Defending Theo's offseason.

One can point to one move, or non-move, that is the reason the Red Sox are so far out of the division. And that is the Yankees acquisition, via free agency, of Mark Teixeira. Had the Red Sox signed him, rather than the Yankees, it could very well have made up the difference. Maybe the two teams are tied right now, rather than 5+ games apart. Tex is currently raking at a clip of .284/.382/.557. And he's stellar with the glove as always. His 'WAR' is 3.6 (3.6 wins over a replacement player).

Basically, adding Tex would have given the Red Sox the best corner infielders in the game.

But we didn't add Tex. Instead, we decided upon saving tons of money--especially some probable dead money at the back end of Tex's contract. And the organization felt it was best to put their stock in the players on the farm, rather than expensive veterans. Lars Anderson being the main reason why Tex wasn't signed, as far as "players on the farm" goes.

The Red Sox are where they are. Six and a half games out of first place, with the division seemingly wrapped up, at least according to the stat-heads. And I myself are included in those “stat-heads.”
No, I haven’t given up completely. Not on the division–even though it’s a long-shot now. But I do know where the Red Sox stand. And that is atop the Wild Card standings. Sure, they aren’t playing well. And sure, good teams are beating them. But it could be much, much worse, you know, like actually being out of the playoffs currently.
One can point to one move, or non-move, that is the reason the Red Sox are so far out of the division. And that is the Yankees acquisition, via free agency, of Mark Teixeira. Had the Red Sox signed him, rather than the Yankees, it could very well have made up the difference. Maybe the two teams are tied right now, rather than 6+ games apart. Tex is currently raking at a clip of .284/.382/.557. And he’s stellar with the glove as always. His ‘WAR’ is 3.6 (3.6 wins over a replacement player).
Basically, adding Tex would have given the Red Sox the best corner infielders in the game.
But we didn’t add Tex. Instead, we decided upon saving tons of money–especially some probable dead money at the back end of Tex’s contract. And the organization felt it was best to put their stock in the players on the farm, rather than expensive veterans. Lars Anderson being the main reason why Tex wasn’t signed, as far as “players on the farm” goes.
So the Yankees ended up with Teixeira and it looks really good in the short term. But what about in 2011? How will it look then? What if Anderson is a 3-4 ‘WAR’ player at 1/23rd the price? The short term can be deceiving, my friends.
Of course, there is the other side of the spectrum. What if Anderson never pans out? What if he ends up a 1 ‘WAR’ player, defensively challenged, and lacking power. Then the Tex inking will be emphasized even more than it is now.
But I like to approach talented players (Anderson) with optimism.
Since Tex was a “non-move” then it is only fair to address the Red Sox actual moves. And none of the Big Leaguers they brought in have done much. But I agree with the signings, even with the failures, or sub-par performances they have brought with them.
John Smoltz was recently designated for assignment. The experiment failed. But the main part of this was that Smoltz was signed to a one-year deal. The money lost kind of stinks. But the one year deal is most important. If the experiment fails–as it did–then simply move on. Throw another arm into the rotation. Smoltz was signed as depth, became a piece, then became expendable–based on poor performance. He is gone. Move on. But he won’t suck up a roster spot, and he won’t suck up potentially available funds down the road.
Taking a chance on the future Hall of Famer was worth a shot. it simply did not go as planned. And by “planned” I mean the glass half full viewing of what a plan could be.
Brad Penny has at least contributed positively at times. He hasn’t been good, or really even average as a whole. But at least he has been capable of appearing in the Major Leagues. The National League is better suited for him as he is incredibly fastball happy, and his command can lack at times. But as a fifth starter, well, I guess that 4.57 FIP could be much worse.
Another signing that I completely believed in at the time, and still do. Penny was a solid chance to take.
Rocco Baldelli was brought in as a fourth outfielder to play all three outfield positions when needed. His “fragility” made it unclear how often he could and would play. But having him with many built in days off would only help his situation. Baldelli hasn’t been a failure. He’s played decent enough off the bench, and although currently on the DL, he is valuable by being able to man center field, as well as the corner outfield slots. .261/.322/.441 is far from spectacular. But in only 121 plate appearances, any numbers are sort of suspect.
Again, for one year, Baldelli was well worth the chance taken. And at $500,000, it makes it even more worthwhile.
Short-term. Many fans think in the short term. But what the Red Sox have given themselves this season, is a chance to win now (a very real chance since they are currently leading the Wild Card race), and a chance to win in the future. Imagine if Lars Anderson does become that 3-4 ‘WAR’ player, and where that $22 million saved on Teixeira can be invested. It can be used to address multiple needs, rather than one short term “luxury” (don’t forget already having had Mike Lowell).
It can be used to bring in our future left fielder. It could be used to acquire a starter, a few relievers and maybe even an adequate position player.
6 and a half games is no fun. Trust me, I know. I have experienced the pain in this four game set as well as you have. But it isn’t about 2009. It is about 2009 through the future.
And last time I checked, this season has still been pretty good…

