Tagged: Baseball

Red Sox Acquire Matt Thornton


Matt Thornton

Matt Thornton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night the Red Sox made their first move of the trade deadline season. They acquired left handed reliever Matt Thornton and $750,000 from the Chicago White Sox for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs. Thornton was acquired to plug the hole in the bullpen left by the injury to Andrew Miller. Knuckleballer Steven Wright was optioned to Pawtucket and Andrew Miller was transferred to the 60 day DL to make room for Thornton on the 25 and 40 man rosters.

The immediate impact of the move is that it improves the bullpen. Over the past several years Thornton has been a force in the White Sox’s pen, being able to shut down whoever he faced, righty or lefty. In eight seasons with the White Sox he’s posted a 3.28 ERA and a 1.196 WHIP. However, this year righties have figure him out batting .314 off him with a .414 OBP, but he’s been as good as ever against lefties. They’re only batting .170 off of him with an OBP of .232. The only oddity in his numbers is that 3 of the home runs he’s given up have been to left handed batters, which has played a part in the fact that they are slugging .385 off him. Regardless, despite his declining stuff  he can still get lefties out. He should end up being a valuable part of the pen and will hopefully add some consistency to this otherwise volatile pen. Also the cash is likely to help the Sox pay Thornton’s $1,000,000 buyout for next year, because the Sox are unlikely to pick up the $6,00,000 option for 2014.

With every trade you have to give something to get something. That something happened to be Brandon Jacobs, a minor league outfielder who was promoted to Portland just a few days prior to the trade. Jacobs, according to Sox Prospects, was once the 8th ranked prospect is the Red Sox system, but he had struggled the past year and a half in Salem and fallen to 36th and was also rated the most disappointing Red Sox prospect by Baseball America. He showed good power, hitting 13 home runs last year and 11 so far this year, but struggled batting for average . He was hitting just .244 when he was called up to Portland. He was tremendous upside because he’s a 5 tool player, but putting all together has been an issue. The reason he was so expendable, was because he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this off-season and was unlikely to be added to the 40 man roster to protect him from other teams. All in all he’s a great prospect, but he was an expendable piece.

All in all, it appears to be a great trade for the Sox. They filled their biggest need, and only lost a guy who they were likely to lose next off-season anyways. Thornton is said to be a high character guy and should fit right in with the club. This could be the biggest move the Sox make this month.

Sox Make Some Moves


Today the Red Sox have made 4 roster moves. John Lackey and Jose Iglesias have been removed from the big league roster and Alex Wilson and Stephen Drew have taken their place. Lackey was put on the DL due to a right bicep strain he suffered in his start against the Blue Jays. Iglesias was sent down to AAA Pawtucket  in order to make room for Stephen Drew whose coming off the DL. Both these moves were expected, but some were hoping that neither would.

 

The most controversial move is sending down Iglesias. I mentioned the pros and cons on the subject the other day.

 

Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew (Photo credit: phxwebguy)

 

Stephen Drew is making his Red Sox debut today. I’m excited for him. He’ll be an interesting story line to follow throughout the season.  I hope he has more success staying on the field than his brother did and more success in general for that matter.

 

John Lackey

John Lackey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

John Lackey was thought to have a slim chance of staying off the DL, but was put on for precautionary reasons. It’s unfortunate that this has happened after coming all the back from Tommy John surgery and coming into the year, in what appeared to be, the best shape of his life. It’s a sad set of circumstances, but also just the nature of the game.

 

I was surprised when I heard it was Alex Wilson taking Lackey’s spot on the roster. I wasn’t too familiar with Wilson, but I had heard good things about him, but I had to do some digging myself. Wilson was a starter when he was drafted out of Texas A&M in 2009, but last year he converted to a reliever making 37 relief appearances for AAA Pawtucket, but also made 3 starts. He’s never put up spectacular numbers, but he has been remarkable consistent throughout all levels of the minors. He’s been able to keep an ERA around 3 and a K/9 around 8 even when starting or relieving in all levels of the minors. He did miss the 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. According to Sox Prospects, his ceiling appears to be a 7th inning reliever. I can’t wait to see his debut and hopefully he’ll be successful in what appears to be his short stint here.

