Tag:Red Sox
Posted on: February 11, 2010 6:24 pm

Spring Is In The Air: Part 1

Even though the Northeast just got battered by another snowstorm, spring is in the air. Even though the groundhog saw his shadow in Punxsutawney, Pa, pitchers and catchers are reporting in less than three weeks. So, with most difference-making free agents signed, it can be a safe time for contenders, pretenders, sleepers, and rebuilding,
The Contenders:1. Obviously, then Yankees. A very strong rotation with C.C.-Burnett-Vasquez-Pettite-Joba/P
hil Hughes. A HOF left side of the infield, a perennial All-Star at first, and a breakout candidate at second in Robinson Cano. A so-so outfield, but Curtis Granderson should fit in nicely at the new Yankee Stadim, and Swisher is steady if not spectacular. Throw in the best closer of all time, and all the money in the world to patch up weak spots at the trade deadline, and the recipe for success is there, per usual.
2. The two-time defending NL champ Phillies show no signs of resting on their laurels. Essentially swapping Roy Halladay for Cliff Lee keeps this team at the top of the National League. Add that to Hamels, J.A. Haap, Joe Blanton and Co., and there is a solid rotation. A power-laden lineup with speed and depth. Should represent the Senior Circuit again in the fall classic.
3. Red Sox Nation was disappointed when Jason Bay didn't resign, but Theo Epstein did not sit on his hands. A busy offseason hauled in Mike Cameron, Marco Scutaro, Bill Hall, another Ramon Ramirez, Adrian Beltre, and the best free agent starter on the market, John Lackey. Lackey joins Josj Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Tim Wakefield and a healthy Daisuke Matsuzaka to shape baseball's best rotation. Superior defense and high OPS should make the Sox the wild card favorite if they fail to unseat the Yankees atop the AL Beast.
4. The two-headed monster of Carpenter and Wainwright should make the Redbirds the flavor of the NL Central, where 85-88 wins should do the trick. Keeping Matt Holliday was huge, as Albert Pujols has a partner in crime to scare the pitchers in the National League. Dave Duncan could coax soild years from the likes of Brad Penny and Kyle Loshe. An otherwise unspectacular lineup could see a serious upgrade is Colby Rasmus breaks out. Ryan Franklin needs to be as good as last year.
5. No one can accuse Ken Williams of inactivity. The White Sox GM is the quintessential wheeler-and-dealer. He traded young hurlers Clayton Richard and Aaron Poreda for Jake Peavy, hoping a return to health for the former NL Cy Young Award winner will put the ChiSox into the promised land for the second time in 5 years. Mark Buerhle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd back up the ace to make up a good rotation. Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez need to give this team more than they did last year. Gordon Beckham should be even better. Alex Rios, who knows? Mark Teahen trade was a good one. 
I see these five as the primary threats to capture the World Series trophy.
Posted on: January 5, 2010 2:02 pm

Yay for Beltre

Not bad, not bad at all. I am not in love with Beltre as a player, and we all know what his 2004 season was about. That said, this is short money for a Gold Glove third baseman, and his numbers at Fenway will be much improved over his numbers at Safeco, which we all know is where power hitters go to die. This lineup, offensively, will be a contact lineup, everyone capable of double-digit home runs and there is a good lefty-right balance with some speed at both the top and bottom of the order. The defense will be among the league's best, and the pitching staff is looking to be ferocious. A bench with Kotchman, Varitek, Lowrie, Hermida, not bad. The bullpen, the usual suspects; Papelbon, Bard, Okajima, DelCarmen, etc. Also, a great farm system, lots of money, and great owners/front office. What's not to like? The trade deadline will fill any glaring needs. As Theo's theory goes, this team needs to win approx. 95 games to get in. Winning the division doesn't really matter, a good team should be able to win at home and on the road (which was Boston's problem last year). As long as you can get into the playoffs, home field advantage is a mere token. We all knew it was coming, but it will still be sad to see Mike Lowell go. Wherever he ends up, that team is getting a huge clubhouse asset, and if healthy, a good player. 
Category: MLB
Posted on: December 14, 2009 9:24 pm

What do the Sox do for more offense?

