Red Sox acquire SS/3B Adalberto Mondesi for Josh Taylor

chawson

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Interesting passage from the Athletic including quotes from the Royals GM about their plan to keep him healthy:

Make no mistake: They still view Mondesi as a special talent. It’s just that the conversation has evolved from “here’s what he can be” to “here’s what we think will allow him to stay on the field to give him the chance to make the impact we know he can.”

That’s why [Royals' GM] Picollo outlined the offseason plan in early November. He focused on Mondesi transforming his training methods with experts in Florida. We’ll get to the where-will-they-play-him conversation soon, but Picollo also provided perspective as to how many games they hoped to get out of him.

“In our research and studies, we think we can help him (stay on the field) by not expecting him to play every day,” Picollo said Nov. 3 at Kauffman Stadium. “Now, how we go about that, how we approach him with that (given how much he’ll want to play), we need to have further discussions about that. … If we can get him to 130 games, that’s a huge win for us.”
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I like the move, simply because, as a rule any time you can replace something that is a 30 or older, non-closer, relief pitcher (Taylor will be 30 before the season starts) on your roster with something that is not a 30 or older, non-closer relief pitcher, it's a good risk to take. It won't always work (Springs) but I think it's a good risk.

To Mondesi specifically, I assume this means Hernandez is a starting middle infielder. So now you only have to (hopefully) fill the other slot for about 70 games as opposed to 120 games. Mondesi has averaged about 51 games per season, Arroyo at 38, so having to fill fewer is better, I guess.

It's also much better for the 2025+ Red Sox because you still have control of Houck as opposed to having watched Kim left as a free agent. Nothing wrong with this deal at all - even though Mondesi is a good bet to be some combination of injured or bad, it's better than a) just keeping Taylor and certainly b) giving up 5 years of Houck for 2 of Kim.

Credit to @chawson for having this idea months ago.
 

JM3

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There's still time to trade Pivetta...

Interesting passage from the Athletic including quotes from the Royals GM about their plan to keep him healthy:

Make no mistake: They still view Mondesi as a special talent. It’s just that the conversation has evolved from “here’s what he can be” to “here’s what we think will allow him to stay on the field to give him the chance to make the impact we know he can.”

That’s why [Royals' GM] Picollo outlined the offseason plan in early November. He focused on Mondesi transforming his training methods with experts in Florida. We’ll get to the where-will-they-play-him conversation soon, but Picollo also provided perspective as to how many games they hoped to get out of him.

“In our research and studies, we think we can help him (stay on the field) by not expecting him to play every day,” Picollo said Nov. 3 at Kauffman Stadium. “Now, how we go about that, how we approach him with that (given how much he’ll want to play), we need to have further discussions about that. … If we can get him to 130 games, that’s a huge win for us.”
Considering that these are his game totals year over year, I would certainly say 130 would be a huge win...

47, 25, 75, 102, 59 (of 60!), 35, 15
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Very low risk move with potential high rewards.
He cost virtually nothing, but what's the high upside? He's got a career line of .244/.280/.408. He's at an age where he probably is what he is in this regard. He's never healthy. In the unlikely event that he has a good season for us, he leaves as a free agent after one year. I guess I'd rather give him a shot than a spending a lot of money on Andrus or somebody like that, but its just more spinning of wheels.

What's our obsession with low OBP guys these days? I bet some pitchers will be salivating at a Red Sox lineup with Mondesi (career OBP .280), Alfaro (.289), Duvall (.289), Arroyo (.307), Hernandez (.314) and Tapia (.318).

Its a far cry from the teams that won us championships - the 2004 and 2007 teams each had seven regulars with OBPs above .360 in those seasons.
 
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Max Power

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He cost virtually nothing, but what's the high upside? He's got a career line of .244/.280/.408. He's at an age where is probably is what he is in this regard. He's never healthy. In the unlikely event that he has a good season for us, he leaves as a free agent after one year. I guess I'd rather give him a shot than a spending a lot of money on Andrus or somebody like that, but its just more spinning of wheels.

