Should the Red Sox go full push for next year?

Do you think the Red Sox could position themselves to be World Series Contenders next year?

  • Yes, the division is weak and the team was closer than it looked

    Votes: 128 48.7%
  • Yes, they have the pieces now. Burn it all and go for glory

    Votes: 27 10.3%
  • No, but they are close. Baby steps leading to 2016

    Votes: 98 37.3%
  • No, they are doomed.

    Votes: 10 3.8%

  • Total voters
    263
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TomRicardo

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I am not really sure this team is ready to fully compete again.
 
I think the rotation has holes and I am not sure the lineup can rebound.
 
Personally I would want the Red Sox to spend the offseason looking for a trade (prospects are a perishable asset) and go after Lester.  After that I think any half moves will only get in the way (Shields).
 
If you can't get Tulo or Hanley I am not really sure the Red Sox are not best off trying Cecchini at 3B to start next year.
 
What say everyone?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It all depends what "full push" means.
 
The worst type of idea being thrown around is a big trade where we give up lots of key prospect assets to acquire a starting pitcher the caliber of which we could just sign in the free agent market.  If that's going full push then I want nothing to do with it.
 
If going full push means using some of our financial resources to resign Lester and maybe a secondary pitcher like Shields or Maeda, plus finding some kind of cost effective 3B solution (I like the Daniel Murphy idea mentioned on another thread a lot) then I'm all for it.
 

FL4WL3SS

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There's really no need to get impatient right now - I think with a little patience, the team can set themselves up for the next 10-15 years. They already have a decent to good farm system and allowing those pieces to develop while adding high upside (top 10 draft picks) to the pool will help setup the franchise for a long time. This will also allow them to pick their spot wisely with respect to free agency/trades as they can pick when they want to dip their toes into the FA/trade pool and with whom (be it 2015, 2016 or beyond).
 
Patience is my motto.
 

MakMan44

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I agree that a big trade is not the way to go. Giving up multiple assets to shore up a single area of weakness doesn't seem to be the way to handle the holes they currently have. 
 
That being said, how many years are is Ortiz going to be awesome? How many years can we really expect Pedey to be a solidly above average player? The core is getting older, and nobody outside of Mookie stepped up to supplement it this year. 
 
I think that smaller trades to address weakness, like Murphy, or going into FA, like Scherzer, is the right way to go. The latter especially, considering the protected 1st rounder they have. Not making every effort to compete would be a mistake, and there's only going to be more holes to fill next offseason especially if the young players don't take big strides in 2015. 
 

ivanvamp

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Jul 18, 2005
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1.  Sign Lester and Shields.  Now your rotation is Lester, Shields (two 200+ inning horses), Buchholz, Kelly, and RDLR.  With plenty in reserve.
 
2.  Sign Tomas and stash him in AAA to start his career.
 
3.  Trade for Beltre or sign Panda.
 
4.  Add a bullpen arm.  Resign Koji.
 
Lineup:
CF Betts
2b Pedroia
DH Ortiz
RF Cespedes
1b Napoli
3b Panda/Beltre
SS Bogaerts
LF Castillo
C Vazquez
 
That lineup should produce a lot of runs.  The bench would have a veteran C, Holt, Victorino, Nava, and Craig.  Versatile.  Deep.
 
The rotation would be excellent.  And the bullpen of Tazawa, Koji, Layne, Workman, Barnes, Mujica, veteran lefty.  Pretty solid.
 
That team, by spending in just a few spots, should absolutely be able to compete for a World Series title.  And they'd still have a ton of assets in the minors:  Swihart, Cecchini, Middlebrooks, JBJ, Margot, Brentz, Owens, Rodriguez, Webster, Barnes, Ranaudo, Hembree, Escobar, Marrero, Johnson, Shaw, etc.
 
I figure Lester, Shields, and Panda would cost them around $60-65 million a year.  I think they would still be just under the luxury tax threshold given what commitments they have for 2015 at this point.
 
So it can be done.  
 

PrometheusWakefield

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People who are ready to punt on 2015 are out of their minds.

This team is loaded with talent. It's not really well distributed on the roster, and there are some obvious huge holes to fill, especially on the rotation. But that's what an offseason is for!
 
Shit changes fast in baseball these days, and with the two wild card spots and no especially impressive team in our division it would be crazy to presume that we can't make the playoffs - and any team that can make the playoffs could win the World Series. 
 

Minneapolis Millers

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If all of our young guys perform next year as they did this year, we're in trouble.  The Sox had Good Lester and a solid Lackey and still sucked.  So even signing two good starters is no guarantee of success.  That said...
 
