Where the Red Sox have gone wrong

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Red(s)HawksFan

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At Fenway, at one of the toughest RFs in baseball, JDM's defense isn't something to be concerned about?
I assumed the implication of benching JBJ was Martinez in left, Benintendi in center and leaving Betts in right, at least at Fenway. That was the more common deployment last year versus shifting Betts to CF and putting Martinez in RF.
 

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Hmmm. I remember him playing pretty much only RF last year. Home and away.

I remember incorrectly, or Baseball Reference is wrong, as he played 32 games in LF last year and 25 in RF.

I'd like to think BR is wrong here, but I know better.

Or do I?
 

Al Zarilla

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Eye test, to me, he doesn’t look bad out there, going after the ball, catching and throwing. He doesn’t have the speed to cover the ground though, certainly not compared with the regular outfielders.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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17 home and 15 away in LF, 8 home and 17 away in RF. They were definitely leaning away from putting him in RF in Fenway, but they didn't avoid it entirely.
The first game he played in RF at Fenway was a game in early June in which the starting OF was Travis, Benintendi, and Martinez (Vazquez DH, Swihart catching Jalen Beeks). That was a strange one all around but perhaps broke the ice so that Cora was willing to put him out there a few more times. In those other seven games, he was spelling Betts in three of them and Bradley in the other four. Three of the four Bradley sit-outs were vs LHP. And three of them were in September when, possibly, Cora was experimenting with different mixes to prepare for the playoffs and covering for potential injuries that would shuffle the lineup.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Eye test, to me, he doesn’t look bad out there, going after the ball, catching and throwing. He doesn’t have the speed to cover the ground though, certainly not compared with the regular outfielders.
Agreed. He's not a butcher by any stretch. His range and arm are both fringe-average at best, but he's not a statue out there, and he usually handles what he gets to.
 

David Kaiser

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Going back to square one after a few weeks: it does look as if the Red Sox had the answer to the second base problem in the minor leagues in Chavis. Don't forget, even an average performance--which he is way ahead of at this point--would mean several more wins than last year. Vazquez is also having a fine season to date. So far, however, first base, and especially center field, remain major problems. Bradley has yet to show that he can perform at an average major league level.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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Going back to square one after a few weeks: it does look as if the Red Sox had the answer to the second base problem in the minor leagues in Chavis. Don't forget, even an average performance--which he is way ahead of at this point--would mean several more wins than last year. Vazquez is also having a fine season to date. So far, however, first base, and especially center field, remain major problems. Bradley has yet to show that he can perform at an average major league level.
Why all the doom and gloom? They've won 8 out their last 10 games, including a couple of blowouts.

All teams have some weak links, but no other teams have 2 of the top 4 MVP vote getters from last year.
 

Soxfan in Fla

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Considering the turnaround of the starting staff from what was a horrific first 2 weeks it certainly appears as if they brought the starters along too slowly this spring and thus they weren’t ready for the start of the season.
 

In my lifetime

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Or they figured that after a very long season, they would rather sacrifice a few games in April in order to win a few more games in September and October.
 

BroodsSexton

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Or they figured that after a very long season, they would rather sacrifice a few games in April in order to win a few more games in September and October.
How plausible is this, really? It would be a mark of extreme confidence—to the point of foolishness?—to say “we’d rather have meaningless baseball in April than September” and execute a plan accordingly. If true, it would really be remarkable.
 

Devizier

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I think a significant amount of the starters' early failures can be attributed to batted ball luck. Right now Porcello, Price, Sale, and Rodriguez all have ERA > FIP; three of those guys have FIP numbers in the mid-threes. Porcello has been just plain bad, though.
 

