2011 Organizational Rankings: #2 – Boston

At this point in the ratings, there aren’t any surprises. I imagine there weren’t too many surprises about the top few spots even before this series began. While I imagine few would see the Red Sox as anything other than one of the top organizations in baseball, the particulars of the rating do hold some interest.

Present Talent – 89.55 (3rd)

Red Sox Season Preview

Future Talent – 85.00 (t-5th)

Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

Financial Resources – 90.83 (2nd)
Baseball Operations – 89.55 (2nd)

Overall Rating – 89.25 (2nd)

Honestly, I did a second and then a third take when I saw that Boston’s current talent rated only third. I figured they had the best overall present talent in baseball, maybe one could make an argument for second. But I’m not here simply to express my personal views, but to give an explanation of the ranking put together collectively by the staff. I suppose that some picked Philadelphia (prior the Utley injury) on the basis of their tremendous starting rotation, or the Yankees because they find Jarrod Saltalamacchia drastically inferior to, uh, Russell Martin? Everyone has their reasons, and when teams are rated fairly closely, one or two differences between “voters” make a big difference. If the Red Sox aren’t the most talented team in baseball, they are very, very close. That’s the sort of thing that happens when you lose Adrian Beltre then replace him with Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. They’ll get by somehow.

The farm system is part of the big “blob” in the middle. Mark’s post (linked above) on Boston’s 10 best prospects rates them as 11th. This is one area in which it seems to me most everyone would agree the Red Sox are inferior to the Mystery Team ahead of them in the overall rankings. I will leave it to prospect experts to debate the specifics of the exact ranking and quality of the Red Sox’ system. While it wasn’t totally stripped by the Gonzalez trade, it isn’t what it was.

However, while all teams need to take advantage of the cost-controlled talent developed by their farm system to some extent, for a team with the Red Sox’ financial resources, it isn’t as crucial. Indeed, while the prospects they traded for Adrian Gonzalez could turn out to be more valuable than Gonzalez, one or more of them are likely to bust. Gonzalez gives them more certainty if at a higher price. But they can afford it. It isn’t just about Gonzalez, but about Carl Crawford and anyone else they can afford to sign that other teams can’t because of payroll issues. After about six seasons of payrolls ranging from around $120 million to $140 million, in 2010 Boston’s payroll (according to Cot’s) shot up to almost $170 million. So far they are on the hook for about $160 million in 2011, although that might change once the terms of Adrian Gonzalez’s extension are officially announced. But the guaranteed money on the books actually goes down pretty significantly after 2012 and 2013, leaving room for Boston to sign more free agents or extend current players, e.g., Youkilis, if they think it is wise to so. I’m not sure what there is to say that most people don’t know: the Red Sox are loaded, with a franchise valued Forbes at more than any other team other than #1 Mystery Team. You can see why John Henry feels like the Yankees need to be reigned in on their spending. Oh, wait, that was during the 2008-2009 off-season when the Yankees won the bidding for Mark Teixeira. I believe Henry has now mysteriously changed his position to complaining about revenue sharing. I wonder why…

Naturally, all this money has now put Theo Epstein and the Red Sox baseball operations as a whole in the Cashman category for some people: “They only look good because they so much more money than (almost) everyone else!” I think that’s ridiculous, but I don’t have the energy to get into that debate. Since we aren’t privy to every detail, there is a great deal of inference in rating baseball operations, but second to the Rays seems quite fair for the Red Sox. Yes, a huge budget relative to most of the league gives the Red Sox the ability to absorb more and bigger mistakes than almost every other team. However, they aren’t making a ton of mistakes, either. There aren’t any Barry Zito, Vernon Wells, or Alfonso Soriano contracts on the Red Sox’ books, and I’m sure they’ve had opportunities to sign them. They could have extended Jason Bay last season, and chose not to, and now they have Carl Crawford, for example. We’ll see how it works out, at this point it looks like waiting around for Crawford will be the right decision. Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia are two of the better position players in baseball who were developed internally and are locked up to team-friendly deals.

The Red Sox don’t have to rely directly on their farm system as much as less wealthy teams, but they did have good enough prospects to acquire Gonzalez, for example.This may all seem to be a matter of course for a team like the Red Sox, but we’ve seen plenty of teams with big budgets fail miserably over the years, so I hardly think that Epstein, et. al are a paint-by-numbers front office. There’s no need to go into the well-known story of their analytical staff and their still-extensive scouting operation. Yes, they’ve made mistakes: I’m not a big fan of the Lackey contract, for example. However, while all front offices try to avoid making mistakes, a smart front office knowing their margin of error relative to other teams is higher and exploits that. Maybe it isn’t fair, but it isn’t their job to make the rules, but to win within them. To penalize the Red Sox for doing so would be churlish and silly.