I agree with Prometheus.  The roster seems loaded with talent, even if some key pieces are still unproven.  If they step forward, as we hope/expect, if the vets (Pedey, Buchholz, Nap, Vic) rebound, and the team adds back starting pitching, then the division is ours for the taking.  Every other team has its issues.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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They're sitting on a ton of prospects and very few of them are going to pan out. I'll be pissed if they don't package some in a trade for an established major leaguer or two, it'll be a waste of resources.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Let's review what the team needs (please modify):
 
1. A LH Starting Pitcher (Lester?)
2. A #1 and #2 Starting Pitcher [could be combined with (1)]
3. A competent 3B
4. At least one or two LHH [could be combined with (3), i.e. Cecchini]
5. Moderate to good bullpen help...probably 1 arm (Miller?)
 
This needs to be done in the context of ~$50M-$60M in added payroll
 
That's not a big hurdle to respectability.
 
You have to figure the Yankees are going to pick up one of Lester/Scherzer (perhaps both), Hanley or maybe even Tulowitzky, if they can come up with a package of players and money that interest the Rockies. I assume Slappy takes over 3rd.
 
The Orioles have a lot of contracts expiring this year, including several pitchers. They'll say goodbye to Davis and Hardy...and maybe re-sign Cruz. Weiters will return. I can't see the Orioles improving.
 
Jays may lose Cabrera.  Have a lot of pitchers with expiring contracts. May have a 3B issue. I can't see the Blue Jays improving greatly.
 
Rays...are the Rays.
 

TigerBlood

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Yeah, they gotta add Lester or Scherzer, and a Shields or Maeda. We have plenty of cost-effective options for the back/middle of the rotation. And, they have the talent to not only really do well next year, but for many to come, as well as the financial flexibility to absorb a a couple FA starting pitcher sized contracts. ivanvamp has it right.
 
And, if they are playoff contenders around the trade deadline because of the FA moves they make this offseason, that is when they sell off some prospects for the parts they need to finish strong.
 

glennhoffmania

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The Allented Mr Ripley said:
They're sitting on a ton of prospects and very few of them are going to pan out. I'll be pissed if they don't package some in a trade for an established major leaguer or two, it'll be a waste of resources.
 
Yup.  Like I've said before, don't Brandon Wood all of them.  They can't play two 3B, two catchers, eight starting pitchers and five OFs.  Some of these guys have to go and it would be a waste of resources to let half of them sit in AAA until other teams figure out that they aren't worth very much.
 
But I don't understand what go full push means.  Is there any doubt that Ben is going to try to put together a playoff caliber team for 2015?  This team isn't entering a multi-year rebuild.  They already have several good players, they have plenty of trade chips, and they have the ability to spend.  Half assing it while playing for 2016 or 2017 makes no sense. 
 

The Gray Eagle

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It's not a "waste of resources" to keep prospects. It's just a different risk than trading them. Trades are risks too, but that part of the equation is always ignored when looking back in hindsight and saying a team should have traded the prospect who didn't pan out.
 
It's a risk to keep, and a risk to trade. You need to look at each guy individually and each potential deal individually, knowing that there are risks both ways.
 
The Angels didn't waste resources by not trading Wood. They took a different risk with his value by betting that he would play well for them. They lost that bet, but they could very easily have lost it in a trade for him too.
 
Everyone looks back and says "They could have traded him for some star but they stupidly didn't!" but that assumes that the trade would have worked out. They also missed the chance to trade him for a bunch of junk.
 
Maybe they could have traded him for another young stud, like Delmon Young or Cameron Maybin, who were rated even higher in 2007. Maybe after 2008 they could have traded him for a proven slugger like Milton Bradley or a star starting pitcher like Daisuke Matsuzaka. 
 
The point is, trades fail all the time too. When you trade a prospect, it's not just the risk that the young guy you trade will play well for another team for years, it's also the risk that the new guys you add to your roster in a trade might suck, and tie up playing time, roster spots and payroll and not improve you at all. You choose the wrong return and you lose the young player's value just as much as you do by keeping him if he doesn't pan out. 
 
There's risk to keeping a prospect, obviously. Trading one doesn't eliminate the risk, it just changes it to the risk that you might miss out on a good young player's career by trading him, and also the risk that is always ignored in hindsight-- the risk that the players you bring in might not be any good and will take up roster and payroll.
 

seantoo

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TomRicardo said:
I am not really sure this team is ready to fully compete again.
 
I think the rotation has holes and I am not sure the lineup can rebound.
 
Personally I would want the Red Sox to spend the offseason looking for a trade (prospects are a perishable asset) and go after Lester.  After that I think any half moves will only get in the way (Shields).
 
If you can't get Tulo or Hanley I am not really sure the Red Sox are not best off trying Cecchini at 3B to start next year.
 
