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The Future at 1B


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#1 Eric Van


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:07 AM

Nobody thinks that Sands is an everyday 1B; he projects as a solid bench guy to platoon with a LH hitting 1B and/or LF.

If they play Loney going forward over Mauro Gomez, I'll hurl objects. Gomez has maybe a 10% chance of being even a short-term answer, but, please, let's take five weeks to get a better read on him.

There's one OK free agent, Adam LaRoche. Yawn.

Long term, I posted elsewhere that converting Bogaerts to 1B would be a terrible idea, and (although it was my initial suggestion) the same thing would be true of WMB. If they are both 3B, then you trade WMB, and he should fetch something very attractive (ideally an equivalent young corner OF). So they really ought to be looking for a good young player to trade for.

I went through the BA Handbook and wrote down the names of every 1B Top 30 prospect who had reached AA. I could come up with only one club that has an active surplus going into next year, in terms of veterans blocking rookies. The Cardinals have Allen Craig blocking both Matt Adams (last year's #9) and converted 3B Matt Carpenter (#12).

Then there are guys who lost their jobs this year, Bryan LaHair of the Cubs to Rizzo, Brandon Moss of the A's to the other Chris Carter, but neither are as exciting as either of the Cardinals' kids.

The Twins look likely to hang on to Chris Parmalee, who destroyed AAA after failing his early-season preview as Justin Morneau's successor. Morneau is someone you might pick up for a year, if the Twins will pick up some of the $13M he's owed, but I can't imagine a scenario where that makes more sense than trading for Adams or Carpenter.

In Natstown, LaRoche's heir apparent Chris Marrero was hurt almost all year and got passed by Tyler Moore, so it doesn't look like they have a surplus.

A couple of guys worth looking into are Ryan Wheeler, blocked in Arizona by Goldschmidt, and Matt Curry, probably blocked in Pittsburgh by Garrett Jones, but both are either a year away or no great shakes (don't be fooled by Wheeler's numbers at Reno; his whole year has a .266 MLE TAv according to Davenport Translations).

I'll look at Adams and Carpenter in more detail later (and so should you); in the meantime, is there anyone else we should be considering?

#2 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:27 AM

The thing that is pretty interesting about having an opening at 1st is that there are so many options. You could now take a serious look at Travis Shaw, you could convert an outfielder or catcher (Lavarnway comes to mind) or you could trade for any of the above. There are a lot of those 4A players who knock the hell out of the ball at AAA but are without a position and haven't got a true shot (Gomez types). Hell the A's have been stocking up on these types for years.

There is also the option of trading for guys like Morneau or Willingham or other potentials who could be converted etc.

#3 Max Power


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:33 AM

I think you have to look to Detroit for a trade over the winter. Miguel Cabrera would be the prize, but Victor Martinez would work as a bridge for a year or two when there are better options available.

#4 Koufax

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:33 AM

Lars Anderson?

#5 PaulinMyrBch


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:39 AM

Youks has a 14m team option and a 1.25m buyout for 2013...Just sayin.

#6 BosRedSox5


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:40 AM

Until reading this I hadn't really considered 1B to be a problem. That's more my shortsightedness then anything, but it's surprising to read. 100% true, but caught me off guard a little.

You did miss an important possible FA though. Kevin Youkilis. He's got an option for $13 mil next season, and there were indications that the White Sox weren't going to pick it up. I don't have the numbers to back it up but it stands to reason that when someone plays an easier position on the defensive spectrum their offense improves. There's less wear and tear and the player may be in a higher comfort zone where they can focus on hitting. I think this would be especially true of a player like Youkilis who's a very talented 1B.

Obviously, I'd love to get one of the Cardinals' young studs like you suggest. But wouldn't a Youkilis reunion be a legitimate option at 1B?

#7 BosRedSox5


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:40 AM

Beaten by a minute. Sort of.

#8 Paul M


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:41 AM

I think the Red Sox will also look at Logan Morrison pretty closely. He's really a 1B who had to play LF and hsi body is not handling the OF great, so I think that's what they do. He won't be cheap in terms of the talent going to Florida but I think he fits given he can work the count and has some pop.

