Red Sox Rumors - Just Kidding

Max Power

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Is Rafaela the power hitter we're sending away here? If so, I'd take it — but that seems lofty. The Sox Prospects guys said a couple months ago that he projects to be something like an Alcides Escobar-type hitter at the plate, but with superlative defense in center field. Their site has him with "potential average in-game power."
No, the original rumor was shipping Casas out. I have no opinion on moving Rafaela, but if it does happen I'd prefer the target be a position player with power rather than a pitcher.
 

JM3

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I sort of responded tangentially to this in my other post, but let me respond more directly.

It is sort of taken as a truism that long term deals will hurt the team overall in the long-term. But is that necessarily true? The Red Sox made the playoffs in 98, 99, 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 13, 16, 17, 18 (as everyone knows) and had many long term contracts during those years (I know the current mega contracts are even longer than in the recent past, but the point stands). Some of them were great contracts (Manny, Pedro), some not so great (Panda, Hanley). But none of them did any great damage to the team's prospects in the long-term. Even any short term consequence was just that: short term, a couple seasons of resetting. It's not that hard to reset from a onerous contract or two.
Yeah, and they missed the playoffs in 00, 02, 06, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, and 20. That sounds like a sarcastic response, but the best teams are no longer missing the playoffs at all.

Yankees misses since 1998: 08, 13, 14, 16

The Dodgers haven't missed since 12. Astros haven't missed since 16. Braves haven't missed since 17. Rays & Cards haven't missed since 18.

You can always buy your way out of mistakes, & go on boom or bust cycles. To some extent, the Red Sox have been fortunate to win so many World Series in their boom years. I think they are trying to excise the bust portion of the cycle, though, & that takes time & planning, & focusing on that infrastructure & not cashing in all your chips too soon.

I don't really see any evidence that signing long term free agents destroys the long-term health of a rich team like the Red Sox. There is a crazy binary that keeps being asserted: either sign all the pricey FA, or build up from the farm. That is a false choice. Having a fruitful farm is exactly what ALLOWS you to sign the pricey free agents: cuz if you sign the wrong guy, you can always, eventually, DFA him, or trade him for pennies on the dollar and balance the books by having a young player filling a roster spot for cheap.
I agree entirely with this paragraph (except I don't know that anyone is asserting that this is binary). The issue is the timing of when you sign the pricey free agents because if you sign them before you have the cost-controlled talent in place, you can't field a deep enough roster & you're wasting the best years of those big deals.

Meanwhile, folks keep sighting the Dodgers as a model of excellence and prudent spending. They have the fifth highest payroll in baseball with mega deals for Mookie and Freeman (wouldn't you like those guys on the Red Sox? - I sure would):

https://www.fangraphs.com/roster-resource/breakdowns/payroll
Right, but if you have just Mookie & Freeman & don't have that base built up, you have a crappy team (see, e.g., Angels who have two of the best players in baseball & have made the playoffs once in 13 years - 2014).

The Red Sox were in the top 3 in spending for the golden years, year after, and sometimes number 1. Now they are 13th!! 13th! I can't tell you how many times I was lambasted on this site for asserting I wasn't sure, it wasn't clear to me given his decisions to date - one way or the other - if indeed Bloom and company would finally start committing serious money to the roster, keeping the Sox in the top 3 in payroll. OF COURSE they will - only an idiot would think otherwise, I was essentially told. Well, they haven't and are falling fast.

Yes, I want the Sox to have a flush farm. Of course. And I want them to spend, too. BOTH. Just like they did on the road to 4 WS championships.
The 13th thing is a bit of a red herring as the season hasn't actually started, yet. I expect they will probably spend just below the threshold this year to reset the tax, & then go for it starting in '24.

I do disagree with your "indecisiveness" & "cheapness" takes. I think those adjectives are used as a crutch & are not very descriptive. Spending money for the sake of spending money is silly. Going in only one direction and losing significant value in doing so is silly. I believe the Red Sox had a top 6 payroll last year. I'd be surprised if they weren't top 10 this year, & probably back into the top 3-5 or so within a couple years. Once they have the roster to warrant the larger long-term commitments again.
 

RedOctober3829

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The staff is not full of holes, just question marks. Who knows what Sale, Paxton, Pivetta, Kluber, and Bello are going to give you, but they're all starters. The plan now is for Whitlock to be a starter, too. So there are already 6 guys for 5 spots. Getting a 7th means you're banking on two injuries or moving someone else.

If you're going to trade valuable prospects, I'd rather see them bring back a power hitter, not send one away.
However you want to phrase it, the staff is not good. They need a top of the rotation starter. I call Paxton, Sale, and Pivetta holes based on prior years performances or injuries. Getting another young controllable starter with considerable upside to go with Bello would be good use of some trade chips.
 

SouthernBoSox

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However you want to phrase it, the staff is not good. They need a top of the rotation starter. I call Paxton, Sale, and Pivetta holes based on prior years performances or injuries. Getting another young controllable starter with considerable upside to go with Bello would be good use of some trade chips.
Without question. And to further your point, it would be especially advantageous if they could leverage Pivetta or Houck into SS or RF upgrades.
 

Blizzard of 1978

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Sep 12, 2022
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I agree that Boston shouldn't pay over a market rate for Devers, but given that he is going into his age 26 season and Judge going into his 31, I don't think your perspective on what would be his market rate is accurate.
Good points. Also
Devers will be getting big money. If not Red Sox someone will give it to him. After Ohtani he is the best hitter in next years free agent class.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Without question. And to further your point, it would be especially advantageous if they could leverage Pivetta or Houck into SS or RF upgrades.
Definitely WITH question!
I’m not going down the hole but I believe there’s been plenty of discussion already why Sale is more than “a hole”. Pivetta should improve. I don’t think Paxton should be considered a hole either…. But I’m more willing to not argue that.
But where there are “holes” there’s adequate to actually good depth! And as bad as the rotation was last year… the combination of Crawford and Hill filled in pretty well
The Sox do not simply have the depth to trade and bring in someone young and cost controlled that’s somehow a less of a hole than Sale. Their remaining limited depth and resources need to be full court press on getting Devers and adding either a great OF’er or 2B/SS.
I’m 100% behind the rotation at this point. Way more than last year at the same time
 

Blizzard of 1978

@drballs
Sep 12, 2022
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This article seems completely backwards. It claims Boston is in desperate need of controllable starting pitching. When what the are light on is controllable position players.

Casas is the setting first baseman. He isn’t being moved.
Agreed, than again Luke Voit is still out there as a firstbasemen. Chaim Bloom is the hardest Red Sox gm to figure out.
 

RedOctober3829

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Definitely WITH question!
I’m not going down the hole but I believe there’s been plenty of discussion already why Sale is more than “a hole”. Pivetta should improve. I don’t think Paxton should be considered a hole either…. But I’m more willing to not argue that.
But where there are “holes” there’s adequate to actually good depth! And as bad as the rotation was last year… the combination of Crawford and Hill filled in pretty well
The Sox do not simply have the depth to trade and bring in someone young and cost controlled that’s somehow a less of a hole than Sale. Their remaining limited depth and resources need to be full court press on getting Devers and adding either a great OF’er or 2B/SS.
I’m 100% behind the rotation at this point. Way more than last year at the same time
Why would anybody expect anything out of Sale at this point based on his last couple years? Go right ahead and do that but when he’s pitching subpar and goes on the IL it should come as no surprise. Counting on him to be an anchor of a staff is just being delusional. They need to somehow upgrade the staff and since they didn’t do it in FA enough(Kluber ain’t it) the trade route is the only route. It’s going to hurt in prospects given up but that’s the cost of doing business.

