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View Full Version : 2002 Sox - Why the Optimism?


chisoxt
03-03-2002, 05:18 AM
Let me preface what I'm about to say with this: I am a huge Sox fan who lives and dies by them and would give almost anything to see them in the World Series. But......having said that, each time I look at this years team, I am baffled as to why anyone can think this team can win the division, even one as weak as the AL Central.

Throughout the history of baseball, it has been proven that defense and pitching wins, not hitting. I know, baseball has changed, offense is more important, yada, yada yada....To that I say bull!. As Hawk said once, you cannot hit enough to make up for poor defense. Hands down, with Jose at third, and Carlos Lee in left our defense does not look too good. Nor does our pitching. We have two decent starters and Keith Foulke. The rest of the staff is either mediocre, umproven or coming off of arm surgery. Throughout the winter, it seemed that there were several middle level pitchers available for reasonable money (See Terry Adams) but KW is going to live or die with our young pitchers. Since we have a glut of corner outfielders, why not deal CLee for a pitcher, or is that asking for too much?

And Kenny Williams is yet another concern - Here's a guy who trades two young pitchers and Sean Lowe to get Todd Ritchie. Granted, Ritchie is decent, but couldn't KW have gone out and signed someone of equal ability for not much money and kept the guys that he traded? It's obvious to me, that KW is develping a rap for overpaying to get what he wants.

I know that there is a lot of optimism now and I hate to be the 'prick' in the balloon, but I do not like what I see because in my 35 years as a baseball fan, I've seen the same crap before.

kermittheefrog
03-03-2002, 06:11 AM
Okay lets throw something very simple down, logically pitching and defense counts for just as much as hitting. You have to be able to both score runs and keep runs off the board. The Twins last year had good defense and good pitching and they their carraige turned into pumpkin just before midnight because they traded away one of their best bats in Matt Lawton. I think if they kept Lawton and signed Jose Canseco in May or early June they would have had the division. Don't dismiss offense.

On to the Sox defense. Let's first ask what is the defense's job? Obviously it is to turn balls in play into outs. In the AL an average team turned 70% of balls in play into outs. The Sox turned 71% into outs. It may sound like a teeny difference but that's the equvilent of 10 points of batting average and we all know there is a big difference between a team batting average of .265 and .275. So the Sox D was better than average at doing it's job last year and don't let the fact that we don't have actors with talent like Roberto Alomar in the field fool you.

As for pitching, Mark Buehrle won't be as good as last year but he'll be good. Todd Ritchie isn't an all-star but he'll give up 200 solid innings. Jim Parque is back and the last time we saw him for a full season he had an ERA 21% better than league average. Jon Garland had a 3.69 ERA last year. I think that gives us 4 solid albeit not spectacular starters. Out of Dan Wright, Gary Glover, Lorenzo Barcelo, Jon Rauch, Rocky Biddle, Matt Ginter and Matt Guerrier we can find a better than average 5th starter. There is your rotation. Foulke is the second best closer in the league, Howry, Wunsch and Osuna should be full strength and join some of the guys who don't win the 5th starter job. In short, the talent is there for a good pitching staff it just needs to be managed well. Jerry Manuel has proved to be a good manager of the pitching staff who is conservative with his starters to keep them healthy. I like that.

We all know the offense is there. So this is where my optimism comes from. A good offense, solid to above average defense and a plethora of pitching talent. Jerry Manuel is not my ideal manager but I think his flaws lie in using too much small ball, I think he can put the pieces together when it comes to the pitching staff. Oh yeah and there is the fact that the rest of the division sucks ass, that's a good thing too :smile:

chisoxt
03-03-2002, 07:23 AM
.....Jim Parque is back.....
.....I think that gives us 4 solid albeit not spectacular starters. Out of Dan Wright, Gary Glover, Lorenzo Barcelo, Jon Rauch, Rocky Biddle, Matt Ginter and Matt Guerrier we can find a better than average 5th starter...
........Wunsch and Osuna should be full strength and join some of the guys who don't win the 5th starter job.



Kermit:
If all of the guys that you mentioned are indeed back and recovered at full strength, I'm with you. But, one question remains: Have :smile: these guys recovered enough to be effective?

