Friday, August 1, 2014

John Lackey wanted to leave the Red Sox

Two years ago could you have imagined that John Lackey would be the one dumping the Red Sox, and not vice versa?

Lackey made it clear that if the Red Sox tried to exercise their $500,000 option on him for 2015, there was a strong likelihood that he'd retire. But that option nevertheless increased his trade value. At the very least the option gave leverage to the Sox or any other team negotiating a contract extension. They could offer less than market value to Lackey, whose choices would be to accept a few million to pitch or retire once the $500k option was exercised.

Immediately after Lackey was traded to St. Louis, Ken Rosenthal announced that Lackey informed the Cardinals he would honor the $500,000 option, and not retire. Had Lackey told the Red Sox that he'd be willing to play for $500,000 in 2015, there's no way the Sox would have traded him. In essence, Lackey engineered this trade.

Remember when all of us wanted Lackey to be included with Beckett and Crawford in the Great Purge of 2012? Then last year we became Lackey fans as he helped the team win a World Series. And now he is the one who orchestrated his departure.

The Cards and Lackey might come to terms on a new contract extension anyway. But isn't it odd that this option was a point of contention for Lackey here in Boston, then he gets traded and it's no longer an issue? He did not want to stay here.

Lackey had enough of the Red Sox. The way the non-negotiations went between Jon Lester and the front office probably had a lot to do with that. Once the Sox started shopping Lester, Lackey wanted out. He gave the Red Sox an incentive to trade him, with the threat of future uncertainty if they didn't. He also kept his trade value up with his performance on the field, and by never threatening to retire if a team besides the Red Sox wanted to exercise his $500k option.

If the Red Sox were the Titanic, sinking slowly into the North Atlantic, John Lackey got himself a spot on a lifeboat by threatening to blow up half the ship if he wasn't allowed off.

And here's the kicker. The Sox included that $500,000 option when they signed him as a way to mitigate the risk of his elbow issues. The idea was that he might miss a long time due to injury (which he did), costing the team lots of money (which he did), but that the team would recoup the loss with a year of almost free service.

But it's the Cardinals who look to benefit from that nearly free year that the Red Sox paid for. The Sox bought the the insurance policy and made all the payments, the Cardinals are cashing it in. And that's because Lackey wanted to leave.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Barry Chin/Boston Globe

Trade Deadline Round Up

Ben Cherington had an epic fire sale at the trade deadline. He didn't just blow it up, he went nuclear. In the past week he traded away 4/5 pitchers from the Opening Day starting rotation. The lone survivor in a Red Sox uniform is the struggling Clay Buchholz. Lester to Oakland, Doubront to the Cubs, Lackey to St. Louis and Peavy to San Francisco. For the remainder of the year the Pawtucket Red Sox starting rotation will be filling in. Get ready to see a lot of Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Anthony Renauto and Brandon Workman. New acquisition Joe Kelly will get to make his Boston debut and we might see Henry Owens get his big league debut at some point. The Red Sox also unloaded Andrew Miller to the Orioles. Stephen Drew became the first Red Sox player traded to the Yankees since 1997, when the Red Sox sent Randy Brown and Mike Stanley to New York for Tony Armas and Jim Mecir. The only players who didn't get dealt that you thought may have been were Koji Uehara and Mike Carp. Let's take a look at these deals individually. I have already covered the Doubront and Peavy deals, so I'll skip them.


Oakland Gets:
Jon Lester
Jonny Gomes

Red Sox Get:
Yoenis Cespedes
Oakland's Competitive Balance Draft Pick

From what I understand, the Oakland competitive balance pick is the second pick of Competitive Balance Round B, which is held after the second round of the Draft. So it's essentially a sandwich pick between rounds 2 and 3.