In my lifetime

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How plausible is this, really? It would be a mark of extreme confidence—to the point of foolishness?—to say “we’d rather have meaningless baseball in April than September” and execute a plan accordingly. If true, it would really be remarkable.
I certainly think they consciously decided to back off in spring training. Their top 3 pitchers going into this season (Sle, Price, Porcello) combined pitched over 1/3rd fewer innings in the spring and each of those pitchers pitched at least 25% fewer. So it looks to me like it wasn't an accident. I think it was likely that the RS figured it would take a couple times through the rotation to get up to speed. Add to that a road heavy schedule with few days off, some batted ball bad luck and I'm sure the results were worse for a longer period of time than the RS expected and hoped. However, I think that the RS are trying to turn on its head the Moneyball approach that you build the team for the regular season and the playoffs are a crap shoot. Rather the RS put together a team they expect to make the playoffs and then have adjusted their strategy to make the playoffs less of a crap shoot.

I think that went into their decision in the following cases:
Spring regarding workload
Signing Eovaldi
Not signing Kimbrel in light of luxury tax, using their salary spend more efficiently
Using their best pitchers (starters) in high leverage in the playoffs

And I think come the trading deadline, if the RS are in a position where the playoffs are secure they will be buyers to increase their chances even if it means more luxury tax penalties. However, by doing it at the trading deadline, they can better evaluate:
Whether the team is in a position to win the WS
Where the team needs help
Any money spent is 4x as efficient since pro-rated over ~25% of the year
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I certainly think they consciously decided to back off in spring training. Their top 3 pitchers going into this season (Sle, Price, Porcello) combined pitched over 1/3rd fewer innings in the spring and each of those pitchers pitched at least 25% fewer. So it looks to me like it wasn't an accident. I think it was likely that the RS figured it would take a couple times through the rotation to get up to speed. Add to that a road heavy schedule with few days off, some batted ball bad luck and I'm sure the results were worse for a longer period of time than the RS expected and hoped. However, I think that the RS are trying to turn on its head the Moneyball approach that you build the team for the regular season and the playoffs are a crap shoot. Rather the RS put together a team they expect to make the playoffs and then have adjusted their strategy to make the playoffs less of a crap shoot.

I think that went into their decision in the following cases:
Spring regarding workload
Signing Eovaldi
Not signing Kimbrel in light of luxury tax, using their salary spend more efficiently
Using their best pitchers (starters) in high leverage in the playoffs

And I think come the trading deadline, if the RS are in a position where the playoffs are secure they will be buyers to increase their chances even if it means more luxury tax penalties. However, by doing it at the trading deadline, they can better evaluate:
Whether the team is in a position to win the WS
Where the team needs help
Any money spent is 4x as efficient since pro-rated over ~25% of the year
But isn't any money over the 2nd tax threshold the same penalty as far as draft picks and International Signing Money? That seems to be where the Sox have decided they can't afford the penalty..... there's $500K between where they are now and that penalty. Maybe there's a reliever... or a whoever (maybe they need to add an extra OF at the deadline... who knows.... but most likely they're going to be looking to add a reliever IMO) that'll be available making less than $2M salary so they're salary hit will still keep them below the line. I do think they finally have some decent stuff in the mL's to make a trade for a decent BP arm
 

In my lifetime

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Yes the draft penalty will likely hit regardless of the timing of a added contract.

However, the tax penalty is substantially reduced. It also allows them more flexibility to determine if there is hope any particular year. If it looks hopeless, they become sellers and attempt to reset luxury tax. Right now it doesn't look like they will be able to reset any time soon which is a good thing since it means they are in the mix for a WS, but also at some point they are definitely going to want to decrease that penalty.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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I certainly think they consciously decided to back off in spring training. Their top 3 pitchers going into this season (Sle, Price, Porcello) combined pitched over 1/3rd fewer innings in the spring and each of those pitchers pitched at least 25% fewer. So it looks to me like it wasn't an accident. I think it was likely that the RS figured it would take a couple times through the rotation to get up to speed. Add to that a road heavy schedule with few days off, some batted ball bad luck and I'm sure the results were worse for a longer period of time than the RS expected and hoped. However, I think that the RS are trying to turn on its head the Moneyball approach that you build the team for the regular season and the playoffs are a crap shoot. Rather the RS put together a team they expect to make the playoffs and then have adjusted their strategy to make the playoffs less of a crap shoot.

