Friday, July 17, 2009

Should The Red Sox Trade for Roy Halladay?

Doc Halladay has become the second hottest topic in sports, next to Brett Favre and the Sox are allegedly in the running for his services. Of course reports were similar during the winter when they were supposedly front runners for Mark Texieria but we all know how that worked out.

The questions facing most contending teams as the deadline approaches are; do we leverage the future for a marquee player or are we good enough win without making any moves.

For the sake of argument let’s assume that the Jays would be looking for something along the lines of Buchholz and Lowrie in a trade with the Sox.

It all comes down to your view on prospects. Do you trade them away for a proven player or do you hold on to them and continue develop your team for the future.

I’m never against trading prospect for a proven player. Look at how the Hanley Ramirez deal worked out. Sure we lost an all star but we gained an ace and Cy Young-caliber pitcher and possibly one of the most underrated players in the bigs. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

One of the major differences here however is the age factor. Josh Beckett was 25 when the sox dealt for him Roy Halladay is 32. It’s one thing to trade away an up-and-coming player for a guy about to enter his prime but you certainly have to consider the fact that you’d likely be trading away a 24-year-old starter.

With that said Roy Halladay is a beast and he likely has plenty of pitching still to do in his career, so you really can’t be all that concerned with his age.

Another part of the dilemma is you’re trading a short stop. That’s a position the Red Sox have fumbled over since trading Nomar in 2004. Sure they’ve handled it well on the field but it hasn’t exactly been a stable position since #5.

Yet another hurdle is the fact that you’re trading within the division. If you view Buchholz as a guy with Lester-like potential do you trade him within the division? At the same rate, do the Blue Jay get better by trading their best player to one of the best teams in the division.

I know we as Red Sox fans like to pretend that the Sox don’t spend outlandish amounts of money on players, in reality they do. There is definitely a difference between the Yankees and Mets but let’s be honest…the Twins they are not.

The point of that rant is this. Roy Halladay is going to be a Free Agent in 2010. I have faith that the Red Sox would try to lock him up to a long-term deal after a trade but if a deal doesn’t get done you traded two of your top prospects for two years of Halladay.

Two years of Halladay might be a lot better than 10 years of Buch and Jeddy though so that’s why a situation like this is so difficult. As fans it’s easy to say one way or the other what the team should do. Most fans like to say they’d rather win now then focus on the future.

The crux of this argument is that there’s no guarantee that your prospects are going to work out the way you hope they will. Sure Han-Ram turned out to be an All-Star but do the Red Sox win a World Series without Beckett and Lowell? Doubtful.

At this point Halladay is 10-3 with the Jays. Assuming he stays healthy you know he’s going to give you something like seven to 10 more wins with an ERA around 3.50. Then you’re looking at something like 17-8 for the next season, but that’s kind of getting ahead of ourselves.

Can you get similar numbers out of a combination of Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Dice-K? Because if you can then I don’t think it’s necessary to trade Buchholz, Lowrie and potentially more prospects for Halladay.

This is all similar is some ways to when the Twins were listening to offers for Johan Santana. Reports were calling for a potential Ellsbury-Lester deal. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back and make that deal would you? I certainly wouldn’t.

When all is said and done I think some team will put together an attractive enough package to pick up Halladay but I don’t think that team is going to be the Red Sox. Over the last few years the Red Sox have managed the trade deadline very well.

I think not making this deal will make prove to be the right call for the Red Sox. Granted I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, what I’m saying is that the Red Sox should hang on to Buchholz, Lowrie, Bowden et al. It’s not that I think they are all going to be studs. But they are chips that could be used in a future deal that would better suit the Sox.

Of course if Buchholz blows up tonight and gives up 10 runs in two innings then goes on to have a 8.50 ERA over the next week then all bets might be off.

Due to my new zip code I’m going to say the Phillies make a move to pick up Halladay and then run away with the NL East, because the Mets are not playing well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Covering the Bases

Where I cover the bases of the four major Boston sports teams…sorry Blazers maybe next time

I think I have to lead with the Celtics. I know the Sox are playing the Yankees right now but coming off the Bulls series and then that thing last night against the Magic it’s gotta be the green. After watching the first ever eight game first round series I think one thing has become abundantly clear. The Celtics have a tough time matching up against teams with a bunch of young lottery type guys i.e. the Hawks and the Bulls.

