Friday, August 17, 2012

Bobby V: The Captain of a Sinking Ship

Now, Piling on Bobby Valentine is fun and all, but lets be serious, the Red Sox are playing bad baseball for reasons that have nothing to do with their manager. I don’t exactly love Bobby V. and while I haven’t contributed to our “Bobby Valentine is an IdiotSeries, I generally condone such commentary. This situation the Red Sox have gotten themselves into is at this point as clearly an extension of last year’s primadonna loaded roster. With very little changeover, it appears that the only players that are really putting any effort forth are those who aren’t part of the long term core. Reports of a meeting held for players to air their grievances have surfaced and are more or less old news in light of recent events, but none the less I find it interesting, I’m writing about it.

David Ortiz is producing, but he’s also liable to walk after this year. Adrian Gonzalez isn’t playing poorly but he’s not himself either. For reference, last year A-Gon had an OPS+ of 153, Mark Texiera had an OPS+ of 120, this year A-Gon has a lean 116 while Tex has held onto a 121 so far. While discussing this with the Voice o’ Logic we discussed A-Gon’s projected value this year, and while the batting average regression was expected pretty much across the board, he was still supposed to take walks better than this, and he was also supposed to hit for more power, maybe it’s just a down year but I’d be inclined to say it’s a form of “I’m on a long term contract and I don’t like what’s going on around me” protest. The sour attitudes, the self serving “me first” players all over this team have not been a cohesive bunch on the field.

Josh Beckett is getting the kind of results AJ Burnett got last year, but Beckett doesn’t really care. Burnett, for all of his faults, would day in, day out take each performance to heart. Beckett has been nonchalant in his approach to each successive failed start, which is disappointing given his talent level. I am not a Beckett fan, when he came over to the Red Sox and had a 5.01 ERA I was sure that his “strikeout or long fly ball” style wouldn’t play in Boston, or really the AL at all for that matter, but he has managed to bounce back and forth between well above average and complete shite. Beckett had what could be argued as his best season last year, an ERA+ of 150, and a solid ability to avoid giving up hits in bunches. That came on the heels of his bar none, worst season yet, so maybe it’s just the Beckett cycle of coming into camp overweight after succeeding and resting on his apparent greatness before having a crap year and having to push himself like he’s a rookie trying to crack the 25 man roster. He’s having a bad year this year, and maybe he rebounds and pitches like he’s a Cy Young candidate again next year but for the time being, pitiful effort and he doesn’t seem to care enough.

There’s only so much that Bobby V can do regarding injuries and the holes they leave in his roster as well, with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and Will Middlebrooks all spending significant time on the DL this season hasn’t helped him, though Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Scott Podsednik have given them plenty of value in the outfield there’s no real answer at 3rd base, and the bullpen has been, and still is, a mess. Alfredo Aceves despite his best intentions is not a closer, he’s a fine longman and a solid 1 inning reliever but he just isn’t built for the 9th and it shows.

I just can’t fault Bobby Valentine for this team falling apart when they never got it together. Under Francona the team was given an incredibly long leash, and now under Bobby V they don’t really have room to leave the yard, and with all of the BS that has been piling up in Boston, it’s no wonder management brought him in and despite all of his media related gaffs I can’t say I disagree with the decision to bring him aboard. I don’t know that he’ll be around next year but as a Yankees fan I am curious to see what happens next April when this team has had a full year of true discipline and structure

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