Organizational Rankings: #2 – Boston

I’d pull out the old “always the bridesmaid” cliche, except the Red Sox have won two World Series titles in the the last six years, so it doesn’t really fit anymore.

The Red Sox have essentially become a model organization for a big market club. They don’t waste much of their financial advantage, but instead have used to increase their international presence, spend significant dollars in the draft, load the front office with smart people, and leave enough left to put consistently good teams on the field every year.

They don’t have any real weaknesses as an organization. The front office understands how to build a winning team, and their player development system is one of the best in the game. They lock up their homegrown talent early, allowing them to use the rest of their budget to fill out the roster with good veterans who don’t require long term commitments. The players love the manager, and he works well with a stat-savvy front office.

Really, I don’t have a bad thing to say about the organization. They do a great job. Every team in baseball should try to be more like the Red Sox. That makes for a rather uninteresting commentary, but I feel like I’d be nitpicking to the nth degree to try and find a problem worth discussing here.

So, congratulations Boston, you’ve got a great franchise. It will pay off for years to come. Rather than expecting the team to find a way to lose, you can expect to win, and win a lot.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


45 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: #2 – Boston”

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  1. Boomer says:

    Well, I’ll say this for you Dave; CHB’s job as RSN’s ****-stirrer is officially safe!

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    • Joe R says:

      CHB, 2004:
      THESE STATHEADS ARE STUPID THEY JUST SIGN PEOPLE WHO WALK AND HIT HR, HOW WILL WE MANUFACTURE RUNS AND PLAY DEFENSE?
      CHB, 2010:
      THESE STATHEADS ARE STUPID, SIGNING DEFENDERS, WHO WILL GIVE US HOME RUNS?

      I love reminding people that we scored 7 less runs in 2007 than 2009, and were awesome. Difference was we gave up a lot more runs, and it wasn’t because our pitching sucked.

      98.5 The Sports Hub pretty much lost all credibility as a “new voice” of sports in town the second they gave CHB his own show. So now we have two sports stations bitching about how the Red Sox will go, like, 83-79 because we “can’t score runs”.

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      • lincolndude says:

        I’ve seen the abbreviation CHB a few times recently, and though I’m from Boston I couldn’t figure out what it meant.

        Does this refer to Dan Shaughnessy?

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      • Joe R says:

        Stemming from a locker room fight between Carl Everett and Gordon Edes, Everett told Edes to get out of his face and, referring to Shaughnessy, to “take your curly haired boyfriend with you”, hence CHB.

        Think of it as the one positive contribution Carl Everett ever made to Red Sox Nation!

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      • lincolndude says:

        Interesting. I’ve never found Shaughnessy particularly offensive. He’s more like a minor annoyance that’s been around so long that it’s now just part of the background noise. Between him and Bob Lobel, you could always count on some whining no matter how good/bad the news was.

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      • Joe R says:

        I think among the SoSH type Red Sox fans, he’s a bit of a villain because his opinions tend to echo those of the EEI/Sports Hub crowds.

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  2. H.W. Plainview says:

    As a Yankees fan I’m surprised Boston isn’t #1 and it has nothing to do with b.s. bias claims that have been going around since the beginning of this series and quite frankly since the beginning of time.

    I did a similar ranking system of my own for personal enjoyment after having minor disagreements with this list. I had Boston on top. Pretty much it broke down like this:

    Current Talent:

    NYA > BOS

    Future Talent:

    NYA << BOS

    I believe the Yankees 40 man roster to be superior, but not significantly to the Sox. I also believe the Yankees resources and the whole Tex episode put the Yankees management ahead of the Sox. But Boston’s upside in their minor league system is well ahead of the Yankees system. That being said, the Yankees have a knack for making no hype prospects into useful major league pieces (their bullpen, Cervelli, Pena, etc.).But, I just don’t see Montero being a Yankee long term. If he doesn’t fit at catcher, he doesn’t have a place on the Yankees. Without him, the system’s upside is a long way away and their future home grown talent is very questionable. The balance of Boston’s minor league system puts them slightly ahead in my opinion. That hurt to say, by the way.

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    • H.W. Plainview says:

      And that post was missing some of it’s parts…

      Future Talent

      BOS >>> NYA

      Management:

      NYA > BOS

      Not sure if this will come out correctly. If not, oh well.

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    • Bob says:

      While not a Yankee fan here, I’d have to say that any deficiency in the Yankees minor league system compared to the Red Sox isn’t enough to overcome the Yankees when the Yankees are smart about how they spend their financial advantage. While a team like the Rays MUST have a constant influx of cheap young talent to even hope to sniff the playoffs over the next several years, that’s just not so for the Yankees. When you can acquire guys like Sabathia, Teixiera, Granderson, Vazquez in their prime, you don’t really need cheap, young stars. Sure, it would help, but it’s not necessary. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have enough in the way of prospects and financial wherewithal to pull off pretty much any trade that’s feasible, so I don’t think the Sox even have much of an advantage in that regard either.

