Answering Nick Cafardo’s Mail Bag!

Nick Cafardo’s mailbag is one of my favorite weekly treats with few other things giving me so much joy, so much grief, and so many palms to the face.  To put it kindly, it’s one of the biggest cornucopia of WTF one’s likely to come across.  One moment we’re reading a rational, sane question from an astute reader, and the next someone’s seriously suggesting the Red Sox trade John Lackey and Kyle Weiland to Seattle for Felix Hernandez.  I don’t blame Cafardo so much for the quality of the questions because I think he’s trying to find an accurate representation of readers.  It’s not an easy task.  Unfortunately, his readers don’t seem to be terribly bright.

Last week, while reading his mailbag and simultaneously giggling in delight; I decided that one day I, too, would realize my dream of answering his mail. After reading a particularly baffling mailbag yesterday morning, I decided that the time had come to give a few Nick’s readers my unsolicited opinions.*  Without further adieu, here’s the bag.

* In full disclosure, I’m not the only one to have this brilliant idea.  In a discussion on Twitter last week, I found out that Matthew Kory (follow him on Twitter @mattymatty2000) of Over the Monster had the exact same idea.  If you happen to see him do the same feature over at OTM, I suggest you read it.  He’s clever, funny, and an incredibly good writer.  But enough of that!  Let’s get on with this week’s mailbag!

Most, if not all, jobs have performance standards which clearly state the requirements of the position involved. Can’t the MLB teams add performance standards to these multi-million dollar contracts so if a John Lackey (just for example) doesn’t perform up to the standards expected, the salary and/or terms of the contract can be reduced or modified in some way so the employer isn’t left holding the bag on a dead-beat employee? P.S. Darnell McDonald would have caught that ball in left field at Camden Yards and we all know it, e.g., Stapleton for Buckner again?

For starters, the MLBPA is far too powerful to ever allow this to happen.  Ceding their position of guaranteed contracts would cause a major shift in the league’s economic landscape that could have wide reaching consequences.  Secondly, it gives teams a “get out of jail, free” card when it comes down to making ill-advised financial and player personnel decisions.  As I see it, teams should be wholly responsible for any contract they agree to, regardless of the player’s performance.  On the flip side, would the player have the option to “opt-out” of their deal if management proved to be incompetent?  Of course not.

Lastly, I’d like to know how this reader knows that McDonald would’ve caught the ball in Game 162 at Camden Yards. Carl Crawford played the ball as well as he could have.  It was one of those 50/50 plays that did not go in the Red Sox favor.  Oh well.  Time to move on.  Additionally, anyone with a few brain cells and a pair of eyes could tell you that Crawford is superior defensively to the ill-equipped McDonald.

My question is pretty simple. Jon Lester is part of the Three Amigos, right? He’s also from the Seattle area. Why can’t we package him with Youkilis for King Felix? Mariners need an offensive boost and it’s seems well documented that Youkilis is offensive. Pun definitely intended. And a comment … if the owners want to make a statement, send Lackey out of town somehow, some way, and eat as much of his contract as they have to. And get a manager willing to kick Beckett in the butt. I love that Jack McKeon said he chased him with a baseball bat. Too bad he didn’t connect.

It’s time to call for a moratorium on King Felix trade suggestions.  GMs have been trying to pry Hernandez out of the Mariners hands for years, but to no avail.  Word is they aren’t motivated to move him, and that likely won’t change any time soon.  Furthermore, I don’t see much value in moving Lester for Hernandez when the latter is only slightly more talented and significantly more expensive.  We’re talking about paying an extra $26M through 2014 for an additional 2-3 WAR.  Thanks, but I’ll pass.

Hey Nick, two questions: First how about Brett Butler as Sox manager? He has great credentials, would demand discipline and his fire would appeal to Sox fans. Next, how about moving Lackey to the Dodgers with Josh Reddick and a player to be named for Andre Ethier ?

This two part question is really easy to answer:  no and no.  First of all, I don’t want leadership selecting a manager because he appeals to Red Sox fans.  I want them to select a manager because he’s the best fit for the team.  It’s that simple.

Secondly, the Lackey/Reddick for Ethier trade has 0% chance of ever happening.  Let’s forget the fact that the Dodgers are (a) broke and can’t afford to take on any additional salary, and (b) would likely want a better package  for their former All-Star.  Why would the Red Sox want Ethier?   He’s a solid, albeit unspectacular hitter who’s a major defensive liability at his position.  Putting him in the largest, most expansive right field in baseball will only exacerbate his limitations defensively.  Having him trade positions with Crawford, as many will suggest, likely only intensifies any issues defensively as both players would be forced to learn new positions.  Furthermore, with only one year remaining before free agency, the Red Sox would need to sign Ethier a long-term extension before completing any trade.  Given his reputation far exceeds his actual performance, he’ll likely expect to be grossly overpaid.  As such, I don’t see any reason for the Red Sox to pursue this opportunity.

