In response to youkillus' comment:
A fair review, but Iggy has not followed the rule you mentioned about following his history in the minors (offensively).
Good job Moon, Jim is out to lunch on this supposition thing. Here's how it works, a player will duplicate his minor league production in the majors to a strong degree. A player will produce at his previous levels from year to year. Injuries will impact a player's productivity and are hard to predict, yet can be guestimated based on how reckless thay tend to play. Bryce Harper comes to mind. Players will peak offensively from ages 27-31. These are all givens. Let's look at the roster now;
C Salty, age 28 in his prime, having one of his best seasons, no surprise, and he's been durable.
1B Napoli, age 31.5, leaving his prime, expect him to produce less than his history. True.
2B Pedey, age 29, in his prime, typical Pedroia production, though his play will lead to injury. True.
SS Drew age 30, Prime, solid defense, hitting is lagging, not likely to be injured. True.
3B Iggy, 23 years old, unknown quantity as he has no track record and is 5 years from his prime.
LF Nava, 30, in his prime, having best year of hie career, easily predicted.
CF Ells 29, in his prime, producing within his history, likely to be injured stealing bases.
RF Victorino 32, past his prime, producing right to his history and likely to be injured due to agressive style.
DH, Ortiz, 37, past his prime, and likey to be injured (19 games missed)
Using the components of age, history and style, I am not surprised, and no one else should be either, take any hypothetical addition to the team and run him through these filters and see how they would play out in Boston.
Of course there is no way of knowing for sure which players will wilt under the pressure of playing in Boston and those who will not. A player that is doing well with one team this year, may have done better or worse had they been on our team (facing different pitchers, different parks and defenses, and other factors, including injury).
My point was that if you look at why this team is doing so well, most of the players making the most contributions to our wins, are not the free agents Ben signed. This is not meant to be a knock on Ben, but some are taking it that way and going overboard to prove otherwise.
Here is a breakdown of Ben's big decisions this past winter- not based on how the signing looked at the time, and what our perceived needs were, but how well they have performed so far this year and at what cost. Also, injuries are not foreseen, but they are still part of the judgement of has the signing been an overall plus or minus.
(Note: This is based on just first half performances: the jury is still out on most of these choices.)
Papi: I have not counted this as a free agent signing, but it should be included as a decision made by Ben. Many here wanted us to let Papi walk and become more flexible, young and have money to spend on other positions. Papi's age and chances of getting injured are big factors, but so far, even with the missed 19 games, I'd have to say the choice to sign Papi has been a plus.
Victorino: The 3 year deal was way too much in my opinion (from day 1). I get the fact that $13M is about the going rate for FAs of his skillset, but I still think it was overpay. The fact that 3 OF'ers on our team have better OPS than Shane right now, does not make this look like a good deal, even for just one year. Now, and OF of Carp in LF, Ells in CF, and Nava in RF is not as good defensively or on the basepaths as with Shane in RF, but I just cannot find anyway to count the SV signing as a plus so far. His .752 OPS is about what was expected, since his career OPS was about .771 before we signed him, and he is aging. The injuries have been harmful, especially on team defense. Other options out there were: Bourn $48M/4 (lose draft pick), M Cabrera $16M/2, Hamilton $125M/5, T Hunter $26M/2, R Johns on $1.75M/1, Ludwick $15M/2, Pagan $40M/4, C Ross ($26M/3), Schierholtz $2.25M/1, BJ Upton $75M/5, or a trade for a player like J Upton. Some of these guys would clearly have been worse coices- some better. The point is Victorino has not really been a plus, especially if you take into consideration that his $13M is about 1/12th of our payroll budget. I have to say: net minus.
Dempster: This is hard one to rate, but he has pitched well enough to lead us to many more wins than we have gotten in his starts. He's second on the team in IP at 95.1. One could argue that we could have spent the money elsewhere and got a cheaper pitcher that could have led us to a 7-9 record in his starts, but that really isn't fair to Ryan or Ben. It's hard to say that Ryan has been a net plus with a 7-9 record in his starts, but I'm giving that signing a plus.
