Tag:Clay Buchholz
Posted on: November 28, 2009 10:50 pm

GM for a Day: Boston Red Sox

second I'll do the enemy, the Boston Red Sox.
Prospects:  Clay Buchholz, Casey Kelly, Ryan Westmoreland (can't be traded), Junichi Tazawa, Michael Bowden, Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson

Potential major losses: Jason Bay

Major Free Agents after 2010: Josh Beckett, Victor Martinez, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz (club option)

Infield:  Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia put together a very good infield.  But Mike Lowell is on the decline and I doubt that Jed Lowrie is the long term answer at SS either.  The Sox would love to put Youk at 3B and move Lowell's contract.

Outfield:  Despite the possible departure of Jason Bay, the Sox outfield would look decent if the season started today.  Ellsbury may have become the best leadoff man in the AL, Drew has been solid for years and maybe a change of scenary and a hitter friendly ballpark could turn Jeremy Hermida into the superstar he was always projected to be.  But with Hermida's uncertainty and Drew's potential for injury at the least they'll bring back a solid fourth option.

Rotation:  Beckett and Lester are grest at the front.  DiceK is right with them if healthy (although reports of him and the organization fighting over conditioning can't be good).  Buchholz has all the talent in the world if given the chance.  Wakefield is always around, although he's probably better suited for the bullpen at his age.  Tazawa and Bowden are ready for the majors as well giving the Sox one of the deepest crops of starting pitching in baseball. 

Bullpen:  Papelbon is Papelbon in the 9th.  Bard should be the 8th inning flamethrower.  Okajima is solid but should probably see less innings this year.  Delcarmen is consistent and Ramirez really got the job done last year.  I'm sure they'd love a veteran setup man back there as Saito and Wagner are both departing

Holes to fill: 3B, SS, OF.  SP isn't really a hole with their depth but you know that Boston will be looking to upgrade.

Bad Contracts:  If Mike Lowell can stay healthy his $12 million contract isn't bad.  Similarly if David Ortiz rebounds he would be a steal at $12.5 million.  I never liked the JD Drew deal, and $28 million over the next two years is a lot for him.  I'm not thrilled with what DiceK is still owed but the equivalent of $9 million a year isn't that bad considering the price of free agent pitching.  I just don't think he has three good years left in a major league uniform. 

Salary Increases:  Lester gets an extra $3 million, Victor Martinez and Varitek make a combined $5 million more than last year.  Pedroia gets $2 million more.  Hermida is probably at $4 million after arbitration.  Papelbon will probably get a $4 million raise in arbitration.  Youk gets an extra $3 million this year.  Beckett an extra $1.5 million but Wakefield takes a paycut that cancels it out.  Kotchman is likely to get $5 million.  Delcarmen and Ramirez probably cost an extra $3 million combined.  If my math is right that's an extra $27 million.  For Penny, Smoltz, Bay, Saito, Baldelli and the other FA I have the costs at $20 million, meaning that Boston is already $7 million over last year's payroll before resigning Bay or bringing in somebody like Halladay.  I really can't see them adding a big contract and ending up spending an extra $20 million in this economy so I'm going to have to start with cost cutting moves...

The Moves to Make:

1.  Sign Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez to extensions.  Get your ace and the second best offensive catcher in the league signed long term before they hit the open market. 

2.  Non-tender Casey Kotchman.  He's not an everyday player and shouldn't be paid $5 million to sit on the bench. Victor Martinez will be getting a little time at 1B/DH anyway.

3.  Trade Matsuzaka to the Brewers for Corey Hart and prospects.  I don't trust Drew to play more than 130 games and you don't know what you are getting from Hermida.  I do not think that paying $18 million a year for Bay is the right move and Hart should only cost about $5 million this year.  He had a bad 2009 but two good seasons before and will only be 28.  The Brewers need pitching and the Red Sox have young arms ready to stand in for Matsuzaka.   As I alluded to earlier, I don't think Matsuzaka can hold in the longer MLB season if all this talk about his conditioning is true.  Pick up an outfielder you can use now and reload on prospects you can use for trades later.  I had a few other options with this including to Colorado for Brad Hawpe or to Texas for Nelson Cruz but I see Hart as the best option. 

