Let's talk about this ballclub.

nvalvo

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Camp is starting, and there are a ton of actual baseball topics for us to sink our teeth into. While many of us are not sure how likely this season is to actually happen (I'm a skeptic), what with the sunbelt spiraling into COVID madness, for the purposes of this thread let's assume that a baseball season is able to happen without too much disruption.

A few topics to get us started:

The Roster
  • The roster situation is complicated. We break camp with 30, which after two weeks drops to 28, which after two more weeks drops to 26. I imagine that most of the extra players will be pitchers, and maybe a third catcher.
  • Right now we have 48 players on our 60-man roster.
    • What should the team's approach be for the taxi squad in Pawtucket?
    • How should Bloom strike the balance between MLB-ready depth guys and development for top prospects who need at bats and plate appearances?
  • The health of Collin McHugh seems very important to me for the pitching staff as a whole.
    • As I wrote in another thread, a rotation (either as starters or "bulk guys") of Rodriguez, Eovaldi, McHugh, Perez, Weber looks like an actual rotation. Not a great one, but Sale got hurt. A rotation of Rodriguez, Eovaldi, Perez, Weber, Bullpen Game looks like a disaster.
  • The offense looks likely to be excellent on both sides of the ball, with Verdugo, Pillar, Peraza, and Lucroy looking like the key additions.
    • Our OF has three starting LHH OF in Benintendi, Bradley, and Verdugo, but Pillar and JDM are RHH.
    • Jose Peraza has pretty good career numbers against LHP: .297/.333/.406.
    • Verdugo has no split: .783 against RHP and .785 against LHP.
    • Three catchers? Vazquez, Plawecki, and Lucroy look pretty interesting to me as a group, but do we have the roster spot?
Potential Transactions
  • There's a rumor (via Heyman via SoxScout) that Boston is talking to Puig. On paper, we don't seem to need an outfielder, but JBJ (love him though I do) seems like a potential candidate to be traded this year as part of the team's ongoing don't-call-it-a-rebuild. Trade coming?
  • Before everything happened, their was an interesting rumor about a potential trade with San Diego, that would have seen Boston assume the balance of Wil Myers' backloaded deal in order to get a piece of that sweet, sweet San Diego farm system. Because of the structure of the deal, Myers' CBT number is considerably lower than his actual salary. But San Diego is saying dire things about their actual cash flow, and sounds even more motivated to move salary after the COVID intermission. Assuming that the Boston ownership group's finances aren't totally shredded, this seems like an opportunity to spend some money to supplement the farm, whether we keep Myers as a 1B/OF/DH bat or DFA him. The appeal of such a trade is obvious: basically anyone in their top 10 prospects would be in our top 3.
The Competitive Picture
  • The schedule isn't out yet, but based on what we know, it looks stiff. Based on last year's records and eyeballing the rosters, it looks like there are three rough tiers in the East. Because our natural rival in even years is the Atlanta Braves, we will play about half our games against very good teams.
    • 10 against NYY, 10 against TBR, 6 against ATL, and either 3 or 4 against WAS.
    • BOS is in a middle tier with PHL and NYM, against whom we'll play 6-8 games.
    • And we will see the teams of the lower tier (BAL, MIA, and probably TOR) 23 or 24 times.
    • Anyone want to run the Manilla Metric against that?
    • I predict a 32-28 record for Boston, and no playoffs.
  • The playoffs haven't been expanded yet.
 

BaseballJones

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A few thoughts...

- Lucroy isn't a very good offensive player. He used to be. But his last three seasons: 1131 ab, 18 hr, .248/.315/.350/.666, 77 ops+. That's pretty bad.

- I'm not so sure dealing JBJ is a consequence of signing Puig (should that wild rumor pan out). Benintendi is a guy I like, but he took a step back last year. JBJ is wildly inconsistent offensively. Verdugo has promise but who really knows. Pillar is a solid sub/all-purpose outfielder. There's a solid argument for signing Puig and keeping all five of those guys, especially if we believe that some guys might end up sitting a bunch of games due to covid.

