Tagged: John Lackey

Can Alex Wilson Stick?


When John Lackey landed on the DL with a right bicep strain, the Red Sox decided to call up reliever Alex Wilson to add some length to the bullpen with Alfredo Aceves moving to the starting rotation. A lot has changed since then, Lackey has returned, Aceves is gone, Daniel Bard and Ryan Lavarnway have both had brief cups of coffee with the team, and Joel Hanrahan hit the DL and since returned. Through all of that Alex Wilson has been there and pitched surprisingly well. In 6 appearances he’s pitched 6 shutout innings allowing just 4 hits and 3 walks and has struck out 4. Now he hasn’t pitched in any high leverage situations, but still numbers he’s still been impressive. Clayton Mortensen whose been in a similar role has not pitched quite as well. In 7 appearances he’s pitched 9.2 innings allowing 6 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks and has struck out 11. So the question is once the team is fully healthy could Alex Wilson still be with the team? Alfredo Aceves is gone leaving an open bullpen spot and he’s out-pitched another pitcher in a similar role, so I believe he has the ability to remain with the team and contribute in an even bigger role than he’s in right now. We’ll find out soon out his fate with Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales both returning soon. I hope that he will survive the return of the two lefties and continue to contribute to the team.

 

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Bard Gets the Call


Daniel Bard

Daniel Bard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The bullpen has been heavily taxed the past few days and could use a fresh arm. Enter Daniel Bard. The troubled righty has made his way back to the big league team after knuckleballer Steven Wright was optioned to Pawtucket. This is exciting, because everyone, including myself, has wondered what in the world went wrong with Daniel Bard. First here was the horrific September 2011, then the failed starter experiment, and then the majority of the 2012 season in AAA. He’s spent this year in AA, so it looked like he was never going to return to the Bard of old. Now he’s back though, so maybe there is hope.

 

Personally, I’m excited to see Bard in action. I think he’ll assume the Alex Wilson role, which will presumably be opened when John Lackey is called up on Sunday and Wilson is likely the one to be sent down. So we’ll see Bard in relatively easy situations just to get his feet wet again. Unfortunately for him, he probably won’t stay up here for very long with the impending returns of Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales. There could be hope for him though with Andrew Miller’s issues and Alfredo Aceves’ attitude. I did talk to Providence Journal reporter, Tim Britton, about this and he told me that Bard stay will be short and where he ends up next ( AA or AAA) will be determined by his performance in the majors.

 

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.

 

 

 

Player to Watch: Steven Wright


It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated this blog, but in this snowstorm I figured I might as well write something again. With players starting to show up in Fort Myers it’s time to start talking about the players in camp, and the players that are the most fun to talk about are the ones almost no one has ever heard of. The most interesting of that group of nobodies has to be righty Steven Wright. Wright was acquired at the trade deadline last year from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for former top prospect Lars Anderson.  Wright sounds like any other run of the mill prospect being brought into camp, but he has something that makes him very special, the knuckleball. Although he’s never pitched a major league game in his life (and only 5 in AAA) John Farrell said he has a chance to make an impact in the majors this year. Whether or not that means making the opening day roster or even being in the rotation remains to be seen. Regardless, he’s a very interesting case. He could be the next Tim Wakefield or the he could end up being the next Charlie Zink, which is what makes him so interesting  Will he be great or will he fall into oblivion without anyone noticing? Odds are it’ll be the latter, but I’m hoping the Sox will get another knuckleballer in the rotation. This year it’ll be tough for him to fit in with the rotation looking set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster, and even if one those 5 get injured he wouldn’t be the first option with Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa waiting for their shot in the rotation. Even though it’s a long shot how he performs this spring could have him leapfrog over both Morales and De La Rosa and give himself a very good shot to get sometime in the big leagues this year. Despite everything I’ve said though he most likely needs more time in AAA with, like I said earlier, just 5 games there with only 4 of them as starts. Hopefully sometime this year he’ll get his shot, but for now all we can do is watch him this spring.

 

Reviewing the Return


 

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.

 

Red Sox, Dodgers Complete 9 Player Blockbuster


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.

Could Beckett Be Traded?


It’s no secret that Josh Beckett has lost a lot of fan support since last September. Just yesterday it was reveled that he and Clay Buchholz went golfing even though he was “resting” a lat injury.  Shortly after  people were calling for him to be traded or just outright released. Now this is a little unrealistic, it’s not like he’s completely unproductive (although tonight he looked it) there’s still trade value. Obviously the Sox would have to eat most of his contract ($51 million over the next 3 years) so the question is a waste of $20 million+ worth keeping the fan base and taking a bad influence out of the clubhouse. I’m not saying I’m on board with it, but if Ben Cherrington is here are some teams that may be takers.

San Diego Padres: This may seem like an odd match, but this is the same team that was willing to take John Lackey, plus with 3 of their starters on the DL they could use a pitcher right now. Beckett could also be a teacher to their young pitchers, but in baseball only.

 Pittsburgh Pirates: Another interesting team, but they want pitchers at any cost. Their staff has filled up, but I’m sure they’d welcome Beckett to the team.

Los Angeles Angels: The Angels have a lot of bad contracts and they want pitching depth, so in an extreme case they could swap contract for contract. It’s not likely, but it’s a possibility.

Kansas City Royals: People have been saying all they need to contend is pitching, and with a system full of quality prospects they could match up nicely. It’d be difficult to get them to part with prospects, but the amount eaten by the Sox would determine the size of the return.

This is only list of teams that could take Beckett off our hands right now. All are long shots, but still possibilities. I think what this proved the most was that trading Beckett would be difficult and futile. They won’t get a huge return and they’d still have to pay him. I’m sorry if you hate him, but he’s likely here to stay.