General Red Sox

They Get Paid for This

"At the moment, assuming that the Red Sox sign Bay or Holliday and using no scientific methods, the 2010 Sox are likely to finish with somewhere in the vicinity of 87-92 wins".

That's from Tony Massarotti, spinning himself into a nonsensical conundrum wrapped in a cognitively dissonant hurricane nestled in a box of illogical tsunamis. (apologies to David Cross).

The 2010 Sox (who follow the 95-win 2009 Sox, and assuming a signing of Bay or Holliday and hypothetical health – no sure thing) will also get a full season from Victor Martinez, a full season from Marco Scutaro, a full season from Daisuke Matsuzaka, and a full season from Clay Buchholz.  They've lost Mike Lowell potentially (to be replaced with Beltre?), Takashi Saito, partial seasons from Alex Gonzalez and Billy Wagner.

Mazz isn't kidding about the "using no scientific methods" thing.

27 replies on “They Get Paid for This”

I will 1 up you Sam with the prediction, based on some very serious research I recently did (with beakers and bunsen burners–no big deal), that the Sox will win between 75-104 games next season. The beakers probably give me the edge Sam.

actually, reading the entire post, mazz makes a good point…theo continues to refer to ’10 as a “bridge” year, perhaps to be followed by another “bridge” year in ’11, while he waits for sox farm talent to develop, and more attractive free agents to become available…i know most sox fans are savvy enought to see through that “bridge” stuff and realize that he really means “rebuild”…the question is, how do you all feel about that?…no doubt that the sox can still be competitive, maybe even win the division, for the reasons sf mentioned, but i’d find it more than a little troubling if my gm were to start acting like next year is even a little bit throwaway before the season even starts…particularly troubling if my rival was taking steps to improve, without appearing to jeopardize it’s future…maybe it’s just theo’s way of sending a message to the fans and agents that this free agent class is not that good, and he is going to stay consistent with his philosophy not to give away prospects for a high profile player in a trade…as a result, breaking the news as gently as he can, he’s attempting to lower expectations [unnecessarily perhaps] for fans about next year…hopefully for you guys that bridge has solid underpinnings…

the question is, how do you all feel about that?
I am fine with it. But I am an “older” fan, and my expectations aren’t as cutthroat as perhaps some younger Sox fans and almost every Yankee fan I know (wink, sort of!), where it’s a World Series title or bust, and everything is measured against how one did against their hated rival. I see it this way: the Sox won 95 games in 2009. The Sox have already improved their SS position. While they have some holes (3b potentially/LF-bopper until further notice), let’s not forget they made a big move for THIS year when they acquired Victor Martinez, I think that is getting lost in the discussion. And, as mentioned in the post above, they have guys who will hopefully contribute full-time in 2010 who were effectively absent or just part-timers in 2009 (Dice-K, if healthy and effective, would be a massive addition to the team). I don’t see why the Sox won’t contend again with their front four. If that’s a “bridge” year to more young talent, more exciting players, then that is fine by me.
And this isn’t blind faith in the front office, who certainly make mistakes (and will continue to make mistakes, how can they not?). As I have mentioned countless times at this site, I love watching new players work their way up while I also advocate leveraging farm depth for established talent. The Sox want to do both when they can, and I appreciate that. But I do recognize that this decade has hyperbolized the “win at all costs” attitude of a lot of Sox fans, which is something new for our demographic. I don’t have that attitude, but I can see why many younger fans might.

The last time the Sox “rebuilt” was 2006. The season sucked, but the year after that we were pretty damn good.
I have no problem making a few short-term “sacrifices” in order for greater long-term success.

I agree with that sentiment, SF. I do not feel that it’s my birthright for my favorite baseball team to win every single year. I’ve never felt that way, and unfortunately, the last six years or so have left that taste of winning in our mouths, so the immediate demand is to win now in spite of all costs, which is just silly.
If the Red Sox find that there are no suitors they feel are worth the cost they are demanding, and decide to not do it, I’ll still be watching come July and August.
Of course I would love for them to sign Holliday, then trade for the other one, but in reality, I know that’s not going to happen, nor do I really want it to inside.
I cannot on one hand critisize one team for going above and beyond what any other team can do, then critsize my own team for not doing so. If they feel that Buchholz and Kelley are too much, then I trust they have their reasons. Of course, Yankee fans will call it “being cheap” or “misleading”, but in the end, I’m sure there are other reasons behind non-moves, and time will tell how that pans out.

