Tagged: Adrian Beltre

The Beantown Status Report

Papelbon

It’s only May 8th, but the Boston Red Sox are 7.5 games back on the
division leading Tampa Bay Rays, and 6.0 games back on the wild card
leading New York Yankees. With a record of 15-15 (and potentially 15-16 if
the rain slows down today and the Yanks hold on to win), and having only been
above .500 for two days in the first month and a bit, it’s pretty obvious to everyone in
the AL East that if the Sox want to compete, something drastic has to happen – and it
has to happen soon, or I might just start watching Major League Soccer instead.

Drew

You can argue that the Red Sox are starting to put it together. Having swept the
Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers with strong bats and strong
pitching. J.D. Drew, Victor Martinez, and Adrian Beltre seem
to be coming together at the plate. Even David Ortiz has been smacking a
couple out of the park in the last week. Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester,
and John Lackey have seemingly started to come together. Daisuke
Matsuzaka
is back from the DL and has shown signs of strength and weakness,
and even Josh Beckett had a great start to his game against the Yankees
last night, at least until he fell apart. There are signs of light at the end of the tunnel.

Then again, they were swept by the Rays at home over a four game series. They
were even swept by the Baltimore Orioles in Fenway South, and are 2-4
against a team that has been amongst the worst in baseball not just this year, but for
a long …. long time – a team the Sox have beaten 15-17 times per season almost
every year in recent history.

Scutaro

Offense isn’t necessarily a problem. During the off-season, talk was about a
dominant pitching staff and defense, with a relatively weak offense. So far, it’s been
the other way around. The offense has given it’s fans an average of about 5 runs a
game. In the mean time, the pitching staff has an ERA of 4.68, with 13 un-earned
runs crossing the plate. Furthermore, The Red Sox are 1-5 in 6 games they sent to
extras.

But why is everyone in Red Sox Nation worried about the future outcome of this
season? Yes, the Rays are 22-7. The Yankees are 20-8. The Blue Jays are 18-13,
2.5 ahead of Boston for third place in the division. But look on the bright side – it’s
only May 8th. Jacoby Ellsbury is injured, as is Mike Cameron. The
lineup is being shuffled continually. The pitching staff needs to find their groove. It
will happen. Eventually everything will come together and they’ll start to win again.
Beckett, Lester, and Lackey are all proven aces. Buchholz and Dice-K are strong,
strong pitchers. Beltre will find his niche at the hot corner. Ellsbury will come back
and start causing hell at the top of the lineup. The 2010 Boston Red Sox are better
than the 85-win team they appear to be at the moment.

Ellsbury

Let’s put this season in perspective. This time last year, the Yankees were 14-15,
4.5 games back of the leading Red Sox. But starting on the 13th of May, they won 9
in a row, ultimately ending with a 103-59 season and a World Series ring. Similarly,
the Red Sox started the 2009 season with a record of 2-6, and then went on a
13-game winning streak for a final record of 95-67 and a Wild Card championship. It
can still come together. There’s still time, but this is what needs to happen:

Thumbnail image for Adrian Beltre.JPG

  • Stop losing against the Yankees and Rays – In 8 games against these
    two teams, they’re 1-7 … all at Fenway, where they seemingly can’t lose against
    any other team as long as they show up for the game.
  • Start Pitching Like You Mean It – The aces on the mound will come
    together and start throwing 7+ innings per game. They’re too good for it to not
    happen. Buchholz and Dice-K will add a good compliment to the three J’s, and
    the bullpen will come back together, especially when Bonser comes back to put a
    cap on his great spring.
  • Improve Defense – Beltre has 7 errors so far this season (only 14 for
    him through all of last season), so he needs to improve if we have a chance of
    winning. But he’s not the only problem. Martinez needs to improve his throw to
    second to intimidate potential thieves (although the pitchers need to help). The
    offense needs to get healthy once again and do their thing.
  • Get Back Ellsbury – Jacoby is well-known as one of the best lead-off
    hitters in the game. Guaranteed to steal bases, walk, and hit at a .300+ clip, he’s
    essential to a good Sox team (not that Scutaro isn’t doing a great job in his
    absence). Darnell McDonald, Jonathan Van Every, Bill
    Hall
    , and Jeremy Hermida are doing a good job in the absence of
    Ellsbury and Cameron, but you just can’t replace those two players in any
    way.

