Alex Speier's Book, Homegrown

joyofsox

empty, bleak
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Jul 14, 2005
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Speier has been the best reporter (most curious/inquisitive, least cliched) covering the Red Sox for many years. Really looking forward to reading this.
 

Haunted

The Man in the Box
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Aug 23, 2006
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What timing! I'm headed to Vegas this weekend and needed a book for the flights.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
2,711
Yeah Speier is really good. About his book, the irony of the players giving him a hard time is incredible.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Jun 26, 2006
8,607
Alex was at the Sea Dogs game tonight promoting the book. He threw out the first pitch, then signed copies under the grandstand during the first inning (maybe longer). I bought a copy - only $20 - and had him sign it for me and my son. Pretty great experience. Alex is a great guy - we chatted briefly about whether Dan McGrath can actually pitch in the majors without breaking 90. He seemed really intent on personalizing every experience for every "fan."

Maybe 20 people in line that I saw? I think they were happy with the response. Looking forward to reading the book.
 

pantsparty

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May 2, 2011
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I bought it on Google Books and managed to get it converted for my Kindle, but have yet to read it. Looking forward to when I have a chance to do so.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
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Apr 12, 2001
20,557
Finished this last week and it's excellent. It reminds me of Tony Massarotti's book "Dynasty", which was a really good look at how the 04 and 07 teams were built (seriously, it's good, despite the author), but I liked Speier's take a bit better. He does a terrific job of understanding what makes the Sox front office tick. He also made me look at Ben Cherington in a new light.

All-in-all, a nice read.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
20,557
Basically that Cherington had a three-phased plan where the team would get better and better as the seasons go by, until they were pumping out prospects and stars every year. The problem was the two back-to-back last places and how bad Ben whiffed on the trade deadline in 2014 (aside from ERod). Cherington and Henry were working pretty close together for most of the 2015 season and once DD was available, Henry pulled back and within a week he was named President. Henry told Cherington that he could still keep his job, but Ben left (understanably), thinking that he had the rug pulled out from under him. It sounded to me that Henry didn't have the confidence that Cherington could move the Sox to the next level -- basically he was concerned that Cherington fell in love with his prospects and would never trade them (which is what I thought too).

This book is really good, I highly recommend it.
 

NDame616

will bailey
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Jul 31, 2006
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Did he give details about Mookie being hazed as a rookie and it still burning him today? I think Gasper mentioned that on TSH a few weeks ago
 

twibnotes

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Jul 16, 2005
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I can’t wait to read this.

I am curious to see what Speier has to say about our pitching development (short chapter? Ha). The young positional core was developed so well, but pitching is one area that has not worked out.
 
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Average Reds

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I think that link has some extraneous copy added to it that prevents it from working. Here's another one.


The article did not give me any sense that the issue is "still burning him today." It did give me a sense that John Lackey, Jon Lester, John Farrell and probably others named John (or Jon) were/are assholes.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
20,557
Did he give details about Mookie being hazed as a rookie and it still burning him today? I think Gasper mentioned that on TSH a few weeks ago
To further Red's point, yes, he gets into Mookie not being welcomed by the veterans, going so far as saying Betts wasn't too sad when he got sent back down to AAA. But it sounded as if he sorta got why it happened (even if he didn't agree with it), but today works hard to make sure that the clubhouse isn't like that anymore.

But that Red Sox team sounded like it was one of those "we respect the game and the unwritten rules of baseball" bullshit teams that makes this sport about as appealing as doing your taxes.
 

NDame616

will bailey
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Jul 31, 2006
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Gasper made it seem like the hazing thing could play into his decision to re-sign her or not
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Jul 6, 2006
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500 feet above Lake Sammammish
More than 15 years ago, G38 posted his feelings here about rookies in an MLB clubhouse. I don’t recall his exact language, but he preferred the ones that showed up “knowing their place,” tail between their legs, ready to hide under furniture if the veterans barked at them. And I remember thinking at the time, Why?!

