I’m noticing a pattern

Ken Rosenthal has news of the latest Boston signing:

The Red Sox, taking another low-risk, high-reward gamble, have
signed free-agent reliever Takashi Saito to a one-year contract with a
club option for 2010 according to major-league sources.

The deal was completed after Saito passed his physical on
Friday. It includes a guarantee between $1.5 million and $2.5 million,
the sources said, and Saito will have the chance to earn more than $7
million if he reaches all of his incentives.

Again, I think this is a nice move for the Sox. Saito missed much of last season with an elbow ligament injury, so who knows if they get anything out of him. But I think one of the statements Theo is making with this signing and the others is that he has a lot of faith in the team's medical staff, which is one of the better ones in baseball per BP's Will Carroll. If there's a drawback to the recent flurry of depth signings Boston has made, I don't see it.

h/t BBTF

39 comments… add one

  • I see one drawback. These are major league deals, which means they are on the 25-man roster. As much as people like to state the ‘low-risk’ aspect of these moves, the fact is that it is only low-risk financially. Performance-wise, it is an incredible amount of risk. And if they are on the 25-man roster, that means they will either get playing time, or spend time on the DL while a similarly risky callup will take his place.
    I’d much rather the Sox spend money on players who are likely to contribute nothing, than one player who is likely to contribute above-average production.
    Performance-wise, these are high-risk, high-reward signings. To be fair, they are better than the midseason Ponsons the Yankees seem to like, which can best be described as high-risk, low-reward signings.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 12:44 pm
  • They are also signings made in January, not mid-season reclamation projects. This gives the Sox some time, throughout Spring Training and thereafter, to know if contributions might be expected. These reclamation moves are better made now than in June. That’s the only hitch in a comparison to someone like Ponson, as he (and other guys from within, like Rasner) was called upon to fill Wang’s innings, who was not their #4/#5 starter but their #1/#2. That is a big difference.
    These are fringe-of-the-rotation moves, frankly. The Sox have to be counting on Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Lester to contribute #1-#3 starter numbers (in no specific order), so Smoltz, Penny, Wake, and Buchholz (Bowden too) are looked at to fill above average #4 and #5 numbers. Look where the Sox made it last year with Buchholz as their #5 for a good portion of the regular season – he was beyond awful. It’s not a lot to ask at this point, that these guys contribute more than Buchholz did last year. I’d be extremely nervous if Smoltz et al were pencilled in as potential #2 or #3 starters, or expected to fill those innings. But at this point, without total disappointments from the top 3, they aren’t. These are potentially superb bottom-of-the-rotation guys.
    (They are also potential non-contributors, of course!)

    SF January 10, 2009, 12:54 pm
  • Sure, but counting on healthy seasons from Beckett and Matsuzaka (who both had arm problems last year) is not exactly a rock-solid plan.
    To clarify what I said, these moves are riskier than many are letting on because they currently take the place of the Sox signing actually healthy major leaguers.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 1:08 pm
  • “To clarify what I said, these moves are riskier than many are letting on because they currently take the place of the Sox signing actually healthy major leaguers.”
    The healthy major leaguers they could sign right now would be more expensive and have to be a part of longer-term plans. Derek Lowe, for instance, is certainly a better bet to give value to the Sox rotation than Smoltz or Penny in 2009. But he demands a lot more guaranteed money in 2009, and obviously a lot more guaranteed money beyond that. Perhaps the Sox are too confident in assuming they’ll get innings from their top 3 next season, but if their assessment is correct, I think it’s wise to for these types of contracts for their needs at the fringes of their rotation. The cheapness and short-term nature of these deals won’t cut into future roster flexibility.

    Nick-YF January 10, 2009, 1:17 pm
  • riskier than many are letting on
    Really, Andrew? Almost every article I have read about all of these signings acknowledges their inherent and obvious risk.
    These moves involve risk, I don’t think anyone has questioned that, even some of the more doltish columnist-types or the most obstinate fans. If you are critiquing the level of risk these guys offer as it has been reported, that seems like an extremely fine-grained criticism.

