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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sox Make Many More Moves    

Looks like the "let's see what they do during the waiver trade period" point of view has been justified.  The Sox are about to acquire:

1) 3B/OF Eric Hinske from Toronto.  This is a done deal; confirmed by Rosenthal, Edes and Silverman.  Since the Sox are taking on salary, it shouldn't cost more than a crap prospect.  You lose nothing, and gain a decent bat for the bench.  Very nice.
2) RP LaTroy Hawkins from Baltimore (see inning #8).  This is still just a rumor, but I don't see a downside here either.  He's no hero, and he fits nicely into the Julian Tavarez "don't use me in a tie game" mold.  But he's essentially an improved version of Rudian Taveanez.  Plus he relieves some of the stress on Craig Hansen, who unfortunately isn't getting it done every night.
3) 1B Carlos Pena, who sucks.  But he's a decent AAAA hitter, he's a lock for a September call-up, and we took him from the Yankees' AAA affiliate in Columbus for free.  Again, you lose nothing by doing this.  (Just repeat the mantra.)

Taking away Hawkins, and adding the Javy Lopez acquisition, this is a pretty nice haul given that they only thing of value the Sox gave up is cash.  I say that's a good job.  None of it addresses what ails the team, but given that Fatty Tuna has strung together two straight wins ("stopper" wins, no less) and that the starters who have struggled (Beckett, Lester, Schilling) are better than they've been pitching, there's some sliver of hope for the rotation.  If they can grab just one more reliever (in addition to the hypothetical Hawkins acquisition) for the back of the 'pen...


  • Oops. No LaTroy.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 1:08 PM  

  • Yeah, that assessment sounds about right to me. I was surprised when I heard Hawkins' name out there without the Sox connected to it. Nice that the rest of the AL East is so willing to trade with Theo.

    Positive spin: Flexibility. For this season and next. Now, with Pena and Hinske, who the hell knows what the Sox will look like next year? We could let Nixon walk and start Hinske in right. We could move Youkilis to RF, and put in a Hinske/Pena platoon at first. When could bring up David Murphy, our one OF prospect who's close, to start or apprentice in right. We could trade Lowell and start either Hinske or Youkilis at third. We could let Gonzalez or Loretta walk and replace one with Pedroia. Or let both walk and bring in Lugo as well. In the short term, all of the positional flexibility gives us a chance to play that NL style of frequently swapping positional players and pitchers into the game. And in the most grueling part of the season, there's more of a chance to rest players. As for the pitching, with the starters going fewer innings lately, three young pitchers at the back of the bullpen (Papelbon, Hansen, Delcarmen), and Timlin looking like he's wearing down, I've been worried that the bullpen would get burned out by October, depriving us of one of our bigger potential advantages over the Yankees (who always seem to either over- or underwork their relievers). Hawkins at least gives those guys a breather .

    Negative spin: Sure, we get some flexibility, but is it flexibility we'd like to use? Johnson and Snyder gave us "flexibility" in the rotation too. And any team that features Hinske or Pena in a daily or even platoon role is in trouble; sure, they can hold down a spot on a mediocre team, but if you want to contend, you should be getting something elite out of every position. As for Hawkins, he's been a little better than Tavarez, but not much. He's been getting progressively worse for three years now, and he always seems to get rattled when it matters.

    Overall: like Jeff said, we didn't give up much to get these guys. They might not be guys who can play a major role on a championship-caliber team, but we added some pieces without messing with the 2006 core or mortgaging the future. Wells has come back and should be able to provide some innings and wins, especially at Fenway. Foulke is nearly back, and can take some pressure off the bullpen. And Wakefield, who should be back fairly soon, gives us innings (maybe not great ones, but still) and something interesting in the postseason. I'm still worried about Beckett's inconsistency, the vulerability of the bullpen, and Lester's high pitch counts, but those were problems that couldn't really be solved without giving up too much (RP's are overpriced right now and Oswalt wasn't worth three top pitching prospects). And while we may not have as much flexibility going into the offseason as it appears, I still think we're set up pretty well to go into the post season without totally exhausting everyone.

    By Blogger chas, at 1:22 PM  

  • Well, there's always Mota. He wouldn't really help, but he would make Tavarez and Seanez look better.

    By Blogger chas, at 1:26 PM  

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