But I guess I’ve learned a few things about G38 and (thanks to this Globe book excerpt) MLB clubhouses since then.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
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Apr 12, 2001
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Gasper made it seem like the hazing thing could play into his decision to re-sign her or not
Really? If that's the truth, that is really dumb. None of those players are here any more, the manager isn't here any more, the GM isn't here any more; unless John Henry has a flux capacitor, what can he do?
 

Danny_Darwin

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Jul 19, 2005
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I think that link has some extraneous copy added to it that prevents it from working. Here's another one.


The article did not give me any sense that the issue is "still burning him today." It did give me a sense that John Lackey, Jon Lester, John Farrell and probably others named John (or Jon) were/are assholes.
So it sounds like the speculation here that Farrell was maybe not the best manager for a team transitioning to a youth movement was accurate? Granted, a lot of those guys had good years in 2016 and 17.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
20,557
So it sounds like the speculation here that Farrell was maybe not the best manager for a team transitioning to a youth movement was accurate? Granted, a lot of those guys had good years in 2016 and 17.
Farrell is quote a lot in this book and there are some good ones too. Apparently, he and DD got into a pretty big shouting match after Barnes threw a pitch behind Machado's head (after MM took out Pedroia a few days earlier). Speier weirdly doesn't get into what the shouting match was about, only that the two differed on how it was handled. It would have been interesting to me see whether Farrell was pro plunking Machado or not. But Farrell was convinced that he was getting fired after that spat, which made him clench up during particularly important games.
 

Spelunker

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Jul 17, 2005
6,303
Got it on my Kindle & just started it. So far, I'd say it's very good. If Remy wants to write another book, he should work with Speier.
He's friends with a friend of mine, and I met him a few times back before TV influenced him to shave his whiskers. Super nice guy, but more importantly someone that genuinely cares about process and story and feels like zero need to inject his own personal narrative. Which is incredibly rare.
 

pantsparty

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May 2, 2011
407
Finally got finished reading this this evening and loved it. The bit about the pitching coaches compiling a video of the Red Sox pitchers striking out Yankee after Yankee instead of the normal scouting report ahead of the postseason series against them is one of my favorite things ever. Also I want a copy of that video.
 

BJBossman

lurker
Dec 6, 2016
271
Basically that Cherington had a three-phased plan where the team would get better and better as the seasons go by, until they were pumping out prospects and stars every year. The problem was the two back-to-back last places and how bad Ben whiffed on the trade deadline in 2014 (aside from ERod). Cherington and Henry were working pretty close together for most of the 2015 season and once DD was available, Henry pulled back and within a week he was named President. Henry told Cherington that he could still keep his job, but Ben left (understanably), thinking that he had the rug pulled out from under him. It sounded to me that Henry didn't have the confidence that Cherington could move the Sox to the next level -- basically he was concerned that Cherington fell in love with his prospects and would never trade them (which is what I thought too).

This book is really good, I highly recommend it.
the Lackey trade was just so bad. That alone was fireable.

Trading for Cespedes instead getting a bounty of prospects for Lester...it got you a title with Porcello's work in 2018. But certainly not the most efficient move.

Eddy for 2 months of Miller was great.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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the Lackey trade was just so bad. That alone was fireable.

Trading for Cespedes instead getting a bounty of prospects for Lester...it got you a title with Porcello's work in 2018. But certainly not the most efficient move.

Eddy for 2 months of Miller was great.
Allen Craig was a bust, but Joe Kelly didn't exactly hurt the team in his time here (and contributed to the 2018 title).
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
271
Allen Craig was a bust, but Joe Kelly didn't exactly hurt the team in his time here (and contributed to the 2018 title).
Lackey was a rather valuable trade chip with that 500k option for the next year.

I get the theory, but considering how bad that team was, restocking more of the farm after guys like X and Mookie were graduating was the better play.
 

