Friday, December 30, 2005

Bucking the conventional wisdom

There's this perception out there that the Red Sox have had an awful offseason, that they're rudderless and reactionary, and that they've got gaping holes at CF and SS and 3B and 1B and in the bullpen.

About a week ago, I addressed the issue of the alleged holes on the Red Sox team. In response to the comment that they didn't have a shortstop, I said"...except Cora and Loretta and Graffanino and Pedroia and Machado. Each and any of whom could reasonably be expected to give the 2006 team a) better defense and b) better production than they got from Edgar Renteria (who was still better than Orlando Cabrera.) "

Well, today's Baseball Prospectus notebook (which does not appear to be subscriber only) says the following: "Shortstop is also not as bleak as it seems on the surface. Looking at members of the current 40-man roster, we can see that Alex Cora, Mark Loretta, and Tony Graffanino have played 308.2, 265.3, and 68.6 AdjG at SS at the Major League level, all at an average or slightly below average Rate. There is also Alejandro Machado, a player whose ’05 PECOTA forecast suggested he could be what Edgar Renteria was for Boston. His untranslated minor league Speed Score has been 6.50 or higher the past two seasons, and his OPS in Pawtucket was on par with the Sox SS production last season. While none of these candidates are Miguel Tejada, they are players who are capable of replicating and/or besting Renteria’s 2005 production. In addition, if the shortstop is not sucking away potential runs in the two slot because they don’t have Renteria’s "status," all the better for the offense as a whole. As far as non-40 man roster candidates go, there’s this Dustin Pedroia guy, who played SS full-time as recently as last year (and wait until you see his PECOTA forecast!)."

So they're ripping me off AGAIN!

Anyway, read the piece. It's a good analysis. The fact is, the Red Sox need one player - a center fielder. They've got at least 2 extra starting pitchers that they can utilize to get that outfielder. Otherwise, they're loaded. Again.

That's not to say that they can't screw things up, because they sure could. The Flaherty signing shouldn't give anyone north of the Bronx a warm-fuzzy-feeling. They could trade Ramirez and Clement for Tejada, they could sign Alex Gonzalez, they could trade valuable pieces for Torii Hunter - they're not out of the woods for having a bad winter. But they haven't had one yet. The moves have been, for the most part, good, (magic beans and beads and baubles for Beckett [not strictly accurate, but I like the alliteration], Renteria for Marte, Mirabelli for Loretta), and so have the non-moves (not overpaying Millwood, not overpaying Damon, not trading Manny for 2 cracked fungo bats and a used resin bag.) Whether the "nitwits" (and I use the term affectionately) at WEEI understand it or not, it has not yet been a bad off-season...



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