Evan Howlett

Hi, my name is Evan. I'm a recent college graduate and a lifelong Red Sox fan. Baseball was my first favorite sport, and I spent much of my youth traveling with my father visiting various ballparks and watching lots and lots of games. I now live in Pittsburgh, and have become a proud bandwagon Pirates fan as well.

Time: 7:10 PM

TV: NESN

Location: Fenway Park

Red Sox (5-2, 1-0 home)

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks3B
Daniel Nava DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. LF
Pitching:  Dempster (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

Orioles (3-4, 2-2 away)

Nate Mclouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nolan Reimold DH
Pitching: Arrieta (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
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Time: 2:05 PM

TV: NESN

Location: Fenway Park

Red Sox (4-2, 0-0 home)

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Daniel Nava LF
Jonny Gomes DH
David Ross C
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: Buchholz (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Orioles (3-3, 2-1 away)
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Steve Pearce DH
Pitching: Chen (0-0, 3.18 ERA)

Time: 7:07 PM

TV: NESN

Location: Yankee Stadium 

Red Sox (2-1, 2-1 away)

Ellsbury CF
Nava DH
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Victorino RF
Bradley LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: Doubront

Blue Jays (1-2, 1-2 home)

Reyes SS
Bonifacio 2B
Cabrera LF
Encarnacion 1B
Arencibia C
Davis RF
Rasmus CF
DeRosa DH
Izturis 3B
Pitching: Johnson

Time: 7:05 PM

TV: NESN, MLBN

Location: Yankee Stadium 

Red Sox (2-0, 2-0 away)

Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Gomes DH
Middlebrooks 3B
Bradley LF
Ross C
Iglesias SS
Pitching: Dempster 

Yankees (0-2, 0-2 home)

Gardner CF
Cano 2B
Youkilis 3B
Hafner DH
Wells LF
Suzuki RF
Nunez SS
Overbay 1B
Cervelli C

Pitching: Pettitte

Continue reading »

Time: 7:00 PM

TV: ESPN2

Location: Yankee Stadium 

Yankee Stadium, Opening Day 2013, 9th Inning…EMPTY

Red Sox (1-0, 1-0 away)

Ellsbury CF
Nava DH
Pedroia 2B
Napoli 1B
Saltalamacchia C
Middlebrooks 3B
Victorino RF
Bradley LF
Iglesias SS
Pitching: Buchholz

Yankees (0-1, 0-1 home)

Gardner CF
Suzuki RF
Cano 2B
Youkilis 3B
Hafner DH
Wells LF
Overbay 1B
Nunez SS
Stewart C
Pitching: Kuroda

Continue reading »

Red Sox fans: baseball is back! And so is this blog, hopefully!

Today was the first day of Spring Training workouts for the Red Sox pitchers and catchers, as well as a number of early-to-report position players, and we are only nine days away from the first split squad games  against Northeastern University and Boston College next Thursday.

Pedroia, Middlebrooks, Napoli, Ortiz take early BP. Photo courtesy of @RedSox

Pitchers and catchers were due to report voluntarily yesterday, and position players will report in a few days. The mandatory date for all non-World Baseball Classic players to report is February 20th. The Red Sox have three participants in the Classic this year: Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), Alfredo Aceves (Mexico) and Shane Victorino (USA). Bogaerts is with the club right now and will be for the next two weeks before he heads to Arizona to work out with his national team and eventually heads to Taiwan for pool play. Victorino is at camp, but will miss about three weeks of time starting on March 1st, which is a little bit of a concern for the team. Manager John Farrell has repeatedly stressed the importance of Ellsbury, who reported early, and Victorino to get as many reps playing next to each other in the outfield as possible. Aceves has been with the team for two years now, so his brief departure is of little concern.

The first club workout was held this morning and the first full squad practice will take place on Friday.

Today’s news and links

The big story of the day was Clay Buchholz, who strained his hamstring in a pitcher fielding practice drill only hours into day one of camp. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. A large collective sigh could be heard from Red Sox fans growing impatient with Buchholz’s perceived injury proneness, but  Buchholz downplayed the injury saying the strain was as “mild as it can be” and that he expects to be back by the weekend. Either way, this is not the way the Red Sox, who used the DL more than any team in baseball last year, wanted to start camp.