The Captain did a short write up about Yoenis Cespedes and I'm inclined to agree with him. Cespedes was one of those Cuban phenoms that has not quite lived up to expectations. He's a good defensive outfielder with a cannon for an arm. He hits for good power and won back to back Home Run Derbies, the first player to do so since Ken Griffey Jr. He was chosen to play in this year's All-Star game and nearly made it on voting. With that said, his on base percentage sucks and he strikes out a lot. Cespedes is under contract for next year, but after that he is an unrestricted free agent. His contract stipulates this specifically, which means there will be no qualifying offers to recoup draft picks when/if he leaves after 2015.

https://twitter.com/GordonEdes/status/494942908261613568

This isn't the "King's Ransom" I was hoping Lester would bring. He's a premium starter with a history of postseason success. The one truly redeeming quality of this whole situation is that this is almost certainly a rental for Oakland. They don't have the finances to compete for him in free agency. He'll hit the open market and the Red Sox should have as good a chance as anybody, possibly even the inside track to re-sign him if they are willing to pony up the cash. My hope is that Lester was unwilling to listen to any offers before testing free agency and the Red Sox saw an opportunity to get something of value for a few months of Lester's services and they can re-sign him to a market value deal in the offseason. Returning to the team after being traded like that almost never happens in baseball, but there is some evidence that would make you think it's possible. Jon Lester has expressed a desire to stay in Boston. When asked about the possibility of being traded and then returning via free agency by the press he stated he was open to the idea. The goodbyes between the ownership and Lester seemed friendly. Jon Lester was favoriting tweets that suggested he should return as a free agent after the season once the trade went through. Perhaps it's just a desperate fan looking for a glimmer of hope that we can salvage this situation, but if it did turn out this way it would be a huge win for the Red Sox Front Office.

Oh, and Jonny Gomes got traded in this deal too. Thanks for all the intangibles champ.

St. Louis Gets:
John Lackey
Corey Littrell

Boston Gets:
Allen Craig
Joe Kelly

You might have not noticed Corey Littrell in these trade talks. He's hardly worth mentioning. He's a 5th round pick starting pitcher who was doing well in High A Salem.


I didn't want to trade John Lackey. He could have been an important part of the rotation this year and beyond. I wanted them to leverage the next year at the minimum salary Lackey was under contract for into a longer term team friendly deal. There's just another gap that needs to be filled in the rotation now.

You remember Joe Kelly don't you? He was the Cardinals starting pitcher in Game 3 of the World Series? The game that ended on the obstruction call? Anyways, he went 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K on 89 pitches and 0 for 2 at the plate. Kelly is 2-2 in 7 starts this season. He was doing well back in April and had a hamstring injury that kept him out for nearly 3 months. In the 4 starts he has made since his return he has gotten shelled in 3 of them. Kelly's career numbers aren't bad: 3.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 17-14 W-L record. They're not that far off from Lackey's career numbers when you adjust for the fact that Lackey has pitched his whole career in the AL and Kelly has pitched his whole career in the NL. Lackey obviously has a much larger sample size and a stronger record of postseason effectiveness behind him. Kelly will be under team control through the 2018 season. Assuming that Kelly isn't damaged goods, he could be a solid part of the rotation for the next few seasons.

The other piece the Red Sox got in this deal was Allen Craig. You remember Allen Craig? He was that guy the Cardinals fans were all really excited was coming back from injury to play in the World Series last year. They were excited because Craig had been one of the heroes on the team when they won the World Series in 2011. He was the guy who scored the run on the obstruction call that ended game 3 against the Red Sox. He played DH in Boston and had some pinch hits and played a little first base in St. Louis. He went a respectable 6 for 16 with a double and a walk. He also made his only All-Star game appearance that season. He's expected to play in left field for the Red Sox, but he has played every position other than catcher, pitcher and shortstop in his Major League career. Ironically, he was initially drafted as a shortstop. He has an injury history with him missing significant time with injuries to his left knee and later to his foot. He has a reputation for hitting exceptionally well with runners in scoring position, a category the Red Sox have struggled in this season. Craig has struggled significantly this season. His numbers in 97 games this season are all well below his career norms. These are the terms of Craig's contract:

5 year/$31M (2013-17), plus 2018 club option
13:$1.75M, 14:$2.75M, 15:$5.5M, 16:$9M, 17:$11M, 18:$13M club option ($1M buyout)
award bonuses: $50,000 for All-Star selection

As you can see, he's under team control for the next 4 seasons.

