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#1 SeanBerry

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:06 PM

If you could be the GM of any team in baseball history, which team would you pick?

You would still be you (whoever you are and how ever old you are) but you can be the GM of any team in baseball history. You would also acquire the farm system of that team as well as have your knowledge of the time going until today. In other words if you took the 1992 Astros, you know that drafting Derek Jeter over Phil Nevin would probably be a smart move.

However if Derek Jeter was in the Astros organization, would his overall success change? Who knows but you at least know that talent is there.

So who would it be?

I'd take the 1974 Red Sox. It would be a lot of fun to build around that amazing nucleas and I'd want to run a team that didn't win. Being the Yankee GM in 1995 would be fun but I wouldn't feel like I was accomplishing anything.

What about you guys? Give the late 90's Indians some pitching? Have the Mets keep Nolan Ryan?

#2 drleather2001

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:43 PM

If you could be the GM of any team in baseball history, which team would you pick?

You would still be you (whoever you are and how ever old you are) but you can be the GM of any team in baseball history. You would also acquire the farm system of that team as well as have your knowledge of the time going until today. In other words if you took the 1992 Astros, you know that drafting Derek Jeter over Phil Nevin would probably be a smart move.

However if Derek Jeter was in the Astros organization, would his overall success change? Who knows but you at least know that talent is there.

So who would it be?

I'd take the 1974 Red Sox. It would be a lot of fun to build around that amazing nucleas and I'd want to run a team that didn't win. Being the Yankee GM in 1995 would be fun but I wouldn't feel like I was accomplishing anything.

What about you guys? Give the late 90's Indians some pitching? Have the Mets keep Nolan Ryan?

I'd take the 1940 Red Sox and sign Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and Jackie Robinson to 8, 5, and 15 year contracts, respectively, thereby having a bad-ass team and doing society a favor, to boot.

#3 Detts

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:51 PM

I would suggest 'other than being named GM November 25, 2002 for the Red Sox'. That one is too easy.

#4 Phil Plantier

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 09:04 PM

I'll take the 1992 Expos. So much talent, rich gooey talent...

#5 Dehere

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 09:18 PM

Fun game. I'm going to cheat and take two.

I was a 7 year old kid in Pittsburgh when the 1979 Pirates won it all and made me a baseball fan for life. That team was an incredibly charismatic mix of characters that included some HOF-level talent. Running that team would have been a blast.

Without picking a specific year, I'd also choose the Boys of Summer era Brooklyn Dodgers. Also a tremendous collection of characters, and the GM job would come with the added gravitas of playing a key role in integrating the game. Also, I've always thought of that decade after the war to be possibly the historic peak of New York City. Living in NYC during those years, being around those players, going to Ebbets Field every day....yeah, that's a fantasy I can get behind.

#6 SemperFidelisSox

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 09:44 PM

90's Cleveland Indians. It was a team that was one big pitching move away from multiple championships, but John Hart could never get it done.

I make one of two moves. Move Jaret Wright to Montreal for Pedro Martinez, and sign him to an extension. An Indians team with Pedro at the top of the rotation would have gotten past the '98 Yankees, who they had a 2-1 lead over in the ALCS. With Bartolo Colon emerging as a dominant second ace soon after, the Indians probably win one more title in the early 00's.

If the Pedro deal falls through, then I give up Marcus Giles and prospects for a 3 month rental of Randy Johnson at the '98 trade deadline. Again, that team could have defeated the '98 Yankees and won a title with Pedro or Johnson.

#7 CoolPapaBellhorn

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 09:54 PM

Great question. Does taking over as GM of the 1919 Red Sox give me the ability to talk the owner out of selling Babe Ruth? If so, I think that's the obvious answer.

If not, it has to be taking over the White Sox pre-1919 and breaking up the Black Sox before they become the Black Sox.

#8 MentalDisabldLst

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:16 PM

But would you get the changes that Judge Landis imposed which helped build baseball's infrastructure in the wake of that scandal? Keeping those ethical lapses under the surface just makes it that much worse when they do come out (see: steroids). It's not like anything could have prevented a Black Sox sooner or later. Structurally, the game paid the players too little and left too much room for them to associate with gamblers or become at the mercy of gamblers.

#9 abty

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:29 AM

1994 Mets. I'd let the team tank and, this time in 1995, we'd be in line to get Halladay (missed him by one pick in round 1 - haha). I'd steal Beltran in round 2 (They passed on him round 2). Take it from there.

#10 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:30 AM

I'd take the 1940 Red Sox and sign Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and Jackie Robinson to 8, 5, and 15 year contracts, respectively, thereby having a bad-ass team and doing society a favor, to boot.

Remember that you are the GM, and not the owner. You may not have been permitted to sign those players. I know this is a bad thread for a "me too" post, but I can't beat Sean Berry's answer of the 1974 Red Sox. At no other time can I think of a team that had more pieces that just didn't keep them together long enough, for reasons that were largely under their control. I would also make sure that I never hired Don Zimmer, alongside the obvious "don't make those stupid trades/mail the contracts on time" moves.

EDIT - Ok, I am going to make this post suck less and include different 1st round draft picks. Hey, if I have all my modern-day knowledge, let's take what was already in the system and make it even more awesome, right?

1974 Draft - I take Rick Sutcliffe instead of Eddie Ford

1975 Draft - Instead of taking Otis Foster with the 15th pick in the draft, I'm picking Andre Dawson.

1976 Draft - This is actually a tough one. Bruce Hurst was obviously a great pick. Rickey Henderson was drafted in the 4th round by the A's, but does Rickey become Rickey in this alternate reality? Taking future stars over relative nothings is an easy choice, but Hurst paid off well enough that I think I keep this pick as-is...and pick Rickey in the 2nd round! HA! Yes, I'm cheating.

1977 Draft - Instead of taking Andrew Madden in the first round (draft position is likely changing by this point, since I'll be winning more regular season games than the real-world Red Sox did, so I can't pick guys who were taken before the last pick of the 1st round anymore), I'll go with Ozzie Smith, who was taken in the 4th round. It was between Ozzie and Tim Raines, but the Sox OF is so stacked that I'll take the SS instead.

1978 Draft - The Red Sox had no 1st round pick due to signing Mike Torrez. I think I'd rather draft Ryne Sandberg with a 1st round pick than sign Mike Torrez, even though that leaves a hole in the rotation, and Sutcliffe wasn't ready to contribute before 1979 historically. Since I've already won a title sometime between 1975 and 1977, I don't have the pressure of needing to make signings for the short term over the long term, so I am seriously hoarding my 1st round picks.

1979 Draft - The Red Sox had no 1st round pick due to signing Steve Renko. I don't need Renko now that Sutcliffe has developed into a part of my rotation, so I'm picking up Don Mattingly with the 1st round pick instead.

1980 Draft - The Red Sox had no 1st round pick due to signing the immortal Skip Lockwood. You can bet that I don't sign him here. Eric Davis, come on down.

1981 - The Red Sox had two 1st round picks thanks to Baltimore signing away FA Jim Dwyer. How tragically unfortunate for the rest of baseball. Steve Lyons and Kevin Burrell? I think not. If you thought that the Padres were anonymous in the real history of MLB, just wait until I've added Tony Gwynn with that extra pick, to go along with David Cone.

1982 - Now it gets interesting. The Red Sox had 3 first round picks in 1982, thanks to losing Frank Tanana and Joe Rudi as FA signings to the Rangers and A's, respectively. Of course, I never trade Fred Lynn to the Angels for Rudi and Tanana, so I never get those compensation picks. That cuts me down to 1 1st round pick, which leaves me in the odd position of completely destroying a piece of Red Sox history that is vital to the creation and naming of this website. Do I draft Sam Horn in a ridiculously awesome draft class, instead of one of the great players who signed after they were drafted (Saberhagen, Jimmy Key, Cecil Fielder)? Since the Red Sox took Horn with the 16th pick in the original 1982 draft, and I can't bet on having a pick lower than 25th or so, I don't think that I end up having the choice. I do, however, get my pick of later-round draftees, and Saberhagen is the obvious choice among those who signed. But wait...

I now have the ability to absolutely destroy the real timeline of MLB, the NFL, Nintendo Games, and NCAA Football. In 1982, Bo Jackson was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2nd round, but did not sign. I could draft him and throw obscene gobs of money at him to get him to sign, which means he never attends Auburn University, thereby destroying the early-80s period of football success at my alma mater. As a result, Bo never joins the NFL, and never becomes a part of Tecmo Super Bowl. There is no Brian Bosworth game. There is no Bo Jackson on the Raiders. There is no "Go Bo Go!" at Auburn. There is no "call whatever you want, this is a Nintendo TD" set of plays in Tecmo Super Bowl. This could work out well for the Red Sox, as without playing NFL football, Bo never gets hurt on a tackle. That said...I can't do it. I would do it if I were not an Auburn fan, but I just can't. It's just too much to bear. I also have the options of drafting and throwing huge gobs of money at Barry Bonds, Will Clark, or Randy Johnson, but I'm not sure how those players develop without their college years, and Johnson took forever to hit his peak anyway.

I choose Bret Saberhagen, and the Royals join the Padres in eternal obscurity.

I think I'll keep adding onto this as the day goes on, this is a neat exercise.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 10:17 AM.

#11 John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:01 AM

1975 Draft - Instead of taking Otis Foster with the 15th pick in the draft, I'm picking Andre Dawson.

1976 Draft - This is actually a tough one. Bruce Hurst was obviously a great pick. Rickey Henderson was drafted in the 4th round by the A's, but does Rickey become Rickey in this alternate reality? Taking future stars over relative nothings is an easy choice, but Hurst paid off well enough that I think I keep this pick as-is...and pick Rickey in the 2nd round! HA! Yes, I'm cheating.

I hate to be Lou Gorman here, but where are you going to fit Andre Dawson, Rickey Henderson, Yaz, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans in one outfield? Also, assuming that you didn't trade Ben Oglivie or Cecil Cooper either you have your DH/1Bs for the next ten years, so I doubt that you need Mattingly.

#12 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:23 AM

I hate to be Lou Gorman here, but where are you going to fit Andre Dawson, Rickey Henderson, Yaz, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans in one outfield? Also, assuming that you didn't trade Ben Oglivie or Cecil Cooper either you have your DH/1Bs for the next ten years, so I doubt that you need Mattingly.

I am not necessarily keeping every player that I draft. I would prefer to trade players that I have drafted rather than signing FAs, which would enable me to keep using my knowledge of the future to make awesome draft picks. I admit that I have not completely factored in every resulting roster move as I go, but making the picks seems like an interesting enough intellectual exercise for the time being. A very fair question, though. I'd draft Mattingly just to keep him away from NY anyway. I am also a cold-hearted bastard, and would not keep the 1979-1983 version of Yaz around. The key would be Lynn's "never left Boston" performance, with regards to when and how I deal with him. With Yaz gone, Rice DHs from an early age. That frees up one spot. If Lynn tails off, I put Dawson in CF. Actually, even if Lynn doesn't tail off, I probably put Dawson in CF. It would seem to be a nice problem to have. By 1981, the OF is Henderson-Dawson-Evans, with Rice or Lynn DHing/4th OF, and the other either traded or converted to an IF position of need, most likely the former. We're already long since into silly territory, but it's honestly how I'd try to go in that position. I would be all about facing every Lou Gorman situation possible.

EDIT - Or we could not let me cheat and make the 2nd round pick, eliminating Rickey from this exercise, and leaving Lynn-Dawson-Evans in whatever OF positions you please, with Rice DHing. That might actually be the way to go here.

EDIT2 - As for 1B/DH, I keep Cooper and lose Oglivie. I may need to make a more thorough post on overall roster moves. I'm no EV math whiz or history major (this is before my time), but it's worth trying to address the idea.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 08:44 AM.

#13 John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:45 AM

I am not necessarily keeping every player that I draft. I would prefer to trade players that I have drafted rather than signing FAs, which would enable me to keep using my knowledge of the future to make awesome draft picks.

This doesn't make a lot of sense. Why would you give away players to your competition that you know are going to be good? As a GM the fundamental objection of a trade is to get rid of your trash in return for treasure. It's one of the reasons why Lou Gorman gets so much crap for getting rid of Bagwell.

I'd draft Mattingly just to keep him away from NY anyway.

The Yankees did nothing when he was their first baseman. I'm not sure why you're keeping him away from NY, but small point, I suppose.

The key would be Lynn's "never left Boston" performance, with regards to when and how I deal with him. With Yaz gone, Rice DHs from an early age. That frees up one spot. If Lynn tails off, I put Dawson in CF. Actually, even if Lynn doesn't tail off, I probably put Dawson in CF. It would seem to be a nice problem to have. By 1981, the OF is Henderson-Dawson-Evans, with Rice or Lynn DHing/4th OF, and the other either traded or converted to an IF position of need, most likely the former.

Most people think that if Lynn never left Boston, he'd be a no-doubt Hall of Famer as his swing was tailor-made for Fenway. He had great years up until he left, so I would think that he'd continue at that rate through at least the mid-80s. (He even put up good numbers in Calfornia). I guess that you can make the argument that he'd get injured or something, but keeping Henderson and Dawson in case of injury could retard their growth as major leaguers or render them completely useless.

And I'm not sure if Lynn would want to be a fourth outfielder, I'm not even sure you could justify that.

Edit: just saw your first edit. I agree with you there.

#14 SeanBerry

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:53 AM

I have to imagine that Dawson playing in Fenway might add a couple years to his career to as opposed to being in Montreal.

#15 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:16 AM

This doesn't make a lot of sense. Why would you give away players to your competition that you know are going to be good? As a GM the fundamental objection of a trade is to get rid of your trash in return for treasure. It's one of the reasons why Lou Gorman gets so much crap for getting rid of Bagwell.

Because there are only so many roster spots, and I'd rather have more good pieces to trade than never have those good pieces at all. Also, there are not necessarily good draftable options at every position that needs to be filled, so if I need to trade a young Eric Davis to a NL team to fill out the rotation while I wait for Bruce Hurst to develop, I think I am better off by doing that than I am by never having Eric Davis at all, or signing a token back-end-of-the-rotation FA pitcher and losing a draft pick that is far more valuable to me than it is to any other GM in baseball due to my knowledge of the future.

The Yankees did nothing when he was their first baseman. I'm not sure why you're keeping him away from NY, but small point, I suppose.

I was being glib. I'd honestly put him at 1B for his age 23-28 production from 1984-1989, which happens to coincide perfectly with Cooper falling off the table after 1983 at age 34. Having Cooper does not mean that I would not be able to use Mattingly.

Most people think that if Lynn never left Boston, he'd be a no-doubt Hall of Famer as his swing was tailor-made for Fenway. He had great years up until he left, so I would think that he'd continue at that rate through at least the mid-80s. (He even put up good numbers in Calfornia). I guess that you can make the argument that he'd get injured or something, but keeping Henderson and Dawson in case of injury could retard their growth as major leaguers or render them completely useless.

And I'm not sure if Lynn would want to be a fourth outfielder, I'm not even sure you could justify that.

Edit: just saw your first edit. I agree with you there.

Yeah, I left my "2nd round pick = Henderson" part up there, but it will get a strikethrough shortly. The other issue is that I'm thinking that Rickey Henderson and the Boston Media might not get along too well from 1980-1992, and that could have some chemistry/performance spillover effects on the rest of the roster. Dawson-Lynn-Evans with Rice at DH is good enough that Henderson can go be awesome elsewhere without me feeling too bad about it anyway.

#16 Worst Trade Evah

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:51 AM

I'm having trouble understanding the idea you wouldn't pick Mattingly because the Yankees "did nothing" when Mattingly was their 1b. I guess it turns out as a contingent fact of history that they didn't win, but if you re-run those seasons, it's not set in stone they wouldn't, because for the most part those were good teams. Things happened, but there was nothing inevitable about the Yankees not winning while Mattingly was there. The average Yankee team in Mattingly's prime won over 87 games -- almost 90 if you exclude 1989, when he first started hurting. They finished 5 games out or less (closer than the 2010 Red Sox) 3 times.

