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How excited are you for the upcoming season?


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Poll: How excited are you for the upcoming season? (402 member(s) have cast votes)

How excited are you for the upcoming season?

  1. Very Excited (77 votes [21.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.21%

  2. Excited (86 votes [23.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.69%

  3. Somewhat Excited (114 votes [31.40%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.40%

  4. Not Excited At All (86 votes [23.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.69%

Compared to a typical season, how excited are you?

  1. More excited than usual (24 votes [6.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.61%

  2. As excited as usual (128 votes [35.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.26%

  3. Less excited than usual (211 votes [58.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 58.13%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#51 SMU_Sox


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:57 PM

Not excited at all. It's as simple as I don't like a lot of the players on the roster. These are merely my feelings as a fan and not how I think these specific players will produce.
Currently I feel "ill will", have a bad taste in my mouth, or w/e other cliche you want to use about the follow players: Beckett, Lackey, Lester, Crawford, Youk, Punto (Nick Punto is on the Sox - how is this possible?). I'm also wondering what's going on upstairs with how the team is run.
I hated the Crawford and Lackey contracts. The roster has a ton of holes on it and superficial depth. Pardon me while I fall onto my back, kick my feet up in the air, and have a genuine temper tantrum. I'm annoyed and I think this season is going to end in disappointment. It might not be as bitter as the epic September collapse but it will still leave us feeling empty.

#52 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:09 PM

The Red Sox have like a gajillion more questions about their roster than the Yankees do. You really can't argue otherwise. The Yankees won 97 games last year and all they did this off-season was improve their rotation. I guess they have a "hole" at DH but it's not like that spot makes or breaks their offense like, say, it does for the Red Sox.


A gajillion, huh?

The Yankees added a stud young pitcher, and will likely have a better rotation. The Red Sox are adding a stud young pitcher, too. His name is Buchholz. And the Boston rotation will almost certainly be improved over 2011. It's about as close to being certain as you can get. So I don't see how that separates the two teams all that much.

And while you may not be willing to admit it, the Yankees have plenty of questions about their roster. You dismissed them without any real evidence to back up your flick of the wrist, but Jeter will be 38 in 2012. ARod will be 36. Andruw Jones will be 35 (or 38 depending on which age you believe). Rivera will be 42. All of them are age related decline risks. Every single one of them.

Then there's Russell who blew all expectations out of the water last year. Was it a fluke or did some change in his approach that can be maintained account for this unexpected rise from the ashes?

Granderson is exactly as much a candidate for regression as Ellsbury.

Teixeira simply just doesn't look like a .900 OPS hitter anymore.

And just assuming a 25 home run slugger will DH for them? Really? Only 3 DH's hit more than 25 last year. Papi, Konerko and Josh Willingham. Only one other came close to 20. Billy Butler.

None of those guys are currently available. So where will those supposedly easy 25 home runs come from?

Your position is on very shaky ground with a ton of flat out guess work and a few ridiculous assumptions. Assuming the Yankees are so far ahead of the Red Sox can only make sense if you think the Sox were actually a 90 win talent last year. By Pythag, they were a 94 win team. That's the basis we should be using to predict their 2012. Not the 90 wins they ended up with after an historical collapse in September that only happens 1 out of 100 times you play through that month.

If you start with the Sox as a 94 win team at the end of last year, and the Yankees as a 101 win team, then adjust for what's happened in the off season, I simply can't see how you can dismiss the possibility of the Sox competing for the division, never mind think they won't be a serious contender for the playoffs.

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 06 February 2012 - 06:11 PM.


#53 Rasputin


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:11 PM

Yeah, that word doesn't mean what you think it means OR you don't bother to read the pessimists' posts. The optimists are irrational; there is no rational basis for which to believe that this team improved in the off-season. The pessimists may be pissing you off, they might be overly negative, they might be fixated on the wrong things but there's a rational basis from which to posit "pessimism" as it relates to the Red Sox.


And yet again we have someone who underestimates how awful John Lackey was last year. I will say it as many times as I must. Replacing John Lackey with marginal competence is a gigantic improvement.

The 160 innings pitched by John Lackey last year are being replaced by additional innings from Buchholz, Bard, Aceves, and perhaps someone else as the fifth starter. I have yet to see a credible argument that they will be worse than John Lackey.

Just as an example, Alfredo Aceves pitched 114 innings last year and did really well. I think most folks expect some regression there, even more so if he ends up as the fifth starter. His ERA could DOUBLE and still be an improvement over John Lackey's 2011.

In addition, we're virtually guaranteed to have more production from right field and left field. We're likely to see less production out of center and short and the back end of the bullpen is likely to be less effective. All of these things are dwarfed by replacement of John Lackey with an amalgamation of mediocre pitchers.

I mean, Christ people, John Lackey got six runs of support and the team went 14-14 in his starts. If you could simply replace his innings with Tim Wakefield level performance, the Sox go to the postseason.

#54 OilCanShotTupac


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:19 PM

Not excited.

The on-field improvement, or lack thereof, can be debated, and of course that's what we'll spend the rest of the winter doing. Will Crawford improve; will Ortiz regress; etc. etc. etc.

I am still nursing a bad hangover from all the off-the-field stuff at the end of last year. I just don't enjoy hearing about, reading about, or talking about this team any more. It's too toxic. I detest Valentine. I am suspicious of Lucchino and Henry. Cherington does not excite me.

I feel like this team became something close to the Billy Martin-era Yankees last year, and that makes me sick.

It will take some time for me to get past all that and start being emotionally involved again.

#55 BucketOBalls


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:20 PM

Wait, you think the most likely outcome is that Buchholz only pitches half the year? Really? Based on what? And the back end of the rotation is going to be better by default. The performance from the replacement level players was far worse than can be expected. Just throwing the same guys back out there is likely to be an improvement, never mind better pitchers like Padilla. The rotation will be better than last year. That's almost a certainty.

