Monday, January 4, 2010


Forget Dropkick Murphy (that's a Menino reference) and Lenny Clarke as the unofficial official musicians and comedians of the Boston Red Sox. It is glaringly obvious that the Red Sox' organization wants to replace them with Lil Jon and Dave Chappelle, respectively.

Upon their acquisition of Adrian Beltre, who has been mediocre and forgettable his entire career except for 2004, it's obvious that this is the kind of person the Red Sox want. After all, their general manager also has been mediocre at best with the very notable exception of the 2004 season. So why stop there?

The height of Lil Jon's career was 2004, as that is the year that Get Low, Yeah (by Usher), Throw It Up, Lovers and Friends, Salt Shaker (by the Ying Yang Twins), and my personal favorite What U Gon Do all came out. Lil Jon was huge in 2004. Unfortunately for his fans, including myself, nothing he had put out previously nor anything he had put out afterwards was even close to the level of greatness achieved in 2004.

Dave Chappelle is the same. Season One of Chappelle's Show was lackluster, as were the vast majority of his movies. After 2004, he flipped out, moved to Africa, and has done very little. But 2004 brought the infamous Rick James skit, Negrodamus, Prince, John Mayer, A Day in the Life of Lil Jon, Kneehigh Park, Wayne Brady, The Three Daves, and other similar classics.

The 2004 season had Schilling, Foulke, the height of Damon, the height of Lowe, the height of Bill Mueller, the height of Ortiz, the Nomar/Cabrera/Mientkiewicz trade, Bellhorn and Leskanic not being terrible, and other similar feats of brilliance. The year before, we had animals (i.e. Lyon and Fox) in the bullpen, Byung-Hyun Kim, and other mistakes. The years after we had Matt Mantei, Matt Clement, Wade Miller, JD Drew, Julio Lugo, Edgar Renteria, John Smoltz, Brad Penny, trading Hanley Ramirez, Rocco Baldelli, Jason Varitek, Julio Lugo, and JD Drew.

It's pretty clear that Chappelle, Lil Jon, Adrian Beltre, and Theo Epstein have a lot in common.

What is good about the acquisition of the player who had 48 home runs in 2004 and no more than 54% of that in any other season of his career is the fact that it is no longer than two years, which continues to be consistent with punting the 2010 and 2011 seasons. It's also good that it's a maximum of $14 million, which is what some mediocre players get for one year to play right field for the very same Red Sox. Hopefully Theo Epstein will get the urge to have Adrian Beltre out of his system quickly. Unlike Renteria and Lugo, however, Theo will not have to eat any salary to get rid of him after two years.

But still, let's take a quick look at Beltre's numbers. He literally has never had more than 26 home runs in any other season. He literally had never eclipsed 100 RBIs in any season except for 2004. For those who get wood over OPS, Beltre has only come within TWO HUNDRED POINTS of his 2004 OPS once. For those who instead value hits, he has fared at least 17% worse than his 2004 performance in any other season. The guy is NOT a good baseball player. Not a disastrous pickup with only one guaranteed year and only $10-14 million committed to the one-hit wonder, but with Ortiz and Beltre now both on this roster, how long will it be until the Red Sox bring steroids dealer Angel Presinal aboard in a Greg Anderson-type capacity?


Anonymous said...


I got home last night and read the ESPN headline "Sox reach agreement with Beltre" and immediately thought three years and $36 million. The fact that I thought that at all speaks volumes, but in the end, I'm relieved that it's only a one year deal and even if it becomes a two-year deal, it's not a contract that's going to cripple the Sox.

As far as Beltre goes as a player, his 2004 is the type of aberration that makes Richard Hidalgo blush. Is he an impact player? No. Is he better than a healthy Mike Lowell? No. Is he better than a broken down Mike Lowell? Probably. And really that's all that matters. As good as Mike Lowell was and as classy as he was, he's all banged up. By all accounts Beltre is a great defensive player and if he can bang out some wall balls in the 8th spot (right behind old friend JD Drew) then I'll call the signing a success. Not exactly the most stringent criteria for success in this case, but a success nonetheless.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

When you're punting a season or two, success is redefined. It's also notable to say that if there's a player option for next year, it's basically like he's playing in a contract year this year. He has 50% success in contract years. Sure, he sucked last year, but 2004 was a contract year.

