How to get back in this thing

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I don't think it's over..... the team isn't bad but it has some obvious deficiencies that will be difficult to make up. One of which (the bullpen) may be fixed when (as discussed countless times here) Sale and/or Paxton get here. There's a lot of assumptions. I don't blame Bloom for this. I don't. There's not one GM out there that doesn't assume a bunch of things about their players they've assembled. The "on paper" argument is what every team is when starting the season 0-0. Sale going down was possibly predictable... but how do you prepare for that in a way that would be any better than what Wacha has done without spending $25million or dealing away prospects to build a long term sustainable team.
How do you plan for a garbage bullpen? Relievers are so insanely unpredictable..... yesterday's middling reliever can turn into a dominant force and then back into a pumpkin the following season.... and the opposite. Given what we saw out of Dalbec in '21 I can totally understand being optimistic for at least a league average (if not better) 1B production.
The players are not being consistent- and I can't be swayed by the argument that a streaky .800 OPS hitter is as valuable to a team's overall performance as a consistent .800 OPS hitter. And that is the team right now- clearly exhibited by the Pythag. They're streaky and it shows up in the record.
All that said..... I think the talent is there and they're still basically where we needed them to be- they're just a few games out of a playoff spot and a team even with crazy flaws can go deep. Bench players can turn into legends. Middling relievers can turn into Mariano Rivera for a two week stretch. Jackie Bradley Jr. can turn into Mike Trout over a series.
Just get there- fix what you're able to without over-leveraging the long term plan. I still trust in Bloom.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Sometimes the answer is very simple: They have a dominant closer. He has 15 saves already this year.

When they have a lead, however slim, they hand it to him and he finishes the game. The Red Sox do not have that player.
If they did, they likely would have not blown all of those saves.
I mean, we do have that player, but he's not in the bullpen. But that discussion's been done to death.

The larger point holds, run differential isn't as directly meaningful as it seems because a few games can skew it wildly, and a dominant pen can mean that 1 run games are won at a much higher rate than average.
 

BravesField

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The Red Sox are 71-71 since last July.
And that's what they are...a .500 team. I never have any optimistic feelings with any opponent that the Sox play. What Sox team is going to show up Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde? I've just accepted that what we have. The only thing that will shock me about the 2022 Red Sox and that's if we are not sellers by the deadline.
 

Ganthem

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I mean, we do have that player, but he's not in the bullpen. But that discussion's been done to death.

The larger point holds, run differential isn't as directly meaningful as it seems because a few games can skew it wildly, and a dominant pen can mean that 1 run games are won at a much higher rate than average.
I think what people are saying is they would like to find a way to strengthen the bullpen without weakening the rotation, which is what pulling Whitlock from the rotation would do.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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The staff and roster is what it is; and it’s a result of decisions the team made; a reluctance to hand out multi year deals and to prioritize the future at the potential detriment to the present leads to the team paying $21M to JBJ and Paxton, the same amount the Jays are paying Kevin Gausman this year. A reasonable enough strategy and it may pay off in the long run, of course.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Chad Jennings pointed out that this is the stage of the season (June 1st/50 games) when the Sox under Cora have made a decision on underperforming players (Hanley DFAd in 2018, replacing Benintendi with Mookie as lead off hitter in 2019, and sending Franchy to AAA last year). The upcoming west coast trip would seem to be a likely trigger for potential moves.

I'd like to see Winckowski, Seabold (when ready), and Bello (soon) rotate through the number 5 spot in the rotation and move Whitlock back to the bullpen. All three are already on the 40 man roster. I also think Franchy should play every day. If they haven't already, they need to have a real conversation with Barnes about accepting a "rehab assignment" to AAA. And I'm ready to be aggressive in promoting German to the majors if he looks good over the next several games. If Wong or Hernandez were playing better, moving on from Plawecki would be on the table too, but, I'm not sure that disruption on the pitching staff could be justified at this point.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Whitlock has shown no signs he could be a conventional closer, he has not been good on short rest.
I said it's been discussed to death, but in no way does he have to be a traditional closer, but instead a relief ace in the Bill James mold. Multi-innings every few days.

Again, they took a bullpen ace out and shockingly the bullpen has struggled since. Given the number of close losses since then it's a factor to consider. The rest of the pen stinks. The pen is a problem; if they want back into the playoff picture they need to strengthen the pen.
 

jon abbey

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I said it's been discussed to death, but in no way does he have to be a traditional closer, but instead a relief ace in the Bill James mold. Multi-innings every few days.