4.  Trade Lars Anderson, Casey Kelly and other low/mid level prospects for Adrian Gonzalez.  Jason Bay isn't worth the money but Gonzalez is an absolute steal making a combined $10.25 million in the next two years.  He hit a combined 50 HR in his last 160 road games and would be a lock for 45 in that park.  He's not only cheaper than Bay but better.

5.  The most controversial of my moves.....  Trade David Ortiz to the Oakland Athletics for prospects.  I think he's done as being an elite player and you need to cut salary.  Adrian Gonzalez will easily outproduce him this year anyway.  Oakland traded for Holliday last year and may be willing to make a move again, but I really don't see another fit for Ortiz.  You can probably still get a pretty good return including an extra arm for the bullpen (Wuertz?).  You know they are going to try and move Mike Lowell but I view him as untradeable at this point.  You'd have to eat 3/4 of his salary to find a taken and if you are only saving $3-4 million you are better off with Mike Lowell in the lineup. 

6.  Trade Bowden, Kalish and prospects from the Ortiz and Matsuzaka trades for Josh Johnson.  There is no way it's worth it for the Red Sox to give up prospects for Halladay and then pay him $20 million a year with the extension.  I do not believe any of the hype.  Johnson is younger and cheaper.  Theo has a great relationship with the Marlins.  It all makes sense.

7.  Sign Marco Scutaro to be your SS. 

2010 Lineup
c. Victor Martinez/Jason Varitek
1b. Adrian Gonzalez
2b. Dustin Pedroia
3b. Kevin Youkilis
ss.  Marco Scutaro
lf. JD Drew/Cory Hart
cf. Jacoby Ellsbury
rf. Jeremy Hermida/Cory Hart
dh. Mike Lowell/Cory Hart

1. Josh Beckett
2. Jon Lester
3. Josh Johnson
4. Clay Buchholz
5. Tim Wakefield
extra:  Junichi Tazawa

Closer:  Jonathan Papelbon
Major Bullpen Arms:  Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez. Michael Wuertz

Final Notes:  The only thing I really had in my head coming into this was some kind of trade for Josh Johnson.  I simply didn't think it was worth trading for Halladay if the price is as high as reported.  Plus if they extend Halladay and give him $20 million they probably can't afford to keep Beckett next season who will be making at least $15 million a year.  That's effectively giving up Beckett and Buchholz for Halladay which is just stupid.  In the scenario I've laid out, Beckett signs a four or five year extension and the Sox control their first four guys, all of whom have ace stuff for three years or more. 

I realize there is probably no one behind the trading Ortiz idea and trading Matsuzaka would have mixed reactions at best but that saves a lot of cash and gives you enough in extra prospects to bring in both Adrien Gonzalez and Josh Johnson.  Probably every Sox fan on here is going to say there is no way you can trade Bay but I can't see how they can afford him.  Even with me getting rid of the $20 million from Ortiz and Matsuzaka, payroll would still increase about $10 million with the Scutaro signing and Josh Johnson's arbitration raise.  I do expect them to raise payroll some this year, but the most they could possibly add on is $10-15 million, which with the salary increases really only leaves about $8 million to work with.  That's basically only enough for Marco Scutaro and a 4th outfielder.  I honestly wouldn't be surprised if signing Scutaro was the biggest move the Red Sox make this year.  It's tough when you have payroll restrictions. 

To sum things up.  Gonzalez and Martinez are replacing Bay and Ortiz as the big bats.  Josh Johnson replaces Matsuzaka in the rotation.  Hart and Hermida replace Bay and Baldelli in the OF.  Scutaro is a big upgrade at SS.  Added a power arm in Michael Wuertz in the bullpen to replace the departed Saito.  Basically just made moves to get younger and cheaper but leaving the team with a similar makeup.  You still keep your best hitting prospect in Ryan Westmoreland and best pitching in Clay Buchholz.  I choose to keep Tazawa over Bowden first because I think he's better and second because I think the Sox are trying to keep Japanese players on the team to be a more attractive destination for Yu Darvish in a few years.