We don't have the luxury of waiting until June for everyone to heal. We saw what happed last year when the team broke camp ill-prepared for the season.

kermittheefrog
03-03-2002, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by chisoxt




Kermit:
If all of the guys that you mentioned are indeed back and recovered at full strength, I'm with you. But, one question remains: Have :smile: these guys recovered enough to be effective?

We don't have the luxury of waiting until June for everyone to heal. We saw what happed last year when the team broke camp ill-prepared for the season.

The Sox weren't prepared out the gate last year but they are already doing things better than last year. They did address the combined need of OBP and someone other than SIngleton in center and swapped Singleton for a real prospect. They seem to have a planned lineup this year as opposed to silly talks of moving Jose Valentin all over the place and trying to find room for goofs like Singleton, Perry, Ramirez and Clayton on the fly. I'm not saying the plan is necessarily the best one, I think Crede shoudl be in, Clayton out but they do seem like they aren't going to walk into the season backwards this year.

I really think the depth of arms cancels out the fact that some of them are coming off injuries. If Wunsch isn't full strength there is Masoaka or Vining or Jacquez. As much as teams shoot themselves in the foot by trading Jack Cust for Mike Myers and give Greg Swindell millions of dollars, lefty relievers like Wunsch are fudgable. Giving up money and prospects for these kind of guys is like paying a finders fee to the organizations and agents that dig them up in the first place. Parque might start the season in the pen or maybe on a rehab assignment but I don't think two months of having Garland, Glover and Wright or Guerrier in the rotation will kill us. Unless the Sox are lying it looks like Rauch may even be ready by midseason.

I guess my point is when goes wrong the Sox aren't going to be scrambling for a replacement and therefore more likely to screw up the process of getting one. Of course we need the health of our big talents but after that we've got the kind of depth that allows for peace of mind even if one or two guys don't work out.

NorthSideConvert
03-03-2002, 10:17 AM
I am optimistic because it is BASEBALL!!!! Thyere is no alternative. Who do yo see winning the AL Central?? Not that that is the ultimate goal, but the first step.

NSC

GASHWOUND
03-03-2002, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by chisoxt
Let me preface what I'm about to say with this: I am a huge Sox fan who lives and dies by them and would give almost anything to see them in the World Series. But......having said that, each time I look at this years team, I am baffled as to why anyone can think this team can win the division, even one as weak as the AL Central.

Throughout the history of baseball, it has been proven that defense and pitching wins, not hitting. I know, baseball has changed, offense is more important, yada, yada yada....To that I say bull!. As Hawk said once, you cannot hit enough to make up for poor defense. Hands down, with Jose at third, and Carlos Lee in left our defense does not look too good. Nor does our pitching. We have two decent starters and Keith Foulke. The rest of the staff is either mediocre, umproven or coming off of arm surgery. Throughout the winter, it seemed that there were several middle level pitchers available for reasonable money (See Terry Adams) but KW is going to live or die with our young pitchers. Since we have a glut of corner outfielders, why not deal CLee for a pitcher, or is that asking for too much?

And Kenny Williams is yet another concern - Here's a guy who trades two young pitchers and Sean Lowe to get Todd Ritchie. Granted, Ritchie is decent, but couldn't KW have gone out and signed someone of equal ability for not much money and kept the guys that he traded? It's obvious to me, that KW is develping a rap for overpaying to get what he wants.

I know that there is a lot of optimism now and I hate to be the 'prick' in the balloon, but I do not like what I see because in my 35 years as a baseball fan, I've seen the same crap before.