Categories: Brad Penny John Smoltz Mark Teixeira Rocco Baldelli

28 Responses to “Defending Theo's offseason.” Subscribe

  1. B August 9, 2009 at 9:39 PM #

    Glad you have a crystal ball into Teixeira's future.
    "Eventually, Tex will not be worth the money. And that is what everyone forgets…"
    How can one forget that which hasn't happened?

  2. Peat Rows August 9, 2009 at 9:40 PM #

    I bet the Yanks put C.C. Sabathia on wafers

  3. B August 9, 2009 at 10:55 PM #

    One last comment on the dead money issue. When was the last time anyone can remember the Sox not carry some dead money? Part of the competitive advantage the Sox have lies in the fact we have a payroll that allows us to spend more than most teams. In trades, they can can gain an edge by accepting a bad contract from teams dumping salary if it lands them a player they need/want. The decision must be made as to benefit vs. cost. How much of an advantage will the player provide on the field over a certain time frame. This is how the Sox and Yanks can cover mistakes (Renteria, Lugo, Dice-K??) that would nearly cripple smaller market teams. See: Vernon Wells, Richie Sexson, Barry Zito, Mike Hampton etc…. Is it ideal to carry some dead money? No. Is it acceptable? Yes.

  4. Peat Rows August 10, 2009 at 1:14 AM #

    I’d bet on the Sox acquiring a lefty bat with pop during the waiver period. Dunn or even Delgado come to mind.

  5. B August 10, 2009 at 1:20 AM #

    1. You can’t count the savings of Lars over Teixeira until Lars is actually playing in Boston and not Portland. He has done little so far this season to earn a ticket out of Maine.
    2. By the time this kid is ready the contracts of Lowell, Lugo, and Papi will be off the books. And Drew’s contract leaves town soon after.
    3. Aside from extending contracts of current players, the Sox spent little of what they saved.
    4. I’m kind of tired of Teixeira being labled as a “luxury”. The main purpose would have been stability for the future. Extending contracts was still within the Sox budget. And see David Ortiz now hitting .219. We might as well waive him, stick Veritek at DH and catch Martinez.
    J.V. – “It can be used to bring in our future left fielder. It could be used to acquire a starter, a few relievers and maybe even an adequate position player.”
    They still would have the cash to do this.
    I thought this was one horse that’s been beat to hell and gone already. There really doesn’t seem to be much point in sending everyone back to their corners and ringing the bell for one more round on this. Bottom line is they didn’t get him and time will tell.

  6. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 1:26 AM #

    Delgado would have no place to play…

  7. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 1:29 AM #

    B,
    Eventually, Tex will not be worth the money. And that is what everyone forgets when he is on pace to hit 40 or so home runs. They don’t think about the last few years, when he will probably be worth half what he is paid. Many fans have a short term memory when it comes to this stuff. Just like we regret paying Lowell in his mid thirties, and we will Drew. It is no exception for when Tex’s time rolls around.