I think that went into their decision in the following cases:
Spring regarding workload
Signing Eovaldi
Not signing Kimbrel in light of luxury tax, using their salary spend more efficiently
Using their best pitchers (starters) in high leverage in the playoffs

And I think come the trading deadline, if the RS are in a position where the playoffs are secure they will be buyers to increase their chances even if it means more luxury tax penalties. However, by doing it at the trading deadline, they can better evaluate:
Whether the team is in a position to win the WS
Where the team needs help
Any money spent is 4x as efficient since pro-rated over ~25% of the year
There is no way to make the the playoffs less of a crap shoot. The Oakland A's swept the Sox in 88 and 90 and then lost the WS in 5 games to the Dodgers and were swept by the Reds. Last year the Sox won 108 games and then went 11and 3 in the post season.

How does a team adjust it's strategy to win in the playoffs? You mentioned using starters in relief, but Bumgarner's huge 2014 WS performance followed 217 IP during the regular season, so obviously the Giants didn't save him for the postseason.
 

In my lifetime

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Sure you can and every team makes it less than a crap shot. That doesn't mean you roll 7s every time, just that you improve your odds.

And it's just not adjusting during the playoffs, it's roster construction, regular season usage, etc.

For example, let's say the RS right now have 25 million left in their budget including luxury tax. Well they could have used it up by signing Kimbrel if he would accept a 1 year deal now. Alternatively, they can absorb 4-5 players in July who are in the last year of their deals making 15-25 million from a team looking to save $p. In addition, by July they should be able to identify the areas they need help due to performance or injury. (And I understand that there might not be 5 such players, I am using it as an example)
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Moreland so far is a totally average player and Pearce is worse.
Pearce is a black hole on offense. Nothing obviously detrimental on defense I’ve seen so far, though.

Moreland is a totally average player with a >.900 OPS, plus defense and he hits bombs. Aside from that, yeah, totally average.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Moreland will cool off in the 2nd half. We've all seen this story before.

Pearce will rebound, as well. I'd bet hard on him ending up as an avg 1B overall by the end of the season.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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Sure you can and every team makes it less than a crap shot. That doesn't mean you roll 7s every time, just that you improve your odds.

And it's just not adjusting during the playoffs, it's roster construction, regular season usage, etc.

For example, let's say the RS right now have 25 million left in their budget including luxury tax. Well they could have used it up by signing Kimbrel if he would accept a 1 year deal now. Alternatively, they can absorb 4-5 players in July who are in the last year of their deals making 15-25 million from a team looking to save $p. In addition, by July they should be able to identify the areas they need help due to performance or injury. (And I understand that there might not be 5 such players, I am using it as an example)
Well, the Sox don't have any Bagwell-type prospects to trade for a rental and they aren't willing to pay the luxury taxes it would take to bring back Kimbrel. It would have been better for both Kimbrel and Sox fans if he had accepted the QO.
 

In my lifetime

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If every team is doing it, how does it improve anyone's odds?
The point is that some teams manage to push the odds in their favor more than others.

Well, the Sox don't have any Bagwell-type prospects to trade for a rental and they aren't willing to pay the luxury taxes it would take to bring back Kimbrel. It would have been better for both Kimbrel and Sox fans if he had accepted the QO.
I assume you mean additional luxury taxes since the RS already pay luxury taxes. If Kimbrel accepted the QO, they would have to pass on Eovaldi or pay additional luxury taxes. So the QO only mitigates luxury taxes for 2020 and beyond.

In addition, I am not saying the RS will not eventually go over the next threshold, they very well might. However, I believe they decided to take a wait and see approach rather than just sign Kimbrel. In addition, if they are taking a significant amount of salary off another team's books, the hope is that the prospect in the deal doesn't have to be a top prospect of which the RS have few.
 
