A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from garyhow. Show garyhow's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    So, Steve Adams mentions 4 places that make sense for a landing spot for Lavarnway: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, CWS and Arizona. Lava would not be enough to land us Owings or Gregorius, but maybe a 2 or 3 for 1 deal could be worked out. I'm nto sure what else Arizona wants or likes in our system, but who knows.

    I doubt any big deal happens, and I seriously doubt any of these teams are going to give us a key player in trade. More likely, it would just be a role player or another similar prospect at a position of higher need.

    With AJ P and Ross both with contracts running out this winter, it makes me wonder which is true (or both):

    1) The Sox have a lot of confidence in Vazquez, Swihart, Butler and Denney

    2) The Sox have lost confidence in Lava.

    Pie in the sky thinking: who would I like us tio try and get from thse 4 teams (within reason)?

    Pittsburgh: Maybe they might want Carp and Lava (and maybe a prospect of our own) for a RH'd OF prospect like Josh Bell or Harold Ramirez.

    Baltimore: How about Lava and Alex Wilson or Noe Ramirez for 25 year old "prospect" RH'd OF'er Francisco Peguero?

    White Sox: I doubt we could come up with enough to get Danks, so a  deal maybe like Lava, C Brown and Barnes or Ranaudo for Courtney Hawkins. Or, maybe Lava and someone else for Trayce Thompson or Keenyn Walker.

    Arizona: They have 3 SSs in Owings, Gregorius and Pennington. I'm not sure how much of an upgrade these guys are to Herrera, and none of them are good enough to think of moving Bogey to 3B for, but maybe a Lava and mid level prospect could land one to bolster our depth chart. Maybe we could trade Lava, Wilson, Coyle, and de la Cruz for Gregorius and Brandon Drury.

    I admit, I am no expert on other teams' prospects, but maybe something like this could be worked out.

    [/QUOTE]


    Moon I would look for prospect that is a couple of yrs out but has high upside. RS have plenty of depth right now at MLB level. Reason we're thinking about trading Carp is not because he's not a solid contributor, but just no room for him. Vic signed thru next yr, Gomes this yr, and Sizemore is anyones guess how much he will give us. I look for an OF or 1B w/ some upside but needs time, a pitcher can't hurt either [never enough] but the lower you go probably the better the prospect. Look for team loaded at one position, I mentioned Pirates w/ the depth they have in OF's as a perfect example. Just drafted A.Meadows, top prospect is Polanco and already have Marte, McCutchen, and Tabata. Which could make a kid like Bell available. Pirates also have alot of young piching [Taillon] in minors won't get their top guys but could find a solid arm that could help in a couple of yrs. Pirates are the type of team you want to make a deal w/ if possible, have a lot of young talent but not the depth we have at MLB level.

     

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from 111SoxFan111. Show 111SoxFan111's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    Everyone's talking about trading Carp but I'd rather give Gomes away.  I know it won't happen but it's a better option to clear a spot on the 25 man if necessary.  He's only signed through this year vs. 3 years of control on Carp.  I mean, if someone offers us a high upside AA-AAA player for Carp you'd have to listen but he shouldn't be dealt just to clear space.  He's should be the first depth option at DH and just might turn out to have some really special power.  Think of it this way, Gomes and Sizemore are both here for 2014 only. Do you want to give up 3 years of control on an interesting player for one year of a defensively limited lefty-killer?  Let's compare apples to apples (in this case our two apples are both on 1 year deals): if Sizemore can play 60-100 games at anything like his previous production he's much more valuable than Gomes.  It's a hell of lot harder to say 1 year of Sizemore > 3 years of Carp.

     
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  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    Moon, you've championed Mujica for a while and I'm excited about him being with the RS. 

    Relief pitchers are always a gamble, but he looks good to me.

    Lots of talk this morning about Sizemore.  With him reasonably healthy in CF, would you venture him a "wash" in contrast to Ells, or do we lose a little? 

    He won't steal 50 bases, but he may give us more elsewhere.

