being cast away on a deserted isle... To hear them tell it the Sox FO is Gilligan's Island.
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This post is axiomatic of everything I find wrong with the fanboy nature of this group of fandom this winter. But before I go about critiquing the specifics, let me say that I agree that the front office should get some benefit of the doubt. I definitely do not think the 2006 season is ex-ante a lost cause. The F.O. commitment to blending scientific and observational information may really be so state-of-the-art that they'll be right the majority of the time again. I believe, however, that they are taking a path that is much riskier than necessary given the supposed strength of the farm system and the size of the team's revenues. The fundamental contradiction I see in the farm fanboys is that they simultaneously believe the Red Sox have a great farm system on the cusp of producing multiple above average, very cheap talents; yet at the same time think the front office should pinch pennies with our top free agents at important positions. If the farm system is good, it will cover mistakes made long-term to be competitive in 2006; if the farm system is not good, then why are we sacrificing contention in 2006?

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It's been more frustrating because so far I've been advocating some of their moves for awhile. I wanted Belli moved to open up a space for Shoppach. I did not want Damon back for anything more than 3 yrs (and even that was softening, 2 + an option when I was feeling like Stalin). I wanted the Sox to set up a core of strong players who were young enough to sustain championship runs for years to come.
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Well, the simple answer is that perhaps they do not feel Kelly Strikeout will ever make consistent contract in the major leagues. Have you considered that option?

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I think the Sox are moving in this direction, but it certainly isn't based on a model that is going to win any points with the sports media. They (think) big name stars are needed because if the player's names aren't instantly recognizable then the audience will not watch. The Sox/Yankee rivalry makes a lot of money, and if the Sox seem to lack the star power to fill out their end of the rivalry they see some of their money as being in jeopardy.
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The surest path to making the playoffs is winning the division, which also gives the added benefit of extra home games. In order to win the division, we have to beat the Yankees over 162 games. This focus on the Yankees is because they are the main obstacle between the Red Sox and another championship, it is not simply about a rivalry.


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As an example, all Colin Cowherd had to say after the Damon to the Yankees signing was that the FO is dysfunctional, that they didn't have a plan, and that they make their stars beg and grind out what they deserve. He pointed out some of the problems with the "Red Sox Nation" fan base, but he just threw all his points into a blender and didn't differentiate. He wouldn't touch on the idea that maybe JD wasn't worth $52M in his age 32-35 seasons.
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Well, in 2002-2003 Damon wasn't worth $52 M in his age 32-35 seasons. But who's to say baseball salaries haven't resumed their decades long sharp upward trend in 2005? Have you considered that?

The other problem that this board keeps ignoring is that when the Red Sox replace Johnny Damon, they will have succeeded in treading water vis a vis 2005. By signing Johnny Damon, the Yankees improved their CF defense by 30 runs, and their offense probably by at least another 10, for a projected total of 4 additional wins vis a vis 2005 if I'm up to date in my SABR shortcut methodologies.

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Right now the Sox do have holes, but less than we think. C, 2B, 3B, RF, LF, and DH are all filled.
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If I apply the same analysis you're applying to the loss of Johnny Damon, then I can spin those positions this way:

C is filled by a 34 year old who had a 2nd half decline that rivaled Damon's. 2B is filled by a 34 year old coming off a wrist injury. 3B is covered by a rookie who flopped in his major league debut and another guy who hasn't hit well since they started testing for steriods. RF is filled by an offensively and defensively declining and injury prone Trot Nixon, with no absolutely necessary platoon partner. LF is filled by a guy who is threating not to report to spring training.

Yes, David Ortiz is as close as you get to money in the bank.

>>>>>>>>>>>
1B is Youks.
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Youks is unlikely to improve much if at all on Kevin Millar's 2005 performance, and might actually be worse than Millar defensively.

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SS is Cora, with Pedroia in the wings.
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Cora sucks, and Pedroia hit .255 at AAA with a September fade that was worse than Damon's.


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They have enough trade chips to upgrade some of the above. The problem isn't what they've got, it's that they might acquire middling veterans to clog up the roster with minor moves (Alex Gonzalez, Patterson, etc). Its not easy for us, but this is the sort of plan that requires discipline to execute in its entirety. The FO hasn't shown any inclination to punt in the past, and there is no reason to think that's what they're doing now.
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Trade chips are only useful if quality talent exists to trade for. Can they get a first baseman on the trade market as good as Jason Giambi? Can they get a SS as good as Derek Jeter? A 3B as good as Alex Rodriguez? A rightfielder as good as Gary Sheffield? A CF as good as Johnny Damon?

