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OTM Official Pick 5 Results - Spoiler, We Are Bad At Everything!

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We tried our best to finally break two points. Unfortunately, we could only muster one, at best. Even worse, we have... a tie!

Boston Red Sox v Houston Astros
This face was the only one the OTM community got right in the annual Pick 5 competition. It was a great pick, and all things equal, this is the one player I wanted most. That aside, we couldn’t hit water falling out of a boat this off-season.
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

With Spring Training currently underway, and most every player signed, it’s time to look at the official OTM Pick 5 results that I had undertaken unofficially earlier in the off-season.

I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to know what went wrong with our picks this year, we were just plain bad at guessing what Dave Dombrowski wanted to do with this team. Whether it’s because we don’t know him that well, or whether it’s because he didn’t do what we wanted him to, it’s become clear that outside of a handful of those who guessed we’d get Chris Sale, that none of us really know exactly what the team is doing.

First, a brief look at Pick 5. I’m not going to post all the rules in here, because that’s just a waste, but it’s always been fairly straightforward. Below, you’ll see a list of past winners. As you’ll notice, there are a few trends, namely that we always have someone get at least two names right. This year, not so much.


2016 Pick 5 Winner: Rick Bentsen (2)

2015 Pick 5 Winner: RogueNine (2)

2014 Pick 5 Winner: .406 (2)

2013 Pick 5: Pick 5 Writer's Strike

2012 Pick 5 Winner: aubatron2011 (2)

2011 Pick 5 Winner: mg050369 (2)


Below, you will see the picks that everyone made this year. Names that were crossed out have officially signed or been traded at least once to someone else. Names that are bolded (all one of them) are players that have been signed by us, or traded to us. Names that are neither bolded or crossed out have yet to sign, be traded, or otherwise indicate they are even playing baseball anymore, but it’s pretty safe to say, it’s highly unlikely that any of these players are on the move to us.


THE PICKS

sguglie2 - Brad Ziegler/Chris Sale/Jose Bautista/Neftali Feliz/Gerrit Cole

J.Elam - Edwin Encarnacion/Greg Holland/Doug Fister/Brad Ziegler/Wilson Ramos

trespada - Matt Holliday/Brad Ziegler/Shohei Otani/Greg Holland/Carlos Beltran

soxpatsceltics - Boone Logan/Mike Moustakas/Greg Holland/Yasmany Tomas/Zach Wheeler

JimXavier - Carlos Beltran/Brad Ziegler/Gerrit Cole/Greg Holland/Matt Holliday

TimRich88 - Matt Holliday/Brad Ziegler/Jose Quintana/Drew Storen/Sean Rodriguez

steel43 - Brad Ziegler/Edwin Encarnacion/Carlos Beltran/Matt Holliday/Takayuki Kishi

justin_bobo - Mike Napoli/Matt Holliday/Brad Ziegler/Eddie Butler/Daniel Descalso

BobZupcic - Jose Bautista/Luis Valbuena/Brandon Moss/Travis Wood/Sergio Romo

.406 - Mike Napoli/Carlos Beltran/Brad Ziegler/Wade Davis/Nate Jones.

titio1300 - Edwin Encarnacion/Matt Holliday/Kenley Jansen/Chris Sale/Brad Ziegler

theloganscorpion - Kenley Jansen/Matt Holliday/Sergio Romo/Pedro Alvarez/Koji Uehara

AlohaSox - Brad Ziegler/Matt Holliday/Mike Napoli/Greg Holland/Gerrit Cole

Draven1234 - Brad Ziegler/Matt Holliday/Carlos Beltran/Rich Hill/Josh Reddick

crosssabres8 - Brad Ziegler/Greg Holland/Carlos Beltran/Matt Holiday/Kendrys Morales

South Coast Ghost - Brett Cecil/Carlos Beltran/Lourdes Gurriel/Jose Quintana/David Robertson

parasox - Edwin Encarnacion/Jose Bautista/Brad Ziegler/Charlie Furbush/Greg Holland

On to Lansdowne Street - Brad Ziegler/Carlos Beltran/Chris Sale/Kenley Jansen/Matt Holliday

kahlil_b - Aroldis Chapman/Carlos Torres/Edwin Encarnación/Angel Pagan/Brad Ziegler


Unless I’m missing something big here, we absolutely sucked at Pick 5. Chris Sale was literally the only player any of us picked. There were 42 different players picked, and only 1 of those players actually signed with us. That is uncharacteristically terrible, even by our awful prognostication standards!