I don’t know the Fenway situation but a part of the Yankee fans’ ‘bloodlust’ for championships comes fro the reality that the Yankee organization has continued to up the prices at the stadium (old and new) consistently since 1996 and so there is always a feeling that they “better win” games and spend alot of money because it seems pretty clear that they are making a ton of money.
Theoretically I know that there is a ceiling to spending in any organization, no matter how large. That ceiling is based on the single law of profits. I think that it is fine for Sox fans to be level-headed when it comes to the realities of sports probabilities (the Yankees have the best chance of winning a championship in any given year of any sports organization and that chance is roughly 25%). Just make sure you don’t become complacent and start buying expensive season tickets to Knicks games.

There’s a reason the Indians moved Martinez from behind the dish. And in a division with Crawford and now Granderson, he’s going to continue to get abused.
I think it has nothing to do with ticket prices. Yankee fans were as demanding in the 80s. No, I think it’s as simple as wanting to cheer for a winner and getting exactly that each and every year. Probably doesn’t help that Jeter is constantly harping on the end result determining the success of the season. Sure, we’re spoiled. But ownership continues to indulge. And no doubt they do so at the expense of their profits – on the order of tens of millions.

So, the Sox getting Martinez isn’t a big factor, Jeff? I’m failing to see what you’re trying to point on with regards to the direction of this thread.

Oh, okay. Well thanks for clarifying what you were saying there. I just wanted to make sure that is what you were saying. But, can’t the same be said for Melky v. Granderson? A quick look at the stats from last year (Melky’s only real season at the position) tells me that Granderson is giving you about what Melky gave you last year for much more money? I’m not sure how you look at Lowell v. Martinez in a vacume. Martinez replaced Varitek, while Lowell has yet to be replaced – isn’t that argument better suited for a time when the Red Sox have a third baseman?
I’m sure we can look at Granderson’s history (I’ll save you the time), and conclude that he’s a better player, but Martinez isn’t replacing Lowell, there is still yet a player to be named at some point that will do that, and that’s when we should compare the overall offensive losses and gains, correct?

I’m also not sure how Granderson’s 20 thefts are likely to “abuse” anyone, when several players already in the AL East were much, much better on the basepaths than that. It’s not like the guy is a prominent threat on the basepaths. In fact, it’s not even close. He had one year near thirty (26), and has been pretty average beyond that.

Rob, I mean Jeff, stop being intentionally obtuse. Martinez replaces and improves upon Jason Varitek’s offense AND defense.
Mazz’s point is sound — that IF the Sox are looking at 2010 as a “bridge” year, that isn’t really a bad thing. The problem is pretty much everything he says in support of that point, and it’s exacerbated by that absurd prediction.
Under his own scenario (in which the Sox sign Holliday), this is a team that will enter 2010 with new players at four of the nine offensive positions, with at least marginally improved offense and vastly improved defense at all of them (C, SS, 3B and LF). Leaving aside the usual prognostications of regression/rebounds from the returning hitters (which I think bode positively for the Sox), how does …
Replacing Jason Bay with Matt Holliday
Replacing Nick Green and Alex Gonzalez with Marco Scutaro
Replacing Jason Varitek with Victor Martinez
Replacing Mike Lowell with Adrian Beltre
… turn into losing three to eight games off the 2009 team?
This doesn’t even get into SF’s point, in which a healthy Daisuke Matsuzaka and a full season of Clay Buchholz are replacing the innings given last year to Brad Penny and John Smoltz (and some others, including decent ones from Buchholz and wretched ones from the injured Dice).
So far, the Sox have lost and not replaced the following potentially useful pieces from their 2009 team: Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, the former of whom had 13.2 innings in a Boston uniform and the latter of whom appeared in maybe five key situations all year long. Losing Wagner and Saito isn’t even enough to offset the gains from adding Holliday all by himself, never mind adding Scutaro and Martinez.
The other idiotic thing about that column is that he compares the Sox to the 2005/06 club on the sole basis that in ’05 and ’09 the Sox were swept out of the first round.
I don’t even need to look at the numbers to tell you that the 2005 Sox were ancient, and after I look at them I can tell you that their average age on both sides of the plate was the oldest in the history of the Boston Red Sox! Well, scratch that, the hitters were older… in 1905.
I mean, come on:
2005: 33
2009: 30
2005: 31
2009: 25
2005: 31
2009: 33
2005: 34
2009: 35
2005: 29
2009: 30
2005: 30
2009: 25
2005: 33
2009: 30
2005: 33
2009: 37/30
2005: 29
2009: 33
Starting rotation ordered by IP:
2005: 38-28-30-42-38
2008: 29-25-31-42-24
2005: 32
2009: 28
The Sox were only older in 2009 at right field (where Trot Nixon’s body was much more infirm than even J.D. Drew’s), shortstop (I had no idea Renteria was that young. Another reason to have kept him), and designated hitter. The ’09 Sox got drastically younger at catcher in midseason.
The pitching staff in 2005 was incredibly old, with Wakefield, Schilling and Wells all receiving significant innings. There was no young core like Ellsbury/Pedroia/Lester/Papelbon, all of whom were under 30 last year (with Martinez, Bay and Youkilis all at 30 even. The youngest starters were Renteria and Ortiz, with Mark Bellhorn the only other starter who wasn’t over 30. The two youngest starting pitchers were Bronson Arroyo and Wade Miller. So yeah.
In 2005, two-thirds of the starting lineup was over 30. In 2009, only four of the nine were. In 2005, 60 percent of the starting rotation was over 35. In 2009, 60 percent of the starting rotation was under 30.
This is not “scientific,” this is common sense. The 2009 club was a far superior team to the 2005 club, which looked old and beaten down the stretch. In retrospect, we should not have been surprised that the only way to revamp the team was to punt 2006 and use the two offseasons to get younger and let the core develop.
The 2010 Sox aren’t going to be perfect. They’ll have weaknesses. Filling two or even three spots in the lineup with free agents isn’t particularly efficient or imaginative. But they will be in a far better place than the 2006 club, and they’ll enter the season having added value to a 95-win team, not having subtracted it.

