Category Archives: MLB

The Red Sox Traded Clay Buchholz for Nothing

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

The Red Sox traded Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies today in exchange for second base prospect Josh Tobias, so basically nothing.

I understand why the Red Sox made this deal, it was essentially a salary dump to avoid luxury tax penalties. With the addition of Chris Sale, Buchholz and his $13.5 million salary became expendable. Sox fans were hoping that Buchholz’s excellent second half would help net something in return, but in the end this was just a salary dump.

Though I understand it, I don’t love this deal, you’re the Red Sox, you’re supposed to have one of the highest payrolls, you’re trying to win games, I don’t care if you have to go into the luxury tax to win, that’s what it takes sometimes.

Buchholz has proven over the years that he can be at least an average starter when healthy, and has shown flashes of brilliance plenty of times. I know he was essentially your sixth or even seventh starter, but every year someone gets hurt and you need another starter. Sean O’Sullivan started games last year for Boston, I’d rather have Buchholz pitching then Sean O’Sullivan.

Additionally, Buchholz was excellent out of the bullpen last season, and could’ve contributed out of the pen again in 2017.

I know everyone in Boston hates Buchholz, he never lived up to his potential and was considered soft, which we hate. But I don’t hate Buchholz, sure he aggravates me at times, but him and Jon Lester were two of the Red Sox’ best homegrown pitchers in the last 15 years.

Clay was injury prone, but never soft. In fact, in the 2013 World Series he took the mound on the road with a dead arm, he couldn’t even hit 90 on the gun, and gave you 4 innings of one run ball in a game you had to have down 2-1 to St. Louis. He even set he would’ve taken the mound in a potential game 7 if called upon. That’s not soft, that takes guts.

I knew this would happen once the Red Sox landed Chris Sale, that Buchholz would be traded to a National League team for nothing. Buchholz will be in a good situation in Philadelphia, he will be the veteran in a very young up and coming pitching staff and will go against weaker lineups in the NL.

I predict Buchholz wins at least 12 games for the Phillies next season. I think this could be a move the Red Sox later regret.

Farewell, Claydro.

Is the Sale Trade Part of a Troubling Trend?

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Dave Dombrowski is the most aggressive executive in Major League Baseball that is for certain. When Dombrowski became the Red Sox President of Baseball Operations on August 18, 2015 he inherited a last place team, but one with a budding farm system thanks to 15 years of building by former GMs Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington.

Now here we are on December 8, 2016, and almost all of that farm system has been torn down. 15 years of drafting and building traded away in less than 18 months.

Red Sox fans, myself included, will love the Chris Sale trade, as they should. Sale has been the best pitcher in baseball not named Clayton Kershaw over the past five seasons. He’s a stud.

But there’s another side to this equation, to get Sale the Red Sox had to part ways with their two best prospects, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

In the last 18 months, Dombrowski has traded Moncada, Kopech, Anderson Espinoza, Travis Shaw, Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, Pat Light, Mauricio Dubon, the Basabe brothers, Victor Diaz, Wendell Rijo, and others I’m probably forgetting to acquire Sale, Kimbrel, Brad Ziegler, Aaron Hill, Drew Pomeranz, and Fernando Abad.

I can defend the Sale deal, I have to defend the Sale deal. You got a stud pitcher who’s pitching for about a third of what he’s worth salary wise. Additionally, Moncada looked lost in his brief stint in the Big Leagues in 2016, he was terrible in the field and couldn’t hit a curveball to save his life. No problem moving him.

But trading Anderson Espinoza, a guy the best pitcher in Red Sox history Pedro Martinez compared to himself, for Drew Pomeranz. I can’t defend that one. Even the Padres knew they were stealing Espinoza or they wouldn’t have hid Pomeranz’s medical records and gotten their GM suspended. I don’t know what’s worse, Dombrowski making the trade or Dombrowski not reversing the trade when he had the chance.

