June 15, 2006

Transition, Part 2 - And Existing Contracts

(updated: tidied up a bit, with contract stuff at the end)

I was advocating more innings for Jermaine Van Buren and Manny Delcarmen. Last night, Terry Francona gave them a shot -- and they let the game get out of reach.

After getting rid of Matt Clement's mess in the 5th, Van Buren flopped in the 6th: single, walk, sac bunt, intentional walk, bases loaded walk. Delcarmen then gave up a grand slam to his first batter. After that, he did alright -- a walk and a single in 1.2 innings. ... This provides a good segue into the transition issue I mentioned a couple of days ago.

It is imperative that the Red Sox integrate younger players into the team, especially the pitching staff. As the season began, we had Schilling (39), Wakefield (40 in August), Timlin (40), Seanez (37) and Wells (43). Clement will be 32 in August.

Steps in the right direction included getting Beckett (26), bringing Papelbon (25) north, declining to sign Damon for four years (32), trading for Crisp (26), and moving Youkilis (27) to first base.

Since April, we have seen an influx of many young arms -- Delcarmen (24), Hansen (22), Lester (22), Pauley (23 this Saturday), and Van Buren (26 next month). The learning curve involved in adjusting to the major leagues can be steep, and it is a fact that these young guys will struggle. They will walk batters and give up handfuls of line drives and home runs -- and they will do it in high-wire games against contenders. Having that happen when you are 25 games out in July is one thing; watching it in the Bronx in a mid-September battle for first place or the wild card is quite another.

The 2006 team is still a contender. Even with the struggles in the pen and from Clement, Beckett and the 5th spot, the absence and subsequent lack of punch from Crisp, Varitek's slow start -- the Sox have been at (or near) the top of the East. And there is no reason why they won't stay near the top.

We have to remember that some of what is making us tear out our hair this summer will pay off in 2007, 2008 and beyond. This is assuming that a lot of the top prospects (Hansen and Lester, especially) stay in red socks. And we will see similar struggles and slumps from pitchers Michael Bowden and Clay Buccholz, as well as position players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Murphy, and Jed Lowrie.

Working younger players into the mix is essential and I'm glad Theo et al. are doing it. They seem to have a keener eye on the future than they do in the Bronx. I bitch and yell and moan as much as anyone, but I have to remember to have patience.


I looked at the Red Sox contract information at Cot's:

Players whose contracts (major league only) end after this season: Nixon, Beckett, Youkilis, Loretta, Timlin, Gonzalez, Riske, Cora, Mirabelli, Pena, DiNardo, Papelbon, Stern, Alvarez, Delcarmen, Choi, Lester, Pauley, Van Buren, Mohr, Holtz, Machado, Edgar Martinez, Brandon Moss, David Murphy -- and possibly Foulke, Wakefield, and Seanez.

Players whose contracts end after 2007:
Schilling -- $13 (option year vested with 2004 World Series victory)

Clement -- $9.5 (last year of three-year deal)

Lowell -- $9 (last year of four-year deal)

Tavarez -- $3.1 ($3.85 club option for 2008, guaranteed with 125 appearances in 2006-07 or 65 appearances in 2007)

Foulke -- $7.5 club option ($1.5M buyout or $3.75M player option; 2007 option vests at $7.5 with 45 games finished in each of 2004-05-06 or total of 95 games finished in 2005-06; 2007 option vests at $7.75 with 53 games finished in 2006)

Wakefield -- $4 club option (contines until Sox decline an option)

Seanez -- $2.1 club option (or $0.2M buyout; 2007 option vests with 30 games finished in 2006)
Players whose contracts end after 2008:
Ramirez -- $20M (club options for 2009 ($20) and 2010 ($20))

Varitek -- $9 (last year of four-year deal)

Hansen -- $1 (last year of four-year deal)
Signed for 2009 and beyond:
Ortiz -- $12.5 in 2009, $12.5 in 2010 ($12.5 club option for 2011 (no buyout))

Crisp -- $15.5 in 2009 ($8 club option for 2010 or $0.5 buyout)
(Of course, several of the players listed in the 2006 paragraph above will likely still be around.)


