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Nine stolen bases?! Here's how the Red Sox can stop the running game

Apr 21, 2010, 9:11 AM EDT

Guerrero steals.jpgI mentioned it in ATH, but it’s worth mentioning again: the Rangers stole nine bases off the Boston Red Sox last night. Nine. As in, the most any team has stolen in a game in eight years. Even Vlad Guerrero — who walks around like Fred Sanford half the time — swiped two.

Obviously it’s going to be easier to run when a knuckleballer like Wakefield is on the hill, but it’s not like you can absolve Victor Martinez here. He has only caught one guy in 25 attempts all season. And most of those came with guys throwing real fastballs on the mound.  There are faster teams than the Rangers out there, and they no doubt watched last night’s highlights closely.  You can only assume teams will run on the Red Sox more and more until they show they can do something about it. But what to do?

For starters, you have to move Wakefiled out of the rotation when Daisuke Matsuzaka comes back to the big club, which could be as early as next week. This is not just a stolen base prevention move given that Wakefield hasn’t been particularly effective this year, but with an offense that is sputtering like it is, every bit of — dare I say it? — run prevention is needed, and keeping the running game in check is part of run prevention.

A more pressing problem is the man trying to throw runners out. Don’t get me wrong. I love Victor Martinez. But I watched him for years in Cleveland — years in which he was increasingly used at first base and DH because of his poor defense — and he is never going to be able to truly get the job done behind the plate for a contending team.

Something needs to be done about that, and I have an idea: move Victor Martinez to DH, cut bait on Big Papi and acquire a defense-first catcher to restore order on the basepaths.

Such a move may be painicky. It may be radical. But it may be the best option for the Red Sox. And most beautiful thing about it: it kills three birds with one stone: (1) it solves the defensive problem; (2) it moves Ortiz’s dead wood out of the lineup; and (3) it reduces Victor Martinez’s price in free agency, making him much easier to simply plug in as Ortiz’s permanent replacement next year and for a few years thereafter. Cheap? Sure, but it ain’t dumb.

The only problem would be the media ruckus that would be caused by so definitively moving Ortiz aside, but if the team keeps losing and/or playing ugly baseball like it has already the media din is going to be there anyway.

So, what say you Red Sox Nation?

  1. MK - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    I love reading posts like this.
    Here, Mr. GM…how about you take our highly-paid trash for the rest of the season and in return send us a productive major leaguer making a fraction of one of their salaries. And throw in some prospects too while you’re at it.
    This is a joke, right?

  2. MK - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    I love reading posts like this.
    Here, Mr. GM…how about you take our highly-paid trash for the rest of the season and in return send us a productive major leaguer making a fraction of one of their salaries. And throw in some prospects too while you’re at it.
    This is a joke, right?

  3. RedSoxNation - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I’m not sure how useful the opinion of a couple of Sox haters is.
    In any case, Ortiz at 1B, Lowell at 3B (or 2B, if you have to play Chipper for sentimental reasons), Cameron in the OF is an upgrade at three positions for the Braves. If Theo comes calling, you bet the Braves take that call. Especially since having some former Sox on the field will sell tickets.

  4. Big Harold - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Why would the Braves, .. or any other team take Ortiz even if the Red Sox agreed to paying 95% of his salary. I can’t see why ANY NL team would take this group since only one of the three can play defense regularly, ..and he’s the worst hitter.
    The Red Sox need to give it another month or so to see if there is any sign of life from Ortiz’s bat. If his hitting is still terrible they need to DFA him and get another DH. Hail and Fare Well David, .. Thanks for the memories.
    Lowell might be able to play passable defense on a limited basis so he’s still useful but he doesn’t appear to be the answer as full time DH either. Unless the Red Sox can get a defensive catcher for a reasonable price they should go after a big bat, .. like Adam Dunn as a trade. And, since everybody knows how screwed they are in the catching department reasonable price probably is part of the equation. Their best option is to keep their current catching tandem and live with their poor throwing and declining contributions as the season wears on, .. because they will both fade. There are a lot more and cheaper options as DH types than catchers with real ability defensive or otherwise.

  5. MK - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Let’s look at the salaries you truly believe the Braves would take on:
    Ortiz = $13 million
    Lowell = $12.5 million
    Cameron = $7.75 million
    In exchange for Brian McCann PLUS prospects. HAHAHAHAHAHA…you Sox fans are so silly.