You traded one of your best pitching prospects for a guy who had a fluke three months who is now likely on his way to the bullpen or out of town. Dombrowski certainly won’t be getting Espinoza back for Pomeranz now.

I even have a hard time defending the Kimbrel trade. Kimbrel was one of the best closers in the game when he was traded from San Diego to Boston in exchange for four minor leaguers. Given how frequently stud closers emerge from out of nowhere (see Koji Uehara), did you really need to give up four of your best prospects for Kimbrel? Let’s hope that Kimbrel’s poor performance in 2016 was due to that knee injury and that a healthy Kimbrel will mean a dominant Kimbrel in 2017.

It’s okay to trade prospects for proven stars, that’s part of the reason you develop prospects in the first place. One can argue the Cherington regime went too far the other way, refusing to trade Blake Swihart for Cole Hamels for example.

But trading solid prospects for guys like Brad Ziegler, Aaron Hill, and Fernando Abad. Fernando is abad pitcher. That move was ridiculous.

Of course everything I’m saying will be rendered moot if you win a World Series before Dombrowski inevitably leaves in the next five years or so. But if you don’t, guess what, then you’re the Tigers, and you don’t want to be the Tigers.

Dombrowski did the same thing when he arrived in Detroit. He took one of the worst teams baseball had ever seen in 2004, a team that lost 119 (!!!) games, and had them in the World Series two years later.

Just like his Red Sox tenure so far, there were highlights. The lopsided trades for Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer stick out. They went for it every single year, reaching the ALCS three straight years from 2011-13, but never won a championship. But what looked like a team poised to make a run each and every year is a shell of its former self now. Scherzer left as a free agent and Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Victor Martinez are now in their mid 30s and declining.

By the time Dombrowski left the Tigers had one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Dombrowski decimated the farm system in the hope of building a dynasty in Detroit, and he failed miserably. With Verlander and Cabrera aging quickly, and the Tigers trying to get rid of Martinez, things will get worse before they get better in Detroit.

It’s clear Dombrowski didn’t learn anything from his time in the Motor City, as he’s doing the exact same thing in Boston. If Dombrowki had been in charge three years ago, Mookie Betts would’ve had his MVP caliber 2016 season somewhere else. Maybe the Sox would’ve had Max Scherzer or Cole Hamels, but I’ll take the young outfielder.

Cherington and Epstein built a Red Sox team that could win now and combined it with a farm system that would’ve allowed the Sox to compete for the next decade. In just 18 months Dombrowski has turned that 10 year window into a 3-4 year window.

This is why Epstein is the greatest GM of all time and Dombrowski is simply mediocre. Epstein had a five year plan with the Cubs, and in five years he ended a 108 year World Series drought and built a team that can win championships for the next 15 years.

Dombrowski better hope his team delivers quickly, or he better call and ask Epstein if he can borrow his gorilla costume.

 

Late Night Baseball News: Yankees Land Chapman, Cubs Snag Wade Davis

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Aroldis Chapman has had quite a year in 2016. It all began last offseason when the flame throwing lefty was traded to the New York Yankees from the Cincinnati Reds. Chapman was then suspended for the first 30 games of the regular season before pitching for the Yankees for a few months. Then he was traded to the Chicago Cubs where he helped them win a World Series for the first time in 108 years. Now, with the Cubs out of the market for his services, he’s headed back to New York on a five year, $86 million deal.

The contract shatters the record for a closer that was set by Mark Melancon when he signed with the San Francisco Giants just a few days ago. It’s not quite the big three of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Chapman that the Yankees had at the start of last season, but having two of the three is still pretty great.

I can’t get over the contract however. We all saw how important relievers are in the postseason, so you knew someone was going to overpay for a closer, but this is insane. The Yankees are paying $86 million for a guy who pitched 58 innings last year, and 66 in 2015.

Meanwhile the Red Sox are paying $38 million for Chris Sale, who pitched 208 and 226 innings the past two seasons. It’s a ton of money for a guy who doesn’t see the field all that often.

