It’ been three weeks since I’ve last posted on here, so I thought I’d do a brief post on the state for the Sox. The best news I got is that this season is almost over. We can finally move on from this train wreck of a season and hope for a good offseason.
This September hasn’t been much better than lasts. The only difference is that the our playoff chances aren’t disappearing right before our eyes. Those were lost awhile ago so it really didn’t matter now. Ever since that horrid road trip, the Sox have been hard to watch. There isn’t much good going on, but there’s a whole lot of bad. Speaking of bad that pretty much defines Alfredo Aceves right now. When your team loses the last eleven games you’ve pitched in, you know somethings not right. He’s not the only one struggling, but he struggling more than anyone else right now.
Bobby Valentine’s tenure as the manager of the Boston Red Sox is also almost over. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that his time is up. The teams failures weren’t entirely his fault, but he did play a role in them. All in all, he’s getting way too much of the blame, but when there’s no respect given to you should your time is up. I would of liked to have seen Bobby V succeed, but it wasn’t meant to be I guess.
Well that’s all I really got to say about the wonderful Boston Red Sox.
Today the future begins for the Boston Red Sox. Today the Red Sox recalled infielder Ivan DeJesus from AAA Pawtucket. He was one of the prospects the Sox received in the Dodgers blockbuster. Although he doesn’t project to be much, he’s part of the future. It’s exciting that were getting our first look at what we got.
After looking at the final details of the trade that occurred yesterday I’m sure some people were left scratching their heads wondering who were the guys the Red Sox got back. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion.
James Loney: Loney was once the prize jewel of the Dodgers farm system. When he arrived he played very well for a rookie. He looked like he had a bright future ahead of him. Sadly, the light has dimmed. He is in the midst of the worst season of his career, and doesn’t appear to be getting any better. He has a career slash line of .284/.341/.423. That’s not too bad, but that’s the kind of numbers you’d expect from a first baseman.
To look at the positives, he’s a good doubles hitter who hits to the opposite field and Fenway is a good doubles park especially to left, which is where a majority of the balls he hits go. Also, he’s a plus defender. He’s not as a good on defense as Adrian Gonzalez, but still far better than average.
Many say he’ll be gone after the season because his contract expires following the season, but I believe that he’ll return. He’s one of the top first basemen on the free agent market next year and there’s very few internal options. He’ll be back unless they believe Mauro Gomez is the future first baseman of the Red Sox.
Ivan DeJesus: Ivan DeJesus is a utility infielder who specializes at second base. He’s played a majority of the season in AAA, but he has spent some time in the majors. He’s put fairly good numbers in the minors with a .297/.369/.389 slash line.
He’s said to be a great defender and has great patience. He doesn’t project to be any everyday player, but a solid utility man. He looks like he might end up being the future Nick Punto of the team.
Allen Webster: Webster may end up being the biggest piece of the trade. He’s 22 year old sinker baller who has never pitched above the AA level. His fastball can reach up to 98 MPH and he also has a curve, change and slider which are all considered to be plus pitches. One strange thing is that he strikes out a lot of batters for a sinker baller. Over his five year minor league his averaged just under one strikeout per inning. His only issue is he allows a lot of base runners. His career WHIP is 1.357, but it has been inflated by high WHIPs the past two seasons.
The key is that in the minors for Webster is that he has been able to stop those base runners from scoring, but will it work in AAA or even in the majors? One thing that helps him is the sinker. A sinker is a groundball pitch which tends to generate several double plays if kept low in the zone. He projects as a front of the rotation starter who could possibly be an ace, but more likely to be a 2 or a 3.
Rubby De La Rosa: De La Rosa is a power throwing right handed starting pitcher. He throws a fastball, change up, and slider. He primarily throws his fastball which tops out at 100. He’s just coming off of Tommy John surgery and in recent outing has only been able to reach 97, but is expected to get his velocity up once fully recovered. He boasts an impressive 2.75 ERA over his 6 seasons in his minor league career. He also has a nice 9.2 K/9, so we know he has no issues punching guys out.
When looking at the future for him, I can’t see him staying as a starter. His limited repertoire and high velocity fastball make him look like a late inning reliever rather than a starter. Early in his development he should have worked more on his slider and tried to develop one or two more secondary pitches if the Dodgers wanted him to become a starter. The Sox can use the same approach the Reds did with Aroldis Chapman. De La Rosa is very similar to Chapman, except Chapman usually gets a couple extra MPHs on his fastball and has a slightly more developed slider. De La Rosa slider will develop in time, but he’ll never reach Chapman’s velocity. If the Sox follow the Reds’ mold De La Rosa could be come a deadly weapon in the bullpen for years to come.