Heh. I was actually thinking in terms of quality. Yeah, I would expect Buchholz to pitch more.

I don't see this at all. Last year they essentially had Papelbon, Bard and Aceves. After that, it was awful and more awful. Especially down the stretch. The team wasn't likely getting another year out of Papelbon like what he gave them in 2011. His 2009 and 2010 were certainly not comparable. Either we're looking at a contract year performance, or some random variation that wasn't likely to repeat anyway. Bailey is probably a good bet to approximate what they would have gotten from Papelbon anyway, and even a pretty good bet to be better than Papelbon would have been here anyway. He was clearly better in 2009 and 2010.


Bailey is moving to a stronger division and park that does not have it's own zip code. He hasn't gotten over 50 innings in the last 2 years. Aceves and his .233 BABIP is actually a regression candidate. Melancon had the best year of his career last year and would probably be due to refgress even without the league and park change. Beyond that it's pretty much the same crap.


I don't think they're automatically going to be worse at SS. Aviles has upside and can approximate Scutaro's defense. Iglesias will give them a defensive whiz for late inning replacements and Punto is another solid defensive option as the utility guy. Aviles' bat is a question, but not an automatic downgrade. Ortiz will probably take a step back as he's a year older, but he should still be productive and still be one of the best (if not THE best) DH's in the game.


Aviles is another guy who had an outlier year last year and could fall back. Anyway, there doesn't seem to be alot of precedent for Aviles sustaining his level of play. And are they really gonna use Inglesias? I would expect him to stay in the minors and see his bat can develop enough to be playable. Right now, he makes Punto look like a #4 hitter.

This is true on paper. But if this team has a shot at competing for a title (and I think they do), I don't see Henry refusing to increase payroll because of the luxury tax. Trying to get under the limit to start the season makes sense, but this ownership group has always been willing to spend when it makes sense. The trade deadline might make sense if the Sox have been competitive and look like they're a piece or two away from a solid championship run.


Isn't there a sudden 20 million cap for going a little over? It would be nice if they did this, but I wouldn't be surprised if they balked at that.

Overall, the rotation should be better, but it seems likely much of that improvement could be eaten up by other players regressing.

Edited by BucketOBalls, 06 February 2012 - 06:31 PM.


#56 montoursvillefan

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

Excited and As Excited, my general vote.
I am in there with Rudy and Foulkey though.
This team, as presently constructed, can and will compete.
Still time for more moves/changes that can help out in the long run.
Ps&Cs report will be happening soon, go.

#57 Rasputin


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:26 PM

Ras, if they have slipped to #5 in the AL, how is that OK? You'll be watching October baseball not be played in Fenway again.


First, it's not that precise. I didn't say they were the fifth best team in the AL I said they were clearly one of the top five. That doesn't mean there are four teams I think are clearly better than the Red Sox. It means there are four teams for which a reasonable argument can be made. I think the argument for the Rangers is pretty weak considering there is virtually no chance they go 12-7 against the Angels again. If Darvish has a rough adjustment year they're pretty much out of the picture. I'm not convinced that there are any teams that are clearly better than the Red Sox. There are certainly some that are on the same general level where things like health and the adjustment periods of players who are either new or changing rolls will make the difference.

I would not be remotely surprised if the Sox end 2012 with the best record in the AL. Neither would I be terribly surprised if they end up third in the AL East.

Also, if the Sox are the fifth best team in the AL then we really just have to hope that the Rangers or Angels end up with a worse record.

#58 NJ Fan

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:29 PM

Much less excited this off-season. Their September collapse and the subsequent fall-out really pissed me off. I (we) invest so much time and energy on this team and I definitely felt betrayed last year.

But I readily admit that the first batch of ST reports will get my juices flowing again, which will be furthered by some phenom's unexpectedly great spring and I'll be hooked. Like I am every year.

Edit: Oh yeah, and the second WC slot certainly helps.

Edited by NJ Fan, 06 February 2012 - 07:17 PM.


#59 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:30 PM

Heh. I was actually thinking in terms of quality. Yeah, I would expect Buchholz to pitch more.


OK, then we're sort of in agreement here. I expect him to pitch more at about the same level as well... which is a huge upgrade from last year. Add in the subtraction of Lackey and the addition of guys like Padilla and Cook and the rotation should be significantly better in 2012.

Overall, the rotation should be better, but it seems likely much of that improvement could be eaten up by other players regressing.


The regression questions are valid... but if you're going to assume that, you should also look at the improvement candidates in left field, right field and potentially even catcher.

I really do think this team should bring a similar talent level into 2012 and should be a threat for the division and a pretty good bet for the playoffs.

#60 rembrat


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:47 PM

A gajillion, huh?

-snip-


The Yankees not only added a young stud, they also added Hiroki Kuroda, and will almost certainly have a better rotation than the Red Sox.

Since their injury plagued season of 2008, the Yankees haven’t fielded a team without getting at least 25HRs out of their DH spot. It really should not be considered a glaring hole. They’ll get a straight platoon going or get a LHH and use the spot to actively rest their aging stars and clear that mark again.

I’ll give you Jeter and Rodriguez as age risks. Jones not so much since he is a 4th OF and can be easily released if he starts to show age. Mariano Rivera is god. Until it happens I can’t expect regression from him. Haven’t we been saying age will catch up to Rivera since 2005? Some relievers have shown the ability to continue to have success into their 40s, look around the league and you’ll find a few, and I don’t think it’s going out on a limb saying if anyone is going to possess this skill it is going to be Rivera.

Sure, Granderson is a candidate to regress but then again his 2007 looks a lot like his 2011 only that he walked more and hit for more power than he did in 2007. Can Ellsbury ever duplicate his 2011? Not sure he can.