Well with Chapman gone, you’re probably wondering who the Cubs will replace him with. And if you’re Theo Epstein, it only makes sense to go get one of the few guys who was better than Chapman in 2016. The Cubs traded fourth outfielder Jorge Soler to the Royals in exchange for closer Wade Davis.

This trade makes a lot of sense for both teams, the Royals have a lot of veteran players who will be free agents next offseason and will likely sign for big money, so they needed a guy under team control. Soler is signed through 2020 at just $3 million per year, a bargain considering his potential.

The Cubs meanwhile, they needed a closer, and they got a good one. Davis has been flat out filthy the past three seasons, posting a 1.00, 0.94, and 1.87 ERA respectively, while adding 47 saves in that span.

The Cubs are going to be the favorites to win the World Series again in 2017, and the trade for Davis only solidifies that status.

The White Sox Got a Haul for Adam Eaton

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Well that was a win now move if I’ve ever seen one. It was just announced that the Nationals have acquired outfielder Adam Eaton from the White Sox in exchange for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning.

This is pretty much the same package the Nats were offering the White Sox for Chris Sale and the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen.

Sale is a Cy Young caliber pitcher, McCutchen is a superstar coming off a down year. Adam Eaton is neither of those things, he hit .284 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs last season for the White Sox.

Don’t get me wrong, Eaton is an excellent outfielder with some pop, and he’s pretty fast, but this package of prospects is insane. Giolito is the number one pitching prospect in all of baseball, and the Nationals had touted him as untouchable for a long time. He struggled in his six starts last season, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA, but give the guy some time.

Lopez had an up and down year for the Nationals last season. He showed flashes of brilliance, including a 7 IP 1 ER 11 K performance on August 18th where he was downright filthy. But overall he had a 4.91 ERA in six starts. He’s just 22 years old, and was also a lot to give up.

As if two top pitching prospects weren’t enough to land Adam Eaton (still shocked by this), the Nationals also traded Dane Dunning, their 2016 first round pick.

If you were wondering if the Nationals were in win now mode, there’s your answer. With Bryce Harper likely leaving in free agency following the 2018 season, the Nats are going championship or bust the next two years. Eaton gives them another dynamic outfielder to pair with Harper and Jayson Werth.

After getting what I thought was a sub-par package of prospects from the Red Sox for Chris Sale, Rich Hahn really outdid himself with this one. Chicago’s farm system has immediately gone from one of the worst to one of the best in baseball in the span of two days.

And there’s no telling where Hahn will stop, it appears the White Sox are in full rebuild mode now, and they have plenty more pieces they can move. Expect Hahn to continue to field calls on Jose Quintana and Todd Frazier as well as possibly David Robertson and Jose Abreu. The Atlanta Braves have emerged as a potential landing spot for Quintana while the Dodgers have shown interest in Frazier.

Stay tuned, I’m sure these MLB GMs aren’t done dealing just yet.

Red Sox Don’t Stop: Sign Mitch Moreland to One Year Contract

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Dave Dombrowski just doesn’t stop, this time signing free agent Mitch Moreland to a one year contract worth just over $5 million.

After trading away the Mayor of Ding Dong City Travis Shaw earlier in the day, the Red Sox needed a 1B/DH hybrid, and they found their guy in Moreland. Moreland hit .233 with 22 home runs and 60 RBI last season for the Texas Rangers. It is also worth noting that he won a gold glove for his defense at first base.

I like this move for the Red Sox, it’s similar to the signing of Chris Young last offseason, it’s a low risk move with the potential for huge upside. His numbers are basically identical to those of Travis Shaw, the guy the Red Sox traded earlier in the day. Shaw hit .242 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 2016.

The issue with Moreland is he struggles mightily to hit right handed pitching, he hit just .221 against righties last year compared to .277 against lefties. So the Red Sox may adjust their lineup when facing right handed pitchers, meaning Moreland may not play everyday. John Farrell has said the Red Sox would use multiple players at DH this upcoming season.

