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Has Theo Been Too Patient?


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#1 TheoShmeo


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:44 AM

I've been kicking around the question in the thread title for a few days and thought I'd see how others view this.

On the one hand:

- Even with all the injuries, the Sox are only 3 games out of the WC;

- Players are already coming back, and by mid-August, many of the guys on the DL or on rehab will be back on the field;

- If Theo tried to make moves now, opposing GMs would extract a heavy price;

- With so many teams still not eliminated, there aren't many sellers and very few guys the Sox could have actually obtained;

- Had Theo been successful in acquiring quality players, the Sox would have had a glut of starter level players when the injured guys returned and faced some of the difficult personnel challenges that may have contributed to their slow start in April; and

- The downturn the Sox are seemingly in the middle of happened pretty quick; heading into July 4, the Sox were only .5 out of first place and Tom Caron was reasonably speculating about ruining Steinbrenner's birthday.

On the other hand:

- It was entirely predictable that a line-up filled with the likes of Kevin Cash, Darnell McDonald, Eric Patterson and Daniel Nava would eventually hit the wall;

- The time to make a move or two was when things were still going well, as had Theo looked ahead, it would have been easy to predict that the better teams like Tampa and Texas would handle a team as depleted as the Red Sox with relative ease;

- The Sox reticence to make deals before the deadline is arguably tied more to the unwillingness to trip or exacerbate the luxury tax than it is to the concern about where they would play Willie McGee (I mean David DeJesus); and

- Waiting to the deadline to decide whether to deal does give the Sox more optionality and it does make it more likely that the prices for useful pieces will go down, but the Sox may be too far back for any moves to make sense after the West Coast trip is over.

Has the patient, "no panic moves" approach made sense? Or would earlier moves not been out of panic but rather reasonable foresight about what was likely going to happen if no moves were made?

#2 smastroyin


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:57 AM

One problem I really have with this line of thinking is that it takes two teams to make a trade. And, typically, teams like the Royals are more willing to wait for the trade deadline to see if the value of their assets goes up. This can backfire (the team that needs that OF might fall out of the race, etc.) but usually there is a reason teams wait to sell off their guys. I guess I would see this as more of an issue if David Dejesus had been traded somewhere for middling prospects on June 15th or something. The only non-scrub trade that has happened so far is Lee and I know people here would love to have him so that we can tip even more resources to the starting rotation but I'm not sure what the Red Sox would have had to give up in place of Smoak that would have gotten the Mariners attention.


The one time Theo has made a significant deal less than two weeks before the trade deadline was because he was selling off an overrated major league player and was acquiring a guy to stop his bumbling manager from continued bumbling (e.g. calling "I'll burn out one guy after another by overusing them past the point of effectiveness" "closer by committee"). Of course the bumbling continued and Kim was less effective than he could have been in the playoffs, but obviously at this point I'm only using this space to point out how much Grady sucked.






#3 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:08 AM

The point you made about a roster crunch once everyone is healthy makes me think the patient approach was correct. There's a pretty good chance this team will still be in the playoff race when healthy again so expending resources to fix temporary problems probably wouldn't have been the best approach.

The one exception, of course is the bullpen.

#4 86spike


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:38 AM

I don't think the front office has been too patient.

The amount of injuries and the way they decimated not only our starters, but our back ups too, is simply not something you can overcome on the trade market.

Theo actually had plenty of safety nets built in this year only to see them go up in smoke:

If Cameron gets hurt, you have Ellsbury and Hermida (holy crap, all three got hurt!)

If Pedroia gets hurt, you have Lowrie (ouch).

If Martinez gets hurt, you have Tek to fill in and one of Wagner or Brown in AAA as emergency plans (all 4?!?!).

You simply can't fix that type of damage quickly and you definitely shouldn't try to do it at any cost that damages the team down the road.

This year is just a big mess. What can you do?

#5 OCD SS


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:06 AM

This year is just a big mess. What can you do?


I think the tough answer to this one is "nothing." This is not a team or season that it makes sense to try and make major, go for broke improvements to. There's enough talent coming back that they might make a run, but it has to be considered a long shot. The issue isn't whether or not Theo has been too patient, but can the fan base be patient enough?

#6 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:50 AM

I think the tough answer to this one is "nothing." This is not a team or season that it makes sense to try and make major, go for broke improvements to. There's enough talent coming back that they might make a run, but it has to be considered a long shot. The issue isn't whether or not Theo has been too patient, but can the fan base be patient enough?

