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Observations from a losing streak

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 4, 2012 10:15 AM

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SEATTLE Just thinking . . .

The Sox were 83-53 (.610) after 136 games last season and were a half-game in first place. They are 69-93 (.425) since. That doesn't seem possible.

A lot of fans and plenty of people in the media have mentioned the idea of the Red Sox working a deal to bring John Farrell back as manager. Have they noticed that the Jays are 60-74 and in last place in the division?

Farrell was a very good pitching coach. But he's 141-155 as a manager in two seasons. What leads you to believe he will be better with the Red Sox?

Jose Iglesias is 0 for 16 since being called up. In 18 plate appearances, he has hit two balls out of the infield. It's only 18 plate appearances, but whatever improvements he made at the plate in Triple A haven't translated to the majors.

David Ortiz's value to the lineup seems even more apparent when he's not playing. The Sox are 45-43 when Big Papi starts, 17-31 without him. How about two years, $22 million?

In Anaheim, Scott Boras was peddling the idea that Jacoby Ellsbury is a franchise player and should be paid as such. Based on 2011, he sure is. He hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers and 105 RBI over 732 plate appearances.

But in the other five years of his career, Ellsbury has hit .287/.338/.399 with 22 homers and 146 RBIs over 1,753 plate appearances. That's fairly good. But that's not a franchise player.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has played in only four of the last seven games, getting 14 at-bats. With the Red Sox getting a better look at Ryan Lavanway, Salty is getting some time on the bench. Salty is a hard player to evaluate. You love the 22 homers by a catcher and cringe at the .286 OBP. But Lavarnway hasn't really impressed, either.

The only reason the Sox continue to give starts to Aaron Cook and Daisuke Matsuzaka is that there is nobody better in Triple A. That's on the scouting and player development people. The Sox need to spend some of that money saved in the Dodgers trade on scouts and coaches who are experts in pitching.

Any organization would benefit greatly by sinking $2 million into salaries to get the best scouts and coaches instead of throwing it away on some scrub who gets 15 starts.

Haven't given up on Ryan Kalish, whose season can't really be evaluated given that he is less than a year removed from shoulder and neck surgery. But he needs to show up at spring training with the same athleticism he showed in 2010.

The Yankees were six games up on Aug. 17. They are 5-10 since and now lead the Orioles by a game. The Yanks are 29-28 since July 1.

The last time the Sox and Yankees missed the playoffs in the same year? 1993. The Sox play the Yankees six more times, by the way.

Speaking of which, the Sox close the season with three games in New York. Assuming Bobby Valentine is still the manager (and the Red Sox swear he will be), that will be a three-ring media circus.

One good reason to keep Bobby V as manager at least through the end of the season is it doesn't reward those players and coaches who were disloyal throughout the season. Valentine made plenty of mistake along the way. But he didn't deserve being treated like an unwelcome house guest simply because he took a job that was offered to him.

In the real world, try treating your boss like that and see where it gets you.

Alfredo Aceves doesn't have a screw loose, he has three or four. But the guy can pitch, let's not forget that. The question is whether loose screw syndrome becomes too much to take, which was the case for the Yankees when they released him.

If you've never seen the Sox play on the road, you might be surprised to what degree fans in places like Oakland and Seattle love watching them lose. For some teams, this is like watching the neighborhood bully finally get his nose bloodied and they're loving it.

Read in several places that John Henry "flew across the country" to Seattle on Monday to see his team. Guess that sounded better. He was actually on the West Coast all week and was in Vancouver before he went to Seattle.

Pending free agents that seem interesting: Mike Napoli, Nick Swisher (as a first baseman?), Edwin Jackson.

Pending free agents that should left alone: Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke.

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