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CentralChamps21

Looking back and forward

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My thoughts about the season that just ended and how to proceed:

1) The Kimbrel trade was awful - Not because Kimbrel sucked, or because 5+ years of Madrigal and Heuer were the cost. I didn't feel that way on July 30, but the more I've thought about it the more I've come to believe that the Sox shouldn't have made any trades at the deadline. The MLB postseason is always a bit of a crapshoot. Even more so this year with everybody having played 60 games or fewer last year. Even more so for the Sox with two of the most valuable pitchers from the first half of the season, Rodon and Kopech, having a fairly good chance of wearing down, which is exactly what happened. Kimbrel could have been perfect this series and it wouldn't have changed the outcome. If the Sox had Bryant, or Schwarber, or Gallo, or Escobar instead of Kimbrel it still wouldn't have changed the fact that none of the starting pitchers lasted 3 innings. Sox should have just sat on the roster they had and lived with the results. If they don't think Madrigal is the guy they want at 2B, they still could have traded him in the offseason.

2) There is an organizational coaching problem - This goes beyond the drunk guy in charge, though he certainly didn't make anything better. This team is bad at: defensive positioning, holding runners on, swinging and missing too much, hitting too many grounders, and probably a couple other things I can't think of right now. There needs to be an overhaul in how this team uses data and applies it to how the players are coached.

3) There are too many similar hitters - Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, and Jake Burger are all right-handed hitters who swing and miss too much, hit too many balls on the ground, and don't provide much defensive value. I don't think upgrading 2B and RF are going to be enough. I think there need to be some trades to diversify the roster. Trading Abreu or Eloy would be tremendously unpopular, and I'm not saying to do it no matter what, but if a really good return can be had, it needs to be seriously considered.

4) Catching is a problem - I'm a big advocate of Grandal's, and while he's proven his bat belongs in the lineup every day, he's just not working out behind the plate. This is a really tough problem to fix as there is a real scarcity of good alternatives. Nearly every available catcher is either bad with the bat, bad behind the plate, or both. Maybe the return on trading one of the guys listed above needs to be a catcher.

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6 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

 

2) There is an organizational coaching problem - This goes beyond the drunk guy in charge, though he certainly didn't make anything better. This team is bad at: defensive positioning, holding runners on, swinging and missing too much, hitting too many grounders, and probably a couple other things I can't think of right now. There needs to be an overhaul in how this team uses data and applies it to how the players are coached.

 

Agreed here, we have the worst minor leagues in the game again and thats why we will never sustain winning. 

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8 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

I didn't feel that way on July 30, but the more I've thought about it the more I've come to believe that the Sox shouldn't have made any trades at the deadline.

And if we went that route, there would have been so much bitching about the lack of making a deal. 

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1 minute ago, SoxBlanco said:

And if we went that route, there would have been so much bitching about the lack of making a deal. 

So, there would have been bitching? The GM's job is to give the organization the best opportunity to win at least one World Series within the next 3-4 years. It's not the GM's job to choose the path that causes the least bitching by fans on message boards.

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4 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

So, there would have been bitching? The GM's job is to give the organization the best opportunity to win at least one World Series within the next 3-4 years. It's not the GM's job to choose the path that causes the least bitching by fans on message boards.

Yes, of course. Rick made moves trying to win a World Series. Craig and Cesar decided to suck once they got here. 

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2 minutes ago, SoxBlanco said:

Yes, of course. Rick made moves trying to win a World Series. Craig and Cesar decided to suck once they got here. 

Did you read my first paragraph? I argued that the Kimbrel trade was a bad idea even if he put up a 0.00 ERA after the trade. It was the wrong year to trade for rentals.

The Cesar trade was actually the least bad of the ones made because the Sox didn't give up anything of value and someone had to soak up innings at 2B.

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4 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

Did you read my first paragraph? I argued that the Kimbrel trade was a bad idea even if he put up a 0.00 ERA after the trade. It was the wrong year to trade for rentals.