This is a buy low/sell high kind of deal. John Lackey is at one of the higher points in his career. Allen Craig and Joe Kelly are both at the lowest points in their careers right now. If they can both get back to their career norms going forward and produce well for the next 3-4 seasons this deal will look great for the Red Sox. If Kelly turns out to be a bust, at least he's not sucking up too much payroll. If Craig doesn't produce his salary is an annoyance, but not crippling. The club option gives some good flexibility.


The Yankees Get:
Stephen Drew
$500,000

The Red Sox Get:
Kelly Johnson

This was a salary dump. Stephen Drew sucks. Kelly Johnson is a utility man who will be a free agent after this season. The Yankees can enjoy paying Drew the rest of his bloated salary to play 2nd base and hit .176.

The Orioles Get:
Andrew Miller

The Red Sox Get:
Eduardo Rodriguez

Andrew Miller was a free agent after this season. I like Miller and I hope the Red Sox would make an attempt to re-sign him if possible. He generally pitched well the last two seasons and when he got injured last season he could often be seen in the dugout supporting his teammates.


Eduardo Rodriguez is a 21 year old left handed starter from Venezuela. Baseball America places him as the 3rd best prospect in the Orioles system and had him as #65 in the top 100 prospects. He was doing well coming up through the Orioles farm system, but seems to have hit a wall at the AA level. His ERA this season is at 4.79 in AA Bowie. It looks bad compared to guys like Henry Owens who has a 2.60 ERA at AA Portland.

Afterwards, Ben Cherington held a press conference to talk about some of the moves. The important takeaways from his statements were that they made a push for more established major league talent over prospects in the hopes of creating a quicker turnaround for the team. Secondly, they are aware of the need to bolster the starting rotation this winter. The starting pitching is the most crucial need at this point. If that's addressed appropriately by getting players like Max Scherzer or re-signing Jon Lester this team could get back to contention quickly. The remainder of the season will give an opportunity for some of the younger players to earn some consideration for next year.
-Mike

My Thoughts On The Flurry Of Red Sox Moves


First we sent Jon Lester and Johnny Gomes to the A's for Yoenis Cespedes

Then Lackey to the Cards for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly

Then Andrew Miller to the Orioles for Eduardo Rodriguez

Then Drew to the Yanks for Kelly Johnson


Ben Cherington gets an A+.

I get it it. The Sox fucked up the negotiations with Lester in the offseason, no denying that. But the return on him was amazing. The Sox are the worst offense in baseball, it's incredible that a Boston Red Sox team is in last place for runs scored. So what do they do? They get the clean up hitter for a 1st place team and a guy that will be able to protect Ortiz and the top half of line up. I know the Captain mentioned OBP and the day I care about OBP is the day I don't follow baseball. It's not like Yoenis is an AJ Pierzinski here, he is good. As matter of fact when he is in the lineup for the A's they are something like 100+ games over .500, when not they aren't .500. The Red Sox are full of guys who are patient. Being inbetween Ortiz and Napoli (who leads the league in pitches taken) will be a breath of fresh year. Also adding Yoenis to the Outfield will mean no more Johnny Gomes stumbling around there. He is a great defensive player and has a canon of an arm. The Red Sox needed to improve their offense and that is 100% what they did with this move. Losing Lester hurts, but would I rather have a productive MLB player or a pu pu platter of "what if" prospects.... give me the MLB player. I have been through too many Casey Kelly's, Will Middlebrook's and JBJ's to be patient enough for that. Also, the A's to a monumental risk with doing a deal like this because they won't be able to pay Lester.

