10 October 2005

"Lost," 2006 Red Sox, B-R Sox Updates...

As an addendum to my last post attempting to wrap up the 2005 season, I thought it would be a good idea to enter the realm of fantasy and try to build a 2006 team, understanding that much of it would push the limits of reality and that any fan-generated trade has some not-realized element of impossibility. So understanding those things, hopefully some of these ideas are at the very least entertaining, and at the very best predictive- the Sox have some areas they need to get better in as a necessity and not luxury. Some of these moves are contingent on one another, and aren't necessarily mandatory type improvement. If two deals are of separate classification but are related, they'll be in the same color. Here goes...




STL/ SDP/ HOU: Prospect(s)


Theo Epstein, GM
BJ Ryan, LHP (3 yr., $19.5 million)
Kevin Millwood, RHP (3 yr., $24 million, 4th yr. option)
John Olerud, 1B (1 yr., 750k)
Mike Timlin, RHP (1 yr., $2.2 million, vesting 2nd yr. option)
Chad Bradford, RHP (1 yr., $1.5 million)
Reggie Sanders, OF (1 yr., $2.75 million)*
Brett Tomko, SP (1 yr., $2 million)**
Hideki Matsui, OF (4 yr., $29 million)
Brian Giles, OF (3 yr., $27.5 million
David Ortiz, DH (extension- whatever the fuck he wants)

* or: Richard Hidalgo, Luis Matos, Juan Encarnacion, Bernie Williams, Jose Cruz Jr., Rondell White, Marquis Grissom...
** or: Pedro Astacio, Jeremi Gonzalez, Brian Moehler, Ismael Valdez...


Kevin Millar, 1B
Bill Mueller, 3B
Johnny Damon, CF
Tony Graffanino, 2B
Wade Miller, SP
Matt Mantei, RP
Chad Harville, RP
Mike Myers, RP

2006 25 MAN ROSTER

C- Jason Varitek, S/R
C- Doug Mirabelli, R/R
1B- Adrian Gonzalez, L/L
1B- John Olerud, L/L
2B- Dustin Pedroia, R/R
SS- Edgar Renteria, R/R
3B- Kevin Youkilis, R/R
IF- Alex Cora, L/L
RF- Trot Nixon, L/L
CF- Torii Hunter, R/R
LF- Manny Ramirez, R/R
DH- David Ortiz, L/L
OF- Reggie Sanders, R/R (see also, alternatives)
OF- Adam Stern, L/L (for 18 days)
UT- Alejandro Machado, S/R

SP- Curt Schilling, RHP
SP- Kevin Millwood, RHP
SP- Tim Wakefield, RHP
SP- David Wells, LHP
SP- Jonathan Papelbon, RHP

RP- Keith Foulke, RHP
RP- BJ Ryan, LHP
RP- Mike Timlin, RHP
RP- Chad Bradford, RHP
RP- Lenny DiNardo, LHP
RP- Craig Hansen, RHP

OK, so, some explanation.

When doing this, the target areas of improvement were in the bullpen, at 1B, and the bench OFer. So to start with the bullpen:

BJ Ryan is, without a doubt, one of the five best relief pitchers in baseball right now, and as such is an exact fit for the dilemma that is confronting the team regarding their relief work. Consider that Keith Foulke is the following things:
a) Coming off two major knee surgeries
b) When healthy, a dominant multi-inning relief ace
c) Amenable to "any role" the team hands him
d) A risk for decline

With this in mind, to me BJ Ryan should be first free agent they go after, and the one they go after hardest- he offers a pitcher who is a strikeout machine, lefthanded, and can close. You tell him that the traditional "closer" role is his, and hand to Keith Foulke the role of "relief ace." This way, Ryan is able to rack up saves, while Foulke works the high leverage 7th/ 8th inning situations and, if healthy, turns into an 80 IP reliever with tremendous value. Ryan then provides incredible insurance for Foulke should he not bounce back from 2005. If everyone is healthy and producing, it transforms the bullpen into one of the best in baseball.

That includes retaining both Timlin and Bradford, but not Myers. Timlin is what he is- a reliable late inning guy worth 75 quality innings with few walks- and further Foulke insurance. If Foulke doesn't bounce back, Timlin slots up to being Ryan's setup man. Bradford, especially when facing the RHH dominant AL East lineups (Sheffield, Rodriguez, Jeter, Wells, Tejada, Mora, Cantu, Lugo), is valuable BECAUSE you've set up the bullpen to be worth so many innings. A very short situational reliever is a luxury you have. Dinardo becomes your longman and occasional lefty situational guy, and Hansen is allowed to develop.

Since I'm letting Johnny Damon go, in the interest of finding a stopgap before we can produce our own CF (Ellsbury, Murphy, Ramirez) or find one worth investing longterm in, we use the fact that Minnesota wants rid of Torii Hunter's contract as a way to accomplish two goals: dumping Matt Clement and filling the Damon gap. Losing Damon isn't ideal- in fact, if we could sign him for 3 years, I'd be in favor of it. But I'm assuming this isn't true, and working from there. Hunter replaces Damon's excellent defense AND a little of his offense. He's expensive, but on short years- if you send money along with Clement to pay the back end of the next two years, Minnesota can use him to replace Joe Mays/ Kyle Lohse and unload Hunter, which they'd planned to do anyway.

