Re: What Team Would Have Been More Fun To Watch And Maybe Even Better?
posted at 9/17/2013 8:38 AM EDT
In response to RedSoxFireman's comment:
In general, this poster is on the money on roster construction, full pun intended.
I viewed this massive payroll team as a bubble playoff team that is a championship pretender, not a championship contender. I had them in the probability wins range of 89-92 wins. They are going to win 4 to 8 games more, and have been a little better than a playoff bubble team like the Rays are this year. It's remarkable that, in a 162 game season, winning about 6 more games is the difference in a disasater season or a season that managment can defend as a good season. Such is the case for the massive payroll big market teams.
I view this season as the season where John Farrell established that he is one of the best managers in baseball. He has managed to put a team on the field that is consistent, regardless of whose on the DL or not, regardless of whether or not the replacements have a relatively weaker skillset.
I view a good season like the Yankees have, for many decades. If it doesn't end up with a title or a close loss to another strong team from the NL in the WS, the season is a failure. I think that's the correct standard for the market and payroll for the Red Sox.
A's and Rays are good example of small market teams with excellent middle management.
When it comes to bigger market and budgets, the Cardinals are the gold standard of today. The Red Sox and Yankees owners might consider paying a lot of money to the Cardinals for a seminar on how to construct a roster from inside, and from outside markets. If Henry is wise on this issue, he'll put more money in his next GM and save a ton of money on his overpriced labor production. I would be looking to find the best middle management profile that the Cardinals have that would be accept a promotion and/or a substantial pay raise.
Being in the same division with the Yankees isn't an excuse, since there is a WC, and now there are 2 wild cards.
Thanks for a fascinating series of insights to spice things up. Most everyone would agree Farrell has had a great year, but most of us think Ben C has too. And for this reason: when a team has turned things around so completely in just one season--according to extra bases today, this is the best Sox turnaround since 1946 and that one was created by the end of World War II--you absolutely cannot give all the credit to the manager. To do so would be absurd. Some credit has to go to Ben C for lowering the salary base and improving the quality of the team at the same time.
You also seem to have a problem giving this team credit for being a legitimate contender vice pretender despite having the best record in MLB and being headed for 95-100 wins. The Sox have easily the best scoring machine in MLB, but their rotation ain't half bad either, especially with Buchholz apparently returning to his early season form.
I completely agree, FWIW, that the Cardinals GM has done a good job--they got better, if that is possible, after losing Pujols. But that doesn't make Cashman and Ben C idiots. Sabermetrics, moneyball, etc are all out in the open and everyone is using some of those methodologies. In the movie Moneyball, there's a scene in which John Henry tries to convince Billy Beane to be the Sox GM, which tells me John Henry is very aware of those methods, which is way Bill James works for the Sox.
Here's what the rest of us think Ben C has done for the better. 1. Huge salary dump last year of AGon, CC, and Beckett. 2. Hired John Farrell as the manager, which wasn't easy given one more year on his Jays contract. 3. Brought in middle to good talent without importing attitude issues. These guys all mesh well. 4. Invested in the bullpen bigtime. Hanrahan and Bailey didn't work out, but Uehara sure did. 5. Paid good money for Napoli and Victorino, whose WAR's suggest they are above average at 1B and RF. 6. Retained Ellsbury and his reverse pivot swing and great set of wheels, who has one of the ten best WAR's among AL non-pitchers. 7. Brought in a one year SS, Drew, who just might get a longer term contract with the Sox because he is the best combo of fielding and hitting at the Sox SS position in some time. This allowed him to trade Iglesias's superb glove for a crucial starter, Peavy, which then brought back Middlebrooks' good bat at 3B. Painful as losing Iglesias was, it improved Sox pitching and hitting. 8. Gave Pedroia a long-term contract because of what he brings to this team every day in the field and at bat. 9. Gave himself lots of good options after this season for further improvements on this team, which has four good free agents--Ellsbury, Napoli, Salty, and Drew--which Ben C does not absolutely have to re-sign (but will likely re-sign two of them, my guess).
I entirely agree the Oakland and Tampa Bay GM's have been terrific in building good teams in small market clubs. They are to be congratulated because those teams are great for the overall health of MLB. Well done!
But, as I've said, that doesn't mean the big money clubs are GM'd by idiots. It just means their mistakes are more glaring because of the salaries involved. Which leads me to Ortiz. For an oldish DH, he commands an insane salary, one which I think no other team in MLB, including the Yankees, would have paid after the 2012 season and the problem with the Achilles. But Ben C and his guys signed Ortiz for two more seasons despite the Achilles, and in the opinion of about everyone on this board except you and Bill-806, Ortiz has delivered this year at least. He is easily the best hitter on the team and once again leads in IBB's, RBI's, OPS, etc. And he is a fan favorite at a time when John Henry and his team are trying to reinvigorate the Red Sox Nation. In contrast to the ridiculous contract the Yankees gave ARod, the Ortiz contract was sheer genius and an incredible bargain. FWIW, I think Ben C might have noticed that after AGon's stay here Ortiz became a different and better hitter by going to LF way more than he did before.