Friday, December 14, 2012

Dempster-Yes, Hamilton-No, Napoli...Maybe?

...Sandy Rosario-Just wait a couple of days

The Red Sox continue to add pieces to the team through free agency after agreeing to terms with Ryan Dempster on a 2 year deal worth 26.5 million.  They also continue to overpay annually in return for shorter years.  Josh Hamilton got 5 years at 125 million from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  The Red Sox were not willing to go beyond 3 years for Hamilton so they were not able to sign him, but when the best player on the market goes for basically 50% of the going rate (Pujols got 250 million last offseason) an opportunity has been missed.  Now word is coming out that the Red Sox contract with Mike Napoli has been slow to be finalized due to some medical terms in the contract over injury concerns.  The potential glitch is serious enough for the Red Sox to be back in the market looking for other first base options.  Maybe this is what Cherington meant by "being disciplined".

The Red Sox signed Dempster with the hope that he would give them dependability at the back end of the rotation which is something that they have not had the last two years.  He is capable of throwing 200 innings in a season having done it seven times in his career.  The question is, can he be effective in the American League?  The Red Sox think so, and the nicest thing that I can say about it is that I hope they are right.  However, I think they are wrong on this one.  He wasn't terrible for the Rangers after his midyear trade last year, but he was terrible against good lineups like the Angels and Yankees.  The one piece of reasoning that I find laughable is that he pitched two gems against the Red Sox last year.  I got news for you, that was no feat. The 2012 Red Sox were experts at making bad pitchers look good.  Despite their ability to put up big run totals in some games against really bad pitching they were not a good offensive team last year no matter what the stats say.  Now if Dempster is the #4 or 5 starter and we are able to match him up against lesser teams than he may give us a better #5 starter than we've had in 2 years.  Plus with interleague play being dispersed throughout the season he may be able to pitch against a NL team more often than he would have been with the old schedule.  If he is managed well than he may be able to give the Red Sox what they need which is stability.  Just don't expect a 2.25 era because a 4.25 is much more likely.

The Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a 5 year 125 million dollar deal which means they've gotten the "big fish" two years in a row so they must be going to...have to trade them all to the Dodgers by August, 2014? I said all along that I wanted no part of Hamilton with the Red Sox.  I also admit that as the offseason went on without him getting signed I started to get seduced by the idea of having him in our lineup everyday.  Despite what Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox made the right call by not going too hard after Hamilton.  His off the field issues coupled with his age and injury history made it too risky.  But, Angel fans should have fun watching Mike Trout and Hamilton play side by side for the next few years.

The Red Sox deal with Mike Napoli has taken a long time to be finalized since it was announced on the first day of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 3rd.  The hold up appears to be the language in the contract over a potential medical issue.  The Red Sox medical team seems to have some concern with Napoli's leg and hip and they want the team to be protected in the contract just in case he gets injured.  Best-case scenario this gets resolved in a couple of days and he is a member of the team.  Worst-case scenario the negotiations get contentious and the agent or the team pull out of the deal.  That doesn't seem likely, but stranger things have happened.  My bet is that this issue gets resolved and the deal is done before Christmas Eve.

With the signing of Dempster let's take a look at the current roster and examine the remaining needs of the team:

C- Salty, Ross, Lavarnway, Napoli (let's assume)  NO NEEDS
1B- Napoli, Gomez NEED: A PART TIME 1B (preferably LH hitting) suggestion: Lance Berkman
2B- Pedroia, Ciriaco         NEED: depth
3B- Middlebrooks, Ciriaco     NEED: depth
SS- Iglesias, Ciriaco          NEED: depth, the infield is the thinnest spot on the 40 man roster
LF- Gomes, Nava  NO NEEDS
CF- Ellsbury, Victorino, Kalish       NO NEEDS
RF- Victorino, Kalish NO NEEDS with Hassan and Brentz ready to provide depth the OF is set
Rotation- Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront, Dempster NEED: Always need good pitching.
Depth- Steven Wright, Rubby de la Rosa, Allen Webster, Alfredo Aceves, Franklin Morales
Bullpen- Bailey, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller, Bard, Melancon, Aceves, Morales, Uehera   NEEDS: a couple of injuries in spring training so we can get all these guys on the roster

The only remaining needs are a left hand hitting 1B/OF type player, infield depth, and they could always use a starting pitching upgrade if a good trade presents itself.