1983: 91-71, Final Rank:3, GB: 7.0
1984: 87-75, Final Rank:3, GB: 17.0
1985: 97-64, Final Rank:2, GB: 2.0
1986: 90-72, Final Rank:2, GB: 5.5
1987: 89-73, Final Rank:4, GB: 9.0
1988: 85-76, Final Rank:5, GB: 3.5
1989: 74-87, Final Rank:5, GB: 14.5

By 1990 Mattingly wasn't the same player anymore.

You can't pass up a player as great as Mattingly because the Yankees "did nothing". I'd pick Mattingly and make a contract point that he do yoga back therapy constantly, or something.

I thought JMDurron gave a terrific response to this thread. I guess there are nits to pick, but as far as I can see he's the only one who's offered enough detail to provide any nits.

#17 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 11:17 AM

Ok, I'm going to make an effort to catch my roster up to my draft pick years. Even with perfect knowledge of future player development and performance, I can't even begin to project what the trade market might be like in this alternate reality, so I'm going to concentrate on non-trades and draft picks, using generic filler spots for what I would try to trade for, since I can't honestly evaluate trade markets. I value draft picks too much to sign any FAs at all if I can help it. This is going to be a living document, where someone giving me information that I do not have can change my decisions - in other words, I'm making this up as I go, so criticism/input is welcome. I don't promise to use it, but I reserve the right to do so. I am assuming identical player development timelines for the sake of convenience.

1974 - I change nothing besides the draft pick (Sutcliffe, arrives on the MLB roster in 1979). I'm the new guy who doesn't want to rock the boat.

1975 - Same deal. I am the GM, not the manager, so I can't make Johnson play Rice sooner than he did, or give Doyle more time over Griffin. I draft Andre Dawson, due to arrive in 1977.

1976 - I do not trade Dick Drago or Bernie Carbo. Drago takes Tom Murphy's innings. Gene Michael suffers a tragic hit-and-run car accident after he is released on May 4. Oops! These moves do not make the team win it all that year, but you just can't win them all. Maybe EV could make up some trades to get 15 games back, but I don't have any ideas. I'm thinking more long-term anyway. I draft Bruce Hurst, as I will bias towards successful Red Sox 1st round picks over alternate reality options (Jack Morris in this case) when I have the choice. Hurst becomes a meaningful contributor in 1983.

Added - I do not hire Don Zimmer. I don't know who I hire instead, could I get some help on this one? I do not make myself GM/manager, as I feel that violates the purpose of this exercise. The manager doesn't really matter much to me with this season anyway. Assume RANDOM MLB AVERAGE MANAGER is hired.

1977 - The first of the new arrivals makes his impact. Andre Dawson joins a loaded OF with Yaz, Lynn (had a down year), Evans, Rice, and Carbo. Since Carbo was never traded away, Cecil Cooper is never traded to bring Carbo back with George Scott. Cooper is the Opening Day 1B. Rice DHs, leaving Yaz, Lynn, Evans, Carbo, and Dawson to fight for the OF playing time. Given my perfect knowledge of the future, I know which of these OFers is expendable, so I trade Bernie Carbo for a GENERIC MLB AVERAGE 2B in place of Danny Doyle. My lineup for the majority of the season is therefore

DH - Jim Rice
C - Carlton Fisk
1B - Cecil Cooper
SS - Rick Burleson
3B - Butch Hobson
LF - Yaz
CF - Lynn
RF - Dawson, since apparently Evans got hurt and only played 73 games. I would welcome input from someone who remembers what happened here to straighten this out.

The upgrade from Doyle to a average player cushions the short-term blow of going from Carbo to Evans/Dawson. Cooper/Scott is a wash. On the pitching side, Dick Drago puts up better numbers than Tom Murphy would have. There are no major changes to the pitching staff, as injuries/reduced performance from Willoughby and Wise aren't really avoidable. This is an absolutely stacked team that I believe could have made up the 2.5 games between them and the Yankees to end the season. The only gaping holes at 2B and BP #5 have been filled. That's the best that any GM could do, IMO.

Oh yeah, and Don Zimmer is gone. Given that a retarded monkey could win games with this kind of talent, I am saying that my RANDOM MLB AVERAGE MANAGER is worth 2 wins over Don Zimmer, which means the AL East Title, AL Pennant, and World Series. Drought over, bitches.

More to come later, this gets more complicated as we go.

EDIT - I take Ozzie Smith in the 1977 1st round. Smith arrives in 1978.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 11:25 AM.

#18 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 11:50 AM

I've already taken this overboard, but I've chartered a Russian submarine to take me all the way to the bottom. Welcome to 1978. The year that I become a cold-hearted bastard who destroys your childhood heroes, but wins in the process!

Let's welcome Ozzie Smith to the 1978 Red Sox. Given our perfect knowledge of the future, this means that Rick Burleson gets the Posted Image treatment. This means he can't be traded later, but hey, I think it is worth it. There are now large differences between my roster and the historical 1978 roster. I do not sign Mike Torrez to keep my 1st round draft pick to use on Ryne Sandberg (since I am only doing 1st round picks for this exercise), so there is a gap in the pitching staff. Of course, that gap is somewhat mitigated by not trading Fergie Jenkins for John Poloni. Of course, without Don Zimmer, Bill Lee stays in the rotation for the entire season, so it's not a total loss. So, the positional setup.

C - Carlton Fisk
1B - Cecil Cooper and his 133 OPS+ over George Scott and his 83 OPS+.
2B - Jerry Remy
SS - Ozzie Smith over Rick Burleson
3B - Butch Hobson
LF - Andre Dawson* - effectively over Bob Bailey offensively
CF - Fred Lynn*
RF - Dwight Evans*
DH - Jim Rice

* indicates I have no idea who plays where in the OF. I'm inclined to leave Evans in RF, but I never saw Lynn or Dawson play OF in their primes. Which one has the better range/arm? That one gets CF, the other LF.

This lineup is better offensively at 1B, SS, and DH than the real 1978 Red Sox, and better defensively as well with Dawson over Rice and Smith over Burleson (I don't know if Burleson was a good defensive SS or not, but it's Ozzie Smith, so come on). The pitching staff is another issue. Assuming that the Wise-for-Eck deal goes through, but Torrez is not signed, I am short a full-time SP.

Eck-Tiant-Lee-?. Could Jim Wright appears to pick up that slack? This is one where I could also appreciate some historical input, but I'm personally not betting on his numbers scaling up perfectly in his rookie season. This means that I need to make a trade for a SP who is good enough to be an upgrade over Wright (or at least his equivalent over 36 starts instead of 16). Sutcliffe is a year away, and I'm not assuming that I can rush him. You have to give up value to get value, and I have two starters from 1977 who aren't cracking the lineup anymore. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I am trading Rick Burleson and Carl Yastrzemski for GENERIC ABOVE AVERAGE STARTING PITCHER. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the combination of Yaz's offensive and star value, plus Burleson's generally acceptable output from SS at age 27 to bring back such a haul. The bullpen looks fine to me with Stanley-Drago-Burgmeier-Campbell-Hassler.

So, I kinda forgot about Fergie Jenkins, which presents a conundrum. There's my above average starting pitcher, making for an awesome rotation. So, Burleson and Yaz remain on the roster, but are bench players. Burleson becomes the utility player and Yaz becomes the professional pinch hitter, with Ozzie playing defensively for Remy on his days off besides him. This will make a huge difference when Hobson needs to be rested down the stretch, as Burleson and Smith combine to make the left side of the IF a defensive iron curtain. The offense at 3B won't be great, but who cares? Hobson threw away more runs than he drove in while injured that year anyway.

Also, no Don Zimmer. This team doesn't just win the 1978 World Series, it annihilates all those who stand before it with a manager who actually rests injured players and doesn't move hippies to the bullpen. Say hello to back-to-back rings, and take comfort in the fact that Yaz got his in 1977.

I draft Ryne Sandberg with the 1st round pick I saved by not signing Torrez. Sandberg arrives in 1982.

EDIT - Forgot Fergie Jenkins, so I don't trade your heroes...yet.

Edited by JMDurron, 31 October 2010 - 12:34 AM.

#19 CoolPapaBellhorn

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:11 PM

But would you get the changes that Judge Landis imposed which helped build baseball's infrastructure in the wake of that scandal? Keeping those ethical lapses under the surface just makes it that much worse when they do come out (see: steroids). It's not like anything could have prevented a Black Sox sooner or later. Structurally, the game paid the players too little and left too much room for them to associate with gamblers or become at the mercy of gamblers.

That's fine - just let it happen with some other team. I'm assuming that my job is to build the best White Sox team possible. If I can trade Chick Gandil to the Yankees before he starts pulling this whole operation together, I think the world is a much better place.

#20 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:27 PM

Welcome to 1979, as I continue to give myself a migraine. This is just too much fun, though.

Rick Sutcliffe joins the rotation for 1979. Without Don Zimmer being a moron (or me being a moron), Bill Lee is not traded for Stan Papi in the offseason. Thanks to Cecil Cooper staying and holding down 1B, there is no Bob Watson trade, so he truly shall be only "Yankee Bob" in this alternate universe. It is also worth nothing that in this alternate reality, after winning back-to-back titles in 1977 (with some luck) and 1978 (pure, awesome dominance), I am effectively dictator-for-life in the GM position and have significant independence from ownership oversight, which had already begun to allow the Burleson-and-Yaz trade. So, a look at the position players.

C - Carlton Fisk/Gary Allenson. Fisk appears to have had an injury season, but what GM is going to, even with perfect knowledge, find a gold-plated backup C? Not I. Maybe I try to get the manager to give Bob Montgomery more starts over Allenson, but my history is weak here, so I'm missing some context.
1B - Cecil Cooper (OPS+ of 133 compared to Watson's 148, so a slight downgrade)
2B - Jerry Remy
SS - Ozzie Smith has a severe sophomore slump at the plate, so his OPS+ ends up at 48 compared to Burleson's real-world 80. At least he can pick it at SS, even on Fenway's IF. Burleson takes some starts from him, with Smith coming in for defense frequently.
3B - Butch Hobson
LF - Andre Dawson (replacing Yaz's offense of 108 OPS+ with his 111 OPS+ is basically a wash)
CF - Fred Lynn
RF - Dwight Evans
DH - Jim Rice

Burleson and Yaz remain on the bench. The only position of really poor performance in 1979 was at C due to Fisk's injury, and those two are too versatile to trade for a temporary fix at C, plus I have no idea who they could get anyway.

The starting pitching looks like Eck - Jenkins - Stanley - Sutcliffe (replaces Torrez, very slight upgrade in 1979) - Bill Lee. The bullpen is not as good as in 1978, but still adequate with Drago, Burgmeier, and Campbell in the top 3 spots. but bumping Rainey from the rotation to the bullpen (Stanley ate so many innings that he stays in the rotation) to go along with Drago, Burgmeier, and Campbell makes for a still-excellent pen. Rainey did so well in the bullpen in 1981 that I don't think it is unreasonable to expect good things from him two years earlier. Bill Lee eats more innings than Renko did (222.0 to 171.0), and puts up the 121 ERA+ compared to Renko's 109 in the process, plus Jenkins gobbles up an obscene 259 IP, so basically nobody other than the top 4 bullpen guys ever pitch anyway.

The real 1979 team finished in 3rd place, 11.5 GB of the dominant Baltimore Orioles. Despire the upgrade from Yaz to Dawson (really, defensively from Rice to Dawson), Torrez to Jenkins, and Rainey to Sutcliffe, and from Renko to Lee, the injury to Fisk and Smith's horrible 1979 season are just too much to overcome. My Red Sox just might be 10 games better on paper, and with a healthy Fisk I think they take it to the wire, but 19 games is just too many to deal with. Time to tip my cap to the Orioles and move on to 1980.

Using the 1979 1st round pick that I keep by not signing Renko, I annoy JMOH by selecting Don Mattingly, who joins the club in 1983 and becomes a full-time player in 1984.

EDIT - I'm an idiot who forgot about the Bill Lee for Stan Papi trade.

EDIT2 - And Fergie Jenkins, damnit.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 02:43 PM.

#21 bakahump

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:29 PM

I would take the 39 Sox.

I would fake an injury to Williams in 40 causing him to be undraftable. We would win the WS 41-45 but eventually lose the war in the Pacific.

We would then win a few WS between 45-50 but lose the Korean War and the Space Race (Yeager is killed in a Dog fight and cannot fly the bell x-1 and move our space program forward.).

We would then not enter Vietnam as we had has our asses kicked in 2 wars. We would then blink against the Soviets in cuba eventually falling to Communism.

But damn the 40's would be nice.

Realistically the mid 70s sox with Cooper, Dewey, Rice, Lynn, Fisk etc etc would be pretty cool to run.

#22 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:54 PM

I'm going to assume that someone finds this mildly interesting besides me until I am told otherwise. I could keep doing this all day, it's rather slow at the office.

The 1980 "should have drafted Jack Morris" season is now upon me. Due to Cecil Cooper's still-awesome presence at 1B, I do not sign Tony Perez. So for the good news, there is the offense.

C - Carlton Fisk
1B - Cecil Cooper's OPS+ of 155 over Perez and his 108.
2B - Dave Stapleton
SS - Ozzie Smith with another poor offensive year (71 OPS+, below Burleson's 90), but he still brings that glove to work every day, so at least he helps the pitching staff
3B - Glenn Hoffman
LF - Andre Dawson busts out offensively, with an OPS+ of 136 that probably would have been aided by Fenway's help for RHH power hitters. An upgrade over Yaz's 116 historical OPS+ that year
CF - Fred Lynn
RF - Dwight Evans
DH - Jim Rice

Yaz and Burleson remain on the bench, but both become clubhouse cancers due to lack of playing time. These are competitive guys, so it's not hard to understand. This exacerbates the team's pitching frustrations.

The bad news is that the pitching staff is a horrific clusterfuck in any reality. First, the starters. Eckersley slumps. Renko was historically league average, but he is replaced by Bill Lee, who reverses 1979 by pitching fewer, lesser-quality innings than Renko. Mike Torrez's below-average inning eating is replaced by Rick Sutcliffe's horrific nightmare of a 1980 season. Fergie Jenkins holds the line with 198 IP of rougly average (103 ERA+) pitching. John Tudor and Chuck Rainey remain unchanged, as Rainey gets starts due to Lee's shortened season. The rotation is Jenkins-Eck-Lee-Sutcliffe-Tudor-Rainey, with lots of innings for the last two thanks to Lee and Sutcliffe.

In the bullpen, Burgmeier, Stanley and Drago hold the fort with a couple of standard meh relievers behind them, but with that starting pitching, it doesn't matter. The real 1980 team finished in 5th place, 19 GB of the Yankees. In this reality, the offense, position defense, and lack of Don Zimmer are awesome enough to take this team to 3rd place, but 19 games with this pitching staff just wasn't going to happen. Not even Jenkins is worth that many more wins.

And I forgot about not trading Bill Lee before the 1979 season. Time to go do some editing.

I don't sign Skip Lockwood (give his innings to Crawford, or whoever really, the 5th bullpen spot doesn't matter on a non-contender), so I have a 1st round draft pick for the lackluster 1980 draft class. If you'd like a manager, coach, or GM, this is the draft for you. Terry Francona, Billy Beane, John Farrell, and Dave Magadan were all drafted (Magadan didn't sign) in 1980.

Now, I am about to change my story. I originally chose Eric Davis in the 1980 draft. I am reversing that decision now that I have a better grasp on the roster and my future drafting strategy, and I am drafting Darren Daulton with my 1st round pick in order to prepare for the post-Fisk era. He doesn't discover steroids and become excellent until 1992, but joins the club and serves as gimpy Fisk insurance starting in 1985. He'll be an often-used backup, and he'll learn to like it until his roided rose blooms.

EDIT - Moron, Fergie, etc., etc.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 02:53 PM.

