Tagged: Gonzalez

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.

Christmas Gets Sweeter? Maybe …

Javier Vazquez

The Yankees are reportedly close to trading Melky Cabrera among others for
Javier Vazquez, from the Braves. Who’s the winner in this deal? Quite possibly the
Red Sox. While Vazquez is a healthy pitcher, and makes a decent #4 in the Yankee
rotation, I can’t help but think that Melky was a better asset for them, not only for
right now, but also the long run.

Vazquez is seasonally a 10-15 game winner who gives up a decent amount of runs,
but is someone who tends to always stay healthy, and eats up innings like a
homeless guy invited to Christmas dinner. But who will the Yankees throw into the
outfield this season? They have Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. Granderson
is arguably one of the best center fielders in the game, but Swisher is ranked as average and for some crazy reason is the only Yankee that can’t hit it out of the right field vortex, although defensively he can play anywhere in the outfield, or at first base. Who mans
left field? Does this now mean that they’ll go after Damon if he’s willing to take a pay
decrease? Maybe they give Brett Gardner a chance, or they resign Xavier Nady?
Regardless, I can’t help but think Melky was the best option they had in the outfield
for this coming year, and as a spearhead of the team for the future. Not to mention,
he is/was a fan favorite at Yankee Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury

So what does this mean for the Red Sox? With the Yankees bolstering their rotation
further, it gives them a chance to turn Chamberlain or Hughes into a set-up man /
future closer. Getting someone like Vazquez gives them some more flexibility with
their rotation. When the Red Sox signed Cameron and Lackey, they increased their
defensive ability and improved their pitching staff to the point that it was potentially
better than the Yankees. Now, they could be considered equal, meaning the
Yankees have the upper hand with a strong offense. With Jason Bay now with
seemingly no market value, does Epstein put an offer of $60MM / 4 Years back on
the table? It’s obvious Bay is waiting for something from the Sox or another team,
because he clearly doesn’t want to play in Citi Field. And if Epstein was to resign
Bay, it gives him the flexibility to deal Ellsbury to the Padres. As much as I’d hate to
see Ellsbury go, if it means the added power of Bay and Gonzalez, I think I’d
get over it rather quickly. Maybe Vazquez going to the Yanks will push Theo to go
get both Bay and Adrian Gonzalez.

The suspense is killing me …

Lowell’s Thumb a Blessing in Disguise

Thumb Injury

Today’s physical in Arlington came up with a radial collateral ligament
tear
in Mike Lowell‘s right thumb. Some Red Sox fans feel this is a
bad situation, whereas others are jumping for joy now that Lowell is sticking around
in Boston. He is scheduled for surgery just after Christmas, and should be out for
6-8 weeks. In other words, he should be healthy for Spring Training, and while his
throwing programs may be halted, the rest of his training program should be able to
go on as per usual, preventing him from a long recovery. Personally, I see this as a
blessing in disguise, and this is my reasoning:

  1. Lowell comes back in Spring Training and gets traded some time into the
    year
    : If this happens, either we can make the trade for Max
    Ramirez
    again, as double jeopardy doesn’t apply in baseball, or Epstein
    could look to another team that needs a decent DH. His value should be higher if
    Boston will still front the bill and he has proven himself to be healthy. If Max
    Ramirez was indeed a potential trading piece for Adrian Gonzalez,
    Epstein will find another way to get the prospect, or he will rearrange his
    bargaining chips and find another way to Gonzalez.
  2. Mike Lowell

  3. Lowell comes back in Spring Training and stays with Boston for the entirety
    of the year, playing 3B
    : If this happens, Boston keeps the offensive
    power of Lowell, while sacrificing the speed he lost last year, and taking a risk with
    his rumored decrease in defensive ability (which could become increasingly more
    true if his hip gets any worse). With the increased defense on the left side thanks
    to Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron/Jacoby Ellsbury, it
    shouldn’t be TOO much of a problem for the team. Who knows, maybe he’ll pull
    the hidden ball trick out of his hat a couple times this season to make up for his
    lack of physical ability (he’s
    done it twice before
    , afterall).
  4. Lowell proves to be a liability in the field and sits on the bench: If
    this happens, either Casey Kotchman becomes an everyday starter at
    first and Lowell sits on the bench, or Epstein has to work out a trade for a decent
    corner infielder during the season. The best way to account for this is to find said
    corner infielder before the beginning of the season and make Lowell work for a
    starting spot. However, I’m happy with Kotchman as a defensive replacement if
    Lowell doesn’t work out, as his strong defense will solidify the infield.
  5. Lowell turns into a part-time player in the field: If this occurs,
    Lowell would play fewer games, meaning Kevin Youkilis would play 3B
    on occasion while either Kotchman or Victor Martinez would find more
    time at 1B, potentially meaning Jason Varitek could find more time behind
    the plate. While I don’t feel Varitek should be behind the plate any more than
    necessary, it’s not a terrible alternative if Lowell can’t play everyday anymore.
    Lowell could also be used off the bench as a pinch hitter in crucial situations,
    which we all know he tends to thrive in.
  6. Mike Lowell

  7. Lowell platoons with David Ortiz as the DH: It was proven
    last year that Ortiz sometimes has trouble with quality pitching nowadays, so why
    not sit Lowell on the bench and use him against certain starters, or LH pitchers?
    Platooning these two players gives you the most optimal DH situation every game,
    and leaves a power hitter on the bench in case you need that bat later on in a
    game. Also, with Lowell being a DH, you get the capability of platooning him at 3B
    whenever someone else needs a day off, while keeping him fresh as well.