  8. B August 10, 2009 at 1:34 AM #

    In defense of Theo’s role I will add:
    It’s hard to know if he ever had a legit chance to land Teixeira in the first place. Between the heavy inclusion of the ownership group in negotiations, to the slithering of Boras, to Teixiera’s wife proclaiming love for all things NY.
    I found his real failure in the failure to obtain a cather of the future. It will be interesting to see how Varitek/Martinez works the the rest of the year.

  9. Peat Rows August 10, 2009 at 1:39 AM #

    Care to make a wager on that?

  10. Nick August 10, 2009 at 3:03 AM #

    Theo didn't do anything in the offseason so you're defending nothing?
    Btw you lose all legitimacy when you cite the brittle and often injured Rocco Baldelli as a good signing. Yeah it was so good Kevin Youkilis was forced to play LF in Yankee Stadium.
    Give me a break!!
    This team had many question marks and weaknesses coming into this season (catcher, SS, DH, 3B, end of the rotation) and Theo addressed none of them with quality. He waited until August to make a move for Victor Martinez. And let's not forget about the black hole that is right field. One of the worst contracts in baseball history is blocking any chance to improve that position. How would Bobby Abreu look in this line-up right now? Could have had him for short money and short years if not for J Dog Drew clogging up RF.
    (O joy, we've got Drew for 2 more years after this one)
    Would any team in MLB want any of these guys?? Maybe a Brad Penny and a Saito. That's it!!
    Rocco Baldelli
    George Kottaras
    Nick Green
    John Smoltz
    Brad Penny
    Saito
    Paul Byrd???????????????????
    Hard to defend this. Embarrassing!!

  11. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 3:30 AM #

    Are we also going to say that he is worth over $20 million when that time rolls around? Theo went with the potential youngster and/or couldn't have signed Tex anyway–as you mentioned. I may not have a crystal ball, but that is a lot of money. Can we blame Theo for passing on it?

  12. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 3:40 AM #

    Nick,
    Baldelli was a chance that was worth a shot at $500 K for a year. I believe that was a good chance to take. Hindsight is fine, if that is the route you want to go…But I felt that Baldelli was a good option as a 4th outfielder.
    …And obviously you have chosen hindsight, because how could you have known Bobby Abreu would be having a really good year at this age, and at only $5 million? He hasn't had the same kind of year the past two seasons. Yet, he all of a sudden has an OBP over .400. It is nice to take a chance on a player that is so cheap, like Abreu was. But how could anyone have known he was going to bounce back into form like he has?
    Rather than criticizing signings after they fail, try and think for yourself as to why they signed these guys at the time. Because not every signing will work out. Baldelli could simply have been released and wouldn't have mattered if he was such a terrible option.

  13. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 3:43 AM #

    joe sox,
    Thanks for the backup. :) And I agree, Penny is emphasized as a "three" right now because of injuries. He wasn't a bad signing at all, and I completely understand why Theo did it.

  14. reality check August 10, 2009 at 5:14 AM #

    The experiment failed. But the main part of this was that Smoltz was signed to a one-year deal. The money lost kind of stinks. But the one year deal is most important. If the experiment fails–as it did–then simply move on. Throw another arm into the rotation. Smoltz was signed as depth, became a piece, then became expendable–based on poor performance. He is gone. Move on. But he won't suck up a roster spot, and he won't suck up potentially available funds down the road.
    Except you are missing one point: YOU CAN'T GET BACK THOSE GAMES HE LOST AND THEY ACTUALLY COUNT IN THE STANDINDS.
    The Sox went 2-6 in the games he started. If they miss the playoffs by 1-2 games, how does that "low risk" move look??? Pretty risky, no?