What say everyone?
I think this basically summarizes how I feel as well. If they sign Lester and Shields, are relatively healthy they can compete again by next season. But in order to be more than competitive and be a true contender it would take what I previously listed and have as many as 2 of this years rookies to flourish and I think by 2016 that is more likely  to happen than next season.
 

glennhoffmania

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The Gray Eagle said:
It's not a "waste of resources" to keep prospects. It's just a different risk than trading them. Trades are risks too, but that part of the equation is always ignored when looking back in hindsight and saying a team should have traded the prospect who didn't pan out.
 
 
When you have more prospects than you have available positions and/or roster spots, not trading some of them is absolutely a waste of resources.  Brandon Wood was one guy.  The Sox could end up with five or more Brandon Woods if they keep them all.  Unless you think they would consider fielding a team comprised of home grown prospects for every rotation slot, SS, 3B, catcher, backup catcher, at least two OF slots, and half a bullpen, some of these guys have to go. 
 

jscola85

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Sometimes the most important scouting a team can do is its evaluation of its own prospects.  Great teams can self-scout their prospects and properly assess who is more expendable than others.  I am with glennhoffmania on this one - there's just not enough seats on the bench at Fenway for all these prospects.  The key for the Sox management will be determining which of RDLR/Webster/Ranaudo/Workman/Escobar/Johnson/Owens/Rodriguez are expendable and which should be kept.  Maybe they don't guess perfectly but they have to narrow that crop down, and that's just on the pitching side.
 
It's a good problem to have when you have more interesting prospects that holes in the MLB roster, but it is going to be crucial for them to work through it this offseason and into 2015.
 

pdub

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I suppose there's a slight feeling of urgency to go all in since we have no idea when Ortiz is finally going to significantly slow down. If we acquire two impact starters then I think we have a legitimate chance at the playoffs. Granted, we had that recently and still managed to stink it up this season. Pretty much we need to solidify the rotation and, barring a major trade for an impact bat, need to hope that some of our offensive prospects make great strides next season. 
 

mikeford

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I'd like to sign Lester and Iwakuma
 
I'd potentially deal any of our prospects not named Owens or Betts (note: this doesn't include Vazquez since he is now the starting catcher and no longer a prospect but DOES include Xander Bogaerts). But only really wanting to deal prospects of real prestige or pedigree for known commodities like Mike Stanton.
 
I'd like to extend Cespedes if he wants to stay in Boston.
 
Deal Allen Craig away because he's redundant on a team with this many OFs and Mike Napoli at 1B.
 
Get rid of WMB and find someone to man 3B, be it Xander or Cecchini or someone presently outside the organization. At this point all that matters to me is ending the WMB experience. 
 

Plympton91

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Watching the rest of baseball instead of the Red Sox over the last week of the season really brings home how inadequate the pitching staff is right now. The flipside of my blindspot for how much offense has declined over the past couple years when evaluating position players is that people need to upgrade their expectations for pitchers.

Look at the Orioles, they had 5 starting pitchers with at least 110 IP put up ERA's below 3.65; and their bullpen had 6 pitchers who threw more than 50 innings with an ERA below 3.48 for the season, three of those with WHIPs below 1 and K/9. For the Royals, their top 4 starting pitchers all had at least 149 IP and posted ERAs of 2.53, 3.20, 3.21, and 3.71; while their bullpen had 3 pitchers with at least 62 IP and ERA's below 1.50 -- one-fifty. No pitcher who made more than 12 starts for the Oakland A's had an ERA above 3.55; they had 4 relievers plus Drew Pomerantz as a swingman all post ERAs below 2.75 in a minimum of 57 innings (and that doesn't include former closer Ryan Cook or TJ survivor Eric O'Flaherty).

That says to me that they not only need to upgrade the #1 and #2 spots. Sure, they need to get from outside the organization two pitchers who can be counted on for a sub-3.00 ERA, they also need two of Buchholz, Kelly, RDLR, or other member of Pawtucket's rotation to get into the mid- 3 range with his ERA. Is that a reasonable expectation for the latter? And they need the bullpen addressed, with the only sub-2.75 ERAs belonging to free agents to be Burke Badenhop and the 39-year-old Uehara saddled with the uncertainty of his horrid August/September. I know ERA isn't he best measure of relief pitcher effectiveness, but the points still stand if you do the longhand version of that analysis for those four teams.

So, my fear going into 2015 is whether they can assemble a pitching staff that can match the median of this year's AL playoff teams, unless they can build an offense that has multiple MVP candidates like the Tigers and Angels.
 

YTF

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I'm in the camp that you move some prospects in trade. I think the Sox are sharp enough that they don't mortgage the future for one player and as stated by several here there's not a roster spot for all of the guys they have. Another side to keeping ALL of your prospects is the possibility of slowing the growth and development of guys in A and AA ball once there is no place to promote them to. Do you then demote the guys holding them back and diminish their worth to the organization?  
 