#23 John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:00 PM

I'm having trouble understanding the idea you wouldn't pick Mattingly because the Yankees "did nothing" when Mattingly was their 1b. I guess it turns out as a contingent fact of history that they didn't win, but if you re-run those seasons, it's not set in stone they wouldn't, because for the most part those were good teams. Things happened, but there was nothing inevitable about the Yankees not winning while Mattingly was there. The average Yankee team in Mattingly's prime won over 87 games -- almost 90 if you exclude 1989, when he first started hurting. They finished 5 games out or less (closer than the 2010 Red Sox) 3 times.

The Yankees did not make the post season from 1982 through 1994. It doesn't matter whether they finished .5 games out or 161.5 games out every single year, the result was always the same. So drafting Don Mattingly to bury him (and I know that Durron said it was a joke, but you seem to be picking up the mantle of this) to hurt the Yankees, when you know that they're not going anywhere, is foolish. Unless you have something against Don Mattingly.



Doesn't matter

I thought JMDurron gave a terrific response to this thread. I guess there are nits to pick, but as far as I can see he's the only one who's offered enough detail to provide any nits.

Who said otherwise? Isn't this board and this topic for talking about stuff? What's your point?

#24 BucketOBalls

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:30 PM

I'm going to assume that someone finds this mildly interesting besides me until I am told otherwise. I could keep doing this all day, it's rather slow at the office.

Actually, it is pretty interesting.

#25 Worst Trade Evah

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:30 PM

Claiming that whatever happened is history is written in stone while engaging in a for-fun re-play of history just seems completely weird -- and totally self-serving.

Maybe people really don't understand that a lot of what happens in a season is just luck -- including those Yankee losses from 1982 to 1994. We don't know they aren't going anywhere if we're replaying those seasons. All we know is that they happened not to have, even though they had a number of really good teams then (3 times over 90 wins including a 97 win season). Change the luck a little, and the 1986 Red Sox finish 2.0 games behind the Yankees, instead of the reverse.

Related tangent: an interesting discussion by mgl on luck in a 7 game series -- luck is just a bigger factor than people like to think.

In short, if you're replaying the 1980s and you have today's perspective on talent levels or whatever else, just ignoring Mattingly seems like a waste. Why wouldn't you want a 6-7 WAR player if you can get him (or keep him from your biggest rival)?

Edited by Worst Trade Evah, 28 October 2010 - 01:31 PM.

#26 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:38 PM

Change the luck a little, and the 1986 Red Sox finish 2.0 games behind the Yankees, instead of the reverse.

Change Don Mattingly's uniform, and this problem is solved! :buddy:

#27 Worst Trade Evah

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:47 PM

Change Don Mattingly's uniform, and this problem is solved! :buddy:

Exactly! While you're fixing things, make sure you do something about MacNamara and Buckner...

It's surprising how often the Sox lost their #1 picks those years, and for some crappy signings.

#28 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:22 PM

1981. This one might take a while. As you might have noticed, I am a tad anal-retentive, and occasionally take things a little too far. Thus, I hand-deliver Fisk's "I'm keeping you through 1991" contract to him on the first day after the season ends. Gedman becomes the backup C, so I finally have great C depth. Cecil Cooper is still aweseome. Jerry Remy hits his peak of MLB-average offense. Ozzie Smith still can't hit, but can field. Fred Lynn is not traded and has a more typical season than his 1981 disaster in Anaheim. LF and RF are unchanged, as is DH. 3B...oh dear.

December 10, 1980: The Red Sox traded shortstop Rick Burleson and third baseman Butch Hobson to the California Angels in exchange for Carney Lansford, former Red Sox player Rick Miller, and Mark Clear.

Um...I kinda already traded Burleson. Hobson is done, I want him gone. I want Lansford. I don't want Miller or Clear. I can't imagine the Angels trading Lansford for Hobson straight-up. Were the Angels in 1981 horrifically stupid? If the answer is no, then I think I am stuck with Hobson. Since Burleson appears to have been the centerpiece of the trade, I'm stuck with Hobson. Oops. Nothing to see here.

Since I finally remembered Fergie Jenkins, Burleson is available to package with Hobson for Carney Lansford. Whew.

Thus, the positional starters:

C - Carlton Fisk/Rich Gedman - equal offense, and they both played partial seasons in 1981. How handy.
1B - Cecil Cooper and his 151 OPS+ over Tony Perez and his 97 is absolutely huge upgrade.
2B - Jerry Remy
SS - Ozzie Smith still pretending to be Luis Rivera, and yet still better than Glenn Hoffman's 1981.
3B - Carney Lansford!
LF - Andre Dawson
CF - Fred Lynn only played 76 games for the Angels in 1981. I assume that means he was injured. I still project a more Lynn-like offensive level of production when he is on the field, but as for when he is off the field...more on this in a moment.
RF - Dwight Evans
DH - Jim Rice

This is the first season where the bench plays very prominently in my analysis. Fred Lynn's apparent injury is actually way less significant to this roster than it otherwise might have been. This is because Andre Dawson is awesome, and moves to CF when Lynn is out. Once that happens, Jim Rice moves from DH to LF, the standard place to hide excellent hitting defensive liabilities. I am moving Rice from DH instead of using a 4th OFer because the team's best bench player in 1981 was Dave Stapleton, a 27-year-old 10th round pick from 1975. He played mostly 1B and 2B in his career, but has some experience at 3B (covers for Hobson when he is out), and hit well enough in 1981 (109 OPS+) to be the emergency DH with Lynn out. Thus, there is literally only one position player with an OPS+ under 100 for the 1981 squad, and that's Ozzie Freaking Smith. Yes, please.

Unfortunately, a 41-year-old Yaz does not take being a bench player for the past few seasons very gracefully, and retires. There is not a touching goodbye at Fenway Park, as the media turns on Yaz in typical Boston Media fashion, and enough fans play along (since he rationally has no business starting over any of Cooper, Dawson, Lynn, Evans, or Rice) that he does not leave as a living legend, but as a formerly great player who leaves on bad terms. I just don't see a way of avoiding this, it might even have happened in 79 or 80.

As for the pitching staff, Dennis Eckersley remains slightly below average. Frank Tanana is never acquired, because I don't trade Fred Lynn for him. This is a great long-term deal, but it hurts the 1981 squad a bit. Rick Sutcliffe is injured and only pitches 47 innings of 84 ERA+ baseball. Mike Torrez is replaced by Bill Lee's Last Stand, with Lee's 1981 88.2 innings of 119 ERA+ pitching helping to staunch some of the bleeding. Fergie Jenkins also has a bad season, only throwing 106 IP at 77 ERA+. John Tudor, Bob Ojeda, and and Steve Crawford are forced to take on more starts due to Tanana's absence, Jenkins' apparent injury, and Sutcliffe's injury. I'm assuming that some of their low IP totals (78.2, 66.1, and 57.2) were due to injuries, so they still won't quite cut it. One option would be to strip Bob Stanley from the pen and put him back in the rotation, but with Mark Clear already gone due to the Burleson non-trade, I'm not comfortable with that. It's a good thing that I have perfect knowledge of the future, because I'm calling up Bruce Hurst. Hurst made a mere 4 starts in 1981, going 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA in 23 IP. There's just nobody else to take Tanana and Sutcliffe's starts, so I'm upping him to about 12 starts, presumably with some lesser performance level, so we'll knock his ERA+ down from 92 to, say, 85. Somebody has to do it, and that's not the end of the world. Unfortunately, this leaves Ojeda and Lee as the only above-average starters on the team.

In the end, I am forced to give more starts to Bob Stanley (doing his MacGyver thing from the bullpen/rotation), and to up-and-coming rookie Bruce Hurst.

The problem with doing this based mostly on baseball-reference and wikipedia is that I'm dependent on wikipedia's "significant transactions" blurbs, which leave out minor details like players who were allowed to leave via free agency. I just caught Fergie Jenkins, and there's no way I let him go after the 1977 season. Motherfucker. More editing is in my future. In my defense, we are only now getting to the year of my birth.

The bullpen is basically status quo. Mark Clear sucking as the closer, with Stanley, Burgmeier, Bill Campbell, and Chuck Rainey shouldering the other high-leverage innings. Luis Aponte shows promise, but does not get many innings.

The 1981 Red Sox finished in 5th place, but only 2.5 GB of the Milwaukee Brewers, who were powered to the AL East title by....oh wait, he's our 1B. Ha-ha! That's 1 team down. 1981 is a special case, in which the 1st half champions (Yankees) faced the 2nd half champions (Brewers) in the first ALDS. The Red Sox finished 1.5 games behind the Brewers in the 2nd half of the season. The Red Sox have the Brewers top offensive player in this universe, plus Carlton Fisk, plus Andre Dawson, plus a few excellent innings from Bill Lee. That's 1.5 games over 53 games in my mind.

My 1981 Red Sox advance to the AL East playoffs against the NY Yankees, who unfortunately prove that good pitching beats good hitting. The short, best of 5 series allows the Yankees 3-man wrecking crew of Tommy John, Ron Guidry, and Dave Righetti to pitch their way past the Red Sox, with the Goose Gossage-led bullpen finishing off the Red Sox in 4 games.

The 1981 1st round of the draft is all kinds of awesome. Thanks to the Orioles singing away Free Agent Jim Dwyer, the Red Sox get two 1st round picks. I take David Cone and Tony Gwynn, who were both 3rd round picks. Future knowledge is awesome. Gwynn joins the roster in 1982, becoming a full-time player in 1984. David Cone appears briefly in 1986 and becomes a full-timer in 1988.

EDIT - Impact of Fergie Jenkins on Burleson and Yaz, plus the draft.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 03:11 PM.

#29 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:24 PM

Exactly! While you're fixing things, make sure you do something about MacNamara and Buckner...

It's surprising how often the Sox lost their #1 picks those years, and for some crappy signings.

This is the single biggest thing that makes this thought experiment so interesting. In some of these years (1980), the drafts weren't so great that you miss the 1st round pick at the time...but we have perfect knowledge of the future, which makes it really interesting.

I'm not sure what I'll do about managing in 1986, the roster may be so good by then that it won't matter. I just need to avoid stupid mistakes like Fergie Jenkins. As for Buckner...guess where Mattingly plays?

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 02:24 PM.

#30 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:36 PM

If anyone sees that I've forgotten an obvious FA departure/issue, please let me know so I don't figure it out 5 years later. :gonk: Also, I hope nobody is too frustrated with my reliance on ERA/OPS+, I know they are imperfect stats, but there are enough moving targets and enough to cover in here that I'm try not to bog myself down too much with specific numbers beyond basic "this is an upgrade/downgrade" comparisons.

1982. I've left Ralph Houk in charge, because frankly I don't think he's helping or hurting. Players win games, only Zimmer/Little level morons lose them as managers, at least not often enough to sink a talented roster.

Now the upgrades really get rolling. Carlton Fisk replaces Gary Allenson at C. Cecil Cooper over Dave Stapleton at 1B. Jerry Remy, you truly get the Posted Image treatment, which your knees and back will thank you for later in life. The new starting 2B is Ryne Sandberg, who won't become awesome until 1984, but is still an upgrade over Remy's 78 OPS+ with his own 90. Ozzie Smith starts to hit (for a SS), posting an 84 OPS+ over Glenn Hoffman's putrid 53. Lansford/Boggs is unchanged, as the torch begins to be passed. Dawson's glove over Rice's in LF. Fred Lynn's excellent 1982 over the never-acquired Rick Miller (left out of the Burleson/Hobson trade, due to Burleson's reduced trade value from his bench time from 78-80), and the fact that I don't want that guy. Dewey being Dewey. Jim Rice's bat at DH over Yaz. That is consistent excellence at every position on the field, my friends.

C - Fisk
1B - Cooper (at 142 - 87, the largest OPS+ upgrade on the roster, plus he eviscerates the Brewers with his absence)
2B - Sandberg
SS - Smith
3B - Lansford/Boggs
LF - Dawson
CF - Lynn
RF - Evans
DH - Rice

The starting pitching staff is anchored by Fergie Jenkins' last hurrah, as he throws 217 IP of 118 ERA+ baseball. Eck bounces back with 224.1 IP of 116 ERA+, which does not make him 13-13 with this offense, no sir. Welcome to "awesome offense makes me look awesome" land. John Tudor completes the 3-headed beast in the rotation, at 195.2 IP/119 ERA+. Ojeda and Rainey's performances collapse, and Hurst gets smacked around while taking some of their innings. Rick Sutcliffe never recovers from his injuries suffered during the 1981 season, and retires from baseball.

For the bullpen, let's just say thank goodness for Fergie Jenkins. Without Jenkins, Burleson would not have been around to bring in Mark Clear, who has a great season. Stanley, Clear, and Burgmeier all throw over 100 IP of awesome relief, and Luis Aponte does the same for 85 IP. Holy crap, I had no idea the stock 1982 Red Sox had that kind of awesome bullpen.

So, mind-blowingly awesome lineup, excellent 3-headed starting pitching beast, and quite possibly the best Red Sox bullpen I've ever seen. The real 1982 Red Sox finished in third place, 6 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. That...does not happen this time. The changes I have (conveniently and even dishonestly and unrealistically, one might call this a cubically transformed 1982 Red Sox team) made to this roster have also had the effect of taking away Cecil Cooper from the 1982 AL Winning Brewers, and Ozzie Smith from the 1982 World Series winning Cardinals. Take a look at the 1982 Red Sox lineup, then this group. This group could make up a 19-game difference, nevermind 6. This roster storms through the American League, then the hapless Cardinals, 2004-style, for the first World Series win since 1978. That's 3, by my count.

The 1982 Red Sox had 3 1st round picks, thanks to compensation picks from Frank Tanana and Joe Rudi, neither of whom I ever traded for. That leaves one pick, who I choose to use on Bret Saberhagen, who joins the team in 1984.

Edited by JMDurron, 31 October 2010 - 12:55 AM.

#31 John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:05 PM

I like these posts, Durron.

Question: knowing what you know now about Wade Boggs, would you let him languish in the minors until he was 24-years-old, or would you bring him to the bigs a season or two earlier? That would essentially negate the need for Lansford, right?

#32 SeanBerry

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:08 PM

I like these posts, Durron.

Question: knowing what you know now about Wade Boggs, would you let him languish in the minors until he was 24-years-old, or would you bring him to the bigs a season or two earlier? That would essentially negate the need for Lansford, right?

I have a feeling Durron is going to LOVE the next game I do here.

Just give me a week to get the details set up in my head. But basically we (as a community) will be a GM of a historical Red Sox team.

#33 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:17 PM

1983 - We're in full fledged dynasty mode with the position players, but the pitching situation is still shaky. I'm going to just do OPS+ in parenthesis for each position.

C - Carlton Fisk puts up his best season at C since 1977. Gedman is an excellent backup again. Gary Allenson pumps gas. (69 -> 134 OPS+ upgrade)
1B - Cecil Cooper's last great season over Dave Stapleton. 76 -> 138
2B - Ryne Sandberg is still learning, and still better than Remy. 72 -> 82
SS - Ozzie Smith stays consistent, over Hoffman. 73 -> 82
3B - Wade Boggs
LF - Andre Dawson's has his best season. His bat replaces Yaz's (106 -> 141), and his glove replaces Rice's.
CF - Fred Lynn over Tony Armas. 85 -> 129
RF - Dwight Evans
DH - Jim Rice

Tony Gwynn and Don Mattingly are lurking, so tough choices lie ahead. Of course, there's already the Carney Lansford problem.

"Carney Lansford‚ Garry Hancock‚ and a minor leaguer (Jerry King) were traded by the Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics for Tony Armas and Jeff Newman."

The problem is that I have an excess Lansford, but need neither Armas nor Newman. Gwynn is the 4th OFer getting ABs that he needs to develop into...well, himself. Newman is redundant with Gedman. Let's see how the rest of the roster shakes out, and see if Carney might bring back some pitching help.

The starting pitching no longer features a 3-headed beast, but has 3 above-average starters in (IP/ERA+) John Tudor (242/107), Bruce Hurst (211.1/107), and Bob Ojeda (173.2/108). Eckersley just sucks (176.1/78), and Fergie Jenkins is on his way out (167.1/88). Towards the end of the season, innings are fed to the up-and-coming Oil Can Boyd (98.2/133). Eckersley is an obvious candidate to dump, but that whole future thing makes me want to keep him around until the light turns on, and hope that the now-awesome offense can carry the load.

