As much as I feel dislike towards the Red Sox as a person who grew up as a Yankee fan, I know that they are people with feelings too and I know I am causing them enough damage by just showing this picture of game 162. So I won’t add any commentary, but I have to show the picture because it *was* the story of their 2011:
Andrew Bailey, Aaron Cook, Mark Melancon, Clayton Mortensen, Vincente Padilla, Nick Punto, Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, and Ryan Sweeney.
Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Jed Lowrie, Hideki Okajima, Josh Reddick, Marco Scutaro, Kyle Weiland, and Dan Wheeler.
Why?: When you actually look at the talent changing hands, the Red Sox are probably more of a C+/B- type offseason. However, the Red Sox’s owner, John Henry, also owns the English Premier Legaue Football club, Liverpool. Over the past year, Liverpool has added players totaling a dollar amount that is comparable to the Red Sox’s total payroll (when converted from pounds to dollars). Due to this spending spree with Liverpool, and the spending spree last year with the Red Sox, it is understandable that Henry didn’t want any major additions to the payroll. Given this fact, I bumped the Red Sox’s grade up to a B, because they managed to add some key pieces without spending a lot. Let me tell you, they were REALLY close to being a B+, but I didn’t want to bump them up too much.
As odd as it may seem, I think the Sox may have actually upgraded at the closer position. Since Andrew Bailey has been closing out games for the small-market Oakland Athletics, he really isn’t as exposed to mainstream America as most closers, but I can tell you he is one of the best in the business. Sure, he played for the A’s, which were offensively anemic, and thus gave him more save opportunities, but I remind you that he *did* win the AL ROY a few years ago and has maintained this production since.
I guess you can argue that Cody Ross is a good signing with the Green Monster out in Left Field, but I really can’t think of many RHBs that wouldn’t benefit from having a wall 300 feet away from them while they’re at the plate. Seriously, can you think of more than ten hitters that wouldn’t be helped by that? The only names I’m coming up with are right handed slap hitters like Derek Jeter, but I have a feeling even he would be assisted by the wall.
Other than this, I really have nothing else to report on the subject that could be summed up in less than 500 words. The names on the lists suggest that the Red Sox probably deserve a higher grade, but I do have my reasons behind the grade.
Predicted Record Range: 90-95 wins A bunch of people didn’t do as well as they could’ve. Also, I never thought I would say this, but it might be a good thing that John Lackey is out for the season.
2011 was truly a fun year for the Cleveland Indians…the first half anyway:
Casey Kotchman, Jeremy Accardo, Jose Lopez, Derek Lowe, Felix Pie, Kevin Slowey, and Dan Wheeler.
Jim Thome, Adam Everett, and Austin Kearns.
Why?: This is a weird entry/grade. The addition far surpass the subtractions. That said, I usually don’t put in more than one or two players in the “Notable” lists that have been signed to a minor league contract. In this entry, however, I have five players that were signed to minor league contracts on the list. This serves as an indicator that a lot of the players aren’t game changers. In other words, the subtraction players aren’t that far away from equaling the value to a team that the addition players present, a fact which reflects itself in the grade I gave their offseason.
Also, Kosuke Fukudome and Chad Durbin have yet to sign, which may bring the Indians’ grade down as they were on the Indians last year.
Predicted Record Range: 77-82 wins
This scene was way too familiar to Red Sox fans last year. As, a result they overacheived by underacheiving (it makes more sense if you don’t think about it).
Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Brandon Duckworth, Jason Bergmann, Dan Wheeler, Andrew Miller and Bobby Jenks.
Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, Felipe Lopez, and Mike Lowell.
Why?: Yes mister “my second dream in life was to play for the Red Sox” and Crawford were indeed big additions. Yes, maybe I am a bitter but optimistic Yankee fan but they also lost two big pieces in Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre. Now, I would take the trade of Gonzalez for Beltre any day of the year but I would rather have Gonzalez nothing, though. The piece that really bothers me is the Martinez loss. This is because they don’t have a reliable cather behind him. Sure, he wasn’t the most reliable himself defensively, but he was a force in the lineup. One that will be replaced by either Jarod Saltalamachia (?) or Jason Varitek.
Though I am not sure why people are so up on their rotation, they added some nice armsto the bullpen. They now have, three possible closers, two guys who would normally be set-up men, and a whole lot of depth.
Now on the issue of preformance. If you have a fantasy baseball team, pick Red Sox players. Adrian Gonzalez is going from the worst hitter’s ballpark to the best hitter’s ballpark. He hit 32 homeruns and has one of the best opposite field strokes in the major leagues. Many of the balls that he hit on the screws and were flyouts in PETCO, will be home runs in Fenway. I pedict somewhere in the 40 homerun range with somewhere in the 50 doubles and triples.
Crawford on the other hand, has behind him: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz. Sure having Jacoby Ellsbury in front of him may lower his steals somewhat from what they would have been had he been leadoff but remember that he has stolen 62 of 66 bases at Fenway. Maybe this was from the horribly throwing Red Sox catchers but he is still comfortable. I think it was in 2006 that he stole second, third, and home plate against the Red Sox.
Predicted Record Range: 94-99 wins They have the best line-up in all of baseball. However, these records do not account for injuries that have not yet happened.
They did win the most games out of anyone in the American League:
because I knew the they won the AL East but it is still shocking in retrospect.
Manuel Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Casey Kotchman, Felipe Lopez, and Dirk Hayhurst.
Carl Crawford, Dan Wheeler, Rafael Soriano, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Carlos Pena, Dioneer Navarro, Gabe Kapler, Brad Hawpe, and Chad Qualls.
Why?: Well, let’s see where to start? For one, that is the first three line notable subtractions segment I have written. Normally, its about five guys that are notable and then ten or something minor leaguers that they lost to free agency. Here, it was just the opposite. I think everyone knew that this was the year they would lose most of their top talent but they lost the barn with the cows, losing so many people in their bullpen:
They did sell the barn to strengthen the farm though. They definitely know what to do with high draft picks. There was a book written on the subject. I think that the Rays will be better in the future because of not paying for their core but the grade is still how they helped their team THIS YEAR.
So, will they one up last year? No, but will they have a solid “time waste” year? What does that even mean?
3rd Place? 4th Place? Or just surviving the year with minimal financial loss?
Predicted Record Range: 65-70 wins Even if they can get a lot of runs. I see this being like the 2007 season. If anyone remembers, they would get ahead of very good teams and then give up afew runs late in the game because of their bullpen and lose. Their bullpen is even worse now but I think that their offense is much better as well. That year they didn’t have Evan Longoria in their line-up.