Tag Archives: Jake Peavy

This Week in Boston Baseballing, July 25 – July 31 Trade Deadline Bonanza Edition

From SFGate.com

From SFGate.com

The Red Sox dropped two of three to the Rays in Tampa Bay over the weekend. (But only one of the losses was a shutout!) Boston followed that up by getting swept at home by the Blue Jays. All that turned out to be prelude for the busiest trade deadline in team history. The home crowd sensed it: By the end of the Toronto series the night of July 30, with news of a Jon Lester trade already imminent, fans at Fenway Park were chanting “Jon-ny Lest-er! Jon-ny Lest-er!” as the Jays put the finishing touch on the sweep.

Lester and Gomes Traded To Oakland
The trading partner (the Athletics) and the return (Yoenis Cespedes) may have been a surprise, but Jon Lester being sent to a top contender for a spot in the World Series was not. On NBC Sports, Craig Calcaterra categorized the trade as a Win-Win:

It’s more complicated for Boston, obviously, but it all comes down to what you think of the Red Sox’ chances to contend in 2015. If you think they’re sunk and need to rebuild, sure, you lament the fact that you didn’t get prospects. I don’t think that’s the case however. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to think they’ll bounce back in 2015 and adding Cespedes to what has been a troublesomely non-productive outfield is a big boost in that regard. No, he was not indispensable in Oakland, but he’s coming to a good hitters park in Boston and represents a solid upgrade. On defense too, where he will be paired in the outfield with Jackie Bradley Jr., giving the Sox some awesome D in the outfield.

The idea that Boston was looking toward 2015 was the conventional wisdom from several other observers too.

 

On top of that reasoning, it was comforting to note that Cespedes’ 17 homers in 2014 would have been mostly of the ‘no-doubt’ variety if they were hit in Fenway Park.

John Lackey to the Cardinals
With news still settling on the Lester deal, word came Thursday early afternoon that John Lackey and his quite desirable $500k 2015 salary was headed to St. Louis in exchange for OF Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly. Craig’s WAR as of yesterday was -0.4 as his batting average and OBP have taken a major hit due to some bad batted ball luck (.368 BABIP in 2013 vs. .281 in 2014). He has in theory, however, bounce back potential over the long-term although he is already 30 years old.

Equally intriguing is Kelly, a 26-year-old right-hander with an underwhelming K/9 ratio but a high rate of ground balls induced. St. Louis has used him as a reliever for a portion of this season but his long-term value is as a mid-rotation starter who is still under club control for four more years.

Dave Cameron on FanGraphs doesn’t see the team’s sudden stockpile of right-handed hitting outfielders (Craig, Cespedes, Victorino) as an issue…yet:

The Red Sox are in asset collection mode. Joe Kelly is a pretty nifty asset to collect, and Allen Craig is a lottery ticket who might be good, might be terrible, or might not last very long in Boston. There’s no way of knowing what the 2015 Red Sox are going to look like, but they’re doing a nice job of giving themselves options. Their current pieces don’t all fit together, but they’ve got another eight months to figure out who should stay and who should go.

On ESPN Insider, Keith Law was less enthusiastic about the return on Lackey, but only because Law is operating under the dubious assumption that the pitcher would indeed pitch for the league minimum in 2015. (Spoiler alert: he wouldn’t…)

Craig’s only due $25.5 million over the next three years. So even if he only gets back to a 2-WAR level, he’ll be a good value. If he’s still limited by the Lisfranc fracture he suffered in his foot last year, perhaps another offseason of rest will help restore his old production.

Was Lackey worth more than this given his salary for next year? Assuming he’s true to his word and won’t hold out or demand an extension, I think he was, yes. He’s worth $15-20 million for a full season on the open market. His thrifty contract makes him incredibly valuable for one year, perhaps even valuable enough that his team deserved a higher-impact player than either Craig or Kelly.

Jake Peavy Goes to the Giants
Like Calcaterra’s view on the Lester/Cespedes deal, Tony Blengino on FanGraphs applauded the Peavy deal as a Win-Win for both sides:

The Red Sox and Giants struck a Saturday morning near-trading deadline special, with Jake Peavy headed west in exchange for pitching prospects Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, with the clubs splitting Peavy’s $5M remaining 2014 salary. As with most of this month’s trades to date, real, actual, solid prospects were netted by the selling club. In this case, they’re both pretty close to big league ready. Before anyone rushes to call this a clear win for the Giants – Peavy is 1-9, 4.72, for the season, after all – let’s take a closer look at what the Giants are getting, and how Peavy fits into his new environment.

