Friday, October 14, 2011

Gordon Edes: Not bad my friend

I plan to do a full series of posts on what the Red Sox should do this off-season, but today Gordon Edes of offers his take. And you know what? It is really not bad at all. I usually take shots at mainstream media types like Edes, but there are some relatively level-headed suggestions in here that could help this team. He also makes a prediction that I fully agree with that the Red Sox will make the playoffs next year. Ultimately what I think he shows here is that it will not take much to win those extra couple games they needed this year. The talent is there, it just needs some tweaks. Let's take a look at his suggestions.

1) Red Sox owners buy a full page ad in the Globe and apologize to the fans
This is probably a little over kill (there's a possibility he is doubling as an Ad Sales rep for the Globe; the newspaper industry is going down the toilet after all), but the sentiment rings true. Once the dust settles, I think people will miss Theo and Tito and dislike the way they were treated. The owners don't necessarily owe an apology, but some kind of gesture would help. More importantly, they need to figure out a way to improve their and the team's image to potential managers and free agents.

2) Sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term contract
One school of thought is to shop Ellsbury this year because he will probably never have another year like this one. Edes thinks that he should be a face of the franchise and he has been a leader on teams before, especially in college. I think the best thing to do this off-season is nothing. Do not explore trades. Do not try to sign him long term. If they explore trades they may alienate him, but if they try to lock him up they may have to pay an extremely bloated contract. Wait until next year, when I would guess his value will drop some and maybe the team and Scott Boras can find a more reasonable middle ground. On second thought, if Ellsbury is the face of the franchise, the pink jersey sales alone should pay for his contract. Sign him now!

3) Squash any talk of trading Beckett
Agreed. At worse he is a number 3 starter on this team. There is nobody to replace him. Although I fully disagree with Edes about patrolling Chick-Fil-A during Spring Training. I will never deny my fellow man of such wondrous deliciousness.

4) Stabilize the top of the order, namely Carl Crawford
Edes suggests leaving Crawford second, Pedroia third and Gonzalez fourth and I can't say I totally disagree. I don't like Crawford's low OBP that high in the lineup, but if it helps him focus then I am willing to give it a try. He also reminds how great a season Gonzalez had despite playing through a week shoulder. God or no God, Gonzo was not the problem this year and he should be even better next year. Pedroia too. Scary.

5) Trade Lackey, of course
I want to get rid of Wilbur the Albatross as much as the next guy. I really do. I just don't think it will be possible without straight up releasing him and if that is the last resort I want to give him a month or two to prove he can't pitch here. Edes suggests a trade with the Padres, where his old pitching coach, Bud Black, manages. While he would probably be a good fit for them, the Sox would have to eat almost the entire contract and who knows if they would get anything back.

6) Make Daniel Bard a starter (and other bullpen recommendations)
This is the suggestion I disagree with the most. Bard was drafted as a starter and tried to start in his first year in the minors. He walked one batter per inning. That is miserable. It will never work, I promise. The other suggestions are not great either. He does say maybe re-sign Papelbon (I like) or use the money to sign two closers like Ryan Madson and Heath Bell (I no like). He also says that Aceves will solidify the 7th, but if I had to pick anybody on this team to have a major step back besides Ellsbury it would be Aceves. Francona went the Torre-Proctor route on his arm this season, he could be toast next year. Weak, limp, toast.

7) Sign or trade for a right handed hitting outfielder
Agreed. Not sure about his suggestion of Michael Cuddyer. I think he's a very good player, but I don't know how much long-term value he will have and I think he'll end up overpaid. I'd rather sign a bench guy and let Kalish or Reddick try to win the starting job.

8) Lavarnway and Salty are your two catchers
I think I agree with this more than anything. Salty is probably my favorite player on this team right now and I think Lavarnway and the Green Monster are about to embark on a beautiful relationship. Plus I'm done with Don Juan Varitek and his anemic offense and overrated defense.

9) Decide if Youkilis can handle third full time
Agreed. I think it would be fine to just shift him to DH full time and let Ortiz walk. Edes suggests a play for David Wright. This may make me giggle like a school girl, but I can't see how the team would pull this off. A more realistic move would be playing Lowrie at third, finding a solid backup, and giving Youk a start there every now and then.

10) If they have another $100 million lying a round make a run at Jose Reyes
The only other thing I fully disagree with. Reyes is an extremely exciting and talented player, but he just cannot stay healthy. He is not the type of player you should invest long term dollars in. Bring Scutaro back for another year, hope Iglesias develops and if not then start looking for another short stop like J.J. Hardy.

All in all, a really good list. I think this team will be just fine next year as long as they can stay off the trainer's tables for the first time in 2 years.

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