Are Chadd, Garcia, Eljaua, and Moore (not Cabrera, Damon, Lowe, and Martinez) the departures that have really hurt the Sox?

September 7th, 2006 → 10:23 am @ // 11 Comments

On Monday, the always illuminating Rob Bradford wrote a story about the Red Sox’s troubling tendency to trade away young talent while holding on to players that appear to be more borderline. (And: it’s actually online!)

Braford touches on a number of recent Sox minor league players who’ve been traded away — Anibal Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Cla Meredith. (I’d add in Freddy Sanchez.) For those convinced that Boston’s front office is determined to hold on to its young, cheap talent at the expense of putting together a more expensive, veteran, go-for-it-now team, these names should be more than enough to convince anyone that’s not the case; what’s cause for concern (or at least discussion) is that these names were the ones let go. Sanchez, in his second year of MLB service, is leading the NL with a .344 average. He was the trade bait used to get Brandon Lyon, Jeff Suppan, and Anastacio Martinez from from Pittsburgh in 2003. (Supan and Lyon combined to go 7-10 with 9 saves and a collective ERA of over 5.00; neither of them made the postseason roster for the Sox.) Ramirez and Sanchez, who were sent to the Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, have been standouts in Florida: Ramirez’s stat line — .283 average, 13 HRs, 49 RBIs, 104 runs scored, and 44 stolen bases — would be good for any rookie, never mind one who can play a decent shortstop. Sanchez is 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA; last night, in just his 13th career start, he threw baseball’s first no-hitter in two years. Beckett, meanwhile, is 14-10 with an ERA of over 5.00, while Lowell’s numbers are about equal to Hanley’s. Oh, and Ramirez and Sanchez make well under a million bucks. Combined. Beckett and Lowell make well over $10 million. Finally, Meredith has gone 5-1 out of the Padres bullpen…with a Papelbon-esque ERA of 0.75.

Suffice to say, none of the young’uns the Sox have seemed so adamant about holding on to — Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia — have thus far had success comperable to their former teammates. That doesn’t mean they won’t, and the success of the young NL phenoms who cut their teeth in Pawtucket and Portland doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have struggled in the AL, or struggled in Boston’s fishbowl atmosphere (San Diego, South Florida, and Pittsburgh ain’t exactly known for their rabid fanbases). But collectively, they do raise questions about the state of the Sox’s behind the scenes operations.

Specifically, I wonder the extent to which the loss of a number of non-household name guys — scouts, talent evaluators, etc — has hurt a Red Sox front office that’s long on brains but short on on-field experience. In the last couple of years, Boston has lost Miguel Garcia, Tom Moore, and David Chadd to the Tigers, where Garcia and Moore were reunited with Dave Dombrowski, who’d been their general manager in Florida and is now their GM in Detroit. (Garcia is currently Detroit’s director of Venezuelan operations and Central American scouting; Moore is the assistant director of Latin American and professional scouting; and Chadd is the VP of amateur scouting.) Justin Verlander was scouted, drafted, and signed by this crew; so was Jonathan Papelbon. Another loss (and another former Marlins hand) was Louie Eljaua, who was big on David Ortiz because of Ortiz’s play in Dominican summer ball; Eljaua is now with the Pirates. Departures like these don’t get a lot (if any) attention; still, there are those within the Red Sox who worry about these departures and wonder the extent to which their experience and acumen is missed.

The return of Theo Epstein in spring training has meant the Sox’s baseball ops crew has retained continuity despite the departure of Josh Brynes and Peter Woodfork to Arizona in the offseason. The off-field staff of a baseball team — coaches, trainers, scouts, GMs, and on and on — contains so many moving parts, and there are so many variables that come into play when considering and nurturing young talent. But the immediate results of the Red Sox’s development machine, and the decisions the team has made about who to keep and who to trade away, has been less than ideal. Maybe it’s time to look a little further down the chain of command for some possible answers as to why this is the case.


Post Categories: Minor League talent & Red Sox front office & Scouts

11 Comments → “Are Chadd, Garcia, Eljaua, and Moore (not Cabrera, Damon, Lowe, and Martinez) the departures that have really hurt the Sox?”