We wish Peavy luck in San Fran, where he should see a reversal of fortune thanks to a larger outfield in his home park that will potentially suppress a few homers over the final two months. As Blengino noted, that one win over the span of nearly four months can’t be blamed on a simple loss of stuff from Peavy.

Truth be told, post-peak Jake Peavy was never a particularly good fit in Fenway Park. He has always been a fairly extreme fly ball pitcher, and that in general is not a good thing to be in that environment. Utilizing my own 2013 park factors, based on granular batted ball data, Fenway had the second highest fly ball park factor, at a whopping 151.1. It’s been ever worse in 2014, at 165.5. Routine fly balls often become doubles in Fenway. Overall, including all batted ball types, Fenway had the highest doubles park factor in 2013, at 125.

Drew to the Yankees; Miller to the Orioles
Finally, the Sox let their two division rivals sweat it out a while on Thursday before dealing a couple of useful veterans to the Yankees and Orioles as they tool up for what could be a hotly contested AL East race. By the time news of these two deals came through just before 4 p.m., they almost felt like afterthoughts. However, the Red Sox acquired another top 100 left-handed pitching prospect from the O’s in 21-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez. Boston saves some cash by sending the remaining two months of Stephen Drew’s contract to New York in exchange for Kelly Johnson. Any other year, this could be looked upon by cynics as the team unnecessarily aiding its biggest rival. But with Oakland adding Lester to its staff and Detroit swinging a trade for David Price, the marginal upgrade of adding Drew does little to shift the balance of power in the American League pennant race away from three clear favorites in Oakland, Detroit and Anaheim.

Theo Poaches Doubront
Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein acquired Felix Doubront from Boston on Wednesday in exchange for a player to be named later. A sly move on Epstein’s part, he gets a durable left-handed starter for what is likely to be pennies on the dollar.

One More Year of Koji?
For those lamenting a less recognizable roster in 2015, Sean McAdam reported Monday that executives in the industry expected the Red Sox to extend a qualifying offer to Koji Uehara for 2015. The club resisted the urge to deal the closer as part of its myriad dealings yesterday, electing instead to retain him for the remainder of the season in order to keep its qualifying offer in tact.


If the Sox dealt Uehara, there would be nothing to stop them from attempting to re-sign him after the season, as they might do in the case of a trade involving either Miller or Lester…But they would lose the mechanism of the qualifying offer and have to compete with other teams, some of whom might be willing to give him more than a year. If the Sox hold onto Uehara and he’s offered $15 million for next season, it’s inconceivable that he would turn that down.

Could Christian Vazquez Be the Goods?
On FoxSports.com, Gabe Kapler wrote that Boston’s 3-2 win against the Rays on Sunday was due in large part to the rookie catcher’s “quiet glove”:

It took an advanced receiver to effectively manage the likes of Allen Webster on this day. Webster featured a heavy sinker and was all over the strike zone, in and out, throwing 42 strikes and 44 balls. A handful of those strikes were a figment of the umpire’s imagination, a credit to Vazquez’s confident, delicate pitch-framing ability….

Throughout the game, however, Vazquez handled every type of pitch beautifully – and in various locations. He set up quietly, displaying his target with ideal timing, was visibly invested in the batter’s setup, and in charge of the pitcher at every turn. Additionally, he manipulated and condensed his body to present an ideal target.

With the influx of pitching talent on its way to Boston over the past week, it’s nice to know that the team has two of the game’s best catching prospects in Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

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Terse Predictions: 2013 World Series Game 3, Boston @ St. Louis

Probably tragically inaccurate forecasts as the Red Sox and Cardinals meet tonight at Busch Stadium for a pivotal swing game with the 2013 World Series knotted up at one win apiece.

1. The sloppy defense in the first two games is contagious. Each team will commit at least one error in Game 3.

2. Boston will have five runners LOB in the first three innings.

3. Jake Peavy will give up at least one run in the first two innings.

4. Peavy will lay down one successful bunt in the ballgame.

5. St. Louis starter Joe Kelly will throw less than 90 pitches.

6. A total of three home runs will be hit in the ballgame.

7. Will Middlebrooks will double sometime in the later innings.

8. Quintin Berry will pinch run but will not steal any bases.

9. Brandon Workman will come into the game before the 8th inning.

10. At least one Red Sox hitter will start and see single-digit pitches overall in the game.

Terse Predictions: ALCS Game 4, Boston @ Detroit

The accuracy rate for these forecasts is getting embarrassing. But on we go.

