Friday, July 07, 2006

Prospects and How They Develop

Ok...We've discussed this before, but I am noticing that some of these Sox prospects that we've traded have turned into fairly nice players.

Two in particular are Freddie Sanchez who has come into his own this year, hitting .365 with a .405 OBP. He is roughly on pace for two hundred hits and is going to the All-Star game. Very nice. The other is Hanley Ramirez...he was put right into the majors by the Marlins, and (admittedly, he's cooled off from his torrid start) but .274 avg., and 25 stolen bases...not too shabby. He strikes out a ton, but that will get better as he matures. (Let's not even include Eckstein who was released).

Now, the Sox have made these trades already. done...Ramirez brought us Lowell and Beckett which is working out very well (and Gonzalez has been great at SS). Sanchez got us Suppan and Sauerbach which (in hindsight) is a bad deal.

Now, you can ponder a couple of things. Without those trades, you'd have Sanchez at 3rd and Ramirez at SS. It sort of leads me to this conclusion:

No matter what transpires for the rest of this season, don't trade away the young guys. This means, don't trade Pedroia and Hansen (or someone else) for Smoltz. Don't trade David Murphy to Houston with Delcarmen and Pedroia for Clemens. If you are going to trade away some prospects, get a veteran with a lot of tread left on the tires that you can have for a few years.

This Sox teams has some holes. They need to get the young guys more pressure-filled mound time. Better to do it now instead of down the stretch (that way there still might be time to find another arm). They need another starter as Johnson is not cutting it. I am also interested in seeing how Lester does the second time through the league, and, as great as he has been, he still has trouble locating pitches which could hurt him against patient lineups. So, the Sox are probably looking for a number 3/4 and an arm for the pen. Another bat off the bench would be great, and they should have that when Wily Mo gets back.

The front office has to take a realistic look at what they have and truly believe that this is a championship caliber team to make moves including younger players. Yes, they might win the division. But...are they a championship caliber team? Are they even a player or two away? If not, just get to the postseason with what you have and take your chances...Don't give up the very near future for a very few months...

The Sox were right with Ramirez and Sanchez, they are both big league players. Ramirez looks like he's going to be great, and, as mentioned above, Sanchez is suddenly an All-Star. Obviously, Youk has been fantastic, too. So, don't trade Pedroia, Murphy, or Ellsbury. Don't trade the young guys for some rent-a-player...That's what I am getting at here.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I think there is some differentiation in prospects. You don't trade the top guys, but some guys are much more dealable.

    So in a very short sited view, we'd have Sanchez at 3B and Hanley. But there would be no Josh Beckett in the rotation. And Sanchez is having a great year this year, we can be pretty sure that we will look back on 2006 as a complete abberation of his career. The nice .405 OBP is a product of his ridiculous BA - a level which he never achieved even in the minors .

    Further complicating the Sanchez situation is that the Pirates gave him 500 ABs last year (and were prepared to in 2004 before he got hurt) and let him develop. Something the Sox could not have done going into 2004 (having Meuller) and in 2003 (the year after he was dealt they had Hillenbrand and Meuller).

    And Hanley may have been able to jump in and performed as well as say Alex Gonzalez. But after his scorcing start, he has cooled considerably. Of course it is all part of the development process, but it is different in Boston than in FLA where they have 10,00 fans and maybe 2 beat reporters. How would Boston have handled his 6-67 stretch? And he has 11 errors - not a ton, but not few. Of course hanley is only 22 and would still be in the minors for the Sox (as opposed to Sanchez who is 28 or 29).

    So trading the young guys for some rent-a-player is something to consider (as long as its not a top gun). sure the Suppan deal was bad, but it was a decent gamble - hell the Sox started John Burkett in Game 6 of the LCS that year - why not take the chance.

    Pedroia, Murphy, or Ellsbury are parts. Pedroia probably is not likely to be traded since he can be plugged into the Middle IF. Murphy and Elsbury are going to be harder to find homes for long term.

    In general, I agree you don't deal your top prospects, but if you have the chance to improve, you have to pull the trigger.