FanDuel - WFBC

August 02, 2009

Weekend Buzz: Strong acquisitions put BoSox, Phils ahead: Winners and losers after the MLB trading deadline last Friday.

posted by jemikeos to baseball at 10:08 PM - 20 comments

As a Yankee fan, I hated to see V. Martinez go to the Red Sox. The closest thing to a silver lining is that the Sox kept Buchholz and traded Justin Masterson. Both are young, but Masterson seems to keep on getting better whereas Buchholz seems to get worse. I don't know about Bryan Price, but Nick Hagadone is a very promising prospect. For this season, however, getting Martinez is exactly what the Sox needed to do. It doesn't bode well for my Yanks.

posted by pullmyfinger at 10:12 AM on August 03

Both are young, but Masterson seems to keep on getting better whereas Buchholz seems to get worse.

Uh, based on what exactly? Buchholz has dominated triple-A, he's been rocked once at the major league level and the only reason he was not getting a turn every 5 days is because Boston is deep. Masterson had an extended run in the rotation this year and was fair at best. He looks trapped as a quality reliever with durability whose consistency as a starter is so-so.

posted by dfleming at 11:50 AM on August 03

The Buchholz bit seems a little hard to understand; what I meant is that he's dominated most of the year and he's hiccuped at the big league level. He's got big league stuff and over the long term, I think he settles down to be a 4-5 starter with 1-2 potential.

posted by dfleming at 11:55 AM on August 03

Both are young, but Masterson seems to keep on getting better whereas Buchholz seems to get worse.

Buchholz's big remaining problem is his fast ball location. In AAA he can get away with a few mis-located fast balls, but at the major league level, not so. His fast ball runs about 94 or 95, but has little movement. His best pitches are his sinker (92 - 93), curve, and change-up. He has to throw his fast ball effectively to set those up, and so far he has not done so. It is a matter of time with him. Many of the premier pitchers in the game had the same problem, and in fairness they got over it more quickly than Buchholz has so far, but Buchholz's potential is so great that Boston will not give up on him until the evidence against him is overwhelming.

posted by Howard_T at 01:04 PM on August 03

I like the sox trading for Martinez. I like Masterson, but he's yet to prove he can get left handers out. And he was being pushed down the ladder of relievers.

But the Sox lack of a #3 is glaring right now. Buchholz has a lot of potential, but he certainly hasn't proven he can get it done at this level. His deer in the headlights look every time something goes wrong is frustrating. I wouldn't have hesitated to trade Buchholz for a pitcher of Halladay's quality.

I wouldn't be shocked if he became a #1 or #2, but I also wouldn't be shocked if doesn't make it or works out as a bottom of the rotation guy (brilliant at times, but inconsistent). If that latter happens, it's going to suck for boston, as his trade value has already peaked.

I don't think the Yankees are losers. Their offense would be difficult to improve, and right now i like their starting pitching more than the Sox. But I really thought they'd make a run for Halladay. That they didn't shows me maybe they are under some sort of budget in NY.

posted by justgary at 02:13 PM on August 03

he's been rocked once at the major league level and the only reason he was not getting a turn every 5 days is because Boston is deep

Neither of these things is true. Buchholz has had 3 bad outings in his 4 appearances since returning (and shows no promise of turning things around) and the Sox currently have a 2 man rotation. Other than that, what Gary & Howard said.

posted by yerfatma at 02:54 PM on August 03

The Sox getting Martinez is huge, because he's a fantastic hitter. I'm not thinking they're planning on him being a replacement for Varitek, though, since having him (Martinez) behind the plate won't do anything to keep him healthy, and health is the only big concern with the guy. If Lowell is on his way out, and Youk is the man to replace him at third (meaning Martinez will be the first baseman), then that solves the "where to put him" issue.

As for the Phillies getting Lee, that's a major move for them, as would have been getting Halladay. It seems top pitchers going from the AL to the NL dominate even more, if that's possible, and I think Lee will be a perfect example of that. He'll get some run support with the Phillies, and he'll be able to pile up crucial wins for them.

posted by dyams at 06:34 PM on August 03

It seems top pitchers going from the AL to the NL dominate even more, if that's possible
I wonder, how much of that is that literally, the NL is only 8/9ths as good as the AL? Granted, they only get 8/9ths of the amount of offensive support as well. Or maybe it's that AL pitchers are used to going until they are tired/ineffective, whereas an NL guy might get pulled for strategic reasons, leaving the AL aces that make that mid-season transition coming to a league where they have more stamina, or are more used to working out of jams because there are no automatic outs, etc.

