Alex Speier of WEEI Sports Radio spoke with several baseball executives to gauge their reaction to the Red Sox latest additions, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  Here’s what Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had to say:

Let’s see, they subtracted Martinez and Beltre, and they added Gonzalez and Crawford. The thing is, you have to look at the years that they had. Beltre had a great year. He hit .320, 30 home runs, and then, Martinez hit about 20 home runs.

Fangraphs numbers from last season suggest the following:

Crawford and Gonzalez: Total WAR = 12.2

Beltre and Martinez: Total WAR = 11.1

It’s actually closer than I thought, but as Anthopoulos says:

Hard to say because they both had very good years. They’re a different lineup because of Crawford and the speed that he brings. Certainly, Gonzalez is much more of a power threat and a left-handed bat.

If we look at the last three years, the numbers look like this:

Over 901 games, Crawford and Gonzalez: Total WAR = 30.7

Over 763 games, Beltre and Martinez: Total WAR = 22.6

For arguments sake, we’ll also include Martinez’s career year in 2007, to even the games played after he missed almost half of 2008.  That means that over 910 games, Beltre and Martinez have a 28.3 WAR.

That’s a 2.3 WAR difference, but in addition to better players, the Red Sox also get younger.  Let’s look at the difference in combined age:

Crawford and Gonzalez: 21,160 days

Beltre and Martinez: 23,243 days

This translates into almost a combined 6 year difference between the literally new and old players.

I think they’re an improved club strictly from a health standpoint. Health alone, if they had just kept the same team, I felt that team kept intact was a 100-win team. You can argue that the loss of Martinez, Beltre, whether that’s an upgrade or it’s the same or close. We’re talking about four great players. It can be debated. Martinez and Beltre are great players, and now you’ve got Crawford and Gonzalez. With Ellsbury, Pedroia, Beckett’s going to be better, Lackey’s going to be better. To me, they’re an improved club just because of that.

While Anthopoulos may underestimate the difference that Boston’s new additions make, he is right to acknowledge how much better the team will be with full seasons from Ellsbury and Pedroia.

In 2009, Ellsbury and Pedroia combined: 307 games, 7.3 WAR.

In 2010, Ellsbury and Pedroia combined: 93 games, 3.1 WAR.

There can be little doubt as to whether or not we’ll see an improved Boston Red Sox team this coming season, but what does that mean for Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays?

If the rumours are at all accurate, and the Jays are in pursuit of Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke, does Toronto change course now that the obstacles in their division have gotten this much more difficult to overcome?

Or do the Red Sox acquisitions change the Jays course in the opposite direction?  Instead of moving toward acquiring Greinke, do the Jays find it easier to justify shopping Jose Bautista before their final year of control has expired?

Ultimately, Anthopoulos is unwavering in his drive to put together not just a team that can compete in the AL East, but an entire system that brings the organization to:

The point where we have potential All-Stars at every position on the diamond. In our minds, [in] the five-man rotation we need the caliber of a No. 3 starter or above in all five spots. So trying to fill that quality and that high ceiling is the challenge. The ultimate challenge is getting all of those guys to come together and control them at the same time, and that’s what it takes.

Comments (22)

  1. All-Stars at every position. Now that’s something I’m willing to wait for. Hope AA can pull it off. But it’s hard not to like his vision.

  2. It may take a while to build. Maybe the Jays could throw us a bone in the meantime.

  3. As long as “throwing us a bone” doesn’t mean “trading Drabek and Snider for Grienke”, because that would be batshit crazy. AA doesn’t seem like the type to go crazy over stuff like this though, and I like that.

  4. I was thinking more along the lines of Derrek Lee instead of Jorge Cantu.

  5. I’m still crossing my fingers we sign Manny.

  6. Anyone think Nolan reimold could be had for that 1b/dh spot?

  7. That’s a really interesting option considering it seemed he was close to being traded for Jason Bartlett, but I think we’d be in the same boat as Lind. He’s only played 30 games at 1st in his Minor League career. Jays seem to want someone with MLB experience at first.

  8. AA should take advantage of what is sure to be a knee-jerk reaction by the Yankees, and ask for either a package of (Chamberlain/Gardner, or Chamberlain/Montero) for Bautista. The Yanks could put him in RF, and shift Swisher to Left. Montero could be the DH/1B the Jays are looking for.

    Or what about trying to get one of the stalled 1B such as Lars Anderson, or Yonder Alonso. I believe Alonso is also from Cuba, maybe we could just be called Cuba North soon.

