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GM Time Machine
Posted 02 December 2010 - 07:16 PM
Historically, the Red Sox had 3 first round picks in 1999. A first round selection (#17 overall) was gained for the loss of Mo Vaughn, but the regular 1st round pick (#25) was lost due to the Jose Offerman signing. The team had two supplemental picks, one for Vaughn, the other for the loss of FA Greg Swindell. The Red Sox selected Rick Asadoorian, Brad Baker, and Casey Fossum with those picks.
I suppose that I should have traded for Swindell, as happened historically, but I honestly overlooked that transaction and result, and it's not like my 1998 bullpen needed him anyway. It's an easy extra pick that I could have had, but lose due to an oversight. Oh well. Vaughn was already gone, so those two picks were off the board, but I have the regular #1 pick due to never signing Jose Offerman. I honestly have no idea WTF is going on with the draft order in 1999, as the Braves, Astros, and Padres all had draft slots after the best-record-in-baseball, World Series-winning Yankees. I'm left to guess that my pick is still #25 overall, having the 2nd best AL record after the Yankees.
I also have the Braves 1st round pick, 30th overall, courtesy of Brian Jordan. I doubt the Braves have that pick number without Maddux or McMichael, but frankly it doesn't matter, everybody drafted 26-30 was a bust anyway. I also have 3 supplemental picks, courtesy of Jordan, Mike Timlin, and Greg McMichael. This makes for 5 picks total.
With the 25th overall pick, I draft Albert Pujols. Pujols will arrive full-time in 2001.
With the 30th overall pick, I select Jake Peavy. Peavy will arrive part-time in 2002, then be full-time in 2003.
With my 1st supplemental pick, I select John Lackey. Lackey will arrive part-time in 2002, then be full-time in 2003.
With my 2nd supplemental pick, I select Ryan Doumit. Doumit will arrive part-time in 2005, and become (sort of) full time in 2008.
I want to draft Morneau here, but with the 1B/LF/DH depth that I already have, I just can't justify it.
With my 3rd and final supplemental pick, I select Jason Frasor. Frasor will arrive full-time in 2004.
Going forward, I am essentially at least 1-deep with prospects at every position except either SS or 3B (whichever Young doesn't play), and CF. I could technically convert either of Marcus Giles or Orlando Hudson to 3B if I want total IF coverage, although Young at SS is a horrible defensive idea. Edmonds is signed through 2005, so CF is hardly a pressing concern at the moment. There are going to be a boatload of roster crunches in the 21st century, but that's the downside of having so many solid comp picks.
Posted 03 December 2010 - 02:09 PM
So, this year, there's really only one major departure, one significant roster crunch, and one guy that I simply have to get rid of... or do I?
The departure is Greg Maddux. After 14 seasons in a Red Sox Uniform, including 6 World Series rings, Maddux moves on to the Atlanta Braves on a 4-year deal. I get the Braves 1st round pick, and a supplemental pick in the 2000 draft.
The roster crunch is at DH, of all places. Jason Giambi is entering his 6th year of team control, but David Ortiz is ready for full-time play. Ortiz has 3 years of team control remaining, and I am 99% confident that an increase in his historical levels of production from 2000-2002 would happen in this situation, with no artificial turf, significant playing time at 1B, or stupid Twins hitting instructions to screw with him until 2003. Giambi's last year of control just happens to be his MVP season, and he brings 152 games of 187 OPS+ to the table. I could justify a bench role for Ortiz as he continues to recover his power from his hamate bone injury, but there's the mild risk of distorting his expected increase in productivity, which while reasonable, is already a tad convenient. I need to take a look at the rest of the roster to see what my needs are, because I could trade one of the two (probably Giambi, since Ortiz stays cheap for 3 seasons) to fill that need.
I have to get rid of Ron Gant, because he is a 35-year-old veteran who has every reason to expect and demand full playing time, but he doesn't merit it over a healthy and productive Damon, Edmonds, or Beltran in my OF. But wait! Beltran is not healthy in 2000, playing in only 98 games. We're going to call this a spring training injury, making Gant my starting LF to start the season, with Damon's range (and yes, his horrible arm) going back to RF. I can look to deal Gant away at the deadline if he becomes a problem when Beltran is back and healthy, can keep him if Beltran isn't healthy, or keep him if Beltran is healthy and Gant is too achy to play everyday anyway.
So, the roster picture. Varitek/Hatteberg remain at C. Bagwell remains at 1B. Durham enters year 6 of control at 2B. Nomar gets his historical extension through 2004, and is at SS. Rolen remains at 3B. Polanco remains the main IF backup. Giambi/Ortiz at DH and 1B backup, which is a potential problem. Gant/Damon in LF, Edmonds in CF, and Beltran/Gant in RF. Darren Lewis could be my OF backup, but he kind of sucks and I could live with an upgrade here. Maybe this is a trade void to be filled?
Michael Young shows up in all of 2 games for his cup of coffee, hardly a playing time issue there.
In the rotation, Pedro Martinez, Brad Radke, Andy Pettitte, and Javier Vazquez (thawed out for spring training) remain from the 1999 squad. Tim Hudson gets the slot vacated by Greg Maddux. It's kind of like in Atlanta, only Hudson is actually both healthy and awesome. Hi there, Braves fans!
Nobody leaves from the bullpen of 1999. Lowe, Graves, Foulke, Howry, Kolb, Nathan, and Garces all remain. Mark Buehrle gets some 6th starter work in his cup of coffee.
So, do I give up either Jason Giambi's MVP 2000 season, or 3 seasons of David Ortiz for a backup OFer, or do I make up a scenario where it's reasonable to let Ortiz rot for most of a season? Giambi plays in 152 games, while Bagwell plays in 159. Given how likely it is for this team to be able to rest starters down the stretch in 2000 (I mean, there's plenty of precedent for the 2000 AL East winner to just take a month or so off for the heck of it, right? Thanks Jon Abbey!), and the fact that Jeff Bagwell is now 32, I think it might be reasonable to let David Ortiz test out his hamate bone in AAA for most of the year as he learns to pepper the wall in Pawtucket, and not "swing like a little bitch", then call up Ortiz for some significant September 1B/DH time while resting Bagwell as often as he would accept. This might actually make it more reasonable for Ortiz to go all "Hulk Smash" on the AL in 2001 and 2002, as opposed to less reasonable. So we'll call the 2000 season a "teachable moment" for Ortiz while he heals and adapts. Yes, it's convenient, but I think it's more reasonable to do this and keep Darren Lewis for another year than it is to trade a MVP season for a mild upgrade on Lewis, while explaining why David Ortiz suddenly goes from injured to Big Papi. A transition year as he molts into Big Papi works for me here.
As for the historical transactions, I do not trade for Carl Everett. I do not release Rafael Betancourt, he gets to become a reliever on my watch, not Cleveland's, so he gets an oddly long-term minor league deal while he develops. Shea Hillenbrand is not retained. I do not sign Pete Schourek or Gary Gaetti. I do not trade for Rolando Arroyo and Mike Lansing. I don't actually have anywhere to put David Eckstein, so the Angels still get him on waivers. Can't win them all. I do not trade for Dante Bichette.
The 2000 season is next.
Posted 05 December 2010 - 12:51 PM
C: Jason Varitek (82). Scott Hatteberg backs up (100).
1B: Jeff Bagwell over Brian Daubach (88 -> 147). Hatteberg backs up.
2B: Ray Durham over Jose Offerman (79 -> 103). Placido Polanco (86) backs up.
SS: Nomar Garciaparra (155). Polanco backs up.
3B: Scott Rolen over Wilton Veras (45 -> 124). Polanco backs up.