  1. madjackblack

    7 years ago

    I agree. And wrote the same on boston.com message boards. Our scouts haven’t been doing very well. Theo can’t possibly know everything about every player. But he is the one who is responsible. If I were him, heads would be rolling this morning in the scounting department. Also, Larry should also be responsible, isn’t he the one that wanted these youngsters traded to win now. All I know is George wouldn’t stand for this, and I can’t believe Henry is going to stand for this too much longer.

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  2. yazdog8

    7 years ago

    The NL has been playing like an AAAA ball league for the most part this year. Outside of the Mets, everyone is mediocre. That shouldn’t take away from Mr. Sanchez’s fantastic performance, but we should keep that in mind when comparing them with the prospects we’ve kept.

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  3. crimsonohsix

    7 years ago

    I agree as well – Boston needs to improve its front office retention. With the validation of sabermetric analysis over the past couple of years, the marginal value a team gets by spending a dollar on scouting talent in the scouting market (where agents are pretty cheap) will be more valuable than spending another dollar to sign a superstar in the player’s market.

    I think we will continue to see a shift in the front office pay/players + coaching staff pay ratio in favor of the front office as owners begin to realize the value of strong scouting and the amount of money it can save them in the long run.

    With the multiple millions that Boston used to sign Crisp (for example), we could have easily retained every front office staff member you just mentioned. This is important not only because the people Boston is losing are smart, but also because Boston is on the cutting edge of baseball research right now (as illustrated by their seemingly impromptu decision to abandon their #1 offensive position in exchange for a stronger defense this year, for example), and when we lose talent we are also giving competing teams the insight that we have spent resources devloping for free. This hurts us a lot, because not only are we giving away expensive trade secrets, but that one top prospect that we identify and can get super cheap suddenly becomes much more expensive.

    One way to avoid this might be to sign front office talent to long-term contracts (since they can’t get “injured”) with clauses that prohibit them from working for competing teams if they leave (similar to agreements that are making microsoft defectors wait a year before working for google). Of course, they would have to be overly-compensated for these restrictions with pay, which goes against John Henry’s market-valued compensation approach I suppose…

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  4. Mr. Furious

    7 years ago

    I’ll just chime in quickly, as I am swamped, but as a guy following the Tigers by necessity over the last few years (live in MI), they are REALLY developing players these days.

    Their number one pick in THIS YEARS’S draft is already up and contributing on the Major League level in a pennant race.

    The pitching development and coaching is especially good. The contrast between a guy like Nate Robertson (to say nothing of Verlander) compared to Beckett is shocking. These young Tigers are learning how to pitch, not just throw.

    That is organizational success.

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  5. Mr. Furious

    7 years ago

    What’s shocking is that Bradford penned that column two days before Sanchez’s no-hitter. He probably wants that one back…

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  6. Ogie Oglethorpe

    7 years ago

    Tough call on this one. We all knew of Hanley’s and Dirty Sanchez’ potential and that is why we were able to get Beckett in the first place. These guys weren’t throw ins. If Beckett had become the Cy Young award winner that people had predicted (Gammons & Bobby Cox) then this wouldn’t have been that big of an issue. When the deal was made everybody was glad that Lester was not included in the deal because he has a higher ceiling. There were also a lot of scouts quoted as saying that Hanley has all of the tools but has yet to have a breakout season in the minors and questioned his ability to put it all together. Plus he always batted in the middle of the order so he never got turned loose on the base paths.

    You can’t blame Meredith on the front office. Francona ruined that guy’s confidence in the game vs. Seattle. Weird too since the Sox have been so protective of the young pitchers this year. Cla was never going to rebound from that game. I think the Freddy Sanchez trade was a good gamble that didn’t pay off. We were desperate for pitching in ’03 and he was the best on the market. If Suppan helps us beat the Yanks in the ’03 ALCS then that is not an issue. On the flip side if they didn’t make a trade they would be branded “not trying to win now”, “not supporting their current players”, “too in love with potential”. Sound familiar?

    Let’s just say that the Sox traded Lester and Hansen for Beckett. Lester could have potentially won 15 games and Hansen could be their closer and you don’t know how Hanley and Sanchez would have panned out immediately if they stayed.