- I agree on McHugh. Seems like a very important guy for this team. Fortunately, he's a pretty good pitcher, so I like his chances at being good for Boston.

- The schedule will be really hard, which is problematic. But the offense should be pretty good, and if the pitching can hold up - the bullpen is a giant question mark for me as well - they have a shot at the playoffs.
 

nvalvo

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Yeah, 34 is old in catcher years even for a guy who didn't just have neck surgery.

That said, he was a very good player and says he's healthy, and backed that up by hitting well (.880 OPS) in a tiny spring training sample. Who knows what he's got in the tank, but I'd like to see more, even if the most likely outcome is that he doesn't make it past one of the fortnightly roster paredowns.
 

DeadlySplitter

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I thought the NL games were 4 game series against each team. 14/60 games then would be against the dregs of the league, O's/Marlins.
 

LostinNJ

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I thought the NL games were 4 game series against each team. 14/60 games then would be against the dregs of the league, O's/Marlins.
Right. I don't think they're doing the "natural rival" thing this year. It's ten games each against the four AL East teams and four games each against the five NL East teams. Since this Red Sox team is the third or maybe fourth best AL team, I wouldn't count on making the playoffs. That's okay -- a messed-up season is the perfect time for a reset.
 

DeadlySplitter

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with ERod also testing positive, our rotation is Eovaldi, Perez and what, three openers?

hope this season counts towards the CBT reset, the big hitters stay fresh and let's get to 2021 alive.
 

BaseballJones

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with ERod also testing positive, our rotation is Eovaldi, Perez and what, three openers?

hope this season counts towards the CBT reset, the big hitters stay fresh and let's get to 2021 alive.
They should be back in time for the long regular seas...............
 

amRadio

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I get that he got tuned up as a starter by AA last year and maybe it's a silly idea, but I almost wish they would give Bryan Mata some run in the rotation this season - if there is a season. Maybe it's a silly impulse, but he's had some seasoning at AA (5+ ERA seasoning?) and there is recent precedent for pitchers going from AA to MLB. We should see what he has.
 

nvalvo

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I get that he got tuned up as a starter by AA last year and maybe it's a silly idea, but I almost wish they would give Bryan Mata some run in the rotation this season - if there is a season. Maybe it's a silly impulse, but he's had some seasoning at AA (5+ ERA seasoning?) and there is recent precedent for pitchers going from AA to MLB. We should see what he has.
I would do this.
 

DeadlySplitter

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I really don't know, but I don't like any possibility Raffy is letting himself go. This has been an issue in the past. That said this year is a special circumstance
 

Pedroia's Itchy Nose

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If I were in charge I'd basically be trying to leverage the current situation in any way possible to produce a medium to long term advantage. I'd use this season (however much actually gets played) to let players experiment with anything controversial that they might be interested in (working on new pitches, pitch mixes, swing mechanics, defensive alignments etc.). It'll probably be the best chance they ever get to try something new in a situation that is very low stakes but still close to real MLB ball. I'd give as many fringey players (particularly pitchers) as possible a chance to show something. I'd experiment with bullpen usage.

I'd also be looking to leverage finanical resources to acquire talent however possible. Some short term pinch now could pay off better yields than it would at other times. I don't think it's the time to be in a scarcity mindset.

I doubt the season will be completed, and even if it does it's basically exhibition at this point. So go hog wild trying new things and get a good draft position.
 

nighthob

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I really don't know, but I don't like any possibility Raffy is letting himself go. This has been an issue in the past. That said this year is a special circumstance
With the DH being used MLB-wide this season this might be the time for Boston to consider moving JD to an NL club and move Raffy to DH full time. I've always thought that that was his long-term spot given his size. They have some IF depth to replace Raffy at 3B anyway. And as this is something of a lost season, a few extra losses won't matter.
 

