It’s still way too early (and the budget is still far too constrained) to really judge the effectiveness of new Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, but a small flurry of moves this week could provide some insight into how the team’s baseball ops crew is going to evaluate players going forward.
Each of these moves appears to emphasize the respective player’s upside relative to his contract price. At this point in his career, the departing Rick Porcello’s an innings-eating fourth or fifth starter with veteran presence and playoff experience. That’s totally worth the one year, $10 million contract the Mets handed him. A move to a notorious pitcher’s park in the National League certainly won’t make him worse, but the chances he’ll out produce that investment are significantly less than the chances of his arm falling off.
(Author’s note: I went to about a dozen Sox games last year and I swear to Christ Porcello started eleven of them. I’m not sad to see him go, if only because it guarantees I’ll get to see someone else fucking pitch for once.)
Conversely, the team’s acquisitions are all players with the potential to be worth more than their sticker price. Utility infielder Jose Peraza was a top prospect in the Atlanta Braves system just a few years ago. He’s never been a power hitter and probably never will be, but .280 with 20 steals over a full season of work isn’t out of the question. For one year at $3 million plus incentives, why not? I’ll miss Brock Holt, but Brock Holt is Brock Holt.
Perez ostensibly slides into Porcello’s slot in the rotation. A certified dud over several seasons with the Texas Rangers, last year saw an uptick in fastball velocity and the addition of a cutter that translated to the best strikeout numbers of his career. Although his final line (10-7, 5.12) is not that different from Porcello’s, it’s worth noting that he started the season 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA. There could be something more here. If there isn’t, he’s Rick Porcello for one year and $4 million less. Yes, they’re essentially getting Peraza and Perez in exchange for the cost of Porcello. Not bad.
Which brings me to their selection in the Rule V draft, 2B/SS Jonathan Arauz. Although it seems highly unlikely that he’ll stick on the major league roster, there are worse things than snagging an athletic 21-year-old from one of the league’s best prospect development groups to see what he’s got.
We all want to see our teams go all-in to add certified studs to their lineups and rotations, but that’s not always possible. I’d also argue that the last several World Series winners (including the Red Sox) brought home the hardware thanks to contributions from their depth guys. Stars get you to the playoffs, but the bottom of the roster has to come through too. I’m sure there are bigger moves coming given the rumors swirling around David Price and Jackie Bradley Jr., but these increase the chances of that happening without breaking the budget.