    I know there's some talk about OF injuries during the year, but I more concerned about our "mature" catching corps.  I know we're backed up well, but catching is physically demanding and we've got two old guys, one of whom was out a lot last year. 

    AJ P has done well staying healthy over recent years. Let's hope he has one more year in his tank. Ross is not known to be injury prone, and has never been FT, so his legs are not as worn out for his age as a FT'er might have been.

    This is shaping up as fun seeing what will happen in CF.  By the way, A's just lost their #1 to surgery and another starter has a sore arm...I'm not sure if we have an "excess" of starters anymore with Dempter's loss, but if Doolbie starts hot and Workman looks like he would/could step in, would we move Capuano for the right deal?  I'm also convinced Britton could come up in a fill in starting role and not embarrass himself...I still don't know how this happened.  Two summers ago we looked to be in the maws of hell's inferno and now we look like the Colossus of Rhodes...

    Well put!

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to garyhow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    So, Steve Adams mentions 4 places that make sense for a landing spot for Lavarnway: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, CWS and Arizona. Lava would not be enough to land us Owings or Gregorius, but maybe a 2 or 3 for 1 deal could be worked out. I'm nto sure what else Arizona wants or likes in our system, but who knows.

    I doubt any big deal happens, and I seriously doubt any of these teams are going to give us a key player in trade. More likely, it would just be a role player or another similar prospect at a position of higher need.

    With AJ P and Ross both with contracts running out this winter, it makes me wonder which is true (or both):

    1) The Sox have a lot of confidence in Vazquez, Swihart, Butler and Denney

    2) The Sox have lost confidence in Lava.

    Pie in the sky thinking: who would I like us tio try and get from thse 4 teams (within reason)?

    Pittsburgh: Maybe they might want Carp and Lava (and maybe a prospect of our own) for a RH'd OF prospect like Josh Bell or Harold Ramirez.

    Baltimore: How about Lava and Alex Wilson or Noe Ramirez for 25 year old "prospect" RH'd OF'er Francisco Peguero?

    White Sox: I doubt we could come up with enough to get Danks, so a  deal maybe like Lava, C Brown and Barnes or Ranaudo for Courtney Hawkins. Or, maybe Lava and someone else for Trayce Thompson or Keenyn Walker.

    Arizona: They have 3 SSs in Owings, Gregorius and Pennington. I'm not sure how much of an upgrade these guys are to Herrera, and none of them are good enough to think of moving Bogey to 3B for, but maybe a Lava and mid level prospect could land one to bolster our depth chart. Maybe we could trade Lava, Wilson, Coyle, and de la Cruz for Gregorius and Brandon Drury.

    I admit, I am no expert on other teams' prospects, but maybe something like this could be worked out.

    [/QUOTE]


    Moon I would look for prospect that is a couple of yrs out but has high upside. RS have plenty of depth right now at MLB level. Reason we're thinking about trading Carp is not because he's not a solid contributor, but just no room for him. Vic signed thru next yr, Gomes this yr, and Sizemore is anyones guess how much he will give us. I look for an OF or 1B w/ some upside but needs time, a pitcher can't hurt either [never enough] but the lower you go probably the better the prospect. Look for team loaded at one position, I mentioned Pirates w/ the depth they have in OF's as a perfect example. Just drafted A.Meadows, top prospect is Polanco and already have Marte, McCutchen, and Tabata. Which could make a kid like Bell available. Pirates also have alot of young piching [Taillon] in minors won't get their top guys but could find a solid arm that could help in a couple of yrs. Pirates are the type of team you want to make a deal w/ if possible, have a lot of young talent but not the depth we have at MLB level.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    I agree, but might add that JBJ on the bench is not a huge upgrade over Carp, so if Sizemore is the starter, why not hold onto all 3 by sending JBJ to AAA until things shake out.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to 111SoxFan111's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Everyone's talking about trading Carp but I'd rather give Gomes away.  I know it won't happen but it's a better option to clear a spot on the 25 man if necessary.  He's only signed through this year vs. 3 years of control on Carp.  I mean, if someone offers us a high upside AA-AAA player for Carp you'd have to listen but he shouldn't be dealt just to clear space.  He's should be the first depth option at DH and just might turn out to have some really special power.  Think of it this way, Gomes and Sizemore are both here for 2014 only. Do you want to give up 3 years of control on an interesting player for one year of a defensively limited lefty-killer?  Let's compare apples to apples (in this case our two apples are both on 1 year deals): if Sizemore can play 60-100 games at anything like his previous production he's much more valuable than Gomes.  It's a hell of lot harder to say 1 year of Sizemore > 3 years of Carp.