The pure athleticism of those teams give the C’s fits but there’s an advantage to having a mix of young guys and savvy vets and that has shown to be true in the Celtics last two first round series. That’s the only explanation I have for the fact that for some reason the C’s don’t seem to realize they are playing a game until the fourth quarter. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad they’re a good fourth quarter team but it makes it a lot harder to win when you you’re digging yourself out of a giant hole every game.

By the way for everyone that’s saying the Celtics can’t survive all these overtime games and long series…they haven’t been playing the first 35-40 minutes. They’re just going through the motions and then when the fourth quarter rolls around they decide to stop messing around, which has led to overtime games and gut-wrenching final minutes. But damn it’s fun to watch.

Have you noticed how a playoff series can really make you hate a player on the opposing team? I mean normally I don’t like the players on the other team but during the playoffs I’m wishing all the bad things in the world will happen to Brad Miller and no one else. I don’t really have anything against the guy, I’m sure Bulls fans feel the same way about Big Baby.

It’s actually kind of funny. I didn’t hate Derek Rose or Ben Gordon, nor do I hate Dwight Howard, but Joachim Noah, Brad Miller and Turkowlu…f them. It’s always the guys that are slappies that you hate. Bulls fans probably don’t hate Rondo but they probably despise Eddie House, Big Baby and of course Scal. With that said I’m sure Bulls fans do hate Pierce because for whatever reason everyone hates Pierce. Ok maybe they hate Rondo too.

As far as this series against the Magic goes I think it’s going to be a long series but the Celtics are going to win. The Magic aren’t quite ready yet. They’re good, very good but they make too many fatal mistakes that a team like the Celtics feed off of…like jacking threes when they are up by double digits when they should be pounding the ball inside where the Celtics are thin in numbers.

Let’s be honest the LeBron-a-liers are coming out of the east. It’s been made clear that it’s going to be a LeBron-Kobe final but in order for LeBron to be crowned king, lord and savior doesn’t he have to play the team that kept him from winning last year? Don’t you think he wants to be the one to knock the Celtics out? I mean if you were LeBron wouldn’t you want to beat the Celtics on their home court so you can stare down a seething KG? I know that’s how I’d want it to go down if I were him.

I read a post on Bill Simmons twitter and it said something to the effect of ‘don’t you except to see Lebron sitting courtside for game 7 (C’s-Bulls) in a suit like Clubber Lang in Rocky III’. After I read that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I was 100% sure he was going to do it. Even as a Celtics fan I thinkthat would have been righteous.

The Red Sox have been playing pretty well as of late and one thing I’ve learned from being a Sox fan it’s April and May really aren’t all that important. As long as you play .500 ball you’re ok. Look at all the teams that have gotten off to great starts and faltered down the stretch. Does anyone thin that the Blue Jays are going to be leading the division in August? No offense to the Blue Jays, they will certainly have something to say about who will win the division I just don’t think it’s going to be them.

If there is one glaring issue with the Sox it’s Big Papi. It’s no secret people are starting to worry about him. I’m still confident in him. He’s coming off the injury and it’s only early May. Would you rather see him struggle to get things going but come on strong later in the season or have him come out gangbusters like A-Rod and hit 15 dingers in April and May then fold like origami when it counts? That’s what I thought.

All is going to be ok anyway, we’ve got Youk, Petey and everybody’s favorite new Sox Jason Bay. I love that guy. Best gift we’ve ever received from Canada. Honestly the lone bad part of my trip home for the Patriot’s Day game was the fact that they didn’t have a Jason Bay version of the t-shirt I wanted. Not that it matters though because it would only be house wear, I got some nasty looks when wearing my Celtics hat in Philly the other day.

One of the things that has really been bothering me thought is this…where is Jerry Remy??? This is a serious issue not having NESN and having to watch/listen to the games via MLB Network…plus no K-Tap! AH!

Side note: Eck has been a nice fill in tonight but easy with the Joba taking his glove off thing.

Everyone seems to love the Patriots draft and I, as always, don’t question anything Belichick does. Call me a homer, that’s fine but until he does something that doesn’t work well I’m not listening to your negativity. The guy knows what he’s doing and even when the Pats do miss on a draft pick it doesn’t kill them like other teams.

