Was Jake Peavy Worth It?

jake peavy

Courtesy overthemonster.com

I realize it truly remains to be seen, but I will ask the question now: was the trade for Jake Peavy worth it? His last appearance left many fans wondering if it was a good move. Sources said that he had a proven track record of not performing on the road. If the Red Sox knew that, why did we pick him? It isn’t until Peavy has a bad start that we hear the negative. Does that mean he will only be great at home? That won’t get us to the post season with only 20 home games left. He’s scary because he doesn’t have the control we need and he has the potential to be an emotional loose cannon. I like the energy, but too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

We gave away a top prospect in Jose Iglesias for an okay pitcher. Yet, again we grow great talent only to give it away and see it flourish with another team. I said the numbers didn’t add up when the trade took place. He’s meh. Now where does that leave us? In a lot of trouble is where. We have a limping John Lackey, which is unfortunate because he was a sure thing. John Lester right now seems to be pitching all over the place except for inside the strike zone. Felix is okay. And Dempter, is well, Dempster. So where is the added value in Peavy?

This poor pitching paints the Red Sox offense into a corner. They must produce in a big way, early and often. We cannot have tight games like we did with the Royals. Our schedule from here on out is not an easy one. While I am confident John Farrell will figure something out, the truth of the matter is he can only run the ball so far. The players must perform. And Peavy, that means you!

Red Sox Trade Selection Wrap-Up

red sox trade selection

Former Chicago White Sox player, Jake Peavy
Courtesy of espn.go.com

I am certainly not thrilled with the results of the Red Sox trade selection.  We trade away Jose Iglesias for Pitcher, Jake Peavy? Based on Peavys’ numbers he runs hot and cold. The ERA is not high enough for us to warrant losing Iglesias, in my opinion. This then begs the question will the Sox use him as a reliever or part of the five-man rotation. From the Tweets on Twitter, he will go into the five-man rotation. The Sox certainly will make some adjustments as he moves and sees what he can add to the franchise. Still, I feel like I am missing something regarding Peavy. What does the front office see in him that I don’t? I can only assume that Peavy is versatile; perhaps, he could be part of the bullpen if he can’t hack it in the starting rotation. There is a fallback position for him.

As for Jose Iglesias, I am sure he will go on to great things for the Tigers. It is unfortunate the Sox did not allow him to grow even further as a major league player in Boston. I think they will regret trading him away.  Losing Iglesias is one of the last options I wanted to see exercised as he is a favorite player of mine. Statistically, at the plate, the decision makers must believe that Will Middlebrooks can deliver offensively. Unfortunately, I do not know that any one has seen this to be true even though he has made some progress in Pawtucket.

I am glad that additional players did not get traded away. The Sox seem happy with whom they have in place. Decisions were conservative because the Sox will continue to pull up players from a strong farm system, and of course, we must keep our eyes on the waiver wire. The team will need to take a long look at maintaining strong defense in the infield corner positions. I don’t think the team has what they need in the third and shortstop position, especially with the left field corner as an exploitable liability.

Well, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly post-trade deadline.

Pop Quiz: Red Sox Shortstop

Red Sox shortstop

John Farrell mulls the answers to my pop quiz

Let me first say that I love John Farrell and his no-BS, team-first style. That said it seems to me that he would have done exceptionally poorly on the following pop quiz. See how your answers stack up:

1. Which is a better batting average, .223 or .449?

2. Is it better to strike out 58 times in 184 at-bats, or 13 times in 71 at-bats?

3. You have a choice between a good defender and an amazing defender. Who do you pick?

4. Should the money on a guy’s contract affect whether you play him or not, or should you put your best team on the field every day?

5. If you have a prospect that’s finally showing the skills you’ve been asking for, is it better to give him consistent playing time on a daily basis, or to defer to an aging veteran with a knack for striking out in the clutch?

