Napoli Hunt

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chrisfont9

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
Was the breakup really that ugly?  As I recall, Youk didn't get along with the manager, he was in decline (and in denial about it), and wasn't all that thrilled about becoming a part-time player behind a rookie on a hot streak.  The front office dealt him away for basically nothing to diffuse what could have been a difficult situation in a season filled with difficult situations.
I thought he had pissed off some teammates in relation to chickengate? I suspect the chance of a return is approaching zero.
 

JMDurron

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The bigger reason to ignore Youlilis as an option is that he can't even be considered a viable 3B option anymore, therefore using him as the short side of a 1B platoon would be a poor use of a roster spot. At least Carp was theoretically able to play a corner OF spot in 2013, but that's not Youk in 2014.

This assumes that Nava/Gomes remains the plan in LF. I'd rather sink or swim with Carp alone and move Nava over with a Brentz or other AAA OFer type coming up in the event of a major Carp injury or abject failure.
 

Drek717

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JMDurron said:
The bigger reason to ignore Youlilis as an option is that he can't even be considered a viable 3B option anymore, therefore using him as the short side of a 1B platoon would be a poor use of a roster spot. At least Carp was theoretically able to play a corner OF spot in 2013, but that's not Youk in 2014.

This assumes that Nava/Gomes remains the plan in LF. I'd rather sink or swim with Carp alone and move Nava over with a Brentz or other AAA OFer type coming up in the event of a major Carp injury or abject failure.
Youk's theoretical ability to play 3B likely won't even be of significant value for the 2014 club.  Cecchini has a shot to push for time next season.  Alex Castellanos has played a good bit of 3B and has an interesting mL offense history.  And the backup MI (be that Holt or some new sign or trade candidate) will likely be able to play 3B as well.
 
Corey Hart, assuming his knees are good enough to play the field comparable to what he did pre-surgery, really does seem like the ideal fit.  It would give two left handers (Carp and Nava, for all practical purposes) and two right handers (Hart and Gomes) for two jobs, using the same number of roster spots dedicated to 1B/LF last season.  If Nava regresses hard then Hart and Carp play LF/1B with Gomes replacing Hart in LF, who then replaces Carp at 1B, for LHP.  If Carp doesn't build on last season then Hart takes the 1B job full time.  If Gomes falls apart then Hart spells Nava in LF and can split time at 1B with Carp.  The combinations are pretty diverse and gives a ton of regression/injury protection.  Pretty damn tempting when that's the option that also nets you a draft pick, with the potential of Hart being worth another draft pick next off-season.
 
Seems like a pretty awesome way to make use of the 1B spot.  Tampa has been using it as a spot to find low cost guys with the potential for a strong offensive season (Pena, Kotchman, and Loney), with some risk of flame out when they guess wrong (Pena's return in 2012), but for small dollars.  The Sox can use a similar revolving door strategy but with big market economics letting them pick the single best big year option paired with a low cost flier, as long as one has positional versatility, and in return will have a legitimate shot at free draft picks on the back end with some regularity.
 
Until a guy like Carp who has multiple years of low cost team control hits it big I'd be all in favor of going forward with this strategy.  A solid 1B bat willing to take short years seems like a pretty readily available asset in today's FA market.
 

TFisNEXT

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Drek717 said:
Youk's theoretical ability to play 3B likely won't even be of significant value for the 2014 club.  Cecchini has a shot to push for time next season.  Alex Castellanos has played a good bit of 3B and has an interesting mL offense history.  And the backup MI (be that Holt or some new sign or trade candidate) will likely be able to play 3B as well.
 
Corey Hart, assuming his knees are good enough to play the field comparable to what he did pre-surgery, really does seem like the ideal fit.  It would give two left handers (Carp and Nava, for all practical purposes) and two right handers (Hart and Gomes) for two jobs, using the same number of roster spots dedicated to 1B/LF last season.  If Nava regresses hard then Hart and Carp play LF/1B with Gomes replacing Hart in LF, who then replaces Carp at 1B, for LHP.  If Carp doesn't build on last season then Hart takes the 1B job full time.  If Gomes falls apart then Hart spells Nava in LF and can split time at 1B with Carp.  The combinations are pretty diverse and gives a ton of regression/injury protection.  Pretty damn tempting when that's the option that also nets you a draft pick, with the potential of Hart being worth another draft pick next off-season.
 
Seems like a pretty awesome way to make use of the 1B spot.  Tampa has been using it as a spot to find low cost guys with the potential for a strong offensive season (Pena, Kotchman, and Loney), with some risk of flame out when they guess wrong (Pena's return in 2012), but for small dollars.  The Sox can use a similar revolving door strategy but with big market economics letting them pick the single best big year option paired with a low cost flier, as long as one has positional versatility, and in return will have a legitimate shot at free draft picks on the back end with some regularity.
 
Until a guy like Carp who has multiple years of low cost team control hits it big I'd be all in favor of going forward with this strategy.  A solid 1B bat willing to take short years seems like a pretty readily available asset in today's FA market.
I love the idea of Corey Hart if Napoli is gone. Right handed bat with pop and probably will come relatively cheap after his lost 2013 season due to surgery.
 

Drek717

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
He has 110 games in 5 years in the minors at 3B. I wouldn't call that a "good bit".
It's his second most played position behind RF where he's had 311 games.  His lack of ML promotion has resulted in him moving around the diamond quite a bit, with 106 games at 2B as well.  He's seen time at every position except catcher and pitcher (albeit with only a single game at short).  He also played 34 games at 3B in 2012.  He might be a weak defender there but he's at least familiar with the position and has seen a decent number of games there in the high minors.
 
Odds are he's no worse than Youk at 3B now, given that Youk looks about as quick on his feet now as Mike Lowell in his last few tries at 3B.  If they're looking for a way to have an extra layer of 3B protection and Castellanos is in the mix for the 5th OF/super utility guy isn't the worst option in the world.
 

Drek717

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
Keep reaching man.
who's reaching? He has played enough 3b to be a viable utility man and fill in for a game or two in a pinch.
 

