Monday, March 21, 2005

A couple of disagreements with Baseball Prospectus 2005

I bought the Baseball Prospectus 2005 book last night. I'm a bit late with the purchase, as it's been out for over a month now, but I just ran into a little extra spending money so I picked it up. I haven't really had a chance to look too much into it yet, but of course the first thing I did was turn to the Red Sox page. Maybe I'm nitpicking a bit, but there were a couple of things I didn't like about their writeup for the team.

For an organization so clearly on the way up, it's ironic that the Red Sox have nowhere to go but down.

The writeup was led off with that quote and I disagree. It could be that they believe that a World Series victory after an 86 year drought is the highest a team can get, but I believe that a World Series victory after an 86 year drought followed by several more World Series victories in the upcoming decade is entirely possible and a definate path upwards. With a sizeable payroll, a smart GM, and an improving farm system this team definately is on the rise, as they said, but there is a clear path upwards that the Red Sox are in position to take.

Even without acquiring Alex Rodriguez last winter, the Sox led the majors in runs scored for the second straight year

How would Rodriguez have helped the Red Sox last year? The man he was to be traded for, Manny Ramirez put up far better numbers than A-Rod and second deal that would've gone down, Magglio Ordonez for Nomar Garciaparra would've turned out to be a wash as both players spent the bulk of the year on the DL. I wasn't the least bit upset last winter when we didn't get Rodriguez. It was a win-win situation for the Sox. I really didn't think it would have made a difference in the win column having one set of all-stars over another. I was actually relieved that the deals didn't go through, mostly for sentimental reasons since the trade wouldn't have really improved our team. And the 2004 season showed that we were much better off being unable to pull off the deal. So why even bring up Rodriguez and why imply that the Red Sox offense would have been better off with him?

In Varitek's case, however, the Sox overextended themselves...It's exactly the kind of move Duquette woul dhave made, investing enormous capital past the foreseeable horizon in a player almost certain to decline.

Is Jason Varitek overpaid? Yes. Was the deal a bad move? Absolutely not. What were the options if we didn't bring Varitek back? Maybe the rumored deal to acquire Nationals catcher Brian Schneider would've went down. Maybe Doug Mirabelli would've became our starter and Kelly Shoppach would've started the year in the majors. Or maybe Epstein would've been able to nab someone else. Whoever ended up starting for the Red Sox wouldn't have been as good as Varitek. V-tek is one of the best catchers in the game. He has a good bat and has plenty of those intangibles that are always talked about. He'll help the team more than any other catcher could have. Bringing back Varitek was not a mistake. In four years when Varitek is 36, spending most of his time at first and DH, and on a sharp offensive decline, $10 million will be too much for him. But the Red Sox have a very sizeable payroll and can afford to overpay the best options.

I'm not putting down the book. And I'm not saying that the 2005 Baseball Prospectus isn't worth it. I paid $18 for 568 pages chock full of player analysis and unique takes on things. I have a feeling that once I really get into this book it will be the best $18 I've spent in a while. And I don't pretend to know more about baseball than anyone writing for that book. I just take exception to a couple of things that they have to say about the Red Sox.

Another purchase I made over the weekend was MVP 2005. Now I'll refrain from talking about the game too much because I realize that most people won't care. But I will say that it's worth the money. It's a very similar game to the 2004 version, but it is smoother and looks a bit better. There are few actual changes in the game that make it worth the money, but for the low, low price of $30 it's worth owning simply because the Red Sox are the featured team on the game. It's definately a must have for any Red Sox fan/video gamer. I'm already off to a 7-0 start with my Red Sox dynasty including a sweep of the Yanks and Jays. Perhaps it's time to bump it up another difficulty level?

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