Sox add Peraza, Perez, Arauz; Porcello joins the Mets

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.

Scott vs. the NFL

My legions of loyal blogonauts will surely recognize this topic, but whereas I am badly out of blogging practice I thought it wise to launch my latest attempt to scream into the dark bowels of the internet in desperate hope of being heard with an oldie but a goodie.

There was time not long ago where football and I were the bosomest of buddies. We spent every Sunday in each other’s company, and occasional Mondays and Thursdays too. I knew every team, every player, every referee, and every dumbass color commentator. My fantasy football opponents quaked in fear at the mere sight of my team on their upcoming schedule. Tom Brady was my homie and Tedy Bruschi my BAE. I could converse on topics relevant to the league for hours on end with friends, coworkers, and random barflies. I was a true connoisseur, a demigod among armchair quarterbacks.

And then one day, it stopped. I abandoned even my beloved Patriots, who I’d stuck with through Spygate and Bledsoe and threats of a mid-nineties move to St. Louis. Watching football ceased being fun and began to feel more like being on the wrong side of a toxic relationship. I gave the league eight hours every Sunday; it returned my investment of time and emotion with nothing but frustration. I spent almost three seasons agonizing over my decision before finally pulling the plug back in 2017. Sundays are mine again.

NFL football is impossible to avoid completely if you’ve got a general interest in sports. I still click on occasional sensationalist headlines or catch myself paying half attention out of the corner of my eye if it’s on in the bar. People who realize I’m interested in professional athletics typically assume I’m into football until I correct them. All of this got me thinking about my aversion to the game again recently, which made me want to sit here and type it out for you.

(Author’s note: When I’m elected president, any bar that relegates the home hockey or basketball team to a smaller TV in the corner to display a football game between two out of town schmuck teams on the big screen shall immediately be force to host paint night every night for a month.)

Onward to the reasons.

  • The presentation sucks. You know what I don’t miss? Watching the same ad for disgusting swill thirty-seven fucking times every god damn Sunday. I also don’t miss the mostly terrible commentators. It’s a miracle my neighbors never called the cops to report a domestic dispute given the constant stream of profanity I used to unload on Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
  • Quarterbacks are treated like gods even though most of them are utter dogshit. This is a team game, people. One dork whipping the ball around isn’t going to carry your downtrodden squad to sudden glory. Drafting a quarterback in the first round when you don’t have anything resembling a functional offensive line should be a federal felony. Even Tom Brady only wins when he’s got a working line and a defense that doesn’t poop its pants every other play. Hell, look at how the Denver Broncos carried Peyton Manning’s corpse to a championship.
  • I hate Peyton Manning. I swear those Nationwide commercials he does these days are doing irreparable damage to my eardrums.
  • Pass interference as a spot foul is bullshit. College gets it right: ten yards and a first down. Giving the offense a first down on the two yard line because a safety dared fart too close to some prima donna receiver is crap.
  • Why is every new penalty fifteen yards and a first down? I am all for player safety, but I’ve seen too many games turn because some fat dude lightly paintbrushed a quarterback’s helmet.
  • Kickers are stupid. I just spent three hours watching two squads of titanic sportsmen battle for field position, and now the outcome of the game comes down to some scrawny nerd trying to kick the ball between some posts? Jesus Christ.
  • Most of the personnel men and coaches are even dumber. Baseball, basketball, and hockey teams have all gotten significantly smarter about how they approach their respective games. Most football teams still punt on fourth and one and somehow can’t find a use for a quarterback with Superbowl experience because he didn’t stand up that one time. My pet theory is that Bill Belichick isn’t actually a genius; he’s merely a man of above average intelligence who seems like Einstein because his competition can barely tie its own shoes.
  • Most importantly, I got tired of seeing so many guys get carted off the field. Football’s a dangerous sport. Watching highly skilled athletes crash into each other over and over so they can have short careers that ruin their longterm quality of life got to me after a while. Mothers, buy your kids a basketball or a baseball glove. This shit ain’t worth it.