This was kind of a rush job, I might edit more of it later.  I'm sure I'll take a lot of heat for saying that neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox should go after Bay, Holliday, Lackey or Halladay.

Posted on: November 28, 2008 4:41 am

GM for a Day: Texas Rangers

I'm going to update these with extra categories as they come to me, I may eventually go back and break down the first few into this manner as well.

Untouchables on the MLB roster:
Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis, Taylor Teagarden,

Elite Prospects (for these I will only be listing those not on the major league roster):
Justin Smoak, Elvis Andrus, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Michael Main, Martin Perez  (the Rangers probably have the top farm system right now, helped a lot by the fleece of Atlanta in the Teixeira trade.  The last 3 are in the low minors but are potential aces dominating their leagues)

Holes to fill:
SP, RP, Closer

Potential major losses:
Milton Bradley

Major Free Agents after 2009:
Hank Blalock, Vincente Padilla, (probably) Kevin Millwood.

Bad Contracts:
Kevin Millwood, 2 years $23 million left, can be voided after this season if Millwood pitches less than 180 innings saving $12 million.
Vincente Padilla, 1 year $13.75 million left (including buyout).
Michael Young, 5 years $80 million left, no trade thru 2009, limited no trade (8 teams) thru May 2011 when he becomes a 10 and 5 player.

Large arbitration increases:
No salary's are likely to increase more than $1-2 million thru arbitration

the infield:
The infield is filling fast.  Ian Kinsler is one of the best offensive 2B in the league.  Chris Davis looks like a real power option at 3B (not his ideal defensive position but its where his future fits).  Hank Blalock will likely keep 1B warm for a year until Justin Smoak is ready to make an impact.  Michael Young is an established (allbeit overated) star at SS, with a good prospect in Joaquin Arias major league ready, and an elite prospect in Elvis Andrus a year away.  It's probably time to explore trading Michael Young....  Catcher is set with a veteran in Laird behind a group of top young talents in Teagarden, Max Ramirez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  Salty is likely wearing another uniform on opening day.  The other 3 can share C and DH duties with Max Ramirez serving as Hank Blalock's backup at 1B.

the outfield:
Josh Hamilton is an emerging superstar with one spot locked in.  Nelson Cruz put up a ridiculous line of .345 125-52-144-25 in his last 545 AB  in AAA before hitting .333 with 7 HR and 26 RBI in 31 games in the majors last season.  I don't think he'll be a star or put up anywhere near those numbers next season, but he is a former top prospect so the pedigree is there.  He should be able to put up a strong .280, 30 HR, 100 RBI season hitting in a strong lineup in the home run haven that is Arlington.  David Murphy, although not very highly touted, is a solid league average player, making close to the league minimum, who fits in well for a team that already has a strong offensive presence.  Marlon Byrd is a solid defensive 4th OF, hitting .302/.361/.460 in 814 AB for Texas.  Furthermore, in case there are injuries on the field, prospects Greg Golson and Julio Borbon should be ready to fill in.  This team should not need to sign a replacement for Milton Bradley.

the rotation:
I would characterize as abysmal.  Millwood and Padilla are overpaid for little production and beyond that is a group of young unproven players.  Brandon McCarthy and Eric Hurley probably have the most upside, although neither figures to be a break out player.  Next is a group of guys whose ceiling only reaches mid-backend types in Harrison, Nippert and Gabbard.  The rotation needs a lot of work.  Padilla and likely Millwood will both be off the books next season so there will be money to spend.  They need to bring in at least one guy.

the bullpen.
The bullpen is not good, like the rotation, but there is a few bright spots.  Francisco is currently the closer, although he isn't suited for the job.  CJ Wilson and Joaqin Benoit have both closes in the past, although they are both coming off poor injury plagued seasons, and again, neither is really suited for the job.  One strong arm to close is likely a must.  The three aforementioned former closers could all be suitable setup men if they can stay healthy.  Also adding to the rotation could shift a starter or two into the bullpen giving an extra boost.