    SF January 10, 2009, 1:20 pm
  • Andrew, I see what you’re saying, but when is it a rock solid plan to count on the health of any pitcher? Is CMW going to be able to be the same guy? Ankles are a neccessary evil while on the bump, just as the oblique connected to Beckett (I wasn’t aware or maybe just don’t remember arm problems from Beckett). Is it a smarter move to pay 50 times as much for a guy with worse injury history than any of them? Or can Joba make it through four months without an issue (which is also in his arm)?
    These moves aren’t hindering the Red Sox in any way. If the players get hurt, they go on the DL and are replaced by healthy players. If they don’t, then bravo to Theo for making low cost moves that worked out. In a market that allowed the Yankees to do what they did, what would you suggest Theo do? Spend boat loads of money on Derek Lowe, who has already proven the AL east should no longer be his home? Or maybe go and sign players with average stat sheets to above average incomes? I’d rather they make the move with a higher return potential and minimal money, than the one at a higher money with average (and known) results.
    Yes, it most certainly could backfire, but that’s a chance that has to be taken. As long as the Yankees are in this game, it’s become a creative GM’s job to circumnavigate what is left on the market worth purchasing and hope for the best.
    Are these moves any more of a risk than some of the Yankee choices? Nope, they’re just a lot cheaper.

    Brad January 10, 2009, 1:25 pm
  • Saito was shut down in late July and August of last year with an elbow issue, he came back in September and wasn’t that effective.
    His 2006-2008 pre-injury numbers are pretty astounding, though (yeah, we know it’s the NL, and we know he’s approaching 40, but still). If the Sox can get him healthy again this could be an impactful addition to the team.

    SF January 10, 2009, 1:32 pm
  • The end goal of roster flexibility is to be able to sign free agents without worry that it will restrict other moves. It’s not an end unto itself.
    Every article describes these moves as “low-risk”. I disagree. The chances that any of these players will perform to Boston’s satisfaction is a long shot. They are “high-risk”, performance-wise. The only low-risk aspect of these signings is financial, that doesn’t make it smart, only efficient. And for a team with wads of cash to spend, efficiency for efficiency’s sake isn’t the best course of action.
    Brad, I can’t believe you think that Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett are just as risky as Smoltz, Penny and Saito. That’s just dumb.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 1:44 pm
  • “The end goal of roster flexibility is to be able to sign free agents without worry that it will restrict other moves. It’s not an end unto itself.”
    I definitely agree with this. At the same time, in the Sox’s specific case, I think the improvements they “needed” to make to their pitching staff for 2009 were of the fringe variety because of the strengths at the top their rotation and the growing depth of their bullpen. Looking at the available free agents, what should they do? Sign Lowe to a four year deal. That’s a big investment for a guy that is more a luxury than a need. Maybe they should sign an innings-eater type like Garland but how much better is he going to be than a young pitcher such as Bowden or Buchholz?

    Nick-YF January 10, 2009, 1:53 pm
  • Andrew, I didn’t call you dumb, so try to refrain from that.
    HELL YES Burnett is as risky as any pitcher in the game today. Also, he has a huge upside when he’s playing Boston.
    And while I don’t think CC is a health risk, if you don’t see the inherent risk in the amount of time this guy has been on the mound last year, then you’re trying to look past it and hope that that big fat body will hold up for him. But, I’m not a doctor or a trainer, so I could be wrong. Point is, all pitchers are injury risks. Some cost millions and tens of millions of dollars (or in NY’s case, hundreds of millions) and some don’t.
    And, how do you know that the chances are so slim these three perform? Because a guy gets hurt doesn’t mean he’s finished, it just means he was hurt. If Penny is healthy, he’s a damn good pitcher. If not, it’s a cheap mistake. Same goes for Smotlz. If Burnett is healthy, and against Boston, he’s as good as it gets. He also has the potential to be Carl Pavano at double the price.
    I think what worries YF’s is that these moves will work. These three (or 2 out of three) might come up huge for Boston, and pitch very well. Penny and Smoltz could be awesome this year, and the thought of Theo keeping pace with NY all year with 20% of the money invested is a scary thought.
    Might happen, and might not. Who knows.
    And, no. That Tex signing was magic. It should come up roses for them on that one.