What's our obsession with low OBP guys these days? I bet some pitchers will be salivating at a Red Sox lineup with Mondesi (career OBP .280), Alfaro (.289), Duvall (.289), Arroyo (.307), Hernandez (.314) and Tapia (.318).

Its a far cry from the teams that won us championships - the 2004 and 2007 teams each had seven regulars with OBPs above .360 in those seasons.
That's true, but league OBP was .338 in 2007 and .309 last year. Hernandez and Tapia are actually better than average even if they look terrible historically.
 

Daniel_Son

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His spray chart for 2021 over Fenway is a little intriguing. That's 6 outs turned to hits off the wall. Doing some napkin math (and assuming that those would be doubles with his speed), that'd be a slash-line of .278/.315/.548 for an 0.863 OPS. If they were all singles, that's a .500 SLG for an 0.816 OPS.

Obviously, it's not that simple, but it's still indicative that he'd do better at Fenway. Plus, speed is one area that we're sorely lacking in. I think this could be a low-key good move.

60412
 

The_Dali

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This is a classic Bloom move (can you have classic moves after a few years???) but I love it. The entire off-season smells of the front office being taken by surprise a bit and then adjusting. IMO the plan was always to focus on 24/25 when prior contracts were expired, but this offseason was a bit jarring… and so the plan for 23 was to try to remain competitive without too many long term obligations. They have brought in a number of short deals and lottery tix. Mondesi has long been a stud-like prospect who cannot stay healthy. The prior comparison of Buxton is so spot-on … I can see him being a huge addition if healthy.

Let’s not miss the targeting of contact hitters and speed this offseason.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Also seems like neither Kiké nor Duvall really like CF, and it seems to fit that Mondesi will need time to not fall apart, so the platoon is likely. It'll be an interesting season to say the least... I just hope that Cora doesn't adhere to this as gospel, but rather uses it to more sort of see what the Sox have at those positions and then start to lean on the better players at respective positions as the season moves on. So... more for rest than a strict diet
 

SouthernBoSox

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Mondesi is also a guy that, with a bounce back year, would be a candidate for a QO. Giving them more another year at reasonable money or a draft pick.

Additionally, I don't think this rules out brining in another position player. This will help them in trade negotiations as well.
 

4 6 3 DP

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I really like this deal. I still wish the 9 million bucks we were paying Martin was available to go to one more bat, as Casas is promising but not a sure thing, and that bottom 3 of Casas/McGuire/Arroyo could be a really black hole, but this is the type of player a team like this should have on its bench (more upside, lower floor)
 

chawson

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Credit to @chawson for having this idea months ago.
I probably floated about other five scenarios along with this that didn’t come to pass, but thanks.

If we do that Houck for Kim deal or another similar thing (like sending Verdugo and Pivetta out for something interesting), then I think I may like this team a pretty good amount. Could easily fall apart but the fun quotient has a chance to be high.
 

Fishy1

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He cost virtually nothing, but what's the high upside? He's got a career line of .244/.280/.408. He's at an age where is probably is what he is in this regard. He's never healthy. In the unlikely event that he has a good season for us, he leaves as a free agent after one year. I guess I'd rather give him a shot than a spending a lot of money on Andrus or somebody like that, but its just more spinning of wheels.

What's our obsession with low OBP guys these days? I bet some pitchers will be salivating at a Red Sox lineup with Mondesi (career OBP .280), Alfaro (.289), Duvall (.289), Arroyo (.307), Hernandez (.314) and Tapia (.318).

