Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A little foresight saves the Red Sox a bundle

At the start of 2010 it looked like four massive stars at first base would be hitting the market - Adrian Gonzalez, then on the Padres, Albert Pujols from the Cardinals, Ryan Howard of the Phillies, and Prince Fielder from the Brewers.  After the massive bidding war between the Red Sox and Yankees for Mark Teixeira, which led to his 8 year, $180 million contract, I'm sure the agents for all four were looking forward to their massive payout.  A funny thing happened on the way to free agency, though.  In April of 2010, Howard re-upped with the Phillies a full two years before hitting free agency, with a five year, $125 million deal.  In December of 2010, Adrian Gonzalez was traded from the Padres to the Red Sox.  Although he officially agreed to his 7 year, $154 million extension in April, of the following season, the general consensus was that the extension had been agreed upon, but was not officially completed until the following April because of luxury tax implications.  Finally, both Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols made it to free agency. The Angels went hard after Pujols, signing him to his massive contract, the second largest ever signed, in early December, while Prince Fielder had to wait until just this week for bad luck for Victor Martinez, who tore his ACL, opening up a spot in the Tigers lineup at DH.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Yankees are the AL East Favorites

In one day the Yankees turned a very quiet offseason into one that addressed their biggest weakness, by trading for Mariners starting pitcher Michael Pineda and signing Hiroki Kuroda.  While the Yankees got by last year with major contributions from Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Ivan Nova, and at least a lot of innings from AJ Burnett, if nothing else, none of those three could really be considered a real #2 or #3 starter behind Sabathia.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Red Sox play the waiting game

Right now there are three solid starters on the free agent market - Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, and Roy Oswalt.  According to ESPN's Keith Law, they are the 11th, 13th, and 22nd best free agents coming in to this offseason, and the 2nd, 4th, and 6th best starting pitching free agents, not counting Yu Darvish, who had to go through the posting system.  Coming in to the offseason, Jackson was looking for $15 million per year over five years, Kuroda for $15 million for one, and Oswalt for $8 for one.  Quite simply, the market has not been there for any of them, and now, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, the price for all three has dropped substantially, to the point where even Jackson maybe considering a one year deal.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Red Sox offseason so far

Ben Cherington had his work cut out for him this offseason, with regard to the pitching staff.  Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz were locks for the rotation, but beyond that very few pitchers had a set role.  With the trades for Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey, the Red Sox pitching staff is starting to take shape.  We're also getting a good idea of how Cherington will operate as a GM, with his willingness to wheel and deal, but not with the top prospects.

1. Daniel Bard will be given every opportunity to start.  I am still not convinced this is the best course of action, but you don't trade for two late inning relievers if you're keeping Bard in the pen and have two gaping holes in the rotation.  Given Bard's issues with repeating his delivery, which has led to some terrifying walk rates in the minors and rough patches in the majors, his complete lack of success as a starting pitcher at the professional level, and his shallow repertoire (93% of the time he throws a fastball or slider, and his third pitch, a change up, is average at best), this seems like a disaster in the making, but the Red Sox seem committed to it.  Getting 200 innings out of a pitcher rather than 60 is a no brainer, assuming the performance is remotely similar, but I'm not convinced that Bard will stick in the rotation.  Even if he does, it wouldn't shock me to see the Red Sox go some form of a six man rotation in June when Matsuzaka comes back from Tommy John surgery.