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Gordon Edes doesn't like the Red Sox' moves

Dec 15, 2009, 11:15 AM EST

Gordon Edes, late of Yahoo! late of the Boston Globe and now writing for ESPN Boston doesn’t like Red Sox’ recent moves very much. He notes that the Sox don’t usually sign free agent pitchers to big deals. He outlines Lackey’s health history, making what seems like a more aggressive case for Lackey as an injury risk than I’ve seen from anyone else.

Edes’ takeaways: (a) the Red Sox have money to burn and feel that Lackey’s worth the risk; (b) the Sox were kind of improvising here, having not initially planned to go after Lackey but calling the audible once the Bay negotiations hit an impasse; and (c) this could all be a long play to cover for the absence of Josh Beckett, who Edes thinks the Sox may allow to walk next year.

Finally, Edes doesn’t like the Cameron signing. While Buster Olney characterizes it and a potential Adrian Beltre signing as the Sox building “the second best pitching and defense team after the Mariners,” Edes simply worries about whether or not there will be enough pop in the Sox’ lineup.  It’s a legitimate concern.

This doesn’t happen often, but the Sox’ moves yesterday were largely overshadowed by what went down in Lee-Halladay land.  Are these moves as unpopular with Red Sox fans as they appear to be with Edes? Edes usually seems to be sensible about such things, but I feel like he’s being overly harsh here.

  1. Erik - Dec 15, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    The idiot Sox “fans” will hate it because they only understand “hit home runs” as a logic for winning. I personally like it, especially after the atrocious defense of 2009 … and Mike Cameron has more pop in his bat than people think. The Lackey signing is a good move as well as the core of the rotation – Lester and Buchholz – will be around even if they let Beckett walk, and Lackey could be seen as a Schilling 2.0. However, that being said, I would venture to guess that even if they sign Adrian Beltre and trade Lowell, there might be another move up Theo’s sleeve before all is said and done.

  2. Andrew in Rochester - Dec 15, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    The other thing that gives me pause is building a pitching-first team in Fenway Park, which is not exactly conducive to such an endeavor. This is still a team that scored 872 runs last year, so I seriously doubt that they’re going to be in a lot of trouble on the run-scoring front, even without Jason Bay. Youkilis, Pedroia, Martinez, and Drew are a pretty strong hitting core to have, after all.

  3. Ryan - Dec 15, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    I personally don’t like any of the moves I’ve seen from Theo this offseason; I didn’t want Bay back, but replacing him with Scutaro, Lackey and Cameron wasn’t even close to what I had in mind. Lackey is overrated, Scutaro is a glorified utility infielder and Cameron is a classic NL player.

  4. Ben - Dec 15, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    I’m not 100% sure how I feel about these moves yet. Yes, both deals buck the recent trends the Red Sox have been keeping to (no long term pitching blockbuster deals and get younger) but at the same time, they are improvising. These both seem like deals that will need some time to digest. Yes, Lackey’s numbers haven’t been the best at Fenway, but perhaps he was just never comfortable there in road gray. Or maybe he’ll be a terrible home pitcher in a Red Sox uniform. Obviously, Lackey thinks it’s something he could overcome; he wouldn’t sign to play at a stadium where he couldn’t post good numbers as numbers and stats are very important in today’s game.
    Mike Cameron was a great hitter, and maybe he’ll provide some good protection for current Red Sox hitters. I was high as a kite on Bay when we got him, but if he walks, that is what happens. Being a Red Sox fan (as I have been since 1996, and I’m 23, mind, so that’s since I was 10 years old and 8 years before our first World Series, for those who might question my credentials as a true fan) means losing fan favorites for the betterment of the team. What showed that better than 2004 when the Red Sox traded Nomar away? That, according to quite a few, allowed them to go on and win the World Series. Would they have won it with Nomar? Who knows. But sometimes you say goodbye to fan favorites (Nomar, more recently Justin Masterson and maybe Lowell upcoming) in order to stay competitive. It’s hard to argue that Cameron isn’t a far better defensive outfielder than Bay, who has been helped by the Monster and short left, just as Manny was.
    As Colin Cowherd says, step back and take emotion out of it. These guys from the Globe are still emotional about losing fan favorites. Step back, and see what or whose praises they’re singing when the season starts.