Drek717

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
You're reaching. As you have been in the majority of posts you've made the cpl weeks around here.
Then debate the merits of those posts as they come, I'd enjoy the discourse.
 
 
Because he played his "second most amount of games" at 3B means literally zero as to whether or not he should be considered a viable option to do that in the majors as a regular or as a UI. Saying he could fill in for a couple games is like saying WMB could have filled in at 2B last year.
Viable utility man =/= fill in for a game or two in a pinch. There's a reason he was moved out of the infield - if his glove could handle it his bat is a lot more valuable there than in the OF. And comparing him to present day youkilis is not exactly paying him a compliment.
 
You mean moved out of the infield, then back to the infield, then back to the outfield, right?  At first with the Cardinals, moving through an organization that had David Freese and Matt Carpenter both above him at 3B and Kozma and Descalso tying up SS and 2B just ahead of him as well.  That, coupled with weak organizational outfield depth, prompted them to look for ways to get his bat on the field.
 
Then he was traded to L.A. who played him in the OF exclusively after acquiring him in 2011, only to then play him at primarily second and third for all of 2012.  Then last year he was back in the OF more or less full time.
 
 
The Sox FO is not considering his 110 games at 3b over 5 years when factoring him into the plans for 2014. Just like Vazquez is not in the loop for C and Hassan not for 1B. They may prove to be mid season fallbacks but they are not primary or even secondary options for a first division team.
 
 
Strange that we have this comment from Speier on the trade where he directly attributes a utility view of him to the Red Sox:
The Sox view him as a right-handed hitter with some power who has the ability to hold his own against both right- and left-handed pitchers. While he’s coming off something of a down year in 2013 (.257/.347/.468 in Triple-A Albuquerque), the team thought him worth the acquisition cost based on his longer history as a player who provides solid at-bats, represents a plus runner and can play not only all three outfield spots but also the three infield positions aside from shortstop. The team view his best positions as right and left fields, third and second base.
 
Also, I think you mistake me listing the variety of options for a statement that X player is THE guy for a position.  A lot of teams will have a far worse 2nd/3rd option for 1B if their primary guy goes down for the year or sucks horribly than Alex Hassan.  A lot more surprising jumps have been made out of spring training than a elite potential defensive catcher going from AA to the ML.  I'm not claiming their primary options.  In the case of Vazquez he's not even the secondary option in-house, just a dark horse with enough advancement to surprise.  But they are on the 2014 radar none the less and having them diminishes the need to overpay veterans in years and dollars.
 
Brandon Snyder has played 89 games across his seven year minor league career at 3B.  He's played 463 at 1B and 79 at catcher exclusively in the low minors.  Last season in AAA he played 41 games at 1B versus 25 games at 3B.  Yet 10 of his 11 ML starts last year and 17 of his 27 ML appearances came at 3B in 2013.  Not only was he the best 1B depth the Sox could find to stash at AAA, he was for a portion of the season the best 3B they could dig up at the ML level.  He had a 53 OPS+ in his limited playing time.  That is the state of secondary options for 3B in baseball today.
 
I think maybe you have too high a standard as to what constitutes acceptable utility defense.  If Castellanos was a good 3B or 2B we wouldn't be having this discussion.  Someone would have given him a real shot to translate those nice minor league batting numbers to the big leagues far beyond the 43 PAs he's gotten with the Dodgers over the last two years.  He doesn't and therefore he's played all around the diamond including all three OF positions, 2B, and 3B at the AAA level.  That's a pretty good template for a utility guy.  A utility guy who will likely be carried by his bat more than his glove to be sure, but when the alternative suggested is a guy like Youkilis who was already toast as far as playing 3B was concerned in early 2012 I don't really see how that's a poor exchange.  If Castellanos ends up the 5th OF he allows the team to focus the MI spot on someone who plays quality SS defense.  If he's in AAA (more likely) he gives them a guy already on the 40 man, option burned, who can fit in around the younger prospects in Pawtucket while being a passable spot start at as many as six positions at the ML level.  And he's a good base runner.  And if 2013 was really just a down year and he's actually the 2011/2012 guy he might even have some legitimate offensive value.
 
 
Whoever called you EV Was spot on.
 
 
You're mistaking being an advocate for use of in-house assets as deep depth to avoid bad FA contracts as prospect worship.
 

KillerBs

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Drek717 said:
Youk's theoretical ability to play 3B likely won't even be of significant value for the 2014 club.  Cecchini has a shot to push for time next season.  Alex Castellanos has played a good bit of 3B and has an interesting mL offense history.  And the backup MI (be that Holt or some new sign or trade candidate) will likely be able to play 3B as well.
 
Corey Hart, assuming his knees are good enough to play the field comparable to what he did pre-surgery, really does seem like the ideal fit.  It would give two left handers (Carp and Nava, for all practical purposes) and two right handers (Hart and Gomes) for two jobs, using the same number of roster spots dedicated to 1B/LF last season.  If Nava regresses hard then Hart and Carp play LF/1B with Gomes replacing Hart in LF, who then replaces Carp at 1B, for LHP.  If Carp doesn't build on last season then Hart takes the 1B job full time.  If Gomes falls apart then Hart spells Nava in LF and can split time at 1B with Carp.  The combinations are pretty diverse and gives a ton of regression/injury protection.  Pretty damn tempting when that's the option that also nets you a draft pick, with the potential of Hart being worth another draft pick next off-season.
 
 
In this non-Napoli world, do you think that Hart would have any interest in signing with the Sox to start the year as the short half of a platoon? Your scenario above would seem to require Nava (or Carp I suppose) to regress hard before Hart got anything close to FT ABs.
 
In any event, I am inclined towards not filling 2 of 4 bench spots with 1B/LF as we did last year. With the 3rd bench spot set aside for the back up C, and the 4th going to a guy whio can play SS, this scenario leaves us seriously short of depth on the 25 man roster re CF/RF and leaves no one to spell Middlebrooks periodically other than the UI (Holt?).
 