Exhibit A – the NYJ – Vernon Gholston & Mark Sanchez sure they’ve got potential but if they turn out to be busts those will seriously hinder the Jets ability to right the ship. Whereas in New England’s case if say Laurence Maroney turns out to be a bust, which I do not believe he is, the team has the ability to make do without him.

That’s why I think this year seems to be another slam dunk of a draft. They reloaded at DB with Chung and Butler got some younger guys to fill in and play as reserves on the O-line, got another big nose tackle and of course stockpiled picks for next year’s draft, when they will take Tim Tebow in the third round.

On top of all that they also cleared some cap room in the offseason and made some other financially motivated moves, which means they are planning on keeping a number of the guys who have expiring contracts after this year. They also completely overhauled the secondary by adding Bodden and Springs. Now they have two solid corners, two solid safeties in Sanders and Meriweather, who showed that after a year of learning under Belichick that he’s ready to be an impact player.

Oh yeah I almost forgot. TOM BRADY IS COMING BACK.

Now how do you like them apples?

No way I could cover the bases without talking about the Bruins. I’d just like to say a quick thank you to EA and 2k Sports, sometimes it’s amazing how much you can not only learn from playing sports games but how much it can shape your interest. For example I wanted to really pay attention to the B’s this year and I ended up buying NHL 09 and boom I love hockey again. I would not be surprised if there was a direct correlation between the years I bought hockey video games and the years I watch the most hockey. Thanks NHL 94!

Don’t you think it’s time we ‘cue the Duckboats’ (viva the Stool!) for B’s? We can’t have BU as our championship representative for hockey. It’s not right. But a B’s championship would be the perfect way to cap off the O-thousands. That’s right O-thousands, it’s not the aughts, I’m sorry we’re talking about a decade not a rifle.

Unfortunately the one of the major draw backs to living in PA now is that I can only watch the hockey games that are on Versus, which up until this past week were pretty much exclusively Red Wings game. I don’t hold it against them. I’m just saying it’s tough to have to wait for Barry Melrose to give you your highlights. From what I’ve seen I think we are going to see a very, very exciting series between the B’s and the Pen’s to see who goes on to face the Red Wings.

I really hope the Bruins can get in there and vie for a title. But regardless I think this season has definitely revitalized Boston’s hockey sprit and that’s good because Boston is a great hockey town and the winter is so much more fun whenever one is rocking the black and gold.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And so it begins

The first Sox-Yanks game of the year and NINE DOLLAR PBR WHAT!?!

What better day to emerge from my winter blogging coma than the one that follows the first Red Sox-Yankees game…and what a game it was.

Last night’s game had everything you could want from a Friday night Sox-Yanks game. We got Lester v. Joba, with Lester looking like he’s back on track with two straight solid starts. We also got the Red Sox hitting into a frustrating number of double plays yet still coming back to win the game. Could they have found another way to hit into another double play?

As often happens the Red Sox trailed, tied the game up at 2-2, and then proceeded to cough up two runs going into the ninth trailing 4-2. Then along came Jason Bay hitting a two run homer in maybe the most ridiculous spots in the entire park off of Mo Rivera to tie it in the ninth.

There’s nothing like watching games on on my laptop for moments like these. Of course the internet decided to lag mid pitch, then mid flight, wait did that go out, yes, no, yes, no, YEEESSSS!

Seriously nothing like jumping around your darkened apartment at 11pm trying to do your best Papelbon fist pump impression – note to self don’t put the laptop on your lap when watching a game. I almost destroyed my laptop I jumped up so high.

Luckily I repositioned before Youk won it with a walk off no doubter. Is there any play in baseball that evokes the feeling that a no doubter does. Whether your guy hits it or it gets hit off of your guy there is no play in spots that produces such opposite reactions in fans.

It was a great all around game, and I was saying this in the top of the ninth when I figured the Sox were going to lose, but it was a classic Sox-Yanks game. The whole game you felt like there was the distinct possibility someone would throw to close to someone and the benches would clear. Every Yankee hit was followed by God I hate that SOB. Every time Texieria (fuck it I don’t care, I’m not paying attention to spelling it) came up I was hoping for one of those embarrassing strikeouts where the guy nearly falls down because he’s so far ahead of the ball. Jeter hit a ball off the hands for a single…every fucking time with that guy…

The greatest part though, aside from Youk’s walk off homer, was actually being down two going into the ninth. That’s not a nightmare scenario any more thanks to Billy Mueller. I’d still say that Mo generally has the upper hand in a save situation but I always like the Sox chances when facing him, especially when some combo of Petey, Papi, Jason Bay and/or Mike Lowell are going to be facing him. Sorry JD Drew but the pitch that you strike out on all the time is the one pitch Mo throws. Doesn’t usually bode well for you pal.

