A few highlights:
The real question has to be the outfield. If rumors are to be believed, then Theo would be perfectly content to go into 2010 fielding the same starters as he did in 2009. Can a team that claims to be focused on defense really accept two fielders who aren't just not good, but in fact at the bottom of the barrel?
For all the world, Jacoby Ellsbury looks like he's a defensive star. His diving grabs make regular appearances on top-10 lists, he has speed enough to cover the large territory in center, and he's not prone to careless drops or tragic misplays. And yet, advanced defensive metrics will tell you that he is in fact the single worst center fielder in the majors. Observing the young speedster in action will reveal that the reason behind this—as has been discussed so many times before—is that he gets bad breaks on balls, often having to completely reverse direction after the ball is in the air, costing him valuable time and wasting much of his speed and glove.
Perhaps Theo and the front office expect Ellsbury to improve his reads next year. Maybe they think he was just off in 2009, and that he'll be back strong in 2010. But if not, what are they doing? It's puzzling why the Sox would claim to focus on defense, and then ignore their single biggest defensive problem. Especially with viable options out there. The Detroit Tigers actually crafted a seemingly perfect solution for the Sox, offering them a 1-for-1 deal: Ellsbury for Curtis Granderson, who would have been a huge defensive improvement with similar offensive production (or superior if he rebounds, as his low BABIP would predict).
I would be curious to hear opinions on Ellsbury and, more specifically, on Buchanan's analysis of Ellsbury. I am trying to gain a better understanding of Ellsbury's overall worth. I'm inclined to think that he is an overestimated player and that it would be in the Red Sox's best interest to trade him. With that said, I'm hoping to learn from others on this subject.
A few pertinent questions:
(1) Is Ellsbury's defense as bad as the defensive metrics suggest? If his defense is that bad, then why isn't Epstein looking for another centerfielder? Why the change at 3b but not CF?
(2) It has been rumored that the Tigers wanted Ellsbury for Granderson. Should the Red Sox have made that trade? Is Granderson a better player than Ellsbury?
(3) Now that the Red Sox have signed Scutaro, should Ellsbury be moved down the lineup, perhaps to the 9th spot in the order, while Scutaro bats lead-off? Scutaro demonstrated better plate discipline in 2009, with a Swing % of 34.5 in comparison to Ellsbury's 40.9. In addition, Scutaro's O-Swing % was almost twice as good as Ellsbury's.
(4) Is Ellsbury an overestimated player? Would it be in the Red Sox's best interest to include Ellsbury in a trade for a starting pitcher or middle-of-the-order bat? If Ellsbury can't play quality defense in CF, and is not needed in the leadoff spot, then he loses a lot of his value--does he not?
Edited by FanSinceBoggs, 12 December 2009 - 03:36 PM.