FanGraphs Audio: The Freak Out City Red Sox

Episode Twenty-Three
In which the panel is two doctors in the house.

Headlines
The Red Sox: Freak Out City?
Barry Zito: Same Guy?
Should We Ever Throw Kyle Blanks a Fastball?
A Very Subjective Game Report: KC at Toronto
… and other learned ejaculations!

Featuring
Dave Allen, Doctor of the Heat Map
Matt Klaassen, Doctor of Philosophy of Philosophy

Finally, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio on the flip-flop.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


5 Responses to “FanGraphs Audio: The Freak Out City Red Sox”

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  1. DonCoburleone says:

    The Padres are going to win the NL West.

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  2. Trojancobbler says:

    Speaking as a Boston resident to the question of how the Boston media perceives the Red Sox early season struggles, and the possible effect on the front office – the question “Might the sox front office become gun-shy if a highly questioned strategic move fails?”

    Concerning the media – the call-in shows have had a very high freak out factor the last week or two, and plenty of narrow-minded columnist have pounded out their daily opinion to the effect that “I guess we see that sabermetrics doesn’t know everything after all.” Many many people were skeptical of the Sox’s off-season moves, so they have not been hesitant to jump in with the sly or overt “I-told-you-so”s.

    Lots of sloppy opinionating all around, though i do think it is worthy of note that a lot of the public perception is focusing more on the real or perceived failures of offensive players. So in other words, although they’ll toss off a comment about “How ’bout this great run prevention strategy, huh?” but when they really get down to their fundamental complaints, it’s “I’ve always thought J D Drew was overrated. He has no passion.” “Why did they ever pick up Victor Martinez, he’s a bum.” and “Bench Ortiz!”

    As for the Red Sox front office:
    It was actually always the press who made the claim that the Sox had “switched” to a “new strategy.” If you look at what Theo Epstein actually has said, and others around the team, it’s clear that all they were looking for this winter was the best value. The Red Sox defense was poor last season, and so that was an area of the club that had the greatest room for improvement. Also, the current makeup of the team, contract-wise, is:
    Long-term commitments to many high-level starting pitchers (Beckett, Lackey, Lester), and to a couple of position players that just about any team would be satisfied to build around – Youkilis and Pedroia. Ellsbury will be arbitration-eligible next year but not a free agent until 2014. On the other hand, they have no commitment beyond this year to Ortiz, Varitek, or Lowell, and the contracts for Cameron and Betre are both short-term. They are committed to JD Drew for one more season after this one. One of the things that their off season acquisitions did was fill in some spots on the roster for the short term, while avoiding new long-term commitments.

    In short, I don’t think Theo and company did in fact commit to a “new strategy,” and so I don’t think they are liable to become gun-shy if this season is a disappointment for fans. Theo has made it clear ever since he Became GM eight years ago that he does not believe the Red Sox can afford to have the World Series or Bust culture that the Yankees have had in recent memory. He wants to build a team that will contend most years, but he appears to accept the notion that the team should be willing Not to contend for a year or two if the decisions in those years prepare the Sox to be contenders for several years after that.

    My opinion is that the front office put together a team that should play above .500 this year but, more importantly, left them significant flexibility to overhaul their roster over the next two seasons. I believe that they considered a playoff berth this year a bonus, not a primary goal. IF I’m right about that, then poor performance out of the gate (or even over the season) won’t cause them to doubt their strategy, because success this season was never the primary focus of that strategy.

    Of course, I don’t know for sure what they’re thinking, but they wasted no time overhauling an aging roster after their world series victory in 2004, and when they won again in 2007 it was with a very different team. So obviously they aren’t afraid to make big changes even when they’ve had recent success with a particular roster.

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  3. Norm says:

    hahaha… HAVE to get Colby Lewis mentioned, if only in passing. Love it.

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  4. Matt Baker says:

    I don’t believe it!!! My own personal segment on Fangraphs audio!!!! thanks a million Senor Cistulli!

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  5. I was a little behind in the podcasts, but caught up today. This was an awesome one. No offense to any of the other podguests, but I really enjoyed Klaassen and Allen (though the topics were also very strong). Which is all to say, great work everyone!

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