Now a cynical fan would say they’ll probably go on to lose the next two but after last night’s game I have to say I psyched for the next two games. I have a feeling this is going to be a knock down drag out three game series, especially when you look at the pitching matchups. The only thing that’s disappointing is we don’t get to see what the Sox can do against CC.

One last thing about last night, I threw on ESPN this morning and they showed the obligatory historical montage with the grainy footage of Babe Ruth in a Sox uniform then him running around the bases in that weird 1920s sort of fast forward film speed like it’s a Charlie Chaplin movie and there’s a guy off screen wearing one of those barber shop quartet outfits with the cumber bun and silly hat playing piano…of course they throw in Bucky and Boone but it’s a lot more fun to watch now that it doesn’t end with Boone anymore.

I have to think that montage plays a role in how much people hate Bostonians. Sure we’re jerks and we’ve been able enjoy three super bowls, two world series, and an NBA title in the last 10 years but after like 2006 people really started to get fed up with the Sox-Yanks hype, which was fueled with those brightly colored log things from Back to the Future III thanks to ESPN.

After this offseason with the Yankees going ape shit and committing 400 million dollars to three players, including landing Tex after it looked like his arrival in Boston would be a sure thing, I think that the rivalry has been renewed for everyone that isn’t a Sox or Yanks fan. I think plenty of people still hate both teams but they are more interested in the game because of that hate, as opposed to the past couple of years when everyone was just sick of hearing about it.

Either way I’m excited. It’s going to be a very fun season to watch with the Sox, Yanks and Rays all vying for two playoff spots. Which intern will make all those midsummer losses to the Blue Jays that much more frustrating.

A couple of other things that I wanted to mention…

Youk is batting .433 right now. I don’t think Ted’s head should be too worried but I’ve been campaigning that Youk would win a batting title for three years running and I don’t want to jinx the guy but after watching his batting average steadily climb each of his five major league seasons I’m going to say it again this year. Youk’s going to win the batting title, might not be this year, but he’s going to win one before he’s done.

Oh yeah and if you haven’t visited his beard’s twitter you probably should. It’s quite a treat. Check it out @

Speaking of twitter I wonder if that would be a good way to blog more if I started a red seat twitter…probably not…I should probably just blog more and play video games less…what can I say those chainsaw zombies in Resident Evil 5 are hard to kill.

I heard this via the email chain the other day…PBRs cost nine bucks at the new Yankees stadium…WHAT! Are you kidding me…nine dollars for one PBR? That is an outrage! Where are those high life guys when we really need them? You can’t serve PBR for nine dollars unless it is like a keg, or half a keg or something like that. Honestly how many places can you name off the top of your head that sell PBR for 2 dollars or less? Ten, twenty maybe? Never mind the insane ticket prices and the disgraceful fact that Yankee stadium isn’t sold out every night something needs to be done about this nine dollar PBR business.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

If he gets in the Hall of Fame do you think his MMORPG will sell better?

I had to make a move. I’m no longer in the suburbs of Boston, but hey at least I’m out of my mom’s basement. Before I start in on the Curt Schilling argument I just wanted to thank the lord for and who are keeping in the loop with my New England Sports news now that I’m in the city of brotherly love.

With the announcement of Curt Schilling’s retirement last week came an onslaught of disscuions regarding his Hall of Fame worthiness. My vote, as usual would be yes, Curt Schilling belongs in the Hall of Fame.

I kind of feel like I owe it to old G38 to have his back, I mean the Sox didn’t win a World Series for 86 years, then Schilling hopped in that F-150, came to Boston and broke a ‘curse’. The whole existence-vs-non existence of the curse argument notwithstanding, the guy had the balls to declare that he had a ‘curse’ to break and he actually did it.

“No way, he faked that whole bloody sock thing and…” I’m going to have to stop you right there. He didn’t fake it ok settle down. First, I’ve seen the sock it wasn’t food coloring or ketchup or whatever other substance you’re going to tell me it was. The guy had his tendon sewn to his foot and then regulated.

