The 2023 Rotation

A Bad Man

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My jaw dropped after I was reminded of the work @nvalvo did last year beginning the 2022 rotation thread; I offer no such wealth of thoughtful research here. It did seem like the 2023 rotation needed its own thread, however, so here it is.

To get us started, carried over from the Paxton thread, is the question of Brayan Bello and potential innings pitched limits moving forward. Bello pitched 152 innings in 2022. @chawson mentioned a litany of young SP injured after throwing 150 IP plus innings at 24.
Probably, but there's not a ton of precedent in the last decade for 24-year-olds to throw more than 150 IP, and many of those that have have gotten hurt in the next year or so (Bieber, Buehler, Cole, Shelby Miller, Eovaldi, Severino, Wheeler, Bundy, Fulmer, Harvey, Jon and Sonny Gray, et al.).

Bello throws a harder fastball than any of those young pitchers besides Severino. I have no idea what leads to increased injury risk in young pitchers, but throwing 97 m.p.h. high-spin fastballs over 175-200 IP would have me a little worried about Bello's arb years.
How will the Red Sox handle Bello this year?

We also have just learned that both Whitlock and Houck have been told to prepare as starters, with Houck potentially moving to the bullpen.


We know Paxton will be with the team, but we've no idea if he'll be healthy. Bloom said he was "expected to make a full recovery" after his lat injury. This gives us a potential rotation of

Sale
Paxton
Pivetta
Bello
Whitlock (edit)
Houck SP/RP

What more do we need? Are we comfortable rolling in with the above plus Crawford, Winckowski, and Seabold? Will the Sox offer Eovaldi the QO (likely)? Will he take it (unlikely)?
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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My jaw dropped after I was reminded of the work @nvalvo did last year beginning the 2022 rotation thread; I offer no such wealth of thoughtful research here. It did seem like the 2023 rotation needed its own thread, however, so here it is.

To get us started, carried over from the Paxton thread, is the question of Brayan Bello and potential innings pitched limits moving forward. Bello pitched 152 innings in 2022. @chawson mentioned a litany of young SP injured after throwing 150 IP plus innings at 24.


How will the Red Sox handle Bello this year?

We also have just learned that both Whitlock and Houck have been told to prepare as starters, with Houck potentially moving to the bullpen.


We know Paxton will be with the team, but we've no idea if he'll be healthy. Bloom said he was "expected to make a full recovery" after his lat injury. This gives us a potential rotation of

Sale
Paxton
Pivetta
Bello
Houck

What more do we need? Are we comfortable rolling in with the above plus Crawford, Winckowski, and Seabold? Will the Sox offer Eovaldi the QO (likely)? Will he take it (unlikely)?
I’d like to add Hill and one of Eovaldi/Wacha.
 

YTF

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My jaw dropped after I was reminded of the work @nvalvo did last year beginning the 2022 rotation thread; I offer no such wealth of thoughtful research here. It did seem like the 2023 rotation needed its own thread, however, so here it is.

To get us started, carried over from the Paxton thread, is the question of Brayan Bello and potential innings pitched limits moving forward. Bello pitched 152 innings in 2022. @chawson mentioned a litany of young SP injured after throwing 150 IP plus innings at 24.


How will the Red Sox handle Bello this year?

We also have just learned that both Whitlock and Houck have been told to prepare as starters, with Houck potentially moving to the bullpen.


We know Paxton will be with the team, but we've no idea if he'll be healthy. Bloom said he was "expected to make a full recovery" after his lat injury. This gives us a potential rotation of

Sale
Paxton
Pivetta
Bello

Houck

What more do we need? Are we comfortable rolling in with the above plus Crawford, Winckowski, and Seabold? Will the Sox offer Eovaldi the QO (likely)? Will he take it (unlikely)?
Where's Whitlock?
 

Dewey'sCannon

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Can't have too many starting pitchers.