  6. Big Harold - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    “Especially since having some former Sox on the field will sell tickets.”
    Look I’m not trying to be contentious but you are clearly over estimating the drawing power of Red Sox players. In fact I think Braves fans would be calling for somebodies head if the Braves traded for these guys even if the Red Sox ate most of their saleries. The Sox were going to have to pay 75% of Lowell’s salary in the Texas trade and that was before they knew his thumb needed work. Now that he’s been sitting on the bench, him mobility is clearly limited the Red Sox would have to pay more. Same with Ortiz if his hitting doesn’t piock up.

  7. Joey B - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Odd that I haven’t seen anyone in here in suggest it, but might the pitchers be at fault?
    VMart has never been a strong catcher, but his career CS% is about 25%, and he was at 32% and 37% in 2007 and 2008. Has he really fallen off that far in a little over a year that he is is 7% since he joined the RS?
    Tek was never below 22% until 2009 also. Did both these guys forget how to throw out runners at the same time?
    And how do the SBs break down? 4 SPs combine for 24-0, while the other SP is 2-1. The 2-1 SP is Lackey. Paps, Bard, and Atchison combine for 5-0, while Oki, Schoenweiss, and Ramirez have no SBs against them.
    It just looks to me like the outside vets have had no problem, while the guys primarily ‘raised’ by the RS are the ones with the issues.
    Now this is all small sample size, and it is entirely possible that VMart’s arm is shot, but before we invest in another catcher, I’d like to rate the contributory negligence of the RS pitchers. Why have Lackey, Oki, Schoenweiss and Ramirez have a combined 34 IPs, with ~ 54 baserunners, yet they’ve had no problems whatsoever.
    How is that not at least a little suspicious?

  8. ecp - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    I was going to say I think that nobody is reading the sarcasm in RedSoxNation’s proposal, but now I’m not so sure it wasn’t serious – either that or he’s good at keeping a straight face.

  9. Motherscratcher - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    This is a great idea. I’d like to make a suggestion, though. Maybe instead of a couple of prospects they could just throw in Jason Heyward. So that would be McCann and Heyward for Ortiz, Lowell, and Cameron. If that doesn’t work they could throw in Tommy Hanson to make it a straight 3 for 3 deal.
    It makes too much sense for it not to happen.

  10. RedSoxNation - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    You’re correct ecp. I grow weary of Yankees/Red Sox fans and their sense of privilege.

  11. John from Concord - Apr 21, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Theo’s job isn’t in danger. That’s laughable. Ownership knows this is a transition year, as does everyone who pays attention to the Red Sox and isn’t a homer or a hater.
    But their market position means they do need to hold it together and make a respectable showing, and they aren’t doing that. I think Ortiz is gone within a few weeks — maybe it’s a DFA, maybe they convince him to “retire” Bruschi-style with a little ceremony at Fenway or something. He won’t be traded (for what? to who?) and at this point, neither will Lowell, who might be the DH-in-waiting but who will will probably finish the season as a Sox platoon/bench player and then call it quits.
    I think the V-Mart-as-DH idea has some merit… and if it happens, I think Varitek will end up as the everyday catcher. Watch and see.

  12. scatterbrian - Apr 21, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    “Shocking. Not one Kurt Suzuki love note.”
    Honestly I’d prefer to keep it that way. Our little secret…

  13. scatterbrian - Apr 21, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    You’re an idiot. There’s no way Theo makes that trade without Heyward in the mix. Besides, you’re leaving the Braves naked behind the dish. Add Cap’n Tek and that might even things out enough to get Heyward.
    captcha: biblical affairs (those are my favorite kind!)

  14. Trevor B - Apr 21, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    I thought it’d be commonly accepted with all the talk of how the Sox would trade Lowell and also trade cash to eat up some of that contract that I wouldn’t need to mention the Sox giving the other team some dough to eat those 2 contracts… Glad to know some people fly off the handle at stupid chanter though. If I threw a nickle into traffic would you chase after it?

  15. Wendall - Apr 22, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    I guess I’ll spell it out for you , no one wants these players your suggesting , They’re DONE , do you get it now . Typical sux fan , STUPID

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