So, rather than focus on how awesome Chris Sale is (I could go on for years about him. I got a pack of baseball cards today, and Chris Sale’s first Red Sox card was literally the first thing I saw in the pack), I want to look at the players we predicted the most, and why those players didn’t come to us.


Brad Ziegler

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game Two
Brad Ziegler’s pitching stance was just the most magical thing to watch.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Brad Ziegler was a very popular pick among Pick 5 participants, he was on 15 of the 19 entries, and it seemed pretty obvious why. He was a successful reliever who seemed to enjoy his time in Boston, and we all loved him. OK, so most of us loved him.

In any case, he may be the one who got away. In 33 games with Boston, he only allowed 5 earned runs (that’s an ERA of 1.52 for the statheads out there), and struck out 9.4 batters per 9 innings, the highest rate he had for any team in his entire career. It’s safe to say the Red Sox helped him make a lot of money. Sixteen million dollars over two years, that is. He took his talents to South Beach, and has made us all very sad.

Ziegler’s replacement on the roster, more or less, appears to be Tyler Thornburg, who was acquired via a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, for Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon (sorry Matt), Josh Pennington, and a player to be named later. Thornburg, while not the guy we may have expected, might end up being the better grab in the end. Ziegler, after all, is 37 years old now, and Thornburg is a relatively modest 28. By going for a younger bullpen, the Red Sox seem to be aiming for several years of a good thing, rather than a small window that Ziegler would be helpful in adding to.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be really nice to have Ziegler in that 7th inning role, or even as the high leverage 8th inning guy (don’t get me into the debate about closers, I’m of the belief you want your best pitchers taking on the best guys, regardless of when that is), to give Thornburg, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, and eventually Carson Smith, some well deserved rest.

Instead, he’ll be in Miami. Which is about as far away as you can get from Boston while still being on the East coast. Sometimes, that’s just how life is.


Matt Holliday

New York Yankees Photo Day
Matt Holliday joins the Rivalry... from the other side. His bat may not be as potent as in his prime, but he’s still a power threat, and will get to play half his games in Yankee Stadium.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This was another popular pick among OTM’ers. 10 of the 19 entries had him listed, whether as the backup first baseman, or the full-time DH, it didn’t matter, a lot of people saw him as the best mix of cheap, talented, and built for Fenway. His bat has dropped off in recent years, no longer the threat to hit .311/.387/.531 (his career line from 2004 to 2013), but his bat is still serviceable, and in Fenway, it could even see a brief resurgence.

This might just be a hot take, but I think a large part of why Dave Dombrowski didn’t seriously pursue Holliday was, again, that age factor. Holliday is 37 himself, now, and his best days are well and truly behind him. He’d also have been extremely limited in the positions he could play (I certainly don’t want him anywhere but DH, but that’s just me), and give the roster less flexibility.

At the time of the signing, Dave Dombrowski was quoted as saying, “I figured we would wait to see what takes place later on, who’s out there. Our priority is to try to get a guy that can pitch the eighth inning for us.” He would later cite a desire to also stay under the cap, to avoid incurring additional penalties.

In the end, Holliday just ends up as a player Dombrowski and the fans on OTM just never saw eye to eye on. And now, rather than hitting rockets off the monster, he’ll be crushing them in that bandbox of a place they call Yankees Stadium. I don’t believe it was a bad move to pass on Holliday, but I fully expect him to hit a million home runs in 2017, because Yankees.

The Red Sox would instead fill their first-base/designated hitter role by signing Mitch Moreland to a one year deal. Moreland might be a better fit for this Red Sox team as well, all things considered. His glove makes him an invaluable presence on the infield, and his bat could be deceptively powerful, given the opportunity to hit at Fenway in half of his games. We’re not expecting an all-star season by any means, but it would not be shocking to see him put up a career year, either. For now, tentatively file this signing as one of the many reasons Dombrowski makes the decisions and not us.