Well, I guess literally you can, but if there are extra you just push the extra to the 'pen until needed in the rotation. You could easily do this with Whitlock, Houck and probably Hill (if he's re-signed). Sale and Paxton in particular, and maybe even Bello to some extent, may not go more than 5 innings or so, especially at the start of the season, so extra depth in the bullpen to piggyback with these guys would be more useful than the typical middle reliever types that we usually rely on to eat these innings to get us to the back end of the bullpen. Of course, at the moment Houck is probably our leading candidate for closer, but it would be great if they could actually get someone else to help shore up the back end of the bullpen. (I still have some hope for Barnes, but it's probably not wise to rely on him for the 8th or 9th innings for now).
 

JM3

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A reliever is just a starter who doesn't start the game.

/wisewisdom
 

koufax32

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I wonder if Pivetta is the odd man out here. Could a package of he and Hosmer net a decent prospect or two from a small or mid market team?
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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I wonder if Pivetta is the odd man out here. Could a package of he and Hosmer net a decent prospect or two from a small or mid market team?
I think they'd release Paxton before dealing what is, right now, probably the Sox most dependable starter. I could maybe see a Pivetta trade if Eovaldi and Wacha were both signed. Or 1 of them and a top starter in FA or trade. But right now, I'd say no.
 

chawson

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Pivetta and Houck seem like the likeliest trade candidates to me. Seabold too, in a smaller deal or as the third piece in a package deal. Winckowski is probably headed for a bullpen role.

I’d expect them to QO Eovaldi, which he may take, or bring him back on a 2/$30 or 3/$40 type deal.

I’m still on the fence about Wacha’s QO. We’d only net a pick after the fourth round if he declines. Maybe he accepts and and it works out. Or he accepts and we trade him, picking up some cash or using him as ballast in some complex trade (like this Milwaukee idea) with lots of money changing hands. I don’t know that I’d want to give him a multi-year deal, but I feel like having him under contract for 2023 is an asset, if only to help us stockpile arms for other trades.
 

koufax32

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I think they'd release Paxton before dealing what is, right now, probably the Sox most dependable starter. I could maybe see a Pivetta trade if Eovaldi and Wacha were both signed. Or 1 of them and a top starter in FA or trade. But right now, I'd say no.
I didn’t explain my thinking, but you went there for me. I suggested this idea with the assumption that at least one other starter would be brought in.
 

koufax32

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Hosmer has a full no trade, so that's going to severely limit the number of teams to talk with.
Forgot about that. Thank you for the reminder.

There is a kinda, sorta counterpoint in that BOS can remind him that staying here means he rots on the bench at least half the time. Not all the NTC leverage is in Hosmer’s hands.
 

chawson

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Hosmer has a full no trade, so that's going to severely limit the number of teams to talk with.
He’s only got a partial no-trade, as far as I can tell. It’s a weird one but no longer a full NTC.

Per Cot’s: Hosmer has full no-trade protection from 2018 to 2020, limited no-trade protection thereafter allowing Hosmer to block deals to 10 clubs (earns 10-and-5 rights after 2022)
 

gammoseditor

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He’s only got a partial no-trade, as far as I can tell. It’s a weird one but no longer a full NTC.

Per Cot’s: Hosmer has full no-trade protection from 2018 to 2020, limited no-trade protection thereafter allowing Hosmer to block deals to 10 clubs (earns 10-and-5 rights after 2022)
Spotrac lists a full NTC. As a condition of waiving his NTC to come to the Red Sox he got a new one.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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There won’t be a lot of playing time available for a light hitting LH 1b when the starter is a hard hitting Lh. I’m sure the team will try to find him a more advantageous situation before the year starts.
 

absintheofmalaise

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Spotrac lists a full NTC. As a condition of waiving his NTC to come to the Red Sox he got a new one.
That's what I saw too. Link to MLB Trade Rumors with more details.
Hosmer still has three years and $39MM remaining on that deal, as he’ll certainly bypass the chance to opt out and retest free agency this winter. For the next trio of seasons, he’ll also have complete no-trade protection. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports that Hosmer’s contract contains a stipulation that he’d receive a full no-trade clause if San Diego traded him. The move to Boston triggered that provision, giving Hosmer control over any future movement.
 

streeter88

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What more do we need? Are we comfortable rolling in with the above plus Crawford, Winckowski, and Seabold? Will the Sox offer Eovaldi the QO (likely)? Will he take it (unlikely)?
Two additional healthy starters to pitch actual games.