In short, if it is Napoli or Hart that is signed as a right handed bat at 1b, I think we should be looking to move either Carp or Nava ideally to obtain a RH OFer who can cover CF/RF defensively (if Castellanos is not that guy) or a bench 3b/SS/2B who is better than Brock Holt. 
 

The Boomer

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With my Chris Young binky gone to the Mets, here is my best prediction of what the 25 man roster could likely be on opening day:
 
SP: Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront, Peavy

Pen: Uehara, Tazawa, Miller, Workman, Breslow, Badenhop, Morales

The 9: Lavarnway, [Napoli/Hart/Loney/Morse/Morneau for not more than 2 years or Hassan in a platoon with Carp (depending on how the market for available 1B free agents develops)], Pedroia, Middlebrooks, Bogaerts, Nava, Bradley, Victorino, Ortiz

The bench: Ross, Gomes, Carp, [UIF TBNL as fungible 25th man].

Here is a list of available free agents:

hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/23/2014-free-agent-tracker/

It is understandable why Cherington will wait for relative bargains among the free agents or will make logical trades to fill needs from areas of organizational depth as occurred in the Badenhop trade on a small scale basis. Lavarnway, JBJ, Middlebrooks and Bogaerts have little or nothing left to prove outside the majors. The organization will display more patience giving them chances to prove if any or all belong. If Cherington pursues another catcher like Hannigan, I could see Lavarnway as the third option at catcher and platoon 1B with Carp. I don't see Ellsbury, Napoli, Drew or Salty returning except on team friendly contracts that don't impede the emergence of any top prospects. If they can get a Dexter Fowler quality player in a trade of some of their upper level RHP prospects, this could change the mix of the roster. However, it seems more likely that they will only try to resolve who will be their 1B regular and flexible UIF to start next season. My roster has them working out a "Dumpster" trade.
 

Sampo Gida

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Sprowl said:
 

edit: Safeco won't help Napoli's power numbers, although some of his home runs are out of any ballpark anywhere. It's clear that Seattle has plenty of money to play with if the Mariners think that they are ready to make a splash. Maybe they are ready to cut bait on Smoak, in which case the Red Sox may be able to turn another Safeco refugee into a cheap pickup. Don't spend big money on first basemen.
 
Since moving the fences in Safeco is not the hell it used to be for RH hitters.  Still not  a paradise but HR PF jumped to 88 for RHB'ers from the 2010-2012 avg of 67 (from BJ HB). 
 
In fact, Fenway probably suppressed Napolis HR totals and converted some from HR to DB or singles.  As  you say, few of his HR's are cheapies.  Have not looked at his charts though.
 
The big thing with Napoli though is how sustainable that 367 BABIP was.  In fact, that goes for the team as well as their 329 BABIP was the highest of any team since 1930.   A move to Safeco coupled with regression will not bode well for his numbers.
 
Just as big a factor for him is not facing Yankee pitching as often.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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Here's a question. Why does everyone assume that Nava will be here next year? He's coming off a career year and isn't exactly young. He's controlled so chances are good if they move him he'll bring back a prospect. The Sox have Hassan and AAA and Nava is about 18 months removed from being DFA'ed. Wouldn't that make Nava a prime "cash in" candidate??
 

Rasputin

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Tyrone Biggums said:
Here's a question. Why does everyone assume that Nava will be here next year? He's coming off a career year and isn't exactly young. He's controlled so chances are good if they move him he'll bring back a prospect. The Sox have Hassan and AAA and Nava is about 18 months removed from being DFA'ed. Wouldn't that make Nava a prime "cash in" candidate??
 
He's not good enough to bring back a prospect that's anything special which means you'd be trading a high likelihood of a useful player now for a lower likelihood of a useful player later, plus a very small likelihood of a very good player later and a decent chance of having a useless player who washes out before he makes the bigs.
 
He's Daniel Nava. The fact that he had a good season doesn't mean that he's magically good. He's a guy who can hit right handed pitching, get on base at a decent clip, and every now and then launch one. His defense is nothing special, he's not really a base stealer. He's got one thing he's better than average at, and that's not enough to bring in a lot.
 

Niastri

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The "one thing" Nava is good at is the single most important thing in baseball for scoring runs. He also was top ten in batting average, in spite of not being very good at hitting lefties. A lot of teams would be happy to have him as a very low cost starter in left.
 

BeantownIdaho

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Rasputin said:
 
He's not good enough to bring back a prospect that's anything special which means you'd be trading a high likelihood of a useful player now for a lower likelihood of a useful player later, plus a very small likelihood of a very good player later and a decent chance of having a useless player who washes out before he makes the bigs.
 
He's Daniel Nava. The fact that he had a good season doesn't mean that he's magically good. He's a guy who can hit right handed pitching, get on base at a decent clip, and every now and then launch one. His defense is nothing special, he's not really a base stealer. He's got one thing he's better than average at, and that's not enough to bring in a lot.
He probably would not bring back a prospect 1 for 1, but packaged with the right players to the right team he would add to the talent coming back.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Niastri said:
The "one thing" Nava is good at is the single most important thing in baseball for scoring runs. He also was top ten in batting average, in spite of not being very good at hitting lefties. A lot of teams would be happy to have him as a very low cost starter in left.
 
Including the Boston Red Sox, which is mighty convenient for them.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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BeantownIdaho said:
He probably would not bring back a prospect 1 for 1, but packaged with the right players to the right team he would add to the talent coming back.
Well exactly. If you think about it all it really takes is one team to value Nava as a low cost every day player. He gets on base but what is his real value? Even if you count the probably regression he does still have good pitch recognition and fits with the grind it out mentality. But like Lackey I feel he's a prime candidate because he's cost controlled right now. Lackey is "cost controlled" because of the 2015 option on his contract. I do have a sneaking suspicion that he will retire at the end of 2014 rather than pitch for the major league minimum so that probably could be a concern for teams that want him too. A concern in the amount of the price they will pay anyways.

I think on opening day you'll see Napoli at 1B and perhaps Corey Hart in left. Thus leaving Nava as the odd man out. Something to consider if the right deal comes around.

