Rumor Mongering

Speculation really heated up yesterday over the Red Sox' alleged pursuit of an impact arm or bat as the trade deadline approaches. The Sox were tied to all three major names out there, in varying degrees of seriousness.

We promise we haven't made any of this up, in honor of the American soldier:
 
Roy Halladay
 
The Blue Jays last week asked Boston for Clay Buchholz, Casey Kelly and "another top prospect," according to the Providence Journal. Theo Epstein isn't inclined to part with either of them. "It appears the Red Sox and Yankees are both out of contention at this point."

Ken Rosenthal says the Phillies are the team most likely to land the Jays ace, "followed by the Red Sox," and that while the Sox are "in" on Halladay, "their priority is finding offensive help," such as…

Victor Martinez (and Cliff Lee?)

Twitter has really changed the way the trade deadline is going down. One suspects there won't even be the five- to 10-minute delay after the deadline to find out about a blockbuster like there was last year in the Manny/Bay deal.

A tweet yesterday from Ed Price at AOLFanHouse said the Sox have told people "they are trying to pull off something huge" and references Joel Sherman's earlier report saying the Sox are attempting a deal that not only includes Victor Martinez but Cliff Lee, as well. Sherman says the Sox are still not wanting to include Buchholz even in a package such as that one.

Jon Heyman, meanwhile, tweeted that the Martinez talks have stalled — which would seem right if the Sox are still refusing to include Buchholz — and that instead their No. 1 focus has shifted to…

Adrian Gonzalez

Turns out the Padres aren't so adamant about keeping him, after all. Perhaps the Sox figure if they're going to give up Buchholz-plus for Martinez, why not give up Buchholz-plus-plus for a younger, better hitter in Gonzalez?

Everyone agrees the Padres would have to be blown away to give up Gonzalez, but that's a step back from previous reports that they were turning down all offers or simply refusing to discuss him.

We all know Epstein covets Gonzalez in a major way. His youth and production would make Lars Anderson expendable, and if the Sox put together enough prospects (Buchholz, Anderson, Masterson, two others), would they be able to get Jake Peavy included as Buchholz replacement/salary dump? It would certainly be "something huge."

63 comments… add one

  • Would love either option 2 or 3. Seeing Martinez hit that homer this am on Sportscenter I couldn’t help but think “…wouldn’t that be nice!”

    DUFF - SF July 28, 2009, 9:01 am
  • I have visions of Adrian Gonzalez making the monster his bitch. Yes, please!

    Matt July 28, 2009, 9:30 am
  • I have a feeling the Sox are going to trade one of their key players: Youk, Bay, Ortiz, or Papelbon. That would certainly be something huge.
    I really don’t see Halladay getting traded at all, let alone to the AL East. And I doubt the Sox get AGonz 2.0, though I would LOVE to have him. AGonz + Peavy? Holy crap that would be amazing. Though Peavy has a no-trade clause IIRC, and he’s said that he wouldn’t want to pitch in Boston.
    I think a VMart/Lee deal is most likely. I’m not too huge on Martinez though: since May 22 he’s hitting .194, with an OPS of .622. And for some reason Cliff Lee feels a lot like Carl Pavano/Matt Clement to me.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 9:48 am
  • I wonder if the Sox would include Dice-K in any trade – it seems as though he’s fallen quite out of favor, and the recent article critical of the organization won’t do him any favors when he’s on his time-out in FL.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2009, 10:11 am
  • Why in the world would SD ever trade Adrian Gonzalez? He is signed through 2010, with a club option for 2011…that club option is for a WHOPPING 5.5 Million. He will make just 4.75 Million next season. It just makes no sense. The Padres have a 1B prospect, who is currently playing the OF, in Kyle Blanks. Who by the way is ranked higher than Lars Anderson in any and all mid season prospect rankings. If you (not you Paul, speaking in general) are going to say well maybe he can bring back 3-4 prospects, I’d still say no. Why? He’s a baby with a ceiling that seems endless and he’s under YOUR control for 2 more seasons very cheap. This is a move that could wait until next trade deadline. As for adding in Peavy, that would be nuts. Trading Peavy and Gonzalez in the same trade would cause any Padre fans that exist to make a make exodus.

