Tuesday, October 22, 2013
How the Red Sox were built
By David Schoenfield
The Boston Red Sox had a much different approach to building their team than the Cardinals. While St. Louis' World Series roster will likely include 17 homegrown players and 10 rookies, Boston's World Series roster will likely include nine homegrown players -- 10 if you count Daniel Nava (who played independent ball before the Red Sox signed him) -- and two rookies.
Much has been written about how Boston transformed itself from the 69-93 disaster of a team in 2012 to a 97-65 World Series squad. Last summer's trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers cleared payroll and allowed general manager Ben Cherington to dip into the free-agent market. Instead of going after the top free agents, they signed more players to shorter-term, less risky deals.
The Red Sox signed seven players for about $112 million, with Shane Victorino's three-year deal the longest. They also re-signed David Ortiz and traded for closer Joel Hanrahan ($7 million). Those nine players ended up costing the Red Sox about $83 million in 2013 -- still higher than the Opening Day payrolls of 13 clubs. Boston's Opening Day payroll was still about $21 million less than 2012's.
2B Dustin Pedroia (second round, 2004, Arizona State): The 65th player selected in 2004, the only player from that draft with more career WAR is Justin Verlander.
3B Will Middlebrooks (fifth round, 2007, Texas high school): After hitting .192 in the first half, he was sent back to the minors, made some adjustments and hit .276/.329/.476 in 41 games in the second half with a much-improved strikeout-walk ratio.
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (first round, 2005, Oregon State): Part of the loaded 2005 first round that included Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce, Ellsbury went 23rd overall.
P Jon Lester (second round, 2002, Washington high school): One underrated aspect of his performance: He's now made 31-plus starts six seasons in a row and has topped 200 innings in five of those six seasons.
P Clay Buchholz (first round supplemental, 2005, Texas junior college): He rarely played as a freshman infielder at McNeese State, so he transferred to Angelina Junior College, where he starred as a two-way player.
P Brandon Workman (second round, 2010, Texas): The rookie right-hander was Boston's No. 12 prospect entering the season according to Baseball America, but a strong season in the minors pushed him to the majors, where he's working out of the bullpen.
Amateur free agents
IF Xander Bogaerts (Aruba, 2009): Signed for $410,000, he's just 21 and will enter next year as one of the top prospects in baseball -- maybe No. 1 -- and will be expected to be the starting shortstop with Stephen Drew departing as a free agent.
P Junichi Tazawa (Japan, 2008): Undrafted in Japan out of high school, Tazawa then starred in the Japanese industrial leagues and originally signed a three-year, $3.3 million contract with the Red Sox. He missed all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery but has become a vital cog in the bullpen.
P Felix Doubront (Venezuela, 2005): A starter in the regular season, he's been relegated to mop-up duties in the postseason.
Acquired via trade
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (from Rangers for Roman Mendez, Chris McGuiness, Michael Thomas and cash, July 31, 2010): A one-time highly rated prospect with the Braves, he went to Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade, but the Rangers gave up on him. The Red Sox took a chance on him, and he's hit 55 home runs over the past three seasons.
1B/LF Mike Carp (from Mariners for player to be named/cash, Feb. 20, 2013): Picked up for nothing thanks to the Mariners' glut of first base/DH types and produced a solid season off the bench.
OF Quintin Berry (from Royals for Clayton Mortensen, Aug. 27, 2013): Pinch-running specialist was picked up in late August. He's 28-for-28 in his major league career in stolen bases.
P Jake Peavy (from White Sox as part of three-team trade in which Boston gave up Jose Iglesias and three minor leaguers, July 30, 2013): He's now made four career postseason starts -- two with the Padres, two with the Red Sox -- and is 0-3 while allowing 21 runs in 18.1 innings.
P Craig Breslow (from Diamondbacks for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik, July 31, 2012): The solid veteran lefty was acquired for journeyman right-hander Albers and then signed to an extension in the offseason.
Major league free agents
C David Ross (Nov. 14, 2012): The 36-year-old veteran backup signed a two-year, $6.2 million deal. Started both games that Lester started in the ALCS, so you'll see him again in Game 1.
1B Mike Napoli (Jan, 22, 2013): The two sides had originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal, but the Red Sox backed away from that after a physical revealed a degenerative condition in his hip joints. Napoli instead signed a one-year deal and will be a free agent this offseason.
SS Stephen Drew (Dec. 26, 2012): Drew's one-year deal paid him $10 million. He reportedly chose the Red Sox over the Yankees, who couldn't guarantee that he'd play shortstop every day.
LF Jonny Gomes (Dec. 1, 2012): Signed a two-year, $10 million deal and gave the Red Sox exactly what they expected: Some right-handed pop, some energy and about one win above replacement level.
RF Shane Victorino (Dec. 13, 2012): His three-year, $39 million deal was much maligned, but he bounced back at the plate and had a terrific, Gold Glove caliber season in right field.
DH David Ortiz (Jan. 22, 2003): He was nontendered by the Twins after the 2002 season and signed with the Red Sox in 2003 on a one-year, $1.25 million deal. His latest contract is a two-year deal for 2013 and 2014 that guarantees him $26 million.
P John Lackey (Dec. 14, 2009): After missing all of 2012, he returned and had his best season since 2008 with the Angels. Lines up as the No. 3 starter behind Lester and Buchholz.
P Ryan Dempster (Dec. 19, 2012): The one offseason signing that didn't really work out, Dempster provided replacement-level work (4.57 ERA) for a $13.25 million salary.
P Koji Uehara (Dec. 18, 2012): Not a bad investment on a 38-year-old reliever. For $5 million he gave Boston one of the great relief seasons ever. His option for 2014 also vested.
OF Daniel Nava (from Chico of the Golden League, Jan. 17, 2008): The Red Sox actually designated him for assignment in May 2011. Any team could have had him. He hit .303/.385/.445 this year. Sometimes you need to be a little lucky.
P Franklin Morales (from Rockies, May 19, 2011): He actually started as a rookie for the Rockies in the 2007 postseason, but the Rockies eventually tired of his injuries and inconsistency.