    [/QUOTE]

    I mentioned trading Gomes over Carp early this winter, but mentioned that he's John's favorite, so I doubt he is dealt away.

    Carp can give us what Gomes does in LF, but also is our best back-up 1Bman.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    They can always use the Rt. 1 shuttle to Pawtucket and also place someone on the phony Disabled List. Who has options remaining?

    Thanks for sticking to baseball...

     

    3: Holt, Workman, Bogey, Ranaudo, Brentz

    2: Webster, de la Rosa, Wilson, Wright, Butler, Vazquez, Hassan, JBJ, Herrera

    1: Tazawa, Lava, Middy, Britton, Nava

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from dgalehouse. Show dgalehouse's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    I will say this: Despite the train wreck that was 2012, I was very optimistic coming out of Spring training last year. This year, I am not feeling the same optimism. Despite the spin that some put on it, I do not think we had a very good off season. We did nothing to improve, while our competition ( especially the Yankees ) did. Granted, we had a championship team to begin with. Granted, we have a very good farm system. Still and all, I get the sense that Sox management - and some on here - feel like we are playing with house money this year. Entirely too willing to accept a drop off. You cannot do that in business. You have to always be looking to improve. If you don't do that, you will decline. I think this season could be a disappointment. 

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to dgalehouse's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I will say this: Despite the train wreck that was 2012, I was very optimistic coming out of Spring training last year. This year, I am not feeling the same optimism. Despite the spin that some put on it, I do not think we had a very good off season. We did nothing to improve, while our competition ( especially the Yankees ) did. Granted, we had a championship team to begin with. Granted, we have a very good farm system. Still and all, I get the sense that Sox management - and some on here - feel like we are playing with house money this year. Entirely too willing to accept a drop off. You cannot do that in business. You have to always be looking to improve. If you don't do that, you will decline. I think this season could be a disappointment. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I get your point, but we did improve our bullpen. Our starters look more solid than they did at this time last year, especially Lester, Doubie & Lackey. Peavy is better than Dempster. While Victorino's health is still a concern, his production projection is higher now than a year ago. Napoli's health looks much better now than last spring.

    CF looks worse. 3B and Catcher might be worse, but the rest looks the same of better to me.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    Astros Inquiring On First Basemen By  Steve Adams [March 18 at 12:18pm CST]

    While the Pirates have been linked to nearly every first baseman on the market, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports (via Twitter) that the Astros are also calling clubs about potentially available first basemen. Stark says Houston has placed calls on Mike CarpJohn Mayberryand Tyler Moore, though he classifies each of the three as an "unlikely fit."

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to dgalehouse's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I will say this: Despite the train wreck that was 2012, I was very optimistic coming out of Spring training last year. This year, I am not feeling the same optimism. Despite the spin that some put on it, I do not think we had a very good off season. We did nothing to improve, while our competition ( especially the Yankees ) did. Granted, we had a championship team to begin with. Granted, we have a very good farm system. Still and all, I get the sense that Sox management - and some on here - feel like we are playing with house money this year. Entirely too willing to accept a drop off. You cannot do that in business. You have to always be looking to improve. If you don't do that, you will decline. I think this season could be a disappointment. 

    [/QUOTE]

    The only improvements they could have made would have been by making a big expensive free agent signing, or trading a package of prospects for a big name.  That would have been the splashy thing to do.  They went with careful and conservative moves instead.

    Even at that, we're still going to be close to the luxury tax threshold in payroll.

    I think Cherington had another good offseason.  We'll see, of course. 