 

 

 

It’s Over


Fenway Park on June 21, 2008

Fenway Park on June 21, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The controversial Fenway sellout streak has ended at 794 games (820 if you count Postseason). It was expected to end in early April and indeed it has. The recent Red Sox struggles have led to lack of  interest which led to the end of the sellout streak. The sellout streak had recently caused some controversy due to the fact that there were unsold tickets. That was because a sellout is considered selling the maximum seating capacity which doesn’t account for standing room only tickets. I’m kind of glad the streak is over because it puts all of the years of the Red Sox where they belong, the past. Although those years were great, it’s a new era, the John Farrell era, and I hoping it’ll be equally as great if not greater.

 

 

 

Was it Worth it?


Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (Photo credit: paul.hadsall)

Jackie Bradley Jr. hasn’t exactly been a star so far this year, yet the Red Sox have been just fine without production from him. For all the people who said that he could be the difference between making the playoffs or missing them by a game or two. I think it’s safe to say that that point of view has been proven to be incorrect. Now that leads to the question, was all that trouble even worth it? It’s already started to take it’s toll and it hasn’t exactly benefited anyone. Bradley has gotten a good look at major league pitching and now knows he can’t hit it, but other than that the Red Sox or any of their players have had any benefit from this.

I was shocked when I saw the headline on MLBTR and found out Mauro Gomez had been claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. A capable Major League bat gone out of the Sox system because of Bradley. This could haunt the Sox especially if injuries start to pile up for the Sox like they have in the past. It also adds depth to the enemy which is never good. It may seem like I’m making a big deal over spilt milk, and that may be the case, but it could turn into something more. With the recent luck of the Sox I’d bet that it will become something bigger. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I’m still a little nervous about this whole situation.

Another issue is the service clock. It has begun for JBJ and it seemingly has gone to waste. I realize he’ll likely be sent down and we’ll still have control in 2019 but these few games could be the difference between him being a Super Two or having just the regular 3 years of arbitration. That could help save a few million dollars in the future which is always nice. Would those few millions be worth the few games he’s played thus far and some September games? I’d say no at this point. Which leads back to the question is it worth it?

Now it’s not all bad. The experience Bradley has gained is invaluable and when he does eventually gets sent back down, he’ll know exactly what to work on to get better and become a great major leauger. Despite all of that we are still left with that underlying question that’ll always remain; was it worth it?

Tough Decision Looms For Sox


It’s no secret that Jose Iglesias has surprised some people this year and been one of the most productive hitters in the Red Sox lineu

Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

p in these first 3 games. Unfortunately for him he appears to be the odd man out going forward. With Stephen Drew close to returning from his concussion, the Sox need to make space on their roster. Obviously they’d like to replace an infielder with another infielder. The Sox won’t send down Pedroia, for obvious reasons, that leaves Pedro Ciriaco or Jose Iglesias to be sent down. But why would the Sox send down Iglesias, the starter, over Ciriaco? There’s more than one reason why.

The big issue here is options. Each player receives 3 minor league options when they make the big leagues for the first time. The first time someone is sent down in a season it uses an option. Any time after that, for that season, doesn’t use an option, but that rule took effect last year. Once a player is out of option they have to pass through waivers to be sent down and be claimed by any team. Pedro Ciriaco is out of options; Jose Iglesias is not. That alone is the biggest reason to send down Iglesias. It’s because they can send him down without the fear of losing him. Now you might say that Ciriaco is an unimportant part of the team, and you may be right, but he adds depth to the roster. He’s really the only guy on the team who fits the utility man role and losing him could leave a gaping hole on the bench especially if the injury prone Stephen Drew goes down again. You might wonder why isn’t Iglesias isn’t a good fit for the utility role. That’s because he just doesn’t have as much experience at any position other than short. Had Ciriaco not had broken out last season, sending him down, likely, wouldn’t be a problem, but then again had he not broken out he probably wouldn’t have made the team.

