Friday, May 23, 2014

Bill of Goods and the Mail It In Campaign

The season isn't over. After all, we have Stephen (don't call me J.D.) Drew back in town. What has the season taught us so far? The mediocrity of the AL East has encouraged the Sox to believe they will contend to the bitter end. Maybe they will, as that's what mediocrity does.

We've learned that some of the Sox kids may not be ready, and that the everyday inexperienced shortstop can hit, at least when the weather isn't freezing. We've also learned that free furniture prospects have gone south. May 2014 looks eerily similar to September 2012. Now the Sox' sponsor is offering a free mailbox with certain purchases. We'll call it the MAIL IT IN campaign.

I won't suggest that the Sox management doesn't care. But perhaps the sample size of bargain basement WAR/$ crew of Ross, Gomes, Carp, et al. approach won't even come close to working. But that's the point of "outlier" approaches. As good as the "Moneyball" theory is, it hasn't brought any championships to Oakland, although they're competing every year.

A lot of stuff in baseball goes unexplained. Why did the Sox wait to move Mookie Betts to the outfield, knowing that he's blocked at second? How can a highly-trained like Prince Fielder sustain a serious injury? Should we be surprised that Will Middlebrooks has no comment on the return of Stephen Drew? I have no problem with this as a 'bridge' year, but the bigger questions revolve around wonder what the Sox process is? We know they're not going back to the Crawford and Gonzalez megadeals, but do they think that a team full of 'ordinary' players will win a championship in the near future? Other than Ortiz, Bogaerts, and Pedroia when healthy, the lineup is mediocre but not average. Stephen Drew is exactly what? Is he a superior defender who is among the shortstop leaders in OPS against RHP, or is he a liability offensively when played DAILY and trailing off for whatever reason at the postseason plate? Is Pedroia healthy? Does JBJ need more time or is it Ks and the summer of 4 to 3 on inside fastballs?

I could go on whining incessantly, but the problem with a radical 'reorganization' and process, when you let star players walk waiting for the next generation of youth to arrive is, 'past performance is no guarantee of future results'. Of anybody, John Henry should know that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back to the Future or Back to the Few Cure?

The Red Sox had a flawed team. They took action. They now add insult to injury, at best disingenuous and at worst guilty of the 'Big Lie' - public relations over substance.

First, how do the Red Sox see it?

  • The team is reeling, having been annihilated by the Tigers. 
  • Thanks to the mediocrity of the AL East, the Sox are still "in the hunt". 
  • The Sox struggle against right-handed pitching. Overall, the offense is pathetic.
  • The infield defense has been below average to average at best. 
  • Fans are getting restless. 
Second, what is the Sox "solution-focused" approach? 
  • Stephen Drew improves the infield defense. 
  • The addition of Drew eventually will likely slightly increase the offense. 
  • The Sox stabilize the third base carousel by moving Bogaerts to third. 
Third, what's the big picture or what's the harm?
  • The Sox are seen as jerking the kids around. Telling Bogaerts that he's the 'future shortstop' is likely not true, as defensively, that's more likely to be Marrero. I thought I saw John Farrell's nose growing during his presser today. 
  • The Sox have looked old and ineffective in the outfield, as Sizemore is literally not the Sizemore Farrell remembers and Victorino has been injured or underachieving. 
  • Bradley Jr. can't have any confidence, not that he's been dramatically worse than anyone else. 
  • Daniel Nava has been tossed aside like last year's magazine subscription. #FreeDanielNava
  • Farrell is looking more like the "old-time baseball guy" playing small ball with the bottom of the lineup and playing favorites (Drew and Sizemore), rather than being seen as forward-looking. 
Here's a chart from, look at the Boomer, George Scott. Although he hit at or near .300 several times, he also hit .171 and .233 in extended duty as well. Many successful ballplayers show varying degrees of inconsistency during their careers. 

The sad, simple reality is that the Sox overachieved last year and have woefully underperformed this season. The belief that you can catch "lightning in a bottle" every year with bargain basement and/or reclamation projects is "fool's gold." Bottom line? Jordan's is going to have to put furniture on sale, as they're not 'giving away' free furniture unless the Tigers change their stripes.