Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III
posted at 10/1/2011 3:01 PM EDT
A pessimistic but not total baseless take.
It sure as heck does not feel that way but the pitching may be easier to fix than not. Now there is that old fashioned element of "luck" in that.
The starting rotation has three pretty solid guys in Beckett, Lester and Buchholz. Let's go out on a limb here for a minute and say that Lackey is going to come back with his divorce settled, his body in order and something to prove. Let's say that equals a 2010 Lackey. If the other three are solid, we are Ok so far.
1) I think we are "going out on a limb" to assume beckett, Lester and Buch will be healthy and in form all year, particularly at the end.
2) If Lackey had just a 5.25 ERA this year, we are in the playoffs, so I see your point. I actually do think Lackey can get back to 2010 form or even a little better, but my point is, I would not count on it as a GM.
The rest of that rotation will of course be what most teams aside from the Rays have to do and it will be creative and require an element of luck, more like what the NYY or Cardinals do than Tampa's stunning depth. And one option is to make Aceves the 5. Guys will have to step up at points from the 6-8 slots but they don't have to be big names or big seasons if we don't suffer 3-5 month DL stands next year.
That's the big "if", I'm tired of saying. For years and years now, we have been saying, "if we can stay healthy...". Well, I'm done hoping and praying. I want to see some planning on there being injuries. If there isn't and we have too much, we can deal a guy in July, when everyone will overpay for a starter. Look at what Bedard got from us! Why not stockpile starter depth? Bedard cost just $1M.
If the RS retain Papelbon the bullpen may snap together just fine. The RS have the inside scoop but Albers may be a bring back. But the one thing I believe is you never see a bullpen coming as a fan, the big name FAs aren't the way, it is volume and frankly luck.
I agree here. I'm fine with quantity and hope 1-2 work out. Starters are different. We need a solid #2-3 type and a few Bedard types in the wings.
No doubt about it, Tampa's pitching is in an enviable position. All Boston can do is build the most balanced team they can and continue to have a very powerful offense.
I'd say we can let our offense can slip a little, if we refocus the resources on building the staff. I think our offense will still be fine without Papi or Youk. Not as good, but still top 3.
While we should not dismiss April or September, let's not forget the way the team played from May-August. Blowing it up is always a possibility but that is going to take 3-5 years to get back, if we do it that fast. It is a long road back once down.
This team still has a lot of talent. They can compete next year and for years to come. To improve our odds, we need some solid innings eating starters. That should be our #1 priority.
I know a lot of posters get upset when we say we should "go out and get" so and so, like it's that easy, but everyone has a price. I'd look at the top 20-30 starters in MLB, preferably young and able to pitch 220 IP, and make some good offers to pry them loose.
Halladay, Verlander, and a few others may be as close to "untouchable" as there can be, but here are a few possibilities:
Sabathia: He may opt out and begin a biding war.
Felix: Seattle is not going anywhere soon. We may need to involve other teams, but he's worth a try.
CJ Wilson: Free Agent (31), but without many innings under his belt until 2 years ago.
Clayton Kershaw: The LAD are in flux, maybe a multi-player deal could be designed, if we take on some of their salary along with Clayton.
Dan Haren, Jeff Weaver, or Erwin Santana: maybe they'd take Carl C and others.
Lincecum, Cain or Bumgamer: Hard to get one of these.
Carpenter: (team option $15M for 2012 then a FA)
Gio Gonzalez, Ian Kennedy,
Maybe try to get 2 of these:
Masterson, Edwin Jackson, Garza, T hudson, A Sanchez, Buehrle, Guthrie, Dempster, and I'm sure there are more.
These are just off the top of my head. By the time you know what to do, you're too old to do it. Ted Williams