I said as much about Teixeria.

If you start with the Sox as a 94 win team at the end of last year, and the Yankees as a 101 win team, then adjust for what's happened in the off season, I simply can't see how you can dismiss the possibility of the Sox competing for the division, never mind think they won't be a serious contender for the playoffs.


If we adjust for what exactly? It’s very debatable whether the Sox got better or worse this off-season. It’s pretty clear that the Yankees got better with their rotation additions.

#61 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:29 PM

I'll say less excited, mostly for a lot of reasons already mentioned in this thread—the September collapse, the offseason drama, residual distrust of Bobby Valentine, the fact that the rotation is in tatters at the back end, the fact that Nick Punto and Mike Aviles are going to be featured prominently.

But I think a lot of it is also the sensation that this team and its FO isn't as smart as we all thought. True or not, I think a large part of the mentality of the last eight or nine years was that the Sox FO had finally smartened up. No more retreads off the scrap heap, no more big bucks deals to the likes of Jose Offerman, no more bad drafts, an understanding of the statistics that mattered. You really did get the sense that Epstein knew exactly what he was doing, and even if the results weren't there, you at least understood the reasoning behind it. But the Lackey and Crawford deals sapped a lot of that, and this offseason—with all the backstabbing and bitching and thoroughly unprofessional bullshit—gave me bad flashbacks to the Duquette and Harrington days.

And then you look at this offseason, which felt like such a tossed together affair. Some moves in particular—dealing the team's best IF depth in Lowrie, then bringing in Punto, then dealing Scutaro to open up some cash ostensibly for a pitcher but then missing out on Jackson and Oswalt and spending the money instead on Cody Ross—are just pure head scratchers.

Roster-wise, there are a lot of questions. Beckett is as uneven as they come, and he's going to be getting a ton of media flak for the first month or two of the season after the September mess. Buchholz has to push past all the injury stuff. Bard hasn't been a good starter since college. The fifth spot is totally in the air, and the competition for it is amongst a horrid group of retreads. Right field can't be much of a downgrade from last year given how bad Drew was, but Cody Ross is pretty much the definition of mediocre. Who the hell knows what Crawford will provide. Youkilis will be good, but he will be hurt because he's always hurt.

I don't have worries about the top players on the roster, but I fear that the depth isn't there. The team's already dangerously thin in the infield and in the rotation, and they need guys like Aceves and Morales to be aces in the bullpen to keep the depth there with Bard in the rotation now. This team will compete and be in the 90-win range, but the road ahead is tough, and it's hard to feel like the Red Sox are the smartest guys in the room any more.

#62 ngruz25


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:30 PM

The bullpen is kind of terrifying. Over the last two seasons Andrew Bailey has pitched 41 less regular season innings than the pitcher he's replacing. 41! To put that in perspective, Bailey pitched 41 innings last season. Hopefully the A's didn't burn him out in 2009.

There's also the slight worry that Crawford's wrist bothers him all season. I could easily see that being a nagging problem. As it stands the opening day outfield consists of Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross, and Darnell McDonald/Ryan Sweeney. That's ugly.

#63 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:39 PM

The Red Sox have like a gajillion more questions about their roster than the Yankees do. You really can't argue otherwise. The Yankees won 97 games last year and all they did this off-season was improve their rotation. I guess they have a "hole" at DH but it's not like that spot makes or breaks their offense like, say, it does for the Red Sox.


The Yankees have upgraded their rotation, but it was already pretty good, so how much have they truly improved? Sox rotation has questions but the guys being replaced were historically bad. Ultimately, it probably will come down to the Sox 1-3 starters. If they stay healthy, they'll be fine. If not, it will be a struggle. But they'll still score a ton of runs.

Edited by Rudy Pemberton, 06 February 2012 - 07:44 PM.


#64 JakeRae


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:58 PM

Very excited. It's the Red Sox and they have a great roster again. Why wouldn't I be excited?

If anything, the irrational pessimism here has me more excited than normal. I can't wait to see all you pessimists flip flopping your stances on this team 2 weeks into the season.

#65 TheoShmeo


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:28 PM

If anything, the irrational pessimism here has me more excited than normal. I can't wait to see all you pessimists flip flopping your stances on this team 2 weeks into the season.

So you think pessimism and intellectual dishonesty go hand in hand, eh?

If the Sox exceed expectations of the posters in this thread, I think the vast majority of folks will be delighted to admit it.

For me, there's not much I'd rather be wrong about than negative Sox (or Pats, Cs or Bs) predictions. If the concerns I've noted turn out to be non-issues, I'll eat as much humble pie as you can serve.

As to the Sox having a "great roster," I'm not seeing it given the present issues at SS, LF, RF and starters 4 and 5. How about spelling out some of your reasons for rational optimism in light of those holes?

#66 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:36 PM

As to the Sox having a "great roster," I'm not seeing it given the present issues at SS, LF, RF and starters 4 and 5. How about spelling out some of your reasons for rational optimism in light of those holes?


Last year's team had Scutaro / Lowrie, Crawford, Drew, Lackey, and Wakefield in those roles and still won 90, and had a run differential of a 94 win team. Scutaro was the only one of those players who was close to good.To me, that's the reason for optimism.

#67 Rasputin


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:40 PM

So you think pessimism and intellectual dishonesty go hand in hand, eh?


When the team you're being pessimistic about is clearly one of the top five in the league, yes.

As to the Sox having a "great roster," I'm not seeing it given the present issues at SS, LF, RF and starters 4 and 5. How about spelling out some of your reasons for rational optimism in light of those holes?


