Painting the future of the Red Sox Rotation; This year and beyond

Image Current 1-6: Lester, Lackey, Peavy, Doubront, Rubby, and Clay/Workman Potential Trade Candidates: Peavy, Why you would: Sox are still within striking distance of the division or wild card spot, but want to recoup some value of a veteran picture to a team that doesnt have the same minor league pitching depth as the sox. Trading peavy and inserting a kid could have minimal negative impacts with a big potential to catch lightning in a bottle. Why you wouldn’t: Peavy is a known commodity. You can almost pencil in the results.. 6 innings, 2-3 runs, 3 walks. 110 pitches. Keeping Peavy is good incase another pitcher goes down with an injury, because all too often have we seen an apparent surplus turn into a nightmare quickly. If you keep Peavy and make the playoffs would he be starting a game 3? or would that be Clay/Workman/Rubby? the hottest of the 3.


Lackey: Why you would: Most trade value, Consistent and Effective all year long. Major League minimum salary next year if he doesnt retire. Not a home grown player, so trading him does not have the same sentimental affect like trading Lester would. And arguably you may get more for Lackey especially if that bonus option year is available to any team that acquires him. Why you wouldn’t: He’s you true ace. He just fired 9 innings of shut-out ball and wanted to go out for the 10th. Why trade him now if you think you can contend either this year or next. A kid may produce as well or better than Peavy, but not Lackey. That would be asking for the moon. Lackey.. like Nava.. is a feel good story, and it has this underlying bad karma if disturbed. But if the price is right, and the sox want to go Homegrown while getting a considerable prospect in return, then it may be it is time to say goodbye to one of the John’s on this team.


Lester: Why you would: Sox become obvious sellers and are convinced that they could not resign him, looking to maximize their return. There is also the potential of them trading him and then actually resigning him at the end of the season, but I dont have any statistics to back that up if it has happened before. Trading Lester sends a message that you will not over pay players. Lester is solid, and deserves a big pay day, but is it from the Red Sox. This isnt the same GM that sent away Pedro and Damon, but its the same philosophy. We let Ellsbury go to the Yanks and we see where that got us. I wonder what the outfield stituation would be had we had Ellsbury instead of Sizemore to start the year. He’d probably had collided with JBJ and broken his ribs again. Why you wouldn’t: Lester is our guy. Our Boston Chrome. Our cancer survivor. Our Mentor, our constant. Why would we let that go, especially if we have the money. The talent behind him is unproven and untested. They can turn into Daniel Bards, Craig Hansens, Kason Gabbards. Or they can be our land somewhere in between Pedro and Derek Lowe. When will we know? If we keep Lester, next years rotation will look like this: Lester, Lackey, Clay, Doubront, Workman/Rubby with Ranaudo/Webster/Owens/ect stuck. Not trading Lester means you can make a big package of Prospects like the one we sent to SD- Casey Kelly and co. But who are we landing, Stanton? Kemp? Alex Gordon? I’m not sure. I guess its more of a possibility of being a red sox lifer that is more important. Make up for the Clemens and Hanley Ramirez judgements.