Any chance the Sox look into a Jacoby Ellsbury for Matt Kemp trade? The Dodgers with there current financial issues will never be able to afford Kemp and Ellsbury is still under contract for another two years. The Sox could offer a base package of Ells, Lowrie and Lavarnway for Kemp. Is this realistic or am I just dreaming?

Another great trade suggestion!

Um…yeah.  It’s not even remotely realistic.  Why would the Red Sox package a solid utility man (Jed Lowrie); a potential impact catcher (Ryan Lavarnway); and an MVP-quality center fielder (Jacoby Ellsbury) for another MVP quality center fielder (Matt Kemp).  Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a MASSIVE overpay by the Red Sox. The person that made this terrible contract proposal should probably be a little embarrassed by this question.  I know I’d be embarrassed.

Two parts of the Bob Hohler revelations really bothered me. The first is the shabby treatment of Tito. He deserved better and it is hard to understand. I guess the ownership trio are so insecure that someone else is always at fault It is a sad way of saying goodbye. My second surprise was the involvement of Jon Lester in the scandal of the starting pitchers. It is my opinion that the Sox must act to “rescue” Jon as he is a potential No. 1 starter despite his miserable month of September. One way to send a strong message would be to trade both Beckett and Lackey. It would cost a fortune but at the right price both are tradeable, just don’t expect All-Stars in return. Another action would be to let Ortiz walk since he is now unsure where he wants to be. Make Youkilis the DH and install Middlebrooks at third and Iglesias at short. (Not saying Scutaro is a problem) Perhaps the White Sox will take Beckett and a barrel-full of cash for Carlos Quentin. But lets make sure whoever we get will be part of a solution rather than an expansion of a problem.

There are four things I want to address in this question.

  1. The manner in which the Terry Francona situation was handled was disgraceful.  There’s no other way to say it.
  2. I can see Youk moving to DH if Ortiz walks, but neither Middlebrooks nor Iglesias are anywhere near ready to play everyday in the Major Leagues.  Middlebrooks has had 60 PAs above AA, and has displayed mediocre plate discipline at every level he’s played.  He carries immense talent, but he needs at least a year in AAA to develop.
  3. As for Iglesias, we’re looking at 2013 before he’s ready for prime time–if at all.  He has a tremendous glove, but he was brutal offensively.  In fact, had he played a full season at the MLB level, he would’ve been a near replacement level hitter.  Considering his age and skill set, it’d behoove the organization to give him another year at AAA.
  4. Lastly, Beckett’s probably not going anywhere.  He’s too talented, and makes far too much money.  If he is traded, it will certainly be for someone better than mediocre Carlos Quentin.

Do you media types have any shame?

This question was a little out of left field, and slightly inappropriate.  That said, I did chuckle a bit after reading it.

With the Ortiz situation will the Sox offer arbitration? If he leaves they’d surely like to get the draft picks. The catch? What if Ortiz accepts arbitration and is given $12+ million. Might it be easier to give him a 1-year deal with a vesting option for a second. Thoughts?

I’ve gone back and forth on the David Ortiz arbitration situation, and I think I finally have an answer.  In order to protect themselves from paying an additional $4-5M in unnecessary salary dollars to Ortiz;  the Red Sox will decline arbitration, while simultaneously working to re-sign him.  The free agent market for designated hitters in their mid-30s has been pretty weak over the past few offseasons.  Many hit the market looking for big deals only to find teams aren’t interested in meeting their demands.  Take Vladmir Guerrero for example.  After producing a  .300/.345/.496 line with 29 home runs and 116 RBI, Guerrero went looking for a two year contract.   Upon hitting the market, he found few suitors interested in him obtaining his services, and none interested in offering him a multi-year deal.  In the end, Vlad signed a one year $8M contract in mid-February shortly after Spring Training began.  David Ortiz could find himself in a similar situation in terms of teams willing to meet his demands; despite a tremendous season at the plate.

Instead of bring that cry-baby Ortiz back who will not live up to any contact he gets why don’t the Sox go after a clubhouse guy like Michael Young in Texas? He and Youkilis could rotate third base and DH extending both their careers and health. Young wants to play the field.

No, no, and no.  I’m sorry, but I refuse to call someone a leader after he’s had not one, but two very public temper tantrums and demanded to be traded after being asked to change positions.  A real leader would have accepted his fate, and quietly changed positions for the good of the team.

In contrast, when Kevin Youkilis was told he was moving from 1B to 3B to make room for Adrian Gonzalez, he said, “I’m not worried about that.  I just have to work hard like I always do and focus on playing third and not first. There’s a lot of time at spring training to do all that. I’ll prepare myself the right way to play as many games as I can at third base.”  I’m not saying Youk is the paragon of leadership, but at least he accepts his role without grief.

Lastly, I understand that Young wants to play the field, but there’s a reason the Rangers have moved him off of three positions during his career.  He has poor instincts and terrible range, regardless of where he plays on the field.