Again, they took a bullpen ace out and shockingly the bullpen has struggled since. Given the number of close losses since then it's a factor to consider. The rest of the pen stinks.
Right, but the reason that TOR is outperforming their run differential is that they have a very good traditional closer in Romano, the same reason that NY used to outperform their run differential every year with Mariano. Whitlock in the bullpen I don't think would help that situation nearly as much as you seem to think, but that indeed is the discussion that's been had to death.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Right, but the reason that TOR is outperforming their run differential is that they have a very good traditional closer in Romano, the same reason that NY used to outperform their run differential every year with Mariano. Whitlock in the bullpen I don't think would help that situation nearly as much as you seem to think, but that indeed is the discussion that's been had to death.
Yes, with Rivera in the pen the Yankees usually outperformed their pythag, consistently year after year. That's likely something that the usual criticisms of closers have missed over time, but Rivera was the GOAT and perhaps with "normal" closers the critcisms are still valid.
 

EricFeczko

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I mean, we do have that player, but he's not in the bullpen. But that discussion's been done to death.

The larger point holds, run differential isn't as directly meaningful as it seems because a few games can skew it wildly, and a dominant pen can mean that 1 run games are won at a much higher rate than average.
More broadly, run differential isn't helpful because it doesn't break down the components of run production and run prevention.

April:
22 games started
81 runs allowed (72 earned)
3.32/4.00 ERA- (103%)/FIP- (102%)
May:
28 games started
138 runs allowed (124 earned)
4.44/4.35 ERA-(112%)/FIP-(112%)

While our offense offensively rebounded, our pitching had not. In fact, our pitching has ranged from mediocre to bad. Its becoming clear this is a team that will live or die by the offense.
 

tims4wins

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Sometimes the answer is very simple: They have a dominant closer. He has 15 saves already this year.

When they have a lead, however slim, they hand it to him and he finishes the game. The Red Sox do not have that player.
If they did, they likely would have not blown all of those saves.
I'm not sure it is that simple.

While Romano has been very good this year, he was even better last year. 2.14 ERA vs. 2.66, 209 ERA+ vs. 147, etc. While he didn't exclusively pitch in the 9th inning last year, 42.1 of his 61.0 IP were in the 9th inning or later.

The 2021 Jays were +183 in run differential (+1.13 per game). They won 91 games. Their pythag was 99 wins.

The 2022 Jays are even in run differential. They have won 28 games. Their pythag is 24 wins.

So despite a worse performance from their dominant closer, they are performing much better compared to their pythag in comparison to last year. Something else is happening in Toronto.

Baseball is a weird sport. Performance in close games has proven to not be indicative of a team's talent level, or sustainable, or meaningful in any way. Toronto has proven this so far this year.

What it means for the 2022 Red Sox, I have no idea.
 

EricFeczko

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I think this is true for a lot of teams this year, NY is 22-1 when they score 5+ runs and 12-14 when they don't.
That may be true for other teams, I don't interpret that stat for the NY as "live or die", that's "dominate or have a fighting chance".

In April, the Red Sox had a collective 70 wRC+ in April with a .609 OPS. They averaged between 3 and 4 runs per game and went 9-13.
The Red Sox had a collective 134 wRC+ in May with an .823 OPS. They averaged nearly 6 runs a game and still went 14-14.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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That's not "live or die" that's "dominate or have a fighting chance".

In April, the Red Sox had a collective 70 wRC+ in April with a .609 OPS. They averaged between 3 and 4 runs per game and went 9-13.
The Red Sox had a collective 134 wRC+ in May with an .823 OPS. They averaged nearly 6 runs a game and still went 14-14.
And the last two games have shown that offensive variance can be a hell of a thing.
 

EricFeczko

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And the last two games have shown that offensive variance can be a hell of a thing.
Yup. Remember 2003? Good pitching beats good hitting. Of course we also learned that subbing in good pitchers beats doing whatever the fuck Grady LIttle was thinking.

They also had 9 games in May where they scored 2 or fewer runs. Their average runs per game was skewed by a pair of 16 run nights

The other thing unmentioned is why an .823 OPS would even merit a 134+ wRC. In other years, this would be 10 percentage points lower.

The offensive environment is depressed and the red sox are still feeling it. However the pitching should be better and the same pitchers either look the same or worse.
I do wonder if some of this is due to roster construction emphasizing FIP components -- which may be less affected by differences due to the ball. Either way, the pitching is even worse than the ERA/FIP show.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Right, but the reason that TOR is outperforming their run differential is that they have a very good traditional closer in Romano, the same reason that NY used to outperform their run differential every year with Mariano. Whitlock in the bullpen I don't think would help that situation nearly as much as you seem to think, but that indeed is the discussion that's been had to death.
How do we know that’s the reason that TOR is outperforming their run differential? I mean, the Sox dramatically outperformed last years Pythagorean- what was the reasoning? I feel like this is explained lots of ways…but a team that wins close games doesn’t necessarily win them because of a good pen, do they?
 