As repeated ad nauseum by myself and everyone else, the American League East is the toughest division in baseball, and with the rise of the Rays and perhaps the Blue Jays, it isn’t getting any easier. Even a well-thought and well-funded team is going to miss the playoffs sometimes, as the Red Sox did in 2010. Personally, I’ve been sick of the Red Sox and their fan base for a long time. However, given one of the best (if not the best) collections of current talent, seemingly ever-expanding revenue, and one of the best baseball operations staff in baseball, Boston seems primed to contend every season for the foreseeable future. Kill me now.

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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.

114 Responses to “2011 Organizational Rankings: #2 – Boston”

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  1. zkolodin says:

    Why have a Toronto fan write the Boston preview? I prefer to read pieces about the Red Sox with more drool on them.

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  2. Total Dominication says:

    I give up on the future talent rating. How is tied for 5th middle of the pack?

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  3. DT says:

    They also lost victor martinez

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Who is an overpaid DH.

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      • Markymark says:

        But was still a good player. Can not just say the replaced Beltre with gonzo and Crawford. They also have to replace the 4.0 WAR Martinez brought to the table. I agree it was a smart move to let him walk, but still shouldn’t be ignored.

        2010 WAR

        IN: Crawford and Gonzalez = 6.9+5.3= 12.3
        OUT: Beltre + Martinez = 7.1+4.0= 11.1

        The key for the Sox this year will be getting Ellisbury, beckett and Youk healthy. That is where they should see drastic improvement.

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      • RC says:

        WAR doesn’t really account for the fact that Martinez was an absolutely terrible catcher.

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      • Preston says:

        Yes I forgot about what a big defensive upgrade Jarrod Saltalamacchia is going to be. Oh wait…

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      • Mat says:


        Maybe you forgot where Adrian played half his games last year as well. He should put up a greater WAR value this year. Gonzalez and Crawford are a significant upgrade.

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  4. Shaggychild says:

    This is a pretty weak write up. I’d much prefer a writer who is excited about the things the front office is doing than someone who seems a tad spiteful about what he basically describes as a wealthy team that spends money well.

    It’s that, no doubt, but that’s not the end of the story.

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  5. Lucky Goon says:


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  6. Wes says:

    My new favorite writer! Sox fans are so unbearable

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  7. mettle says:

    You may have written that in the way you did to court lots of flames/comments – consciously or sub-consciously – but this line:
    “Personally, I’ve been sick of the Red Sox and their fan base for a long time.”
    was kind of antithetical to the whole endeavor, don’t you think?
    Kind of sends the journalistic integrity into the pooper.

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    • Scott_Hayter says:

      Oh yeah… journalism integrity is really what we go for in our sportswriters… christ, do you need a kleenex for your tears… gimme a break

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    • Telo says:

      Personally, I find it hilarious that someone would actually ask this hack to write a chapter in an actual book. Laughable.

      -19 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David K says:

      He gave a favorable write up to a team that he definitely has a personal bias against. I think he was fair in his analysis despite that bias, so I think it adds something when the writer states that despite his distate for a team and its fans, he has to give them credit where credit is due.

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  8. funkybass says:

    Yeah this sucks. You’re sick of the Red Sox and their fan base? So what. Act like a fucking journalist (even if you aren’t one)- no one reading this cares how you feel about the team. Save it for your presonal blog.

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    • Scott_Hayter says:

      Klaassen’s point made…

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        C’mon. Don;t create one of those situations where any possible response just adds “support to the claim”.

        Another poster already asked nicely and was basically told to “dry up the tears”.

        I think it’s a good question to ask what the author’s feelings toward the team and their fans has to do with anything.

        FWIW, I’ve never liked Boston’s away uniforms.

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      • Xenophanes says:

        Really? I love their away uniforms. Much better than their old ones from 3 or so years ago.

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    • stevman17 says:

      Dude, it’s sports. Relax and enjoy it.

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  9. Ian says:

    If I were to write a Yankees preview, I’d never put in a paragraph like your final one. It’s not very difficult to remain objective and praise a team’s strengths, note their weaknesses and stay away from personal attacks that don’t add anything.

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  10. Nick V says:

    While I understand the desire for non Red Sox fans to lump them in with the Yankees in terms of their spending, it’s really not accurate. Since Theo Epstein joined up as the GM, the difference in spending per year between the teams has averaged at ~$65M (using Cots).

    And yeah the “sick of the Red Sox and their fan base” line is pretty weak. Their fan base’s interest in the team is a big part of what allows them to maintain such a high payroll, despite existing in a smaller media market than some of its competition.

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  11. Rob says:

    The Sox didn’t exactly rely on home grown talent to win in 2004. Only Trot Nixon was drafted by them. The title in 2007 was much better in that department but even then it was only two position players and one starter. Despite common wisdom, they’re often relying on the immense checkbook to get across the finish line.