Do that, and we’ll be fine. Besides, the Yanks will fall, right? 🙂 Burnett can’t go two
seasons without an injury, and Vasquez will be a beautiful Yanks disappointment this
year.

At least one can hope, right?

Kudos to Epstein

Epstein’s To Do List for this off-season:

  • Deepen Rotation – DONE
  • Increase Outfield Defense – DONE
  • Improve Bullpen – Incomplete
  • Increase Infield Defense – Incomplete? Maybe Not

Adrian Beltre

Okay, so he solved the first issue on the list with John Lackey. The second
issue on the list was rectified with Mike Cameron, effectively replacing Jason
Bay’s defensive prowess, and then some. The third point may not have a
solution. After losing Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, it’s hard to
imagine a bullpen as strong as it was late in 2009. But, Epstein went after low risk
players like Boof Bonser, and by extending the rotation, perhaps one of the
6 starters could find time in the bullpen. As for the final issue on Epstein’s mind, he
solved half the problem with the signing of Marco Scutaro. Now, just as we
were thinking that maybe we had to hope for Mike Lowell‘s health, it appears
that perhaps our infield picture is coming into focus, as reports are stating that the
Sox are close to bringing Adrian Beltre to town on a one year contract worth
about $9-10MM with a possible option for 2011.

I like this deal. It means we don’t have to rely on Lowell, but we keep a strong
defense and strong bat that Lowell used to provide. We keep a strong defense at
third without losing any power. Furthermore, Beltre comes relatively cheap, and with
just a one year contract, could open the door for Adrian Gonzalez when the
Padres become a little more desperate to trade him (say, next off-season, perhaps?)

Now we just need to figure out the bullpen.

Looking to 2011

With the signing of John Lackey and (potentially) Mike Cameron, I
can’t help but look to the future. Epstein always said he was building for the future,
and this is what it looks like for 2010:

With Adrian Gonzalez:

  1. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  3. C – Victor Martinez
  4. 1B – Adrian Gonzalez
  5. 3B – Kevin Youkilis
  6. DH – David Ortiz
  7. RF – J.D. Drew
  8. LF – Mike Cameron/Jeremy Hermida
  9. SS – Marco Scutaro

Without Adrian Gonzalez:

  1. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  3. C – Victor Martinez
  4. 1/3B – Kevin Youkilis
  5. DH – David Ortiz
  6. RF – J.D. Drew
  7. LF Mike Cameron/Jeremy Hermida
  8. 1/3B – Casey Kotchman (Adrian Beltre)
  9. SS – Marco Scutaro

That lineup looks significantly more powerful with Adrian Gonzalez in there. If
Adrian Beltre signs instead, you’re looking at something slightly different.
Either way, even if you keep it the way it is now, you’re looking at a team that can
support the superior pitching staff. World Series caliber? Maybe not. Our offense
probably can’t beat that of the Phillies or the Yankees, but when all is said and done,
adding Adrian Gonzalez means a Boston team that’s somewhat equal (on paper,
statistically, anyway) to the offensive numbers of the Yankee collective. Even if
Epstein deals Jacoby Ellsbury to San Diego with Clay Buchholz,
you’ve got a decent outfield of Drew/Hermida/Cameron, and if you add someone like
Xavier Nady to that mix, you’re looking at a great team with Adrian Gonzalez
spearheading it. Welcome to the playoffs.

Now, a look at the pitching staff.

