Hot Stove Wishes

lxt

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chawson said:
http://dev.rotoworld.com/headlines/mlb/416168/npb-officials-accept-$20m-posting-fee-limit
 
If I'm parsing this right, we're not getting Tanaka.
 
Hopefully it also means the Yankees aren't either, despite their relatively crappy record. I bet Theo, the White Sox, the Mets, the Orioles or even the Giants would go up to $20M on a posting fee.
 
Ultimately good for baseball.
I'm not sure it means we don't get him but it sure cuts down on the possibilities.
 
I agree good for baseball.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Wow, if that is correct, then we should definitely bid $20 million just in case no one else does. Getting him for a $20 million fee would be great for us. 
 

Bosox4416

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The Gray Eagle said:
Wow, if that is correct, then we should definitely bid $20 million just in case no one else does. Getting him for a $20 million fee would be great for us. 
 
Sorry, but why would no on else big the maximum 20 million? It certainly seems that he could recive bids from all 30 teams. If two (or more) teams bid the maximum, could he choose, or is it automatically the team with the lesser record? Hopefully the former..
 

LeoCarrillo

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Bosox4416 said:
 
Sorry, but why would no on else big the maximum 20 million? It certainly seems that he could recive bids from all 30 teams. If two (or more) teams bid the maximum, could he choose, or is it automatically the team with the lesser record? Hopefully the former..
 
There's a thread on this in the MLB forum. From the dependable Joel Sherman of the NY Post (I know, I know, but Sherman's good), it's up to the player. So big-money teams can offer more money still (and thus likely get most of the shiny new imports), but at least it'll be reflected in their payrolls and luxury tax calculations.
 
At any rate, no reason the Sox aren't in on this. Hopefully our popularity is running high in Japan after Koji-san's epic 2013.
 

jimbobim

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Last I read it from the npb twitter columnist is the the posting system deal has been accepted by both sides, with the 20 million figure on the max bid idea being the sticking point and Tanaka's team the only japan team holding out.
 
I'd say the max bid feasibly goes to 30-40 million something below the fifty mill all the billionaires are complaining about.  
 
Then id be willing to blow Cashman out of the water. Minimal long term commitments overall team payroll wise with Lester the only other big payday on the horizon if they want to do that. If Tanaka is the real deal you can be  a little less desperate for Lester in the event he slips a bit this year. They've had scouts on him for a while at least. 
 

dylanmarsh

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Just throwing this out there: http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2013_3220&type=hitter
 
HR tracker stats for Granderson in 2011:
 
8 of his 41 HRs would not have left Fenway. His average true distance was 389.1 ft.
 
HR tracker stats for Granderson in 2012: 
 
18 of his 43 HRs would not have left Fenway.  His average true distance was 383.3 ft.
 
HR tracker stats for Granderson in 2013:
 
All of his 7 HRs would have left Fenway.  His average true distance was 402 ft.
 

radsoxfan

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My wish isn't for a particular player, but it is for a particular skillset. Hitting right handed pitching (i.e. about two thirds of most rotations). 
 
Just to use the imperfect OPS for simplicity sake.
 
Last season, this team had an awesome .818 OPS vs. RHP.  So fortunately, they can slip a bit, and still be damn good.  But of course, hopefully they don't slip too much....
 
They are losing:
Ellsbury: .863
Salty: .873
Drew: .875 (maybe)
 
 
Some of last years returning righty mashers are at least decent candidates to regress due to age or because of (potentially) lucky seasons.
Ortiz: 1.092
Carp: .904
Nava: .895
 
AJP is coming in to replace Salty, and had basically no split last season (.724 OPS vs RHP).  
Bradley should be OK vs. righties, but is still a bit of an unknown, and almost surely a step down from Jacoby.  
Middlebooks almost has to be better than his .656 OPS (and .244 OBP) by default, but he is not likely to be good vs. righties.  
Xander is a great prospect, but will have a hell of a time matching Drew's numbers vs righties next year (and likely won't).
Pedroia has had a pretty big platoon split for awhile, and only posted a .721 OPS vs RHP last season.
Victorino was better than expected vs. righties (.769 OPS) last season, thanks in large part to only hitting right handed much of the year.  It's unclear how this plays out next season, and if he goes back to hitting lefty. Either way, it's probably optimistic to expect a repeat performance.
 
 
I think the .818 OPS last season was almost bound to go down anyway, and even if all the FA stayed, they would have a tough time matching those 2013 numbers. It would be nice to get someone who can play SS or 3B and can hit RHP well to hedge against WMB continuing to suck vs. RHP. Choo would be great too of course, but probably too expensive. It will be interesting to see how Ben approaches it.  
 
Puffy said:
 
Exactly.  Since they have just traded for Seth Smith, I'd imagine they might have one extra OF to deal with between Quentin, Venable, Denorfia, Maybin, and Smith...
I'm pretty sure the Padre's plan is to platoon the outfield so they will need all these guys, especially since Quentin is often injured. I could see Middlebrooks, MIller and some other mid-grade bullpen arm for Headley and Blanks or Guzman. A platoon of Blanks and Carp could work pretty well for the Sox at 1st base.
 
 Also, with the signing of Josh Johnson the Padres are pretty deep in starting pitchers so I don't think they are interested in a starting pitcher anymore.
 
Finally, for those of you worried about Headley going to the Yankees, what do the Yankees have that the Padres need? I can't think of anything. The Padres need bullpen arms and a cost controlled/ high upside replacement for Headley. Other than that they are now a pretty well rounded team. In fact I think the Padres believe they have a chance to be competitive in 2014, so they probably won't trade Headley unless someone overwhelms them. They can fill their bullpen in the free agent market.
 

KillerBs

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Jesus Guzman or Kyle Blanks would be a fit if Napoli doesn't return. I wonder if either or both are minimally passable defensively in RF. You would think they could come cheap as can't see what the Padres are going to do with them. Guzman's ability to play 2b and 3b as well as 1b/of makes him a pretty nice bench piece.
 
If Napoli does return, then the idea would be to move one of Carp/Nava and replace him with a righty OFer who can play CF and RF, ie Denorfia or Maybin, who both look to be slotted into a similar short side of the platoon in SD. Both would surely come with a higher price tag.
 
I am having a more difficult time seeing why we give up a much for one year of Headley. I know WMB for Headley straight up doesn't make sense for us, as we will have our shot at him for 2015 and beyond in a 12 months, without giving up Middlebrooks. 
 

BosRedSox5

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KillerBs said:
Jesus Guzman or Kyle Blanks would be a fit if Napoli doesn't return. I wonder if either or both are minimally passable defensively in RF. You would think they could come cheap as can't see what the Padres are going to do with them. Guzman's ability to play 2b and 3b as well as 1b/of makes him a pretty nice bench piece.
I would rather just give the job to Lavarnway or Carp or something. Blanks and Guzman have been dreadful at the plate. I know they play in Petco but... damn. Ideally Nap comes back, and if not I like Hart as a backup plan. 
 

absintheofmalaise

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radsoxfan said:
My wish isn't for a particular player, but it is for a particular skillset. Hitting right handed pitching (i.e. about two thirds of most rotations). 
 
Just to use the imperfect OPS for simplicity sake.
 
Last season, this team had an awesome .818 OPS vs. RHP.  So fortunately, they can slip a bit, and still be damn good.  But of course, hopefully they don't slip too much....
 
They are losing:
Ellsbury: .863
Salty: .873
Drew: .875 (maybe)
 
 
Some of last years returning righty mashers are at least decent candidates to regress due to age or because of (potentially) lucky seasons.
Ortiz: 1.092
Carp: .904
Nava: .895
 
AJP is coming in to replace Salty, and had basically no split last season (.724 OPS vs RHP).  
Bradley should be OK vs. righties, but is still a bit of an unknown, and almost surely a step down from Jacoby.  
Middlebooks almost has to be better than his .656 OPS (and .244 OBP) by default, but he is not likely to be good vs. righties.  
Xander is a great prospect, but will have a hell of a time matching Drew's numbers vs righties next year (and likely won't).
Pedroia has had a pretty big platoon split for awhile, and only posted a .721 OPS vs RHP last season.
Victorino was better than expected vs. righties (.769 OPS) last season, thanks in large part to only hitting right handed much of the year.  It's unclear how this plays out next season, and if he goes back to hitting lefty. Either way, it's probably optimistic to expect a repeat performance.
 
 
I think the .818 OPS last season was almost bound to go down anyway, and even if all the FA stayed, they would have a tough time matching those 2013 numbers. It would be nice to get someone who can play SS or 3B and can hit RHP well to hedge against WMB continuing to suck vs. RHP. Choo would be great too of course, but probably too expensive. It will be interesting to see how Ben approaches it.  
Victorino started hitting RH only in August. According to this article from October he plans to return to switch hitting in 2014.
 
 
“That's something I'm never gonna go away from doing," he said Tuesday. "We'll finish out the season and go from there, but I worked so hard to be a switch hitter that I don't wanna stop. I'll hopefully get that opportunity next year and we'll take it from there.”
Do you think that the torn ligament Pedroia had in his left thumb affected his ability to hit? 
 

radsoxfan

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absintheofmalaise said:
Victorino started hitting RH only in August. According to this article from October he plans to return to switch hitting in 2014.
 
 
Right. So for much (not most) of the year, he faced RHP as a RHH.
 
His numbers as a LHH vs RHP were .274/.317/.389/.706. Pretty much in line with his career numbers, actually slightly worse.
 
Victorino's .769 OPS overall vs. RHP was boosted by his time facing them as a RHH, when he put up a .300/.386/.510/.896 line in 115 PA.  I don't know if that means he should stick with it going forward, or it was just a lucky small sample.  Perhaps teams didn't have time to adjust to his switch, and next season the the scouting book would be out on him. 
 
If Shane says he is going to go back to hitting left handed, I'll take him at his word.  Hopefully its the correct call. But either way, I am expecting a regression of his performance vs. right handed pitching compared to last year.
 


absintheofmalaise said:
 
Do you think that the torn ligament Pedroia had in his left thumb affected his ability to hit? 
 
 
I would assume it did have some affect, particularly on his SLG.  But he has been worse vs. RHP the last 3 years, so I wouldn't blame it all on the thumb.
 

radsoxfan

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KillerBs said:
 
 
I am having a more difficult time seeing why we give up a much for one year of Headley. I know WMB for Headley straight up doesn't make sense for us, as we will have our shot at him for 2015 and beyond in a 12 months, without giving up Middlebrooks. 
 
Well it probably depends on the team's view of Middlebrooks and Cecchini right?
 
If they really like Cecchini as the 3B of the future, Cherington won't care much about having his shot at Headley in 2015.  We need him as a 1 year guy in 2014.  If WMB isn't likely to be a part of the corner infield solution in the future, Ben won't care much about losing a few years of a cost controlled guy he doesn't think is worth playing.
 
If you're skeptical of Cecchini, or high on WMB, then it's certainly a bad trade.  But personally, I'd make that move if it was on the table.
 

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radsoxfan said:
 
Right. So for much (not most) of the year, he faced RHP as a RHH.
 
His numbers as a LHH vs RHP were .274/.317/.389/.706. Pretty much in line with his career numbers, actually slightly worse.
 
Victorino's .769 OPS overall vs. RHP was boosted by his time facing them as a RHH, when he put up a .300/.386/.510/.896 line in 115 PA.  I don't know if that means he should stick with it going forward, or it was just a lucky small sample.  Perhaps teams didn't have time to adjust to his switch, and next season the the scouting book would be out on him. 
 
 
 
 
I looked into it: a full quarter of the times he reached base RHH vs RHP were HBP. 
 
I get that he hangs over the plate, but I'm not sure that happens again. 
 

radsoxfan

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nvalvo said:
 
I looked into it: a full quarter of the times he reached base RHH vs RHP were HBP. 
 
I get that he hangs over the plate, but I'm not sure that happens again. 
 
Kind of amazing he only managed a .386 OBP considering he hit .300 and had 11 HBP in 115 PA.  Only 3 BBs (to go with 25Ks...) will do that I guess.
 

Niastri

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I hope even if he decides he is a switch hitter, he periodically changes it up and hits righty against RHP just to make it harder for them to plan for him.  He is a natural right handed hitter and the HBP is a weapon if he can keep anywhere near the insane 2013 rates.  They will give him meatballs to avoid hitting him and giving him a free base.
 

Super Nomario

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radsoxfan said:
 
Well it probably depends on the team's view of Middlebrooks and Cecchini right?
 
If they really like Cecchini as the 3B of the future, Cherington won't care much about having his shot at Headley in 2015.  We need him as a 1 year guy in 2014.  If WMB isn't likely to be a part of the corner infield solution in the future, Ben won't care much about losing a few years of a cost controlled guy he doesn't think is worth playing.
 
If you're skeptical of Cecchini, or high on WMB, then it's certainly a bad trade.  But personally, I'd make that move if it was on the table.
Cecchini's a great prospect, but he's played 66 games above A-ball. There's no reason to make a concrete decision on who the 3B of the future is now, and there's still plenty of uncertainty projecting both Middlebrooks and Cecchini. If you think Middlebrooks is never going to be a useful player, or think Headley's such a 2014 upgrade you have to do it, I get the move; but "we don't need a useful cost-controlled player because we already have a good prospect there" is the same line of thinking that led to Bagwell for Anderson.
 

radsoxfan

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Super Nomario said:
Cecchini's a great prospect, but he's played 66 games above A-ball. There's no reason to make a concrete decision on who the 3B of the future is now, and there's still plenty of uncertainty projecting both Middlebrooks and Cecchini. If you think Middlebrooks is never going to be a useful player, or think Headley's such a 2014 upgrade you have to do it, I get the move; but "we don't need a useful cost-controlled player because we already have a good prospect there" is the same line of thinking that led to Bagwell for Anderson.
 
For me, it would be a combination of both being down on WMB and liking Cecchini. But if I had to weight them, I'd put more weight on the fact that I'm skeptical Middlebrooks is the long term answer at 3B.
 
I agree it's dumb to just assume Cecchini is going to definitely be the 3B of the future.  But he is a nice potential option to have in 2015 and beyond.  Other options include signing a different 3B, re-signing Headley (if he's here), signing or trading for a SS and moving Xander to 3rd.  Considering I think all of those scenarios are quite possible in 2015 even if we keep WMB, I'd be wiling to go for the Headley plan now, and re-assess 3B after 2014.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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BosRedSox5 said:
I would rather just give the job to Lavarnway or Carp or something. Blanks and Guzman have been dreadful at the plate. I know they play in Petco but... damn. Ideally Nap comes back, and if not I like Hart as a backup plan. 
 
If Kyle Blanks could be had for one of their near-majors, non-top-line pitching prospects (SD needs back-end rotation help - Allen Webster?) , I might bite.  
 
Blanks is a classic buy low type.  He has been hurt quite a bit over his career (staying healthy has not proven to be amongst his skill sets) so its hard to judge him aside from the normal Petco effect.  That said, his career ISO is .176 and Steamer has him at .170 next season.  
 
This is the kind of player the Sox seem to be hitting on of late (slugging is the new market inefficiency) and if the guy somehow puts it together, they might have a relatively young 1B/DH who gives them options when Ortiz eventually retires.  
 

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
 
If Kyle Blanks could be had for one of their near-majors, non-top-line pitching prospects (SD needs back-end rotation help - Allen Webster?) , I might bite.  
 
Blanks is a classic buy low type.  He has been hurt quite a bit over his career (staying healthy has not proven to be amongst his skill sets) so its hard to judge him aside from the normal Petco effect.  That said, his career ISO is .176 and Steamer has him at .170 next season.  
 
This is the kind of player the Sox seem to be hitting on of late (slugging is the new market inefficiency) and if the guy somehow puts it together, they might have a relatively young 1B/DH who gives them options when Ortiz eventually retires.  
 
Blanks has been one of my hoped for acquisitions going back to when he proved healthy last spring training.  The Sox need a righty backup outfielder.  With Chris Young to the Mets to start in their outfield, it is more obvious as to why he would choose to be a regular rather than a reserve on a contender. Somebody like Blanks ought to be what they are looking for as depth playing in rightfield while Victorino replaces Bradley in CF against certain tough lefties.  He is your classic not necessarily better than a AAAA player who is still trying to stick as a reserve.  He is better than that IMO and really never had a consistent chance to play regularly almost all the time he played in that pitching friendly ballpark in San Diego.
 

ji oh

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The Boomer said:
 
Blanks has been one of my hoped for acquisitions going back to when he proved healthy last spring training.  The Sox need a righty backup outfielder.  With Chris Young to the Mets to start in their outfield, it is more obvious as to why he would choose to be a regular rather than a reserve on a contender. Somebody like Blanks ought to be what they are looking for as depth playing in rightfield while Victorino replaces Bradley in CF against certain tough lefties.  He is your classic not necessarily better than a AAAA player who is still trying to stick as a reserve.  He is better than that IMO and really never had a consistent chance to play regularly almost all the time he played in that pitching friendly ballpark in San Diego.
You want a 270-pound right fielder in Fenway Park?
 

The Boomer

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ji oh said:
You want a 270-pound right fielder in Fenway Park?
 
1B and future DH are more likely positions for him.  He wouldn't cost much to acquire.  Who knows if his career will veer toward the Jeremy Giambi/Scott Cooper scrap heap, the Ortiz/Bagwell pantheon or somewhere useful in between?  Sidetracked post-hype players like this can be better bets as lottery tickets than completely unproven lottery tickets in the minors.  This is where scouting opinions are more valuable than gut feelings by speculating fans.
 

Drek717

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The Boomer said:
 
Blanks has been one of my hoped for acquisitions going back to when he proved healthy last spring training.  The Sox need a righty backup outfielder.  With Chris Young to the Mets to start in their outfield, it is more obvious as to why he would choose to be a regular rather than a reserve on a contender. Somebody like Blanks ought to be what they are looking for as depth playing in rightfield while Victorino replaces Bradley in CF against certain tough lefties.  He is your classic not necessarily better than a AAAA player who is still trying to stick as a reserve.  He is better than that IMO and really never had a consistent chance to play regularly almost all the time he played in that pitching friendly ballpark in San Diego.
I'd argue that playing primarily OF might well be the cause for Blanks' problems at the ML level.  Not only does he have far less experience there (keeping him from getting comfortable and having productive ABs), it's also likely part of why he keeps having nagging injuries.
 
If Blanks could be had for cheap (and I mean cheap, not Webster.  Low minors lottery ticket or a moderately subsidized Dempster) he'd be a worthwhile guy to compete with Carp for the 1B job, otherwise he's a pretty similar player to Carp with opposite handedness and without Carps' strong ML samples in 2011 and 2013.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I'd argue that playing primarily OF might well be the cause for Blanks' problems at the ML level.  Not only does he have far less experience there (keeping him from getting comfortable and having productive ABs), it's also likely part of why he keeps having nagging injuries.
 
If Blanks could be had for cheap (and I mean cheap, not Webster.  Low minors lottery ticket or a moderately subsidized Dempster) he'd be a worthwhile guy to compete with Carp for the 1B job, otherwise he's a pretty similar player to Carp with opposite handedness and without Carps' strong ML samples in 2011 and 2013.
I don't have a strong feeling either way but why not Webster? The guy seems to be yet another pitching prospect who has a lot of hype here and yet doesn't have the peripherals (seems to have control and HR issues) or performance to back it up. Or maybe I am missing something...
 

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
I don't have a strong feeling either way but why not Webster? The guy seems to be yet another pitching prospect who has a lot of hype here and yet doesn't have the peripherals (seems to have control and HTC issues) or performance to back it up. Or maybe I am missing something...
 
Why not Webster? Because Blanks is a 27-year-old post-hype sleeper who should not command that kind of trade value.
 
Really, other than a bit more power, I'm not sure what he offers over Hassan that would make it worth it for us to offer more than a lottery ticket for him. He had decent on-base ability and K/BB ratios in the minors, but that has gone kersplat in the bigs. He has average plate discipline and terrible contact skills. He offers little or nothing on defense. There's an outside possibility that at age 27 he could still develop with regular playing time into a viable major league starting 1B, but if the Sox are going to gamble on that they should give up little or nothing of real value for the privilege. Certainly not a top-10 prospect.
 
EDIT: Maybe the best way to explain how I see Blanks is to compare with Saltalamacchia. Blanks is a similar kind of hitter to Salty, and his numbers so far are eerily similar to Salty's through 2011. So if the Sox pick him up they're gambling that he will blossom offensively the way Salty has the past two years.
 
So ask yourself: How much would you give up for a mediocre defensive first baseman who hits like Saltalamacchia 2013? Now ask yourself how much you'd give up for a guy who isn't actually that good yet, but might get there with more playing time?
 

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Webster had a 3:1 SO/BB ratio in AAA as a 23 year old, with a significant below average babip, and very good stuff.  He didn't do well in 30 innings in the majors in either category, of course.  He was a top 50 prospect (by BA) in 2013, and I suspect he'll be something similar (50-100 range) in 2014.  Banks has two years left of team control, is going into his age 27 season, and has roughly 800 (not a large sample) PAs of 102 OPS+ offense, with no defensive value.
 
I like him as a cheap pick up.  Webster is a good prospect though.  Personally, I like Webster more than all pitching prospect on the Sox other than Owens and Workman, but even if you don't, I'd think of him as being worth at least as much as Will Smith (so a 2-3 WAR -- average-ish -- player one a one to two year deal).
 

KillerBs

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Webster strikes me as way too much to give for Kyle Blanks, who looks to be mere surplusage to the Padres. He does have some appeal as a rare potentially available righty 1b/rf, which would make sense if Napoli does not return. (For the even rarer righty 1b/cf, what about John Mayberry?) But If Blanks can't in fact play RF passably then I wouldn't want him at all, let alone for our top pitching prospect.
 
I see on mlbraderumors there is mention of the Red Sox interest in Franklin Gutierrez, which if so implies to me a Napoli return.
 
Re-sign Napoli, sign F. Gutierrez, move Carp or Nava, get a back up 3b/SS who is better than Brock Holt if possible and start the games. Not exactly the most exciting off season, but it works for me.
 

KillerBs

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Robert Plant said:
The Padres are loaded with marginally mlb ready starting pitchers. Perhaps they don't want another?
 
Right...because when the back end of your starting rotiation is Eric Stults, Tyson Ross and Josh Johnson why would you even want more starting pitching depth? 
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Blanks could be an interesting reclamation project (he could also be another Hermida), but it strikes me that they had a very similar player in Jerry Sands and had no interest in keeping him. They aren't giving up anything substantial for someone who's no safe bet to outhit the Mauro Gomez-types of the world.
 

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
I don't have a strong feeling either way but why not Webster? The guy seems to be yet another pitching prospect who has a lot of hype here and yet doesn't have the peripherals (seems to have control and HR issues) or performance to back it up. Or maybe I am missing something...
Others beat me to it, but his peripherals are actually damn good at the mL level.  His career HR/9 is 0.4 so I'm not going to act like his AAA rate of 0.8 is set in stone until it gets repeated.  His WHIP last year at AAA was 1.086, with a walk component of ~0.4.  Dude misses bats.  His K/9 was 9.94, and his K:BB was 2.70.
 
Other than being homer prone last year he had his strongest mL season yet.  He was only 23 last season and got his first taste of both AAA and ML hitters in quick succession.  There's a LOT of bloom on that rose and worst case scenario his stuff would play up great in a relief role.
 
Meanwhile Blanks is 27 and hasn't done much in multiple ML shots and while he was a big time prospect a few years ago his mL numbers aren't really massively better than Mike Carp who is the same age and has had two good ML seasons split by an injury derailed 2012.

 
 
KillerBs said:
Webster strikes me as way too much to give for Kyle Blanks, who looks to be mere surplusage to the Padres. He does have some appeal as a rare potentially available righty 1b/rf, which would make sense if Napoli does not return. (For the even rarer righty 1b/cf, what about John Mayberry?) But If Blanks can't in fact play RF passably then I wouldn't want him at all, let alone for our top pitching prospect.
 
I see on mlbraderumors there is mention of the Red Sox interest in Franklin Gutierrez, which if so implies to me a Napoli return.
 
Re-sign Napoli, sign F. Gutierrez, move Carp or Nava, get a back up 3b/SS who is better than Brock Holt if possible and start the games. Not exactly the most exciting off season, but it works for me.
 
I don't see how bringing in Gutierrez implies a Napoli return.  If Gutierrez lands here it's as the 5th OF.  That might be behind Bradley (and thus increase the desire to bring Napoli back), or it might be behind Victorino with Kemp/Choo/etc. playing RF and Gutierrez being used as a defensive switch (with Kemp/Choo moving to LF and Nava/Gomes hitting the pine).
 
He'd be a good addition, but he doesn't limit their options at all.
 

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I think the Sox are in a position where it will be pretty hard to upgrade their offense at this point. In fact, it's almost certain that they're bound to suffer considerable regression in terms of scoring runs. The only way that I don't see this happening is if Bogaerts storms out of the gates like Nomar did in 1997. That kind of performance goes a long way to solving a lot of problems. But setting that aside, I think the best course of action now is to "minimize losses". The best way that I can envision this is to maximize platoon splits on their roster.
 
Top priority would be: No Bradley or Nava against left-handed pitching.
Second priority would be: Protect Carp? He has no career split in the major leagues, but his minor league split is pretty sharp. He also showed a split this year, which makes me think that it might be worth benching him against tough left-handed pitching.
 
Fortunately, the Sox have Gomes (#27 among qualified players for 3-year WRC+ against LHP), so platooning Nava shouldn't be a problem.
They may be able to use one of their minor league options (Hassan) for Carp protection.
 
Alternatively, they could pursue Corey Hart (#7 among qualified players for 3-year WRC+ with a 162 against LHP) for the spot across Carp, but his injury history and potential cost are deterrents. I also don't think it's realistic to expect him to play the short side of a platoon. He'll get better offers elsewhere. Perhaps a better free agency option would be Jeff Baker, who was released by the Rangers. He doesn't have Hart's numbers against lefties, but he was about as good against them as the reverse-splitting Curtis Granderson over the last three years, with a WRC+ of 124, and can play around the infield.
 
That leaves Bradley. Because of the way the roster is built, I don't envision the Sox seriously considering someone like Choo or Beltran and forcing Victorino back into centerfield (or, God forbid, reproducing the Choo-in-center experiment). I do think the Sox need a viable defensive option for RF (at least) and preferably one that can play CF, too.
 
To my eye, there are three right-handed (or right hand favoring switch hitters) options that fill that criteria on the FA market (I'm assuming retirement for Reed Johnson).
 
Rajai Davis, Franklin Gutierrez, Andres Torres (rehabbing from surgery)
 
There's been a lot of discussion about Davis already, some about Gutierrez, and none about Torres. Even without considering their respective ages or injury statuses -- i.e. just looking at their splits -- it would appear that Davis is the best option:
 
3-year splits against LHP (OBP/SLG/WRC+)
 
Davis (363/455/124+)
Gutierrez (325/476/123+)
Torres (356/358/106+)
 
When you consider Gutierrez's injury history and Torres' recent surgery, Davis looks like an even better option. But, I wonder if he'll get the opportunity to start somewhere. After all, Shi Davidi has Davis seeking out "more playing time" than he would get with the Blue Jays. So that leaves the Red Sox with a decision between Gutierrez or Torres. If that's the case, I vote Gutierrez.
 
Now, if the Sox use one player to fill each of these needs (say, a combination of Gomes, Baker, and Gutierrez), they will be rostering 14 position players. I don't think that will happen. So either they move Gomes and make sure the "Carp protector" is capable of playing 1B/LF (Hart and Baker fit the bill) or they just use the minors as their reservoir for depth. I think they go with the latter option, since so many of those backup options are already in the minors.
 
So, in the end, this might just be a long way of saying, sign Franklin Gutierrez and call it an offseason.
 
Or just get really creative...
 

smastroyin

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I have to say that I didn't think I could be any more happy that the Sox won the World Series, but looking at the money being thrown around this off-season, I'm so glad they didn't, for instance, get bounced by the Rays and think they needed one more big piece. 
 

Joshv02

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There is no such thing as a right handed hitting lefty-pitcher masher.*  There are right handed hitters that hit well enough such that their natural platoon split gives them a good expected OPS against lefties.  The moral: In general, if you want a good RH balance to a platoon, get the best RH hitting player who other fits the other attributes you want (cost, defense, base running, position, etc.) without regard to platoon splits.  (Torres, of course, is a switch hitter who doesn’t follow this rule.)
 
*Well, there are such things, but we can’t see them in the stats while they are happening, which is the same thing for an arm-chair GM.  Generally, just read The Book chapter on this topic, and regress as MGL/Tango suggest.  This should have sunk in since the days when Eric Karros was a player.
 

KillerBs

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Drek717 said:
 

 
 
I don't see how bringing in Gutierrez implies a Napoli return.  If Gutierrez lands here it's as the 5th OF.  That might be behind Bradley (and thus increase the desire to bring Napoli back), or it might be behind Victorino with Kemp/Choo/etc. playing RF and Gutierrez being used as a defensive switch (with Kemp/Choo moving to LF and Nava/Gomes hitting the pine).
 
He'd be a good addition, but he doesn't limit their options at all.
 
 
Setting aside for the moment, the Kemp/Choo/Beltran possibilities, if Napoli does not return and they decide to go with Carp at first, then ideally the extra righty bat is able to provide some protection for Carp at 1b and play some RF at least so Victorino can slide over to CF against some lefties.Gutierrez cannot play 1b. If you sign Gutierrez, and do not bring Napoi back. Nava is your back up/platoon 1b partner with Carp, which I suppose is possible, but is less than optimal, because Nava can't hit lefties.
 
Put another way, with 12 pitchers, you don't get 5th OFer Bradley/Victorino insurance AND a righty platoon mate for Carp at 1B. The 5th OFer and the righty 1b piece has to be the same guy, which is what took me to Blanks or Guzman or Mayberry.
 
If Napoli does return, you are then in a position to move one of the somewhat redundant lefty 1b/lf and commit to the righty CF/RF which is Gutierrez. In this scenario, one of Carp or Nava, not both, share LF with Gomes and take some ABs from Napoli against some righties.
 
If Choo or Kemp are signed, Gutierrez would be your 6th OFer. You would have to lose Nava or Gomes, and even then if you did that Ortiz would be the only back up to Carp at 1b. 
 

Ananti

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Joshv02 said:
There is no such thing as a right handed hitting lefty-pitcher masher.*  There are right handed hitters that hit well enough such that their natural platoon split gives them a good expected OPS against lefties.  The moral: In general, if you want a good RH balance to a platoon, get the best RH hitting player who other fits the other attributes you want (cost, defense, base running, position, etc.) without regard to platoon splits.  (Torres, of course, is a switch hitter who doesn’t follow this rule.)
 
*Well, there are such things, but we can’t see them in the stats while they are happening, which is the same thing for an arm-chair GM.  Generally, just read The Book chapter on this topic, and regress as MGL/Tango suggest.  This should have sunk in since the days when Eric Karros was a player.
 
You mean guys like Matt Mieske who hit .638 against righties and .915 against lefties don't exist?
 

YTF

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While many here are happy about the departure of Cano, the price of poker just went up because the Yankees are going to be looking for an impact bat to take his place in the line up and have all of that money that they didn't spend on Cano.  I think the Sox need to present Napoli with their best take it or leave it offer soon and see if the two sides can agree to terms or move on because I think teams are going to begin scrambling. I'm not suggesting that the Sox panic, but I think other teams may and they need to see where they stand with Napoli so they can figure where to go if he's not in the picture. With the price of FAs escalating, this COULD be a good thing for the Sox. Some teams may feel they no longer can be players in the market and may turn towards looking at teams with healthy minor league systems as trade partners. The Sox may be in a good position to move some young talent for a proven bat.
 

Drek717

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KillerBs said:
 
Setting aside for the moment, the Kemp/Choo/Beltran possibilities, if Napoli does not return and they decide to go with Carp at first, then ideally the extra righty bat is able to provide some protection for Carp at 1b and play some RF at least so Victorino can slide over to CF against some lefties.Gutierrez cannot play 1b. If you sign Gutierrez, and do not bring Napoi back. Nava is your back up/platoon 1b partner with Carp, which I suppose is possible, but is less than optimal, because Nava can't hit lefties.
 
Put another way, with 12 pitchers, you don't get 5th OFer Bradley/Victorino insurance AND a righty platoon mate for Carp at 1B. The 5th OFer and the righty 1b piece has to be the same guy, which is what took me to Blanks or Guzman or Mayberry.
 
If Napoli does return, you are then in a position to move one of the somewhat redundant lefty 1b/lf and commit to the righty CF/RF which is Gutierrez. In this scenario, one of Carp or Nava, not both, share LF with Gomes and take some ABs from Napoli against some righties.
 
If Choo or Kemp are signed, Gutierrez would be your 6th OFer. You would have to lose Nava or Gomes, and even then if you did that Ortiz would be the only back up to Carp at 1b. 
1. Why carry a RH platoon mate for Carp at all?  His career ML split is +0.020 against LHP.  In the minors he had one particularly bad split in 2010, but was a solid hitter v. LHP every other season including a strong reverse split in 2012 while playing through injury (also present at the ML level).  He only had 28 PAs v. LHP this past season, so it's hardly a worthwhile sample size, and even then he had a .745 OPS, better than Ortiz' OPS v. LHP last year.
 
The offense should be carried against LHP by Pedroia, Victorino, Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, and Gomes (who hit far worse than his career norms against LHP last season, likely to bounce back).  If Ortiz and Carp are the DH/1B tandem and put up mid-700's OPS numbers each that'll be more than enough to make the team a dangerous matchup for any LH starter.
 
The question on Carp is if he can handle the full time job or not.  A worthwhile AAA 1B option is more important than a RH platoon partner for him.  If the later is determined to be a need partway into the season the Sox have a plethora of in-house RH bats at the AAA level who could all pick up a 1B mit and give some positional versatility of their own.  As far as I see it you can't platoon 1B and LF and think you can carry 12 pitchers.
 
2. Choo/Kemp + Victorino + Nava + Gomes + Gutierrez.  I count five there.  JBJ isn't out of options and he hasn't spent a full year at any mL level to date.  I don't see the problem with sending him to Pawtucket to open the season.  Someone will get hurt or lay an egg before long anyhow.
 

Joshv02

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Ananti said:
 
You mean guys like Matt Mieske who hit .638 against righties and .915 against lefties don't exist?
Right - you can't identify them absent a very large sample size, so for arm chair GM's they might as well not exist.  More technically, you regrress the observed platoon split against a league average with a sample size so large as to dwarf the observed split in many circumstances.  For Mieske, given that he had only 717 PAs against lefties in his career, we'd regress his observed split something like 75% of the way towards the mean.  He had a 1.21 observed platoon advantage, and while I am not calculating it now, I'd expect that the best we could say is that about .03 of that is expected to be based on skill.
 
Much of that chapter of The Book is available for free, but I'd suggest buying it as its just really good (though a little dated now).  http://books.google.com/books?id=ssAPTAgCKb8C&lpg=PT188&ots=xQemQUzCnn&dq=average%20%20platoon%20advantage%20right%20handed%20the%20book&pg=PT182#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

KillerBs

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Drek717 said:
1. Why carry a RH platoon mate for Carp at all?  His career ML split is +0.020 against LHP.  In the minors he had one particularly bad split in 2010, but was a solid hitter v. LHP every other season including a strong reverse split in 2012 while playing through injury (also present at the ML level).  He only had 28 PAs v. LHP this past season, so it's hardly a worthwhile sample size, and even then he had a .745 OPS, better than Ortiz' OPS v. LHP last year.
 
The offense should be carried against LHP by Pedroia, Victorino, Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, and Gomes (who hit far worse than his career norms against LHP last season, likely to bounce back).  If Ortiz and Carp are the DH/1B tandem and put up mid-700's OPS numbers each that'll be more than enough to make the team a dangerous matchup for any LH starter.
 
The question on Carp is if he can handle the full time job or not.  A worthwhile AAA 1B option is more important than a RH platoon partner for him.  If the later is determined to be a need partway into the season the Sox have a plethora of in-house RH bats at the AAA level who could all pick up a 1B mit and give some positional versatility of their own.  As far as I see it you can't platoon 1B and LF and think you can carry 12 pitchers.
 
2. Choo/Kemp + Victorino + Nava + Gomes + Gutierrez.  I count five there.  JBJ isn't out of options and he hasn't spent a full year at any mL level to date.  I don't see the problem with sending him to Pawtucket to open the season.  Someone will get hurt or lay an egg before long anyhow.
 
I would feel more comforable with a RH supplement to Carp, instead of going all in with him. I acknowledge that he hasn't shown he is shut down by lefties, but I am liking the idea of a RH bat to go with Carp, for insurance let's say, maybe take some of the heat off of him.
 
On the other hand, i agree that a good young AAA 1b would be even preferable. Hard to come by, it seems. 
 
You can platoon 1b and lf, with 12 pitchers: the two other bench spots are the C and the UI. It becomes even more palatable/desirable if the RH platoon 1b can also cover RF too, thereby giving you some relief for JBJ against lefties here and there too.
 
Re JBJ to AAA, I thought Farrell said he wasn't really interested in moving Victorino to CF day to day, which makes sense to me.  
 

Devizier

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Joshv02 said:
There is no such thing as a right handed hitting lefty-pitcher masher.*  There are right handed hitters that hit well enough such that their natural platoon split gives them a good expected OPS against lefties.  The moral: In general, if you want a good RH balance to a platoon, get the best RH hitting player who other fits the other attributes you want (cost, defense, base running, position, etc.) without regard to platoon splits.  (Torres, of course, is a switch hitter who doesn’t follow this rule.)
 
Yet, for all intents and purposes, general managers, arm-chair or no, are going to be limited to generally mediocre hitters when looking at options for the short side (RHH) of any platoon.
 
If you're curious as to the thought process, I didn't "filter" for great hitters against LHP in my list, I just looked at available RHH that can play center- and right-field. In other words, players who are predisposed to hit better against LHP. Torres, as you noted, is a switch-hitting exception, but like Victorino has traditionally hit better from the right side of the plate.
 
In other words, I don't see how your particular criticism applies.
 

swingin val

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KillerBs said:
You can platoon 1b and lf, with 12 pitchers: the two other bench spots are the C and the UI. It becomes even more palatable/desirable if the RH platoon 1b can also cover RF too, thereby giving you some relief for JBJ against lefties here and there too.
If you platoon C, 1B, and LF, it still leaves you with two bench spots which would be filled with a UI and a 5th OF. Right?
 

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Drek717 said:
I suspect that the wrapup "sign Napoli; Guteriez.."
means sign Guteriez if and only after signing Napoli.

 
Others beat me to it, but his peripherals are actually damn good at the mL level.  His career HR/9 is 0.4 so I'm not going to act like his AAA rate of 0.8 is set in stone until it gets repeated.  His WHIP last year at AAA was 1.086, with a walk component of ~0.4.  Dude misses bats.  His K/9 was 9.94, and his K:BB was 2.70.
 
Other than being homer prone last year he had his strongest mL season yet.  He was only 23 last season and got his first taste of both AAA and ML hitters in quick succession.  There's a LOT of bloom on that rose and worst case scenario his stuff would play up great in a relief role.
 
Meanwhile Blanks is 27 and hasn't done much in multiple ML shots and while he was a big time prospect a few years ago his mL numbers aren't really massively better than Mike Carp who is the same age and has had two good ML seasons split by an injury derailed 2012.
 
 
 
I don't see how bringing in Gutierrez implies a Napoli return.  If Gutierrez lands here it's as the 5th OF.  That might be behind Bradley (and thus increase the desire to bring Napoli back), or it might be behind Victorino with Kemp/Choo/etc. playing RF and Gutierrez being used as a defensive switch (with Kemp/Choo moving to LF and Nava/Gomes hitting the pine).
 
He'd be a good addition, but he doesn't limit their options at all.
 

Joshv02

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Devizier said:
In other words, I don't see how your particular criticism applies.
Because their prior splits aren't predictive.  Davis isn't an 800+ OPS player from the R side against lefties; he is something like a 668 hitter (3 years, unweighted) who we assume is likely a ~730 OPS vs righties.  That isn't bad; its not the 818 in your list. 
 
I wouldn't mind having Davis on the team if Carp is the starting 1B; absent that, I don't know if Davis is better than Carp, and I don't agree that the top priority should be that Bradley doesn't hit left-handed pitching, fwiw.
 

Drek717

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KillerBs said:
 
I would feel more comforable with a RH supplement to Carp, instead of going all in with him. I acknowledge that he hasn't shown he is shut down by lefties, but I am liking the idea of a RH bat to go with Carp, for insurance let's say, maybe take some of the heat off of him.
 
On the other hand, i agree that a good young AAA 1b would be even preferable. Hard to come by, it seems. 
 
You can platoon 1b and lf, with 12 pitchers: the two other bench spots are the C and the UI. It becomes even more palatable/desirable if the RH platoon 1b can also cover RF too, thereby giving you some relief for JBJ against lefties here and there too.
 
Re JBJ to AAA, I thought Farrell said he wasn't really interested in moving Victorino to CF day to day, which makes sense to me.  
I'm not a fan of Victorino as the full time CF myself (given his age, arm strength, etc. he looks like a far better value in Fenway's expansive RF), but if the team adds Kemp or Choo that's the likely move to make, not dumping Nava in favor of starting JBJ when they can continue to control both.
 
Also, sure, a backup plan to Carp on the 25 man roster would definitely have value, which is why I'm a big fan of Corey Hart instead of Gutierrez for that roster spot assuming he can hold up in the OF still, but that's one hell of a luxury to squeeze onto the 25 man roster given the lack of organizational CF capable depth.
 
Here's my concern in a nutshell: we go with anyone who isn't a capable CF defender as the 5th OF, JBJ starts in CF with Vic in RF.  What happens if Vic hits the DL and JBJ isn't hitting?  We have a real lack of CF capable defense in the high minors right now.  Alex Castellanos is probably the best option and he looks more like a corner outfielder.  Shannon Wilkerson is not a ML worthy player.
 
The only way to really fill this lack of CF capable OFs if by signing one, and that means the only way you get a decent one is a ML guaranteed deal of some sort, i.e. Gutierrez/Rajai Davis as the 5th OF with a platoon of JBJ in place early on, even if JBJ doesn't necessarily need it.
 
Meanwhile at 1B if Carp fails to pan out the Sox have Hassan (already taken some time at 1B last year) Castellanos (played a few games at 1B in the minors, a bunch at 3B, should handle the transition), Middlebrooks (assuming the utility IF option is a good one or Cecchini is beating down the door), and potentially Lavarnway if the team finally decides to try him somewhere other than catcher.  Those are just the in-house options already under control.  None blow you away, but they've all still got some real upside.
 
Personally, I'd like to see the team trade for Ike Davis and option him to AAA to get his swing sorted out.  From what I've been able to find he's supposed to have an option left.  He would be a good plan B behind Carp and if both pan out the Sox would already have a replacement for Ortiz.  He'd be an expensive AAA guy but one hell of an insurance plan.
 

chawson

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YTF said:
While many here are happy about the departure of Cano, the price of poker just went up because the Yankees are going to be looking for an impact bat to take his place in the line up and have all of that money that they didn't spend on Cano.  I think the Sox need to present Napoli with their best take it or leave it offer soon and see if the two sides can agree to terms or move on because I think teams are going to begin scrambling. I'm not suggesting that the Sox panic, but I think other teams may and they need to see where they stand with Napoli so they can figure where to go if he's not in the picture. With the price of FAs escalating, this COULD be a good thing for the Sox. Some teams may feel they no longer can be players in the market and may turn towards looking at teams with healthy minor league systems as trade partners. The Sox may be in a good position to move some young talent for a proven bat.
 
Maybe true, but the beauty of Cano to the Ms is that it's much harder for them to get a comparable impact bat at a position of need. They'll almost certainly sign Infante or trade for Phillips now, but how do you sign Choo or trade for Kemp when your 2014 outfield already consists of Gardner, Ellsbury, Soriano, Wells, and Ichiro?