How is Paxton looked at in any other way than a huge question mark? He’s made 6 major league starts since 2019! Whitlock hasn’t pitched 100 ip since 2018. Bello hasn’t pitched 100 ip since 2019.

Looking at the current rotation and saying “you know what, I’m good” because we have“depth” just isn’t looking at it from a perspective
to be a contending team.
 

JM3

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Why would anybody expect anything out of Sale at this point based on his last couple years? Go right ahead and do that but when he’s pitching subpar and goes on the IL it should come as no surprise. Counting on him to be an anchor of a staff is just being delusional. They need to somehow upgrade the staff and since they didn’t do it in FA enough(Kluber ain’t it) the trade route is the only route. It’s going to hurt in prospects given up but that’s the cost of doing business.

How is Paxton looked at in any other way than a huge question mark? He’s made 6 major league starts since 2019! Whitlock hasn’t pitched 100 ip since 2018. Bello hasn’t pitched 100 ip since 2019.

Looking at the current rotation and saying “you know what, I’m good” because we have“depth” just isn’t looking at it from a perspective
to be a contending team.
Bello pitched 153 innings in '22, but go off.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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How so? 30-year-olds with one league-average season on their resume usually are what they are. Believing he should improve is wish casting. When the Royals signed Jordan Lyles, did you think "good signing – he should improve"?
His biggest weakness was pitching a ridiculous amount against ALE opponents. There’s no possible way he’ll face the Yankees/Rays/Jays/O’s as much as he did in ‘22. That’s just a fact.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Isn’t the “good depth” of Crawford, Winckowski, Seabold, etc the same guys we complained about starting games last year?
Crawford is no 8 on the depth chart and he was quite good until his minor injury.
There’s Houck, Bello before him. That’s very F’in good depth. What other team has a potentially mid rotation guy at no. 8 on their depth chart?
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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It should be, but only if Devers is at least willing to take a market rate extension. I see a lot of people suggesting that the Sox should spend whatever it takes to retain Devers -- $350, 400mm... anything. That's where I balk. If Judge is a 360mm player, Dever is not worth 350, let alone 400. Since 2017 Devers has racked up 18.1 fWAR vs. Judge's 35.9. Based on that it seems to me that Devers should be worth perhaps 50-60% of Judge's AAV, so perhaps 20-24mm. If we're offering a "lifetime" contract to Devers that'd look something like 14/$280-14/$336. I could imagine going a bit lower on years and keeping the total value the same.

I generally loathe megadeals, but I do acknowledge that a big contract or two is realistically necessary. I don't have a problem with backing up a dump truck for Devers, Ohtani, Soto etc. But I absolutely oppose the idea that Devers must be written a blank check. He's a very good player, not a generational talent (unless he significantly elevates his game past what he's accomplished so far).
I agree. Love Raffy, want to re-sign him, but not without limit. Over the past two years he's the number 5
third baseman by fWar: Ramirez (6.2, 6.5 - 12.7), Machado (7.4, 4.3 - 11.7), Arenado (7.3, 4.1 - 11.4), Riley (5.5, 4.7 - 10.2), Devers (4.9, 4.2 - 9.1). Over the past three years he's number 5: JR (15.9), MM (14.3), NA (12.1), AR (10.2), RD (9.8). Over the past four years he's tied for number 4: JR (19.4), NA (18.6), Bregman (16.9), RD & MM (16.5). Over the past five years he's number 6: JR (27.5), AB (24.9), NA (24.2), MM (23.5), Chapman (21.3), RD 17.5.
So let's call him pretty consistently the number 5 third baseman. There's nothing wrong with that. But folks here are talking about paying him like he's a Top 5 shortstop. That's crazy.
On top of that, his defense is a big problem. Looking at the last three years again, his bat has been great; his wRC+ of 132 compares well with his peers (JR 143, MM 139, NA 124, AR 132, AB 126, MC 110). But his glove has been decidedly the worst of his peers according to the FG defense number. Arenado and Chapman lead the way at +28.4 and +23.8; Machado and Bregman are very good at +14.6 and +12.5; Ramirez is a solid +7.7. Then there's Riley and Raffy at -5.9 and -9.5.
With Casas at 1b and no prospects pushing him from below, the Sox would probably swallow the subpar defense and keep Raffy at 3B for the foreseeable future. So sure, pay him like the number 5 third baseman and a guy who's got a few prime years ahead of him, but as PIN says, he doesn't get a blank check.
 

Jimbodandy

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Bello pitched 153 innings in '22, but go off.
59629

I have no beef with anyone who has doubts about our rotation right now, but Bello is the least of our concerns.

Teams like the Marlins are pretty good potential trading partners though. We should be looking at bottom payroll teams that are looking for cost controlled guys and trying to shed salary or move on from guys who are entering the arb years and getting expensive (by their standards). Maybe some of our 4A/borderline guys have value to them.
 

walt in maryland

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Casas isn't going anywhere at this point. I don't mind giving up Rafaela in the right deal. Makes sense the Marlins would want a center fielder, but wouldn't they pretty much have to shed an outfielder too? De la Cruz, Garcia, Sanchez, Bleday, Soler, Berti and Burdick all in the mix.

Something like Rafaela for Rogers, Wendle and García (3/$41M) makes sense, and then you can deal Verdugo and Pivetta for other pieces if you like.

López is nice but I'd prefer to have Rogers' two extra years of control. López has recurring shoulder issues, and I'd worry that any further injury there could wipe out too much of the relatively short team control we'd have on him.
Rogers was great in 2021, but terrible last year. He's a decent buy-low candidate, but I think the Sox would prefer Lopez
 

walt in maryland

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I agree. Love Raffy, want to re-sign him, but not without limit. Over the past two years he's the number 5
third baseman by fWar: Ramirez (6.2, 6.5 - 12.7), Machado (7.4, 4.3 - 11.7), Arenado (7.3, 4.1 - 11.4), Riley (5.5, 4.7 - 10.2), Devers (4.9, 4.2 - 9.1). Over the past three years he's number 5: JR (15.9), MM (14.3), NA (12.1), AR (10.2), RD (9.8). Over the past four years he's tied for number 4: JR (19.4), NA (18.6), Bregman (16.9), RD & MM (16.5). Over the past five years he's number 6: JR (27.5), AB (24.9), NA (24.2), MM (23.5), Chapman (21.3), RD 17.5.
So let's call him pretty consistently the number 5 third baseman. There's nothing wrong with that. But folks here are talking about paying him like he's a Top 5 shortstop. That's crazy.
On top of that, his defense is a big problem. Looking at the last three years again, his bat has been great; his wRC+ of 132 compares well with his peers (JR 143, MM 139, NA 124, AR 132, AB 126, MC 110). But his glove has been decidedly the worst of his peers according to the FG defense number. Arenado and Chapman lead the way at +28.4 and +23.8; Machado and Bregman are very good at +14.6 and +12.5; Ramirez is a solid +7.7. Then there's Riley and Raffy at -5.9 and -9.5.
With Casas at 1b and no prospects pushing him from below, the Sox would probably swallow the subpar defense and keep Raffy at 3B for the foreseeable future. So sure, pay him like the number 5 third baseman and a guy who's got a few prime years ahead of him, but as PIN says, he doesn't get a blank check.
Good take. Let me add one other cautionary note on Devers. He has a thick body, and already weighs around 235 pounds. How heavy might he become by the end of a 10-year contract? How long will he remain playable at 3b?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Before I talk about responses to my responses on Sunday, I think that a lot of the pro-Bloomer, anti-Bloomer rhetoric really comes down to how you perceive baseball overall. If you're like me, you mostly see baseball (and sports) as entertainment. I'm fundamentally opposed to the idea that you somehow have to go through fallow times in order to build up your farm system while at the same time not taking on any bad contracts in order to field a consistently good team in the future. When viewed as entertainment, it doesn't bother me that the team's farm system was considered barren (I think that the prospect industrial complex is absolute bullshit. So many things can happen [both good and bad] to a player between A and MLB that while it's worth discussing, it's not really worth putting that much stock into it--prospects aren't a finite resource, there's a draft every year and there's also mechanism to sign non-US born players too) when the Red Sox have the money to simply outspend 90% of their competition. I'd like them to do that. And the reason why I'd like them to that is because they can do that--most teams can, but they choose not to.