1. A day after Jonny Gomes did the same, Daniel Nava will make another nice diving catch in left field.

2. Neither starter will get through six innings. Jake Peavy will pitch 5 ⅔; Doug Fister will pitch 5 ⅓.

3. Fox will milk the whole “Jake Peavy likes cursing at himself on the mound” element. The camera will catch him saying “fuck” and variations of “fuck” on four separate occasions.

4. Xander Bogaerts will score a run in the ballgame.

5. Detroit will hit two home runs in the game.

6. The final score of Game 4 won’t look like a soccer match, although Comerica Park will continue to sound like a European football stadium thanks to Tigers fans’ singing the chorus to “Seven Nation Army” in unison.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, Sept. 20 – 26

The Red Sox won two of three at home against the Blue Jays over the weekend and then split a two-game set in Colorado that was bookended by two days off on Monday and Thursday. Boston has just three games left in the regular season against the Orioles at Camden Yards beginning tonight. The team will then have four days off leading up to Game 1 of the ALDS at Fenway Park on Friday, October 4.

Boston Clinches the American League East
On Friday night, the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays to secure the 2013 AL East crown. The Red Sox remain in a fight with the Oakland Athletics for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. As of Friday morning, Boston was two games ahead of the A’s for the best record in the AL. The team’s 96 wins is the most since 2007 and the team has a chance to at least match the 98 wins it had in 2004 with a couple of victories this weekend. A series sweep would give Boston 99 wins, a benchmark last achieved in 1978.

Red Sox AL East champs

Anyway, it would be fair to say that team owner John Henry is…uh, reasonably excited but maybe slightly jaded and underwhelmed by simple feats like merely “Winning the American League East.”

Sox ownership cheering clincher

Boston’s Run Differential On Par With 2004, 2007 … and 1950
The Red Sox enter tonight’s game with a run differential of +190, which is 10 runs better than in 2004 (+180) and 20 runs behind the 2007 team (+210) that paced the AL from wire to wire. The Gold standard for dominance, however, was the 1950 team, which had a run differential of +219.

Is The Playoff Rotation Set?
Boston will run out Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey over the weekend against Baltimore. This could very well be the playoff pecking order starting next Friday, although things could certainly change between now and then.

Jake Peavy threw 110 pitches in his win Wednesday night in Colorado. There is a pretty good chance he’ll start one of the ALDS games and it might make sense to make sure it happens at Fenway Park, depending on how seriously the Sox deem his home/road splits since becoming a Red Sox. Peavy has thrown only 21 of his 64 ⅔ innings with the team at Fenway Park, but he went seven innings in each start and struck out 22 batters in those 21 frames. Who the Sox face may be a primary factor. One of Peavy’s home starts was against a potential ALDS opponent, the Detroit Tigers, on July 25. In that game, he went 7.0 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 3 HR and 4 ER.

Ticket Demand for the Postseason Is Strong
According to TiqIQ, the average price for an ALDS ticket is $373. However, so far the lower-end resale market looks reasonable. Tickets for standing room only and bleachers range from about $100-200. (Pictured below, nearly 300 tickets for Section 36 are available for Friday night’s Game 1).

TiqIq Fenway ALDS

On Todd Helton Night, Will Middlebrooks Has His Own Todd Helton Night
Bobbleheads were doled out, family photos incorporating a purple-clad horse were taken, and the man of the hour even hit a timely first-inning homer. But Will Middlebrooks paced a vicious Boston attack that included 15 runs by hitting two home runs and collecting seven RBI. If the young Red Sox third baseman keeps this up for the next decade and a half, we may just be seeing WMB receive a commemorative horse in the shadow of the Green Monster someday.

Helton night ruined

Incidentally, why don’t the Red Sox incorporate horses into their on-field celebrations anymore? Watching Johnny Gomes kick beer cans into the stands is fun – if a bit dangerous – but, back in the day, watching players wave to the fans from the top of police horses always felt kind of classy.

Mo Vaughn on police horse

Red Sox Rookies Enjoy Some Good Old-Fashioned Hazing
Boston rookies Drake Britton, Brandon Workman, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Steven Wright and Brock Holt were photographed wearing Scottish kilts earlier this week.

Look kids! Team-building doesn’t have to involve sodomy!