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    • cathat says:

      Just because they didn’t rely on homegrown talent in 2004 doesn’t mean that their roster was assembled purely through giving out blank checks. David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Mark Bellhorn, Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek were smart acquisitions, not to mention the mid-season Nomar trade which many say put them over the top.

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      • Rob says:

        Sure, but every team is in the same department. Look at the Yankee dynasty. Guys like Brosius, O’Neill, Raines, Cone, Key, even Clemens were acquired for less than their market value.

        Of course, which other team, besides the Yankees, could have paid what they did for Manny? Or bid what they did for Dice-K? Or taken on Lowell’s contract?

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    • theonemephisto says:

      Hard to fault the current regime for that though.

      Theo was only hired in 2002, he didn’t exactly have time to build his player development machine before the 2004 title. 2007ish was when the first real wave of prospects from Theo’s beginning began to hit the majors, and from then on their team has been increasingly built with home-grown talent.

      Now you have 2 of the better position players in the league in Youkilis and Pedroia, an elite starter in Lester, a good starter with more potential in Buchholz, their closer and relief ace in Papelbon and Bard, a solid role-player with potential in Ellsbury, a versatile infielder with huge hitting potential in Lowrie, and a still-strong farm system.

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      • Rob says:

        That’s fine, but he certainly benefited from that approach – see the Manny contract. Moreover, which other team, besides the Yankees, could have spent what they did on Crawford only to follow that up months later with an even bigger deal to AGon?

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      • TylerTheCreator says:

        “Moreover, which other team, besides the Yankees, could have spent what they did on Crawford only to follow that up months later with an even bigger deal to AGon?”

        A number of big market teams…the Mets and Dodgers (if they didn’t have the current financial mess), Phillies, Tigers, Cubs, White Sox, etc. It isn’t the Red Sox and Yankees and then everyone else…the Red Sox are still closer to the other big market teams than the Yankees. Are you suggesting a team like the Phillies couldn’t sign two guys like Crawford and Agon? Check Howard’s, Halladay’s, and Lee’s contracts over the past year one more time.

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  12. Mr. Clutch says:

    Curious to know how the staff decided the Yanks current roster was not just better than the Sox for 2011, but nearly 5 points better.
    PECOTA does not see it that way, as the most recent projections have Boston winning the division by 3 games. Vegas also has the Sox as the favorite in the division.

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    • Jake R says:

      This is the thing that makes no sense to me either. Especially considering how the Red Sox season Preview was summarized.

      “The Red Sox deserve their spot as AL East and even World Series favorites, especially with the Phillies’ lineup looking severely diminished with Jayson Werth gone and Chase Utley a big question mark.”

      The link is at the top of the article. How can the deserved favorite to win the AL East and the World Series rank third in present talent, and trail the first place team, who is not a favorite to win the division they share, by close to 5 points out of a possible 100?

      I’m not complaining about the actual location in the organizational ranking. The Yankees have a significantly better farm system and vastly superior financial resources so they deserve the 1st spot in these rankings. But, the inputs in these rankings are badly flawed. Even the writers seem to be acknowledging that in their write-ups, which makes one wonder why the category rankings weren’t done better in the first place. I expect better than this from this site.

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    • David K says:

      I don’t buy the Yanks ahead of BOS in present talent either. And the Yankees are one of my favorite teams. And I am not sure how they weight the 4 scores and average them, but I am sure it’s a one-size-fits-all formula for all teams. When comparing NY and Tampa, yes, the financial resources are a SIGNIFICANT distinction, but between NY and BOS, it should’t be, yet the Yanks got 93.18 while BOS got 90.83. I think once your financial resources get above a certain level, it doesn’t matter anymore. Either team can assemble a roster of $300m if they wanted to and would turn a profit. At that point, the other factors would be more likely to separate the two teams than just finances. In my humble opinion.

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      • Nick V says:

        Since Theo took over as GM, the Yankees have spent more than a half billion more dollars on their yearly player payroll than have the Red Sox. That’s significant.

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      • David K says:

        I guess this depends on how you look at “financial resources”. I don’t think it’s Boston’s lack of financial resources that is causing them to spend less than the Yankees. I think they just choose to spend less. I am sure they could spend a lot more and still make a sizeable profit if they wanted to. My point is, once your revenue is above a certain point, you enter the law of diminishing returns. I think the Yankees and the Red Sox are on the other side of that curve.

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  13. Baron Samedi says:

    “Sweet Caroline” alone justifies penalization in these rankings.

    I would say that the majority of the people reading this will enjoy the jabs at the Sox and not get all butthurt.

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    • mettle says:

      True enough re: Sweet Caroline but it was still un-smart to throw in the line “I’ve been sick of the Red Sox and their fan base for a long time” in a piece about objective org ranking.