In the 1B category, I took a bit of a leap. This is very probably the least likely roster move to be made (along with the Clement/ Hunter deal), but it represents two strong ideas I have- to get young and SLG-y at 1B, and to trade Bronson Arroyo, who's likely to have as much trade value now as he'll ever actually have. I think Texas does this because not only do they need pitching, they may also see Gonzalez as expendable for said pitching, with Teixeira at 1B and DH easily re-filled (especially in Arlington). In addition, they get a solid young replacement for Rob Barajas that has a great defensive background along with a great reputation for working with pitchers- something the Rangers need.

To replace Clement and Arroyo, you sign Kevin Millwood, promote Jonathan Papelbon, and sign a Tomko/ Astacio/ Valdez/ Gonzalez type to stash in Pawtucket as insurance. Dinardo acts as SP insurance as well, with Abe Alvarez sliding into his spot in the pen in that event.

One idea I did have was to trade Trot Nixon for a few decent hitting prospects, to a team that is OF-poor, and to then go out and make a strong push for Hideki Matsui. But, my assumption is that New York will do what they have to do to hold onto him, and that will be moot. Since this is true, the issue of a platoon partner with Trot is an immensely important roster spot. My first caveat with this though is that Francona learns the lesson of Jay Payton.

Instead of strictly handing the platoon guy the ~250 ABs against lefties and sitting him the rest of the time, cycle him through the OF and use him to rest everyone- this makes someone like, say, Luis Matos preferable. He takes the lefties for Trot, gives Manny days off by playing in LF, or gives David a day off by playing in LF and having Manny DH. You also get him ABs by DHing him and letting David play 1B once in a blue moon. This way, the player is often in the lineup, and is providing great rest for the breakdown-able OF types we have. Might save you a situation wherein you get an offensive September like we had this year. So I listed the options, but you primarily would like a guy that mashes lefties, can play CF adequately (on the rare occasion they spell Hunter), and will be healthy to make it through ~450-500 ABs. Reggie Sanders is one idea, but there's also Matos (he may be non-tendered), Encarnacion, Rondell White, etc.

That's about it. I would let Dustin Pedroia try and win the job in spring training, and allow Alex Joey Cora to liberally back him up. Kevin Youkilis gets to be Bill Mueller for a fraction of the price starting next year, and these two spots save a lot of money on the ~$30 million I'd be adding to the payroll (if you count Matsui). Of course, I would be letting about half of that walk in free agency, so the increase wouldn't be too bad. It ain't my money.

Also, don't trade Manny guys. Just don't do it.

So I was sitting there Friday night, Erin at home, on my couch at about 3 AM and I thought, "oh. This is what being addicted to crack is like."

Lost is the first new show since The Wire that has me totally hooked- I decided, almost on a whim, to check it out with my Netflix membership. It was so good that I blew through the first few discs so fast, I couldn't wait for the last few to get to me via mail, so I rented them at extra cost over at Blockbuster. It's that great.

I'm not going to go into details about it- you've either seen it, or you need to see it and I'd be ruining it for you. Mostly though, I'm including this here to mention what I did this past weekend (pathetic as that may be) and to tell Michael that he really, really needs to go rent this shit. It's unbelievably good.

I also love how the show is able to build on the more fantastical and mysterious elements of the show through the internet. Besides the feverish internet messageboard speculation type stuff, there is stuff like this: the website for the show's airline, Oceanic. When you explore a little you can notice some cryptic and freaky things- like this message embedded in the front page:

If anyone should find this message, please get word I'm alive and stranded on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Please send help soon. Things are bad. And they're getting worse...


And this as well:

I survived a horrific plane crash and am stranded on an island somewhere Northeast of Australia and Southwest of Hawaii. In the event that I am never found, please forward word of my fate to my parents.

Tool around with the passenger manifest too and you'll see a bunch of really freaky-weird stuff. I could spell it out, but that'd be less fun.

There's also this site, which leads to the message board and has a few odds and ends, including some planted fake future scripts under the "password" section (theislandiswaiting). Also, for anyone up-to-date on the first three episodes of this second season, this should mean something to you. Anyone looking for as many of the "little things" from the show to be mapped out, this site is perfect.

Makes you realize something too- TV is overwhelmingly bad these days, but when it's good, it has the opportunity to be transcendent. Just life-alteringly great and interesting. Lost is so creative, different, strange, dark, weird- thank God it caught on. It reminds me in some small ways of Twin Peaks.

Mike. Go rent the DVDs. Trust me.

Looks like the excellent folks over at baseball-reference.com have already gotten the 2005 team stats up, and that includes your Boston Red Sox. This is particularly interesting because B-R is the place to get OPS+ and ERA+ numbers, adjusted for park and league. A quick rundown of how everyone faired:

David Ortiz: 161
Manny Ramirez: 156 (up from 2004)
Jason Varitek: 125
Johnny Damon: 113
Trot Nixon: 112
Bill Mueller: 112
Edgar Renteria: 91
Kevin Millar: 100
John Olerud: 109
Tony Graffanino: 114
Mark Bellhorn: 83
Doug Mirabelli: 89
Jay Payton: 93
Kevin Youkilis: 115

Tim Wakefield: 106
David Wells: 99
Bronson Arroyo: 98
Matt Clement: 96
Wade Miller: 89
Curt Schilling: 77

Mike Timlin: 197
Keith Foulke: 75
Mike Myers: 141
Jonathan Papelbon: 166
Chad Bradford: 114
Alan Embree: 58
Jeremi Gonzalez: 72
Lenny Dinardo: 239
Matt Mantei: 68

That starting rotation... ugh.

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