I don’t see how Martinez improves upon Varitek’s defense. They’re both pretty bad. And since this thread was about moves already made, talking about moves that might be made is irrelevant. Right now, I see them as a few games worse. Where they end up exactly depends on the moves they make from this point forward.

I don’t see how Martinez improves upon Varitek’s defense. They’re both pretty bad.
Saying “they’re both pretty bad” in that case is like saying Oprah and an adult elephant are both “pretty heavy.” Without looking at any stats, I’m pretty certain that Varitek was far worse than Martinez.
And you’re brushing off Paul’s entire argument by saying “they haven’t signed Beltre yet.” You’re still disregarding the fact that Buchholz will be replacing the shitty innings that were spent by Penny/Smoltz. You of all people should value that pretty highly… since you lambasted the Sox for keeping Buchholz at AAA at the start of last year.

I don’t see how Martinez improves upon Varitek’s defense.
I agree that ignoring previous years’ defensive data to focus on the one year in which Martinez was recovering from a shoulder injury does make projected improvement harder to see.

And since this thread was about moves already made
Wrong. This thread is about a column that focuses both on moves already made and the assumption that the Sox sign the best free agent on the market — but was written before the Sox reached a preliminary agreement to trade their starting third baseman.
I agree that without a third baseman, the Sox are probably a few games worse than if they signed the most obvious choice for them on the market — a choice in whom they have already been cited multiple times as having significant interest.

i’m going to agree with you guys…hard to see how mazz projects the sox losing that many games off last year’s win total with the upgrades at ss, catcher, a full year of buchholtz, dice-k’s return, a probable upgrade at 3rd…even with the question mark in left field, bay, holliday, a hermida platoon, or something else, it looks like a better team…i just wanted to note that the use of the term “bridge” would make me feel uncomfortable…call me “cutthroat” or “entitled” if you want, but that’s how i’ve been conditioned to perceive my teams’ efforts to field a perennial winner…not my fault…i guess the core of the sox is young enough that theo feels he can gamble on some moves/non-moves with an eye on ’11, or ’12….i’m not going to argue with the strategy if he can sell it to the masses…in any event, i don’t see you being as bad off as mazz suggests…

Only here, in this parallel universe, does no Sock regress or get hurt. Nope they only get better based on half season and road splits. Those who were hurt come back at peak performance. And of course all of the new acquisitions perform at or near career bests even as they’re on the wrong side of 30.
Makes sense.

It looks like Bay isn’t coming back to the Red Sox, if he actually is entertaining better offers than what the Sox have put forward.
Frankly, I think it’s a good move – Bay has serious contact issues even now, as he gets older he’s going to fall off a cliff offensively. It’ll be Richie Sexson all over again.
But now the Sox really need to go after Holliday, or trade for an impact bat, if they don’t want to have a good chance of missing the playoffs entirely.

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