     

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to dgalehouse's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I will say this: Despite the train wreck that was 2012, I was very optimistic coming out of Spring training last year. This year, I am not feeling the same optimism. Despite the spin that some put on it, I do not think we had a very good off season. We did nothing to improve, while our competition ( especially the Yankees ) did. Granted, we had a championship team to begin with. Granted, we have a very good farm system. Still and all, I get the sense that Sox management - and some on here - feel like we are playing with house money this year. Entirely too willing to accept a drop off. You cannot do that in business. You have to always be looking to improve. If you don't do that, you will decline. I think this season could be a disappointment. 

    [/QUOTE]

    The only improvements they could have made would have been by making a big expensive free agent signing, or trading a package of prospects for a big name.  That would have been the splashy thing to do.  They went with careful and conservative moves instead.

    Even at that, we're still going to be close to the luxury tax threshold in payroll.

    I think Cherington had another good offseason.  We'll see, of course. 

     

    [/QUOTE]

    I agree, but trades were aloso an option.

     
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  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Flapjack07. Show Flapjack07's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to dgalehouse's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I will say this: Despite the train wreck that was 2012, I was very optimistic coming out of Spring training last year. This year, I am not feeling the same optimism. Despite the spin that some put on it, I do not think we had a very good off season. We did nothing to improve, while our competition ( especially the Yankees ) did. Granted, we had a championship team to begin with. Granted, we have a very good farm system. Still and all, I get the sense that Sox management - and some on here - feel like we are playing with house money this year. Entirely too willing to accept a drop off. You cannot do that in business. You have to always be looking to improve. If you don't do that, you will decline. I think this season could be a disappointment. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I get your point, but we did improve our bullpen. Our starters look more solid than they did at this time last year, especially Lester, Doubie & Lackey. Peavy is better than Dempster. While Victorino's health is still a concern, his production projection is higher now than a year ago. Napoli's health looks much better now than last spring.

    CF looks worse. 3B and Catcher might be worse, but the rest looks the same of better to me.

    [/QUOTE]


    I guess 3B could be worse than last year, but I sure hope not. Middlebrooks has looked like a man on a mission this spring. I'm actually hoping that's where we'll see the most improvement.

    Anyway, I do understand the feeling dgale is describing. We probably will be "worse" than last year, if one wants to look at it that way, simply because 97 wins is tough to top and winning back-to-back titles is near impossible. With kids taking over a couple of positions, more kids on the way soon, and a ton of payroll coming off the books next offseason, we're coming into a transitional period of sorts...you might say 2014 is going to be the real "bridge year." That doesn't bother me, though...the organization is taking the smart and prudent approach, and the long-term outlook is healthy. We shouldn't mistake the lack of a big free agent signing or trade for a lack of desire to improve on the front office's part. As I've said, I think by winning a WS much sooner than most of us expected, Ben has earned the right to a bit of patience.

    That said, I expect a very good, competitive team again this year...how good is tough to say right now, but I see no reason to be worried at this juncture. I don't think there will be a whole lot of dropoff, if any, from Salty to AJ or Drew to Xander; the one position where we could see decline is CF, but that depends on what Sizemore and/or JBJ can provide, which is one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered. The pitching staff looks very strong. Anything can happen, but we should be right there in the thick of things, and in March that's about the best anyone can predict.

    Last year is a tough act to follow, but I'm looking forward to the encore nonetheless.

     
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  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to JoseLaguna's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    If Sizemore earns the $6 mil. in incentives, how close does that bring us to the threshhold?

    [/QUOTE]

    My estimate gives us about $12-14M to spend on bonuses, incentives or future pick-ups. If Sizemore reaches his $6M incentive, we'll still be at least $6M under the luxury tax limit (thanks to Dempster).

