Cafardo’s Mail Bag: This is Going to Hurt

This is going to hurt–a lot. 

After last Friday’s underwhelming mail bag, I was a bit apprehensive about reading his third mailbag in five days.  He seemed to be scrapping the bottom of the barrel in hopes of scoring some readable content to help fill the mind-numbingly slow period of early November.  The questions seemed lazy, unimaginative, and uninteresting.  So when I opened up the mailbag yesterday afternoon; it’s fair to say I was expecting very little.  I’m proud to say that I was terribly wrong.

What about a sit-down with Davey Lopes for the Sox manager? Lopes is a Providence native who has managed in the bigs. Also, how about trading Youkilis while he has value? Send him to his hometown Reds, maybe we get Arroyo back as part of the deal. Lastly, I’d like to see Boston carry a third catcher that can DH and play other positions to give the team more flexibility. Had the Sox kept Victor Martinez they would have made the playoffs.

There are so many things wrong with this one that I’m not sure where to begin.  Actually, there’s only one thing that’s really wrong, but it makes everything around it look worse.

  1. I suppose Lopes could be considered, but I haven’t heard his name mentioned in connection to Major League managerial vacancy in years.  That doesn’t mean he couldn’t be interviewed, but he seems to be best suited as a first base coach.  Also, I’m not sure what his roots in New England have any bearing on his ability to manage the Red Sox.  The Braves have been drafing Georgia boys for years with mixed results.  It doesn’t make much sense in the Braves case, and it doesn’t with the Red Sox either.
  2. Kevin Youkilis for Bronson (don’t call me Brandon) Arroyo might be one of the worst trade suggestions I’ve ever heard.  I use the word might because…well, you’ll find out momentarily.  While Youkilis is oft-injured and entering his mid-30s, he’s still a 4-5 win player capable of producing a .380 wOBA.  Arroyo, on the other hand, is two years older than Youk and produced -1.3 fWAR last season.  He doesn’t strike batters out; allows way too much contact; and gives up home runs like its his job.  Thanks, but I’ll pass.
  3. They could carry three catchers, but I don’t see a point.  In a time where 12-man pitching staffs are the norm, having three catchers and a DH (assuming David Ortiz re-signs) leaves the Red Sox with only two spots remaining for the bench.  That’s not a terrible idea for when the rosters expand in September, but it’s not something we should employ any other time of year.

The Sox need to get back to the Patriots’ philosophy of not paying for past performance for these free agents. Not everyone can handle the pressure cooker of Boston, especially in the closer role. Why not pay Papelbon whatever value is determined on the open market? If Bard is your closer, add at least three more losses to the team’s total.

I’m going to call out a lot of people in this mail bag, but I’m going to give credit where credit is due.  The Red Sox should get back to the philosophy of not overpaying for past performance.  That’s a superb idea. 

Unfortunately, he followed it up with the “not everyone can handle the pressure cooker of Boston” line, which is a concept that is completely unfounded.  Furthermore, I’m not sure how he can assume installing Bard as closer adds three losses to the team’s total.  That’s just an irrational assumption.  You had me at hello, Keith from Florida, and then you kept talking.  Now, I must bid you adieu.

Tell me what you think about this trade: Youkilis and Jose Iglesias or Josh Reddick for Justin Upton.

Did you hear that sound?  That was me driving a nail into my skull with a hammer.  I don’t know how Cafardo does it.  He’s so restrained and polite.  Me?  Not so much. 

I like Youk as much as anyone, but Upton just produced a six win season in his age-23 season; may not have entered his prime; and has a reasonable contract.  If you want Upton, you’re really going to have t pay.  If you were to call Kevin Towers with this trade offer, I’m pretty sure he’d hang up before you finished the name Youkilis.

Hey Nick, Now I know that you receive a LOT of questions about King Felix, but hear me out. Wouldn’t this be the year to go get him? Seattle has never wanted to trade him to us in the past but in 2011 they finished in last place for the second straight year. They are looking to free up some money this year and rebuild around youth. In steps Ben Cherington. Jacoby Ellsbury is only 28 years old and made $2.4 million in 2011. Hernandez has a $7.5M hike giving him a $19.2M salary in 2012. That gives Seattle a major savings. The Mariners have Michael Saunders playing center field for them who has a .196 batting average over the past three seasons. So Ellsbury would be a major upgrade for them in CF. That would give the Red Sox a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Alfredo Aceves. They could move Carl Crawford to center field and put Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish as the corner outfielders.

