06.12.05

Boston’s Epstein Mulling Moves

Posted in Baseball at 10:46 am by

The Orioles aren’t fading and the Red Sox have underachieved. The Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti on the choices facing Boston GM Theo Epstein.

The general manager, like his players and his fans, speaks now with frustration seeping from his voice. And amid the waves of disappointment, one cannot help but wonder if there is more than a hint of resignation.

Maybe these Red Sox [stats, schedule] simply are not that good.

“This is difficult to fix, to be honest with you,” a calm and controlled Theo Epstein (above) said yesterday at Wrigley Field, where the spiraling Red Sox lost, 7-6, to the Chicago Cubs. “So many people are performing below our expectations and below our projections that this isn’t easy to fix. If this is the best that this pitching staff can pitch, then I really miscalculated and it’s time for changes.

“This is my fault. The guys have to play better or we’ve got to make some changes. I think we’ve allowed something like (77) runs in our last 10 losses. We’re out of games. It’s time for changes. Soon.”

The Red Sox need pitching help – and lots of it. The rotation is weak. The bullpen is failing miserably. And the Red Sox may not be good enough to repeat as champions even if Epstein starts unloading prospects like Hanley Ramirez and Jon Papelbon.

Make no mistake: If Epstein and his assistants do not feel good about this team’s chances, they will not make a trade solely for the sake of making one. They will not mortgage their future, too.

“We take those things very, very seriously,” Epstein said when asked about the prospects for a deal. “But what we have right now isn’t working. It’s clear. It’s my fault and we have to fix it. The status quo is not really acceptable.”

For now, at least, Epstein is not offering specific solutions. The Sox have significant money invested in some players, insignificant money invested in others. They could release the likes of Matt Mantei and John Halama, low-risk players signed for short money. They could move Bronson Arroyo to the bullpen. They could cut bait with Alan Embree. But that still does not address the issue of replacements, particularly at a time when many teams are still in contention and few (if any) quality players are available by trade.

4 Responses to “Boston’s Epstein Mulling Moves”

  1. hstencil says:

    i still will never understand why supposed-Moneyball enthusiasts thought it was a good idea to sign David Wells.

  2. CSTB says:

    I can’t speak to the Moneyball point, but perhaps there was some wishful thinking that an incentive laden deal would be provide the impetus for Wells to turn up in playing shape (like that’s ever happened before).

    I do find it fascinating that of all the aging pitchers to receive huge extensions and/or new deals the past couple of years —- Schiling, Unit, Wells, etc. — it was Pedro’s contract that generated the most scorn from say, Steve Phillips. I’d say it is a toss up right now as to who will earn more wins per — Martinez in the next 3 1/2 years and the other guys combined for the duration of their playing days. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but the Red Sox knew they were gonna start the season without Schilling, Pedro or Derek Lowe, and hindsight being what it is, they clearly didn’t arrange adequate cover.

  3. WisdomWeasel says:

    The Eck was saying that on NESN from the middle of the off season, and I think a lot of us fans agreed with him sooner rather than later, criticism of Theo and our pitching options was rather muted after the shock of last October. Perhaps we should have looked more to the Pats and like them truly believed that “Champions” is a retrospective term with no bearing on the next season.

  4. David R. says:

    Regarding the defending MLB champions –

    1) Wells was a bit of a WTF? signing, but his performance over the last few years was pretty good, and if the fat jerkwit could find some level of consistency (meaning, y’know, instead of the one shutout meted by 2 outings allowing 15 runs, how abotu 3 decentish starts there, Beerman?), he’d be a fine #3.

    2) Matt Clement has done just as well as D-Lowe has, and it’s not like losing D-Lowe was such a bad thing, given his non-playoff performance the last 2 years.

    3) If the bullpen didn’t up and die this year, the trials and tribulations of the pitching staff (and the team) wouldn’t be a big deal.

    4) Far be it from me to be a cynic, but I’m guessing some of Pedro’s “return to form” has to do w/ him being slighted by the Red Sox. It’s a proud tradition in Boston, treating the Cy Young-winning staff ace like dog crap and pantsing him on his way to greener free-agent pastures, wherein the rat bastard flips the fine city of Boston off while pitching like Bob Gibson.

    5) Given the supposed connection between Carlos Zambrano’s arm troubles & his 4-hour “e-mail” sessions, maybe someone should look into Schilling’s Everquest habit.

    6) Bronson Arroyo should’ve never recorded that CD; instant karma got him right in the moneymakers w/ that move.

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