Tagged: Ryan Lavarnway

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.

 

Aceves Optioned to AAA


Following the Red Sox 6-5 win over Oakland today there was some shocking news. Alfredo Aceves had been optioned to AAA Pawtucket. He has 72 hours to report, but it sounds as if he doesn’t have intentions of reporting. MLBTR is reporting that within that 72 hour window the Red Sox will try to trade him. During the spring it appeared like there was a market for Aceves, but that has since disappeared following his behavioral issues and his lack of on field production. One team that’s been mentioned is the Los Angeles Angels, because their struggling bullpen, but they’d still likely have reservations about acquiring Aceves. Another team could be the Detroit Tigers, but that’s unlikely. Regardless, a guy with 8.66 ERA in April is hard to move in April. Also his constant issue would deter anyone trading for him.

To replace Aceves the Sox called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway. This comes as a surprise, because first of all everyone expected a pitcher and secondly with David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, depth at catcher isn’t exactly needed. Lavarnway has gotten off to a fast start in AAA, hitting with a .310/.423/.452 slash line but has just 1 home run and 7 RBI. This will be his third stint in the majors, but his first two weren’t that successful. In 63 big league games he’s hit just .172/.230/.286. Maybe third times a charm for Lavarnway and he finally puts it all together at the big league level. As for why he was called up, there’s only been speculation. I’ve heard that when Lackey’s activated Victorino will head to the DL with his back issues. Lavarnway would become just an extra bat for the time being in that case. Another reason could be that the Sox are dissatisfied with the production of Ross and Saltalamacchia and with the extra roster spot could be just for a brief tryout. It really just baffles me why they chose Lavarnway but I’m sure we’ll find out soon.

Overall, this move proves the Sox are committed to putting together a team of good guys. While the debate between sabermetrics and traditional stats carries on the Sox will use their own formula of chemistry as their secret weapon. Hopefully this whole plan works out and these good guys actually have success.

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.

 

Bailey Activated; Shoppach Tradded


Today the Sox made a couple of roster moves. First the Red Sox traded Kelly Shoppach to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. Afterwards they activated Andrew Bailey from the disabled list which takes the roster spot vacated by Shoppach.

With Lavarnway now on the team Shoppach became expendable, so getting some value for him is good. Now getting Bailey back is huge. He’s been very successful as a late inning reliever in Oakland and maybe he can bring some of that to Boston. He’ll start out as a set up man filling in for Vicente Padilla, but they’ll likely ease him into the closer role.

Deadline Review


In the past two days there’s been a flurry of roster moves made by the Red Sox in the past couple days. Yesterday the Red Sox said in a press release:

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left hand and recalled both outfielder Ryan Kalish and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket.  Kalish and Mortensen will be active for tonight’s game against the Tigers at Fenway Park.  Additionally, the club today activated right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Sweeney is likely done for the season if the Sox miss the playoffs, but he may return for the final games of the season.  Kalish is returning to the Sox after a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in the majors earlier this year. Mortensen was called up to fill the open spot Albers left, until Craig Breslow arrived which was just a few minutes ago. Chris Carpenter has missed the entire year with a right elbow surgery. He was the compensation received by the Sox for Theo Epstein.

Now on to the trades. Yesterday the Sox made two trades. The first was the Sox acquiring lefty Craig Breslow from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. This move was made to give the Sox bullpen flexibility, so that Franklin Morales could be put back into the starting rotation. I like this move, because Morales had been very effective as a starter and I love that he’ll be returning to this role. Also the bullpen doesn’t lose anything, because Breslow is a great left reliever. I am a huge Albers and Podsednic fan, but there wasn’t a need for either of them (although you can never have enough pitching.)

The other trade was between the Cleveland Indians and the BoSox. The Sox acquired righty, knuckleballer Steven Wright for first baseman Lars Anderson. This a great move, because it brings everyone’s favorite pitch, the knuckleball. Also, Lars needed to be moved, because he had been blocked for a long while now and I’m glad they got a good return for him. Another great thing is that Tim Wakefield will work with Wright, so he’ll be taught well.

Today there were a few more roster moves that took place. Daniel Nava was placed on the DL with a sprained left wrist and able to be activated on Sunday August 12th. Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket to take his place. Clayton Mortensen was optioned to AAA to make room for Craig Breslow who was added to the 25-man roster.

And with that, that’s all the Red Sox have done the past two days. Ben Cherrington is a very busy man.

Deadline Preview


Today is one of my favorite days of the year, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. Today many deals will be made, one was already done, but I’m here to discuss what the Boston Red Sox may do before 4 P.M. today.

Now the Sox are stuck in the in between spot where it could be buy or sell. Someone who could very likely go is backup catcher Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach has blocked Ryan Lavarnway all year, but he’s said to be ready and they want him up now. The Mets and Nationals have been most involved in talks for Shoppach, but other teams could take a shot a great defensive back up catcher. The only problem is that the Sox value his defense, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway being far behind Shoppach defensivelly Salty could be the catcher that’s moved. If Salty is shopped I think they’ll be more interest and a greater return. Either way I expect one of them to be moved and Lavrnway to be recalled today.

Now the biggest name that the Red Sox have shopped around is Josh Beckett. It was said that the Sox called the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves about Beckett, but the Braves weren’t a fit due to salary concerns and talks with Texas are said to be dead. The odds are he’s moved today are very, very small, but trades can still be made in August and Beckett will pass through waivers so watch out for a deal around mid to late August.

Outfielders could be on the market too. Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Scott Podsednik could all be in play today. Last night Sweeney likely took himself off the market by injuring his hand by punching a door which will hold him out for 8 weeks so he’ll likely stay put. Ross is also unlikely to stay as well, because of his huge contributions and he’s also a great clubhouse guy. Now Podsednik is the most likely to be moved, but interest is minimal so he may also stay as a depth guy. Any of the 3 have a chance to go, but I’m not expecting anything. Like Beckett, they may be moved in August especially if the Sox fall completly out of contention for the final wild card spot.

Now on to the fun part, what the Sox could acquire. The biggest need is starting pitching and there’s plenty of it. Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, and Josh Johnson are the best pitchers available, but I don’t think the Sox are in on any of them. But the Cubs say the Dodgers are out on Dempster and the Yankees and a mystery team which could be the Red Sox. Another guy who could be picked up is Joe Blanton, but it looks like the Orioels may have him. Now two guys who I really like for the Sox are Jason Vargas and former Boston Red Sox Justin Masterson. Both are young controllable arms who post quality numbers. They’d both provide a huge boost to the rotation which is desperately needed. The difference between the two is just that Vargas is a lefty and Masterson is a righty. Vargas has been the better of the two this year but Masterson is having a down year, but he could get a boost from a change of sceenary. The Sox have been higher on Masterson probably because he came up through the Sox’s system, but either guy would be huge.

Now this part is pure speculation at this point, but I love this idea. Stephen Drew to the Red Sox. It had been discussed, but nothing has really come together, yet. Drew would be a great piece to add to the lineup which would help propel this team forward. Plus the Diamondbacks are shopping him so something could go down.

Could Ben Blow it Up?


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.