    Brad January 10, 2009, 2:01 pm
  • The only low-risk aspect of these signings is financial, that doesn’t make it smart, only efficient.
    I think this is black-and-whiteism. Was the CC signing smart? Or efficient? Or neither? If it wasn’t efficient, then was it risky? If it was risky was it also therefore unwise? If it was smart baseball-wise was it foolish economically? And if it was a no-brainer then what praise do the Yankees deserve? For spending their gobs of money? (I thought Yankee fans hated when the team was accused of buying their talent in this fashion). I don’t understand why you think these moves’ risks to the Sox haven’t been acknowledged, other than in financial terms. Almost every article poses the questions about Penny (and Smoltz) being able to contribute to the Sox, whether they will remain healthy. What more needs to be said? Is there a reason to chicken little the situation in January?
    The Sox have chosen, for better or for worse, that spending 20M (and potentially 30M) on four or five players with high upside (and high downside individually) is a better hedge than signing one guy for triple that.
    But I want to get back to the implication that these moves were no-brainers. Because that’s what you imply: they are money moves and not baseball moves. That the Sox didn’t have to think about them in performance terms, they saw the price and took on a contract. I think this is simplistic. If this was the case, then why didn’t the Yankees sign Smoltz or Penny to the same contract, to provide them Hughes insurance? Certainly they can afford it, right?
    In light of Paul’s post about BTF”s new metric, these moves seem risky and smart, a clever way to gain value at low financial risk. The question is how to replace the value that isn’t provided if the moves don’t pan out, and the Sox probably expect that either through trade or through prospect promotion (players making the minimum) they may be able to cobble together fair value, or at least some decent amount of pennies on the dollar.

    SF January 10, 2009, 2:26 pm
  • They are “high-risk”, performance-wise.
    The Sox have four starters penned into their rotation (Beckett/Lester/Dice/Wakefield). They have another five to six relievers penned in as well (Papelbon/Okajima/Ramirez/Delcarmen/Lopez/Masterson), and eight of their starting nine hitters is also set essentially in stone (Youkilis/Pedroia/Lowrie/Lowell/Bay/Ellsbury/Drew/Ortiz). That’s 18 of 25 roster spots. The unknown catcher makes 19. That’s the 19 highest-leverage roster spots, of which 18 are already filled with people whose risk is somewhat lower than being discussed here: The top four starters, six bullpen slots and eight of nine position starters. The Sox have yet to fill one of those 19.
    That leaves six roster spots in which very few teams receive dependable, above-average production from one person all season long: Fifth starter, fourth outfielder, utility infielder, backup catcher, Fifth outfielder/corner infielder and middle reliever.
    The Sox have essentially now risked that they will fill those spots — again, the areas where teams routinely receive the least amount of value and rarely get that value from just one player per slot — over the course of the season with some combination of the following: Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Rocco Baldelli, Julio Lugo, Josh Bard, George Kottaras, Dusty Brown, Mark Kotsay, Wes Littleton and Takashi Saito.
    That’s 12 players for six spots, of whom Julio Lugo is the highest paid. After him, the player making the most guaranteed money ($5 million) is the future Hall of Famer who can both close and start and be dominant at both, if he can stay healthy. To me, that’s the very definition of low risk.

    Paul SF January 10, 2009, 3:02 pm
  • I don’t think you understand what I’m saying, SF. My reasoning, from a pure baseball standpoint, is that if these are the roster moves the Sox are making, rather than signing healthy players, then it’s not as ‘low-risk’ as everyone is making it out to be. Instead, it’s ‘high-risk’, as the Sox will be relying on one or some of these players, instead of that healthy player they could have signed with the same money.
    Calling these moves ‘low-risk’ is looking at it from a solely financial standpoint. There is nothing low-risk at all about these players’ performance.
    I think people are not understanding that the Sox’s overall offseason strategy is incredibly risky from a performance standpoint. Instead of signing high-probability players, they are signing low-probability players. There’s no arguing that point.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 3:13 pm
  • Also, the depth represented by these signings — and not just depth for its sake but depth with above replacement-level value — is impressive. The Sox now have three pitchers with elite closing experience, one of whom is slotted as a starter, plus two other pitchers who have experience as both a successful starter and a successful reliever. Their starting center fielder can play all three outfield positions, as can their backup outfielder. Their first baseman can play third, as can their shortstop — and both have experience playing superb defense there. Their utility infielder, though overpaid, can play short, second or third and has experience in left — as does the starting first baseman, for that matter. Their backup first baseman is also their backup outfielder and has experience successfully playing first and center.
    That’s an incredible amount of versatility that allows for a seemingly infinite number of extrapolations that could allow for (God forbid) quite a few number of injuries before minor-league callups are required. And when the callups are guys like Buchholz, Bowden, Hunter Jones, Daniel Bard, Jeff Bailey and Chris Carter, well, that’s not bad either.
    Of course, some of the pitching depth may be used for a catcher; it’s important to remember that…