The question remains how to get Webster/workman/Ranaudo/Owens/rubby incorportated into this team in the near future. Assuming Webster and Workman can mesh as relievers until a rotation spot opens.. that just leaves one rotation spot next year, Lester, Lackey, Doubront, Clay and Rubby with the rest as depth. And a year later Lackey would be off the books and you could insert another kid in 2 years. Trading Peavy now would just expedite the process, while trading Lackey now would insure that next year 2 big slots in the rotation are available. Lester, Doubront, Clay, Rubby and Workman/Webster..  could be epic, but is the depth behind that of Ranaudo/Owens/Barnes enough to keep you from worrying. If/when someone like Clay or Doubront or anyone needs a trip to the DL would the sox trade for another veteran step in, or can we trust a Matt Barnes in the Majors for more than a month next year. Moneyball wise.. the answer for me is yes.. and the first good trade to get Lackey out of town would be a bold move. A move that I could live with and be excited to watch at Fenway, on TV, in the news. I fully expect JBJ like struggles, but I dream of Xander/Holt like returns. Especially when their arms are young and fast. Baseball has a hard on for homers, but I love MPH. All that makes Daniel Bards funk a sad thing. I was a supporter of Papelbon in the Rotation back in the day.. and I admit I do miss him now.. not that I dont prefer Koji in almost every way possible.. Its just the same feeling I get when I think of Nomar.. These are your role models.. your idols.. your gods… And although you may respect them.. its the hard truth of saying that so and so is not our Messiah. Thats why trading Lester could be ok.. either you believe in him or you dont.. but having a kid like Owen in the minors makes you think you have the next replacement.. we replaced Clemens.. Pedro.. Beckett.. we won a few rings.. There is no right answer.. there are no perfect predictions.. The 25 man roster is the only chance to let hope play… otherwise we might as well let the rest of the AAA team play for the Oakland A’s.. i once went to a Portland Seadogs game that featured an OF of Ellsbury, Moss and David Murphy.. and i often missed Murphy when he was with Texas.. and Moss has produced well finally with the A’s.. I also liked Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick.. and Kalish and Rizzo.. and Masterson.. No point.. its just like for the uniform.. I wish these men good luck where ever they are.. but this doesnt stop me from day dreaming for the upcoming Sox Dynasty.. Xander.. Betts.. JBJ.. Owen… Peddy.. Vasquez… ect.. The question is.. who do you want in 5 years.. a well decorated Lester.. or  the possibility of your own Big three like Zito, Hudson, Mulder… that was replaced by Haren and Harden that was replaced with Sonny Gray… you know its like can we have it all…

The Clincher: A magic night at Fenway Park (HD)

Big thanks to BRETT COWETT of firebrandal.com for posting some great links this monday. I check that site almost every day and you’ll see me post some captions of their work with my addition commentary, including but not limited to various other writers from MLB.com, Boston.com, Weei, Fangraphs, and many other blogs I frequent.

Just as an fyi, I used to live on Queensberry St for 5 years, 3 blocks away from Fenway, and just moved away for law school this past August and it was quite surreal and infuriating to miss the Fenway Clincher. Especially since my last World Series experience was as a freshman in Smith Hall of Northeastern University, fall 2007, back when i briefly had a brand new razor flip phone that fell out of my sweatshirt pocket as we jumped up and down as strike 3 was recorded and was a small casualty, (in addition to a poor fellows yellow pickup truck).

Some other quick thoughts on the series:
Big walks from x-man, excited to see his rookie year next year. (please baseball gods, keep him healthy). Uppercrust, if that place is still in business should have free pineapple for a month, because the flying hawaiian delivered with a clutch grand slam. Ortiz, give him a 2 year.. 25-30 million dollar deal. I understand the business side of it, and the wait and see approach is nothing but smart, but piece of mind has to be worth something, and I bet stephen drew wishes he took the qualifying offer. Ortiz guy is going to the HOF and I dont want to see his last Frank Thomas-esque seasons with another team. Lester, if he was a lifetime contract give him a 6 year $100 million offer. We have the luxury of having a surplus of talented and cost controlled pitching, the issue is having to find spots in a veteran heavy rotation. With Dempster and Peavy only on the books for one more year, there will be plenty of opportunity to infuse youth with experience.

Pet Peavy: Having to study during the World Series.

This is what I’ve lived for my whole life is to — my whole baseball career, I should say, to have this opportunity to go out there on the biggest stage and have a chance to help your team win a World Series game and a World Series title. I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be, physically, mentally, and we’ll go out there tomorrow night and see if we can execute pitch by pitch, and find a way to win.”

via Full Count » Red Sox starter Jake Peavy says he’s ready for biggest game of his life against team that almost traded for him.

Nice Job by Alex Speier.

Peavy

As I eluded to in my previous post. This World Series could hinge on the perfomance of Jake Peavy tonight as well as the possibility of him starting a game 7 (hopefully ala Derek Lowe results).

I trust him, but then again my memories of him are mostly when he was a Padre.. with a 98mph heater. Now, I definitely have more faith in him than Dempster, Doubront and Workman.. and quite frankly.. that’s why we traded for him. This is why he is here. Much better then sending unproven Allen Webster against Joe Kelly, not that that was an option, but that’s how money ball could have played out if our organization was a bit more frugal. I also love the idea that we get Peavy for another year, and I’ll be hopefully even more sweet as a defending champ. Because otherwise, I’d see it as a logjam in the rotation of which we need to start throwing our minor leaguers into the fire and testing them at the game’s highest level.

