Friday, November 22, 2013

The do-nothing solution at catcher

If the Red Sox miss out on Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the presumed solution is to go after Dioner Navarro. Despite playing only half a season, Navarro had the 2nd best season of his career (by wins above replacement) and set career highs for batting average, OBP, and slugging (.300/.365/.492). For comparison, those numbers actually top expected $100 million dollar man Brian McCann's .256/.336/.461 line across the board. Granted, no one is expecting Navarro to top McCann in 2014. Despite that, the Red Sox would do well to avoid Navarro.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Starting Pitching Primer, or, Is John Lackey's Contract Just like the Sox?

The Red Sox find themselves in an interesting position with starting pitching, heading in to 2014. Most importantly, they don't need to be involved in the starting pitching free agent market. There is a paucity of starters on the market, especially top tier arms, and every pitcher available has some real question marks around them.

Masahiro Tanaka, from the Japanese Pacific League, is coming off an incredible 24-0 season and is expected to be posted. However, importing Japanese pitchers has been a mixed bag - sometimes you get Darvish, sometimes you get Daisuke, and the cost could be well over $100 million. Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are the next best arms available, and both were good pitchers in 2013, but both were also among the worst pitchers in baseball in 2012. Santana is looking for 5 years, $100 million, and Jimenez is likely looking in the same neighborhood. Finally, Ricky Nolasco is the final pitcher in Keith Law's top 50 free agents. Nolasco is looking for 5 years, $80 million on a track record that doesn't look substantively different from Ryan Dempster's last fall. A solid, if unspectacular track record of throwing 180-200 innings. There is some value in that, but I'm of the mind it falls a lot closer to Dempster's two year, $26.5 million deal, than Nolasco's aspirations.

The defensive cost of losing Drew

Defensively speaking, how much would the hit be to switch from Drew and Bogaerts at shortstop and third, respectively, to Bogaerts and Middlebrooks? This is a tricky question to answer, because you're trying to project two very young, unpredictable players in Middlebrooks and Bogaerts. On top of that, Drew had a gruesome ankle injury at the end of 2010, which makes his 2011 numbers an outlier.

Bogaerts at short and third
In a comment on an earlier post, I was asked about what to make of the fact that Bogaerts was a plus defender at short and a well below average one at third. The simple answer here is not much. Bogaerts only logged 110 innings in the field and defensive stats don’t even stabilize in a single season, so his numbers overall aren’t meaningful, let along splitting them up by position. Scouts say that Bogaerts would be an about average shortstop, so the simplest thing would just be to give him a 0 for defense. At shortstop, that’s no small feat. At third, it becomes less clear. The rough estimate would be that he would be save 5 runs, per calculations by Tom Tango.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Looking Ahead: Losses

After winning the championship, the Red Sox have a lot of players coming off the books. These include core contributors, including the entire swath of up the middle hitters, and guys you may have forgotten will be getting a ring for 2013.

Oh yeah, you were on the team (2013 salary)
Joel Hanrahan ($7.04)

Just as with Bailey,  Hanrahan came over in a trade with the Pirates, in one of the larger moves of the offseason (or so we thought at the time). Unfortunately, Hanrahan was bad, then injured. He pitched a mere seven innings ($1 million/inning!), before undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Given that he's a Proven CloserTM, someone will probably take a flier on him on a one year deal with a team option, but we're probably looking at a return around the All Star Break next season. He won't be a great loss, doubly so given the emergence of Uehara as a closer and Uehara's affordable $4.25 million option, which vested in September, but the $7 million is always nice to have.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rebooting the blog to bask in the brilliance of a championship

It's been an awfully long time, but I wanted to try and start writing again, in part to enjoy the current success of the Red Sox, and in part to get in the practice of writing a lot, to help with my dissertation.

I'll be looking at free agent losses, the roster as it stands for 2014, upcoming prospects, and free agents in the next week or two.