In response to notin's comment:
Here is the problem, S5. Your “plan” is not crazy. It’s not even impractical for the most part. The only issue is you are too married to some of the more minute details as opposed to a bigger picture. Try this point-by-point response
Here's what I think:
I think keeping Iggy for a SS anchored the infield both talent-wise AND financially. It wasn't that many months ago that we were talking about the merits of keeping a stellar defensive SS who would hit ~.240 and it wasn't that bad an idea.
And I was one of those who was well on board with this idea. At one point during Iglesias hot streak, I normalized his numbers to more realistic BABIP levels and determined his circa .400 BA should be closer to .270 with a .310ish OBP and with his defense, this type of offense would be a terrific bonus.
I still like the idea of having a defensive anchor at SS, even at the expense of offense, although Cherington appears to be headed in another direction. However, Iglesias is not the only shortstop with that particular skillset. And really, stellar defensive shortstops are actually available every off-season and are always easy to acquire. Watch the Dodgers-Cardinals series. Pete Kozma is a light-hitter with tremendous defensive skills. He is also heavily disliked by the Cardinals fanbase, if message board traffic is an accurate barometer, and their oft-rumored interest in other shortstops does make one think he might be easily attainable. Kozma doesn’t make Web Gems; he just makes plays. He has remarkably quick reflexes and a cannon for an arm. He won’t be as pretty as Iglesias, but he could certainly be a good, low cost contributor. And he is but one name on the list.
I’ve been watching that series a lot and am actually becoming a Kozma Fan.
I think Bogarts may be as well suited to play 3B as he is to play SS but since Iggy is a superior SS keeping Iggy at SS was the smarter thing to do.
I have heard lots and lots of buzz to this affect, but a lot more of it seems to come from people not actually associated with the Sox in any way, and it is more like some sort of “Fan Plan” to fit in all the home grown kids into one lineup.
Personally, I have never seen an instance of a shortstop moving to 3B that did not work out defensively, and Bogaerts appears to have the skills to make it work offensively, too. It’s Manny Machado-esque.
What I am not necessarily sold on is why he has to be moved from SS. Clearly the Sox have not given up on him at this position, so why have you and many others? None of us have seen more of him than they have. We do not have libraries full of data determining how SS defense effects a game, series or season. And really, we have no reason to have access to any of that stuff, so it’s understandable to think he cannot play SS based on some internet “Scouting reports” floating around. (Never trust people quoting imaginary scouting reports, by the way.) But at some point, at the very least, we all do need to acknowledge that the Sox FO personnel DO have that kind of information at their disposal. And it was a factor in a move like this.
Bogaerts may go to 3B eventually, but why the rush?
I think Middlebrooks can play 1B because I also believe that if a player can play 3B well he can also play the other corner IF position, probably better since 1B is lower on the defensive spectrum than is 3B.
Again, I agree. In fact, most 1B came up playing another position and only moved to 1B because they could hit, but were defensive liabilities. Or they throw left-handed.
For me the question is - is Middlebrooks really worth it? Rather than my re-hash all my issues with Middlebrooks, let’s just say I have a track record and reputation for not having much faith in him. I have also said numerous times I would have preferred Middlebrooks dealt over Iglesias.
Bottom line – Middlebrooks or not, 1B is not a tough position to fill.
Keeping that IF allows the Red Sox a much better chance to sign Ellsbury because there will be money available due to the “cheap” IF. Signing Ells should be the first priority not because of his defensive skills but because he makes the offense go. It’s not necessary for me to document what he does as a leadoff hitter so I won’t.
This is where you lose me.
We both agree Ellsbury is going to be tough to replace, especially as a leadoff hitter. I am of the opinion he will be a tough sign because free agency did become a foregone conclusion the day he selected Scott Boras to represent him. Remember, that was his choice.
However, if the Sox are to throw around $7-10mill or a QO at a shortstop or 1B or whatever, I don’t think this will be the difference in retaining / losing Ellsbury. He is going to cash in BIG. Fans wanting him extended for $60-70mill over 4 years have to realize that is not going to happen and never was. Hunter Pence is less of a player and received $90mill over 5 years. Ellsbury is going to get over $100mill from someone, and the Sox are not going to make that commitment based on whether or not they were able to penny pinch at other positions. That decision will be made on its own. The Sox won’t avoid ellsbury or any other high-priced FA because they have a one year deal for a SS or something like that. There are ways to get around that.
Since the trade the Sox are left with either signing a FA SS (Drew?) for more money than Iggy would have gotten or turning that position over to someone totally untested. However, the Sox would have kept Bogart’s offense by having him at 3B.
Again, this plan appears to have been formed in the minds of some fans and Nick Cafardo, but not so much in the Sox FO. And they made this decision using more information than any of us (including Cafardo) have access to.
My first priority in the off season would have been to sign Ellsbury and Salty using some of the money not being given to the FA SS. This would have givien the team an "up the middle" of Salty, Iggy, Pedroia, and Ellsbury. Should they have failed to sign Ellsbury the middle would still be better off with JBJ in CF and Iggy at SS than it would with JBJ in CF and Bogarts at SS.