Rovin Romine

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The staff and roster is what it is; and it’s a result of decisions the team made; a reluctance to hand out multi year deals and to prioritize the future at the potential detriment to the present leads to the team paying $21M to JBJ and Paxton, the same amount the Jays are paying Kevin Gausman this year. A reasonable enough strategy and it may pay off in the long run, of course.
I sort of think of it as concentrating waves of value. Ideally, you want cost-controlled ML players from your farm system (or via trade). Since there aren't an infinite amount of those, you have to cluster them to some degree. FA spending fills the gaps. Each can accomidate the other a little bit.

The problem we have now is that the team's current (2022) competition window was built around Sale contributing. It also has a number of development projects seemingly hard-wired into the majors and upper minors. I think that's what we're seeing. In a possible post-Xander, post-JD, post-Devers Sox, high power upside guys like Dalbec and Cordero might have a role. So they're on the ML roster. Develop 'em now. Arroyo is on the roster because he has no options and is the alternate SS/2B with Story if Xander leaves. Arauz (though young) got the nod for the same reason, maybe.

But it leads to a bit of a log-jam of "potentially good players" since the Sox don't know who is opting out or who will be resigned. I mean, if Franchy and Duran were both sure things, maybe they create space by releasing or trading JBJ or Verdugo or Hernandez, depending on their 2023 plans and their secret sauce projections on those guys. But they're unwilling to clear space and commit to Duran right now, and they don't know if Franchy's bat will really stick this time. Or if Casas will be at 1B this year or next. Or if Xander is leaving. So we get an OF of 4/5 questionable players, waiting for shoes to drop.
 

dynomite

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The staff and roster is what it is; and it’s a result of decisions the team made; a reluctance to hand out multi year deals and to prioritize the future at the potential detriment to the present leads to the team paying $21M to JBJ and Paxton, the same amount the Jays are paying Kevin Gausman this year.
I know I've said this, but my reason for optimism remains that the roster isn't "what it is" necessarily -- a 2nd half team that has Sale, Paxton, Casas, Bello, and a trade acquisition (David Robertson as setup/closer?) could be better than the current situation.

Rich Hill has been what you would expect and Wacha is due for more regression. Dalbec has been bad. Barnes has been worse than that. But the Sox can live up to their pythag while fixing these other issues. And speaking of regression, I don't think the Yankees are going to maintain a 112 win pace all season, and the Red Sox could help give them some regression to the mean in early July.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I know I've said this, but my reason for optimism remains that the roster isn't "what it is" necessarily -- a 2nd half team that has Sale, Paxton, Casas, Bello, and a trade acquisition (David Robertson as setup/closer?) could be better than the current situation.

Rich Hill has been what you would expect and Wacha is due for more regression. Dalbec has been bad. Barnes has been worse than that. But the Sox can live up to their pythag while fixing these other issues. And speaking of regression, I don't think the Yankees are going to maintain a 112 win pace all season, and the Red Sox could help give them some regression to the mean in early July.
I know it's only June 1, but the Sox are fundamentally screwed up and there is nobody coming to save them. Even the people who we're counting on to save the season.

I really wouldn't waste any time thinking that Chris Sale is going to be any sort of savior. If he's anything like he was last year, he'll beat the Orioles four times and then get his ass handed to him by a team at (or near) .500. Then he'll say, "This was my fault I need to do better", we'll say, "Wow! What a gamer! A guy who takes responsibility for his actions!", then he'll get his ass handed to him in the next game and we'll say the same thing again until he pitches against the O's again.

Paxton is coming off Tommy John. Who knows if he's going to pitch this year. I think that he'll get some starts in September after the Sox are long out of it, just to see what we have for next year.

Casas is hurt and isn't even doing agility exercise right now. Bello may be okay, but he's a Red Sox pitcher developed in this organization, so I'm not holding my breath.

Bloom really screwed up this roster bad. I can't tell whether he willfully did this or he just isn't good at his job. And before you jump up and down on me, yeah, the minor leagues look fine. I guess. But I don't care about Worcester. Or Portland. Or Greenville. Or Salem.
 

E5 Yaz

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Did he screw up the roster ... or is he paying the price for expectations set because primarily this same group had a strong postseason run?

The most prominent losses from the 2021 roster were EdRo, Renfroe, Ottaviano and Garrett Richards. Heck, they made the playoffs last season for a lot of quirky reasons -- Dalbec's sudden hot streak, Jose Iglesias becoming Rod Carew for a month, insane bullpen strength from Brasier, Josh Taylor and even for stretches Darwinzon. Heck, Yacksel Rios won three games.