  5. Ace - Dec 15, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    Hey now, that’s a bit harsh Erik. But I grant you, many of my fellow Sox fans have been overly reactionary this offseason, what with the infamous “bridge” comment, and the surprisingly unpopular Scutaro signing. I’m not nearly as pessimistic as Edes. I like the Lackey signing quite a bit, and think he’ll fit in perfectly with the club. In a way, I’m kind of relieved they didn’t sell the farm to pick up Halladay. And I have to think there’s a chance the Sox are positioning themselves to trade for a big bat, as these deals make Buchholz (and others) significantly more expendable.

  6. Mark Armour - Dec 15, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    I think Edes is overreacting here. The team scored 872 runs last year, third in the league, despite horrific production from shortstop and from catcher (for four months). They look to significantly better at both positions while giving up some offense in left field. I think its all a wash myself. Third base is still open, of course–if they get Beltre as rumored, the offense projects to be at least as good as last year. And the pitching/defense is much better.
    Edes is a smart guy, but I think its difficult for people to see offense when you have a team with a few stars and no holes, rather than a team like 2007 who had a couple of studs but a black hole at SS and CF. If they have Cameron, Beltre and Scutaro hitting 7-8-9, this will be a hell of an offense.

  7. ErikIsAnIdiot - Dec 15, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Erik, “The idiot Sox “fans” will hate it because they only understand “hit home runs” as a logic for winning. I personally like it, especially after the atrocious defense of 2009 … and Mike Cameron has more pop in his bat than people think”
    Erik you are a moron for a number of reasons. To make an umbrella statement like that about the largest, most passionate, and most baseball educated fan base in the country communicates nothing but your ignorance. The echo in your skull is further illustrated by your writing proficiency, which is that of a grade school dropout at best. Thirdly, your analysis lacks any depth and even contradicts itself (i.e. “”The idiot Sox “fans” will hate it because they only understand “hit home runs”…”Mike Cameron has more pop in his bat than people think””).
    Clearly, those in Red Sox Nation understand the thought process behind Theo Epstein’s moves better than you do. The Lackey move is all about personnel flexibility. They now have the choice of standing pat in terms of their starting pitching by adding a horse to the middle of the rotation and shift Wake to the pen or they could now entertain the possibility of trading Buchholz + a high end prospect to San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez.
    The Cameron signing is about value and flexibility of a different sort. First, the market has placed a premium on offensive production over defensive skill. For example, Jason Bay is a more productive hitter than Cameron (although I think too many people overlook Bay’s K-rate), but he’s a terrible defensive outfielder. Even at 36 Cameron is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game. To let Bay walk, collect the two draft picks and sign Cameron to a nice short-term contract at a fraction of what Bay is commanding makes a lot of sense.
    So that’s the value aspect. On the flexibility side, the Sox can close the gap in what they’re giving up on the offensive side by platooning Cameron with Hermida against tough right-handers. Cameron has hit southpaws tremendously well throughout his career, but is below average against righties. In fact, Cameron’s OPS last year was better than 200 points higher against left-handed pitching. The opposite is true for Hermida, who hit nearly 200 points of OPS better against right-handers. The Cameron signing also frees up more cash for the Sox to continue to work the free agent market and/or take on additional salary via trade.
    If the Sox do trade Buchholz, one Erik that would make a lot more sense than you is Erik Bedard. I think it would be strategic to take a shot on him as he would match up well against the Yankees, particularly now following the Granderson trade.

  8. BillyBeaneismyHero - Dec 15, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    I actually love the Cameron deal. We signed a good hitter that actually gives you value on the defensive side of the ball. It makes us better. Even if you account for a regression of 0.5 wins per season, we’re still getting a 7-8 WAR player over the next two seasons.
    As for Lackey, I’m not a huge fan. His strikeout rates and swing and miss rates have dropped off every season since 2005. I feel like the Red Sox paid him like an ace, when in reality he’s a number two or three starter. If it was for three years and $42-45M, I’d be fine with it. Considering his recent injuries and age, I feel that a five year deal was a bit of a reach.

  9. Bookie. - Dec 15, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    As currently constituted, this offense will score more runs than they did last year. What a difference a year without Varitek and Nick Green will make.

  10. Cru11 - Dec 15, 2009 at 12:47 PM

    I was a huge fan of the Cameron signing as soon as I got wind of it. Cameron averages 23 HRs a year but now I think with the cozy dimensions of Fenway he could possibly top 30. Just a thought. Oh, and I like his defense too.