    Paul SF January 10, 2009, 3:20 pm
  • And Paul, that would be all well and good if the Sox had mostly high-probability players in those high-leverage spots. But they have chronically-injured Beckett, shoulder-trouble Matsuzaka, blew-past-his-previous-innings-high-at-a-young-age Lester, may-retire Wakefield. They have wrist-injury Ortiz, hip-surgery Lowell, chronically-injured Drew, and rookie Lowrie.
    The Sox need depth. Signing low-probability players instead of high-probability players is inherently high-risk.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 3:20 pm
  • Instead, it’s ‘high-risk’, as the Sox will be relying on one or some of these players, instead of that healthy player they could have signed with the same money.
    I see it as reduced in risk (though not without risk) because of, as Paul points out, the roster spots these players are occupying. As I stated earlier, we are talking about #4 and #5 starters, back-of-the-pen types. The Sox have expended perhaps more money than is typically spent on these fringe positions, but they have tremendous upside. I don’t see this as “inherently high-risk” since the expected output from these spots is typically quite low. The risk is that they get performance like Buchholz, Colon, etc. like last year from, say, a spot like the #5 starter, I don’t think it’s too conservative to hope for at least that from Buchholz himself. And with the players they have signed, it’s quite possible they will get far better than that. To me, that’s inherently low-risk.
    And never the twain shall meet!

    SF January 10, 2009, 3:34 pm
  • instead of that healthy player they could have signed with the same money.
    I’d like to know who that is.

    SF January 10, 2009, 3:35 pm
  • I think I agree with Andrew’s overall point in a vacuum. I would make a similar argument to Paul’s to counter it. That is, I think I have more faith in the way Sox’s roster was constructed before the signings and felt/feel they could follow the strategy they have adopted for the remaining fringe spots. Andrew thinks the Sox roster has more fundamental issues. I can see that side of the argument although I don’t agree. But there are definitely remaining pitchers on the free agent market who are more likely to make the Sox better in 2009 than Smoltz/Penny and Saito. Well, maybe there aren’t many pitchers, but certainly Lowe is a better bet than these choices in 2009. Of course, the length of committment to a Lowe might not be worth whatever improvement he gives to the 2009 team.

    Nick-YF January 10, 2009, 3:38 pm
  • The length of the contract and, of course, the price might not make Lowe worth it. Say you don’t sign Penny, Smoltz or Saito. There’s not much guaranteed money tied to them, so even in not using that money you’d still have to add a significant amount to that total to add Lowe for 2009.

    Nick-YF January 10, 2009, 3:41 pm
  • If you have to sign someone like Lowe past 2009, for massive amounts of money, then sequestering 2009 and saying he’s an option is a fallacious argument. I am not sure that is what is being done here, but I still want to know who the pitchers are who are available for one year at comparable dollars and upside to Penny, Smoltz, et al.
    I sense, as I mention in the post at the top of the board right now, that the Sox are hedging for 2010, in the case that Buchholz, Masterson, or Bowden are not traded and contribute to the team, for players available next year in free agency or at the deadline, and the macroeconomy (which ties back into free agency and trade deadline availability). Why ink a guy like Lowe for $50M just for 2009-2011 if you can approximate 85% of his performance for 50% of the money this year, with next year and the following at pennies on those dollars potentially? The Sox aren’t running a business in individual years, they are trying to maintain a healthy and growing business over the course of years. Though baseball is played in seasons, the Red Sox as a business venture are more long-term than that.

