What does 2023 look like?

OurF'ingCity

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Play the best defensive SS you have at the position (Reyes). Kiki can play 2b, Arroyo is the backup (or vice versa). The downgrade in offense from Arroyo to Reyes doesn’t seem terribly significant to me .

(If Chang comes back, he can replace Reyes).
Kiké's hitting has been so bad this year that the optimal approach for now is probably Reyes at short, Arroyo at 2B, and Kiké as a super-sub/4th outfielder type. Reyes has the exact same wOBA as Kiké, and even has a better expected slugging percentage. But even if Reyes was a bit worse offensively than Kiké I'd still be advocating for this because he's just that bad in the (in)field.

Edit: I swear I posted the above before I saw the news that the Red Sox are doing exactly this. You can only ignore the numbers for so long.
 

LoLsapien

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Play the best defensive SS you have at the position (Reyes). Kiki can play 2b, Arroyo is the backup (or vice versa). The downgrade in offense from Arroyo to Reyes doesn’t seem terribly significant to me .

(If Chang comes back, he can replace Reyes).
The question of whether the downgrade in offense is worth the upgrade in defense is easy to argue with no definitive conclusion if we think the defensive metrics are garbage. If we assume the stats are not garbage we could maybe take a rate stat equivalent of something like runs above average/defensive runs saved and project out that way whether substituting a slugger for a defensive wiz is an action worth taking.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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He also doesn’t play SS, so calling him up just adds another 2B to the mix, and presumably he’d take the place of Reyes, so there’s be one less SS on the roster.
 

astrozombie

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That's the primary reason. But it also makes no sense to start Yorke's FA clock prematurely when it's unlikely to benefit either the player or the team.
True. I thought the last CBA did something to address this, but it's entirely likely that it's late and my brain is fried.
 

8slim

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Sure. But....what do you suggest as the alternative? (I brought this up because of the question of Boston's defense, and suggested that this setup will help them tremendously defensively)
I’d like to get Kike out of the lineup, but I doubt that’s feasible given Story’s timeline. I guess my point is that this roster is flawed and we’re gonna have to pick our poison. At this point I’d rather do everything in our power to resuscitate the O. But I understand the desire to tighten the D too.
 

Sin Duda

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That's the primary reason. But it also makes no sense to start Yorke's FA clock prematurely when it's unlikely to benefit either the player or the team.
And the kid is 21 friggin years old! You have to be a pretty rare talent to make the MLB at 21, and I don't think Yorke qualifies after last year. Let him develop.
 

BigSoxFan

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And the kid is 21 friggin years old! You have to be a pretty rare talent to make the MLB at 21, and I don't think Yorke qualifies after last year. Let him develop.
Yeah, look at Volpe. Looked ready in ST and now batting .186 while striking out a ton. I don’t think Yorke is ready but I hope this is a legitimate conversation to have a year from now.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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I’m a Yorke booster, but if you’re looking for a reason not to promote him, he does still strike out kind of a lot. More than Devers or Casas did at AA, to name two random yet relevant examples (all a far sight lower than Yoan Moncada’s AA K rate, though!). But maybe since he’s hitting so well, it might be tough for him to improve against AA competition.

Also, I assume there are some specific defensive skills they want him to work on, although I have no specific insights on that.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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And the kid is 21 friggin years old! You have to be a pretty rare talent to make the MLB at 21, and I don't think Yorke qualifies after last year. Let him develop.
Do you really need to be a "rare talent" for that now, however? I'm sure there are some teams that do it still, but when a team has deep pockets and - ostensibly at least - a good farm system, a lot of those guys are coming up earlier and earlier.

I'm specifically omitting guys like Acuna Jr, J Rodriguez, W Franco, Correa (edit - moved Correa to "rare talent" as he was seen as a consensus top 3 prospect), and I certainly don't see Yorke like that.