Another absolute off the wall idea. What if Cecchini makes a Bradley like impression in camp? Would he force WMB to 1B if Napoli isn't back?
 

Super Nomario

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Tyrone Biggums said:
Another absolute off the wall idea. What if Cecchini makes a Bradley like impression in camp? Would he force WMB to 1B if Napoli isn't back?
Isn't Middlebrooks considered a better fielder than Cecchini?
 

Doctor G

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Niastri said:
The "one thing" Nava is good at is the single most important thing in baseball for scoring runs. He also was top ten in batting average, in spite of not being very good at hitting lefties. A lot of teams would be happy to have him as a very low cost starter in left.
The one thing Nava is really good at is squaring up the ball. 23.5 LD% over the last three years. plus he has an accurate arm  and good anticipation  defensively. I'll take a guy who is as good a hitter as Frank Catalanotto was in his prime .
 

swingin val

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Tyrone Biggums said:
I think on opening day you'll see Napoli at 1B and perhaps Corey Hart in left. Thus leaving Nava as the odd man out. Something to consider if the right deal comes around.?
Hart in LF means Gomes as odd man out. Not Nava
 

alwyn96

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Tyrone Biggums said:
Well exactly. If you think about it all it really takes is one team to value Nava as a low cost every day player. He gets on base but what is his real value? Even if you count the probably regression he does still have good pitch recognition and fits with the grind it out mentality. But like Lackey I feel he's a prime candidate because he's cost controlled right now. Lackey is "cost controlled" because of the 2015 option on his contract. I do have a sneaking suspicion that he will retire at the end of 2014 rather than pitch for the major league minimum so that probably could be a concern for teams that want him too. A concern in the amount of the price they will pay anyways.

I think on opening day you'll see Napoli at 1B and perhaps Corey Hart in left. Thus leaving Nava as the odd man out. Something to consider if the right deal comes around.

Another absolute off the wall idea. What if Cecchini makes a Bradley like impression in camp? Would he force WMB to 1B if Napoli isn't back?
 
By the time Spring Training rolls around, I assume the Red Sox would have found a starting 1B. I think that, like Bradley, the only way Cecchini makes the opening day roster is if he plays out of his mind and there's an injury somewhere. 
 
I can't see Nava getting traded - I think he's valuable for the reasons you outline - but I see Carp as more the odd man out. Nava's generally a better fielder than Carp, and has slightly more positional flexibility. 
 

Rasputin

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Niastri said:
The "one thing" Nava is good at is the single most important thing in baseball for scoring runs. He also was top ten in batting average, in spite of not being very good at hitting lefties. A lot of teams would be happy to have him as a very low cost starter in left.
Sure, and as mentioned the Sox are one of them. We also have the advantage of having a left field where defense is less important.

He's a guy with a limited set of skills who isn't likely to have a long career. He's perfect for a team that values his skills in a part time role that already has the stars to compete.

That's us, and I have a hard time convincing myself that there is a team that values him more than us. And when I look at the union of the sets that are the teams that would value him and the teams we'd be willing to trade him to, I come up with maybe Oakland.
 

FanSinceBoggs

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Montana Fan said:
Here's a recent article about Corey Hart. Him playing outfield in 2014 doesn't sound like something that should be counted on.

http://www.xnsports.com/2013/11/29/hart-gauging-free-agent-corey-harts-2014-mlb-season/
 
Thanks for the article.  It sounds like he will be an injury risk no matter what.  If the Red Sox sign Hart for 1b, it'll be necessary to keep Carp around to provide 1b depth, kind of like last season with the uncertainty surrounding Napoli's hip.
 
I can't figure out if Hart is a better choice than Loney.  If I'm not mistaken, Loney is a better defensive player.  Loney isn't an injury risk.  Moreover, the Red Sox might benefit from the extra LHB (assuming Drew doesn't return).  On the other hand, Hart provides more offensive upside and power.
 

Sprowl

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FanSinceBoggs said:
Thanks for the article.  It sounds like he will be an injury risk no matter what.  If the Red Sox sign Hart for 1b, it'll be necessary to keep Carp around to provide 1b depth, kind of like last season with the uncertainty surrounding Napoli's hip.
 
I can't figure out if Hart is a better choice than Loney.  If I'm not mistaken, Loney is a better defensive player.  Loney isn't an injury risk.  Moreover, the Red Sox might benefit from the extra LHB (assuming Drew doesn't return).  On the other hand, Hart provides more offensive upside and power.
 
Hart is a much better choice than Loney. Loney is a fine defensive first baseman at a position where defense doesn't matter much, a pull-hitting LHB who failed in 2012 in Fenway (where pull-hitting LH power goes to die), and a poorer hitter than Mike Carp. Loney would fail again in 2014 -- see hit chart below, with Loney's 2013 Tropicana superimposed on Fenway dimensions. Stay far, far away from James Loney.
 

koufax37

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I don't know why Sprowl is so down on first basemen with legitimate 10-HR power.
 
I want no part of Loney either.
 
I think the Hart possibility is pretty interesting if he can pass a physical.  I think he is actually pretty favorable as a comparison to Napoli, mashes LHP even more, offers slightly more positional flexibility (more likely to play a few games in LF/RF than Napoli would be likely to catch).  I prefer Napoli on sheer beard power alone if all else is equal, but he is also clearly likely to command more of a contract.  Hart needs to prove he is healthy, and is a fine replacement for Napoli for 2014 if reasonably healthy.  
 
If he has health issues or doesn't really thrive, he is your short half of a platoon at first (better bat than Carp or Nava against LHP), and if he rebounds to his former self he can get 400+ PA stealing from whoever proves to be the weakest link and more directly filling Napoli's shoes.
 