If that wasn't enough they got Allen Craig. Now Craig isn't Cespedes and I'm not going to act like he's having a good year. However, he is under team control and the past 2 years he was in the 20s for homeruns. That's nothing to scoff at. I understand out OF will be a bit crowded with Victorino back there, but he is unable to be relied upon being healthy and he's more of a platoon guy at this juncture of his career. There is no way John Lackey was going to pitch for 500K next year on the Red Sox. He may for the Cards, but he wasn't for the Sox especially without a media shitstorm, nobody can convince me otherwise. Lackey was great last year and so far this year, but overall his career as a Red Sox pitcher was extremely unwhelming and overpaid. I'm fine with shipping Lackey out of toen. Joe Kelly is a bit of an outlier in the fact he throws really fast however, he doesn't strike many people out. He's a back end of a rotation type of guy or a bullpen arm.... Sorry optimistic Sox fans.

Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez was a no brainer in the fact he was a top 100 prospect last year according to Keith Law. He has struggled this year, but Miller was going to demand a ton of mula this offseason.

Drew should have never been signed... moving on.

The fact is, our line up is this next year:

Pedroia
Xander
Ortiz
Cespedes
Napoli
Craig
etc...

That is a really good 1-6, like really good. I know we obviously need to work upon our pitching staff now as we have.... 0 pitchers, but hell there are some good ones out there. James Shields is available as well as Max Scherzer and hell even Jon Lester. Who says the Sox don't go and get 2 of those guys or trade for someone.

The season looks bad right now, but just wait, the moves Ben did yesterday set us up to be an offensive powerhouse and a playoff contender next year. MARK MY WORDS!

If Stephen Drew is worth a utility infielder, why didn't the Red Sox just sign a utility infielder in the first place?

With Stephen Drew's departure in exchange for Kelly Johnson, it's time to look at how the Red Sox managed and mismanaged the short-stop situation in 2014.

The Sox should have anticipated defensive difficulties at short. Signing a defensive backup would have been a perfectly normal and prudent thing to do. That backup could have been used in the late innings of close games, especially games the Sox were leading.

I didn't mind when the Red Sox removed Xander Bogaerts from short-stop. He couldn't field his position, and you can't afford to have poor defense at short, especially when the offense is struggling to score runs. I don't care what the move might have done to Bogaerts' development or self-esteem. The Major League level is not the place to nurture prospects and worry about their confidence. It's the place to win games or lose them. Bogaerts' defense was not helping them win.

However, when Bogaerts' defense compelled the Sox to act, signing Drew was a completely wrong decision, utterly incorrect in every single way. Moving Bogaerts to third was also unwise. But he was hitting well when few other Sox batters were, and the Sox had no third baseman. In other words, because the rest of the team was sucking at the plate, and another young infielder (Middlebrooks) was having difficulties, Bogaerts stayed in Boston. But was moved to third. Drew was signed to play short.

If the Sox felt that Bogaerts' defensive issues were so critical that they were worth $10 million to address, they should have sent Bogaerts to Pawtucket to work on it, not sign an overpaid replacement and shift Bogaerts to an unfamiliar position he'd have to learn on the fly at the Major League level.

The Sox tried to play it both ways, removing Bogaerts' glove from short-stop, but keeping his bat in the Major League lineup. If only they could have sent his glove to Pawtucket and kept his bat in Boston.

It didn't work. Why would anyone think it would?

What the Sox truly needed at that time was flexibility in their infield. Again, a Kelly Johnson type of utility infielder could have been acquired as a defensive replacement for Bogaerts, and perhaps to play in Boston for a few weeks while Bogaerts focused on defense in Pawtucket. The solution was something cheap and flexible, like I like my women.

However, Stephen Drew did not bring flexibility, he brought abject inflexibility. Because he was going to play at short-stop. Period. And he was going to play every day because you don't spend $10 million on backups. Period. Drew even seemed to have a negotiated limit for how long he'd stay in Pawtucket getting ready to play in Boston.