LF: Ron Gant over Troy O'Leary (81 -> 106). Darren Lewis (54) backs up until Beltran is healthy, then Damon gradually takes over down the stretch. Gant gets no NL adjustment, as his OPS+ was a mix of NL and AL in 2000, and he was actually better in his SSS AL time after a deadline deal.
CF: Jim Edmonds over Carl Everett (135 -> 141). Lewis backs up. This is the start of a sustained run of awesomeness for Edmonds with the bat, and his glove is still just fine at age 30. Excellent.
RF: Johnny Damon over Trot Nixon (106 -> 118). Carlos Beltran (69) backs up when healthy. Lewis backs up when he is not.
DH: Jason Giambi over Dante Bichette (109 -> 187). David Ortiz (101) backs up.
Scott Hatteberg - C, 1B
David Ortiz - DH, 1B
Placido Polanco - 2B, SS, 3B
Darren Lewis - LF, CF, RF
Carlos Beltran - RF, CF
Pedro Martinez (217/291)
Brad Radke (226.2/116)
Andy Pettitte (204.2/111)
Tim Hudson (202.1/113)
Javier Vazquez (217.2/114)
I don't care how many IP Vazquez has, he's always getting listed 5th. Just as Pedro is always 1st.
Derek Lowe (91.1/199)
Danny Graves (91.1/180)
Keith Foulke (88/170)
Joe Nathan (93.1/77)
Rich Garces (74.2/156)
Bob Howry (71/159)
Mark Buehrle (51.1/120) - 6th starter
Dan Kolb (0.2/11) - lost season due to injury
In short, essentially a flawless team. Superstar offensive performances out of 4/9 of the starting position players. 200+ IP from all 5 starters. 5 top relievers, with Nathan soaking up garbage innings, and a young stud prospect to take the extra/doubleheader type starts. This should be fun.
Historically, the 2000 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, only 2.5 games behind a 87-win Yankees team that was apparently too bored to win more games, and 6 games behind the Wild Card-winning Mariners.
Suffice to say that this Red Sox team is winning the AL East. The question is trying to figure out the rest of the AL postseason picture, between the 95-win White Sox, the 91-win A's, the 91-win Mariners, the 90-win Indians, and the 87-win-but-weren't-really-trying Yankees. I smell an epic Wild Card struggle!
The obvious first step is to see who I've taken from the various teams. The Yankees lack Andy Pettitte. The White Sox are without Ray Durham, Mark Buehrle, Keith Foulke, and Bob Howry. Ouch. The Indians are untouched. The A's are without Jason Giambi and Tim Hudson. The Mariners are untouched.
I think it's safe to say that the A's are completely screwed, and the Mariners win the AL West while the A's drop out of the picture entirely. For the White Sox, Ray Durham is not a crushing blow to what was the best offense in the AL, and Buehrle was just a late-season call-up. Unfortunately, the White Sox now lack both their closer and top setup man in Foulke and Howry. That has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the bullpen, and how Jerry Manuel uses his starters, so I think the White Sox lose the AL Central to the Indians. This leaves the wild card battle between the White Sox and Yankees, who now lack Andy Pettitte. Pettitte led the Yankees in innings, but was not their best pitcher from a performance standpoint. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to cancel out the "resting for the postseason" and "No Pettitte" factors to say that the Yankees still win 87 games. The question is, do the White Sox drop from 95 wins all the way down to 87? Are Durham, Buehrle in 50 IP, Foulke, and Howry worth 8 wins combined? Since we are now into the more modern era of statistics, I can actually look up WAR.
Ray Durham - 3.3 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR. I'm just going to average the two for 3.05 WAR.
Mark Buehrle - 0.6 bWAR, 0.7 fWAR = 0.65 WAR
Keith Foulke - 3.0 bWAR, 2.6 fWAR = 2.8 WAR
Bob Howry - 2.2 bWAR, 1.3 fWAR = 1.75 WAR
3.05 + 0.65 + 2.8 + 1.75 = 8.25 WAR. Assuming that all 4 players are replaced by replacement-level players, this is enough of a drop to get the Yankees into the playoffs. I realize that this is essentially a tie, but in this circumstance, it strikes me as fair to side with the team that actually won the World Series in 2000. The Yankees win the AL Wild Card on the last day of the season.
It seems like postseason matchups start to be logical in 2000, so my Red Sox face the Indians, while the Yankees travel to Seattle to face a Mariners team that wins some extra games at the expense of the eviscerated A's. The Indians are completely overmatched, but manage to scare the Red Sox with a 5-game series. Martinez-Radke-Pettitte-Hudson-Rested Pedro is simply too much for the Indians to withstand. The other ALDS series is a surprisingly even matchup, but not even the heroics of David Justice can save the Pettitte-less Yankees, who are slayed by the clutch postseason hitting of Alex Rodriguez.
The 5-game ALDS for the Red Sox makes the ALCS more interesting, with Pedro Martinez out of action until game 3. This gives the Mariners some life, but not enough to overcome their generally mediocre starting rotation, at least for a playoff team. Pedro wins games 3 and 7, while the rest of the team manages to pull out 2 of the other 5 games. Onto the World Series.
Oh goody, time to do this again with the NL. I almost stop taunting the 95-win Braves, except that Kevin Millwood is in St Louis. I have hurt the Cardinals via Jim Edmonds, but they now have Jermaine Dye, Kevin Millwood, and Russ Ortiz. Uh oh. The Mets are untouched, while the Giants lack Joe Nathan and Russ Ortiz, who weren't actually helpful in 2000 anyway. Millwood is worth 2 games, so the NL playoff picture only changes in that the Mets win the NL East, and the Braves are the NL Wild Card. The Cardinals win more games than the Giants thanks to Millwood replacing Andy Benes, and I have to assume that either Ray Lankford or JD Drew move to CF to allow Jermaine Dye to start in a corner, making things essentially an offensive wash. While Russ Ortiz was not a great performer for the Giants, he did eat some innings, so they lose a little bit on the run prevention side while the Cardinals get a better 6th/7th starter. This actually means that the NLDS matchups are unchanged. Since the upgrades to the Cardinals, and downgrades to the Giants and Braves are not too radical, I feel good about the series playing out as they did historically. Cardinals beat Braves, Mets beat Giants, Mets beat Cardinals. It is a Red Sox - Mets World Series once again.
Historically, the 2000 Mets only took one of the least-impressive teams of the Yankees dynasty to 5 games in the World Series. This is a 2007-level colossal mismatch, even with Pedro Martinez held out until Game 3 due to the long ALCS. I think this goes outside the realm of "the best team doesn't always win", so this time, the best team does. The Red Sox repeat in 2000, for the first time since 1987-1988.
The 2000 draft is next.
Edited by JMDurron, 05 December 2010 - 12:52 PM.
Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:36 PM
Historically, the Red Sox had one 1st round pick in the 2000 draft, and spent it on Phil Dumatrait.
Coincidentally, Adrian Gonzalez was picked 1st overall in the 2000 draft by the Florida Marlins. How topical. Also, in the 30th round, the Colorado Rockies selected...Michael Vick. I can't think of a greater combination of organizational culture and player personality than that one, we were all robbed of a great opportunity there.
I have 3 picks in the 2000 draft. The first is my regular selection, which is apparently the 28th overall. I also have the Braves 1st round pick (Greg Maddux), which we'll call the 30th overall pick, since the Braves somehow had the worse draft pick than the Yankees in 2000 in spite of losing the World Series to them. Odd. I also have a supplemental pick due to the loss of Maddux.
With the 28th overall pick, I select Grady Sizemore. Sizemore will arrive part-time in 2004, and go full-time in 2005.