So, did Bloom screw up by not picking the right guys out of the Bullpen Arm Fungible Buffet? If so, he's not the only one who did so. If Taylor and Darwinzon were healthy and Brasier was even 75% of what he was last season, the pen looks a lot different -- even with Whitlock in the rotation.

You can make the case that Hill, Wacha and Whitlock are better, or at least equal, as a group than EdRo, Houck and Richards.And despite his tough start, Story will be more useful over a full season than Iglesias and The Pedigree at second base.

What's killing this team is the problems with some of the positions that remained the same. Verdugo, Hernandez and the 1B tandem have overall killed the lineup. Yeah, a case could be made that Renfroe is better offensively than JBJ ... but they were all-in on Suzuki for RF (and he's not exactly burning it up with the Cubs, either). They basically have a super-utility guy as the everyday CF and a defensive replacement starting in RF.

Truth is, without the offensive contributions from the outfield and 1B, 3/4 being the same guys as a year ago, and with second-tier relievers being unable to step up, this is a weak team. Does the fault for that weigh more on Bloom ... or on, you know, the players?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Truth is, without the offensive contributions from the outfield and 1B, 3/4 being the same guys as a year ago, and with second-tier relievers being unable to step up, this is a weak team. Does the fault for that weigh more on Bloom ... or on, you know, the players?
It's Bloom. He should have had a plan B in case Dalbec proved to be a pumpkin and was a six-week wonder. He shouldn't have gone into the season with JBJ (who ironically is his best overall OFer) as his starting right fielder. He also should have had a contingency plan in case Kike Hernandez wasn't going to set the AL on fire again.

Picking up Rich Hill and Michael Wacha and calling it a day on the starting pitching front is border-line malpractice, and that's considering what Wacha has given you this year (which is good). Chris Sale has broken down every single year he's been on the Sox, assuming that he's going to be okay and is going to throw 200-250 innings is dumb. It's never going to happen. And the bullpen is shit awful and looked incomplete when Spring Training started.

This wasn't a good off season for Bloom, and while the players do need to take credit for their suckitude, Bloom's job is to anticipate that players aren't going to do as well as they did the year before.

I mean at the end of the day, he's the boss right? Who got the credit when the Sox were two games away from the Series last year? Why shouldn't he get the blame when they're floundering? That's been my point for lo these many months.

Even Choo Choo can see that--and he doesn't know the difference between a face and a pizza.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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But last years team, you know, vastly outperformed their Pythagorean….and also slumped in the second half before adding Schwarber, who was not replaced. Looks like the players lost were worth ~10 war, which ain’t insignifIcant. Bloom got a lot of credit when the players he acquired last year performed well, didn’t he? That Dalbec, Bradley and the pen are not performing all that well is hardly a surprise, it was anticipated by many.

Its pretty darn risky if the the entire off-season was predicated on signing Suzuki (which seems speculative). Of course, it always comes down to how well the players play, which was true last year when Bloom was getting lots of compliments. It’s a results oriented business and the results this year aren’t very good, so far; and with the teams two best players and top starter not signed long term, I think it’s fair to be concerned- and it’s ok to admit it was lousy off-season, at least as far as building this years team.
 

cantor44

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It is certain that every team - every general manager or President of Baseball Operations - has to deal with a year-to-year performance variance and player health to a degree that is out of their control. And the Sox have had a good amount of underperformance bad luck so far. At what point, though, I wonder, will Bloom's fiercest defenders consider that the team's record is partially on him?

Instead, it seems, via some combo platter of luxury tax, not wanting to overpay, not being able to afford it, not giving him enough time, not being able to predict reliever performance, living for the future (tomorrow and tomorrow), and the tea leaves of exit velocity, Bloom just cannot be touched.

I mean, yeah, relievers are more unpredictable than other players, but they're not entirely unpredictable. Maybe it's worth investing in a coupla blue chip bullpen guys - the Sox certainly did it in 2004, 2007, and 2018 (and got lucky in 2013!). Dalbec has clear deficiencies hitting against RHP power guys. Maybe it's worth finding a platoon partner for him, a Moreland type, who can field the position. JBJ had to be considered a 4th outfielder, no? So, if you're gonna trade Renfroe, then maybe get ...??? Some competent RHH outfielder?

Meanwhile, we see the pattern. Mookie gone, and his replacement essentially is .... Verdugo. X likely gone, and his replacement likely is .... Story. Devers likely gone, and his replacement will be...?? Can't give too many mega contracts, this is true. But you can give a couple to your core. But right now, the core seems to be slowly getting worse.

I don't pretend to know exactly what the fuck is gonna happen this season. The team could get better from here on in, or could keep losing. There is enough talent to play above .500 baseball the rest of the way. But the Sox don't have a championship caliber roster. And if Bloom has no intention of creating one this year, man just fire sale it already and put us out of the misery of this awkward liminal space between going for it and not going for it. Just decide and aggressively pursue that decision.
 