Dec 10, 2012
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Overpay and underlength for Lester and another top-flight starter.
 
Keep the young studs, and package the non-premier farm hands for a 3B
 
We're closer than the record indicates.
 
Betts/Castillo/Yoenis isn't a bad OF (with Nava to PH and JBJ to PR/DS) to watch mature.
 
Possibly see if you can trade/package Pedroia for a superstar OF if Betts can do the job at 2B
 
There is an insane quantity of young talent in the organization, given the history and philosophy of the team acquisitions pre-W/Theo.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Dan to Theo to Ben said:
Overpay and underlength for Lester and another top-flight starter.
 
Keep the young studs, and package the non-premier farm hands for a 3B
 
We're closer than the record indicates.
 
Betts/Castillo/Yoenis isn't a bad OF (with Nava to PH and JBJ to PR/DS) to watch mature.
 
Possibly see if you can trade/package Pedroia for a superstar OF if Betts can do the job at 2B
 
There is an insane quantity of young talent in the organization, given the history and philosophy of the team acquisitions pre-W/Theo.
 
Any team moving a superstar OF would be far far more interested in Betts than Pedroia.  The vet has more value for the Red Sox than most other teams.
 

Lowrielicious

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Dan to Theo to Ben said:
Overpay and underlength for Lester and another top-flight starter.
 
Keep the young studs, and package the non-premier farm hands for a 3B
 
We're closer than the record indicates.
 
Betts/Castillo/Yoenis isn't a bad OF (with Nava to PH and JBJ to PR/DS) to watch mature.
 
Possibly see if you can trade/package Pedroia for a superstar OF if Betts can do the job at 2B
 
There is an insane quantity of young talent in the organization, given the history and philosophy of the team acquisitions pre-W/Theo.
 
I simply cannot see how this can be suggested with a straight face.
 

threecy

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I think they need to at least be competitive next year, as I suspect two cellar seasons in a row could hurt business (and related businesses).  I don't think it's unreasonable to open up the wallet for a few big names, provided they don't make Crawfordesque deals.
I also don't think it's unreasonable to start pushing out prospects who have panned out yet and may be running out of space on the roster/depth chart (ie Middlebrooks, Bradley Jr.), provided they don't take a complete wash on the prospective deal.
 
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Rudy Pemberton said:
What's a reasonable expectation in terms of return for guys like Webster, Ranaudo, and Workman? What kind of pitching can low upside AAA pitchers bring back? I'm skeptical that they can bring back high upside pitching without dealing guys they don't want to move.

Re: Iwakuma, the Mariners have an option on him. Can't imagine they decline it.
If they can find this year's version of Doug Fister, they can definitely swing it without dipping into the Owens/Swihart tier. As a second SP addition after one of the stud FA, something along those lines would be ideal.
 

mikeford

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Rudy Pemberton said:
Re: Iwakuma, the Mariners have an option on him. Can't imagine they decline it.
Hmm. So they do. Cot's doesn't have one listed for him on the potential FA page, but do list the 2015 option on the actual page for the Mariners. Now I'm sad.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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The Sox biggest weakness is starting pitching. This offseason has 3 huge SP prizes all of which have post season experience. Sign two of those and you'll see this team contend pretty damn fast again. Would be great if Shields and Lester were in the same rotation. That being said it seems like a long shot however the Sox would only forfit a 2nd rounder here...
 

Rasputin

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The Allented Mr Ripley said:
They're sitting on a ton of prospects and very few of them are going to pan out. I'll be pissed if they don't package some in a trade for an established major leaguer or two, it'll be a waste of resources.
 
I see this as complete and utter nonsense, and worse than that, it's dangerous nonsense.
 
If the Red Sox were to trade zero prospects in the next few years and all of the guys from Middlebrooks through Owens and Johnson either establish themselves with the Sox or wash out of baseball completely, that's not wasting resources, it's using them.
 
I think the Sox are going to be competitors (not necessarily strong competitors) for at least the Wild Card almost no matter what they do. Every team that is over .500 is in the hunt for the Wild Cards and I really think any reasonable moves have the Sox over .500.
 
And, mind you, I think those moves are few in number even if they are significant. I also think they can be made without trading anyone.
 
The way things stand now, we have an outfield of Cespedes, Castillo, and Betts, an infield that has a hole at third, Bogaerts at short, Pedroia, and Napoli. 
 
Ortiz is the DH and Vazquez is the catcher.
 
You could line them up like this. Betts, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, Bogaerts, Castillo, Cespedes, third base, Vazquez and be pretty happy. If you want to mess around with the lineup, there's few iterations you're going to come up with that has the third baseman higher than seventh. 
 
