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.
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.
Today the Red Sox announced that they placed Vicente Padilla on the DL and recalled Clayton Mortensen. The Red Sox said in a press release:
“The Boston Red Sox today placed right-handed pitcher Vicente Padilla on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to August 6) with right arm tightness and recalled right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket. Mortensen will be active for today’s game against the Rangers at Fenway Park.”
It’s a pretty big blow to the Sox, because Padilla has been a big part of their bullpen and they’ve lost a late inning reliever. Who will fill the eight inning role remains to be seen, but it may end up being Mark Melancon, who acquired to fill that role. Also Andrew Bailey could return very soon as he needs just three more rehab appearances before returning and his next two are scheduled for today and tomorrow.
Earlier today Mark Melancon was optioned to AAA, and Junchi Tazawa was called up to the Red Sox. This comes as no surprise considering Valentine said this was a possibility. At this point this all the Sox can do. Melancon’s awful pitchinghas killed the Sox over and over again.There’s only one problem with this move though, who fills the set up role to Alfredo Aceves. Right now I’d have to give that to Vincente Padilla, but he’s far from a sure thing. Then again, who is a sure thing in that disaster of a bulpen. As I right this Franklin Morales is falling apart and Bobby V refuses to take him out. (of course right after I type that he takes him out) Before the season I was calling this the best bulpen in the East, but that was including Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard. But even with those two gone it’s no excuse to be as terrible as they are. Nobody is pitching near the level they are expected to pitch at and of course the team suffers for it. I don’t think the Sox’s should go out and scout Scott Podsednik, they need pitching and they need it now. Offense is not the problem at all, neither is the rotation. Everything goes back to the shaky work of the bulpen. I know it’ll be very difficult to find a solution to this problem with trades almost a not an option. Off the top of my head the Huston Street is the only potential option for an elite reliever via trade. Tommorow I’ll write a list of guys who could help the pen by mid May. Lastly I just want to say that both articles I’ve written the past two days have mostly been venting out my frustration towards the Sox. No revision has taken place, so I apologize for any mispellings or anythingthat doesn’t make any sense.
At this moment it feels like the end of world in Red Sox Nation, but with 151 games left that’s hardly the case. It’s not too surprising the Sox have got off to such a slow start. With the exception of Toronto they’ve only played playoff teams’ and Toronto could be headed there this year. I do realize that even with the schedule so far most expected more, but with pitching problems left and right it doesn’t appear that it’ll be resloved quickly. So far my top starter is Felix Doubront, because he hasn’t had a bad outing yet. And the pen isn’t anything special either as Mark Melancon has been nothing short of a disaster and Aceves has struggled so far. Vincete Padilla is the only guy whose shown some level of consistency out of the pen. I think at this point things can only get better, but they need guys to perform how they’ve performed throughout their careers. Any hitting problems will fix themselves, at this all we need to do is fix the pitching.
I know I’m slow to break the news but Andrew Bailey will be out recovering from UCL surgery on his thumb. He’s unsure how he injured it, but its believed that it happened when he colided with Alex Presley at first base in a game against the Pirates. Now the Sox are tasked with finding a replacement closer and they think they have it in Alfredo Aceves. Even though Ben Cherrington said he had confidence in Mark Melancon as a closer when he acquired him it seems to of changed.
I don’t Aceves is a closer type guy. He does his best when he’s pitching multiple innings rather than trying to lock down one inning. Melancon should be the obvious choice because of his past closer experiance with the Astros, but its clear there’s very little faith in him. In the end I think the Sox will end up using a closer by committe style in the ninth, where whose ever hot gets the ball. It might end up being the best idea due to all the talented, but not quite closer-like relievers in the pen.
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.