As an example, just to remove the AL East from the equation, I think we all agree Atlanta is a smart team, yes? If Bloom (or whomever) do things almost exactly well, we look a lot like Atlanta the past decade or so, right? They have a lot of really good players and an excellent farm system, but the only player I think of down there as being a "rare" talent is Acuna. He is a generational talent for a team and in no way do I equate literally anyone in the Sox organization with him.

However, Ozzie Albies debuted at 20, Harris II at 21, Grissom at 21, Smith-Shawver at 20.

In Houston, Tucker debuted at 21 and Altuve at 21. As I recall, Tucker was ranked as a prospect peak similar to Casas (Tucker peaked at 8th on MLB and 12th on BA; Casas at 16 and 19, respectively), Altuve was unranked by the major prospects sites (boy did places get that wrong), but I'm not sure if people consider him an outlier in terms of "rare" talent. Maybe, I don't know as that is of course subjective.


Maybe something about Yorke specifically isn't ready (the k rate was a good point) or something about his make up means that there are concerns about his confidence if he struggles (again, I don't know and I'm just allowing their could be). However, there are two examples off the top of my head of what we hope Bloom is capable of and players on "smart" teams debuting at 21 or younger. Altuve (2011) did so on an awful team.

Albies, fwiw, debuted on a team that went 72-90.
 
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grimshaw

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This isn't the 2021 team, but they have been similarly scrappy vs the AL East. They are 13-11so far with a +10 run differential. They are also 28-23 vs over .500 teams.

All other divisions combined are 92-148 vs the AL East - a .383 winning percentage. Basically slightly worse than the Washington Nationals.
 

Fishy1

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Some rookie things...

After a rough month, Duran appears to be adjusting back. He's only struck out once in his last 17 PA while taking three walks (if you stretch it back another 10 PA, that's four times in 27 PA). His OBP on the year is .350, his OPS+ is 112, or about even with Devers. Hi BABIP is an astronomical .397, though, definitely unsustainable, even if he's hitting the ball hard 45% of the time and line drives 30% of the time. The BB% is 8, or around Verdugo and just south of Masa and Turner.

To my eye he's still a clumsy fielder, but he's getting much better jumps than he did in the past. He's still striking out 28% of the time, which is a lot, but I think the optimistic case is he cuts his K% about 2-3% over the course of the next couple years and ups the BB% by 1-2%, improves some more in CF - that's a 2-4 win player a year. The pessimistic case is he regresses defensively and offensively: the adjustments he's making in strike-zone judgment are transient, he doesn't improve anymore defensively, his BABIP rounds down to a reasonable .333 or so, and he turns into a guy who OPS's between .650 and .700 each year and steals some bases - that player is still worth a win or two. I'd guess he's somewhere in the middle, or has some years when he's the former and some where he's the latter.

The three rookies -- Casas, Wong, and Duran -- are still at the bottom of the team in terms of K%. Wong is at 32%, which is dangerously close to Cordero/Dalbec territory... but he's a catcher, so it's a little more forgivable. I'd like to see him go on another tear, but I think a league average hitter is what we should expect, which is a boon at his position. Duran is at 28%, which is not great, but he makes hard enough contact when he does and is walking at a good enough clip for that to be acceptable. Casas is obviously continuing his climb out of the cellar. He's putting together great at-bats, striking out less, and getting jobbed by umps (like he did last night).

They're an interesting cast of characters. Affordable, potentially above average at their positions, but not definitely, and not stars by any means. Casas will have to hit better, Duran will have to sustain this performance, and Wong will have to keep his whiffing under control.
 

grimshaw

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Trying to figure out where the Sox can improve around the margins since this race could come down to a game or two.

Is it time to move on from Christian Arroyo and give David Hamilton a shot at 2b? The middle infield could really use a left handed bat, and Arroyo is completely redundant with Hernandez moving off of SS and may be worth a lottery ticket.

Here is Eric Longenhagen's blurb on him from fangraphs on the recent farm review.