Sox rookies in kilts

This Week in Boston Baseballing, Aug. 30 – Sept. 5

Boston swept its three-game set against the Chicago White Sox last weekend and then took two of three from Detroit. The Sox capped off the week by handing the Yankees a demoralizing defeat in the first game of its four-game series in the Bronx. New York battled back from a 7-2 deficit to take a 8-7 lead before Mariano Rivera, who looks like he could pitch another 10 years, had a rare blown save.

Thanks to Tampa Bay’s struggles in Anaheim and Oakland, the Red Sox were able to increase their lead in the AL East to 6 ½ games. Boston’s lead over Detroit for the AL’s best record stands at three games. Despite the loss to Boston last night, the Yankees have seen their playoff odds increase 6.0 percentage points to 10% during the past week while Tampa’s West Coast slide has dropped its odds from about 86% to 74%, based on the Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds page.

Boston Wins in 10 Innings In New York
The Red Sox appeared to be on their way to a fairly comfortable win Thursday night before the Yankees exploded for six runs in the 7th inning. If this game had been played a week ago, Boston may have lost. The Sox scratched out a run in the ninth off Rivera thanks to a two-out single from Mike Napoli, who was lifted for pinch-runner Quintin Berry, a speed-first guy who is a luxury that can only be afforded on a 40-man roster. Berry promptly stole second and moved to third after the throw short-hopped Captain Jetes and wound up in shallow left field.*

quintin berry takes 3rd

*Dennis Eckersley did his best John Madden in Super Bowl XXXVI impression by initially questioning why Berry would be stealing second base with two outs in the 9th inning. You can almost hear the instant NESN producers were in his ear and good old Eck quickly did the right thing by mentioning Dave Roberts.

The Yankees provided to final two blunders of the night: Alfonso Soriano insisted on stealing every base possible against Craig Breslow, leading to his pickoff trying to steal third with one out in the ninth. And with the game in the balance, Joe Girardi brought Joba Chamberlain in for the 10th inning. If Joe Girardi promises to continue using one of his worst relievers in high-leverage, late-innings spots, Boston fans ought to start routing for New York to sneak into the playoffs.

girardi is disappointed

Boston Peppers the Fenway Stands During Eight-HR Night
The Sox hit dingers all over the park on Wednesday night. Daniel Nava’s two-run home run in the 6th inning, one of eight home runs hit by the team, chose a hefty fan’s face as its landing pad. Sure, this poor woman getting a face-full of beer thanks to the jackass sitting next to her got all the attention. But the fallout for this guy over the past couple of days has probably been a lot worse…

David Ortiz Collects His 2,000th Hit
Big Papi doubled off Al Alburquerque on Wednesday night during a 6th inning in which the Red Sox batted around and scored eight runs to turn the rubber game against Detroit into a blowout. Ortiz would later hit a homer in the 8th inning to pace the Red Sox’s 20-4 victory.

Boston Makes Some Roster Moves
During a season in which the Red Sox have remained relatively healthy as a team throughout, the September roster moves were exactly what a fan hopes for – marginal acquisitions and call-ups that add depth rather than address serious holes. The Red Sox acquired utility infielder John McDonald from Philadelphia in one of those “ depth” moves that probably spells doom if the player actually sees any at-bats in October. As part of September roster expansion, the Sox also recalled youngsters Rubby de la Rosa and Ryan Lavarnway. Matt Thornton and Brandon Snyder were also activated off the disabled list.

Lester Outduels Scherzer
Jon Lester faced off against Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer on Tuesday night and came away victorious, 2-1. Lester allowed one run, struck out nine batters and walked none while Scherzer walked three Red Sox and gave up two runs. The game will undoubtedly be pointed to later this month by advocates of Lester as Boston’s Game 1 playoff starter (if the Sox have the luxury to align the rotation). The whole decision could hinge on who has the best Angry Face on the team:

lester angry

Boston Herald Photo

lackey angry espn

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Buchholz Sets A Return Date?
Clay Buchholz made his last rehab start on Thursday night, throwing 71 pitches and striking out five batters in 3 2/3 innings. Clay could be back on the mound for Boston as soon as Tuesday night, assuming the Red Sox are keeping him on a relatively normal throwing schedule.

Theo Decides to Give Daniel Bard Another Whirl
Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein claimed Daniel Bard off waivers Wednesday after Boston designated the embattled right-handed reliever for assignment.

USA Today Names A ‘Minor League Player of the Year’?
They do. And this year’s winner was Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts joins some fairly lofty company – Andruw Jones (twice!), Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton as well as former Red Sox Gabe Kapler (1998) and Josh Beckett (2001).