    John - YF July 28, 2009, 10:19 am
  • Though Peavy has a no-trade clause IIRC, and he’s said that he wouldn’t want to pitch in Boston.
    Peavy has listed the Sox and Yanks as the only for-sure AL teams to whom he’d approve a trade.
    In response to John’s points:
    1. The Padres aren’t going anywhere now, and they have no prospects to get anywhere for the length of Gonzalez’s contract. If trading him gets them those high-end prospects, they can start rebuilding while saving some money — particularly if a higher-cost player like Peavy is in the deal.
    2. Whether Blanks is a better prospect than Anderson is a matter of some debate. Keith Law says he has talked to literally zero scouts who prefer Blanks to Anderson.
    3. There are no Padre fans left; the diehards that are still following the team likely know that whenever the Padres are a successful franchise again it will be without Gonzalez and Peavy. If the deal brings back significant high-end talent, I think the few fans they have left would be the ones who would at least recognize the necessity of such a move.
    As it is, studies show that specific players don’t put fans in the seats. Winning does. Kevin Towers is a smart GM, and I think he realizes this, which is why we’re seeing SD back away from their insistence that Gonzalez isn’t going to be traded.
    Now, the odds are certainly against such a deal working out. But I don’t think it’s impossible anymore, and the Sox are certainly doing the right things to make sure the avenue is thoroughly explored.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 10:30 am
  • Dw, I doubt Daisuke would be included since the Red Sox have invested so much money in him. Plus not many people would want him, to be honest.
    I agree with John: if I’m the Padres I hold onto AGonz and rebuild the team around him. He seems to have a Pujols-like ceiling.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 10:31 am
  • http://projectprospect.com/article/2009/07/02/top-50-prospect-list
    I will search for the others that I have read.
    I am not arguing against trading AG period, I am just saying NOW makes little sense. They could trade him next season and do the same thing that you suggested above. With Latos, Blanks, Antonelli, they have some talent that can contribute next year. That’s what will be sold to the Padres fans, by keeping Peavy and AG until at least next season’s deadline it will be a far easier sell to the fans. Plus why trade Peavy while he is injured AND in the same trade market as Halladay. He’s under team control through 2013, this is not a move that has to or should be done now. Sell high, buy low…for a team that needs to rebuild it makes little sense to trade these players now. You can spin it however you want, if the Padres were your team there is no possible way you could be arguing that same point. Next year yes, now, no.

