Now to Hub Money's first mail bag! Don H., one of my good friends with a serious personality flaw (he is a Yankees fan) sent Hub Money its first official fan email. Editors note: In Don's world Stinkys = Red Sox, asterisks are the editor's changes to keep the mailbag PG, and this letter was sent before the League Championship Series.
"Based on your analysis, the Stinky Sox are in real trouble for 2010, cir Yankees of 2003-2008. Big contract obligations to under-performing aged vets, with no younger free agents on market to fill the holes. In 2009, the Yankees got 3 years younger, cut payroll of: Abreau, Giambi, Mussina; AND will win the WS.
For 2010, Yankees look even stronger as defending WS champ. Pitching gets BETTER + younger, AND payroll shrinks again by shedding Matsui, Damon, Mitre, Marte, Molina, and 1 or 2 other stiffs.
Now the really bad news for your stinky sox is that history is repeating itself as a 6 year cycle if you compare Yankees of 2003 - 2008, and stinky sox of 2007 - 2013.
- 2003 - lost game 7 of ws on broken bat ********
- '04 - lost game 7 of alcs on ****** up Fenway low wall in right field with fan touches ball in play preventing winning run scoring from first (game 5)
- '05 - 3 and out
- '06 - 4 and out
- '07 - 3 and out
- '08 - no playoffs
- 2007 - won 6 game WS
- 08 - lost game 7 of ALCS
- 09 - 3 and out
- 10 - a fight for wildcard and 3 and out vs. Angels again
- 11 - same as 10
- 12 - fire Tito and rebuild
In my humble amateur analysis, back at the all star break in July, when the Stinkys blew their 3 game lead and went 10 down in the standings, I made this dire 5 year bear market outlook for the Stinkys.
In July, I said that not coughing up an extra $10M for Teixeira they needed a desperation move. They had to give up Pedroia or Youkilis and Buchholtz to get Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee. I stand by that analysis.
Atlanta proved for 10 years if you have 4 #1s you can compete while you fill major holes.
Now that you have Martinez, you still have big problems for '10 and '11:
1. Closer – [Papelbon] is disgruntled, Jerry McGuire him at $10M /year for 7 years like Mo [Mariana Rivera], or trade him ASAP. Closer is a must-have so lock him up.
2. Hitting - still need 2 more bats even if you resign Bay (see #3)
3. Shortstop - must give up Ellsbury, Pedroia, or Youkilis for a Tier 1 shortstop
4. Catcher - okay for 2010 to platoon Martinez and Varitek. However, if not aggressive today, the Yankees will box out snagging the best 25 year old stud (assuming Mauer is not a capitalist next year) and thus we fix our #1 issue.
5. DH - what a mess for you; AND the Yankees will box you out for '10 in FA/trade where Matsui is a free agent freeing up $10M cash.
6. Farm - Stinkys raided farm for '07 - '09 teams, now you pay the man for 3 years to rebuild. Yankees get kudos for sucking up 07/08 to develop the 6 young stud pitchers we have that will be thorns in your side for next 6-10 years!
So how smart were the Yankees to hang onto those 6 stud young pitchers, and develop Gardner, Cabrera, Cano, and Cervelli in-house? Amazing!
We can literally give up Damon, Matsui, Marte, Mitre, Molina, and not exercise club options for Wang (won 19 games 2X in 06 and 07) and Xavier Nady (3 arm operations). That amounts to the starting LF, RF, DH, #2 starter, and 2 solid contributors; AND field a better team in 2010. Plus our team is seasoned proven WS winner, average age gets 3 more years younger, and sheds $40M in payroll.
Our only off-season must-do is resign the captain / league MVP / Mr. November /house-that-Jeter-built himself. And pick either resigning Pettitte or Wang. Plus we sit in the catbirds seat to sift through FA and trades to address long-term: Catcher and SS. My friend, you know my analysis is accurate.
In recap, put your seatbelt on. Sorry to say you will be sucking it up big time for 2010 to 2013; watching the Yankees win 3 or 4 more WS!
Yankees rule AGAIN!"
A few corrections and clarifications for an otherwise good letter: Marte is under contract until 2011. Mitre has a team option for 2010. Wang is arbitration eligible for 2011. Jeter is under contract for 2010.
I will agree that the Yankees are in a better position for this offseason then the Red Sox are. My guess is that if the Sox management is smart they will treat this offseason as a lost year. They have no prospects ready to come up from AAA: http://www.soxprospects.com/ With a weak free agent class this year, mortgaging the future would be a terrible mistake. With almost $40 million in salary coming off of the books at the end of the 2010 season they should be positioning themselves for the 2011 season and beyond.
To respond specifically to Don's points…
- Continue to offer Papelbon arbitration this season and trade him next year. He is going to want a big money contract and the Red Sox management will not want to commit big time dollars. If the opportunity presents itself, Papelbon is probably the best chip for a trade.
- The Sox definitely need more bats.
- Giving up Youkilis or Pedroia would be foolish. They are the studs that the team should build around. Ellsbury should only be traded for a great player. Yes, the Sox could use a better shortstop. I would not give up building blocks of the future for a 2010 shortstop. Let's see how the Hanley Ramirez sweepstakes goes for 2011.
- Unless a catcher like Mauer is available in 2010, the Sox should wait until Varitek comes off of the books in 2011 before making a move.
- DH situation will be fine in 2011. In 2010 the Sox are stuck with Ortiz and his contract.
- I think the "raiding" of the Sox farm system requires more analysis. The Sox are not in a good position for young prospects in 2010.
The Sox fortunately will be able to rebound in 2011. I think it will be interesting to watch them in 2010. They need to bring in some A-list talent to make sure they continue to sell out at home throughout 2010. Their top concern should be not to put themselves in a bad position in 2011. For 2010 they need to keep fans in the seats. They are probably really concerned that their sellout streak is probably in jeopardy.
So far in this offseason we have seen several small market teams cutting or trading arbitration eligible players that they probably would have kept in other years. There may be some good players available for large market teams where in other years these players would have been offered arbitration. Even with this glimmer of hope, the Sox will still not be in a great spot for 2010.
I will differ from Don in that contract-wise the Red Sox are in good shape for 2011. They will have Drew ($14 million), Youkilis ($12 million), Matsuzaka ($10 million), Lester ($5.75 million), and Pedroia ($5.5 million) at significant salaries and don't have significant obligations otherwise. Some of their top minor league talent will have hopefully matured to be able to contribute to the big league roster. The 2011 free agent market is significantly better than 2010.
So Red Sox fans, be patient. 2010 may not be our year but there is no reason not to be optimistic about the Sox's long term future.