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      • Otter says:

        Why? The Red Sox, objectively, have the most annoying fans.

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      • Minja says:

        I don’t care that you think the Sox have the most annoying fans; as a Sox fan, I actually tend to agree with you (although for me it’s close between the Sox and Yanks; any team with a predominance of fairweather fans and pink hats is going to come off as annoying).

        but your use of the term “objectively” gets you a -1, unless you bring out some data points. “Objectively” and “literally”, perhaps two of the most misused words in the English language.

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    • B N says:

      I will admit, even as a Red Sox fan, I have no idea why that song is played at the games. Definitely not improving my viewing experience when I can afford a game.

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    • Jack says:

      Complaining about Sweet Caroline has officially become more cliche and irritating than the song itself.

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  14. Goodbread says:

    This summary is considerably less thorough than most of the write ups for other top organizations. It spends more time writing about what the front office has not done rather than what it has done.

    It has one throw-away line about Youkilis and Pedroia being internally developed talent on the major league roster. Really? That one line is the analysis of internally developed talent on the roster?

    Jon Lester is a legitimate Cy Young contender in most circles for 2011. Clay Buchholz (3.7 WAR in first full season in bigs), Jonathan Papelbon (despite a disappointing 2010), Daniel Bard (name four non-closer RPs you’d take over Bard if constructing a bullpen) are key members of arguably the most complete pitching in all of baseball. Jacoby Ellsbury, Youkilis and Pedroia are now the only position players on the starting roster, but it’s widely acknowledged that several trades thinning out the young talent since and including the Josh Beckett acquisition are in part the reason the team has ‘top 3′ present talent on its roster.

    The last gaping hole in this summary is any meaningful discussion of the team’s financial resources. Seriously disappointing review. It’s not wrong, it’s incomplete and inadequate.

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  15. Resolution says:

    The Diasuke signing comes to mind as similar to the Soriano one

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  16. Matt Klaassen's Boyfriends D1ck says:

    This writer is a douche bag, leave your personal thoughts at the door, homo

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    • Mark says:

      I’m a born and raised Red Sox fan and I’m pretty annoyed by the author’s weird jab at the fanbase (insufferable though we may be, this isn’t the place for it), but you need to unplug your computer and take up permanent residence in a trash compactor.

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      • Daern says:

        As a Red Sox fan, I look on with equal dismay at both my idiotic compatriots like “D1ck” and the label of “obnoxious fans” which is so widely applied to the Sox fanbase. I know a lot of Sox fans who are great, open-minded people who don’t deserve the wide brush we are all painted with.

        That being said, I enjoy Sweet Caroline. Sure, it’s silly. Sure, it has no baseball relevance. But it’s fun!

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  17. Grant says:

    Lol @ at a farm system easily in the bottom third getting the same credit as a top 5 system like Toronto.

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  18. alskor says:

    I really can’t think of any objective measure that would end up with me ranking Boston as the 5th best present talent.

    Pretty disappointing that some outlier votes had such an effect on the final ranking. Really puts a rain cloud over the entire new process used this year.

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  19. Rob says:

    Epstein has made his fair share of free agent blunders, just most of them are in the 30-50 mil range rather than 9 figures. Matt Clement, Mike Lowell ext., Josh Beckett ext., John Lackey, Julian Tavarez, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Dausike Matsuzaka. All of those were more or less complete busts or will be in the near future.

    His trade record isn’t much better, at least close to the worst in the league. The Suppan, Gagne and Renteria trades were all losses of 20+ million in surplus value. I thought this exercise was to look for GM’s who were adept at bringing in value for their team, not giving it away and signing expensive free agents to fill in the holes.

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    • Jake R says:

      Just going by your list, Matt Clement, Mike Lowell, and Edgar Renteria all got hurt. You cannot always judge a signing merely in hindsight. Particularly in the cases of Clement and Lowell, who performed very well prior to injuries destroying their careers.

      Beckett and Lackey are both 1 year in on 5 year deals. Both had solid peripherals and xFIPS last year. 3.86 for Beckett. 4.15 for Lackey. It is way too early to call these moves blunders.

      Tavarez actually produced positive value relative to his contract and replacement level pitching in his time in Boston. He wasn’t good, and was a disappointment, but he really wasn’t being paid to be good.

      Lugo sucked and received significant criticism at the time of the signing, so I’ll grant you that one.

      Matsuzaka has been worth his contract. He hasn’t been worth his posting fee. I’d consider the posting fee more analogous to a bad trade than a bad FA signing.

      Your response also neglects to mention all the positive value signings Theo has made. Guys like David Ortiz and Bill Mueller headline the list, but there are many names.