Its a far cry from the teams that won us championships - the 2004 and 2007 teams each had seven regulars with OBPs above .360 in those seasons.
Even acknowledging Max Power's point -- that league average OBP has cratered the last few years -- I think this is a valid concern. They had very few regulars with good discipline last year, so I think it's no accident that the Sox have -- in addition to adding some real strikeout mavens in Duval etc., also added a few regulars with very good plate discipline. Casas internally seems like a good bet for a 15% BB rate or higher, and Turner has been around 10% the last few years, and then there's Yoshida, obviously, who I hope we can bet will have an excellent approach at the plate. Casas should be an enormous improvement over Dalbec, Yoshida an improvement over JBJ, and hopefully Turner fill JD Martinez's shoes adequately provided. Obviously that leaves SS a blackhole, relatively speaking, but on the whole it seems an improvement on offense that was about average last year. All three of those guys, to be clear, would probably have led last year's team in BB% (Xander led the team among qualifiers with a 9%), so I think the team really, hopefully, has made strides in this regard.
 

chrisfont9

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There has been no talk of it that i know of up to this point. Yet Taylor has only been gone for 2 hours. If you take Sale, Pivetta, Bello, Whitlock and Kluber, you have 5 starters. No one has said anything about a possible 6 man rotation. In addition, Paxton is coming off missing extended time, so maybe shorter stints will benefit him. Cora has never been shy about using starters in the pen before.
Well there is Whitlock just sitting there... but assuming they are determined to convert him, I would say that Pivetta might be worth a look. He's worked out of the bullpen in Philly, and more than the rest of these guys he's kind of expendable at this point as a 30-year-old league average starter. Maybe he strikes gold in the pen?
 

JM3

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I think Paxton as a 6th starter in a 3-4 inning opener role is ideal.
As in a 6-man rotation, or piggybacking with someone like Houck in a 5-man rotation? Because I think a 6-man rotation would be very problematic with 13-man pitching staffs, but a piggyback situation for one of those slots wouldn't be bad, especially with the lefty/righty combo.
 

mauf

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Mondesi-to-Boston has been talked up on the KC side for months. My friend from out there has asked a couple times this off-season if I thought the Sox were getting him. I don’t think it’s a Cora-Mondesi connection or anything like that — just an obvious match between a team with a need (even before the Story injury) and a team with an expendable player who can fill that need.
 

BravesField

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He's saying that figuratively, not literally. Mondesi is the backup SS/2B/3B, but he frees Hernandez up to go to CF, which frees Duvall up to go to RF, which frees Verdugo up to go to LF.
Yoshida says Konnichiwa
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I really like this deal. I still wish the 9 million bucks we were paying Martin was available to go to one more bat, as Casas is promising but not a sure thing, and that bottom 3 of Casas/McGuire/Arroyo could be a really black hole, but this is the type of player a team like this should have on its bench (more upside, lower floor)
What good 1B player would be willing to sign a contract that would have him sign as a backup to a "promising" Casas. And Casas is more than promising, IMO. He's far from a black hole. The guy had low BA, sure, in his short time up, but great OBP and beat the snot out of the ball when he hit it.
Would you really have been happy to have Hosmer basically occupying a roster spot with occasionally DH'ing? Turner is actually perfect fit.. he'll mostly DH but can play 1B if Casas somehow needs more time.
There's not one, or at best... maybe one?-team in ML that can have a ML quality back-up at every position as "insurance". Most teams have to trust it'll work, and its clear that Cora and Bloom feel confident (I'm actually worried about Cora allowing Casas weakness against lefties already be the official "book" on him) enough to ink him in as Opening Day starter- which they really haven't yet, but its clear to anyone half paying attention
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I really like this deal. I still wish the 9 million bucks we were paying Martin was available to go to one more bat, as Casas is promising but not a sure thing, and that bottom 3 of Casas/McGuire/Arroyo could be a really black hole, but this is the type of player a team like this should have on its bench (more upside, lower floor)
I want to give Casas "all" the at bats at first base (and trade him if we're not planning to for some reason - though again, I prefer him to be the every day 1b). But make this another starter. Or have "bought" a prospect by taking on a bad deal for one season. Or anything that is not a relief pitcher whom doesn't close and will be guaranteed money in his 37 and 38 year old seasons. I agree fully this is not where I think we should have spent $9m AAV the next two years.

