Jump to content


Yo! You're not logged in. Why am I seeing this ad?

Photo

Alex Speier Chat


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
80 replies to this topic

#1 absintheofmalaise


  • too many flowers


  • 11,097 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:38 AM

We're pleased to announce that WEEI columnist Alex Speier has once again agreed to do a chat with us. It's set to start at Noon on Tuesday 2/26 and will last about an hour. Please go ahead and post your questions in advance. If any lurkers would like to ask a question, please PM an active member and they will post it for you. He'll post answers to follow up questions as time allows.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with his work, please check out this thread in the Media forum. He also contributes to the Full Count blog. And make sure you follow him on Twitter



#2 TheoShmeo


  • made johnny damon think long and hard


  • 8,300 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

Alex,

 

My two biggest concerns about the 2013 Sox are

 

- the state of the rotation in that they're relying, in the first instance, on bounce back years from Lester and Lackey, consistency and health from Buchholz, a smooth adjustment to the AL by Dempster and continued improvement from Doubront, whose first phase of camp has been less than a smashing success.  A related concern is whether they have enough depth behind the first five.  Morales, Aceves and De La Rosa is probably a better 6-9 than most teams have but it's of course possible that Aceves will not last.

 

- the team's vulnerablity to RH pitching given Victorino and Gomes' track records against righties

 

My second biggest concerns are

 

- Farrell's in-game management given what seemed like some head scratcher decisions in Sox-Jays games last year. 

 

- the lack of depth in the OF.

 

I'd appreciate your comments on any or all of those topics, and I'm interested to see if you think Iglesias will ever be anything more than a tantalizing glove and an insufficient bat.

 

Those are a bunch of points and you'll get lots of other questions, so thanks in advance for whatever you might address.  And thanks for doing this.  I'm a huge fan of your work and think you're one of the very best in the Boston market.

 

-   


Edited by TheoShmeo, 19 February 2013 - 11:31 AM.


#3 Savin Hillbilly


  • SoSH Member


  • 11,707 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

Alex, thanks for coming back to do another chat. As you may have noticed, you have a lot of fans around here.

My 2-part question is about Saltalamacchia. When David Ross was first acquired, there was a lot of speculation that a Salty trade would follow over the winter. Now the Sox are in Florida and Salty is still with the club.

1) Do you think the Sox will be trying to move Salty during spring training, or do you think they've decided to keep him around at least to start the year?

2) What impact, if any, do you think the revelation about Napoli's hip has had on Salty's situation?

#4 Snodgrass'Muff


  • smarter as Lucen


  • 20,984 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:58 PM

Hey Alex, thanks for coming back!  We really appreciate it!

 

So my question is about the bullpen.  Currently, the Sox have more arms than they can carry to start the season and will have to whittle that number down while keeping as much control over those arms as is possible, while simultaneously trying to put the best possible arms in the pen to start the season.  I imagine it will be interesting to see how that balances out.  Who do you see being the odd men out to start the season?  Of those who won't be on the major league roster, who do you see starting the year in Pawtucket and who do you see leaving or being let go from the organization?



#5 E5 Yaz


  • Transcends message boarding


  • 26,380 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

1. Despite the recent strong denials from Henry, one way to look at the length of this year's FA contracts is that they expire in a window of convenience should ownership decide to sell in 2-3 years. The books would be wiped of the higher ticket items, and the pipeline products wouldn't be making big money. It's said that modern owners are always looking to sell, it's just a matter of when. Should we look at this three-year span as going beyond wanting to rebuild a homegrown core, perhaps as an early indicator of a potential for an ownership change? 

 

2. Regarding Ellsbury, Boras nearly always takes his players into free agency. With the draft pick penalty already shown to have an effect, would a team that would think of making a play for Jacoby next offseason be more motivated (offer more) at the trade deadline this year ... with the IFs being he stays healthy, produces and the Sox decide it's in their best interest to move him? If Ellsbury has a good season, Boras is going to ask for far more than the $13M line of demarcation they seem to have a established.