E5 Yaz

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Who got the credit when the Sox were two games away from the Series last year?
The players did ... and, well, Cora was a genius.

How do you stash offensive contingencies on a roster when you're going with 14 pitchers? They over-performed last year and that created unwise expectations for this year based on some sense of they players who remained in place performing at the same levels as they did in 2021. If this team, for instance, had sold "high" on Kike' after the last postseason, fans would be killing management.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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How do you stash offensive contingencies on a roster when you're going with 14 pitchers?
Maybe not waste a roster spot on a pitcher (or two) that needs a piggyback every start? Maybe not assume that Travis Shaw wasn't cooked? Maybe realize that Cristian Arroyo is a JAG? There's three spots right there.
 

Daniel_Son

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I'd agree generally. But I think these next few games are very important, in a gather ye rosebuds way. If they can't use this stretch against weak teams to better position themselves, it's going to be more difficult to do it later.

...

So yes, the strategy ought to be: "Gather ye rosebuds, right fucking now!"
2-4 against Baltimore and Cincinnati ain't it.

Hate to say it's do-or-die in a marathon-type sport like baseball, but... if they can't take 3 out of the next 4 games against Cin. and Oakland, they're on the outside looking in.
 

YTF

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I said it's been discussed to death, but in no way does he have to be a traditional closer, but instead a relief ace in the Bill James mold. Multi-innings every few days.

Again, they took a bullpen ace out and shockingly the bullpen has struggled since. Given the number of close losses since then it's a factor to consider. The rest of the pen stinks. The pen is a problem; if they want back into the playoff picture they need to strengthen the pen.
I get what you say about Whitlock and that's the issue that I have with beating this horse to death. He was the best arm in the pen, no doubt about it, but by your own admission the rest of the pen stinks. So what sort of bullpen ace do you have who will largely only be available every 3 days or so with no one else to fall back on? Fingers crossed that Cora's needs for him sync up with Whitlock's every three day cycle, yes? His future seems to be as a starter and that's what they are grooming him for. Despite the current trends in the game great, young, cost controlled starters are still very desirable.
 
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E5 Yaz

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Maybe not waste a roster spot on a pitcher (or two) that needs a piggyback every start? Maybe not assume that Travis Shaw wasn't cooked? Maybe realize that Cristian Arroyo is a JAG? There's three spots right there.
Shaw was a mistake, which they rectified with a revitalized Franchy. I don't mind the roster spot for Arroyo, because he can play multiple spots.

The pitching thing is a philosophical choice -- we can live with those types since we only eat them going through the order twice anyway -- that I don't agree with on a fundamental level ... because it's by nature dependent on filling out the bullpen with the right decisions, which is a crapshoot every year.

The problem is that the players they put faith in to be everyday players -- Verdugo, Hernandez, Dalbec in particular -- haven't justified that faith. The that happens and you have a thin bench, you're screwed.

We're not that far removed from one another, but at some point it comes down to players producing.
 

TFisNEXT

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I'm not sure it is that simple.

While Romano has been very good this year, he was even better last year. 2.14 ERA vs. 2.66, 209 ERA+ vs. 147, etc. While he didn't exclusively pitch in the 9th inning last year, 42.1 of his 61.0 IP were in the 9th inning or later.

The 2021 Jays were +183 in run differential (+1.13 per game). They won 91 games. Their pythag was 99 wins.

The 2022 Jays are even in run differential. They have won 28 games. Their pythag is 24 wins.

So despite a worse performance from their dominant closer, they are performing much better compared to their pythag in comparison to last year. Something else is happening in Toronto.

Baseball is a weird sport. Performance in close games has proven to not be indicative of a team's talent level, or sustainable, or meaningful in any way. Toronto has proven this so far this year.

What it means for the 2022 Red Sox, I have no idea.
This is basically a longer, more detailed version of what I posted earlier....those claiming the closer/bullpen is the reason for under performance relative to the run differential can't explain the Toronto shift from 2021 to 2022. Sometimes random variance is the best explanation even though most people don't like it.
 

Ganthem

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I am not sure I see much wrong with how Bloom built this team. He knew that Dalbec could turn into a pumpkin, but he had Casas and Franchy in the minors. JBJ had a bad season last year, but given that was one bad season it was not a bad gamble to take that he wasn't cooked. If he was coming off multiple bad seasons, then I can see how that move would be head scratching. Either way he had Duran and Franchy in the minors. Even though I would not have minded the Gausman contract, I think he was smart to not touch the starting pitcher markets. Between Sale, Evoldi, Pivetta, Hill, Wacha, Paxton, Houck and the guys in the minors, the starting rotation looked like it had depth and would be OK. Thus far that has been proven to be the case. As for the bullpen, that is always a crap shoot. Bloom could have spent 50 million on the bullpen and still be in the same position he is in now. Bullpens arms have a large amount of variance. It feels like a lot of people are putting hindsight glasses on in order to critique this past off season. At the end of the day what sunk this team is the fact that a bulk of the starting lineup was a no show in April. Even Devers swooned after a hot start. How could Bloom or any President for that matter counter act that?
 