If you view the Red Sox and sports as an investment, ie what you do today will definitely pay off tomorrow, then the above view is counter to your beliefs, which is okay. I'm not going to go too far down this road to state what this POV believes, but I think after reading enough comments from this side of the argument, I believe that it basically breaks down to: the best way to build a ball club is by investing heavily in the farm system, not worry if a few years are thrown away at the major league level and eventually a behemoth is going to emerge. I think that this is an optimistic way of looking at things (not wrong, mind you) and I think that it ignores a lot of things that can go sideways when we're pinning hopes on kids aged 18-22. But I do get the attraction, one of the more fun parts of the 2016-2019 teams is that a vast majority of the every day lineup came up through the minor leagues and you got to learn who Mookie Betts was before he ended up in Boston. And Xander Bogaerts. And JBJ. And Benny. And Devers. The 2018 title culminated all of that hard work.

I just don't think that it happens as often as we think for this to be a slam-dunk. And that's what has me so down on current Red Sox management. They say that they aren't tearing things down, but it's pretty obvious that they are. I have no idea why, but that seems to be the direction that they're going. At this point I don't even care anymore that they won't acknowledge it, but a second tear down in ten years sorta sucks. Especially here in this market. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but teams in the Sox' stratosphere don't usually bottom out like this: Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Cards, Astros (I know, but they've been consistently excellent for a decade) and Guardians. Why the Red Sox? Why do they feel they need to boom and bust?

Point taken. But there's an implication here that perception (have they done enough/how do fans feel) is more important than reality of how they actually play. That cant be true.
One of the problems of offseason is that the "perception" is all there is, because there's no reality (games). IMO, how people think they might play in 2023 is not reality. Nor is the bottom line itself, as in Boston anyway, winning most often = $$.
Do we/should John Henry want the GM to do stuff with only or mostly perception (how fans "feel") in mind? I don think taht's a winning recipe.
This is an interesting question which has an answer that begins with, "it depends". If we're talking about a GM/Henry that's listening to fans with crazy (and that's in the eye of the beholder) ideas, like trading Mayer for Stanton or Jordan for Yu Darvish, then no. It's not wise to listen to fans who want to mortgage the future for the present. I'd expect Bloom not to do that (just as I would have expected Gorman, Duquette, Epstein, Cherington and Dombrowski to do the same). But if your team is getting killed day in and day out by the fans (and John Henry getting booed or yelled at yesterday's hockey game is probably a bellwether) it's probably a good idea not to antagonize your fans. You can't say that you traded Mookie away because you need to free up money to sign the team's stars and not do it. You can't say that signing Bogaerts is your number one priority of the offseason and watch him walk out the door. You can't say that you're going to add seven or eight players and the best that you can come up with is Kenley Jansen.

You do these things and you risk alienating your fan base. I think that's beginning to happen here. I don't think that the Sox are going to swing a major trade in the next six weeks. There are no premium free agents left to sign. This is not going to be a very pretty season and my guess is that fans are going to get pissed for awhile and then indifferent. The former you can deal with, the latter is tough.

This is a lot of words about things that I didn't say.

If they're right about how they're running the franchise, the people will come back quickly. If they're wrong, '23 is just the beginning of the problem. If they do the retool correctly & become the Dodgers/Astros/Braves, everyone will come back, & more.

Do you think if that 75% is proven wrong they'll bail on the team forever because they were incorrectly pessimistic? If the Red Sox spent a ton of money on long-term deals that helped the Red Sox this season, but made the team worse in the long run, would that be better or worse for the long-term bottom line?

If you trust the plan you are implementing, you don't panic midstream because you better have weighed all this stuff when you decided this was the direction you wanted to take. I think it's the right direction. I think even if Bloom turns out to be the wrong person to implement that vision, it's still the right direction.

But yeah, listening to the fans to make baseball decisions is stupid. The fans may be happy that the team is doing what they want in the short-term, but if our GM isn't smarter than the fans, we have a really uninformed & incompetent GM. & that has nothing to do with how smart the fans are - this is the front office's job & they have a lot of really smart people spending their entire life sweating over these details & contributing to these decisions in ways the fan base never could, with wide swaths of information the general public isn't privy to.

Now I could absolutely be wrong about the correct way to build a baseball franchise, & I could be totally missing the things that actually make the Dodgers/Astros/Braves/Rays successful. & the Red Sox could be absolutely wrong, too. But pivoting off that strategy because you're afraid people won't show up in '23 would be crazy, & would undo all the steps you've taken to get toward the goal you are moving toward.
Like I said above, no one is asking the Sox to "WIN THE OFFSEASON!!!!" because you know how a lot of those wins go. They're bottoming out in the division by May. But at the same time, Bloom and company are not building this team in a vacuum. If he wants to do that, he can boot up Earl Weaver Baseball or Tony LaRussa's Ultimate Baseball and run his simulations there. Or he can join a keeper Roto league. When you have a product that is dependent on paying customers, you need to take their thoughts into account. If you ignore them, you're screwed.

I don't think that Bloom isn't smarter than the fans, I definitely do. I'm just not sure if he's smarter than the 29 other heads of baseball that he's competing against. Let's put it this way, the one trade that Bloom clearly won was the Hembree/Workman for Pivetta/Seabold deal. Whether Bloom hammered that deal out with Phillies President Andy MacPhail or GM Matt Klentak, it doesn't matter, because neither men are running baseball teams now.

Regardless of the above, Bloom's plan has not been a success. Two last place finishes in three years is nothing to celebrate, can we agree on that? If you saw two last place finishes on your resume, would a wise person continue with the plan that got him in this position that he's in right now? Maybe a change or a tweak could be implemented?

I'm unsure about how you came up with the bolded. If you are able to improve your team through free agency or dealing off some prospects for good ML players, how does that undo all the steps you've taken towards you goal? Isn't the goal to have the best Major League team that you can have, like now? Not in two years or three years. There is not guarantee of that happening. Baseball is not a Judaeo-Christian belief system where if you're good and you don't do anything bad, then you're going to heaven when you die. In baseball, you can do all of the right things, which sounds like bottoming out and collecting prospects and watching really terrible ML baseball for a bunch of season, but that doesn't guarantee you anything except bad baseball. Mayer might get run over by a car, or can't hit a curve. Jordan might not be able to hit a fastball or becomes afraid of night games. There is no heaven here.

Sorry - I failed to respond to this specifically...



The Red Sox aren't "bottoming out" right now - they're putting together a slightly over .500 ML team which with positive variance can playoff & with negative variance can have a losing record. Is that exciting? Probably not, especially if they're not hitting their positive variance, but the only "bottoming out" year was '20.

What will take 5 years until fruition? The whole idea is building up the infrastructure to spit out cheap baseball players. Some of those cheap baseball players will hopefully be great baseball players. Many of them will hopefully be competent baseball players that you are paying minimum wage so you don't have to pay free agents $10m for their competence.

If individual prospects don't work, obviously it is harder to build a successful franchise, but a good system eventually will not rely on individual players panning out to provide a good backbone for success. If 3 draft picks don't work, including a 3rd rounder, hopefully other draft picks will work. Hopefully your International free agent signings like Miguel Bleis work out. The system should constantly be churning out people who can contribute, though, & this should not be a boom or bust type deal.