 

Thanks for the chat



#6 RedOctober3829


  • SoSH Member


  • 16,683 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:11 PM

Alex, great to see you back graciously answering any questions that we have again.

 

--Do you think that the team's focus on getting players who will see more pitches and grinding out ABs will translate to more runs scored?  Is there enough players in the lineup who can drive in those extra runners that might be on base because of a more disciplined approach?

 

--Will we see more of an attempt to use the running game to the team's advantage with John Farrell at the helm?

 

--Do you see the platoon of Gomes and Nava being good enough on both sides of the ball to be above league average for LF?


Edited by RedOctober3829, 19 February 2013 - 02:11 PM.


#7 Dogman2


  • Yukon Cornelius


  • 11,187 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:41 PM

Alex,

 

There has been quite a bit of chatter during this offseason regarding Aceves.  I'd say about 75% of posters fall in the "worth little (C prospect or less) based on 2012 numbers and attitude" while the other 25% feel he is worth much more (MLB ready player/prospect or 2). If the team was to trade Aceves alone in the spring, what do you think he is currently worth?

 

Thanks for this.


Edited by Dogman2, 19 February 2013 - 02:46 PM.


#8 curly2

  • 2,742 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

Piggybacking on RedOctober's question about plate discipline:

 

The Sox used to stress plate discipline in the minors, but in recent years it seems to be de-emphasized, where players like Reddick and Middlebrooks keep being promoted despite awful walk rates. Will the organization get back to stressing it in the minors?



#9 joe dokes

  • 3,118 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:48 PM

Do you read the local competition?

Any favorites? (Even beyond the locals)



#10 JimBoSox9


  • will you be my friend?


  • 12,795 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:30 PM

Alex,

  Thanks for hanging out with us for a bit, glad to see we didn't scare you away.  The thing that has stood out during your time as a Sox beat writer (and a trait amplified, I think, by the nature of Spring Training) is that there's a high percentage of information, major or minor, that I can't read elsewhere.  In general, it seems that in sportswriting finding interesting or new angles has become subservient to promoting existing narratives proven to drive page views.  Can you talk about your approach to developing story ideas, the input your editors have into that initial generation process, and whether in your experience the balance of finding new small information to report versus expanding ongoing issues has changed?  I guess what I'm trying to say is, it feels like those of us who would rather read something new about Xander Boegart's friends or (say) Dustin Pedroia's cleats than the 1,000th rehash of the Bobby V era are an under-served audience, which is counter-intuitive to both the prime directive of being a beat writer and the proliferation of volume via the internet.  Thanks,

 

JimBoSox9



#11 ShaneTrot

  • 4,532 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

Thanks, Alex for the chat. I really enjoy your writing and podcasts.

 

How do you feel about Cherrington as a GM? His trades look bad (Reddick and Lowrie for failed 2012 relievers), the Hanrahan deal seems like a minor upgrade and the free agent signings are pretty pedestrian. The best we can say is he has not traded any of the Killer Bs.



#12 mabrowndog


  • Ask me about total zone...or paint


  • 38,423 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

Thanks for returning to chat with us Alex!

 

The Sox signed seven primary free agents this winter (Victorino, Dempster, Drew, Gomes, Ross, Napoli & Uehara). What's your position on them in terms of valuation? Relative to the FA market, the available alternatives, and the production you expect from each, which ones do you project as bargains, as overpays, and as just about right? And why?



#13 Chainsaw318

  • 1,402 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:08 PM

Hi,

 

You seemed somewhat more tuned-in to the minor league system than a lot of other writers who follow the Sox. Who are some players (outside of the normal names) that you have heard great buzz on, or seen and may become someone to pay attention to?

 

Thanks for chatting



#14 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

  • 4,189 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:31 PM

Hi Alex - thanks for doing this.

 

I have an irrational love for Jackie Bradley Jr. What do you think is the organization's plan for him in the short and long term, and what do you think his ceiling is? Will this guy make us forget all about Ellsbury in 2014?