And can they get ALL OF THE ABOVE? Because, barring a confluence of luck/foresight that would be on par going "all in" while needing to draw an inside straight, that's what they need.

#38 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:58 PM

Youks is unlikely to improve much if at all on Kevin Millar's 2005 performance


Assuming this is a True / False question, I'll confidently say FALSE.

#39 Guest_Spacemanlee2000_*

Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:01 PM

Yanks top 7 hitters.

Damon: 13 million
Cap'n Jetes: 21 million
ARod: 20 million
Sheffield: 13 million
Giambi: 19 million
Matsui: 13 million
Posada: 13.5 million

Too bad our FO isn't savvy enough to make deals like those.


I don't know if you are trying to be sarcastic or if you are serious.

I would love for the Sox to be that good at each of those positions.

#40 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:03 PM

I don't  know if you are trying to be sarcastic or if you are serious.

I would love for the Sox to be that good at each of those positions.

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I believe his obvious point was the insane salaries that the Yankees are paying to each of those players, and that he's translating "savvy" for "willingness to spend like a sailor on a bender in San Francisco."

The Yankees have only one position player (Cano) who earns less than $10 million per year.

#41 Pumpsie


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:05 PM

Arroyo for Reed is a fine deal for us. Arroyo's reached his level. Reed hasn't even started, really. He had ligament damage in his wrist all season and that's supposedly behind him now. Crisp is better, but we're not going to get Crisp for just Arroyo.

The thing with Damon that people are still not taking into account is that the Yankees got a player who's hit for a .342 OBP away from Fenway the last four years. They'll be lucky if he matches that the next four seasons. If the Yanks plug Damon in at the top of the order instead of Jeter and his .391 OBP, they're idiots who deserve to lose run production. My prediction is that the Yanks will indeed start the season with Damon leading off, but he won't end the season there. Again, Damon is a bad deal for the Yanks. Personally, I can't wait to see Damon trying to cover centerfield at Yankee Stadium. I can't wait.

#42 glennhoffmania


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:06 PM

Yanks top 7 hitters.

Damon: 13 million
Cap'n Jetes: 21 million
ARod: 20 million
Sheffield: 13 million
Giambi: 19 million
Matsui: 13 million
Posada: 13.5 million

Too bad our FO isn't savvy enough to make deals like those.

If Reed or Crisp is plugged in in CF then all we need to fill is SS, RHH platoon for Trot and a LHH 1b. Give me a 90% Schilling and Foulke and I'm ready to go to war.

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Yeah, what he said. We can't have it both ways. Do we want a team comprised of overpaid, aging players at a payroll approaching $200 million, or do we want a highly competitive, affordable team that can still win 90+ games while maintaining a semblance of a farm system, either to help out or to use for trades when good deals are available?

As for the earlier comparisons with Toronto, this is what really frustrates me. The Jays won 80 games last year, 15 behind the Sox. They signed Burnett and Ryan, acquired Overbay and Glaus, and lost Hudson and Batista (plus some other minor additions and subtractions). Big deal. The only acquisition I'm jealous of is Overbay.

I don't want to go off on a rant here, but isn't it possible that Burnett is the next Pavano or Park? What are the odds that he outperforms his contract?

Isn't it possible that Ryan is the next Rhodes or Kolb? Is there any way he will outperform his contract?

Is there anyone here who would be praising the FO if they made these deals?

All I know is, I wouldn't trade Manny, Ortiz, Varitek, Loretta, Lowell, and Trot for Wells, Glaus, Zaun, Rios, Hillenbrand, and Overbay.

I love Halladay, and I think Towers could be pretty good, but I wouldn't take them plus Burnett, Lilly, and Chacin for Schilling, Beckett, Clement, Wakefield, Papelbon, Wells, and Arroyo.

And I wouldn't give up Foulke, Mota, Timlin, Seanez, Van Buren, Hansen, and MDC for Ryan, Frasor, Chulk, Schoeneweis, and whoever else they have in the pen.

So I guess my question is, did Toronto really gain 15 games on the Sox since October? Did they even gain 5 games? If they played today, sure, since we don't have a SS or a CF. But those holes will be filled, and I think the comments made by ESPN and some people on here suggesting that Boston is now the third best team in the East are a tad premature and ridiculous. I'm not the biggest fan of the FO by any means, but let's just see how things play out over the next month or two.

I just needed to get that off my chest. I feel better now.

#43 Guest_Spacemanlee2000_*

Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:07 PM

I believe his obvious point was the insane salaries that the Yankees are paying to each of those players,


Insanity can only be detrimened by the outcome on the field. If the Yankees fail to make the post seaosn then it is insane, if they make the post season again and the Sox don't we are back to where we were pre 2004, the old "payroll whine" will come to the forefront again.