Jerry Sands: Sands is a power hitting first baseman/left fielder. With his horrid arm and lack of first base depth in the system he’ll likely be developed as a first baseman, but there really isn’t much developing left to do. He’s spent most of the past two seasons in AAA with seventy games in the show sprinkled in. In the Majors he has a .244/.325/.376 slash line with 4 homers and 27 RBI. It’s not great, but for a rookie it’s far from bad. In the minors, however, he has .290/.377/.566 with 118 homers and 375 RBI in five seasons. His power is his greatest asset and that’s about it.
He could be the future first baseman of the Red Sox or even the future DH. Many don’t believe he’ll amount too much, but I see him as a potentially 300+ home run hitter for his career. He’s got the power for it, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
Just a note Loney is with Major League club, DeJesus is in AAA, and Webster is in AA. Sands and De La Rosa are expected to be used as players to be named later. Sands will finish the season in the Dodgers AAA affiliate. De La Rosa is expected to be shut down for the remainder of the season. Both of them will not be named until after the season and the postseason as well.
Yesterday the Boston Red Sox acquired James Loney, Allen Webster, Ivan DeJesus, and two players to be named later from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto. The two PTBNL are expected to be Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands. This trade combined a salary dump and a deal to strengthen the farm system. The Red Sox sent approximately 262.5 million dollars worth of contracts to the Dodgers and provided only 12 million dollars salary relief. It is just the second time a player with over 100 million dollars left on his contract, and the first with two.
This was an extraordinary trade. It’s probably the biggest trade of the 21st century. The Red Sox eliminated two of the biggest problems on the team while only paying roughly 5% of the salary owed to the former Red Sox. They also acquired 4 quality prospects and a big league first baseman. On the other hand the Dodgers filled four major needs. They now have a left fielder and first baseman for the future, a starting pitcher with playoff experience, and a super utility man. How they’ll fit remains to be seen, but they figure to fare better L.A.
This trade truly begins the Ben Cherrington era of the Boston Red Sox as he was able to eradicate Theo’s bad deals (with the exception of John Lackey) with this trade. If this wasn’t a Lucchino move, this mean that Ben has established himself as a legitimate MLB GM. This now gives him the chance to spend money to back bad contracts of his own. Hopefully he won’t make the same mistakes Theo did in the final years of his tenure as Boston’s GM, but he may. The best idea would probably be to hold on to all the money and only use it when necessary. Sadly, this is Boston and there are expectations that need to be lived up to, so the money will likely be used very quickly.
All things considered, I love this trade. Although I believed Crawford was going to come back and be productive, the contact was ridiculous and to get rid of it was huge. Also dumping Beckett is fantastic. Everyone knew it was time to move on it was just a matter of finding a suitor for him. Losing Punto is a non factor. We didn’t lose nor gain anything by sending him to L.A. The only real lose is Adrian Gonzalez. He was a great player for the Sox, but he wasn’t the Adrian Gonzalez that we had seen in San Diego. He just didn’t fit right in Boston. Bundle all those things together and get 4 good prospect plus a first baseman in return, you’ve had a good day.
Yesterday I wrote a post talking about how the Red Sox can turn it around this year. Today I’m going to look at the negative side to it. It’s obvious that there are problems with this team, but can they be fixed is the question. If the answer is no then it would be time to say goodbye to some of your favorite Red Sox players. Now Ben Cherrington has not been one to make a huge move so far, so whether or not he’s ready to do something like this remains to be seen.
To start off this wonderful rebuilding process, you begin with the obvious. Dump off Kevin Youkilis somewhere. There would be a lot of salary eaten and there wouldn’t be a very large return, but it would at least take Gonzalez out of right and get Middlebrooks in everyday. Now this would be a simple trade and could get done really quickly and should be done regardless of where they stand.
The next guy I would move may surprise you, but it would be the best thing the team could do. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Now that seems radical, but in reality it would be great. Everyone wants Ellsbury locked up after one good year, but why not trade him when his values at an all time high. When his value is this high GMs will turn a blind eye towards his injury history which has cost the Red Sox a lot of games. Also his attitude and commitment to the team have been put into to question before, so there’s also a clubhouse factor in play as well. I good match up would be the Washington Nationals with their search for a center fielder and plethora of prospects would work perfectly.
The next guy yo go would have to be Jon Lester. Lester has been a huge part of the Red Sox ever since he took the mound for the first time at Fenway, but it might be time to say goodbye. He’s a guy who could produce a very nice return and could help almost any contender. There isn’t a true perfect trade partner for him, because he can go almost anywhere.
With a complete rebuild, David Ortiz would have to go too. An impact bat whose off to a scorching start is sure to generate some interest. I don’t think he’d get a huge return, I’m sure at least one impact prospect would be part of the deal. Papi’s loved in Boston, but Boston loves the team itself more, and in a few years they’d be happy with who they got.
Catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach are nice trade chips as well. Salty’s off to an amazing start to what could be a career year for him. That just makes him more valuable. Shoppach has been screwed out of playing time and could be traded for a hit or miss guy which wouldn’t be bad. All in all these 2 guys could pick up 3 or 4 prospects.
Daisuke Matsuzaka could be a name floated around as well. It could be a similar trade with what the Sox got with Erik Bedard. Nothing spectacular, but enough to say you got something worthwhile. He, like Lester could help almost any contender.
Many other guys could sent out also, like Alfredo Aceves, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Matt Albers, Vincente Padilla, Cody Ross, and Josh Beckett. Come August Bobby V might be throwing out a line up looking something like this.
DH Daniel Nava
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Adrian Gonzalez
C Ryan Lavarnway
3B Will Middlebrooks
LF Carl Crawford
RF Ryan Kalish
CF Ryan Sweeney
SS Jose Iglesias
All in all it doesn’t look too bad of a lineup. I had to stick Nava at DH, because with a full outfield and no DH he fit in right there and Bobby V always finds a spot for him. Rebuilding could be good or it could be bad we just have to trust Ben to make the right choices.
As all of Red Sox Nation knows Dustin Pedroia is hurt. He tore his abductor in his right thumb while swinging. This the same injury that sidelined Kevin Youkilis for the end of the of the 2010 season. The only reason Pedroia doesn’t need surgery, like Youk did, is because Youk’s abductor was torn off the bone because he continued to play with it. So Pedroia doesn’t end up with the same fate as Youk, he’s taking a few games off, but we don’t know how long he’ll be held out. While he’s out Nick Punto has been given the role of second base, but his struggles at the plate have made him a bit of a liability. I have an idea that may seem crazy, but it very well could solve multiple problems. Will Middlebrooks is the answer. Now immediately you think I’m crazy, but it’s not really far-fetched at all. He hardly, if ever, played anywhere but shortstop and pitcher in high school and college, but the Red Sox moved to third while playing at Class-A. He’s a natural shortstop, so second shouldn’t be too much of a challenge even if he hasn’t played middle infield for a while. This not only would solve the second base issue, but the third base one as well. Without Middlebrooks pushing Youk to third and Gonzalez to right you don’t have to sacrifice speed in the outfield, which has at times hurt us. This gives the Sox’s the ability to give them the best hitting lineup they can every night. If this idea was presented to Bobby V, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went with it, because he loves unique ways to make the team better. Personally I love the idea, but I’m not so sure it will happen but it would work.
UPDATE: Apparently Bobby V discussed this possibility before the game today, so it could happen.
Yesterday Dallas Morning News columnist, Tim Cowlishaw, wrote a article talking about how the Rangers-Angels rivalry had surpassed the Red Sox-Yankees. Now I respectfully disagree with this. Yes, the Sox haven’t made the playoffs in two years, but neither have the Angels. The Angels stole C.J. Wilson away from the Rangers and he tweeted Mike Napoli’s number. So? Where’s the intensity in their games? The answer is there isn’t. Rivalries aren’t measured by skill of the teams, but intensity between the teams and the fans. I realize the fans don’t like each other in Dallas and LA, but there’s nothing like the hate between a die hard Sox and die hard Yanks fan. It’s these things that make a rivalry great. Just because one team got two great players doesn’t make them part of a great rivalry. Until the Red Sox-Yankees hate dies down no rivalry in all of sports can challenge it.
Another thing that bothered me was that he said the Sox were the third best team in the AL East. Once again I disagree. Although the Sox have had back to back third place finishes in the division, there’s still reason to believe they’re the best.
The first reason is they have without a doubt the best lineup in the division, maybe even the best in the MLB. The top six hitters in the lineup are all All-Stars who’ve all finshed in the top five in MVP votes, with exception of Crawford whose top MVP finish was seventh place. Also behind those six are three solid, proven hitters.
The second reason is the top of their rotation is the best in the division. Many people could argue that Price, Shields, Hellickson trumps Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, but I don’t believe so. Lester-Price is a toss-up, but Beckett edges out Shields and Buchholz, when healthy, is by far better than Hellickson. I will say that the Rays rotation overall beats the Sox’s, but the top of the Sox’s rotation out matches the Ray’s.
My third and final reason is, the Red Sox bullpen (with Bard) is the best in the division. Bailey is the second best closer in the AL East, and Bard and Melacon are the second third best set-up guys in the division next to David Robertson. Aceves is the best long reliever and Albers is the best middle relief pitcher in the division. No bullpen in the east can match up with the Sox’s depth.
I’m sorry Tim Cowlishaw, I respect you, but I refuse to believe that Rangers-Angels trumps Sox-Yankees, or the Sox are the third best team in the East.