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Jake Archer

Jake Archer

Jake is a contributor to the CLNS Red Sox beat team. He is passionate about baseball, basketball, football and golf, but can get interested in almost anything competitive. Jake has a lot of strong opinions and will share them through his writing and podcasting. You can also follow him on Twitter @jarcher04 but please be advised, his takes can get hot. 

Among all the different storylines and topics that have been discussed this year about the Red Sox, Brock Holt has been largely forgotten. He’s been out with vertigo for most of the season and just had his rehab assignment reach the 20-day limit, which means that the club had to recall him without activating him.

Holt’s vertigo is apparently connected to the bug that was going around the Red Sox clubhouse early in the season and his vision has not improved enough yet for him to return to action. He must now take five days off before resetting and resuming his minor league assignment. The Red Sox sent him to Pittsburgh to see a specialist but there is really no timetable for his return. Vertigo can take people months to recover from and the signs don’t point to a Holt comeback any time soon.

I know that there are a lot of Holt detractors out there and that he certainly has a lot of flaws but anyone thinking his loss means nothing is wrong. Holt provides depth and is a pretty great utility option to have on your bench and making spot starts. With what the Red Sox have had going on in their lineup at times, especially at third base, Holt could really be useful. Hopefully he can come back sooner rather than later and everyone will remember that Brock Holt is more valuable than they think. 

In the past four seasons I feel like I’ve heard one million criticisms of Red Sox manager John Farrell. Some have been warranted and some of course, haven’t. It seems like everyday that I talk to someone who wants him fired and that has been the case for a long time now. Me personally? I don’t want to root for the guy to get fired at all, but I also don’t think he should be the manager of the Red Sox anymore.

Well today, the heat on the seat got cranked up to a level I have not seen it at yet. Fox Sports MLB reporter and king of the Bowtie Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece titled “Trying times for John Farrell as Boston Red Sox manager” today. Naturally, it became big news and we found out a lot of the inside info that Rosenthal has. 

Apparently, Rosenthal believes that Farrell could have been fired on Monday “if the Red Sox had not avoided getting swept four straight in Oakland by winning the final game of the series.” But he doesn’t stop there as he adds that a Farrell firing may still be on the horizon. “It might come next week, if the Sox fail to ignite during a six-game home stand against the Rangers and Mariners.” 

Rosenthal then says that the firing may not happen at all if the Sox start to get things together soon. But, my take on this is that the Red Sox relationship with Farrell is irreparably damaged. I don’t think the two parties can co-exist and succeed even if the team starts to play better baseball. There is too much actual evidence to support that Farrell has lost the team. 

It was pretty clear to everyone early on that this team had some leadership issues when the whole Dustin Pedroia and Manny Machado incident happened with the Orioles. Then we saw the blowup between Pomeranz and Farrell in the dugout just the other day. I think it’s pretty plain to see that this guy doesn’t command the respect of his players and he definitely doesn’t make sure they are ready to play everyday. 

Also in the Rosenthal piece is a tidbit about how Farrell didn’t even have the whole clubhouse behind him in 2013, in his first season as manager when the Sox won it all. Apparently there were and still are players that don’t feel he has their backs, or communicates well. Of course, there are also players that question his game-management skills, but that’s so obvious that it’s almost not even worth mentioning.

When it comes to players thinking that Farrell doesn't back them enough in the media, I get confused. I feel like Farrell has been making excuses for them too much over his tenure, but I guess they don't see it that way. We’ve now heard this stuff from Rosenthal along with other additional accounts of Farrell not having the clubhouse. I don’t really know what’s going to happen right now, but I do know that this issue runs deep and as long as it persists, the Red Sox won’t be winning anything significant.

Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention, but when I saw Xander Bogaerts step to the plate yesterday in Oakland, I was shocked. He has no home runs this year? Are we sure about that? I could have sworn he’d hit one or two. Nope, he hasn’t and I’m starting to worry about the power in his game.

Bogaerts is flying under the radar right now because he has had a great batting average and seems to be spraying the ball all over the field. As of right now, he’s batting .320 with a .389 OBP, .433 slugging percentage and a .822 OPS. Bogaerts has 48 hits, nine of which are doubles and four of which are triples. He’s also running the bases well with seven steals and fielding decently. There isn’t a whole lot to hate about what he’s doing and in a weird way; he’s off to a really good start.