I do however think that his beard, Celtics game appearances, and lack of Scott Boras representation means Napoli would like to be back without squeezing every dollar he can, so maybe the hometown discount pushes him into a reasonable range.  But if not, I like Hart + Carp/Nava more than any other options I've seen mentioned.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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Sprowl said:
Hart is a much better choice than Loney. Loney is a fine defensive first baseman at a position where defense doesn't matter much, a pull-hitting LHB who failed in 2012 in Fenway (where pull-hitting LH power goes to die), and a poorer hitter than Mike Carp. Loney would fail again in 2014 -- see hit chart below, with Loney's 2013 Tropicana superimposed on Fenway dimensions. Stay far, far away from James Loney.
I agree. Fenway is not a place that would really work for pull hitters like Loney. I do however believe Loney would be perfect in a place like Colorado where his power numbers can be inflated. All while providing gold glove defense. I would go three years with Napoli if necessary (with a Lackey type clause) the Sox have zero options in house at 1B. Unless of course you move Cecchini to 3rd and WMB to first. Who is the better defender of the two? The other option is to sign Corey Hart to a pillow contract for a year or two and hope he can replace Napoli's production and stay healthy. Obviously if Napoli is getting offers at $16 million a year then you think about taking the pick and going after Hart.
 

benhogan

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Tyrone Biggums said:
I would go three years with Napoli if necessary (with a Lackey type clause) the Sox have zero options in house at 1B. Unless of course you move Cecchini to 3rd and WMB to first.    Who is the better defender of the two? The other option is to sign Corey Hart to a pillow contract for a year or two and hope he can replace Napoli's production and stay healthy. Obviously if Napoli is getting offers at $16 million a year then you think about taking the pick and going after Hart.
Carp is an option.
 
Nava is an option.
 
Cecchini to 3rd and WMB to first is not an option
 

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They have the option of signing Drew  for three years,  playing Bogaerts at 3rd,platooning WMB and Carp at first. WMB and Carp should give you as much offense as Napoli did. This might be cheaper than signing Napoli and a backup for  Bogaerts.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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benhogan said:
I would go three years with Napoli if necessary (with a Lackey type clause) the Sox have zero options in house at 1B. Unless of course you move Cecchini to 3rd and WMB to first.    Who is the better defender of the two? The other option is to sign Corey Hart to a pillow contract for a year or two and hope he can replace Napoli's production and stay healthy. Obviously if Napoli is getting offers at $16 million a year then you think about taking the pick and going after Hart.
Carp is an option.
 
Nava is an option.
 
Cecchini to 3rd and WMB to first is not an option
 
Carp and Nava is not a legit option. If the Sox are going into a season with two guys with the same type of splits then they're in trouble.
 

benhogan

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Tyrone Biggums said:
 
Carp and Nava is not a legit option. If the Sox are going into a season with two guys with the same type of splits then they're in trouble.
I can only guess Carp and Nava didn't impress you last year but Middlebrooks did?
 
Nava/Gomes should platoon in LF next season, with Nava backing up first if there is an injury to Carp 
 
Carp was a beast last year. He has more then earned his shot at starting at first (if we don't re-sign Napoli). If you want to add a RHH first basemen to platoon with Carp thats fine, although I'd rather have a RHH CFer to back-up/platoon with JBJ.
 

Drek717

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Tyrone Biggums said:
 
Carp and Nava is not a legit option. If the Sox are going into a season with two guys with the same type of splits then they're in trouble.
Carp doesn't have an appreciable career split (he's actually plus ~0.020 against LHP).  he had a big split last year but only had 28 ABs against lefties all season, so it's not exactly a meaningful sample, and his LHP line was still a .745 OPS.
 
The team has a bunch of guys on the AAA/MLB bubble who are RH batters with the potential to pick up a 1B glove.  Hassan has already done some work there at AAA.  Castellanos has 7 games played there in the minors (all back in '09).  Lavarnway could pick up the position if he's blocked by a veteran C option.  Middlebrooks already has some time there so if we're looking for a RH bat to spell Carp (or Nava) then we could add another option to the pool if the backup MI is an acceptable RH bat (or at least one with strong LHP splits).
 
That all comes before adding someone like Konerko who still hit LHP well in 2013 and was a damn good hitter against RHP as recently as 2012.  Or trading for someone like Ike Davis who still has an option, stashing him in Pawtucket, and having a power bat insurance policy should Carp fail.
 
There are lots of non-Napoli/non-Hart options out there.  Non-elite 1Bs are pretty fungible really if a team is willing to do the leg work and acquire a few guys to compete for one job.
 

nvalvo

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I think we need to hash out a collective best guess/range of how good we think Mike Carp really is. (Maybe in a new thread?) If, as some people think, he's a legitimate option as a bat in the middle of the order, then this roster is much, much closer to complete. He's an Arb1 player, under team control through 2016, so if this is the guy, he'd be quite the steal. 
 
Towards that end, here's the Mike Carp story. Drafted out of high school in the ninth round by the Mets in 2004, Carp showed a ton of power in the low minors — 36 HR in 950 PA across two seasons in A and A+ as a 19 and 20 year old. Promoted in 2007 to AA Binghamton, he was sidelined by his first injury, a broken hand/finger, which also sapped his power when he returned. But in 2008, as a 22 year old in AA, he put up his best full season: 566 PA, .299/.403/.471/.874, with 17 HR and 29 doubles, 79 walks and 88 strikeouts. 
 
In the offseason, he was dealt to Seattle as part of a fairly elaborate three-team deal. In the midst of a successful year in AAA, he was called up to be a bat of the bench for an interleague road trip, and then again in September. His early MLB numbers were excellent. In 65 PA, he put up a .315/.415/.463/.878 line. He got two further cups of coffee in 2010, putting up a .512 OPS in 41 PA. He continued to hit well in AAA. 
 
2011 was a breakout year for Carp, and the first year in which he got meaningful time as a starter in MLB. After posting a 1.000+ first-half OPS in Tacoma, Carp was called up in June to play DH and LF, as the season wore on he took plate appearances at first from the disappointing Justin Smoak. He started out fast, raking through mid-August to peak at a .926 OPS, before slumping/running out of gas in September and finishing with .791. 
 
