December 26, 2005

Theo's Philosophy Still Guiding Red Sox

Things are not in disarray. The ship is not rudderless. The Boston Red Sox organization has a plan -- and it is a good one.

Gordon Edes gets it: the Damon negotiations unfolded without Theo Epstein pretty much how they would have unfolded with Theo.
You make your best judgment of a player's value to you, you set a price, and you don't allow anything -- sentiment, nostalgia, public pressure -- to cause you to stray from it. ...

It was the same last winter with Pedro Martinez; the Sox determined they would not go beyond a certain price for Pedro and they didn't. Plenty of other teams would have caved before allowing Martinez to leave, but the Epstein Sox always have been about planning three or four years ahead, not just in the short term. ...

Epstein dropped plenty of hints during the summer when he said he wasn't married to the idea of making the Sox the best run-producing machine possible at the expense of pitching and defense. That was the best approach with what he had to work with, Epstein said, but under different circumstances, he might take a different tack. That may be what we're seeing at play now, the team switching to building a deep bullpen, investing heavily in starting pitching to complement the wave of young arms coming up through the system, and upgrading defensively even if it means sacrificing some offense.
Edes also thinks that "sometime in the next month Epstein's 'adviser' role will be made official".

The CHB predicts that Damon will score 100 runs by August, which is almost one per game. ... Nonsense. I should probably start compiling a list of all these idiotic Yankee pronouncements (anyone recall who it was that said with Randy Johnson, last year's Yankees would win at least 130 games?)

Feel free to email me with anything outlandish you see or hear -- that includes negative Red Sox predictions, too (with a link, if possible).


Donald said...

Hi, I just found your blog today, and it's far more interesting than any other Red Sox blog I've seen thus far. Keep it up!

As regarding today's post, I would agree that in general, the Red Sox are sticking to the philosophy of not overpaying for players. However, there's big difference between the way Oakland (for example) applies that rule and the way the $120 million Red Sox apply that rule. I don't like Johnny Damon getting paid $13 million a year, but there is no one in the club who's currently ready to fill centerfield. And trading away both shortstops in the organization was a highly questionable move.

The Sox will fill their holes, make no mistake. But shortstop and centerfield are two of the hardest positions to fill in Major League Baseball. By not overpaying free agents like Damon, they will have to sorely overpay in terms of prospects or young talent in order to fill these voids in their lineup.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: today's "Quick Shots" in the Globe is a good compendium of Damon hysteria. I know you have always been luke-warm on Johnny, but even given this bias, you have been one of the few voices of rationality on this. I especially object to the conclusion that, in the prarphrased words of one of the Globe's columnists, "Mueller, Damon and Renteria were a lot better than whoever's going to be playing in their place." Firts of all, the issue is how good those three players wull be next year. I think it's likely that all three are in decline, maybe steep decline. BM's poer numbers and rbi were subpar at third, and I personally think Lowell could easily be an offensive upgrade. Renteria's defense was unacceptible.
Damon finished the year lamely.
Let's wait before pulling the panic button.

Eric said...

My concern with the Damon signing was less that he got away and more that the reports afterwards were that J & B and Lucky Lar didn't see the sneak attack coming. These guys are supposed to be baseball pros, on top of their game...and they didn't know about a bid from the Yankees?