And of course, Drew's bat was nonexistent, and Bogaerts' hitting went down the tubes as he shifted to third. Bogaerts' defense was still bad over there. The fiasco cost millions, defense at short improved but defense at third was degraded, and offensive production decreased.

Now Drew is gone. Again. Notice the increased flexibility in his departure. The Sox can make choices with what they want to do in the infield. Bogaerts will be back at short again. However I don't think this experience has helped his development. It certainly hasn't helped the Red Sox win games in 2014.

Stephen Drew is evidently worth a utility infielder on the trade market, who will make $3 million in 2014, instead of the prorated portion of $14 million that Drew was signed for. So why didn't the Sox sign a utility guy to begin with? Why didn't they pick up a defensive specialist at short? Why didn't they either keep Bogaerts where he was, or send him to Pawtucket to work on his problems without it hurting the team in Boston?

Stephen Drew wore a 7 on his jersey here. I think that should have been modified slightly to be a giant question mark.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe

The Red Sox didn't even try to keep Jon Lester here

I'd rather have Yoenis Cespedes now than next to nothing when Jon Lester walks as a free agent. That's not why I'm disappointed/enraged at the Red Sox today. I'm mad because I'd much much much MUCH rather have Jon Lester over Yoenis Cespedes. There's essentially nobody the Sox could have gotten in exchange for Lester that would have left me content. Unfortunately the Sox made no legitimate effort to keep Lester here. The fact that he's gone, and that we'll never know how much of a hometown discount he would have accepted to stay, leaves me shaking my head.

How could the Red Sox do this to themselves?

The Sox traded a guy who had recently become a bona fide Ace, and who had also grown into a leader, for a Homerun Derby winner. That's like trading Kevin Durant for the winner of the slam dunk contest. And this happened because the Sox hardly tried to keep their Ace. That lack of effort is the most irritating aspect of what unfolded at the trade deadline.

The $70 million offer for 4 years offer was an insult, not a starting point. You can't negotiate with insults. Watch Shark Tank and see how the potential investors react when someone makes an absurd demand. Or go to a car dealership and offer to buy a brand new Mercedes for half the sticker price. The dealer won't make a counter offer, they'll just move on, because it's clear you're not serious.

I've heard some people question Lester's camp for not making a counter-offer, but how do you counter a joke? How can you negotiate with someone who thinks that you're worth slightly more money a year than Clay Buchholz was? How can you negotiate with someone who is clearly terrified of long-term commitment, which I'm sure is something Lester wants? Lester has been underpaid by the Sox for years, this is his chance to cash in, and the Sox were too cheap.

Or were they? Were they cheap or did they want to make a token offer they knew would get rejected? They've done similar things before.

These cloak and dagger, deceptive, disingenuous tactics are what we've come to expect from the Red Sox front office. And don't exclude Ben Cherington from these mind games. He's King John's pawn, he's Lord Lucchino's foot soldier. He's happy to be their puppet, or to stay out of baseball decisions when his masters get involved.

The Red Sox have no clue what it will cost to sign Lester in the off-season. They don't even know what his hometown discount rate might have been. That's the proof that their "negotiations" with him were not negotiations. If you don't at least come away with knowing what the other party wants, then you haven't negotiated.

If Lester signs a massive deal somewhere else, let's say $200 million for 7 years, I won't praise the Red Sox for knowing the price would be too high. They don't know anything. They made a crap offer that pissed off their Ace, then failed to immediately make a legit offer, then traded their best player from the 2013 World Series run. They sent a pitcher with 110 career wins, a 3-0 record in the World Series, and 2 rings to Oakland in exchange for a guy with 66 career homeruns and 2 HR Derby trophies.

If this had been the end of a hard fought negotiation, then it would be easier to accept. It's not, though.