Color me skeptical, but no way do we get a healthy duo of Sale / Paxton in 2023. I know there is $30M+ invested, but it's time we stopped counting on them at all, as their combined output since 2020 is 70 IP. (2020 Paxton 20.1 IP, 2021 Sale 42.2 IP, Paxton 1.1IP, 2022 Sale 5.2IP).

EDIT: sorry if this comes off as snarky - I am just so done with those two. Every year, we pencil Sale in, and every year he disappoints. Paxton is our newest project, but same abject failure of results. Done.
 

chawson

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Spotrac lists a full NTC. As a condition of waiving his NTC to come to the Red Sox he got a new one.
That's what I saw too. Link to MLB Trade Rumors with more details.
Didn’t realize that, thanks. I’m used to Cot’s being more reliable than Spotrac.

I’d guess that Hosmer would agree to a trade to be the primary starter on the right team. Mid-market Wild Card contenders like the Brewers, Twins or Mariners, or even the Giants as a Brandon Belt replacement.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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That's what I saw too. Link to MLB Trade Rumors with more details.
That complicates things, but I don't think he holds much value to begin with. It will likely come down to "Do you want to play somewhere else or do you want to be in Boston and ride the bench?"

From a team building perspective, I would much prefer the Sox get a RH guy who can DH or play somewhere else. Guys like Abreu, Mancini, Drury, or even a Wil Myers type.

Anyway, back on topic, even if Hosmer is included in a deal with someone like Pivetta or Houck and he agrees to waive his NTC, I don't see it moving the needle very much on what the Sox would get in return.
 

jon abbey

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I imagine if Eo accepts (how long does he have to decide?)…. That’ll be it for the rotation moves. Maybe offer Hill a bench role/injury/long relief and that’s it.
I suspect if he declines, they’ll prioritize Wacha
“They have until Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. ET to accept or reject.”
 

scottyno

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I imagine if Eo accepts (how long does he have to decide?)…. That’ll be it for the rotation moves. Maybe offer Hill a bench role/injury/long relief and that’s it.
I suspect if he declines, they’ll prioritize Wacha
Not sure I understand this logic. If they prefer Eovaldi to Wacha for 1 year then why would they prioritize Wacha, the less consistent guy, on a multi year deal?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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If Nate wants to sign with the Sox long term and expects to work out a deal, I’d imagine he accepts the QO and the work out a multi-year deal. Seems to me like there is only room for one more starter.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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That complicates things, but I don't think he holds much value to begin with. It will likely come down to "Do you want to play somewhere else or do you want to be in Boston and ride the bench?"

From a team building perspective, I would much prefer the Sox get a RH guy who can DH or play somewhere else. Guys like Abreu, Mancini, Drury, or even a Wil Myers type.

Anyway, back on topic, even if Hosmer is included in a deal with someone like Pivetta or Houck and he agrees to waive his NTC, I don't see it moving the needle very much on what the Sox would get in return.
Bolded isn't the only option. Because of his low cost to the Red Sox, if they don't want/need him, they can just DFA him. Which gives the Sox a bit of leverage re: Hosmer's NTC. "You can accept this trade or we'll DFA you and you can land with whoever picks you up."
I can't see Hosmer breaking camp with the Sox unless Casas gets hurt. He doesn't hit enough to be a DH and Sox don't need another LH first baseman.
 

astrozombie

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Color me skeptical, but no way do we get a healthy duo of Sale / Paxton in 2023.
This. Paxton is what he is: one of those vaunted low-risk high reward pitchers that always seem to get injured and not do much of anything outside of a couple solid starts. Fine, if you want that at the end of the rotation, maybe you get pleasantly surprised but it is not like you were relying on him to be an ace. But penciling in Sale like 1) he is actually going to play and 2) is going to even remotely resemble himself at his peak is laughable. Even before Dombrowski generously decided to reward him for past performance at the expense of the Sox future, Sale was on the decline. As far as I am concerned, Sale is firmly in Pedroia territory now.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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Bolded isn't the only option. Because of his low cost to the Red Sox, if they don't want/need him, they can just DFA him. Which gives the Sox a bit of leverage re: Hosmer's NTC. "You can accept this trade or we'll DFA you and you can land with whoever picks you up."
I can't see Hosmer breaking camp with the Sox unless Casas gets hurt. He doesn't hit enough to be a DH and Sox don't need another LH first baseman.
Yep. Completely agree.