Well, “better off” is a matter of speculation at this point. I do think leadoff is going to be an issue next year, even if it is internally solved by Victorino, Pedroia, Nava, whoever. There are pros and cons all over that list. I mean, you can’t say the Sox would be better off with Iglesias (SS), Bogaerts (3B) and Middlebrooks (1B) unless we know what the alternatives are. And if, per your Plan B, if Ellsbury does not re-sign, there is even less reason to support that re-alignment, since you are commiting 2 players to the only positions left to upgrade. Where do all the savings go? The Sox will have a cheaper team, but not necessarily a better one.
The 2014 lineup is far from set, regardless of how 2013 pans out. Really, at most 4 positions are set (2B, 3B, RF, DH) with endless possibiltiies everywhere else. I think Ellsbury is an unlikely return, because you can always count on that one renegade GM using free agency to make his big PR splash and completely blowing up the market. And there is NO WAY to stop this, as extending Ellsbury was never an option, since it falls outside the very public MO of his agent. We all know Boras has been advising free agncy since Day One, and Ellsbury is paying for this advice, and therefore very, very likely to listen.
Offensively the team would have lost Napoli's power. Whatever Drew brings to the table would have been offset by Bogarts and in fact IMO Bogarts would be an offensive upgrade over Drew. That upgrade over Drew combined with whatever Iggy brings both offensively and defensively would bring the team to being nearly (?) as good as they were this year. Whether they would be better or worse with this in 2014 would be dependent on what everyone actually DOES, and that's the way it is every year. But it would have been an awfully good framework to start with.
To answer your question of whether I think this IF (with JBJ in CF) would win anything in the near future, I think the question mark there would have been whether JBJ learns to hit. Which is why I would have gone after Ellsbury. I don't see a significant decline in 2014 from 2013 WITH Ellsbury but I DO see a decline if JBJ is there.
Again, I agree Bradley will be a step down short term, barring other overhauls. All the more reason to go all in on 2013. A good framework is nice, but it is more of a bare minimum. The Houston Astros have a terrific framework of players up the middle. And even a couple very promsing pitchers. Yet we probably agree if they win 60 games next year, it will be a moral victory for that organization.
We then would have the luxury of having two IF'ers in the minors to use (if they're good enough) in case this plan didn't pan out, and if the plan DID plan out those two are good trade bait.
And we still have middle infield depth. I still like Deven Marrero, who is another defensively stellar shortstop.
The thing about Iglesias is that he is not a unique player. If the Sox want a solid gove in the middle and to move Bogaerts to 3b and (ugh) Middlebrooks to 1b, that ship has not sailed. No one would get excited if the Sox brought in Brendan Ryan or Pete Kozma or Cliff Pennington or Clint Barmes, but all of them fit easily into that same plan. They are not as flashy as Iglesias, and not as pretty to watch sometimes, but they also are among the best defensive shortstops in the majors today.
And, unsexy as those names are, they have the additional potential advantage of counting less againstthe Luxury Tax Threshold than Iglesias, who did receive an $8 mill bonus that counts is this regard. I believe he is counted as $2.1mill AAV, but I am not sure about the exact figure. If the goal is to save cash for Ellsbury, you have to remember Iglesias is not a minimum wage player where it counts, which is against the Luxury Tax Threshold. (Bogaerts and Middlebrooks are.)
I will admit that my "conspiracy theory" was a bit 'out there' but at the time I was trying to rationalize what happened and it was the best I could come up with.
You over thought it. The Occam’s Razor was that they simply liked Bogaerts better and that alone made Iglesias expendable.
Personally, your plan is fine and still realistic if they simply get another SS to replace Iglesias. There are plenty of them. However, what the Sox don’t have is a contender every year. And the window to win does not close after 2013, but they are unlikely to have the same chances in the near future as they have today. I am glad they went for it.
I do think it will be Bogaerts at SS and Middlebrooks at 3B next year. I’m not wild about it either.
But at least I am still having a great time this post-season…
Thank you for that well thought out (and respectful ) reply. I've read it more than once and completely understand where you're coming from. There's a lot to be said for your positions as they DO seem to mirror the FO's opinions.
I'm pleased that we could wrap this up with a mutual respect for one another's opinions. Only time will tell what's actually going to happen. Maybe Iggy will fall below the Mendoza Line and drop out of baseball and maybe he'll become a HOF SS but whatever happens, happens. For now the trade is done and we have to move on.
I can promise you that you're not having any better time in this post-season than I am. I picked this team to have 81-85 wins so this is all gravy to me, plus I find this team a lot more fun to watch than the mega-millions teams with several HOF'ers in the lineup. Kinda like David vs. Goliath. David is the guy you root for and on those rare occasions when he wins it's very satisfying to watch.
Have a great weekend, and let's hope the Tigers are playing golf on Sunday afternoon.