Rovin Romine

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As for the bullpen, that is always a crap shoot. Bloom could have spent 50 million on the bullpen and still be in the same position he is in now. Bullpens arms have a large amount of variance.
People keep repeating this as though it means bullpen arms cannot be predicted. Some can, some can't - and injuries can derail any career. But it's not exactly roll-the-dice on everyone.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I am not sure I see much wrong with how Bloom built this team. He knew that Dalbec could turn into a pumpkin, but he had Casas and Franchy in the minors. JBJ had a bad season last year, but given that was one bad season it was not a bad gamble to take that he wasn't cooked. If he was coming off multiple bad seasons, then I can see how that move would be head scratching. Either way he had Duran and Franchy in the minors. Even though I would not have minded the Gausman contract, I think he was smart to not touch the starting pitcher markets. Between Sale, Evoldi, Pivetta, Hill, Wacha, Paxton, Houck and the guys in the minors, the starting rotation looked like it had depth and would be OK. Thus far that has been proven to be the case. As for the bullpen, that is always a crap shoot. Bloom could have spent 50 million on the bullpen and still be in the same position he is in now. Bullpens arms have a large amount of variance. It feels like a lot of people are putting hindsight glasses on in order to critique this past off season. At the end of the day what sunk this team is the fact that a bulk of the starting lineup was a no show in April. Even Devers swooned after a hot start. How could Bloom or any President for that matter counter act that?
Prior to this year, Casas had played a grand total of 208 minor league games. He was not going to be ready to play coming out of Spring Training. That's not a backup plan.
Franchy Cordero was a disaster last year. That's not a backup plan.
Jarren Duran couldn't hit in the majors last year. He looked completely over matched both in the field and at bat. That's not a backup plan.
I love JBJ. JBJ is probably one of my favorite Red Sox of all time. But he's a career (nine years) 229/309/392 hitter. He is who he is. At this point in his career, he's not a starting right fielder for a contending team. He's not and he did come off multiple bad seasons (at the plate).

What those four players are are guys you really, really, really hope get their shit together and produce. Maybe one of them will turn it around, but expecting two or more to do so is folly.

Sale and Paxton are both injured, one just had TJ surgery and you have no idea when he's coming back and the other returned from TJ surgery last year, was ineffective against any team not calling Camden Yards home and has a history of breaking down at the worst possible moments for the team. Relying on one of these pitchers is nuts, both is just dumb. Hill is 42-years-old. Michael Wacha has pitched over 150 innings twice in his career. Pivetta is at best a fourth starter. Eovaldi seems like the best of this bunch, but the Sox think so much of him that they haven't even started talking about extending his contract.

And to echo RR, when did "building a bullpen is a crapshoot!" become an absolute around here? You know when building a bullpen becoming a crapshoot is correct? When you build a bullpen with flotsam and jetsam. It's like a chef cooking a meal after getting his groceries dumpster diving, his guests getting sick and the chef throwing up his hands and exclaiming, "Well you know how food shopping goes! It's a crap shoot!"

BTW, you counteract your star going through slumps by having a bunch of good players around him so that when he slumps (and all ball players slump) the entire offense doesn't grind to a halt with him. That's Baseball 101. JFC.
 

Rovin Romine

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Michael Wacha has pitched over 150 innings twice in his career. Pivetta is at best a fourth starter.
The greater part of your argument stands, but I'd say that the Paxton signing was more about next year, with the possibility he'd be available late in the season this year. Pairing Paxton with someone like Wacha or Hill as a half-year starter makes sense.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Apr 12, 2001
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The greater part of your argument stands, but I'd say that the Paxton signing was more about next year, with the possibility he'd be available late in the season this year. Pairing Paxton with someone like Wacha or Hill as a half-year starter makes sense.
I agree that Paxton is a next-year signing, which also means that we shouldn't expect too much from James Paxton this year.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Chad Jennings pointed out that this is the stage of the season (June 1st/50 games) when the Sox under Cora have made a decision on underperforming players (Hanley DFAd in 2018, replacing Benintendi with Mookie as lead off hitter in 2019, and sending Franchy to AAA last year). The upcoming west coast trip would seem to be a likely trigger for potential moves.