But to move the discussion forward some, other than just agreeing completely with the bolded, I do wonder if this allows the team to deal from more of a position of strength regarding Kim. San Diego would never / should never take Shcrieber instead of Houck, but it makes me wonder if there would be a way to expand the deal. If the ask is Houck and Dalbec for Kim (and we're balking and should be) what if it were now expanded to Houck, Dalbec and either Arroyo or Durran (Arroyo fills the "utility role" on the IF / Duran would in the IF) for Kim and Samuel Zavala.

My guess is Zavala slots in somewhere between 5th - 8th in our top prospects and mitigates the "3 years of lost control" between Houck and Kim. It checks out on the trade simulator (better so with Duran than Arroyo, but I have no idea how truly reliable that is as a tool).
 

JM3

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Yoshida says Konnichiwa
If we're trying to put our best defensive lineup in at the end of the game, he can say sayonara.

I was mostly referring to optionality, though. I understand that Yoshida is our starting LF & should be in the lineup basically every day if he is everything we think he is. If they're trying to get their best defensive lineup out there, though, that might mean DH'ing him some days.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Even acknowledging Max Power's point -- that league average OBP has cratered the last few years -- I think this is a valid concern. They had very few regulars with good discipline last year, so I think it's no accident that the Sox have -- in addition to adding some real strikeout mavens in Duval etc., also added a few regulars with very good plate discipline. Casas internally seems like a good bet for a 15% BB rate or higher, and Turner has been around 10% the last few years, and then there's Yoshida, obviously, who I hope we can bet will have an excellent approach at the plate. Casas should be an enormous improvement over Dalbec, Yoshida an improvement over JBJ, and hopefully Turner fill JD Martinez's shoes adequately provided. Obviously that leaves SS a blackhole, relatively speaking, but on the whole it seems an improvement on offense that was about average last year. All three of those guys, to be clear, would probably have led last year's team in BB% (Xander led the team among qualifiers with a 9%), so I think the team really, hopefully, has made strides in this regard.
I agree:

Casas will be a huge improvement over 1B last year (OBP of .302 last year and a Steamer projection of .351 for Casas)
Verdugo will be a huge improvement over RF last year (.295 last year with a projection of .338 for Verdugo)
Yoshida will be a huge improvement over LF last year (.307 last year with a projection of .388 (!) for Yoshida)
Turner should match or exceed JD's OBP. Etc.

There will be a big drop off at SS but I predict the 2023 team will exceed last year's OBP of .321.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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What's our obsession with low OBP guys these days? I bet some pitchers will be salivating at a Red Sox lineup with Mondesi (career OBP .280), Alfaro (.289), Duvall (.289), Arroyo (.307), Hernandez (.314) and Tapia (.318).

Its a far cry from the teams that won us championships - the 2004 and 2007 teams each had seven regulars with OBPs above .360 in those seasons.
I was just about to wonder if low-OBP guys are the new market inefficiency?

It's hard not to look at the lineup, even with Devers in the middle of it, and not see a lot of 8-pitch 1-2-3 innings for the other squad happening next year.

Devers only saw 70 full counts all last year. In 2004, Manny had 111. Ortiz had 112. Millar had 87 in 140 games (same as Devers, whose .358 OBP last year happens to be the same as Millar's career number...).
 

PrometheusWakefield

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He cost virtually nothing, but what's the high upside?
Well, as a prospect his scouting report was 60 hit, 50 power, 70 speed and 70 defense. That's an allstar. Even if you've decided that his all important hit tool will never exceed 40, with his speed and defense he's a quality player. The last season in which he had a reasonable sample size to work with (2020) he projected as ~3.5 WAR. Project his small 2021 numbers to a full season and he also comes out comfortably over 3 WAR, which is to say, a quality major league regular. The OBP isn't pretty but up the middle defense is still critical and the new stolen base rules can only help him.