5 years and $100 million, perhaps with a vesting option for a 6th year. Maybe 5 years at $110 million. That might have been enough to keep Lester. We simply do not know, though. We'll never know. Which is why this whole situation pisses me off so much.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Barry Chin/Boston Globe

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm not a fan of Yoenis Cespedes

The Red Sox traded Jon Lester along with Jonny Gomes to Oakland for an outfielder with decent power who doesn't get on base as often as you'd like.

That's Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes will also be costing the Sox $10.5 million in 2015, and is scheduled to hit free agency after that.

He's 28, but he's also Cuban, so let's call it 28ish.

He hit 26 homeruns last year and 23 the year before. He's on pace to hit a similar amount this year. He'll probably be more of a power hitter in Fenway's friendly confines. Nevertheless, his career OBP is .318, and that just sucks for someone you want to hit in the middle of the lineup. He doesn't walk much, he does strike out a lot, he doesn't see lots of pitches.

He's an improvement, don't get me wrong. He's a solid player, he's better than anything the Sox have in the outfield today. But he's what you get for your Ace? For the guy who was your playoffs MVP last year? For a guy who won games for you this year even with some of the worst run support in baseball?

The Red Sox didn't sign Lester because they were worried about the future. So the future is this 20-30 HR outfielder who strikes out a lot and struggles to get on base 30% of the time? That's the future the Sox intend to build?

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ezra Shaw

Decision Day

The Major League non-waiver trade deadline is at 4 PM ET today. At the time of writing this, the trade deadline is ~7 hours away. After the success of last year, I would have guessed the Red Sox would be buyers at the deadline. With just 54 games to play the Red Sox are 13 games out of 1st place in the AL East. Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront have already been traded. Jon Lester and John Lackey are both on the trading block and the rumors abound.

It's hard to believe that a team that won the World Series in such a convincing manner just 9 months ago could look so incompetent and helpless now. Were Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia really so essential to the success of the Red Sox last year? Is Shane Victorino spending slightly more time on the DL really that much of a backbreaker? Did everything go right for the Red Sox last year and everything went wrong for them this year? World Series Hangover? Has my inability to find a consistently lucky hat/jersey combination been that caustic? It's probably some combination of the above, but whatever the reason this year's team couldn't get it done.

Negotiations seem to have stalled out with Lester. At this point he might as well test the free agent market and see if the Yankees or the Dodgers offer him some crazy Clayton Kershaw kind of deal. I don't think anybody will offer him that kind of money, but I think he can probably get a significant improvement over whatever the Red Sox were offering. Even if the Red Sox do intend to compete with the Yankees and give Lester his market price, there is a benefit to the Red Sox for getting some top level prospects for a few months of his services. As a fan, this would be the ideal scenario. If the Red Sox do not wish to compete for Lester's services trading is still an attractive option to get some high level prospects. This has to be compared to keeping Lester and recouping a draft pick via the qualifying offer, which should be in the neighborhood of $15 Million and Lester will certainly decline to accept.

I didn't really understand the Doubront trade. We shipped him to Theo Epstien and the Cubs for a PTBNL that is reportedly going to be some low level prospect from the rule 5 draft. I was thinking that with Peavy gone and Lester and Lackey also potentially gone it might be nice to have some cheap, young pitching depth. I guess Doubront was requesting a trade and asking to be put back into the starting rotation.

“I just want to be a starter and stay there. If I stay, they have to know I have to be a starter. If I go, the other team is going to give me this chance to be a starter,” Doubront said, per MassLive.com. “The thing is, if the [Red Sox] say I have to prove myself, I already did, man. It’s [messed] up. So if these guys say I have to pitch to prove whatever, no, they already know what I have. I showed them what I have, as a reliever and as a starter. For me, they don’t see the numbers, they don’t care what I’ve done in the past. It’s hard to be happy like that with these guys.”
I think Doubront's delusional. I've watched Doubront's whole career. All he's proven to me is that he's a back of the rotation starter at best. A career 4.82 ERA doesn't ensure you a starting job on this team. The Cubs are awful and maybe the NL will suit him better.