The Phillies getting Lee was a great move; they didn't really weaken in any way, and now they have a 1-2 that could send them deep into October. Love it or hate it, but you can basically win a World Championship on the backs of two hot starting pitchers with even league-average hitting.

The Sox started the season seemingly too deep in their rotation. Now they seem too shallow, but let's not be too quick to judge. Lester worked out his early kinks and is in the form that makes him a lefty ace, and Beckett is my hands-down Cy Young in the AL this year to this point. There are your two aces, and in the wings you have Wakefield as an 11-3 All-Star before his sciatica issue due back relatively soon. And who knows, now that Dice-K is "with the program", he may come back showing us more than just glimmers of what we've seen at his best. When you're potentially #4 after August 18th is a guy who went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA last year, well-rested and apparently resolved to work with the Sox training and pitching regimen, the Sox might be in really good shape for that stretch run.

What may make that irrelevent is that even with apparently their whole lineup going into a slump for all of July, they didn't fall out of contention. Now, Bay, Ellsbury, Drew, Lowell, Pedroia, Youkilis and Ortiz are all hitting again and they've added V. Martinez to that pool so that C/1B/3B/DH can have rotating days off. That is a terrifically potent offense, when their weakest hitters are potentially league average or better in Lowrie and this kid Reddick (who is fighting to stick around). If that lineup is hot in August, even guys like Penny and Smoltz can go 5-6 semi-shitty innings, have the excellent bullpen finish up the last 3 frames, and still pick up the W with a bunch of crooked numbers from the offense.

posted by hincandenza at 11:23 PM on August 03

Neither of these things is true. Buchholz has had 3 bad outings in his 4 appearances since returning (and shows no promise of turning things around) and the Sox currently have a 2 man rotation. Other than that, what Gary & Howard said.

Buchholz has given up more than 3 runs once so far. He's given up a lot of hits but he's also shown an ability to get out of a jam. The Red Sox have him on a short leash; no outings longer than 5.2.

Also, the depth of the Red Sox rotation was more a commentary on where they started the year, with Matsuzaka and Wakefield in there too. Buchholz didn't have a spot until Wakefield went down (partially because they love throwing Brad Penny at people). I'll agree that the Red Sox need a #3 right now because without Wakefield, the rotation looks thin. That's saying something, even if he was an All-Star this year.

But I really thought they'd make a run for Halladay. That they didn't shows me maybe they are under some sort of budget in NY.

Noone had a chance at getting Halladay, unless you were a complete moron and wanted to trade 4 top prospects. JP Riccardi's asking price was probably Buchholz, Masterson, Bard and another minor leaguer. He completely blew the Halladay situation and will now deal him for peanuts in the offseason. If you look at what Cleveland got for Lee, you realize how out of whack Riccardi was with the value of his player.

posted by dfleming at 09:34 AM on August 04

dfleming, re: your 8/3 11:50 comment. Buchholz's 2007 stats are spectacular, mainly because his 22.2 innings includes a no hitter. In 2008, however, he averaged 1.2 hits and .5 walks per inning. His 2009 figures are even worse at 1.5 hits and .6 walks per inning.

Masterson, in 2008, averaged .8 hits and .5 walks per inning. In 2009 he is at 1.0 hits and .3 walks.

Both years he pitched better than Buchholz. Once again, as a Yankee fan, I'm very happy that the Sox kept Buchholz and traded Masterson.

posted by pullmyfinger at 11:33 AM on August 04

I'm friends with Masterson's cousin, and was really pumped when the Sox signed him. I, too, think he's a better pitcher than Buchholz, and I'm sad to see him go, but he'll almost certainly get a better shot for The Tribe.

The Sox definitely made a big move with V-Mart, and his early impact has been huge in turning around team/fan morale heading into what may be the most important week of the Sox season. (Two in Tampa, 4 in NY.) That said, they've got serious, serious problems beyond Lester/Beckett, and the 18-run explosion against Baltimore/4-game win streak notwithstanding, their offense has been pretty lethargic. I'm hoping that this past weekend is the start of a turnaround, but time will tell.

posted by SpiffyRob at 01:04 PM on August 04

He's given up a lot of hits but he's also shown an ability to get out of a jam. The Red Sox have him on a short leash; no outings longer than 5.2.