#9 Chico Walker and the Man

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:48 AM

I always liked Youkilis. And he obviously hated Valentine. So, how crazy would it be to see about Youks at 1B if Valentine is replaced? .367 OBP in Chicago with 11 HR's. Arguably, he should be a 1B going forward regardless of where he signs. He will not get 12 million per year in his next contract.

Has this organization had its fill,or was this just a Youkilis/Valentine issue?

#10 Drek717

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:26 AM

The Twins look likely to hang on to Chris Parmalee, who destroyed AAA after failing his early-season preview as Justin Morneau's successor. Morneau is someone you might pick up for a year, if the Twins will pick up some of the $13M he's owed, but I can't imagine a scenario where that makes more sense than trading for Adams or Carpenter.


Given the massive financial housecleaning the team just conducted, why would the Twins picking up some of the remaining salary be an issue?

My ideal for this off-season would be the Sox taking on Morneau as a full on salary dump by the Twins, giving little to nothing in prospects going back. This org. can afford a $14M first baseman for next season, they just need to stop handing out 6-8 year deals to anyone who doesn't play SS, 2B, C, CF, and SP.

Morneau would be an ideal bridge for 2013, especially if you let Jerry Sands play a straight platoon with him. Morneau has a significant career split (OPS of .906 v. RHP while only .734 v. LHP) that has been even more pronounced this year (.929 v. RHP, .567 v. LHP). Meanwhile Sands' small sample of MLB ABs is disappointing compared to his AAA numbers it is interesting to note that he also showed a powerful split in the opposite direction (OPS of .589 in 165 PAs v. RHP but .904 in 86 PAs v. LHP).

Pair the two up and we've got a pretty reasonable expectation of a .900 OPS from 1B with solid defense, and part of the platoon also helps to shore up the OF depth and will only be 25.

That leaves the door open for Shaw or another farm hand to do something and after the 2013 season we could look to retain Morneau, go after Kendrys Morales if he can continue rallying back to his '09 form, or find another veteran value.

This team can be VERY competitive next year if they reallocate all the freed up salary well and avoid long term handcuff types. The '03/'04 Sox had a lot of lower cost bridge guys who where supposed to just hold down the fort while the FO figured out the long term strategy. Turned out that guys like Ortiz, Mueller, Bellhorn, and Millar were key parts of a championship team and longer term fixtures than anyone originally expected.

#11 Seabass177


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:26 AM

It's somewhat amazing how unimpressive 1B is in propectdom right now. After Rizzo and Singleton you've got Miles Head and CJ Cron on Sickels top 120.

http://www.minorleag...revision-update

If I'm the Sox I target the Halos and see what you can get out of Trumbo or Morales. Trumbo's power plays anywhere, but Fenway is perfectly suited for his swing. I'm not sure exactly what the Angels need, but low level prospects don't make sense for Trumbo them as they're in GFIN. Morales would be cheaper to get as he's older, not as good and a FA in 2014, so he might be a better bridge player to target.

This obviously just speculation, but the Angels' depth at 1B is a match for the Sox's needs.

#12 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:38 AM

If you can spend $12 million or so for one or two years, you can find a first baseman who should be expected to put up an .850 OPS. Filling this position shouldn't be hard. And filling it with a couple of guys with upside to platoon/fight it out for playing time is the way to do it, rather than locking a big money guy in for 7 years or whatever.

As for Morneau, he's got a 141 OPS+ in 35 games in the second half. For the season, he's got a 137 OPS+ on the road, compared to 100 at home. That seems interesting.

#13 someoneanywhere

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:45 AM

I am not sure we can look at any solution in isolation. My read on this is that they will move to reload after the Tampa Bay model -- the impact players being cost-controlled, and the complementary positions being pieces here and there on short-term deals. The financial advantages are obviously important -- Papi stays, for example -- but what happens at 1B, as what happens elsewhere, depends on who they identify and acquire as core impact players.

#14 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:48 AM

LaHair is intriguing; Worcester native who can hit righties, wouldn't cost much and the obvious connection with the Cubs; but he's a short term patch, would need a lefty masher to platoon with, and he's certainly not a long term solution. Morneau is probably the best fit; short term deal with upside, won't cost a ton, that's exactly the kind of guy the Sod should be after.

