Sunday, December 5, 2010

(Guest Post) Would the Adrian Gonzalez trade really make the Sox a better team?

This post was written by SIH reader, Brian L. This is Brian's second guest post on the blog.


Most of you are probably already aware; Adrian Gonzalez is the newest member of the Boston Red Sox. The Sox acquired Gonzalez Saturday morning from the San Diego Padres for Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Raymond Fuentes and a PTBNL. When I first heard the news, I couldn’t believe the Sox acquired Gonzalez for solely minor leaguers. No Ellsbury, No Bard… just prospects. That being said, the prospects dealt definitely have talent. Casey Kelly was rated the 18th overall best prospect by Baseball America, Anthony Rizzo is a 21 year old first baseman with solid power, and Raymond Fuentes is a speedy 19 year old center fielder. Yet, at first glance, this still feels like a steal for the BoSox, and I won’t be the first to tell you that. If San Diego would have waited until the deadline, they almost certainly would have gotten a better haul for Gonzalez. But what’s done is done, Gonzalez is a Boston Red Sox.

Now that Gonzalez is on the team, and he presumably will get a huge extension (he claims to want Ryan Howard money) we can certainly count Beltre out of Boston’s plans. With Youkilis moving to 3B, and Gonzalez becoming the new 1B, Beltre has nowhere to go. Can we bet that Beltre will probably end up signing a contract for 4-5 years and around 70-75 Million? Sounds about right. But with the Winter Meetings approaching, one big question mark for the Sox is the left field situation. The two most enticing names on the market include Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford. Most analysts claim Werth would be a perfect fit for the Red Sox, and I have to agree. Throw Werth and Gonzalez into the Red Sox lineup and suddenly your derailed lineup of 2010 could be an offensive force in 2011.

Or could it?

Most baseball fans think of the 2010 Red Sox as a team with injuries that was unable to compete, which is partially true. The main guy that carried the 2010 team was Adrian Beltre, who notched a spectacular 7.1 WAR, 11.8 UZR, and a .390 wOBA. The 2nd most important player on that team was Kevin Youkilis, who was worth 4.2 wins. 3rd most? Victor Martinez, who was worth 4.0 wins. For the record, Pedroia and Youkilis both had down years in 2010 due to injuries, and they will likely be far better in 2011

It’s probably safe to say Beltre would have digressed somewhat next year, so let’s say he would be worth 6.0 wins in 2011 and Martinez be worth 4.0 again. That’s 10 wins taken away from the Red Sox right there. Assuming the Red Sox sign Werth, that would mean Gonzalez + Werth need to notch a 10.0 WAR between them to even get back to where the Red Sox finished last year (89-73). Both players average 5-6 WAR per season, but it may be a lot to ask in their first year with a new team.

So here’s the big picture, assuming the Sox sign Werth, just how much better does it make the Red Sox as a team in 2011? I’ll make this easier: The Red Sox have just traded Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Raymond Fuentes and 50 Million dollars for Adrian Gonzalez and Jayson Werth. Does this make the Red Sox a better team? I think the answer is obvious.

- Bryan L

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