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.
With this season becoming a lost cause now is the time to look to the future. The one spot that has been looked at since 2005 is shortstop. Ever since the Nomar trade everyone has wondered when we will get another quality shortstop. After Nomar the likes of Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Alex Cora, Alex Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Yamaico Navarro, Mike Aviles, Jose Igelsias, Pedro Ciriaco, Nick Punto, and others whose names aren’t coming to mind at the moment. Now you look at that list and are you impressed? Probably not. The Red Sox have been unable to develop or acquire a quality shortstop after they traded away the greatest shortstop in team history. No answers have been present over the past eight years, but the answer may come soon. Here’s a look at some guys who could be the next great Red Sox shortstop.
Mike Aviles: Aviles has been with the Red Sox since last season’s trade deadline and proven to be a fairly mediocre shortstop. So why is considered part the future? The answer is simple, he’s still young and has a lot to learn. He has decent power and if he becomes more disciplined hitter he could raise his OBP to one that is considered adequate for a shortstop. Now I don’t truly believe that Aviles is the answer, but you never know.
Pedro Ciriaco: He’s a long shot at best, but like I said with Aviles you never know. Ciriaco has been a bright spot in this tough season, but I don’t see him as an everyday player. He’s fast, he can hit, he plays solid defense but I don’t think he can pull it all together and become one of the top shortstops in the league. His biggest issue is his pitch recognition. He’ll swing at just about anything with one or two strikes on him and teams are starting to notice. If he doesn’t get a fastball to hit, odds are he’s striking out. Another issue is he treats every play like Usain Bolt is running down the line. Everything he does seems rushed and it hurts him sometimes. With all that said, he could magically reinvent himself into a disciplined player, but I doubt it.
Jose Iglesias: Iglesias was said to be the future of this team. Not just the next shortstop, but the next face of the franchise. He’s always just needed to learn to hit and then he’d be ready. The problem is he hasn’t learned yet. Could he become a perennial gold glove winner by next year? Yes. But can hit above .200 has an everyday player? I have my doubts. In 18 major league at bats he’s recorded just 2 hits. Now some would say he just needs to adapt to big league pitching, but if you look at his minor league numbers you wouldn’t be surprised by his major league struggles. In three minor league seasons his posted a slash line of .264/..313/.314 two homers and just thirty-nine extra base hits. That isn’t impressive at all. Without being able to put it together at the plate in the minors, what makes anyone think he can do it in the majors. I have no faith in Igelsias and I believe that it is warranted.
Xander Bogaerts: Widely considered to be the Sox top hitting prospect, Bogaerts figures to be an ideal candidate for the shortstop of the future. He’s just 19 years old, but he’s already tearing the cover off the ball in AA. In his three minor league seasons he has a slash line of .295/.366/.495 with 39 homers and 168 RBI. Those numbers are very good, but they don’t truly reflect Bogaerts. He struggled last year, but has bounced back in a huge way this year. He’s become a much more disciplined hitter this year and it has shown in his numbers. Despite moving up in the minors his numbers have improved which speaks volumes about his adaptability. The only issue with him being the shortstop of the future is that he’s said to have to big of a body for shortstop. He may be better suited to play third base or even left field according to some scouts. Overall I really like Bogaerts, but he might not work out as a shortstop.
Devin Marrero: Marreo was the Sox first round draft choice this year and could become the great shortstop for the Red Sox. He was just drafted so there isn’t much to go on as far as numbers go besides his college numbers, which probably don’t translate well. Over his three college seasons his numbers steadily got worse which is scary. He also has very little power, he had just 10 homers in college, and his fielding isn’t the greatest either. These concern me as well. The good thing is that with the right coaching he could fix theses flaws. Another good thing is that he can hit. He projects as a Dustin Pedroia kind of hitter which isn’t bad at all, but he isn’t expected quite as good as Pedroia. Pedroia has more power and is an all around better hitter. Marrero is a project, but it could be worthwhile in the end.
Elvis Andrus: This might seem crazy and it probably is, but I like it. Today, the Rangers called up their top prospect Jurickson Profar. He is the future shortstop of the Rangers, but where does that leave their current shortstop, Elvis Andrus. He’s an All Star with two more years of team control, but he’s being pushed out. He’s become expendable, so that’s where the Sox come in. He’s a dynamic player who brings quality defense, speed, and the ability to get on base. With a career .346 OBP we know he can get on base. With three 30+ stolen base seasons we know he can run. He’s the kind of guy this team needs. There guys in the Sox lineup who can drive in runs, so a guy who can get on base is a huge plus. He may have little to no power, but if he can score runs it’ll make up for that. If your still not sold on this move, here’s something that may get you on board. As I said earlier, he has two years remaining of team control. Now you may think this is irrelevant, but Xander Bogaerts will be ready in 2014. Now after one year of Andrus he can be traded away for around what we gave up for him, or he can be used as an insurance policy for Bogaerts, if he’s not quite ready for the big leagues in 2014. Either way I really like the idea of the Sox getting Andrus, and I believe that it’s something Ben should seriously look into this offseason if he wants to continue to be bold.
Now none of these may be the answer, but eventually they’ll have to be someone who can be a great for the Sox once again.
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.
Lately the blog as been pretty inactive, but I have a legitimate reason for it. I’ve been in Chicago the past few days (fittingly enough) but I thought this was big enough story to attempt to write about it.
Yesterday after the Red Sox 9-4 win against the Braves, Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. Youkilis ended his Red Sox career in style. He hit an RBI triple and left for a pinch runner. He walked off blowing kisses and giving hugs to all the players. He was 2-4 overall on the day in one of his best games of the year. He’ll definitely be missed, but we couldn’t keep juggling the lineup around and Middlebrooks needing ABs something had to be done.
Now to talk about what we got in return. The guy whose going to have an immediate impact is Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge is a poor mans Nick Punto, but he provides something that the Sox have shown they need, depth. With Dustin Pedroia hurting another infielder off the bench has been needed and Lillibridge will provide that. Will he play much? No, but he’s there for precautionary reasons.
Zach Stewart is the more valuable guy in the trade. He’s a 25 year old swingman who Cherrington has decided to make him a starter. The White Sox had the opposite idea. They wanted him to be a reliever. He made 15 appearances for the South Siders including one start with a 6.00 ERA before getting sent down. He’s going immediately into Pawtucket’s rotation and we’ll see if he can make his way back up to the majors. He could be an asset down the line or just a bust. We’ll see. But what makes Stewart so valuable is the fact that he has two options left.
Overall I think its a decent trade that adds much needed depth.
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.