The bullpen is a problem. Bob Stanley is awesome again (145.1/153), but Mark Clear craters with an impressively bad 1.76 WHIP. Luis Aponte and John Henry Johnson (that has to be an assumed name) help with above-average relief, but Stanley mostly shoulders the load himself.

The issue here is that I have a very tradeable commodity in Lansford, and no obvious hole to fill by trading him. This is the first of several situations I am going to face of this nature with some awesome young talent coming up in the mid-80s. Trading for another starter would either push Eck out when I know he will be an awesome reliever later (he isn't ready to accept that yet, and I know this), or waste Fergie's Wakefield-esque innings eating. Ultimately, I conclude that I have minimal leverage, and trade Lansford (and whatever filler I need to add, since I know precisely what minor leaguers will succeed) to a team who will give me a DEFENSIVE WHIZ MIDDLE IF to spell Sandberg from time to time (or can Marty Barrett do that? I honestly don't know how he was defensively), and a MEDIUM-LEVERAGE RELIEVER (think good Delcarmen in 2007) to take some innings off of Stanley's back to keep him fresh for the postseason. I may be losing on absolute value, but Lansford creates a controversy with Boggs and a potential clubhouse issue, and I don't want Yaz/Burleson II on my hands.

The real 1983 Red Sox finished in 6th place, 20 games behind the Baltimore Orioles with a below-500 record. I think not. My 1983 Red Sox push the Baltimore Orioles into a 1-game playoff for the AL East, where in a battle of young studs, Mike Boddicker outduels Bruce Hurst in Memorial Stadium. Drat.

The Red Sox selected Roger Clemens with their 1st pick in the 1983 draft. I'm not screwing with that. The only issue here is that the real 1982 Red Sox did not win the World Series, and therefore had the 19th of 28 1st round picks. I have to assume that none of the next 9 teams were going to take a chance on Clemens, because there is absolutely no way that I am changing this pick voluntarily. Clemens first appears in 1984, then becomes a full-timer in 1986.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 04:25 PM.

#34 JMDurron

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:21 PM

I like these posts, Durron.

Question: knowing what you know now about Wade Boggs, would you let him languish in the minors until he was 24-years-old, or would you bring him to the bigs a season or two earlier? That would essentially negate the need for Lansford, right?

I would let him languish, actually, because while I know what Boggs becomes, I don't necessarily want to screw with how he got there. That's why I'm not calling any of these future studs up earlier than planned, even if I do give a few of them more ABs/IPs than they historically received once they do come up. There's just no telling exactly how and when the light went on, or how dependent that given player was on maturing in the minor leagues. Boggs would not have been the difference between rings and no-rings in the Lansford years, as Lansford was not a liability. Maybe I try to flip Lansford for a SP in 1981, but I don't know that I could have pulled it off. The Lansford deal itself needed to happen for Mark Clear, who was so vital (I was shocked) to the 1982 bullpen, plus I had to get rid of Burleson before he burned the clubhouse to the ground with Yaz's help.

EDIT - clarification

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 06:28 PM.

#35 BucketOBalls

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:36 PM

I like these posts, Durron.

Question: knowing what you know now about Wade Boggs, would you let him languish in the minors until he was 24-years-old, or would you bring him to the bigs a season or two earlier? That would essentially negate the need for Lansford, right?

That is actually kind of an interesting question. Boggs didn't bust out in the minors(i.e. get above 800 OPS) till 1981. You could make and argument that he doesn't develop the same if brought up earlier. You could only really bring him up a year earlier anyway, unless you want him to skip AAA. It's an interesting idea though. You can make a pretty clear case that his age 23 season is when the light came on, although he was decent before that.

Edited by BucketOBalls, 28 October 2010 - 04:38 PM.

#36 Buzzkill Pauley

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:03 PM

I take over the 1986 Pittsburgh Pirates instead of Syd Thrift, win two World Series before the strike, and save a proud franchise from a fate worse than death.

In 1985 the Pirates drafted Barry Bonds with the #6 overall pick in the June draft.

And then, right after finishing 57-104 they hire me, the best GM hindsight can offer!


In the 1985-86 offseason Thrift hired a much younger but still chain-smoking Jim Leyland to manage the team. I do that.

Thrift did not, but I protect both Bobby Bonilla and Bip Roberts in the Rule 5 draft.

With the #2 overall pick in the January draft, Thrift took Moises Alou. I do that, too. In the second round, I do not take RHP David Rose with the #28 pick, but RHP Curt Schilling (#39).

Thrift allowed Barry Bonds to play in the majors in his first professional season. I do not. My team sucks anyway, so "he needs to see some pro pitching" in AA/AAA.

With the #1 overall pick in the 1986 June draft I do not take 3B Jeff King, but SS Gary Sheffield (#6). In the second round I do not take RHP Mike Walker with the #28 pick, but instead take RHP Erik Hanson (#36).

The team finishes 64-98 anyway. Pena and Rhoden are All-Stars, if anyone cares.


As it so happens, St. Louis cares!

In the 1986-87 offseason, Thrift traded Tony Pena to STL for Mike Dunne + Mike LaValliere + Andy Van Slyke. I do that. Thrift also traded Pat Clements + Cecilio Guante + Rick Rhoden to NYY for Doug Drabek + Logan Easley + Brian Fisher. I do that, too. I love my job as a GM before people cared about statistical analysis!

With the #2 overall pick in the 1987 June draft, I do not take OF Mark Merchant, but RHP Kevin Appier (#9). In the second round I do not take LHP Ben Shelton with the #34 pick, but instead take OF Albert Belle (#47).

The team finishes 80-82, but I'm lying in wait like a tiger ready to kill. Barry Bonds wins ROY over Benito Santiago. Reuschel is an All-Star, but no one cares.

In the 1987-88 offseason Thrift stood pat. I do that, because I'm still lying in wait to pounce upon the sickly NL.

With the #13 overall pick in the 1988 June draft, I do not take SS Austin Manahan, but SS Royce Clayton (#15). In the second round I do not take RHP Keith Richardson with the #43 pick, but instead take Darren Oliver (#63). I go ahead and take Tim Wakefield in the 8th round.

The team finishes 85-75 again. Bonilla, Van Slyke, and Walk are All-Stars. Things are looking good.

In the 1988-89 offseason Thrift traded Felix Fermin + Denny Gonzalez to CLE for Jay Bell. I don't do that. Even though this Sheffield kid can't stick at SS, I need to shift over Jose Lind because I've got to do something with Roberts who's a scrappy 5'7" guy who can't keep from getting on base. I pencil Roberts in as my new 2B.

Thrift traded Jim Neidlinger to LAD for Bill Kreuger. I do not, because I Bob Walk is a free agent and I don't want to tie up the money. I stand pat.

With the #18 overall pick of the 1989 draft, I do not take SS Willie Greene, but SS Chuck Knoblauch (#25). In the second round I do not take 3B Rich Aude with the #48 pick, but instead take 1B John Olerud (#79).

The team finishes 74-88, due to incredible bad luck with injuries. Bonilla is an All-Star. I care, really I do.


In the 1989-90 offseason they traded Jeff Robinson + Willie Smith to NYY for Don Slaught. I do that too, substituting Royce Clayton for Willie Smith.

Because my guys are finally ready. To pounce and slaughter the weak and defenseless NL East.

1. 2B - Roberts# (.309/.375/.433)
2. CF - Van Slyke* (.284/.367/.465)
3. 3B - Sheffield (.294/.350/.421)
4. LF - Bonds* (.301/.406/.565)
5. RF - Bonilla# (.280/.322/.518)
6. 1B - Bream* (.270/.349/.455)
7. C - LaValliere* (.257/.362/.344)

8. SS - Lind (.261/.305/.340)
9. P - Drabek (22-6, 2.76), Heaton* (12-9, 3.45), Appier (12-8, 2.76), Hanson (18-9, 3.24), Smiley* (9-10, 4.64).

Barry Bonds wins the goddamn MVP, behind a 150 RBI season. The Reds have no idea what just happened. Neither do the A's.

The upshot - Clayton is good enough in 1992 (91 OPS+) that the NYYs take RHP Pete Janicki instead of Jeter.

The other upshot - Pedro gets his damn official no-hitter against the Padres.

Edited by Buzzkill Pauley, 28 October 2010 - 05:16 PM.

#37 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:30 PM

Oh my, 1984. This one is going to be fun. It is also going to be a preseason where we say goodbye to some multi-championship-winning players. First, the positions that have not changed from 1983.

C - Carlton Fisk - Rich Gedman stays as the backup - OPS+ from 118 to 134, and the 118 is still on the roster!
2B - Ryne Sandberg, Marty Barrett remains as the backup - 102 -> 140, and the 102 stays around. This is Sandberg's breakout season, and the beginning of a truly awesome offensive IF.
SS - Ozzie Smith over Jackie Gutierrez - 63 -> 95. Between Smith's offensive improvement and the rest of the lineup, the Wizard helps make the opposing pitchers feel like they are in Oz. The Oz with bars.
3B - Wade Boggs
CF - Fred Lynn over Tony Armas. 121 -> 131, and that's with Armas having the year of his life and Lynn's numbers outside of Fenway, so it's probably not actually this close. Plus Lynn has a 366 OBP compared to Armas' 300. This is madness.
RF - Dwight Evans

This leaves 1B, LF, and DH. 1B is rather easy. After a stretch of sustained awesomeness, Cecil Cooper is about to fall off the table offensively. I know this, and nobody else does. I also have a stud 23-year-old 1B named Don Mattingly, who got just enough garbage ABs in 1983 to be ready to destroy all those who oppose him. I know this, and only a few opposing scouts have caught wise. Mattingly shall be the starter, and Cooper shall be trade bait. Let's see what I need to use him for.

1B - Don Mattingly over Bill Buckner, who is never traded for. 97 -> 156. Numbers. So. Beautiful.

LF and DH...oh dear. After 2 years of picking up some ABs as the 4th OFer, it is time for Tony Gwynn to shine. I don't know what Gwynn's reputation was in the field, but I know I don't trust him in CF or Fenway's RF, particularly not when I have several still-good years from Lynn and Evans in those spots. This means that we have a roster crunch between Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Tony Gwynn, because after 2 years, Gwynn is no longer a part-timer, and neither of the veteran, future-marginal-HOFers are going to handle bench roles, and frankly it would be insulting to ask it of them at their current production levels. So, it's time to play the elimination game.

Gwynn going forward - awesome from 1984-1999, still hits well in limited time in 2000 and 2001. Yeah, he's staying.

Rice - from 1984 - 1988, puts up a 289/349/457 line, for an OPS+ of 116. He is already getting everything that he is going to get out of Fenway Park with those numbers. Is a defensive liability, but has an awesome offensive reputation. I wouldn't keep his 1989 season around if I could help it.

Dawson - from 1984-1992, puts up a 277/322/486 line, for an OPS+ of 121. His numbers would most likely improve in Fenway Park over his historical Montreal years, I'm less certain about his Chicago numbers. Is a well-regarded defender, and has not had the Montreal turf wearing his knees out, so he might continue to be a defensive asset for longer than expected, and could always DH if I end up being wrong about that. He apparently hates OBP with a fiery passion. His 1993-1996 seasons are to be avoided.

There's only one, inescapable conclusion here. Rice has the shortest produtive time left, and brings nothing to the table in the field. Jim Rice has seen his last day in the starting lineup, and unfortunately that day game in a heartbreaking 1983 single-game playoff loss to the Orioles. He is still productive, but his reputation is even larger than his numbers, and nobody else gets park factors yet, so he is even more of an asset from a trade standpoint than he is on the roster. Sorry, Jim Ed. We'll see what we can get for you soon.

I trust Dawson's reputation as a defender over my completely and utter ignorance about Gwynn's abilities, so:

LF - Andre Dawson over Jim Rice - 112 -> 102. It really is great timing for Dawson to have a down year. The 1977, 1978, and 1982 World Series titles are all that are keeping me alive right now. The mob is restless.

DH - Tony Gwynn over Mike Easler, who is never traded for. 140 -> 141.

Onto the pitching staff.

Fergie Jenkins retired. John Tudor is not traded for Mike Easler, so he remains on the 1984 staff. Tudor, Hurst, and Ojeda are left from the "slightly above average innings eaters" club of 1983. Eckersley is not traded to Chicago for Bill Bucker. So 4 of the 5 starting slots are taken. The thing is, the real 1984 Red Sox got 182.2 IP of 108 ERA+ pitching from Al Nipper, along with 197.2 and 133.1 IP of barely below average (ERA+ of 96/97) from Oil Can Boyd and Roger Clemens, respectively. Clemens got more IP than I had anticipated. This seems to be a problem. I now have 6 starters for 5 spots. Hearst and Ojeda have better days ahead that keep me from wanting to trade them. Eckersley has two more good years of starting in him (84, 85), then becomes the CLOSER from 1987 onward, so I don't want to lose him, either. Oil Can pitches well in 1985 and 1986, and Al Nipper pitches well in 1984 and 1985. There's also this new guy, name of Saberhagen, who is ready to be above-average right away in 1984 (157.2/116).

So, it's process of elimination time. Saberhagen and Clemens are all-world guys, and are going nowhere. That's 2 out of 5. I irrationally drafted Hurst over Jack Morris back in 1976, so it would be stupid to give up on his run from 1986-1991 now. That's 3. This leaves Tudor, Ojeda, Eckersley, and Al Nipper. Ojeda's future holds an awesome 1986 season, with large samples of Tim Wakefield in another body the rest of the time from 1984 - 1992. That is extremely valuable, although possibly less so on this version of the Red Sox. John Tudor's future holds a ridiuclously awesome 1985 season, alongside top campaigns in 86, 88, and 90. Al Nipper is a poor man's Bob Ojeda, without the 1986. Nip is eliminated (trade bait?), but that still leaves 4 men for 2 slots. Oil Can's peak just doesn't hit what I can get from Tudor or Ojeda, and as we know, there are some off-the-field issues as well. This is where I have to completely break with statistical precedent and make a radical move. Dennis Eckersley becomes a reliever in 1984, because I'm not losing Ojeda or Tudor yet, and Eck's future lies in bullpen dominance. Thus, the starting rotation is

Hurst (218.0/107)
Tudor (212.0/111)
Ojeda (216.2/105)
Saberhagen (157.2/116)
Clemens (133.1/97)

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Roger Clemens is my worst starter. Our resident Yankees fans may be having late-90s flashbacks now.

Ok, so now we have 3 players who are highly desirable trade bait (Cecil Cooper, Jim Rice, Oil Can Boyd after his impressive 1983 debut), and Al Nipper, who also made a positive impression in limited time in 1983. This is why I don't rush guys to the majors, I don't know what to do with what I have!

Well, maybe we can use them to solidify my bullpen. Let's take a look.

Bob Stanley, Mark Clear, John Henry Johnson, and Steve Crawford are all 29 or younger, and all pitched at least 62.0 IP for the 1984 Red Sox with at worst a 105 ERA+. Um. My starting rotation already means that these guys are going to have atrophy issues, presumably lowering their performance somewhat.

So, I basically have no holes to fill, and even my bench is already excellent at three positions. Gedman is a great backup C, Marty Barrett covers 2B/SS adequately, and Tony Gwynn at DH is the 4th OFer as well. So I could trade for some super-sub OFer, or corner IF, or go nuts trying to upgrade something that I already have (uh...). Cecil Cooper is really only good as a preseason trade, so he HAS to go now. If absolutely necessary, Oil Can and Nipper are under team control and could be stashed, but I think we know that Rice would go nuclear if he was benched, and what manager would leave him on the bench anyway? It would be a major clubhouse disruption, and maybe Rice would soak up some of Gwynn's PAs, which would be unacceptable.