    SF January 10, 2009, 3:48 pm
  • SF, you’re treating the Sox like a small-market team. One that is reducing its chances for playoff contention this year in order to gain flexibility down the road. That smacks of flexibility for flexibility’s sake.
    I do think mine and Paul’s fundamental disagreement centers around our disagreement of the vitality of the Sox’s roster. Indeed, if you consider all those players high-probability, adding low-probability (but high-reward) type players is a smart move. If you see a bunch of guys who are risky injury-wise, adding more low-probability players to that bunch is not addressing the problem.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 4:23 pm
  • SF, you’re treating the Sox like a small-market team
    No, I am treating it like a business that foresees issues with the economy, with their revenue-growth potential, and with their future personnel costs (and potential return on investment) in consideration.
    Who is to say they are “reducing their chances for playoff contention this year”? Who is to say that this is the only consideration that is being taken into account when they make their decisions? This is the big point: year to year playoff contention isn’t the only goal of the franchise. They have even said as such.
    I don’t see how this offseason and the franchise’s performance result, to make the playoffs, are at all separated.

    SF January 10, 2009, 5:07 pm
  • i’m repeating this from the “good value” post partly because i think it’s relevant, and partly because it’s brilliant:
    “…what i think will be very interesting to see played out is if the yankee strategy of overpowering the off-season with their free agent orgy will be more successful than the sox apparent shift of gears [after losing out on tex, passing on lowe, etc.] to a polar opposite strategy from the yankees of pursuing what are being referred to as “low risk/high reward” acquisitions…it would appear that more pressure is on the yanks because of the “high risk” factor of their acquisitions, who come with high expectations…the buzz already says they should win the ws or it’s a failure…i expect the outcry, told ya so’s, and jokes about how much the yanks spent per win to start in april if they get off to a slow start…gammons and the other goons at espn will have a ball…but the sox will have some ‘splainin’ to do to their fans as well if the austerity approach doesn’t work…it’s an interesting dichotomy…while one team is criticized for being too aggressive, can the other be criticized for not being aggressive enough?…we’ll see i guess…”
    sf, you can rationalize all you want to defend your team’s strategy…bottom line is that these low rent pickups are a calculated risk your team is taking…you can throw the economy at us if your team were reducing ticket and beer prices and trying to make it easier for us non-working stiffs, but they’re not…they’re trying to be the “anti-yankees”…let’s see which strategy works…

    dc January 10, 2009, 8:19 pm
  • the sox apparent shift of gears [after losing out on tex, passing on lowe, etc.] to a polar opposite strategy from the yankees of pursuing what are being referred to as “low risk/high reward” acquisitions
    I take issue with this strategy as a “shift of gears.” Epstein’s very first offseason as GM featured the low-cost, low-risk, high-reward signings of David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Brandon Lyon, Mike Timlin and Larry Walker.
    He’s also signed players like Wade Miller and Bartolo Colon throughout his tenure as GM. This is something he’s done over and over again, with varying degrees of success.