And again, we haven't seen what he can do in anything close to a full season since he was 23. It's still too early to assume he can't do at least somewhat better at generating walks and limiting strikeouts.
 

Yaz4Ever

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What do you do when Story comes back?
Oh, you know there'll be enough injuries by then
Like @E5 Yaz says, there are always going to be injuries. No guarantee Mondesi doesn’t go down with an injury, maybe Arroyo isn’t available (traded, hurt, whatever) and Mondesi is the utility guy, maybe Story needs more time or the Sox decide to ease him back, lots of scenarios I can see.
 

BigSoxFan

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If you're getting 2018 Mondesi, this trade was an absolute heist. If you're, as the odds indicate, you're getting basically the rest of his career performance, it's still a fine low cost move. I do like having someone with his base stealing capabilities on the team, assuming the injuries haven't completely ruined them.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Well, as a prospect his scouting report was 60 hit, 50 power, 70 speed and 70 defense. That's an allstar. Even if you've decided that his all important hit tool will never exceed 40, with his speed and defense he's a quality player. The last season in which he had a reasonable sample size to work with (2020) he projected as ~3.5 WAR. Project his small 2021 numbers to a full season and he also comes out comfortably over 3 WAR, which is to say, a quality major league regular. The OBP isn't pretty but up the middle defense is still critical and the new stolen base rules can only help him.

And again, we haven't seen what he can do in anything close to a full season since he was 23. It's still too early to assume he can't do at least somewhat better at generating walks and limiting strikeouts.
Yea, if healthy (and that's obviously a huge part of the equation here) he's a well above average player. It's just the health.
 

E5 Yaz

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Comments from a friend of mine who knows the Royals very well:

Mondesi looks like something built in the lab to be the ideal shortstop. Or ideal player. Watch him for a week and he'll remind you of Carlos Beltran. There's nothing he can't do, and he'll regularly look like the best player on the field. Everything is smooth. Effortless, even ... to the point people will question his commitment, like early-career Beltran. If he doesn't look almost bored, he often seems to wear a facial expression of sheepishness. He does not play with his hair on fire. Unlike his father.

He's an excellent defender. Very good range. Can make any throw, including from the hole at short. I hated watching him play third base because he's head-and-shoulders better defensively than Bobby Witt Jr. Since Witt arrived I've wondered out loud why they didn't try Mondesi in CF.

There will be weeks when no one can get him out at the plate. But then there will be months when he doesn't get on base. Months. ... And there will be months when he's day-to-day with a soft-tissue problem of some sort. Hamstrings. Soreness. ... If he could only stay healthy!
 

chawson

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I was just about to wonder if low-OBP guys are the new market inefficiency?

It's hard not to look at the lineup, even with Devers in the middle of it, and not see a lot of 8-pitch 1-2-3 innings for the other squad happening next year.

Devers only saw 70 full counts all last year. In 2004, Manny had 111. Ortiz had 112. Millar had 87 in 140 games (same as Devers, whose .358 OBP last year happens to be the same as Millar's career number...).
Mondesi saw an average of 3.96 pitches per PA in 2021 and 3.98 P/PA in a very short '22, which would be about middle of the pack for us.

2022 Pitches/PA
Casas 4.29
Dalbec 4.18
Refsnyder 4.14
Turner 4.04 (LAD)
JDM 4.00
Story 4.00
Cordero 3.98
Bogaerts 3.97
Duran 3.95
Wong 3.95
Hosmer 3.90 (SD+BOS)
Verdugo 3.87
Duvall 3.86 (ATL)
Devers 3.71
Kiké 3.70
Alfaro 3.65 (SD)
Tapia 3.64 (TOR)
McGuire 3.53 (CWS+BOS)
Arroyo 3.50
 
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JM3

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Mondesi saw an average of 3.96 pitches per PA in 2021 and 3.98 P/PA in a very short '22, which would be about middle of the pack for us.