  15. B August 10, 2009 at 5:41 AM #

    You just completely miss the point. Whether or not he's worth $20M in 6 or 7 yrs doesn't frigging matter. If he gives 5 or 6 yrs like the one he's having now, that's what matters. You take care of today TODAY and tomorrow TOMORROW.
    If his play declines in 5.5 years and he plays more like a $13M, $12M, and $10M guy, is it any different than paying Oriz $14.5, Drew $14, Lugo $8M, and Lowell $13M right now? Clearly none of them are even close to earning their full salaries. Why don't figure out what they should be getting based on their performance right now and calculate how much dead money is being doled out today.
    And Theo didn't pass on Teixeira. They thought they had him just hours before he announced he was taking the Yankee's offer.
    I had no problem with the deals he made in the aftermath. Low risk, high reward and short, cheap money. Except for Penny, they just haven't worked out. I completely agree as a #5 guy he'd be fine. But I do have a problem with the deals he didn't make. There were obvious questions about several players that weren't adequately addressed. Where is our catcher of the future? Where is our big bat in the middle of the line-up? Why didn't these problems get taken care of? Who's job was that Joe? Ask Theo.
    I said during hot-stove season if the Sox went into 09' with Varitek behind the plate, and Youk batting cleanup, it would be a colossal failure of the front office. What can you see now that would change my opinion?

  16. JoeSox August 10, 2009 at 7:27 AM #

    I wasn’t aware that there are days in July now counted as August, as per the V-mart acquisition. Good to know.
    Second of all J.D. Drew does not have one of the worst contracts in baseball history. he’s going through a huge slump right now but his defense in one of the toughest right fields in baseball makes him valuable along with his normally good ability to get on base. Is he a bit overpaid? Sure, but he’s still worth a lot more to this team than most fans give him credit for.
    I think Penny would have been fine as a #5 starter but when he’s your #3 you’re in trouble. Byrd was signed as minor league depth in case someone else goes to the DL before Wake/Dice-K are ready.

  17. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 7:32 AM #

    Peat,
    Yes, $10 :) But Delgado is coming off an injury, I would prefer to simply go with what they have. Dunn is another story. He can DH next season too.

  18. Shane August 10, 2009 at 9:48 AM #

    I’m not too concerned with the catching situation this year, Tek has been good enough and it’s not like Saltalamacchia or Teagarden have been tearing things up.
    The only thing that bugged me was as soon as Nick Green became the starting short stop for an extended period of time the FO didn’t bring in somebody from the outside. Dice-K and Wake can come back and if they play to career norms we’ll be ok. But Nick Green playing to career norms is killing us.

  19. B August 10, 2009 at 9:56 AM #

    I admit I wasn’t very concerned about the SS position coming into 09′. I figured Lowrie would be starting and growing into the position. I know a lot of people were hopping up and down about bringing in somebody else, but I don’t think anybody realized he’d have this many physical set-backs. The Sox did try to swing a deal for Hanley Ramirez right after losing out on Teixeira though. That would have been huge.

  20. Orange Julius August 10, 2009 at 10:49 AM #

    This is nothing Christian Guzman can’t solve. Yes, let’s tie up $17 mill. in 2010 for the black hole that is the SS position, Then we can all debate about how Jeter at $18 million is over paid.

  21. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 11:24 AM #

    One can look at a stretch that the Red Sox have sucked every year since they've been one of the best run organizations though. 2007, they couldn't score runs out west I believe, particularly around the Schilling near-no-hitter if I recall. 2004, they went on that .500 stretch for three months or whatever. Every year it happens. Last year the Angels were red-hot, came in and beat the crap out of the Red Sox. The team will rebound, I just hope they rebound *enough*

  22. JoeSox August 10, 2009 at 11:24 AM #

    I think, considering how vehement the Yanks were about starting pitching coming off last season, it would have been easier to pry Teixeira out of the hands of the Yankees instead of Sabathia.
    CC wanted to go to the West Coast and preferably an NL team by all accounts, but the Yanks were desperate for the best pitcher on the market, more than they were desperate for a prime 1B. They bid against themselves, upped their own offer, added in all the bells and whistles they could think of (opt-out, etc.) and finally got him. I just don't think he was happening. If you want to argue that we should have signed a guy like Lowe instead of Penny I could acquiesce to that position, but at the time we had a 1-2-3-4 of Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, and Wake, and we really only needed a back-end sorta guy, considering we were confident about Buchholz and Bowden behind them as fill-ins.
    Oh, and considering they shipped Kotsay off, Baldelli was not the best choice for a 4th OF, I'll give you that. Probably should have gone for someone a bit more stable.