Plympton91

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Oct 19, 2008
12,328
I’m listen to this on Audible now, and are we all aware that the Red Sox had a verbal agreement with Justin Turner on a minor league deal with a camp invite in the winter of 2014 before the Dodgers swooped in and gave him a major league contract?

That one almost caused a traffic accident. Wow. How history may have been rewritten if that one had not gotten pulled out from under us. No Middlebrooks disaster in 2014, no Panda signing. Ugh.

The story of how they stumbled into Bogaerts and dragged him out of a sick bed to try out is also very charming.

Great bubble gum distract from interminable traffic jams book. Four stars out of five.
 

Plympton91

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Oct 19, 2008
12,328
The recap of the Moncada signing in this book really helps understand the dearth of prospects currently in the system even more than DD’s chronic overpays in trades.

With the signing of Moncada, they were locked out of IFA signings above $300,000 for 2 years. Then they cheated (that word again) the following year by tying good prospects to bad prospects, paying both $300k but letting them figure out how to split it up. As a result, they lost the entire class of signings. Then, when they got the ability to sign good IFAs again, one of them died. And in the middle of all that mess, they drafted Trey Ball with the overall #7 pick.

If they had Austin Meadows, Danny Flores, and a couple of the legitimate $300k signings they lost because of cheating, the farm system would probably look much better.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Oct 20, 2015
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Well a prospect dying is certainly not their fault. Trey Ball was definitely a huge bust though (and Jay Groome is heading that direction).

Moncada is pretty good and turned into Chris Sale. I'd say it was worth locking ourselves out of IFA for a bit, but I can see the other side of the argument.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Jul 19, 2005
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I mean Ball was a bust and Meadows looks like a Star now, but it’s not as simple as plugging the latter into the current roster; decisions have ripple effects. If they had Meadows in the fold, would they have drafted Andrew Benintendi the following year? And how would that affect 2018, when Beni played a significant role but Meadows had yet to break out?
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
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Oct 19, 2008
12,328
Well a prospect dying is certainly not their fault. Trey Ball was definitely a huge bust though (and Jay Groome is heading that direction).

Moncada is pretty good and turned into Chris Sale. I'd say it was worth locking ourselves out of IFA for a bit, but I can see the other side of the argument.
Yeah, The only moves I was questioning in that whole thing we’re Trey Ball and trying to bundle. It was more just an epiphany on my part, “Oh yeah, there’s actually a really good reason for that hole in the farm system.”
 

jon abbey

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Jul 15, 2005
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The recap of the Moncada signing in this book really helps understand the dearth of prospects currently in the system even more than DD’s chronic overpays in trades.
This got me curious, so here is another angle on that. Fangraphs keeps a running list of all of the prospects that they consider genuine prospects, however many or few that may be per team. Right now NY has 58 guys on their list and BOS 33, so I broke it down by acquiring class. The +1 means a trade for a player in that class, so for instance NY's +1 in the 2018 draft is the Mariners 2nd round pick Josh Stowers who they got in the Sonny Gray three way deal and BOS's +1 in 2014 is Marcus Wilson.

==============================

NY BOS 58 33

2019 intl 1 0
2019 draft 9 5
2018 intl 8 3
2018 draft 5 (+1) 7
2017 intl 9 4
2017 draft 6 1
2016 intl 4 (+1) 0
2016 draft 1 (+1) 4
2015 intl 5 2
2015 draft 0 2
2014 intl 4(+1) 2
2014 draft 0 0 (+1)
2013 intl 2 2

totals:

international: 33 13
draft: 21 19
trade: 4 1


==============================

NY also had a two year international spending cap penalty after 2014-2015, you can see they still managed to find talent under $300K. Also you can see why I think people focus too much on the draft as the primary way to build a team, especially if you don't have a top pick. BOS has drafted just as well as NY in recent years (both have been pretty bad though), but the prospects acquired internationally and via trade are 37-14 for NY currently.