Friday, July 22, 2011

Perkins Redux

Here's an idea:  The Red Sox have the best record in the American League.  They are getting decent production out of their shortstop position and since the departure of medical staff victim Mike Cameron, they're getting decent production out of their right field position.  Their pitching staff is sort of a wild card because of the sporadic effectiveness of Wakefield and Lackey and the injuries to the three good pitchers on the staff, and losses caused by Bobby Jenks have even been minimized.  Therefore, I have a modest proposal:

Don't trade for anybody.

This team was constructed as the best team in baseball history, correct?  Similar to the Celtics' starting five never losing a playoff series?  Why mess with what has worked so far?  So why are the Red Sox entertaining the thoughts of acquiring...
-An injury-prone guy past his prime who has had a lackluster career since 2004?
-A guy, once heralded as a future star, who has fallen off the face of the earth since 2008, being labeled as a malcontent, a whiner, and a guy who can't accept a role as a role player?  Not to mention the fact that he was relegated in favor of Angel freaking Pagan.  So, in other words, a cranky version of Jeremy Hermida?

Let's start with Francoeur.  Yup, I remember the Sports Illustrated cover, too.  But shortly after that cover came out, this player started hitting .230 for several month long stretches, got traded for next to nothing, got crushed by fans and teammates alike in Atlanta after being traded, pouted again in New York after being benched (for Beltran, funny enough), and then signed a cheap contract with the Royals and has played pretty much to the low contract expectations.  Look at the numbers, folks.  Would this guy give you anything better than the numbers Josh Reddick would give you?  If you are falling in love with the idea of HEY HES A RITEY!!1, we're talking about a guy who could poison a clubhouse if put into a Darnell McDonald-level role.  No thanks, I've already had the Shea Hillenbrand experience.

How about Beltran?  He's not a bad player, but the guy who made about $50 million in a month during October 2004 is NOT the player who made that money.  He's got a contract coming up this winter once again, but injuries have eroded this poor guy's game.  He's leading the NL in doubles, which is sort of intriguing, especially if you translate Citi Field into Fenway Park numbers.  But almost $7 million PLUS a top-tier prospect for potential that would probably max out at the Jason Bay level?  I think enough money is already committed to the right field merry-go-round.  I'd prefer to see what Reddick can do.

A late name thrown out there while I was authoring this post would be Hunter Pence.  That, on the other hand, is salivating.  But Peter Abraham is speculating that the Astros will be looking for too much, and knowing the fact that the Astros have some Red Sox insiders there (specifically their manager), I'm thinking the Astros won't be looking for any "fake" prospects.  Plus, the Red Sox are supposedly very high on two outfielders in their own system right now with Reddick and Ryan Kalish.  Is it worth blocking their way to the position soon to be vacated by Drew?

My suggestion is to not mess with the mojo, very similar to my post about Drew versus Reddick.  Let the hot hand ride out the rest of the season.  When Theo messed with the mojo in the most spectacular way back in 2004 (I was against this trade as well), he did it to fix (his words) a "fatal flaw" defensively.  I don't see such a fatal flaw in this team unless Clay Buchholz is going in for surgery.  There's no reason to shake things up.


Anonymous said...


I don't care if the Sox make a trade or not around the deadline (though some deal, big or small, almost always gets made before September 1st), just so long as they don't trade any prospect of significance for someone like Beltran or Francoeur. Unless you can get Beltran on the cheap (especially necessary because there are no compensatory picks if he's not re-signed) there's no reason to go that route. As long as JD Drew doesn't see the field that much in the coming months the outfield is set. As for the rotation, who is available? Maybe Jimenez (though NL guys scare everybody) but that's really it and the Rockies are sure to be asking a ton. This team is good enough as it is and any tinkering should be minor.

On yesterday's post, more specifically, on Bandi's comment--Ellsbury, so far, has been what everyone thought he'd be back in 2007. Maybe he's not the MVP of the league, but he's certainly one of the five best players the Red Sox have, and with such a deep team, that's saying something. He's also among the best CF's in baseball, a position of added value.

Now, my only fear is that he has an unreal year next year and gets signed by New York to play either CF or LF (with Granderson playing the other spot). It almost makes too much sense--he'd see his home runs jump with the short right field and LF is the big field in New York so his speed wouldn't go to waste as Crawford's has in Boston. If the Red Sox let that happen it would be an absolute sin.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

you're in luck there gunn. brett gardner is batting .291/.372/.419, .322/.404/.463 since april 23, which is about ellsbury's line. while that's not quite what ellsbury is doing offensively this season, gardner actually has the longer track record of this type of offensive performance, whereas this is more of a bubble from ellsbury until he does it for a longer period of time. gardner is also a better defender and (slightly) better baserunner. he has a few more steals (not that i put much weight into that element of it) but more importantly the only player in baseball whose defensive + baserunning (essentially non-batting) metrics have provided more value is elvis andrus. and he's 5 times cheaper, and stands to be such for the coming years. not that the yankees would let that get in the way, but if they can get a similar player for less that they already know in their clubhouse i think they will. unless the yankees want to think about not bringing swisher back when his deal is up (and i think they'd need to see more from ellsbury before doing that considering how great swisher has been for them) i don't think you'll see ellsbury in pinstripes anytime soon. that makes me as happy as it makes you.

- pf

Anonymous said...

just as a general point about gardner because i love this stat: he also leads the majors in pitches seen per plate appearance. seems like the yankees have the guy who is tops in this stat every year, and if they don't have 2 or 3 in the top 5. i really like that.