If NONE or very few of these people work out? Then they need to fire the crap out of Bloom & every player development person at all levels of the franchise. But that still wouldn't mean the plan to acquire a high quantity of potentially useful players is bad - just the execution of which players the GM chose to populate the system with was bad and/or the coaches' abilities to help those players reach their potential is bad.

& if they fire Bloom in that situation, I want a better, more competent Bloom in place getting that system churning out talent so we can have great pre-arb talent like the Astros, and/or extend those players early like the Braves, and/or make big free agency additions like the Dodgers because you can afford them because you have that baseline competence of cheap talent.
No. The whole idea of building up the infrastructure is not to spit out cheap ballplayers, it's too win. I think that this is the division between Bloomers and anti-Bloomers; I don't care one whit about the salaries of ball players. And this is where posters like you get the reputation that you do. John Henry and FSG can literally afford the price of any ball player that can help them. Any one. It would barely affect their bottom line. Whether they want to do that or not is their prerogative, but the Boston Red Sox are not the Oakland A's nor are they Tampa Bay Rays. Their plan shouldn't be, "We have to create a system where we spit out cheap ballplayers, use them for six years and when they get expensive ship them out and begin the process again." This is not a sustainable model for a market this size. People won't stand for it--and you're seeing it now.

Not every move is going to be championed by the public. That's okay. People have a billion reasons for not liking a deal that could eventually prove to be correct down the line. But what I keep hammering at is that if you continue to make unpopular deal after unpopular deal; a vast majority of your fans will turn away. And while you may get some of them back, you're not getting all of them back, resulting in money down the toilet. Someone mentioned this a little while ago but the most difficult thing that a brand can do is get trust back. Once you lose it, you risk losing it forever. I think that the John Henry-lead Red Sox are teetering on that right now and it would be a shame if this era, not so much defines him, but paints a black stain on his tenure here. Because the question becomes, why is he doing this? We all know he has the money, why is he putting a shit team on the field? Why is he running popular stars out of town and getting nothing in return for them?

What's the fucking point here?
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Please explain how you think this list of random ragtag relievers would outperform a crew of established major leaguers. Guillermo Heredia is an outfielder and Josh James had season-ending surgery, so I'm curious how they'd be much help to a team in 2023 in the pitching department. Delois Guerra may have some sneaky value but his only successful major league season since 2016 happened in the pitchers' paradise of Oakland. The other three have either been hit hard in the majors or have never appeared. A) How would they be successful? B) With the front office already under fire by some and the bullpen as a clear area for upgrade after '22, how do you spin that to the public?
I just happened to pick guys listed on the non tender list based on alphabetical listing of teams and removed guys whom I recall signing elsewhere. Teams presently building a roster in a similar vein to Bloom that were good last year and had good bullpens by and large did it with spending extremely little in the middle of that bullpen.

Cleveland was 5th in bullpen ERA. Their high expenditure outside of their closer was Karinchik at $710k. Baltimore was 9th and their top expenditure was Jorge Lopez at $925k (whom they traded) and then Dillon Tate at $711k. If we’re going to build our rotation and line up the same way those teams do too, I think it makes sense to not commit money to the most volatile point of baseball (relief pitching).

I guess I have faith in good GMs that are building teams in that manner to find guys to fill roles in the bullpen for very cheap money.

I'll use Tampa as the example to look up in greater detail, they paid for their closer (as much as TB has one) in Raley and Wisler at around $5m and $2.2m and neither was even one of their top 4 relief pitchers in terms of performance. Here were their top 10 relief pitchers by bWAR (just because that's a) easier to look up in aggregate and b) it shows what actually happened by overweighting performance as opposed to assumed performance, since bullpens seem to be in a constant state of flux).

Jason Adam bWAR of 2.6 for $900k
JP Feyereisen 1.4 for $708k
Pete Fairbanks 1.3 for $714k
Jalen Beeks 1.1 for $750k
Brooks Raley .9 for $5m
Matt Wisler .7 for $2.2m
Shawn Armstrong .6 for $700k
Luke Bard .5 for $115k
JT Chargois .5 for $710k
Garrett Cleavinger .4 for $152k

I'm happy to look this up for Cleveland and Baltimore too, but since we're chasing all three teams and ostensibly using similar roster construction, they're the best comps, at least in my opinion.

If there is any place where a good GM should be able to find / cycle in guys for absolutely no money, it's the bullpen. There seems little correlation between money spent and what one actually receives (see above). The teams we're apparently choosing to emulate or catch (Tampa, Cleveland, Baltimore) are easily able to do this. I'm happy to look this up for Cleveland and Baltimore too, but since we're chasing all three teams and ostensibly using similar roster construction, they're the best comps, at least in my opinion.


As to the question of how one "spin(s) that to the public?"; I'll start by saying that I don't think this is a huge concern of the current front office (nor should it be). But to answer your question, it would be pretty easy. "We looked at the volatility inherent in relief pitcher from year to year, and decided it was much more difficult to find a middle of the order, face of the franchise player than relief help. We elected to spend $28m to retain one of the most popular players in our team, whom happens to also be one of our most valuable players and a long term core asset while building a lot of bullpen depth at lower costs that we think can follow the models of some of the better bullpens in the game last year."

Of course, if one doesn't want to sign long term contracts any longer or doesn't believe that's a sustainable way to build a team, we could also have higher expenditures on short term deals for veteran players, which should also be an easier sell to the public due to names they'd recognize. But again, I don't think spin to the public is a major concern, nor do I think it should be.

There are plenty of ways to use that money, especially when it should be the easiest place to find value / similar options for low cost, particularly when there are so many holes / question marks up and down the roster. Unless of course we think that Bloom isn't as good a GM / talent evaluator as the heads of baseball ops in Tampa, Cleveland and Baltimore, which is another discussion.



Oh, and I think 2020 was a MUCH more successful outcome of a season than 2022 @Max Power . In both cases we missed the playoffs. In both cases we finished last in our division. However, in one we re-set the luxury tax, we lost enough to get a considerably higher draft pick (Mayer), and we sold at the deadline to get more assets for the future. In the other, we didn't achieve any of those. Had Bloom followed a path near the 2022 deadline like he did in 2020, you'd at least have one poster (yours truly) less concerned about the direction of the franchise under Bloom.
 
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ElcaballitoMVP

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Good take. Let me add one other cautionary note on Devers. He has a thick body, and already weighs around 235 pounds. How heavy might he become by the end of a 10-year contract? How long will he remain playable at 3b?
He obviously needs to take care of his body as he ages and if he doesn't, he could Pablo Sandoval the team who signs him to that deal, but I'm less concerned about this because the Sox can eventually move him over to DH when the time comes that he's no longer able to play 3B. His bat is good enough to make that transition. Keep him at 3B for as long as he can play competent defense and then move him over to DH. People may have an issue paying $30M or so for a DH, but if the bat remains as good as it is now, I'm okay with it particularly when you could have cheap everyday guys in Mayer, Rafaela, Yorke, etc from the farm.

The last few years of the contract may end up under water, but that's the risk you have to take with these guys or you see them walk and sign with the Padres.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Before I talk about responses to my responses on Sunday, I think that a lot of the pro-Bloomer, anti-Bloomer rhetoric really comes down to how you perceive baseball overall. If you're like me, you mostly see baseball (and sports) as entertainment. I'm fundamentally opposed to the idea that you somehow have to go through fallow times in order to build up your farm system while at the same time not taking on any bad contracts in order to field a consistently good team in the future. When viewed as entertainment, it doesn't bother me that the team's farm system was considered barren (I think that the prospect industrial complex is absolute bullshit. So many things can happen [both good and bad] to a player between A and MLB that while it's worth discussing, it's not really worth putting that much stock into it--prospects aren't a finite resource, there's a draft every year and there's also mechanism to sign non-US born players too) when the Red Sox have the money to simply outspend 90% of their competition. I'd like them to do that. And the reason why I'd like them to that is because they can do that--most teams can, but they choose not to.