With the 30th overall pick, I select Brandon Webb. Webb will arrive full-time in 2003.
With my supplemental 1st round pick, I select Ian Kinsler. Kinsler will arrive full-time in 2006.
Sizemore takes care of CF for the long term. This is going to be a rough period for rotation crunches, but it's nice to have too much pitching. 2B is a very deep position on my farm, it's easy to see where I should trade from if I have a hole to fill anywhere else.
2001 Roster Moves, AKA Complete Chaos, is next.
Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:25 PM
Welcome to the 21st century, fresh off of back-to-back World Series titles.
Normally, I start with departures, but this time, I think I have to address a non-signing first.
I do not sign Manny Ramirez. I am not one of the anti-Manny people. I loved the 2001-2007 Manny Ramirez era of awesomeness, and I'd do it all again even with the dramatics, and the bitter departure in 2008. It's just that I don't need him, and that truckload of $ gives me a ton of flexibility when it comes to extending people, or even signing a FA if I absolutely have to. There's just no reason to sink so much money into one bat when I have so many awesome bats already. Manny remains in Cleveland. This would most likely have some radical trickle-down effects for them that are, quite frankly, beyond my ability to analyze. I'd imagine that they'd have to dump his salary at some point during the rebuild, or would he prevent the rebuild from ever being necessary? I just don't know. I do know that Manny is not a Red Sox.
Manny Ramirez, 2001 - 2008, Boston Red Sox LF/DH -
The first, and most significant departure is that of legendary Red Sox Manager Joe Morgan. He managed the team from 1987-2000, guiding his scrappy unit of obscenely talented and young superstars in their primes to 7 World Championships. He may very well go down as the greatest manager in MLB history, if only because he managed to not strangle Roger Clemens for being such a sociopath and colossal douchebag. Here's to you, Mr. Morgan. Enjoy retirement.
So, I need a new manager. 2001 was, historically, the 5th year of Jimy Williams' 5-year reign of Manager's Decisions. So it's safe to assume that he might not even be available, if somebody else hired him as a manager sometime between 1997 and 2000. Looking forward, there is no way in hell I hire Grady Little. In fact, I hope to one day build a real time machine, and use it to take a coat hangar to his mother when she was carrying that fool to term. But I digress. My solution is both obvious and timely. I shock the baseball world by hiring recently fired ex-Phillies manager Terry Francona. Piece of cake. Francona seems confused when I basically just tell him to fill in the blank in front of the word "years" on his contract, but I'm not sweating it. He's the manager for the duration of this exercise, and hopefully for many years to come in both reality, and in my alternate one.
Well, that was easy. Now it's time to rape and pillage the rest of MLB for all its draft picks!
Ray Durham departs, signing with the White Sox. Historically, Durham was a Type A FA after the 2003 season, but his counting stats were much better in 2001-2002 than they were in 1999-2000, so I have to assume that he is a Type B in my case. I collect one compensation pick. One pick is hardly going to matter this offseason.
Jason Giambi departs. Historically, 2001 was his last pre-FA season in Oakland before he signed with the Yankees. Oakland has no money, and is therefore not a credible suitor. The Yankee still have Tino Martinez. Since Martinez is near the end of his deal, I must assume that Steinbrenner throws crazy money at Giambi one year early to be the DH, so he signs with the Yankees in 2000 instead of in 2001. I collect their 1st round pick and a compensation pick.
Andy Pettitte also departs, but between him and Giambi, I only get a compensation pick, since whichever one of the pair is rated higher by Elias brings the 1st round pick, and I'm ignoring 2nd round picks.
Brad Radke departs and signs with the Minnesota Twins. He was a type A, but the #1 overall pick is protected, so all I get is another compensation pick. Well played, Mauer. Damn.
Ron Gant departs, bringing no compensation. Ditto Darren Lewis, although we'll see if I make him an offer again anyway. Scott Hatteberg's time of team control is also past, but we might get back to him later.
Johnny Damon departs as well, and this is where the fun starts. My method of counting years of control (since I don't know when these guys are called up, or how long they are on rosters without looking at game logs) means that Damon hits FA a year earlier than he did historically. He, of course, signed his first big FA deal with the Red Sox after the 2001 season. I will not be signing him, but where does he go? He was traded to the A's in the 2000-2001 offseason historically, but would they have paid for him as a FA? Since Damon's 1999-2000 seasons were rather OBP-heavy, OBP awareness has yet to grip the league, and Oakland has to be desperate to make a little bit of a splash after years of utter futility and irrelevance (no Giambi or Tim Hudson, remember), I'll say that Billy Beane goes outside the box and signs Damon for 5 years, conveniently keeping him until his Yankees years begin. I collect Oakland's 1st round pick and a compensation pick.
So, that covers the departures. 2/5 of the starting rotation is gone, along with the starting LF, 2B, and DH. 3/5 of my bench players are also gone. In exchange, I have collected the 1st round picks from the Yankees and A's, along with compensation picks for Damon, Pettitte, Radke, Durham, and Giambi. Add in the 1st round pick that I no longer lose due to signing Manny, and that means I will have 3 + 5 = 8 1st round draft picks in the 2001 draft. Before you note how ridiculous that seems, remember that the A's had 6 1st rounders in the 2002 draft.
So, where does this leave my roster? Varitek remains at C. Bagwell remains at 1B. 2B is empty, but Polanco is a starting-quality backup, Michael Young is ready to go full-time, and Marcus Giles joins the party. Nomar remains at SS. Rolen remains at 3B. Edmonds remains in CF. Carlos Beltran is finally ready to be his awesome self in RF. David Ortiz, retrained and rejuvenated as a healthy-kneed DH, is ready to become Big Papi ahead of schedule.
This leaves LF. Oh yes, this is awesome. One thing that is given, since the Red Sox played Manny Ramirez in the field often from 2001-2008, is that the Red Sox of the 21st century are willing to live with subpar LF defense in exchange for an awesome offensive contributor. Well, that's just fine by me, because instead of playing a DH in LF for 7 years, I'm going to play a 1B there for the time being. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you rookie callup Albert Pujols. Let the true reign of terror begin.
So, there is a slight problem. Hatteberg's time is up, so Varitek has no backup. 2001 is the year of injuries to Varitek, Nomar, and Pedro Martinez. So I have one catcher, and he plays in all of 51 games. This forces my hand on not one, but two transactions. I must throw some of the Manny money at Scott Hatteberg for an overpriced, 1-year deal so I have an actual starting catcher for most of the season. I also must make the Duchscherer-for-Mirabelli trade, because I'll still need another backup-quality C when Varitek goes down, and it's not like I lack relievers or relief prospects, plus it's a piece of cake to fill in relievers when one has knowledge of the future. A bad trade becomes less bad in this specific set of circumstances. The only reason I don't make it in the preseason is because Varitek isn't hurt yet, and I have to sign Hatteberg in the preseason to have 2 catchers at all.
SS, fortunately, is far simpler, as Michael Young can step in for Nomar when he goes down. This leaves 2B to Polanco and Marcus Giles, which works for me. I'll get to the pitching in a moment.
In the rotation, the losses of Pettitte and Radke are not as dire as they might seem (even with the Yankees getting Pettitte, and you can imagine the fans' reaction to the Yankees buying away 2 of my team's stars in the same offseason), as Mark Buehrle is ready for full-time rotation duty, and Roy Oswalt is ready to go. 2 in, 2 out, no roster crunch.