This actually a pretty interesting scenario.  Felix for Ellsbury makes a little sense.  I don’t know if I do it, but it’d certainly be a conversation starter.  Still, there’s this idea that Hernandez’s salary is too much for Seattle, and I’m not sure why people feel it’s an issue.  With Ichiro’s salary coming off of the books after the 2012 season, the Mariners only have $38M (plus arbitration cases) on the books for 2013.  That will give the franchise greater flexibility to make productive moves that will put them in the direction of contending.

Perhaps the most interesting piece about this email is that the writer identifies Hernandez’s pay raise for 2012, but ignores Ellsbury’s.  Yes, Ellsbury only made $2.4M in 2011, but he’s due for a massive raise this year (and next) in arbitration.  By the time he hits free agency after the 2013 season, he could be a $20M a year man like Felix.  Lastly, the Mariners already have Franklin Gutierrez (who’s pretty spectacular defensively) signed through 2013.

Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports wrote that the Red Sox and Cubs are at the bottom in terms of their farm systems. Is this a common thinking among those in baseball?

When did Jeff Passan become an expert on farm systems?  Maybe it’s just me, but I usually look to Baseball America, John Sickels, or Keith Law for the top scouting/prospect information–or in the case of the Red Sox, Sox Prospects is also a great resource.

With the Braves open to moving Jurrjens and maybe even Prado, could you see the Sox making a move to acquire them, and then perhaps moving Youk to more of a DH role, consequently letting Ortiz walk?

I like the idea of acquiring Martin Prado.  He had a rough season at the plate in 2011, but seems like a good candidate to bounce back.  Plus, he’s a super utility guy.  What’s not to love?  As for Jair Jurrjens, I’m far more apprehensive.  He has average control; doesn’t strikeout enough batters; and tends to be injury prone.  I’d pass unless the Braves agree to give him away for practically nothing.

Nick, Do you think the Red Sox have any interest in John Danks? He’s a young and reliable option for a rotation, and I feel he would be perfect for this team. Do you think a package of Kyle Weiland, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, and a low A ball player could get a deal done?

I’m sure the Red Sox do have interest in John Danks.  I’m also just as sure that Kenny Williams would literally die laughing if Ben Cherington called him offering a package of Weiland, Reddick, Lowrie, and a low-A ball player for the lefty starter.  While all three players are major league quality, none of them have much upside. 

Do you see the Sox making a run at Cuban superstar Yoenis Cespedes? And if they do land him, do you think it a possibility they try to trade Ellsbury or have him play right field?

Everyone and their mother will be making a run at Cespedes.  This guy looks like a freaking beast.

We all know Cherrington and the Red Sox brass are searching for the new manager, but I am curious as to how a phone call to a person like Valentine would go down? Do they come out and say they want that person as their manager?

Hey, look!  It’s the weekly Bobby Valentine question.  At this point, I’m pretty sure people are baiting Cafardo into gushing about his giant non-sexual mancrush for Bobby V.

If I were Ben Cherrington, I would not sign Ortiz. Instead, I would sign Reyes and trade for David Wright. The Red Sox Would have the best four infielders, and could move Youkilis to DH.Is this possible?

If only things were that easy.  Number one, we already have a shortstop.  His name is Marco Scutaro, and he’s under contract for 2012 at $6M.  Two, it’s not like we can just go out and trade for David Wright.  I’m sure the Mets will entertain offers, but who are the Red Sox going to give up in return?  After trading for Adrian Gonzalez and Erik Bedard in the last year, the farm system is a little thin.  The smart move is to save the kids and rebuild the system.

With a need for starting pitcher in 2012, would you look into re-acquiring Anibal Sanchez? Nothing stands out for starting pitcher on the free agent list, but Sanchez is a free agent next year. It may take something like a Reddick and a Oscar Tejada and maybe another minor leaguer. I am sure Sanchez will get more on the free agent market than the future Miami Marlins may want to pay, but with a new stadium, they may make the commitment to Sanchez. Your thoughts?