I'd like to see Winckowski, Seabold (when ready), and Bello (soon) rotate through the number 5 spot in the rotation and move Whitlock back to the bullpen. All three are already on the 40 man roster. I also think Franchy should play every day. If they haven't already, they need to have a real conversation with Barnes about accepting a "rehab assignment" to AAA. And I'm ready to be aggressive in promoting German to the majors if he looks good over the next several games. If Wong or Hernandez were playing better, moving on from Plawecki would be on the table too, but, I'm not sure that disruption on the pitching staff could be justified at this point.
Barnes to the IL
Franchy leading off

Starting to see some movement?
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I'd say that the Paxton signing was more about next year, with the possibility he'd be available late in the season this year.
So unless we cut him in the offseason (I guess he could get hurt again in his handful of late season starts this year, assuming those ever happen), we're basically paying Paxton $19 million (albeit spread over two years) to pitch for us in 2023? At that point he will basically be three years removed from his last decent season and 3 years on the wrong side of 30. He's never been healthy or durable - he's been on the injured list in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He's never thrown more than 160 innings in a season, he's topped 136 twice.

How is basically paying this guy $19 million for whatever we get out of him in 2023 not insane?
 

mikcou

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So unless we cut him in the offseason (I guess he could get hurt again in his handful of late season starts this year, assuming those ever happen), we're basically paying Paxton $19 million (albeit spread over two years) to pitch for us in 2023? At that point he will basically be three years removed from his last decent season and 3 years on the wrong side of 30. He's never been healthy or durable - he's been on the injured list in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He's never thrown more than 160 innings in a season, he's topped 136 twice.

How is basically paying this guy $19 million for whatever we get out of him in 2023 not insane?
His contract is a 1/10 with a 2/26 option at the end so not following your numbers. The $10M was considerably more than he would have gotten on a one year pillow deal (likely would have been in the $4-$5M flyer range). If he doesnt pitch this year, I dont see that option getting picked up, but he was expected back in July/August when he signed.
 

Rovin Romine

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So unless we cut him in the offseason (I guess he could get hurt again in his handful of late season starts this year, assuming those ever happen), we're basically paying Paxton $19 million (albeit spread over two years) to pitch for us in 2023? At that point he will basically be three years removed from his last decent season and 3 years on the wrong side of 30. He's never been healthy or durable - he's been on the injured list in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He's never thrown more than 160 innings in a season, he's topped 136 twice.

How is basically paying this guy $19 million for whatever we get out of him in 2023 not insane?
The deal was reported as:
1 year $6M (2022) age 33.​
a 2year $26M team option (2023, 2024) age 34-35.​
which if declined gives Paxton a 1 year $4M option.​

Escalators and bonuses could take it to 3/35M total, but normally that's worth it: success is worth paying for.

So, overall, it's a pretty reasonable if not savvy deal. $6/13/13. Time to see if he's cooked before the option, at the cost of essentially $10M. Potentially a #1/2 starter type.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It’s listed as a three year deal but there’s a strong likelihood he doesn’t pitch much if at all this year. So then it’s 2/32 but paid out over 3? Reasonable enough risk, I guess. But seems like there’s a non zero chance that it’s a total bust. He is 33 and hasn’t been useful since 2019.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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The deal was reported as:
1 year $6M (2022) age 33.​
a 2year $26M team option (2023, 2024) age 34-35.​
which if declined gives Paxton a 1 year $4M option.​

Escalators and bonuses could take it to 3/35M total, but normally that's worth it: success is worth paying for.

So, overall, it's a pretty reasonable if not savvy deal. $6/13/13. Time to see if he's cooked before the option, at the cost of essentially $10M. Potentially a #1/2 starter type.
Thanks, didn't realize its a two year option. That makes it seem even crazier to me. The chance that this is $32 million down the drain seems extraordinarily high.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Thanks, didn't realize its a two year option. That makes it seem even crazier to me. The chance that this is $32 million down the drain seems extraordinarily high.
It's only $32M down the drain if he comes back this year and pitches well enough for them to pick up the 2/26 option, then he blows up and sucks in 2023-2024. If he can't get himself on the field and pitching halfway decent by the end of the season, at worst it's 2/10M down the drain and at best it's $6M down the drain. The Sox have paid more for little/no production out of a pitcher.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It's only $32M down the drain if he comes back this year and pitches well enough for them to pick up the 2/26 option, then he blows up and sucks in 2023-2024. If he can't get himself on the field and pitching halfway decent by the end of the season, at worst it's 2/10M down the drain and at best it's $6M down the drain. The Sox have paid more for little/no production out of a pitcher.
It’s an interesting situation. If he doesn’t pitch at all this year, or doesn’t pitch well, what are the odds they decline the club option? It seems unlikely that Paxton would opt in for $4m next year unless he’s completely toast.
 