If Moreland sits against righties, Hanley Ramirez would likely slide in at first base while Chris Young would DH.

It’s certainly not Edwin Encarnacion, but a solid low risk move for the Sox.

More Breaking News: Red Sox acquire Chris Sale from White Sox

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

The hot stove is really heating up now. After beginning the offseason saying the Red Sox were likely to mostly stand pat this offseason, Dave Dombrowski pulled off a blockbuster, acquiring Chris Sale from the White Sox in exchange for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and two other minor leaguers.

Well the Red Sox got their guy, and they got him for the right price. It hurts to lose Moncada, he’s become one of the best prospects in baseball over the past two years, but when you have an opportunity to get the best left-hander in the American League without giving up any major league ready talent, you do it.

The fact that the Red Sox got this deal done without giving up Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, or Xander Bogaerts is shocking, but I’ll take it. They didn’t even have to give up Eduardo Rodriguez.

The main question Red Sox fans will have is if this was the price for Sale, why didn’t Dombrowski do this deal six months ago when the Sox still had David Ortiz. I think the answer is simple, the asking price was higher in the summer. I think the Nationals balked at what the White Sox were asking for, and I think Chicago was almost desperate to move Sale.

Well the Red Sox took advantage of the White Sox desperation, and flat out stole one of the best pitchers in the league from them. A rotation now featuring Sale, Price, Porcello, Rodriguez, and Wright is going to be very tough for opposing hitters.

The Sox only remaining need is now a power bat, preferably a left handed one. With Boston looking to stay under the luxury tax, look for Dombrowski to try and flip Clay Buchholz and his $13.5 million salary for a bat.

Breaking: Red Sox Acquire Tyler Thornburg from Brewers

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

I wrote yesterday that the Red Sox needed bullpen help, and Dave Dombrowski wasted no time in adding another bullpen arm this morning, acquiring Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange, Travis Shaw (aka the Mayor of Ding Dong City) is headed to Milwaukee along with prospects Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington.

While it’s not surprising the Red Sox made a trade for a relief pitcher, Thornburg wasn’t exactly on anyone’s radar as far as possible trade chips go. But what’s clear is that Thornburg is an elite reliever who is under club control for the next three seasons.

Thornburg had a breakout season with the Brewers in 2016, pitching to a 2.15 ERA with 12.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 32.4 percent ground-ball rate in 67 innings. Those are elite numbers for sure. He can also be dominant against both righties and lefties, something the Red Sox definitely need.

Late inning relief help has been a priority for the Red Sox this offseason, last year’s eighth inning options Brad Ziegler and Koji Uehara both hit free agency this offseason and last offseason’s main trade acquisition Carson Smith is still recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Thornburg will most likely slide alongside converted starters Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes in the bullpen, though there is still room for another arm to slide in.

If all goes according to plan, a bullpen featuring Kelly, Kimbrel, Thornburg and eventually Smith in the late innings would be formidable. This trade is essentially Carson Smith 2.0.

An elite bullpen arm did not come without a hefty price tag, and the Sox gave up a lot. Travis Shaw began last season as the everyday third baseman, he had a very up and down season, but did club 16 home runs. He figures to slot in as Milwaukee’s starting third baseman and has shown 20 homer potential.

This trade continues the mass exodus of former Boston third baseman headed to Milwaukee. Shaw will join Will Middlebrooks and Garin Cecchini.

Trading Shaw likely signals that Pablo Sandoval (gulp) or Brock Holt will likely begin the season as the third baseman until Yoan Moncada is deemed ready to take over.

Dubon is a prospect who was gaining stature as a top prospect in Boston. It was just a question of where he would fit in a crowded Boston infield that features stars like Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia. He was seen as someone who could’ve been a super utility man a la Brock Holt in Boston. But Dubon will likely start as a middle infielder in another organization.

Pennington has a big arm and potential but he’s far from big league ready. He spent last season in single A Lowell. He’s simply a guy a team like the Red Sox trades and a team like the Brewers acquire.

 

« Older Entries