Um…it’s going to take more than Reddick and Oscar Tejada to pry Sanchez away from the Marlins.  Believe it or not, people aren’t willing to give their players to the Red Sox for nothing.

Could we sign Bedard and use him for long relief?

Sure, but would that be smart?  No.  Would he agree to it?  No.  The market for starting pitching is incredibly weak this winter.  Despite his flaws, Bedard should score a pretty good contract to start for someone.

Obviously we need a fifth starter for next season, maybe even a sixth. Is there any chance that the Sox could sign Mark Buerhle? Also, I think Aceves has at least earned a shot at a rotation spot. I really don’t know who else could fill the spot. Spending a lot of money on C.J. Wilson does not seem like a great option. I don’t see many suitable free agent possibilities. Do you?

Wilson doesn’t seem like a great fit given his salary, but Buehrle could be an interesting move.  Unfortunately, some think Buehrle could be in line for a raise from the $14M he made last season.  If that’s the case, the Red Sox will need to pass.

What are your thoughts on Carlos Quentin? He seems like he would be a good fit and Chicago would appear to be a good trade partner.

If Quentin comes in to be the DH, I’m ok with possibly making a move.  If he’s brought in to play RF, I have serious qualms.  He’s terrible defensively, and putting him in Fenway’s RF would be disasterous.

Nick, I am a huge Youk fan, but I am not quite as impressed with his defense at third as I was at first, plus he is getting a little older and numbers are coming down. How about a trade with Cleveland to get Masterson back (never wanted him to go). Youk plus one other player (Reddick or Jed Lowrie). It could be a win/win for both teams as they need offense to compete with tigers and we need a pitcher.

Youk trade offer number three.  Youk and Reddick or Lowrie for Masterson.  First of all, what’s the deal with Lowrie and Reddick being in every trade offer.  Two, why are we giving up an additional player for Masterson.  I really like the guy, but he’s hardly proven enough to justify being the centerpiece of a multi-player trade.

Nick, what about shopping Youk for Gio Gonzalez or Bumgarner? I am sure it would take more than Youk (Reddick?), but if the price tag is not too high I think that is a good idea. Then get Cuddyer to play third and Beltran to man right. Finally, go after Buerhle and more bullpen arms. Also, what is the status of James Shields?

Number four!  Wow, you guys really want to trade away Youkilis.  What is the deal?  Also, Cuddyer playing third?  Talk about the worst idea I’ve ever heard.  While we’re at it, let’s put Salty in center field on days where Ellsbury’s feeling a bit sluggish.  Seriously though, Cuddyer shouldn’t be allowed to play third base–ever.

As for Shields, the Rays are reportedly have no plans to trade him this winter.  In other words, they’re saying they’re not in hopes of driving up his trade value.  With David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Neimann, Matt Moore, and Wade Davis already in the rotation, Shields is a surplus arm.  After putting together a five win season, now seems like the best time to move him.

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.

5 Responses to “Cafardo’s Mail Bag: This is Going to Hurt” Subscribe

  1. ScottCandage November 8, 2011 at 12:34 PM #

    I could almost hear your comments as I was reading the boston.com version of this mailbag. Somebody wake me when it's Truck Day.

  2. toosoxy November 8, 2011 at 12:48 PM #

    i don't like all this internet chatter about trading youk. I don't like it one bit.

  3. williamjtasker November 8, 2011 at 1:58 PM #

    This was fun, Chip. Enjoyed the read tremendously. What if the Red Sox traded Youkilis to the Yankees for A-Rod. <smirk>

  4. Charlie Saponara November 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM #

    Did you know…

    Kevin Youkilis still posted a .366 wOBA in an injury plagued season where he couldn't hit for any power whatsoever in the second half?

    Did you know…

    Youk's wOBA was higher than those of: Evan Longoria, Mark Teixeira, Ben Zobrist, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Howard and Nelson Cruz?

    Now you know and knowing is half the battle. Imagine what a healthy Youk could do for you in 2012!

    • ChipBuck November 8, 2011 at 8:52 PM #

      GI JOE!