The biggest anti-Schilling arguments I’ve heard have focused on his 216 career wins. Granted 216 wins over 20 years isn’t eye popping but pitchers don’t win 300 games anymore. Realistically Randy Johnson will probably be the last 300 game winner we see for a long time. And he still has to win five more games to hit that number.

Baseball always has been a numbers game, with that in mind, the only active pitchers who have more wins than Schill are Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Johnson, Jamie Moyer and Kenny Rodgers (is he still active?) however the real meat of the HoF argument for Schill is the fact that he might just be the greatest post season pitcher ever.

Schilling went 11-2 in the playoffs with an all time best 2.23 ERA. Those are some gaudy numbers. Plus he pitched in four World Series, which means that every time a Curt Schilling led team reached the playoffs then went to the World Series. See the Sox losing in the ALCS wasn’t because they didn’t have Manny it was because they didn’t have Schilling.

I don’t want to get crazy with his numbers but you need to look at other stats besides just wins. Being a Hall of Famer means you were one of the best to ever play the game, it also means you were of the best to play the game during your career. With all the changes in the game you can’t say Schilling’s not a Hall of Famer because he only won 216 game and Cy Young won 511 games or Christy Mathewson won 373 games. That doesn’t make sense.

During Schilling’s career he was one of the most dominate pitchers in the game. Six times in his career he was in the top eight in winning percentage, five times he was in the top eight in wins, he was a six time all star, he led the league in strikeouts-to-walks ratio five times and was in the top ten 11 times in 20 years. His WHIP was in the top ten 11 times, I could list about ten more categories where he ranked in the top ten for a least half of his career.

According to his career numbers put him at or above the numbers of the average HoFer in just about every category, but like a lot of guys Schilling had some enemies so he’s not a Hall of Famer in their eyes.

Why is it ok for voters to exclude a guy because he wasn’t nice to them? Whether a player was friendly to the media should have nothing to do with whether he gets into the Hall of Fame. I’m sure there are voters who don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer and that’s fine, that’s why they are voters but the reason they don’t vote him in should be based on his on the field career not his media session demeanor.

He was arguably the greatest post season pitcher of all time and that has nothing to do with whether or not he used a Carl Everett coined moniker for a curly haired sports writer, that’s all I’m saying.

This has nothing to do with his numbers or Hall of Fame worthiness but I loved how Schilling embraced fans in Boston by joining SoSH and later starting his blog. Granted he can be long winded and stubborn with his opinions but he’s not afraid to throw them out there. And speaking from a fan’s perspective it was great to read his insight on the game directly from him.

Sure his blog included a lot of ball washing from fans but he also answered questions and gave great insight on pitching and the Red Sox through both 38 Pitches and on SoSH. He even answered a question from the Red Seat about Jon Lester back when he started the site on wordpress. YAY!

It’s funny people call athletes out for not talking but then when Schilling talks…at length…about anything he gets called out for his opinion. Everyone wants to hear opinions on Bonds and Bonds, then when Schilling gives one he gets ripped for being a loud mouth. I might not agree with everything he says but I love the fact that he says it in his own way.

Final verdict – Schilling is a Hall of Famer, not next year but his post season numbers will eventually get him in. Either way I look forward to listening to him on weei in the coming years. Also, don’t worry Bert Blyleven you’ll be in there too.

A couple of quick thoughts on some other stuff…and no there is nothing about my bracket in there because…damn.

First if you haven’t listened to it yet you should go to itunes and get the Deadspin Podcast…errr…Deadcast because Drew Magary is a riot.

Second I don’t understand why Twitter is big time news all of a sudden. Who cares if Charlie Villanueva twittered during half time of a game, or if Shaq and Lance Armstrong attempt to market themselves to their fans through twitter?

Personally I think Twitter is pointless and retarded. It’s not really any different from the Facebook status update, which isn’t really any different from the old AIM away message. I know people are obsessed with celebrities and that could possibly be a sign of the apocalypse but celebrities and athletes are really the only people that should use twitter. I’m sorry regular people like you and me just don’t usually have anything interesting to twitter about.

Think about it…who gives a shit about what I am doing within the confines of 140 some odd characters? It’s bad enough I have a blog which I occasionally spout my stupid opinions about stuff. Why would anyone care if I twittered to say that I am watching March Madness, or making hamburger helper.