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      • MikeS says:

        Javier Vazquez is 34 in june. Not exactly “prime of his career.” The Yankees had him at 28 which is the usual prime, they didn’t like that so much.

        Other than that nit-pick, you are 100% correct.

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    • Omar says:

      The thing about future talent, is that, it can change up pretty quickly. Say Casey Kelly gets smacked around like one of Ben Roethlisberger’s female “acquaintances” in AA and Ryan Westmoreland can’t hit big league pitching…the whole “future talent” aspect dries up pretty quickly (before I get flamed, yes I know the Red Sox have players like Refroe and other high ceiling talents). Furthermore, it’s not like the Yankees don’t draft well and aren’t big spenders on the IFA market. The Yankees spend a shit load of money on Latin American bonuses, the draft, and the scouting department. Furthermore, the Yankees farm is looking a little thin for a couple of reasons:

      One, they just traded Austin Jackson, Arodys Vizcaino, and Ian Kennedy…but they got Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. Trading someone who projects to be a ML CF, a 4th starter, and a high ceiling 18 year old arm tends to do things to a farm system’s ranking.

      Two, attrition Nature of the beast, sometimes these prospects regress…when players like Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman take big steps back, that also affects the rankings.

      One of these reasons are a good thing, you want to trade Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, and Arodys Vizcaino (along with Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Phil Coke) for Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. The other reason was nothing that the Yankees, as an organization, did wrong. Sometimes the signability guys don’t sign (Cole), sometimes the high ceiling guys don’t find control (Betances), and sometimes the injured guys don’t get it back (Brackman). They were all good risks to take, except for maybe Brackman, and and are signs that the organization takes the right approach to the farm for a team will consistently draft in the spots 25-30 (conservative estimate).

      However, the Yankees have some high end talent too. The Red Sox don’t have a prospect that can compete with Jesus Montero, seeing as how most prospects never see the bigs, let alone make impact. I feel when ranking a farm, weighting impact talent that’s close to the major leagues heavier than “depth” is prudent.

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  3. Derek R-C says:

    I am a Red Sox fan so this is biased I am sure but if Dave can’t find a flaw in the system, why aren’t they number 1?

    I am not saying I disagree just curious.

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    • Lee___D says:

      maybe he’ll say the yanks arent flawed either AND have more $$$, but idk we’ll have to wait til it’s posted

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      • Omar says:

        Yeah, if the Yankees have a flaw, it’s pretty minor…and while the Red Sox do everything well, that doesn’t mean that there’s other teams out there that do somethings better than them. Not to mention that the Yankees spend more money (note, I’m not so sure if they HAVE more money, but the certainly spend more) and do all the things that the Red Sox do well too.

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    • pfisher518 says:

      Because the Yankees have slightly better current talent and 30 million more dollars?

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    • Boomer says:

      You still need talent and cash. Last time I checked, Theo and co. spent game time in the booth. They have lots of cash but the Yankees have more.

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    • LibertyBoy says:

      I can find a flaw. It wears an O’s uniform and Theo is paying it.

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      • Derek R-C says:

        Ha Ha Agreed Big Time

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      • Based on how poorly Lugo played in Boston, I would prefer paying him to play against the Red Sox than to play for the them. Just sayin’

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        The O’s can lose to the Red Sox for free, don’t need Theo’s help. For that and a few more reasons, btw, watch those O’s!!!

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      • Joe R says:

        Red Sox are paying $10.5MM out in 2010 to non-roster players, and receiving $7.15MM

        Yankees are paying out $5,237,500 in 2010, $4,000,000 in 2011, and receiving nothing.

        So, want to try that cherry pick again?

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        My jab is not at a bum contract (you mention Kei Igawa), backloads, holdovers, or buyouts (Gaudin & Melk), those things happen to Red Sox as well (Lowell, Varitek, and, worse-case, Dicey). My jab is at Theo not reading every last tea leaf and being caught in the minor embarassment of paying the salary of divisional opponent’s player.

        I’m trying to be polite, there’s already been a comment featuring the words “Teixeira” that politely replaced “fiasco” with “episode”.

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      • Nomar says:

        That is a pretty stupid comment. That happens to all teams. It is part of baseball. You aren’t naive enough to think that the yanks are not paying the salary of players on other teams?

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        Division contenders? Name one, genius.