With Adrian Gonzalez:

  1. SP – Josh Beckett
  2. SP – John Lackey
  3. SP – Jon Lester
  4. SP – Daisuke Matsuzaka
  5. SP – Tim Wakefield
  6. RP – Hideki Okajima
  7. RP – Ramon Ramirez
  8. RP – Ramon Ramirez (this is going to be a confusing year … )
  9. RP – Manny Delcarman
  10. RP – Boof Bonser (Or maybe Michael Bowden?)
  11. RP – Daniel Bard
  12. CL – Jonathan Papelbon

Without Adrian around you essentially have the same setup, except you see
Buchholz in the rotation and probably Wakefield in the ‘pen. Either way, arguably the
best staff in baseball. Where the bullpen lacks in depth, the starting rotation makes
up for in pure number of Aces. Three Number 1 guys and 2 interesting additions in
the back of the rotation equals quality starts more often than not, and a solid rotation
to help the relatively lacking offense.

Maybe 2010 is still the bridge year, though. It’s hard to imagine this when you add
over $30 Million in payroll, but hear me out.

Joe Mauer

The 2010 Free Agent market includes the likes of Joe Mauer, Carl
Crawford
, Cliff Lee (as he likely won’t sign an extension with Seattle),
and Brandon Webb. Epstein always preferred the 2010 market over the
2009 market, and he always said he was building up for it.

Brandon Webb

With Ortiz’s $13 Million coming off the books along with Victor Martinez’s $7.1 Million,
Beckett’s $12 Million and Varitek’s $3 Million, not to mention $19.5 Million owed to
Alex Gonzalez, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, and Billy Wagner, you’re looking at significant
money coming off the payroll.

In 2010, if you add Adrian Gonzalez, you’re
looking at a team payroll of about $150 Million. Upon the completion
of the season, it will drop to about $83 Million.

So what do you do in the 2010 offseason? You break the bank. You give contract
extensions to Beckett (who’s going to want a Lackey-like deal) and Martinez (who’s
going to want around $10 Million a year). After letting Ortiz and Varitek go, you go
out and sign Mauer (if you can pry him from Minnesota and the Yanks), Crawford (or
you trade for him during the 2010 season and sign him longterm), and either Lee
(who will want a Sabathia-like Contract) or Webb (who will want Lackey-like
terms).

Let’s run the figures again. 2011, pending all those moves, would bring the payroll
back up to between $160-$170 Million. Expensive, but look at that
potential Roster:

  1. SP – Cliff Lee (or Brandon Webb)
  2. SP – Josh Beckett
  3. SP – John Lackey
  4. SP – Jon Lester
  5. SP – Daisuke Matsuzaka
  6. CL – Jonathan Papelbon
  7. C – Joe Mauer
  8. 1B – Adrian Gonzalez
  9. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  10. SS – Marco Scutaro
  11. 3B – Kevin Youkilis
  12. LF – Carl Crawford
  13. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  14. RF – J.D. Drew
  15. DH – Victor Martinez (keeps him fresh, but can give Mauer days off
    behind the plate without the team losing offense)
  16. RP – Daniel Bard
  17. RP – Tim Wakefield
  18. RP – Hideki Okajima
  19. RP – Manny Delcarman
  20. RP – Junichi Tazawa
  21. BC – Mark Wagner (Mostly a security policy in case the in-game
    catcher gets injured, so the DH doesn’t have to go behind the plate, making
    the pitcher have to hit)
  22. IF – Jose Iglesias (or Jed Lowrie if Iglesias isn’t ready for the
    bigs)
  23. IF – (Someone who can back up Youkilis at third)
  24. OF – Mike Cameron
  25. (Utility Fielder)

For $165 Million, if that can’t win a World Series, nothing can.

