Quick Hits

A lot of happenings in Fort Myers all of a sudden:

  • Julio Lugo will undergo surgery for a possible torn meniscus. You certainly don't wish injuries on anyone, and I've been a bigger Lugo defender than most, but this is certainly a blessing in not much disguise for the Sox, who have insisted on having a tryout for a job that was clearly won last season by Jed Lowrie, whose chances of being a downgrade from Lugo's performance on offense and defense are below zero (don't ask how, they just are).
  • Dustin Pedroia should be OK after tests show he actually has a strained ab, not a strained oblique, which is currently the Most Feared Injury in Baseball. This is another piece of ammo for those who think the WBC is at the wrong time. Sure, it's an injury he could have gotten in spring training, and he pulled the muscle hitting soft tosses (not exactly swinging from his heels at a live pitch), but he also said he maybe tried to get to 100 percent too soon to play in the tournament. Love this quote though: “When you have a physique like this, when you’re shredded and everything, something might happen.”
  • Talks between the Sox and Jason Bay have been put on hold because of the "unusual marketplace" for corner outfielders. This makes no sense to me, except as a convenient way of blaming the market for the two sides simply being unable to agree on a dollar figure. The Red Sox don't really have much room for wiggling here. Either they sign Bay now for presumably less than he would get as a free agent (surely he understands there would have to be some discount, right?) or they sign him in the offseason at a premium because he'll be the only quality hitter on the market after the Yankees sign Matt Holliday. Unless they want to move Youkilis to left and debut Lars Anderson at first.
  • Oh, and Jon Lester's extension is finally official. No formal word on the terms yet. 
10 comments… add one
  • I wouldn’t say it’s a blessing in not much disguise. Lowrie and Lugo were going to be on the roster anyway. Now, replacing Lugo, you have an even worse player in Nick Green. Imagine if Lowell goes down with an injury, not an unlikely proposition. Now you have either Lowrie at third and Green at short, or Bailey or some AAA player at first and Youkilis at third. Now imagine if Pedroia’s oblique strain lingers. Now the only proven major leaguer in the infield is Youkilis, and then I get to taunt about Teixeira. That’s not a good thing no matter how you slice it. Also, Lugo is quickly becoming one of the least tradable useless players in the game.

    AndrewYF March 15, 2009, 1:42 pm
  • Now, replacing Lugo, you have an even worse player in Nick Green.
    This is the wrong way to look at this. Lugo is being replaced by Lowrie, and Green would be replacing Alex Cora. Lowrie/Green > Lugo/Cora, if only for the improvement from Lugo to Lowrie.
    Imagine if Lowell goes down with an injury, not an unlikely proposition. Now you have either Lowrie at third and Green at short, or Bailey or some AAA player at first and Youkilis at third. Now imagine if Pedroia’s oblique strain lingers.
    If Lowell and Pedroia go down with injuries, the Red Sox are in trouble regardless of who is their starting shortstop. Reciting a list of “imagine if” injuries to a series of key players is not an argument for keeping a subpar player as a starter when you have a better one to replace him with. In fact, it’s an argument FOR fielding the best possible lineup, regardless of who is a veteran or not. If this injury ensures that Lowrie opens the season as a starter, then it’s a blessing for the Red Sox, though obviously unfortunate for Lugo.

    Paul SF March 15, 2009, 2:29 pm
  • I’m actually somewhat saddened to hear about Lugo’s injury, because he has been tearing it up in Spring Training. I love Lowrie, but was hoping we would at least get something valuable out of Lugo during his stay. Bleh.
    That quote from Pedroia just made my day though.

    Atheose March 15, 2009, 6:30 pm
  • Sox have options on Bay. They can afford him at the higher rate but why pay that now? If the market doesn’t recover, they can get a much lower rate. Or, like you nicely point out, Youkilis and Anderson. Heck, Manny could opt out and be back on the market! Actually, if so, the Yanks could be all over him (with Damon and Matsui gone and Swisher in RF) leaving the scraps to Holliday and Bay. Even Reddick could be much closer.
    I used to think the Sox had to lock up Bay. But with what Dunn and Burrell signed for there’s really no reasojn to rush into anything esp. if Bay thinks he should get much more.

