Tag Archives: Jason Bay

A Completely Biased, Utterly Subjective Preview of the 2010 Boston Red Sox.

So, We Gonna Do This, Or What?

With pitchers and catchers reporting TOMORROW (as well as many of the guys already in camp), it’s time that we take stock of what has happened to the Red Sox in the past few months and accept some realities.

Jason Bay is gone. He’s a Met now. The Sox let go of a guy who hit 36 home runs and had 119 RBI and replaced him with Mike Cameron. It scares the crap out of the fans, but after long contemplation it was the right thing to do. We’ve been through this before. Theo didn’t want to give Pedro Martinez the third year because his guys told him that Pedro was going to break down half way through the second year. What happened? Pedro broke down in the middle of the second year and the Mets over paid for two more seasons. Somebody saw something in the MRIs of Bay’s joints (shoulders and knees) that made them think that he isn’t going to age gracefully. I trust in Theo, because he knows more than me, and Bay strikes out too much.

With that reality comes that this team has been rebuilt in a different image. The front office took one of the teams weaknesses and turned it into a strength. Run prevention, also known as pitching and defense, has become a focus, as opposed to run scoring, which was definitely a more visible issue at times last year. The reasoning is that they don’t need to score as many runs if they don’t allow as many, and it looks good to me, but then again I thought closer by committee was a good plan too.

That thought in mind, I really do like the acquisitions. Anybody who complains about the Lackey signing (now) is a complete effing idiot. The Sox just added another Josh Beckett to the team, along with the old Beckett, who is in a contract year. That gives them three aces, a complete wildcard in Matsuzaka, a guy who is developing into a solid number 3 (for this season) in Buchholz (the fifth man), and the third winningest pitcher in franchise history as a sixth starter. Not bad.

The key to how Theo moves forward and how the offense works is likely to be Adrian Beltre. He is a guy who has put up a 48 homer, 121 RBI season, and six other seasons of 20 or more homers in his eleven seasons in the bigs. He also spent the last five of those seasons in in Safeco Field, the worst possible place for a right handed power hitter. He still hit 25 or more home runs in three years, and 19 the other. Last year was full of injuries (to the testicals) and futility. Moving into the best possible ballpark for right handed power hitters, Beltre is going to hit 30 home runs, have 100 RBI and win another gold glove, and for this reason the offense will be fine.

Scutaro and Cameron are both solid pickups who improve the defense and will provide stability in the lineup. Cameron makes the defense better not only by being himself, but by moving Jacoby to left, where nothing will get down. Scutaro  is a solid defender who should have won a gold glove last year but everybody just keeps voting for Jeter, and also had a career year in his first shot at an everyday job.

The bullpen is also better than it was at this point last season simply for the fact that Daniel Bard has been through the league once. He is not ready to replace Papelbon, who is not done, but he is ready to step into that eighth inning role that Phil Hughes was so successful in for the Yanks last year. Papelbon has been getting a lot of flack lately because of the way that the season ended, and for his perceived mercenary attitude about his contract situation, but nobody can really see it in his stats. He was 38-41 in save opportunities and had a 1.85 ERA. He is going to be a free agent after 201, but people need to chill out about that now.

And there’s also that core, who we know are going to be good and who we have gotten to know. Pedroia will put up his traditional great season, Youk will get better like he does every year, Jacoby will hit .300 and steal 75 bases, and Lester will continue to crush the souls of those who doubt him. Victor is poised for a big (payday) season and if Ortiz is the guy we had in the second half of last year then it wouldn’t be too ridiculous to see 40 bombs (he was that good for the last three months).

There are still questions to be answered, moves to be made, and lots of beer to be drank, but with the team as it is today, Theo has done a good job of building the 95 win team that is his goal every year. He has improved his team while his chief rivals have gotten worse. The Yankees offseason was not altogether awful, adding Javier Vasquez to the rotation was a good solid move (even if the last time we saw him he was giving up a GS to Damon in Game 7), and Curtis Granderson will make the outfield defense better. However, their lineup lost two gamers who always came through in the clutch in Matsui and Damon, and replaced them with Granderson, whose batting average and OPS have dropped each of the last few seasons as his home runs went up, and Nick Johnson, a good player when healthy and a rarely healthy player. That is a minus situation for them.