We know what the lefty free agents are, either of them would be good enough on a short deal and whether they get one of those or have to go with Cecchini (or god help us, Middlebrooks) to start the season is one of the big differences between an 84 win team that kinda fizzles the last couple weeks and a 90 win team that gets to partake in the post season joy.
 
Everyone is suggesting we need two starting pitchers, but I'm not sure. I'd certainly like to get two, but that's almost entirely based on not trusting Buchholz to pitch the whole season. If we were to go the whole season with RDLR, Webster, and Kelly as our 3-5 starters, I think we'd be fine. That leaves Barnes, Ranaudo, Wright, and Escobar as depth to start the season with Owens, Rodruiguez, and maybe Johnson working into that role later in the season.
 
We just have to get the #1 guy. If they don't have a real offer for Lester on the first day of free agency, I'm angry. Even that leaves the Sox gambling huge on Buchholz. But sometimes you win gambles, and the Sox certainly have the depth to mitigate the downside somewhat. 
 

Plympton91

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Rasputin said:
Everyone is suggesting we need two starting pitchers, but I'm not sure. I'd certainly like to get two, but that's almost entirely based on not trusting Buchholz to pitch the whole season. If we were to go the whole season with RDLR, Webster, and Kelly as our 3-5 starters, I think we'd be fine. That leaves Barnes, Ranaudo, Wright, and Escobar as depth to start the season with Owens, Rodruiguez, and maybe Johnson working into that role later in the season.
What do you think is a reasonable projection for the combined ERA of Kelly, Webster, and DLR next season? In 2014 it was 4.50, which includes Kelly's time in the NL central.

Is it reasonable to expect them to be better than Kevin Gausman, Bud Norris. And Miguel Gonzalez (with Dylan Bundy in the wings)? Their combined ERA in 2014 was about 3.70 and Gausman and Norris are younger than RDLR.

They need to massively upgrade the pitching. Relying on that to happen by standing pat is wish casting. But, Rudy makes a good point that you don't usually get a lot in return for guys who project as 5th starters. Ben has his work cut out for him. I want Lester, Shields/Santana, Miller, and Uehara.
 

MakMan44

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Bud Norris is not younger than Rubby. 
 
EDIT: And while I understand and agree with your general point, I think you're doing a poor job of illustrating it. Gausman and Bundy are top 5 picks, and Gonzalez's FIP and xFIP were well above 4. I think Rubby and Kelly would be fine as the back end of the rotation (though Ras is off his rocker if he's giving significant innings to Webster right off the bat) but I think you're correct that improvement is needed in the overall construction of the rotation.  
 

Plympton91

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MakMan44 said:
Bud Norris is not younger than Rubby. 
Oops, time flies when you're over 40. Replace with Bundy then.

And the main point still stands. The median AL playoff rotation has 4 pitchers with ERAs in the mid 3s or better. The Red Sox finished the season without a single starter having an ERA better than 4. Moreover, it wouldn't surprise me, given their poor peripherals, if not a single pitcher who was a starter for Pawtucket had an MLE less than 4.00. That does not suggest they are only 1 or 2 pitchers away from contention.
 

Stan Papi Was Framed

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Plympton91 said:
Oops, time flies when you're over 40. Replace with Bundy then.

And the main point still stands. The median AL playoff rotation has 4 pitchers with ERAs in the mid 3s or better. The Red Sox finished the season without a single starter having an ERA better than 4. Moreover, it wouldn't surprise me, given their poor peripherals, if not a single pitcher who was a starter for Pawtucket had an MLE less than 4.00. That does not suggest they are only 1 or 2 pitchers away from contention.
this still doesn't really make sense to me.  It, of course, matters quite a bit what the rest of the team looks like.  You can potentially overcome a less than stellar rotation with a great lineup, bullpen and overall depth.  You can waste a great rotation if the rest of the team is terrible.  I think focusing on starting pitching in isolation may not get you all the way there.  
 

MakMan44

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Stan Papi Was Framed said:
this still doesn't really make sense to me.  It, of course, matters quite a bit what the rest of the team looks like.  You can potentially overcome a less than stellar rotation with a great lineup, bullpen and overall depth.  You can waste a great rotation if the rest of the team is terrible.  I think focusing on starting pitching in isolation may not get you all the way there.  
Yes, but they already have the major pieces for the line up. Too many, in fact. Outside of 3rd base, there's not a whole lot of improvement to be made there. 
 

joe dokes

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What *would* be a waste is not to take advantage of the protected pick in the FA market.
 