What about Loney? Been awful this year, but might a change of scenery help? Historically been an 800+ OPS away from Chavez Ravine, what's the scouting report on him? Is it worth playing him down the stretch with the thought of resigning him, or is he a lost cause?

#15 saintnick912


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:58 AM

I'm thinking Punto was included in this deal to keep Bobby V from playing him at 1st the next season plus.

#16 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:00 AM

There's no reason to not play Loney and have your scouts see how he looks playing in Fenway. You're obviously not going to commit a bunch of money or years to the guy no matter what, but why not see how he looks in a good hitter's park for a change?

He's another guy this offseason who it might be worth a look as a buy low platoon guy, if he shows some promise here. He's certainly not going to cost much and is still 28. A guy who had a .919 OPS in the majors at age 23 is always worth a look, since we've already got him.

We already know what Mauro Gomez is, there's not much reason to play him a lot. He's almost the same age as Loney. Maybe you play them in a straight platoon the rest of the way, since the only way either would be playing here next year is as a platooner if a bunch of things went their way.

#17 bosockboy


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:04 AM

Matt Adams is a perfect target. Blocked long term by Allen Craig, huge AAA numbers. Grab Morneau for a year and have Adams at AAA for a year.

#18 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:09 AM

Nobody thinks that Sands is an everyday 1B; he projects as a solid bench guy to platoon with a LH hitting 1B and/or LF.


They're only showing his numbers through 2010 at drivelinebaseball, but up to that point he had been showing a mild-to-moderate reverse platoon split in the minors:

Year, Level, PA: slash line vs. L, vs. R
2010, AA, 298: .221/.341/.506, .291/.377/.538
2010, A, 286: .356/.387/.644, .326/.446/.647
2009, A, 142: .220/.289/.390, .262/.361/.500

You have to go back to his rookie league numbers to see normal platoon splits.

Which doesn't mean that he's a full-time guy, just that platooning him may not be the way to get the best out of him as a part-time player.

If you can spend $12 million or so for one or two years, you can find a first baseman who should be expected to put up an .850 OPS.


You would think so....but the pickings are awfully slim. LaRoche isn't even an .850 OPS guy in Washington, and I think he'd be lucky to hit .800 in Boston. But at least he's an actual first baseman. At 33, I'd offer him something like 2/$16M as a stopgap. I suspect someone else will offer him more.

As for Loney, it's true that he's always been a better hitter on the road. He's also a guy with a big platoon split: career .796 vs. RHP, .667 vs. LHP. Even that .796 is pretty lame for a 1B, but it would have been better before this lost year, and it would be intriguing to see the road/vs. RHP composite split. If you could find the right platoon partner for him, he might be worth a make-good deal if he'd take it. I don't know what sort of offers he's likely to get.

#19 941827

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:32 AM

They could also sign Mike Napoli to a Beltre-style 1-year "prove yourself" deal and have he, Salty and Lavarnway share time at 1B, DH and C (assuming Ortiz walks). You'll need to add a defensive 1b replacement, but this would be a cheap one-year fill-in while you try to find a long-term first baseman. I'd prefer Morneau, but Napoli's also an option.

#20 Drek717

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:42 AM

They could also sign Mike Napoli to a Beltre-style 1-year "prove yourself" deal and have he, Salty and Lavarnway share time at 1B, DH and C (assuming Ortiz walks). You'll need to add a defensive 1b replacement, but this would be a cheap one-year fill-in while you try to find a long-term first baseman. I'd prefer Morneau, but Napoli's also an option.


My concerns with that would be
1. I don't think Napoli would take a 1 year deal and will get a multi-year for ok money by a catcher needy team.
2. Wasn't there a ton of talk about how playing 1B dicked up Salty's mindset when he was in Texas?
3. Lavarnway has never really played 1B.

So we'd have a platoon where none of them are particularly good at catcher, and only one of them has any positive history playing 1B.

#21 NHbeau


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:43 AM

Call me crazy but I have always thought that 1b is one position where a "committee" approach seemed feasible. When you get down to the brass tacks of it 1b is the easiest position to play in baseball. Why not take advantage of all the hitters in every farm system who just don't have the glove to stick any place else? Why pay big dollars for a guy who provides little roster flexibility due to his glove? In my ideal world 1b is a revolving carousel for a rebuilding team. Guys with the stick to play at the MLB level, but defensive issues are who you should be targeting. Convert players from other positions who won't play because of defense or are blocked in various systems. Sure not everyone will be able to handle the switch, but plenty will be able to adequately play first base. Getting big numbers out of first base while really nice doesn't have to cost 20mil per season over 10 years. If any position in baseball can be flexible to allow you to exploit market inefficiencies it's 1b. Tying up that spot with huge contracts for long term seems really really stupid.

