Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

Three Misconceptions Concerning the 2012 Red Sox

1. That this little guy in the background matters (a lot)-Trust me, I would have liked to see  Roy Oswalt anchoring the latter half of the Red Sox staff. Would he have helped? You bet. Would he have taken some pressure off of Daniel Bard and his attempt at transitioning from setup man to starter? Mhm. Is the Sox staff worse without Oswalt? Yes. But if the Red Sox rotation falters, it will because Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz do not hold up their respective ends of the bargain. Teams do not lean on fifth starters. They rotate them.

2. The lineup configuration is a concern-Look, I think it’s as fun as anyone to go back and forth arguing with some buddies as to where Crawford will hit. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup are legitimate All-Stars. As I have mentioned, Dustin Pedroia is about as offensively versatile as it gets. In a perfect world, would I have him hit in the two hole? Sure. But something tells me Pedroia is going to be slotted closer to the middle part of the order. On several occasions, Bobby Valentine has downplayed the importance of having a set lineup. He will likely use many different variations. Also, Valentine has indicated that he prefers to view a nine-man lineup as bunches of smaller sets of mini-lineups–if that makes sense. In other words, the lineup may technically begin with Jacoby Ellsbury and end with Jose Iglesias (see what I did right there?). However, Valentine may see three lineups within the larger one (1-3, 4-6, 7-9). He will likely attempt to put together the best three mini-lineups he can. But here’s the point: Valentine could have Rob Gronkowski decide who hits where for the 2012 Red Sox, and they’re still going to push across north of 800 runs.

3. The Red Sox are cheap-Silly. Beyond silly. I don’t want to hear about Liverpool. I don’t care if John Henry and Co. fly to England and literally burn their money in the center of London. As long as the Red Sox annual payroll flirts with $180MM, don’t complain. If the Red Sox brass spent over a $100MM on one player last offseason and one this offseason, no one would be griping in message boards or on sports talk radio. Instead, they hired Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford last winter. Gripe about how they choose to spend their dough, just don’t tell me they don’t spend it.

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4 thoughts on “Three Misconceptions Concerning the 2012 Red Sox

  1. Edward Margerum on said:

    I’m interested in seeing how Dice-K does with his Tommy John arm and a manager who speaks Japanese. I won’t be surprised if he surprises. That opinion is based on little aside from hope.

    I agree that hitting shouldn’t be a big concern as long as the pitching holds up. If the pitching goes south, hitting generally drops off as batters start pressing to compensate.

    100% agree that John Henry isn’t cheap. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see payroll decline with Theo gone. At times, Theo overspent. Cherington may be less apt to throw money around.

  2. Ed, great to hear from you. I’m excited to see Dice-K and Bobby Valentine work together. Valentine speaks Japanese relatively fluently, I believe. In the past, he has criticized the Red Sox handling of Dice-K. He could end up being a nice addition to the team down the stretch.

    Skipping to your final point, Epstein certainly became liberal with spending in the latter half of his tenure with the Red Sox. If ownership was hesitant to spend the extra dollar, Epstein and his multiple World Series pedigree had the cache to convince them otherwise. If Ben Cherington wins, I would expect the same. In the interim, Cherington will likely attempt to operate in a more fiscally responsible fashion.

    • Edward Margerum on said:

      Theo made some good trades and deals, but he made his share of head scratchers, like Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena. Bronson was never going to be a top of the line AL pitcher but he was always going to be more valuable than Wily Mo. Theo made too many “what if” and “then a miracle happens” deals. The new CBA will reduce “deadline trades for a player bearing a future draft pick” deals that Theo liked. Eric Gagne was a bust and Theo gave away prospects to get him, but he got new prospects to trade away for future busts! OOooh!

  3. You bring up some good points again, Ed. Epstein left the Red Sox is a bit of a tough financial situation. However, he did a great job in locking up guys like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Kevin Youkilis with team-friendly deals that still allowed the players to get paid, while garnering some security.

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