#15 gammoseditor


  • also had a stroke


  • 2,813 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for the chat Alex.  In your blog you had a running piece on the Sox salary figures going forward.  It looked like you were using AAV for each year's payroll, and for 2015 you had Lackey at the league minimum.  There seemed to be some conflicting reports posted around here about how Lackey's option was going to be applied to the teams AAV.  Do you know if it's going to be the 82.5/5 for the first 5 years and then the league minimum for 2015?



#16 SoxLegacy

  • 557 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Alex. I really enjoy your balanced and analysis of all things Red Sox. I was wondering about the possibility of the Red Sox extending Pedroia. There was a little bit of buzz about it earlier this off- season, but it's died away. I can understand both points of view in regards to extending him. On the down side, he'll be 32 when the present deal is done, and 2B is a grind of a position. On the flip side, he's a terrific player, and certainly one of the two faces of the franchise. I can see the Sox building around him for the future, and locking him in before Cano's contract deal sets the market. What do you think?



#17 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:53 PM

Alex, this is a little off the beaten path, but I wonder if you know anything about Tropicana Stadium in St. Petersburg.  When James Shields was traded to the Royals, I was surprised to find that he had *much* better stats at home.  Someone subsequently told me that Tropicana Stadium is regarded as being poorly, perhaps inadequately lit.  Have the Red Sox ever complained to MLB about this?



#18 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:03 PM

Alex, I've come to believe that great pitchers like Pedro not only do something better than other pitchers. they also know just what the hell it is that they're doing, better.  What I mean is they can sense when they're dropping their elbow or opening up too early or doing any of a nearly infinite number of possible things wrong while other pitchers just keep doing them wrong and sink into habits of doing them more and more wrong.   Has there been any information out of the Red Sox about just what Jon Lester did to have such a bad year last year? 


Edited by Rough Carrigan, 24 February 2013 - 08:11 PM.


#19 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:04 PM

Alex, don't equivocate.  Amalie Benjamin or Heidi Watney?


Edited by Rough Carrigan, 19 February 2013 - 08:04 PM.


#20 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:08 PM

Philosophical preference, Alex, Plato or Aristotle?



#21 wade boggs chicken dinner


  • SoSH Member


  • 6,905 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:30 PM

Wow, that's a tough act to follow.  But thanks for chatting, and you definitely set the bar for Red Sox sportswriting.

 

So my question has to do with contract insurance.  I know insurance was a big part of the escalation of salaries.  I'm also pretty sure that right around the time of the global financial meltdown, there were suggestions that teams couldn't find insurance anymore and that was holding down years and amounts.  More recently, though, I saw a couple of stories that intimated that clubs were able to get insurance on contracts - maybe through some sort of self-insurance pool?

 

Do you know if there is a viable insurance product that clubs can get to insure long-term contracts?  That would make, for example, the Felix H contract more understandable.  Also, if you happen to know any of the details I would certainly appreciate the information.

 

Bonus question - do you read any of the non-Red Sox threads on SOSH? 

 

Thanks so much for your time.



#22 John Marzano Olympic Hero


  • has fancy plans, and pants to match


  • 15,250 posts

Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:32 AM

Thanks for swinging by, Alex. 

 

A couple of questions about last year:

 

1. Do you feel that the results of the 2012 Red Sox was a hangover from the previous September?

 

2. You were in the clubhouse last year, how bad was it really? Even before the injuries began mounting and the losing started (mid-July) was the place as toxic as we (the fans) think?

 

3. This isn't any jab at you or your colleagues because I do understand your job and the things you have to do deal with on a daily basis, but why did it seem like the national writers broke a lot of the big stories last year? Is this the sort of thing that happens on all beats -- ie national writers hear something, write a story and leave the beat guys to follow up? Do you believe that the Boston media, as a whole, were scooped? 

 

Thanks again. 



