We have a time-honored tradition of slamming other posters for drooling over past off-season recommendations that end in disaster, one which I am not immune from partaking in, despite the fact that board posts influence reality by about 0%. And for the sake of this tradition, allow me to offer up several of my past off-season recommendations for review and subsequent rebuttal.
Disclaimer: I never intended all these players on the same team. Some acquisitions would have negated the need for others, and they changed as various needs were filled by other players, several of whom I never wanted either. It was more of a Rolling Wish List.
Justin Smoak. My loudest recommendation. Granted, I admit I was hoping for a diamond in the rough here, but he has been a lot more rough than diamond. .236 / .344 / .309 with 1 HR, and even that came against the lowly Astros pitching staff. His whopping 5RBI do not provide much support my way either. On the bright side, if has any potential left, he will be very easy to get next offseason, after Seattle non-tenders him. Right now, chances of that lie somewhere in between 99% and 101%.
Justin Upton. Always been a big fan, and he came out of the gate FAST. Ever-repeated and laughably bad offers of Ellsbury and some farmhands were ludicrous (and actually inferior to the package the Dbacks received), and I suggested a package around Bradley and either Doubront or Webster. Arizona’s interest in Bradley is unclear, given their commitment to Adam Eaton. However, I certainly would have replaced him with Middlebrooks in a heartbeat, since AZ seemed to be targeting 3B. To date, Upton has a robust 1.105OPS and MLB-leading 12HRs, and Bradley was rushed into action prematurely, while Middlebrooks and Doubront have both underperformed severely. And the jury is still out on Webster. I don’t recall ever suggesting a 3B to replace Middlebrooks, and given my track record this past winter, it is probably just as well. Not that beating Middlebrooks would have been difficult, and I refuse to be enamored with his overly aggressive and unproductive approach to hitting. History does show I might have been able to get back Chris Johnson, who is one of those players with the rare distinction of being both underrated and underwhelming. Of course, Upton’s NTC always lingered as a potential issue.
Seth Smith. I was hoping for a Saltalamacchia-Smith swap in a trade of very equal players that filled one team’s respective needs by dealing from the other’s surplus. Smith has done very well (.277 / .352 / .429 with 3 HRs), about the same as Saltalamacchia (.253 / .330 / .483 with 4 HRs). However, I wanted Smith as an option for LF platoon in place of Nava, whom I projected to be a .246 hitter with 5 HRs. Add my name to the long list of people proven wrong by Nava. The Sox are clearly a better team with Saltamacchia / Ross and Nava than they would be with Smith and Ross / Lavarnway or whoever.
Francisco Liriano. I figured him to be the best of the short-term pitching options, ahead of Marcum and Dempster in that order. (I did not consider Greinke or Sanchez as short term options.) To date, 0 IP. Certainly not an upgrade over Dempster by any means.
Shaun Marcum. I recommended Marcum as an option if and only if Doubront was dealt away. In retrospect, a team that has seen 3 seasons in a row derailed by multiple injuries should not consider Marcum as a good solution. And, in a development anyone and everyone should have anticipated, Marcum’s season has already been plagued with injuries and ineffectiveness.
Will Venable. Another option for the LF platoon with Gomes in place of Smith. Venable has heated up recently, but got off to an abysmal start. His current .753OPS with 4 HRs is about where one would expect him to be right now. I never suggested a return for Venable, but it would have been unspectacular.
David DeJesus. Part of my brigade for LHH LF. I hate platoons. But once Gomes was signed, the writing was on the wall. DeJesus might be the most underappreciated player in all of MLB, and a likely trade candidate this July. However, he was probably signed for the sole purpose of being flipped, and therefore would not necessarily come cheap.
Mike Morse. We all knew he would get dealt, and was a reasonable 1B alternative while the Sox figured out Napoli’s hip issues. Morse certainly can hit HRs, but not much else. Currently second in the AL in HRs, but with an OPS slightly better than Stephen Drew. Given the cost (RHP AJ Cole, who ranked just ahead of Xander Bogaerts on the 2012 BA Top 100), he was probably best avoided.
Mike Carp. The only name on my list of players the Sox actually got, and he certainly has been productive. No one expects this pace to last, but he is a role player.
There were probably others I don’t recall, but I am sure they were for players who are either on the DL, or who their fans wish were on the DL. So besides adequately filling the backup 1B/OF, I can safely say my tenure as GM would and should be very short.
Unless Justin Upton saved my job…