Can we resign ourselves to the fact that Jason Bay is not coming back? We know Theo is not going to offer that fifth year. The Sox front office hates giving too long of contracts to guys on the wrong side of 30, even one as productive and conducive as Bay was here. So, now what? A gaping hole in the lineup and in left field. I don't trust Matt Holliday in an American League, big market, high-pressure city. I just have a bad feeling about this guy, maybe its the stink emanating from Boras, the ludicrous contracts he is talking. Fenway plays well to anyone with right-handed pull power, and Holliday has that but just something about the guy I don't trust. I also am not comfortable with a Jeremy Hermida/Josh Reddick platoon out there. That's for the Nationals and Pirates of the world, not the Red Sox. I don't want to hear anything about Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Jack Cust, or any other bum. It seems like its Bay or Holliday, and if Bay leaves, it makes us desperate for Holliday which is a dangerous place to be when dealing with a Boras client. What trades are out there?  Too many bad contracts man. Alfonso Soriano, Carlos N. Lee, Magglio Ordonez. Yuck. The only places that are optional to upgrade/add power are LF, 3B and 1B. Youkilis can move around, VMart can play some first, so there are options. Adrian Gonzalez is available and affordable, but San Diego (especially with Jed Hoyer working there now) would want the sun and the moon to move this guy. A young, superstar slugger thats Mexican-American playing in San Diego for a bad team...who else will sell tickets? Jody Gerut? I don't know if Detroit wants to get rid of Miguel Cabrera, or is regretting the contract they gave him. The kid looks like he's trying to eat his way out of baseball. Theo doesn't want to give up the prospects necessary to nab either of these two it seems. Adrian Beltre seems imminent, and I'm ok with that as long as its within say 5-7% over market value. Another Boras guy unfortunately. What would a guy like Lance Berkman cost? 
Category: MLB
Tags: Red Sox
Posted on: December 14, 2009 9:09 pm

Nervous Nellie

I like, not love, the John Lackey signing. He pitched very well against the Sox in the playoffs last year, but has bad career numbers at Fenway. Albeit, from now on the Sox will be scoring for him and not on him. We all know how much better the Sox swing the bat at the Fens vs. on the road. A rotation of Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Matsuzaka and Buchholz is fantastic. Wakefield, Tazawa and Bowden will provide the depth. On top of that, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sox bring in a guy like Duchscherer or Bedard on the cheap like Penny and Smoltz last year; hopefully with better results. Depth is always a must, no rotation has all five of its starters make 30+ starts. The big question I have now is, do the Sox get a contract extension done with Beckett, or are they even going to try? Beckett is younger and better than Lackey, so the money will be more than the $85 million Lackey is now due. 
Category: MLB
Posted on: December 10, 2009 8:22 pm