#23 Lose Remerswaal


  • Leaves after the 8th inning


  • 22,610 posts

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:09 AM

Alex:  In retrospect, it's obvious that Bobby Valentine was not the right choice for the 2012 Boston Red Sox.  But assuming Terry Francona was not a viable option, who should the Sox have chosen out of that mötley crüe of candidates?



#24 I am an Idiot


  • "Duke"


  • 3,572 posts

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:16 AM

Hi Alex,

 

 

Last March I asked Ben Cherington whether it was more important to have "big name players" that fans recognize, or lesser-known players that allow roster turnover. His answer was that "[the Red Sox] strive for a combination of proven players (those fans might recognize more) and under-valued players". He took my advice (ha) and pulled the trigger on one of the biggest trades in franchise history.

 

1) You've pretty much outlined the blueprint going forward with your recent article; do you feel that the Sox have spent the money saved from the contracts dumped in The Trade wisely? What do you think is undervalued about Jonny Gomes?

 

2)  Traditional follow-up: Who would win in a fight, a grizzly bear or a silverback gorilla?



#25 Clears Cleaver


  • SoSH Member


  • 8,409 posts

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:23 AM

1. Which Pitchers do you think Farrell will be able to most positively impact by returning? Why?

2. What do you think will be the final makeup of the bullpen coming out of the spring? And what do you think it will look like in July?

3. How does de la rosa fit into the organization's plans? I understand he is not a prospect anymore by definition, but if he was, where would he be in the Sox top10? How long before we can expect to see him in Fenway?



#26 someoneanywhere

  • 3,172 posts

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

Thank you, Alex. Awful nice of you to drop in.

Most of these guys know I've got a man-crush on Christian Vazquez. I'm at ticket-holder at Flour Field, and have been for a number of years, so I not only saw Vazquez in Greenville but have seen everything else -- Sox-wise and else-wise in the Sally League -- to come through there wearing a mask. I see the questions about the bat. But I also see power and hard contact; of course I see one of the better defensive guys, especially footwork and lateral movement, in the system.

So my question: he's on the 40-man, obviously, but no one seems to talk about him as a top prospy. Where -- so far as you are able to discern -- would the Sox honestly rank him in the system?

Edited by someoneanywhere, 22 February 2013 - 08:27 AM.


#27 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

  • 4,189 posts

Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:17 PM

I thought there was a filter for "prospy." Or was that for prospie?

#28 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

  • 4,189 posts

Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:18 PM

Ah, I see that it was.

#29 Laser Show

  • 3,409 posts

Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:04 PM

Thanks for dropping by Alex.

 

With John Lackey supposedly healthy and pain free for the first time in his Boston career, what are the chances that we see the Angels version take the mound for the Sox? Is this just the usual "blah blah best shape of his life blah blah blah" or is there actual reason for optimism in what he's showing this spring thus far compared with 2011?



#30 Mugsys Jock


  • Longtime Member


  • 4,091 posts

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

So...what do you expect out of Carl Crawford this year?  What his under-performance in Boston injury-related, Boston-related, or decline-related? 



#31 SaveBooFerriss


  • twenty foreskins


  • 6,121 posts

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

Alex,

 

You are very knowledgeable about the farm system and you are sabermetrically inclined, in evaluating prospects how much do you believe stats matter as opposed to scouting evaluations? 



#32 drtooth


  • 2:30


  • 9,179 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:05 AM

Being one that enjoys following the progress of late round draft selections like Drew Hedman and Kevin Heller, are there any sleeper prospects that might impact the Sox in the next few years that we haven't heard about?



#33 Pearl Wilson


  • SoSH Member


  • 6,128 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

What is your approach to stories that include a medical component?

 

Injury and medical information can be very confusing between deliberate obfuscation and privacy laws. Are you able to / do you report what you see and what you hear around the team? Or do you wait for official, on-the-record info to be released?

 

Thanks!


Edited by Pearl Wilson, 24 February 2013 - 06:19 PM.


