Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Day (or five) late thoughts on the Bartolo Colon signing

As you know the Sox signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal this week. I’m not going to lie to you I think it was a pretty smart move by Theo. Granted he’s not the Cy Young winning pitcher he was in 2005 but if he can stay healthy he will most definitely help eat some innings while Schilling rehabs or Buchholz gets ready for a season in the majors.

That’s the great thing about the signing, as Theo said it’s a low-risk high potential reward situation. According to ESPN If Colon is added to the Red Sox 40-man roster, “he would get a $1.2 million, one-year contract and have the chance to earn performance and roster bonuses.”

What is the worst that could happen? If he doesn’t pan out it’s no big deal for the Sox but if he can get back into game shape and stay healthy the best case scenario is you end up with a proven major league starter in your fourth or fifth starter spot for 1.2+ million. If Colon wins 8-10 games and keeps his ERA under five he’d be exactly what Schilling was last year (9-8, 4.76 ERA).

I’m not saying that Colon is automatically going to turn things around and be an ace again but he doesn’t have to be an ace. Really a success for Colon, in my mind would be if he could be a 4 or 5 starter.

I’m assuming the Sox top three starters are going to be Beckett, Dice-K and Jon Lester. Yes after his World Series performance and inspiring comeback from lymphoma I think Lester is ready for the big time. Then you’ve got Wake (who could certainly be an injury risk), Buchholz (who will be in the majors this year but he’s on an innings limit again so I wonder whether or not he’ll start the season in a starter’s role) then hopefully Colon.

The Red Sox also have Kyle Snyder and Julian Tavarez who can make starts.
I’m of the “you can never have enough pitching” and “when you think you have pitching, you don’t” schools of thought. Which is why I think the Colon signing was such a good idea for the Red Sox.

By no means am I saying that by adding Bartolo Colon the Red Sox have the best rotation or anything. I do think that they have a solid rotation that is built for both the long grind of a 162 game season and a playoff run. Adding Bartolo Colon does end up pitching as well as or better than what we all expected from Schilling that would be a major plus for the team. Especially considering how uneasy some fans seemed to feel when the Schilling news came out.

Assuming Colon can get healthy I don’t think there is any reason why he can’t fall somewhere between the ’07 Curt Schilling and the ’07 Dice-K.

That would be somewhere between 9-8 with a 4.76 ERA and 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA. After all he’s a guy that’s averaged a 16-10 record with a 4.10 ERA in 11 major league seasons. 15 wins is definitely a high water mark. I wouldn’t expect that out of him but if he stays healthy I can definitely see 7-10 wins and a 5ish ERA.

Of course this all changes if he can’t get healthy, or if Buchholz starts the season in the rotation and kills it for the entire year.

Either way according to the Bradford Files it looks like we’ll get out first look at Colon on March 9th.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spring Training is here

I’m almost over the debacle in the desert. I was able to watch the end of the game on NFL Network and I felt fine, so I think I’m ready to move on. And that’s a good thing because pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Spring Training.

Other than (enter your favorite team’s name here) are world champions! Is there any better statement in sports than pitchers and catchers report today? Ok there are probably other statements that are better but few evoke the same feeling of joy and rebirth as the day that the sports calendar turns over and it’s time for baseball to begin again.

With pitchers already working out and position players starting to show up let’s take a look at a one of the big topics early in spring training.

Jacoby & Coco – The centerfield situation is probably the topic that will be the most talked about during spring training this season. I know Schilling’s shoulder is a big deal, but I know a lot of fans are more interested in what the team will do with Ellsbury and what will become of Coco Crisp.

While it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have both Jacoby and Coco on the team I can’t imagine Coco will want to sit on the bench (which he confirmed today) and in my opinion he shouldn’t have to. I’m not saying that he should start in Boston, over Ellsbury because I think the kid has to play. He showed that he can get it done when the pressure is on last year and that is worth something.

Granted he only had 116 at bats and pitchers and managers will make adjustments and find some holes he’s still got the tools to be the Sox centerfielder for a while. Not only does he seem to be physically up to the challenge but he’s also given every indication of mental strength and will the 2007 Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia in the same locker room he will have a great guy to look up to when he inevitably goes through a slump.

It’s not fair to dismiss Coco because he’s certainly played phenomenal defense in center and I truly believe that if he didn’t hurt his wrist in the first few weeks of the 2006 season things would be a lot different than they are right now.

With that said, I think Coco is absolutely a starting centerfielder somewhere and the Sox really shouldn’t settle for 75 cents on the dollar in a trade. Trading him however could be a good way to find some pitching help in Schilling’s absence.

After reading this – Damon Nearly out of Baseball – from the FanHouse today I couldn’t help but smile about our present centerfield situation. I’m going to lie I am 100% ready to forget Johnny Damon ever existed in Boston with Jacoby waiting in the wings.

Extra bases – I f’n love firejoemorgan – not only to I agree with the basic premise of the site but this is one of the best things I’ve ever read. (This is what we’re up against)

The return of the baseball season also means the return of The Chili Guy on WBCN. This year I will find that SOB and shake his hand.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hello Mr. Mayor

Welcome aboard Sean Casey.

The Red Sox signed Sean Casey to a one year $700,000 -deal to back up gold glove first baseman Kevin Youkilis. Not a bad move at all in my opinion. Adding Casey, whose a decent left handed bat with a pretty good glove will definitely let the team rest Youk and Mike Lowell a little bit more than last year.

He’s a solid back up because he fits the model that the Red Sox have been going after lately – his batting average is right around .300 but he’s got good OBP numbers and he doesn’t strike out a lot.

He can really be a big help with letting Youk rest a little bit. The guy is so intense all the time and he is a perfectionist. Sometimes his intensity hurts him a little bit when he goes into slumps which are inevitable in a 162 game season. Then again his intense competitiveness probably helps him break out of those slumps too.

Sean Casey also a good club house guy, I’m pretty sure we was voted the leagues friendliest player and his nickname is “the Mayor”. You can never have enough good club house guys on the bench.

I know the Super Bowl is hours away but I can’t help being really, really excited for another baseball season. Especially since the Sox hung on to Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz.