How to get back in this thing

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Presently, the Sox are 8 games out of first, behind two juggernauts (NY and Tor) and one other team that's really good (TB). It will take some incredible baseball for Boston to pass all three teams to win the division. But they can still get back in the race. If not the division (which is still possible; they have 137 games left, after all), then at least the wild card.

As of today, the Sox are 11th in the AL in runs, at 3.60 per game. They're 9th in ops. Last in stolen bases. 9th in total bases. We have started to see *some* signs of offensive improvement though. In 5 of their last 8 games they've scored 4 runs or more, which isn't saying much, but consider that before this stretch, in their prior 8 games they scored 4+ runs ONCE (4 in a game against TB). They've averaged 3.8 runs per game over their last 8, which again is poor, but it's better than what they have been doing. And in the last 3 games they've scored 5, 4, and 5 runs. So...baby steps.

Their overall pitching is just below average as well. Team ERA of 3.64 (league average is 3.61). Starters who have pitched 80% of their starts have done well; Pivetta has been miserable though. And the bullpen has been just awful lately.

So how can they get back into it?

1. Continued signs of life from the offense. Take pressure off the pitching staff. Keep scoring 4+ runs. They don't need to be the 27 Yankees but they do need to put up some runs. They've taken small steps forward in this way. Nice to see Story doing something.

2. Figure out Houck/Whitlock's best usage. These are two of the best pitchers on the staff. Figure out the optimal roles for them. I'm not sure what that is. I wonder if Pivetta went to the pen if his velocity, and thus his effectiveness, would play up. A rotation of Eovaldi, Wacha, Whitlock, Hill, and Houck - based on their performances so far - would give the Sox a good chance to be in every single game. And Pivetta might improve while in the pen.

3. Get SOMEONE to be a dominant, consistent, reliable reliever. Robles has been good until he hasn't. Others have flashed, but largely this bullpen has been inconsistent and it's killing them. Someone - preferably two guys - needs to step up in a major way. I have no idea who that would be though.

4. Stop with the "take effective starters out in the 5th" philosophy. You can do that when you have a quality bullpen. Right now the Sox do not have a quality bullpen. Their best pitchers are starters. They need to keep pitching as long as they can be effective. I'm not talking about asking them to throw 120 pitches, obviously. But they keep getting pulled way too early, IMO. That's fine if they're showing signs of being less effective, AND you have a quality bullpen behind them. But this team can't survive getting 4-5 innings out of their starters and asking their shaky, inconsistent bullpen pitch 4-5 innings (or more if it goes extras, which has happened a lot this year so far) in tight, high-stress games, especially given the struggles of the offense. If you're up 9-1 after 5, sure. But these games have been, for the most part, very tight.

5. Do some serious evaluation of the guys in the minors to see who can help. Pitchers, hitters, whomever. There has to be someone in AAA that can help the major league club.

So I would have as a team goal to get back to .500 by the end of May. That means they would need to go 15-9 the rest of the month (.625, which seems high but it's not that much over a small sample). Get to .500 by the end of May, then you've got 113 games from there to build into a winning team. Baseball really is a marathon, so you can get back into it over enough time.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Good thread, I've been too negative recently and this will help change that.

Point number 3: I firmly believe that Whitlock should be moved back into the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever. That is a role where he thrived, that's a role the team needs, and it will allow the rest of the pen to slide into lesser leveraged roles which should help everyone. Have Houck take Whitlock's spot in the rotation and see how that goes.

Corollary: I might move Pivetta to the pen for the time being. Of course that leaves the question of who to replace him with in the rotation (don't say Sale, I firmly believe he'll never be an effective starter again). No easy answers there.

Point number 4: completely agreed. If the pen is imploding in bad spots then it makes zero sense to pull the starters merely because the third time through the order is coming up. I know optimally that's what one should do but this is a long regular season and if they're ever going to give the pen a rest from overuse there needs to be a change in starter usage when they're effective.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Put Houck and Whitlock in the rotation. Trade Hill. If Houck isn’t in the rotation, use him like a high leverage reliever.

Name a closer, and stick with it.

Drop a reliever, and platoon Davis with Bradley. Give Bradley a few more weeks, if he is still terrible, replace him with Duran.

Demote Dalbec. Find someone to platoon with Franchy at the position, if Casas is deemed not ready.

Go with a consistent batting order

Trade one of the LH relievers for a comparable RH reliever. Consider a change of scenery deal of Barnes for another struggling high salarie
 

BaseballJones

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Why trade Hill? He's been a perfectly solid back of the rotation starter.
Four starts. One of them came right after his dad died so I'm throwing that one out (even though it obviously counts in real life). In those three non-grieving starts:

4.1 ip, 5 h, 3 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 4 k
4.0 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 0 er, 3 bb, 1 k
4.0 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 4 k

TOT: 12.1 ip, 10 h, 3 r, 3 er, 4 bb, 9 k, 2.19 era, 1.14 whip, 6.6 k/9

I would like to see him pitch 5 innings instead of 4, but in today's MLB landscape, you'll happily take that from your #5 starter.
 

moondog80

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As stated elsewhere, my view is that it's easier to fill the holes in the pen than it would be the holes left behind by moving Houck and Whitlock from the rotation. Which is not to say either is easy...but yes, they need to address the bullpen.

The other, perhaps bigger question is the issues at RF/1B/C. How long do you stick with JBJ/Dalbec, and if/when you cut them loose, do you go with Duran/Casas, or acquire some AAAA to put up an OPS+ of 90 and be content with the improvement?

I don't know what the answer is at catcher, short or long term. Sean Murphy is going to be very expensive in terms of prospects, right?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Why trade Hill? He's been a perfectly solid back of the rotation starter.
4 innings a start handcuffs the team. He’s also not striking anyone out, so not sure how much longer he will be successful. But, mostly, if you add Houck to the rotation you have to drop someone.
 

RIrooter09

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4 innings a start handcuffs the team. He’s also not striking anyone out, so not sure how much longer he will be successful. But, mostly, if you add Houck to the rotation you have to drop someone.
He's been effective in those 4 innings for the most part. Move Pivetta to the 'pen as he's been a dumpster fire.
 

BaseballJones

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Catcher is a real problem. Their current guys are awful (Vaz 51 ops+, Plawecki 10 ops+), and there's no real help in the minors. I wonder who is out there that they could reasonably trade for.
 

BigSoxFan

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Catcher is a real problem. Their current guys are awful (Vaz 51 ops+, Plawecki 10 ops+), and there's no real help in the minors. I wonder who is out there that they could reasonably trade for.
MJ Melendez? Just called up but they obviously have Perez entrenched at the position although he’s about to turn 32 so maybe they don’t want to trade MJ.
 

moondog80

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GB5

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one of the issues that if they do get back in it, may be a concern is Whitlock's innings. Not sure what they have for a limit, but him going 5 innings every five days is going to empty his holster by August/September.
 

RIrooter09

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https://www.baseballtradevalues.com/trade-simulator/

If this site has any validity, Houck (48.8) and Dalbec (13.5) gets you very close to Sean Murphy (65.2), who is under control for 3 more years.
I was going to suggest Murphy, but he's still pre-arb so Oakland will probably ask for a bigger haul of young prospects. Also I'm not sure trading Houck for catcher is any better than a lateral move and I doubt Dalbec has much value right now.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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https://www.baseballtradevalues.com/trade-simulator/

If this site has any validity, Houck (48.8) and Dalbec (13.5) gets you very close to Sean Murphy (65.2), who is under control for 3 more years.
I like thinking along these lines (in terms of a good trade for a C), but this one doesn't excite me at all. 2021-22, Murphy's posted a line of:

.214/.297/.410/.708

That's definitely an improvement over anything the Sox currently have, but I'd not give up Houck for that at all.
 

Coachster

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Presently, the Sox are 8 games out of first, behind two juggernauts (NY and Tor) and one other team that's really good (TB). It will take some incredible baseball for Boston to pass all three teams to win the division. But they can still get back in the race. If not the division (which is still possible; they have 137 games left, after all), then at least the wild card.

As of today, the Sox are 11th in the AL in runs, at 3.60 per game. They're 9th in ops. Last in stolen bases. 9th in total bases. We have started to see *some* signs of offensive improvement though. In 5 of their last 8 games they've scored 4 runs or more, which isn't saying much, but consider that before this stretch, in their prior 8 games they scored 4+ runs ONCE (4 in a game against TB). They've averaged 3.8 runs per game over their last 8, which again is poor, but it's better than what they have been doing. And in the last 3 games they've scored 5, 4, and 5 runs. So...baby steps.

Their overall pitching is just below average as well. Team ERA of 3.64 (league average is 3.61). Starters who have pitched 80% of their starts have done well; Pivetta has been miserable though. And the bullpen has been just awful lately.

So how can they get back into it?

1. Continued signs of life from the offense. Take pressure off the pitching staff. Keep scoring 4+ runs. They don't need to be the 27 Yankees but they do need to put up some runs. They've taken small steps forward in this way. Nice to see Story doing something.

2. Figure out Houck/Whitlock's best usage. These are two of the best pitchers on the staff. Figure out the optimal roles for them. I'm not sure what that is. I wonder if Pivetta went to the pen if his velocity, and thus his effectiveness, would play up. A rotation of Eovaldi, Wacha, Whitlock, Hill, and Houck - based on their performances so far - would give the Sox a good chance to be in every single game. And Pivetta might improve while in the pen.

3. Get SOMEONE to be a dominant, consistent, reliable reliever. Robles has been good until he hasn't. Others have flashed, but largely this bullpen has been inconsistent and it's killing them. Someone - preferably two guys - needs to step up in a major way. I have no idea who that would be though.

4. Stop with the "take effective starters out in the 5th" philosophy. You can do that when you have a quality bullpen. Right now the Sox do not have a quality bullpen. Their best pitchers are starters. They need to keep pitching as long as they can be effective. I'm not talking about asking them to throw 120 pitches, obviously. But they keep getting pulled way too early, IMO. That's fine if they're showing signs of being less effective, AND you have a quality bullpen behind them. But this team can't survive getting 4-5 innings out of their starters and asking their shaky, inconsistent bullpen pitch 4-5 innings (or more if it goes extras, which has happened a lot this year so far) in tight, high-stress games, especially given the struggles of the offense. If you're up 9-1 after 5, sure. But these games have been, for the most part, very tight.

5. Do some serious evaluation of the guys in the minors to see who can help. Pitchers, hitters, whomever. There has to be someone in AAA that can help the major league club.

So I would have as a team goal to get back to .500 by the end of May. That means they would need to go 15-9 the rest of the month (.625, which seems high but it's not that much over a small sample). Get to .500 by the end of May, then you've got 113 games from there to build into a winning team. Baseball really is a marathon, so you can get back into it over enough time.
I'm a fan of #4, but there is a secondary philosophy that has to be dealt with as well, and that's the 'aggressive early in the count', swing at anything bullshit we saw before Schwarber arrived and now that he's gone. We can't score runs without baserunners, and if we don't walk and we continue to have weak spots from 7-9 in the batting order, it's just not going to happen, no matter how hot X and Devers might get.

Here's my RF quick fix: Let's pick up this guy.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2022/05/dexter-fowler-granted-release-from-minor-league-deal-with-blue-jays.html
 

moondog80

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I was going to suggest Murphy, but he's still pre-arb so Oakland will probably ask for a bigger haul of young prospects. Also I'm not sure trading Houck for catcher is any better than a lateral move and I doubt Dalbec has much value right now.
Dalbec absolutely has some value to Oakland -- he doesn't hit FA until after 2026. An there's a history of them succeeding with guys who were to AAAA-ish for Boston -- Lowrie, Moss, Reddick, Hatteberg. He won't get you Sean Murphy, but he's a piece they would be interested in, they can certainly afford to give him all the time he needs. I can easily see them getting 4 years of 250/310/500 out of him.
 

Harry Hooper

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It is easy to suggest having the starters go longer, but look what happened to Whitlock last night. The perfect game deteriorated quickly into a 2-run homer that erased the lead. Still, the starters are going to have to go deeper now that they have had a month following the shortened ST.

I agree with finding a trading partner to send away a LH reliever and bring in a RH one. Whitlock goes back in the pen as fireman+.

Meanwhile, have an opener (preferably RH, shock therapy for Barnes?) pitch the 1st inning in front of Hill, and do the same with a LH opener in front of Houck.

Until a replacement comes along, Pivetta will be the sacrificial lamb left in the game routinely to take a beating and eat innings to ease the strain on the pen. Don't bother buying tickets to Pivetta's starts.

Eovaldi
Opener + Hill
Wacha
Opener + Houck
Pivetta

Fowler is likely in the vanguard of several JAGs who will be requesting their release in the coming days. Maybe Bloom can grab some help that way.
 

BaseballJones

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It is easy to suggest having the starters go longer, but look what happened to Whitlock last night. The perfect game deteriorated quickly into a 2-run homer that erased the lead.
Yeah, and when they turned it over to the bullpen, the relievers promptly gave up 8 runs (7 earned) in 5 innings.
 

curly2

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I suggested this in the bullpen thread: It's time to make Houck a closer/late-inning fireman. Using him as Hill's piggyback is a waste.

If they're going to start Hill and need a piggyback, call up Connor Seabold for the role. He's been pitching great at Worcester. Then you can use Houck 3-4 games a week if needed, whether it's a one-inning save of pitch innings 6-7 or whatever.
 

Max Power

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It is easy to suggest having the starters go longer, but look what happened to Whitlock last night. The perfect game deteriorated quickly into a 2-run homer that erased the lead. Still, the starters are going to have to go deeper now that they have had a month following the shortened ST.
Pitchers give up runs. Only keeping Whitlock in while he has a perfect game isn't a realistic. Starters have to be allowed to go deeper, even if that means they might give up a run in the middle innings and you have to deal with second guessing. Sure, the reliver you bring in for the 5th or 6th might put up a zero, but that increases the chances of shitty relievers 2-4 giving up runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th.

There's nothing you can do about the catchers. Catching sucks across MLB right now, so it doesn't put you at a competitive disadvantage to have a bad one of your own. Better to put the resources toward where they're needed, like the pen and right side corners. Could Houck bring back two relievers or a reliever and a RF? He's very valuable as a starting pitcher, but the Red Sox need a couple guys who can give quality innings basically every night. One person can't do that himself.
 

LogansDad

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MJ Melendez? Just called up but they obviously have Perez entrenched at the position although he’s about to turn 32 so maybe they don’t want to trade MJ.
I have been dreaming about this for a year and a half, but I see no way that KC trades Melendez, sadly.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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If one or both of Wong or Hernandez is not seen as being able to help at catcher in the future, than they should get one of them off the 40-man and add someone like Fitzgerald or a 1b.
 

moondog80

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I like thinking along these lines (in terms of a good trade for a C), but this one doesn't excite me at all. 2021-22, Murphy's posted a line of:

.214/.297/.410/.708

That's definitely an improvement over anything the Sox currently have, but I'd not give up Houck for that at all.

Would you trade Devers to the Mets for Francisco Alvarez (consensus top 10 MLB proepct)? It's fairly close on the tradevalues site (Alvarez ahead 67 to 61), and Mets maybe in GFIN mode? Mets set at 3B but need a DH.

If I get to the point where 2022 looks like a lost cause, I'd be all in.
 
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BaseballJones

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Would you trade Devers to the Mets for Francisco Alvarez (consensus top 10 MLB proepct)? It's fairly close on the tradevalues site (Alvarez ahead 67 to 61), and Mets maybe in GFIN mode? Mets set at 3B but need a DH.

If I get to the point where 2022 looks like a lost cause, I'd be all in.
Oh man that's...difficult. I get where you're going with this. I just love me some Raffy and it's hard to really truly contemplate sending him away right now.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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This is sort of a Catch-All Thread but it hits on a variety of other threads- I'm not sure if this is good or bad- but often I'm not sure where to post when there are threads like this (along with the "in-season" thread).

Someone up thread mentioned bringing in Seabold for Hill which I think is a good seasonal long term plan. The rotation we're looking at right now is definitely not going to be what it'll be in September... not even thinking about a possible trade deadline addition.
Houck and Whitlock need to be on a stricter innings limit so I really don't see them in the rotation as anything more than temporary spot starters. Bloom is putting a lot of the season into getting Sale and Paxton back within 5 weeks IMO. When (IF) that happens---- IMO----- we'll see

Eovaldi, Wacha, Sale, Paxton and Pivetta will be the rotation.
I'm not sure what to expect from Hill but just adding Houck as a "closer" and Whitlock as the "fireman" will do wonders.

It's definitely betting that Sale and Paxton work out. If they don't then I could see a fire-sale by the end of June.

I also think it's time to bring up Duran and put him in LF. I don't care how comfortable any player is in a current spot... they should be willing to move to help the team. I suspect that Verdugo would do that. Between now and mid June I think Cora will stick with Dalbec. If he gets hot between now and then, it'll be the difference in the offense. If he continues to look putrid and the team continues to falter then he'll be dumped. If the team gets better but he continues to be shit...then Casas will likely get a call.
 

ArttyG12

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I wonder what it would take to get Jo Adell from the Angels. Obviously the numbers aren't there now, but he might be a real change-of-scenery guy you could get at something of a discount.
 

moondog80

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Oh man that's...difficult. I get where you're going with this. I just love me some Raffy and it's hard to really truly contemplate sending him away right now.
Yep. Not easy. That's why I prefaced it with an "if" that's doing an awful lot of work. But of course, these are the decisions that have to be made.
 

BaseballJones

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Yep. Not easy. That's why I prefaced it with an "if" that's doing an awful lot of work. But of course, these are the decisions that have to be made.
Ok, well, under the conditions that (a) the Sox are definitely out of it, and (b) it looks like the only way to sign Devers long term is to unload $400 million (or so), then I'd strongly consider making that move. Especially because - though as I said, I really really am a huge Raffy fan - the Sox have in their own pipeline guys like Yorke, Mayer, and Jordan. Make this deal and their infield could look like this in 2025:

C - Alvarez (great power at C)
1b - Casas
2b - Yorke
3b - Jordan/Story (if Jordan doesn't make it)
SS - Mayer

Which, if that all worked out, would be exciting as hell. Of course to get there, they'd have to no longer have Raffy and Bogaerts (which would SUUUUUCK) and these young guys would all have to pan out.
 

cantor44

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That's a long list you suggest, much of which makes sense, though I doubt the Red Sox ability to execute for a variety of reasons. Things could get better - some talented guys are off to bad starts. But how much better? I dunno, in some ways the team is a hot mess. I feel like Bloom has delivered the Red Sox to a liminal space: kinda going for it but not really, kinda rebuilding but not really. Frankly - with a good core of Devers, X, and Eovaldi, I hoped in July of 2022 he had been more aggressive, and similarly so this off season. But he nibbles around: gun shy about overspending, but maybe afraid to really rebuild with an expectant and impatient fan base used to winning.

I say rip the bandaid off already. He left the team shallow in the outfield, in the bullpen, and on the bench. They're not good enough to win a championship this year - several players away. He could have doubled down on the likely end of the X era, but he went wishy washy instead. So - fire sale it already with so many expiring contracts. It's probably what he really wants - to build a team that is his from the ground up. Just fucking go for it - cuz this in between does not make a good product. Frustrating to watch, and really really unexciting (aside from maybe seeing Whitlock continue to blossom.)
 
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BaseballJones

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Their really good players have gotten off to some pretty terrible starts. Even Bogaerts, who is hitting for a good average, is only on pace for 13 homers. Assuming their good hitters regress to the mean, we could be in for some pretty awesome offense in the near future here. Bogey should hit for more power. JD has been fine but if he can stay in the lineup that's a huge boost. Verdugo only has a 77 ops+ and we know he's capable of being a 120 ops+ guy. Story has historically been a good hitter so we know what he's capable of. Devers has been fine but we know he can go OFF. Even Dalbec has massive hot streaks for a couple of months at a time and if he gets going, he can carry an offense all by himself.

So we know the potential is there. Maybe it's going to be one of those years where everyone just sucks. That has happened before. But more likely, these guys will regress to the mean and if that happens, we could be in for some real offensive fireworks this summer.
 

RIrooter09

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Dalbec absolutely has some value to Oakland -- he doesn't hit FA until after 2026. An there's a history of them succeeding with guys who were to AAAA-ish for Boston -- Lowrie, Moss, Reddick, Hatteberg. He won't get you Sean Murphy, but he's a piece they would be interested in, they can certainly afford to give him all the time he needs. I can easily see them getting 4 years of 250/310/500 out of him.
That's assuming Oakland has determined that they can turn him around like those other players. Right now he's a poor defensive first baseman who can't hit. The control is nice but only goes so far.
 

moondog80

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That's assuming Oakland has determined that they can turn him around like those other players. Right now he's a poor defensive first baseman who can't hit. The control is nice but only goes so far.

Dalbec has an OPS+ of 103 over 624 PA. Yes, he's a distressed asset at the moment, but that's the only kind of asset Oakland can afford. We can quibble over his exact value, but it's not zero. The trade value site has his value higher than Eovaldi's. Maybe that was as of opening day and things have changed a bit for both of them but the point remains -- cost controlled years are really, really valuable.
 

Daniel_Son

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Pitching-wise, Whitlock/Houck have both been very good as starters. The one thing this team hasn't had in many years is good, young, cost-controlled starting pitching. Moving them to the bullpen just because Bloom's island of misfit relievers isn't working out isn't a good long-term move. Both of them need to be in the rotation - at least until Sale/Paxton come back and/or they can't cut it as a starter. Maybe go with a 6-man rotation until then, I don't know. Hill is entirely fungible, and Pivetta isn't far behind.

The biggest problem, to me, is the team's approach at the plate and on the base paths. This is something they can fix without help from the farm, trades, or free agency. How many times have we seen the bottom half of the lineup (hell, even the top half) put up non-competitive at-bats? Flailing at balls outside the zone, taking home-run cuts at the first pitch, grounding into double plays, etc. As of this past Monday, the team was dead-last in pitches seen per plate appearance. This approach works when the team is hitting the ball with authority - but a team that's hitting just 1.5% HR/PA, it's losing them games. This change needs to start at the top, with the coaching. Make the opposing pitcher work, get into the dreck of the opposing bullpen, and do some damage.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Ok, well, under the conditions that (a) the Sox are definitely out of it, and (b) it looks like the only way to sign Devers long term is to unload $400 million (or so), then I'd strongly consider making that move. Especially because - though as I said, I really really am a huge Raffy fan - the Sox have in their own pipeline guys like Yorke, Mayer, and Jordan. Make this deal and their infield could look like this in 2025:

C - Alvarez (great power at C)
1b - Casas
2b - Yorke
3b - Jordan/Story (if Jordan doesn't make it)
SS - Mayer

Which, if that all worked out, would be exciting as hell. Of course to get there, they'd have to no longer have Raffy and Bogaerts (which would SUUUUUCK) and these young guys would all have to pan out.
Betting that five players in the minors are going to be hits in the Majors is a huge gamble. So much can happen between now and then. What are we supposed to do between now and the four (??) seasons it's going to take for these players to mature (if they ever do)? Are we just supposed to let Devers and X leave and watch a bunch of stiffs play the infield for almost half a decade until the kids are ready?

That sounds absolutely awful; assuming that is Bloom's plan--which I pray it isn't. I was listening to Felger and Maz yesterday and they said that Tuesday's Sox ratings on NESN were abysmal. They got a 1.something over all and for men between 25 and 54, it was 0.8. Obviously there was a Celtics playoff game going on at the exact same time, but if people are this down on the Sox a month into the season after going deep in the playoffs last year; I can't imagine what this team's buzz will be after four bridge years.

BTW Story doesn't have the arm to play third.
 

moondog80

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Betting that five players in the minors are going to be hits in the Majors is a huge gamble. So much can happen between now and then. What are we supposed to do between now and the four (??) seasons it's going to take for these players to mature (if they ever do)? Are we just supposed to let Devers and X leave and watch a bunch of stiffs play the infield for almost half a decade until the kids are ready?

That sounds absolutely awful; assuming that is Bloom's plan--which I pray it isn't. I was listening to Felger and Maz yesterday and they said that Tuesday's Sox ratings on NESN were abysmal. They got a 1.something over all and for men between 25 and 54, it was 0.8. Obviously there was a Celtics playoff game going on at the exact same time, but if people are this down on the Sox a month into the season after going deep in the playoffs last year; I can't imagine what this team's buzz will be after four bridge years.

BTW Story doesn't have the arm to play third.
We both know that if X and Devers leave, the payroll won't go to 90 million. They will spend the money elsewhere, in a way they think is more efficient, as they have done every year. Hopefully it would work out in a way that complements the development of the young guys.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Dalbec can easily be a DH for a team that just needs a bat. Not sure who might qualify, but he'd be a cheap pickup and might net a lottery ticket.
 

BornToRun

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Frankly, I think everything looks a lot better if they can just figure out how to make the bullpen go from awful to average. Barnes remembering how to throw hard and not suck would go a long way. Until then, I fix Robles in as the closer. He’s been their best non-Whitlock bullpen arm up to this point and I simply don’t trust Diekman in anything resembling a tough spot. Give it to
Hansel until he proves he can’t do it. I don’t fault Cora for going to Diekman for the lefty last night but I honestly would’ve stuck with Robles for Walsh. “This is your spot, get the out.” He walked Trout and Ohtani but he wasn’t all over the place and with Jake, there feels like a 50-50 chance he walks them loaded every time he comes in. A guy like Diekman makes sense as a middle innings/situational arm. You can’t go closer by committee when half of the committee can’t be trusted. Maybe slide Pivetta into the pen and see if he can’t find some of that ALDS magic.

The starters have been very good, sans Pivetta, with reinforcements on the way and I’m just banking that there’s too much talent in the lineup to continue floundering at the plate. It all comes down to the pen for me.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Rich Hill is reading this thread: so far today, 5 innings, 1 hit, 6 Ks.

The starters other than Pivetta have been good. I'd consider calling up Winckowski and Seabold as needed to fill in as 5th starters in order to free up Whitlock and Houck to appear as needed.

Unfortunately, I think the time is approaching to limit JBJ to defensive replacement (if he has a spot on the roster) and demote Dalbec to AAA to get himself back on track. I'd like to see Duran and/or Fitzgerald called up.
 

Toe Nash

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Betting that five players in the minors are going to be hits in the Majors is a huge gamble. So much can happen between now and then. What are we supposed to do between now and the four (??) seasons it's going to take for these players to mature (if they ever do)? Are we just supposed to let Devers and X leave and watch a bunch of stiffs play the infield for almost half a decade until the kids are ready?

That sounds absolutely awful; assuming that is Bloom's plan--which I pray it isn't.
Well, it's not half a decade, it's like 3 years before Yorke, Mayer and Casas should all be up. They may not be stars but the Sox are going to see what they have.

I dunno, I think they could pull off a Devers trade and still have an interesting team with an outside shot for a few years.

The nice thing about baseball is that the difference between picking #5 in the draft and #15 or #20 doesn't matter as much as other sports, and so...you don't really need to tank and bottom out to rebuild. Yes teams have done that like the Astros, but fuck them -- I'm not convinced that you really rebuild much faster with that strategy than you would if you also fielded a decent team (but you do save money of course). Yeah the #1 overall pick is almost always good, and the top 3 or so as well, but there is a lot more variance after that, and of course you can add guys over-slot lower down, sign international FAs, and of course, trade for prospects.

The Sox already have a couple high draft picks in the system, and they should be trying to maximize the window for when those guys are ready. But that doesn't have to mean you tear down to the studs, especially since they just signed Story and they have other interesting players pre-FA. If Devers / X aren't going to be here, they can trade them for guys who are close to ready or who will be ready when Mayer is here, instead of guys just drafted. Maybe you can pick up a guy like a Verdugo who slots in right away (even if not as good as Devers, still a solid starter with some upside). And with the extended FA season now (even without a lockout) it seems like there are going to be useful players available on short money to fill out the team, without blocking a spot. Those guys can then be traded for prospects if the team is out of it, or sometimes you strike gold and they have a great year like Victorino in 2018. I think the problem with this year's team is that they didn't have a lot of those kinds of guys, leaving them with some big holes, and the guys they signed on short deals didn't really work out so far.

Honestly, I'm not sure what other choice they have. They're not going to sign or trade for any big FAs that are blocking one of the top 3 prospects (unless they were moving one of them out or to another position) and I don't think it makes sense to pay top rate for X or Devers. You could sign an outfielder but they'd do that anyway if the price were right. The current team isn't good enough to be sure to compete and is going to need a lot of luck, but it's not going to be abjectly awful either.
 

nvalvo

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Bigger picture, this is a season where Bloom is really going to need to earn his paycheck. We have a bunch of 40-man guys in the minors who important decisions have to be made about. I'll mention Duran and Downs, but the situation is similar for like ten or twelve guys.

Both lost a lot of hype last season; both are presently killing it in AAA. Downs seems to have regained his power stroke in the last couple weeks while also sharply improving his contact skills; he's up to an .878 OPS on the season after a slow start with a ton of strikeouts. Duran is at a 1.034 OPS with really impressive plate discipline numbers and a bunch of XBH, but he's a bit older. Both seem like they could be not quite "blue chip" prospects, whatever that means, but if they are still crushing AAA, they could be meaningful mid-season trade pieces. Alternately, we could keep them with an eye to their being key pieces of our big-league team over the next few seasons.

But you need to get that call right. Take a look through the Rule 5 eligibility list. Because Bloom's done a great job adding to the system we have a bunch of guys on that list who we should really want to protect, but we can't keep everyone. Each guy like Duran and Downs who we keep takes a spot from one of those dudes coming up behind. It's probably going to be the last deadline that either guy has real trade value. Decisions are going to have to be made.

Thus, I think we might see a really weird deadline, where we make some moves that look like selling, but also some moves that look like buying. I legitimately think we could see a deadline where we (do something like) trade a few veterans and acquire Sean Murphy all while still trying to contend this year.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I think the only way they get back in it is if the offense starts hitting, the relievers stop sulking, the starters continue to pitch well, and the guys who are hurt come back and produce.

That's probably too many things to hope to happen. Who's the consensus number one pick for 2023? Maybe they can get another top prospect out of nowhere if they just straight tank this year.
 

simplicio

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That's probably too many things to hope to happen. Who's the consensus number one pick for 2023? Maybe they can get another top prospect out of nowhere if they just straight tank this year.
Druw Jones. And if that doesn't make you feel old, Carl Crawford's kid is also in the draft.