Ganthem

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Prior to this year, Casas had played a grand total of 208 minor league games. He was not going to be ready to play coming out of Spring Training. That's not a backup plan.
Franchy Cordero was a disaster last year. That's not a backup plan.
Jarren Duran couldn't hit in the majors last year. He looked completely over matched both in the field and at bat. That's not a backup plan.
I love JBJ. JBJ is probably one of my favorite Red Sox of all time. But he's a career (nine years) 229/309/392 hitter. He is who he is. At this point in his career, he's not a starting right fielder for a contending team. He's not and he did come off multiple bad seasons (at the plate).

What those four players are are guys you really, really, really hope get their shit together and produce. Maybe one of them will turn it around, but expecting two or more to do so is folly.

Sale and Paxton are both injured, one just had TJ surgery and you have no idea when he's coming back and the other returned from TJ surgery last year, was ineffective against any team not calling Camden Yards home and has a history of breaking down at the worst possible moments for the team. Relying on one of these pitchers is nuts, both is just dumb. Hill is 42-years-old. Michael Wacha has pitched over 150 innings twice in his career. Pivetta is at best a fourth starter. Eovaldi seems like the best of this bunch, but the Sox think so much of him that they haven't even started talking about extending his contract.

And to echo RR, when did "building a bullpen is a crapshoot!" become an absolute around here? You know when building a bullpen becoming a crapshoot is correct? When you build a bullpen with flotsam and jetsam. It's like a chef cooking a meal after getting his groceries dumpster diving, his guests getting sick and the chef throwing up his hands and exclaiming, "Well you know how food shopping goes! It's a crap shoot!"

BTW, you counteract your star going through slumps by having a bunch of good players around him so that when he slumps (and all ball players slump) the entire offense doesn't grind to a halt with him. That's Baseball 101. JFC.
If backups were sure things they would not be backups. Unless a team has a premium prospect in the minors almost ready to go then the backup is generally guys like Franchy. I think part of the problem around these parts is that posters have unrealistic expectations of what a backup looks like. Dalbec more then earned a chance to be the starting first baseman this year. There is very few teams that would not have gone with Dalbec at first. As for JBJ prior to 2021 he put a 1.6 WAR in 2020 a 1.8 in 2019 and a 3.6 in 2018. Explain to me how that is coming off of multiple bad seasons? Going into the season, prior to Sale's injury, the expectations for the rotation was Evoldi, Sale, PIvetta, and two of the Houck, Wacha, HIll crowd. I will admit that I am not sure why they were not in on Gausman. Even if Sale and Paxton came back, it would be no problems to throw two of the Houck, Wacha, HIll group into the pen. But the fact the Sox have not engaged in contract discussions with Evoldi does not indicate his talent level. That is a pretty asinine argument. As for the bullpen look at the number of teams that have spent big on bullpen arms. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't. There isn't a definitive way to build a bullpen. Lastly if Martinez and Bogey slump then yeah you got Devers, Story, Verdugo and Kike around to pick up the team. However if everyone is slumping, no team would be able to survive that unscathed. To argue otherwise is dishonest at best. What about Verdugo, Kike, Devers or Story's performance last year indicated they would play as poorly as they did in April? The answer is nothing. Unless Bloom had a crystal ball there was not much else he could have done about the April slump
 

Rovin Romine

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Well, that concludes my arbitrary 10-game stretch from May 23. More joyous times.

If the Sox stay red-hot and go 10-0, they'll stand at 29-22, and a 90 win target (solid post season chance) in the remaining 111 games would require 61 wins (.549):
10-0 - .549
9-1 - .558
8-2 - .567
7-3 - .576
6-4 - .585

5-5 - .594
4-6 - .603
3-7 - .612
2-8 - .621
1-9 - .630
0-10 - .639


This is the set for the more modest 87 win target (which is maybe? a 50% chance of making the post season):
10-0 - .522
9-1 - .531
8-2 - .540
7-3 - .549
6-4 - .558

5-5 - .567
4-6 - .576
3-7 - .585
2-8 - .594
1-9 - .603
0-10 - .612
 

Rovin Romine

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Every so often, it's good to take a look on the various league wide categories to see what we're doing or not doing as a club. https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2022.shtml

The offense has ticked up and we've scored the most runs the league. It has an overall aggressivity shape; dependent on hitting for average, not walking. Our power comes from doubles, not HRs.

The defense is average to above average to excellent in most categories.

The pitching. . .is actually average-ish in many respects. Average walks, average hits, above average strike-outs. However, we give up a ton of HRs and don't save games. It's hard to tell how much of that might be an Eovaldi artifact though - he's given up 16 HR all by himself.