Another reason is that Iglesias needs at bats. His struggles at the plate have been well documented, and despite seeming to get over them, nothing will cause him to revert back to his old self more than not getting regular at bats. Iglesias’ bat is finally showing signs of life and the Sox would like to ride the hot streak for as long as possible. With every hit he should gain more confidence in his ability at the plate. If he is indeed sent down, then he can take what he’s learned from his short stint in the majors and refine it in the minors. If the Sox just bury him on the bench he’ll just lose the confidence he’s gained and could just turn into the Jose Iglesias that has disappointed us all for the past few years.

Now this isn’t to say Iglesias has no chance of staying on the team when Drew returns. After all, as the Red Sox have shown with Jackie Bradley Jr., they are wiling to make a decision that doesn’t make the best sense for the future, but to keep the best 25 guys on the roster. The Sox may even decide to start Iglesias over Drew if he proves to be more effective than him. All in all I think the best idea would be to go back in time and never sign Drew, but I don’t think that’s exactly plausible. But then again the Sox owners have a lot dough, so anything’s possible.

The Situation at Short


Stephen Drew has a concussion and the reports on him seem to get worse as each day passes by. He’s left the team to get further reports on his health and is expected to begin the season on the DL. With the money he’s getting on a one year deal it’s safe to say that this news is more than a little disappointing. Also this leaves a gaping hole in the position that hasn’t been found a permanent owner since Nomar occupied it and there isn’t exactly a plethora of option for the Sox to pick from.

Jose Iglesias: Iglesias is the favorite to get the job and his strong spring has bolstered his chance to make the team. Iglesias was projected to be the Red Sox shortstop in 2012 a few years back, but as we all know that did not happen. There has never been a question about his fielding ability, but his bat has raised several question marks. He’s yet prove he can be a productive hitter in the major league or really at any level for that matter. He did spend time working out with Dustin Pedroia this Winter and maybe that work has paid off and he can finally reach his full potential.

Pedros Ciriaco:  Ciriaco stormed on to the scene last season when he played phenomenally in a short stretch at the end of the year. He is a great fastball hitter, but the second the pitch moves Ciriaco looks lost. Obviously with time he’ll be able to learn how to pick up the breaking ball, but do want to wait for that from your starting shortstop? If you want to wait for progression you might as well go with the top prospect in Iglesias. Like Iglesias there aren’t any questions with his defense. I can definitely see the Sox choosing Ciriaco to start at short I just question if it’d be the right choice.

Brock Holt: Holt is your traditional utility infielder. Can hold his own at every infield position, but won’t hit too much for you. Holt came over to the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan trade and was expected to battle with Ciriaco for the utility infielder spot and he has been outperformed by Ciriaco thus far and it doesn’t appear as if that’ll change. Odds are the only way he’s making the team is on the bench.

Xander Bogaerts: Bogaerts, whose name I’ll never be able to spell correctly on my first try, has about a 0.0000001% chance of starting the season as the Red Sox starting shortstop, (and that may be a stretch) but never say never I suppose. He’s one of, if not the, top prospects in the Red Sox system and has a lot of people excited about his future. He’s excelled at every level and appears to be just a couple of years away from being major league ready. MLB.com’s Jonathon Mayo believes that he’ll be ready for next year. The Sox could start him at the beginning of the season to see how he fares against top-level competition, but that would cause them to use an option and start his service time clock. Neither of those things are something the Sox want to do, so I highly doubt they would go this route.

 

Who’s the DH?