The Cesar trade was actually the least bad of the ones made because the Sox didn't give up anything of value and someone had to soak up innings at 2B.

False. 

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3 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

Did you read my first paragraph? I argued that the Kimbrel trade was a bad idea even if he put up a 0.00 ERA after the trade. It was the wrong year to trade for rentals.

The Cesar trade was actually the least bad of the ones made because the Sox didn't give up anything of value and someone had to soak up innings at 2B.

Yes, I did read your first paragraph. Funny how no Cubs fans complain about the Chapman trade.

If we had won the WS this year and Kimbrel was lights out, nobody would be questioning the trade. 

I don’t disagree with everything you are saying. I just hate the hindsight criticism. And people can say they hated the trade whether we won or lost, but I promise you nobody would be complaining if we won the WS. 

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1 minute ago, SoxBlanco said:

Yes, I did read your first paragraph. Funny how no Cubs fans complain about the Chapman trade.

If we had won the WS this year and Kimbrel was lights out, nobody would be questioning the trade. 

I don’t disagree with everything you are saying. I just hate the hindsight criticism. And people can say they hated the trade whether we won or lost, but I promise you nobody would be complaining if we won the WS. 

2016 was a different year. 2021, with everything that has gone on over the past couple years, wasn't the right time to go all in with this team.

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6 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

2016 was a different year. 2021, with everything that has gone on over the past couple years, wasn't the right time to go all in with this team.

We didn’t go ALL IN this year. 

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2 minutes ago, SoxBlanco said:

We didn’t go ALL IN this year. 

They kind of did, but thankfully they have control of the core still

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Just now, fathom said:

They kind of did, but thankfully they have control of the core still

They did but they acquired all the wrong pieces. 

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24 minutes ago, CentralChamps21 said:

 

The Cesar trade was actually the least bad of the ones made because the Sox didn't give up anything of value and someone had to soak up innings at 2B.

We gave the Indians Pilkington who is a solid pitching prospect. Indians dont miss with those. Im sure he will haunt us for the next 10 years.

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I can kind of see the rationale for the Kimbrel trade - IF they didn't have holes at 2B and RF. Those were WAY more important to fill with Escobar, Baez, Story, Marte, Bryant, etc.

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Team defense is definitely an issue. Sox were ranked 25th in the defensive ranking at fangraphs, the top teams are rarely bad at defense. 

Regarding the loss in the series however there also just was some bad timing. The Sox key relievers kopech, Hendricks and kimbrel all did pretty badly. If 3 of your 4 best relievers have an Era of 9 or higher it is hard to win but those guys aren't that bad. 

Also 3 for 31 with risp in the 3 losses is some bad luck too. 

There also was a little bit of bad managing and also the astros getting some hits on ground balls but the main factor was that starters couldn't go deep and the top pen arms didn't do their job plus hitters not coming through with risp. 

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Can’t have Abreu, Eloy and Vaughn on same team next year. Someone has to go.

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1 hour ago, CentralChamps21 said:

3) There are too many similar hitters - Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, and Jake Burger are all right-handed hitters who swing and miss too much, hit too many balls on the ground, and don't provide much defensive value. I don't think upgrading 2B and RF are going to be enough. I think there need to be some trades to diversify the roster. Trading Abreu or Eloy would be tremendously unpopular, and I'm not saying to do it no matter what, but if a really good return can be had, it needs to be seriously considered.

We decided to trade one of the only guys who was the exact opposite of swing and miss. Madrigal was the perfect compliment to this lineup, sucks we won't have that anymore.

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5 minutes ago, BigHurt3515 said:

We decided to trade one of the only guys who was the exact opposite of swing and miss. Madrigal was the perfect compliment to this lineup, sucks we won't have that anymore.

Yep, for a team that needs power the Sox will miss Madrigal.  

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I know Burger struck out a lot this year but I think there’s a good chance he is not the 25%k player he showed. 
 

Eloy was not good this year, but it’s foolish to declare this year as Eloy moving forward. 