Winter, A Season of Dreams

Ah, the baseball offseason. A time of wistful thinking and lineup tinkering. Some teams need a lot of help (Houston, we have a problem), and some teams, not so much (I swear the Steinbrenner's print their own money). Our beloved pastime has no salary cap, and despite all the revenue-sharing in the world, baseball will never be an equally fair enterprise. For teams like the Red Sox, more things go right than wrong because their is the money available to cover up mistakes. The bad contracts that can sink a small market team like Kansas City or Pittsburgh are only a headache for the LA's and Boston's of the world. The fact that Boston is still paying Julio Lugo may smack at the pride of Theo Epstein; but it won't cost him his job. On to the lineup. A whole season of a healthy Victor Martinez can do wonders for this team. That, in combo with the multiple-positional aptitude of Kevin Youkilis, could potentially make this offseason easier for Theo. If Youk would not be opposed to an almost full time move to third, Victor could play first and let Varitek/Max Ramirez split time behind the plate (with VMArt getting the occasional start). I would hate to see another bad contract given out to Scott Boras client Adrian Beltre. A fine defensive player, who probably could use that wall similar to the way Lowell did as a right-handed hitter. All well, except the money would probably be more than it would cost to retain a guy like Casey Kotchman to spell at first, or use a utility guy at third when Youk needs a night off or is playing first. Jeremy Hermida as a 4th OF isn't too shabby. The kid is only 25. We shall see if he blossoms a little more. A dream lineup.
1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury2. 2B Dustin Pedroia3. 3B Kevin Youkilis4. LF Jason Bay (I really hope JBay stays and Holliday doesn't arrive)5. 1B Victor Martinez6. DH David Ortiz7. RF J.D. Drew8. C Jason Varitek/Max Ramirez9. SS Marco Scutaro
That's not a bad lineup. Enough pop 3-6 to get the job done (in conjunction with a very good staff). Also, some speed at 1-2 and at the bottom with Scutaro to turn the lineup over. Contact throughout, and solid OBP besides Bay. I would have loved to get Chone Figgins, but oh well. Health, and PawSox guys filling in (Josh Reddick in particular tickles me pink), I think this is a 95-98 win team even in the AL East. 
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 15, 2009 12:19 pm

Sawx Fans Pipe Dreams

As a Red Sox fan, I am partial to thinking Boston is the best baseball town in the country, and Red Sox fans the most knowledgable and passionate fan base there is (besides this new "Red Sox Nation" crap and the friggin pink-hat post-2004 yuppies with the season tix and Boylston brownstones). Anyways, I listen to a lot of sports-talk radio (103.7 WEEI in Providence and 850 AM Boston), and I hear Sox fans calling and trying to play Theo.

One big problem with some fans is they think real sports can be managed like a fantasy team. This Roy Halladay situation, much like the Johan Santana situation a few summer back, has gotten everyone off their rockers. People calling in thinking the Sox can trade guys like Lugo, Drew, Penny and Saito in a package for the likes of Halladay is absurd. Also, a package of prospects that wouldn't include both Buchholz and Lars Anderson is also not a reality. Toronto, to move the arguably the best pitcher in baseball to a financial behemoth within its own division is ballsy already, therefore, you have to know that J.P. Riccardi is going to want top-flight guys that he can have under his control for a long time. A likely deal would look something like Buchholz, Bowden, DelCarmen and Anderson...something like that. A lot to give up for sure. Other names out there include Reddick, Westmoreland, Masterson, Bard, Hagoden and Casey Kelly.

With these names, we are talking about the latest fruit off the vine of Theo's "player development machine", which has already helped secure one championship in 2007. Now, money is not the issue here, the Sox could certainly afford to sign Halladay to an extension, which he would surely want to facilitate any trade and waive his full no-trade clause. Toronto doesn't want to have to deal him obviously, but they can't afford to keep him with terrible contracts they doled out to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. Their future lies around Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Travis Snider, their young pitchers and whatever they can get for Halladay.

Sox fans need to realize to get this guy is going to cost a TON. Also, forget about Hanley Ramirez and Joe Mauer, two other names I've been hearing for next year. While those are two positions the Sox certainly need addressed, both those guys are young, franchise faces. Also, both Florida and Minny are opening new stadiums next year, so those guys aren't going anywhere. We are going to see the Pohlad's finally pony up and pay, because Mauer is the local boy hero demigod.

The Sox will rely on their young guys and the fact that in the next 2 seasons, they have guys like Drew, Ortiz, Lugo and Lowell coming off the books. Papelbon will chase bigger money somewhere else (the Bronx perhaps?), so Bard needs to be kept. The Red Sox priority this season should be to hold onto the young guys, find a deadline bat, and re-sign Jason Bay this offseason. Glad the AL got home field too!!!!

Category: MLB
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