Game 107 Thread – Red Sox (48-58, 5th, 11/8.5 GB) vs. Blue Jays (7/29/14)

He did not exactly make himself a popular trade target with last night's fiasco (RLRS Photo).

He did not exactly make himself a popular trade target with last night’s fiasco (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:10 PM

Pitchers: El Lankador! (3-3, 3.54) vs. Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.21)

Notes: Clay Buchholz did not come across as particularly accountable after last night’s game. I do not expect Buchholz to know the numbers but him singling out the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury as a key factor is a bit rich. If you accept WAR (an imperfect but useful method for this purpose) the Sox have gotten 1.9 out of Jackie Bradley and Ellsbury has been good for only 2.2. By contrast Clay Buchholz has gone from providing 4.3 WAR last year to providing -1.5 WAR this year.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – OFF DAY
Portland – Henry Owens/Jeremy Kehrt (Reading – PHI)
Salem – Joe Gunkel (Carolina – CLE)
Greenville – Myles Smith (Hagerstown – WAS)
Lowell – Kevin McAvoy (Brooklyn – NYN)

This Day in 2004 – DAY OFF
The Sox had a day to rest, relax and travel to Minnesota. The big news came off the field as suspensions were handed down for the brawl with the Yankees the previous weekend. Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez got four games apiece while Tanyon Sturtze, Gabe Kapler and Trot Nixon each got three. Curt Schilling, David Ortiz and Kenny Lofton all were fined small amounts.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, unnamed sources and whatever rumors your mill.

The 40 Man Roster Crunch – A Look Ahead

Ben Cherington has decisions to make beyond just the 25 man roster (RLRS Photo).

Ben Cherington has decisions to make beyond just the 25 man roster (RLRS Photo).

For the second consecutive year the Sox will head to the trade deadline cognizant of a 40 man roster crunch. At the end of this year the Sox have over forty players who need to be added to the 40 man roster to avoid being eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Obviously the vast majority of these players are not worth adding (Miguel Pena I’m lookin’ at you) but there are a number of players who are. At the same time there are some questions to be answered as well. Here are a few of note;

Keepers

Travis Shaw – We will have more on Shaw later this week but his breakout season in Portland and now Pawtucket has him firmly on the list. He will be added.

 

Oh this swing (RLRS Photo).

Oh this swing (RLRS Photo).

Blake Swihart – Duh. Arguably the best position player prospect in the system he is obviously someone who will be added.

Sean Coyle – Coyle has also burst forth in 2014. There are concerns about the frequency of swing and missing but he has power (a valuable commodity) and is versatile. He will be added though to be honest I expect him to be traded at some point as a lottery piece in a larger trade before then. He looks to me like a guy who works better in that way than as a practical part of the any future.

Matt Barnes – Since the Barnesday meme infected Sox Therapy a couple of years ago some of the bloom has come off his rose. Alex Speier had some positives amongst the negatives after his start on Tuesday and despite the struggles he clearly deserves a slot.

Question marks, long shots and a few farewells still to come… Continue reading

Trade Deadline Update

Did you hear?  He might be traded. (RLRS Photo).

Did you hear? He might be traded. (RLRS Photo).

Late morning update on the deadline (much pulled from MLB Trade Rumors);

Jon Lester Trade is “Less Than 50%” (Gordon Edes)

Good. There is no reason to rush into a deal here. The Boston Red Sox have a stacked farm system so there should be no need to give Lester away. Take the shot you can sign him at the end of the year and if not the draft pick is not the worst option. The Sox would also have the money they do not use on Lester to sign replacements either at the high end (Max Scherzer) or in a depth scenario similar to what they did when Pedro Martinez walked and Matt Clement and David Wells contributed to a 95 win season.

John Lackey Is Drawing Interest From Dodgers (Ken Rosenthal)

This is crazy to me. Unless the Sox get truly blown away for Lackey they have a good pitcher in house at a cheap price. I can see a winning pitching staff in 2015 with one of John Lackey or Jon Lester, I cannot see one that does not feature either guy. The Sox would then be trying to replace two pitchers with about $20 million rather than one.

Royals Interested in Andrew Miller (Rob Bradford)

The Braves have also been linked to Miller who is very appealing. I mentioned this yesterday in Darren’s post but I think the Sox would be wise to retain two of Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Miller. Starting with two of those three would make building a bullpen a fairly easy task.