But two numbers really stick out in his stat line. He has zero homeruns and only 12 runs batted in thus far this season. That’s not what you want from a guy that is batting third in your lineup at all. This isn't unusual for his young career either. After an All Star campaign last year that saw Bogaerts hit 21 long balls and drive in 89 runs, many people thought his power had finally showed up. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as that year seems to be the outlier. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a guy that can make some great contact and be a tough out like Bogaerts is, but we need more from him at the plate. I don’t want him to get away from having a good approach and start pressing, but something needs to happen. This offense is struggling and one reason is because he isn’t contributing by getting runs across to score.

Boston Red Sox beat Oakland A's 12-3 behind strong pitching and offense. 

Only a few days after I wrote a piece about how Dave Dombrowski would be out wheeling and dealing for the Red Sox again, we have our first rumblings of something brewing. According to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago, the Red Sox and Washington Nationals have been scouting White Sox ace Jose Quintana and “other White Sox players” recently.

Levine also suggests that the Red Sox are probably scouting White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, due to the fact that they’ve had quite a bit of trouble with that position so far this season. As these rumors gain traction and buzz around the Internet, I have one thing to say. Don’t do it Dave. Please.

It’s not that I don’t like Quintana, it’s just that I don’t think he’s the guy for the Red Sox. The White Sox will be looking for a major haul in return for him and although I think he’s a good pitcher, I don’t think he’s worth that. I concede that it will be tough to move prospects for anyone right now considering that our farm system is very close to being a barren wasteland, but in the right deal I would do it. This just is not the right deal.

To give up Rafael Devers, Sam Travis or Jay Groome for a guy who isn’t even pitching all that well would be crazy. I know that his larger track record is pretty good, but it isn’t overwhelming by any means. At this point, the only guys I’m giving up top prospects for are game-changers and there may not be any on the market. Otherwise, we’re going to need to be talking about guys like Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart, Henry Owens or maybe even Jackie Bradley Jr.

When it comes to the notion that the Sox might trade for Frazier, I say no emphatically. Under no circumstances should Boston give up anything to get a guy who isn’t going to give you much more than Sandoval. Frazier is only a halfway decent fielder and has had great power numbers in the past, but he’s struggling this year and it would be a huge mistake to try to get him for anything but a bag of baseballs.

Don’t get me wrong, I want the Red Sox to make upgrades, but I want to them to be made smartly. Don’t overreact and overpay for another lefty who isn’t even performing all that well and definitely don’t try to sell me on Todd Frazier. I’d rather they go for a lower level pitcher with a reasonable price tag and maybe continue to try to patch things together at third. Also, I don’t exactly want to give the White Sox all of our prospects only to see them all grow up and become a super team that we have to deal with later. 

There is one thing that everyone knows about sports and that is that they are hard. That’s painfully obvious and I don’t care how good you are or what you are made of, sports just aren’t an easy thing to do. Every single athlete is going to take their lumps at one point or another and they will struggle. In baseball, where failure is a huge part of the game, this may even be more common.

So with all that said, the Red Sox stud rookie outfielder, Andrew Benintendi, is finally experiencing some hard times. He rocketed through the Sox minor league system and then burst on the scene last year without ever really having a setback besides an injury. When this year came around, you had to think that he would finally have that little slump that every player goes through once the league figures out how to pitch to them.

For all of April, that did not happen. Despite the enormous expectations and the pressure of being the next big thing, Benintendi thrived. I was beginning to wonder if he was superhuman or something. But now, he’s finally having his growing pains. As of right now, Benintendi is mired in a 0-for-26 slump and it’s starting to become a talking point in the media.

John Farrell, to his credit, is sticking with Benintendi in the cleanup spot despite his recent struggles. Before yesterday’s win against the Cardinals, Farrell spoke to reporters about how he isn’t losing any confidence in the kid and how Benintendi can still contribute even when he’s not getting hits. I don’t say this often, but Farrell is one hundred percent correct. 

Benintendi is still hitting the ball pretty hard and having good at-bats during this stretch, which is cause for optimism. Just last night, he hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game in a big spot for the Sox. He’s still making productive outs and getting on base right now, with four walks and one hit by pitch. 

It also isn’t like Benintendi isn’t seeing the ball well. He’s only struck out four times over his slump and continues to just hit the ball at the wrong guy. This isn’t your typical slump where a player looks overmatched and out of sync. To question Benintendi and call for a change is being a little to over the top as of right now.