I think at least half of the optimism comes from the strong second half we had with all our injuries, some more of the Twinkies collapse in the second half losing to everyone(well, almost everyone) and the total downgrade of the 'Toons this year. Of course I have some doubt on our piching staff as a whole, but with the situation in our division right now we don't have to be the Yanks. Defense is always key, and when you glance at our potential defensive team you probably gasp. But its not as bad as you make it out to be. Lee may not be Willy mays out there, but he's average and who knows, may surprise some people. Lofton and Ordonzez are above average. The infield is also not as bad as some people make it out to be. Clayton is solid at SS, Valentin should be alot better at 3rd this year cause he knows he won't be playing musical chairs in the infield. Ray isn't "ThAT" bad, so I'm not worried about him. This team has been going out on a limb saying its there division to lose, so their gonna haveto play their 'A' game every single day cause the Twinkies may take some stuff personal. Of ourse it'll be a matter of time before we know if the Sox are for real. But everyone should have doubts about this team, just human nature.Just got to hope it all comes together for us

baggio202
03-03-2002, 12:07 PM
whoever said parque is a proven quantity...please....the guy has a lifetime 4.97 era..he has had only 1 year out of 4 where his era was under 5 and the only year he won in double digits he led the league in run support with almost 8 runs a game....and his attitude is crap....in his one intersquad performance his fastball average 80 mph....i pray to god we find somebody better than parque for the rotation

czalgosz
03-03-2002, 01:21 PM
Originally posted by baggio202
whoever said parque is a proven quantity...please....the guy has a lifetime 4.97 era..he has had only 1 year out of 4 where his era was under 5 and the only year he won in double digits he led the league in run support with almost 8 runs a game....and his attitude is crap....in his one intersquad performance his fastball average 80 mph....i pray to god we find somebody better than parque for the rotation

Well, it's not like we are counting on Parque to be great this season. At his best, he'll be the Sox's third best starter this year. At worst, he'll get demoted to the bullpen. I like Jim Parque. You say his attitude is crap; I say he's got a bulldog attitude on the mound. That translated into frustration last season and saying some things that shouldn't have been said, but he's got heart, and you can't teach that.

A lot will hinge on middle relief this season. If Howry, Wunsch, and Osuna perform the way they have in the past, we won't have any problems. If they don't, it'll be another long season trying to find people who can fill that role, just like last year.

I think the rotation will be a lot more solid. A lot will depend on whether Jon Garland can put together an entire good season, IMO. If the Sox can find three solid starters, that will go a long way towards ensuring that the Sox will be playing in October.

voodoochile
03-03-2002, 01:25 PM
Throughout the history of baseball, it has been proven that defense and pitching wins, not hitting. I know, baseball has changed, offense is more important, yada, yada yada....To that I say bull!. As Hawk said once, you cannot hit enough to make up for poor defense.

That's a nice sound bite, but it just isn't true. You figure the worst defensive guy on the team gives up 10 extra runs a year - maybe 20 at the most. Now if that player is also driving in 20 more runs than an average player at their position, they are even. Defense is important, but it is not the factor it was years ago when pitchers held opposing teams to 2 runs a game.

I'm not saying this very well, but your statement is one of those mythical ideas that has been carried forward from days of yore. A guy like Valentin at SS more than makes up for the errors he makes with his bat - almost everyone agrees on that. A guy like Clayton cannot make up for his lack of offense with any amount of defense (sorry, I tried to keep this argument out of my post, but it is just the best example there is).

Besides, how do you know that Carlos isn't going to improve this year and play like he did the first half of last year? You assume that Valentin is going to be horrible defensively at 3B without taking into account his having played there a year and spending time there all during ST and last winter.

Great defense is cool, but you cannot win if you do not score - preferably the more the better, then you can put up an error a day and still win...

voodoochile
03-03-2002, 01:30 PM
And Kenny Williams is yet another concern - Here's a guy who trades two young pitchers and Sean Lowe to get Todd Ritchie. Granted, Ritchie is decent, but couldn't KW have gone out and signed someone of equal ability for not much money and kept the guys that he traded? It's obvious to me, that KW is develping a rap for overpaying to get what he wants.

Some of that is true, but it glosses over some things. The Sox gave up 3 pitchers who they had no plans for this year. Fogg was getting lost in the numbers crunch. Lowe was on his way out - regardless, they weren't going to keep him. He was gone before ST no matter what, IMO. Kip maybe the only guy who would have made the team and I for one would rather have Ritchie.