If you view the Red Sox and sports as an investment, ie what you do today will definitely pay off tomorrow, then the above view is counter to your beliefs, which is okay. I'm not going to go too far down this road to state what this POV believes, but I think after reading enough comments from this side of the argument, I believe that it basically breaks down to: the best way to build a ball club is by investing heavily in the farm system, not worry if a few years are thrown away at the major league level and eventually a behemoth is going to emerge. I think that this is an optimistic way of looking at things (not wrong, mind you) and I think that it ignores a lot of things that can go sideways when we're pinning hopes on kids aged 18-22. But I do get the attraction, one of the more fun parts of the 2016-2019 teams is that a vast majority of the every day lineup came up through the minor leagues and you got to learn who Mookie Betts was before he ended up in Boston. And Xander Bogaerts. And JBJ. And Benny. And Devers. The 2018 title culminated all of that hard work.

I just don't think that it happens as often as we think for this to be a slam-dunk. And that's what has me so down on current Red Sox management. They say that they aren't tearing things down, but it's pretty obvious that they are. I have no idea why, but that seems to be the direction that they're going. At this point I don't even care anymore that they won't acknowledge it, but a second tear down in ten years sorta sucks. Especially here in this market. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but teams in the Sox' stratosphere don't usually bottom out like this: Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Cards, Astros (I know, but they've been consistently excellent for a decade) and Guardians. Why the Red Sox? Why do they feel they need to boom and bust?



This is an interesting question which has an answer that begins with, "it depends". If we're talking about a GM/Henry that's listening to fans with crazy (and that's in the eye of the beholder) ideas, like trading Mayer for Stanton or Jordan for Yu Darvish, then no. It's not wise to listen to fans who want to mortgage the future for the present. I'd expect Bloom not to do that (just as I would have expected Gorman, Duquette, Epstein, Cherington and Dombrowski to do the same). But if your team is getting killed day in and day out by the fans (and John Henry getting booed or yelled at yesterday's hockey game is probably a bellwether) it's probably a good idea not to antagonize your fans. You can't say that you traded Mookie away because you need to free up money to sign the team's stars and not do it. You can't say that signing Bogaerts is your number one priority of the offseason and watch him walk out the door. You can't say that you're going to add seven or eight players and the best that you can come up with is Kenley Jansen.

You do these things and you risk alienating your fan base. I think that's beginning to happen here. I don't think that the Sox are going to swing a major trade in the next six weeks. There are no premium free agents left to sign. This is not going to be a very pretty season and my guess is that fans are going to get pissed for awhile and then indifferent. The former you can deal with, the latter is tough.



Like I said above, no one is asking the Sox to "WIN THE OFFSEASON!!!!" because you know how a lot of those wins go. They're bottoming out in the division by May. But at the same time, Bloom and company are not building this team in a vacuum. If he wants to do that, he can boot up Earl Weaver Baseball or Tony LaRussa's Ultimate Baseball and run his simulations there. Or he can join a keeper Roto league. When you have a product that is dependent on paying customers, you need to take their thoughts into account. If you ignore them, you're screwed.

I don't think that Bloom isn't smarter than the fans, I definitely do. I'm just not sure if he's smarter than the 29 other heads of baseball that he's competing against. Let's put it this way, the one trade that Bloom clearly won was the Hembree/Workman for Pivetta/Seabold deal. Whether Bloom hammered that deal out with Phillies President Andy MacPhail or GM Matt Klentak, it doesn't matter, because neither men are running baseball teams now.

Regardless of the above, Bloom's plan has not been a success. Two last place finishes in three years is nothing to celebrate, can we agree on that? If you saw two last place finishes on your resume, would a wise person continue with the plan that got him in this position that he's in right now? Maybe a change or a tweak could be implemented?

I'm unsure about how you came up with the bolded. If you are able to improve your team through free agency or dealing off some prospects for good ML players, how does that undo all the steps you've taken towards you goal? Isn't the goal to have the best Major League team that you can have, like now? Not in two years or three years. There is not guarantee of that happening. Baseball is not a Judaeo-Christian belief system where if you're good and you don't do anything bad, then you're going to heaven when you die. In baseball, you can do all of the right things, which sounds like bottoming out and collecting prospects and watching really terrible ML baseball for a bunch of season, but that doesn't guarantee you anything except bad baseball. Mayer might get run over by a car, or can't hit a curve. Jordan might not be able to hit a fastball or becomes afraid of night games. There is no heaven here.



No. The whole idea of building up the infrastructure is not to spit out cheap ballplayers, it's too win. I think that this is the division between Bloomers and anti-Bloomers; I don't care one whit about the salaries of ball players. And this is where posters like you get the reputation that you do. John Henry and FSG can literally afford the price of any ball player that can help them. Any one. It would barely affect their bottom line. Whether they want to do that or not is their prerogative, but the Boston Red Sox are not the Oakland A's nor are they Tampa Bay Rays. Their plan shouldn't be, "We have to create a system where we spit out cheap ballplayers, use them for six years and when they get expensive ship them out and begin the process again." This is not a sustainable model for a market this size. People won't stand for it--and you're seeing it now.

Not every move is going to be championed by the public. That's okay. People have a billion reasons for not liking a deal that could eventually prove to be correct down the line. But what I keep hammering at is that if you continue to make unpopular deal after unpopular deal; a vast majority of your fans will turn away. And while you may get some of them back, you're not getting all of them back, resulting in money down the toilet. Someone mentioned this a little while ago but the most difficult thing that a brand can do is get trust back. Once you lose it, you risk losing it forever. I think that the John Henry-lead Red Sox are teetering on that right now and it would be a shame if this era, not so much defines him, but paints a black stain on his tenure here. Because the question becomes, why is he doing this? We all know he has the money, why is he putting a shit team on the field? Why is he running popular stars out of town and getting nothing in return for them?

What's the fucking point here?
I get where you're coming from but it's his money. He can hoard it and buy multiple yachts and private islands if he wants. There's clearly a budget and a direction that Bloom is working under. From how I'm reading this... is that Henry sees that up to a certain point of spending, the returns just aren't worth it to go over. Fine. It is what it is and I don't see the point in getting worked up about it and feeling betrayed. Would I like him to spend more... sure. But me screaming at him to sign Devers to whatever he's asking is probably more effective than me posting here about it... and I'm pretty certain that doing that has zero affect on it too.

I'm going to enjoy whatever team the Sox put out there.... my rabid days of Sox fandom is long over. If the team is looking good, I'll stay tuned in longer and more attentively. If they are garbage, I'll probably just check the box scores and move on with my day. They've won 4 WS. More than I could have imagined. I honestly just don't care as much as I used to and am happy for other teams when they win now.
 

Jimbodandy

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Regardless of the above, Bloom's plan has not been a success. Two last place finishes in three years is nothing to celebrate, can we agree on that? If you saw two last place finishes on your resume, would a wise person continue with the plan that got him in this position that he's in right now? Maybe a change or a tweak could be implemented?
Your post was comprehensive, and I agree with much of what you're saying. This snip is something that jumps out at me.

