Waiting for Hanley

Is this stuff, like most of the "wow can that kid down in Columbus play!" columns that emanate from the New York papers just before the trade deadline, the propagandistic precursor to player packaging? (I know how YF loves the alliteration)   Or is it a harbinger of some surprise mid-season moves for the (up-til-yesterday) streaking Sox?  Last week the Beantowners moved hot shortstop prospect Dustin Pedroia up to Pawtucket, and with Edgar Renteria ensconced at the position in the bigs there seems to be a glut in the hole.  It makes me wonder: should Mark Bellhorn fear for his job?  Will the Sox move Pedroia, Ramirez, or even Renteria (who volunteers the switch in this article) to second base?  Could the Sox be looking at shipping Bellhorn to the pine in favor of youth? Are Bill James and Eric Van screaming at Theo to leave Bellhorn swinging at the wind, no matter how choice the talent down below?  We all know Bellhorn is a more important player than his numbers lead us to believe, at least superficially, but I have to admit it would be an interestingly risky move to feel out either Pedroia or Ramirez before the end of August, to see how they would handle the majors, to see whether either of them could help contribute in September and beyond.  Though both guys are seemingly in need of more minor league experience, the time could be ripe for a little experimentation.   

Update: SoSHers hash some of it out, here.

16 comments… add one
  • Hmm…I don’t want to rush the rookies before they’re ready, but it is interesting (and exciting) to think about. But what about Youklis? He’s spent way too much time warming the bench already this season. (Not to knock Bill Mueller, because I love the guy and love watching him play–I’m torn!) If even Youk isn’t getting playing time, it seems pointless to have other good farm boys hanging around the dugout. Better they stay in the minors where they can keep playing and honing their game.
    This better not be a precursor to a trade involving them, though. Although Theo’s pretty much stated outright that he won’t sell the farm.

    Sox Fan in VT June 28, 2005, 1:43 pm
  • Youk may be headed off somewhere else for relief pitching help and/or starting help depending on what Schilling does, but I think the Sox are going to wait a few weeks to see what Schilling’s performance is like. In the case that Schilling is healthy and pitches reasonably well, then Arroyo may end up as that needed relief help, precluding the need to trade Youk. On the other hand, Epstein may choose to move Youkilis no matter what happens if he thinks it will bring a very serious upgrade.

    SF June 28, 2005, 1:57 pm
  • Ramirez is hitting .269 in Double A. He’s not ready.
    MLB Stats for major leaguers don’t include minor league records. What’s so great about Youkilis? His major record doesn’t make him look like a player you want to build around.
    Last but not least, Miller seems good, with only one bad outing, even though post-surgery pitchers can be up and down. Why is he only 2 and 2?

    john yf June 28, 2005, 2:41 pm
  • Who said Youkilis is someone to build around? Youkilis, in a very brief amount of time, has shown that he’s clearly a major league talent, and an everyday one. That’s a very valuable commodity, even if he’s not the next Jeff Bagwell. He’d start for several teams and he’s cheap. Hence, tradeable. Very tradeable.
    As for Ramirez, yeah, it’s premature to put him in the bigs, but that’s kind of the point. If he comes up in September as a roster-expansion guy he’s not likely to be eligible for any hypothetical post-season service, and what happens if he happens to play great? Mid-July to early August would be an interesting time to take a look at these guys for that reason, despite the premature nature of the move. Particularly if Bellhorn continues to hit .229 and make run-producing errors.
    Regarding Miller, I think we all know that a pitcher’s record is a deceptive statistic, so it’s not a reasonable indication of prowess, particularly not in such a small sample. I am not sure Miller really deserves more than what he’s got, based on what I have seen, either, but that’s neither here nor there.

    SF June 28, 2005, 3:49 pm
  • Next season we could have an infield of Youkilis, Renteria, Pedroia and whoever they get to play first. Thats an exciting possibility. Like most Sox fans I love Mueller and appreciate Bellhorn, but the prospect of our own guys who came up through our system playing for us is an intreguing one.
    That said, I’d trade Youkilis in a second for a shot at a second WS, and I trust Theo to make that decision correctly nine times out of ten (which beats the competition by about seven out of ten).
    I agree with SF, Hanley isn’t ready for the majors yet. He should stay in AA ball unless the Sox can get someone incredible for him (Burnett, Dunn, Teixeira).

    mattymatty June 28, 2005, 4:33 pm
  • Youk is an OBP machine, dubbed “the Greek God of Walks” if memory serves. And he’s already delivered some very big hits in his few stints at the plate this year. He’s no superstar, but he’s a good player and he’s young, so his best years could still be ahead of him. Hence why I hate to think of him as trade bait, even though it’s a possibility. I’ve become quite accustomed to the “Yooouuuk” chant at Fenway.
    I heard a lot of teams are interested in Kelly Shoppach. I suspect he’s the prime piece of trade bait at the moment since Tek is signed for the next four years.
    RE Miller: I agree, SF. A pitcher’s record isn’t always indicative of how well they do. Even Roger Clemens doesn’t have a steller win record this year, despite an ERA of less than 2. (That man is not human.) Run support has a lot to do with it, and some teams just don’t have consistent offense for their pitchers. Matt Clement had that problem last year as well.