I'd much rather the Sox get a RHB that can DH and play 1B (Abreu, Mancini, Drury, even Wil Myers, etc) than keep a LHB that doesn't hit for any power and can't play anywhere but 1B.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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This. Paxton is what he is: one of those vaunted low-risk high reward pitchers that always seem to get injured and not do much of anything outside of a couple solid starts. Fine, if you want that at the end of the rotation, maybe you get pleasantly surprised but it is not like you were relying on him to be an ace. But penciling in Sale like 1) he is actually going to play and 2) is going to even remotely resemble himself at his peak is laughable. Even before Dombrowski generously decided to reward him for past performance at the expense of the Sox future, Sale was on the decline. As far as I am concerned, Sale is firmly in Pedroia territory now.
No team can pretend that a guy eating up almost $30M of payroll isn't there and that if he does show appear, it's like bonus points. You can't just sign another $25-$30M "ace" like DeGromm or another injury prone guy. It's been discussed all over the place... but the only way to mitigate against super high priced injury prone older pitchers it to have a good pipeline of young, cost-controlled pitchers. The Sox are finally at the cusp of being at that spot with Bello and Mata and a few of the other lower ceiling guys
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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This. Paxton is what he is: one of those vaunted low-risk high reward pitchers that always seem to get injured and not do much of anything outside of a couple solid starts. Fine, if you want that at the end of the rotation, maybe you get pleasantly surprised but it is not like you were relying on him to be an ace. But penciling in Sale like 1) he is actually going to play and 2) is going to even remotely resemble himself at his peak is laughable. Even before Dombrowski generously decided to reward him for past performance at the expense of the Sox future, Sale was on the decline. As far as I am concerned, Sale is firmly in Pedroia territory now.
Pedroia had a chronic knee injury for which he had an experimental surgery no one was sure he could ever come back from. Chris Sale had an elbow injury for which he had a time-proven operation and seemed to be fully recovered from a year ago. I'm not sure how they're remotely the same. I get it, the cool thing to do is shit on Sale because he's had a bad run of injury luck, but none of those fluke injuries are related to each other and none of them make him susceptible to re-injury or chronic problems with those body parts.

And can we stop acting like Dombrowski extended a pitcher "on the decline"? If you want to cry about the extension coming on the heels of Sale's shoulder issues in 2018, and whether he was 100% recovered from that, that's fine. But he was not "in decline" at the time of the extension (signed 3/23/19). In his two seasons with the Red Sox prior to inking the extension: 59 starts, 372.1 IP, 2.56 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 174 ERA+, 0.924 WHIP, 13.2 K/9. That's a goddamn fucking ace.

I don't think anyone is saying he's going to be peak Sale anymore, but what he was in 2021 after he came back from TJS (3.16 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 1.336 WHIP, 11 K/9), if he can do that for even 20-25 starts (say 120-130 IP), that's a huge upgrade to the rotation. And not an unreasonable expectation.
 

astrozombie

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I don't think anyone is saying he's going to be peak Sale anymore, but what he was in 2021 after he came back from TJS (3.16 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 1.336 WHIP, 11 K/9), if he can do that for even 20-25 starts (say 120-130 IP), that's a huge upgrade to the rotation. And not an unreasonable expectation.
Pedroia was forever injured on a dirty play and collected a paycheck until his contract ran out. Sale has had a rash of injuries and is collecting a paycheck until his contract runs out. Furthermore, it's possible at least that the reason Sale gets injured so much is that he is pitching hurt and its causing him to overcompensate and getting hurt elsewhere. Maybe not, but... maybe.
Fair point, Sale was not "in decline" but he had shoulder issues that seemed to raise a red flag for a number of people. I should have said that he had issues that were predictable, not that he was in decline.
Also, this is purely subjective and I respect your opinion, but I personally have no faith that Sale gets 20-25 starts this season. I know, I have no evidence of that other than the last 2 seasons, (and I really do not mean that to be as snarky as it sounds, I promise). I hope I am wrong. But I don't see it happening and we will have to agree to disagree.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Pedroia was forever injured on a dirty play and collected a paycheck until his contract ran out. Sale has had a rash of injuries and is collecting a paycheck until his contract runs out. Furthermore, it's possible at least that the reason Sale gets injured so much is that he is pitching hurt and its causing him to overcompensate and getting hurt elsewhere. Maybe not, but... maybe.
Sale's injuries this year were a stress fracture in his rib, a broken finger, and a broken wrist. Only one of those things happened while he was on the mound and none of them happened as a result of his pitching motion. Don't think any of them can be put down to overcompensation of anything. I guess maybe one could argue that he tore his UCL as a result of compensating for a sore shoulder, but given that it's a common pitching injury usually attributed to repetitive use as opposed to specific trauma, I doubt that was the case. And it's been over four years since the shoulder inflammation problem. If it's still lingering, I think we'd have heard about it by now. Or he would have done something to alleviate or correct it surgically.