Well, for starters, there aren't any issues at LF and RF and the issues at 4th and 5th starter are trivial. How confident are you that Daniel Bard is going to be able to pitch 140-180 good innings? Considering he pitched 73 excellent innings last year I'm pretty confident he can pitch double that while still being at least league average. And Alfredo Aceves pitched 114 really good innings last year. I'm pretty damn sure he can hit 150-180 innings of at least league average.

#68 rembrat


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:49 PM

Ras, I think you are completely ignoring the fact that some pitchers make for great relievers and shitty starters. To me, and I bet a great deal of other people here, Bard and Aceves fall into this mold.

#69 ngruz25


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:52 PM

I'm not sure how there aren't any issues at LF and RF. The LF, who may or may not be ready by opening day, will be coming off wrist surgery and the worst season of his career. That's not a reason for optimism. The RF is Cody Ross? Darnell McDonald? Ryan Sweeney? Surely not Ryan Kalish, at least not yet. I'm not at all confident in the OF. I suppose there's some reason to expect Cody Ross to be a decent hitter, but I'm more concerned with how he'll handle RF.

Edited by ngruz25, 06 February 2012 - 08:55 PM.


#70 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:53 PM

So you think pessimism and intellectual dishonesty go hand in hand, eh?


He didn't say anything close to that. So thank you for bringing us to the straw man portion of the thread.

There's a world of difference between irrational pessimism and intellectual dishonesty. Pointing out that most of the people complaining about the roster here will flip flop after the first two week hot streak has nothing to do with people being intellectually dishonest. It's pointing out that people are reacting to a small sample size and ignoring a larger body of work where the majority of this roster was on pace for 100 wins through the first four months of the season.

Irrational pessimism.

#71 bosockboy


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

Pineda and Kuroda are solid additions....but can't really be much better than what they got last year. Garcia, Colon etc...were really pretty good. The Sox should have much greater actual improvement.

#72 dynomite

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:55 PM

Well, for starters, there aren't any issues at LF and RF and the issues at 4th and 5th starter are trivial.


Exactly.

1) Buchholz is back.
2) I've said it elsewhere, but starters not named Beckett/Lester/Buchholz gave the Red Sox 500 IP of 5.71 ERA. The bar above which Bard and Aceves (and Padilla, etc.) would represent an improvement over their 2011 counterparts has been set shockingly low.

The nominal Red Sox 3-4-5 by mid-season was Lackey-Wakefield-Miller.
The nominal Red Sox 3-4-5 in April 2012 will be Buchholz-Bard-Aceves.

Edit: Ras is who I'm responding to.

Edited by dynomite, 06 February 2012 - 08:57 PM.


#73 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:59 PM

Yeah, this.



Yeah, they have slipped from "Clearly one of the top three teams in the AL" to "Clearly one of the top five teams in the AL" and frankly that's almost entirely because the Angels imported a game changing caliber hitter and the Rangers maybe replaced the loss of their best starter.

Regarding the bolded part, why aren't people aware that he hit .309/.398/.554 for an OPS+ of 154 last year. That's really good but not . . OOPS . . sorry, those are David Ortiz's numbers from last year. Albert Pujols hit .299/.366/.541 for an OPS+ of 150 last year. Yes, he's a good fielder too. But if the Angels had signed Ortiz, would people be talking about the Angels the way they are? Albert Pujols was not 2006 Albert Pujols last year. His numbers in all three percentage categories have basically gone down three straight years.

Edited by Rough Carrigan, 06 February 2012 - 09:02 PM.


#74 ngruz25


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:02 PM

Pineda and Kuroda are solid additions....but can't really be much better than what they got last year. Garcia, Colon etc...were really pretty good. The Sox should have much greater actual improvement.

I don't really buy this argument for one reason: innings pitched. You're probably right that Pineda and Kuroda won't be that much better than Garcia and Colon, but they did throw 60 more innings last season. Assume those 60 innings are replaced by a league average #4 or #5 starter and suddenly the gap between Pineda/Kuroda and Garcia/Colon starts to widen.

Put another way, Pineda/Kuroda probably won't outperform Garcia/Colon by all that much, but how much will they outperform Garcia/Colon/Phil "77 ERA+ in 74 IP" Hughes?

Edited by ngruz25, 06 February 2012 - 09:06 PM.


#75 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:02 PM

Ras, I think you are completely ignoring the fact that some pitchers make for great relievers and shitty starters. To me, and I bet a great deal of other people here, Bard and Aceves fall into this mold.


You have zero evidence to back up that statement... especially about Bard who hasn't been used as a starter with his current mechanics since college. The only evidence we have is that he has been an excellent reliever with great stuff. Great stuff gets hitters out. He has the tools, he has the arsenal. He's had the endurance in the past. If anything, there's evidence to suggest he *will* succeed.




I'm not sure how there aren't any issues at LF and RF. The LF, who may or may not be ready by opening day, will be coming off wrist surgery and the worst season of his career. That's not a reason for optimism. The RF is Cody Ross? Darnell McDonald? Ryan Sweeney? Surely not Ryan Kalish, at least not yet. I'm not at all confident in the OF.


So you think a career worst season that was so far outside his projections that it wasn't even covered in his worst 90 percentile is even remotely likely to happen again? I'd say there's a ton of reason for optimism about Crawford. Not the least of which is the .788 OPS he had from May 23rd on. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either. If that's who we get next year with solid defense, that's an enormous improvement over 2011. In fact, I'd argue that it's not possible for him to be worse so even a slight improvement still makes the position more productive than what they got last year.

Much like the starting rotation, we're almost guaranteed to see a better year from left field than we did last season.

#76 Buzzkill Pauley


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:04 PM

Ras, I think you are completely ignoring the fact that some pitchers make for great relievers and shitty starters. To me, and I bet a great deal of other people here, Bard and Aceves fall into this mold.