So, I have 2 young potentially studly SPs to trade, and superstar 1B and LF/DHs to trade. The only place that I could see as having potential for serious upgrade is possibly the bullpen, as everybody in there is basically happily above average. So, let's take a look to see if there's a contender that needs a big bat at 1B/LF/DH to make a serious run, or a rebuilding team with a great closer that could use some developmental SPs. I haven't gotten into the trade market seriously before, but this is such an extreme circumstance due to what I am trying to move that I don't feel like I can just type "GENERIC RELIEVER" or "RANDOM BACKUP 1B/3B" and get away with it.

A match comes up rather quickly in the 1984 St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals went 79-83 in 1983, with no starting pitching of note, and Closer Bruce Sutter coming off a down year for him. Sutter is also a free agent after the 1984 season, so the Cardinals get nothing from keeping him, aside from his awesome 1984 walk year that only I know is going to happen. So, they have a reliever who would be an upgrade for me (122.2 IP of 229 ERA+), and they have reason to want Boyd/Nipper. How about Cooper and/or Rice? Well, I've played Rice as a DH for so long that I'm not sure that he's attractive as a defensive player, and his skillset is not exactly Whitey Herzog's style. That said, the Cardinals were so desperate for offense in 1984 that they moved 1983 1B George Hendrick to RF (he was normally a OFer, to be fair), and gave prospect David Green the 1B job. Hendrick and Green are no more/less Herzog-style speedsters than Cooper and Rice. I decide that this is my one-stop shop. In the 1983-1984 offseason, I trade Cecil Cooper, Jim Rice, and Al Nipper (they don't make me hand over Boyd, as they are already coming out ahead) to the St Louis Cardinals for Bruce Sutter and George Hendrick (my backup 1B/5th OF). Is this a good trade in a vaccum? Hell no, I'm basically trading Jim Rice and Al Nipper for 1 year of a closer, and trading Cecil Cooper for a gold-plated Eric Hinske (LaRoche for Kotchman, anyone?). However, given my depth chart, expiration date on the assets, and clubhouse issues (imagine the 1984 Boston media with an angry, benched Jim Rice. Holy crap), it's better to get 40 cents on the dollar when the assets are only work 1 dollar in absolute terms, but about 15 cents to my specific roster. Boyd toils in Pawtucket, what can go wrong there?

So, the bullpen is now

Bruce Sutter - 122.2/229
Bob Stanley (he can handle this for 1 year, it's been made clear he's still our man going forward) - 106.2/119
Mark Clear - 67/105
John Henry Johnson - 63.2/119
Steve Crawford - 62/126

I now have at least a nominal backup for every position, assuming that Barrett can play SS or 3B in an emergency. All of my backups are above-average, and the only probably clubhouse issue is Hendrick, who is 34 and nearing the end of the line anyway, so maybe he puts up with it for another ring to go with his from 1972. Remember, he didn't get one in 1982 in this universe. In another fun Hendrick note, at the end of the 1984 season, the Cardinals traded him to Pittsburgh...in a deal for John Tudor. OH SNAP.

The real 1984 Boston Red Sox finished 4th in the AL East, 18 games behind the dominant Detroit Tigers. Well, the formerly dominant Detroit Tigers. My 1984 Red Sox, as far as I can tell, have literally no flaw at any position, from starting C to backup middle IF to the 5th bullpen guy. This team is what would happen if the 1998 Yankees and 2001 Mariners went back in time and made sweet, sweet love and have a team offspring. A sense of overconfidence is all that could hold this team back, and I predict that it somehow keeps them under 120 wins, I'll settle for the best record in baseball (105 wins), and an absolutely dominating postseason run. The only potential issue in the postseason would be a group of above-average starters instead of dominating ones like the 1982 squad had at the top, but with this bullpen and lineup, it doesn't matter.

1977 - 1978 - 1982 - 1984

In the 1984 draft, the Red Sox took John Marzano with the 15th overall pick. This entire game just became completely twisted. The main 1st round pick who I have no shot at is Mark McGwire. Terry Mulholland and Norm Chalton were also taken in the 1st round. There were a couple of post-1st round pitchers as well, including Tom Glavine and Al Leiter.

In my 1984 draft, I select Greg Maddux, who was a 2nd round selection. He first appears in 1986, and becomes a regular in 1988.

Edited by JMDurron, 28 October 2010 - 08:30 PM.

#38 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:33 PM

Sorry for the long post, but 1984 was what I was looking forward to. That's it for tonight, if I have another slow day at work tomorrow, I'll keep going.

#39 bosockboy

  • SoSH Member

  • 7,324 posts

Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:58 PM

The post John Schuerholz KC Royals. I grew up in KC as a fan of the Brett-led glory years, finally getting the ring in 1985. They haven't sniffed October since. Schuerholz left and everything went in the shitter.

Don't trade David Cone to the Mets for Ed Hearn. Disastrous move. Don't trade Saberhagen to the Mets for Kevin McReynolds and Gregg Jefferies. Those two moves broke the back of baseball in KC. They could have had a long term rotation of Sabes/Cone/Appier well into the 90's and would've been a very viable AL contender through at least 1995, maybe longer.

#40 Buzzkill Pauley

  • SoSH Member

  • 5,942 posts

Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:32 PM

1990 Pittsburgh Pirates:

On my way to taking the 1990 World Series, I devote some time to the June draft.

Therefore, with the #5 overall pick, I do not take RHP Kurt Miller, but instead RHP Mike Mussina (#20). I have no second round pick, having given that to the NYY with Royce Clayton for Slaught.

After the season, Sid Bream is signed by Atlanta. I go ahead and re-sign Slaught. It won't matter this time, damn it! And I sign Esteban Loaiza as an amateur free agent.


1. 2B - Bip Roberts# (.323/.393/.423)
2. CF - Andy Van Slyke* (.265/.355/.446)
3. 3B - Gary Sheffield (.330/.385/.580)
4. LF - Barry Bonds* (.292/.410/.514)
5. RF - Bobby Bonilla# (.302/.391/.492)
6. 1B - John Olerud* (.256/.353/.430)
7. SS - Chuck Knoblauch (.281/.351/.350)
8. C - Mike LaValliere* (.289/.351/.360)
9. P - Drabek (15-14, 3.07), Smiley* (20-8, 3.08), Appier (13-10, 3.42), Smith* (16-10, 3.20), and Hansen (8-8, 3.81)

I lose to the Twins in 7, with Appier and Morris dueling for the ages in Game 7 -- only to end with fat Kirby's homer.

After the season, Bonilla signs with the Mets, and I resign LaValliere. I do not trade Smiley to the now-hated Twins.

#41 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:50 AM

Luckily for those who find the JMDurron Alternate Reality Red Sox series interesting, I have some hours left to kill before the weekend. Before I move from 1985 onward (the roster is just obscenely good at this point, it's now the details that make things interesting/complicated), I wanted to take a moment to talk about off-the-field impacts from the 1977-1984 run of Red Sox excellence, and the particular players on my roster.

I was not alive/aware for many of the highly-publicized racial issues that plagued the Red Sox before the Yawkeys finally died, but I have a concept of the general issue. As I understand it from reading SoSH over the years, Jim Rice had a rather contentious relationship with the media, which resulted from a combination of his personality and his skin color (particularly a problem for some of the print scribes, it seems to be implied). The conclusion that I have come to draw from the discussions on this board is that the problem was that while Boston itself was a virulently racist city by the late 70s and 80s, it still had some difficulties, but it appeared to be even more backward than it was in reality due to the coverage of black athletes by the Boston Sports Media. Perhaps Fris could expand on this if he is so inclined. I subscribe to the theory that some of this sports media racism is more subconscious than actively planned (I assume incompetence before conspiracy as a general rule), and that some of the problem was the contentious relationship between some particular black athletes (such as Rice), and the Boston Sports Media. Well, in this universe, Jim Rice is not the standalone black star of a Red Sox team that has faced continual frustration from the mid-70s onward. He has been joined by the also-awesome and, perhaps more importantly, outgoing personalities of Andre Dawson and Ozzie Smith. Ozzie Smith in particular is the key here. He plays the game in the "old school" style. He's flashy with the glove, he bunts guys over, he hits the ball to the right side of the IF to move a runner from 2B to 3B when there is nobody out, and most importantly, as I understand it, he has no problems with the media whatsoever. He is lovable and capable, not one or the other. He is also, along with Dawson and Rice, a part of a core of black baseball superstars who have brought 4 titles to the Boston Red Sox in a 7-year period. He is the public voice and face of my Red Sox dynasty, and I simply cannot believe that he would not win over nearly every scribe and commentator in the Boston market. Not coincidentally, the scribes that he does not win over happen to suffer from a severe lack of quotes from Ozzie's General Manager. As a result, it becomes clear that the Boston sports market (and by some tiny extension, the city itself) can support and love minority athletes, as the Wizard of the early 80s becomes the equivalent of our Pedro Martinez in the late 90s and early 2000s, except the media goes right along with him, because he carries nary a whiff of "prima donna", aside from perhaps his customary backflip as he runs out onto the field. Maybe I'm crazy on this, but I could see this scenario playing out in this alternate universe. I admit that I may be hopelessly out of my depth here, and welcome constructive criticism.

On the less serious level, let's take a moment to consider one of the most talented writers at the Boston Globe. Dan Shaughnessy was hired by the Boston Globe in 1981, so by this time, he has been covering the Red Sox (when did he get the Sox Beat Writer job? Anyone? Google is failing me here), or at least around coverage of the Red Sox, for 3 years, including two World Series championships. I think it goes without saying that the culture of Red Sox fandom has been completely changed by my tenure as the GM, and that the tone of the coverage of the team would eventually shift as well. Without any drought of titles/culture of just barely failing to write about, I believe that the CHB (who shall never actually be known by that moniker in this universe, sadly) would actually put his writing talents to whatever use suits the readership, in order to get the eyeballs and recognition that any writer/columnist requires and craves. He will still write about the stories Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, but it will be a very well-told tale of two equals slugging it out in the late 70s, with a heavy emphasis on the success and storied history of the Red Sox franchise, with some discussion of the now-past racial issues that plagued the franchise during its pre-JMD drought years. In other words, his talent is the same, but his tone never turns bitterly negative about the Red Sox franchise, and thus he grows to join the titans of Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan as one of the three top sports writers in the nation, all of whom write in Boston and cover winning teams throughout the decade.

For a third note, I think that we need to talk about the Red Sox fanbase. Obviously, a sustained period of success, powered by the fanbase created/grown by the 1967 Impossible Dream team, has led to extremely excellent attendance and attention for the Red Sox from 1975 onward. Unfortunately, I think we have to admit that winning in 1977, 1978, 1982, and 1984 (and looking good going forward) would make an impact on the general attitudes and behavior of the fanbase. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a large portion of Red Sox Nation become, in these mid-1980s, the Yankees fans from the late 90s and early 21st century. Fortunately, this means great things for the ownership group, as the consistently strong attendance and even TV attention (NESN is a ways off, but still, the eyeballs can't hurt) allows Jean Yawkey (who rather trusts me thanks to 1977 and 1978, and is therefore largely hands-off as an owner) to continually fund my need to keep the drafted stars of the Red Sox Dynasty re-signed according to my desires. So while the douchebag quotient is high, just as in the real present day, the Pink Hats are a large part of the fundraising needed to sustain success. The fact that the 10-12 year old fans of the 1967 team are now able to fund their own trips to the ballpark (even at inflated prices thanks to winning, suck it biolante, The Hawk needs a new car) with their age 25-27 revenues from their early career jobs doesn't hurt, either.

That's enough of a tangent for now, onto 1985.

Edited by JMDurron, 29 October 2010 - 01:30 PM.

#42 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 29 October 2010 - 01:19 PM

So, 1985, and my Red Sox team is thinking repeat. Manager Ralph Houk retired at age 65, and given a lack of better options, I hire John McNamara. He shouldn't be able to screw up this roster, right?

For the positional players, Carlton Fisk returns at C. Unfortunately, Gedman was the better C in 1985, but even if I know that, I'm not going to be able to convince the new manager to play the backup over the certain-HOF, well-loved veteran starter, so I have to live with it. Unfortunately, Rich Gedman is sick of living in Fisk's shadow, and forces his way out of town. I don't know what his contract status was in 1985, so I'll just have to guess that he left via Free Agency, and his lack of playing time until now keeps him from being worth a compensation pick. Drat. I've got quite the record of acrimonious departures at this point, between Burleson, Yaz, Rice (you just know he said something on his way out), and now Gedman. Luckily for me, my 1980 draft pick, Darren Daulton, is around to pick up Fisk's scraps. His OPS+ of 88 in 36 games means he is neither a great asset nor a total liability, and 88 isn't bad for a backup C, even if Gedman has spoiled me in recent years.

C - Carlton Fisk over Rich Gedman (126 -> 115). Daulton (88) backs up.
1B - Don Mattingly over Bill Buckner (106 -> 156)
2B - Ryne Sandberg over Marty Barrett (84 -> 131). Barrett remains as the backup.
SS - Ozzie Smith over Jackie Gutierrez (41 -> 101). Barrett backs up.
3B - Wade Boggs (151). Barrett/Hendrick (61) backing up. Turns out that Hendrick likes winning.
LF - Andre Dawson over Jim Rice (123 -> 109). Gwynn/Hendrick backing up.
CF - Fred Lynn over Steve Lyons (84 -> 117). I'm assuming that Lynn gets no boost from Fenway over playing in Baltimore, since I'm making so many Sox-friendly assumptions about contracts, personalities, and clubhouse issues, it only seems fair. Lyons is never drafted by me. Evans shifts over with Hendrick in RF (this is not pretty, Gwynn/Dawson step in later when Hendrick looks old at age 35 and Lynn is hurt) when Lynn needs a breather or is injured.
RF - Dwight Evans (124). Hendrick gives a breather early on, when Lynn gets hurt, Dawson starts in RF.
DH - Tony Gwynn over Mike Easler (98 -> 117)

Lynn misses some time due to injury. On his regular days off, Hendrick plays in RF. Once he is injured and misses some time (I'm assumed he was injured since he played 124 games that year), Evans plays CF, Gwynn gets regular time in LF, and Dawson shifts over to RF. The roster is remarkably healthy, even the 37-year-old Fisk plays 153 games.

For the starters, 3 real 1985 Red Sox remain - Bruce Hurst, Bob Ojeda, and Roger Clemens. I have Bret Saberhagen over Oil Can Boyd, and John Tudor over Al Nipper. Dennis Eckersley is still in the bullpen, and is still not happy about it. In 1984, Eck pitched down the stretch when Clemens went down with an injury, so he was basically the 6th starter and mop-up bullpen guy during his rather surly transition. He is being overpaid to sit down and STFU until the bullpen light turns on. He spends most of his time in the bullpen grooming his moss.

So, the numbers from my starting crew:

John Tudor - 275/185 - I am squealing like a little girl right now. This was worth losing Al Nipper, sending Oil Can Boyd to RI, and dealing with Eck's bullpen bitching.
Bret Saberhagen - 235.1/145 - At age 21, no less. Tasty.
Bruce Hurst - 229.1/96
Bob Ojeda - 157.2/108
Roger Clemens - 98.1/131

In 1985, Eck put up a 169.1/129 as a starter for the Chicago Cubs. He is now in my bullpen, but takes the June-October starts missed by Roger Clemens due to arm injury. He is less effective due to rust, so I'm dropping his ERA+ down from 129 to 108 arbitrarily. Clemens begins using steroids during his post-surgery rehab in 1985/86, but I don't actually know that, I'm just guessing.

In the bullpen, Bruce Sutter was a 1-year rental, and signs with the Atlanta Braves in the 84-85 offseason. This leaves the stock 1985 Red Sox pen, plus Eck in the 1st half of the season.

Steve Crawford (CL) - 91/115
Bruce Kison - 92/105
Bob Stanley - 87.2/151
Mike Trujillo - 84/90
Mark Clear - 55.2/117
Eck - I assume that Eck is pissy and uncooperative in the pen, and gives me about 20 innings at an ERA+ of roughly 90, since he was still such an effective pitcher that year overall.