bosockboy

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With the DH being used MLB-wide this season this might be the time for Boston to consider moving JD to an NL club and move Raffy to DH full time. I've always thought that that was his long-term spot given his size. They have some IF depth to replace Raffy at 3B anyway. And as this is something of a lost season, a few extra losses won't matter.
In the pandemic era, he’s picking up all his options. I imagine that makes him less attractive on a 3 year commitment. And I think he has a pretty big no trade list.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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With the DH being used MLB-wide this season this might be the time for Boston to consider moving JD to an NL club and move Raffy to DH full time. I've always thought that that was his long-term spot given his size. They have some IF depth to replace Raffy at 3B anyway. And as this is something of a lost season, a few extra losses won't matter.
He's 23, you don't move guys down the defensive spectrum - or off it - that young, you do it when they force you to. And first stop would be 1B anyway.
 

jacklamabe65

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In the "this season doesn't really count" camp, so I hope that our temporary skipper gives playing time to younger rather than older players as a general theme. As someone who started following them in 1963, I've seen much worse rosters start the season on Jersey Street. (I am also on the side of "there will not be a season this year because of the surge in the red states," but that is for the political board.)
 

sean1562

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JBJ is a FA after this year right? I don't see anyone making substantive trades for players this season considering it is not likely to actually happen. Puig on a 2 year deal could be likely, move Beni to CF for next season, Puig in LF.
 

nighthob

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He's 23, you don't move guys down the defensive spectrum - or off it - that yunities, though. Namely oung, you do it when they force you to. And first stop would be 1B anyway.
I agree, and I've long been on the he's headed to 1B bandwagon due to conditioning issues. This season, assuming it plays out, gives Boston some opportunities, though. Martinez will have value to NL teams looking to win. And Boston does need to rebuild the minor league system. So it seems a natural fit to give Dalbec his sink or swim shot at 3B this year while moving Devers down the defensive spectrum.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I agree, and I've long been on the he's headed to 1B bandwagon due to conditioning issues. This season, assuming it plays out, gives Boston some opportunities, though. Martinez will have value to NL teams looking to win. And Boston does need to rebuild the minor league system. So it seems a natural fit to give Dalbec his sink or swim shot at 3B this year while moving Devers down the defensive spectrum.
Moving Devers to 1B has nothing to do with Martinez. If this is truly (or was planned to be) a year to simply reset the tax and then load back up, I've no idea why you'd get rid of your best hitter for prospects, especially one that won't return much to begin with. Even with the NL presumably adding the DH full time, he's a DH. You don't restock much by trading a DH making $22M a year. As to Dalbec, I think he should probably worry about breaking an .800 OPS at AAA before we start making room for him by moving our best young left handed bat for what would be a marginal improvement in defense. Ymmv.
 

nighthob

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Given the state of the system there really isn't a load right back up option for Boston that doesn't end up with them right back in the same exact boat. Part of loading up involves low cost talent, which Boston no longer really has outside Devers.
 
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nvalvo

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So MLB’s Statcast defensive numbers (formerly baseball savant) just released their Outs Above Average metric for infielders. Who knows how good that is; I haven’t really gotten a chance to look through it.

It has Devers as the sixth best 3b in baseball.
 

JBJ_HOF

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OAA has Devers rated incredibly well going to his left, which is obvious. This issue with his defense - mostly before the early part of last season - was miscues on the routine while making the spectacular. Obviously that is what you want rather than the opposite. The opposite would be Bogaerts, who makes the routine but has no range at all and costs the team a lot of runs defensively.
 

johnnywayback

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So MLB’s Statcast defensive numbers (formerly baseball savant) just released their Outs Above Average metric for infielders. Who knows how good that is; I haven’t really gotten a chance to look through it.

