Archive for the ‘Jonathan Papelbon’ Category
Red Sox Bring the Heat
Over the Monster delivered some interesting analysis on how Red Sox starters and relievers can dial up fastballs. The Sox have excellent fastball pitchers – which is a big factor in overall staff (and team) success. Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon – who both faded in 2010 – are players to watch this year.
Why Red Sox Target Football Players in Draft
In recent years, the Red Sox have graded “athletes” highly in the amateur draft. Full Count’s Alex Speier explored baseball players who were multi-sport stars with Red Sox prospect OF Brandon Jacobs and Red Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye in a podcast. I like the approach – but let’s see how it pays off. Ryan Kalish should be the first major league test case.
What’s next for Lars Anderson?
Lars Anderson had a big door close on him with the Red Sox acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez. Red Sox Beacon painted a pretty bleak future for Anderson – questioning his hitting potential. While I am not ready to give up on Anderson, the upcoming season at Pawtucket will be key to reestablishing himself as an MLB caliber player.
Pretty Quiet on the Western Front (of the AL)
Fire Brand of the American League previews the American League West. The early line shows Texas and Oakland to be the class of the division. The Rangers could still use a top starter, while I like the A’s picking up Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui to go with a good pitching staff. The Angels are solid but unspectacular. Mariners are King Felix and pray for rain.
Theo Epstein is a self-professed admirer of Patriots coach Bill Belichick – and how he reacted to the disappointing 2010 season from closer Jonathan Papelbon is a classic Belichick move.
The Patriots’ M.O. is everyone competes for their position – always.
The signing of Bobby Jenks is a visible message to Pap – perform like the closer we expect or be prepared to step aside.
As Scott Lauber writes, Papelbon – with his one year at a time contract approach – has been priming himself for his contract year.
Now it’s time to perform again – to get the big bucks, long-term deal Papelbon will seek. And the Red Sox would like nothing better for the 2011 season (and they are prepared to worry about 2012 later). But if Papelbon doesn’t perform, Boston has Plan B ready to go.
Around the Bases
Minor league guru John Sickels released his top 20 Red Sox prospect list. He did not give a “grade A” elite ranking to any Boston farmhand. RHP Anthony Ranaudo – a 2010 draftee – placed number one, followed by LHP Drake Britton and SS Jose Iglesias. Current assessment – deep in quantity but not top-tier in quality. But a bunch of the prospects played below AA last season, so it will be interesting to see if they can advance in status as they move up the ladder.
Fire Brand of the American League did a deep dive on new righty reliever Matt Albers. I like the signing for bullpen depth but see Albers more as Scott Atchison insurance than as a key contributor.
MLB Trade Rumors ran through potential homes from Manny Ramirez. I think the Rays are the best fit – but Manny would need to take short money and possibly accept a part-time role. I don’t see the Blue Jays interested – new manager John Farrell lived through Manny’s “dog days” in Boston.
Lastly, don’t relax yet. Rob Bradford writes Theo Epstein’s history says he keeps shopping late in the Hot Stove season. Possible pickups: lefty reliever and Bill Hall-like utility player who can help out in the infield and outfield. Jon Heyman ran through his bargain list of remaining free agents (I still like Brian Fuentes for the Red Sox). And Peter Abraham chipped in with his All-Available Team.
SI’s Joe Lemire placed the Boston Red Sox at the top of a special offseason edition of SI.com’s MLB Power Rankings.
No surprise given the close to flawless (I would kept Victor Martinez and let David Ortiz walk) Hot Stove season that Theo Epstein and crew have put together.
The New York Yankees check in at six while the Tampa Bay Rays manage to place 11 even with having 13 players in the “subtraction” column and no notable additions.
It has truly been a winter of good fortune for Boston, as Rob Bradford wrote.
Red Sox Keep Getting Better
Things continue to break Boston’s way with the Sox signing reliever Bobby Jenks.
Sean McAdam spoke with Jenks’ former bullpen coach with the White Sox who gave him the thumbs up. The coach – Art Kusnyer – said Jenks still has great stuff and “can get it done.”
At a minimum, Jenks gives the team another power arm – and he should light a fire under Jonathan Papelbon’s butt.
Boston signed a slew of other relievers to deals, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
I agree relievers are a fickle bunch and last year is not always a good predictor of next season.
Matt Albers bears watching but at best is Scott Atchison competition.
I like the Andrew Miller signing – but mainly with a focus on finally getting him to realize his potential as a starter.
I see Rich Hill as a better candidate for a lefty out of the bullpen. I think old friend Lenny DiNardo is more likely Pawtucket material.
Last Bullpen Point
Matthew Leach wrote, “Of baseball’s 10 best starting staffs in 2010 (measured by ERA), exactly three made the playoffs. Meanwhile, six of the top eight bullpens could be found on postseason teams.”
These numbers support why Jenks is a big signing. You need bullpen strength and depth.
Around the Bases
- Hats off to Ian Browne who this week wrote an in-depth review of Epstein’s pursuit of Adrian Gonzalez and also did an interesting look at the American League East. Both are really good.
- Bradford wrote how compensation-wise, the Rangers would be a good landing place for Adrian Beltre. The Red Sox would gain pick #26 in next year’s amateur draft if Beltre goes to Texas. They lost #24 for the Carl Crawford signing – but gained #19 when Martinez signed with the Tigers.
- Alex Speier looked at Crawford’s speed dimension. Bottomline: Bill James says, even if his speed declines, it will still be a weapon. How much of weapon will be a big factor in determining if the Red Sox get their money’s worth.
- Got to like how Mariano Rivera insists the Red Sox were a “real” option as a free agent signing. The Sox explore every option.