August 23, 2006


A bad deal for Sox: Front office caught in a mess with trade for Lopez (Tony Massarotti, 8/23/06, Boston Herald)

For what it’s worth, Lopez was not in the starting lineup for last night’s 4-3 loss as manager Terry Francona sent right-hander Kyle Snyder to the mound against the Angels. The Sox are 2-7 with Lopez behind the plate, including Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Yankees in which the winning run scored on a wild pitch that could just as easily have been a passed ball.

Now the kicker: After emphasizing pitching and defense throughout a winter reconstruction, the Red Sox went out and rolled the dice on a bat by acquiring the 35-year-old Lopez, who slugged all of .412 this year with the Orioles. There were those in the organization who wanted the Sox to pick up a defensive-minded catcher who could help soften the loss of Varitek behind the plate, but general manager Theo Epstein and his staff went the other way.

Now the Sox are coming off a series in which the Yankees abused their pitchers and went 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts. All six bases were stolen against Lopez, who has yet to throw out a runner in 11 attempts since joining the Sox. The only unsuccessful attempt in the New York series came on a botched hit-and-run with Doug Mirabelli behind the plate and Jon Lester on the mound. In Mirabelli’s other start against New York, the Yankees did not attempt a steal.

Middle relievers have such huge variations from year to year that it's a mistake to sign them as free agents for decent money, as the Sox did Rudy Seanez and Julian Tavarez this Winter. But, with the forgiveable exception of Coco Crisp's finger injury, the rest of their gambles have paid off better than anyone could have anticipated--especially the offensive production they've received from Loretta, Gonzalez, Lowell & Wily Mo. The one glaring error is not seizing the opportunity that the Varitek injury afforded to bring in a real catcher and help the pitchers who'd struggled with him behind the plate. Even Doug Mirabelli posts better Catcher ERAs than Varitek, but surely there was some defensive specialist wallowing somewhere who could have been obtained even if he'd only hit .090. Opting to go in the opposite direction and get a guy who's worse defensively than Varitek just because he once had a big bat was not just a bad move but one so inconsistent with the team philosophy that you have to wonder if it was a Lucchino move and not an Epstein/James move.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2006 8:48 AM

The rest of the gambles have paid off..

Beckett? Not this year at least.

The other big error was panicking and shipping Bard off to get Mirabelli back. Bard was the one to keep of the two even if he had trouble handling Wakefield (who has been on the DL the past month and may be done for the season).

Posted by: AWW at August 23, 2006 3:13 PM

Beckett's 13-8 and had his best start with Mirabelli catching him. You can't blame him for the manager sticking him with Varitek and Lopez.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2006 3:21 PM

Is John Flaherty retired? They could have brought him back...rust or no rust, he's going to hit .210, but give you some decent defense.

Posted by: Foos at August 23, 2006 3:22 PM


Posted by: Mike Daley at August 23, 2006 11:36 PM