Did anyone think the Sox 2004 payroll was insane?

#44 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:13 PM

The other problem that this board keeps ignoring is that when the Red Sox replace Johnny Damon, they will have succeeded in treading water vis a vis 2005. By signing Johnny Damon, the Yankees improved their CF defense by 30 runs, and their offense probably by at least another 10, for a projected total of 4 additional wins vis a vis 2005 if I'm up to date in my SABR shortcut methodologies.


And what you seem to be doing is assuming that the Yankees are adding Damon at exactly his 2005 level of performance while all the other everyday players on their team perform at exactly the level they displayed in 2005. Given the age of their team all the way around, such an assumption strikes me as hasty.

I think there's an error in your SABR calculations somewhere in assuming adding a player of Damon's quality translates to 4 additional wins for the Yankees. Adding Arod didn't even translate to that many additional wins, and he's a vasty superior player than Damon. Add to that Damon's strong home/road splits that favor his hitting in Fenway over the past 3 years over his hitting on the road (318/388/448 vs. 278/340/433) and it's fair to think his offensive numbers will fall off a bit.

Plus, there are ancilliary moves that the Yankees have to make with the signing of Damon that will negatively impact them somewhat. Signing Damon moves Williams to DH, which is great for their CF defense but forces them to play Giambi and his atrocious defense at 1B every day. That will cost them runs.

#45 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:14 PM

Insanity can only be detrimened by the outcome on the field. If the Yankees fail to make the post seaosn then it is insane, if they make the post season again and the Sox don't we are back to where we were pre 2004, the old "payroll whine" will come to the forefront again.

Did anyone think the Sox 2004 payroll was insane?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Can anyone reasonably whine about payroll if it's near $125 million again, as it almost certainly will be?

#46 SpinnersRock

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:18 PM

These are all the people the media wrote about after 2004 who said that Red Sox fans are happier when they think the team is doing badly than when they think they're doing well.  They can't WAIT to say "I told you they were going to suck".

Face it, folks, 29 teams LOSE every year.  So if you want to predict gloom and doom, you've got a better than even chance of being right.  But how the hell you KNOW what this team is going to be 90 days from now (never mind 9 months from now) is beyond me.

But enjoy wallowing with your fellowship of the miserable.  Prove CHB right about your negative attitudes.  Tell me, though, what team DO you root for?  And why are you here if you're just gonna shit on the team and the Front Office when the off season isn't even half over?

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Welll stated Lose. It's about the Laundry and even if the FO had resigned Damon and traded for Glaus and signed Millwood, they would simply complain about each of those moves as well.

Let's wait and see what the FO does before we start bitching and moaning about everything. And if you can't do that then go listen to EEI and give em a call ...

</rant>

Edited by SpinnersRock, 27 December 2005 - 10:19 PM.


#47 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:19 PM

I gotta say, it amazes me....Last year, all I heard on this site was that the Yankees were idiots for passing on Carlos Beltran- defensively alone he was worth 4 wins over Bernie, if I recall correctly.

And now- switching Bernie with Damon, and thus taking Damon from the Sox where he will be replaced by an inferior player and the money likely not re-allocated for at least a year, isn't that big a deal? How can it be both ways?

Now, I always thought the Beltran thing was overdone....but those who believed Beltran for Bernie would have been worth a ton have to think the same about Bernie for Damon, don't they?

#48 Lefty on the Mound


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:21 PM

In a market as fluid as baseball is, especially this time of year, you are right about a plan being in flux.  However there are still basic principles that can be adhered toand that in essence is a plan.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


ummmmm.....no. That would be a philosphy. That we do seem to have as argued very well by several other posters.

The FO chooses not to overpay and to develop talent from within. A philosophy that should give the team a shot at winning year in and year out.

#49 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:22 PM

Now, I always thought the Beltran thing was overdone....but those who believed Beltran for Bernie would have been worth a ton have to think the same about Bernie for Damon, don't they?

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Big difference bringing in Beltran at 27 and Damon at 32, IMHO. One of them is much more likely to decline next year due to age and useage issues.

#50 Gambler7

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:24 PM

Rudy, again, you are generalizing SoSH as a whole. If you can find examples of the same person saying that about Beltran and then contradicting themselves with Damon then you may have something.

The age difference is a huge factor, not to mention that Beltran is a much more dynamic player anyways. Better baserunner, from most reports better defensively, no question a better arm, a switch hitter, a better offensive player overall, etc. I actually don't see a comparison at all.

Edited by Gambler7, 27 December 2005 - 10:24 PM.