    John - YF July 28, 2009, 10:43 am
  • As it is, studies show that specific players don’t put fans in the seats.
    Except A-Rod and the Yankees in 2004. The Sox were probably apart of that upsurge too, but A-Rod was involved there too.
    I agree with Paul’s analysis (if Martinez why not something better?). But the problem with Gonzalez is he’s young, cheap, and, most importantly, from the area. Even causal fans remember that. I don’t see how the Sox don’t bare the farm to get him. And that’s the real problem with missing out on Teixeira and why the Yanks were so willing to win that bidding.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 10:45 am
  • There were some interesting quotes yesterday, I forget where, from Shapiro lamenting how high teams are valuing prospects. And I think he’s right. If the Sox think they can land a top package without giving up the best of their farm, then no deal will be made, especially since all the players being discussed can just as easily be moved this off-season. None are free agents.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 10:50 am
  • My mistake on Keith Law saying he hadn’t talked to any scouts who preferred Blanks to Anderson. That was actually Jim Callis of Baseball Prospectus. Courtesy SOSH, here’s a podcast that discusses Blanks vs. Anderson. Blanks apparently can also be transitioned to the outfield.
    What is the advantage of keeping Gonzalez and Peavy until next year’s deadline? The Padres will not win anything between now and then, but Gonzalez and Peavy’s prices are unlikely to be any higher — and there is risk that they will in fact be lower.
    Gonzalez is unhappy in San Diego. I guess it’s debatable, but I think it’s unlikely he will stay past 2011. Certainly the Padres will not be able to afford the salary he could command in free agency, and he would have to take a steep discount to stay. So rebuilding around him strikes me as not a likely option.
    Peavy would be easier to build around because he’s under control through 2013, but he’s also expensive and in decline, and the Padres need to clear his salary.
    So what do you do? Wait a year just because you can and risk injury to Gonzalez and further injury to Peavy or wind up with less of a package (the Twins say hello) because the neediest teams filled their holes elsewhere, or do you trade now, when a team with big-time prospects and a big-time need is knocking on the door?
    Either way, the rebuilding must be done, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t start sooner rather than later, painful as it would be to give up Gonzalez.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 11:15 am
  • Blanks is playing the outfield now for the big club, he’s actually been hitting the ball well as of late. Problem is he’s a BIG dude, Prince Fielder big, so the OF should not be his final stop.
    “What is the advantage of keeping Gonzalez and Peavy until next year’s deadline?”
    Two fold, one you get to put a team on the field in 2010 that features Latos, Peavy, Antonelli, Blanks, AG. A few inexpensive additions through FA and you give your fan base something to look forward to in 2010. Two, Peavy’s value is not where it could be next trade deadline or even this off season. He’s injured and while I am sure he is still thought of highly, his value cannot be as high as it could be when he’s healthy and doing what Jake Peavy does.
    You do take a risk with injury, but if Peavy is injured now and they are trying to trade him, what’s the difference next season if it happened again?
    I don’t know, you see it your way and I see it mine. I guess we can agree to disagree.

    John - YF July 28, 2009, 11:24 am
  • Yeah, I see your point, John. The question for Towers is likely: Will I see the prospects the Red Sox are offering if I wait until next deadline?
    The chances are pretty good the answer is no. Those prospects will either be used to bring back Martinez or someone else, or Buchholz will soldify his role in Boston, or the prospects will still be there, but the Sox will have filled their biggest hole via free agency and will be seeking something else at the next deadline. He may then be able to get a comparable package from another team. Or he might not. The one sure thing he has is what the Sox offer right now, and if it’s as good as he thinks he could get next year, I think he’d take it.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 11:30 am
  • Who says they have to wait a full year, Paul? They could simply wait until the winter meetings. If they chose to wait until then, Gonzalez and Peavey would still be the best hitter and pitcher available.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 11:31 am
  • By the way, just to put my off-season lament into perspective:
    Which would you rather have?:
    a) Adam Dunn, Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson, Dan Bard, and Casey Kelly; or
    b) Adrian Gonzalez
    Sure, sure, Gonzalez may still be getting better but will the difference be so huge as to make up for the loss of all that talent?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 11:38 am
  • got to wonder how much PetCo Park makes Peavy look good as well. Kind of like the Coors Field effect for hitters