  1. Anibal Sanchez has re-signed with the Tigers for 5 years and 80 million.

  2. "Gomes, Nava NO NEEDS" this line terrifies me. We're really going to go into the season with journeyman Jonny, AAAA Nava, and The Nose as our entire left field depth chart? Our 8 and 9 holes in the lineup are going to be the weakest 8 and 9 hitters in the American League. Egads. Hell, even Nick Swisher would look good out there. Can't believe I just typed that.

    1. I understand why you feel that way, but I think a platoon of Nava and Gomes could be very effective. Nava killed RHP last year, he is a switch hitter but he appears to be a much better hitter from the left side. Gomes has been very good against LHP in his career. Their names are certainly not sexy, but I think they have a chance to be very productive if healthy. In fact I'm going to check out some stats to try and back up my argument. Brb...

      P.S. who is the nose??

  3. In 128 games and 318 AB's vs. RHP's in his career Daniel Nava's slash lines look like this .369/.399/.768. If the Red Sox picked up some other organization's 4A player and he had a .369 On Base % we would be giving Cherington credit for a smart pickup.

    Nava vs. RHp in his career: 128 games, 318 AB's, .369/.399/.768
    Gomes vs. LHP in his career: 470 games, 934 AB's, .382/.512/.894
    Average together Gomes(vs LHP)/Nava(vs RHP) .376/.456/.831

    Here's a couple of AL left fielders as comparisons:
    Alex Gordon 2011 (career year) .376/.502/.879
    Mark Trumbo 2012 .317/.491/.808
    Josh Willingham career .362/.483/.845

    Here are some numbers and some be the judge

  4. Word out of New York has R.A. Dickey being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package that includes catching prospect Travis Arnaud. I don't know if the Blue Jays should be considered the AL east favorites or not, but I do know that they will be the popular preseason pick.

  5. I think Nava can be potentially helpful in a platoon situation as Barry describes. But I think the guy they would like to play a meaningful number of games in left and/or right field is Ryan Kalish. You cannot really count on him at this point now that he has had two wasted years due to injury/rust. But even if he starts the year in AAA, he is the guy who could be practically a regular OF, especially if Gomes cannot be. Plus from Kalish's POV he has to produce something this year or risk being overtaken by Brentz and Bradley.

  6. Kalish is The Nose. We'll see if he can be a contributor this season, or if he is a AAAA player. I think he can be a big leaguer.

    Barry, you make a good argument with those stats. Gomes and Nava will have to be deployed strategically, but I guess they are adequate to make up the bottom of the order. My worry is that a lot of rallies are going to be killed by a pitching change to make Joniel Navaomes pinch hit, followed by Iglesias weakly grounding out.

    The good news is that the Red Sox have a good group of table setters in Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Victorino, and a good group of boppers in Ortiz, Napoli, and Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks especially could break out in a big way in 2013. I'm excited to see him play everyday.

  7. Red Sox have signed Stephen Drew to a one year $9.5 million contract! I have been saying on this site for weeks that they should sign Drew. He is a proven big league infielder who provides the depth Barry mentions above as a big need. If Iglesias is hitting .087 to start the season, Drew may become our starting shortstop. In a hilarious twist of fate, Stephen is J.D.'s little brother, perhaps one of the most unpopular players in recent memory because of his big contract and indifferent demeanor. I like the signing.

    1. You are right, we can cross infield depth of the list of needs with the Stephen Drew signing. I like the signing a lot as well, especially on a one year deal. It will be interesting to see who is the opening day shortstop either Iglesias or Drew. Drew does provide excellent insurance and excellent competition for Iglesias to earn the position (or not). One thing is for sure...Stephen will start off behind the 8-ball with most Red Sox fans because of their distain for J.D.

  8. Josh Hamilton is not the unique player in the world as Pujols too. They are not necessary. There are best players and in less money.

    1. Noah I agree with you and it certainly has been the Red Sox philosophy this offseason to go after good players and not overrated superstars. We will see if that philosophy works for them in 2013 or not. I for one like the idea of spending 125 million dollars on six good players instead of one "superstar".