Re: Sox and Dempster in serious discussions
posted at 12/13/2012 8:53 AM EST
In response to hill55's comment:
southpaw's very valid point aside, I'll go there. Yes, Lackey was the best pitching talent available that off-season, and I supported the signing then. The Sox looked to need a good #4 or #5 starter to complete their rotation, with Lester and Beckett the presumptive co-aces, along with Matsuzaka having pitched two good years and a young Buchholz looking to come back and rediscover the pitcher in him that had pitched a no-hitter. Lackey, who really would have slotted in as a #2 or #3 on most teams looked to be a strong addition to a devastating rotation; an affordable luxury for the Sox at the time because of the cost controlled contracts of Lester and Buchholz. Additionally, the Sox knew there was a possibility of arm injury and protected themselves with language in the contract (as I suggest they do with Sanchez if they sign him). And I will reserve my final judgement of the contract and Lackey's ability to pitch up to it once all is said and done. If (and I know this is a big "if") Lackey returns to pitch as he did in 2009 and 2010, then he will not be such a bad overpay, especially considering the inflation of contracts (an argument I used to support the salary offered back when he was signed).
In response to parhunter55's comment:
And Dempster's took a dive when he came over to the AL. Forget WAR. The real point in comparing Kuroda to Dempster is that Ben was not willing to sign Kuroda, and the Yankees signed him for 1 year at 10 million or so. Why then, if they are somewhat comparable, would Ben sign Dempster for 2 or more years for 12.5 or more per year? Just another overpay for mediocre talent. If you are going to overpay, do it for Sanchez and Hamilton...the top talents available.
Like John Lackey and Carl Crawford in their free agent years.
Sanchez is a very similar pitcher, according to stats. A bit younger, but a recognized injury risk and astoundingly similar lifetime WHIP (I choose to discount ERA and W-L for comparison as they are too situationally dependent).
As for Crawford. He was arguably not the best OFer on the market that off-season; nor was he even the Sox's top choice that off-season. The Sox overpaid because they got into a bidding war with the Angels after losing out on Werth, who was clearly the better fit for Boston. In addition, Crawford came to the Sox with lingering health issues that were ignored in a rush to sign the biggest OF name left on the market, only to end up with an insurance policy if Ellsbury was unable to return from injury. So yes, OF was a need, but at the time Crawford was a duplication of what Ellsbury offered if healthy, and thus never a good fit or absolutely necessary. None of us could have known then that Crawford's production could have been duplicated by a $3 million per type of player. As I have stated in the past, I believe Crawford may yet play to a high level and prove to be worth about 15 - 17 million a year. But his $21 million per salary would still prove to be a huge overpay considering his talent level.
Hamilton is a game changer. In an off year he hit 43 HRs and drove in 128 runs. He strikes out a lot (so did Crawford) but he walks at a higher rate than even Gonzalez. Crawford will never come close to that kind of production because only an elite few in baseball come close to that kind of production.
The Sox's need for an outfielder of consequence is arguable at this point. But their need for an impact bat is not, IMO. Without AGon they do not have the same production they had at the start of 2012.
Their need for starting pitching has been an issue ever since signing Lackey, due to injuries to Lackey, Buchholz and Matsuzaka, and inconsistency from Beckett and Lester. Last year the Sox addressed it by signing low-cost, high-reward guys, like they had when they signed Penny and Smoltz after passing on CC Sabatthia due to his high cost. Didn't work last year, didn't work then. But we were told Ben was tied by the huge contracts already burdening the team. Said burden has been kindly removed by the Dodgers. We are all waiting to see how Ben spends the money. Dempster at 25 million or more is a dumb waste. Save that money and spend it on some real SP talent. And yes, that should be Sanchez, IMO.