Cafardo Mailbag: Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day?

Yesterday, I dropped Mr. Cafardo a tweet asking if he would be dropping a mailbag anytime soon.  Always interested in pleasing his most adoring (read: obsessed) mail bag fan, he complied with releasing a glorious Thanksgiving edition of the bag.  And oh what a mail bag it is!  It’s chock full of questions ranging from Bobby V and the right field vacancy to the CBA and “realistic” trade offers.  It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!  Much like the Pilgrims first winter in Massachusetts, I’ll be amazed if anyone who reads the questions in today’s mail makes it out alive.  Good luck, and god speed.

I have cut my list down to three possible right fielders for the Sox next season. Josh Willingham, Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Quentin. All three of these players would hit in the No. 6 spot: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, right fielder, Carl Crawford, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marco Scutaro. Having a righthanded hitting right fielder balances out the lineup. Of these three, Nick, who do you think is the best option? I understand there is not a bunch of info on Cespedes yet, but could he be worth the risk?

I love Willingham as a low-risk/medium reward option for right field, and Cespedes is the kind of prospect John Sickles and Keith Law fantasize about when they’re alone in bed at night.  While saying his ceiling is high might be the understatement of the last five years, we don’t really know if he can hit major league pitching.  He’ll probably be looking for an Aroldis Chapman type deal, so there’s significant risk in signing Cespedes.  Still, considering the skills he’s shown, I think he’s worth the risk.

As most of you already know, I’m dead set against Carlos Quentin in right field because he’d be a disaster defensively.  Contrary to what Cafardo seems to believe, Quentin fails every objective and subjective defensive evaluation known to man.  All of that said, I’d have no problem acquiring him if he was brought into be the DH.  Unlike Michael Cuddyer (who Cafardo really likes in RF for reasons beyond my comprehension), he weilds a strong enough bat to make up for the positional value adjustment.

As for the lineup, I’m not sure why we’d continue to hit Crawford seventh, but I’ll openly admit that I don’t have a great alternative lineup.  Crawford will hit better next season, and he’ll need to be moved up in the lineup.

All these reports of how bad the Red Sox are going to be next year are just plain nuts. They did have one of the best hitting teams in the league. Now we have Gonzalez and Pedroia preparing for the season instead of recovering from surgery. Even though expecting Ellsbury to repeat is tough Crawford should be better than he was last year. As for pitching I’d say Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz make a pretty good 1-2-3.

They should let Josh Reddick/Ryan Kalish fight it out for the right field spot, re-sign Ortiz to a two-year deal and concentrate on getting a 4/5 starters, a few guys for the pen, and a couple bench players. Daniel Bard can close.

What do you think the chances are the Sox go after Hiroki Kuroda, Paul Maholm, Rich Harden or Roy Oswalt to round out the rotation?

I haven’t seen any reports written by respectable team/player evaluators who think the Red Sox are going to be bad next year.  I’m going to assume you’re talking about talking heads like Mike Felger, Dan Shaughnessy, and Mike Lupica who know little about baseball, and move on.  A lineup including Ellsbury, Pedroia, A-Gon, Youk, Crawford, and (potentially) Ortiz, and a pitching staff with Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, and Bard is a great foundation.  If the front office an fill in the holes with solid, short-term solutions, they have a good shot to win it all.

Considering the way last season ended, I doubt the Red Sox will go into Spring Training with Reddick and Kalish fighting it out for the right field job, but I’ve been wrong before.  I think they’ll be look for someone established, and it could be anyone from the high profile Carlos Beltran to the undervalued David DeJesus.  They may bring someone in to serve as a platoon partner to either Reddick or Kalish; thus allowing them to break into the major leagues slowly.

As for the four above named pitchers, I think the Red Sox will kick the tires on all four.  I believe they have genuine interest in Kuroda, but are realistic about his desires to remain on the west coast.  Oswalt is a high reward option that will probably look for a one or two year deal, but there are serious concerns about the health of his back.  The same could be true about Harden with his elbow and shoulder.  Maholm is an interesting guy, but he’s someone I worry about.  He doesn’t strike enough batters playing half of his games in the NL Central.  How will he fare in the big bad AL East?  I’m guessing he won’t fare well.

Why does it always seems like the Sox are always dragging their feet when going after players they need? Take their pitching dilemma for example. There are a few good pitchers (starters and relief) on the free agent market. If they don’t sign those pitchers now they will be in the same situation they were in September. What are they waiting for? 

They’re waiting for the market to develop.  Why rush and overpay players, when there are better values to be had if you wait.  Had the Red Sox rushed out and signed Ryan Madson prior to the CBA being ratified, the Red Sox would have lost their first round pick.  By waiting, they get to retain the valuable pick, while the moronic Phillies lose theirs because they couldn’t hold their collective wad for a couple of extra days before signing Jonathan Papelbon.

It’s not even Thanksgiving.  Most free agents aren’t signed until December or January.  Be patient.  No one likes a nervous Nellie.