#34 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

Alex, has the way that the organization interacts with the press changed at all with the return of Charles Steinberg?



#35 SeoulSoxFan


  • SoSH Member


  • 11,715 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

Alex, what do you see out of Ellsbury this year? 



#36 Ted Cox 4 president

  • 760 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:58 PM

An addendum to SoxLegacy's post above:

 

Last year, Pedroia had an OPS of .797 and OPS+ of 112, considerably below his 2011 OPS of .861 and OPS+ of 131. (For his career, he's .830 and 117.) He'll turn 30 in August. What are you expecting from him this year, and what do you see from him in the next two or three years? Thanks. 



#37 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:08 PM

Alex, have you gotten any greater detail from the Red Sox about specific ways in which Bill James had been involved in the baseball operations staff's process and over time been left out and with which he's expected to be involved again?



#38 wutang112878


  • SoSH Member


  • 5,658 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:11 PM

Alex, thanks for taking the time to chat.

 

My question is around the front office structure and long-term strategy.  Do you have a sense of how much autonomy Cherington has?  Does Larry still 'have a seat at the table' or is the wall between baseball ops growing again?  And, are all members of ownership ready to be patient this year if attendance and ratings drop significantly??



#39 mauidano


  • Mai Tais for everyone!


  • 13,769 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

Quick thought for those of us in the islands, how is Victorino looking so far in Spring Training?  Will he have to make any realistic adjustments  to the AL and not playing CF?  



#40 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:11 PM

Alex, have you talked with any players or agents about the new cba after seeing how the draft pick situation affected free agency?  Is there any feeling on their side that they gave away a bit too much?


Edited by Rough Carrigan, 25 February 2013 - 11:12 PM.


#41 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:15 PM

Did you see the Baseball Prospectus series on catchers framing pitches and how one of the Molina brothers is so good at it that he might have saved his team some incredible number like 40 runs in the course of a year?  Do the Red Sox try to coach their catchers to exhibit the same characteristics (no head movement, etc) that were cited by BP as being the apparent hallmarks of catchers who get extra strikes called?



#42 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:23 PM

Looking at things from a big picture perspective, how do the Red Sox intend to make up for the inability to spend more on their mid and late round picks in the amateur draft?  The new cba also limits spending on international free agents.  So, how do the Red Sox expect to bring more talent into the organization?  Their previous M.O. has been taken away by the new cba, hasn't it?



#43 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,863 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:26 PM

Can you discern a difference in how open not only the Red Sox but also other media members are to giving serious consideration to various new sabremetric stats now as opposed to when you started at your job?



#44 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:41 AM

Alex,

 

My two biggest concerns about the 2013 Sox are

 

- the state of the rotation in that they're relying, in the first instance, on bounce back years from Lester and Lackey, consistency and health from Buchholz, a smooth adjustment to the AL by Dempster and continued improvement from Doubront, whose first phase of camp has been less than a smashing success.  A related concern is whether they have enough depth behind the first five.  Morales, Aceves and De La Rosa is probably a better 6-9 than most teams have but it's of course possible that Aceves will not last.

 

- the team's vulnerablity to RH pitching given Victorino and Gomes' track records against righties

 

My second biggest concerns are

 

- Farrell's in-game management given what seemed like some head scratcher decisions in Sox-Jays games last year. 

 

- the lack of depth in the OF.

 

I'd appreciate your comments on any or all of those topics, and I'm interested to see if you think Iglesias will ever be anything more than a tantalizing glove and an insufficient bat.

 

Those are a bunch of points and you'll get lots of other questions, so thanks in advance for whatever you might address.  And thanks for doing this.  I'm a huge fan of your work and think you're one of the very best in the Boston market.

 

-   

Going to get going now to try to get to as many questions as possible!

 

Regarding the rotation: You're right, they don't have anyone who represents a top-of-the-rotation certainty, while NYY (Sabathia) and, arguably, TOR (Dickey) have them. But I think last year represented outliers in terms of performance for Buchholz/Lester given the quality of stuff both continued to exhibit, inconsistently, in 2012,and given the fact that there are some pretty impressive successes in the recent past of both.

