Thursday, August 02, 2007

A few Red Sox observations

The Red Sox landed Eric Gagne as the big piece to put themselves over the hump for the stretch run. I'm not sure I like this move all that much.

I understand the logic - get the proven arm to shore up the bullpen for the dog-days and the post season, while opening a rotation spot for the returning Curt Schilling. Really, I get it.

This is my problem - Kason Gabbard has been a more than solid replacement in the rotation for the marginally effective Schilling this season. He is a left-handed pitcher that hasn't turned 23 yet, and has shown veteran poise on the mound. I would have less problem with it if Gabbard were a righty, but he's not - he's a lefty in a division where the best regular season team for the last decade has struggled against quality lefties. The Sox could have been going into next season with two of them.

Instead the lefty was traded for a rent-a-player to improve what is already, statistically, the best bullpen in baseball. I think I would even have felt better about it if the Sox had gotten a decent bat out of it. Instead, they got a power-pitcher with a history of arm problems.

I'll give Theo to the end of the season on this, but I have to say, I'm not feeling as good about this trade as the rest of Red Sox Nation. Anything less than a World Series appearance would be unacceptable after trading away someone who could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy for years to come.

Our Dumb Red Sox Nation members...

Need to either learn math, or stay off the message boards. I say this because there have been a number of our idiotic brethren calling for the Sox to rid themselves of Tim Wakefield making claims like the following - and I quote, "my MOM throws harder than Wakefield!! he'll probably pitch until he's 50....and still be a .500 pitcher."

At least one argument that I read is that he's a waste because he takes up two roster spots by forcing the team to have to carry the light hitting Doug Mirabelli - and as such, doesn't get good run support.

Let's analyze these arguments just to see how ignorant and idiotic they are (I remember when Sox fans used to be knowledgeable).

Wakefield's career record is 164-143 (.534). Last time I checked, that was indeed higher than .500, unless I just don't understand the new math. This season he is 13-9 (.591), tied for the team in wins.

His 138.1 innings pitched in 22 starts is second on the team only to Daisuke Matsuzaka's 144. He has averaged 6.1 innings per start, the same number averaged by Schilling. The only regular starter that has had below six innings per start has been Julian Tavarez. Batters are hitting .261 against him. That's .027 points lower than Schilling or Tavarez.

As for run support - Wakefield is sporting a 4.55 ERA after today's game. Given that he averages just 6.1 innings pitched per start, that means he is giving up an average of 3.20 runs per start. The team is averaging 4.5 runs scored per Wakefield start.

So...can someone explain to me how these people learned to use a computer - it's obvious that they don't know how to read numbers.


sugarshane024 said...

See, I like the Gagne trade. I think you may be overestimating the long-term value of Gabbard to the Red Sox. Sure, he's a lefty, but his long-term value is questionable. I think he projects more as an end-of-the-rotation guy. Two or three years down the road, the Sox won't have room in their rotation for him with guys like Beckett, Dice, Lester, Buchholz, and Masterson.

As for Wake, the arguement that someone's mom can throw harder is ridiculous. The knuckleball is obviously not intended to be thrown at 100 mph. And for a guy who just won his 150th game last night, I'd say that his knuckler has made him pretty successful. And, hell, if he can "pitch until he's 50....and still be a .500 pitcher," I'd want him on my team. A guy who can win half his games at the age of 50??? Aren't they worth like $28MM???

Dave said...

And that 13 wins is tied for the AL lead in wins with guys like Danny Haren and our own Josh Beckett. How can you even think of complaining about that kind of production from a $4 mil, middle-rotation starter?? This is what happens when the bandwagon fans start hanging around a couple of years.

Gabbard...I didn't want to lose him either, b/c as you say (and I agree), lefties are gold.

But, the bullpen's value increases as you get into the post-season and the rotation shortens and you'll likely need them more. Having Gagne in the mix with Oki, Paps and Delcarmen will give us more flexibility with more talent that any other team out there.

Plus, we do have a lot of pitching talent in the minors. A couple of guys are even lefties, like Kris Johnson in Lancaster and Hagadone in Lowell. But I will miss Gabbard.

Kevin Smith said...

Like I said - I get it with Gabbard, really. I'm just not thrilled by it. It wasn't too long ago that the Sox sported a rotation completely sans a lefty.

I would feel much worse if they didn't have the depth in the minors they currently sport, but I still have a hard time letting go of a solid lefty that's not yet 23.