See you later, Mike Lowell. It was fun for a while there. By now you know that Lowell is retiring at the end of 2010 following a 12-year career in which he collected three World Series rings (New York ’98, Florida ’03, Boston ’07), a World Series MVP and a legacy that may lead him [...]
Adrian Beltre has probably played his way out of Boston. I’m sure when Theo Epstein signed Beltre in the winter, he hoped for a rebound and some health from the former Seattle Mariner. What Theo received was an ironman performance, a 5.2 WAR and a $21 million dollar return on his $10 million dollar investment. [...]
After an off season that centered around pitching and defense we had the standard jokes this April, but since May those jokes have not been able to joke about defense. There has been some trouble finding solid options in left field and center field, but the defense has solidified to hold up its end.
According to UZR/150 the defense has been worth 6.0 runs for every 150 defensive games played. Last year the team was worth only 0.5 runs for every 150 games. Depending on how many innings they total that could be an improvement of 30-40 defensive runs.
The Sox lineup, as always, is a meat grinder. They have four players in the top 20 in the American League in pitches seen per plate appearance (P/PA) and Pedroia ranks seventh at 4.27 (behind Youkilis who is fourth at 4.36) through 217 plate appearances (Victor Martinez is 11th at 4.12, J.D. Drew 13th at 4.11 while Marco Scutaro is 33rd at 3.92). Pedroia is also second in the league in total plate appearances at 217, behind only Denard Span of the Twins at 218, and leads the league in total pitches seen. Factoring in the entire majors, Youkilis ranks ninth and Pedroia 19th in P/PA.
Sitting in the No. 2 hole in the Sox lineup, Pedroia pesky plate appearances have a ripple down effect. Take for instance last Thursday when Boston beat Minnesota 6-2 on the strength of Jon Lester’s nine-strikeout complete game. Pedroia was 0-3 with a walk and a run against the Twins and Francisco Liriano and was instrumental in knocking Minnesota’s wily lefty out of the game after 4.2 innings with five earned runs on five hits and three walks. Pedroia was in the midst of a 4 for 39 slump at the time that spanned from May 12 to 23 before putting up three hits against the Rays on Monday.
Lowell to Texas, Beltre to Boston?
This rumor has been cooking for a long time, and it may finally be ready for consumption. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Red Sox and Rangers have a deal in place that would send Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers, with the Sox receiving top catching prospect Max Ramirez. Many expect the trade to be a precursor to the signing of Adrian Beltre.
As per Rosenthal, the Sox would contribute a substantial portion of Lowell’s contract – in his words, with the Sox “eating nearly all of [Lowell’s] 12 [million dollar] salary.” Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal, on the other hand, has the Sox providing “at least half” of the deal. We likely won’t know for some time which of the two price tags will win out, but be certain that it will significantly affect the team’s outlook for the remainder of the winter.
Is this the Sox answer to the Granderson deal in New York? Probably not. This isn’t the kind of blockbuster trade that substantially alters the team for 2010. In fact, the trade is curious in the sense that it would significantly hinder the team’s ability to maneuver for free agents for the rest of the off-season – and could put them out of the running for either Jason Bay or Matt Holliday…
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, a Sox acquisition of Adrian Beltre is becoming a real possibility. As per Nightengale’s Twitter account,
“It wouldn’t be surprising if Beltre falls into the Red Sox lap if he doesn’t accept arbitration from the Mariners.”
The move would be predicated by Beltre declining arbitration, which SI’s Jon Heyman reports as a growing likelihood. Beltre, 30, qualified as a Type B free agent this offseason, so he would not cost the Sox a draft pick.
Beltre battled injuries this past season, batting .265/.304/.379 with only 8 home runs in 449 at-bats. Beltre remains an elite fielding third baseman, however, as he posted a 14.3 UZR at the hot corner in 2009.
Should Beltre regain his hitting prowess from previous seasons, he could present a nice upgrade over a declining Mike Lowell…