 

I actually think the Sox' rotation depth could be pretty good -- unproven, but impressive. Morales was filthy as a starter last year, and I like using any potential injuries/underperformances of the slated five to see what some of the prospects can do: Wright, Webster, De La Rosa all have upside that can impact the org for the long haul. I'd say that the Sox' depth of starters with major league-ready stuff might be better than anyone's but Tampa Bay's.

 

Will be interesting to see how the team does against RHP given the splits you noted -- part of the reason why Drew was such an important addition. I do think Gomes' ability vs. RHP has been underappreciated -- still a quality, grinding at-bat which has a collective lineup impact by driving up pitch counts. But yeah -- Victorino's 2012 vs RHP was a red flag that he'll have to prove is unwarranted.



#45 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:43 AM

Alex, thanks for coming back to do another chat. As you may have noticed, you have a lot of fans around here.

My 2-part question is about Saltalamacchia. When David Ross was first acquired, there was a lot of speculation that a Salty trade would follow over the winter. Now the Sox are in Florida and Salty is still with the club.

1) Do you think the Sox will be trying to move Salty during spring training, or do you think they've decided to keep him around at least to start the year?

2) What impact, if any, do you think the revelation about Napoli's hip has had on Salty's situation?

 

I think the offseason was the time to move Salty, barring an injury to another team. His value ebbs as his potential time to learn a new staff diminishes. I'd think Lavarnway would have considerably more value, though it is intriguing that, for the first time in a couple years, the Sox have put themselves in a position to be willing to listen on him.

 

Regarding Napoli/Salty, I think none. The Sox wanted to sign Napoli as a 1B even before they knew about the hip.

 

I do think the team hoped that a trade market would materialize to break the Ross/Salty/Lavarnway logjam. It's suboptimal, at this point, for Lavarnway to be back in the minors, even if it does give the Sox superior catching depth to most teams.



#46 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:46 AM

Hey Alex, thanks for coming back!  We really appreciate it!

 

So my question is about the bullpen.  Currently, the Sox have more arms than they can carry to start the season and will have to whittle that number down while keeping as much control over those arms as is possible, while simultaneously trying to put the best possible arms in the pen to start the season.  I imagine it will be interesting to see how that balances out.  Who do you see being the odd men out to start the season?  Of those who won't be on the major league roster, who do you see starting the year in Pawtucket and who do you see leaving or being let go from the organization?

 

Certainly, the Sox will listen if teams want to talk trades for Aceves and Bailey. For me, it's hard to imagine that without a singularly dominant spring that Bard will be in position to open the year in the big leagues. I think, given the depth of his struggles last year and the wait for his return to high-90s velo, the team will proceed with caution and make him prove that he's ready to dominate. Think Buchholz in 2009. Aside from him, I think that Mortensen is vulnerable, especially if they don't trade Aceves. He's out of options so doesn't really help from a roster flexibility standpoint; for that reason, he's not as valuable as he was last year, and he'd be somewhat redundant if they keep Aceves.



#47 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:51 AM

1. Despite the recent strong denials from Henry, one way to look at the length of this year's FA contracts is that they expire in a window of convenience should ownership decide to sell in 2-3 years. The books would be wiped of the higher ticket items, and the pipeline products wouldn't be making big money. It's said that modern owners are always looking to sell, it's just a matter of when. Should we look at this three-year span as going beyond wanting to rebuild a homegrown core, perhaps as an early indicator of a potential for an ownership change? 

 

2. Regarding Ellsbury, Boras nearly always takes his players into free agency. With the draft pick penalty already shown to have an effect, would a team that would think of making a play for Jacoby next offseason be more motivated (offer more) at the trade deadline this year ... with the IFs being he stays healthy, produces and the Sox decide it's in their best interest to move him? If Ellsbury has a good season, Boras is going to ask for far more than the $13M line of demarcation they seem to have a established.