      And, I’m not sure how you conclude that Theo has been bad at trading either. Sure, he’s made mistakes. But, his successes significantly outweigh his failures.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ray says:

      Lackey was worth 4 wins last season (15.9 mil) and got noticeably more comfortable as the season wore on.
      Beckett FAR exceeded his extension value ($15 per) in 2007-2009, last year he was hurt, what do you want?
      Gagne – 2 month bust, completely…but he also garnered a draft pick (Bryan Price) who was a big part in the VMart trade.
      Matsuzaka – check out his salary vs. his production…he’s out-WARing his salary as of now.
      Tavarez – seriously? The guy was brought in as a long-reliever / 6th starter, and pitched to those capabilities. He was paid $3-4 million a year by the Sox, you’re complaining about that?

      Yeah, there are busts in there…there are also huge ‘wins’ in Ortiz, Mueller, etc sprinkled in. And you don’t give him credit for developing a farm that led to trades for Beckett, VMart and AGon, or allowed them to spend those huge FA dollars since they have cheap stars like Paps, Lester, Pedroia, Youks, Buchholz and Bard?

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    • BDanahy14 says:


      I don’t even know where to start.

      To deal with your last point first. The reason they were able to go get Crawford and Agon is because of the player development system. With cost controlled, farm developed elite players at 2nd, 3rd, SP, SP, RP, CL, and strong upside guys in CF, and SS… they have the financial flexibility to sign top tier free agents in their prime to big contracts. They didn’t just “spend to fill holes”… that is just lazy and inaccurate.

      Did you really put Josh Beckett and John Lackey in free agent blunders already? “Will be in near future?” And why do you conveniently leave out FA signings like, lets see – David Ortiz, Carl Crawford, Mike Timlin, Hideki Okajima, Kevin Millar, Mueller, Beltre, Wheeler, Drew, Foulke, etc. And he always is looking for high upside guys at low cost. Do some of them bust? Sure, but it’s a calculated cost where the upside is worth the risk. Saltalamacchia is this years version. And one of the most overlooked aspects of Free Agency is what a GM DOESN’T DO. Like not move Clay Buchholz when the phone rings nonstop for 2 years. Like NOT signing Pedro and letting him move on. Like NOT signing Jason Bay.

      And to continue on with the absurdity, you cherry pick three trades to define a GM’s trading career as “close to the worse in the league”??? Where is Dave Roberts? Where is the trade for Beckett and Lowell? Where is the Nomar move? Where is the Agon Trade? How about Williamson and Kim that were critical for the 2003/2004 seasons? Manny midseason to get the most productive season of Jason Bay’s career? And I happen to remember a little trade where he sent Michael Goss, Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and Jorge de la Rosa for Curt Schilling. That turned out pretty well.

      And on we go… You completely leave out his stellar track record in the draft and the growth a top notch player development system. No one is better with quickly signing his elite guys to long term contracts and getting them WAY below their market value. Theo has never been to arbitration as a GM. Not once. Every single year he adds new ML talent to the club from the farm system. And a quick look around the roster and you realize that these guys are not just added pieces… they are the foundation of the team

      Listen, Theo makes mistakes. Lugo, Renteria, Clement, Gagne, Suppan… he missed. But every single GM and Front Office misses. That is part of the game. One of the biggest misconceptions about Boston is that it is a big market team… When in reality the city is smaller than Baltimore, Detroit, San Fran, San Diego, Phoenix, Philly, Houston, Chicago, LA, NY… but that is a whole different discussion. Every dollar they spend is earned. And Theo has been terrific in spending that money prudently in all phases of the baseball operations system.

      That was just a lazy, cherry picking, absurd post.

      +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Xenophanes says:

        Goddamn, you really left him gaping after that.

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      • David K says:

        I have to point out the flaw in the comment “One of the biggest misconceptions about Boston is that it is a big market team… When in reality the city is smaller than Baltimore, Detroit, San Fran, San Diego, Phoenix, Philly, Houston, Chicago, LA, NY…” The Boston Metro area ranks 10th in population, ahead of such metro areas of cities on your list: Phoenix, Detroit, San Franciso and San Diego. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Boston tends to draw from almost all of New England, which isn’t officially in the metro area for statistical purposes, but those people still get the games on TV and head down to the city to see games and buy athletic gear, etc.

        Boston may not have the regional population of a NY, LA or Chicago (all of which are split among two teams, by the way), but aside from the NY and LA regional area, and accounting for the split in Chicago, I’d say the Boston regional fan base has to be top-5, maybe top-4 and possibly top-3.

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      • Nick V says:

        Replying to David K – I think a team can be given credit for its wide reach, though. I’m pretty sure everyone in Canada gets Blue Jays games.

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      • joe says:

        Cost control helps signing a player like Crawford, but it also helps to have a 160mil+ payroll… if their payroll was in the 100-120 range could they afford both (or even 1) even with their awesome player development?

        And a trade like Lowell + Beckett was in part possible because it was a salary dump and Boston was able to take on Lowell’s payroll.