No. I've seen each of these games. He's shown an impressive ability to get into jams and throw a ton of pitches. He's not on a short leash, he just has gotten the hook each time.

posted by yerfatma at 01:56 PM on August 04

The Sox started the season seemingly too deep in their rotation. Now they seem too shallow, but let's not be too quick to judge.

I wish I had your optimism. I think the Tampa series was a good microcosm of the Red Sox right now. Good pitching, no hitting = Loss. Hitting, no pitching = Loss.

Their hitting simply isn't good enough for a staff that has a 1, 2, and three 5s. Of course anything could happen. The offense could get extremely hot, or Smoltz could turn it around. But up to this point none of the pitching prospects that Theo threw against the wall have stuck, and the pitching the Sox thought they had for certain have also run into trouble (wakefield, dice-k). Combine that with a struggling offense and terrible defense, and it spells disaster. And now the Sox get to the difficult part of the schedule.

If Buchholz could come on strong, he could help save the season. As much as masterson is a more certain quantity he doesn't have that ability. So despite my reservations about Buchholz I can see why they gave up Masterson instead. And I think it was the right move.

Noone had a chance at getting Halladay, unless you were a complete moron and wanted to trade 4 top prospects. JP Riccardi's asking price was probably Buchholz, Masterson, Bard and another minor leaguer.

Maybe so. Take out Bard though and I make the deal. Most prospects simply don't pan out. And a team develops prospects not only for their own team, but to go out and get what they need. We're talking a hall of fame level pitcher. The yankees probably balked at what the jays were asking also, but I still think budget concerns had a little to do with their decision to not only sit out RH, but any trade. Plus, they're probably happy with their team compared to the Sox and Rays, and figured as long as those teams didn't get RH, they weren't too concerned.

This series with the Yankees is critical in my opinion.

posted by justgary at 12:57 PM on August 06

terrible defense

At short. And maybe catcher. Other than that, their defense has been one of the plusses, I think. Good outfield defense (when Drew is healthy) and when Lowell is on the bench, I think they've got decent infield defense.

Hmm, maybe you're right, at least when Lowell is playing 3rd.

posted by yerfatma at 01:26 PM on August 06

Other than that, their defense has been one of the plusses, I think.

Well, it's mainly the left side. Tek, Lowell, short (whoever), Bay = pretty bad.

I'll admit defensive statistics are a work in progress, and I'm no statistical wizard, and this chart kind of makes my eyes gloss over, but this chart (I believe) shows the Sox as the worst defensive team in the majors.

(UZR: The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs, outfield arm runs, double play runs and error runs combined.)

posted by justgary at 01:52 PM on August 06

Yeah, that's definitely troubling, but I think one of UZR's weaknesses (IIRC) is it doesn't account for differences in stadiums. If you look at the Sox' team ratings, there are some odd numbers, unless you believe Ellsbury is a really bad fielder. I was shocked to see Bay ranked so badly as he's seemed decent since the trade. Looking at his history, UZR has him as average until 2007 (in Pittsburgh) and then miserable once he hits Boston. How much of that is the smaller territory he patrols plus the lack of people taking an extra base on a hit to left in Fenway?

posted by yerfatma at 08:45 PM on August 06

Yeah, I don't trust defensive statistics for the reasons you stated, and I don't see how Bay can be worse than Manny in boston. But at the very least the Sox have a catcher that can thrown nobody out, shortstop problems, and a statue at 3rd base (I hope lowell regains some of his range, but it ain't happening this year).

And lowell looked especially statuesque tonight. But I'll take the defense in exchange for better pitching. Tonight went as expected with Smoltz. It's not like the Yankees have great pitching beyond their top two. Chamberlain was mediocre. But Smolz was terrible. Last start, right?

posted by justgary at 12:59 AM on August 07

I imagine he gets at least one more, but I'm not watching it. Uf.

posted by yerfatma at 10:11 AM on August 07

Wrong again. I thought he could have filled the Masterson void to some extent, but that's no way to end a HoF career.

posted by yerfatma at 10:21 AM on August 08

I expect he might be back if he doesn't trip over his pride, and if the sox are still in contention at that point, which is questionable.

posted by justgary at 04:09 PM on August 08

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