The entire 7-man crew from the 2000 bullpen is still under my control. Lowe, Foulke, Garces, Graves, Nathan, Howry, and Kolb all remain. Brian Fuentes also gets a cup of coffee, along with Scot Shields. Of course, there are some issues here. The first is that Joe Nathan misses the entire 2001 season. Kolb is also limited in terms of IP. Also, neither Pedro Martinez nor Roy Oswalt pitch 200 IP in 2001, and this bullpen has no long man.
I am forced to look through historical transactions to see who the Red Sox signed historically who could pitch both in the rotation and the bullpen in 2001. I find an amazingly convenient loophole. I allow myself to sign those that the Red Sox historically signed, and generally do not go trolling for free agents. I actually never thought about the circumstance of the Red Sox re-signing their own free agent in a given offseason, when I no longer have the player in my reality. It would seem to stand to reason that the player would still be a free agent at the same point in time, so I'll go ahead and sign this one.
I sign Tim Wakefield to be the 6th starter in 2001. He was granted free agency on 11/1/2000, and signed as a free agent on 12/7/2000. It technically counts. I actually didn't know that, I had assumed he was already on a longer deal, but I'm not complaining.
With no roster crunch and resulting significant assets to trade for a 4th OFer, I am forced to re-sign Darren Lewis. Again.
I do not sign Frank Castillo or Pete Schourek. I do not sign Hideo Nomo. I will evaluate the potential deadline deal for Ugueth Urbina after I get into the season post, and take a look at the baseline bullpen performance.
The 2001 season is next.
Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:48 PM
Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:33 AM
C: Scott Hatteberg (78) gets the majority of the starts due to injuries to Jason Varitek (123). Doug Mirabelli (126) backs up once acquired.
1B: Jeff Bagwell over Brian Daubach (122 -> 134). Ortiz backs up for the whole 1 game that Bagwell does not play.
2B: Placido Polanco over Jose Offerman (88 -> 83). Marcus Giles (90) backs up.
SS: Michael Young over Mike Lansing (76 -> 80) due to injuries to Nomar Garciaparra (113). Polanco backs up.
3B: Scott Rolen over Shea Hillenbrand (77 -> 121). Hillenbrand backs up.
LF: Albert Pujols over Troy O'Leary (89 -> 152). Darren Lewis (81) backs up.
CF: Jim Edmonds over Carl Everett (97 -> 144). Lewis backs up.
RF: Carlos Beltran over Trot Nixon (128 -> 122). Lewis backs up.
DH deserves a little detail. Obviously, my DH is now David Ortiz. Also obviously, David Ortiz does not spend the 2001 and 2002 seasons abusing his knees by playing 1B on astroturf, nor does he spent those years using the Twins' perverted hitting instructions. He has learned to become the type of hitter that he historically was in Boston from 2003-2007 during his hamate bone rehab in 2000. As such, I need to do my own estimation of his offensive output, because I have compelling reasons to believe that his historical numbers are bunk in this scenario.
To come up with a rough projection to use for the next two years, I am going to average Big Papi's production from his entire 2003-2010 career in Boston, so that the 2009-2010 seasons provide a bit of a sanity check, to keep me from just happily assuming that I can start his 2003 dominance two years early. Using baseball-reference's handy season selection functionality, I come up with the following average - 146 games played, 144 OPS+. This is what I give myself from David Ortiz at DH in 2001 and 2002. Obviously, this is an estimate, and he will most likely be just a little under, or just a little over these numbers in both seasons, but I think the marginal differences are largely irrelevant.
DH: David Ortiz over Manny Ramirez (161 -> 144). Hillenbrand backs up.
Doug Mirabelli (Jason Varitek) - C, DH
Marcus Giles - 2B
Shea Hillenbrand - 3B, DH
Darren Lewis - LF, CF, RF
1B is effectively covered by Ortiz, with either of the Cs or Hillenbrand at DH, and SS is covered by Polanco with Giles at 2B.
Pedro Martinez (116.2/190)
Tim Hudson (235/129)
Mark Buehrle (221.1/140)
Roy Oswalt (141.2/165)
Javier Vazquez (223.2/125)
Tim Wakefield (168.2/116)
Derek Lowe (91.2/129)
Danny Graves (80.1/106)
Keith Foulke (81/199)
Joe Nathan - lost season due to injury
Rich Garces (67/117)
Bob Howry (78.2/99)
Dan Kolb (15.1/102)
Brian Fuentes (11.2/93)
Scot Shields (11/ERROR - DIVIDE BY ZERO) - no runs allowed in his 11 IP. Think of him as the anti-Remlinger.
This doesn't account for every inning, but callups like Paxton Crawford and Sun Woo Kim make up the difference. I do not trade for Ugueth Urbina.
Historically, the 2001 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, 13.5 games behind the Yankees. This time, I am in the somewhat awkward position of having upgraded the Yankees, due to Jason Giambi replacing David Justice at DH. Even though I have covered for the injuries to Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra, and have an awesome offense, the pitching rotation still suffers due to the loss of Pedro Martinez. The Yankees claim the AL East in 2001, winning even more games than the 95 they won historically.
However, there is no 102-win A's team to claim the Wild Card in this scenario, as they are without Jason Giambi and Tim Hudson. My Red Sox edge them out for the Wild Card. The Seattle Mariners are left unmolested, and win the AL West. The Cleveland Indians are similarly unspoiled, and win the AL Central. The ALDS Matchups are Yankees-Indians, and Red Sox-Mariners.
The Red Sox-Mariners ALDS promises to be a struggle. The Mariners feature the best offense in the AL (historically, obviously that's the Red Sox now), and the best pitching in the AL (still true). The Mariners top 3 of Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, and Jamie Moyer are matched against Hudson, Buehrle, and Oswalt. The Mariners have the deeper bullpen, but the Red Sox top 2 of Lowe and Foulke is more durable than anything the Mariners can respond with. Unfortunately, durability over 162 games is minimally useful in a short series with starting pitchers going deep into games fairly often.
In a battle between the potentially great (Red Sox), and the historically great (The 2001 Seattle Mariners), with a relatively even matchup on paper, I feel that the balls will fall in for the Mariners in this setup. The Red Sox lose in the ALDS to Seattle.
The Yankees point and laugh at the Indians before destroying them. The Yankees beat the Mariners as per history. I could do an analysis of the entire NL playoff picture, but the underlying issue is that the NL Champion Diamondbacks are not impacted by my changes, therefore I think it is reasonable to have them win the NL again despite other teams in the league mostly being downgraded. The 2001 World Series plays out as it originally did, and the Diamondbacks get past "generally OK in the postseason in this reality" Mariano Rivera to win in 7 games.
The very, very long 2001 Draft Post is next.
Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:44 PM
Historically, the Red Sox had no 1st round draft pick in 2001, due to the Manny Ramirez signing.
I have the historical draft pick, which I estimate to be the 27th overall pick (highest AL draft pick historically). I honestly don't understand the draft pick order at all.
I also have two other regular 1st round picks, due to the departures of Jason Giambi (Yankees, 19th overall, Giambi trumps Mussina), and Johnny Damon (Oakland, 25th overall).
I have 5 compensation picks. 2 from Giambi and Damon, obviously, but 3 others from the departures of Ray Durham, Andy Pettitte, and Brad Radke. This makes for a grand total of 8 draft picks.
Before I get into the picks, other 2001 draft notes - the Red Sox drafted Kelly Shoppach in the 2nd round, and Kevin Youkilis in the 8th round.
With the 19th overall selection, I draft David Wright. Wright will arrive part-time in 2004, and full-time in 2005.
With the 25th overall selection, I draft Dan Uggla. Uggla will arrive full-time in 2006.
With the 27th overall selection, I draft Ryan Howard. Howard will arrive part-time in 2004, and full-time in 2006.