In my mind, the only bad thing that can come from this is that you’re stick with a $12
Million man sitting on your bench and/or eating up a spot on your 25-Man Roster that
could be used for another arm in the bullpen or a more capable utility fielder.
Although, the 25-Man Roster can be altered throughout the season, and others will
almost definitely get injured, so it’s not really an issue.

As you can see, it’s win-win for everyone in Red Sox Nation.

Mike Lowell

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

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.

Winter Meetings Another ‘Sox Bust?

David Ortiz

The Winter Meetings have hit the half-way point – one blockbuster three-way trade is
all but signed, sealed, and delivered, and it looks as if the Yankees are going to steal
the show in Indy just like they did in Vegas the year before. The deal involving
Curtis Granderson to the Bronx adds a lot of intrigue to the meetings,
and most likely leaves Red Sox fans hoping for some form of retaliation.

Rewind to this time last year, where the Yankees took center stage by signing the two
biggest arms on the market in C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. That
later led to another Red Sox disappointment when another player went the way of
A-Rod after nearing a deal with Beantown but instead siding with the Yankees when
all was said and done – Mark Texeira. Three big deals for the Yankees, and
nothing to show for the Red Sox’s presence in the off-season accept two gambles in
the form of Brad Penny and John Smoltz. Naturally, the Sox deals
failed while the new Yankees thrived, all the way to a 27th championship. The Sox
eventually added Victor Martinez, but one late addition hardly matches two
quality pitchers and one of the best bats in the league.

Curtis Granderson

Enter 2009. The Yankees add Granderson, while the Red Sox brass are seemingly
sleeping in their deluxe suite, enjoying their World Series dreams. For two teams
that were relatively equal for the majority of the last decade, one big deal for a
decent bat hardly counter-acts 4 huge deals with high-impact players over two
years. The Yankees have quickly changed from a comparative team to the odds-on
favorite – not just for the division, but the World Series – every year. So what are the
Red Sox doing?

Epstein has mentioned on numerous occasions he doesn’t plan on trading away the
future of the franchise for a quick fix or solely to keep up with the Yankees in the
short-term. Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias are the faces of the future
at Fenway Park. Lars Anderson had a bad year, but he’s looking to be a
perennial first-choice for first base. As for Clay Buchholz, we all know he’s
here and he’s only looking to get better with real experience. Add that to an already
young setup of Pedroia, Ellsbury, Papelbon, Bard, Delcarman, Dice-K and Lester,
and you’re looking at a solid team that plans to stay in tact long after the big signings
of the Yankees go to the wayside. But can the fans handle two years of Yankee
dominance in the East before these prospects so much as show their faces?

Fenway Park Ticket Sales

The silence of Red Sox management this year at the Winter Meetings could be very
concerning for the ‘Nation – a group of fans that have sold out Fenway over 500
consecutive times. Look for that record to potentially be snapped in 2010 if
something doesn’t happen soon.

The silence, however, could mean that something is in the works. Something
BIG. Could it be a deal for Adrian Gonzalez? Maybe Roy
Halladay
is in the mix? Maybe a 4-team deal for both? Maybe talks with
Jason Bay, John Lackey, Rich Harden, and Mike
Gonzalez
are further along than Epstein is letting on. Maybe I’m just farting in
the wind.

Will the Red Sox step up, or will the Yankees continue their dastardly ways by signing
Lackey and/or Holliday? Only time will tell. This time of year when the Yankees pick
up steam and the Red Sox seemingly are running on empty, the time seems to slow
down, and every second breaks the heart. So please, John Henry, Theo Epstein –
do SOMETHING – and do it soon. This heartache is unbearable.

Clock

The Gonzalez Run Down

Adrian Gonzalez

Everyone’s been chatting about the possibility of Adrian Gonzalez playing
clean-up for the Red Sox in 2010 and for years to come. Theo Epstein has made it
clear over the last three years that he’s been a fan of Gonzalez’s skills, and has
highly envied San Diego for being the owners of his contract. However, is a trade for
Gonzalez really worth it? Does Boston really need him in the lineup? Let’s find
out.

