Another Lotto Ticket for Boston

We’ve talked about it multiple times, but the Boston Red Sox aggression this off-season is being placed in a handful of lottery tickets. With the signing of Takashi Saito, nothing has changed. Entering the off-season, the Red Sox had three areas of need: catcher, middle relief, and to a far lesser extent shortstop. With Saito, Ramon Ramirez, and whomever the John Smoltz/Brad Penny signings bump out of the rotation, Boston can place a strikethrough on middle relief.

2008 marked Saito’s third season in America and his fewest appearances and innings yet. The causation of Saito’s decline was his right elbow, and during the off-season, Saito underwent a non-surgical procedure to repair the damage. It’s hard to know exactly how effective the method will be, but the Sox are only on the hook for between 1.5 to 2.5 million. Incentives can earn Saito up to 7 million, and there is a club option. All and all, you are talking about an insignificant financial loss if Saito’s arm explodes in the spring.

CHONE has Saito at 47 innings and a 2.82 FIP while Marcels says 55 innings and a 3.15 FIP. If he’s somewhere in between, say 50 innings and a 3 FIP along with a middle reliever’s leverage (around 0.6), Saito will be worth about 0.7 WAR, or 3.6 million in the free agent market. If Saito is more of a set-up man, and has a WAR closer to 1, his value could deter closer to 6 million.

The Sox are obviously high on the win and revenue curves, which makes the one million trade off more than worthwhile. Without knowing the exact plateaus that Saito needs to reach, I’ll assume the Sox are going to get their money’s worth one way or the other. The best is Saito becoming yet another shutdown Boston reliever, the worst? Well, the Sox lose some money.

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Jim Rice
Jim Rice
7 years 7 months ago

The Red Sox don’t really have a need at SS. Jed Lowrie played well as a rookie and his D, contrary to his reputation, played near flawless shortstop. And apparently, he had an injured wrist which is now completely healed. If you look at his Bill James projections of .276/.366/.417, 37 doubles, 76 walks, I don’t know why the Sox would be looking for a SS.

Sure, Lowrie is a rookie, but if he falters, you still have Julio Lugo who had a .355 OBP last year and projects at about a .330 OBP (acc. to your 3 systems) which makes him about a league avg. SS.

Sons of Sam Horn website which covers just about every aspect of the Red Sox has had almost no discussion about the Sox replacing Lowrie & Lugo. I don’t know why they would – the Sox have 2 viable options at SS and Lugo ain’t going anywhere with that contract. Let the two battle it out in ST, the other will back-up the IF positions. But I think Lowrie will be a nice little SS to have for the next few years.