the moves to make

1.  Attempt to trade Michael Young for major league ready pitching.  He is a pretty good player yes, but there is no way he is worth $16 million a year and he is under contract until 2013 (age 36).  He's more likely to be a product of his environment than a star level talent and you have two very good young players behind him.  Try and trade him now while he is still considered a star, because I doubt he will be in 2-3 years.  Remember the old saying, it's better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late.  If he won't waive his no trade clause, wait til the end of the season and trade him to whoever will take him before his 10 and 5 kicks in and he can go block any trade.  I'd love to say Young for Matt Cain but I doubt that works.  Jonathan Sanchez (I wouldn't do) and James McDonald are probably the most realistic targets right now, so it may be worth waiting until next season.  Note:  This would also free up cash to sign one of the top pitchers from this year's market.

2.  Trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Clay Buchholz.  The Sox say they won't do it but I don't mind it.  I bet they change thier mind after signing Junichi Tazawa.  Hold out and they'll cave.  The Rangers stole a good group of prospects for Gagne from the Sox and they can do it again.

3.  Sign Ben Sheets.  3 years, $39 million.  They need to get some top level pitching talent badly.  CC won't go.  Lowe isn't worth the cash at his age.  Burnett isn't worth the risk for 5 years.  That basically leave Sheets and Oliver Perez as the two pitchers left with the potential to lead a rotation.

4.  Sign Mark Prior to an incentive laden deal.  It could probably be a minor league contract with an invite.  Again, they need pitching as badly as you can need pitching and should look everywhere for it.  He's still only 28 years old.

5.  Sign Mark Mulder  2 years, $4 million, with incentives, escalators and team option.  Still could have some good years ahead at only 31.  Is due for a giant pay cut from the $7 million he made last season.

6.  Sign Kerry Wood.  3 years $27 million.  From what I've heard about Kerry Wood's mindset, he is the type that would take less to play where he wants, and he has Texas ties.  This probably should be up higher, but to me the rotation is more important so I left it down.

Texas has a potent offense and will have one for years to come, but the pitching is finally on its way.  Holland should make an impact this season, with Main, Feliz, and Perez possible 2010 additions.  This team should be ready to make a serious run at a title in 2011 if it can pick up some solid veteran pitching in the mean time (Sheets this year, Bedard, Harden, and Myers are available next).  Sheets isn't the perfect fit, but he's better than the decisions they've made in the past.  Would you rather pay for 120 innings very good innings from Sheets or 170 awful innings from Millwood?  At least you know that when healthy he's as good as anyone (and 2011 will conveniently be a contract year).  I'm not expecting either Prior or Mulder to do anything but there is very little risk in the deals for a team desperate for pitching.  I don't think anyone questions the future offense built around Hamilton, Kinsler, Davis, Smoak, Andrus, Teagarden and Ramirez.  By 2011 an ideal rotation could be Sheets, Buchholz, Bedard, Holland and Feliz or Perez and could be quite formidable. There is also a lot of depth in the group they would have all of those 6, plus Michael Main having frontline potential.  If only 2 or 3 of the 7 pitch to their potential the team would be a strong playoff contender with a great chance to advance.

2009 lineup:
C.  Gerald Laird/Taylor Teagarden
1B.  Hank Blalock/Max Ramirez
2B.  Ian Kinsler
3B.  Chris Davis
SS.  Michael Young (as much as I'd like to see him traded, next year or midseason is a more realistic target)
LF.  David Murphy
CF.  Josh Hamilton
RF.  Nelson Cruz
DH.  Ramirez/Teagarden

Rotation:  Ben Sheets, Clay Buchholz, Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, Hurley/Gabbard/McCarthy

LHRP.  CJ WIlson
Set up men:  Frank Francisco, Joaquin Benoit
Closer. Kerry Wood.

5 years ago how good would Sheets, Prior, Mulder and Wood look together?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com