#22 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:04 AM

Call me crazy but I have always thought that 1b is one position where a "committee" approach seemed feasible. When you get down to the brass tacks of it 1b is the easiest position to play in baseball.


I don't think I'd call it the easiest position. It's the position that requires the least athleticism, but there's a lot of skill involved, and those skills come into play a lot. I think we're inclined to take quality defense at 1B for granted because we've seen so much of it in recent years, but it hasn't been that long since we were subjected to Millar's comically bad footwork or Vaughn's near-100% immobility.

That said, I don't disagree that a "committee" approach can work there, and has worked for some teams (like, for instance, the 2004 Red Sox).

#23 Plympton91


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:30 AM

The other problem with a committee at first base is roster management. Unless it's somebody like Swisher who can play reasonably good corner outfield defense, having a committee at first base means you have to tie up one of four bench spots with a one-dimensional platoon player. Better to find somebody who can play good defense (which is very underrated at 1B) and doesn't have a dramatic platoon split. Of course, having a one-dimensional bench player makes more sense if you're going to have Jose Iglesias in the lineup, because you'll need a pinch hitter almost every night.

#24 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:40 AM

The other problem with a committee at first base is roster management. Unless it's somebody like Swisher who can play reasonably good corner outfield defense, having a committee at first base means you have to tie up one of four bench spots with a one-dimensional platoon player.


A committee at first base doesn't have to mean a committee of guys who can only play first base. In fact, it shouldn't. For instance, in 2004 Millar could play corner OF (OK, badly, but still), and Minky could play 2B.

#25 NHbeau


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:47 AM

I don't think I'd call it the easiest position. It's the position that requires the least athleticism, but there's a lot of skill involved, and those skills come into play a lot. I think we're inclined to take quality defense at 1B for granted because we've seen so much of it in recent years, but it hasn't been that long since we were subjected to Millar's comically bad footwork or Vaughn's near-100% immobility.

That said, I don't disagree that a "committee" approach can work there, and has worked for some teams (like, for instance, the 2004 Red Sox).


I have no doubt I am looking at it simplistically. That caveat aside you can take a look at any farm system and find multiple guys who can hit, and hit well, with the asterisk next to them of "butcher in LF, won't stick behind the plate" etc. I would target those guys and put them into a 1b thunderdome. It's not hard to motivate them with a chance for a roster spot and the gig at 1b in Boston. Sure it's a lottery but no more than the status quo in MLB these days which is a first baseman gets 20mil a year over 8 and it's a "fair" contract. 1b is a position you should not be spending serious money on in baseball today. You save those bullets for elite pitching. The 1b market is a total nightmare as far as payroll efficiency is concerned. The idea of paying Laroche 7 mil a year is just unfathomable to me. I'd much rather this team play a combination of Sands (who can play some LF), Salty/Lavarnway/Ortiz or whoever you can get to play some passable 1b than to wade into the worst market in baseball and pay Laroche/Napoli/Morneau huge dollars.The thought process of needing a 950 ops , with gold glove defense at the easiest position to fill on your roster is not sustainable with the new CBA and the emphasis on pitching in my opinion. We were just gift wrapped a guy who can rake and play 1b/LF for cheap money. Let him play, have a plan B and go from there.

#26 JimBoSox9


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:47 AM

As for Loney, it's true that he's always been a better hitter on the road. He's also a guy with a big platoon split: career .796 vs. RHP, .667 vs. LHP. Even that .796 is pretty lame for a 1B, but it would have been better before this lost year, and it would be intriguing to see the road/vs. RHP composite split. If you could find the right platoon partner for him, he might be worth a make-good deal if he'd take it. I don't know what sort of offers he's likely to get.