    dw (sf) July 28, 2009, 11:42 am
  • Adam Dunn is a terrible left fielder who is an even worse first baseman. The man is a DH. He is, of course, having an amazing year with the bat (25 homers and even hitting .278 with a career-high OPS). He’s been worth $5.8 million, his 26.2 runs of offense nearly wiped out by his negative 22.2 runs of defense (before subtracting an additional 5.3 runs for positional adjustment). The data really show that Dunn has been a below-average left fielder this season.
    By comparison, Jason Bay has not been as good offensively (17.9 runs), but has been much better on defense (-10.4 runs). Subtracting 4.4 runs for positional adjustment leaves Bay above average, and adding in replacement value makes him worth $7.4 million so far this year — more than Dunn. And at first base, Kevin Youkilis is worth $14.4 million so far, much higher than Dunn. The only place where the Sox would improve with Dunn would be if he were at first and Youkilis at third, replacing Lowell ($1.8 million), but that means Dunn is playing even worse defense at a position that subtracts even more in adjustments, and the Sox would then not be in a position to acquire Gonzalez.
    Gonzalez has been basically the same as Dunn on offense (24.0 runs) and average on defense (2.0 runs). So, not surprisingly, he’s worth quite a bit more — $14.6 million, nearly three times higher than Dunn.
    So Dunn would not be as good as Bay in the position where he is best, and not nearly as good as Gonzalez in the position where he is worst. He would provide only a marginal upgrade in total value over the current, ineffective Youkilis-Lowell combo.
    In short, yes, the difference is big enough to be well worth the loss in talent. It’s not even a close call.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 11:53 am
  • Except, Paul, you didn’t do the math on the talent lost. Going by fangraphs, Buchholz has already been worth $7.5 million in only 108 inning. Bard has been worth $3.5 million in less than 30 innings.
    Now project that value through the rest of their cost-controlled years. And that’s leaving out the other top prospects that will be needed to complete the deal.
    You can’t compare Dunn to Gonzalez in isolation because that’s not on the table.
    It’s obvious you want this deal. But you’d be handicapping the organization for years to make it work.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 12:02 pm
  • Also, one note on fangraphs and a player like Dunn: They’re docking him for his defense, rightly, but it’s not like his team has any other choice. As a DH, his best “position”, he’s worth $15 million/year. Don’t you guys also have a hole there? If Dunn were your DH, it would be easier to stomach Lowell.
    That said, why has no one suggested moving Lowell to 1B?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 12:09 pm
  • Neyer makes the same point on value and Freddy Sanchez. He’s just about worth the $8 million his contract calls for. He’s not also worth the prospects it would take to get him.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 12:15 pm
  • Buchholz has already been worth $7.5 million in only 108 inning. Bard has been worth $3.5 million in less than 30 innings.
    Buchholz and Bard will not both be included in a deal. Even if they were, simply projecting their value thus far over the next five or six years does not take into account the likelihood that they won’t even make it to five or six years, or will provide negative value, or will simply be replacement level, or will provide value but not as much as they have to this point. Maybe someone knows how to factor in all those percentages and chances, but I do not. Maybe Buchholz becomes a Hall of Famer, but then we’d have to weigh that against Adrian Gonzalez’s effects on the Red Sox in 2009, 2010 and 2011, if not beyond. If he becomes the centerpiece of a championship-calber lineup for the next five years, no one is going to complain about what Buchholz does in San Diego (see Ramirez for Beckett).
    The Sox do not have a hole at DH because Ortiz is there. That might mean they have a hole in the lineup, but if you know a way to unload the face of the franchise and the No. 1 fan favorite for anyone other than Albert Pujols, please let me know. It might not be the correct baseball move, but Adam Dunn replacing David Ortiz is simply not going to happen, and talking about it nonstop for eight straight months isn’t going to make it so. There’s no place for Dunn on the Red Sox, and there never has been.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 12:28 pm
  • Dunn could fill in ably at LF/1B/DH. you also forget that LF in Fenway is the easiest OF position in all of the sport. And since their offense has struggled significantly this year, it’s a big stretch to say he has no place on your team especially with his performance.
