By Chris Cue
Thurs. Feb. 4, 2011
If you’ve been keeping up with anything to do with the Red Sox recently in the press, then you know that this thought is out there. “Will the Red Sox look to trade Papelbon by mid-season?” is the question being asked. The argument….or rather….the thought is that the Red Sox will not offer him arbitration at season’s end because Paps might accept that offer which would put the Sox on the hook for a salary north of the $12.5 million he’s going to make this year. By not offering Papelbon arbitration, the Sox would effectively be letting him walk without getting anything in return (otherwise known as draft picks). So, the idea has been floated that the Sox might look to trade him before the deadline which would net them some sort of return.
Here are the problems with that in my humble opinion.
Problem #1: Papelbon’s 2011 salary is a hefty one for a closer. In order for the Sox to trade him and not have to eat any of that salary, Papelbon is going to have to perform like the Papelbon of old and appear to be worth that kind of cash commitment. Here’s the issue with that…..If Paps indeed is pitching up to that value, then why on earth would the Sox look to weaken the Bullpen by trading an elite closer? It makes zero sense. The Bullpen was a major sore spot for the Sox last season. It’s hard to believe that Theo Epstein would be lookiing to trade away an important part of the 2011 season solely for the hope of getting some sort of return.
Problem #2: If Papelbon isn’t performing, what team in their right mind is going to pick up that salary and also give the Sox a player or two for his services? Again, this doesn’t make sense. If Papelbon isn’t performing up to the level of an elite closer, then what’s his value going to be considering his salary? Call me crazy, but unless there is some team out there at the time that is extremely desperate, I don’t see a lot of interest in a $12 million closer that isn’t cutting it.
Let’s face it, if his 2010 struggles continue, then the Sox will simply replace him with either Jenks or Bard and use Paps in the 8th inning. That’s a worst case scenario. The more likely outcome of the upcoming season is that Paps will indeed have a bounce back year. If that’s the case, then he isn’t going anywhere.
Bottom line, like it or not, I think you can expect Papelbon to be with the Red Sox for the entire 2011 season.
Posted by Chris Cue
8:00 am Sat, 11/21/09
Hello again! Having recently crawled out from underneath the rock I’ve been hiding, I thought it might be a good time to start talking Hot Stove Baseball. Now that all the free agents are allowed to discuss their future with teams other than the one they played for last season, getting some predictions in now before things start to happen seems like a good way to make a fool of yourself….sooo, being the glutton for punishment that I am, here you go.
Let’s start off with the Red Sox. I’ll be happy to tick off some of my evil empire friends later with some Yankees predictions, but for now I’ll tackle the hometown team.
I should mention that I’ll be impressed with myself (from a prediction standpoint) if
even one of these predictions comes to pass….(I don’t have a great track record in this dept. 🙂 With
that in mind, here’s what I think has a good chance of going down.
I think the ground work to resign Bay is already in place. The caveat
to the current situation is nobody is yet sure what else may be out
there for him. As long as years or dollars don’t get too stupid (the
Sox won’t go 5/85), I think he’ll be back in Boston. I have no
predictions regarding what may go down if that doesn’t happen except to
say I don’t think the Sox will be players to sign Holliday. He has the wrong agent, there is too much
money required, too many years and too many questions about what he may or may
not bring that will keep the Sox out of that race IMO.
2). Even if the
Sox do land Bay, I believe the FO thinks we still need another bat
(thus their pursuit of Tex last year). Therefore, I’m pretty sure that
they will go hard after Gonzalez if Hoyer indeed makes him available.
However, I DON’T think that they will be successful there. I think
there are too many obstacles in the way for that deal to go down. (I could
give a lengthy list but won’t unless asked) Because there appears to be a lack of
premium players with bats on the trade/FA market coupled with the fact
that the Sox currently have limited spots to put a player like that in,
I think the Sox will turn to another area that could be addressed to
strengthen the team and that’s Pitching.