There's one possibility on the roster already - fella by the name of David. I'm not as afraid of playing Ortiz in the field as much as others are (seriously, he's mediocre but not horrific, and I can count the number of times I've seen a 1B get hurt playing defense on one hand). With the enema this payroll just received, the Sox would be utterly crazy not to re-sign him, even for 2 years, and like every year Ortiz's value will be greater to the Sox than it will be to anyone else. People assuming he's walking are crazy.

I'm not sold on Loney, but I did like him a lot back in the day, Chavez was horrible for him, only 28, not going to be expensive this offseason even if he hits well here...decent chance he's a classic change-of-scenery guy (since we traded 3 of those, makes sense to get 1 back!). If Loney can find his stroke in Fenway, I'd have zero problem with Ortiz being the guy who spots him against lefties.

#27 Harry Hooper


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:58 AM

I can't remember who it was, but one of the Boston media mentioned (on Thursday I believe) that Swisher was someone the Sox might go after this off-season. Maybe that was informed speculation?

Victor Martinez is an interesting idea, but the unknown is are the Tigers OK with Cabrera playing almost full-time 3B in 2013? FWIW, here's the Victor rehab report.

I don't like it, but my guess is the Sox will go with Salty at 1B in a platoon.

#28 Cumberland Blues

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:08 AM

I'm not sure I like Morneau even as a stopgap - he's not the hitter he was before all the head knocks and he's expensive (tho that's obviously less of a concern now - still no reason to spend just because they can). If it's a true salary dump and we aren't giving up a real prospect - fine, but we shouldn't be afraid to trade talent if it'll get us somebody as good or better who's cheaper. I like the idea of trading for one of the Cards kids or Lahair - and Kendrys Morales seems like he should be available, Trumbo ain't really an OFer so the Angels should be open to moving Morales so Trumbo can DH. I think any of those guys give us what we can reasonably expect from Morneau at this point.

#29 bosockboy


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:08 AM

Swisher makes a ton of sense.

#30 StuckOnYouk

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:12 AM

Honestly, they should just go for a stop-gap and see how Travis Shaw performs for 2013 in AA/AAA. The kid can hit period.

The Sox are enamored enough with him to draft him twice and this year as a 22-year old he has put up the following lines.

A+ Salem 423 PA--- 411/545/957 (ass-kicking)
AA Portland 91 PA --341/442/782 (very respectable start)

Portland has always been more of a pitchers league and he's 2 years younger than league average. Let him start there next year, maybe he earns a promotion to AAA at some point next year and then perhaps he breaks through in 2014.

if the Sox are truly going into a buiild from the farm system and fill in with FA's, guys like Shaw are the way to go when looking at the future. If you want to spend in FA I'd prefer young up the middle guys or young SP's. Let your farm do the work on corner players.

#31 StuckOnYouk

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:14 AM

Swisher makes a ton of sense.

At the very least this trade just made the Yankees have to up the ante to keep Swisher if they truly were going to try to keep him anyway. They're going to sign Cano to a monster deal so they're going to lose either Granderson or Swisher if they are really going to try to stay under the threshhold and get younger.
They are an old, old team.
If I'm the Sox I wouldn't sign Swisher to anything more than a 3 year deal. If you want to offer more in salary per year than NY fine, but no longer termers with guys already in their 30's please. They have the financial room now to bolster the contracts with $ per year to keep the length of the deal short.

Edited by StuckOnYouk, 25 August 2012 - 11:16 AM.


#32 Greg29fan


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:20 AM

Loney is also a very good defensive 1B, so I agree with the posts above that you play him and see what he can do moving to the hitter-friendly Fenway.

#33 Pumpsie


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:27 AM

I'm thinking Punto was included in this deal to keep Bobby V from playing him at 1st the next season plus.


What team have YOU been watching? Valentine never wanted Punto on the team (he liked Ciriaco right out of training camp) and has kept Punto's PT to the absolute minimum. Punto has only been used when Valentine had no other choice. Punto has been one of the non-supporters of Valentine in the clubhouse, probably for this very reason. Punto's gone because he sucked and Valentine didn't like using him. He was a total waste of a roster spot. Cherington corrects one of his mistakes here.

#34 Pumpsie


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:29 AM

Swisher is an interesting option but his agent has already been floating rumors that they'll be asking for a Jayson Werth type contract. Yikes!