2022 Pitches/PA
Casas 4.29
Dalbec 4.18
Refsnyder 4.14
JDM 4.00
Story 4.00
Cordero 3.98
Bogaerts 3.97
Duran 3.95
Wong 3.95
Hosmer 3.90 (SD+BOS)
Verdugo 3.87
Devers 3.71
Kiké 3.70
Arroyo 3.50
For reference purposes, among qualifying players last year, Max Muncy led the Majors at 4.32 & Corey Seager was last at 3.46.

Turner was at 4.04 last year & Duvall was 3.87.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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For reference purposes, among qualifying players last year, Max Muncy led the Majors at 4.32 & Corey Seager was last at 3.46.

Turner was at 4.04 last year & Duvall was 3.87.
Guys who strike out a lot tend to have longer at bats. Muncy walks a lot too, no surprise that he’d be first.
 

JM3

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Guys who strike out a lot tend to have longer at bats. Muncy walks a lot too, no surprise that he’d be first.
Yup, I was just trying to provide the context of where those guys Chawson listed ranked in terms of the league as a whole.

I think generally PPA is a less valuable stat than it probably should have been ~20 years ago considering modern baseball involves taking out pitchers more based on times through the lineup & doesn't involve them pushing pitch limits nearly as much. There is still some value in longer at bats, but mostly only if you actually end up on base a reasonable % of the time.
 

JM3

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Yup, I was just trying to provide the context of where those guys Chawson listed ranked in terms of the league as a whole.

I think generally PPA is a less valuable stat than it probably should have been ~20 years ago considering modern baseball involves taking out pitchers more based on times through the lineup & doesn't involve them pushing pitch limits nearly as much. There is still some value in longer at bats, but mostly only if you actually end up on base a reasonable % of the time.
To go sort of extreme with an example...if we look at Muncy & Seager from last year...

If Muncy gets on base 25% of the time, he faces 5.76 pitches per out. If Seager gets on base 40% of the time, he faces 5.77 pitches per out. I think pitches per out is a much more interesting statistic to the extent that # of pitches matters for hitters at all.
 

chrisfont9

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This is a classic Bloom move (can you have classic moves after a few years???) but I love it. The entire off-season smells of the front office being taken by surprise a bit and then adjusting. IMO the plan was always to focus on 24/25 when prior contracts were expired, but this offseason was a bit jarring… and so the plan for 23 was to try to remain competitive without too many long term obligations. They have brought in a number of short deals and lottery tix. Mondesi has long been a stud-like prospect who cannot stay healthy. The prior comparison of Buxton is so spot-on … I can see him being a huge addition if healthy.

Let’s not miss the targeting of contact hitters and speed this offseason.
Leave it to HH the Dalai Lama to see the Buddha potential in the Red Sox' offseason acquisitions.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Sounds like the JBJ experience with more upside
The JBJ Experience before he initially left for FA had and delivered some stretches of awesome upside- even on offense. When he was locked in he looked amazing…. There was a time when debate on SOSH was whether to trade Betts or JBJ for one of the Mets young pitchers
 

JM3

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This is definitely the most Rays-y Sox team since Bloom took over (ever?)...

Will be interesting to see how it plays out.
 

JM3

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Looking forward to Mondesi breaking down at some point during the season and then apologists for the front office lamenting the terrible injury luck that has beset the team.
Looking forward to Mondesi being semi-competent for 70 games between injuries & the Bloom rejectavists being upset that he didn't get someone amazing for Josh Taylor.
 

E5 Yaz

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This is definitely the most Rays-y Sox team since Bloom took over (ever?)...

Will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I wonder what the o/u will be for position players used by the Red Sox in 2023