    As for the values, that will be exactly why the Sox don’t make the deal and they won’t if Buchholz and Bard or Bowden aren’t included. Teams now know that six years of cost-controlled, even average, production is worth tens of millions. That’s what you’re giving up times three or four players.
    Now even as you assume the worst for the prospects, or some unrealistic best, who’s to say what will happen to Gonzalez in three years. If he’s already an average fielder, is he a DH in 2011?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 12:41 pm
  • If he’s already an average fielder, is he a DH in 2011?
    You’re better than that, Rob. An average fielder at 27 is an average fielder at 30. Also, projecting a baseline performance going forward is much easier when a player has an established level through multiple seasons and is just now entering his prime.
    Prospects are just that, prospects, and I simply don’t know how they will do. I have some guesses, but they’re not nearly as good as they are for a player with Gonzalez’s track record. It wasn’t long ago that Bard’s career looked to be over, and that Buchholz looked incapable of pitching at the big-league level. Now they’re going to be worth “tens of millions”? You don’t know that any more than I do.
    And since their offense has struggled significantly this year, it’s a big stretch to say he has no place on your team especially with his performance.
    This assumes the Sox knew David Ortiz would tank for the first two months of the season, which they didn’t, and that Dunn would by any stretch be an improvement over the troika of Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell — which he is not, as the numbers above show. His inability to field any position left him without a place on the Red Sox, which is why he wasn’t acquired. I believe I’ve told you this at least five times since last November, and even though the numbers are proving what I told you in the offseason — that Dunn is worse than Bay in left, worse than Youkilis at first, and not much better than Lowell, when you account for forcing Dunn to play first — you continue to drag it up as some sort of blunder that he’s not playing in Boston. I think I’ve said all I need to say on that particular topic.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 12:55 pm
  • I think I said an average player, controlled for six MLB years, is worth tens of millions. And that’s exactly what Shapiro was lamenting – the fact that teams now realize this. We can argue about whether any of Buchholz, Bard, Bowden, Kalish, Anderson, Kelly will be average players. But in a big package, I wouldn’t bet against one or two becoming productive major leaguers. Even if only one does that more than wipes out any value difference between Gonzalez and Dunn. That was my point even as you tried to make it Dunn vs. Gonzalez.
    My only point on Gonzalez is we have no idea what will become of him. I know from having watched Mattingly that 1Bs age very quickly. Todd Helton looked like a sure bet to earn his huge contract. How’d that turn out?
    Everyone knew last year Ortiz was slipping. The Sox somehow didn’t? And with his defense, Dunn is an improvement over Lowell, his own defense included. He was cheaper too – in AAV and length. And if Dunn were really as bad as you’re saying he wouldn’t have been sought after by multiple NL teams over the last few years. He’s not great but his bat makes up the difference. And with flexibility you could have kept Lowell rested instead of suffering through his own putrid defense.
    If you go back and read the archives, my argument for Dunn was exactly the uncertainty of Ortiz and Lowell going forward. Now you want to trade half of your top 10 prospects to get a 1B, but you’re unwilling to say I was right? It doesn’t really matter, but the performance of Ortiz and Lowell plus Sox’ actions with LaRoche and now these rumors prove I was.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 1:09 pm
  • Also, if you asked most SFs, maybe even here, without skins in this particular argument, who they would rather have at 1B right now – Dunn or LaRoche, what do you think they’d say?
    I ask that knowing SFs are among the most knowledgeable in the sport.
    I was serious earlier. Why haven’t the Sox discussed Lowell to 1B? He may not be great, but his bat is still better than LaRoche. Somehow benching a vet is less offensive to them than asking they change their position?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 1:19 pm
  • I ran ran an analysis of when players peak age-wise over on my new blog that show why I think that the Sox are not interested in Halladay, but would be thrilled to have Gonzales. Also, I included a graph that shows why Brian Cashman is so bad at his job, which should be fun for all us Red Sox fans. The link is below, and I’d be excited if you would leave some comments on it.
    http://freepedro.com/2009/07/on-trading-prospects-and-signing-long-term-contracts/