#35 Scoops Bolling

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:33 AM

Frankly, I'd prefer the Sox just put Sands at 1B and see what he can do. The guy has mashed at every level, he's had some success in the MLB (he was very effective in his September call-up in 2011, small sample size notwithstanding), and if he proves he can handle the position he's a minimum salaried option for the next few years. If next year is going to be a bridge year of some kind, there is no reason to waste millions on a stopgap when you have a couple in house options that you haven't fully explored yet.

#36 StuckOnYouk

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:35 AM

Nobody thinks that Sands is an everyday 1B; he projects as a solid bench guy to platoon with a LH hitting 1B and/or LF.

If they play Loney going forward over Mauro Gomez, I'll hurl objects. Gomez has maybe a 10% chance of being even a short-term answer, but, please, let's take five weeks to get a better read on him.

Eric, couldn't agree more. I don't see any downside in playing Gomez everyday for the next 5 weeks. Nelson Cruz didn't figure it out until he was 27 or 28. See what this guy can do. it's not like we're competing for a WC spot this year. The odds maybe against him but who the hell cares. Loney would be an extreme waste of space there.

#37 Harry Hooper


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:39 AM

What team have YOU been watching? Valentine never wanted Punto on the team (he liked Ciriaco right out of training camp) and has kept Punto's PT to the absolute minimum. Punto has only been used when Valentine had no other choice. Punto has been one of the non-supporters of Valentine in the clubhouse, probably for this very reason. Punto's gone because he sucked and Valentine didn't like using him. He was a total waste of a roster spot. Cherington corrects one of his mistakes here.


Very true! Ben expected Punto to play a lot more, but BobbyV said right away that he wanted the same guy playing SS almost every day. As ST went on, he preferred CIriaco as the utility guy, but that was nixed due to Punto's contract.

#38 Yaz4Ever


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:42 AM

Frankly, I'd prefer the Sox just put Sands at 1B and see what he can do. The guy has mashed at every level, he's had some success in the MLB (he was very effective in his September call-up in 2011, small sample size notwithstanding), and if he proves he can handle the position he's a minimum salaried option for the next few years. If next year is going to be a bridge year of some kind, there is no reason to waste millions on a stopgap when you have a couple in house options that you haven't fully explored yet.


I may have missed this, but what is his defense like? Worst case, he sucks defensively. Is that going to cost us a shot at the playoffs this season? If there is no interest in keeping Loney, who cares how he's played. Personally, I'd like to see him get a shot in Fenway as well. Do Loney and Sands work in a platoon (don't know their splits) and, if so, would there be a large enough sample size to make it matter?

#39 The Boomer

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:45 AM

I have no doubt I am looking at it simplistically. That caveat aside you can take a look at any farm system and find multiple guys who can hit, and hit well, with the asterisk next to them of "butcher in LF, won't stick behind the plate" etc. I would target those guys and put them into a 1b thunderdome. It's not hard to motivate them with a chance for a roster spot and the gig at 1b in Boston. Sure it's a lottery but no more than the status quo in MLB these days which is a first baseman gets 20mil a year over 8 and it's a "fair" contract. 1b is a position you should not be spending serious money on in baseball today. You save those bullets for elite pitching. The 1b market is a total nightmare as far as payroll efficiency is concerned. The idea of paying Laroche 7 mil a year is just unfathomable to me. I'd much rather this team play a combination of Sands (who can play some LF), Salty/Lavarnway/Ortiz or whoever you can get to play some passable 1b than to wade into the worst market in baseball and pay Laroche/Napoli/Morneau huge dollars.The thought process of needing a 950 ops , with gold glove defense at the easiest position to fill on your roster is not sustainable with the new CBA and the emphasis on pitching in my opinion. We were just gift wrapped a guy who can rake and play 1b/LF for cheap money. Let him play, have a plan B and go from there.


There was precedent for this when Theo acquired both Jeremy Giambi and Ortiz as cheap free agents in the same offseason. The rest, as they say, is history. Sands, Lavarnway and maybe even Loney (or a lefty with a little more pop) as a platoon 1B could be cost effectively productive. Loney (possibly just entering his prime at age 28), away from Dodger Stadium with his change of scenery to the AL, might surprise. He could be a doubles machine in Fenway Park and shouldn't cost a fortune to re-sign if they want him back.