    This kind of stuff bugs me since the local media complains about non-trades involving prospects but they are the first to pull out the “why can’t we get guys like this?” line. They are basically playing on Sox fans’ impatience. The reason we can’t develop talent here is because WEEI and the usual suspects get the masses riled up about certain players by bombarding them with their reports and oneliners (Rent-a-wreck) about their missteps to the point that when they fail everybody wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    People just don’t understand in this town that the majority of MLB players will have failures at the beginning of their career. If they aren’t a rookie sensation they can’t be good, ever. How many people walked into the office on their first day and was a superstar? That is why the Sox have been trying to trade for players (Crisp, Beckett) on the verge of their breakout/prime. To stay competitive and because Sox fans won’t stand for watching the learning process. Fans need to start thinking on their own instead of adopting the EEI propaganda as their opinion.

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  7. soxfannyc

    7 years ago

    The Red Sox also lost Bill Lajoie in the offseason, another highly respected man in baseball circles. Interesting that the Red Sox have lost so many career “baseball men” in recent years…not sure if it means anything, but seems disturbing nonetheless.

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  8. rdawg

    7 years ago

    Gotta agree with Ogie on this one. Josh Bard comes to mind — the same people who bashed Bard, and said that theo had to make a move to get Belli back are the same ones who bashed Theo for giving bard up when Tek went down, and Bard was putting up good numbers with the Padres
    .
    There is so much venom in the media, you have to wonder, do these people even enjoy watching what they cover, or are they just more concerned with coming up with pithy and (sorta) clever headlines?

    It will be a couple of years before we see if all the work the FO has done pays off. And as a town (nation?) that has waited 86 years for a WS victory, you’d think we’d be able to have a little bit of patience.

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  9. cdnsoxfan

    7 years ago

    I think its ridiculous to look what these players have done in the national league and think they would have performed similarly in the American League. Sanchez pitched a great game, there is no taking that away from him, but its not like he threw the no-no for the Yankees.
    I think if you look at any team in the majors, they all have trades they wish they could take back. Although I’m not convinced the Beckett deal qualifies as one. If fans out there want to torture themselves every time an ex-sox player does something well, go ahead. I thought ’04 was supposed to get rid of all this crap.

    It has been a tough year, no one is denying that, but the team looks better for ’07 and ’08. They have holes, clearly and this front office has some pieces and a lot of cash to go out and fill those holes. That is more than 2/3 of the league can say.

    Way to go Anibal!!

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  10. [...] Feeding the Monster speculates that the Red Sox problems can be traced to the departures of scouting deparment members David Chadd, Miguel Garcia, and Tom Moore. Fortunately all 3 of those guys are now employed by the Tigers. [...]

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  11. cmj1878

    7 years ago

    Obviously, the front office has dropped the ball and given up on some of their young talent too quickly. Since the end of the 2004 season, things have only gotten worse. The 04 team was more or less dismantled. Keeping at least one pitcher between Pedro and Lowe would have been good. They signed Renteria which was a highly over-rated player for the kind of money they threw at him. Then, they trade Rent-a-wreck plus 11 million to the Braves. There was an opening at SS so what do they do? Trade away their top SS prospect, Hanley Ramirez along with top pitching prospect Anibel Sanchez for Josh Beckett who was known for his 2003 world series heroics. What else has he really done? Over-hyped and over-rated just like Renteria. Cla Meredith being traded with Bard was also ridiculous. Bard and Meredith were both given raw deals. They both had a limited stint in Boston and were dealt away at the blink of an eye because of a couple of bad experiences. The patience level of the front office is terrible. Is it Theo? Is it the ownership? They claim to be drafting well and acquiring all of this young talent. They ought to stop worrying about trying to spend and just try to build from within. Stop trading away this talent. Have some patience…Look where it’s gotten us and look at the players we had. It’s amaazing how so many former Sox players are succeeding elsewhere. Look at the Florida Marlins. Look at that team and what they’ve accomplished this year. They could make the playoffs with that young roster while our beloved Boston Red Sox with a 120 million dollar payroll will be watching football and/or playing golf.

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