I fully believe Aceves will make for exacly what you said -- a great reliever and a shitty starter. Like Papelbon, he has always struck me as someone who really feeds off the adrenaline of having to put out a fire by sitting down a batter or two. His career numbers bear out that observation.

Bard, on the other hand, has shown me nothing thus far to convince that he will not be an above-average starter.

#77 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:07 PM

I don't really buy this argument for one reason: innings pitched. You're probably right that Pineda and Kuroda won't be that much better than Garcia and Colon, but they did throw 60 more innings last season. Assume those 60 innings are replaced by a league average #4 or #5 starter and suddenly the gap between Pineda/Kuroda and Garcia/Colon starts to widen.


Sure, but people are reacting to the signings as though they're getting 360 innings of that improvement. They're not. And take a look at the Sox who got 160 innings of Lackey last year that are being replaced by... well, anything is an improvement. The Red Sox are quite possibly going to see more improvement in the starting rotation than the Yankees from 2011 to 2012. Not because the Red Sox added more quality arms, but because the Red Sox were that bad last year.

#78 ngruz25


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:08 PM

So you think a career worst season that was so far outside his projections that it wasn't even covered in his worst 90 percentile is even remotely likely to happen again? I'd say there's a ton of reason for optimism about Crawford. Not the least of which is the .788 OPS he had from May 23rd on. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either. If that's who we get next year with solid defense, that's an enormous improvement over 2011. In fact, I'd argue that it's not possible for him to be worse so even a slight improvement still makes the position more productive than what they got last year.

Much like the starting rotation, we're almost guaranteed to see a better year from left field than we did last season.

I sure hope he gets better, but when my cause for optimism is "he can't possibly be worse!," I can't help but feel a little uneasy. I'm more concerned with his wrist, to be honest.

Even if he's hurt, they'll still probably be better than last year in LF, I will concede that.

Edited by ngruz25, 06 February 2012 - 09:09 PM.


#79 Rasputin


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:10 PM

I'm not sure how there aren't any issues at LF and RF. The LF, who may or may not be ready by opening day, will be coming off wrist surgery and the worst season of his career. That's not a reason for optimism.


In six out of seven healthy seasons he has had an OPS+ twenty or more points higher than last year. When comparing 2012 to 2011 how can LF not be a point for optimism? The Red Sox are highly likely to be more productive out of left field in 2012 than 2011 and I don't see how one can argue otherwise. Look at his career. 2011 was clearly an aberration.

The RF is Cody Ross? Darnell McDonald? Ryan Sweeney? Surely not Ryan Kalish, at least not yet. I'm not at all confident in the OF.


Last year Red Sox right fielders put up an OPS of .652. OBP .299, SLG .353.

Platooning Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald the wrong way would get you a .727 and .612 OPS. Platooning them the right way the numbers are .912 and .799. There is virtually no way these two guys or a Ross/Sweeney platoon will result in less production than 2011.

Take a team with a 94 win pythag, improve left field and right field, get a hell of a lot more innings that are at least marginally competent, and the improvements easily outstrip whatever losses there are at center and short.

#80 Rasputin


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:27 PM

I fully believe Aceves will make for exacly what you said -- a great reliever and a shitty starter. Like Papelbon, he has always struck me as someone who really feeds off the adrenaline of having to put out a fire by sitting down a batter or two. His career numbers bear out that observation.

Bard, on the other hand, has shown me nothing thus far to convince that he will not be an above-average starter.


I look at is as extra innings by Buchholz and half of the innings from Bard as replacing Tim Wakefield and the other half of Bard and Aceves replacing Lackey. There is no question in my mind that Aceves can out pitch Lackey. I don't expect him to be great. I think he'll fit a lot of people's definitions of a shitty starter and that will still be better than what we got from Lackey.

It is utterly clear to me that the people who are negative about the upcoming series are reacting more to September and the loss of Francona and Theo than they are to the actual personnel on the team.

We should improve in left because our left fielder has never been both healthy and that bad before.

We should improve in right because JD Drew was obscenely bad last year.

We should improve at catcher because Shoppach is superior to Varitek.

We should improve at 4th and 5th starter because Bard and Aceves are better than Wakefield and Lackey and Bard and Aceves are the worst non-injury case scenario.

The manager is an ass who doesn't have the class that Terry Francona had but as far as game decisions go, he's a pretty good manager.

The way I see it, we have largely the same team as last year with people healthy, dead wood cut, and every single person on the roster having something to prove. If we lose Buchholz for most of the season and get thirty innings out of Bard then we're probably fucked just like last year and it can certainly happen but I don't see any reason to think it is more likely than not.

#81 Clears Cleaver


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:40 PM

Excited for baseball? yes. But every year the Sox have given you a new reason to be excited. A young player, a new FA pickup, etc. This team has NOTHING new to offer fans. This coming off the most loathesome ending to a season in memory (in 2003 you knew they were good and they got Schilling/Foulke) with a bunch of players the fans generally disliked in Lackey and Crawford coupled with the stupid beer/chciken/Tito/Theo stuff. I look at the rest of the division and each franchise has something to be excited about. Yankees got their young pitching and Kuroda. Tampa has MAtt Moore and Desmond Jennings. Toronto has a handful of young players and power pitchers.

The budget is down, they have almsot no pitching depth again and no one in the minors who looks like they can help this year. The ONLY thing that might make it more interesting is Bobby V, who I think will do a great job and rejuvinate some of the players on this team. He will eventually burnout/wearout, but for a year or so it will be interesting.

#82 Rasputin


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:47 PM

Excited for baseball? yes. But every year the Sox have given you a new reason to be excited. A young player, a new FA pickup, etc. This team has NOTHING new to offer fans. This coming off the most loathesome ending to a season in memory (in 2003 you knew they were good and they got Schilling/Foulke) with a bunch of players the fans generally disliked in Lackey and Crawford coupled with the stupid beer/chciken/Tito/Theo stuff. I look at the rest of the division and each franchise has something to be excited about. Yankees got their young pitching and Kuroda. Tampa has MAtt Moore and Desmond Jennings. Toronto has a handful of young players and power pitchers.