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    I will say this: Despite the train wreck that was 2012, I was very optimistic coming out of Spring training last year. This year, I am not feeling the same optimism. Despite the spin that some put on it, I do not think we had a very good off season. We did nothing to improve, while our competition ( especially the Yankees ) did. Granted, we had a championship team to begin with. Granted, we have a very good farm system. Still and all, I get the sense that Sox management - and some on here - feel like we are playing with house money this year. Entirely too willing to accept a drop off. You cannot do that in business. You have to always be looking to improve. If you don't do that, you will decline. I think this season could be a disappointment. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I get your point, but we did improve our bullpen. Our starters look more solid than they did at this time last year, especially Lester, Doubie & Lackey. Peavy is better than Dempster. While Victorino's health is still a concern, his production projection is higher now than a year ago. Napoli's health looks much better now than last spring.

    CF looks worse. 3B and Catcher might be worse, but the rest looks the same of better to me.

    [/QUOTE]


    I guess 3B could be worse than last year, but I sure hope not. Middlebrooks has looked like a man on a mission this spring. I'm actually hoping that's where we'll see the most improvement.

    Anyway, I do understand the feeling dgale is describing. We probably will be "worse" than last year, if one wants to look at it that way, simply because 97 wins is tough to top and winning back-to-back titles is near impossible. With kids taking over a couple of positions, more kids on the way soon, and a ton of payroll coming off the books next offseason, we're coming into a transitional period of sorts...you might say 2014 is going to be the real "bridge year." That doesn't bother me, though...the organization is taking the smart and prudent approach, and the long-term outlook is healthy. We shouldn't mistake the lack of a big free agent signing or trade for a lack of desire to improve on the front office's part. As I've said, I think by winning a WS much sooner than most of us expected, Ben has earned the right to a bit of patience.

    That said, I expect a very good, competitive team again this year...how good is tough to say right now, but I see no reason to be worried at this juncture. I don't think there will be a whole lot of dropoff, if any, from Salty to AJ or Drew to Xander; the one position where we could see decline is CF, but that depends on what Sizemore and/or JBJ can provide, which is one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered. The pitching staff looks very strong. Anything can happen, but we should be right there in the thick of things, and in March that's about the best anyone can predict.

    Last year is a tough act to follow, but I'm looking forward to the encore nonetheless.

     

    I agree, and I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm this year.

    It would be hard to do any worse at 3B than we did last year, but it is possible. I'm thinking Cecchini could help out at some point, if Middy struggles or gets hurt.

    We placed 17th in team 3B OPS at .692 (.002 from 19th).

    We placed 29th in team 3B UZR/150 at -15.4 (0.8 from the worst)

    Combine the offense with defense, and we were close to the worst overall in MLB.

    In 2012, we placed 21st in 3B UZR/150 and 11th in 3B OPS.

    (However, to be fair, I do think expectations at 3B were higher last spring than this.)

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from 808soxfan. Show 808soxfan's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

     

    I agree, but might add that JBJ on the bench is not a huge upgrade over Carp, so if Sizemore is the starter, why not hold onto all 3 by sending JBJ to AAA until things shake out.

    [/QUOTE]

    Meaning, until either Sizemore or Victorino need a breather. I like both Sizemore and Victorino, but would hate to have Carp covering either position for any length of time. Also, my concern is a nagging minor injury to either player that has Carp playing every other day.  JBJ on the bench is a pretty significant upgrade over Carp as a defensive replacement.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    In response to 808soxfan's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

    I agree, but might add that JBJ on the bench is not a huge upgrade over Carp, so if Sizemore is the starter, why not hold onto all 3 by sending JBJ to AAA until things shake out.

    [/QUOTE]

    Meaning, until either Sizemore or Victorino need a breather. I like both Sizemore and Victorino, but would hate to have Carp covering either position for any length of time. Also, my concern is a nagging minor injury to either player that has Carp playing every other day.  JBJ on the bench is a pretty significant upgrade over Carp as a defensive replacement.

    Yes, he is, but Carp may be a significant upgrade on offense... note the emphasis on may be...

    The part that concerns me more about keeping JBJ on the 25 man roster with Sizemore as the FT'er in CF, is that he doesn't grow by playing everyday and we lose a year of team control without him playing much to offset the year lost.

    I wouldn't be surprised if someone starts on the DL. 