6. Who should be the Red Sox shortstop: Stephen “Stephanie” Drew, or Jose Iglesias?

Every game that Stephen Drew takes the field instead of Jose Iglesias is a game the Sox are not trying their best to win. It’s abundantly clear at this point that Jose Iglesias is the better of the two players, both defensively and offensively. Even if Drew picks it up at the plate and Iglesias cools off (both are probably inevitable), you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that Drew (.190 against lefties) is the better hitter; most of his home runs have come late in blowouts with nothing on the line. Even if Drew does prove to be a marginally better hitter, which I doubt, Iglesias’s defensive contributions more than outweigh that.

I don’t hate Stephen Drew; he’s a passable shortstop. But Jose Iglesias is more than a passable shortstop; Farrell owes it to the team to play him every day, and the team owes it to Iglesias to give him the playing time he’s earned. Right now, the only thing keeping Drew on the field is his $9.5 mil contract, and last I checked, a contract doesn’t help your batting average too much. The Sox should trade Drew for a utility guy so that he doesn’t complain in the clubhouse about playing time, because if the Sox (best record in the AL, second-best in the bigs) are serious about playing for October, it’s clear who should be Dustin Pedroia’s double play partner.

Red Sox Infield Changes, Pedro Ciriaco Edition

red sox infield changes

Will Jose Iglesias face the same fate as Pedro Ciriaco?

I feel like I am a hick on a New York City street with everyone coming and going among the various Boston sports teams (Tim Tebow, really? What are we going to do with that?  I’m sure Coach B. has a plan. Hey, maybe Gronk can loosen Tebow up a bit and that will help. :: wink, wink; nudge, nudge ::) I digress.

Let’s stop the insanity for a second, and focus on the Red Sox infield. I am concerned about Jose Iglesias. Why? Because he may fall prey to the same fate as Pedro Ciriaco, who will most likely be traded in the coming days.  The circumstances are not the same, but having a guy play every few games kills consistency. John Farrell wants to play him every three games, or so, but that did not end well for Ciriaco. The key to consistent, strong performances is daily play. Ciriaco did pretty well last year. This year the Sox were like, “Where do we put him?” At which point he bounced around the infield like Bugs Bunny in that Looney Tunes short. It was just absurd, and a complete disservice to him as a player. Second, shortstop, and third, are wildly different positions even at the little league level, never mind the majors; again, consistency. The Sox just burnt Ciriaco out. To add insult to injury, Farrell is quoted today as saying, “I would think that there would be a lot of interest in him. He’s a good player,” regarding Ciriaco.  Why not a good player for us? Bobby V. was wrong about a lot of things, but I don’t think he made a mistake with Ciriaco.

In the final analysis, for the 2013 season, Ciriaco is a victim of circumstance. The decision should have been made earlier, though. Don’t abuse him for 60 games and give him his walking papers, John.

I pray this does not happen with Jose Iglesias. What do you think his fate will be?

Jose Iglesias: Nothing More to Prove

Jose Iglesias

All glove, no bat; it’s a common, but often career-threatening classification for a middle infielder. With some basic athleticism, you can learn to field; with practice, you will inevitably improve, and many do. But practice alone isn’t enough to help you hit major league pitching; there’s something about hitting that you either have or you don’t. The result is a bunch of guys who are all glove, no bat.

That’s what we all thought of Jose Iglesias, and for a while, he didn’t do too much to prove us wrong. But Iglesias’s glove, the fielding ability that earned him the nickname “Silk Hands” (Best nickname ever? Maybe), was so spectacular that the Red Sox were forced to be optimistic about his development at the plate. They never claimed he’d be a good hitter; they just assured us that he’d be a passable hitter. When that’s all the ever-sanguine front office can muster, it’s pretty clear that a prospect doesn’t have too much of a future at the plate. Iglesias did little to disprove this when he hit a miserable .118 in 68 at-bats with the Sox last year. He looked overmatched by major-league fastballs, wasn’t disciplined, and had no pop. All glove, no bat and that wasn’t going to fly. The Sox wanted Iglesias at short, but he had to hit.

