Friday, December 20, 2013

Too Much Depth

I know what you’re thinking. The EEIdiots tell me that there’s no such thing as too much depth. As with most of the stuff they say, that’s absolute bunk.

You know why the Red Sox were never mentioned as a landing spot for Robinson Cano? Because they already have Dustin Pedroia. Nobody said they should sign Cano anyway, even though it would give the Red Sox incredible depth. That would have been too much.

Too much depth.

Of course every team and organization needs depth. If something happens to the top guy, it’s important to have someone to take their place. But, there’s a point where it becomes impracticable. Even though Pedroia takes terrible care of himself, having Cano waiting in case he got hurt would be a foolish waste of resources. The same goes for prospects on their way up. It does no good to have a case of prospects if they’ll never see an at-bat because they’re blocked by five other players.

Let’s take a look at the Red Sox prospects. Baseball America has come out with their list of the top ten Red Sox prospects for 2014. They represent the pinnacle of the Red Sox player development machine.

The top prospect is Xander Bogaerts. He’s almost more than a prospect. He should be the Red Sox Opening Day shortstop. Assuming everything goes even remotely as planned, he’ll be there for years to come. Jackie Bradley Jr comes in at number three. Again, he’s less of a prospect and more of the Sox Opening Day centerfielder. Then it gets more interesting.

Number five is Blake Swihart, a catcher. He’s young, so he’s a couple years away from Boston. That’s good, because the Sox have two catchers on the ML roster for this season. They also have a catcher, Christian Vazquez who is a bit ahead of Swihart in the system, but not quite the same prospect. How many catching prospects do you need?

Number six is Garin Cecchini. Again, he’s young…but he plays third base. If memory serves, the Red Sox already have a young third baseman. They need two?

Number seven is Mookie Betts, a second baseman. As we mentioned, the Sox are pretty well set at second for a while. Can’t move him over to short either…there’s that other guy there for quite a few years. His role will be, what exactly?

The rest of the top ten? All pitchers. Five of them. How many starters do the Sox currently have under contract? Six. Lester, Buchholz, and Doubront are here for a bit…probably. That leaves two spots for the rest of them. At what point does it get crazy?

Wouldn’t the Sox be better served by trading some of that excess for an improvement at another position? Maybe an outfielder from Miami?

I understand that cheap young talent allows the Sox to spend more to fill other holes. But, when you have twice as many young players as you do positions to plug them into, it’s getting counterproductive. It’s a waste of resources.

The other reason to have young talent is to trade it for older proven talent. It’s time for the Sox to start trimming that roster a bit.

Use those chips!


  1. Signing Cano wouldn't have been "depth" it would have been overkill.

    "How many catching prospects do you nee" - Lots! Catching prospects are like pitching prospects lots of them wash out. Remember when Lavarney was a sure fire future star? Or how about J. P. Arencibia in Toronto?

    "the Red Sox already have a young third baseman. They need two" - Yes, Cecchini isn't MLB ready yet and in my opinion Middlebrooks isn't the 3rd baseman of the future. I'd be all for trading Will but they would have to get a 3rd baseman in return so I don't see it happening.

    2nd - Betts is an extra but then again Pedroia is kind of injury prone.

    Pitchers - You can't have enough pitching. Every pitcher is one throw away from a possible season ending injury. Buchholz ended the season not hurt but couldn't throw hard either, that scares me. Without an extension Lester only has another season in Boston. Lackey is in town for only one more and after that someone has to take his spot also. Out of those 5 minor league pitchers probably only one or two actually make it as a starter in the bigs and the rest become bullpen arms. Plus look at the price of pitching now. Look at the cost of some guys that signed this offseason
    Bartolo Colon 20m for 2 years
    Jorge De La Rosa 1 year 10m
    Scot Fieldman 3 years 30m
    Dan Haren 1 year 10m
    Tim Hudson 2 years 23m
    Kuroda 1 year 16m
    Kazmir 2 years 22m
    Nolasco 4 years 49m
    Wandy Rodriguez 1 for 13m
    Shields 1 for 13.5

    To me all of them are #3, 4, or 5 guys not #1 or #2 and they all got 10m a year. Young controllable pitching is the only way to go.

    I'm good with Ben staying pat. I'm not saying everyone should be untouchable but I don't see a position that we "Have" to upgrade. Really our weakest positions are 3rd and CF which are both going to be manned by a young up and comer.

  2. If catching prospects wash out, why not trade one now before it does? Imagine trading Lavarnway when he was the best hitting catcher in the minors, as opposed to whatever he is now.

  3. Great to see S36 talking about prospects! The Sox are definitely in a position to either trade or not trade and the possibilities are bountiful. As pointed out, it could be either veterans or prospects, depending on what outcome Cherington feels helps the club more. But there's really no pressure to do anything. Stand pat: ok. Make a trade: interesting. I trust Cherington because he came up through development so he has a good feel for which players to hold onto and which ones to part with. Even the Reddick trade, which looked horrible in 2012 has a bit of a different look to it now after he had a bad 2013 season (still a bad trade, unfortunately).

    I read recently that the Sox could have 10 of BA's top 100 prospects for 2014. That is impressive and probably 9 more than the Yankees. The young pitchers just have to wait. Some will get chances in the bullpen, like Workman and Britton did last season. The position players don't have much of a logjam. As S36 said, Bogaerts and Bradley Jr have opportunities right now. Cecchini is a bit of an adventure defensively at third and to me is insurance down the road if Middlebrooks falters again. Devin Marrero is a SS and I don't know what they would do with him. Betts is athletic enough to go to the outfield if necessary. And Cherington has left the catcher position open in case the his two prospects develop as hoped.

    With the uncertainty surrounding Buchholz I wouldn't be surprised if they hold onto all of their starting pitchers.

    The Sox are in excellent shape and I am looking forward to seeing what they decide to do.


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