People care about what athletes and celebs are doing, no one cares if you are at work on a Tuesday…so is everybody else. People want to know how Lance Armstrong’s surgery went last week so he twittered…twitted…tweeted…whatever…but nobody gives a shit if you’re out to eat or cleaning the house.

If people want to use it to reach out to their fans then that’s awesome, but really it’s stupid. It’s just another outlet for people to let you know they are at the gym or quote the movie Heat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Know What I Haven't Had in a While...Big League Chew

Where I opine about Jim Rice finally getting in to the Hall of Fame…

It’s been a long time coming but Jim Rice will finally be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with Rickey Henderson.

ESPN had a roundtable debating whether or not Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame and SportsCenter made mention or possibility of Rice being overrated. I’m not sure how you can be overrated if you are one of the most feared hitters of your era. To me, that doesn’t make any sense.

When it comes to halls of fame, especially the Baseball Hall of Fame there is a premium placed on numbers. If I say Cooperstown and 300, 3000, 1500 or 500 any baseball fan worth his or her weight in cracker jacks and beer knows exactly what I’m talking about. But those milestone numbers don’t necessarily define what makes a hall of famer.

Obviously it helps but being a dominant player during the time you play in certainly makes you eligible for Hall of Fame induction.

Some say that Rice lacked longevity but I’d take one of the most feared hitters for 12 seasons over a good player for 15 or 20. Rice played 16 seasons, all with the Sox and finished with 2,452 hits, 382 home runs, 1451 RBI and a .298 lifetime batting average.

Those numbers (courtesy of are a little bit shy of some of the sure fire Hall of Fame numbers but when you figure in the fact that he finished in the top five in MVP voting six times and was an eight time all star I think he’s definitely a Hall of Famer.

Alright, he’s in now. I don’t need to try and convince anyone that he belongs there, but it’s interesting how people have this view that adding players to the hall of fame somehow cheapens the honor. If you add the wrong players then yes I can see that but I don’t see anything wrong with adding players who were the best of their time period.

The baseball hall of fame as more than just a mausoleum paying tribute to legends of a bygone age but it’s also a chronicling of baseballs journey through the ages. It’s like that giant ball at Epcot Center, Spaceship Earth, baseball is living, growing thing so how can you leave out the best players of any given era or decade?

It was long overdue for Jim Rice to get the call from Cooperstown, hopefully it won’t be a similar experience for guys like Bert Blyleven.

Okay one more quick thing about Hall of Fame voting.

The Hall of Fame voting and all voting done by media members should be immune to people with personal vendettas or gripes about players. The Hall of Fame has nothing to do with whether or not a player was nice. It’s about whether or not that player was one of the greatest to play the game.

Was it the college football AP Poll voter that said they didn’t want to be the ones to make the final determination on who is named the national champion? Is that right? I’m going to be honest that could be totally inaccurate the BCS has kind of clouded my mind but I thought I remembered hearing that.

The voting for awards and hall of fame induction shouldn’t be a popularity contest and it shouldn’t be hastily thrown together. For example, I present you with the Curious Case of Edinison Volquez of the Cincinnati Reds.

Volquez got three second place votes for NL Rookie of the Year in 2008. Funny thing is Voloquez wasn’t a rookie. Granted if you asked me during the season I probably would have thought he was a rookie too but when you are voting for Rookie of the Year you have to know who is and isn’t eligible…don’t you?

I’m not saying the human element should be taken out of the voting (we’ve seen how well that can workout) or the voters are bad people but you shouldn’t be allowed to neglect someone because you have a grudge and you should have to pay attention to what you are voting for, that’s all I’m saying.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Making Moves

where the Sox will not stand idly by and allow ESPN to crown the Yankees the 2009 AL East Champions before a pitch is thrown on Theo Epstein’s watch.

The Yankees offseason acquisitions have apparently made them the best team in baseball despite the fact that the season hasn’t started yet, the Red Sox and Rays finished ahead of them and there are still 162 games to be played.

Granted their offseason moves have them poised to regain the pole position in the division but it’s not like the Sox and Rays are the Orioles…no offense.

The Sox are making moves to try and stay in competition with the Rays and Yankees and as of yesterday they’ve signed John Smoltz and Rocco Baldelli and are close to resigning Mark Kotsay.

Let’s start with Smoltz. This is a great signing for the Sox and it is going to seriously help the rotation and bullpen. It’s been rumored that Smoltz won’t be able to pitch until the end of May or beginning of June. This actually works out well for the Red Sox as Smoltz will be able to fill the role they were hoping Curt Schilling would have played last season.