If you're at the gym, and some 20yo in the station next to you has out his notebook and is reviewing his plan for the day and taking notes and then reps 225 off the floor a few times, you could look at it two ways. You could say "whatever plan that fool is following is the worst, if all it leads to is 225# triples"? Or you could understand that his plan takes time and try to gauge it based on whether he's hitting his milestones or not. Maybe he was at 185# two cycles ago and has made it to 205 and now 225 in ten weeks. Maybe he'll be at 315 or 350 by the end of the year on this plan (not bad for a guy who's 160 himself). Just because he's at 225 now doesn't mean that there is no plan or that the plan is bad.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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JM3

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Our bottom line disagreement isn't that I GAF about John Henry's bottom line. Most of what you've said is countered by what I put in my $540m post.

The first years of free agent contracts are the best years. If you line those years up with great young talent, you get things like '18 when Price/Sale/JD contracts supplemented a great young core - but then you get the down side after that where you're paying $60m for almost nothing from those guys.

Your solution can be "well just buy MORE players", but not even Steve Cohen is running out a $500m payroll. Cheap players are important because they help you buy expensive players and have a really good team. Cheap players are not important because they save John Henry money. If you have more cheap players coming through the system all the time, you can afford the downside of the later years on those long term deals.

Giving those long-term deals before your infrastructure is built up will just handcuff you later when you have the next albatross contract on your books so you are unlikely to invest in the next big deal.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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This is an interesting question which has an answer that begins with, "it depends". If we're talking about a GM/Henry that's listening to fans with crazy (and that's in the eye of the beholder) ideas, like trading Mayer for Stanton or Jordan for Yu Darvish, then no. It's not wise to listen to fans who want to mortgage the future for the present. I'd expect Bloom not to do that (just as I would have expected Gorman, Duquette, Epstein, Cherington and Dombrowski to do the same). But if your team is getting killed day in and day out by the fans (and John Henry getting booed or yelled at yesterday's hockey game is probably a bellwether) it's probably a good idea not to antagonize your fans. You can't say that you traded Mookie away because you need to free up money to sign the team's stars and not do it. You can't say that signing Bogaerts is your number one priority of the offseason and watch him walk out the door. You can't say that you're going to add seven or eight players and the best that you can come up with is Kenley Jansen.

If the Red Sox get off to any sort of a slow start in "23 I wouldn't be surprised to see a fan backlash similar to what Coca-Cola experienced when they tried to introduce "New Coke" in 1985.

New Coke - Wikipedia
 

Sleepy108

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BeantownIdaho

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Mets Reportedly May Trade Starting Pitcher; Could Be Perfect Match For Red Sox (msn.com)

Microsoft Edge has lots of reporter generated trade rumors. This is just one.
Thanks for posting this... The article doesn't do a very good job of persuading a trade.

"The Mets are listening to trade offers on Carlos Carrasco," Sherman said. "The ideal return would be a projectable young starter with options and a chance to contribute as soon as this coming season. The Mets worry about what Carrasco can bring in 2023 due to age (36 in March) and injury history."
 

jon abbey

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Thanks for posting this... The article doesn't do a very good job of persuading a trade.

"The Mets are listening to trade offers on Carlos Carrasco," Sherman said. "The ideal return would be a projectable young starter with options and a chance to contribute as soon as this coming season. The Mets worry about what Carrasco can bring in 2023 due to age (36 in March) and injury history."
Also that Sherman article is three weeks old.
 

jon abbey

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You can't say that you traded Mookie away because you need to free up money to sign the team's stars and not do it.
Sorry, I could research this myself, but I have seen a lot of people repeat this and I'm wondering, did BOS management ever actually say anything like that in the wake of the Mookie deal?
 

Sleepy108

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Also that Sherman article is three weeks old.
None of these articles are very current but they are links to other area writers and offer some thoughts to the thread. Personally I think these stories are nothing more that some reporter feeding his readers.

Sentence made no sense - double negitive
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Sorry, I could research this myself, but I have seen a lot of people repeat this and I'm wondering, did BOS management ever actually say anything like that in the wake of the Mookie deal?
Explicitly? No, they did not.

The inferences they made at the time of the trade were to having financial flexibility to sign players in the future. The local media and thus the fanbase interpreted that to mean the money not spent on Betts would immediately be spent on Bogaerts and Devers (and to a lesser extent on Benintendi and Vazquez and Bradley).

We fans tend to do this a lot. Take what media speculates or guesses as being what the team is actually thinking/planning/doing, then hold the team to task if they go in a different direction than expected.
 

8slim

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Baseball is not a Judaeo-Christian belief system where if you're good and you don't do anything bad, then you're going to heaven when you die. In baseball, you can do all of the right things, which sounds like bottoming out and collecting prospects and watching really terrible ML baseball for a bunch of season, but that doesn't guarantee you anything except bad baseball.
This point really resonated with me. There are times when I feel like some folks embrace a certain New England Puritanical approach to sports fandom. A notion that one has to suffer to truly appreciate better times. I mean, there's no Bulgarian gymnastics judge here. We don't get bonus points for higher degrees of difficulty.

I was thinking the other day that there is only one batter in the likely 2023 lineup who's production I feel confident about: Devers. All 8 other spots have some varying amount of uncertainty, from 'who the heck knows' (Yoshida) to 'most likely to be very good' (Story). Same applies to the starting rotation. I can't recall the last time I felt this much uncertainty about so many spots. Even in 2013, where the offseason looked vaguely similar to this one (sign cheap-ish vets to short deals, wait for the prospects to arrive) we still had Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Lester as a foundation.
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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I just happened to pick guys listed on the non tender list based on alphabetical listing of teams and removed guys whom I recall signing elsewhere. Teams presently building a roster in a similar vein to Bloom that were good last year and had good bullpens by and large did it with spending extremely little in the middle of that bullpen.

Cleveland was 5th in bullpen ERA. Their high expenditure outside of their closer was Karinchik at $710k. Baltimore was 9th and their top expenditure was Jorge Lopez at $925k (whom they traded) and then Dillon Tate at $711k. If we’re going to build our rotation and line up the same way those teams do too, I think it makes sense to not commit money to the most volatile point of baseball (relief pitching).

I guess I have faith in good GMs that are building teams in that manner to find guys to fill roles in the bullpen for very cheap money.

I'll use Tampa as the example to look up in greater detail, they paid for their closer (as much as TB has one) in Raley and Wisler at around $5m and $2.2m and neither was even one of their top 4 relief pitchers in terms of performance. Here were their top 10 relief pitchers by bWAR (just because that's a) easier to look up in aggregate and b) it shows what actually happened by overweighting performance as opposed to assumed performance, since bullpens seem to be in a constant state of flux).

Jason Adam bWAR of 2.6 for $900k
JP Feyereisen 1.4 for $708k
Pete Fairbanks 1.3 for $714k
Jalen Beeks 1.1 for $750k
Brooks Raley .9 for $5m
Matt Wisler .7 for $2.2m
Shawn Armstrong .6 for $700k
Luke Bard .5 for $115k
JT Chargois .5 for $710k
Garrett Cleavinger .4 for $152k

I'm happy to look this up for Cleveland and Baltimore too, but since we're chasing all three teams and ostensibly using similar roster construction, they're the best comps, at least in my opinion.

If there is any place where a good GM should be able to find / cycle in guys for absolutely no money, it's the bullpen. There seems little correlation between money spent and what one actually receives (see above). The teams we're apparently choosing to emulate or catch (Tampa, Cleveland, Baltimore) are easily able to do this. I'm happy to look this up for Cleveland and Baltimore too, but since we're chasing all three teams and ostensibly using similar roster construction, they're the best comps, at least in my opinion.


As to the question of how one "spin(s) that to the public?"; I'll start by saying that I don't think this is a huge concern of the current front office (nor should it be). But to answer your question, it would be pretty easy. "We looked at the volatility inherent in relief pitcher from year to year, and decided it was much more difficult to find a middle of the order, face of the franchise player than relief help. We elected to spend $28m to retain one of the most popular players in our team, whom happens to also be one of our most valuable players and a long term core asset while building a lot of bullpen depth at lower costs that we think can follow the models of some of the better bullpens in the game last year."