With my 1st supplemental selection, I draft Dan Haren. Haren will arrive part-time in 2004, and go full-time in 2006.
With my 2nd supplemental selection, I draft Geovany Soto. Soto will arrive part-time in 2005 (for 1 game), and go full-time in 2008.
With my 3rd supplemental selection, I draft CJ Wilson. Wilson will arrive in 2005 full-time.
With my 4th supplemental selection, I draft Skip Schumaker. Schumaker will arrive part-time in 2005, and full-time in 2008.
With my 5th and final supplemental selection, I draft Luke Scott. Scott will arrive part-time in 2005, and full-time in 2007.
Posted 23 December 2010 - 07:31 PM
Posted 24 December 2010 - 12:55 PM
One thing that is not impacted by what is to come is the departures.
Scott Rolen departs in the prime of his career. I thought about trying to extend him with the money not being spent on Manny Ramirez, but Shea Hillenbrand would be serviceable, plus I have Michael Young and Placido Polanco as cost-controlled options. Plus, Bill Mueller is only a year away, if it even comes to that. Rolen signs with the Phillies as a Type A, so I collect their 1st round pick in the 2002 draft, and a supplemental pick.
Scott Hatteberg and Darren Lewis become FAs, bringing no compensation. Rich Garces also reaches the end of his deal and is let go. Tim Wakefield also becomes a FA.
Danny Graves departs and signs with the Reds as a Type B. That's one more supplemental pick.
3 new callups are ready to join the team - Orlando Hudson, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy.
For the position players, Varitek remains at C. Bagwell remains at 1B. Nomar returns at SS. Ortiz is back at DH. Pujols, Edmonds, and Beltran continue to hold down the OF. There is a bit of a roster crunch at 2B and 3B.
Last year's primary 2B, Placido Polanco, remains. Marcus Giles and Orlando Hudson are on board as well. Michael Young no longer has a SS opening to fill, and Shea Hillenbrand is still hanging around for 3B. The best offensive player out of the group in 2002 is actually Hillenbrand, so he will start at 3B. Giles and Hudson are both part-time players in 2002, so they can either share time at 2B, or essentially be the IF depth. Polanco and Young are both full-time players in 2002, but Polanco is both the superior offensive and defensive option.
For the rest of the IF, Hillenbrand will start at 3B, Polanco will start at 2B, and Giles and Hudson will backup the entire IF, essentially by playing at 2B with Polanco moving around as needed. This makes Michael Young trade bait, although his trade value will not be very high.
Another year, another roster crunch. Pedro, Vazquez, Hudson, Oswalt, and Buehrle all remain from the 2001 rotation. 2002 is the year that Derek Lowe transitioned to being a starter, and was awesome. Jake Peavy and John Lackey are ready for essentially half-season loads in the rotation. Awesome.
The first thing to do is add up the starts from the previous starting 5 - 30 from Pedro, 34 from Vazquez, 34 from Hudson, 34 from Oswalt, and 34 from Buehrle. That's actually 166 games. Pedro seems to have missed some time in early September, so I can safely take 4 from him and call it 162. Unfortunately, that leaves zero room for Lowe, Peavy, or Lackey. I can just not convert Lowe to the rotation, which helps the roster crunch, but is unfortunate since he was so awesome in 2002 as a starter. That does not help Peavy or Lackey, though. Clearly, I will have to trade one of the existing starters, or both Peavy and Lackey, as both youngsters got all of their IP in 2002 from the rotation.
The first thing to do is to see which pitchers I am going to need in the following years. If I trade one of the main 5 now, and use Lackey and Peavy to combine into one rotation spot, I run into the same problem in 2003, when both Lackey and Peavy go full-time. But if I trade both of them, will I have enough pitchers in my rotation in the following years? In 2003, only Lowe's contract will be up, so the current 5 are all still in place. Pedro and Oswalt miss some time in 2003, but Brandon Webb joins the rotation that season, which solves that problem. In 2004, only Vazquez departs, allowing Webb to slot in nicely. Thus, I feel that I can safely use both Peavy and Lackey as trade bait, as I have no room for them in 2002, I'll have the same problem again in 2003 if I keep both of them, and I don't have any holes in the rotation until 2005 even if I lose them both.
So, for the trade bait tracker, I now have Michael Young, prospect Jake Peavy, and prospect John Lackey on the trade block.
Thankfully, this is pretty straightforward. Garces and Graves are gone, but Foulke, Howry, Fuentes, Shields, Nathan, and Kolb all remain. Lowe is the obvious 6th starter/swingman since he can obviously handle the innings load out of the bullpen.
So, from the roster overview standpoint, I am set everywhere but backup OF, and have an extra IF and two SP prospects to trade. I don't even actually need the backup OF, since the 2002 Red Sox historically signed Rickey Henderson in February of 2002, and Rickey thinks that Rickey can play wherever Rickey needs to.
Rafael Betancourt is not going anywhere, I keep giving him chances until the light comes on as a reliever. Screw off, Cleveland.
I do not pick up Tony Clark off of waivers.
I do not sign Carlos Baerga or John Burkett.
I do not sign Johnny Damon, keeping the team's regular 1st round pick in the 2002 draft in Red Sox hands.
The Rickey Henderson transaction depends on what I do for the backup OF slot.
The offseason trade market, and the sale of the Red Sox, is next.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 02:29 PM
So, I have three players to dispose of - Michael Young, Jake Peavy, and John Lackey - and one position to fill - 4th OFer. The 4th OFer should be a good defensive player, mostly for the sake of coming in for Pujols defensively late in games. Taking a look at Peavy's historical team, the Padres, makes me think about trading for Mark Kotsay, but given how few games are available between Pujols, Edmonds, and Beltran, there is a significant threat of a Jay Payton situation evolving there.
The most natural solution from a Red Sox standpoint actually does not seem likely to help me out much from a roster crunch standpoint. Michael Young's historical team has the perfect option in a 26-year-old OFer who can play RF well and CF serviceably, and never ends up being a starting OFer from 2002 onward. He also does not become a free agent until after the 2003 season.
Unfortunately, this is the opposite of the Kotsay problem. I have trade assets that are well worth a starting-caliber OFer like Kotsay, but I don't have the playing time to keep him happy on my roster. The best fit for my roster, Texas OFer Gabe Kapler, is hardly worth two premium pitching prospects and a young position player who is capable of playing full-time. I could try to get one or more of Texas' going-to-be-good-later prospects in the deal, but the best candidate would have been Mark Teixeira, who I already have (had I foreseen this particular roster issue years ago, I would have just gotten Teixeira this way, but oh well). I suppose I could always include Nomar in the deal and get A-Rod and Kapler back for Nomar, Lackey, Peavy, and Young, but that's a little more outlandish than I am interested in at the moment.
I feel strongly that I can get Kapler from Texas for, at worst, Young and one of the two pitchers. This would still leave me with another starter to trade. I don't have any other 25-man roster needs, so it's basically a prospect hunt. I hate to do this, but it's a choice between torching either Peavy's or Lackey's career (potentially) and stealing a prospect that I know will blossom from another team. I feel that the latter is less unfair than the former.
So, the obvious places to look for a trade partner would be bad clubs with at least one prospect worth stealing, as a bad club is less likely to become awesome and smack my Red Sox around when Peavy blossoms, plus such a team is more likely to give Peavy the time in the rotation that would be required in order to actually do so. I am somewhat limited in my knowledge of the various farm systems, so I am left with baseball-reference's list of top prospects for each team, before and after the 2002 season. The Padres have, essentially, nothing of note, so they don't get Peavy back.
