Carfardo Mailbag: Bobby V Needs a Hug Edition

In today's Cafardo mailbag...Bobby V needs a hug, another request for Youk's ouster, and a call for Bard to return to the bullpen.

Valentine - Kelly O'Conner,

Bobby Valentine has a problem.  He likes to talk.  For most people, this wouldn’t be a problem.  For Bobby, though, he tends to gossip to people he shouldn’t.  To be fair, I feel a little bad for him.  He’s a new guy in a big city without a lot of friends.  He’s lonely…sad…maybe a little depressed.  All he wants is someone to share his thoughts, feelings, opinions, and dreams.  Is that too much to ask?

He tried confiding in certain members of the media, but they betrayed his trust.  I know they said they were interviewing him, but Bobby thought they were playing a game.  You know, sorta like when he was managing the Mets back in 2000.  Bobby, Mike Piazza, and Todd Zeile would hang out in the clubhouse late after a game, braid each other’s hair, and play “press conference.” It was all so innocent.  When that radio show host asked him that question about Youk, he thought they were playing. That’s all. He didn’t really mean what he said about Youk. Ok, he did, but he didn’t really want anyone to know that!  He was tricked by the “gotcha” media!

Really, Bobby just needs friends.  Real friends.  Ones that won’t share his dirty laundry.  He’s looked all over the Red Sox organization, only to come up empty handed.  Ben Cherington hates him, and wants him to die.  Dustin Pedroia cropdusts everywhere he walks, leaving a path of destruction in his wake.  Josh Beckett brings empty Popeye’s buckets and beer cans into the clubhouse, and puts them in the trash can just outside of Bobby’s office.  Carl Crawford?  He loathes Bobby V so much, he’s faked two injuries just so he didn’t have to be near him.  Even his old buddies in Bristol have spurned him. Like the Red Sox clubhouse, they prefer the humble Tito to the brash Valentine. The only person that has shown some interest in being friends with him was John Lackey.  Understandably, he declined.  No one is that desperate for friends.

I hope you will keep Bobby V in your thoughts and prayers.  He’s not a bad guy.  He’s just misunderstood, and in desperate need of friends.  Now, on to the mailbag!

I feel in the last few years, the Sox have lessened the amount they used to work the count during each at-bat. Maybe I’m just dreaming, but I thought we used to get to bullpens earlier in games. Is there some sort of statistic for batters/teams like Average Pitches Per At-Bat (APPAB) that is used to measure that sort of thing? If there is, might the Globe staff know what is the trend of the Sox in over the last five years or so?

For starters, APPAB isn’t anywhere near the correct acronym for pitcher per plate appearance (P/PA), but that’s beside the point.  Moving on…

I wasn’t able to find any team specific stats either proving or disproving your feeling, but I suppose it’s certainly possible.  Baseball, in general, appears to be gravitating toward a more aggressive approach than in the past.  For example, the league wide O-swing rate (a stat that measures the number of times a batter swings at a pitch outside of the strikezone) jumped from a rate consistently set around 20-22% between 2002 and 2008 to a 29-30% rate since the start of the 2010 season.  That’s a pretty significant increase.  Certainly one worth noting.  It’s possible the jump in O-swing rates could be attributed to a recalibration of the strikezone, but I haven’t seen any reports stating that’s definitively the case.

As for the Red Sox, their hitters still seem to be among the most patient in baseball.  Out of the top 40 American League hitters in pitches per plate appearance last season, six members of the Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia (6), Kevin Youkilis (8), David Ortiz (16), Carl Crawford (28), Jacoby Ellsbury (36), Adrian Gonzalez (38)) placed on that list. That was good for best in the league. Only the Yankees, who placed five on the list, came close.

So to answer your question, the Red Sox are as patient as ever.  There’s no reason to worry.

I believe the Red Sox will be trading Kevin Youkilis before the All-Star break. They need to bring up Middlebrooks. Do you agree?

The worst baseball moves in the world are the ones that need to be made.  Why?  Because it forces GMs to make rash decisions that may not be in the club’s best interests either in the short-term or long-term.  Regardless, I think you’re making way too much out of the performance of both Youkilis and Middlebrooks.  Yes, Middlebrooks has looked fantastic.  Yes, Youk has struggled somewhat at the plate.  Still, we’re talking about a handful of plate appearances.  The samples are so small at this point, they’re essentially meaningless.  Let’s hold off on the “Trade Youk” talks for now.  Middlebrooks still has a lot to learn in AAA.

The other day I was wondering how much money in salary the Red Sox have on the DL or unable to play list. Bailey, Lackey, Crawford, Dice-K and now Ellsbury. Is this a Sox record or perhaps even a MLB record for salaries of injured players?

