Earlier today Red Sox insider Sean McAdam took some time to field questions from Red Sox Nation. Everything from Kevin Youkilis' tradability to the chemistry in the clubhouse, he had you covered. Let's dive right in to it.
Doug from Woburn asks:
A-gon's lack of power is a concern. BV moved him to 6th for 2 games but has moved him back to 3rd and 4th. Any thoughts about leaving him at 6th.
I suppose that could be a temporary fix, but ultimately, Gonzalez has to be part of the 3-4 combinatrion with Ortiz. The bigger concern is his lack of patience and swinging early in the count
Jorge from Easton asks:
Other than Youk, which big name on the Sox is most likely to be traded?
There aren't a lot of other obvious candidates unless the Red Sox fall way out of contention. Then, there would be others they could move. Among those: Shoppach, Ross, maybe some bullpen help.
Frankie J asks:
how big of an impact can we expect from Ellsbury when he returns to the lineup?
Good question, Frankie. It's fair to say that he won't be 100 percent baseball ready when he comes back, Even with a rehab stint in the minors, it's not the same as MLB game situations. There will have to, eventually, be an adjustment period
Gary S. asks:
Hi Sean. What do you think will happen with Kevin Youkilis? Would the Red Sox get anything valuable in return if they were to trade him soon? Or do they have to wait it out and hope he starts to produce before selling? Thanks!
A number of scouts who have watched Youkilis lately have come away decidedly uninpressed. That's not surpsing since he's in a 3-for-25 skid. He's not having good at-bats and not moving particuarly well at 3B. Unless he gets hot in a hurry, their best bet may be sitting him and using him as a role player while letting Middlebrooks play every day. If he's not going to return much value, it's silly to keep showcasing him.
Stubbs from Southie asks:
if the Sox continue to slide and fall far out of contention, does bobby v get canned? or is he allowed to finish the season?
The only way Valentine doesn't finish the season is if there's some sort of "incident'' or all-out clubhouse insurrection. Larry Lucchino has a lot invested in Valentine's hiring. Also, in terms of the team's won-loss record, he'll be cut some slack because of the injuries he's had to deal with
Hey Sean, with Dice-K's contract expiring after this season, wouldn't he be a great trade chip for a contender at the deadline? Perhaps a package of Youkilis and Dice-K for a young arm?
I don't know how much value DiceK has with anyone right now, since he's made just one start since returning from Tommy John. If he has a handful of good starts between now and the All-Star break. there could be interest. But remember, DicK has a full no-trade clause and would likely only accept a deal to certain cities.
How would you compare the atmosphere and camaraderie (or lack thereof) in the clubhouse this year with last year?
It's different. Different players and different manager, so it's hard to compare. Every team has its own dynamic. This one seems less close that teams in the past. One of the things that Francona insisted upon in the past was for new players to be welcomed by the veteran and established players and I don't see that as much this season.
it seems to me the red sox have some trading chips in the bullpen they can sell and still keep the team competitive with the arms they have in the minors. wouldn't it be prudent to trade one or two of those arms (atchinson, albers, maybe even aceves after bailey comes back and shows he can close), promote a pitcher (clay mortenson, tazawa or wait until bailey comes off the dl), be sellers without actually giving up on the season.
Possibly, Pierre. I think Atchison and Albers -- to cite two -- have some value as middle and set-up guys. But I wouldn't assume that Mortenson or anyone else in Pawtucket could step in and do the job that Atchison and Albers have done, so I don't think they'll be auctioning off bullpen pieces unless they think they're out of it. As we've seen, it takes a while to properly construct a bullpen and trying to do one on the fly, in the middle of a pennant race, is tough.
The Max Man asks:
Two on Ryan Kalish - 1) When do you think he will be called up? and 2) Is he the long-term answer in right field?
As well as he's played, Kalish needs time. He essentially has lost more than a full season and needs to get his baseball legs back, to say nothing of his timing. Don't think you'll see him until July. And the Red Sox believe that, yes, he will be their RF for a while once he comes back.
Boston runs so hot and cold with Bobby V! Do you think he's done a good job so far, or is his job in trouble? I think people forget how injured this team is...
I don't sense that he's in "trouble,'' but the season continues to be a referendum on him. That's part of being a personality like Valentine. Everything he does is examined. Overall, I think he's done a good job reconstructing the bullpen. I think some of his in-game moves have been puzzling (sending Buchholz out for the 9th with a 7-0 lead is the most recent) and I'm not sure he's done a good job uniting the team.
Your opinion Sean, does Daniel Bard START another game for the Red Sox this season?