My prediction? 112-50. World Series Champs.

What can I say, I’m a Sox Fan.

Go Sox.

1 Day.

Done.

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Mets fans Turn to Us Because We Know Our Shit.

With the migration of our favorite (former) Canadian, Jason Bay, to the Mets, which is still a move that I think will leave Mets fans holding their junk for the next five years, Our friend Kerel Cooper at On the Black asked for some info on the palefaced wonder. Of course, I was more than willing to share all of the reasons that the Mets would have been much better suited to signing Chone  Figgins (before the Mariners gobbled him up) or another speed and defense guy as opposed to more right handed power that has trouble getting to balls in the gap.

Here’s a snippet of the “interview:”

Question: What’s the reaction from Boston fans (including you) on Bay signing with the Mets?
Answer: Bay is a terrific player and a class act. The Sox obviously saw something in him that made them believe that he would not be a $ 15 million player at age 36 and didn’t want to include the fifth year of the deal. We are very happy with his move to the Mets because it takes him out of our path to the World Series and most of us who were paying attention for the past month or so knew he wasn’t coming back here.

Question: A lot has been made of Jason Bay being a defensive liability. Especially as he moves to a big park like Citi Field. As someone who watched him all of last summer, can you give some insight into he defensive liabilities?
Answer: Jason Bay is not a hugely awful defensive player, but he is not a great one. He was an upgrade over Manny, but that’s not a huge challenge. Mostly he will suffer in a ballpark with massive gaps like Citi Field, and he doesn’t always take the best path to the ball. In a left field the size of most new yorkers’ studio apartments (Fenway Park LF) this wasn’t a huge deal, but when we were on the road last summer it was pretty apparent.

Question: What’s the strongest part of Bay’s game?
Answer: Bay is a right handed power hitter. He is at his best when people are throwing him fastballs which he hammers with the best of them. Sliders down and away are another story and a large reason for his 162 ks last year.

Even their Mascot doesn't want to be associated with them.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of Kerel’s work and the interview at OnTheBlack.com. He knows his stuff and (for a Mets fan) has a great perspective on whats going on in the world of baseball. No matter how much the Sox have planned for the rest of the winter, nothing is likely to go down for the next few days, what with Fenway being used by some second rate league tomorrow.

It’s snowing, which means that tonight is going to be interesting travel, though I shouldn’t mind, based on the amount of fine locally brewed frost beverages I plan to consume. Be safe out there yourself and happy f#$%ing New Year.

Go Sox.

49 Days.

Done.

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Mets Sink $66 Million into the Bay: Bad Move.

Over the past few weeks, listening to what Theo, Tito and others who know what is up (Perter Gammons chief among them), I’ve softened on the whole Mike Cameron thing. I still think it is a bad idea to trade away both Ellsbury and Buchholz for anyone, even Adrian Gonzalez (though either one of them along with a package of top end prospects is cool with me), but having Cameron patrolling under the Monster and training Ells how to track balls and take better angles so that he can make it look easy is an idea that is growing on me.

hopefully smarter than me.

The reason that I had not liked the signing in the first place was because it closed the door on the possible return of Jason Bay, who was the offensive key for the Sox last season. When he hit, the Sox hit. When he didn’t, they couldn’t score runs for the life of them. He ended the season at .267 with 36 HR and 119 RBI, leading many to believe that signing him to cement the middle of the order would be the Sox first priority this winter. I was among that group originally, and while I have since seen some of what the “don’t sign Bay” contingent was saying (like that he struck out too much and that he wasn’t going to be a $15 million a year player at age 35), Jason was a class act since the day he arrived, helped the entire nation get over a messy breakup with Manny, and played very well for the majority of his time on the Sox.

Though the Sox did make a very strong offer at four years and $60 million, Bay was seen to be wanting more years and his agent, Joe Urbon, had evidently led him to believe that that type of thing was out there. Unfortunately, Bay’s defensive liabilities (which were masked in many ways by the small size of Fenway’s left field) and something that Red Sox Head Trainer Mike Reinhold (a shoulder guru) saw on Bay’s MRI held the team back as they rebuilt the team for next season around pitching (Lester, Beckett, Lackey) and defense.

Please keep this man in town.