Also, the Sox were obviously doing some extrapolating and figuring that Ritchie was just coming into his own - much the way Leiber did for the flubbies a few years ago. If they are correct and Ritchie does turn into a genuine top 3 pitcher, they will have made a trade that will solidify the rotation way more than Kip ever would have.

czalgosz
03-03-2002, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile


Some of that is true, but it glosses over some things. The Sox gave up 3 pitchers who they had no plans for this year. Fogg was getting lost in the numbers crunch. Lowe was on his way out - regardless, they weren't going to keep him. He was gone before ST no matter what, IMO. Kip maybe the only guy who would have made the team and I for one would rather have Ritchie.

Also, the Sox were obviously doing some extrapolating and figuring that Ritchie was just coming into his own - much the way Leiber did for the flubbies a few years ago. If they are correct and Ritchie does turn into a genuine top 3 pitcher, they will have made a trade that will solidify the rotation way more than Kip ever would have.

A few points here -

1) As Sox fans, I think we tend to overrate the value that Sox players would have in trade. That's only natural, because we tend to see the upside more than the downside for most Sox players (And, please, no comments about Royce Clayton). I think that's true for the fans of every team.

2) That said, the Sox probably gave up one too many pitchers for Todd Ritchie. But, from the Pirates perspective, they gave up their best pitcher, and got a guy who scouts love but has never done anything at the big-league level in Kip Wells. Josh Fogg, who is a "B" level prospect, and a 31-year-old middle/long reliever who has a pretty erratic history. They are taking as much of a risk as the Sox are.

3) Certainly, the Sox could have signed a pitcher, and traded Lowe/Fogg/Wells to shore up other weaknesses, but that just wasn't in the cards. Reinsdorf just doesn't like getting pitchers off the free-agent market - there's just too much of a possibility of getting burned. This was the safer, and cheaper move. Certainly, I wish that Reinsdorf was a more aggressive owner and had made a bid to get, say, Mike Mussina after the 2000 season, but that's just not going to happen. You take what you can get.

kermittheefrog
03-03-2002, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz


Well, it's not like we are counting on Parque to be great this season. At his best, he'll be the Sox's third best starter this year. At worst, he'll get demoted to the bullpen. I like Jim Parque. You say his attitude is crap; I say he's got a bulldog attitude on the mound. That translated into frustration last season and saying some things that shouldn't have been said, but he's got heart, and you can't teach that.



We should start a Butter fan club. I've been a Parque fan since he was called up.

czalgosz
03-03-2002, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by kermittheefrog


We should start a Butter fan club. I've been a Parque fan since he was called up.

I'd join. I never understood why people got on him for being upset when he was taken out of the game. Show me a pitcher who's happy to be relieved and I'll show you a crappy pitcher. He may have expressed it inappropriately, but Manuel seemed to take that in stride.

bc2k
03-04-2002, 12:51 AM
Because we're fans. This is what fans do. It's not like have the Royals' team.

kermittheefrog
03-04-2002, 01:02 AM
Originally posted by bc2k
Because we're fans. This is what fans do. It's not like have the Royals' team.

I could hype the Royals, they have a lot of talent of course it's all screwed up by management. If you think Jerry and K-Willy are bad you should look at Tony Muser and Allard Baird's histories. They are to baseball what Resident Evil will be to film.

RichH55
03-05-2002, 11:24 AM
Originally posted by kermittheefrog


I could hype the Royals, they have a lot of talent of course it's all screwed up by management. If you think Jerry and K-Willy are bad you should look at Tony Muser and Allard Baird's histories. They are to baseball what Resident Evil will be to film.


Good Line....but unfair to just single out the Royals...I think there are quite a few teams with management worse than the Sox....not everyone has Billy Beane answering the phone

moochpuppy
03-05-2002, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by voodoochile


You figure the worst defensive guy on the team gives up 10 extra runs a year - maybe 20 at the most. Now if that player is also driving in 20 more runs than an average player at their position, they are even. Defense is important, but it is not the factor it was years ago when pitchers held opposing teams to 2 runs a game.



Good point Voodoo. Look at Ed Walsh for instance. Back in 1910 (or 1912) his record was 18-20. Not very good right.....but his ERA was 1.80.

No matter how good your defense and pitching is you need to score runs.