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The Red Sox New Clothes

By: A.J. Miller

Tis the holiday season in New England and nothing jump starts the holiday cheer like a good old fashioned debate surrounding the off season moves of our beloved boys of summer. Theo and company have been fastidiously at work transforming the ninety five win team of last year into a run prevention juggernaut. Allow me to be the first on record to say I am not buying the new uniform Theo is weaving for Sox fans.

While the main-stream media outlets are singing Theo’s praises for sticking to his guns and hoarding his young talent, I think if we reflect back on this past postseason, it was neither pitching or defense that caused us not to advance past the first round, it was the mere fact that we could not, and did not hit good pitching all year, and this problem was further acerbated on the road. While the defense was atrocious at times, (Like any time they penciled Lugo into the lineup, or when Brad Penny finally decided to throw the ball to the plate) this team still won ninety five games despite having a range comparable to a daisy air rifle.

Someone please explain to me what we gain by becoming even more offensively inept? Here is the lineup as currently predicated:

Marco Scutaro
Dustin Pedroia
Kevin Youkilis
Victor Martinez
David Ortiz
Mike Cameron
J.D. Drew
Jacoby Ellsbury
Casey Kochman

So in essence, by replacing Bay and Lowell in the lineup, we replaced 52 home runs combined with 38 at the most (using Kochman’s best season and Cameron’s statistics from last year) meanwhile Cameron alone struck out twenty more times than Bay and Lowell combined. While Cameron is a certain defensive upgrade even at his advanced age, he sports career statistics that would make Rob Deer proud, and are probably causing resident sabermetrician Bill James seizures.

Theo has now put himself in a place where he will have to give up the good talent he has been grooming to add some power to this lineup, but some of the talent that is being requested is talent this team direly needs like Ellsbury, Buchholz, and Bard, as the rest of this team ages gracelessly before our eyes. Face it folks, we will be lucky if David Ortiz hits twenty home runs, if J.D. drew can play three quarters of a season, if Marco Scutaro doesn’t morph back into his career numbers, and if Victor Martinez can still provide the pop while shouldering the bulk of the catching duties this year. The bottom line is this incarnation of the Red Sox has a lot of “what ifs” and the question is do you “believe,” cause I think that by the end of this year if Theo doesn’t find a creative way to address these issues, he’s going to be looking for a new suit himself, and it will be decidedly gorilla...

6 comments:

  1. "becoming even more offensively inept?" The Red Sox scored 872 runs last year, which was good for 3rd in the MLB, behind only the Angels and Yankees. We had no shortage of offense.

    Cameron did not strike out more than Bay and Lowell combined. I have no idea where you got that from. Strikeout totals from last year- Bay: 162, Lowell: 58, Cameron: 156. Double check your math, man.

    Cameron is a fine replacement for Bay. According to WAR, Bay was worth 3.5 wins last year, while Cameron was worth 4.3... and even if you want to downplay the value of defense, Cameron is still close to the same value as Bay, AND for a much smaller contract commitment.

    And it's not like Lowell was a sure thing this year either. If you're going to cast the shadow of doubt over Ortiz, Drew, Scutaro, and Martinez, you can't say so certainly that Lowell is going to contribute X amount of home runs in order to discredit Cameron and Kotchman (who is very unlikely to be our starting 1B this year).

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  2. I respectfully disagree, however in review you are correct on my math error, I must have looked at the wrong column on stats.com when I was looking at the numbers. While we scored 3rd in runs, we amassed many of those runs against sub par pitching. There was a time when the Sox lineup was feared by both good and bad pitching. That time has passed, and that is all I am saying, are we a good lineup, sure, but we have a huge missing hole in the RBI area, we have a lot of OBP guys, and no one to bring them home.


    Cameron is not a fine replacement for Bay, and that's not saying I think Bay was the answer either. I never bought into the Jason Bay hype that swept the nation, but Cameron, Bay, and even Holiday to me represent the "any port in a storm" theory. Cameron is a 37 year old stop gap, sure, his contract isn't woeful as some, but I fully expect him to flop like a trout this year.

    While Lowell is not a sure thing, he still produces better numbers offensively when he is capable of playing. Overall, I think Lowell is a better option at DH than Ortiz, who even when he seemed to find his stroke last year, still looked over-matched. If the knock on Lowell is purely defensive range, than I think he has enough value in other ways, much more than Kotchman and Cameron combined when healthy.

    The problem I have is Theo and company fall in love with the numbers, and ignore their senses. Lugo, Drew, Renteria, Crisp, all numbers signing, and all collossal failures by my count. I just don't see Scutaro and Cameron being anything more than that, another move that they try to sell to the common fan as shrewd, only to find out it was a glorious waste of money.

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  3. I get what you're saying. This isn't the Red Sox offenese we got used to a few years ago. We're defiinitely getting a little soft in the bottom half of the lineup. Although I can't really fault Theo at this point. A lot of Boston fans think the sky is falling, but the truth is that this is a transition year, something that Theo has been semi-willing to acknowledge. Cameron and Scutaro are unfortuately the best options at this point in time, and I expect them to be worthwhile, although maybe underwhelming. The thing is, there's not a whole lot the team can do this year, other than to shore up some holes and wait until some money comes off the books and some prospects mature.

    Also, while Lugo and Renteria were indeed terrible, I wouldn't put Drew and Crisp in the "colossal failure" category. Crisp had at least one good year out of the three he played with us. Drew is perennially underrated and an easy target for criticism, which he was set up for by signing a huge contract that he could never live up to. He made a bad first impression in 2007 but has been pretty handy with the bat (.400 OBP, .520 SLG) in the last two years, in addition to playing good defense.
    Cameron has proven remarkably consistent even going into his late 30's, and I'm not super worried about him. I actually think his signing was partially motivated by the possibility that Ellsbury could have been traded in the Adrian Gonzalez deal that never was (watch for this to resurface at the trade deadline). Scutaro is definitely a dicey acquisition, but he was really the only option, since there were no better players available on the market or internally. At least his contract is short and won't become an albatross like Lugo's did.

    I guess I'm trying to err on the optomistic side. There will be plenty of time to bemoan our bad fortune if and when things start to go wrong. There's still a lot to look foreward to.

    Anyway, what do you think of the Lackey signing? I was pretty stunned that they would shell out big time for him but not for a batter.

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  5. Matsui? He signed a 1-year deal with the Angels two weeks ago. But I do agree with the sentiment, and I think we are probably headed for the world's most expensive DH platoon with Ortiz and Lowell. Whether or not we get Beltre, which looks like is a possibility, I can see Lowell getting half his at bats as DH.

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  6. Dear god Alex, I typed Matsui and meant Vladamir.

    and I hope we don't sign Beltre, the money he is going to command for what we will get out of him is not worth it. I'd rather they sign Tejada for short money and give him a chance at third.

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