When will we see the end of John Lackey in Boston? Dice K? Any word of serious interest in trading Beckett? Do the Red Sox trade some talent for a respectable fourth or fifth starter Are Bard or Aceves really going to be given a chance to start? Given the confusion on the managers search, I can see this dragging into March.

You don’t follow baseball much, do you.  Lackey will miss the entire 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery.  Dice-K will be out until at least the All-Star break, if not longer, after having the same surgery.  I’m not sure about you, but I don’t know of too many teams willing to give up a whole lot (read: anything) for an injured pitcher with a recent history of brutal ineffectiveness.  As for Beckett, I’m sure they’ll explore the possibility, but it seems unlikely given their need for two starting pitchers.  Either Bard or Aceves could be given the chance to start, but they’re best suited for the roles they’re projected to be in at the moment.

The MLB CBA was agreed to last week but, much to my dismay, there wasn’t a change to the rule prohibiting teams from trading draft picks. Why? I know this restriction was put in place to protect small market teams, but I feel like it is doing the opposite. (Don’t you think a poor team is more empowered come July 31st when it can demand a 1st or 2d round pick as compensation in trade discussions instead of a prospect they know very little about?) Was there any discussion at the GM meetings about changing this ridiculous rule? If not, why? Thank you.

Yeah, I don’t understand it either.  I’m a huge proponent of trading draft picks.  This idea isn’t going away.  Hopefully, it’ll be addressed the next time the CBA expires.  Right now, I’m just glad to have labor peace.

With the Red Sox talking with Bobby Valentine, it was mentioned in this paper that he might be a short-term solution, say three years. Any thoughts on the possibility that the Red Sox would hire Valentine and make Jason Varitek his bench coach? Valentine would be able to give Varitek his insight and help to groom him to eventually become his successor. At the same time time Varitek serves as a coach and mentor to Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway. He could even be activated in an emergency situation. 

Look at that!  A Bobby V question!  I know that people have mentioned Valentine’s age as a reason why he might only stick around for a few years, but I don’t see that happening.  If he’s hired, I think he’ll be a long-term solution, provided he’s successful and doesn’t clash with management.  Currently, he’s 61 years old, but he’s an incredibly young 61.  He could very easily manage until he’s 70.

As for Varitek, he could be hired as a coach, but I get the impression he wants to keep playing.  I don’t see the bench coach option being realistic at this time.  Whoever takes the managerial job, they’ll choose the bench coach that benefits him the most.

It seems to me we are making too much of the “chaos” within the Sox front office. Valentine was one of the best candidates from day one. Add Don Baylor as a possibility. Who do you think the next manager will be?

Recently, I mentioned Don Baylor as one of the reasons why previous experience is not always a good thing.  Also, the reader asks Cafardo who he thinks will be the best manager.  Who do you think he’s going to say?  Valentine of course.  Therefore, I’m going to assume this is a Nick-baiting question, and I will salute TDM of Montgomery, NY.  Well done, sir.

Nick, I’m sure you may have the inside story here. Did Theo leave the Gorilla suit when he left? Looks like Ben will need it shortly. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Aha ha ha. Oh, gosh that’s funny. That’s really funny. Do you write your own material? Do you? Because that is so fresh. Did Theo leave the Gorilla suit when he left? You know, I’ve never heard anyone make that joke before. Mmm. You’re the first. I’ve never heard anyone reference, reference that outside this situation before. Because that’s what Theo did a few years ago right? Isn’t it? He snuck out of the building wearing a Gorilla suit, so no one would know he quit. And yet, you have taken that and used it out of context, to insult Ben in this everyday situation. God what a clever, smart boy you must be, to come up with a joke like that all by yourself. Mmm, that’s so fresh too. Any titanic jokes you want to throw at me while we’re hitting these at the height of their popularity? Hmm? Cause… I’m here. God you’re SO funny.

Thank you for answering our questions. It has been great. Has the Globe ever considered sponsoring a tour of outside cities like Portland that have so many fans who would love to meet with you and discuss Boston sports? Lots of great specialty beer spots here.  Finally, why do so many fans think it is a good idea to trade Jacoby Ellsbury? 

Because they’re idiots.

Found it interesting that Theo Epstein, as president of the Cubs, was the guy handing Dale Sveum his uniform as general manager Jed Hoyer looked on. Wonder how that would have played out in Boston if Theo had stayed? How would Theo have responded if Larry Lucchino was the guy handing Tito’s replacement the uniform while Theo stood by watching. Never would have happened. I like Theo but he comes off like a diva on this one.

I’m guessing it’s more collaborative than what it appears from the outside.  We don’t know the inner workings and the internal politics of the Cubs organization any better than we know the Red Sox organization.  It’s all speculation for the sake of speculation.  People love controversy, and often times look for it when none exists.