I think we all know what Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s track record is. He’s famously been dubbed “Dealin’ Davey” as he has made quite a few blockbuster deals in his time for both the Detroit Tigers and the Red Sox. But this year, after trading away a lot of what was baseball’s best farm system and possibly needing to save a bit of money to sign some of the current players, many people thought that a big move would be unlikely. That certainly doesn’t sound like how Dombrowski sees it.

"I never speak about payroll," Dombrowski told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, "I will say we're not under any restrictions to improve the club if need be."

That certainly sounds like a guy who isn’t willing to sit pat and let this season be any different when it comes to making moves. Dombrowski has caught a lot of flack from Boston fans for getting rid of quite a few top prospects and leaving the farm system pretty dry, but at this point he might as well go all in. With a talented team at the major league level that has some holes to fill before they are truly a contender, Dombrowski should push his chips to the middle of the table and I believe he will.

When it comes to payroll restrictions, I never really expect there to be any. The Sox make enough money and are a big market club that needs to be spending to win, so I am not concerned as far as that goes.

This season is shaping up to have some big names being talked about around the trading deadline and the Sox need to be involved. According to the piece by Cafardo in the Globe, Dombrowski has already been monitoring the Red Sox minor league system closely this season and I think that could mean he’s evaluating who his next trade chip is. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:18

Drew Pomeranz Is Damaged Goods

I think by now everyone knows what happened with the Red Sox trade for Drew Pomeranz last season, but if you don’t, here is a quick refresher.

When the Boston Red Sox traded for San Diego Padres All Star starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz last July, they gave up top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. Regardless of what has happened since then with Espinoza, at the time this looked like a pretty decent overpay for the Red Sox and it was billed as an aggressive, but risky move by Dave Dombrowski.

What the Red Sox didn’t know at the time, was the San Diego Padres general manager AJ Preller was hiding medical information from other teams in deals including this one with the Red Sox. So basically, the Red Sox shipped away a top prospect for a halfway decent starter who may or may not have had lingering injury issues. Preller had duped Boston and given them a broken player.

Now, Major League Baseball found out about what was going on in San Diego and gave Preller a slap on the wrist. All he got was a 30-game suspension at the end of the season when his team was already way out of it anyway. The league then gave the Red Sox the option to rescind the trade, as they should, but for some reason Boston said no. 

That right there is the most infuriating thing that Dombrowski has done while running the Red Sox and it may be the dumbest decision I’ve seen anyone make in baseball. Unless Dealin’ Davey knows something that we all don’t, not taking that trade back makes zero sense.

The Padres may have been hit with a bit of karma, as Espinoza has had injury trouble of his own now, but it doesn’t change what happened. The Sox took damaged goods and now they will pay for it. Pomeranz has not only been largely ineffective, but he’s also shown signs of medical issues. His start on Sunday when he was pulled for left triceps tightness was just the latest in a line of alarming incidents. 

If you’ve watched Pomeranz this year at all, you’ll notice that his velocity is dipping as well. When he inevitably gets hurt and has to go on the disabled list, this will all fall on Dombrowski. He should have never made that trade with the Padres in the first place, and he should have used his do-over when given the chance. Now all you have is another problem on this team that is full of them.

As of right now in Boston, we have two of the main sports going on. We’ve got the Celtics still battling through the NBA playoffs and we’ve got the Boston Red Sox dragging their way through a fairly young season. Most fans in the city pay attention to multiple sports, but it’s easy for the casual fan to focus on one team that is playing in a more high leverage situation. I would bet that at this point in the Red Sox season, many people haven’t paid them much mind and the Sox should want to keep it that way.

Tonight, the Celtics play in a Game 7 against the Washington Wizards. The Red Sox have the night off before they start a series in St. Louis, but the organization should all be huddled around a television cheering on the C’s and hoping the basketball season goes just a little longer. The reason for this is because the Red Sox are awful right now. They are just one game over a five hundred winning percentage, and for the expectations they had, they are a train wreck. They need more time to right the ship before Boston can turn their attention to them and realize what is going on here. 

As of right now, there are just too many problems with this Red Sox team. There are injuries, ineffectiveness and just an overall lack of entertainment. This is not a team that is fun to watch or easy to root for because they just look very apathetic. If the city’s basketball team ends it’s season, all eyes will turn to the underachieving mess that currently resides at Fenway Park and they will get buried by criticism. 

The Sox may not have any more time to hide if the C’s lose tonight, or they may have about a week before LeBron James and the Cavaliers sweep the Celtics away. Either way, they need to start playing better baseball and fix some issues fast otherwise it will be a long summer on Yawkey Way.

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