        Theo’s a good GM, but he’s helped by the ability to take on salary that many other teams can’t; that said he should get credit though for knowing how to leverage the high payroll (especially with trades)

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      • BDanahy14 says:

        @joe… I agree, but should that be a criticism of a GM? Should he spend less to prove he is a savvy GM with a low budget? It’s not like they are Man City with bottomless pockets backing the team with supplemental cash outside of operating revenues.

        The organization has just been really creative and smart at extending revenue streams. Ownership doesn’t take dividends, they reinvest everything back into the club. The sales, marketing, PR team, etc. they all do a nice job…

        So yeah, taking a bad contract to get Josh Beckett is a tool that Theo has that most don’t. But he would be a bad GM if he wasn’t using all the tools he has.

        And he also sent Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and a kid named Hanley Ramirez to get them.

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    • Otter says:

      Don’t forget Carl Crawford. As Bill Simmons would say, any time you can sign a player whose value comes from his legs and glove and then stick him in front of the Green Monster for 7 years at 20 mil a pop oh and he’s gonna be 30 in year one of the deal, you HAVE to do it.

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      • BDanahy14 says:

        I just find it funny that someone actually takes what Simmons has to say about baseball the least bit seriously.

        But yeah, thats hogwash. Crawford can play a shallow LF, prevent more bloopers and line drives from dropping and still get back on the ball.

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      • Ian says:

        Simmons knows nothing about baseball. He tries but he is worse than most sportsradio guys when he talks about the Red Sox. As usual, he’s wrong.

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  20. Lucky Goon says:

    Did you get paid to write this? I learned nothing at all other than you don’t like the Red Sox and are not afraid to let the world know it as you write what is supposed to be an objective analysis of their organization.

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  21. LorenzoStDuBois says:

    Man, a lot of shrieking and pearl-clutching from the Sox fans here.

    I myself am a devoted Sox fan, am crazy about this team, and I personally think the fanbase as a whole is as narcissitic and grating as they come, and the media that covers the team is an embarrassment. Just look at the contrast between the appreciation for Mike Lowell and JD Drew. Just look at the silly and racially coded moniker of the “dirt dog.” Sure, wrong-headedness exists everywhere you look, but it’s at its worst in Boston.

    And how many Red Sox blogs are there? Too many. How many great Red Sox blogs are there? Zero. I hate the Yankees and can think of 3 fantastic Yankees blogs. Even the Royals have at least 2 that are head and shoulders above anything Boston has to offer.

    Finally, the line at the end was a rhetorical device to add a little humor to the column (which I didn’t think was outstanding, by the way) with a hint of self-deprication (“I hate your team, but I have to admit is awesome. FML.”) I don’t want to read the baseball “journalist” that doesn’t care enough about baseball to have teams he loves and hates.

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    • TylerTheCreator says:

      Blogs now determine how great a fanbase is? For the record, the forum at soxprospects.com > any other forum, for any team, I’ve seen.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mark says:

      Agreed on almost every point, but I think that flat-out stating “I’m sick of Red Sox fans” doesn’t really fit into self-deprecation, nor is it appropriate for a column on the merits of the organization itself.

      If he were to lambast the whole notion of Red Sox Nation in a NotGraphs post, I’d be all for it, and I’ve lived in New England my entire life. But here it’s a humorless, awkward jab that doesn’t belong.

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    • Smooth Jay Apollo says:

      I don’t know what you define as “great” blogs about the Red Sox, but maybe you should look a little harder. Soxprospects is about as in depth site about any minor league system, Speier’s work on WEEI.com is above all and Red Sox Beacon might have some writers you’re familiar with, unless that is you only read the globe and listen to Dennis & Callahan. As far as the article, meh, I’d have preferred something a little more subjective. Who’s that other Canadian writer? Jonah Hill?

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      • John DiFool says:

        Of course RS Prospects and SOSH aren’t blogs exactly, they’re quaint and old fashioned things called “message boards”, so I guess they don’t qualify.

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    • Nick V says:

      Firebrand of the AL does pretty good work, for a blog. Lacking good blogs, even if true, is a strange complaint…

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    • Onbekend says:

      So the author threw in a little jab at the Sox and their fans – big deal. I’m also a long time Sox fan (since ’67 – yeah I’m old) who can find my fellow fans trying at times. For a true appreciation of exactly what the new owners and Theo have accomplished give the book “Mind Game” by Steve Goldman a read. I’ll take the modern, stats-oriented Sox over the old days any day. Probably the best thing about ’04 was the end of blaming everything on a ridiculous curse.
      As far as the money goes the Sox have for the most part avoided the luxury tax and played by the financial rules. There is still only one team that makes a mockery of baseball being played on a level financial playing field. Having said that you can’t blame the Yanks for it. Financial inequity has plagued major league baseball for a century – Branch Rickey warned about the dangers of rich NY teams back during the First World War.
      Really enjoying the Org Ranking series.
      BTW not a huge fan of “Sweet Caroline” either but I’ll take it over “New York, New York” ;)

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    • Ray says:

      The most widely criticized part of the article, from what I’ve been reading, is the Sox being ranked 3rd in present talent after being picked to win the WS by this same site. And frankly, I don’t care that the author had jabs toward the Sox at the end of the column but it does come off as petty and to the best of my knowledge no other write-up had similar personal comments of that ilk (at least in a negative sense)…it’s just strange to me seeing an organization ranked by a baseball site as the second best at what they do getting put down by the author of that column.