Still, great season, and the Mariners rewarded him by pencilling him in as the 2012 Opening Day starter in LF — and sprained his shoulder diving for a Kurt Suzuki double in the fourth inning. DL'd until May, he came back… and sucked, hitting .213/.312/.341 in 189 PA. Pretty grim. Out of options, the Mariner's DFA'd him after the season, and Boston added him because he was younger and better than Lyle Overbay as a bench bat/backup 1B. 
 
You all know the story from there: the power came back in a big way in 2013. If what we saw is the real Mike Carp, then he should be the starting first baseman. If he hadn't played at all in 2012 — say, if he'd been DL'd for the whole season — we'd see a really impressive progression towards what will be his age 28 season: .791 at 25, .885 at 27. But with the poor 2012, he's hard to project. My own view is that he's past the shoulder injury, and is a strong candidate to post an .850 OPS next season as a starter, but I wouldn't be averse to adding another 1b option if any interesting options become available. 
 
Granted, those Boston numbers were mostly against RHP, but Carp doesn't have a meaningful career split. He's a below average defender at 1b by UZR, but in only about 850 innings. As an outfielder, he's almost average as a first baseman — the samples are still small, but he puts huge negative numbers by UZR in the outfield. Manny-type numbers.
 
What say you, SoSH?
 

IdiotKicker

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The big issue in projecting Carp is that because of his inconsistent playing time throughout his career, his BABIP has varied quite a bit from year to year.  Over the course of his major league years, he has been .364, .241, .343, .263, .385, working out to a career BABIP of .333.  So the question becomes, which one of those three players are you getting?
 
If the answer is the player with the BABIP in the mid-200s, Carp doesn't even deserve a spot on a major league roster.  Obviously, one of these years comes with the caveat of being his injury year.
 
If the answer is the player with the BABIP in the .320-.330 range, Carp is most likely a starter for a mid-level team, but probably is best suited in a platoon role here.
 
And if the answer is the player with the BABIP in the .360+ range, then Carp is your starting 1B next year.
 
Looking at Carp's career LD%, which comes in at 23.1%, my guess is that he falls in between the second and third options.  Carp's 2010 numbers look to be an SSS anomaly, and his 2012 numbers appear to have some bad luck and an uptick in his GB rate.  I think that given regular playing time, there's a pretty good chance that he gives you an OPS of .800-840.  Not great, but serviceable, especially at low cost and commitment.  I keep my contract offer to Napoli within a very tight range, and if he decides to walk, I plug Carp in as my starting 1B, but keep the phone open for other options if he struggles over the first half of the season.
 

snowmanny

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Drek717 said:
There are lots of non-Napoli/non-Hart options out there.  Non-elite 1Bs are pretty fungible really if a team is willing to do the leg work and acquire a few guys to compete for one job.
That's what they did in 2003 and it worked out OK.
 

swingin val

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Chuck Z said:
 I think that given regular playing time, there's a pretty good chance that he gives you an OPS of .800-840.  Not great, but serviceable, especially at low cost and commitment.  I keep my contract offer to Napoli within a very tight range, and if he decides to walk, I plug Carp in as my starting 1B, but keep the phone open for other options if he struggles over the first half of the season.
Isn't a 800-840 OPS exactly what we are looking at from Napoli though? I doubt anyone expects anything like his 1.046 OPS of 2011, so we are looking at the player he has been in '09, '10, '12, and '13. And that player is exactly what you think Carp gives you a pretty good chance at getting.
 

Stan Papi Was Framed

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swingin val said:
Isn't a 800-840 OPS exactly what we are looking at from Napoli though? I doubt anyone expects anything like his 1.046 OPS of 2011, so we are looking at the player he has been in '09, '10, '12, and '13. And that player is exactly what you think Carp gives you a pretty good chance at getting.
not to speak for Chuck Z, but it sounds like he is suggesting there is a higher degree of certainty when it comes to Napoli i.e. that there are more variables involved in trying to predict Carp's performance.  Note he says "there is a pretty good chance" that Carp, given regular playing time, gets to an .800-.840 OPS.  But he's never had a full season of playing time, so it is more speculative to say Carp would get to that level than it is for Napoli, who just put up an .842 OPS in 578 plate appearances last year.  Obviously, projecting Napoli's productivity for next year is hardly a "certainty", but we know he has done it before, so that could inspire more confidence.  Not that Carp has failed to show promise, but he has less of a track record.
 
For what it's worth Steamer projects Napoli at a .797 OPS for next year over 561 PA, Carp at .777 over 431 PA.  
 

alwyn96

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Stan Papi Was Framed said:
not to speak for Chuck Z, but it sounds like he is suggesting there is a higher degree of certainty when it comes to Napoli i.e. that there are more variables involved in trying to predict Carp's performance.  Note he says "there is a pretty good chance" that Carp, given regular playing time, gets to an .800-.840 OPS.  But he's never had a full season of playing time, so it is more speculative to say Carp would get to that level than it is for Napoli, who just put up an .842 OPS in 578 plate appearances last year.  Obviously, projecting Napoli's productivity for next year is hardly a "certainty", but we know he has done it before, so that could inspire more confidence.  Not that Carp has failed to show promise, but he has less of a track record.
 
For what it's worth Steamer projects Napoli at a .797 OPS for next year over 561 PA, Carp at .777 over 431 PA.  
 
Napoli is absolutely easier to predict, as far as these things go. You pay money for that increase in certainty. I'd also add that Napoli was very good to excellent defensively at 1B, where I'd say Carp is fair to average. Napoli might be a win better than Carp just on defense.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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Chuck Z said:
The big issue in projecting Carp is that because of his inconsistent playing time throughout his career, his BABIP has varied quite a bit from year to year.  Over the course of his major league years, he has been .364, .241, .343, .263, .385, working out to a career BABIP of .333.  So the question becomes, which one of those three players are you getting?
 
If the answer is the player with the BABIP in the mid-200s, Carp doesn't even deserve a spot on a major league roster.  Obviously, one of these years comes with the caveat of being his injury year.
 