I don’t understand your question, and I won’t respond to it.  No, seriously.  I have a feeling the New York Mets from a few years ago may have the Red Sox beat, but the 2012 Red Sox are certainly near the top.

Your comment regarding Alex Rodriquez in today’s Sunday paper was curious at best. He hits a home run and you say he hasn’t lost bat speed. That sounds like the reaction of an emotional fan not a well respected columist. I’d rather let facts be the judge. And we’ll not know better by the end of the year. A fairly steady decline since 207.

2007 — 54 homeruns, 645 OBP, BB 95, 156 RBI’s
2011 — 16 homeruns. 461 OBP, BB 47, 62 RBI’s

While one can’t deny that A-Rod’s production has slowed since 2007, there are a lot of factors that play into this.  For starters, your starting baseline is one of A-Rod’s best seasons.  With pretty much any player, you’ll see soe decline when you start out like that.  Secondly, injuries have certainly played a role.  Between 2001 and 2007, A-Rod played in 1114 games, or 159 games per season on average.  Since the start of the 2008 season, he’s played in an average of 124 games per season.  That difference of 35 games has taken a huge chunk out of his ability to produce HR and RBI totals as he had in the past.

Any chance the Red Sox look to the Cubs for a replacement for Ellsbury?

I presume you’re referring to Marlon Byrd.  Yes, I’d say it’s possible, but I wouldn’t say it’s terribly likely.  Had Ellsbury’s diagnosis been more dire, the Red Sox would have been pressured into finding a long-term solution in center field.  With the timetable for his return being 6-8 weeks (we hope), Ben Cherington and his boys will probably stand pat for now.

1) So, Gonzalez comes up with the bases loaded and no outs, he stands up there joking and laughing with the Rays catcher, steps in and promptly hits the first pitch into a double play. And 30 seconds later he’s joking in the dugout goosing guys. Is this whole thing a big joke to this guy?

2) Where do I send a job application for RedSox third base coach? Is any prior experience necessary?

1.  Quit overreacting.  You’re making too much out of something that’s probably meaningless.

2.  I know Red Sox third base coaches tend to be brutal (Kim, Bogar, Sveum), but it’s a really hard job.  This is especially true at Fenway Park where it’s tough to make the “wave” or “stop” call on a single to left field.  We all think we could do better than the incumbent, but it’s worth noting that it’s a high pressure job.  Mistakes will be made, no matter how good you are at it.

Above all, we can rejoice in the fact that the Sox have consistently come from behind thus far. These offense will be great, we know that. However, something must be done in the pitching department, and they have a few options:

1) Keep Bard in the rotation, trade for another setup candidate/closer
2) Make Bard the closer, put Aceves in the rotation
3) Make Bard the closer, put Padilla in the rotation, give Aceves back his old role
4) Make Bard the closer, put Aceves back in his old role, acquire a starter (hopefully Oswalt)

I like #4. What do you think?

“Above all, we can rejoice in the fact that the Sox have consistently come from behind thus far.”

That’s what she said.

Moving on…

I get the feeling that you’d like to see Daniel Bard in the closer role, but I’m not quite sure.  Look, Bard’s going to be given every chance to stick in the rotation.  While the results haven’t been there yet, he’s pitched very well.  I have no doubt, he’ll be a solid starter before too long.

As for Aceves, I’m pretty confident he can do the job.  Contrary to popular belief, experience in the closer role is unnecessary.  It’s nice, but by no means a requirement.  With the exception of his first two games, he’s settled in nicely to his new role.  He’ll never be Jonathan Papelbon, but he can (at the very least) by the good version of Heathcliff Slocumb.  It’s not great solution, but it’s certainly very workable.

My question relates to Andrew Bailey — if he misses the majority of this season, does it impact his major league service time, or whatever is used to determine how long players are arbitration eligible? In other words, I am interested in knowing if the Sox get a consolation prize in having him under their control a little longer before he is able to hit free agency.

Sadly, no.  Because Bailey is on the major league disabled list, his service clock continues on.  Had he been demoted to the minor leagues and then placed on the DL (like Anibal Sanchez a few years ago), then his clock would stop.  Unfortunately, it is what it is.  He’s bound to the club through 2014 unless a corresponding move is made to remove him from the roster.

Categories: Adrian Gonzalez Alex Rodriguez Alfredo Aceves Andrew Bailey Anibal Sanchez Bobby Valentine Boston Red Sox Carl Crawford Daniel Bard David Ortiz Dustin Pedroia Jacoby Ellsbury Jonathan Papelbon Josh Beckett Kevin Youkilis 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.

10 Responses to “Carfardo Mailbag: Bobby V Needs a Hug Edition” Subscribe

  1. Gerry April 21, 2012 at 3:47 AM #

    Who is more of a pot-stirring yenta, Rosenthal or Cafardo? Nick tends to take on causes and lets no one get in the way of his itches, like Valentine and Iglesias recently. Rosenthal lets no one get in his way, ever, in efforts to maipulate opinion or smear an enemy, like Valentine. Neither will stop the passive-aggressive whining until they get their way. Creepy behavior.