~**Dawn**~ said...

i have to agree with you that this is definitely a transitional time for the Red Sox. i would certainly rather do it this way than to suffer through a couple of seasons of entire rebuilding. i am happy with the moves made & the players in the infield--most especially the Youk-Loretta-Lowell comdo--as far as defense. the pitching scares me though. i didn't get to see Lester pitch, but what i have seen of Pauley so far, i like. the first thing i said though was that i hope the front office actually hangs onto him! i think he can be a strong 3rd or 4th starter when he develops a bit more. and i really hope to see some improvement from Delcarmen & Van Buren in the pen. i'm on the dence about Hansen still--haven't seen enough of him to form a solid opinion though.

you hit the nail on the head with patience being the most difficult part of the equation.

Jere said...

If only we had a guy to bridge the gap between old and young. A guy who can eat up a lot of innings and can come out of the pen if necessary. A guy who's pitched in the big game, and won it. A guy with the proven ability to help a "cursed" team to a championship. A guy who wants to play in Boston and is willing to take a pay cut to do it, and is willing to do whatever is asked of him. A guy who knows the clubhouse, and adds to that winning chemistry.

My point is, I was completely baffled by the Bronson trade from mminute one (no offense to Wily Mo) and I still am (and have documented proof, of course). Getting outfielders for the future could have been done in a way would've kept Arroyo on the team.

Yaz-Tex said...

redsock's recent reference to 2004 as a salve for some of our recent, gut-wrenching losses was spot on, though said salve will need to sold in 50-gallon drums if we continue to have more nights like the last two.

It's hard not to be concerned about the growing threat which lies north of our border (TOR), just as it's difficult not to be preoccupied with the pesky MFY, a team that continues to show a level of resiliency and ability to win despite having their line-up and rotation in a state of disrepair.

As the 2006 team continues to struggle in finding it's identity (not to mention some reliable arms), there's the logical propensity to look at our current situation as one where the glass is half-empty. However, when one takes the long view, how many teams in MLB would kill to have the kind of farm system we boast, and the number of prospects who are on the cusp of hitting The Show?

We must all admit that with Clement bound for the MRI ward (and likely the DL) and Wells all but done, Theo's decision on the Arroyo trade was an enormous blunder. Like the proverbial genie that can't be put back in the bottle, Bronson, his sub 3.00 ERA, and his six-string aren't coming back, dictating all discourse on our pitching situation must be focused on looking ahead rather than behind.

We have to hope Lester can become the #4 or #5 guy, and that's he's ready for the rotation and the associated crucible that is the AL East. What becomes of the other hole will likely be decided between now and the trade deadline, and may ultimately become a question of the Sox not mortgaging their future (trading prospects) for a short-term solution to the rotation (obtaining hired guns).

Time will tell...

redsock said...

I feel compelled to point out (not that you don't know) that there's no guarantee that Arroyo would put up the same numbers in Boston that he's doing in Cincinnati. In fact, there is much to say he wouldn't.

Sub 3.00 ERA? I know you mean over the past three months, but his only career season ERA below 4.00 was put up in a mere 17.1 innings in 2003.

In his two full seasons with the Sox (2004-2005), his ERA+s were 121 and 98. (The 121 mark was 9th in the AL.)

100 is league average -- which also happens to be Arroyo's career mark heading into 2006.

I'm well aware that a league average arm beats the hell out of what we're getting from several members of the pen, but I still defend the trade -- knowing what we knew at the time. If Arroyo wins a couple of Cys in the NL, well then ...

But he gave no indication of having that ability in the AL.

Jere said...

Regardless of how he's doing now, I'd gladly take the '04 or '05 Bronson on this staff. The fact that he is doing so well now just shows the talent he has.

"But he gave no indication of having that ability in the AL."

Well, maybe not to win multiple Cy Young awards, but, from watching him pitch, he gave me plenty of indication that he could be great.

~**Dawn**~ said...

wow...there are a LOT of guys on that expiring contracts list that i hope they hold onto...


redsock said...

I really liked Arroyo and was sad to see him go, especially reading how much he loved Boston, but I'm can't get too worked up over what he's doing. Actually, I'm glad for him that he's doing so well.

He was rarely horrifically bad, and was sometimes fantastic, but usually was average. ... But, yeah, we could use a decent arm like his these days.

Jere said...

I'm definitely very happy for him, too. But I've pretty much never lost my state of worked-up-edness since the trade. I'm not any madder he's doing well because I knew he'd do well.

redsock said...

I hope WMP comes back and is able to offer you a bit of relief!

Beth said...

//We have to remember that some of what is making us tear out our hair this summer will pay off in 2007, 2008 and beyond. //


The Couch Potato said...

Great post. I admire how you put everything into perspective.