The results are good, the component pieces are a bit unsettling. (RLRS Photo).

The results are good, the component pieces are a bit unsettling. (RLRS Photo).

Adam Wainwright Slipping? (Baseball Musings)

Interesting note from David Pinto at Baseball Musings that Cardinal RHP Adam Wainwright has seen his K rate drop precipitously. This has to create some concern in St. Louis that there is an injury at work and make them motivated to deal for a starter. The Cards have a talented slugging outfield prospect in Oscar Taveras who is basically their version of Xander Bogaerts right down to the struggles at the big league level. While I would prefer the Sox not deal Lester if they could get the Redbirds to kick Taveras their way that would be a terrific move.

A Season Ticket Holder Gets Selfish

We'll always have Tampa (Chicago Tribune Photo)

We’ll always have Tampa (Chicago Tribune Photo)

There is quite a bit of talk these days about the Sox having a fire sale and dealing Jon Lester, Koji Uehara and really anyone else who might have value (damn, shoulda hung onto A.J. Pierzynski). In the abstract this makes some sense. If as it appears the Sox are not going to challenge for the post-season then trying to improve the future is a worthwhile endeavor.

However, there is a real world aspect at work that I think many forget. In a pure team improvement exercise this may make sense but the Boston Red Sox are at the end of the day a business. Specifically they are an entertainment business. This is not a fantasy league team where the difference between 5th and 12th is non-existent. They took a hit after the 2012 season but the combination of a very obvious scapegoat (Bobby Valentine) and a surprising World Series title helped to offset that. Dealing Lester, Uehara et al opens up the real possibility of a second ugly won-loss record in a three year span. That has impact on their business model and they are not likely to ignore that.

As a season ticket holder I have a selfish motivation here as well. I go to about 25-30 games a year and also make an annual pilgrimage to Fort Myers where I see 4-6 Spring Training games. Last December, as I have for the past fourteen years I paid my share of a pretty sizable invoice to be able to do this.

Believe me, I am not looking for sympathy.  I may not be part of the 1% but I do well and can afford my tickets.  The fact is the largest portion of my disposable income goes to the Boston Red Sox and frankly nothing else is close.

With that said the Boston Red Sox owe me virtually nothing. All I feel the Sox should be expected to do is;

1. Spend a reasonable amount on the team (check).

2. Provide a pleasant baseball atmosphere where I can enjoy a game (check).

We often hear “it’s not my money” from fans. You know what? It is my money. I mean I buy about seven innings of a Robinson Cano type contract but I am paying for this. Sitting in Fenway with my parents, my brother, my friends or even by myself I want to see a team competing night in and night out.

more to come… Continue reading

Game 106 Thread – Red Sox (48-57, 5th, 10.5/7.5) vs. Blue Jays (7/28/14)

How much more of Andrew Miller will we see? (RLRS Photo).

How much more of Andrew Miller will we see? (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:10 PM

Pitchers: Clay Buchholz (5-6, 5.60) vs. R.A. Dickey (8-10, 4.04)

Notes: Baseball America’s Jim Callis tweeted yesterday that he rates the Red Sox as the #3 farm system in baseball at the moment. This is despite graduating two top 50 players in Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Steven Wright (Scranton Wilkes-Barre – NYA)
Portland – Mike Augliera (Reading – PHI)
Salem – OFF DAY
Greenville – Daniel McGrath (Hagerstown – WAS)
Lowell – Jake Drehoff (Brooklyn – NYN)

This Day in 2004 – Red Sox 1 – Orioles 4
WP: Dave Borkowski, LP: Curt Schilling

The Sox were silent as they fell eight games behind the first place Yankees. The unremarkable Borkowski allowed just three hits over seven innings and Red Sox batters fanned ten times in total. A David Ortiz ninth inning homer off B.J. Ryan for the Sox only run.

None of us knew it at the time but this would be the final time Nomar Garciaparra would wear a Red Sox uniform. He went 1 for 3 with his final at bat being a 5-3 ground out.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, bat flips and whatever suns your roof.

Jon Lester: Trade Him

He's done this twice, will he be here for another? (RLRS Photo).

He’s done this twice, will he be here for another? (RLRS Photo).