It needs to diversify, but I’m more concerned with the pitching. Offense could have score more, sure. But this is two years in a row, with different guys, where multiple guys each game just cannot throw strikes. Not one starter proved themselves.

Meanwhile Gavin sheets was out there smoking the ball.

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4 minutes ago, bmags said:

I know Burger struck out a lot this year but I think there’s a good chance he is not the 25%k player he showed. 
 

Eloy was not good this year, but it’s foolish to declare this year as Eloy moving forward. 

It needs to diversify, but I’m more concerned with the pitching. Offense could have score more, sure. But this is two years in a row, with different guys, where multiple guys each game just cannot throw strikes. Not one starter proved themselves.

Meanwhile Gavin sheets was out there smoking the ball.

Too early to give up on Eloy but he sure didn't live up to expectations, could be he wasn't 100% coming back from the surgery, I don't think Robert and Grandal were 100% either.

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I think the team was just too young, individually and collectively. Most of the core is very young and one could argue Crochet, Vaughn and Sheets typically wouldn’t be on an MLB roster yet.

As a whole, the regular lineup has only been together a little over a year and for most of that period COVID and injuries kept them from even playing together as a team. Then, for better or worse, the liberal resting of players kept the team out of action as a full unit once everyone *was* finally back.

Given that, how are they supposed to be expected to triumph against the battle hardened elite on the biggest stage when October comes calling?

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31 minutes ago, SpringfieldFan said:

 the liberal resting of players kept the team out of action as a full unit once everyone *was* finally back.

This is a good point and one I was thinking of when I read this article a few weeks back: 

https://sports.yahoo.com/no-days-off-freddie-freeman-pushes-braves-teammates-to-play-every-game-140954730.html

Freddie Freeman is our Jose Abreu, but team philosophy differed a lot here. Its just interesting to me how the Braves and their "no days off" approach has them vying for a league championship while our rested guys looked gassed since the start of the series. We never did play as a team and just couldn't turn it on in the postseason even with all the rest. Looking at the Astros in the final month they played as a team all throughout September, no days off either.

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2 hours ago, Dominikk85 said:

Team defense is definitely an issue. Sox were ranked 25th in the defensive ranking at fangraphs, the top teams are rarely bad at defense. 

Regarding the loss in the series however there also just was some bad timing. The Sox key relievers kopech, Hendricks and kimbrel all did pretty badly. If 3 of your 4 best relievers have an Era of 9 or higher it is hard to win but those guys aren't that bad. 

Also 3 for 31 with risp in the 3 losses is some bad luck too. 

There also was a little bit of bad managing and also the astros getting some hits on ground balls but the main factor was that starters couldn't go deep and the top pen arms didn't do their job plus hitters not coming through with risp. 

Just to note, the Sox were top 10 in defensive value last season under Renteria. We basically had the same position players this year and ended up 17th. Could some of that be missing Robert for half the season? Maybe, but we also didn't have Eloy in LF for 100 games. Also, a lot of the negative value on defense came from Zack Collins being the worst framer in baseball.

That being said, UZR does not take defensive shits into account and the Sox went from being middle of the pack in shifting last year to being in the bottom 5 this year. 

The Sox also went from being 2nd in DRS last year to 26th this year. I do wonder how much of this variance is due to the 60 game season last year though. Even last season, I don't think I ever considered the Sox to be a good defensive team outside of Luis Robert making some crazy catches in center. 

Edited by chw42
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9 minutes ago, chw42 said:

That being said, UZR does not take defensive shits into account and the Sox went from being middle of the pack in shifting last year to being in the bottom 5 this year. 

The Sox also went from being 2nd in DRS last year to 26th this year. I do wonder how much of this variance is due to the 60 game season last year though. Even last season, I don't think I ever considered the Sox to be a good defensive team outside of Luis Robert making some crazy catches in center. 

This is unacceptable, plain and simple. We cannot waste another year being stuck in the stone age. 

edit: is DRS affected by shifting?

Edited by reiks12

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