Tampa Bay looks somewhat tempting, with their crap pitching staff and future OF prospect Carl Crawford, but that doesn't quite fit with my future roster needs. LF is currently covered by Pujols, who can move to DH once Bagwell leaves, but Matt Holliday arrives in LF at that time. While Crawford might have the skillset to play RF, he has not done so and I do not feel that I can assume that he can. Plus, my RF spot does not open until 2004, and even though Crawford was obviously rushed by the Rays to the MLB level at age 21, I don't think I can leave him in the minors for two extra seasons and assume that he will develop on schedule.
What I need is a RF prospect, because I am covered long-term literally everywhere else. Preferably one who appears in 2004, as Beltran's contract is up after the 2003 season. Pujols has Holliday to hand off to, Edmonds leads to Sizemore, but I have nobody in the pipeline for RF. My salvation comes via the Toronto Blue Jays, who have a 21-year old OF prospect in high A ball who is not even on the Baseball America radar, either before or after the 2002 season.
Peavy was the higher rated prospect via Baseball America prior to his 2002 debut, so in spite of fully deploying my Peter Gammons Special Prospect Machine, I feel that I have to send Peavy to the Blue Jays if I have any hope of getting Rios, and Lackey with Young together should be enough to merit Gabe Kapler.
I trade Michael Young and John Lackey to the Texas Rangers for Gabe Kapler.
I trade Jake Peavy to the Toronto Blue Jays for prospect Alexis Rios. Rios will arrive in 2004.
This is why I hate trying to do trades with future knowledge. It's hard to try to be fair without being stupid, or pretending that I don't know what I know.
The Sale of the Boston Red Sox
In February of 2002, the Red Sox are sold to New England Sports Ventures, headlined by John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and Les Otten. Historically, the new ownership group fired Dan Duquette and installed Mike Port as the interim GM for the 2002 season.
It would be silly to think that a new ownership group would boot me out as quickly as Duquette was, because I don't suck with the media and actually am a little bit of a celebrity myself with the fanbase at this point. At the same time, it would stretch things beyond the bounds of credibility to say that the new ownership group would not want to put their stamp on the franchise. Given the difference in team situations between this timeline and what happened historically, I feel it is reasonable to say that Mike Port will be installed as the Senior Assistant to the GM, to be the new group's eyes, ears, and input into the decisions being made on the Baseball Ops side of things.
This move is made with the understanding that I will retire following the 2002 season, paving the way for Theo Epstein to take over as scheduled in 2003. Given that I was 29 years old back in 1974, I am now 57 years old, and the thought of retirement is somewhat appealing. Another factor in this is that trade situations like the Young/Lackey/Peavy issue are only going to become more common as we move forward, thanks to all of the compensation picks that I have been taking and using, and that's just not the kind of roster manipulation that I enjoy. I will be satisifed to call it quits after the 2002 season.
My final season, 2002, and the 2002 draft, are to follow.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 04:30 PM
The 2002 Season
C: Jason Varitek (90). Doug Mirabelli (88) backs up.
1B: Jeff Bagwell over Tony Clark (47 -> 130). Ortiz backs up.
2B: Placido Polanco over Rey Sanchez (75 -> 90). Marcus Giles (81) is the primary backup.
SS: Nomar Garciaparra (127). Polanco backs up, with either Giles or Hudson at 2B.
3B: Shea Hillenbrand (105). Polanco backs up.
LF: Albert Pujols over Manny Ramirez (184 -> 146). Rickey Henderson (92) backs up.
CF: Jim Edmonds over Johnny Damon (109 -> 153). Gabe Kapler (75) backs up.
RF: Carlos Beltran over Trot Nixon (110 -> 114). Kapler backs up.
DH: David Ortiz over Carlos Baerga (82 -> 144). Orlando Hudson (97) backs up.
Doug Mirabelli - C
Marcus Giles - 2B
Orlando Hudson - 2B, DH
Rickey Henderson - LF
Gabe Kapler - CF, RF
Pedro Martinez (199.1/202)
Mark Buehrle (239/126)
Tim Hudson (238.1/145)
Roy Oswalt (233/139)
Javier Vazquez (230.1/104)
Derek Lowe (219.2/177) - obviously, Lowe won't be throwing 200+ IP as a bullpen/6th starter. However, his ERA+ is not out of whack relative to his 1999-2001 bullpen performance, so I feel that no adjustment is needed. The IP number here is clearly overstated, but since there's no impact on effectiveness, I don't feel the need to modify the numbers here.
Keith Foulke (77.2/156)
Bob Howry (68.2/109)
Scot Shields (49/202)
Danny Kolb (32/114)
Brian Fuentes (26.2/97)
Joe Nathan (3.2, N/A) - Ok, I failed to notice this. This could be an issue.
Factoring in Lowe's IP reduction, the bullpen situation looks somewhat dire from an IP perspective. Thankfully, two historical moves help me out here.
Casey Fossum (106.2/32) - historically a bullpen/6th starter mix, he's my innings eater in the pen to pair with Lowe. Nice time for him to be called up.
I keep the historical trade of Brad Baker and Don Giese for Alan Embree.
Alan Embree (33.1/155)
The bullpen IP are still on the low side (ha, get it?), but given the horses in the rotation, I think I'm set to go here.
The sale of the Red Sox prevented me from addressing other roster moves beyond the offseason, so those get dealt with here. The Embree trade seemed like a handy segue.
I do trade for Alan Embree.
I do not trade for Cliff Floyd.
I do not trade for Bob Howry, seeing as I already have him.
Historically, the 2002 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, 10.5 games behind the Yankees, and 6 games behind the Wild Card winning Angels. They also finished a full 7 games below their Pythagorean Record, thanks to the drooling, "intuitive", ignorant jackass of a manager, Grady Little. This will not be happening with this roster and this manager.
The 2002 Yankees roster is unchanged from its historical baseline. This was a really, really good squad, probably better than all of their recent title-winning teams outside of 1998. This team won 103 games in 2002, and still will win 100 in my scenario. That means they win the Wild Card, as a good Red Sox team is even better, and is managed properly this time around.
The Minnesota Twins still win the
Unfortunately, the 2002 Yankees get the Twins instead of the Angels in the ALDS this time. You can guess how that turns out. Even though Lackey and Shields did not play major roles in the ALDS historically, the Angels are still in bad shape against my Red Sox. The Angels put up a 1.030 OPS in the ALDS against NY historically, and that simply will not happen against a rotation consisting of Pedro Martinez (rested liberally in September), Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, and Roy Oswalt. The Angels fall in 5 games.
So, yet again, the ALCS comes down to a Red Sox-Yankees duel, two teams that won over 100 games each in the same division in this variant of 2002. The 2002 Yankees are the only team in baseball with a lineup that can stand up to the Red Sox, with 4 sluggers with an OPS+ above 120 in Posada, Giambi, Soriano, and Bernie Williams. The Red Sox answer with a Fab Five of Bagwell, Nomar, Pujols, Edmonds, and Big Papi. The Yankees also bring an equivalent top 4 in the bullpen in Rivera, Mendoza, Stanton, and Karsay to match Lowe, Shields, Foulke, and Embree. Unfortunately from NY, not a single one of their Top 4 in the starting rotation (Mussina, Wells, Clemens, El Duque) can best even the lesser among Martinez, Buehrle, Hudson, and Oswalt. The Red Sox move on to the World Series in 6 hard-fought games, but the better team wins this time. The Red Sox postseason bullpen management is flawless, btw.