Stan Papi Was Framed

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MakMan44 said:
Yes, but they already have the major pieces for the line up. Too many, in fact. Outside of 3rd base, there's not a whole lot of improvement to be made there. 
agreed.  I just mean that saying they can't win unless the starters have a specific ERA doesn't make sense.  The lineup (even as currently constituted--or with the upgrade at 3B that you rightly suggest) plus the bullpen (which I hope adds a piece as well) have to be considered too.  That doesn't mean they don't need a top notch starter or 2, it just means that whether they have 4 starters with an ERA under 3.50 need not necessarily be make or break.
 

Plympton91

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Stan Papi Was Framed said:
agreed.  I just mean that saying they can't win unless the starters have a specific ERA doesn't make sense.  The lineup (even as currently constituted--or with the upgrade at 3B that you rightly suggest) plus the bullpen (which I hope adds a piece as well) have to be considered too.  That doesn't mean they don't need a top notch starter or 2, it just means that whether they have 4 starters with an ERA under 3.50 need not necessarily be make or break.
Well, I did consider the bullpen. They pretty much lag way behind the median AL playoff team there as well, especially with Koji a free agent. The Orioles, A's, and Royals have 3 premier relievers each, the Red Sox have none.
 

Fireball Fred

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Two things we know: the Sox need to regain respectability, for short- and longer-term financial reasons; and they need a whole lot of pitching - Buchholz was the worst regular starter in baseball, Kelly was widely seen as a likely long reliever/#6, and those were the best ones.

Three things we don't know: Which if any of the young guys can contribute; which of the vets can contribute (the season ended with Ortiz, Pedroia, Napoli, Victorino, and Craig injured); and what teams if any place value on Sox assets young and older.

As has been noted, the division isn't all that strong, so it's worth committing resources to get two top-of-the-rotation pitchers. First step is to get one with a future, which gets them close enough to add a second, older guy on a shorter-term deal.

Unfortunately, all of the in-season moves just made the immediate situation worse (really, what are they going to do with Craig, Cespedes, and Castillo?) but they pretty much have to trade to clear the roster.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Fireball Fred said:
Two things we know: the Sox need to regain respectability, for short- and longer-term financial reasons; and they need a whole lot of pitching - Buchholz was the worst regular starter in baseball, Kelly was widely seen as a likely long reliever/#6, and those were the best ones.

Three things we don't know: Which if any of the young guys can contribute; which of the vets can contribute (the season ended with Ortiz, Pedroia, Napoli, Victorino, and Craig injured); and what teams if any place value on Sox assets young and older.

As has been noted, the division isn't all that strong, so it's worth committing resources to get two top-of-the-rotation pitchers. First step is to get one with a future, which gets them close enough to add a second, older guy on a shorter-term deal.

Unfortunately, all of the in-season moves just made the immediate situation worse (really, what are they going to do with Craig, Cespedes, and Castillo?) but they pretty much have to trade to clear the roster.
Craig is one thing, but how did adding two major league outfielders to a truly godawful outfield make the situation worse?
 
Dec 10, 2012
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Plympton91 said:
Well, I did consider the bullpen. They pretty much lag way behind the median AL playoff team there as well, especially with Koji a free agent. The Orioles, A's, and Royals have 3 premier relievers each, the Red Sox have none.
Maybe we can trade Farrell for the 3 relievers and promote Lovullo?
 
Win win
trade some cod and haddock for bbq
 

PrimusSucks626

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Can someone explain the logic for penciling Betts in for a starting OF job next season, considering the struggles of Bradley and Bogaerts this year? He's played well so far, but so did Xander in much higher leverage situations (albeit, a much smaller sample) last year.
 
Craig has looked awful, true, but are we absolutely convinced that Betts is MLB-ready?
 

gammoseditor

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PrimusSucks626 said:
Can someone explain the logic for penciling Betts in for a starting OF job next season, considering the struggles of Bradley and Bogaerts this year? He's played well so far, but so did Xander in much higher leverage situations (albeit, a much smaller sample) last year.
 
Craig has looked awful, true, but are we absolutely convinced that Betts is MLB-ready?
 
Because if you let Xander's year stop you from giving prospects a chance unless they prove more than Xander you're never going to give another prospect a shot ever again.  Mookie has shown he can hit major league pitching.  Anything could happen next year, and there's never any way to be absolutely sure of anything in baseball.  
 
By this logic, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury would never have been given shots either.  Their first full seasons there were posters around here wondering if they were ready.  
 

Rasputin

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PrimusSucks626 said:
Can someone explain the logic for penciling Betts in for a starting OF job next season, considering the struggles of Bradley and Bogaerts this year? He's played well so far, but so did Xander in much higher leverage situations (albeit, a much smaller sample) last year.
 
Craig has looked awful, true, but are we absolutely convinced that Betts is MLB-ready?
 