    Paul SF January 10, 2009, 9:56 pm
  • I do think mine and Paul’s fundamental disagreement centers around our disagreement of the vitality of the Sox’s roster.
    I think that’s probably right. I don’t deny that the concerns you raised are legitimate and valid concerns — and I share some, if not most, of them. But I also think you could raise a litany of similar concerns about every team in baseball, including the Yankees.
    To compare the teams, the Red Sox started the offseason with a core group of players with those concerns, and have added a bunch of players at low cost to fill the fringes of the roster who, if healthy, could perform as well as the core players themselves. The Yankees had to catch up by signing a group of core players — but they have the same concerns as the Sox, and in the meantime the fringe players the Yankees have in place right now have similar, if not worse, problems as the Sox’ fringe players.
    For example, you have Chien-Ming Wang recovering from a major injury, Joba Chamberlain’s innings will be limited and he was injured in his first effort at starting for a significant period of time, Phil Hughes has a growing history of injury problems, A.J. Burnett is the definition of “chronically injured,” and C.C. Sabathia is overweight and coming off a season where he was significantly overworked. Then there are the increasingly old and fragile bodies of Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui, and the disastrous seasons off of which Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano are coming (I suppose you can look at this the other way since it would seem they can’t help but improve in 2009). Lastly, no one knows if Jorge Posada is finished as a catcher, which is probably the single most pressing question of the offseason for the Yankees. To back them up, the Yankees will largely be relying on their farm system (Cody Ransom, Chad Moeller, Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy).
    Now, the Yankees are a very good team. I think they and the Sox will be in another dogfight for the AL East title (sorry, Tampa). But if they are bitten again by the injury bug, or the inevitable finally happens to guys like Damon, or Burnett returns to the DL or any number of scenarios, the guys they’ll be relying on won’t be guys with an established level of performance (like Smoltz or Penny or Baldelli or Saito).
    I think that’s where the “low-risk” concept comes from. The Sox are no worse off among their core players than the Yankees when it comes to reliability, but their fringe players on the 25-man roster, while making no more than a couple million dollars per person, have the potential to provide performances equal to the top-line players — something I’d wager can’t really be said by any other team (because most teams can’t afford to take fliers on guys like Penny, Smoltz and Saito).

    Paul SF January 10, 2009, 10:25 pm
  • “…I take issue with this strategy as a “shift of gears…”
    well paul, based on the fact that the sox were willing to wade out into the deep water with the yankees on tex, and showed some early interest in lowe, maybe even pettite and others, it’s curious timing to see this austerity approach kick in right after the yankees sign the top hitter and top 2 pitchers in the free agent pool…i remember the examples you cited…the yankee roster has been littered with those kinds of pickups too, but theo’s approach to me seems to be to the extreme…not saying it’s a bad approach, just different, and maybe just as risky {to steal andrew’s earlier sentiment]…i don’t agree with the notion that the fan’s will be patient while the team employs a more long term approach…

    dc January 11, 2009, 9:05 am
  • No one can say that last comment is unbiased!
    Let’s replace some names: Josh Beckett is the definition of “chronically injured”. Jon Lester has an uncertain body and is coming off the most innings he’s ever pitched. Then there are the increasingly old and fragile bodies of David Ortiz and Mike Lowell and the disastrous seasons off of which Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Julio Lugo are coming. Lastly, no one knows if Jason Varitek is finished as a catcher, which is probably the single most pressing question of the offseason for the Red Sox – who is their catcher?
    Now, the Red Sox are a very good team. I think they and the Yankees will be in another dogfight for the AL East title (with Tampa). But if they are bitten again (see 2006) by the injury bug, or the inevitable finally happens to guys like Ortiz and Lowell, or Beckett returns to the DL or any number of scenarios, the guys they’ll be relying on won’t be guys with an established level of injuries (like Smoltz or Penny or Baldelli or Saito).
    Reading it the other way around, does that sound unbiased?
    Here’s the thing I don’t understand: For about $13 million guaranteed now, they got Smoltz, Penny, and Saito. At worst (for the money), what they fewest innings they get from those guys? Maybe 50 to 100 if both Penny and Smoltz are mostly injured?
    For the same money they could get Lowe and mostly guarantee themselves 200 innings based on his history.
    With Wakefield already playing on borrowed time, I’m not sure why the Sox don’t go for more certainty, not less.
    Then, even if they get the best possible from Smoltz and Penny – say 300 innings – we’re talking about $22 million. For about the same money, in this market, it seems they could have done much better (say, Giambi and Lowe) but without the risks.
    As for “top-line”, only Smoltz need apply (Baldelli and Penny don’t come close, frankly) and he’s going to be 42 years old and coming off major shoulder surgery. With that baseline, why not sign Schilling too?

    Rob January 11, 2009, 9:15 am
  • Rob, the irony in your post, I think, is that Paul was merely doing to Andrew what you just did to him (i.e. reversing the spin from the opposite side). That is, the counter-example was already posted.

    Devine January 11, 2009, 5:08 pm
  • Rob, you must have missed the fact that I was replying to Andrew. You know, where I posted the original quote in italics and began my response by agreeing with his list of concerns for the Red Sox. Sorry you had to waste your time and snark basically repeating everything Andrew just said.