So Bay has now reportedly signed with the New York Mets for four years and $66 million with a vesting option to make it five years and $80 million.For Jason Bay, it seems, this is the best deal he is going to get, so the deal works. For the Red Sox, it is a best case scenario, as Bay doesn’t end up in a place where he will be a problem for them and with him off the market, they can stop dealing with fans who still want him back. It also works for the Mets if by “works for” you mean “is a complete waste of the money that they should be using elsewhere.”

The Mets have to be the most dysfunctional organization in the Major Leagues. They are a team built on right handed power hitters (Wright, Beltran – who is switch, but has power from the right-, now Bay) that plays in a ballpark with an absolutely cavernous left field. They just signed a guy who will not only hit worse than he did in Fenway, but his defensive liabilities will be exposed when he is playing 81 games with such a huge patch of grass around him. they don’t have a catcher, even though they have been the only suitor for whichever freaking Molina is on the Free Agent market this year (there is always one), and last season had to fire one of their VPs when he started to lose his mind due to all the crap that had happened to the team (injuries, not being the Yankees, having cheap owners).

This is what I stick up my butt when I'm supposed to be doing smart things.

I really don’t know what Mets GM Omar Minaya is thinking with this one. While the rest of the world tries to get better at preventing runs, he signs a guy who won’t be able to cover the ground in the outfield of TaxPayerField. Not only that, but Minaya’s new signing will be trying to hit home runs (which is where he is best) in a ballpark which had a tremendously negative impact on David Wright’s power numbers. This is another big name signing by the Mets which will go nowhere, even though they have a very good team on paper (on paper).

Good for Jason Bay, we will miss him, but at least now the Sox (and their fans) can start looking forward to next season (and figuring out how they will score) instead of dwelling on the guy who we knew was gone when he was replaced.

Go Sox.

51 Days.

Done.

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Mike Freaking Cameron? Please, Red Sox. No.

Let me say once again that I like the John Lackey signing. I really do.

It is a big risk signing any 31 year old pitcher to a five ear deal, but Lackey has the right body style and the bulldog makeup to be a horse for the next five years. He also works as Beckett insurance and gives the team a starting point at which to open negotiations for a contract extension. In the short term this gives the Sox the best rotation in the AL, so we’ve got that going for us.

It’s the other move that the team made the two days ago that I’m not to hot on. Last year the Sox were a power outage waiting to happen. They went long stretches where you couldn’t get a run out of their offense if you paid them millions of dollars for it (which the team did). Now they have gone out and improved defensively and in the pitching staff, which makes it so that they will have to score fewer runs, but you still can’t win if you don’t score any.

This is Jason Bay's bad shoulder waving goodbye.

Which brings me to the point. I was O.K. with the Sox cutting Jason Bay loose (unless he ends up in Pinstripes in which case Theo just shat the bed bigtime). Mike Reinhold (the Sox new head trainer, replacing the fired Paul Lessard) saw something in his shoulder MRI that the team didn’t like past a four year deal, and he doesn’t think that’s good enough for him. Whatever it is couldn’t have been that bad, because he has never played less than 145 games in a season. Bay has power, but he also strikes out a lot (by a lot I mean 162 times in 151 games), so it’s not the biggest loss in the world.

But letting him go for $8 million worth of Mike Cameron? That is crazy talk. The simple fact is that Cameron has less power, draws fewer walks and strikes out just as much as Bay does. Yes, he is better defensively, and can play center field, but the Sox play 81 games a season in Fenway park, where left field is smaller than my apartment, and at the moment the team has a pretty effing good center fielder.

What really scares me at this point is that people are saying this might lead to Jacoby Ellsbury (the aforementioned pretty effing good centerfielder) being sent to San Diego with Clay Buchholz for Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez is good, but Ellsbury should be untouchable. He is a Gold Glove caliber center fielder, a game changer on the basepaths and is just learning to be a real major league hitter. In the words of anybody even remotely associated with the NBA draft, Jacoby has Tremendous Upside Potential. Theo and crew can send Buchholz, Ryan Westmoreland (who Hoyer supposedly loves), Max Ramirez (if that deal ever goes through) and anyone else they want to SD, but Ellsbury is untouchable.

I don’t want Mike Cameron in left field at Fenway. He doesn’t contribute to the offense and though he (and Hermida, whou would likely be his platoon partner) improve the defense, you can’t win games if you don’t score runs, no matter how few you allow.