In other words, so long as the broken bones heal properly, it's folly to think that there's any lingering injury that's going to resurface next season. So basically, thinking he's going to be hurt in 2023 is expecting bad luck to persist. I find that illogical.
 

moondog80

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In other words, so long as the broken bones heal properly, it's folly to think that there's any lingering injury that's going to resurface next season. So basically, thinking he's going to be hurt in 2023 is expecting bad luck to persist. I find that illogical.
Certainly there has been a sizable fluke element to his injuries, but would you take him at even money to have more IP than Nick Pivetta? I wouldn't.
 

astrozombie

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In other words, so long as the broken bones heal properly, it's folly to think that there's any lingering injury that's going to resurface next season. So basically, thinking he's going to be hurt in 2023 is expecting bad luck to persist. I find that illogical.
As I said, we will agree to disagree.
 

chawson

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Yep. Completely agree.

I'd much rather the Sox get a RHB that can DH and play 1B (Abreu, Mancini, Drury, even Wil Myers, etc) than keep a LHB that doesn't hit for any power and can't play anywhere but 1B.
If their primary role is going to be a power-hitting 1B against left-handed pitching, then some of these don't add a ton of value over what we have in Bob.

vs. LHP, '21-22:
Drury: 155 wRC+, .396 wOBA, .334 expected wOBA (meaning he "should" be -.062 points of wOBA worse than he was)
Abreu: 154 wRC+, .391 wOBA, .397 expected wOBA (meaning he should be +.006 points of wOBA better than he was)
Myers: 128 wRC+, .353 wOBA, .322 expected wOBA (-.031)
Dalbec: 123 wRC+, .355 wOBA, .367 expected wOBA (+.012)
Mancini: 116 wRC+, .338 wOBA, .353 expected wOBA (+.015)

vs. LHP, '22 only:
Drury: 160 wRC+, .403 wOBA, .345 expected wOBA (-.063)
Abreu: 148 wRC+, .376 wOBA, .396 expected wOBA (+.020)
Myers: 130 wRC+, .350 wOBA, .331 expected wOBA (-.019)
Dalbec: 115 wRC+, .337 wOBA, .349 expected wOBA (+.012)
Mancini: 88 wRC+, .290 wOBA, .316 expected wOBA (+.026)

Drury's defensive utility is a big plus, but he had a really lucky year at the plate, aided in part by Cincinnati's excellent hitters park. He's most useful at 2B and 3B, where we currently have entrenched regulars (and a guy who does a good Drury impression in Christian Arroyo), so I'm pessimistic we'll value him more than other teams. But according to this Statcast metric, Dalbec was just as good a hitter against lefties as Drury! Abreu is an interesting target as he's worth of a full-time DH job with some spot work at 1B, but I think many teams will be in on him too.

I think there's a good case to be made for grabbing Abreu for a DH/1B role, but Dalbec at pre-arb rates seems preferable to me than spending on Myers, Drury or Mancini to be part of the 1B picture.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Certainly there has been a sizable fluke element to his injuries, but would you take him at even money to have more IP than Nick Pivetta? I wouldn't.
I never suggested he could have more IP than Pivetta, or even enough to qualify for official rate stat titles. As my first post said, I think 20-25 starts and 120-130 IP isn't an unreasonable expectation. I think Pivetta can do better than that.