John Lackey is under contract for next year for all intents and purposes. There was an important clause in Lackey's contract:
2015 club option at Major League minimum salary if Lackey misses significant time with surgery for pre-existing elbow injury in 2010-14
It's basically a make up year for the year he missed with Tommy John surgery. The league minimum is ~$500,000 and there is also an assignment bonus of ~$500,000 if John Lackey is traded. It's a far cry from the $15.25 Million he got paid this year. I would have liked to see the Red Sox use this leverage to get a favorable deal out of John Lackey for a few more years. He's been an effective and consistent contributor since returning from Tommy John surgery. There had been some rumors about Lackey threatening to retire rather than playing out the season at league minimum. I didn't give these rumors much credit, but if he is actively being shopped perhaps there was something to them. Losing Lackey creates another big hole in the rotation that will have to be filled if the Red Sox plan to compete next season.

I'm satisfied with the Jake Peavy trade. Peavy was not going to factor into any of the future plans with this club. He hasn't been a complete disaster, but he was certainly a disappointment. He'll get back to the NL West, where he had his best years and won the Cy Young early in his career with the Padres.

In exchange we got reliever Heath Hembree and starter Edwin Escobar.  Escobar is a highly regarded prospect who has hit some hard times. He had a great season last year between High A San Jose and AA Richmond. Baseball America ranked him as the #2 prospect in the Giants system and had him at #56 in the Top 100 prospects. By comparison, highly touted Red Sox prospect Henry Owens was #40 on that list. Escobar has struggled in AAA Fresno this season with a 5.11 ERA and a 3-8 record. If the Red Sox can help him work out the kinks he has some nice upside at just 22 years of age. Hembree has been a AAAA reliever for the past few years. He made 9 big league appearances for the Giants last season and didn't give up any earned runs in 7.2 IP. That's obviously too small a sample size to conclude anything about Hembree. He was ranked as the #7 prospect in the Giants system for the past two years. It's not a bad haul for a Peavy.

It will be interesting to see how the trade deadline shakes out in the next few hours.
-Mike

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Red Sox should trade Jonny Gomes for Jonny Gomes

Four times in Major League history has a player been traded for himself, as the "player to be named later" in a deal. The most recent was in 2005 when the Blue Jays sent John McDonald to Detroit for a player to be named later, and McDonald was returned to Toronto as that player.

The Red Sox should do this with Jonny Gomes. Because Jonny Gomes saves franchises. He comes to town teams get better. He is to struggling ballclubs what John Taffer is to struggling bars. I discovered this history of teams improving once Gomes arrives through legitimate research. I'm surprised Gomes doesn't talk about it.

The Red Sox could send Gomes to a team looking for an heroic clubhouse presence, along with "cash considerations" (nudge nudge, wink wink) for a player to be named later. A few days after, that team could send Gomes back to the Sox as the named player. The Red Sox are almost guaranteed to resurrect their season, the other team gets a few bucks (and probably wins every game Gomes sits on the bench for them, deceiving the other team by pretending to get ready to pinch hit), everyone wins.

There's plenty of baseball left, and a few weeks ago we saw this team win a few games in a row and get right back into being almost close to the race. Jonny Gomes is the infusion of energy that this team needs to get over the hump and win 95% of its remaining games, with or without Jon Lester.

Because phonebooth.

-The Captain

Photo Credit Jeff Roberson/AP

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Oakland A's had Moneyball, the Red Sox have Cheapball

The Red Sox don't want to spend to keep Jon Lester. He's over 30, and John Henry recently read a study about teams overpaying for players over 30, and underpaying players under 30. Jon Lester is 31, so the Red Sox don't want to overpay to keep him. That's why the Sox might even ship Lester before Thursday's trade deadline.