The historical NL Pennant Winning team, the San Francisco Giants, is missing Russ Ortiz. The team that the Giants historically defeated in the NLCS, the Cardinals, has Russ Ortiz and Kevin Millwood instead of Chuck Finley and Jason Simontacchi. Of course, this same Cardinals team is also missing Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and Placido Polanco. Jermaine Dye as since moved on. The 2002 NL East winning Braves are without Kevin Millwood, and Marcus Giles. The 2002 NL West winning Diamondbacks are left intact. This one will be fun to sort out.
First, let's see who even makes the postseason. The Braves won the NL East by 19 games over the Montreal Expos. Even a full season of Kevin Millwood and part-time Marcus Giles won't change that result. So the Braves are still in. The Diamondbacks still win the NL West. The Cardinals won the NL Central by 13 games over the Houston Astros. Pujols, Edmonds, and Polanco might take away 13 games or more, but Ortiz and Millwood help to limit the damage, plus the Astros are missing Jeff Bagwell and Roy Oswalt. The Cardinals still win the NL Central. The Giants won the NL Wild Card by 3 games over the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers are not molested by my moves. This leaves us with the question of whether or not Russ Ortiz is worth 3 wins in 2002. By bWAR, Ortiz was worth 2.7 wins in 2002. By fWAR, he was worth 2.8. It's basically a wash, but in the interest of fairness, I'll say that the historical NL Pennant Winning Giants still make the postseason.
Now, who makes it to the World Series? I estimate that the Braves should still win more games than the Cardinals, so the matchups are the same - Braves-Giants and Diamondbacks-Cardinals. Amusingly, historically, Russ Ortiz won Game 1 of the NLDS, Kevin Millwood won Game 2, and then Ortiz beat Millwood in Game 5. Unfortunately for the Giants, going down to the historical #4 starters favors the Braves, as Damian Moss was better than Livan Hernandez in 2002. Plus, without Millwood, Greg Maddux presumably pitches more than 1 game in the series. The Braves advance to meet the Cardinals, who best the Diamondbacks with their excellent rotation. The NLCS is a showdown between a team that can't hit its way out of a wet paper bag (Cardinals), and the team that can only do so if the bag is really, really wet (Braves). Ultimately, the Cardinals feature the superior rotation with Matt Morris, Woody Williams, Andy Benes, Kevin Millwood, and Russ Ortiz facing Maddux, Glavine, and Damian Moss. The Cardinals make it to the 2002 World Series.
How nice for them. Their lineup is absolutely no match for the Red Sox, their rotation is on par, and the Red Sox have a very mild edge in the bullpen. The Red Sox lineup goes cold early in the series against the Cardinals' pitching, but storms back from a 3-games-to-1 deficit to win the World Series in 7 games. My final full season ends with another World Series banner, the 18th in Red Sox history.
Up next, the 2002 Draft.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 05:03 PM
Historically, the Red Sox had no 1st round draft pick in the 2002 draft, due to the Johnny Damon signing.
I now have that historical draft pick, which I estimate to be the 24th overall (3rd best record in the AL, behind the Mariners and Yankees in 2001). I also have the Phillies' 1st overall pick courtesy of Scott Rolen, which is the 17th overall selection.
I have two supplemental picks, courtesy of Rolen and Danny Graves. This makes for 4 selections overall.
It's worth noting that the Red Sox drafted Jon Lester with their pick in the 2nd round.
With the 17th overall selection, I pick Cole Hamels. Hamels will arrive full-time in 2006.
With the 24th overall selection, I pick Matt Cain. Cain will arrive part-time in 2005, and go full-time in 2006.
With my first supplemental selection, I pick Brian McCann. McCann will arrive part-time in 2005, full-time in 2006.
With my second supplemental selection, I pick Jonathan Broxton. Broxton will arrive part-time in 2005, full-time in 2006.
At this point, I am replaced by Theo Epstein in the 2002-2003 offseason and retire. I will put up a roster projection post detailing what, precisely, I have left Theo to deal with as my next post.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 05:50 PM
So, what have I left Theo Epstein? I'm going to do a position-by-position breakdown of what the organization has available, via a combination of my previous moves, and upcoming Red Sox prospects. These charts assume no trades or free agent signings, so we can get a sense of what, if anything, Theo would need to do at these positions. This should give us a sense of upcoming roster gaps, or roster crunches, as will often be the case.
There will be some crossover on several of these charts, due to players who can play multiple positions, and pitchers who switch from relieving to starting, and vice versa.
The data in the cells is presented in IP/ERA+ format for pitchers, and Games/OPS+ for position players. The -5 ERA+/OPS+ adjustment for NL players is included.
First, the Starting Pitching.
Taking this year by year.
2003 looks like a potential roster crunch, but I am confident that the combination of injuries to Pedro and Oswalt will leave enough room for Webb to get the innings that he needs to develop.
There will be no need for Curt Schilling in 2004, the rotation is already set.
In 2005, there appears to be a 1-starter gap due to Cain not being quite ready for a full load. Since that low IP total is due to a young guy not being quite ready, as opposed to an injury, I'm confident that Theo will be able to find some sort of Arroyo equivalent to fill out that rotation.
The 2006 rotation looks to mostly be set, provided that Hamels and Lester can be scheduled around each other.
In 2007, we get to another roster gap. With Lester recovering from cancer and Buchholz not ready yet, Theo will either have to find a stopgap 5th/6th starter type (Tavarez), or pay a premium for a FA like Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka would be a wasteful option, IMO, but Theo won't know the future, so there's no telling.
2008 is yet another awesome year in the rotation. The only issue would be fitting in Buchholz's innings, but since I'm not sure that the plan wasn't to leave Buchholz down in AAA to work on mechanics in 2008 anyway (Schilling's lost year left Theo no choice but to use him, Masterson, and Paul Byrd in the rotation), I don't think this would be a major issue.
2009 basically has 3.5 out of 5 starting slots taken. Hopefully another draft pick or trade target will pan out, otherwise it's Penny/Smoltz type stuff again. It's also entirely likely that Theo will extend one or more of the pitchers that he has from 2003-2008, I'm just seeing how many he would need to extend at all, this is really the first time he would need to keep somebody on past the 6 years of cost control. Of course, these guys will be making obscene $ in arb anyway, so perhaps that's not very relevant.
In 2010, the team is good to go, but that assumes that Theo coverts CJ Wilson to a starter at the same time that Texas did. If one or more other starters from the past were extended, this seems unlikely.
For 2011, 3/5 of the rotation is already in place.
I'm quite pleased with what I've left here. The cupboard is full, but not so full that trades will have to be made to clear up roster crunches. Of course, I more than make up for that with some of the other positions, as I will get to in successive posts.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 06:26 PM
Hanging onto Betancourt was a key element here. I don't see much point in going year-to-year on this one. Every year, you need 7 or more relievers, and if all of them are short relievers, you probably need either a SP prospect or a generic long man, too. That said, aside from long relief, I've basically left Theo in a position where he wouldn't really NEED to add to the bullpen until 2007. Also, with no future need to trade for Victor Martinez (since I've gone nuts on drafting catchers), Masterson would be a fixture in the bullpen in the present day. Papelbon-Bard-Masterson-Doubront is quite a nice start on the 2011 bullpen, if you ask me. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by how this one turned out, that year or two of nothing but relievers in the draft really paid off.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 10:37 PM
Onto the position players. Again, the data in the tables is in games/OPS+ format. Only the first 6 years of control are listed for players who are not on extensions or FA contracts of some kind. Some of these guys might get a 7th calendar year depending on how long they actually spend on the roster, but I can't evaluate that, so I assume the worst in all cases.