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soxhop411

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Not including today's game:

JDM the last 28 days:


Mookie last 28 days:

Andrew B:


It does not matter how good our BP is when our 3 best hitters have been struggling/ Anti Clutch for a while now
 

sean1562

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This is a WC team if sale isn’t a cy young pitcher. If sale isn’t one of the best starters in the league we have one of the weaker rotations of al playoff contenders. This is a good team but i don’t think we will win the division
 

Spelunker

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This is a WC team if sale isn’t a cy young pitcher. If sale isn’t one of the best starters in the league we have one of the weaker rotations of al playoff contenders. This is a good team but i don’t think we will win the division
So, like 2004?
 

Sampo Gida

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The offense doesn't seem to be a problem even with some regression from Betts and JDM. Some of the clutch stats look weak but that is probably random and likely will regress. With the addition of Chavis and emergence of Vazquez and Devers offensively, and a hot JBJ around the corner, the offense looks more solid 1-9 than last year even with a lesser Betts and JDM (not predicting this remains the case the rest of the way)

Getting Sale and Price pitching like aces again, with Eovaldi, Porcello and E-Rod just being competent will go a long way.

The bullpen at best is simply mediocre. Its actually been better than expected, but that thats not good enough. I think they are 1-2 arms short, with one of those arms being ace caliber (I agree with Smoltz)

I’d like to see them land a 2Bman that can punish LHPers with Chavis remaining at 1B.
Nunez just isn't cutting it. Thats the only hole in the offense

While I wont rule out winning the division the Yankees will be tough to catch, but there is no shame to getting in via the WC. This is a better team than a 500 team, they can play 600 the rest of the way and roll the dice in the post season

In short, upgrade 2B and the pen and hope for the best
 

bosockboy

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Division is likely gone. Focus on getting 90-94 wins and securing a WC berth.

That 5-2 blown lead to Cleveland debacle appears to have knocked a hole in them. Minutes from being 30-25 and on the come and now 29-29.

Getting the Royals at a good time. Knock on wood.
 

BornToRun

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Heading into the season, I’d have been fine with 90~ wins and in the running for a wild card spot. A year like 2018 buys a lot of rope from me. All I really wanted is for them to remain competitive and not crater in their title defense like the 2014 team did.

So far they’re right at .500 with an easy stretch of schedule coming up. I’m not worried about the division right now, not because I think it’s out of reach, but because it was never a requirement for me to be satisfied. If they’re able to climb back into that race and win a 4th straight AL East, then great, but I’ll be okay if they end up settling for a wild card.

April was a rough month but May left them in better shape so they have been moving in the right direction, this past week’s skid nothwithstanding.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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YOu have a ton of faith ion JBJ to say 2b is is the only hole.
I don't think JBJ is actually a.... "hole".... myself. He's looking like he's turning a corner (yes, yes I know.....). With Moreland out, assuming Chavis at 2nd, it's a very solid lineup. Without Moreland it's a weak spot, but all teams have weak spots in the lineups and do fine.
The only realistic spot I see where the Sox can improve (due to 2nd tax threshold appearing to be a hard cap) is somehow unloading Nunez remaining contract and picking up a cost controlled reliever by sweetening the deal by adding one of the few good chips the Sox have (Darwinzon? Dalbec? Durran?). I also have no idea at all how realistic this is or who that CCR could be.
This all said..... the team is still constructed to win the World Series. We know we have two potential aces and 3 other starters that can dominate. A lineup that can mash from top to bottom when everyone is dialed in. A dominant BP ace and two very good compliments (and to me, again... that's all that's truly needed in a winning playoff run). They're good enough as constructed to get to the playoffs and to potentially repeat WS. Guys just gotta freaking play better!
 