  9. Montero>>>>>>>>>>>>>Gardner

  10. Gardner is better than you think. Out of the three Yankee OFers (Granderson, Swisher), I think he’s the most valuable. He may not be “better” than Montero, but he’s not THAT much worse, especially since Montero is still unproven at the major-league level.

    Also, I don’t think the Yankees would trade Chamberlain/Montero OR Chamberlain/Gardner for Bautista right now. GMs are rightfully skeptical about Bautista until he proves he’s more like ’10 Bautista than ’09 and earlier Bautista.

  11. and I don’t think AA wants to change course at all right now. He understands what it will take to contend more regularly than just one year.

  12. Also, I meant to say this earlier:



  13. What’s with all of the “Hard in” “on” and “Fore’s” all about lately in the rumor world?

  14. If you want to create fantasy trades and look for a potential match for Bautista, look to the Angels (who badly wanted to upgrade their outfield with Crawford). If they get Lee, they are rumored to be willing to then trade Weaver or Santana for offense (and the Jays have shown a lot of interest in Weaver before). On the prospect side there is Walden (closer), Trumbo (1b and blocked), Alexia Amarista and Jean Segura (2b both), Trevor Reckling (LHP) and Fabio Martinez Mesa (RHP). Yankees are not a good match.

  15. I wonder if the Jays might think more carefully about offering Downs a market-value contract if the Sox are liable to get him. That is to say, since he’s now only “worth” the second and supplemental picks, it’s not quite as big of a deal to be awarded the picks as it would be if he were worth the Sox’ #1. I could envision a scenario where the Jays decide to keep him away from the Sox, maintain some bullpen strength and forget about the picks. My money would still be on AA’s taking the picks, just saying that situation isn’t nearly as attractive if the Sox get Downs and don’t have to give the Jays a #1.

  16. There is still a chance the Yankees sign Downs and don’t manage to get another Type A player (though like the Red Sox, their interest in Downs is more likely if they get a higher ranking A like Lee). Besides, its a deep draft and the more picks in the early going the better. More prospects in the system now means a deeper pool to trade from in a couple of years when the Jays can take a serious run at things.

  17. if they decide to keep going over slot and signing their picks then I am with you on that.

    I just meant that I could see them bringing back Downs to keep him out of the Red Sox bullpen, given that they’re already so strong, and that their compensation would not be nearly as good if the Sox are going to get him. Basically anything that benefits the Sox doubly like this kind of sucks.

    It’s at least worth making an offer to prevent that scenario. I am not too scared about Downs feeling the pressure of living up to the contract, or not retaining his value over the length of it. And I generally hate big reliever contracts as much as the next dude.

  18. I think there’s a still a good shot Downs doesn’t go to the Sox. There are a lot of teams in dire need of bullpen help, especially a quasi-dominant lefty like Downs who has been one of the most valuable relievers in the league the past few years.

    I still think he’s worth a supplemental and 2nd Round pick, but like Dustin/FanGraphs mentioned one time, there is a significant drop-off in WAR of players taken in the early second round as opposed to the first round, so I would hope he goes somewhere else other than Boston.

    Having said all that, I wouldn’t be willing to offer Downs the type of money he will command in this bloated market (thanks Detroit, jerks), but that’s why I’m not an MLB GM…yet…

  19. i personally would be fine with downs going to the deadsox; would rather the picks in hand. That
    being said, i am also fine with trading lunchbox in a package for greinke. just not drabek…. we
    do have other options that can be tantalizing to the royals such as zack stewart, d’arnaud….

  20. At least we have two quality lefties in our rotation to help with lefty hitter powerhouses like Gonzalez.

    @Navin. Notice AA said “potential all stars” and not all stars. It all depends on your definition of potential. Guys like Fred Lewis are not going to make the all star team, but there have been some pretty average players in average seasons on all star5 teams in the past. Who on the team right now is a potential allstar? Wells, Bautista, Hill (2009 version), Lind (2009 version), Snider (based on potential), JPA (MVP of PCL), Escobar (would have to have a really hot start). Just need one more OF or a 3B abnd a DH and you have reached his goal if he meant it like that.

  21. @JRock:

    And if we take the ceiling potential of Gose, Lawrie, Stewart, Perez, D’Arnaud, McGuire, into consideration we are
    definitely heading in the right direction!

  22. Is McGuire’s ceiling very high? I seem to recall him being called a safe pick with mlb potential but with a low ceiling. I guess if his ceiling is a 3rd starter than that fits with AA’s plan of having 5 SPs that are at least 3rd starters.

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