"Hamilton is a 70-grade runner who regularly gets down the line in the 4.00–4.10 second range. Minor league camera operators have trouble keeping him in frame, and his speed forces opposing infielders to rush their throws, often impacting their accuracy. This speed, combined with Hamilton’s suitable shortstop defense, makes him very likely to play a part-time big league role. He has made plus rates of contact in the minors but has done so as an old-for-the-level player, so it feels prudent to round down on that tool at least a little bit.

Vulnerable on the outer edge, Hamilton is best at turning on inside pitches, which is really the only part of the zone in which he’s able to hit for power. More “fine” than excellent at short, he doesn’t have the skill set of a premium utilityman and is more of a niche player who can impact the game with his speed. If he continues to get reps in center field (he played two games there in 2022 and just one and a half more so far in 2023), then that premium utility role is in play."


His bat has held up solidly, slashing .256/.340/.488. I would give him an audition until Chang is ready personally.
 

simplicio

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I'd be perfectly fine with trading Arroyo if someone will give up something for him, but what's the draw of Hamilton over Valdez there? He's got wheels, but Valdez has already proven he can hang in Boston (and has an OPS about 90 points higher in AAA).
 

Just a bit outside

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I'd be perfectly fine with trading Arroyo if someone will give up something for him, but what's the draw of Hamilton over Valdez there? He's got wheels, but Valdez has already proven he can hang in Boston (and has an OPS about 90 points higher in AAA).
Valdez is a butcher in the field. Sox really need to focus on their defense.
 

LoLsapien

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Valdez is a butcher in the field. Sox really need to focus on their defense.
Doesn't it depend on how much offense you need to give up to get that improved defense? And exactly how valuable that improved defense is? I'm not saying Valdez is The Guy but that writeup for Hamilton wasn't exactly glowing in praise about his defensive prowess. Hamilton sounds to me like a guy you add when rosters expand to have a Dave Roberts type on your roster.
 

joe dokes

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Doesn't it depend on how much offense you need to give up to get that improved defense? And exactly how valuable that improved defense is? I'm not saying Valdez is The Guy but that writeup for Hamilton wasn't exactly glowing in praise about his defensive prowess. Hamilton sounds to me like a guy you add when rosters expand to have a Dave Roberts type on your roster.
The specifics of Hamilton aside, my observation on defense is that every stretch of having a defense-first SS playing regularly has coincided with a good run (Yu Chang, now Pablo Reyes).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Doesn't it depend on how much offense you need to give up to get that improved defense? And exactly how valuable that improved defense is? I'm not saying Valdez is The Guy but that writeup for Hamilton wasn't exactly glowing in praise about his defensive prowess. Hamilton sounds to me like a guy you add when rosters expand to have a Dave Roberts type on your roster.
Agreed. I feel like I've said this before, but he feels like Jarren Duran in 2021. Speedster who is suddenly hitting at AAA raises expectations and everyone wants him up to help the big club, but it may just be an illusion. The hitting might not be sustainable or it may not translate to the big leagues, and he doesn't have a strong defensive reputation to fall back on if the bat isn't there. He's a guy they call up in an emergency, but otherwise leave him where he is to see if what he's been doing the last couple months is a real change.
 

Just a bit outside

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Doesn't it depend on how much offense you need to give up to get that improved defense? And exactly how valuable that improved defense is? I'm not saying Valdez is The Guy but that writeup for Hamilton wasn't exactly glowing in praise about his defensive prowess. Hamilton sounds to me like a guy you add when rosters expand to have a Dave Roberts type on your roster.
I’m not banging the drum for Hamilton but if I have to choose between the two I am picking Hamilton for defense.

Valdez is a 30 fielder and his stats show he was a bottom 5 fielding 2B in the league. His def rating (-3.5), DRS (-5), and fielding percentage (.947) are all awful. Valdez has poor range and can’t field when he does get there. Valdez is a guy who is killed by the new shift rules that make it virtually impossible for him to be a regular at 2B unless there is dramatic improvement.

