Jump to content


Yo! You're not logged in. Why am I seeing this ad?

Photo

Using the roster


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
5 replies to this topic

#1 LahoudOrBillyC


  • Indian name is Massages Ellsbury


  • 3,937 posts

Posted 23 April 2008 - 04:13 PM

One of the refrains I have brought up over the years has been that I like to see the manager use his roster more flexibly. There are two steps to this: (1) have a bench that is good enough to play, and to play at multiple positions, and (2) use the bench.

The tricky part is the first, because if you get a decent guy on the bench, like Jay Payton, he really doesn't want to be on the bench at all, and it leads to trouble. Then maybe you have veteran regulars who don't really like sitting down. And on and on. With Coco Crisp, I have advocated keeping him on the team, mainly because I think he could play a valuable role, and I can't see how they could trade him for someone who is as good as he is. So what's the point?

If you keep Crisp on this team, and are willing to rest Manny, rest Drew, rest Ellsbury, rest Ortiz, ... if you add in the injuries and the defensive replacements, Coco could get 120 starts and another 25 games as a late sub. I like Crisp, I always have, and I think he can help us win games. Not just in May, but in October. In fact, it might be easier to think of Ellsbury as the sub, no matter how many games he plays--since he will be the one moving around, not Crisp.

Jed Lowrie could actually get the same role in the infield. All those guys could use a breather too.

Would Francona do this? He has never really had a team like this before, with young guys who can play but who don't have a spot yet. Ellsbury and Lowrie are not going to bitch about it.

#2 BroodsSexton

  • 4,891 posts

Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:10 PM

One of the refrains I have brought up over the years has been that I like to see the manager use his roster more flexibly. There are two steps to this: (1) have a bench that is good enough to play, and to play at multiple positions, and (2) use the bench.

I like this suggestion a lot, but it really requires some leadership to make the team think of itself as bigger than just the 9 regular starters. I've also suggested elsewhere that settling into a flexible bench may actually sweeten the trade offers the team sees. If other teams know that the Sox strategically prefer to play their bench, then they may not think that they can factor in the "addition by subtraction" component which might result if players are blocked.

This inevitably leads to questions about valuing the tradeoffs between rest, regular play, and the performance cost of an inferior substitution. We're already starting to hear the chorus of "How can you leave Ellsbury out of the lineup?" based on his performance so far. And maybe that's correct. But maybe it's not. In the season-long view, the gains associated with rest may be more important than the marginal loss associated with a few more "Coco looks lost at the plate" comments.

Edited by BroodsSexton, 23 April 2008 - 05:11 PM.


#3 Lollardfish

  • 1,833 posts

Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:13 PM

I like this suggestion a lot, but it really requires some leadership to make the team think of itself as bigger than just the 9 regular starters. I've also suggested elsewhere that settling into a flexible bench may actually sweeten the trade offers the team sees. If other teams know that the Sox strategically prefer to play their bench, then they may not think that they can factor in the "addition by subtraction" component which might result if players are blocked.

This inevitably leads to questions about valuing the tradeoffs between rest, regular play, and the performance cost of an inferior substitution. We're already starting to hear the chorus of "How can you leave Ellsbury out of the lineup?" based on his performance so far. And maybe that's correct. But maybe it's not. In the season-long view, the gains associated with rest may be more important than the marginal loss associated with a few more "Coco looks lost at the plate" comments.


I really couldn't agree with this more. I think Ellsbury is clearly the CF of the present and the future for the Red Sox. That said, just like a young pitcher not being given too many innings suddenly, ensuring that Ellsbury (and Youk, and Lowell, and, god help me, Lugo) is fresh and healthy in October is critical. Coco and Lowrie could be keys to making this happen.

People need to stop their moaning about the "Sunday lineup."

#4 Saints Rest

  • 3,823 posts

Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:26 PM

I actully think Tito has used his bench pretty frequently over the years. In fact, it may be the source of most of the bitching on this board (and other places) as he rests the Manny's and Drew's. The bigger issue is the construction of the bench (i.e. Theo) than the use of it. When Manny is replaced by Hinske, the world moans (Baby Jesus cries, etc). When he is replaced by Cocobury, there is less crying.

There are enough at bats to go around if the bench is used well, but you dont want those AB's spread around to decidedly inferior players. The flip side, of course, is whether you can construct a bench with players who can make good use of thsoe AB's. And by construct, I mean both in terms of chemistry (the Jay Payton corollary) or in terms of payroll (the Yankees model).

With Coco, Lowrie, and Casey, the Sox now have three bench players (and I am intentionally leaving out he backup C as he has one role on this team) who can be shuttled in and out of the lineup with minimal dropoff from the starters. Now can these three maintain their levels all season? What happens to Cora (presumably he replaces Lowrie but not as well)?

#5 The Four Peters


  • can peacefully dougie off this mortal coil


  • 11,151 posts

Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:46 PM

This is absolutely a great theory, however the key to this is the manager. He needs to be able to define the roles clearly, not mislead the players, yet be brutally honest all at the same time. I have full confidence that Tito will be able to be this person this year. In 2004/2005, it was a lot tougher, because a lot of players felt entitled to their starting roles (Millar?). However, with this great mix of young players, veterans who signed knowing their role, and Tito's cache of 2 championships, this is a completely realistic possibility.

I have had many arguments with friends that the Sox should not trade Coco for below market value. He would be an extremely valuable 4th outfielder, for many reasons, including his defense and baserunning. The common refrain? "He is going to pull a Jay Payton, he wants to start, he has a contract coming up." I highly doubt this, for 2 reasons:

1. Tito can and will honestly tell Coco that he will get a lot of playing time, and not be stuck on the bench. Due to Tito's past tendencies and reputation, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Coco could get 3 starts a week. This would allow Coco to stay fresh, and also provide the flexibility quoted in this thread.

2. Tito and Theo can be realistic with Coco regarding his options. It would not be a stretch for them to tell him "As of today, we can't get much of anything for you. Give it until July, and we'll reassess. If you play well, we can get good value, and we'll trade you to a contender. Who knows, maybe you'll be starting by then due to an injury." Point is that they have proven that they aren't afraid of being honest with a player, and 9 times out of 10 that's all the players ask for. If Coco doesn't accept that? Then you know what you have.

Of course, all of this might have (probably has) already happened behind the scenes. The fact that Coco is still here does say something.

#6 There is no Rev


  • through the velvety hallway


  • 24,146 posts

Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:40 PM

I'm also a big believer that the 162 game is quite grueling and while everyone wants to play all the time--that's how they got there--they shouldn't Count me among those who think Iron Cal might have produced better with some rest.

In that vein, it's an intriguing suggestion. I definitely think it would take a serious team meeting, sitting everyone down and going, look, we've got a great team but some interchangeable parts, but if we play this correctly we could be a really great team. Will you do it? Then they say, yeah, let's go for it, or then you know who's not on board. To echo 4Peters, if it takes a rare manager to have that kind of meeting and pull it off, Tito might be one of them being the player guy that he is.

I like the idea of the approach because I, like many here, can see where Crisp is coming from. Imagine being the best int he world at something that you love to do, but not being allowed to do it because you're not so good at this other related thing. Now make it worse by throwing in the fact that you love that other thing too, and you used to be pretty good at it and you really wish you were again. That's not a bad working definition of hell for some people.

If Tito could make it work, the idea of a potentially rest augmented team coupled with a near injury proof defensive outfield would be a heck of a thing to have.

To quote Bad Boys II: "This is a stupid fucking problem to have. But it is still a problem." The idea of Crisp not playing outfield somewhere kind of boggles the mind if you really think about it.