Guessing here, but: no. Unless something happens in the next few weeks to one of the five current starters. It's hard to imagine one
Are the Red Sox worried that it's Rich Hill's sidearm delivery that's giving him elbow problems? Will they try to change it? Seems like it's helped make him effective, but at a price.
No evidence of that. This latest setback is unrelated to the Tommy John surgery and could have happened to anyone. As to whether the sidearm caused the torn ligament in the first place, I haven't heard anyone suggest that, either. There's a rash of TJ injuries all over the game, regardless of arm angle or delivery.
Drew from Andover asks:
Sean, How do you think Bard would deal with a return to the bullpen from a mental standpoint? If you were manager, what would you do?
He's made it clear that his preference is to start and there will be disappointment obviously. This is where the Red Sox, in my opinion, will miss Francona. Valentine doesn't have the same sort of relationship with the players. Francona could have "sold'' the move back to the bullpen; not sure Valentine has that capabilty.
Do you think scouts are publicly saying they are less impressed with Youk because they are trying to drive his value down?
Usually, scouts aren't "publicly'' saying anything; they speak on background or off-the-record, which affords them the chance to be candid without having critical comments linked to them. They're usually pretty honest. If a player is playing well, they say so. If not, they say that, too. An anonymous quote from scouts isn't going to drive value down if there's real value.
Having fun covering the team this year? jk If the string of mediocritynon-contention continues, is anyone really untouchable on the roster? Does Cherington have the stones (or authority) to truly hit the reset button?
I would say that if they really fall out of contention by July -- which, let's face it, is hard to do with the second wild card -- that they could listen on a lot of players. If they do indeed fail to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year, I believe there would be some housecleaning. But I think the owners might decided that the best thing to do is throw at the biggest free agents (Hamels, Greinke), thinking that would cure everything.
After Beckett has skipped out on post-game interviews twice in a row, it made me wonder how he gets along with media outside of the mandated times he needs to speak to them?
He's not the most approachabe guy in the clubhouse unless you have some sort of relationship with him. I've found him to be somewhat guarded at times, but he's also capable of some interesting insight. He just doesn't like the format of sitting at a podium and talking about himself.
Sean - Have you seen the SeptemberOctober schedule for the Sox? 3 v TOR, 3 v NYY, 3 @ TOR, 4 @ TB, 3 v BAL, 2 v TB, 3 @ BAL, 3 @ NYY. That's their final 24 games. Even if they are 5-6 games out at the deadline, can't a case be made that the division will be decided in September, moreso this year than in years past?
If the division remains as close as it is now, yes. But two things to remember: the Sox actually start the month on the West Coast and 2) if everyone is playing one another in the division, it's going to be tough to leapfrog over more than one or two teams.
what is the timing on Ellsbury, Crawford and Baliey?
Been told that Ellsbury and Crawford will most likely be around mid-July. Bailey is a tougher projection. He's throwing, but hasn't thrown off the mound and the thumb won't really be tested until he's facing hitters. I would say Bailey could be late July, Aug. 1.
Harold in Weymouth asks:
Sean, Lester said last week it was good for Salty that Tek is gone. Do you think knowing the job is his and the Tek era is over is the major reason he's playing so well?
I think that helps, yes. Salty doesn't have to look over his shoulder and knows he's the No. 1 guy. But two other things: 1) Varitek helped his development a great deal and never worried about teaching the kid who was taking over his job. Varitek was unselfish in that way with Victor Martinez, too. and 2) as a rule, catchers just tend to develop later, so maybe Salty just needed more time.
Amy chance Sox can get Marcum or Garcia if STL or MIL are out of it?
Garcia is hurt, so that complicates things. And if Milwaukee is going to make a deal, Greinke is the more likely choice since he's going to be a FA this fall.
With 100 years under Fenway Park's belt, is it time to start thinking about building a new stadium with the comfort of these new stadiums popping up (Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Marlins Stadium)? The seats are uncomfortable and the boulders are nuisance. Plus, wouldn't a 50,000 person stadium, rather than 37,000, make tickets cheaper down the road? I realize location is an obstacle, and I have no suggestions for where they could put the new park but it's time to move on from the "hallowed grounds of Fenway Park" in my opinion
I agree with the tenor of your comments. As historic and nostalics as Fenway is, it's not very comfortable and doesn't offer great sightlines. As for capacity, smaller is better these days, as it creates "supply and demand.'' You're seeing ballparks with capacities in the low 40,000. And owners, in Boston or elsewhere, aren't interested in cheaper tickets. But the biggest obstacle is economics. A new ballpark in Boston would have to be mostly privately financed and would cost in excess of 1 billion. The current ownership has spent 300 million on renovating Fenway; they're not about to start over.