The Red Sox have one of the best programs in all of baseball when it comes to rehabilitating pitchers shoulders so it’s certainly reasonable to think that Smoltz will be able to come back and be effective. His late availability works well with what Tito likes to do. He’s shown a pattern of shutting guys down for short periods of time during the season and now they’ll have John Smoltz and Tim Wakefield to move around as starters and relievers.

That gives Tito the flexibility to give Josh Beckett and Jon Lester some time during the season to heal up, it also adds an arm to the bullpen to allow Okie and co. to rest midseason.

I’d guess the Sox will likely start with Penny and Wake as the 4-5 starters with Justin Masterson in the pen. After last year Masterson proved he's a stud and the perfect 8th inning guy for the time being. Then they have Clay Buchholz to play with. If he doesn't get traded, he’ll likely start out in the minors. He needs to work out his delivery issues they tweaked it last year and that hurt as him he couldn't quite get it down.

Either way Buchholz can be used in a potential deal, for someone like Taylor Teagarden or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or he’s another guy you can bring up and join the rotation later in the year. The same thing goes for Michael Bowden, but that’s another story for another day.

The Sox also signed the pride of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli has missed a lot of time in the past three years playing in 92, 35, and 28 games due to injury and what has been diagnosed as channelopathy not a mitochondrial disorder as was previously thought.

According to the Rays blog The Heater Channelopathy involvies dysfunction of ion channels that can involve potassium, sodium, chloride and calcium. If the Baldelli and Sox medical staff can find a way to get him healthy he’ll be a terrific fourth outfielder.

Over his career Baldelli has show that he has good pop in his bat and has excellent speed. He also has the ability to play any of the three outfield positions. Because he’s from RI, Baldelli is going to be an instant fan favorite in Boston and if he can get healthy he’ll certainly be an adequate replacement for the departed Coco Crisp.

Of course just to prove that they are as smart as we hope they are the Sox are also close to re-signing Mark Kotsay to a one year deal. Again this is another good move by the Red Sox. Kotsay is certainly a good enough player to start on another team but with the way the offseason has gone it doesn’t look like there is a large market for a guy like him.

In 22 regular season games last season Kotsay hit .226 with 12 RBI (Boston Globe) but he also broke Brian Daubach’s record for most times hitting the ball wicked hahd right at people. Kotsay also became the Sox starting first basemen when Mike Lowell got hurt in the postseason, so he is definitely a valuable guy to have on the bench. The Sox can use him in the outfield as the fourth outfielder (depending on how Baldelli works out) as well as at first if Youk needs a break or incase Mike Lowell has any trouble returning from his offseason surgery. The Globe also made note that because Kotsay can can play both outfield and infield it allows Tito to carry four bench players and keep 12 pitchers, as he generally likes to.

There’s been a lot of panicking since the Sox lost the bidding war for Teixeira but I'll take Brad Penny, John Smoltz and Rocco Baldelli as alternatives. The team wanted Teixeira and I’m not going to pretend that they wouldn’t be improved with him in their lineup. But as always the Sox are making smart moves.

The battle between the Red Sox and Yankees rages on both on and off the field. Theo Epstein had a great quote in today’s Globe about the Yankees offseason moves.

“I don’t pay an awful lot of attention to them,” Epstein said. “My approach is they’re always going to win 95 to 100 games.”

And really that’s how you have to think of the Yankees. We love to see them struggle but realistically they are going to win 95 to 100 games more often than not. The Red Sox try to build their team with that in mind, knowing that in order to compete in their division they’ll need to win at least 95-100 games. Therefore you have to believe that all the moves Theo is making are designed to help the Sox field a 100 win team.

The Red Sox needed a fourth outfielder, another starter and some bullpen help. They are definitely addressing need with Penny, Smoltz, Kotsay, Baldelli and Ramon Ramierz, who a lot of people seem to be forgetting we just need a catcher.

A couple of quick thoughts on other stuff going on in the wide world of sports.

Last night’s BCS National Title game lived up to the hype. The Florida Gators, Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow won a second National title and Oklahoma’s offense struggled in yet another BCS bowl game.