Continue reading »

Yesterday the Red Sox officially named John Farrell the clubs 45th manager in team history, and the club’s third in as many years. In his press conference on Tuesday he emphasized a desire to “hit the ground running”, start forming healthy relationships with players and gaining their trust.  Farrell has supposedly already reached out to many Red Sox players, including some current free agents such as Cody Ross and David Ortiz. He talked with Jon Lester about mechanical flaws he noticed from afar and the chemistry between Farrell and the Red Sox front office already looks notably more comfortable than his predecessor’s ever did. As for expectations, Farrell stated that there’s an opportunity for a quick turnaround and to get back into the playoffs as soon as next year.
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You can catch the whole press conference here.
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The hiring of Farrell is the biggest news in Red Sox Nation, but a few other stories are worth noting.
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On the free agent front:
  • The Red Sox and David Ortiz are closing in on a two-year deal that they look to finalize by Friday, according to ESPN sources. The deal is expected to be in the ballpark of $25 million, a price that Ortiz has long believed to have been seeking. However, conflicting reports surfaced yesterday suggesting that the deal being in “near-agreement” is a bit premature. Either way, all parties involved admit that there is mutual desire to work out a deal and that both are eager to get something done.
  • Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that the club is continuing to negotiate a deal with Cody Ross of whom they are “confident they will retain.”
More team news:
  • On Tuesday, general manager Ben Cherington said that the team feels confident that Jose Iglesias is major league ready, however, he didn’t express complete support and said that there will be an open competition for the spot during the spring. The internal options are pretty weak with Pedro Ciriaco seemingly being the only other internal option that could put up a fight.
  • David Carpenter, who was acquired in the Farrell deal, was reportedly not going to make the 40-man roster in Toronto. It certainly seems possible that Carpenter faces a similar fate in Boston.
  • Farrell mentioned John Lackey in his press conference, highlighting the impact he needs to have on the rotation next year. Lackey will be ready for Spring training, and Farrell hopes that he, Lester and Buchholz can regain form and pitch like the top-of-the-rotation players he feels they still can be.

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with the Toronto Blue Jays on a deal that will make John Farrell the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. Farrell, who was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2006 to 2010, notched a 154-170 record during his 2 year stint as the Blue Jays manager.

WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Mike Aviles will be sent to Toronto to complete the deal. The Red Sox will get either a player or cash to complete the deal. Farrell’s deal is for three years. Stay tuned to Bloodysox.com for updates.

Starting Rotation

2012 Positional Recap 

In 2012, Red Sox starting pitchers amassed a 5.19 ERA, good enough for fourth last in the majors. Only Cleveland, Minnesota and Colorado had poorer rotations. The rotation has gradually performed worse and worse over the past three seasons, and certainly has played a big role in the team’s lack of success. Red Sox starters went 48-72 this season, finishing under .500 for the first time this millennium. Red Sox starters pitched 4 shutouts this season, the fewest in the majors and 7 less than the year before. No starting rotation allowed more earned runs than the 2012 Red Sox rotation and only three rotations walked more batters. Their .272 batting average against was 5th worst in the majors, and again, was the franchise’s worst in recent memory.

No regular starter had an ERA under 4.5 this season. No regular starter had more than 11 wins this season. Red Sox starters had a combined WAR of 9.1 this season, which is less than half of the collective WAR they had in 2010, 2009 and 2007, and most of the decades prior. Overall, there is an easy argument to be made that this was the worst Red Sox pitching staff in my 23 years of living.

Individual Production 

Looking Forward to the 2013 Roster

Continue reading »

Outfield

2012 Positional Recap

Collectively, the Red Sox outfield last year a disaster. Over 162 games, the three outfield positions posted a combined 4.3 WAR. Only the Indians, Mets and Astros saw less production from the three outfield positions than the Sox did. They were third to last in wOBA (.308), third to last in slugging, second to last in home runs (39)…and the list goes on.

Obviously injuries played a huge role in the disaster that was the 2012 Red Sox outfield, but for the team to see more success next season, many issues in the outfield must first be addressed and fixed.

While only collectively accounting for about 1/4th of the outfield playing time, Ryan Kalish, Marlon Byrd, Nate Spears, Brent Lillibridge, Jason Repko, Lars Anderson and Che-Hsuan Lin all had a negative WAR last season. Cody Ross was the only Red Sox outfielder to play in over 90 games last season (he played 130). Daniel Nava logged the second most games played with 88, Jacoby Ellsbury missed exactly 88 games, and Ryan Sweeney and Scott Podsednik were the only others to play in over 60 games. The Carl Crawford experiment came to an abrupt end after only playing 31 games for the Red Sox this season and posting a 0.4 WAR. Darnell McDonald was also relied upon for major innings this season, and continued to play as poorly as he seemingly always has.