    Paul SF January 11, 2009, 7:24 pm
  • it’s curious timing to see this austerity approach kick in right after the yankees sign the top hitter and top 2 pitchers in the free agent pool.
    DC, If the Sox had signed Tex, which of the subsequent moves — Penny, Smoltz, Baldelli, Saito — would the Red Sox no longer have needed to make?

    Paul SF January 11, 2009, 7:26 pm
  • the sox apparent shift of gears [after losing out on tex, passing on lowe, etc.] to a polar opposite strategy from the yankees of pursuing what are being referred to as “low risk/high reward” acquisitions
    It does make for fuel on the YF/SF rivalry fire that the Sox are apparently using a diametrically opposed roster development strategy that than of the Yanks.
    It will be interesting to see which strategy is more successful.
    Personally, I do think the Yanks’ strategy has much more possibility of becoming a New York Knicks/Titanic-style disaster.
    Maybe that’s why YFs here are kinda of trying to talk up the “risk” factor in the Sox strategy.
    Nervous much? ;)

    SoxFan January 12, 2009, 12:33 am
  • Really? That’s your rationalization, SoxFan? Yes, there’s a possibility Teixeira and Sabathia and A-Rod all contract polio and never play another game again. But that’s MUCH more likely than none of the Sox’s injured parade working out, in addition to the rest of their injury risks not working out?
    Think about that. SoxFan actually thinks that regression from Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, two of the LEAST LIKELY PLAYERS IN BASEBALL TO REGRESS SIGNIFICANTLY, is MUCH more likely than non-contribution from the Sox’s player additions, which collectively are some of the MOST LIKELY PLAYERS IN BASEBALL TO CONTRIBUTE NOTHING.
    That’s like saying a 1/12 chance to win some arbitrary prize is better than an 11/12 chance to win the same prize, because 1/12 costs 1/10 the amount (nevermind the fact that much of the 11/12 cost is amortized over 7 to 8 years, also nevermind that the 11/12 cost contributes more chances to win that arbitrary prize each year over the next 7 to 8 years, while the 1/12 chance is only for one year). Ahem.
    Wow. They don’t call it Rationalization Sox Nation for nothing, I guess.

    AndrewYF January 12, 2009, 12:50 am
  • Sorry you had to waste your time and snark basically repeating everything Andrew just said.
    I had no intentional snark in that post. I’m sorry if it read that way at all.
    We can keep flipping all of the names around. My point was it just won’t change the emotions. And it didn’t.

    Rob January 12, 2009, 5:14 am
  • They don’t call it Rationalization Sox Nation for nothing, I guess
    Please, Andrew. I don’t think you’ll find many of us agreeing with that line of reasoning.
    I also don’t think it’s intentional that the teams are employing sort of opposite measures here. The clubs are simply filling different holes; the Sox’ holes happen to be in the back few pieces of the roster, where you can either sign a guaranteed average or below-average bench player, or you can sign someone that could provide much greater value, but if he doesn’t, there’s still plenty of average or below-average bench players available.
    The Yanks are filling needs that are more significant and needed players of a higher caliber to do so. The best place to do that is on the free agent market. Plus, it’s not like the Sox didn’t try to sign one of those free agents themselves. Unless, SoxFan’s argument is that the Teixeira debacle was all a ruse to drive up the price for the Yankees.

    Paul SF January 12, 2009, 7:56 am
  • These moves cannot and should not be looked at in the vaccuum of baseball statistics and trophies. They must be viewed in terms of the current macroeconomy. Though we don’t have access to the team books, since they ARE businesses somewhat reliant on the amount of disposable income that customers have these teams most certainly are looking off-the-field factors as part of their process. The Red Sox, quite clearly, are responding to the greater economic issues surrounding our country and the game. This could be for a couple of reasons. First, they may be guarding their wallets. “Cheap” to one fan is “frugal” to another is “prepared” to another, and “obeying a fiduciary responsibility to the rest of the limited partners” to another most important contingent. Second, the Sox are likely playing a market game (Henry’s expertise, remember) in the thoughts that the macroeconomy will allow for cheaper pickups at either the deadline or in offseasons future. As a fan the Sox paying attention to the checkbook isn’t always optimal. As a business it is sometimes necessary (or just plain prudent, even in profitable times).
    No single one of these strategies is without risk. And this isn’t rationalization, for all the pejorative and dismissive meanings that the deployment of that term offers. It’s just exploration.
    It’s not all about the stuff on-the-field. It never is.