These positions are all going to be very inter-dependent. For instance, in 2003, Pujols is in LF, Teixeira takes over at 1B, and Bagwell moves to DH for a season now that David Ortiz is gone. Pujols will also appear on the LF table. There will be no DH table, as the last true DH, Ortiz, is gone, and that slot would presumably be used for whoever the best hitting, worst defending player is at a position of redundancy.
In 2004, I would hope that Teixeira would stay at 1B, and Pujols would most likely move to DH, as Matt Holliday would arrive to take over LF. Youkilis would be the backup DH/1B/3B, and Howard would get a cup of coffee.
In 2005, we're into the perpetual roster crunch. Some combination of Doumit, Howard, Youkilis, and Scott will have to be trade bait. Youkilis can also play 3B, Doumit was intended as a long-term bench player when I drafted him, as he can play C, RF, and 1B. Scott can play LF, RF, and 1B. Howard can only play 1B, but is the best offensive player among the bunch. I don't envy Theo here. The optimum scenario (and one that I have no interest in trying to actually execute) would be to keep either Doumit or Scott (or both?) as bench players, and trade Howard, Youkilis, and either of the other two that are not kept for either more prospects, or upgrades at other positions. Then, extend Pujols with the leftover Manny/Damon money. There's no way to evaluate beyond 2005, but there's certainly no roster gap to deal with.
I skipped catcher, so that one is next.
Edited by JMDurron, 24 December 2010 - 10:37 PM.
Posted 24 December 2010 - 11:00 PM
Varitek's 6th year is technically 2003, but we know for a fact that he gets his first FA deal after 2004, and I haven't used him any differently than he was historically, so I feel like this is a "cheat" that we can go with due to having real knowledge of the real player. 2003 is obviously not a problem, nor is 2004 really, as I assume that Theo can suppress Buck in the minors if necessary. He doesn't know what their production "should" be, and the org should be able to try to minimize damage/maximize benefits when keeping players down for a bit.
2005 is where things get fun. Shoppach and Soto aren't really in the picture yet, but the other three options all need some playing time, and none of them look like particularly good options. Personally, I'd extend/retain either Varitek or Mirabelli for 2005, let McCann learn from them, then roll with McCann with either Buck or Shoppach as the backup going forward. Doumit is a utility player who is barely a defensive C anyway, from what I've read, and Soto isn't worth waiting on, he should be traded. Doumit can get playing time around the diamond as needed, a cost-controlled bench player is quite nice to have. Given the playing time that Buck originally got in 2005, I would probably trade Buck and keep Shoppach, just to minimize the disruption, but I have no idea how Theo would evaluate the various players. Best of luck to him on this one. There are about 6 different ways to roll with this bunch.
Posted 26 December 2010 - 10:57 AM
Another ugly roster crunch that I've left for Theo. Polanco being able to play 2B, SS, and 3B helps with the 2003 roster crunch a bit. Giles and Hudson are both 2B-only, so there's a major roster crunch there.
Sanchez can play 2B, SS, and 3B, so he is a minimal problem in 2005. He'll probably get the Polanco/Lowrie utility guy treatment. After that, 2006 is just ugly. Presumably, one of Hudson/Giles will still be around, and might need to be moved. Uggla is almost certainly trade bait with Pujols being a better DH option than any would-be 2B. Perhaps one of the 2006 2B could be coverted to 3B, but that's just another problem anyway. Schumaker is purely bench depth, a la Doumit and presumably Sanchez. In the later years, it's basically a choice between Pedroia and Kinsler. I think Pedroia is the better option here, but that's a nice choice for Theo to have to make.
Personally, in 2003, I'd ditch Hudson, use Polanco as the IF backup, and let Giles have 2B. If Polanco pouts and has to leave, perhaps Sanchez gets more PT. That would leave me set until 2006, at which point I'd look to trade Giles, trade Uggla, and let Pedroia back up Kinsler. Sanchez would basically never be more than a utility guy, he's not significant enough for me to care about his PT. In 2007, a high-value Kinsler gets traded, Pedroia starts, and Sanchez backs up Pedroia. Lowrie and Schumaker are the backups in 2008-onward, mostly Lowrie. I'm glad I won't be making the decisions on the particular trades, because that is a ton of wheeling and dealing for a single position on the diamond. Sanchez, btw, might be my transition SS in 2005. More on that shortly.
Hey, guess who won't need to trade for Josh Beckett? Guess who also won't need to spend crazy money to have an uber-team? Keeping Sanchez in 2005 is what ties the plan together. There will be no need for Suppan thanks to the SP depth, so Sanchez should still be available. With no need for Beckett, Hanley should be available for the post-Nomar SS era. Let the Renteria-Lugo-Green nightmare be ended!
Obviously, Polanco backs up Nomar in 2003. Either a Polanco extension or a Pokey Reese-type signing will be needed in 2004, unless Sanchez gets rushed. I have no idea what Theo would do there. Hanley should then perfectly justify suppressing Sanchez's playing time and making him the new Polanco. I will go out on a limb and say that extending Hanley might be a better idea than counting on Lowrie in 2011.
Between Wright at 3B, and Pujols/Teixeira/Howard at 1B, things aren't looking too great for our hero, Kevin Youkilis. If Hillenbrand is traded (a safe assumption, I think), then Wright and Youk can share the position in 2004, but at some point, one will have to be given the job. With Sanchez available for backup duty at 3B, and Doumit at 1B, I'm not sure that Youkilis would even get a chance as a backup player. Much will depend on Theo's internal valuations of the farm system. The team is in good shape almost no matter what, but I would personally use Hillenbrand in 2003, Wright/Youkilis in 2004, then Wright going forward. Wright, of course, would be followed by a long term deal to Beltre.
Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:37 AM
Pujols moving to DH in 2004 solves the only major conflict between star players. Pujols can still take some time in LF to fill in the other games in 2004. Holliday is clearly the man for the duration of his time in Boston, and looks like a good candidate for an extension (Boras might intervene here). Ellsbury looks like a 4th OFer for most of his Boston career here, Murphy's bat won't really be needed. The bench battle royale is really the interesting story here, between Ellsbury, Murphy, Scott, and Schumaker. 2010 could be ugly in LF if Holliday leaves and Ellsbury gets hurt (if Beltre appears at 3B, a safe assumption). If Holliday returns/extends, Murphy is kept over Ellsbury, or Luke Scott is somehow annointed as a LF (unlikely), then 2010 doesn't look quite as bad.
My ability to sign players to extensions that are one year too long is quite impressive. My hope would be that in 2005, Sizemore would start in RF (I assume that a CF can play RF, just like I did with Beltran), with Rios taking every available inning as the 4th OFer. Sizemore would then be the man in CF from 2006 onward. Schumaker is the obvious 4th OF candidate, pre-Ellsbury/Murphy.
Gabe the Babe might be needed in 2004, as none of the other backup candidates will be ready yet. 2005 was addressed above, and presumably some combination of Schumaker/Scott/Murphy can handle backup duties from 2006 onward. This is why a RF prospect was such a key piece to hunt for when I was trying to trade Peavy/Lackey/Young, that looks ugly without Rios in the picture. Luke Scott trying to defend Fenway's RF? It would be a neverending Hinske/Millar situation, and I doubt the pitching staff would appreciate the idea very much. Unfortunately, this looks like a setup that could lead to an overly rich extension for Rios going into the 2010 season and beyond, but you can't have everything.
Posted 23 January 2011 - 12:56 PM
Posted 23 January 2011 - 02:47 PM
I just wanted to say thaqt I somehow missed this whole thing while you were plowing through it, but this whole, kinda crazy thing was awesome, and you deserve props. Cool, thorough, work.
Should be putting some numbers from 1984 into the "Tales from" thread shortly.
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