3). While the Sox
starting rotation appears to be set, we have several issues going
forward that could be addressed now if they choose to do so. Becketts a
FA next year, There are uncertainties with Dice-K and Wakefield’s health
issues are all questions the Sox have to think about now and with an eye on
the future as well. No matter what, the Sox will be signing one or two
insurance pitchers that they hope will have bounce back years (Sheets,
Harden, etc…types), but I’ll go on record now saying that after their
interest in Gonzalez is shot down, they will go just as hard after Doc
Halladay. Lot’s of moving pieces to that kind of deal too, but in this
case I think the Sox may have a better shot at landing him as opposed
to landing Gonzalez. It may never happen, but I really think the
interest is there and that the Sox will be motivated. The big obstacle
with that one? LOL take a guess……The New York Yankees. I don’t think Cashman
will just roll over and let the Sox get Doc without making them pay big
time. In fact, I think the Yanks may have an even better chance to land
Doc if they should decide to go that route themselves. This could very well be the
big Sox-Yanks battle of the off season…..it at least appears to have
all of that kind of framework in place. We’ll have to see.
Once again (i’m sorry to say), I don’t see the Sox going long term to
fill the SS position. I think there may have been some interest in JJ
Hardy, but since he is now signed I think we’re looking at another stop
gap player. I’d like to think that Gonzo would be back, but from what
Ive read a sticking point may be that he’d like more than just a one year deal. I also think the Sox
would consider Marco Scutaro, but not for the length of time he’s
looking for either. There could be a trade out there that Theo is
looking at, but short of that I think Gonzo will be a Sox player in
2010. I say that only because the SS market doesn’t look like it’s
going to give him a 2 or 3 year contract so he may very well settle for
a 4MM one year deal in Boston….which is something I think they’d
5). Billy Wagner. I don’t think he’ll be back in a setup role.
I believe all the “I may accept arbitration” talk was only a rouse that
attempted to make the Sox gun shy in offing him that. Can’t say as I
blame Wagner or his agent for floating that one. Wagner is a lot more attractive to other teams if draft picks aren’t
involved, but I think the Sox will stick to their guns and offer him
Arb. At that point, he’ll turn it down and wind up closing for someone
at less than he would have made via arbitration…..It’ll be “Varitek
Part 2” if you know what I mean. I think the Sox will be content having
Bard and Oki for setup to Paps. The middle relief guys is where the
action might be. Tough to call who and what goes on there because some
of what we currently have may end up being trading pieces (DelCarmen
& maybe Ramirez). I’m fairly comfortable saying the back end of the
Sox BP will be Oki, Bard, Papelbon. Absent a trade, DelCarmen &
Ramirez will most likely be back so it’s guys like Wagner and Saito
that will be the possible holes to fill. That’s going to be a challenge
if our BP is once again going to be considered a strength. The glaring
hole I see is absent Masterson, the Sox don’t have a long man. We’re
going to need one.
I have more, but this is already enough hot air. For discussion purposes only, I’ll put my 2 cents in regarding The Yankees later. For now, let the criticisms begin 🙂
Cheers & Go Baseball!
By Chris Cue
March 12, 2009
With the Red Sox having an off day yesterday, the news was pretty sparse coming out of Spring Training camp. So, a search of the web yielded a few articles that may interest Sox fans. Some you may have read already, others maybe not. They are offered up here simply to fill a void in the day to day news that is absent from most of the papers today.
We’ll call this first link “Drinking the Kool Aid”.
(photo courtesy of irvinehousingblog.com)
Normally that term is used when fans read and believe everything that is written positively about their team. In this article by Jason Stark, “Drinking the Kool Aid” (or reading it) may apply simply because it’s very complimentary towards the Red Sox and not so much for the Yankees. While the “Glass half full” crowd will no doubt enjoy this read, I would expect to hear a Kool Aid reference from opposing teams fans. The Yankees fans being the front runners of that group.
Call it what you will, but the essential truth of the off season moves by both the Red Sox and the Yankees are undeniable. The Yankees spent 423 million dollars this off season. They didn’t spend that money to become the best team in the American League East (although I’m sure that’s their hope). They spent that money because they simply needed to catch up to where the Red Sox and the Rays are currently with talent. Yankees fans may want to deny this, but that is the unbridled truth. So, for your enjoyment (or disdain…depending) Jason Stark’s thoughts on the off season moves by both clubs can be read by clicking HERE .