      Also, as others have said it’s strange that you’d bring up blogs to settle the ‘good fan base’ debate. SoxProspects is PHENOMENAL, I actually just talked to a Yankee fan friend of mine how it’s awesome to have that site (along with SoSH) to get analysis and discussion, I’ve had such a hard time when looking for other comparable sites for other teams.

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      • Locke says:

        Really ? You have a hard time finding websites that discuss other baseball teams? Have you tried using a website called Google to help you search?

        You’re probably the only guy out there still using ‘ask jeeves’ or some other nonsense like that.

        -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ray says:

        @Locke – Very witty…’dur, have you every heard of Google, dummy?’

        What I meant, since it clearly flew over your short stump of a head, is that I’ve had a hard time find good message boards for other teams that are on par with SoxProspects and SoSH. By ‘good’ I mean message boards with high volume, thoughtful analysis and no tolerance for dumb comments that add no substance.

        I generally search through three or four pages on a search, with multiple input values, and never come across a good forum. I don’t remember off the top of my head but the DBacks had a decent one, as did the Mariners and Royals. I couldn’t find anything worthwhile for the Pirates, Twins, Angels, Astros, Indians, Blue Jays, possibly others. And they very well may exist, but regardless my point was that finding forums on par with SoSH and SoxProspects can be a tall order.

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  22. tdotsports1 says:

    Though they will undoubtably have a few prospects “come up” a bit in terms of the rankings, I am not high on any of their current crop of prospects so I think there future talent was highly overrated.

    Current talent, no doubt it is top 1-2.

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  23. don says:

    I am a long time Sox fan and actually liked the honest self disclosure about not liking the sox and their fan base. Added some color and interest to the article.


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  24. Dave says:

    Jeez, people really hating on this guy for taking a slightly low-blow on the fan base. Seems a bit excessive.

    Are the voting on this stuff ever getting published? I’d love to see it. Since it is an average, at least a few people must have ranked the Red Sox Present Talent below 3rd (I suppose everyone may have put them at 3). That just seems completely absurd. I can see some people arguing The Yanks/Phils, but even the Rays/Braves/Twins?

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  25. Locke says:

    Wah Wah. The writier didn’t suck up to RedSox Nation in the write up.

    Wah Wah.

    what a bunch of F’n babies.

    -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jack says:

      “Wah Wah. The writier didn’t suck up to RedSox Nation in the write up.”

      The line didn’t even bother me personally, but there is a somewhat sizable gap between “sucking up to” and directly insulting/generalizing. How about, not even mentioning it because it has nothing to do with the ranking? If anything it comes off as a weak appeal to objectivity.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. Locke says:

    Oh yeah, one more thing, the only reason the RedSox won those couple of WS was cause they had a team full of juicers.

    Thanks PEDs!

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MHead81 says:

      Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Dave Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton, Jason, Grimsley, Alex Rodriguez and Jerry Hairston, Jr. say “hi!”

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Garrett says:

    Can someone explain why the Soriano contract is terrible?

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    • Ben Hall says:

      He’s due $18 million a year for the next four years. It seems highly unlikely that he’ll be worth that because he was a below average hitter in 2009 and just a decent hitter in 2010 and he is 35 years old. Given his age, it’s hard to expect him to be much better than he was last year, and it’s likely that he’ll get worse.

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  28. CircleChange11 says:

    BTB just presented WAR based visual showing Soriano as the 3rd best LF over the past 5 years. Prehps most rvealling (or erroneous) is that the metrics show him as being only slightly less defender than Crawford. FWIW, Holliday was easily #1 overall.

    Something has to be done to make defensive metrics more reliable. Especially if we’re going to place so much emphasis in WAR and use it to evaluate every aspect of performance, from player to GM.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Garrett says:

      Why do you take a single person and assume a metric is erroneous because it doesn’t mesh with your view of the world?

      Perhaps you could cite that it doesn’t corroborate with other defensive metrics.

      Furthermore, I don’t think any intelligent fan or GM places “so much emphasis” or “use it to evaluate every aspect of performance”. Only idiots do this.