So he did. I’m not sure what switch he flicked, but Jose Iglesias has become a hitter. It’s not steroids – steroids help guys who can already hit the ball hit it harder. Iglesias went from looking lost at the plate to being a mature major league hitter. The .118 batting average? He’s at .446 with a 13 – game hit streak. Overmatched and without discipline? Iglesias has struck out twice in his last 10 games while walking five times and roping 17 hits. No pop? He has a homer (off Hiroki Kuroda, no less) and seven doubles in 6 more at-bats than it took him to hit a homer and two doubles last season. Ok, a career .257 minor-league hitter probably isn’t going to hit .450 for the rest of his time in the bigs. But even if Iglesias has to come back to earth, he’s not going to fall back to where he was. The one-time all glove, no bat shortstop is demonstrating abilities at the plate that he just didn’t have before. His swing has become a pretty, compact stroke that helps him catch up to inside pitches instead of popping them up; he’s hitting .536 off lefties. He approaches each at bat with grit, fouling off tough pitches and refusing to chase. Iglesias is going to cool off, but when he does, with his newfound tools, he’s going to be a much better than before – dare I say it, maybe even a good hitter.

And yet he’s not our starting shortstop. He has amassed this amazing stretch while playing third (and playing it brilliantly), but when Will Middlebrooks returns from the disabled list, Jose won’t have a spot in the starting lineup. John Farrell will get him some at-bats, bless his heart, but if the Sox are serious about making a run at their first playoff appearance in 4 years, shortstop should be Silk Hands’ to lose. Play Stephanie Drew at utility, trade him, whatever – Iglesias needs to play every day, because now, not only can he do this

Jose Iglesias

…but also this.

Jose Iglesias

 It would be a shame to miss out on both, because he’s got nothing more to prove.

Red Sox Players Welcome Opportunity, Others Don’t

red sox players take opportunity

 “When opportunity knocks, open the door.” Many Red Sox players welcome opportunity’s call, while others remain oblivious to the sound.

Now, I realize I write about this theme often, but the saying still rings true though the circumstances may be different.

It is sad to see key players like Will Middlebrooks, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Shane Victorino sidelined by injury. It is heartening to watch players whether up from Pawtucket, like Jose Iglesias, or already stationed in Boston like Daniel Nava, open opportunity’s door.

Iglesias has adapted well to third base. The angles are different than the shortstop position; the balls that grace the foul line are awkward to negotiate. The throw to first is further away, too. But I had no doubt in his defense. I do not think anyone did. The question for all of us was whether he could hit the ball further, and get on base. It seems the long-ball question is no longer on the table for Iglesias. He did hit his second major league homer on Sunday, and that’s great. But who cares about home runs, when we just need a well-placed (yes, preferably deep) ball. That is something Iggy can do, while guys like Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes cannot, or will not, hit at all. Leave the bombs to David Ortiz.

Daniel Nava going deep. Courtesy of nesn.com

Daniel Nava going deep. Courtesy of nesn.com

Like Ortiz, Nava has hit some long balls, proving himself a strong offensive presence for the Red Sox. With Ellsbury out, Nava held the coveted top spot in the batting order during the series against the Yankees. He proved to be a great leadoff man, setting the tone for Saturday’s steamrolling offense. Inspired, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mike Napoli, also answered opportunity’s knock.

We are fortunate to have players opening the door, but there are quite a few that are hard of hearing. I don’t know what is going on with Stephen Drew, Mike Carp, or Jonny Gomes. Gomes is not even playing. This beast of a man would struggle with t-ball right now. Management is forced to keep Carp on the roster.  I know I kvetch and moan about this guy a lot, but Carp is like a light switch, he is either on or off. Drew struggles with the same disease. Maybe they both need to take some Metamucil for their irregularity.  If that doesn’t work, maybe they should go take in a game in Pawtucket to watch Bryce Brentz and Brandon Snyder. That could be the wake-up call they need. Be scared Carp, Drew, and Gomes, those boys are coming for you.

The performers are performing, while they drag three men behind them, to stay atop the AL East.

Opportunity never scares the opportunists.