BornToRun

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I don't think JBJ is actually a.... "hole".... myself. He's looking like he's turning a corner (yes, yes I know.....). With Moreland out, assuming Chavis at 2nd, it's a very solid lineup. Without Moreland it's a weak spot, but all teams have weak spots in the lineups and do fine.
The only realistic spot I see where the Sox can improve (due to 2nd tax threshold appearing to be a hard cap) is somehow unloading Nunez remaining contract and picking up a cost controlled reliever by sweetening the deal by adding one of the few good chips the Sox have (Darwinzon? Dalbec? Durran?). I also have no idea at all how realistic this is or who that CCR could be.
This all said..... the team is still constructed to win the World Series. We know we have two potential aces and 3 other starters that can dominate. A lineup that can mash from top to bottom when everyone is dialed in. A dominant BP ace and two very good compliments (and to me, again... that's all that's truly needed in a winning playoff run). They're good enough as constructed to get to the playoffs and to potentially repeat WS. Guys just gotta freaking play better!
Too much talent to finish at .500. And the bullpen really shortens up once you hit October I agree. Barnes has the potential to be a real game changer in the playoffs and Walden has shown the ability to go 2 or 3 innings at a time. Couple that with the roving starters and I think you’ll be in decent shape. I definitely think the bullpen needs to be supplemented in some fashion, whether by addition or just guys pitching better, but I don’t think it’s a festering trash fire either.
 

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A quick look at luxury tax payroll shows the Yankees at $25M under the Red Sox. (Please correct).

Thinking the Yankees will not pick up a quality Toronto starter (or Keuchel) for the post season run is questionable. Combine a rotation of Tanaka, Severino, German, Happ and ???? with that bullpen (with one or two of the starters in the pen)...and Houston is in trouble .

Right now the Red Sox enter October with Sale having pitched the WC play-in and Eovaldi probably in the pen. That’s Price, Porcello and Rodriguez starting a five game series against (in all probability) the Yankees, Houston or Minnesota (hopefully, or a rejuvenated Cleveland).

Is that a realistic scenario, and can anyone prevent a (probable) Houston/NY Championship Series? Of course...baseball...anything can happen. I’m addressing likelihood.

That’s the field the Red Sox are playing on.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Right now the Red Sox enter October with Sale having pitched the WC play-in and Eovaldi probably in the pen. That’s Price, Porcello and Rodriguez starting a five game series against (in all probability) the Yankees, Houston or Minnesota (hopefully, or a rejuvenated Cleveland).
Why is Sale out of the LDS rotation due to pitching the WC game? Barring rainouts messing with the schedule, there's typically an off-day between the WC game and LDS game 1, plus an off-day between games 2 and 3. That would allow whoever starts the WC game to come back on regular rest to pitch Game 3 of the LDS.

If they get there, I think a front three of Sale, Price and whoever's running hottest amongst Porcello, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi is a pretty formidable rotation to open any LDS, regardless of the order they pitch or who the opponent is.
 

Adrian's Dome

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A quick look at luxury tax payroll shows the Yankees at $25M under the Red Sox. (Please correct).

Thinking the Yankees will not pick up a quality Toronto starter (or Keuchel) for the post season run is questionable. Combine a rotation of Tanaka, Severino, German, Happ and ???? with that bullpen (with one or two of the starters in the pen)...and Houston is in trouble .

Right now the Red Sox enter October with Sale having pitched the WC play-in and Eovaldi probably in the pen. That’s Price, Porcello and Rodriguez starting a five game series against (in all probability) the Yankees, Houston or Minnesota (hopefully, or a rejuvenated Cleveland).

Is that a realistic scenario, and can anyone prevent a (probable) Houston/NY Championship Series? Of course...baseball...anything can happen. I’m addressing likelihood.

That’s the field the Red Sox are playing on.
Looks an awful lot like the same field they were playing on last season, and they managed to get by just fine.