    SF January 12, 2009, 8:44 am
  • what really did the sox need to add? they were 2 runs away from returning to the world series for the second time in 2 years. they were able to accomplish this with backup plans playing pivotal roles (ie; lowrie/byrd/kotsay). there really is no apparent need for high risk or high reward. hell, even if smoltz doesn’t throw a pitch this year his effect on buck and bowden could be tremendous.
    for the yanks, i understand the need for high risk moves with how the standings shaped up last year and the new stadium. many yf’s defended the swisher signing while it is the epitome of a high risk move. outside of being expensive for years to come, swisher has been tagged as clubhouse trouble when playing time suffers. undoubtedly his playing time in ’09 will suffer as a platoon player. it’s moves like this that is a real risk is to me.

    sf rod January 12, 2009, 8:18 pm
  • Really? That’s your rationalization, SoxFan? Yes, there’s a possibility Teixeira and Sabathia and A-Rod all contract polio and never play another game again. But that’s MUCH more likely than none of the Sox’s injured parade working out, in addition to the rest of their injury risks not working out?
    Think about that. SoxFan actually thinks that regression from Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, two of the LEAST LIKELY PLAYERS IN BASEBALL TO REGRESS SIGNIFICANTLY, is MUCH more likely than non-contribution from the Sox’s player additions, which collectively are some of the MOST LIKELY PLAYERS IN BASEBALL TO CONTRIBUTE NOTHING.

    AndrewYF. Take a chill pill, man. The Sox did take a relatively low risk route, as opposed to the Yanks’ higher risk route–certainly contract wise in this economy. Do you disagree with that point?
    Guess some YFs really are sensitive about the possibilities of a Knicks-style collapse in the Bronx.
    Cue the Celine Dion/Titanic soundtrack.

    SoxFan January 12, 2009, 9:49 pm
  • Uh, SoxFan, you clearly didn’t read the thread. No one can argue that these players are ‘low-risk’ financially (although only a team with the Red Sox’s vast wealth can make that claim, $15 million for a group of players which may contribute nothing! I wonder where all the “unfair” and “salary cap” chatter is now, hmm?). In pure baseball terms, the Sox have clearly taken the *more* risky route, as the players they acquired are clearly more likely to contribute nothing than the players the Yankees acquired. Their upside, as a group, still falls short of the Yankee group’s upside, but we’ll let that be.
    Yeah, no, I’m more sensitive about ridiculous, awful, stupid statements that wouldn’t even hold water in SOSH-land. Anyone with any sense, and who knows anything about baseball whatsoever, would not even dream of making the “Yankees are the Knicks!” statement. Although I could see Mike Lupica saying that, with the irony that it would apply much better to his own beloved Mets.
    I also love the “game away from the WS” or “two outs away from the WS” arguments. Did you know the Yankees were 1 out away from WINNING the WS in 2001? Shit, why’d they make any moves? That guaranteed them the same situation next year! Dumb, dumb, dumb argument. The Sox, quite simply, were a good team last year who made the postseason. But, as we have seen from 2007 to 2008 for the Yankees (or 2005 to 2006 for the Red Sox), winning 94 or 95 games and making the postseason in absolutely no way guarantees you the same result next year.

    AndrewYF January 12, 2009, 11:03 pm
  • “2 runs away”….uh, what happened between ’04 and ’05, or even ’06
    “rationalization nation” is mine…contact my lawyers…. ;)
    you can cut with the prudent business stuff…doesn’t wash for a team who spent $50m to talk to a player with no major league experience…stop hiding behind the economy…the sox will find enough fannies to fill fenway at the highest ticket prices in the majors, though some folks may drink a beer in the parking lots rather than pay $12 at the park…marketing and tv revenue will be as high as ever…a vow of poverty is not why these moves were made…

    dc January 14, 2009, 11:32 pm

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