Next years rotation is:

Lester, Lackey, Clay, Peavy, Doubront (Leaving off Dempster)

I feel it could definitely succeed with:

Lester, Lackey, Clay, Doubront, Webster/Workman

And a few years from now

Lester, Doubront, Webster, Workman, De La Rosa (assuming clay remains injured) (and having Henry Owens and a few others moving up the ranks)

Anywho.. lets not get ahead of ourselves. I am nervous about tonight, but that’ll be over in about 5 hours one way or another.

Interesting to see what will unfold with the bottom of our lineup.

Will Steven Drew break out of his epic slump? Will we replace him with Xander at short and see the return of Middlebrooks to 3rd in game 4? Will Nave be effective given the little amount of playing time he’s received? Will Dustin’s thumb hold up? Can Ellsbury steal a base? Can Ortiz handle first base?

A good question I heard of when listening to firebrandal.com podcast

Which right handed batter will be used off the bench? Napoli or Gomes

Their answer was Gomes, because Napoli will likely be used a defensive replacement for Ortiz at 1st. And he’s a prone to strike outs.

If I were manager: Tonights lineup would look like this:

Ellsbury, Nava, Ortiz, Pedroia, Xander, Salty, Drew, Peavy and Victorino.

I like peavy batting 8th, because even with the possibility of a quick inning.. I like having Victorino and Ellsbury connected, and pinch hitting for the #8 hitter would not interrupt our speed on the base path.

All of this is outside of my control. Just gonna keep my finger’s crossed.

Go Sox!

 

Quick Sox Recap: 3-1 Win Over Rays, move on to ALCS

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Some quick thoughts about the Sox’s win over they Rays to move on to the ALCS.

1) Did they win this series? Or did Tampa really just choke… 3 games in a row. Bases loaded nobody out in the 2nd inning, and a strikeout and a double play later, I’m left scratching my head as to why we did not have at least a 1 run lead for most of this game. 1 run would have lowered my blood pressure substantially. Especially after we took Peavy out when down 0-1 in the 6th.

2) Craig Breslow, MVP of the Day. Struck out 4/5 batters and really killed any momentum the Rays had amassed.

3) Biggest at bat of the game: X-man.. Xander.. 2 walks.. and 2 runs. When will this kid get a start in the ALCS.. hopefully against a tough Lefty.. but are any of the Detroit Starter’s Left handed… And do I really want to see the A’s with all the former Sox providing them with excellent moneyball? Moss, Lowrie, Colon, Reddick, Crisp. Heck.. they’re a few players away from being a complete recycled sox team.. and i’m completely okay with that. The Red Sox just dont have the patience to let the David Murphy’s of the world breakout of their AAAA shell, yet here we have 30 year old Nava having such a great year.

Back to X-man’s 1st walk, that led to the game tying run. He had a good eye, and laid off some tough pitches. Looked cool as a cucumber and I’d like to see if we can get more of a lightning in a bottle ala Ellsbury in ’07… but you aint going to sit Drew/Middlebrooks, but you could alternate just to get him in the lineup.. and then pinch hit when necessary. Especially if Peavy is starting since he’s a fly ball pitcher.

4) Victorino. Basically guaranteed that I’ll be putting pineapple on my pizza for the time being, since the flying Hawaiian legged out a crucial infield hit to allow the go-ahead run to score. Guy playing right field.. with Pedrioa’s 110% effort. Hit by 4 pitches this ALDS and set a record for OBP over .500 for the series. Basically, any residual love i had for Trot Nixon and they way he played.. is now transferred to Vic. And also I give credit to him for the way he showed a bunt, maybe blocking the vision of the catcher which led to the passed ball that Xander scored on to tie it up. He’s 100 times more valuable than Crawford was to us, and for a fraction of the cost <although not to the savings Nava is awarding us> and he’s only been hitting from the right side.. which If he keeps it up.. may have to abandon his switch hitting ways, because the power is there.. especially on R/R.

I was a freshman at NU for the ’07 win and I find it funny that once I leave to NC, they’re back on top, with a model for sustained success, and bearded faces.

#BostonStrong.