It was a good game and since I don’t really have any preference when it comes to college sports I have to say I was happy to see Florida win, they are an exciting team to watch both offensively and defensively. As for the Sooners, Sam Bradford is the real deal but that SEC speed is just too much to handle sometimes.
Even though this year’s BCS National Title game was pretty indicative of two teams that should have played for a championship I think it goes to show exactly why there needs to be a playoff in college football.

Really Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and USC all could have potentially taken home a national title this year. Again that is a different story for a different day.

One more thing…I just watched a Weezer video for the first time since 1998 and if I could offer a small piece of advice to River Cuomo it would be not to grow a mustache, because…yikes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Don't Push the Panic Button Yet

Where I try to talk you off the ledge and into Gregg Zaun…

The Red Sox are still going to be in good position to challenge for the AL East title and/or the wild card. It’s just going to be a rougher road. Seriously, they’re not going to go from one of the top teams in baseball to battling in the basement with the Blue Jays because they missed out on one free agent. And a free agent that plays the same position as a guy that is coming off an MVP caliber year.

While it might not seem like the Sox are doing much this offseason because they didn’t get Mark “I let my wife pick the team I’m going to play for” Teixeira (your move Kris Benson) they have focused on addressing their needs. Teixeira was a want for the Sox, they still need a catcher but they also needed another bullpen arm, a 4-5 starter and a fourth outfielder.

The Sox got the bullpen arm they need in the Coco Crisp trade picking up 26 year old righty Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA, 70 Ks and 31 BBs in 71 2/3 innings, for the Royals, so those are pretty solid numbers especially when you consider the run support he got in KC.

The Sox also added Brad Penny, who I talked about in my last post, to be their second attempt at the Bartolo Colon experiment. Personally I think Penny for 5 million is a great deal for a guy like Penny, who should be able to bounce back well enough to fit the role the Sox have him pegged for. Honestly did you really want them to shell out big bucks for D-Lowe to come back and be the 4th starter? It’s pretty clear that Beckett, Lester and Dice-K are your 1-3, so it makes more sense for the Sox to save some money and go with Penny then try to resign Tek for two years and make a play for a guy like Taylor Teagarden.

They also got a break glass in case of emergency catcher in Josh Bard. I highly doubt he’s going to be a starter, like I said before he’s the 2009 version of Kevin Cash. I just hope he learns how to catch the knuckleball. I’m not sure another police escort Doug Mirabelli entrance will do.

Clearly the team’s most glaring need is a catcher. Ideally you’d love to see them resign Tek so they can have him groom his eventual replacement and his ideal replacement would be someone like Teagarden, unless they really think they can make a push for Joe Mauer when he becomes a free agent.

Another option the Red Sox have been reportedly exploring is bringing in Gregg Zaun. Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Gregg Zaun is as good a signing as CC, Burnett, Teixeira or even Pat Burrell but he is certainly a capable starter.

Zaun’s old but he’s played in the AL East for the last five seasons and his numbers really aren’t all that dissimilar from Varitek’s.

Zaun 2004-2008 w/ Toronto


2004 107 338 46 91 24 0 6 36 .269 .367 .393
2005 133 434 61 109 18 1 11 61 .251 .355 .373
2006 99 290 39 79 19 0 12 40 .272 .363 .462
2007 110 331 43 80 24 1 10 52 .242 .341 .411
2008 86 245 29 58 12 0 6 30 .237 .340 .359

Varitek 2004-2008 w/ Sox


2004 137 463 67 137 30 1 18 73 .296 .390 .482
2005 133 470 70 132 30 1 22 70 .281 .366 .489
2006 103 365 46 87 19 2 12 55 .238 .325 .400
2007 131 435 57 111 15 3 17 68 .255 .367 .421
2008 131 423 37 93 20 0 13 43 .220 .313 .359

Tek’s numbers are better, but not by as much as you would think, especially over the last two seasons. Now to be fair to Tek, who again I hope will be back, he played in way more games and had way more at bats than Zaun did. Realistically Zaun would be the perfect fit for the spot that Josh Bard is set to occupy but offensively you’d probably see similar results from Zaun and/or Varitek.

Once again though Tek’s value is more important behind the plate. The pitchers love throwing to him and it can only help the staff to have him behind the plate again. If Manny Ramirez isn’t generating much interest from teams I really can’t imagine anyone is offering all of King Midas’ silver for Varitek.

I really hope they resign Tek because I’m not sure if I can keep talking myself into Gregg Zaun.

(stats courtesy of