David Ortiz (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Red Sox manager John Farrell recently came up with a different strategy in his lineup construction: allow David Ortiz to play first base. The idea came about from the combination of several relevant factors affecting the daily lineup: Alejandro De Aza has played very well since being acquired from the Orioles (.940 OPS with the Red Sox), Hanley Ramirez has been an unmitigated disaster in Left Field (-15 DRS in Left), and Mike Napoli has been as bad, if not worse, at the plate (.652 OPS on the season).

So Farrell astutely decided that the best way to address all of those issues was to move Ortiz out to first, De Aza to left, Ramirez in to DH, and Napoli out altogether. According to the veteran manager, this might not be the last time we see that kind of alignment, as shown through his own comments and recent lineup cards. Ortiz himself has been less than thrilled about the change, but he has so far cooperated. Barring any kind of significant trade addition, this defense is the best one the Red Sox can currently put on the field, and it may be the difference between winning and losing games.

Continue reading David Ortiz Needs to Play First Base »

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Matt Barnes (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Much has been made about the poor performance of Red Sox starting pitchers in 2015, and how it has contributed to the team’s last-place standing. That criticism is justified, of course, but there is a sense that placing so much blame on the starters is shielding the team’s relievers from the criticism that they rightfully deserve for their performance (or lack thereof). Boston relievers currently sit 25th in baseball in ERA, 28th in FIP, and 28th in xFIP.

Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have pitched well at the back end, but as the team rankings show, the rest of the bullpen has been a general mess. Unlike the rotation however, the bullpen is more likely to be upgraded from within. This is where Matt Barnes is going to get an opportunity to make an impact in the Major Leagues, and the numbers say he should be able to do so.

Continue reading Red Sox Bullpen Sleeper: Matt Barnes »

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Clay Buchholz (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Earlier this week Brad wrote an excellent article that addressed the recent Clay Buchholz trade rumors, in which he argued that the Red Sox should keep the mercurial starter. While Brad made a well-reasoned case, I would like to play devil’s advocate and outline a case for trading Buchholz, in an attempt to cash in while he is pitching well and his value on the open market may be inflated. I would like to start this outline by agreeing with Brad in that we need to look at what Buchholz actually is, rather than what the Red Sox say he can be.

Despite all of the hoopla about how great Buchholz’s stuff is and how good he can be, the reality is that in a good rotation he is no better than a number three starter. A mid-rotation starter is expected to be solid, if not average, performance-wise with the ability to go deep into a game and eat innings over the course of a season. Continue reading The Case For Trading Clay Buchholz »

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porcello.zimbio

Rick Porcello does not belong on the mound of any major league ballpark. No one in their right mind would put a pitcher in their starting rotation that owns a 6.08 ERA. A 6.00 + ERA, this is insane. Right? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Unfortunately, John Farrell does not have a choice, thanks to management’s decision to bring Porcello to Boston.

Continue reading Management Forced Its Hand With Rick Porcello, Red Sox Nation Pays »

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More common four-letter words may come to mind for the 2015 Red Sox, but Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are starting to bring another one to mind: hope. (AP)

The 2015 Season for the Boston Red Sox has been defined by the latest tirade of four-letter words inspired by Rick Porcello’s latest pitching performance, Pablo Sandoval’s ninth inning fielding percentage, or any other seminal moment of disappointment. There are a lot to choose from.

But lately, strangely, I’ve been finding myself coming back to one four-letter word worse than any curse, more gut wrenching than the most creative string of expletives.

Hope. Continue reading The Newest Four-Letter Word for the Red Sox: Hope »

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Mike Napoli (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

It’s getting to that magical time of year when the trade machine starts to ramp up around the league. Even though the Red Sox aren’t likely to buy players like the fans hoped they would, they can still be active in the July trade market. One of the first names the Red Sox discuss with other teams should be Mike Napoli. Napoli hasn’t been performing to expectations, but he has a good playoff track record and an expiring contract, so an acquiring team would not need to make a long-term commitment. One would think that despite his struggles in 2015, Ben Cherington should not have much trouble moving Napoli at the trade deadline.

The Pros

Napoli has always had very good control of the strike zone, and that remains true in 2015. His .305 OBP is currently nothing to write home about, but it is also significantly higher than his .203 batting average. Continue reading Mike Napoli Should be on the Trade Block »

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Terry Rozier (Justin Aller/Getty Images)

I wrote before the draft that having a pick outside the lottery meant that Thursday night didn’t really matter unless Celtics GM Danny Ainge pulled off something crazy. Well, it appears that he tried, failed and got a consolation prize of a bunch of limited but somewhat talented pieces to add to his roster of limited but somewhat talented pieces.

I also mentioned before the draft that the collections of picks Ainge has collected the last few years might not seem as valuable as it might seem and trading them sooner rather than later would be smart. Apparently, other teams felt the same way as one after another rejected the heavily protected future first rounders that Ainge was likely throwing at them to try and move up in the draft. Continue reading In Ainge We Trust… I Guess? »

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