#40 ThatsMyPeskyPole

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:45 AM

Sign Loney to one year deal , good glove maybe learn to hit again. meh.

#41 ScubaSteveAvery


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:52 AM

Frankly, I'd prefer the Sox just put Sands at 1B and see what he can do. The guy has mashed at every level, he's had some success in the MLB (he was very effective in his September call-up in 2011, small sample size notwithstanding), and if he proves he can handle the position he's a minimum salaried option for the next few years. If next year is going to be a bridge year of some kind, there is no reason to waste millions on a stopgap when you have a couple in house options that you haven't fully explored yet.


Sands is interesting because he'd be an upgrade over Nava in LF, but the Sox have a hole at 1B. Sands has better credentials than Gomez over his MiLB career, so it may make sense to try and put him there to see what we have. Soxprospects has Sands as an average defender in LF and 1B, so I don't think he'd be a defensive liability. But, I think I prefer Sands and Gomez in the same lineup to Sands and Nava.

#42 Scoops Bolling

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:01 PM

I may have missed this, but what is his defense like? Worst case, he sucks defensively. Is that going to cost us a shot at the playoffs this season? If there is no interest in keeping Loney, who cares how he's played. Personally, I'd like to see him get a shot in Fenway as well. Do Loney and Sands work in a platoon (don't know their splits) and, if so, would there be a large enough sample size to make it matter?

Hard to tell what the deal with Sands' defense is; some scouting reports seem to hate him, others think he's merely average. EV noted the Davenport translations liked his LF defense. Sands' MLB platoon split has had him as far more effective against LHP than RHP, which would make him a good platoon partner for Loney; problem is, the minor league splits out there show Sands to be better against RHP than LHP, and those samples are much larger. It's hard to tell...but frankly, I'd prefer not to see Loney play at all. Let Gomez and Sands handle it once rosters expand (with Sands also getting some time in LF), and see what we have.

#43 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:06 PM

Eric, couldn't agree more. I don't see any downside in playing Gomez everyday for the next 5 weeks. Nelson Cruz didn't figure it out until he was 27 or 28. See what this guy can do. it's not like we're competing for a WC spot this year. The odds maybe against him but who the hell cares. Loney would be an extreme waste of space there.


Loney is also a much better defensive 1B than Gomez. It seems to me that platooning Loney and Gomez the rest of the way is a no-brainer. Maybe, given that we may have more interest in Gomez long-term as EV has pointed out, you make it a lopsided platoon and give Gomez some of the starts vs. RHP. But I don't see the need to just stash Loney on the bench to rot the rest of the way. Might as well give him some starts vs. RHP and see what we get.

#44 xpisblack

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:10 PM

So, I'm guessing Cherington's son is getting baptised today...?

I'm cautiously relieved at this trade-- offloading the money alone would be worth a few players with talent and potential (also, Punto). Kudea.

#45 MoGator71


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:32 PM

Loney is also a much better defensive 1B than Gomez. It seems to me that platooning Loney and Gomez the rest of the way is a no-brainer. Maybe, given that we may have more interest in Gomez long-term as EV has pointed out, you make it a lopsided platoon and give Gomez some of the starts vs. RHP. But I don't see the need to just stash Loney on the bench to rot the rest of the way. Might as well give him some starts vs. RHP and see what we get.


With the talk about Ortiz being rested every other day moving forward it should be easy enough to get Gomez some additional ABs. I'd go ahead with the platoon and see if Loney hits here, he could be the "bridge" guy for next year rather than trying to trade for somebody like Morneau.

#46 Eric Van


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:45 PM

Great comments all. I'll intercept the object I mentally hurled and agree that they should find out if a change of scenery to a better park might revitalize Loney. If he's had the same platoon splits home and away, then he's been a .306 / .360 / .486 career hitter vs. RHP away from Chavez Ravine. And that doesn't suck. I'm going to have to look into the platoon splits for Adams and Carpenter, and their defense, too.

I don't know what to make of Sands' reverse split; they are so rare as to be almost non-existent. I haven't yet decided whether I like him or Nava better in LF next year.

I'd somehow forgotten about Shaw as a prospect, and I think his presence rules out any kind of investment a la Swisher. Or Youkilis, alas.