2007 World Series

2010 Lineup Full of Nobodies

  1. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  3. C – Victor Martinez
  4. 3B – Kevin Youkilis
  5. DH – David Ortiz
  6. RF – J.D. Drew
  7. LF – Jeremy Hermida
  8. 1B – Casey Kotchman
  9. SS – Marco Scutaro

Looks a little weak, doesn’t it? No more Jason Bay, no more Mike
Lowell
. No more pop from the right side. Correction – no more pop. Period.
Good luck with Matt Holliday and Adrian Beltre, Theo … we all know
how well you work with Borasshole. Might as well just give up on both of those
players and treat this as the true bridge year you were talking about, because it
looks like Jeremy Hermida and Casey Kotchman are going to be our
starting fielders on opening day. Maybe if you’ve got some horseshoes up your ***
you’ll have an outside chance of competing for the Wild Card, but I wouldn’t count my
chickens.

Not to mention you blew it with Rich Harden – he offers the idea of playing on
a one year contract, and you let him go to Texas? You better have something big up
your sleeve coming after this Mike Lowell deal, or my head might explode.

Wednesday Roundup @ the Winter Meetings

Jason Bay

  • 6:04pm EST: Theo Epstein doesn’t expect any kind of blockbuster move
    before the meetings end, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Epstein
    – “I don’t think we’ll make a blockbuster between now and (leaving) …
    Something small could come up.
    ”  Also, talks haven’t progressed with
    Jason Bay‘s representatives. Epstein – “Those guys are off doing their
    thing
    .”
  • According to Alex, Adrian Gonzalez will likely be a Padre in 2010 –
    Bud Black says “Do I anticipate him being with the club in 2010?
    Yes.

Matt Holliday

  • The Red Sox reportedly met with Scott Boras, with one item on the menu
    being Matt Holliday, however Jason Bay is still the club’s first choice.

Mike Lowell

Adrian Beltre

  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox are discussing a
    deal that would send Mike Lowell to Texas. Who would be coming to
    Beantown at this point is suggested to be catching prospect Max
    Ramirez
    . The deal is reported as “not close”, but is starting to heat up. As
    expected, Boston’s front office would have to front a bill for a significant majority
    of Lowell’s 2010 contract. Mike has also been rumored to be on the block to go
    to the Cubs for Milton Bradley, although that seems rather unlikely. So
    unlikely, in fact, that Ian Browne has called shenanigans on the idea.

Justin Duchscherer

  • Multiple sources report that the Red Sox have a significant interest in free agent
    Adrian Beltre. Because Mike Lowell will probably be traded to a team
    such as Texas, a deal for Beltre is not only a real possibility, but almost a
    requirement for Boston to keep a strong offense in 2010. However, Beltre’s agent
    is Scott Boras, so expect life to be a relative hell in the coming weeks. The Giants
    were originally thought of as being potential suitors of Beltre, but in reality they’re
    looking for a short-term fix at first base and a center fielder, allowing them to
    move Aaron Rowand to the corner infield.

Mike Cameron

  • Rob Bradford also reports that the Red Sox have not made any progress on a
    Justin Duchscherer deal.  They talked last on Sunday night. 11
    other teams are reportedly interested in the pitcher. Maybe if the Red Sox sign
    him, I’ll learn how to pronounce the Duke of Hurls’s real name properly.

Rich Harden

  • The Red Sox appear interested in Mike Cameron.
  • Red Sox were mentioned as forerunners for Rich Harden after he
    mentioned he was willing to take a one year incentive-driven deal, but the
    Rangers seemingly won the race.

Coco Crisp

  • The Red Sox are not likely interested in Rafael Soriano.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN says that the Red Sox have a couple teams they
    could trade Mike Lowell to.
  • Low level interest in bringing back Coco Crisp. If you could sign him with
    a clause in his contract stating that he has to get into a brawl every night with the
    starting pitcher, I say go for it!

Aroldis Chapman

  • Ramon A. Ramirez claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. Fabio
    Castro
    signed to a one-year non-guaranteed contract.
  • Expect the Red Sox brass to be in Houston next week to watch Aroldis
    Chapman
    ‘s bullpen session, alongside the Yankees and Angels, at the very
    least.