A) Yes
 
B) It doesn't matter both because of what gammoseditor says and because Betts is a phenomenally talented young player who is going to be very important for the next ten years or so.
 
Apr 7, 2006
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PrimusSucks626 said:
Can someone explain the logic for penciling Betts in for a starting OF job next season, considering the struggles of Bradley and Bogaerts this year? He's played well so far, but so did Xander in much higher leverage situations (albeit, a much smaller sample) last year.
 
Craig has looked awful, true, but are we absolutely convinced that Betts is MLB-ready?
I'm pretty well convinced, yeah.  Your parenthetical is a pretty big one.  YES, Bogaerts excellent in high stakes moments of 2013, but Betts looked like he belonged for a significantly longer stretch.  I think the Betts Era - or the Betts trade - is here.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I think the likelihood of our competing for a title next year ended when they decided to low ball Lester on his contract extension.  Sure, there's some chance they all make nice and sign him this offseason, but I'd say there's a significantly bigger chance that he ends up in pinstripes or some other unpredictable team offers him more than we're apparently willing to give.  And even if we had kept him (or sign him this winter), we still need another quality starter.  The odds of signing a Lester/Scherzer plus another quality starter seem remote given the franchise's apparent unwillingness to play the big money free agent game any more. 
 
Our rotation is going to be substantially below average next year.  Even if Xander gets back to where we expected and Castillo and Mookie are the real deal, the offense is not going to make up for that.
 

jscola85

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Mugsy's Walk-Off Bunt said:
I'm pretty well convinced, yeah.  Your parenthetical is a pretty big one.  YES, Bogaerts excellent in high stakes moments of 2013, but Betts looked like he belonged for a significantly longer stretch.  I think the Betts Era - or the Betts trade - is here.
 
Agreed.  There's nothing in Betts' advanced numbers that suggests he was getting lucky this year.  10% BB rate, 15% K rate, .153 ISO, plus speed, good defense - all that jives with his minor league numbers.  His BABIP was high at .327, but his minor league BABIP figures the last three years are .380, .366, and .346, so between his speed and line drive rate, he could very well sustain that.
 
He doesn't even need to hit for an .800 OPS next year to be a good player.  If he hits for an .800 OPS next year over 600 PAs, he'll be a borderline All Star.
 

Fishy1

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Can someone explain the logic for penciling Betts in for a starting OF job next season, considering the struggles of Bradley and Bogaerts this year? He's played well so far, but so did Xander in much higher leverage situations (albeit, a much smaller sample) last year.
 
Craig has looked awful, true, but are we absolutely convinced that Betts is MLB-ready?
 
Let's stop drawing these equivalences between Bogaerts last year and Betts this year.
 
Bogaerts threw up a .680 OPS in the regular season, and an impressive .893 in the postseason. This was over a grand total of 84 plate appearances. He looked poised during the post-season, sure, but his cumulative line in the regular season was a little better than the one he had this year. Regardless, the sample sizes are small.
 
Betts, on the other hand, has excelled in a way Bogaerts never has at every level he's come to. Since being promoted to Salem, he's hit for better than a .410 OBP and a .500 slugging percentage, and has shown that he not only knows the strike zone, but can control it. His ability to make contact and drive the ball is the kind of pairing you rarely see from any player. His major league OPS+ of 128 he's accumulated in nearly three times as many PA as Bogaerts did at the end of last year. Hardly a sample size large enough to say he's going to be an excellent major leaguer for years to come. But then again, he's got his entire minor league track record, and anyone who has been watching the games has seen an ability to drive tough pitches, lay off extremely tough sliders and curveballs off the plate, and waste pitches his timing is a little off on. He's looked as good at it as anyone on the team.
 
If you're point is just that it's possible Mookie will struggle, then well, yeah -- it's possible for even established major leaguers to struggle. Say hello to Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew. If you're point is that we shouldn't pencil in Betts because minor leaguers often struggle at first, then what's the point of having a minor leagues in the first place?
 
He should be a game-changer on this team next year, at least on the offensive end. We'll have to struggle through some growing pains with him on defense in the outfield.
 
As to pitching: the recent, explosive history of pitcher's arms exploding, does not encourage me with regards to the prognosis of signing both Lester and Shields. I think there's a pretty good chance we make a move on Lester in order to consolidate the rotation some, but I don't like the idea of locking up so much money in both of those guys. And I like the idea of signing Lester more than I do Shields -- I'd much rather pay good money for Lester's 30-33 seasons and take the risk on the next three or four seasons, then pay good money for the risk of Shields 33-36 seasons. If we do that, we have Lester, Buchholz and Kelly.
 
Nobody, as far as I can tell, wants to wait while we figure out which of Ranaudo, Webster, Rubby, Barnes, Workman, Rodriguez, Escobar, Wright and Owens is a major league quality starting pitcher. Each has his *thing*, which has been hashed and rehashed, that he needs to work out.
 