David Ortiz

David Ortiz (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

As many of you know there’s a very good chance that David Ortiz will open the 2013 on the DL with a heel injury. This heel injury is said to have nothing to do with the Achilles injury that sidelined him for much of last season. I seriously doubt that that is the case because the Achilles attached the heel to the ankle and it would make sense that a partially torn Achilles tendon would relate to pain in the heel, but I’m no doctor. Anyways, with this injury the Sox are left with an opening at DH and with no concrete way to fill the hole. Some options to take his spot on the roster are Lyle Overbay, Mike Carp, Ryan Lavarnway, Mauro Gomez, Jeremy Hazlebaker, or everyone’s favorite Red Sox this spring Jackie Bradley Jr.

Of all of the option I mentioned the only one who projects to make the Opening Day roster is Mike Carp. If he does take over the DH spot in Papi’s absence then the most likely candidate to take the open roster spot would be Lyle Overbay. Overbay would serve as the backup first baseman behind Mike Napoli and a left-handed bat off the bench, the same roles Carp is projected to have now.  Carp and Overbay could also split time at DH especially if Carp struggles early on, but that’s unlikely. I think Carp would be the best option, because, aside from Overbay whose far pat his prime, he’s the only one whose had success at the big league level. It may not have been much success but putting up decent numbers in limited play time at Safeco is better than anything else the Sox have.

Ryan Lavarnway is an interesting case. When the Red Sox signed David Ross it appeared that Lavarnway would be the odd man out, but Ortiz’s injury has given him some hope of making the Opening Day roster. Unfortunately, his numbers this spring aren’t helping his cause at all. He has just 5 hits in 33 at bats with only one of them being an extra base hit. Another thing working against him is he’s right-handed. In an already right-handed heavy lineup, Ortiz provided power from left side, but Lavarnway would just add another righty to the lineup which would make creating matchups fairly easy for opposing managers. One thing he could do is be a right-handed complement to Mike Carp, but other than that I don’t see any way of Lavarnway getting the job.

Mauro Gomez got a chance to showcase his ability in last years debacle and actually played rather nicely. He fits the mold of a DH, but has the same issue as Lavarnway, he’s a righty and his spring numbers are very similar. I can see him as a much more likely candidate to platoon with Carp. This is because the Sox aren’t concerned with him getting playing time and consistent at bats like they are with Lavarnway. Also Gomez is more versatile as he can play both first and third. I definitely think Gomez will be given serious consideration for the job.

Jeremy Hazelbaker is the longest of long shots, but I’ve heard his name mentioned in the discussion. He’s a lefty, so that’s one positive. He’s got some power and a lot of speed, in 2010 he stole 63 bases in 80 attempts. The big issue is he’s already been sent to minor league camp and I doubt they’d bring him back up, but the more I think about it he does seem like a good fit, but his lack of experience (7 AAA games) is a strong enough case against him to say it’s not going to happen.

The scenario that everyone is talking about is Johnny Gomes DHing and Jackie Bradley Jr. starting in left. Bradley is having a monster spring and it seems as if everyone believes he’s ready to be an everyday major leaguer. He’s expected to take over center field after Jacoby Ellsbury departs, if he actually does, following this year, but people are saying his time is now. This situation has created a very convenient situation for Bradley, but I don’t see it happening, at least not right away. The first issue is he’s never played a game above the AA level, but it wouldn’t be the first time a players skipped the AAA level. Also at some point in late April, the date I’m not sure of, the Red Sox gain extra year of control over Bradley. If they wanted Bradley on the major league roster they’d most likely wait for that date because a few early season games in April isn’t worth a year of service.  This seems to be the scenario that’s being talked about, but I still believe it’s a long shot for Opening Day.

These aren’t the only option the Sox have to choose from , but they seem the most likely. Who knows though, they could decide to rotate players in the DH slot or pick a guy who I never suspected. All things considered I think on Opening Day we’ll see Mike Carp as the Red Sox DH.