August 1st, post-deadline hangover
August 1st, 2007 by czar

So the Sox acquired Eric Gagne yesterday. A coup. Hands down, the Sox now have the best bullpen in MLB, as the rest of the contenders in the AL sat on their hands. That’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that Theo Epstein pulled the greatest “sell-high” of the century, turning soft-tossing left-hander Kason Gabbard, loose change in David Murphy, and a prospect from the Dominican Republic who would still be in high school into the best reliever available at the deadline.I’ll be the first to admit, all day yesterday, I continued to assume if Gabbard/Murphy/+ was our offer, then the Yankees or Mets or even Brewers would sweep in and offer an A-lister, just to pry Gagne away from Tom Hicks and the Rangers. But it shockingly never happened. There are rumors that the Rangers offered Gagne to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera, but they passed. So at 4 PM yesterday, once contract incentives were essentially guaranteed and “Game Over” waived his no-trade clause, the Sox acquired a former Cy Young winning closer for pennies on the dollar.Gabbard has been a pleasant surprise at the big league level, there is no doubt about that– however, his career minor league K/BB ratio of 1.94 and WHIP of 1.35 don’t give me hope for prolong long-term success. Even in 2007 at the big league level, his K/BB ratio in 2007 was even worse (1.61) and his .224 BABIP indicated he is definitely in-line for a stat correction– and likely sooner rather than later.David Murphy has put up a reasonable OPS in the .780′s at

Pawtucket the last couple of years, however, there’s no looking past the fact that he is turning 26 in a few months. While some analysts and scouts believe he can be an adequate 4th OF or even a major league starter on a smaller market club, he is blocked for the foreseeable future by the OF trio of Ramirez, Crisp, and Drew; not to mention he was competing with two younger, higher upside minor leaguers in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brandon Moss. Expendable parts from positions of depth are always the most productive guys to move mid-season.I’ll also be the first to admit I don’t know a whole lot about Engel Beltre, other than what I’ve read on his page. I do know that he is only a year into his contract, is not going to be 20 for a few more years, and has struggled to a certain extent in the GCL. Now, using “struggling in the GCL” for a 17-year old is quite an unfair argument, but his skillset is so raw, that there’s no way of knowing what he’ll bring. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll become the next Miguel Cabrera– but there’s a much greater chance he’ll be out of baseball in four years. At a half million dollar signing bonus, the Red Sox have the luxury of picking up another kid out of the Dominican or South America or Far East next year who gives them the same upside Beltre did.The only thing that could have made the day more perfect was a move for Jermaine Dye. Of course, I’m going on the presumption that Terry would have actually had the stones to bench Drew against all lefties, and use a rotation to get Ortiz’s knee some rest (since it appears he’s not going under the knife until the off-season). Unlike some other people, I didn’t think the asking price was exorbitant. However, with Craig Hansen’s recent resurgence in the minors, and Delcarmen’s look of being a key cog in the bullpen for the next few years (the two guys rumored to be tacked on with Wily Mo Pena as Chicago’s haul for the FA-to-be RF), I wasn’t irritated that a move didn’t get done. Looking at his recent run, I really think Hansen might be turning back into the relief ace the Sox envisioned they were drafting in 2005. I am vehemently against calling him up in 2007, as we’ve seen first hand what rushing this kid (and changing his mechanics) has wrought, but I don’t think Opening Day 2008 is out of the question for the next permanent Hansen sighting in Boston.

All in all, a pleasant July 31st. Not in the sense that we made a move as opposed to standing pat (I always hate people who decry front offices for refusing to make moves for the sake of making moves), but the fact that Theo Epstein traded expendable pieces that weren’t part of the big league future in Boston, and further solidifed the Red Sox’ spot at the top of the major league power rankings. Kudos Theo, I’m working on getting that bronze statue of you on my lawn ASAP.

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  • Traversing the land that is known as Red Sox Nation, The Czar Who Wears Red Sox is an attempt at compiling a repertoire of my ever-so-sexy forum posts (when I'm too lazy to write my own damn entry) and other random baseball thoughts that strike. For those whose posts serve as the inspiration of my epiphanies and rants, do not be angry, but merely, be honored that you have achieved such status. Names will never be revealed. Feedback appreciated, as this is a work in progress.

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