Play-in game? Big fucking deal. This is MLB not the NBA, the team in first doesn't always win. In fact, they usually don't.
 

soxhop411

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Our futility with RISP the past 30+ days is one of the reasons we have not gained ground on NYY/Tampa

 

soxhop411

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Also a factor in not gaining any ground in the standings:

Our record vs teams above .500/playoff teams



(this does not include todays game 1 loss)
 
Jul 5, 2018
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Our futility with RISP the past 30+ days is one of the reasons we have not gained ground on NYY/Tampa


The quality of the pitching in RISP situations is identical so it's mostly SSS. So far this year, the total MLB BA, which is not a SSS, is .257 for RISP and .248 for all situations. Over time the RISP will be a little higher due to bases loaded AB's. David Ortiz's lifetime RISP was .296 compare to an overall average of .286.
 

soxhop411

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Also a factor in not gaining any ground in the standings:

Our record vs teams above .500/playoff teams



(this does not include todays game 1 loss)

The Sox are going to be sellers if we cant beat any team that is above .500. And if the past few weeks have been any indication, we will most likely know Our fate by the end of June. Thankfully we didn’t blow past the luxury tax again, since the BP isn’t our only issue nor is it the only reason why the Sox are terrible.
 
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Tyrone Biggums

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Long term this season might be a blessing in disguise and might help the Sox keep the window open. I'd definitely be looking to deal Bradley Porcello and any of the pen arms for sure. Maybe even listen to offers for JD Mookie or Price. JD would be interesting since I'm assuming he would exercise his opt out and become a FA next year. So the Red Sox could bring him back pretty easy. Mookie will probably test the market. The problem is I'm not sure I trust Dombrowski to evaluate incoming prospects nor do i trust that he would agree to have this team become sellers for a year.
 

RoDaddy

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The Sox are going to be sellers if...
I'm totally fine with this! We have plenty of guys teams might be interested in if not desperate for (say someone like Price). I’d prefer we get back in it – and might since we’re somehow only 7 games out despite everything – but if not, selling high to restock the farm seems like an easy option given the team has plenty of young talent to rebound next year, especially if Mookie is resigned. And dumping salaries as part of selling this year will help that. Another month of suckage and I say let the bidding begin for Price, Porcello, JBJ, ERod, Moreland, Barnes, etc and maybe even JD

Edit note: Sorry Tyrone, I didn't see your similar post while I was working on mine
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The Sox are going to be sellers if we cant beat any team that is above .500. And if the past few weeks have been any indication, we will most likely know Our fate by the end of June. Thankfully we didn’t blow past the luxury tax again, since the BP isn’t our only issue nor is it the only reason why the Sox are terrible.
Fucking Christ. I know they're struggling at the moment, and against division/league rivals no less, but "terrible" is not a word that should be used to describe a team that is 34-32 and a game out of a wildcard spot. Mediocre, disappointing, scuffling...those are appropriate descriptors. Saying they're terrible reeks of entitlement the likes of which we used to mock in MFY fans.

Unless disaster really strikes, as in they drop 10+ games under .500 between now and then, they won't be sellers at the deadline. As long as they're in the hunt for the WC, they're not going to punt on the season.
 

crow216

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I'm totally fine with this! We have plenty of guys teams might be interested in if not desperate for (say someone like Price). I’d prefer we get back in it – and might since we’re somehow only 7 games out despite everything – but if not, selling high to restock the farm seems like an easy option given the team has plenty of young talent to rebound next year, especially if Mookie is resigned. And dumping salaries as part of selling this year will help that. Another month of suckage and I say let the bidding begin for Price, Porcello, JBJ, ERod, Moreland, Barnes, etc and maybe even JD

Edit note: Sorry Tyrone, I didn't see your similar post while I was working on mine
Could be a solid plan but it's starting to feel like a buyer's market right now. Cleveland, San Francisco, Toronto, Rangers, and Mets all have pretty decent pieces to sell.
 
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