    I wouldn't be surprised if Carp was traded.

    I wouldn't be surprised if JBJ begins 2014 in AAA, with a bus ticket to Boston in hand at every moment.

    [/QUOTE]


     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from jidgef. Show jidgef's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    While this has been an unauspicious spring training so far, I come down on the side of flapjack much more so than on Denny Galehouse's side. I understand Denny's concern as we clearly did not have as active and aggressive an off-season as the Yankees and Orioles, but we didn't have the weaknesses that they had. I will never minimize the impact of Ellsbury's defection, but I would not have payed anywhere near what the Yankees are paying. And as crazy as I would have thought it sounded, Sizemore might just win the centerfield job. Now I know that this time last year I was gushing over Jackie Bradley Jr and once the season started pitchers challenged him differently and he fizzled. Maybe the same thing happens to Sizemore, or even more likely, maybe his body can't handle the wear and tear of playing fulltime. But he has been the best player on the Sox so far this spring. 

    As for our pitching staff, we started last season pretty sure of Lester and Buchholz at the top of the rotation, we were leery of what Lackey would give us and Dempster and Doubront were pretty major question marks. This season we can be reasonably sure that we have five quality starters and lots of depth behind them. But the greatest upgrades this season are in the pen where Mujica, Badenhop and Capuano will add to Koji, Taz, Miller and Breslow. And I haven't even mentioned old-timers like Cordero and Hill or youngsters like Workman. This is as good and as deep a pitching staff as we've ever had here. Could it all blow up and fail? I think there's just too much talent for that to happen. Will there be some regression? Koji will not be as good; I'm comfortable going out on that limb. And Buch will be hard-pressed to put up such gaudy numbers, but he could be more valuable and effective simply by staying healthy. I see no reason why anyone else can't meet or exceed last year's performance.

    We scored more runs than any team in MLB last year, a feat we'll be hard-pressed to duplicate. But I think we'll see upgrades at third, short, and second base offensively. Catcher, first, and the outfield corners should remain about the same, in fact except for the Salty/AJ swap, they are the same. I will be surprised if Papi duplicates last season's numbers and look for a regression there. But overall the offense should be very close to last year, with centerfield being the biggest wildcard.

    My biggest concerns, based on what I've seen so far, are left side of the infield defense and outfield defense in general after Vic, JBJ and Sizemore. And of course the greatest concern of all is health, but I'm very impressed with our "deep depth". I'm not ready to forecast a repeat, but this team should be in the race until the end.

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    While this has been an unauspicious spring training so far, I come down on the side of flapjack much more so than on Denny Galehouse's side. I understand Denny's concern as we clearly did not have as active and aggressive an off-season as the Yankees and Orioles, but we didn't have the weaknesses that they had. I will never minimize the impact of Ellsbury's defection, but I would not have payed anywhere near what the Yankees are paying. And as crazy as I would have thought it sounded, Sizemore might just win the centerfield job. Now I know that this time last year I was gushing over Jackie Bradley Jr and once the season started pitchers challenged him differently and he fizzled. Maybe the same thing happens to Sizemore, or even more likely, maybe his body can't handle the wear and tear of playing fulltime. But he has been the best player on the Sox so far this spring. 

    As for our pitching staff, we started last season pretty sure of Lester and Buchholz at the top of the rotation, we were leery of what Lackey would give us and Dempster and Doubront were pretty major question marks. This season we can be reasonably sure that we have five quality starters and lots of depth behind them. But the greatest upgrades this season are in the pen where Mujica, Badenhop and Capuano will add to Koji, Taz, Miller and Breslow. And I haven't even mentioned old-timers like Cordero and Hill or youngsters like Workman. This is as good and as deep a pitching staff as we've ever had here. Could it all blow up and fail? I think there's just too much talent for that to happen. Will there be some regression? Koji will not be as good; I'm comfortable going out on that limb. And Buch will be hard-pressed to put up such gaudy numbers, but he could be more valuable and effective simply by staying healthy. I see no reason why anyone else can't meet or exceed last year's performance.