Do you think Adrian Gonzalez should bat sixth?

Was that a serious question?  For the sake of maintaining my own sanity, I’m going to pretend this question was designed to troll Carfardo and move on.

Although I know that none have the information to know what scouts and team think I just thought I would add some ideas on possible trades. These are players that are ssaid to be available so it is not impossible. Changes could be made but here goes:

Giants: Matt Cain
Sox: Carl Crawford (it will be difficult for him to perform here and I am sure the Sox need to pick up 50% or so of his salary), Jed Lowrie, Kyle Wieland.

A’s: Gio Gonzalez
Sox: John Lackey (pay at least $40 million of his salary) Ryan Lavarnway, Josh Reddick, and Lars Anderson.

Astros: Wandy Rodriguez
Sox: Josh Beckett (work out the money and only because of the abuse that will be coming to him). Youk to Rockies, Reds, or Brewers. Sign Josh Willingham.

Lineup: Ellsbury, Pedroia, AGon, Willingham, Ortiz, Scutaro, Salty, Aviles, Kalish. Rotation: Lester, Cain, Gonzalez, Buchholz, Rodriguez (Aceves/Miller)

OK that’s it.

Really?  That’s all you’ve got?  Where’s the injured Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew (who’s a free agent), and Bobby Jenks for Roy Halladay trade proposal?  How about Michael Bowden and Luis Exposito to the Rays for Matt Moore?  Seriously folks.  We know it’s fun to play GM, but please stop trying to come up with realistic trade offers.  They’re rarely ever remotely realistic, and more importantly they give me a headache.

That’s it.  I’m done for now.  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more “gems” from Carfardo’s mailbag.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Nick Cafardo Mail Bag

After being slapped with a restraining order for stealing Nick Cafardo's mail, I was forced into retirement for a brief period of time. As fun as it was to lounge around the community pool and play shuffleboard with noted internet columnist, Murray Chass, I quickly felt a yearning to write again. Now in my second tenure with Fire Brand, I have set lofty goals of achieving world domination, ending the plight of the hipsters, and becoming BFFs with Mike Trout. I am fluent in two languages (Sarcasm and English, in that order); have an intimate relationship with M&Ms; firmly believe that Lucille is the best character on Arrested Development; and spend my spare time trolling select members of the Boston media. You can follow me on Twitter @Chip_Buck.

16 Responses to “Answering Nick Cafardo’s Mail Bag!” Subscribe

  1. TroyPatterson October 19, 2011 at 1:07 PM #

    As a Type A free agent Ortiz cannot possibly turn down arbitration. What team is going to give him $12 million for 2012 and be willing to part with their draft pick if it's elligible?

    You have to pass on arbitration and try to sign him to a more friendly deal.

    An interesting thing I found with Ortiz was if you used the 0.5 WAR decline each season starting with his 6.3 fWAR in 2007 you would be able to project a 4.3 WAR in 2011. That is pretty good, but would need to assume health was at fault for the 2008-2010 season.

    I'm pretty bullish on Ortiz for next year and would be willing to make a solid offer to keep him in Boston for the next two years.

    • ChipBuck October 19, 2011 at 1:17 PM #

      Yeah, that's why I thought the Red Sox should decline the arbitration. Given the market for comparable players, they can probably get him for a few million less on the open market. I can see a one year $9M deal with a mutual or vesting option for a second year at the same price or a little more. I see Ortiz closer to the 3-win mark than the 4-win, but he could be a solid signing.

      That said, I also can see them letting him go in order to maximize roster and lineup flexibility out of the DH slot.

      • TroyPatterson October 19, 2011 at 3:28 PM #

        The continued decrease would say 3.5 in 2012 and 3 in 2013. Of course caution with his body type is a must.

  2. _AP_ October 19, 2011 at 1:41 PM #

    One "r" in Cafardo.

    • ChipBuck October 19, 2011 at 2:24 PM #

      D'OH! I gotta stop drinking Bud Light before writing my articles…

  3. Charlie Saponara October 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM #

    I've got it fellas! It's simple! Trade Lackey, Dice-K, Doubront, Weiland, Reddick and two players to be named for Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers need pitching and Reddick will replace Ethier after this season. Who says no???? #EveryCrazyUninformedRedSoxFan

    • ChipBuck October 19, 2011 at 2:25 PM #

      Wait, so you're saying that's NOT a good trade offer? I would've taken it instantly…

  4. Dale Sams October 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM #

    Crawford played that as well as he could? Oh the f**k. He took his eyes off it to watch the runner (for some reason).

  5. Dale Sams October 20, 2011 at 11:48 PM #

    Can I prove it?? Yeah, there are replays all over….he plainly doesn't watch the ball into his glove. He's looking at 2B.

  6. Dale Sams October 20, 2011 at 11:52 PM #

    Freeze on 1:05.

    He's got his head up, not looking the ball into his glove.


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