Based on what you've seen and what you think the future will hold for this team, what percentage of a chance do you see them making the postseason?
Not out of the question, but unless they take off in the second half when injured players return, I'd say not great. To put a number on it, I'd say about 20 percent -- tops.
Assuming no trades and all OF's are healthy, what is the starting OF on Sept 1? Crawford, Ellsbury, and Kalish w Sweeney and Ross on the bench? What happens to Nava, McDonald, and Podsednik?
That's it exactly, Benjamin -- Crawford, Ellsbury, Kalish, left to right, with perhaps Ross getting some platoon time in RF and Sweeney as the defensivebackup5th guy. As for the others, it depends on when the decisions come. McDonald will probably be exposed to waivers and optioned. Nava will be tougher.
In talking to scouts, is there any indication that Adrian Gonzalez's lack of power is a direct result of his shoulder not being fully healthy or is there something else with his mechanics at play?
Not hearing anything about the shoulder; it's more about his approach. It's incredible that the same guy who led the majors in walks only three seasons ago has walked twice in the last month. He's also being far less selective within the count, swinging at too many first pitches and not working himself into favorable hitters' counts.
I know Bobby V has had patchwork of players to deal with this year, but it seems like he's constantly shuffling the batting order. Do you feel like some of these guys would benefit from a more consistent order, knowing where they're going to be batting day after day. It seemed like a couple of years ago, Tito had the same lineup day in and day out but not as much last year. Bobby seems to be doing the same thing that Tito did last year changing the batting order every single day.
I think that mostly, the shuffled lineups are a matter of necessity with so many injuries. The outieidl has been stitched together from Day 1. And remember, for all the shuffling, until very recently, they were second in runs scored in the American League.
I sense a lot of apathy growing in Red Sox nation. Fans showing up late to games and leaving early, or not even showing up at all. This fanbase just isn't the same as it was say 4 or 5 years ago. Your thoughts?
Can't argue that point, Sam. The way the season ended last year left a bad taste with a lot of fans. There's also some frustration with ownership, and the fact that the Celtics and Bruins have had long playoff runs the last two springs has given fans some alternate choices. Bottom line: if they win (i.e. make the playoffs), people will be back. If they don't, they're in trouble.
What do you think of the job Bob McClure has done? It seems like even though the pitchers are doing slightly better than last year, he isn't doing a great job either.
Hard to evaluate a pitching coach in just over two months. The bullpen, as noted, has come around after a tough first few weeks. The veteran starters have been inconsistent, but I'm not sure that can laid at McClure's feet. I think just having three pitches coaches in the last three seasons has been tough when it comes to developing consistency for the staff.
Do you expect the Red Sox to make some sort of move at the trade deadline? Even with some players coming back from injuries?
They'll likely be looking for starting pitching depth and bullpen depth. But this year, with so many teams bunched together, they may not have a lot of sellers from which to choose
Kyle from Brighton asks:
Sean, Do you think the stress of playing outfield has really gotten to Adrian? He hasnt been hitting well at all. Playing first obviously comes natural to him and I think it is vital for him to get back to playing first so he can concentrate of hitting and not have to worry about hitting a cut off man or fielding hard hit liners.
I don't sense that he sees the outfield as any great burden. It's not something he's accustomed to, but I don't think it's impacted him at the plate. He wasnt' hitting in the first six weeks, either, when he played 1B exclusively.
Sean, do you think this ownership group will be selling anytime soon? Do they believe they have gone as far as they can with this business venture? especially w the cubs selling for 2 billion
I talked to both John Henry and Tom Werner during spring training about this very issue. They insisted that they were determined to get the team back to being a winner; it was the Dodgers. And they sold for so much because their TV deal is up in another year, in the No. 1 TV market. So that inflated the price.
Carl from Everett asks:
Do you think Carl Crawford can return as the same player he was for the Rays? Or is that production a thing of the past?
Good question. And I don't think that anyone really knows the answerr to this one. One thing is for sure -- trying to re-establish his game after two major injuries is not going to be easy.
How will these big contracts (lackey, matsuzaka, crawford) and such affected the team for the next several years? Seems like they have spent a lot of money and haven't gotten much in return. Also, the farm system isn't what it used to be. How do they even begin fixing this?
Farm system is improving, but the impact guys are lower down and it will take another year or two. The temptation for a quick fix through free agency isn't the best way to go., but the owners may try it anyway if the Sox fail to make the post-season.
Sean McAdam: Thanks to all for sending questions. We'll do this again next Wed. Come back and pass the word along. Thanks again.