The budget is down, they have almsot no pitching depth again and no one in the minors who looks like they can help this year. The ONLY thing that might make it more interesting is Bobby V, who I think will do a great job and rejuvinate some of the players on this team. He will eventually burnout/wearout, but for a year or so it will be interesting.


Whaaaa, we don't have a shiny new bauble. All we have is a really good team that might win the whole fucking thing.

I think Ryan Lavarnway is very likely to help this year. Felix Doubront is either going to help this year or be gone. I rather strongly suspect he will help. Ryan Kalish is very likely to help this year.

And you know what? We're going to score a shit ton of runs, pitch pretty decently, and win a fuckload of games. If you can't get excited about that then there's just something wrong with you.

#83 Buzzkill Pauley


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

Excited for baseball? yes. But every year the Sox have given you a new reason to be excited. A young player, a new FA pickup, etc. This team has NOTHING new to offer fans. This coming off the most loathesome ending to a season in memory (in 2003 you knew they were good and they got Schilling/Foulke) with a bunch of players the fans generally disliked in Lackey and Crawford coupled with the stupid beer/chciken/Tito/Theo stuff. I look at the rest of the division and each franchise has something to be excited about. Yankees got their young pitching and Kuroda. Tampa has MAtt Moore and Desmond Jennings. Toronto has a handful of young players and power pitchers.

The budget is down, they have almsot no pitching depth again and no one in the minors who looks like they can help this year. The ONLY thing that might make it more interesting is Bobby V, who I think will do a great job and rejuvinate some of the players on this team. He will eventually burnout/wearout, but for a year or so it will be interesting.


Wait, not having to watch John Lackey pitch every fifth day is nothing? I, for one, am very excited for the season simply because I will not have to watch him take the mound during it. The prospect of getting Bard instead -- maybe breaking out some swisher-killing benders and 98 mph heat every five days -- is just gravy.

Oh, and you forgot Baltimore in your "rest of the division" rant, so please come up with a "something to be excited about" they've got going. Or, you know, come down from the ledge.

#84 Adrian's Dome

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:08 PM

What if Robinson Cano fouls a ball off his ankle and Pineda tweaks a knee on a rainy day or something? We've definitely seen more flukey and worse injuries happen to the Sox recently. Small things that happen every day in games can most certainly radically change things in a division.

It's baseball and shit happens. It's a long season. Chances are, it's not the team with the most talent on paper that's going to win it all, it's the team that shows a good level of consistency, has a little luck swing their way, and stays mostly healthy. The Sox could most definitely be that team. Hell, we might get a 3.4 ERA out of Aaron Cook for all we know.

Do I love every move made this offseason? No. Am I still excited for baseball? You bet.

#85 TheoShmeo


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:28 PM

He didn't say anything close to that. So thank you for bringing us to the straw man portion of the thread.

I think you're incorrect. He said he looked forward to seeing the pessimists flip flopping. I read "flip flopping" as something that does not implly candor. But if he meant that people would become optimistic and admit that they had been unduly pessimistic, then I stand corrected.

And if you're indeed correct, I hope that I'll be lucky enough to join the flip flopping brigade early in the season.

#86 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:34 PM

I'm always excited for the baseball season, so I'm voting "very excited" and "same as usual."


Bingo. Thinking the Sox have a good chance of winning a championship and being excited about an upcoming baseball season are two quite different and only very tenuously related things.

That said, I think the Sox have a good chance of winning a championship. Sure, there are lots of question marks, and if most of those questions are answered negatively it will be a long, miserable summer. But there's no reason to assume this other than blind (and boring) New England pessimism.

#87 Marbleheader


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:58 PM

I'm ready for baseball. I have no idea what to expect from this team. My expectations aren't as high as in past years, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm excited to see if Ellsbury can do it again, Crawford can bounce back, and if Bard can start. This team is capable of winning it all, that's all you can ask for on Opening Day.

#88 Plympton91


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:58 PM

The Yankees added a stud young pitcher, and will likely have a better rotation. The Red Sox are adding a stud young pitcher, too. His name is Buchholz. And the Boston rotation will almost certainly be improved over 2011. It's about as close to being certain as you can get. So I don't see how that separates the two teams all that much.


Yeah that's an excellent point. The Yankees added Kuroda (from the pitching friendly NL West) and Pineda (from one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball), who are both good on paper, but are the better than Bard, Buchholz, and Matsuzaka?
The Red Sox upgraded from Lackey to Bard, probably a 2 run per game improvement at a minimum. They also are running out a much improved set of prospects for the 5th slot, which was nearly as bad as Lackey last season. Does anyone actually have the conmbined line for our composite 5th starter - Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Weiland; and the composite 2nd starter of Buchholz and Miller? That would be excellent perspective for the doom and gloom brigade.


Then there's Russell who blew all expectations out of the water last year. Was it a fluke or did some change in his approach that can be maintained account for this unexpected rise from the ashes?


Did he really have that great a season. I lost track but thought after a hot start he ended up pretty pedestrian.

#89 rembrat


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:12 PM

Yeah that's an excellent point. The Yankees added Kuroda (from the pitching friendly NL West) and Pineda (from one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball), who are both good on paper, but are the better than Bard, Buchholz, and Matsuzaka?


A thousand times yes. My god. It's 02/06 and already I've had enough of you. Kuroda, a groundball pitcher, and Pineda have absoutely no H/R spits. Kuroda's career FIP/xFIP are practically identical.

Fucking try harder.