I think there’s a pretty interesting debate to be had over whether the Red Sox should deal Jon Lester. I’ve come down on the side of wanting to keep him even at a price of something around 6 years, $144 million, even if that’s a bit pricey. I also respect the notion that that’s too much and that the team would be better off dealing him.

Unfortunately, I do not think this is the type of debate that has been happening inside Boston’s front office. The team’s best offer to him was reportedly in the 4 year, $70 million to $80 million range, and hasn’t been updated since the offseason. If they had any interest in keeping Lester, they would have come in somewhere near his market value. If this year has convinced them that he’s back as an elite starter, they would have upped the offer during the season. They did neither. And if you look at how last year played out with Jacoby Ellsbury–he signed for 7 years/$153 million after the Sox best offer was about 5/80–they’re not going to be competing with other teams for Lester’s services.

So with all this in mind, it’s time to deal Jon Lester. The Red Sox have a tiny chance of making the playoffs (although, if you check our playoff tracker, they have a 100% chance of making it in 2013!) and the additional ~1.5 WAR he’ll provide this year is not likely to matter.  History suggests that dealing Lester is likely to bring back at least one impact prospect (or two).

This would not be an acceptable return for Jon Lester (SOSH Photo).

This would not be an acceptable return for Jon Lester (SOSH Photo).

And there’s another advantage to such a deal that is not often discussed. If the Red Sox are going to refuse to pay for top-flight free agents, they’re going to need time to sort through the prospects they hope to build around. Dealing Lester opens up one more place to test out Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, Henry Owens, or Brandon Workman.

Keeping Jon Lester may or may not be the right move, but the Red Sox’s current way of operating practically requires that they deal him by the deadline.

Game 105 Thread – Red Sox (47-57, 5th, 10.5GB) at Rays (7/27/14)

Allen Webster hopes he is not all wet in his performance on Sunday (RLRS Photo).

Allen Webster hopes he is not all wet in his performance on Sunday (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 1:35 PM

Pitchers: Allen Webster (4-4, 3.10 – AAA) vs. Chris Archer (6-5, 3.31)

Notes: Congratulations to the new inductees to the Hall of Fame; Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. For all our complaints about the voting for the Hall this is one hell of a class. Even Spink Award winner Roger Angell (the writer being honored) is an “inner circle” selection.  We can bemoan those not going in but this is a truly glittering class of honorees.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Matt Barnes (Scranton Wilkes-Barre – NYA)
Portland – Luis Diaz (New Britain – MIN)
Salem – Pat Light (Myrtle Beach – TEX)
Greenville – Jason Garcia (Hagerstown – WAS)
Lowell – Reed Reilly(Hudson Valley – TBR)

This Day in 2004 – OFF DAY

The Sox got off to a bad start with Tim Wakefield putting the club in a 4-2 hole early. Even Mother Nature was looking out for the 2004 Red Sox and the rains came resulting in the game being washed away.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, Halls of Fame and whatever USBs your stick.

Game 104 Thread – Red Sox (47-56, 5th, 10.5GB) at Rays (7/26/14)

This was better times than last night for Junichi (RLRS Photo).

This was better times than last night for Junichi (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:10PM

Pitchers: John Lackey (11-6, 3.66) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 2.08)

Notes: That sixth inning rally last night was great. Down 2-1 after the Desmond Jennings homer and seeing the Sox come back with the Shane Victorino go ahead single…it felt good. Boy Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa botched it up. Miller just cannot hit Jose Molina there.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Allen Webster (Scranton Wilkes-Barre – NYA)
Portland – Wilfredo Boscan (New Britain – MIN)
Salem – Justin Haley (Myrtle Beach – TEX)
Greenville – Teddy Stankiewicz (Hagerstown – WAS)
Lowell – Heri Quevedo (Hudson Valley – TBR)

This Day in 2004 – Red Sox 12 – Orioles 5
WP: Pedro Martinez, LP: Erik Bedard

A rematch from the previous Wednesday was another slugfest but ended better for the Sox. A six run third and a four run sixth put the Sox up 10-0 and let them coast home. No one had a particularly great day but 8 of 9 starters had a hit (just Bill Mueller went 0 for 5), 7 of 9 scored a run and 6 of 9 had an RBI. Darnell McDonald came off the bench for the Orioles.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, artificial noise and whatever embraces your debate.