If the answer is the player with the BABIP in the .320-.330 range, Carp is most likely a starter for a mid-level team, but probably is best suited in a platoon role here.
 
And if the answer is the player with the BABIP in the .360+ range, then Carp is your starting 1B next year.
 
Looking at Carp's career LD%, which comes in at 23.1%, my guess is that he falls in between the second and third options.  Carp's 2010 numbers look to be an SSS anomaly, and his 2012 numbers appear to have some bad luck and an uptick in his GB rate.  I think that given regular playing time, there's a pretty good chance that he gives you an OPS of .800-840.  Not great, but serviceable, especially at low cost and commitment.  I keep my contract offer to Napoli within a very tight range, and if he decides to walk, I plug Carp in as my starting 1B, but keep the phone open for other options if he struggles over the first half of the season.
 
Earlier I didn't mean to come off as someone who hated Carp. He actually is a pretty solid player in his current role. Given his past numbers I don't think that Carp can possibly give a BABIP in the .360 range. He just doesn't seem like a player who is best suited for full time duty on this roster. What are the chances that the Red Sox go with unproved options at Catcher, CF, SS, 3B, and 1B? Thats a whole lot of question marks for the defending champs. I don't know if they bring Napoli back. If his number inflates to 15-16 million a year over 4 years then you thank him for his clutch hits and take the draft pick. But outside of bringing Napoli back or completing a trade, Corey Hart is your best, most proven option. 
 
I think it was Billy Beane who said that you spend two months assessing your needs and then the next two months acquiring them. With the money they have freed up the Red Sox should not be in a situation where they roll the dice with internal options for all of these positions. 
 

IdiotKicker

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Stan Papi Was Framed said:
not to speak for Chuck Z, but it sounds like he is suggesting there is a higher degree of certainty when it comes to Napoli i.e. that there are more variables involved in trying to predict Carp's performance.  Note he says "there is a pretty good chance" that Carp, given regular playing time, gets to an .800-.840 OPS.  But he's never had a full season of playing time, so it is more speculative to say Carp would get to that level than it is for Napoli, who just put up an .842 OPS in 578 plate appearances last year.  Obviously, projecting Napoli's productivity for next year is hardly a "certainty", but we know he has done it before, so that could inspire more confidence.  Not that Carp has failed to show promise, but he has less of a track record.
 
Yeah this is kind of the direction I'm leaning in.  Napoli, for all of his streakiness, has a pretty good track record, and you know what you're going to get.  Carp, while I do think has the potential to put up similar production, also does have some question marks in his resume.  They're pretty easily explained, but there's still more uncertainty there.
 
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We shouldn't just spend money because we have it. That's where bad contracts come from -- and that bidding wars with the Yankees/Angels/Rangers, etc. Last year we had pretty damned good luck in the bargain bin -- despite having money to spend. It's nice to have a big budget, it makes it easier to take more rolls of the dice, recover from mistakes, and take back bad contracts with good ones to pay the postage. Let's not forget that payroll flexibility can be a great asset to have.
 

IdiotKicker

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Wake's knuckle said:
We shouldn't just spend money because we have it. That's where bad contracts come from -- and that bidding wars with the Yankees/Angels/Rangers, etc. Last year we had pretty damned good luck in the bargain bin -- despite having money to spend. It's nice to have a big budget, it makes it easier to take more rolls of the dice, recover from mistakes, and take back bad contracts with good ones to pay the postage. Let's not forget that payroll flexibility can be a great asset to have.
 
What typically makes most contracts "bad" is the massive overpayment in later years with diminished production.  By keeping contracts in the 3-4 year range, you remove much of the uncertainty with regards to later production.  The benefit to having a guy like Carp is that you can stick to a contract offer to Napoli at the dollars you want and years you want without having to scramble for production if he goes somewhere else.  In short, the type of depth the Sox have built should inherently prevent them from making the "bad" contract offers with regards to length and dollars.  We'll see if that holds true, but in theory, that should be the biggest advantage of depth from an organizational standpoint.
 

TomRicardo

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Tyrone Biggums said:
 
Earlier I didn't mean to come off as someone who hated Carp. He actually is a pretty solid player in his current role. Given his past numbers I don't think that Carp can possibly give a BABIP in the .360 range.
 
What about his past numbers say that to you?  Last year he had a LD% of 29% which means his BABIP was lower than expected. In 2010 and 2012 he did have a lower BABIP but he also had a lower LD% (2012 his numbers were all wacky).
 
I am not saying Carp is a shoe in for the same number however people throwing a casual "looking at his numbers" without some background doesn't really further the conversation.
 

InsideTheParker

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Hart is a much better choice than Loney. Loney is a fine defensive first baseman at a position where defense doesn't matter much.
Sprowl, besides the catcher and pitcher, who touches the ball more than the first baseman? A good first baseman makes everyone in the infield better. Imagine someone faiing to catch Koji's pick-off that ended game four of the WS. All season long, Napoli's defense at 1B was extremely impressive.  I don't want Loney and I don't want the Sox to get stuck with a too-long Napoli contract, but having a very competent first baseman must make a big difference in RA, no? 
 
(Reason for edit: was rushing out to the dentist and wrote game "six." The error floated into my brain while the hygienist did her thing.)
 

Tyrone Biggums

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TomRicardo said:
 
What about his past numbers say that to you?  Last year he had a LD% of 29% which means his BABIP was lower than expected. In 2010 and 2012 he did have a lower BABIP but he also had a lower LD% (2012 his numbers were all wacky).
 