Of course, if one doesn't want to sign long term contracts any longer or doesn't believe that's a sustainable way to build a team, we could also have higher expenditures on short term deals for veteran players, which should also be an easier sell to the public due to names they'd recognize. But again, I don't think spin to the public is a major concern, nor do I think it should be.

There are plenty of ways to use that money, especially when it should be the easiest place to find value / similar options for low cost, particularly when there are so many holes / question marks up and down the roster. Unless of course we think that Bloom isn't as good a GM / talent evaluator as the heads of baseball ops in Tampa, Cleveland and Baltimore, which is another discussion.



Oh, and I think 2020 was a MUCH more successful outcome of a season than 2022 @Max Power . In both cases we missed the playoffs. In both cases we finished last in our division. However, in one we re-set the luxury tax, we lost enough to get a considerably higher draft pick (Mayer), and we sold at the deadline to get more assets for the future. In the other, we didn't achieve any of those. Had Bloom followed a path near the 2022 deadline like he did in 2020, you'd at least have one poster (yours truly) less concerned about the direction of the franchise under Bloom.
Great, so you cherry picked a couple of examples that fit your argument for one single season. How about showing what EVERY team spent and the results? Is this a trend or are these cases where a team got lucky and a bunch of young, cheap guys who eere under team control performed well? What evidence is there that this works year in and year out? You point to Baltimore. "Going cheap" on their bullpen certainly didn't work in prior seasons when they were losing over 100 games.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I get where you're coming from but it's his money. He can hoard it and buy multiple yachts and private islands if he wants. There's clearly a budget and a direction that Bloom is working under. From how I'm reading this... is that Henry sees that up to a certain point of spending, the returns just aren't worth it to go over. Fine. It is what it is and I don't see the point in getting worked up about it and feeling betrayed. Would I like him to spend more... sure. But me screaming at him to sign Devers to whatever he's asking is probably more effective than me posting here about it... and I'm pretty certain that doing that has zero affect on it too.

I'm going to enjoy whatever team the Sox put out there.... my rabid days of Sox fandom is long over. If the team is looking good, I'll stay tuned in longer and more attentively. If they are garbage, I'll probably just check the box scores and move on with my day. They've won 4 WS. More than I could have imagined. I honestly just don't care as much as I used to and am happy for other teams when they win now.
We really don't know what Henry's philosophy is, because they are not sharing. Now, there could be a very good reason for that.

My working assumption is that Henry does in fact have ideas and a plan and that his overarching goal is to figure out what is in the best long term interest of the club. It could very well be that he views free agency as cyclical and that he's willing to let others buy high, because he believes that buy low opportunities are coming and so he will have a double advantage.

To me, the fundamental debate among posters turns on two issues: over what period to you address success, and what is your best guess about Henry's motivation?

I've posted the analogy before, but I view competing for championships in baseball kind of like ocean waves. They crest and recede. We are in recede mode. And it's a little hard to get out of it because of a pandemic and because the 2022-23 off season turned into silly season. The Red Sox timing has not been great. We all knew after 2018 going into 2019 that we were going to need to pay the piper and you have to view the Mookie situation in context. The prospect of turning 2023 into another shit year because of a variety of these factors really stinks. But I'm not ready to declare it's always going to be like this.

Again, my working assumption is that John Henry very deeply cares about the franchise and its long term success and is willing to play a longer game than fans would like at times. Might I be wrong? Yep. But I'm willing to give it another year to see.
 

chrisfont9

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This point really resonated with me. There are times when I feel like some folks embrace a certain New England Puritanical approach to sports fandom. A notion that one has to suffer to truly appreciate better times. I mean, there's no Bulgarian gymnastics judge here. We don't get bonus points for higher degrees of difficulty.

I was thinking the other day that there is only one batter in the likely 2023 lineup who's production I feel confident about: Devers. All 8 other spots have some varying amount of uncertainty, from 'who the heck knows' (Yoshida) to 'most likely to be very good' (Story). Same applies to the starting rotation. I can't recall the last time I felt this much uncertainty about so many spots. Even in 2013, where the offseason looked vaguely similar to this one (sign cheap-ish vets to short deals, wait for the prospects to arrive) we still had Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Lester as a foundation.
I think this is at the heart of the debate, and sure, it's absurd to think that, for reasons of philosophy or karma, the team has to bottom out to get better. But I wonder if that is the practical reality now? In 2004 the smart teams and the rich teams could count on being good, with the smart AND rich teams having real championship aspirations, indefinitely. Now? I think Bloom is perfectly smart, but so are 25 other GMs. And the Sox are rich, but so are another maybe 23 teams. How do you win in that environment?

The Astros are winning thanks to bottoming out, and then a number of other factors -- international signings, innovative development, etc. The Yankees have stayed afloat without stepping back, although the cost is climbing and the raft of prospects is thinning out maybe? The Dodgers have been up there largely with massive spending power, but good drafting and development. The Braves' approach gets the most fan love, locking up their top guys early, but we will see if they get more than one title out of it.

Bottom line, the Sox and Chaim are sailing into far greater headwinds than ever before. They can't just buy guys or plunder the rosters of weak teams. I don't think the Sox need to tank per se, since the draft is such a crapshoot, but they do need to protect their international player access by managing the LT, which should be no problem for a couple years. They need to figure out if success is built on the backs of stars or depth, on offense or pitching. Maybe some of each, but there aren't easy wins to be had in any strategy. Maybe the only open road is through tanking and waiting. Just don't assume that strategies from 15 or even 5 years ago can work now.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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This point really resonated with me. There are times when I feel like some folks embrace a certain New England Puritanical approach to sports fandom. A notion that one has to suffer to truly appreciate better times. I mean, there's no Bulgarian gymnastics judge here. We don't get bonus points for higher degrees of difficulty.

I was thinking the other day that there is only one batter in the likely 2023 lineup who's production I feel confident about: Devers. All 8 other spots have some varying amount of uncertainty, from 'who the heck knows' (Yoshida) to 'most likely to be very good' (Story). Same applies to the starting rotation. I can't recall the last time I felt this much uncertainty about so many spots. Even in 2013, where the offseason looked vaguely similar to this one (sign cheap-ish vets to short deals, wait for the prospects to arrive) we still had Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Lester as a foundation.
While this is true.... Lester was coming off a pretty bad year and there was a lot of speculation right here on SoSH that his best days were behind him... that he was never going to be the Ace that we'd hoped. He was... "a question mark"! Then there was Lackey. Just deeply hated. And Buccholz rounding out the rotation. Nothing but question marks and holes!
No bullpen. Papelbon was gone.
Ortiz was still great but there was a lot of questions regarding how much longer would he be productive. Pedroia was at the start of nagging injuries. Ellsbury actually started to look like a stud and remember all the people demanding the Sox give him a long term contract before FA?
Looking back now, it really seems that there was some sort of foundation there but it wasn't much more solid than the one right now. I'll agree that it WAS a little stronger, but not quite as much as we remember. It was unexpected and seemingly unplanned for amazing seasons by a variety of players that brought that club to the playoffs.
 

Jimbodandy

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around the way
This point really resonated with me.
Tanking in MLB accomplishes nothing. It's not like hoop or football where one guy taken at the top of the draft can actually make a huge difference in the next couple of years. And this particular team was in the ALCS in 2021, so it's not like they're even intentionally "bottoming out". I don't understand why we're debating the merits of bottoming out on purpose.

Resetting the luxury tax, avoiding megadeals, and trying to build a farm system isn't tanking. One might disagree with any or all of those strategies, but tanking they ain't.
 

