In today’s Boston Globe, senior baseball writer Nick Cafardo questioned the approach taken by Ben Cherington in the offseason towards constructing the 2013 roster. Specifically, he focused on the $60M freed up in the Dodger transaction – which is looking more and more like a coup, incidentally. Instead of pursuing the more measured approach of finding credible but second tier free agents to fill the multiple holes on the roster, Cafardo would have had us pursue higher profile talent. Here’s what he would have done.
Sign Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million deal [Cafardo’s error: the actual contract value is $123M] (which he got from the Angels). Sign Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $24 million deal (which he got in Washington). Re-sign Cody Ross to a three-year, $26 million deal. Sign David Ross and Dempster.
That comes to about $62 million for 2013.
Instead of signing Drew, they could have used Jose Iglesias at shortstop. He is the superior defensive player, and the Sox actually would have been playing one of their prospects in the majors.
This approach proved popular with the segment of the population that calls into talk radio this morning; as one caller put it, “I look at that potential lineup and say WOW.” For both Cafardo and those who like his proposed roster, a few observations:
- Josh Hamilton’s first and second half splits last year: .308/.380/.635 vs .259/.323/.510
- Hamilton’s average games played the past four seasons: 123
- Hamilton’s salary as a 35 and 36 year old: $30M
- Adam LaRoche’s OPS the past three seasons: .788, .543, .853
- LaRoche’s age for the contract: 33 and 34 years old
- The draft choice LaRoche would have cost the Red Sox: #44 (valued at $1.16M in 2012)
- Cody Ross’ OPS the last four seasons: .790, .735, .730, .807
- Ross’ line away from Fenway Park in 2012: .232/.294/.390
- Ross’ line against right handed pitchers: .256/.308/.422
- Jose Iglesias’ projected line for 2012 (ZIPS): .251/.289/.311
- Iglesias’ actual line for 2012: .118/.200/.191
- Iglesias’ lifetime stats for AAA (189 games): .251/.302/.287
In other words, what Cafardo would have the Red Sox do:
- Sign a 32 year old high ceiling player who fell off dramatically in the second half and has a history of both injury and substance abuse to a contract that would pay him $30M in his 35 and 36 year old seasons.
- Forfeit a million dollars of draft budget and the 44th selection for a 33 year old first basemen who’s had an OPS below .800 two out of the last four seasons.
- Commit three seasons at an above market rate to an outfielder who can’t play defense, can’t hit righthanded pitching and can’t hit away from his home park.
- Install as the starting shortstop a player who is, for all intents and purposes, an automatic out at this point in his career.
Reasonable minds may differ, obviously, on the wisdom of the Red Sox’s course of action this offseason. But for all that I question Cherington’s valuation of players such as Gomes or Victorino, I’m very glad he rather than Nick Cafardo is responsible for putting together the roster.