  11. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Dec 15, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    As a yanks fan, seeing the Sox sign Cameron hurt a little, as his defense is very underrated. However, anyone read on what they plan on doing with Ellsbury/Cameron? Does Cameron play CF pushing Ellsbury to LF? His bat doesn’t play well there, but the defensive metrics see Cameron > Ellsbury in CF? Cameron in LF seems like a waste of his defensive talents, don’t it?
    Also, it’s going to take a lot more than the laptop klepto + a prospect to get Gonzalez. Remember that new GM Jed Hoyer used to work for the Sox so he’s not going to get fleeced like the Dbacks GM did in the Schilling trade.

  12. NYguy - Dec 15, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    “most baseball educated fan base in the country”
    Your war and peace diatribe lost me when you made the comment above. However smart or not Erik may seem to be, he is not a liar. Get over yourself Sux fan.

  13. Bookie - Dec 15, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    “Get over yourself Sux fan.”
    Pot, meet Kettle.

  14. Lawrence From Plattekill - Dec 15, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Edes reminds us of the bad contracts of Barry Zito, Mike Hampton, Chan Ho Park, Darren Dreifort, Denny Neagle, Kei Igawa, and Wilson Alvarez, but is Lackey in the same category? Isn’t he a better pitcher than Chan Ho Park ever was?

  15. Steve Stein - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    Red Sox fan here. I’ve seen Lackey a couple of times in Boston and it has not gone well for him. Lackey has a career ERA of 5.75 in Fenway. 8 HRs in 52 innings. He’ll make a fine #3 starter, and chew up innings.
    Cameron – meh. He won’t replace Bay’s bat. He’ll be 37 next month. He may love the wall offensively and get a lot of doubles, but I don’t think he has that much left, and I predict he’ll hit about .220. I hope I’m wrong.

  16. DP - Dec 15, 2009 at 5:41 PM

    I dont agree with the moves the Sox have made. Even if they get Beltre they have built a old team that will hit bad pitching but will get crushed by any strong pitcher…and stirkeout a ton in the process.
    Scutaro 34 yrs old – 75 Ks
    Cameron 37 yrs old – 156 Ks with a .240s avg
    Beltre 31 yr old by the start of season – 74 Ks in 449 Abs…19 BBs (how is this better than Lowell who has a pretty good glove also).
    Add them to their other older oft injured hitters like Ortiz and Drew (who both had over 100Ks last yr along with Youk) and we have a disaster waiting to happen…with a ton of strikeouts over the year and a lineup that will not hit against the better pitchers….but may hit a few more HRs…..yay
    I dont see how we improved with any of those moves and now they are talking about trading Buchholz (who will probably put up similar numbers to Lackey and much cheaper) and Ellsbury who is a future star and one of their best hitters….and why do they need to make those trades…because they know they have a team of .240 to .280 hitters that has 5 or 6 hitters that will hit 20 to 25 HRs and K a ton and those types of teams never do well….and most likely will have a slew of injuries and missed time.
    None of this make up any ground on the Yankees who got rid of thier old hitters that are close to breaking down and improved in CF while not losing any hitting.
    I am a Huge Sox fan and Theo is pretty smart but he makes some major mistakes that seem to always get overlooked…Lugo, Renteria, Drew, Eric Gange, maybe Dice-K…Wliy Mo for Arroyo…letting Alex Gonzalez walk twice (and getting a weaker fielder each time to replace him who seems to hit about the same as Gonzalez)…letting local Carlos Pena walk…Matt Clement…letting Orlando Carbera walk and paying more for weaker players….letting Mirabelli walk only to be forced to trade 2 players for him a few months later.
    I hope we dont have a few more to add to the list.

  17. Bookie. - Dec 15, 2009 at 10:52 PM

    I am a Huge Sox fan and Theo is pretty smart but he makes some major mistakesthat seem to always get overlooked…Lugo, Renteria, Drew, Eric Gange, maybe Dice-K…Wliy Mo for Arroyo…letting Alex Gonzalez walk twice
    One of these is not like the other.
    JD Drew is Baseball’s litmus test.

  18. Francis Prante - Dec 28, 2009 at 11:22 PM

    Wow, great article. Strangely . Glad I bump into this site. I am so gonna bookmark this website. —————- Call me bonkers but I’m a fan of hampton bay ceiling fans.

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