It has Devers as the sixth best 3b in baseball.
That fits with the eye test. Devers seems to me to have a surprisingly quick first step for someone with his body type. He has very solid range to his left, and his arm plays fine. He sometimes makes mistakes charging the ball and judging in-between hops -- it's touch, not athleticism, that holds him to being solid-average rather than plus. Even if the athleticism takes a step back as he ages, I think the hands can take a step forward with more Febles time. I think that's a more optimistic assessment than someone like Bogaerts, whose defensive prowess is limited by athleticism rather than skill.

ETA: Okay, well, apparently @JBJ_HOF was in the process of making the EXACT SAME point...
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Considering that there are far more "routine" opportunities then there are "spectacular" opportunities, why would it be preferred to have miscues on the routine?
It really shouldn't be preferred. Assuming we're viewing a "routine" play at short to be one that results in at least one out (either the batter or a runner at another base), screwing up a routine play at short means no outs recorded and an extra baserunner at the least and no outs recorded and an extra base(s) for all runners at worst. Assuming we're considering a "spectacular" play as one that nets an out where one might not have expected it, then the least that happens if it's screwed up is the batter reaches base safely as expected. And the worst is that all runners gain extra base(s) due to the miscue.

Seems like unless the error on a spectacular opportunity is truly spectacular, like ranging far into the hole then throwing the ball wide of first and way down the RF line allowing even the batter to score, such miscues are generally less damaging overall than messing up a routine play.
 

nvalvo

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Looking through Bogaerts' Statcast numbers, it's interesting how he's within an out or two of average in every respect. Coming in, he was average. He cost two outs going to his right, and two going to his left. He gained one back on balls hit over his head, for a total of -3 outs above average. The plays that tested him had an estimated success rate of 88% for an average SS. He made 87% of them. It would be hard for an individual player with a full season's opportunities as a starter to be much more exactly average than that.

(The Angels' Tovar Wilfredo made 73 attempts, and performed exactly as the average MLB SS would. Xander fielded about ~5x that many opportunities.)

With his bat, that's a hell of a player. [/uncontroversial opinion]
 

JBJ_HOF

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Wouldn't the reasoning be that, in a young player, the athleticism needed to make spectacular plays is innate, making routine plays can be learned/ coached?
Exactly. Like Miguel Andujar, he's young and has no range, so he has no upside there and won't end up a 3B.
 

jon abbey

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Devers has a much better chance to stay at 3B than Andujar, who has already largely been moved to LF/DH/1B. I'm not saying Devers will stay there long-term, I don't really know enough about his specifics, but the comparison for Andujar at 3B is Ryan Braun, who played his whole rookie year at 3B and hasn't played a single game there since.
 

The Gray Eagle

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This ballclub's pitching staff looks awful and has gotten significantly worse with E-Rod, Darwinzon and Taylor getting Covid-19. Hopefully they all bounce back completely and quickly. (Dalbec is already back training, after 2 negative tests, it'd be great if the pitchers are similar.)

From The Athletic:
"Obviously, Rodríguez’s COVID-19 diagnosis has further depleted the top of the Red Sox rotation, but it’s really opened questions on the back end. Nathan Eovaldi and Martín Pérez are in, and Ryan Weber might have secured a spot out of necessity. After that, the list of candidates looks something like Brian Johnson, Chris Mazza, Jeffrey Springs and Matt Hall, perhaps with less experienced Kyle Hart and Robinson Leyer in the conversation. It seems telling the team felt the need to add Mike Kickham to the 60-man player pool on Saturday. He made three big-league starts in 2013 but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014.

Mazza and Hall have never started in the big leagues, Hart and Leyer have never pitched in the big leagues, and Springs’ only big-league starts were a pair of opener appearances in 2018 when he pitched well but went five scoreless innings in the two games combined."
 

jon abbey

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Also Jay Groome, Jarren Duran, Tanner Houck and Bryan Mata, according to Speier.
 

amRadio

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I will be really glad to see Groome, Mata and Downs in the mix this year. I still look at Groome as a high end SP prospect. Big boy who throws hard out of a smooth delivery. I believe.
 

JBJ_HOF

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Casas and Ward will be in camp once things at McCoy are up and running I'm sure.