  23. Julio Lugo August 10, 2009 at 12:51 PM #

    I’m hitting .345/.383/.600 in St. Louis

  24. B August 10, 2009 at 1:05 PM #

    Well I'm a bit surprised. I never thought I'd hear a Sox fan, after we recently won 2 WS titles, ever be cool with the fact that we're "at least tied for the wild card". And with a team like Texas, which wasn't pegged as real contender heading into the season no less. And to say the frustration is because the Yankees have a good team, that's hot now, is off the mark. The Yankees always have a good team, and every team gets hot.
    No. The frustration is from the fact that identifialbe flaws weren't adequately addressed at the appropriate time, and they've reared their ugly head. The frustration is in seeing a team that should have had a 10-15 game lead at the all-star break, limping around stepping on its own dick for about a month. The time to put separation between us and the Yankees was early in season when A-Rod was out and their bullpen was struggling and Wang was mucking things up. Head-head we ran up an 8-0 record against a team that looked more like Baltimore, but they couldn't get on a consistent run against anybody else.
    Playing better isn't going to cut it. They need to play much better. Getting all hands on deck will help. Keeping Bay and Drew on the field the rest of the way is crucial. Having V-Mart giving Varitek/Youk/Lowell frequent days off may help. Getting Wakefield, and even Dice-K, back and contributing will be a boost. Can they play better? Oh yes. Can they pull their noggins out of their knotholes? Better hope so.
    For all the credit Theo deserves for the depth he amassed on the pitching staff, he deserves blame for building depth behind position players on the cheap. If you consider the ludicrous amount of injuries and inconsistencies the pitching staff has endured, you'd still have to say it's held up fairly well. ON THE OTHER HAND:*******If Lowell and Varitek hadn't played as well as they did at the beginning of season, and the prospects of that were very iffy, the Sox may very well be out of it already.*******

  25. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 1:36 PM #

    B,
    They are still atop the Wild Card standings though. And I for one am confident that this horrendous play will end very soon. Not to mention they have a +75 run differential. Is a lot of this frustration built on the Red Sox being sub-par? No, it is that the Yankees are a great team, and red-hot. People act like the Red Sox are 6 1/2 out of a playoff spot, rather than just the division. They have their flaws, but are still one of the better teams in the game. So Theo did a pretty good job putting a quality team on the field, at least I believe…

  26. M.A.G. August 10, 2009 at 2:00 PM #

    Joe, I was against the signing of Teixeira, but I still am against Theo’s offseason. In my opinion, the big mistake of Theo is not about Teixeira, is about the fact he fail to make any significant upggrade when he had the chance.
    We could have go after Sabathia. With him, Beckett and Lester, our rotation would be significantly stronger (and the Yanks rotation would be significantly weaker). And Contrary to Teixeira, CC never wanted to go to the Yanks.
    And we could have signed Adam Dunn. A monster bat, for a fraction of Teix price. He could be playing in 1st, LF and DH this year, and then replace our declining Papi for the future.

  27. Joe Veno August 10, 2009 at 2:08 PM #

    MAG,
    I didn’t want to pay Sabathia that kind of money. Too much risk for a pitcher, and too much money. I believe in building a rotation through the farm even more so than position players, because paying pitchers huge contracts has such a great risk involved. I actually would have preferred Tex over CC…

  28. Sean O August 10, 2009 at 3:17 PM #

    It’s been a MONTH since we beat a .500+ team. We may as well be 6.5 out of the WC.