No Offense? Who’s Better?

Pitching and defense have taken the spotlight for the first time in my lifetime in Boston. There are many reasons to believe this Sox team has what it takes to win. First of all, if you scroll down, its blatently clear that there should not be 1 player with an OPS under 800, except perhaps Marco Scutaro, who will be right around there. Now lets look at teams in 2009 that had 1 player or less with an OPS of .800 or less.

Yankees – Only Brett Gardner (who wasn’t a starter) had an OPS under .800 with the Yankees. In fact, in a quick search of their team, I believe Johnny Damon had the lowest OPS on the team with an incredible .854. A repeat year from all the players on the team this year is unlikely as Gardner will post a similar (and probably lesser) OPS than Marco Scutaro. Sox and Yanks match up very well this year, where last year we were a pitcher or a bat (and a few gloves) short.

Thats it… I thought there would be more, but thats the only one. The New York Yankees had one hell of a year last year, and I expect they will have another great year this year. However, they are outmatched on pitching and defense, and the Sox hitting is not that far behind. People are concerned with home runs… but by my count:

Ellsbury – 10
Pedroia – 13
Youkilis – 25
Martinez – 22
Drew – 14
Ortiz – 25
Cameron – 20
Beltre – 15
Scutaro – 10

Hermida – 6
Lowrie – 6

Thats 166 homers… Which I believe funny enough, is the same amount the Sox had when they won in 2007. This is not to mention the pitching and defense are even better now than in ’07 (at least on paper).

The offense will be there and the truth is, I’d rather have the Red Sox package of short term deals and affordable long term deals, then the Yankees mega-deals. This is not to mention players like Bobby Abreu get offended when they don’t receive a huge contract, because of the Yankees spending habits. When asked, Cashman told the press that he does not believe there was a chance that Abreu would have accepted a $5 million, 1 year deal from the Yanks. Personally, I doubt if he would have accepted 2/$19MM, I think he just learned his lesson about testing the market too long. Security and playing for a conteder were far more important to Abreu this off-season then 1 year ago.

Bottom line is, who has done better in recent history then Theo Epstein? Personally, it angers me when people say he has “failed” us. In what way? Please post comments and let me know how you think he failed? Was it a failure to let a guy go with bad knees who’s a future DH and below average outfielder? Not to mention a .267 hitter? Was it a failure to not sign Holliday to an 8 year deal? Neither of these do I consider mistakes. Was it a mistake to not up our offer on Teixeira last year when we have Youkilis, got Martinez, still have Ortiz, and barring another year like last, have Lars Anderson up and coming? Was it a mistake not to trade Ellsbury and Buchholz for Adrian Gonzalez? Keep in mind, we are talking about the current stolen base champion and a .300 hitting leadoff man and a guy with front of the rotation stuff who really came around at the end of last season and already has a no-no under his belt. I don’t think a .250 hitting slugger would be a good move for those two. May as well resign Bay to more dollars shorter term and keep Ellsbury and Buchholz to use or trade for someone a little better (such as Miguel Cabrera if he becomes available). This is not to mention we have plenty of arms up and coming in Tazawa, Bowden, Bard, Kelly, ect. and a few big name prospects still to come such as Westmoreland. Reddick could still work out to be a JD Drew type. We still haven’t seen the best of Ellsbury or Lowrie. Lowrie I still strongly feel (as does Theo) that if he can stay healthy, he could be as good if not better than Scutaro.

Position by position, I will say who I favor honestly (Yanks vs Sox) and you tell me where I’m wrong.

1) Ellsbury/Gardner – Easily Ellsbury
2) Cameron/Granderson – Very close, but I’ll take Granderson based upon his power potential.
3) JD Drew/Nick Swisher – JD Drew
4) Beltre/ARod – offense A-Rod, Defense Beltre. If Beltre finds his stroke in Fenway, this may be much closer than you think. But for arguments sake A-Rod by a landslide.
5) Scutaro/Jeter – Jeter
6) Pedroia/Cano – Consistancy and defense put Pedroia on top for me, while some prefer power. This is disputable, but I’ll stick with the MVP.
7) Youkilis/Teixeira – dead even. Youk I feel is a little better defensively and he would have won the Gold Glove last year had he not been at 3rd half of the year. This is not to mention Youks versatility and almost exact same OPS. This one I could even argue Youk is better. And financially, much better.
8) Martinez/Posada – VMart by a landslide. Both suck defensively, however Martinez is learning the pitchers already better than Posada has ever understood the current staff, and VMart is younger, more powerful, and hits for a better average. Age is catching up with Posada just like it did Tek (and he gets about 12-13MM a year to do less than VMart).
9) Ortiz/Johnson – This one is yet to be seen, but I’m going to go with Ortiz by a landslide based upon the fact that I fully expect Ortiz to hit 30 homers this year and bring his average back between .270 and .280.

Red Sox are currently overall better at 4 positions easily, while 2 are disputable and the Yanks own 3 positions easily. Now factor in SP, RP, and bench, and the Sox are far ahead of the Yanks, not to mention they lack any long term deals that will weight them down, should something go awry. So quit fretting over the lack of a 40 home run guy. The Sox don’t need it.


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