    Rob March 15, 2009, 7:37 pm
  • “This is the wrong way to look at this. Lugo is being replaced by Lowrie, and Green would be replacing Alex Cora. Lowrie/Green > Lugo/Cora, if only for the improvement from Lugo to Lowrie.”
    That’s assuming Lowrie doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training. Are you really saying that would have happened? Nick Green or Angel Chavez over Lowrie? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I very much doubt the Sox would make roster moves just to get Lowrie a third season in AAA, unless you don’t think too much of the Sox FO. I’m not talking about 2008 vs. 2009. I’m talking about 2009 with Lugo and 2009 without Lugo. There is nothing at all good about losing a player, who is then being replaced by a worse player. It’s Lugo/Lowrie vs. Lowrie/(Green/Chavez). Try and tell me the second group is better.
    It’s analogous to the Yankees losing Melky to an injury. Sure, Melky sucks and Gardner would be assured the CF job, but the Yankees simply lose depth, and Melky is replaced by a worse player.

    AndrewYF March 15, 2009, 8:22 pm
  • I’m on board with Andrew on this.
    Ideally, and this is certainly the way I thought the Sox FO was looking at it, Lugo would have been the starting SS, and Lowrie would have been available to play 3B to spell Lowell, SS to spell Lugo and 2B to spell Pedroia.
    Now we’ll probably get a better look at Nick Green than we wanted, and we’ll have to hope he can keep hitting like he’s in spring training.
    On another note, our favorite lefty Jon Lester is on the cover of this week’s Parade. http://www.parade.com/
    Whether I can bring myself to read that dreck is another story. If it’s insightful and contains any info I didn’t know, I’ll soil myself.

    I'mBillMcNeal March 15, 2009, 10:51 pm
  • Check that. I just read it.
    It was written by Peter Richmond.
    And although it didn’t have much new, it was well-done.

    I'mBillMcNeal March 15, 2009, 11:34 pm
  • Let’s just assume that guys are healthy, which is the best-case scenario (assuming worst-case scenarios involves all sorts of problems that none of us want to contemplate, for either of our teams). Lugo healthy and starting would seem to be what the Sox had in mind. I think the Sox may be better with a healthy Lowrie. In this case, the injury to Lugo makes the Sox stronger (to me) on a day-to-day-assuming-health basis.
    Once you start cascading hypothetical injuries every scenario takes a hit, obviously. But I’d rather the Sox have Lowrie starting than Lugo starting. In this way, in my own best-case scenario, the Sox are now fielding a better day-in/day-out lineup, and therefore stronger.
    If option #2 gets hurt, then, well, that’s rough. But what teams, even the richest, can get down to option #3 and still be ok? And what teams, with cascading injuries, ever really stay at their original, elite level?

    SF March 16, 2009, 7:08 am
  • That’s assuming Lowrie doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training. Are you really saying that would have happened?
    No, I’m comparing Opening Day 2008 to Opening Day 2009. If we want to compare year-end ’08 to Opening Day ’09, the comparison is Lowrie/Cora vs. Lowrie/Green. Which also will be an improvement, given by the end of the year Lowrie was playing with a broken hand.
    For his career, which consists basically of three years with 100+ at bats, Green has a 72 OPS+. Cora, meanwhile, has a career OPS+ of 75, and in the last three years, all with Boston, his OPS+ is 71. Julio Lugo’s OPS+ in his two years in Boston is 70. I’m unclear why we should simply accept that Lugo is a better option even than Green just because he’s having a great spring after two years of sustained mediocrity. As has been noted, Green is actually having an even BETTER spring.
    Using another metric, Fangraphs’ Win Values, Green for his career has been worth a half win above replacement — so he’s basically a replacement-level player, which makes sense given he’s a utility guy. In the last three years, Cora’s been worth 1.2 wins above replacement. And in the last two years, Lugo has been worth 1.5. So Lugo with the Sox has been worth one win more than Green has in his career. Since we’re discussing about a month of the season that Lugo will miss, that’s exactly a sixth of a win — or fewer than two runs.
    So losing Lugo for April costs the Sox basically nothing — heck, losing him for the season likely wouldn’t cost much of anything — but it does force the Sox to start the better player at shortstop rather than forcing Lowrie to a utility role, and that I would say more than makes up for the minimal step down from Lugo or Cora to Green.

    Paul SF March 16, 2009, 8:54 am
  • So losing Lugo for April costs the Sox basically nothing — heck, losing him for the season likely wouldn’t cost much of anything ………
    Well, assuming that we’re looking past the ten million dollar check they have to write him this year. I don’t think either of these guys are the answer to anything. I guess if you’re going to have a couple light hitting short stops, you might as well go with the one with better defense, so Lowrie is my pick, so yeah, I agree with your “blessing” qualification.

    Brad March 16, 2009, 9:40 am

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