But we also might just have to get used to the idea of the back end of the rotation, for a little while at least, being used as a place for these guys to get used to the major leagues. Bud Norris and Chris Tillman, two names that came up upthread, both had issues with control at the minor league and major league level before sorting themselves out. Hell, so did Jon Lester. Shields has always had excellent control, but he was striking out 7.0/9 at A+ at one point. We're just going to have to let these guys try to figure it out. Rubby has already improved his control -- 3.1 BB/9 in the majors, down from 3.8 at AAA this year, down from 5.4 at AAA last year. If this means we're a wild card team next year, then we'll have to deal with that. Better than having an albatross like Sabathia or Santana or the entire Giants pitching rotation. Will all of these guys shake out? No, certainly not. But that's precisely why we're so lucky to have so many of them.
 
 
 
 
 
 

glennhoffmania

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Rasputin said:
 
I see this as complete and utter nonsense, and worse than that, it's dangerous nonsense.
 
If the Red Sox were to trade zero prospects in the next few years and all of the guys from Middlebrooks through Owens and Johnson either establish themselves with the Sox or wash out of baseball completely, that's not wasting resources, it's using them.
 
No, this is utter nonsense.  They have assets right now and they should use them before their value tanks.  Unless you think they plan to go out and commit $300m+ to two front end starting pitchers, keeping all of these prospects makes zero sense.  Instead, what if they traded for Latos, whose cost would still be fairly reasonable, and signed Shields.  So now the rotation is Shields/Latos/Buchholz/Kelly/RDLR, instead of your proposed rotation of FA/Buchholz/Kelly/RDLR/Webster.  If you think that rotation can be relied upon to compete for a division I don't really know what to tell you.
 
The key, as has been mentioned already, is to identify the guys they should keep and the guys they think are currently overvalued.  Keep the former, trade the latter for established players, and use a combination of player development and financial resources to build another championship-caliber team.
 

mauf

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Plympton91 said:
The median AL playoff rotation has 4 pitchers with ERAs in the mid 3s or better.
 
 
AL Team SIERA for SPs
Indians 3.34 
Yankees 3.53 
Rays 3.57 
A's 3.68 
Tigers 3.71 
Mariners 3.73 
Angels 3.86 
Blue Jays 3.98 
Astros 4.03 
White Sox 4.05 
Royals 4.08 
Red Sox 4.11 
Orioles 4.15 
Twins 4.16 
Rangers 4.38 
 

mauf

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Just for kicks, here's AL team wOBA and UZR.
 
The lessons, at least for 2014, appear to be (1) hitting is more closely correlated with team success than pitching, which surprises me; (2) defense is more highly correlated with team success than you would expect, which might suggest it's correlated with a well-run franchise overall; (3) the difference between a good team and an OK team has a lot to do with random variance; and (4) not surprisningly, it's hard to win when you are execrable at either hitting or pitching, or average or worse at both.
 
 
AL Team wOBA
Tigers 331 
Blue Jays 325 
Orioles 323 
Angels 321 
Twins 316 
Indians 313 
White Sox 312 
A's 312 
Astros 308 
Royals 306 
Yankees 305 
Rangers 305 
Rays 305 
Red Sox 305 
Mariners 299 

 
AL Team UZR
Royals 61.1 
Orioles 54.8 
Red Sox 48.5 
Angels 26 
A's 24.3 
Mariners 8.4 
Rays 6.5 
Yankees 3.7 
Blue Jays  -6.8 
Rangers -6.9 
Twins -34.5 
White Sox -39.1 
Tigers -48.1 
Astros -63.9 
Indians -72.4 
 

mauf

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Rudy Pemberton said:
Breaking it down by SP...

Lester 2.99
Lackey 3.50
Buchholz 4.02
Rubby 4.21
Peavy 4.24
Workman 4.28
Kelly 4.67
Webster 4.96
Ranaudo 5.93
 
This highlights one of the Sox' big offseason challenges -- they need to replace two-thirds of a season worth of Lester and Lackey just to get back to the 74-win team they were on paper (BP third-order wins) this season.
 
i voted they should make a go of it, but they have a big hole to fill.
 

JimD

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Anyone whose expectations are for the Sox to sign two top-tier free agent starters this offseason is bound to be disappointed.  At best, they will sign one this year - Lester or more likely Shields.  Scherzer has made no bones about going for top dollar so I doubt they seriously chase him.  The second starter they acquire will be a lesser guy, giving a 2015 rotation of:
 
1. Shields/Lester
2. Buchholz
3. FA mid-tier signee
4. Kelly
5. Webster/De La Rosa/etc.
 
My $0.02.
 
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