    Jason July 28, 2009, 1:44 pm

  • Off-peak doesn’t mean suck. Half of ARod might be still more valuable than tons of other players. It’s not a great signing, but it doesn’t make Cashman awful.
    I mean, if the Yanks just win once or twice during the span, it’ll all be worth it..

    Lar July 28, 2009, 1:51 pm
  • > I am not arguing against trading AG period
    Latest asking price is a bag of rocks and a 7-year-old piece of bazooka joe. No takers yet. –ag

    attackgerbil July 28, 2009, 1:51 pm
  • That’s a great post, Jason. But, and as no defender of Cashman, you dinging him for spending money foolishly is like dinging Donald Trump for the same.
    And the Yankees do spend money foolishly. But when it’s sloshing around in the owner’s pockets, I have no trouble with that. I would have preferred Dunn over Teixeira and Hughes over Burnett, even now. But it’s not my money. I give them a few hundred dollars a year and get hundreds of hours of entertainment. Even if they spent less and cut ticket prices it might save me all of twenty bucks.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 1:53 pm
  • Thanks Rob, would you mind posting the comment on our site? We don’t have many commenters and I’d be psyched to get some commenting going.

    Jason July 28, 2009, 2:00 pm
  • Rob – you’d prefer Dunn over Teixeira? all things equal and factoring in defense. Wowsers.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2009, 2:08 pm
  • Jason, those are some cool graphs and data, but how can you argue that Halladay is that far past his prime? His overall stats have improved for the last three years, and he has shown no sign of slowing down. Some players have that longevity: look at Randy Johnson, whose best 6-year stretch was from age 35-40.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 2:19 pm
  • “you dinging him for spending money foolishly is like dinging Donald Trump for the same. ”
    Exactly. Cashman’s job is not to free up Yankee payroll. In fact, the only way he’d be doing his job exceptionally poorly is if he couldn’t make a move because his previous signings prevented it. They haven’t.
    Cashman is truly exceptional at trading. For all his history of trading for established stars, or for depth, the young non-established player he traded that panned out the best was Mike Lowell. The next best guy? Nick Johnson, maybe? That’s very impressive, and exactly what the Yankees, and all their gobs of cash, need. You simply can’t spend $200 million more effectively than others. It defies the definition of spending that much money. And since it hasn’t really affected the Yankees’ ability to go and get someone better (although you could argue that playing a guy like Giambi over a first baseman they could acquire but can’t because he’s taking up roster space can hinder the team), it’s hard to say Cashman did a poor job in that respect.

    AndrewYF July 28, 2009, 2:19 pm
  • Cashman is truly exceptional at not trading.
    There, corrected that for you. I really think he’s been gun shy ever since he got burned by Weaver and then Vazquez in quick sucession (by the way, Ted Lilly has been decent enough too and they signed Igawa instead of Lilly).
    Cashman’s MO over the last few seasons are trades only when he could use his deep pockets – Abreu, Nady, Swisher, etc.
    When’s the last time he got a pre-arb player?
    I also thought that Giambi was going to be a lesson in not clogging up the roster with expensive, past prime stars. Then he went out and signed Teixeira. I’m not expecting he’ll earn his salary in the last few years of the deal, but I do expect he’ll be clogging the roster when better talent might be available (e.g., Montero).

    Rob July 28, 2009, 2:28 pm
  • I should have been clearer. After 7 or 8 years, Cashman figured out that he could get burned the worst by trading away a future star, esp. in NY. Kazmir prevent Phillips from ever getting another GM job. As Goldman recently put it, paraphrasing, “Flags may fly forever, but traded stars are never forgotten”. Even now, it’s a decent debate whether the Sox would give back Beckett and a championship for Hanley.
    So I think Cashman now knows the best way to improve the team is to invest in the farm and sign free agents as necessary. The trades then end up filling gaps rather than moving unneeded talent for an open position. The Yankee farm, for instance, has decent pitching and catching depth. But they won’t move it.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 2:36 pm
  • Wow, Dice-K is actually blaming the Sox shoulder regimen for his troubles.
    It’s an interesting argument.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 2:40 pm
  • dw –
    It’s about the contracts, more than anything. I think signing past-peak players for more than four or five years is asking for trouble.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 2:41 pm
  • At least the pitching coach knows how much they’ve invested in Dice-K:
    “We’ve got a $103 million investment in a guy that we’ve got to not only protect, but put him in a best situation to have that success we just outlined,” Farrell said.
    :)

    Rob July 28, 2009, 2:47 pm
  • I just saw that too Rob. It’s very interesting: the training regimens here in the US are all pretty standard, and nearly every team’s is the same. So it’s not as if the Red Sox were reckless by asking him to participate in their programs.
    Apparently the key thing Daisuke wanted to do was nagekomi, which are marathon throwing sessions that he thinks builds up arm strength. Considering where they’re at now, I think they should let him do it his way and see how things work out.
    Daisuke says that the WBC played no part in his arm though. Surely it played some part.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 2:49 pm
  • So Rob, Farrell is not trustworthy when critiquing Buchholz’ fastball command, but he’s the source to rely on regarding the value paid for a pitcher? ;-)