    Sox Fan in VT June 28, 2005, 4:46 pm
  • Here’s my thought. Anything, and I mean absolutely anything, is better than Vazquez and Bellhorn on Rent’s day off or if he becomes injured. I really, really don’t want to get rid of Youk. Not only has he shown glimpses of great things in his limited time, but as you said, he young and cheap. I really do think they are going to keep Kevin Millar for first base, and that is totally based on the fact that he kills the Yankees and he’s really the glue in the clubhouse. That may be overstated a little bit on behalf of those around it more than I, but we all thought he’d be gone last year too.
    Kelly Shoppach is a great commodity to put out there, and with there being no chance of moving Wake, the backup catcher is pretty much a lock to Beli.
    I’d love to see Hanley or Dustin at the 4spot, but there really is no sense in keeping both unless they think Hanley will replace Johnny in CF.
    Right now, it’s vitally important to get a little bullpen help, but as far as the lineup goes, one has to ask why they would mess with a good thing. I hate watching Bellhorn as much as the next guy, but they have won, and continue to win with him there. Also, as far as defense goes, Bellhorn has proven more than adeqate at the spot.
    There is TON of talent there, and the Sox have a severe upper hand in the market, but I just hope they don’t make a mistake with all of it. I’d hate to see Pedroia or Hanley turn into another Eckstein.

    Brad-SF June 28, 2005, 5:39 pm
  • Right on, Brad – Shoppach is the man to shop. And it sounds like if Hanley turns into “just another Eckstein” then he’ll be a major disappointment. He’s that highly regarded, or at least that’s what the noise from the Bosox talent-boosting machine is pumping out.

    SF June 28, 2005, 5:49 pm
  • So okay, as a YF, there’s a guy that I keep thinking about when Youk is brought up and that’s Nick Johnson. Sure NJ got a bit more playing time when he was in the Bronx than Youk has in Beantown, and Nick was maybe a slightly better fielder at first than Youk is at 3B, but it seems to me that they’re pretty similar players at the plate. Terrific batting eye and patience, each has some pop in his bat, both are 26 and thus around breakout age (though both have logged some not insignificant time on the DL) and both guys, given enough playing time, have the potential to seriously tear it up, maybe even carry their teams for stretches. Consider Johnson’s 05 season so far with the Nationals (.320BA, .444OBP, .952OPS). I guess there are no guarantees that Youk would perform to that level as an everyday 3B, but one thing’s for sure–getting him exactly one AB a game ain’t gonna get the best out of him. Theo can trade him if he wants (hard to blame him if he does b/c of Youk’s obvious value as bait), but let me just say that I’d be willing to bet the farm, ranch, and any other large tract of land that I don’t own that even with the Giambino debacle and Vasquez flameout aside, Cash would at this point drown a bagful of puppies to undo the trade that sent NJ north of the border. I mean, tell me, SFs–is there one among you who doesn’t want to at least *find out* how Youk would do as the everyday 3B before sending him away for, I don’t know, Esteban Yan or JJ Putz?
    Plus, all right, before SF jumps all over me, admittedly, my putrid roto team needs Youk to get a lot more or even some ABs. If Theo trades Youk to the NL, look for my posts on this site to get more psychotically anti-Sox.

    Spidey June 28, 2005, 6:26 pm
  • No argument here – I’m very curious to see Youk’s progression. In my own opinion, he has the ability to be an everyday starting 5spot on most teams, but which team is the question.
    I just think that trading for bullpen help is always a risk, especially when a team gives away a lot for it.
    I just don’t want to see the Sox give away too much in return for too little.
    Bullpen guys are always suspect to fall off the cliff or go into bad slides as pitchers, and I’d rather not trade off the likes of Hanley or Pedroia for something like that. Also, if the two are as good as they say they are, there are only a handful of bullpen guys out there I’d be willing to part for, and the teams that have those guys aren’t selling.
    Keep the good kids, and shop the replaceables. The Sox could very well end up with a great infield if they do…

    Brad-SF June 28, 2005, 8:27 pm
  • Back to Miller: what is Francona trying to do to this guy? 112 pitches and counting, a four pitch walk and he still leaves him in to face the meat of the Indians order. WHY IS HE STILL PITCHING?!?!?!?

    SF June 28, 2005, 9:00 pm
  • Yeah, Philly Francona showed up for this one. Luckily for him, this offense has bailed him out today. I think that Miller’s little altercation with Blue last week may have carried over to this week ; he was squeezed pretty tight in the first. That being said, not his best start, and hopefully not a habit.

    Brad-SF June 28, 2005, 9:58 pm
  • …Okay, if you guys wanna trade Youk for a closer, guess I’d just have to shrug it off b/c, um, who can blame you.

    Spidey June 28, 2005, 10:57 pm
  • Please, no one mention the word “closer.” I don’t think I can handle it right now.

    Sox Fan in VT June 28, 2005, 11:51 pm
  • HOLY F*C!!NG SH*T !!!
    My neighbors are hating me right now!
    C’Mon Theo. Head to Philly, see what they want and get it done.
    Damn it!

    Brad-SF June 28, 2005, 11:54 pm
  • Paging Mr. Wagner. Come in, Wagner. (Or Mr. Lidge, if you’re available).

    SF June 29, 2005, 7:33 am

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