Hamilton is a 50 fielder at SS. I have confidence that he would be average to above if moved to 2B. I definitely have questions if his bat plays at an mlb level but I would risk it for the defensive improvement over Valdez.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Trying to figure out where the Sox can improve around the margins since this race could come down to a game or two.

Is it time to move on from Christian Arroyo and give David Hamilton a shot at 2b? The middle infield could really use a left handed bat, and Arroyo is completely redundant with Hernandez moving off of SS and may be worth a lottery ticket.
The play could be to wait for Arroyo’s next inevitable injury and call Hamilton up to replace him, see how he does. If you trade Arroyo before giving Hamilton an audition you’ve put yourself in a box.
 

chrisfont9

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Trying to figure out where the Sox can improve around the margins since this race could come down to a game or two.

Is it time to move on from Christian Arroyo and give David Hamilton a shot at 2b? The middle infield could really use a left handed bat, and Arroyo is completely redundant with Hernandez moving off of SS and may be worth a lottery ticket.

Here is Eric Longenhagen's blurb on him from fangraphs on the recent farm review.

"Hamilton is a 70-grade runner who regularly gets down the line in the 4.00–4.10 second range. Minor league camera operators have trouble keeping him in frame, and his speed forces opposing infielders to rush their throws, often impacting their accuracy. This speed, combined with Hamilton’s suitable shortstop defense, makes him very likely to play a part-time big league role. He has made plus rates of contact in the minors but has done so as an old-for-the-level player, so it feels prudent to round down on that tool at least a little bit.

Vulnerable on the outer edge, Hamilton is best at turning on inside pitches, which is really the only part of the zone in which he’s able to hit for power. More “fine” than excellent at short, he doesn’t have the skill set of a premium utilityman and is more of a niche player who can impact the game with his speed. If he continues to get reps in center field (he played two games there in 2022 and just one and a half more so far in 2023), then that premium utility role is in play."


His bat has held up solidly, slashing .256/.340/.488. I would give him an audition until Chang is ready personally.
Duran's aggressiveness on those extra-base doubles and his clutch hit made me think he seems like his confidence is really up from the past. Now that he feels comfortable his speed is a real weapon. I think he has to play against just about all RHP starters and the occasional lefty. I would note that Cora took a real risk pinch-hitting Refsnyder last night and it really paid off, so while I'd lean on Duran most, the switchability of the lineup is finally starting to pay dividends.
 

chrisfont9

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Doesn't it depend on how much offense you need to give up to get that improved defense? And exactly how valuable that improved defense is? I'm not saying Valdez is The Guy but that writeup for Hamilton wasn't exactly glowing in praise about his defensive prowess. Hamilton sounds to me like a guy you add when rosters expand to have a Dave Roberts type on your roster.
With Story and Chang on their way before too long, I'd leave well enough alone and not make any dramatic moves. Hamilton especially can keep grinding away in the minors for now.
 

chawson

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Duran's aggressiveness on those extra-base doubles and his clutch hit made me think he seems like his confidence is really up from the past. Now that he feels comfortable his speed is a real weapon. I think he has to play against just about all RHP starters and the occasional lefty. I would note that Cora took a real risk pinch-hitting Refsnyder last night and it really paid off, so while I'd lean on Duran most, the switchability of the lineup is finally starting to pay dividends.
Here's a fun dumb stat.

Doubles per pitch (min. 200 pitches, Savant):