In the on going saga of Manny Ramirez and his not so fondly remembered departure from the Red Sox last season, Jonathon Papelbon threw his two cents into the discussion of how fellow players felt during that drama. Ramirez, as you may know, has a book coming out shortly that is not very complimentary towards the Red Sox organization. While Terry Francona and several other players have described the negative comments by Ramirez as fiction, Papelbon (as you might expect) cuts to the core of the problem by characterizing Manny’s demeanor during that time as being a “Cancer”. You can read his comments to the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman by clicking HERE.
Finally this morning, I’ll leave you with a run down on the American League by Boston.com’s Chad Finn. His take on the East, Central and West can be found by clicking HERE.
Have a great day and Go Sox!!
By Chris Cue
January 19, 2009
For as slow as this off season has taken to develop, the Red Sox came out and took care of some serious business this past week. Many are calling it their “Plan B” with “Plan A” being the failed Mark Teixeira negotiations. I’m not so sure. At least one of the items the Sox addressed this week appears to have been in the works no matter what happened this off season.
- Kevin Youkilis signed a 4 year, 41MM dollar extention with a possible 5th year option this week. As MLBTR puts it: “Great value for a guy who finished third in the AL
MVP voting, plays Gold Glove caliber defense, and is one of the leaders
of that clubhouse. Nice move by Boston.” Sox fans agree. Great move and Good terms on a player that was virtually just as good as Teixeira last season.
- The Red Sox added to their already deep pitching rotation by signing veteran John Smoltz earlier in the week. Smoltz, who is signed to a 1 year deal, isn’t expected to see action until early June, but brings with him a 15-4 post season record. The best in the history of the game. Smoltz is an addition to a rotation that already includes: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny and Clay Buchholz. 7 deep with starting pitchers is impressive.
- The Red Sox also signed Mark Kotsay to a one year, 1.5M dollar deal. Kotsay, who played half a season in Boston last year, was looking for a full time job with another club at season’s end. However, the falling market for outfielders brought him back to the Red Sox where he will assume a bench role backing up Kevin Youkilis at First base and JD Drew in right field.
Can the Red Sox “One Up” themselves this week? It’s entirely possible. There remain several possibilities that could at least match last weeks activity.
Here’s a look:
The Red Sox may not stop with extending current players like Youkilis and Pedroia. It’s widely believed that they also have hopes of extending Jason Bay this off season. Bay, who is a free agent after this season may opt to test the free market instead of signing an extention. However, considering the weak market for Outfielders this off season, he may accept a healthy offer from Boston rather then taking a chance on next year.
- Another player the Red Sox would also like to extend appears the least likely to make that kind of agreement. Jonathon Papelbon will also be able to declare free agency soon and past attempts by the Red Sox to lock him up long term have gone by the way side. It should be noted however, that the same scenario occured with Youkilis as well. Paps is certainly the wild card here, but as with most players, money talks. Now if you can just get Papelbon to quit dancing long enough to listen…..
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly is what will occur with free agent and team captain Jason Varitek. Varitek’s widely reported meeting with Red Sox principle owner John Henry last Friday may have been the occurance that needed to take place as both sides are once again talking. There are no guarantees on this one. Both sides have an adgenda that could derail the talks. The Red Sox would like to have Varitek back on a one year deal, but the captain is reported to be insistent on 2 years. The hopes are that the 2 sides will be able to come to some sort of a compromise that perhaps gives Varitek the ability to earn the second year. It’s not clear that either side is willing to do that just yet. More on this will certainly unfold in the coming week.
So, there ya go. There’s not a lot of unfinished business to attend to before the season begins, but what does remain will be extremely important to what the Red Sox will look like for the 2009 season and beyond. Stay tuned, this could be a very important week ahead.
Credit to Amalie Benjamin from the Boston Globe for bringing us this news…well most of it anyway 🙂
Jonathon Papelbon’s wife Ashley gave birth to the couple’s first child,
Parker Alice Papelbon, who checked in at 8 pounds 4 ounces……… and
immediately stared down the doctors in the room. Baby Paps also
backed staff members off a diaper change by vomiting some chin music
towards the nurses in the room. Both Mom and Dad Paps are said to be very proud…..
Look at the arm on this kid…..
Baby Paps Warms Up
Congratulations to both Ashley and Jonathon!!