The comparison to '04 when they picked up both Ortiz and Giambi is apt, but it's complicated by the fact that we sort of have to do this with three positions simultaneously, covered by five roster spots. You have Kalish, Nava, Sweeney (unless Kalish plays well enough the rest of the way to make him redundant), Sands, and Gomez already, you want to re-sign Ross, add one of the LH-hitting 1B we're talking about -- it's 6 or 7 guys fighting for 5 spots and even then you might not know which 3 start and which 2 are on the bench.

#47 ScubaSteveAvery


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:57 PM

Great comments all. I'll intercept the object I mentally hurled and agree that they should find out if a change of scenery to a better park might revitalize Loney. If he's had the same platoon splits home and away, then he's been a .306 / .360 / .486 career hitter vs. RHP away from Chavez Ravine. And that doesn't suck. I'm going to have to look into the platoon splits for Adams and Carpenter, and their defense, too.

I don't know what to make of Sands' reverse split; they are so rare as to be almost non-existent. I haven't yet decided whether I like him or Nava better in LF next year.


One thing I noticed poking around with the minor league splits for 2011 and 2012 is that Gomez destroys LHPs in the minors to the tune of a .999 OPS in a smallish sample of 297 PA's compared to and .877 OPS against RHPs. Sands has the opposite split, hitting .955 OPS against RHPs, but "only" .844 OPS against LHPs. It may be possible to platoon the two and play Nava in LF until Brentz is ready. It probably isn't option #1, but its an option while the Sox figure some other things about their MiLB system.

#48 NHbeau


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:59 PM

Great comments all. I'll intercept the object I mentally hurled and agree that they should find out if a change of scenery to a better park might revitalize Loney. If he's had the same platoon splits home and away, then he's been a .306 / .360 / .486 career hitter vs. RHP away from Chavez Ravine. And that doesn't suck. I'm going to have to look into the platoon splits for Adams and Carpenter, and their defense, too.

I don't know what to make of Sands' reverse split; they are so rare as to be almost non-existent. I haven't yet decided whether I like him or Nava better in LF next year.

I'd somehow forgotten about Shaw as a prospect, and I think his presence rules out any kind of investment a la Swisher. Or Youkilis, alas.

The comparison to '04 when they picked up both Ortiz and Giambi is apt, but it's complicated by the fact that we sort of have to do this with three positions simultaneously, covered by five roster spots. You have Kalish, Nava, Sweeney (unless Kalish plays well enough the rest of the way to make him redundant), Sands, and Gomez already, you want to re-sign Ross, add one of the LH-hitting 1B we're talking about -- it's 6 or 7 guys fighting for 5 spots and even then you might not know which 3 start and which 2 are on the bench.


Agree with you Eric. These thing's tend to work themselves out though with players sucking, injuries etc. If this season has said anything it's 7 guys for 5 spots can easily mean your scouring rosters for flotsam due to your entire OF being on the DL. A worst case scenario of 7 cheap guys who all can play in the big's at a couple positions means you have even more trade chits to address starting pitching. Hardly a bad thing. Other than maybe resigning Loney, I just don't see the need for the Sox to spend one nickel this coming season to fill 1b with what's on the roster now, in the high minors or on it's way soon.

#49 Paul M


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Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:05 PM

My bias is I prefer not to play a RH bat at 1B if at all possible. The rest of the infield is RH and I think you try to fill it with a LH bat. Definitely think Sands is more platoon guy and fill a Millar-like role ideally playing some 1B and LF at Fenway. His AA numbers two years ago are the only data I'd look at hard since the PCL just can really obscure things. A 890 at AA at 22 is legit. I know he's been traded 100 times already but wondering if Brett Wallace is an option? Houston has Singleton who should be much better long-term.

#50 Yo La Tengo

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:08 PM

I think I'd take a wait-and-see approach. If things develop this off-season to a point where the team looks to be competitive next year, I'd be fine to see the front office shell out some money for Napoli, but I don't see the point if next year really is about assessing/rebuilding. And, a subsidized Morneau would be intriguing, while I've always thought Ortiz would be fine a few days a week at first.
And, for all the talk about 2013 being a thin free agent year, 2014 looks about the same to me. I think that's the new reality, as teams tie up their young talent for the long-term.