So, my 1985 Red Sox team is obscenely healthy (except Stanley, I presume, no way does he only get 87.2 IP otherwise at that performance level), and literally only has 3 technically below average performances - Bruce Hurst at 229.1/96 (um, I'll take that, yeah), Trujillo, and Bullpen Eck. The real 1985 Red Sox finished 5th in the AL East, 18.5 GB of Toronto. It bears noting that this team finished a full 8 games below their pyth record. Um, perhaps I have some reason to be concerned with McNamara after all? But it doesn't matter, this is still clearly the best team in baseball. My 1985 Red Sox edge out the Blue Jays for the AL East Crown, and now it gets interesting. The 1985 AL West champs were the Kansas City Royals. That is not happening with Bret Saberhagen on my side. I can buy that McNamara might cost me the ALCS against a good 1985 Royals team, but the next-best California Angels just can't keep up. Horrific bullpen management by McNamara stretches the ALCS out to 7 games, but the Red Sox power their way back from a 3-1 ALCS deficit to advance to the World Series. Donnie Moore blows no saves during the series, because the Red Sox lineup simply destroys the middling starting pitching of the 1985 Angels, so he has no leads to blow in the last 3 games.

Now comes the really, really fun part. The 1985 NL Champions were the St Louis Cardinals. Of course, I have now completely messed up that timeline, as the team now lacks their ace pitcher, John Tudor, who is mine. Ozzie Smith is also mine. But wait! My Bruce Sutter trade now factors in, as the 1985 Cardinals keep Jim Rice and Al Nipper, and trade Cecil Cooper as a part of the package for Jack Clark. Jim Rice had an excellent 1985 season, with 140 games of 123 OPS+ production. The problem is, the 1985 Cardinals have an OF of Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, and Andy Van Slyke. McGee and Slyke are 147 and 116 OPS+ hitters, plus excellent defenders, and Vince Coleman might just be the symbol of the Whitey Herzog Cardinals. By 1985, Jim Rice lacks range, but still has solid reflexes and eyesight. I am giving Whitey Herzog a ton of credit, and saying that he benches a young (and not hitting yet) Terry Pendleton in favor of Jim Rice, who he converts to 3B in a fit of genius. This leads to an overall upgrade in the Cardinals' offensive capabilities, while the downgrade from Tudor to Nipper is immense. Too bad they didn't get Boyd, too. Unfortunately, Rice is merely serviceable at 3B, and his bat can't make up for his lack of range on the turf. The 1985 Cardinals lose the NL East to the 1985 Mets, who have gone untouched by my interference to date. The Mets beat the Dodgers and meet the Red Sox in the 1985 World Series.

The 1985 World Series is an epic struggle, with Doc Gooden outpitching John Tudor in Game 1. Bruce Hurst (1985 version, not 86, remember) is also outpitched by Ron Darling in Game 2, and the series returns to Fenway at 2-0, Mets. Bret Saberhagen (3rd in the rotation, since he is so young, seems like a McNamara move) wins Game 3, with 9 innings of 1-run pitching, with the Red Sox pounding Ed Lynch (Gwynn at DH is key, since all 4 OFers get to hit). Bob Ojeda is merely adequate in Game 4, but Sid Fernandez is blown out of the ballpark by the Red Sox lineup that gets all of Dawson, Lynn, Evans, and Gwynn thanks to the DH, and the series is tied. In Game 5, John Tudor outlasts Doc Gooden, who is running out of steam after a season of 946 IP. The Red Sox destroy the Mets middle relief after Gooden departs after 6 IP. The Red Sox go back to NY up 3 games to 2. In Game 6, Hurst suffers a slight hamstring pull, and leaves in the 2nd inning with 2 runs allowed when he tries to pitch through the pain. Eckersley pulls a 1999 Pedro Martinez, and holds the Mets scoreless for 7 IP. Ron Darling lets the Red Sox comeback with 2 runs in the 9th after 8 shutout innings, and the game goes to extra innings. In a 14-inning epic reminiscent of the real 2004 ALCS Game 5, both bullpens hold the line at first. Stanley for 2, Clear for 1, Kison for 1, and then Steve Crawford. In the bottom of the 14th, Crawford gives up a walkoff HR to Darryl Strawberry, and the series is tied. The bullpen is trashed for Game 7, and the team is demoralized. Fortunately, it's 1985 World Series Game 7, and Bret Saberhagen is on the mound. Replicating his real life 9 shutout innings, he holds onto the 3-0 lead that the Red Sox give him against Lynch, and the 1985 Red Sox are back-to-back World Series winners.

Whew. Now the draft. In 1985, the Red Sox took the immortal Dan Gabrielle with their 1st round pick. I select David Justice, who arrives in 1989, and becomes a full-timer in 1990.

Edited by JMDurron, 29 October 2010 - 01:29 PM.

#43 JMDurron

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 03:19 PM

So, to recap, it is 1986, and my Red Sox have won it all in 1977, 1978, 1982, 1984, and 1985. Only the 1977 World Series could be considered significantly "lucky", as I feel that I had assembled the best roster in the league for the other 4. Onward to 1986. I do not trade Ojeda and company to the Mets for Schiraldi and company. I do not trade Mark Clear to the Brewers for Ed Romero. I don't have Mike Easler, so I don't trade him for Don Baylor. I do not sign Tom Seaver.

The position players are rather straightforward.

C - Carlton Fisk over Rich Gedman (99 -> 60). Ouch. Maybe I made the wrong call here? Darren Daulton (123) is the backup. Fisk played 125 games in 1986, and Daulton played 49. The works out fairly well, actually, allowing for the occasional substitution.
1B - Don Mattingly over Bill Buckner (97 -> 161). Awesome. I love this guy. He's sure to become a HOFer! :c070:
2B - Ryne Sandberg over Marty Barrett (100 -> 98). Barrett remains the backup. Not Sandberg's finest year, but I'm obviously not going to do any better.
SS - Ozzie Smith over Rey Quinones (79 -> 98). Barrett as the backup.
3B - Wade Boggs (156). Barrett/Hendrick (118) as backup.
LF - Andre Dawson over Jim Rice (136 -> 123). The defense makes up some of the difference. Gwynn/Hendrick as the backup.
CF - Fred Lynn over Tony Armas (92 -> 137). So, Fred Lynn was kinda awesome even without Fenway. I never really quite noticed that before. He's likely slowing down a bit at age 34, but he knows the walls so well that he's still fine out there. Evans/Dawson back him up, basically making Gwynn/Hendrick the lineup sub.
RF - Dwight Evans (130) - Hendrick as the backup.
DH - Tony Gwynn over Don Baylor (111 -> 135).

We've covered the Fisk/Daulton games played. Mattingly plays 162 games, requiring no backup and no DEFENSIVE REPLACEMENT. Sandberg, Smith, Boggs, Evans, and Gwynn are all healthy. Dawson only plays 130 games, but Gwynn slides in seamlessly to LF on his days off, with Hendrick at DH. Lynn misses significant time again, only playing in 112 games. Gwynn to LF, Dawson to CF, and Hendrick at DH is the regular plan when he is out. If Dawson needs a day off while Lynn is hurt, Gwynn goes to RF, Evans to CF, and Hendrick to LF. Barrett spells Sandberg at 2B and Sandberg DHs. Easily the best offense in baseball once again, although the defense is slipping as Dawson, Lynn, and Evans age, although Dawson's knees are holding up well.

The starting pitching staff is by far the best that I have ever concieved of, and it would have been even more awesome, if only Saberhagen had not slumped.

Roger Clemens (254/169)
John Tudor (219/127)
Bob Ojeda (217.1/140)
Bruce Hurst (174.1/140)
Bret Saberhagen (156/102) - probably a slump due to overuse in the 1985 season. It was worth it for Game 7, though.

Absolutely disgusting, but with an unfortunate consequence. Oil Can Boyd saw no time in the 1985 rotation thanks to Eck making himself such a pain in my ass that I had to give him every spot start available, and there weren't a ton available with that rotation. The best year of his career has been completely wasted. This sucks, but I wasn't missing out on Ojeda's 1986 campaign to make Oil Can happy. Unfortunately, a very unhappy Oil Can is a very disruptive Oil Can, and he is torpedoing his trade value and making a general menace of himself in Pawtucket, or at the back end of the bullpen when Eck took Clemens' spot in the rotation. I have concerns that he will never even reach his historical performance level in 1986 even if I did give him all of the IP left by Hurst and Saberhagen, so he is trade bait. I could probably use some bullpen reinforcement (particularly without Schiraldi), so in a fit of frustration, I trade Oil Can Boyd to the rebuilding Minnesota Twins squad in exchange for Rory Lee Jackson, since I know he will be a serviceable one-year reliever while I wait to hit Eck's prime years in the pen. Unfortunately, I do not think this trade through on another level, and it has tragic consequences.

Hurst and Saberhagen's lost starts go to up-and-comers Greg Maddux and David Cone, who get their cups of coffee.

But that's for later, right now, it's the bullpen. Here's how it looks.

Bob Stanley (82.1/96)
Mark Clear (73.2/199) - HOLY CRAP. What a horrible trade. Glad I didn't make it.
Sammy Stewart (63.2/96)
Rory Lee Jackson (58.1/111)
Steve Crawford (57.1/107)
Dennis Eckersley - He was a mediocre starter for the Cubs in 1986 (201/88). He pitches long relief and does NOT soak up the leftover starts from Hurst and Saberhagen.

The season starts as expected, with my 1986 Red Sox featuring awesome offense, awesome starting pitching, awesome IF defense, solid relief pitching, and mediocre range with sure-handedness in the OF. The team builds up a large lead in the AL East before tragedy strikes a former teammate.

Oil Can Boyd put up better numbers than I had expected with the 1986 Twins, given the rumors of his even wilder-than-in-real-life party habits, thanks to me keeping Ojeda and Tudor around to block his ascension. On Wednesday, May 14, Boyd pitches his first ever MLB shutout in Baltimore against the Orioles. He goes out to celebrate that evening with a teammate of his with similar partying habits, utility infielder Ron Washington, who at age 34 knows his way around to get what Boyd prefers for partying. Unfortunately, Boyd goes overboard even for Washington's tastes, and Boyd overdoses on cocaine at age 26. In the month to follow, media/public pressure results in a law enforcement crackdown on local cocaine distributors, forcing many operations further underground and even even leading to the arrests and prosecution of reasonably small-time users/distributors, including an obscure University of Maryland student named Brian Tribble. As a result of the widespread crackdown (centered on Baltimore and the state of Maryland, due to the embarrassment from the death of a hyped, potential future MLB star on "their" watch), the University of Maryland basketball team can;t quite afford to party like they otherwise would have that June, plus Tribble's arrest cuts off their primary source. Hey, it could have happened. MLB becomes the center of the cocaine problem in sports, but the NBA cracks down as well.

The tragic Boyd news hits some of the younger members of the Red Sox staff hard, particularly Clemens, Saberhagen, and Hurst, who had spent some time with Boyd in the minor leagues. Fisk and Lynn suffer their injuries in the same timeframe in late May, hurting both the offense and the defense. Daulton has no idea how to manage the pitching staff, and Gwynn-Dawson-Evans isn't exactly a rangey OF. The team drops behind the Detroit Tigers in the standings before storming back in the 2nd half as Fisk and Lynn return. The team cruises towards the postseason, but Saberhagen goes down, forcing Mediocre Eck into the rotation.

We all know what happened to the real 1986 Red Sox. These Red Sox also win the AL East, and are clearly the best team in baseball, particularly since the 86 Mets lack Ojeda. Unfortunately, the best team does not always win in baseball, and the Red Sox lose in the ALCS to the Angels in 5 games. Sometimes it takes a lesser player having the bigger moment, and there is no Dave Henderson for Game 5 this time. The Astros then beat the Angels in the 1986 World Series.

Draft time. The real 1986 Red Sox drafted and failed to sign Greg McMurtry. I take Tom Gordon, due to first appear in 1988 and be a full-timer in 1989, although he'll be an interesting case to deal with.

EDIT - It's worth noting that, due to the new result of the 1986 ALCS, Donnie Moore never kills himself. I essentially traded Donnie Moore's life for Oil Can Boyd's in this reality, but in case you didn't figure it out, Len Bias was saved in the process. You're welcome, Rocco.

EDIT 2 - It should be noted that bad tactical moves by John McNamara were again key in the ALCS going poorly at first for the Red Sox, but this time, unlike in 1986, the talent did not overcome the manager. I am not amused.

Edited by JMDurron, 30 October 2010 - 12:02 AM.

#44 Jimy Hendrix

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 07:25 PM

Subplot: As he starts entering his real prime years, do you try and keep Clemens off the drugs or do you just not want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg on that one?

#45 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:58 PM

Subplot: As he starts entering his real prime years, do you try and keep Clemens off the drugs or do you just not want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg on that one?

Even with my real, modern-day knowledge, I don't know when he started using. I put my "knowledge" in as my theory/opinion, but I'm not going to be the GM who tries to make steroids an issue in 1986. I am already generally reviled outside of St Louis (they liked getting Rice, Cooper, and Nipper for a walking FA) for being the 49ers of MLB, and I honestly don't know all the players who are using, because we honestly don't know to this day. I neither overtly investigate nor actively cover up PED usage. As you MIGHT have guessed, I am not the type of GM who hangs out with the players in the clubhouse, so I honestly don't see any of what is going on. My hanging around the players would only increase the risk of some of my knowledge slipping out, and this whole exercise requires me to let their careers play out as similarly to real history as possible, at least aside from the whole "they are on the Red Sox and making decent money for their productive careers" thing.

You did make me think of another subplot though - I've never quite understood the "owners colluded!" bit from the early 80s. Don't the GMs offer the contracts? That would effectively mean that the owners and GMs both colluded to keep FA prices down. It appears that many owners played more direct roles in contract negotiations in the 1985-1987 collusion era, but fortunately, in my case, Jean Yawkey is letting me do my own thing. Also, as I am following a general philosophy of drafting 1 great "outside the 1st round" find every season, along with developing the players that the Red Sox had in the real history, then trading excess for the relatively few holes that I have to maintain, the FA collusion of 1985-1987 is completely irrelevant to me. I am not familiar enough (and have not found a handy reference for) contract start/end dates for players who remained with their teams over long periods. B-ref tells me when someone is granted free agency, but not when they sign extensions. So I am basically throwing my hands up in the air and saying "Hey, I'm using my perfect knowledge of the future to give these guys contracts of appropriate lengths for the future production at market value." I am impacted by collusion in that any extensions that I get signed are at 1985-1987 market rates, but my Red Sox do not actively participate in the Collusion Deal, making me even more of a pariah amongs my peers than I already am due to being awesome.

EDIT - Upon further reflection (and Wikipedia), I realize that I could be the guy to offer fair-market deals to the FAs like Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris who are victimized in this timeframe, but frankly, I don't want to change up my player acquisition strategy when it has been working so well to date. I just don't have many, if any holes to fill, and to be quite honest, I'm not that brave in an environment where even the Commissioner of baseball is actively supporting collusion (dumb to do long term contracts). Plus, anybody I signed would be allowed to find new contracts after the Collusion rulings come down, so what's the point?

Edited by JMDurron, 30 October 2010 - 12:08 AM.

#46 JMDurron

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

We are now getting closer to years that I actually followed, and have some knowledge of the context for some of the players. B-Ref also starts to step up with some contracts information, so I have some more data to work with when deciding how players depart, but that does mean that I have to take more time as this goes along. Every year gets closer to times that we know more about, and every added year of imprints that I make on my roster has ripple effects throughout the rest of the league. I try to deal with ones that impact my Red Sox franchise as I come across them, but I'm not even going to try to handle them all. Ask Ziggy if you want to get more than that.

1987. My first move is to get rid of John McNamara. Boneheaded moves in not 1, but 2 consecutive ALCSes forces me to go this route. Instead of being the 3B Coach, Joe Morgan is promoted to manager. Hendrick retires. Steve Crawford's contract is extended through the 1989 season, as 1987 is his walk year, so I pay money that I know is wasted in 1988 to get his 1989 season. I do this midway through the 1987 season, which is a down year for Crawford. I sign Dawson through his age 37 season in 1992, because I'm not sure where I am going with my OF/DH/1B positions over the long term, so I overpay in years for what I know I want from 1987-1990.