1. Duran 2.7% (2.7 doubles per 100 pitches)
2. Seager 2.6%
3. Duvall 2.6%
4. T. Murphy 2.5%
5. Moniak 2.4%
6. Grichuk 2.3%
7. Isbel 2.3%
8. McGuire 2.2%
9. Daza 2.2%
10. Wong 2.2%
11. Arroyo 2.1%
 

sezwho

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Doesn't it depend on how much offense you need to give up to get that improved defense? And exactly how valuable that improved defense is? I'm not saying Valdez is The Guy but that writeup for Hamilton wasn't exactly glowing in praise about his defensive prowess. Hamilton sounds to me like a guy you add when rosters expand to have a Dave Roberts type on your roster.
Yes thats true, but whats the cost of bad defense beyond just knock-on pain to pitcher from that one event? If the best way to score runs isn't just getting hits (or non-outs), its getting clusters of hits (or non-outs), then its harder to measure the impact of that one error. This clustering idea is why I think the Sox try so hard to have +bats along the lineup (even tolerating butchers) and the Bloom teams have recently been rewarded with some high run production (no, not juggernauts). The opposite is true though, that you are giving opposing offenses extra opportunities for clustering every time you Jalen one...too soon kick a ball around the infield or stare blankly as it comes to a rest in the outfield.
 

JM3

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I want Xander to do well. Not LOL’ing this….
I was mostly lol'ing at myself for feeling the need to post this due to Bloom getting so much hate for "not having a plan" after X left & their top 4 replacement options all fell apart/got hurt.

Of course now Reyes is hurt & we're on to Plan H(amilton) or whatever.

Hope for nothing but the best for X. San Diego is a great place to live & that's a lot of $.
 

joe dokes

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2023 is certainly looking better in the past week.
Looks like some possible history:
With two on and one out in the second inning, he unleashed a full-count cutter to Max Kepler that elicited a tapper just in front of the plate. Conner Wong sprung to the ball to initiate a rare, inning-ending, 2-6-3 double play, the only recorded instance of such a twin killing in available play-by-play data, which dates to 1988.
 

joe dokes

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That seems wrong to me -- I'm sure I've seen 2-6-3s before on failed sacrifice bunts.
I was surprised, too. Maybe it was sloppy writing and it was only the Sox since 1988.

Would those be 2-6-4s because of the first and third baseman charging in for the bunt?
Or even 2-6-1. (3-6-1 is relatively common).
 

Mantush

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I think it’s the first time since 1988 that’s ended an inning. That’s how I’m reading it anyway.
 

simplicio

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That seems wrong to me -- I'm sure I've seen 2-6-3s before on failed sacrifice bunts.
"inning ending" is the key there I think; people aren't bunting with one out.

But also, being able to react like that on a swing vs a bunt is really impressive to me.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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"inning ending" is the key there I think; people aren't bunting with one out.

But also, being able to react like that on a swing vs a bunt is really impressive to me.
Did anybody at all expect this quality of play from Wong??? He’s been absolutely brilliant
 

BaseballJones

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Betts = 2.6 bWAR at $25.4m = $9.8m per bWAR

Wong (1.7 bWAR at $722k) + Verdugo (2.8 bWAR at $6.3m) = 4.5 bWAR at $7m = $1.5m per bWAR
 

RedOctober3829

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2023 is certainly looking better in the past week.
They swept an Aaron Judge-less Yankees team and have won 2 against an under .500 Minnesota team that looks absolutely dead in the water. They are playing good baseball, but I'm not ready to get excited about them yet because they have not shown one bit of consistency. Let's see if they can continue this kind of play. One advantage they have is the schedule. From now until July 25th, they have only 9 of 26 games against teams that are currently over .500 and those are all in a row(3 vs. Miami, 3 at Toronto, 3 vs. Texas). In that stretch they'll have 6 games against Oakland, 3 each against the Cubs/White Sox/Mets, and the 2 remaining games with the Twins.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Betts = 2.6 bWAR at $25.4m = $9.8m per bWAR

Wong (1.7 bWAR at $722k) + Verdugo (2.8 bWAR at $6.3m) = 4.5 bWAR at $7m = $1.5m per bWAR
I think it's reasonable to put a premium on a player that generally has equal WAR to 2 separate players. IE it's not Mookie's WAR vs Verdugo's and Wong's, it's Mookie's WAR plus the other positon player that's available due to Mookie's WAR plus Verdugo and Wong's. Getting premium WAR production from one player is usually worth the premium.