 

Thanks for the chat

Totally reasonable inference, but I've been told in no uncertain terms that they're not looking to sell. I mean, while your point is totally valid, it's also hard to suggest, based on the team's recent performance, that their decision to shift away from high-priced long-term deals for aging veterans isn't motivated by a desire to make better baseball ops decisions.

 

RE: Ellsbury/Boras, I don't see an incentive to trade for him this year just because of interest in signing him as a FA. Remember: trading a guy mid-season means there's no draft pick penalty. Any pending free agent like Ellsbury should do backflips if he gets traded mid-year, given that he'd be freed from the horror of getting Lohse'd.

 

Also: qualifying offer is likely to go up to about $15M next offseason. Those big contracts for the Victorinos/Drews of the world pushed up the average of the top 125!



#48 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

Alex, great to see you back graciously answering any questions that we have again.

 

--Do you think that the team's focus on getting players who will see more pitches and grinding out ABs will translate to more runs scored?  Is there enough players in the lineup who can drive in those extra runners that might be on base because of a more disciplined approach?

 

--Will we see more of an attempt to use the running game to the team's advantage with John Farrell at the helm?

 

--Do you see the platoon of Gomes and Nava being good enough on both sides of the ball to be above league average for LF?

 

1) Yes, they will see more pitches and yes, I think this will mean more runs scored against crummy first lines of bullpen defense in the middle innings. They'll be fine in terms of the so-called run producers.

 

2) I do think Farrell will encourage an aggressive baserunning style. With Ellsbury, Victorino, Pedroia, they have the components to do some things on the bases...

 

3) My guess is that the season-opening LF rotation will more likely be Gomes, Carp and Sweeney (with Nava working on 1B/LF in the minors). Gomes will be well above-average vs. LHP. Carp and Sweeney are less certain -- both showed the ability to perform above league average vs RHP as recently as a couple years ago, but in 2012, not so much. So, I will bravely equivocate and say: 'maybe.'



#49 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

Alex,

 

There has been quite a bit of chatter during this offseason regarding Aceves.  I'd say about 75% of posters fall in the "worth little (C prospect or less) based on 2012 numbers and attitude" while the other 25% feel he is worth much more (MLB ready player/prospect or 2). If the team was to trade Aceves alone in the spring, what do you think he is currently worth?

 

Thanks for this.

If they trade Aceves, my guess is that it would be for either a fringe 40-man guy with options or maybe a prospect in Double-A or below who's not ML ready but who has upside. His value has been crushed by concerns about makeup. Only way that changes is if a team suffers an injury and has a glaring need for a pitcher. Clearly, there's an asymmetry between the upside of his potential value to the Sox and the potential value of whatever the Sox might be able to acquire for him. But, I think sometimes teams have to swallow hard and make those deals. (Youkilis for very different reasons last year, for instance.) Not sure the situation has gotten there with Aceves, but it's not so very far off.



#50 alexspeier

  • 53 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:01 PM

Piggybacking on RedOctober's question about plate discipline:

 

The Sox used to stress plate discipline in the minors, but in recent years it seems to be de-emphasized, where players like Reddick and Middlebrooks keep being promoted despite awful walk rates. Will the organization get back to stressing it in the minors?

The player development instruction has remained clear. The team wants a focused, selective aggressive approach in which guys identify pitches that they can damage and swing at them, while laying off the stuff that's either out of the zone or, in hitter's counts, out of their zones. But there's only so much instruction/coaching that makes sense -- you don't want to take away what makes a player good. In Reddick's case, they tried to make him take the first pitch, and he got better at pitch recognition and that sort of thing... but in the end, you take some of the on-base struggles in exchange for a lot of outstanding attributes. Middlebrooks is somewhat similar, though he's made steady strides in terms of approach. If he can be a league-average to slightly better-than-average OBP guy (and I think he can), he's a standout.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users