Defensively:

First, the statistics:

Career: 654 G, 5740.2 Inn, 5985 Ch, 5419 PO, 533 A, 33 E, 516 DP, .994
Fld%, 2008/2009 Gold Glove

He broke into the majors in 2004 with the Texas Rangers. Traded to San Diego
before 2006, he’s been there ever since. In the last four years he has developed
into one of the best defensive first basemen in the National League, as proven by his
back to back gold gloves.

Signing Adrian Gonzalez would require moving Kevin Youkilis to third base. A Gold
Glove winner in his own right, there’s never been a doubt that Youk can handle the
third base responsibilities. In his career, Kevin has played 474 games at first base
with a .997 Fld% and 217 games at third base with a .966 Fld%, so moving to third is
hardly an issue.

Moving him to third would also resolve the worries of Mike Lowell potentially getting
injured again as the season drags on. In the event of a Lowell injury and no
Gonzalez deal, Youkilis would have to move to third and Martinez or Kotchman would
have to fill the duties at first, provided Epstein doesn’t promote a young gun like Lars
Anderson from within. While a situation like that could solve a temporary problem, a
hole becomes apparent in your defense, somewhere in the infield corners.

At the Plate:

Average Season (over the last 4 years): 160 G, 596 AB, 94 R, 170 H, 36 2B,
2 3B, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 78 BB, 126 K, .286 AVG, .369 OBP

Quickly looking at those stats, the first thing you notice is that he plays almost every
game each year. Being that durable is a huge asset on any team, especially when
you’re relying on his offensive numbers. Not only is he a 100 RBI man, but he scores
just as much as he produces. He also as an average of over 30 HR’s every year
since he’s joined the Padres.He hits for a decent average, and is perennially a force
at the plate. Keeping in mind that all this happens in a park that is widely considered
as the most pitcher-friendly park in the game, and you can only begin to imagine the
kind of numbers he could put up in a place like Fenway (even with it being less of a
hitter-friendly park thanks to the new grandstand).

The only real concern is whether or not he could hit every day against the powerful
pitchers in the American such as Halladay, Sabathia, Burnett, Hernandez, Lackey,
etc (not that I’m degrading the phenomenal pitchers in the National League,
specifically Lincecum and Webb who he faces numerous times every season).
Fortunately, he hasn’t seemed to slow down during inter-league play, and he hit
relatively well in the few games he played in the American League whilst with Texas,
so you assume it isn’t an issue.

Given a chance, one would assume that Adrian would only improve his offensive
numbers in the American League, provided he can handle the quality pitching of the
Yankees and Rays.

In the Clubhouse:

Awards: 2008/2009 Gold Glove, 2008/2009 All-Star Selection

To make a long story short, Adrian is a player that can become the face of an entire
team. This is exactly what he has done in San Diego, and this is exactly what he is
capable of doing in a star-studded clubhouse at Fenway Park. In a team full of
All-Stars capable of hitting .300 and 20+ HR, he’s a man who would be the team’s
clean-up hitter. He’s a viable spark to the offense, he can defend better than most,
and he’s a great general personality, as reported by his teammates. What more
could you want?

What’s It Going to Cost?

Okay, so it’s clear why Epstein is so smitten. But is he worth the cost that it’s going
to take to get him in a Sox uniform?

Jed Hoyer was once Epstein’s assistant in Boston, so there’s no doubt he
knows the prospects Epstein has at his disposal, and also what he is or is not willing
to give up. Anything related to this potential trade has been kept relatively silent, but
names such as Buchholz, Kelly, Papelbon, and others have been mentioned by
varying sources – some relatively credible, some … not so much. The reality here is
that Hoyer is happy with Gonzalez’s performance in San Diego and does not want to
deal him. As such, it will take a decent amount of good prospects to entice Hoyer to
consider the idea seriously. The Padres are looking for young talent as
opposed to aging veterans, so off-loading someone like Drew or Lowell is out of the
question, even if San Diego has a little extra money to spend this year.

If Epstein wants to get this deal done, expect it to be at the cost along the lines of
Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson, and quite possibly even someone like Casey Kelly as
well.

While Gonzalez is a young stud who can propel the Red Sox into a team that will be
the offensive force like they were back in 2004 for many years to come. That kind of
offense combined with the speed that the new resurgence of young players has
provided us with, and it could mean championships abound. Or it could mean giving
up two of the most highly toted pitching prospects in recent memory for a hitter on a
team with a potential absence of pitching (Provided Beckett leaves, and Wakefield
retires).

Is it worth it? If the deal can get done while giving up only one of the two pitchers,
then I say give it a chance. Otherwise, find a different answer. Anderson had a
rough year in the minors, but all scouts say he’ll be an offensive player in the future
at first base. But will the defense be there? Can Jed Lowrie make a
transition to third? Or is his health too much of an issue? Do we sign someone like
Hank Blalock to play first for 2010? Do we risk Lowell’s health? Now that
Figgins is off the market, there are less options for us in this off season, and some
things are a bigger concern at the moment, such as resigning Bay and finding quality
arms for the rotation and bullpen.

Only time will tell.