My take on the addition of a second wild card is that it makes winning a division much more important. You don’t want to be faced with a win-or-go-home game on the first day of the playoffs. Is that an accurate assessment and if so doesn’t that make this rule change appear to be a very good thing — maybe not for the Red Sox, but for the game in general…

I am completely against the second wild card.  I think the one game playoff is incredibly stupid idea that’s designed to add more drama to the playoffs.  Whatever.  I’d much prefer abolishing all divisions, implementing a balanced scheduled, and sending the four BEST teams to the playoffs rather than discriminate based on geographic proximity.  Bud seems to think ten teams in the playoffs is “more fair” than eight teams, but wouldn’t the most fair option be to let the best teams get in?  I guess he never thought of that…

Junichi Tazawa was signed to be a starting pitcher, is there a chance he might make it to the regular roster this coming season?

I suppose, but a lot depends on how he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Pitchers in the first full season in action frequently have trouble with command.  It might be best for him to work out of the bullpen initially while works out the kinks.  An alternative option would be for him to start the season in Pawtucket’s rotation trying to build up his stamina.  If he proves successful, he could be used as either a spot starter or another arm out of the bullpen.

Categories: Boston Red Sox

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.

15 Responses to “Cafardo Mailbag: Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day?” Subscribe

  1. marcos November 23, 2011 at 10:20 AM #

    i don't understand what you have against the Globe and Cafardo. But by your condescending answers it seems you are more interested in jabbing Cafardo than truly answering the questions. yea yea there's a connection between the Globe and the FO get over it!!!!

    • ChipBuck November 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM #

      I have a great deal of respect for Nick Cafardo as a reporter. In fact, I've said it countless times on this site. At times I disagree with him, so I write an article where I express a differing opinion. In the case of the Cafardo mailbag, I make playful jokes at Cafardo's expense about his love of Bobby V. I don't mean anything cruel by it. I take the questions he's asked, and try offer explanations. With the exception of pointing out the obvious Nick-baiting question and indicating that I disagreed with his opinion on Cuddyer, I stayed on task by answering the questions openly and honestly.

      My question to you marcos is why you waste your time reading a site you so clearly dislike. You rarely have anything positive to say about any of the articles or the comments. If you don't like what we do here, I recommend that you find somewhere else to spew your toxins. If you'd like to share your opinions constructively, you're more than welcome to stay.

  2. marcos November 23, 2011 at 2:09 PM #

    so I'm spewing toxins because i don't agree with your assessment? on another another note i agree that cuddyer and quentin are terrible otfielders

    • ChipBuck November 23, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

      I don't care if you agree with my baseball assessments or not. My issue is that you're perpetually negative about everything you read on this site. By the way, I don't think there's a connection between the Globe and the FO. If anything, certain writers (read: Shaughnessy) are so far removed from reality that it's not even funny. Cafardo and Abraham do their jobs very well. I just happen to disagree with them on occasion.

  3. marcos November 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM #

    i love the podcasts?

    • darryljohnston November 23, 2011 at 6:07 PM #

      I'm Ron Burgundy?

  4. don November 23, 2011 at 8:58 PM #

    Does Nick ever read these comments? I hope so. Many of them he would think of himself but never say.

  5. stoveleague November 23, 2011 at 10:19 PM #

    Flute solo?

    Just want to put in a plug for your take on the Cafardo mailbag. Having a sense of humor helps in appreciating it maybe.

  6. marcos November 24, 2011 at 12:30 AM #

    I'm sorry i hurt your feelings

    • magowanite November 25, 2011 at 6:06 PM #

      Let's have a real good time, let's have a real real good, let's have a real good time

  7. Mr Punch November 25, 2011 at 3:03 PM #

    Re trading draft picks: A number of the CBA changes are parity/stability moves, apparently designed to make various business aspects of the game (the draft, free agency, revenue sharing) work as intended. One of these steps was changing FA compensation to reduce the transfer of draft picks. I think MLB will always want to limit the transfer of picks to prevent erosion of both the short-term competitiveness of teams and the longer-term value of franchises.

  8. rjs November 26, 2011 at 4:41 PM #

    It's so nice to know I am not the only one whose head explodes when reading the questions submitted to the mailbag.

  9. mike November 27, 2011 at 2:27 AM #

    Why hasn't anybody talked about moving Youk to right field? He played there when he was coming up form tripple A, and we need someone to fill that spot. I'm sure getting a quality 3B isn't easy either, but it would be tough to watch Youk struggle his way through another season at the hot corner.

    • magowanite November 28, 2011 at 6:38 AM #

      I recommend you try to find some film of Aubrey Huff in RF in 2011. That should give you an idea of what putting Youk in RF would look like in 2012. In other words: No. Just no.

  10. Cory November 30, 2011 at 12:39 AM #

    Will Tazawa end up like Dice-K? I think they are similar in that both of their strengths are that they have a bunch of different pitches to throw (well, Dice-K did). Which leads me to my next point, Dice-K was decent with all of his pitches, but he was told to focus on just three or four. Do you think that hindered him, and if so will it hinder Tazawa.