Re: Next year looks just as bad !!
posted at 9/16/2012 1:13 PM EDT
Wow. Negativity abounds here for some. Here's the way I see it:
Clearly what the Sox were doing wasn't working. You can say what you want about how good the team is/was and talk about injuries (which I do) but the bottom line is that the team hasn't made the playoffs for three years. When looking at the structure of the contracts it was pretty plain that some changes had to be made.
IMO Beckett had to go - and for more reasons than his salary. But unloading that salary was a definite plus!
Crawford's salary was one of the things hamstringing the future of the team. Whether CC was "worth it" or not, that salary was making it difficult to make other necessary changes. IMO this is one of the dangers in putting too many eggs ($$) in one basket. Baseball is made up of nine players at a time and each one only gets a few defensive chances a game, just as they only get to hit once in a nine-player rotation. Putting as much money as they did into one player was being unduly optimistic about that player's contribution. Couple that with his lack of production last year and his TJ surgery in the off season, CC was getting paid more money than was good for the team.
As for Gonzales, the above paragraph not withstanding, I believe in paying a good hitting GG first baseman a lot of money. Having a GG at 1st makes the entire infield better because he's involved in more plays than any other player. He can make the rest of the IF'ers look darn good. And if he hits like AG did he's going to be worth what he was scheduled to be paid. Unfortunately he was the "collateral damage" in the trade. He had to go in order to get rid of the other two.
The good news is that by parting with those three there was a lot of $$$$$$ freed up for the future. Now they need to spend it right.
Middlebrooks, Pedey, and Ells are the anchors of next year's team. There are at least two prospects for the SS position (cheap) and the possibility of picking up Tutoliski (Sp?) (expensive) still exists. That leaves only 1b in the infield to be filled by a reasonably priced FA.
Ross should be back to at least platoon in the corner OF positions which leaves 1 1/2 OF posiitions to be filled by trade or a reasonably priced FA. And I can live with Salty/Lava at catcher until they prove they can't do the job. I'm not crazy about it, but I can live with it.
Papi is Papi and I'd gamble that he'll be ok. If not the team can always go to the DH by committee, which isn't the worst idea in the world in terms of flexibility of the roster.
Which leaves us with starting pitching.
Lackey - who knows? A pessimistic person would say that he was no good last year and he won't be any better next year. An optimist would say that he pitched in pain last year and this year, post surgery, he's got to be better. He's a crap shoot.
Lester - Will the real John Lester please stand up! This guy has the potential to be the LH ace but IMO needs to work more on the mental aspects of the game than he needs to work on his stuff. He's got good stuff... he just needs to trust it, know when to throw it, and not let outside influences get in the way of his pitching.
Buch - Probably the best thing we've got going forward. 'Nuf said, although his stature concerns me. (Oops. I used the "C" word. Does that make me a "C Troll"? :-)) I like my pitchers with a little more meat on their bones.
I don't have unrealisitic expectations for 2013, but I think it's realistic to think next year's team will win 90 games. I also think that 2013 will be a <gasp> "bridge year" until 2014 when things will sort themselves out.
I just hope that the FO and the fans don't see that HUGE pile of money and believe the team should spend it just because it's there. I'd rather see them reserve a part of it until 2014 and make wiser choices than they have in the past. It HAS seemed to me that they're thrown a lot of money in the direction of certain players in the hope that their production would equal what they were getting paid, and that doesn't always happen.
Another reason for my longer-range optimism is because I'm a Bill James fan and I believe that James will lead the team back in the direction they were in back in '04 when they made choices based on what a player SHOULD DO rather than the old school style of looking at what a player HAS DONE. The thing is, it may take more than one year to accumulate these players.
In a nutshell, and to paraphrase the philosopher Jagger, Next year may not be what we want, but it might be what we need.