Anonymous said...

not really sure why the player option was necessary. If he has a good year there's no way he's going to sign the option. If he sucks he might, but then we're stuck with a sucky player for another year. don't really get the appeal for the player or the team.


the gm at work said...

The player probably wanted the player option, whereas the team didn't. Part of the negotiating/concessions process. Similar to how the Red Sox got their bell rung with the Varitek player option.

PF said...

this is what i don't get about the red sox. they sign mike cameron for 2/15.5. they signed marco scutaro for a minimum value of 2/12.5. they signed john lackey for 5/85. they signed beltre 1/9. you don't look at any of these moves and say bad deal. even if the player isn't that good, the length and dollars of the deals save lackey (who is by far the best of the bunch) are such that the deal just can't really be that bad as gunn pointed out. so the floor is not a bad deal and the ceilings in some if not all of the instances is at least above average. seems good enough.

but what i just don't get, is that if you add them all up, it's about $40 million annually for a #2 starter, a defensive left fielder with some pop but substantial shortcomings, a defensive third baseman with some pop but substantial shortcomings, and a shortstop that has had one good season in his entire major league career. and not one of them is under the age of 30. i know dv is involved with this idea that the red sox are punting the 2010 and possibly the 2011 season. i really disagree with that (especially since we can find a better term than punt that is potentially more agreeable, the red sox have barely won less than 95 games all decade, they don't need to punt seasons). but that isn't even important to this analysis. and what is clear is that they weren't punting 2009. i understand the money matters year to year, and not just in total. but $40 million committed to those 4 players is very substantial. why not take that money and give it to sabathia last year. why not take it and give teixeira the extra 1.5 million or whatever they needed to raise their offer by to match the yankees and see if they can sway him away. why not give the money to holliday, where even if they aren't looking towards winning in 2010 like dv says, the same logic that was used to sign lackey can be employed (holliday will help in 2011 or 2012 when the red sox are reloaded). and just by singing him along with lackey you are competitive in 2010 more than you were in 2009 on paper (essentially lackey + holliday > bay). when you take the value of lackey out, that's 23 million leftover. instead of spreading it around, how about identifying real impact talent to allocate that money towards, and then fill the other positions with league minimum players if need be. is holliday + lowell + league minimum shortstop better than cameron + beltre + scutaro? you bet. i just don't get this.

also really don't understand letting bay go, mostly for the reasons dv has been talking about in relation to drew. it's almost like the red sox don't want to make the obvious move sometimes, and want to always make less obvious ones and defend it in obscure ways to make it seem crafty. jd drew walks a lot, and that's primarily how he arrives at the second highest ops among AL outfielders, and walks are crafty. jason bay slugs the baseball, and that's primarily how he arrives at the highest ops among al outfielders, but slugging is too obvious, and we want to look crafty. i know this is highly unlikely to be the case, but it often seems that way. letting a bat like that go over a couple million and an option? i'm just not sure.

finally, mostly addressed to gunn here, i don't like to constantly pointing this stuff out but from yesterday's comments, had the yankees not offered 5/85.2, the braves reportedly offered 5/80. so it wasn't just because the yankees targeted him, and that they "can go where no other team can" that burnett got paid. it is very convenient to be able to toss that out there, but it's often not accurate. i'm reading a book right now that reveals a lot more about that. more to come on this general topic soon, especially in relation to the red sox.

Anonymous said...


I look at Burnett in the context of him being signed alongside Sabathia and Teixeira. That's a $423 million deal and we can all agree that no team can do what the Yankees did last winter.

As for the moves the Sox made this year, I have to agree--I'd rather have all that money pushed toward one big name impact guy (like Sabathia) than three guys who may be good or may not be good. To that end, the Sox are in a defensible position. They got three decent players instead of one great one and you could argue that there is value in filling three spots that needed to be filled. The real issue for me is not so much Scutaro/Cameron/Beltre, because that's only 40 million bucks. That's not even two years of CC's deal. The real issue is Lugo/Drew/Matsuzaka. That's $215 million. That's CC Sabathia money right there. And
to me, that's the problem.

--the Gunn