Dwight Evans begins to have his back go out on him, and cannot play RF. I move Gwynn from DH to LF, Dawson from LF to RF, and Evans from RF/1B to DH.

Fred Lynn is nearing the end of the road. Even though he can still hit, at age 35 his defense has deteriorated significantly, and he can't stay on the field. I am already dealing with an ailing Evans, and an aging Dawson in my other OF spots. In an effort to maintain some semblance of an OF defense, Fred Lynn is gone, giving the job to rookie Ellis Burks. Historically, Lynn was signed to a 5/6.8 contract (6.8 total, not annually! HA!) that ran from 1985-1989 by the Baltimore Orioles. This came on the heels of his 5/1.65 deal with the Red Sox that ran from 1979-1984. I give him an extension during the 1983 season that runs through 1986, so he becomes a free agent after the 1986 season. Yes, this is incredibly covenient, but now my perfect knowledge of history is matching up with b-ref starting to get contract data, and Burks is ready and an able replacement.

C - Carlton Fisk over Marc Sullivan (14 -> 102). Darren Daulton is the backup (53).
1B - Don Mattingly over Don Baylor (sort of, based on roster moves). 99 -> 146. Dewey gets some backup duty.
2B - Ryne Sandberg over Marty Barrett (85 -> 111). Barrett stays as the backup.
SS - Ozzie Smith over Spike Owen, who is never traded for. 80 -> 105. Barrett backs up.
3B - Wade Boggs (173). Boggs Smash! Barrett backs up.
LF - Tony Gwynn over Jim Rice (101 -> 158). I guess Gwynn likes fielding. Mike Greenwell (147) backs up.
CF - Ellis Burks (98). Dawson plays as backup with Gwynn in RF and Greenwell in LF when needed.
RF - Andre Dawson over Todd Benzinger (105 -> 130). Dawson hits 50 HRs thanks to a Fenway special over the monster in late September. Gwynn backs up with Greenwell in LF.
DH - Dwight Evans (156).

The pitching staff, as usual, is far more complicated. I have a full rotation from 1986 in Clemens-Saberhagen-Hurst-Tudor-Ojeda. The problem is that 1987 is the year where David Cone and Greg Maddux do their "young pitcher getting his experience in before he becomes awesome" thing. That means that I have a mild issue for 1987, but an increasingly large one going forward. Ojeda largely had a lost 1987 season, followed by Wakefield-esque seasons above and below average from 1988 through 1992. John Tudor pitches less than 100 IP in 1987, followed by awesome 1988 and 1990 seasons packaged around a lost 1989 campaign. I also have absolute crap for contract information from this period, so I don't know if one or both of these guys might have an expiring contract to make a "keep or go" decision on. My lack of contracts knowledge is probably my single greatest flaw of this exercise, as it keeps me out of real payroll discussions and forces me to trade guys who might be easily let go anyway (possibly for...COMP PICKS!). I just don't have this information, so I generally assume that I am signing these guys to long, reasonably-priced deals where I give them years that I know I don't want in exchange for them not raping me on the AAV while being on a consistently awesome team.

I decide that I need to make some roster space, and that I value Tudor's peaks over Ojeda's steadiness, given what I have to deploy elsewhere in the rotation. I trade Ojeda to the Mets for a bucket of baseballs and a framed 1985 World Series pennant signed by Mookie Wilson and Ray Knight.

Roger Clemens (281.2/154)
Bret Saberhagen (257/136)
Bruce Hurst (238.2/104)
Greg Maddux (155.2/76)*
David Cone (99.1/103)*
John Tudor (96/109)

Tudor's short season lets me fill in with David Cone with no performance hit. Jeff Sellers gets called up for starts down the stretch once I shut down Greg Maddux to avoid overuse. He gets his ERA+ of 87 performance spread over fewer innings, when it matters less. I use Sellers because I am not jerking Stanley or Eck around anymore, see below. The fans are pissed that I let Maddux throw this many bad innings on a title contender, but I am teflon-coated in the media by now, and Joe Morgan has a gleam in his eye. Is Morgan to me as Francona is to Theo?

The bullpen. Well now, this gets interesting. 1987 was Eckersley's first season with the Oakland A's in real life, and his first significant time in the bullpen. The reknowned Dave Duncan was the Oakland A's pitching coach at the time, so my greatest fear was that I could find evidence that Duncan specifically said/did something to Eckersley to make him the reliever that he would become from 1988 - 1992, and still above average after that. Google sends me the following article from the Chicago Tribune in 1988.

But he emphasized it was not an overnight conversion.

``When I first went out there, I was caddying for a couple of guys,``

meaning that he was used in middle relief or as the setup man for another closer. ``Then, after I began getting the hang of it, they began using me as the late man.``

Eckersley said this has been his most enjoyable season, better even than 1978, when he won 20 games for the Red Sox. He estimated that as many as half of those 20 wins were ``won in the clubhouse`` thanks to relievers protecting a lead.

``When you`re the late man, you`re on the field when the game is over,``

he said. ``You get a lot more high-fives.``

There is no talk of a mental block that Duncan solves, or a new pitch/technique that he had to learn. I have already been using Eckersley as a long reliever and spot starter from 1984 - 1986 in this reality, so using him as a setup guy/closer in 1987 seems like a logical step. If there's something psychological that someone had to say to him (a la David Ortiz and Grady Little in 2003), then I'm going to treat this as Morgan Magic, combined with Eck being liberated from John McNamara's inability to properly deploy relievers.

Now we have the 1987 Bob Stanley issue. In 1987, he was a starter for a real Red Sox team with a rotation of Clemens-Hurst-OMG-WTF-LOL. Obviously that is not the case now, so he stays in the bullpen. He has another great year in relief in 1988, so there's no question of capability here, just one of what his performance would be.

Here's what I have in my top 5 Red Sox bullpen slots. As always the innings not accounted for here go to the same random dudes who took them in real life (Joe Sambito et al) or guys who sucked and therefore only get a few innings from the back end of the pen in my universe (Wes Gardner). Feel free to ask questions about particular cases if you care, because most of the time, I'm not going to bother putting any thought into the 6th or 7th spots in the bullpen.

Dennis Eckersley (115.2/137) - Morgan has hunches to use him as the closer. Hey, if he can make Dana Kiecker throw a shutout to give Roger Clemens a day off against Toronto in 1990, he can make Eckersley close ahead of schedule. I assume that Eck's innings drop a bit (no spot starts this time, full-time relief), but the performance level is a constant
Bob Stanley - put up a 152.2/91 line as a starter. He throws 100 IP instead of 152 now that he is in my bullpen, and I split the difference between his 1986 and 1988 performance levels as a reliever by assuming a 113 ERA+. So, 100/113 here.
Mark Clear (78.1/103)
Steve Crawford (72.2/86) - He still has a good 1989 coming, so I live with this.
Tom Bolton (61.2/105) - This ERA+ is all luck, he gave up an OPS over 800 against both LHH and RHH. Morgan Magic! Hey, it's not like I'm going to need it later.

The real 1987 Red Sox sucked, finishing in 5th place, 20 GB of the Detroit Tigers. My team has Ellis Burks batting 9th (I assume, I don't actually care) while Boggs, Evans, and Gwynn destroy opposing pitching. Clemens, Saberhagen, Hurst, and Tudor/Cone are good enough to make the rotation great in spite of the suckage of Maddux/Sellers. The media plays up a competition for the future rotation spot between Maddux and Sellers, so I leak enough to Gammons to get him to write an article about how smart and special Maddux is. I want Gammons to have a solid record of prospect evaluation while at the Globe for his ESPN duties later, and for spreading my prospect propaganda a decade from now. The bullpen is anchored by Stanley and Eckersley, with the 3-5 guys being solid enough, even if Crawford looks bad saving Bolton's ass then giving up runs in the following innings too often.

My 1987 Red Sox fight with the Detroit Tigers down the stretch, and the AL East is decided in the September 21-23 series at Fenway between the two clubs. The Red Sox finish off a sweep by handing Doyle Alexander his head in the series finale, bailing out Bruce Hurst. Nobody understands why I am cracking jokes about adding insult to injury by beating Alexander in particular. The 1987 Twins were a great story, but they just can't pitch their way past my lineup, or hit the Clemens-Saberhagen combo. The 1987 St Louis Cardinals look different, but are still the best team in the NL. Ozzie Smith and John Tudor are gone, but Tudor's absence hurts less in 1987, and Jim Rice's bat in LF (Pendleton has come into his own at 3B, and Vince Coleman's rangey self shifts to RF) makes up for the lack of Smith's. I assume that Herzog finds some nice defender to play SS who isn't below-league average. Todd Worrell saves both of the World Series leads he is given, but the Red Sox dispatch the Cardinals in 6 less-than-exciting games.

Just to partly keep this all straight in my own head, the tally is now 1977 - 1978 - 1982 - 1984 - 1985 - 1987. This makes 11 World Championships when 1903 - 1912 - 1915 - 1916 - 1918 are included. The seats are full, the coffers are even more full, and ownership isn't breathing down my neck even when I let Lynn go at this point.

So, the 1987 draft. The real Red Sox had 2 first round picks in 1987, due to failing to sign 1986 pick Greg McMurtry. They drafted Reggie Harris and Bob Zupzic. I do not have that comp pick...or do I? Fred Lynn was allowed to leave as a Free Agent and signed with the Orioles for some undetermined number. Nothing I can find indicates that the ties between offering arbitration and compensation draft picks were any different in the mid-1980s, but at age 34, I think Lynn is too likely to take me up on a potential offer of arb after the 1986 season (performance argues one way, age argues another, and maybe he loves Boston), so I don't offer it to him. Thus, I only have 1 draft pick. I decide against taking my chances on Albert Belle in Boston (I don't care how much the culture has changed, no thanks), and draft Ray Lankford. Lankford arrives in 1990 and goes full-time in 1991.

Edited by JMDurron, 31 October 2010 - 09:58 AM.

#47 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 31 October 2010 - 12:53 AM

So, I just realized that I screwed up. I adjusted for Rick Sutcliffe's injury-plagued 1981, and never brought him back for 1982, the best season of his career (216 IP/140 ERA+). I simply can't go back through and tweak all of the seasons this impacts at this point, but he does not have nearly the impact that Fergie Jenkins does in the 78-82 window. Sutcliffe's best seasons were in 1982, 1984, and 1985. Well, I'm actually kinda good there. Thanks to keeping Tudor and Ojeda, I didn't make any major trades to fill his spot, so there are no players that I un-lose by keeping him. There simply isn't a proper payoff-for-work balance here, so I go forward under the assumption that Rick Sutcliffe never recovers from his injuries in the 1981 season. I accidentally wasted this draft pick even with knowledge of the future, but I suppose it's not unreasonable to say that

A) I'm not getting out of this scenario without screwing up something in spite of my perfect future knowledge
B) Not all of these players are going to translate precisely from their real careers to my alternate Red Sox reality, so maybe having one catastrophic loss (from the player's standpoint when it comes to comparing his real output to this universe) is fair to allow to happen.
C) A guy with 3 short years of MLB experience never gets his foot into the broadcasting door.

Hasta eternidad, Rick Sutcliffe - Posted Image

#48 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 31 October 2010 - 01:36 PM

1988 brings a very significant roster crunch with it. A few positions are quite straightforward, with Fisk/Daulton at C, Sandberg at 2B, Smith at SS, and Boggs at 3B. The OF, 1B, and DH are...not obvious. With no Jim Rice, I have the DH spot available for Dwight Evans, who is now gimpy and not the defender that he once was. Andre Dawson's knees are fine for him to stay in RF, even if his range is starting to slide at age 33. Ellis Burks and Tony Gwynn should be locks to remain in CF and LF. The fly in the ointment here is Mike Greenwell's awesome 1988 season. 158 games of OPS+ 159 production simply cannot be tossed aside, but where can I put him? Don Mattingly has 1B locked up...or does he?

One fact that I cannot avoid, in spite of not being able to honestly address the particular numbers, is that my team is getting very expensive. Salaries are slowly beginning to climb in the post-collusion era. I have a core of players in Fisk (age 40!), Sandberg (28), Ozzie Smith (33), Boggs (30), Tony Gwynn (28), Dwight Evans (36), and Andre Dawson (33), who are all past 6 years of MLB service, and therefore making significant money. I have already addressed Dawson's contract, as he is signed through 1992 at what he made historically. Fisk signs a new deal at the start of the 1988 season that takes him through the 1991 season (age 43). His salary demands are quite reasonable. Sandberg was signed to a long-term deal after the 1986 season, which takes him from ages 27-33 (ends after 1993 season). Ozzie Smith signed a 6-year extension during the 1983 season that gives me his services through his age 34 season in 1989. Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs are both extended during their 6-year seasons in 1987. Now at age 30, Boggs is willing to take an extension that covers him through his age 37 season in 1995. I get some salary relief for giving him the long years. Gwynn is only 28, and at a more typical age for his first big payday. My big advantage here is my knowledge of future salary inflation, so I go for a blockbuster, long-term contract, but at 1987->1988 salary inflation rates, instead of 94-95 rates. Gwynn gets a huge, 10-year deal that takes him through his age 37 season in 1997. I hope to have him patrolling LF for many, many years, or possibly DHing. I bow to my own internal sentiments with Dwight Evans, and extend his contract through the 1991 season in the offseason of 1987-1988. I stole the Yaz goodbye from Red Sox Nation, but Dewey shall have his.

There is, ultimately, a reason that I am choosing this season to go so in-depth with the contracts. My Red Sox are well-supported by fans buying expensive tickets (inflation-adjusted, of course, but still expensive in then-day terms), and Jean Yawkey not being a tightwad and trusting me very deeply. Ozzie Smith, Andre Dawson, and Dwight Evans are also very involved with her charitable interests, which buys additional goodwill. In spite of this, I am still paying out large sums to my C, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF, and DH positions. Ellis Burks and Mike Greenwell are wonderfully cost-controlled, above-average players. Don Mattingly first appeared on the roster in 1982, even though he first become a major component in 1984. That means that 1987 was his last year under team control. At this stage, I simply cannot afford to keep him. I offer him arbitration after the 1987 season, he declines (and gives me a real "WTF?!?" look on the way out), and he signs with the New York Yankees before the 1988 season. I get the Yankees' 1st round draft pick in 1988, and a 1st round compensation pick. Mike Greenwell, under the ego-massaging tutelage of Joe Morgan, becomes my 1B for the remainder of his cost-controlled years (1990 is his 6th year). He's young enough to shut up and do it to get playing time.

So, the position players:

C - Carlton Fisk over Gedman (76 -> 155). Daulton (61) remains the backup.
1B - Mike Greenwell over Todd Benzinger (95 -> 159). Pat Dodson (72) is the backup.
2B - Ryne Sandberg over Marty Barrett (84 -> 108). Barrett's cost controlled years are over, so Jody Reed (109) backs up.
SS - Ozzie Smith over Jody Reed (109 -> 98). Reed is the backup
3B - Wade Boggs (166). Reed is the backup.
LF - Tony Gwynn over Greenwell (159 -> 128). Greenwell moves from 1B to backup as needed.
CF - Ellis Burks (131). Gwynn backs up (not ideal, but oh well) with Greenwell in LF.
RF - Andre Dawson over Dwight Evans (135 -> 137). Same bat, better D. Gwynn backs up with Greenwell in LF, Evans moves out from DH if Gwynn or Burks are already out.
DH - Dwight Evans over Jim Rice (102 -> 135). Jody Reed is the backup. Yeah, you read that right.