(please disregard this entirely if the Sox trade anybody but Ellsbury for Adrian Gonzalez, who not only hits a ton, but is a Gold Glove first baseman. In that case I’m fine with Cameron shoring up the defense out there.)

Go Sox.

64 Days.

Done.

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Not the Answer.

He actually wore one of these. That's how old Mike Cameron is.

I don’t like it one bit. More tomorrow when my “Holy Shit The Sox Are Going To Have Mike Cameron and Jeremy Hermida in Left Field Instead of Jason Bay” hangover wears off.

Go Sox.

65 Days.

Done.

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Red Sox Tell Lackey To Turn His Head and Cough.

He May Not Be Able To Close His Mouth, But The Guy Sure Can Pitch.

Finally, vindication is on it’s way. The Boston Red Sox are about to do something to make their team better, and in a no doubter kind of way, this off season. While the negotiations with Jason Bay have started to circle the drain, seemingly out of nowhere, John Lackey has apparently reported to the Sox for a physical.

Instead of paying Bay to strike out a lot and hit a few home runs (162 SO/36 HR) for five years with doubts about his throwing shoulder, the Sox are going to improve the team by preventing runs, improving defensively and creating a powerhouse pitching staff by making Lackey (an ace for the past few years on a playoff team) the third guy in the rotation behind Beckett and Lester.

The move also makes Clay Buchholz more of a moveable part than an important one. This, paired with the impending trade of Mike Lowell to Texas, would seem to be an indicator that at least one guy named Adrian (Beltre/Gonzalez) will be donning the hanging Sox next season.

Nothing is for sure yet, but be assured that this at least seems to be a step in the right direction.

Go Sox.

66 Days.

Done.

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Why I Didn’t Buy Red Sox Tickets Today.

This offseason can go either one of two ways: Triumph or tragedy. That’s not hyperbole, and it might not be seen which way it’ll go for three or four years. Today was non-tender day in the Major Leagues (also known as the day that the Twins gave up David Ortiz for nothing), and things have started to roll. Hopefully it will pick up like a snowball going down hill. If this year really is a “bridge year” as Theo puts it, down hill might be the operative word there.

The first order of business is that whole left field thing. Jason Bay, the incumbent man beneath the monster, has apparently “moved on” according to his agent. This may be a ploy to drag a few million more dollars out of the Sox, but it also mean that the team is going to lose out and be left to the ravages of Scott Boras, in trying to get Matt Holliday to town, or the dreaded platoon. Odds are that Bay has moved on to the Mets or some other crappy team, meaning the Sox will have to come up with another answer (I want this to be wrong very badly) A wise man once said that if you have two quarterbacks you have none, and in the AL east, it is the same way with every position player. If the team is forced to go with a platoon for a year then that will show that they are throwing away a season in the hopes of spending that money on Carl Crawford.

Then there is third base/first base (whichever one Youk isn’t playing). With the trade of Mike Lowell, the Sox are missing a guy to play one of the corner infield spots (don’t give me that casey Kotchman crap, he’s a good player for a mid level team, not a starter on a World Series team, especially with his bat). The door is open for a big trade, say for Miguel Cabrera or Adrian Gonzalez (I get the feeling I’m starting to repeat myself, but until another option is shown to me I’m sticking to my guns), or a signing of Adrian Beltre. There aren’t any exciting free agent corner infielders set to be on the market after this season, so I really don’t see the plan there if they do wait.

Delicious.

Other than that, I’m pretty happy with the way the team looks as constituted today. Scutaro was a good move to “bridge” the gap between today and Jose Iglesias (another “prospect” for whom Theo is leveraging the present), but other than that there has been no step forward, only a step back, and if the Sox win the World Series for three years in a row over the next decade that’s fine, but for now it sucks.

That is why I didn’t go to “Christmas at Fenway” (should have been Chanukah) today and buy tickets, spending part of my (way too small) paycheck on a team that hasn’t shown me that they will spend their tremendous revenues on me. When and if that happens, you will find me scouring the web for tickets and calling in all of te favors that I have earned over the past year, but until then, i’m mostly just an interested observer, not an invested one.

Go Sox.

67 Days.

Done.

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