Carlos Beltran

Houston Astros v Washington Nationals
Carlos Beltran digging in for the Astros in a spring training game. He played for the Astros once before, and it went extraordinarily well. Will lightning strike again?
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

This particular “dream” ended relatively early for Red Sox fans, and I think it’s for the best that it did. Beltran would sign with the Houston Astros on a contract of 1/16. For the money conscious Red Sox, who tried to stay under the tax threshold, this meant Beltran would be well outside of their price range.

Beltran was actually a surprisingly good hitter for a 39 year old in 2016. Hitting .295/.337/.513, he experienced a bit of a renaissance with the Yankees, and then one on a far lesser scale with the Rangers, after a July trade that gave the Yankees Dillon Tate, who will miraculously solve all of his control and hittability issues and become either an ace or a stud closer, because Yankees.

The Red Sox didn’t really have a clear stand-in for Beltran, as instead of going the DH route, they chose to add Moreland, and shift Hanley Ramirez to the DH role. Most of that money that would have been spent on Beltran was instead spent on Chris Sale’s insanely team-friendly contract, and I think we can all agree which player we’d rather have.

Beltran drew serious interest from the Red Sox, but I would imagine it was the price tag (even on a one year deal) that drove the Sox to pursue other avenues.


Greg Holland

Colorado Rockies Photo Day
Greg Holland reportedly looks really good so far. The Rockies stand to gain big time if they can trade him off at the deadline. And I get the feeling the Red Sox will be one of the team interested.
Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Holland would have been a terrific piece to have, if for no other reason than it was a good chance to potentially buy low on a player who had a 1.86 ERA in 256.1 innings between 2011-2014. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, as he wanted to go to Colorado for some reason.

I know that sounds like a joke, but I still don’t quite get his motivation for choosing Colorado. His path to the closer role could still be fast tracked in most any place, because not many teams have a player capable of doing what Holland had been able to do, pre-Tommy John Surgery. He chose to go to a park that is notorious for inflating runs, which is bad for a pitcher trying to re-establish value (which Holland is basically trying to do).

In either case, he was never coming to the Red Sox. It would have been nice, but he would have had so little chance to establish closer value, and he’d also have to pitch in the American League East, which is about the worst fate I can wish on a pitcher who isn’t pitching in Colorado.

We know why we wanted Holland, and most likely, why he didn’t want us. But it’s hard to tell exactly how hard the Red Sox pursued Holland. Reports said the Sox seriously pursued him, so we’ll just go with that.


Edwin Encarnacion

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Indians
The scenery may have changed, but even in Cleveland, Encarnacion cannot be held down. He will be a complete jolt to that team’s offense, and could make them the best team in the AL in 2017.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

This will be the last major player we focus on for the purposes of this piece. Edwin (along with Jose Bautista) was a popular choice to replace David Ortiz’s bat in the lineup. After all, E5 was the absolute best free agent bat on the market.

And he got paid like it. Sort of.

OK, that was a lie, his contract is a relative bargain. Encarnacion got 3/60, with a 20 million dollar club option that is a lock to be exercised if he manages to stay healthy.

The Red Sox had interest, but it was clear he wasn’t coming to Boston to those who could read the writing on the wall: the Red Sox simply did not want to go over the LT this year.

He signed with the Indians, which is terrifying, because that Indians offense is very intimidating near the top of the order. Luckily, the Red Sox got a guy called Chris Sale.

... oh wait, he has a .385/.500/.615 line against Sale in 16 PA.

He’s going to kill us all year, isn’t he?


In the end, three people made correct picks, and they all, simultaneously emerge as our winners.

sguglie2, titio1300, and On to Lansdowne Street, congratulations for winning the worst ever Pick 5 in the history of the world. You all certainly earned it, because contrary to common thought, the Red Sox DID go out and trade for an ace this time around. And not the Porcello kind of ace (the type that wasn’t truly an ace level pitcher until after the trade).

Now, let’s just hope that his arm stays attached to his body, and that this doesn’t become the saddest Pick 5 in the history of the multiverse.


2017 Pick 5 Winner: sguglie2, titio1300, On to Lansdowne Street (1)

2016 Pick 5 Winner: Rick Bentsen (2)

2015 Pick 5 Winner: RogueNine (2)

2014 Pick 5 Winner: .406 (2)

2013 Pick 5: Pick 5 Writer's Strike

2012 Pick 5 Winner: aubatron2011 (2)

2011 Pick 5 Winner: mg050369 (2)