Individual Production

(I’m omitting McDonald, Anderson, Lin, Repko, Lillibridge, Spears and Byrd. All of them either won’t be back next year or didn’t play a significant amount of games last season. More importantly, they were all awful, and you don’t need to see a few statistics to see that)

Looking Forward to the 2013 Roster

I’m not certain that a single assumption can be made about the 2013 Red Sox outfield. The safest assumption would seem to be that Jacoby Ellsbury will be patrolling center field. However, there is a significant case to be made that the Red Sox should look to move him. We wrote back in July why the Red Sox should look to trade Ellsbury at the deadline, and much of the same reasoning keeps the notion worthwhile now in the offseason. Ellsbury does have more value than almost everyone else on this roster and is set to reach free agency and a huge payday after the 2013 season. The Red Sox team salary kerfuffle — which many felt was a reason Theo Epstein bolted in the first place — isn’t as convoluted as it once with after the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers. Perhaps keeping Ellsbury is more contractually viable with Carl Crawford gone.

Should the Red Sox entertain moving Jacoby Ellsbury?

I’m not going to state my case as to what I think the Red Sox should do with Ellsbury, but I think there are some clear pros and cons to each argument. If he his dangled by the Red Sox brass it would be reasonable to expect plenty of teams expressing interest. The Rangers could be interested especially with the uncertain returns of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and the impending free agency for players like Nelson Cruz and Michael Young (both enter free agency after 2013). He could be a nice long-term option for the Rangers, and the Rangers have shown little aversion to spending. The Braves could be interested if Michael Bourn bolts. Perhaps the Reds, who get little to nothing from the lead off spot, would make a play for him. Maybe a team like Seattle, Philadelphia or Washington make a play. There assuredly is a market for Ellsbury, and it will be up to the front office to properly gauge that.

Internal options: Internally there are plenty of options, granted few with tremendous amounts of long-term appeal. Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin all will be in play, but as I stated earlier none of them took a solid advantage of their significant playing time this year. Cody Ross was one of the biggest bargains in baseball last season and very well could be lured back, for a sizable pay raise of course. Top outfield prospect Jackie Bradley could be ready for the majors later on in the 2013 season. The same could be said for Bryce Brentz.

An improvement in terms of health could make a world of difference for the outfield corps, but it’s hard to imagine a huge upgrade in production unless the Red Sox look externally. There is plenty of depth internally for the Red Sox, but no real top level talent after Ellsbury. It is very possible that the team starts next season with an outfield of Sweeney/Ellsbury/Ross with some combination of Nava/Lin/Kalish on the bench, but how much of an improvement would that lead to? Probably not much.

Free agent options: There is a decent amount of outfield talent hitting the free agent market this offseason; the most talented of them all being Josh Hamilton. Hamilton would provide the star power, but the cost of which doing so probably isn’t it worth it, especially for a team that is suddenly trying to be a bit more responsible fiscally. There are question marks with Hamilton, and he isn’t exactly young any more. The notion of signing him seems counterintuitive to me.

Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and BJ Upton would all provide tangible upgrades to the corner outfield positions, but much like Hamilton, none of them seem to be a great fit. Bourn had a sensational year, and much of his value comes from his defense in center field. So long as Ellsbury is around, it would make little sense to splurge on Bourn. Bourn would be a solid replacement if Ellsbury were traded, but his payday will be in the same range as what Ellsbury’s will be, and if the point is to be fiscally responsible and cautious, signing him again would again seem counterintuitive. Upton’s youth and potential (can it still be called that after 7 seasons in the majors?) are likely intriguing, but the reality is he has not played elite baseball in quite some time now. Some team will surely offer him a long and massive contract, and it should not be the Red Sox. Swisher seems like a more ideal fit (he can play in the outfield, first base and DH), but he again will command a long contract with a high AAV.

After that trio there are the likes of Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino, Torii Hunter, Ryan Ludwick, Jonny Gomes, Delmon Young, Scott Hairston, Juan Rivera, Grady Sizemore, Angel Pagan and so on.

Trade possibility: Perhaps the Red Sox look to make a trade. Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Upton were both supposedly being actively shopped last season.

 

The Red Sox clearly have the depth to stand pat this offseason in the outfield, but doing so might not be the best move. There are plenty of avenues the team could go down, and if the front office decides it wants to continue spending, outfield seems to be the logical place where that can happen. Whether or not they should look to throw around money is an entirely different question…

So, Red Sox Nation, who do you hope and expect to see starting in the outfield next season?

All stats are from fangraphs.com, including WAR, unless stated otherwise.

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