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      • Joe R says:

        1) The Red Sox didn’t give Lugo to B-more, they gave him to St. Louis. St. Louis, in turn, packaged him to B-more.

        2) Not sure if you, like, read projections or anything, but THE ORIOLES ARE PECOTA’D OUT TO FINISH 18 GB OF BOSTON.

        I doubt Theo or any Red Sox fan is losing much sleep over knowing Julio Lugo is an Oriole.

        Not to mention at the time of Lugo’s signing, he was an above average SS, and $9MM / yr was right around what players of his caliber were getting in the FA market. Must be nice to retroactively crucify Theo for that contract, I mean, he TOTALLY should’ve seen a .237/.294/.349 coming from a guy who had never OBP’d below .325 once and came into the season w/ a career .277/.340/.402 line.

        Theo, get your crystal ball skills in check.

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  4. Dave,
    I can suggest a nit that deserves to be picked. The Red Sox exhibited a shocking failure to embrace UZR in all its goodness. :)

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  5. Grant says:

    Can’t blame them for using their unlimited funds to exploit the draft and make it more like a free agency. Epstein has made countless mistakes on the free agent market, but it’s easy for him to cover up. When or if the draft is fixed, we will see the red sox ranking drop like a stone.

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    • Derek R-C says:

      “Countless mistakes on the free agent market”

      hmmm, I can only think of Lugo and maybe you can consider Dice-K, but that is pushing it.

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      • Boomer says:

        Renteria.

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      • Jon says:

        He’s probably referring to the signings made this year. Which has to be a wait and see type of thing. Though Lackey’s contract is definitely far too much money (much like Burnett).

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        Smoltz, Penny, Varitek

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      • whonichol says:

        So…countable mistakes?

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        $50M posting fee for Dicey, essentially lifting his cost per contract year up in to the Lackeysphere, is not a tremendous risk?

        Papelbon has one of the most advantageous contracts of any closer in the game. And now you here that he can be replaced at a moment’s notice?

        During the Tex negotiations, Youkilis mentioned his willingness to move to third base. Unfortunately, no one asked the previous season’s WS MVP MIke Lowell, still owed two years and $25M, how he felt about that. Should Theo have put a gag order in place until the negs were finished?

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        pardon hear, here here

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      • Boomer says:

        Those 3 were peanuts. You can’t hate on Theo for getting cheap players, that’s his job. It’s the on-field guys’ job to make sure they perform.

        I don’t thinkanyone thought Smoltz was going to be as bad as he was and Tek was a known issue with no real solution until V-Mart was acquired.

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      • LibertyBoy says:

        I’m not saying “assassinate Theo”. What I’m saying is: if there is a flawless GM in this game, Theo ain’t it.

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      • Boomer says:

        Fair enough. The number of die-hard Sox fans who think Theo is perfect is surprsingly small. He has a talent for hacking off fans by doing the economic thing (see Martinez, Pedro or Damon, Johnny). Of couse, the fans who diss Theo do it for the wrong reasons, but still…

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      • Derek R-C says:

        Penny was actually worth more the Red Sox in WAR then what they paid for. I will give you Smoltz but V-Tek is a hard one to quantify because he is a catcher and the captain.

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  6. Will says:

    How good is their player development system? Do we really know that it’s one of the best in the game? It might be, but it also seems like there’s a bit of “Braves in the late 90s” going on, where everyone thought they still had many great pitching prospects, most of whom ended up being hugely overrated b/c they were Braves.

    Not saying Boston isn’t good, but just not sure it’s one of the best right now.

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  7. Boomer says:

    I do think Theo’s strategy of “build up the middle, buy on the corners” produces some sub-optimal results. Like we have three pretty reasonable catching prospects and no real 3B prospects; or we have three (supposedly) CF prospects but only Reddick seems like he’ll develop enough power to play a corner OF position and the rest are blocked by Ellsbury.

    It’s hard to get any value for prospects unless they have some MLB time and have shown something. Maiking that happen will be tricky over the next few years.

    That’s my nit, such as it is.

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  8. Jross says:

    This whole series makes sense now:
    Since Fangraphs is now affiliated with ESPN this whole thing has just been a shameless plug in for the opening day game

    (Sarcastic JOKE)

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  9. Nick says:

    Someone tell Liberty Boy to stop treating this place like his blog. You don’t have to reply to every fucking post dude.

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  10. Jon Y says:

    CHB at his finest.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2010/04/04/trust_what_you_see_not_the_numbers/

    “While baseball is played on green grass in fresh-air stadiums, an army of geeks will be holed up in their basements, under a naked light bulb, crunching numbers and finding new equations to measure something that simply can’t be quantified.”

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