#90 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:14 PM

Yeah that's an excellent point. The Yankees added Kuroda (from the pitching friendly NL West) and Pineda (from one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball), who are both good on paper, but are the better than Bard, Buchholz, and Matsuzaka?


Kuroda had better stats away from Dodger Stadium than at it last season. Pineda's ERA was worse away than at Safeco, but he actually gave up the same number of homers at home and away, and pitched 17 fewer innings at home. Either way, we're talking about two pitchers who put up xFIPs of 3.56 (Kuroda) and and 3.53 (Pineda) with good strikeout numbers and not many walks. I honestly don't imagine the league/stadium change is going to matter for either of them.

Either way, Sabathia/Pineda/Kuroda/Nova versus Lester/Beckett/Buchholz/Bard isn't a walk in either direction, but I think you're very much underselling Kuroda and Pineda. And why is anyone expecting anything out of Matsuzaka next year? He's doubtful to be ready before June, and it's not as if he contributed much of anything last season. Not to mention that control is usually one of the last things to come back after Tommy John surgery, and Matsuzaka wasn't exactly Greg Maddux in his prime before getting hurt.

Did he really have that great a season. I lost track but thought after a hot start he ended up pretty pedestrian.


Martin's OPS by month: .963/.680/.515/.570/.932/.657. Not exactly consistent, and that August OPS is largely the result of a weird power spike, but still, he finished with a .732 OPS as a catcher last season, which is more than acceptable.

#91 aron7awol

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:32 PM

I fully believe Aceves will make for exacly what you said -- a great reliever and a shitty starter. Like Papelbon, he has always struck me as someone who really feeds off the adrenaline of having to put out a fire by sitting down a batter or two. His career numbers bear out that observation.

Bard, on the other hand, has shown me nothing thus far to convince that he will not be an above-average starter.


If Aceves gets a spot in the rotation, I also fully expect he will get exposed as the shitty starter that he is. Where we differ, however, is that I also think he is a shitty reliever. I'm afraid it's inevitable that he's going to turn into a pumpkin. I fully believe in BABIP suppression as a pitcher skill, but nowhere near the .235 career level Aceves has been fortunate to have thus far. And he doesn't have the peripherals to back it up, either. Where it gets interesting is that Bard also has had a freakishly low .240 BABIP so far in his career.

Career Numbers
Aceves: 240 IP, 2.61 ERA, 6.26 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, 7.2% HR/FB, 78.4 LOB%, 4.02 SIERA
Bard: 197 IP, 2.88 ERA, 9.73 K/9, 3.47 BB/9, 9.5% HR/FB, 74.8 LOB%, 2.92 SIERA

What's not shown in this data is that Bard's walk rate has improved each season, down to 2.96 BB/9 last year. He clearly has the better peripherals, and yet Aceves has allowed less runs due to a lower BABIP and HR/FB, along with a higher LOB%. Those are three majorly luck-driven rates, and in such a small sample, absolutely must be regressed very heavily. The good news is Pumpkin Aceves is still much better than 2011 John Lackey.

As for Bard, I completely agree there is no reason to believe he won't be successful as a starter, and a lot of reason to think he will be. A quick and dirty projection using only his career SIERA, which ignores the fact that he's been improving, puts him at 3.29 after adding the standard SIERA reliever adjustment of 0.37 runs. Even if you believe he will handle the transition worse than the average convert, it's still easy to see him ending up in the 3.50-3.70 range. Doing the same projection with Aceves yields a projected ERA around 4.40. I'd actually be okay with that out of my #5 starter, Pumpkin Aceves. The question then becomes, is there another option who can do better? I think Padilla certainly has a chance to end up around a league average starter, so maybe there is. I'd start the year with Padilla in the #5 spot and keep Aceves in the pen until you absolutely need him to start because there are no other decent options.

Ben, please sign Oswalt and turn this rotation into a very good and deep one.

#92 JakeRae


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:11 AM

I think you're incorrect. He said he looked forward to seeing the pessimists flip flopping. I read "flip flopping" as something that does not implly candor. But if he meant that people would become optimistic and admit that they had been unduly pessimistic, then I stand corrected.

And if you're indeed correct, I hope that I'll be lucky enough to join the flip flopping brigade early in the season.

Snod absolutely read my meaning properly. "Flip flopping" implies a reversal of position. It does not imply a lack of candor or intellectual honesty. I believe that all those who are taking pessimistic stands on this team believe that stance is justified. I also believe that when this team shows themselves to be a really good baseball team very early in the season, people are going to rapidly flee from that stance. Flip flopping when you are wrong is among the most intellectually honest things a person can do. Clinging to positions in defiance of evidence to the contrary is what is intellectually dishonest and I have too much respect for most of this board to expect that of them.

I will enjoy the flip flopping because it will show that those of us who have taken a more measured, less panic-ridden, approach to this offseason to have been correct.

I believe this team is still very good and a very real contender because that is what they were last year based on underlying performance (and real performance for most of the season) and the sum of their offseason should leave them roughly even to slightly improved over last year. They got better in right field and starting pitching largely due to subtraction of horrifically bad parts. I believe Aviles can man SS adequately although I admit to being somewhat nervous there. Relief pitching has taken a small step back, but the impact of relief pitching is generally overstated. Part of me also wants to argue that they will likely have better injury luck, but coming off the second straight season of bad injury luck, I am hesitant to make that claim. Still, there is significantly more upside than downside relative to last year in regard to health (especially if you think health played a role in Crawford's performance).

Going into the season, the Yankees are likely a better team. But, the cries of "fourth place team" are laughable. There is a chance those folks are correct. Tampa and Toronto have very good teams and cannot be disregarded. But, the Red Sox roster is still more talented than either by a reasonable margin. That's not a guarantee of success. A lot can happen in a baseball season and there is a lot of volatility relative to talent in performance over a season. But, there is definitely a greater probability of the Red Sox winning the division than finishing fourth in it.

