Monday, June 22, 2009
With David Ortiz looking like Big Papi, Lowrie and Smoltz almost ready to return, the Sox are likely to keep up their strong play. The Olde Towne Team is league average or better in every underlying measure other than fielding metrics. The return of Lowrie and a healthier Mike Lowell combined with better play from essentially last year's good defensive team could result in turning more balls in play into outs.
A drop off in Runs Scored could come if Ortiz does not continue to offset Youk's return to normal from a Ted Williams' type line and Jason Bay regresses to his normal production levels. Although the left fielder could be having a career year, Bay Being Canadian is in a prime and contract year. If he keeps this up, BBC would hit about 85% of his top PECOTA projection. Regardless, Runs Against should fall with the rotation rounding into form and better glove work. Hence, the Sox run differential and likely winning percentage will stay on its current pace for 96 wins.
No additions outside of the organization is necessary. Maybe a tweak to the bench like swapping bad contracts (Lugo to KC for Jose Guillen?). If a significant trade is made, it would primarily be for 2010 and beyond like acquiring Brandon Webb.
If Webb…“needs a significant surgical procedure, the Diamondbacks will be hesitant to pick up the 2010 option on his contract, which is worth $8.5 million. They instead could buy out the option for $2 million, making Webb a free agent.” says Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.
If the former Cy Young winner will not pitch again in 2009 and will be bought out by the D-Backs but could be ready this time next year, then the Sox could be interested at the right price. The price might be the Olde Towne Team picking up the remaining $2.167M of Webb’s salary and his $8.5M option for 2010 or about $1M more than what the Sox will pay a healthy Smoltz. If they wanted a prospect and not a minor league lifer, they would have to contribute to Webb’s salary.
The D-Backs tenuous financial state may push this type of trade forward without any prospects heading to the desert. The Sox would leverage their balance sheet, staff acumen (medical and managerial) and current on-field strengths for a leg up next season.
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