The study John Henry is partially basing this significant baseball decision on makes sense. It makes sense that a player over 30, who has proven what they can consistently do at the Major League level, would get more money, even more money than their production merits. Such players come with guarantees, or at least the closest things to guarantees you can get. There's also a short supply of such players, and high demand, which drives the cost up.

For the Sox to keep Lester, they'd have to "overpay" for what Lester gives them. So what? When has that stopped the Sox before? They overpaid to extend David Ortiz, they overpaid to bring Stephen Drew back. So Drew is worth $10 million a year and Lester only worth $17.5 million? That's what the Sox offered Lester before the 2014 season.

The Sox have also been able to benefit from Lester while underpaying him. He makes $13M this season, and made under $12M in 2013. Before that he never got paid more than $8 million a year.

One problem facing Henry and his value study is that the high end SP market is overwhelmingly made up of pitchers 30+ years old, with a few 29 year olds mixed in. Henry's philosophy pegs him into a corner, since there are essentially no proven, high end SP free agents under 30, he'll never be able to sign one OR re-sign one. Meanwhile, the rest of baseball seems happy to sign these guys. So while Henry can pat himself on the back for saving money, other teams will win games thanks to their overpaid players.

Overpay to win, or save to lose?

John Henry's unwillingness to overpay for 30+ year old talent is like someone buying a 6-pack of beer and staying home by themselves on a Friday night because drinks at bars are more expensive. He'll keep more cash in his pocket but the people who went out will have more fun.

There's no salary cap in baseball. The Red Sox are one of the most valuable sports teams in the world. Their cash flow is one of their biggest competitive advantages. The Sox can overpay for a key player and not be crippled by it. Yet they're the ones being cheap? Because of a study?

John Henry doesn't want to exploit that edge. He's figured out that the 29 other teams are wasting money, and he won't do it. He'll get his 6-pack of beer and drink by himself while other teams are having fun at the World Series.

Had Jon Lester's contract expired after the 2012 season, John Henry might have used this study to justify not re-signing him then. Lester would have been 29, and Henry might have wanted to avoid signing a soon-to-be 30 year old to a long term deal. So if Lester had been a free agent before the 2013 season, it's possible that Henry wouldn't have wanted to sign him.

What would that have meant for the 2013 season? There wouldn't have been a parade in Boston.

Parades are expensive. John Henry and the Red Sox have become cheap.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: AP

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let Me Get This Straight Goodell


It's a two game suspension if you are found doing this:


But players who haven't even been committed of a crime and have no real evidence other then hearsay get suspended for 4 games.... got it.

How great of a message does Goodell send with this message? Hey you smoke a little pot you get suspended for a year, you knock out your fiance you get a 2 game suspension. It's absolutely ridiculous and an awful look for the NFL. I know this could have been a mutual thing where they were both hitting each other, but the video alone is an awful look. Ray Rice blatantly knocked out his fiance, and got away with it. Hitting women is a cowardly act and it's ridiculous smoking pot is a heavier fine.

Yet, somehow the Captain will defend Goodell on this one somehow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

CLAY BUCHHOLZ GO AWAY, GET OFF MY PLANE


Never realized that was Gary Oldman....

Anyways, Clay Buchholz sucks. I know Mike will probably make more excuses to defend his boy, but I'm pretty sure he can pitch better then him.

The former laptop thief went 6 innings let up 5 runs, 4 er, and walked 4 ppl. He now owns an era of 5.5 era. He's not great and he has been pitching like an asshole. The Red Sox had a valient effort trying to make up for the underwhelming start with the better then Ted Williams Ortiz hitting his 4th homerun in 3 games with 3 rbis and Xander chipped in with another RBI. But it's hard for this team to score runs especially when head coach John Farrell not playing sparkplug Brock Holt.

The Red Sox have one foot in the grave and every loss makes it harder to potentially make a run towards a historic playoff push.

With the news of the Red Sox unable to come to talking terms with Lester about an extension, this could be a very long couple of months.