Why Theo Epstein Should Be Fired If The Sox Miss The Playoffs
Theo Epstein's infatuation of signing defensive specialist to save money, hyping up the unfounded/overrated concept of "run prevention", and collude against established superstar sluggers like Jermaine Dye, Gary Sheffield, Jarrod Washburn, etc is biting the Sox in the ass. If they don't sign Dye now, my money is on Boston missing the playoff and potentially struggling to finish above .500. I mean Marco Scutaro? Adrian Beltre? Mike Cameron? Jacoby Ellsbury? Come on, Boston. You can do better than that.
The fact is that Theo is not the revered visionary most Red Sox fans think. Theo is a follower, not a trend setter. When he first took over the Sox, on base percentage, OPS, and moneyball were in vogue due to Billy Beane's success in Oakland. Theo saw that, so he went out and sign a bunch of high OBP guys aka poor man's Adam Dunns (either take a walk, struck out, or hit for extra bases) like J.D. Drew, Todd Walker, Jeremy Giambi, Mark Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, etc.
After drug testing exposed a bunch of cheats and power in baseball disappeared the last couple of years, he's again following what is hot , which are "defensive metric" and "UZR", but this stuff is so ridiculously overrated especially since the supposedly defensive specialists he signed are complete liability on offense instead of being 5 tool talents.
Right now the Boston lineup doesn't scare anybody other than Youkilis. Cameron never hit for average and is prone to slump. He's an older Curtis Granderson. Scutaro rarely hits before last year, which was probably a fluke. He was an utility player and a journeyman who bounced around the minors. Beltre probably took roids in 2006. He will never be the same. After he got injured last year, the power disappeared as well. Right now he's a guy with a hollow batting average with poor plate discipline and declining power. I rather start Mike Lowell at third base. Ellsbury has no power. He's essentially another Juan Pierre. David Ortiz looks like he's done after he got busted for roids. Pedrioa is a gritty little guy with an old school, hard-nosed mentality, but he can't hit outside of Fenway Park. The home-away splits are pretty extreme. Hustle only gets you so far. Drew is always hurt and underachieves even when he is healthy. You know you got a problem when your cleanup hitter is a catcher. i don't see the Yanks putting Posada at cleanup. Interestingly enough, due to the emphasis on defense, they have three former centerfielders in the outfield, a guy who is capable of playing third base at first base, a couple of defensive specialists in the infield, yet at catchers, the most important defensive position, they have the worst defensive catchers in the entire league in Martinez and Varitek.
Even pitching, a perceived strength, is a mess. I've said it before and I'll say it again, John Lackey is overpaid and overrated. He does not deserve the contract. He won more than 15 games only once in his career (Greg Maddux won more than 15 games for 16 years in a row). That same season, in 2007, he was 19-9 with 3.01 ERA, which was the only time he ever looked like a legit ace. He has never been considered an elite pitcher in this league with his ERA consistently lurking around the 3.8 range, a number that is bound to increase pitching in the AL East. His main strength, durability, is also starting to wear off as he landed on the DL the past 2 years. It's obvious that his body is starting to break down. I much rather see them bringing Pedro Martinez back for a farewell season than wasting money on Lackey. Josh Beckett also failed to distinguish himself as an elite pitcher capable of posting elite numbers in the AL East in his four years with Boston, yet he still received a lucrative contract extension recently. All of these moves, combined with Matsuzaka's inability to stay healthy, productive, and well-conditioned, are going to doom Boston in the long-run. If the Red Sox don't start a major roster shakeup soon, they are looking at some long-term issues.
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