Now for the starting pitching. Here we have another roster crunch. There are 6 starters from the 1987 season - Roger Clemens, Bret Saberhagen, John Tudor, Bruce Hurst, David Cone, and Greg Maddux. Clemens, Saberhagen, Cone, and Maddux are staying come hell or high water. Tudor and Hurst are both signed past this season. Tudor's 6th year was 1984, and I will now say that I extended him in mid-1984 through his 1990, age 36 season. Thankfully I did this before his 1985 "Super Ace!" season, but he's still earning a veteran's wage. Hurst's 6th year was 1985, and I extended him through his age 33 season in 1991. I wasn't thinking about the rotation crunch when this decision was made. Oops. I....HAVE TOO MUCH STARTING PITCHING. There is only a year's difference between Hurst and Tudor, but Tudor gives me greater performance, so Bruce Hurst is due to depart. More detail on how I deal with him below, no magic draft pick this time. sad.gif

From a contractual standpoint, it is worth mentioning that I have a cost-controlled staff of Roger Clemens (5th year), Bret Saberhagen (5th year), Greg Maddux (3rd year), and David Cone (3rd year). This is why I can afford my lineup and top of the bullpen.

The rotation:

Roger Clemens (264/141)
Bret Saberhagen (260.2/106)
Greg Maddux (249/114)
David Cone (231.1/147)
John Tudor (197.2/149)

4 hours after thinking about this rotation, I seek medical attention. Rookie callup Tom Gordon gets the really, really small number of leftover starts in his cup of coffee.

The bullpen is my way of dealing with Bruce Hurst, and some history that I have smashed. Obviously, I no longer have room for Mike Boddicker in the 1988 rotation, so there is no Schilling-and-Anderson for Boddicker trade. At the same time, I do not have Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi to trade for the Cubs for Lee Smith. I also am not willing to risk distoring the Schilling career arc by not having him wander in the wilderness before he figures out to work hard, and I'm not going to have any room for him in my rotation anytime soon.

I trade Hurst, Schilling, and Anderson to the Cubs for Lee Smith. Mark Clear is a luxury I can no longer afford with the Boggs and Gwynn deals, particularly when my bullpen back-end is an afterthought. Crawford misses the entire season due to injury. Ok, now I wish I hadn't given him that deal through 1989. Oh well.

The bullpen is now:

Dennis Eckersley (72.2/163)
Lee Smith (83.2/148)
Bob Stanley (101.2/130) - In his final year of the 6-year extension I gave him back in 1983. Worth every penny
Tom Bolton (30.1/88)
Wes Gardner (149/118) - Gardner doesn't get the starts that he did in the real world, as he is my 4th bullpen arm and long reliever. He was more effective as a reliever than as a starter in 1988, so he gives me 80 IP of 130 ERA+ relief. This is a pleasant surprise.

Carlton Fisk is excellent, but only plays in 76 games. Daulton sucks and still only plays in 58 games historically. Daulton is not suffering knee injuries yet, so he takes most of the 86 games Fisk misses, with some relief from some random crap Kevin Cash equivalent that I sign off the street, or whatever AAAA dreck is in Pawtucket. Otherwise, Tony Gwynn is the only other starter who plays less than 150 games (holy healthy HOFers, I guess that's partly why they are HOFers, eh?), and Greenwell gives him enough of a breather.

Lee Smith and Dennis Eckersley coexist nicely, mostly due to Joe Morgan giving both a fair number of save chances. The media plays up Morgan's "hunches" about which awesome reliever to use, while I chuckle with the knowledge that his "hunches" are really "knowing that Eck is hungover."

The real 1988 Red Sox won the AL East, in spite of playing under their talent level (thanks, McNamara) by their pyth record (93 wins vs 89 real wins). My team destroys the AL East yet again, and edges out the Oakland A's in the ALCS in 7 games. John Tudor injures his elbow during the ALCS throwing a bullpen session, as his elbow soreness gave me an excuse to put young guns Cone and Maddux ahead of him in the rotation. The A's suffer several crushing losses in the late innings, due to the lack of Eck.

The 1988 Dodgers do not trade for John Tudor, but still win the NL West behind Orel Miraculous, who won't shut up about how awesome Japan is for some reason. The first game of the World Series plays out the same way, with Gibson limping to a game-winning HR off of Dennis Eckersley. Unfortunately, for the Dodgers, Orel doesn't get to face Storm Davis in Game 2, he gets a taste of Greg Maddux. The Red Sox win in extra innings, and take the next 2 to go up 3-1. Hershiser dominates Game 5 against Clemens, but Rick Honeycutt loses Game 6 despire outpitching Maddux. The Red Sox repeat again.

The 1988 MLB draft leaves me in a good position. The Red Sox historically took Tom Fischer with their lone 1st round pick. Don Mattingly trumps Jack Clark's Elias ranking, so I get the Yankees' 22nd pick in the 1st round instead of St Louis, plus a supplemental 1st rounder. So I have 3 1st round picks. Given my nagging feeling that a catcher might actually have an influence on his pitching staff, I forgo the obvious choice of Mike Piazza. I have enough picks to finally get some certain, cost-controlled relief help, since I can't afford to pay 2 closers and Bob Stanley (or his later equivalent) once my rotation starts getting extended. I draft

Greg McMichael - arrives in 1993
Jim Edmonds - part-timer in 1993, full-time in 1995
Tim Wakefield - part time in 1992, full time in 1993

Edited by JMDurron, 22 December 2013 - 03:50 PM.

#49 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:35 PM

1989 brings us some more interesting contract situations. Clemens, Saberhagen, and Daulton are all in their 6th years, which means its time for me to talk extension with them.

Daulton has never had a big season, or significant playing time outside of Fisk injuries, so he looks at me with a quizzical expression when I offer him a contract that takes him from his age 28 season (1990), through his age 35 season (1997). He signs the deal. He has clearly been annointed as Fisk's successor, much to the confusion of fans and media alike. Peter Gammons writes a lovely notes column on how special he is. Dance, puppet, dance.

Saberhagen has a well-earned reputation as a postseason ace, but his actual record has been one with 2 great years (85, 87), 2 above average years (86, 88), and 1 good year (84). He values stability and is willing to stay. He is also only 25 and likes his odds at a second big deal if he can get me short enough to let him out around his age 30 or 31 season. I give him a reasonably-priced extension (love these late 80s salaries!) through his age 30 season in 1994.

Roger Clemens is now 26, and coming off a rookie season, followed by 4 seasons of pure awesome, the oldest of which was injury-shortened. He has no interest in a discount. I have no interest in missing out on his 89-92 seasons. I also strongly suspect that 93-96 will go quite differently if he is on a winning club, which I hope to maintain in spite of my current core aging. Plus, given the salary inflation to come in the 1990s, I know that I am better off with a fair market 1989 rate extension over waiting until 1993 to sign Clemens to a "richest pitcher in the game" deal. After a great deal of haggling, particularly over side items like baggage handling, Clemens agrees to an extension that runs through the 1996 season. Clemens is now going to be richly paid for his age 27 - 33 seasons.

Ozzie Smith, the face of the franchise (along with Fisk), refuses to discuss an extension. He will let his current contract run out, and then see if he values the stability of remaining the face of the Boston Red Sox over the freedom and potential financial gains of free agency. I look at my current and future SS options and wince painfully.

Flush with World Series winning revenues, I decide to go for the throat of the early 90s. Maddux and Cone are only entering their 4th years under team control, but I think it's time to be aggressive with locking them up, assuring a core of starting pitching for the foreseeable future.

Maddux looks very much like a "could go either way" young gun after the 1988 season. After almost 200 IP of getting his head bashed in during 86 and 87, he went above average with a 249/114 line in 88. At age 23, and with only one good season under his belt, Maddux is willing to sign an extension at a reasonable price. But for how many years? Luckily for me, Maddux has an ambitious agent who sees how willing I am to give out long-term contracts, and would be more than happy to pimp himself as the man who negotiated the longest, richest contract extension for a pitcher of Maddux's age and service time. All of my extensions to this point have been tacked onto the end of the player's current contract, but I come to an accommodation with Maddux's agent, Scott Boras (I can't find out when he hired him, so I'm making an assumption). In exchange for tearing up the last 2 years of arbitration control (the 1989 season has started, this is an April/May extension), Maddux signs a 10-year deal that covers the 1990 - 1999 seasons, so Maddux will first hit free agency as a 33 year old. This move stuns the local and national media, other baseball executives (10 years for a pitcher?!?), the fans...and David Cone, who tells me where to stick it when I come to talk to him about a relatively modest extension, particularly coming off of a 1988 season that was superior to that of Greg Maddux.

David Cone fires his agent, hires Scott Boras, and flat out refuses to speak to me about an extension. He is due to become a free agent after the 1991 season. Perhaps I should have waited a year on these two?

A note on the finances. It may seem like I am cheating even more blatantly than can be tolerated here with these extensions, but the timing makes sense for me, and at least seems to make sense for the players of the time. According to a link I found on The Economic History of Baseball, MLB player salaries are about to explode. The average MLB salary in 1989 will be $489K, but rises to $589K, then $845K, then just over $1M over the next 3 seasons. I have a degree of confidence that these players will stay healthy and perform, and there is no time like the present to pay up. Since I never sign marquee free agents (at least not yet, and I'd REALLY like to avoid it to leverage my draft knowledge), there aren't any outsiders making major coin over the old hands, and I have been very consistent with paying my young stars around the same time period in their careers, with the now blatant exception of Greg Maddux. I can't get into the exact salary numbers here, but I'd be basically making them up anyway, or I would never get one of these posts finished, so I'm going with the general scale of the time. Also, there is no meaningful revenue sharing yet, which means I am raking in the local TV revenue with a hugely successful club, including the conversion of most of CT and some of upside NY thanks to my dominance over the past decade. Merchandise sales have sadly been distributed evenly since 1966, but between the salary structure and local revenue generation, plus Jean Yawkey's willingness to let me do my thing, puts me in a prime position to do this at this precise time.

Ok, this post is long enough. 1989 Part II, coming up shortly.

#50 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 02 November 2010 - 09:40 PM

With Greenwell at 1B, I do not trade Todd Benzinger for Nick Esasky. Another batch of future message board monikers are destroyed. I have a trade dilemma now, in that Ozzie Smith is not a sure thing to stay in Boston past the 1989 season, and I have no Spike Owen to trade for even a Luis Rivera, so that trade does not happen, even though I see the hole starting to form. But, that is a problem for another year, the late 80s awesomeness is still here...for now. I do not sign Danny Heep.

In 1989, Carlton Fisk played in 103 extremely productive games. Darren Daulton played in 131 really unproductive games. Daulton obviously loses some playing time in this scenario, but Joe Morgan has a great sense of when to give Fisk a break, either during the week or in a blowout, so Daulton isn't exactly bored, plus he's financially secure now anyway. Greenwell remains at 1B, although he's not exactly a gold glove candidate. Ryne Sandberg finds his 1985 stroke again. Ozzie Smith keeps up his MLB average offense with great SS defense, and just has a knack for clutch hits (he also has calm eyes). Boggs is Boggs, with slightly better defense at 3B as he goes along. Tony Gwynn is just a good with the bat, and is mastering the caroms off the wall. Burks proves that 1988 was no fluke, and with Gwynn needing no relief in LF (played 158 games), Burks does NOT injure his shoulder in a collision with Mike Greenwell, since 1B is rather far from CF. Andre Dawson starts to show signs of decline at the plate, and his range is starting to tail off in RF. Dewey is productive at DH once again.

On the bench, Benzinger backs up 1B quite well. I have no idea why I left him in AAA last season. Oops. Daulton is the backup C. Jody Reed backs up 2B and SS, with a heavy emphasis on SS duty. He also shares some time at 3B with Benzinger on the rare days that Boggs needs a rest. Kevin Romine gets some spotty play as the utility/emergency OF. Having both a DH and a 1B that can play the OF in a pinch is rather handy. Eric Hinske is nodding his head right now.

C - Carlton Fisk over Rick Cerone (83 -> 136). Daulton (77) backs up.
1B - Mike Greenwell over Nick Esasky (133 -> 123). Benzinger (89) backs up.
2B - Ryne Sandberg over Marty Barrett (76 -> 134). Reed (112) backs up.
SS - Ozzie Smith over Luis Rivera (82 -> 97). Reed backs up.
3B - Wade Boggs (142). Reed/Benzinger backing up.
LF - Tony Gwynn over Mike Greenwell (123 -> 132). Romine (82) backs up, as Greenwell is kept far, far away from Ellis Burks
CF - Ellis Burks (128). He plays a full season. Romine backs up.
RF - Andre Dawson over Dwight Evans (136 -> 114). Romine backs up. Dawson is a major defensive upgrade at this stage, even with slightly reduced range.
DH - Dwight Evans over Jim Rice (70 -> 136). Benzinger/Daulton backs up.

Ozzie Smith is the worst hitter in my lineup by a significant margin.

The pitching rotation. I love this part so much.

Bret Saberhagen (262.1/180)
Roger Clemens (253.1/132)
Greg Maddux (238.1/129)
David Cone (219.2/93)
John Tudor (14.1/113)

Oh yeah, John Tudor's elbow is shot for the year. He'll be back in 1990. John Dopson isn't here, as he was in the Luis Rivera trade that no longer happens in this reality.
Bob Stanley retires a year earlier in this reality, going out on top like he deserved to, so he's out as well. Fortunately, Tom Gordon is here to eat some innings!

Tom Gordon (163/107)

In the bullpen, Bob Stanley's departure leaves a bit of an innings gap. Eck and Lee Smith remain at the top. Eck is the closer, Lee Smith is my Daniel Bard. Good luck taking a lead from me once I have it. The back end gets exciting, because I also don't have Rob Murphy thanks to the non-Esasky trade. Fortunately, Gordon frees up Wes Gardner for bullpen duty, where he excelled in 1988. I end up signing an old journeymen - Dennis Lamp , to soak up most of the other innings. Gardner is the long man. Tom Bolton is basically useless for some reason, so he gets sent down to AAA after a few innings. Steve Crawford makes his triumphant return from his lost 1988 season. Greg Harris is picked up off the waiver wire from the Phillies in August to solidify the pen (replaces Gardner) for the stretch run, and he comes through.

Dennis Eckersley (57.2/239)
Lee Smith (70.2/116)
Dennis Lamp (112.1/178) - holy crap, say hello to the 3rd guy who is used get to Smith and Eck, who never pitch for more than 3 outs.
Wes Gardner (86/69)
Steve Crawford (54/138)
Greg Harris (28/163)
Tom Bolton (17.1/51)

The real 1989 Red Sox finished 3rd in the AL East, 6 games behind a Toronto Blue Jays team that didn't even get 90 wins. The entire AL East is curb stomped by this team, and the 5th starter is not an issue in the postseason.

On the other hand, the 1989 Oakland A's team is a tougher opponent than the 1988 version was, with Jim Corsi (what?!?) ably filling the hole left by the Red Sox having Eckersley. The A's have no answer for Saberhagen, but Mike Moore outduels Roger Clemens, Maddux gets shelled by the A's instead of the Giants in a 1989 LCS, and the A's hold the line when Mike Moore gets bounced in game 4, with LaRussa's mixing and matching of the bullpen arms earning him eternal praise as a matchup genius. Saberhagen outpitches Dave Stewart again in Game 5, but only barely, and in the late innings, the A's lineup gets to Dennis Lamp and Lee Smith with balls finding gaps in the Oakland OF, especially in RF, which Andre Dawson can no longer cover as well as he once did. The best team fails to win, as the A's just have the balls fall their way with a 4-1 ALCS win. Media speculation focuses on the lack of any real AL East race down the stretch, theorizing that the team was unable to turn it back on in the postseason after being able to mail it in from mid-August onward.

The 1989 draft is the reverse of the 1988 one (kind of like the ALCS, bleh). Having traded Bruce Hurst the previous year, I get no comp picks for his departure to San Diego, and therefore do not have the picks that the Red Sox used on Greg Blosser and Kevin Morton. I go with the historical choice with the regular 1st round pick, selecting Mo Vaughn. Vaughn sees time in 1991 and 1992, before becoming a full-time player in 1993. Vaughn's not the only reason this draft was a good one, in spite of the lost picks, as the Draft and Scouting Department that I have avoided screwing with makes another fine pick in the 4th round, Jeff Bagwell.

Edited by JMDurron, 03 November 2010 - 08:09 AM.