Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tony Massarotti doesn't understand anything

Following the Boston Red Sox for some time, I have seen more than my fair share of players run out of town for not living up to insane expectations day one into their Boston careers.

Julio Lugo -- a favorite punching bag of Sox fans -- is probably next. The fact he's lasted into the third year of a four-year contract is actually astounding.

Tony Massarotti, who is quickly becoming my new favorite Sox idiot writer, is doing his best to make sure Lugo doesn't make it past year 2.5.

The question, really, concerns how far the Red Sox are willing to go. How long are they willing to put Julio Lugo at shortstop? How long are they willing to try? How long before they give the keys to Nick Green or Jed Lowrie or someone else entirely?

Or what he really wants to write: Is Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez available?

In the interim, games are being played. And roughly one-fifth of the way through this 2009 season, the Red Sox are precisely where we left them at the end of 2008:

Unsure of themselves at the shortstop position.

Also at the end of the 2008 season: One fucking win (a 3-1 loss) away from the World Series.

In the middle stands Lugo, now in the third year of a four-year, $36 million contract. The money matters. ... What should have been a double play was, instead, a single. And instead of having nobody on with two outs, the Rays had the beginnings of what was a six-run rally.

In the moments thereafter, Lugo was booed by a Fenway Park following clearly aware that the Sox now have lost more games this season with Lugo as the starter (five) than they have with Nick Green (four).

Jesus Christ.

Those horrible, completely Lugo's fault losses were against...

And Lugo had ONE at-bat in one of those losses against Cleveland. So shove it.

Tampa is the AL champs and Sox pitching allowed nine runs against the Indians both games. Not exactly Lugo's doing. He's also gone 5-17 with two runs and two RBI (one homer) in losses he's started.

With regard to wins, Green (16) is winning by a landslide (Lugo has one). The Red Sox are choosing their words carefully with regard to Lugo’s play afield, but most anyone would be hard pressed to suggest that the Sox are a better team with Lugo on the diamond.

I don't know what Mazz uses for his stats, but I have Lugo with two "wins", May 7 and 8, where he went 4-9 with four runs scored.

And attributing wins to a SS is dumber than starting pitchers. Which is to say: dumb as shit.

Nick "The Hammer" Green has played in 24 games compared to Lugo's 9, with more than double the PAs. Now you'd think Green would be killing Lugo statistically, enough for Mazz to want to start him.

But nay, that would make sense.

Green's traditional line: 274/1/11 with a sterling .748 OPS
Lugo's: .357/1/2 with a .936 OPS

Now, unlike other Globe writers, I will admit Lugo's stats are nearly pointless because he's played so few games. But still, same homers and a much better OPS.

Nick Green is 30 years old, with five career homers and a .665 OPS. So he's actually playing over his head right now. By a lot. Green also has 16 Ks and two walks, the same amount of walks Lugo has in one third as many games.

Nick Green sucks at hitting a baseball.

But what about the Deeeeeeeeeefense?

For what it’s worth, Green hasn’t exactly been Ozzie Smith at shortstop this season, either, contributing six errors to a team total of seven from the shortstop position, tied for most in the majors. Just the same, most of Green’s errors have come on throws and he has been moving reasonably well in the field.

So much for that.

The combination of Green’s offense and defense has been an asset to the club, particularly when one considers that he entered the spring third (at least) on the depth chart at the position.

His offense sucks and his defense is bad. Anyone but Lugo I guess.

Between now and the time Lowrie returns -- if he returns -- both we and the Red Sox will have had sufficient time to evaluate their $36 million investment at shortstop. Lugo has plenty of time to change our minds. Until then, the Red Sox will continue to play games and position themselves for a potential postseason berth, hoping that Lugo does not hurt them more than he helps.

People know Lowrie put up a .739 OPS in 81 games (over 300 PA) last season? And hit two home runs, stole one base, struck out nearly twice as much as he walked (68:35) in 2008, right? The 25 doubles are nice, but Lugo was nearly as good, with way more upside.

The .685 OPS sucks, but the 12/16 steals and better K:BB ratio (51:34) make him a better option offensively. Lugo's D was pretty bad (16 errors), but does he really deserve to be replaced by a speed-less, powerless, unproven 25 year-old kid?

Economically, it makes sense. But Mazz didn't write that (other than "the money matters." Deep analysis there.), he's making this a baseball decision. Which is dumb.

Hand in hand, the Red Sox and their shortstop will walk the line together.

They could play a AAA guy (like Lowrie) and be World Series champs. They don't need Cal Ripken.


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