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 2:50 pm
  • Atheose, that would have been a decent way to tweak me but an investment is actually an objective measure in contrast to a view of command that doesn’t match the fact that his mL peripherals haven’t moved.
    Otherwise, I agree. Let him train however he wants to. If he doesn’t believe in their approach, he’s not going to put as much into it. And they’re saying he didn’t this past off-season. Why keep fighting the guy?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 2:54 pm
  • “Kazmir prevent Phillips from ever getting another GM job.”
    I think Phillips’ ESPN career has prevented him from getting another gig. He didn’t trade Kazmir although everyone seems to think he did. History is an agreed upon fiction, so Duquette and ownership don’t get the blame.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2009, 2:57 pm
  • I can’t believe the thought process of Daisuke. He did get the track record of Japanese pitchers here correct though – the third year slump.
    ON another note – Sox got Brian Anderson from the White Sox. Wonder if there’s something going on with Rocco.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2009, 3:00 pm
  • By the way, forcing a guy to follow one regimen is inherently not respecting the culture he came from (and was raised with). If anything, it seems they’re blaming that culture for his troubles. No surprise then when he turns the tables.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:01 pm
  • My bad, Nick. You’re probably right about ESPN.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:04 pm
  • Rob said “It’s about the contracts, more than anything. I think signing past-peak players for more than four or five years is asking for trouble.”
    that is very true. Seems like the sox are hesitant to go more than 3-4 years depending on age. The Yankees, not so much.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2009, 3:07 pm
  • I still maintain that, despite being great indicators of a pitcher’s ability, BB/9 and K/9 do not tell the full story. The decision was made after spring training, and do we even have his numbers from spring training? No, but we do have Farrell’s assessment.
    John Farrell, whose sole job is to evaluate pitchers, is a trustworthy source when it comes to the reason a pitcher is being held back. He’s always been very frank with the media regarding minor-leaguers, especially with Lester back in 2006/2007. There are plenty of organizational members who are quick to give broad, vague answers to the media (see: Dave Magadan), but Farrell isn’t one of them. Yeah, I’ll believe his testimony, especially when Buchholz himself has corroborated it.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 3:12 pm
  • The Boston Red Sox have offered at least three players – no-hit pitcher Clay Buchholz(notes), Triple-A pitching prospect Michael Bowden(notes) and top outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland – to the Toronto Blue Jays for ace Roy Halladay(notes), according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

    sam-YF July 28, 2009, 3:14 pm
  • See, Atheose, I’m a scientist. I may have beliefs but when the data comes in there’s no ignoring it. Neither Buchholz’s walks or strikeouts have changed this year. That doesn’t mean there have been no changes. It just means that command isn’t it.
    Maybe all he needed was to work on certain pitches in certain situations. That’s one fuzzy meaning of command I could buy and still fit with what the data shows. But, and here I’ll pat myself on the back twice today, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have done it in the majors and better than what Penny and Smoltz have given.
    My point was he had nothing left to work on in AAA. His performance this year suggests strongly that interpretation is correct. The “command” he needed seems specific to the majors.
    Meanwhile, what’s Farrell’s background? From the way you talk about him it’s like he’s been a pitching coach for decades.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:19 pm
  • Sources, Sam?

