Where We Stand

2013 was AWESOME. How close are the Red Sox, right now, to more of the same?

2013 was fun, but it wasn’t enough, was it? I used to think that I only wanted “one,” but now that I have 3, I want 4…or 20. So, we at Fire Brand of the American League have gleefully turned to 2014. Some are not happy that we are talking Stanton. Others are concerned of Kemp. Others have visions of Braun dancing in their dreams.

Most are, more or less, happy to watch the Yankees pay 35 year old Brian McCann.

But we are ready for more than Burke Badenhop, right?

So, what does the team need in order to become a legit contender? How close are they, with the options on their 40 man roster, right now? Well….

A team full of replacement players would go 47-115, in theory. This pretty much assumes that the AAA champs, were they promoted European soccer style, and made no moves to improve would finish with 47 wins.

Let’s start there as a base. We can count on that, before we add how much more valuable actual Major League players are, that we were guaranteed that level of wins. Now, how many wins should this current crop of Red Sox be worth, if we added no one
else.

Well, first, let us determine who our 25 likely are, plus their fWAR – Steamer projections in parenthesis.

C: Christian Vazquez (0.0), David Ross (1.8)

IF: Mike Carp (1.0), Dustin Pedroia (4.3), Xander Bogaerts (2.8), Will Middlebrooks (2.5)

OF: Jonny “I let Peralta borrow my H” Gomes (1.1), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (2.3), Shane Victorino (3.3)

DH: David Ortiz (2.8)

Bench: Daniel Nava (1.1), Brentz or Kalish (0.0), Brock Holt (0.6)

Starting Pitchers: Jon Lester (3.3), Clay Buchholz (2.4), John Lackey (3.2), Jake Peavy (3.0), Felix Doubront (2.4)

Relief Pitchers: Koji Uehara (1.4), Burke Badenhop (0.2), Ryan Dempster (0.8), Junichi Tazawa (0.8), Craig Breslow (0.2), Rubby De La Rosa (0.1), Brandon Workman (0.8)

Now, take this for what it is worth. Someone may break out: Xander, WMB, JBJ, and ever Garin Cecchini are all possibilities. Someone could get traded: Dempster, Peavy, Lackey, and Nava are all candidates. Some could decline: Papi, Shanf, Lackey, Peavy are all candidates. Some are expected to decline by Steamer that may maintain their level: Uehara, Pedroia, Victorino are examples.

But, what the Red Sox have is 42.2 Wins Above Replacement, without spending the money to replace Napoli, Ellsbury, and Drew. That means, with only promotions from the minors to replace three major contributors from last years 97 Win World Series champions, the Red Sox can reasonably expect an 89 win team in 2014.

In 2013, 93 wins would have been enough to win the AL East. Which means, by and large, that the Red Sox need to find four more wins, minimum, and 8 maximum (to replicate last years 97) before pitchers and catchers report.

Obligatory Xander picture BECAUSE WE CAN AND YOU WANT ONE!
Credit SittingStill

There are three very obvious places for this to happen: catcher, 1st base and left field. Adding Mike Napoli would add 1.4 wins expected over Mike Carp. Trading for Ryan Hanigan would add 2.3 wins over Vazquez. That is 3.7 wins. Signing Carlos Beltran (2.0) to take Gomes’ at bats would hand us another .9 wins. A 4.6 win upgrade, plus taking the upside of Xander Bogaerts should make us feel good about our 2014 chances.

Of course, we can guarantee neither, but even if Ellsbury leaves, we are close to taking another serious shot at the World Series. Now, if we ponied up for Giancarlo Stanton’s 4.9, found a scenario where we added Ryan Braun’s 4.1, or rolled the dice on Matt Kemp’s 2.5 we could really be talking.

Some of the players will change: Some will be traded, some will get injured, some will underperform. But, this is an early template. Time will tell what moves the Red Sox make this World Series, but suffice it so, we are an early player with legitimate designs on the 2014 postseason.

Categories: 2013 Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox

Thinks Pedro deserved the MVP and that Justin Verlander did not, that Dwight Evans was better than Jim Rice, that Marty Barrett was a worthy choice as favorite Red Sox player when I was a child, that J.D. Drew was very good for the Olde Towne Team, that Fenway Sports group owning Liverpool is not a proper reason to support that loathsome soccer club, that Peter Gammons needs a key lock on his cell phone, still thinks that Nomar Garciaparra is better than Derek Jeter, and that, finally, there is no such thing as being completely bias-free. When not writing about or watching the Red Sox, I moonlight as a father, a husband, a pastor, a doctoral candidate, an infielder and #2 hitter on the church softball team, soccer fan, Disney pass holder, snark manufacturer, and pizza connoisseur. Free time free since 2001.

One Response to “Where We Stand” Subscribe

  1. Gerry November 27, 2013 at 4:17 AM #

    Thank you for doing those numbers. Amazing that As is we are looking at upwards of 90W. Wouldn’t be surprised if Nap or Salty or even Ells returns. Would be happy with Hart, Hannigan or Butler and JBJ for those slots. Nava IS the starting LF, facing the majority of pitchers, who are righties. Gomes is the RHB platoon vs lefties in LF, and PH for other lefties like JBJ, Carp. Wins can also come from the potential returns of Miller, Bailey, Hanrahan, Berry, McDonald. No thamks on Beltran, who would have been nice, but not at 3 years and big bucks. Don’t forget potential wins from Webster, DLR, Wilson, Martin, Ranaudo, Hassan, Brentz, Kalish, etc. Too bad about Burgos and Young for the OF. Point is, the veteran core is so very solid (PD, Papi, Ross, Victorino, Gomes, Nava, maybe Nap or Ells or Salty … even moreso with SP.
    and RP. And the upside of the non-veterans is remarkable (XB, JBJ, WMB, even Nava, and again moreso for pitching (Doubie, Tazawa, Workman, Britton). The balance of this team is what will again make it strong: veteran/non-vet, power/OBP, defense/offense, lefty/right, pitching/baserunning. As you said, it won’t take much for this team to compete again, certwinly win the ALE.