Drew: $9.5M was a big overpay. As everyone knows by now, I have been for Iggy as out FT starting SS since ST of 2012. It's hard to imagine Iggy playing wire to wire the first half of this year, not having better numbers than Drew both on offense and on defense. Now, the Middlebrooks situation has changed the equation somewhat, along with Ciriaco's horrible play at 3B. This has allowed Iggy to play 3B, excellently I might add, and Drew to play instead of Middlebrooks (esp vs RHPs). This has improved Drew's worth to the Sox, but only because his OPS is better than Middlebrooks and Iggy's defense at 3B is better than Middlebrooks as well. Still, to me, this signing has been an easy call: minus.
Napoli: Hard to guage his pay this year. He will earn $5M, but could make $13M if he is on the active roster for 165 days (basically, he gets a 15 day DL and no more). If he does not meet the 165 day requirement, he can also earn $6M for PA bonuses starting at 300 and $2M bonuses starting at 30 days on the active roster. He's just about at $2M in bonuses already, so even if he gets hurt and misses the rest of the season, he has earned about $7M. His .786 OPS is not bad, but below what most of us expected from a healthy Naps. However, his 54 RBIs, many in clutch situations and better than expected fielding at 1B has made this signing an overall plus.
Gomes: Although he is heating up, he clearly has been a disappointment with his .694 OPS. Obvious overall minus.
Ross: Injuries and a .674 OPS has tainted his good start to 2013. He did well with the pitchers, but I have to say: net minus.
Uehara: A fantastic signing that nearly everyone on the board liked at the time. Clearly a net plus.
Hanrahan: Hard to know if this trade will turn out to be a big bust, until we know how the prospects work out with Pittsburgh. We do know Melancon has done well (39 IP 0.92 ERA 0.864 WHIP) , but we don't know if he would have done well had he stayed here. However, it's hard to imagine even a replacement level player doing worse than Hanrahan. Clearly a minus.
If you count Papi, the numbers record is 4-5. Without Papi, it is 3-5. However, some of these decisions hold more weight than others, so I'll leave it up to you guys to determine if all of the combined has been a net plus or minus.
I'd say it's pretty close. Certainly the players we have signed have helped us win some games. I'd say we probably won more games with these guys than replacement type players, but for all the money we spent, I think we could have done better. Again, this is based on just what we have gotten in a half a season and totally on a hindsight criteria, which may not seem fair to some.
To me, the most valuable Red Sox players, so far this season, have been as listed below:
Buch, Papi, Nava, Lackey, Uehara, Iggy, Salty, Pedroia, Carp, Tazawa
Napoli, Ellsbury, Dempster, Doubront, Miller, Breslow, Wilson
Net Minus at cost (Could have done better with most other reasonable other choices) or by poor performance or both:
Drew, Middlebrooks, Victorino, Gomes, Bailey, Hanrahan, Ross, Lester, Morales, Mortensen, Webster, Ciriaco, Bradley
Let me start, where I disagree with you. Victorino; the 13M is what you pay for his skillset, and SV has provided speed on the basepaths, stellar defense from his glove and his arm. By wrapping him up for 3 years, we have Ells insurance for next year, so we don't have to rush JBJ, if he's not ready, or face an auction for Ells or his replacement. Some of SV's injuries have occured due to the great effort he puts out, which is also an example to his team mates. Imagine another year of Cody Ross stumbling, bumbling and rumbling out there. Next comes Drew; take him out of the equation and we'd have Iggy at SS, and that's okay, but then we'd have Middy at 3B struggling at the Mendoza line or Ciriaco to spell him, and that would be worse exponentially. As for Naps he's been fine so far, but if he doesn't find his power stroke, he's just another 1B with 15 HR. Gomes, I think will perform better, as I suspect Nava will regress to his mean, and J-Go will get more AB's and better timing.