John said...

Just throwing this out there but according to fangraphs, Ellsbury has a 5.0 WAR while Gardner has a 3.9 WAR. Although Gardner has a better UZR and whatever metric they use for baserunning. Anyway, I'd like to see them get a long term deal for Ellsbury but with Boras as his agent, I doubt it will happen.

On the trade front, I absolutely agree. Don't trade for anyone. Sox are doing fine as is, hopefully now that Crawford is back he can do something for the stretch, plus getting Lester and Buccholz back will be a big help as well. No need to panic and trade away a good prospect for 2-3 months of Beltran.

Anonymous said...

john - there is no doubt that ellsbury is having the better season. if i didn't make that clear i apologize, and i meant to mention ellsbury's superior fWAR (although we are talking about the 3rd vs. 10th best fWAR in the AL, so two very productive players to date).

my point was just that given gardner's superiority in other facets of the game, and the fact that his offensive output is similar to that of ellsbury's even if not as good, makes he and ellsbury very similar players. that makes it very unlikely that the yankees would replace gardner with ellsbury. especially because they are the same age, gardner is cheaper, he is a known entity with this club, and has a slightly longer and significantly less erratic track record of performance than ellsbury, who is flashing this kind of production for the first time since he initially came up 4 years ago. prior to this season ellsbury had a career ops+ of 92, and now he is showing a 140. so we'll have to wait to see where he is going to settle in. the same can be said of gardner, but to a lesser extent because he hasn't shown the basement nor the ceiling that ellsbury has, putting him on more even ground, at least for the last 2 seasons.

- pf

Anonymous said...


Can you give us any update on the NFL labor situation? I don't think there was enough coverage on ESPN last night.

On the trade front I completely agree with what you are saying with the Sox. With guys like Ellsbury and Pedroia really starting to step up and get the job done, I'm not sure you need to bring in anyone else on the offense. Hopefully the pitching heals up well and you don't need to make a move there.

However, I don't think the Perkins analogy really holds. The Celtics got upset after trading a guy that couldn't run, couldn't jump, couldn't catch, and struggled to make layups. It was ridiculous. All that guy did was clog up space in the paint on defense. Not saying that's a bad thing, but I've never understood why coaches get so excited for big bodies with absolutely no offensive ability. The C's were just making excuses.


Anonymous said...

now, with all of that said, if gardner was on another team now, the two of them hit the open market at the same time, and the yankees had a need in left field, that changes the analysis. then you have to look at where they are performance wise at that time, further dissect how their skillset fits in with the yankees, who projects better, what they cost comparatively, etc. it's just that since the yankees already have gardner, he would have to be dealt or see a significant fall-off in perforance for the yankees to consider replacing him with a guy like ellsbury. that was point, i wasn't trying to take away from ellsbury in comparison to gardner.

- pf

John said...


You made it perfectly clear, I was just curious about the numbers and decided to look them up. I guess I didn't mention this, although I should have, but I didn't go back and look into past years because I didn't want it to really become a gardner/ellsbury debate. There is absolutely something to be said for solid value over time as opposed to value that is distributed more like a sine curve.

Anonymous said...

good stuff john. i just didn't want it to come off like i was saying gardner is the clearly better player or something. as good as gardner has been this year, ellsbury has clearly been better offensively, he's having a spectacular season. i was just saying that gardner is a better fit for the yankees given all of the circumstances.

great to have you back in the comments section more regularly by the way, i always enjoy your analysis.

the gm at work said...

I'm not sure how my discussion of Pence, Francoeur, and Beltran turned into yet another 46 slobber-fest. I didn't know that we were sunning ourselves in Arizona with a minor injury or having an executive powwow/three ring binder brainstorming session over in Newport Beach, California here. While we're at it, can we get started on justifying JD Drew getting a raise because his OBP is a tick higher than league average?

Okay, I'm done making that joke. Let's give it one clap for my modest accomplishment and move on.

Listen, I believe 46 has had a fine season for the most part. I still believe he has some incredible flaws, including his ability to judge fly balls and his overall baserunning IQ. These are largely obscured by the fact that he's fast, and his speed can cover up the fact that many parts of his game suck.

As far as his MVP or, the way you guys are talking, Hall of Fame credentials, go? How about we wait to see if he gets more than zero hits this weekend before we go into that.

I have stated my opinion here clearly that I think 46 is one of the dumbest and most tone-deaf baseball players I have ever seen play. The guy weighs about 160 and thinks he's a power hitter from time to time. When he's swinging for the fences, he sucks and he's a pop-out-to-shortstop machine (see my post from May 8). Flying high off of his 2-homer performance on Wednesday, I fully expect him to go 0-13 this weekend.

I'm glad someone mentioned Gonzalez (John, I think it was you), and I disagree fully about the Gonzalez effect on 46. As I wrote in a post on June 14th, I think being around Gonzalez has helped 46 immensely. He'd be the same stubborn wannabe-power hitter he's always been if not for Gonzalez. Gonzalez has taught this team (minus JD Drew, who is unwilling to learn) how to go with the pitch thrown at you. How to hit an outside pitch with authority to the opposite field. 46, knowing that there's future earnings potential to be gathered by not trying to hit the ball as hard as he can every time up, has emulated Gonzalez's game. For the fact alone that he may have somehow transformed 46 into a half-decent major league player, Gonzalez is the most valuable player on this team.

Got some semi-serious insight in there. One clap for my modest accomplishments.

Y'all have a good weekend.