    We scored more runs than any team in MLB last year, a feat we'll be hard-pressed to duplicate. But I think we'll see upgrades at third, short, and second base offensively. Catcher, first, and the outfield corners should remain about the same, in fact except for the Salty/AJ swap, they are the same. I will be surprised if Papi duplicates last season's numbers and look for a regression there. But overall the offense should be very close to last year, with centerfield being the biggest wildcard.

    My biggest concerns, based on what I've seen so far, are left side of the infield defense and outfield defense in general after Vic, JBJ and Sizemore. And of course the greatest concern of all is health, but I'm very impressed with our "deep depth". I'm not ready to forecast a repeat, but this team should be in the race until the end.

    There were some questions about Lester last spring, and Buch's injuries were also a concern last year. I heel way more confident about our starting 5 this spring than last as well as the 6-10 starters. This year's bullpen, on paper, blows last spring's bullpen out of the water, and with Workman and Britton likely beginning in AAA. I'm not saying it's a cinch this year's staff does as well or better than last year's, but the outlook is very good for an overall gain, despite a probable decline in defense at SS.

    I think the catching position will be a wash: slightly worse on offense, but slightly better on defense.

    1B should be about the same, but I certainly feel more confident in Napoli now than I did last spring.

    I'm expecting a significant uptick from Pedey.

    SS: better offense if probable but not certain. Worse D is almost a certainty. maybe a wash.

    3B: I'm expecting much better offense and defense than 2013's 29th ranked defense and 17th ranked offense in MLB.

    LF: I love the Nava/Gomes offensive platoon and think the overall numbers could improve, if they both play almost all their games in LF only.

    CF: Huge loss with Jacoby leaving. His speed will be missed, but his OPS was just the 9th best on his own team among players with 200+ PAs (7th best out of all Sox players with 425+ PAs). I doubt Sizemore and JBJ combine for an OPS of .781 like Jacoby's 2013 OPS, but I do think they may come close. (Note: I realize that OPS is not everything.)

    RF: I'm hoping for better health and about the same overall numbers in RF. Again, I feel better about Shane now than in 2013.

    DH: I'm not expecting Papi to repeat his awesome numbers in 2013, but he should be close. Papi was a big question mark last April. Although he is a year older, I feel better now than last March.

    Bench: Carp, Herrera and Sizemore vs Carp, Ciriaco and Iggy. Hmmm....

     

     
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    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    I think we've got to be favored to win the AL East this year. As Moon has said the pitching staff overall looks stronger and it was real decent last year. On paper it looks better and it also is deeper. I like the possibility that Peavey's new split finger might be huge for him. And I think we can count on Buckholz, Lester and Lackey to have solid years.

    Bogearts may even improive the lineup compared to drew, who was decent offensively. And his right handed bat is just what we need for added balence. I'm counting on a solid year from Middlebrooks also. We can lose some offense from Ellsbury's loss and from degraded performance from Papi and guys like Victorino. It's hard to expect the same level of performance again from those guys, who were outstanding last year.

    But overall, no team comes close to our depth. When they have players get hurt, as inevitably they will, it will affect them more than the Sox.

    Both Carp and LAvarnway are being shopped but they can always park Lavarnway in AAA ball and give him a 1st base mit. I bet he hits better if they do, as they give him more frequent AB and keep him fresh. It might turn out that he is a much better player in Victor Martinez mode ( more 1st base PT ). Big guys often improve with more AB. LAvarnway generally started slow and developed a hot streak after 100-200 AB in the minors.

     
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    Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II

    They can park JBJ in AAA also. I personally doubt that Sizemore makes it more than 2 months before a major injury. But if he can start the year well let's use him and give JBJ even more seasoning and increase the team's contract control even if they can keep him in AAA for 2 months. I don't think Sizemore will even make it a month without losing some time to an injury though but if they keep a close eye on his health and not make him play through injuries maybe they can keep him contributing at least some all year.

    For God's sake put Sizemore on the DL if he starts getting hurt much at all. Keep him as healthy as they can all year. 

     

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