I am not saying Carp is a shoe in for the same number however people throwing a casual "looking at his numbers" without some background doesn't really further the conversation.
He isn't consistent. You can say that 2012 was an aberration and that's okay because it could be. 2010 also wasn't amazing. So you're asking a player who broke out in 2013 as a platoon player to start at 1st while asking JBJ Boegarts WMB and Lavarnway (or whomever) to all take on bigger roles. All while trying to repeat. It could either work out beautifully or horrific. Who says his line drive rate will be 29% going forward? Again I like Carp but the Sox also need to contend in 2014. Going after Napoli or Hart isn't going to break this organization. Besides building this lineup around a 39 year old David Ortiz is not the greatest idea in the world. One of these years he will break down.
 

nvalvo

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Tyrone Biggums said:
He isn't consistent. You can say that 2012 was an aberration and that's okay because it could be. 2010 also wasn't amazing. So you're asking a player who broke out in 2013 as a platoon player to start at 1st while asking JBJ Boegarts WMB and Lavarnway (or whomever) to all take on bigger roles. All while trying to repeat. It could either work out beautifully or horrific. Who says his line drive rate will be 29% going forward? Again I like Carp but the Sox also need to contend in 2014. Going after Napoli or Hart isn't going to break this organization. Besides building this lineup around a 39 year old David Ortiz is not the greatest idea in the world. One of these years he will break down.
 
See, this is why I did that whole Carp biography above. In 2010, he "wasn't amazing," but that was in 41 PA as a 24 year old.
 
Let's look at Carp's 2010. In his time in Tacoma he appears to have traded some BA and OBP for more SLG, slugging over .500 for the first time. I suspect he reconfigured his swing. He then majorly broke out the following year, in 2011, when he tore up AAA and then established himself in Seattle.
 
He broke out in 2011, not 2013. 2012 was a lost year due to injury. His batted ball rates were basically identical in 2011 to 2013 (fewer popups), as were his strike zone discipline numbers. The only difference is his crazy high BABIP in 2013. In 2012, in contrast, he had a shoulder injury, was hitting more ground balls, and put up a negative run value against fastballs. But trading FB for GB is supposed to raise your BABIP, no? That it didn't suggests to me he was hitting the ball much more weakly, consistent with the sprained shoulder. 
 
I guess I'm interested in Hart on a one year deal, but I think Carp is pretty likely to earn the lion's share of the playing time over a 32 year old with questionable knees.
 

seantoo

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Chuck Z said:
 
Yeah this is kind of the direction I'm leaning in.  Napoli, for all of his streakiness, has a pretty good track record, and you know what you're going to get.  Carp, while I do think has the potential to put up similar production, also does have some question marks in his resume.  They're pretty easily explained, but there's still more uncertainty there.
Isn't that where there is value too? Depending on the rest of your team and your alternate back-ups then by all means you roll the dice now and then. That's usually how team have success. You want to minimize uncertainty but you can never eliminate it. Every year teams (winning ones as well) roll the dice. I don't think the risk with Carp is as big as some seem to think, not with Nava, and others still around. Last year at one point I compared him to a poor man's Ortiz and later on Ortiz stated that Carp reminds him of himself. A very good hitter who just needs the chance. 
 

JimBoSox9

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InsideTheParker said:
Sprowl, besides the catcher and pitcher, who touches the ball more than the first baseman? A good first baseman makes everyone in the infield better. Imagine someone faiing to catch Koji's pick-off that ended game six of the WS. All season long, Napoli's defense at 1B was extremely impressive.  I don't want Loney and I don't want the Sox to get stuck with a too-long Napoli contract, but having a very competent first baseman must make a big difference in RA, no? 
 
Sure, but not all differences are created equal.  When people say 1B defense isn't important, as a baseball CW/meme, they're really talking about the difference between adequate/OK defense and great defense, compared to the same paradigm at other positions.  You're absolutely right that because of how many balls they handle, 'inadequate' defensive play at 1B is the type of spreading disaster that can impact the whole system, much like catching.  But once you clear that bar, and you're dealing with 1B options that all play defense at OK or above, that's where Sprowl's perspective comes in.  A great defensive 1B doesn't get nearly the opportunities to earn extra value over a good defensive 1B in the same way a great defensive CF or SS does.  Marginal 1B defensive value just has more diminishing returns further up the skill spectrum than other spots do.
 
Edit: typo
 

TomRicardo

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Tyrone Biggums said:
He isn't consistent. You can say that 2012 was an aberration and that's okay because it could be. 2010 also wasn't amazing. So you're asking a player who broke out in 2013 as a platoon player to start at 1st while asking JBJ Boegarts WMB and Lavarnway (or whomever) to all take on bigger roles. All while trying to repeat. It could either work out beautifully or horrific. Who says his line drive rate will be 29% going forward? Again I like Carp but the Sox also need to contend in 2014. Going after Napoli or Hart isn't going to break this organization. Besides building this lineup around a 39 year old David Ortiz is not the greatest idea in the world. One of these years he will break down.
 
I mean it isn't like Napoli is a big time bat.  You are talking about a guy who put up .842 OPS.
 
If this team wins again it will be based off have a deep line up, a deep rotation , and a deep bullpen.  Not flooding the team with all stars,  Using a guy like Carp and Nava increases the depth of your team and flexibility especially when you have a full time DH.
 
I don't think the team is likely to repeat.  I think it is extremely tough to repeat.  But if it is going to want to stay competitive over the next six years it needs to take some chances with rookies and pickups like Carp.  That is how they built 2004 team, 2007 team and 2013 team.
 

ivanvamp

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TomRicardo said:
 
I mean it isn't like Napoli is a big time bat.  You are talking about a guy who put up .842 OPS.
 
If this team wins again it will be based off have a deep line up, a deep rotation , and a deep bullpen.  Not flooding the team with all stars,  Using a guy like Carp and Nava increases the depth of your team and flexibility especially when you have a full time DH.
 
I don't think the team is likely to repeat.  I think it is extremely tough to repeat.  But if it is going to want to stay competitive over the next six years it needs to take some chances with rookies and pickups like Carp.  That is how they built 2004 team, 2007 team and 2013 team.
 
The 2004 team was built on high-priced stars (Manny, Pedro, Schilling, Damon), a key FA pickup (Foulke), some solid players (not stars) that they acquired a year or two before (Millar, Mueller, Arroyo, Timlin, Embree, Bellhorn in 2004), one homegrown starter (Nixon), a few fliers (Varitek, Lowe, Ortiz), and guys added in a megatrade late in the year.  In other words, kind of not at all like what you describe in bold.  
 
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