This is a good point. The essential problem staring Theo and the Sox in the face is that it's very possible that by the time their injured players are (finally) back on the field, the team may well be too far back in the WC and/or divisional standings to make up the required ground. Regardless of the true talent level of a fully healthy Red Sox team, the team as it's comprised right now is struggling pretty badly and has been forced to use average or below average players in place of the good ones on the DL. A fully healthy team may well be the best team in baseball, but for the vast majority of the season that hypothetical team hasn't existed.

I mean, seriously: 9 players from the initial 25 man roster on the DL a week or so ago? Ridiculous and calamitous.

The best course of action may well be to do nothing, but that doesn't mean that the best course of action will result in a playoff appearance this season. While I'm confident that Theo and ownership understands that and are willing to risk it, I'm equally confident that the fanbase and players do not and will not.

#7 yecul


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 10:01 AM

The real problem is that there is no guarantee that a move would make a difference. With so many players missing time you can't plug a single hole. Acquire Lee and your lineup has McDonald, Nava, and the rest in it for a month anyway. Acquire a bat and you still don't have Beckett and the rest of the lineup still has major soft spots.

Given the way the season has gone I think standing pat is the best bet. Trading for talent late in the game for a reliever is the only thing we may see. Or a longer term move for someone under control for a few years.

It's frustrating and challenging, but not nearly as all the injuries have been. Just one of those snake bit years.

All of this assumes that a fully healthy team would even be a lock for the playoffs. The division has three strong teams after all.

#8 NDame616


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Posted 19 July 2010 - 10:07 AM

This is a good point. The essential problem staring Theo and the Sox in the face is that it's very possible that by the time their injured players are (finally) back on the field, the team may well be too far back in the WC and/or divisional standings to make up the required ground. Regardless of the true talent level of a fully healthy Red Sox team, the team as it's comprised right now is struggling pretty badly and has been forced to use average or below average players in place of the good ones on the DL. A fully healthy team may well be the best team in baseball, but for the vast majority of the season that hypothetical team hasn't existed.

I mean, seriously: 9 players from the initial 25 man roster on the DL a week or so ago? Ridiculous and calamitous.

The best course of action may well be to do nothing, but that doesn't mean that the best course of action will result in a playoff appearance this season. While I'm confident that Theo and ownership understands that and are willing to risk it, I'm equally confident that the fanbase and players do not and will not.


This, IMO, is the only thing we can do, other than put feelers out there for Beltre and Paps. It just doesn't make sense to try to make any trades and compromise the team next year or the year after because we wanted a short term upgrade until (insert All-Star here) returns.

Beckett and Buchholz are coming back soon, but it's the offense that is the issue. Granted, we are at the top or near the top of many offensive categories, that isn't a reflection of the way we are now. If you take away the 14 run game vs Toronto, we have averaged 3.1 RPG since July 4th. So with the likes of a skitzo Beckett and Lackey along with DiceK, we need our starting pitchers (and our bullpen) to hold opponents to two runs per game? Yikes.

Our offense won't be at full strength for about another 2-3 weeks....when VMart and maybe Ellsbury come back. Yes, Hermida and his .217 average will be back soon. Is he an upgrade? I don't know. Maybe, barely. I'm not sure the ERA of Pedroia's return, but the only option is hoping the AA-AAA guys start playing better and we get lights out pitching, and we are within 3-4 games when healthy.

Will it happen? I don't think so. I think we go 4-6 or worse on the trip while the Rays go 7-3 or 8-2 during the same stretch. Bottom line...theSox return to Fenway ~5 GB, without much help on offense coming back soon.

#9 joe dokes

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 11:12 AM

The answer to the title question, IMO, is "no." While people point to 2006, I think the better comp is 2001, when Pedro, Nomar, and Varitek all went down. Putting aside the Jimy/Duquette/Everett/Kerrigan fiasco, it just isn't possible to replace 3 of the best players on the team taken out by injury. And its foolish to try. McNava might be a suitable replacement for Hermida; Hall might be a fine replacement for Lowrie. But when top-shelf starters go out, there are no replacements. Its not like Theo can swing midseason deals for Cano, McCann & starting Ps to replace VMart, Pedroia & Beckett, (not to mention DiceK and Buchholz.)