#93 cannonball 1729

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 01:56 AM

It's as simple as I don't like a lot of the players on the roster. These are merely my feelings as a fan and not how I think these specific players will produce.

I'm also wondering what's going on upstairs with how the team is run.

This is kind of where I am. Baseball is by far my favorite sport, and I'm genuinely optimistic about the team's chances this year. It's just....I don't really like this team, and for a group of people that are going to be in my life every night for the next six months, it kind of sucks that a bunch of them seem to be downright loathsome. I mean, these are the same people who acted like petulant children in the clubhouse last year (so much so that people were clamoring for a disciplinarian manager in the offseason, as though the Red Sox were a bunch of sixth-graders or something), and now these are the guys I have to invest myself in? It's a little tough to get really excited about that.

#94 dynomite

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:59 AM

Do I love every move made this offseason? No. Am I still excited for baseball? You bet.


There are times when nothing more is necessary, because someone said it perfectly already. This is one of those times.

#95 TheoShmeo


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:28 AM

Snod absolutely read my meaning properly. "Flip flopping" implies a reversal of position. It does not imply a lack of candor or intellectual honesty. I believe that all those who are taking pessimistic stands on this team believe that stance is justified. I also believe that when this team shows themselves to be a really good baseball team very early in the season, people are going to rapidly flee from that stance. Flip flopping when you are wrong is among the most intellectually honest things a person can do. Clinging to positions in defiance of evidence to the contrary is what is intellectually dishonest and I have too much respect for most of this board to expect that of them.

I will enjoy the flip flopping because it will show that those of us who have taken a more measured, less panic-ridden, approach to this offseason to have been correct.

Fair enough re the flip flopping thing. I associate that phrase with politicians and intellectual dishonesty tends to go hand in hand with that.

My negativity has nothing to do with panic. I experienced panic when Wes Welker dropped that pass (or Brady misthrew it, depending on which side of that particular debate you're on).

As to the Sox, I just look at the sum total of their moves since last season ended and don't think they've done enough, or enough of the right things, to put together a playoff team. I could be wrong and that tends to happen a lot. But the view here is dispassionate, measured and just a lot more negative than yours and many others here.

#96 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:37 AM

As to the Sox, I just look at the sum total of their moves since last season ended and don't think they've done enough, or enough of the right things, to put together a playoff team.

Why do you think they weren't a playoff team last year, and what sorts of moves would have addressed that?

#97 TheoShmeo


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:10 AM

Why do you think they weren't a playoff team last year, and what sorts of moves would have addressed that?

To state the obvious, there's no single reason and I don't claim to know what caused the incredibly unusual events of September to happen. Until then, they were of course on track to make it.

But if forced to choose a single cause or set of causes, I would point to the rotation and lack of organizational starter depth they had, and their failure to adequately address the problem at the July and August trading deadlines. I look at this starting staff and don't believe that the top three are good enough to cover the uncertainties created by the last two. I also don't think that the last two starter slots will be good enough.

This will sound like a cop out but I'm not saying that all is lost and that it's time to cancel my Extra Innings package. Far from it. The Sox and every other Boston team have given me pleasant surprises in the past, and that could very well happen again in 2012. But this thread is about whether I'm excited about the upcoming season, and the combination of what the Sox have done thus far and how last season ended make me not at all excited on February 7.

#98 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:24 AM

I agree that the biggest single issue with the team last year, the worm that was lurking in the apple even when they were blazing hot, was the lack of experienced SP depth. But isn't this exactly the deficiency they've addressed by picking up Cook, Silva and Padilla? Those guys may not be exciting, but it sure would have been exciting to have one or two of them around last year when Kyle Weiland was busy getting his head blown off in the middle of a pennant race and there were essentially no alternatives.

#99 TheoShmeo


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:31 AM

I agree that the biggest single issue with the team last year, the worm that was lurking in the apple even when they were blazing hot, was the lack of experienced SP depth. But isn't this exactly the deficiency they've addressed by picking up Cook, Silva and Padilla? Those guys may not be exciting, but it sure would have been exciting to have one or two of them around last year when Kyle Weiland was busy getting his head blown off in the middle of a pennant race and there were essentially no alternatives.

I agree with you that they're an upgrade over what the Sox had in reserve last year but the difference is that they're not looking at those guys as better 6-8 pitchers, they're counting on that group to comprise one or two of the five spots out of gate. And they're seemingly counting on Bard. Putting aside that they're taking a valuable weapon out of the pen, I remain concerned that Bard is not suited to be a starter. I know the counter-arguments re Bard, and it's not as if I think that those arguments are silly.

#100 kwa1430

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:32 AM

I am excited for the Red Sox season to begin. September sucked so much I am ready for a new beginning.

Bobby V will be a good addition. I know he has a past track record at Mets which was not great however I believe he is a very good manager. He not only succeed in New York but also succeed overseas. I believe his experience in Japan taugh him to more humbled.

Starting rotation. A healthy Buchholz makes this starting rotation look very, very good. We didnt have a healthy Clay last year and it made a difference. It will be interesting to see who fills out the rest of the rotation. Last spring was boring with all spots basically set except for middle relief. At least this year will be interesting to see who is #4 / #5 starter and who fills out the back of the bullpen.

A full year of a healthy Gonzalez. I dont think people are giving this enough thought. Obviously his shoulder afffected his power last year and he still put up all-star numbers.

All in all, it should be fun. I stopped concerning my self with who won the offseason (whether it be the Yankees, Rangers or Angels) since they dont give away trophies for it. I like the Red Sox chances and think they will be very competitive this year.

Edited by kwa1430, 07 February 2012 - 08:33 AM.