Tagged: Ryan Sweeney

JBJ Makes the Team

It appear Jackie Bradley Jr. will make the Opening Day roster this year. After wowing everyone in what was supposed to be a short stint to get his feet wet he has now gone from AA phenom to major leaguer. It’s still not official but the final two roster spots were down to Mike Carp, Ryan Sweeney, and Bradley and Sweeney has just been released. There’s only one logical explanation which is that Bradley and Carp have made the team.
I’m not a huge fan of this decision, but I understand why it was done. I agreed with the people who wanted to keep him down for the first 9 games to delay his service time from starting. This would give the Sox another year of team control which could be very important down the line, because it would either save the Sox money or prevent his departure for another year. Either way it benefits the Sox. I’ve heard the argument (mostly on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show) that every game matters and not starting him day would be costly down the line. Although I agree every game is of equal importance, is the potential of winning one or two more games in April worth losing a whole year of a potential superstar? I’d say no, but clearly the Sox are in a win now state of mind as always and are disregarding the future for 9 games in April.
Although thus far I’ve stated my disagreement with the move I do still believe that he is ready to be an everyday major league player. He appears to be a 5 tool player and adds another dimension to the Red Sox offense. He could end being what Carl Crawford never could be the Sox. Although he’s not as fast as Crawford, he does have a lot of speed and may have more power. His defense could also be big for the Red Sox too. If he does indeed start in left field, the Sox would have an outfield made up of 3 center fielders, and 3 very good defensive center fielders at that. With all that speed out they can cover much more ground than any other group of outfielders and that could actually help save some runs. It may not actually play a huge role, but it does have potential to be a big part of the Sox’s success.
All in all I love Jackie Bradley Jr., but the move baffles me a little bit. I do think he will be a vital part of this team now and in the future. He could end up being the X factor that lifts this Red Sox’s team into contention.


Bring Back Bay

Recently Jason Bay and the New York Mets reached a settlement that made Bay a free agent. After leaving Boston, Bay had two terrible years in New York where he was plauged by injuries and watched his numbers decline. Many people were suggesting ways for the Mets to dump Bay’s contract, but the Mets decided just to take on the contract and basically release him. Now this makes Bay available and cheap. With needs in both corner outfield spots, the Boston Red Sox bringing in Jason Bay on minor league deal would not be a bad idea.
Obviously Bay would play left field for the Sox, whether as a starter or as a fourth outfielder would be dependant on who else is on the roster. The Sox look like the favorites to land Torii Hunter right now, so for these scenarios I will assume Hunter is on the team. If the Sox sign a legitimate everyday right fielder, like Cody Ross, Hunter would likely be the everyday left fielder. Since Hunter can play all three outfield spots if Ellsbury (assuming he isn’t traded) or Ross is injuried or needs an off day Bay can slide into the left field spot while Hunter moves to center or right. In this scenario the Sox add a cheap fourth outfielder who has proven to be a great hitter at Fenway Park and knows how to play the Green Monster very well.
If the Sox fail to add a legitimate starting right fielder other than Hunter, Hunter will start right. This opens up left for Jason Bay. I think he’d work well in a platoon role. Bay could start in more hitter friendly ballparks and a better contact hitter, like Ryan Sweeney, could start in more pitcher friendly ballparks. Although I’ll admit Sweeney wouldn’t be the greatest for that role, it’s just a hypothetical and a better player could fill the role. In either of the two scenarios I’ve just mentioned the Sox add a solid power bat either to the lineup or the bench at a cheap price, and if he doesn’t work out he’s easy to dump if he’s on an affordable salary.
Now many people would argue that even if they give him very little money it would go to waste because of injuries and declining numbers. I disagree with them, because in both my two scenarios the workload on him would decreased significantly and not too long ago he had a career year for the Red Sox. In 2009, playing in hitter friendly Fenway Park, Bay set career highs in home runs and RBI, was an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger, and finshed seventh in the American League MVP vote. That was not very long ago and if he only plays in ballparks that play more favorably to his skill set, he will put much better numbers than he did in his time in New York.
To sign Jason Bay would be a little difficult. He said he was open to returning to Boston, but much preferred to sign with a west coast team. In order to land him the Sox would need to offer him an incentive laden contract that could earn a good amount of money if he could hit certain milestones. Also a good idea would be to add a vesting option as well. This benefits both sides because it provides Bay with a little security and if he performs very well the Sox can keep him for another year at a fair price.
All in all I don’t see any downside to bringing Bay back. He could provide a huge lift off the bench or even in the everyday lineup. Also if he fails, the contract would be very easy to get out of and wouldn’t hurt the Red Sox finacially. This move to me sounds like a no-brainer.      

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.

Could Middlebrooks Fill in For Pedroia?

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.

How Crawford’s Injury Can Help

Tonight the Sox wrapped up their fourth straight win with a 9-3 win over the White Sox. Sadly it wasn’t all good news today as we found out Carl Crawford will be out for up to three more months.Now this sounds terrible, but there is some bright side to it.So far this the two of the teams hottest hitters are Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney. With Crawford returning one of them would’ve had to been benched despite their hot starts which is more than you can say about Crawford in his Boston start.
Sweeney to many was a pleasant surprise, but not to me. If  you have read here before you’d know that I had faith in him since we got him.He’s currently on an eight game hitting streak and has been hitting great all this year. Ross on the other hand has been a pure power hitter. He’s come up with some critical homers so far.I love the way they’ve both been hitting and they both have been an upgrade from Crawford thus far.
To look at it from a numbers stand point, Sweeney has a disappointing .286/.344/.386 career line, but this year he’s off to a great start with a .383/.406/.583 line. He’s also fourth in the entire MLB. You can’t put up numbers like that playing with against the pitching that the Sox’s have faced and call it a fluke. He can pound nighties even with his limited power. He’s learning to hit lefties and becoming a more complete hitter. Batting him second could be wasting his talent as a pure doubles hitter, robbing him of several RBI chances, but he does set up those chances for Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Youk.
Looking at Ross, he’s just a great pure power hitter. You give him a fastball belt high and you don’t see it again. Actually any fastball he gets wood on has a good chance of going for extra bases. This year he’s got a nice .267/.328/.567 line which tops his .261/.323/.458 career line. His five homers have him tied for eighth in the majors. He can hit and I expect him to continue to go deep. Overall I prefer Sweeney to Ross, but either way they both add value to the Sox’s lineup.