It just seems odd to dunk on Mookie when he's got a 130 OPS+ this year. He's hardly struggling. Verdugo's OPS+ is 125 FWIW.

It's also worth noting that this was the case last year when Mookie had 6.4 WAR while Verdugo had 1.1 and Wong had -0.1.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Are you trying to say that the Betts trade has worked out for Boston because Wong and Verdugo have had good half-seasons?
This is a much better way of what I was trying to say above.

I'm thrilled Verdugo is finally playing at an All-Star level. I'm happy Wong is having a good start to the season. That's about as far as I'm willing to go on the trade right now.
 

BaseballJones

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I think it's reasonable to put a premium on a player that generally has equal WAR to 2 separate players. IE it's not Mookie's WAR vs Verdugo's and Wong's, it's Mookie's WAR plus the other positon player that's available due to Mookie's WAR plus Verdugo and Wong's. Getting premium WAR production from one player is usually worth the premium.

It just seems odd to dunk on Mookie when he's got a 130 OPS+ this year. He's hardly struggling. Verdugo's OPS+ is 125 FWIW.

It's also worth noting that this was the case last year when Mookie had 6.4 WAR while Verdugo had 1.1 and Wong had -0.1.
Oh I agree. Like, I'd rather have Mookie plus another good player than Verdugo and Wong. But if the premise is that Mookie was probably going to leave anyway (a premise to which I subscribe), then ending up with two guys who are far out producing Mookie from a WAR standpoint, at far less money, is a pretty nice return, all things considered.

I'm definitely not "dunking" on Mookie.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Are you trying to say that the Betts trade has worked out for Boston because Wong and Verdugo have had good half-seasons?
Do you think that - if we accept the premise that the Sox were wise to trade Mookie instead of getting nothing for him when he walked as a FA - Wong and Verdugo might just be turning out to be a pretty nice return?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Oh I agree. Like, I'd rather have Mookie plus another good player than Verdugo and Wong. But if the premise is that Mookie was probably going to leave anyway (a premise to which I subscribe), then ending up with two guys who are far out producing Mookie from a WAR standpoint, at far less money, is a pretty nice return, all things considered.

I'm definitely not "dunking" on Mookie.
Yes I get what you are saying. I was just noting that this is the first year that the outproducing has happened. And frankly given that Mookie had 6.4 WAR last year I strongly suspect that he might well equal the WAR of Verdugo and Wong yet again this year.

Mookie gets premium money because he has consistent premium production. He'll never match the 10.7 of 2018 again but if he continues to be a 5-6 WAR player then he'll be worth the salary.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Yes I get what you are saying. I was just noting that this is the first year that the outproducing has happened. And frankly given that Mookie had 6.4 WAR last year I strongly suspect that he might well equal the WAR of Verdugo and Wong yet again this year.
Yes, of course. But then, Wong is just now coming into his own. Verdugo has been pretty solid his whole time with Boston:

2019: 2.1 bWAR
2020: 2.3 bWAR
2021: 1.1 bWAR
2022: 2.8 bWAR

Not a superstar by any means, but a solid MLB player.

And then you have to factor in the money they saved not only from moving on from Betts but also by getting rid of Price. Remember, Price was a big part of that deal too. I don't know what they've actually done with that money specifically, but it's all part of the equation.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I think it's reasonable to put a premium on a player that generally has equal WAR to 2 separate players. IE it's not Mookie's WAR vs Verdugo's and Wong's, it's Mookie's WAR plus the other positon player that's available due to Mookie's WAR plus Verdugo and Wong's. Getting premium WAR production from one player is usually worth the premium.

It just seems odd to dunk on Mookie when he's got a 130 OPS+ this year. He's hardly struggling. Verdugo's OPS+ is 125 FWIW.

It's also worth noting that this was the case last year when Mookie had 6.4 WAR while Verdugo had 1.1 and Wong had -0.1.
Also have to add in Downs -0.6 last year :(