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 3:21 pm
  • That still doesn’t seem like enough for Halladay, especially not for the premium Ricciardi says is required to trade him in the division.
    For the Yankees, it would be like Hughes, McAllister, and Medchill.
    I do like the way the Sox think however. If they’re putting Buchholz in front of Ricciardi, they’re responding to reports and putting the best pitching prospect of all the offers up-front then adding just enough to make him think about it.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:26 pm
  • sam-YF July 28, 2009, 3:31 pm
  • My bad, found it Sam.
    Clay Buchholz AAA stats:
    2008: 3.5 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, 2.53 K/BB
    2009: 2.7 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, 2.97 K/BB
    His walks and strikeouts are both down, not by much, but by enough that it’s clear they’ve been working on him throwing strikes instead of nibbling around the plate.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 3:32 pm
  • New post on the reported Halladay offer.
    Farrell in his interview with WEEI this morning notes that the Sox in fact did not ask Matsuzaka to change his regimen when he came over, and this jives somewhat with my memory, that the Sox were making some changes but only so far as Matsuzaka felt comfortable going. I know they did limit his between-start throwing.
    I would argue the biggest change Matsuzaka underwent was actually throwing every five games and not once a week, plus throwing more high-stress pitches because he had trouble adjusting to the difference in baseballs, smaller strike zone, better hitters, etc.
    My impression was that the Sox were using the fact that Matsuzaka’s arm fatigued as an excuse to say, “Ok, we tried it your way. Now we’re doing it our way.” It’s strange that he blames his troubles on a conditioning program he’s really only been asked to fully adopt this season — and which power pitchers from Jonathan Papelbon to Josh Beckett to Brad Penny have praised with saviing/extending/maintaining their careers.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 3:33 pm
  • what’s even more interesting Paul are the reports he (Daisuke) didn’t bother to do the off-season conditioning that the sox asked him to. I think they’re peeved at him, and he’ll stay in FL time-out until he learns to play nice.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2009, 3:40 pm
  • Atheose, that’s called cherry-picking. Why don’t you post 2007 as well? I’m going to guess because it doesn’t fit your theory.
    From that report, Paul, they asked him to follow the program in the off-season as well.
    I’ll buy Papelbon and Penny. But when did Beckett have shoulder trouble?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:40 pm
  • I left the 2007 numbers off because the only ones that matter are last year to this year, which is what Farrell and the Sox would evaluate when deciding whether or not to start him in the 2009 rotation (though they support Farrell’s assertion). Would the Sox say “well his numbers were good two years ago, so despite his lack of fastball command here in spring training we’re going to slate him as our #5 starter to start the season.”

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 3:44 pm
  • And frankly, there’s no guarantee that the numbers would show anything at all. If Buchholz’ fastball is right down the middle, and Farrell wants to work on locating it better at the corners, then where in the numbers is that going to show up? It’s not.
    Look, I’ve said several times that K/9 and BB/9 are great. But they don’t paint a full picture, especially for a 24 year old top prospect who is an ace at AAA and has recently struggled at the MLB level.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 3:51 pm
  • The 2007 numbers though show he’s actually lost a lot of “command” in getting batters to miss. That’s what command means to me any ways.
    Meanwhile, are you seriously taking a .44 difference in K/BB to argue a “lack of fastball command” before the season. Ever heard of normal variation?
    Meanwhile, didn’t you just say you’d rather trust the pitching coach and player over numbers? Now you want to over interpret those same numbers?

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:53 pm
  • Here’s a story about it, fwiw. Page 2 references Beckett, and also adds quotes from Schilling praising the program.
    Matsuzaka is either saying that Japanese people have different shoulders than American/white people, or the translation is obscuring that he’s saying his houlder responds differently to the program because of the way it was built up in the Japanese system. I’m presuming the latter.

    Paul SF July 28, 2009, 3:53 pm
  • To clarify, I’m saying that there are plenty of possible scenarios that support Farrell’s assertion. I don’t know, because I don’t watch Buchholz the way he does, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because that’s his job. You, however, are saying that you definitively know that Buchholz should have been pitching at the MLB level since April, when you’re only looking at a few stats, which are good but do not paint the full picture.

    Atheose July 28, 2009, 3:54 pm
  • Those numbers don’t paint a full picture. But they do a great job sketching the major outlines.
    The Yankees could have also said something lame about Hughes’ fastball command. Instead they stuck him in the pen (for too long) and watched him dominate. He’ll have to learn again once he’s in the rotation again, but that’s what young pitchers do. There is no sufficient preparation for facing 9 MLB hitters three or four times on the same day.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 3:58 pm
  • Thanks Paul. I assume it’s the latter too. I know I trust the Sox more, but if the player believes differently, the best option might just be to trade him once he’s healthy.

    Rob July 28, 2009, 4:06 pm

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