  2. marcos April 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM #

    Bobby Valentine has a problem. He likes to talk. For most people, this wouldn’t be a problem. For Bobby, though, he tends to gossip to people he shouldn’t. To be fair, I feel a little bad for him. He’s a new guy in a big city without a lot of friends. He’s lonely…sad…maybe a little depressed. All he wants is someone to share his thoughts, feelings, opinions, and dreams. Is that too much to ask?

    Get a shrink

    • ChipBuck April 22, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

      Nicely done, Marcos.

  3. Dereck April 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM #

    why do all of these retards keep suggesting sending Bard back to the bullpen? are we hiding a competent starter or two somewhere that I just don't know about? otherwise who would take his place… Aaron Cook? so instead of letting a pitcher try to flourish we should stifle him and bring in someone who is in decline.. yeah, awesome idea.

    • Danny April 22, 2012 at 5:51 PM #

      Cook's been fantastic in the minors. We literally can't get worse by giving him a shot. I'm not saying I think we should move Bard, but suggesting he should be moved doesn't make somebody a "retard". Maybe you should have some class instead of just name-calling?

      Also, try telling Mariano Rivera how he's been "stifled" by being a closer instead of a starter (which he was in '95). I get the feeling he might disagree.

      • ChipBuck April 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

        I don't know that I'd say he's been fantastic. He has a 7/7 K/BB in nearly 20 innings, and is backed by Iglesias and Middlebrooks on the left side of the infield. He won't be so lucky in the majors. I'm not saying he can't pitch well for Boston, but success on batted balls won't last forever.

        • Danny April 23, 2012 at 4:44 AM #

          I'm just saying I don't think a move bring Cook into the rotation would make us particularly worse. Bard's own 13/8 K/BB this season gives me some pause, not to mention we also have Dice-K close to a rehab assignment, and he could be back as soon as the middle of May. It just seems to me that completely dismissing the idea Bard might be of more help in the bullpen than as the 5th starter is somewhat short-sighted.

          I believe Lester bounces back from that last start and Buchholz hits his stride after April, as he tends to do. But I just don't believe in any of these arms in the bullpen right now, and if Bard can help in that regard, it should at least be considered. Maybe I'm putting too much weight on the Yankees debacle, I dunno.

          • ChipBuck April 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM #

            I wouldn't say I'm dismissing it moreso as counteracting the irrational views of many in Red Sox Nation. Keep in mind that Bard's 13/8 K/BB ratio includes the three walks he issued after Bobby V should have removed him from the game last week. Had he been removed after the first walk, the 13/6 ratio would look much more palatable. Bard only has two career starts. We don't really know what he could be as a starter. Cook, we know. We've seen it for years. The fact he isn't ringing up a couple more Ks in AAA is a bit concerning. I realize he's not a strikeout pitcher, but he should be doing better than 3.15 per nine.

          • Danny April 23, 2012 at 1:36 PM #

            It's true, everything is a small sample size right now. We might not know what Bard is as a starter, but we do know he's been one of the top relief men in the American League over the past couple of seasons and we don't have anyone else like that in the bullpen right now. I don't expect miracles from Cook, but if he can give us a couple of okay starts until Dice-K returns – and as a result, keep us from having to throw Aceves in for 6-out saves – I'd take it. For what it's worth, we have more options for that 5 slot than we do in the late innings.

  4. DezoPenguin April 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM #

    I guess the question is, does management really think Bard has the stuff to be a first-class starting pitcher? We all know that a starter is worth more than a reliever of equal quality, but a league-average starter is not worth more than a top-flight reliever.

    Personally, I think it would have made more sense as an initial decision to put Aceves in the rotation–he already has experience as a successful spot starter and long reliever, where he's had to face the batting order multiple times. The problem with the Bard-to-rotation, Aceves-as-closer choice is that it means that two guys at once are having to learn new roles whereas they've already proven successful doing each other's job. Obviously a lot of this is being driven by Bailey's injury (and to a lesser extent Melancon's failures…though if we're going to talk about keeping him at AAA to build "confidence" then maybe having him–the actually experienced closer–be Bailey's fill-in instead, again, of Aceves might have helped keep him from losing "confidence" in the first place), but the Sox seem to be aggressively applying the Peter Principle to the pitching staff this year.

    Mind you, if the top three starters were pitching anywhere near to the level expected, this whole discussion would probably be a lot less frantic. The fact that Felix Dubront has been the most reliable starter thus far says a lot about why the Sox fans so panicky over the bullpen, 'cause the Sox can't afford to waste any games where they get through the starter's innings with the lead.