FWIW (and it's probably not much), Steamer has its early projections out on Fangraphs for 2023. They have Sale at 161 innings and Pivetta at 185. That seems overly optimistic for Sale.
 

moondog80

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I never suggested he could have more IP than Pivetta, or even enough to qualify for official rate stat titles. As my first post said, I think 20-25 starts and 120-130 IP isn't an unreasonable expectation. I think Pivetta can do better than that.

FWIW (and it's probably not much), Steamer has its early projections out on Fangraphs for 2023. They have Sale at 161 innings and Pivetta at 185. That seems overly optimistic for Sale.
I'm pretty sure we're on the same page. Sale is more prone to injury than the average MLB pitcher, maybe more than the guy at the 25 %ile, but what happened last year is not likely to reoccur.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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If their primary role is going to be a power-hitting 1B against left-handed pitching, then some of these don't add a ton of value over what we have in Bob.

vs. LHP, '21-22:
Drury: 155 wRC+, .396 wOBA, .334 expected wOBA (meaning he "should" be -.062 points of wOBA worse than he was)
Abreu: 154 wRC+, .391 wOBA, .397 expected wOBA (meaning he should be +.006 points of wOBA better than he was)
Myers: 128 wRC+, .353 wOBA, .322 expected wOBA (-.031)
Dalbec: 123 wRC+, .355 wOBA, .367 expected wOBA (+.012)
Mancini: 116 wRC+, .338 wOBA, .353 expected wOBA (+.015)

vs. LHP, '22 only:
Drury: 160 wRC+, .403 wOBA, .345 expected wOBA (-.063)
Abreu: 148 wRC+, .376 wOBA, .396 expected wOBA (+.020)
Myers: 130 wRC+, .350 wOBA, .331 expected wOBA (-.019)
Dalbec: 115 wRC+, .337 wOBA, .349 expected wOBA (+.012)
Mancini: 88 wRC+, .290 wOBA, .316 expected wOBA (+.026)

Drury's defensive utility is a big plus, but he had a really lucky year at the plate, aided in part by Cincinnati's excellent hitters park. He's most useful at 2B and 3B, where we currently have entrenched regulars (and a guy who does a good Drury impression in Christian Arroyo), so I'm pessimistic we'll value him more than other teams. But according to this Statcast metric, Dalbec was just as good a hitter against lefties as Drury! Abreu is an interesting target as he's worth of a full-time DH job with some spot work at 1B, but I think many teams will be in on him too.

I think there's a good case to be made for grabbing Abreu for a DH/1B role, but Dalbec at pre-arb rates seems preferable to me than spending on Myers, Drury or Mancini to be part of the 1B picture.
Yeah, I'm fine with Dalbec getting another shot. To be honest, I didn't even think of him. That would allow the Sox to spend more money on the pitching staff, SS, or corner OF.

My thinking was that the guys I listed have positional versatility and would be better fits on the roster than Hosmer (I suppose Dalbec fits here, as well). Drury play 2B/3B and probably LF in Fenway. Abreu is less versatile, but can play 1B when needed, Myers and Mancini can play 1B, LF/RF. And all of them could DH (Myers and Drury against LHP only). I was just throwing out a few names that I'd prefer on the roster to Hosmer, depending on the $/years. I agree Drury was lucky and CIN def helped him. He's probably looking for a bigger role than what I'm envisioning for him, anyway.
 

Harry Hooper

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His projected AAV ($15M) is a great value
Ok. Big Sox GuyBradford, how did that one go last year with Suzuki?

meaning = expect multiple suitors to eliminate the "great value" possibility
 
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chawson

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RedOctober3829

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deep inside Guido territory

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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I’m not understanding this decision. Will Wacha really not get an offer better than 1 year/$19 million? And would it have been that horrible if he didn’t and accepts a that contract with the Sox?
I took this to mean that they are either happy to get Eovaldi back for a year at QO or that Wacha was likely to accept and they didn’t want a 1/$20M Wacha but they’d rather have Wacha back with a 3 year offer.
I don’t know… I just confused myself