As some left, Yoenis Cespedes arrived (Concord Monitor photo).
Since late July Ben Cherington has been aggressively using his friends and families discount to remake the Boston Red Sox. Some of the deals traded popular stars and prospects like Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Michael Almanzar while smaller deals involving players like Jon Lester and John Lackey were also made.
At the time the discussion was “blowing it up.” I think it is worth taking a short look at how it has gone since then. Today I am going to look briefly at the overall performance and we will touch on the pitchers later this week.
While I used Baseball-Reference for splits my primary source here was Baseball Musings’ indispensable Day by Day Database for these numbers.
Pre-deadline: 48-60 (72-90 pace)
Since-deadline: 12-17 (67-95 pace)
Runs For: 3.8 before, 3.9 since
Runs Against: 4.3 before, 4.6 since
I think it is fairly encouraging that the offensive output has increased a hair. The Sox are likely to head into next season with a large part of the offense dependent on players currently on the roster. I think it is worth noting that they were 14th in the AL in runs pre-deadline and they are 9th since.
The pitching is disconcerting but as I will note in a moment when I get to that group there are some positives. You cannot deal away your top two starters and expect to maintain the status quo.
The glovework has been great, the batwork not so much (RLRS Photo).
Mookie Betts: .286/.385/.464
Xander Bogaerts: .130/.198/.182
Christian Vazquez: .205/.286/.219
Brock Holt: .248./.308/.281
Will Middlebrooks: .182/.217/.239
Jackie Bradley: .143/.205/.143
So yeah, that kinda blows. Betts is awfully encouraging with two pieces of good news. First he has taken his minor league plate discipline with him and second he has looked much improved defensively since his August 18th recall. Plus I love that the Day by Day Database lists him as “Markus.”
The rest of that not so much. Holt I think is being exposed a bit but this is a utility player, not a star. He has been a great story all year but I think if we accept him as a utility player and not a regular we can all enjoy him.
Middlebrooks is toast. He needs to be someone else’s problem next year. Bogaerts is flat out horrifying. Enough virtual ink has been spilled on this subject. I keep telling myself he is just 21 and I still believe he is hiding an injury but he has not “struggled”, “slumped” or been disappointing. He has been abysmal. I still think/hope he will be a star but it is hard to justify that numerically.
Vazquez is the funny one. He is a much more pleasant hitter to watch than A.J. Pierzynski or his similarly tooled good glove/no hit brethren Bradley but he ain’t hitting so far. The Sox can carry one of these guys in the future but not both I think.
Lots of this since the deadline (RLRS Photo).
David Ortiz – .342/.442/.592
Yoenis Cespedes – .275/.296/.450
Dustin Pedroia – .297/.333/.414
Daniel Nava – .267/.330/.349
Big Papi…damn. That’s all I got. We really are fortunate to have watched this great hitter for so many years. Cespedes is doing what he does. In a perfect world he bats sixth and you let the slugging carry the painful OBP. Defensively his arm has been as advertised but the glove has been a bit terrifying. I have a feeling seeing him in right field would be a nightmare.
Pedroia may not be the laser show of years passed but he is still a solid offensive contributor. When combined with his glove he is still a very good baseball player who is going to wind up around 5-5.5 WAR this year.
Nava is a guy like Holt. I think he is a good player when he is not asked to play every day. He had a great 2013 but he needs to be a fourth outfielder.
Ultimately I think the Sox are getting some clarity at least. My fear is that they might sell low on Bogaerts (what closers can Cherington trade for?). I would like to ride him and if he busts he busts. Middlebrooks is doing precisely what the Sox need him to do playing himself conclusively out of a job.
We will get to the pitchers later.