Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not Randy Moss

A classic Tony Massarotti radio rant last week was about how the Patriots wouldn't want Randy Moss back because they dumped him in the first place. You don't trade a talent like Randy Moss (and with such broad shoulders) for a third-round pick because you want the third-round pick. You trade him for a third-round pick because you want to dump the player.

You don't want to dump Daisuke Matsuzaka. Yes, he is a bad contract. And yes, he is probably the worst out of the five starters in this rotation. The people who say he's terrible to watch are exercising a cop-out. There's really nothing terrible about watching the guy; he's an enigma that can occasionally dazzle and occasionally frustrate. But he's certainly worth watching. The real question is whether the guy helps the team win.

And while the answer very well may be no, you don't just dump the player just to dump him. Picking up an even-bigger albatross of a contract in Kosuke Fukudome would be doing just that. You're giving up value for less value in return. And while you can do that with a guy like Randy Moss in the extenuating circumstances surrounding that player and his shoulders, you can't do it for Matsuzaka. If it's a salary dump and freeing up a roster spot for a good free agent, maybe that would make sense. But it's not a salary dump, as Fukudome's making more money. Plus, it would be one more mediocre/unspectacular outfielder in a roster full of mediocre/unspectacular outfielders. This would further complicate matters when trying to acquire either Carl Crawford (unlikely) or Jayson Werth.

From the FNO department:
-Fukudome's career OPS+ is 100. League average.
-He will be 34 and the team will pay him more than Matsuzaka's salary for two more years.
-His career high in home runs is 13. Fenway's new Little League dimensions might help his stats a little bit, but otherwise, it's questionable whether he could bring more to the plate than freaking Ryan Kalish.

The team should certainly shop Matsuzaka around for something of value, especially if they want to bid on Lee or have any kind of roster flexibility over the next two years.. Kosuke Fukudome is NOT something of value. He'd only make sense if the team were trying to straight-up dump Matsuzaka like the Patriots dumped Randy Moss. Something that doesn't make sense with this player.


TimC said...

First, Belichick WOULD trade for a third. He loves draft picks. And pretty soon, the consistent investment at the top of the draft is going to leave the Patriots as the deepest, most talented team in football. Massarotti does not ask the only question relevant: does adding Moss back help the Patriots? Find me anyone intelligent who would say no.

On Dice, he is one of my guys so I provide no object analysis. I think he is someone worth holding, though, for two reasons. One (biased), I think he is due for a big season. When will he have it? I do not know. Hoepfully, it is with the Sox.

Two (unbiased), Dice will have a stretch next season where he goes 4-0 and has a sub-2 ERA over five starts. The Sox should hold him until such a hot streak then trade him when some poor sucker thinks Dice has 'figured out MLB'. At that point, the Sox could add a veteran or bring up a young guy or perhaps make room in the rotation if someone is coming off the DL.

TimC said...

*objective, I should have typed.

Also forgot to address Fukudome, so I will: he sucks.

Anonymous said...


No one will read my weekend comment but I found your comment interesting enough to respond.

First, the issue with Belichick is that I think he trades down too much. For every Aaron Hernandez there are a bunch of other second or third round picks that never amount to much. Yes the Patriots have a lot of young players, but I'm not sure you become the most talented team in the league by accumulating mid-level players. What's keeping the Patriots near the top right now is Tom Brady, not Belichick's recent drafting stratgies. It will be interesting to see what the Patriots do with the Raiders first round pick this year. In my opinion they should make the pick and add a blue chip player. In reality, they'll probably trade down.

Having said that, I do agree that adding Moss back would have made the Patriots better, however unrealistic that was.

I agree with you on Dice K. I agree because I think that despite his issues, he still has a ceiling that is higher than anything you would get back for him in a trade. However, I wouldn't mind shipping Dice K out of he was a necessary part of a larger trade to land a very good player. I just think that anyone you are able to get in a one for one trade for Dice K is not going to give you what Dice K is capable of giving you.


the gm at work said...

Tim C,

Maybe it's because I've been skipping out of work early too often to listen to the Sports Radio Jesus and his sidekick with the high-pitched voice, but I'm not completely convinced that the re-addition of Moss would have been a good thing. Throwing bombs and missing by fifteen yards so you can rack up interceptions is worse than overshooting Woodhead and Gronkowski by six yards for incompletions. I believe in the complete change in the offense where the player didn't fit, and I also believe that he would have "blown it up" (Felger's term) if he were to come back.

There's no doubt that Belichick loves third-round picks, but I think he could probably have turned Moss around for a second-round pick if he tried hard enough. Which, of course, he'd trade down for a couple more third- and fourth-round picks. It was definitely a dump in order to change the offense. I also believe there was tampering with Branch even more than the Red Sox tampered with their favorite 64-RBI machine.

Okay, baseball. With the exception of the season where the statistics do not tell the story (even you can admit that, Tim C), Matsuzaka is four games over .500 in the major leagues. If only he pitched the way against good teams as the way he pitches against the Indians and A's, he can add quite a bit of value to the Red Sox. There's no way they should dump him for anything less than full value.

And, as you said plainly, Kosuke Fukudome is not at full value.

TimC said...

Bandi and DV,

Agreed that the Pats do need to actually make a pick before they fulfill their destiny of 'deppest, most-talented' team in the league. I think it will happen because Belichick makes smart picks, when he makes them, and I think the Pats will start cashing in if the new collective bargaining agreement lowers those high-rookie contracts at the top of the first round.

I think Moss would be a plus to the offense but is no guarantee to make the team better. I've always had a theory about soccer that to beat bad teams you need talent and to beat good teams you need intelligence- this might apply here. The way I see it, having Moss gives the Pats a 'plan B' when the offense sputters. If, like in Cleveland, the run game stinks and the short passing offense consistently hits 3rd and 8+, the offense needs to be able to do something different. With Moss, they could do this, but without him they are stuck trying to just get their regular offense to work. Against good teams, it is more important to not turn the ball over, avoid 3rd and long (which happens any time they throw deep to Moss and it is not caught), and control the clock to keep the defense fresh. They did these things in the first half v Jets and did not in the second- look what happened. So, I think adding Moss would have helped in Cleveland but perhaps not so much in the playoffs.

On Dice, I think we are reaching a consensus here- he should be traded but has more value to Boston than to any other club (kind of like Lowell some years back). I think the only acceptable scenario for me is if his presence blocked some super-prospect that just needed MLB innings; in that case, the Sox should eat the contract. Otherwise, what's the point? He is used to Boston, not a real distraction (although occasional annoyance, to some), and gives the Sox presence in an important foreign market. I would like to see them give him one more full, injury-free, non-WBC season before we send him packing because the upside is there.