8slim

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While this is true.... Lester was coming off a pretty bad year and there was a lot of speculation right here on SoSH that his best days were behind him... that he was never going to be the Ace that we'd hoped. He was... "a question mark"! Then there was Lackey. Just deeply hated. And Buccholz rounding out the rotation. Nothing but question marks and holes!
No bullpen. Papelbon was gone.
Ortiz was still great but there was a lot of questions regarding how much longer would he be productive. Pedroia was at the start of nagging injuries. Ellsbury actually started to look like a stud and remember all the people demanding the Sox give him a long term contract before FA?
Looking back now, it really seems that there was some sort of foundation there but it wasn't much more solid than the one right now. I'll agree that it WAS a little stronger, but not quite as much as we remember. It was unexpected and seemingly unplanned for amazing seasons by a variety of players that brought that club to the playoffs.
The other dynamic in 2013 was that the prospects that were going to save us were starting to arrive already (JBJ, Xander), or were merely one year away (Mookie). Cassas fits that criteria for 2023, but the rest of the hyped younger guys seem further away.

*edit* Obviously the 2012 season was a disaster, but I don't recall people being down on Ortiz and Pedroia. And I simply disagree that there wasn't a "more solid" foundation than we have right now. Every team has questions, I'm not naive. But there were track records to base optimism on (and I wasn't particularly optimistic going into 2013). I think the circumstances right now are more tenuous. But that's just my opinion.
 

8slim

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Tanking in MLB accomplishes nothing. It's not like hoop or football where one guy taken at the top of the draft can actually make a huge difference in the next couple of years. And this particular team was in the ALCS in 2021, so it's not like they're even intentionally "bottoming out". I don't understand why we're debating the merits of bottoming out on purpose.

Resetting the luxury tax, avoiding megadeals, and trying to build a farm system isn't tanking. One might disagree with any or all of those strategies, but tanking they ain't.
I agree, but I didn't say the Sox were tanking.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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New post based almost entirely on an old article that was extensively discussed here a couple days ago. And that article didn't really contain a lot of substance in the first place. Nothing is "highly likely" because there's no evidence given than any actual substantive discussions have taken place at all. It all appears to be the imagination of the original author.

Seems reasonable to me that anything that suggests that the Sox are talking about trading Casas or Rafaela is unlikely to be real.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Great, so you cherry picked a couple of examples that fit your argument for one single season. How about showing what EVERY team spent and the results? Is this a trend or are these cases where a team got lucky and a bunch of young, cheap guys who eere under team control performed well? What evidence is there that this works year in and year out? You point to Baltimore. "Going cheap" on their bullpen certainly didn't work in prior seasons when they were losing over 100 games.
Fine. In 2021 Cleveland was 6th in terms of bullpen ERA. The most they spent was on Nick Wittgren ($2m), Blake Parker ($1.6m) and Bryan Shaw ($1m). Shaw was their 2nd best relief pitcher, Parker was their 4th, Wittgren wasn't in their top 10 'pen production wise. Tampa's bullpen was 3rd in the league in terms of ERA (ours was 13th)

It went this way for TBs top 10:

Andrew Kittridge 2.3 for $750k
Collin McHugh 2.0 for $1.8m
Drew Rasmussen 1.8 for $317k (he split time between the 'pen and the rotation)
JT Chargois .9 for $199m
Ryan Thompson .8 for $577k
Diego Castillo .7 for $375k (traded to Seattle in July)
JP Feyereisen .6 for $418k
Louis Head .5 for $190k
Adam Conley .4 for $153k
Dietrich Ennss .3 for $98k.

If we had a roster that looked anything like the way the Dodgers, Braves and Astros were spending a) I'd do there's too and b) I'd say "go nuts, spend on the 'pen. But our roster construction and approach to contracts looks a heck of a lot more like TB and Cleveland right now than it does the Dodgers, Braves, Astros or Yankees. But again, if you don't think Bloom is as good as the GMs in Tampa and Cleveland and is incapable of replicating their success, that is fine but also a different discussion.
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Fine. In 2021 Cleveland was 6th in terms of bullpen ERA. The most they spent was on Nick Wittgren ($2m), Blake Parker ($1.6m) and Bryan Shaw ($1m). Shaw was their 2nd best relief pitcher, Parker was their 4th, Wittgren wasn't in their top 10 'pen production wise. Tampa's bullpen was 3rd in the league in terms of ERA (ours was 13th)

It went this way for TBs top 10:

Andrew Kittridge 2.3 for $750k
Collin McHugh 2.0 for $1.8m
Drew Rasmussen 1.8 for $317k (he split time between the 'pen and the rotation)
JT Chargois .9 for $199m
Ryan Thompson .8 for $577k
Diego Castillo .7 for $375k (traded to Seattle in July)
JP Feyereisen .6 for $418k
Louis Head .5 for $190k
Adam Conley .4 for $153k
Dietrich Ennss .3 for $98k.

If we had a roster that looked anything like the way the Dodgers, Braves and Astros were spending a) I'd do there's too and b) I'd say "go nuts, spend on the 'pen. But our roster construction and approach to contracts looks a heck of a lot more like TB and Cleveland right now than it does the Dodgers, Braves, Astros or Yankees. But again, if you don't think Bloom is as good as the GMs in Tampa and Cleveland and is incapable of replicating their success, that is fine but also a different discussion.
I'm about 90% with you on bullpen construction. The great bullpen pitchers that can put it together for sustained success are few and far between. It seems one of the best strategies to building a pen is utilizing guys like Walter, Winckowski, Seabold, Crawford... prospects likely not quite good enough to be starters that have good K rates , low BB rates but only two plus pitches, and then failed starters easily picked off other teams. It's nice to have a prime era Papelbon to anchor the pen for several years but I'm not terribly in favor of paying high FA contracts for those guys.
I wouldn't be surprised if any of the 4 prospects mentioned end up in the pen and outperform Jansen, etc....
 

Sad Sam Jones

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If you want to build a good, cheap bullpen the way Cleveland does -- and they did have the best pen in baseball during the second half of 2022 -- you have to develop pitching and continue to do so. Tyler Clippard is the only free agent reliever they've signed in the past 5 years who was coming off a solid season... I'd have to do a little more research, but he might be the only one they signed to a major league contract.

You don't sign the top free agents or collect cast-offs from other organizations. Cleveland has generally added 1-2 arms from their minors each season and identified young arms in other organizations they like -- projects they think they can teach one more pitch to or clean up their mechanics and get another 2 mph on their fastball.

Emmanuel Clase: Acquired via trade when he had reached the majors but still had 6 years of team control
James Karinchak: Drafted
Eli Morgan: Drafted
Sam Hentges: Drafted
Nick Sandlin: Drafted
Trevor Stephan: Rule 5 Draft
Enyel De Los Santos: 25yo MiLB free agent
Bryan Shaw: Signed as FA after a ST invite, then resigned last year just for spring training

I can't believe Boston tendered a contract to Ryan Brasier, he's exactly the type you go year-to-year with like Cleveland did with Shaw (who they DFA'd in late September). You tell him there's a spring training invite waiting for him if he doesn't find a better deal elsewhere over the winter. Then he doesn't cause any 40-man roster problems for you during the off-season.

Anyway, Cleveland always fills out the last spot or two in their bullpen by inviting 2-3 veterans who were good two years ago but pitched their way into a situation last year where they can't get a guaranteed contract now. Then you might throw a prospect into that mix and see who wins the spot in spring training. It's a guaranteed cheap bullpen, so if someone flames out, they most likely have options left and aren't costing the team $5M+... but you have to keep developing talent so that you have someone else ready to step in. Of course, that's a plan that you can't implement in one off-season.