      You idea of “making it more reliable” is funny as well. Perhaps you should read this relatively minor, fringey blog: http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/indeterminate_quality_of_data/#comments

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. Ayuh says:

    The strangest thing about disliking a group of people for their preference in baseball team is that it’s largely regional. I’ve yet to hear anyone say, with such distain, “I’ve been sick of the Midwest and the people living there for a long time.”

    Sounds like sour grapes to me.

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  30. Anthony says:

    Nobody complains about Midwest fans because we’re courteous and intelligent. We don’t spit on people’s wives or cuss or throw batteries.

    As far as Boston and people saying “they make smart acquisitions with their money” yes they do. they also have the money to cover up mistakes. Let’s say a different team paid that much for Dice K. They turn into the post Bonds freshly signed Zito Giants. Not good.

    I agree with this. I will never call epstein or cash a good GM as I’ve said before, because when you’re supposed to win and you do that doesn’t mean anything. If Boston rattles off 5 straight titles or 5 straight 100 win seasons, then yea, that’s pretty extraordinary. Otherwise no, pretty much any decent GM could do what they’ve done.

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    • Garrett says:

      “Otherwise no, pretty much any decent GM could do what they’ve done.”

      Outright insanity.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ayuh says:

      My point was that one shouldn’t pass judgement on masses based entirely on the acts of the few.

      We sometimes call that prejudice.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      “Nobody complains about Midwest fans because we’re courteous and intelligent. We don’t spit on people’s wives or cuss or throw batteries.”

      I’ve been to Cubs and Whitesox games. You’re full of shit.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Young Man says:

    The Red Sox market is not small – you can’t just look at Boston. Due to the fact that there is no team north of them and the closest teams to the south are in New York City, the Red Sox have a large geographical market encompassing Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and parts of Connecticut.

    And that’s not even getting into fans in other areas of the nation (which of course all teams have to varying degrees).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BDanahy14 says:

      Every team has the ability to draw fans from neighboring regions/states/nations. Heck there is an entire region including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, etc. that plenty of teams could target and try to pull in.

      Part of what a makes a team good at generating revenue is focusing on expanding fan base. That starts with winning, but has a lot of other tentacles to it as well.

      It’s not like folks from Maine are taking the 4 hour drive to Fenway often to see games. Ticket sales are by and large local. So once you remove that from the equation… its open hunting to sign on fans and grow your base.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      Thats kind of the point.

      Boston has a small media market, but the team has managed to expand its fanship out a couple of states because it capitalizes its market so well.

      Part of that is winning, but part of it is also the team’s ownership buying a sports network, and cultivating a culture.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • David K says:

        Stop with the “small media market” line about Boston. The Boston Metro area is ranked 10th. And unlike several other metro areas like Houston, where you leave the metro area and you’re in the middle of nowhere, I would say there’s a lot more population in Boston’s “sphere of influence” but outside the official metro area, than is true for many other cities.

        Houston may have not been the best example though, because rather large cities of San Antonio and Austin (the latter of which probably has a Dallas/Houston split in terms of “sphere of influence”) are “relatively” nearby, and there are no cities of that size within Boston’s sphere of influence, but you get the idea.

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  32. syoung says:

    A day late to this article – so, well, the train’s likely been here and gone. But it does occur to me to ask after reading Matt Klassen’s “fan base” comment: are you saying you hate people from Boston in general? Is there something just plain icky about us that turns you off? Because not only is that kind of all too common ad hominem throwaway comment offensive about any geographic or demographic group, it’s also really stupid. Boston’s “fanbase” consists of everyone here from Harvard professors to longshoremen. People are often wrong on this site – that’s fine – but rarely just stupid. Not so fine.

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  33. Josh says:

    I’m still wondering why the Sox current talent is only 3rd….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Mike says:

    Quite honestly, I didn’t find the review to be that objectionable. It seemed more disinterested – but given odd results from the staff rankings, what can you expect? Those results, more than Klaassen’s analysis of them, de-value the endeavor. I understand the antipathy from: “[p]ersonally, I’ve been sick of the Red Sox and their fan base for a long time.” Klaassen’s entitled to his opinion, we’re entitled to laugh at his sobs when his team is eliminated before the Red Sox. Let’s all move on, okay?

    All in all, he was handed a turd and worked honestly and diligently to make a moderately aesthetically pleasing turd-sculpture. So well done.

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  35. Vish says:

    How spot on was Markymark:

    “The key for the Sox this year will be getting Ellisbury, beckett and Youk healthy. That is where they should see drastic improvement.”

    We have all heard about how much talent was lost in the A-Gon deal, but the next slew of prospects led by Middlebrooks (though not as good as the ones that were traded) isn’t too bad.

    I do need to mention that the 5-year deal that Drew was signed to hasn’t really panned out. I would archive that (along with the Lackey deal) under one of the few bad deals the Epstein era has made.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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