Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not Just a Lackey, but no Halladay

Maybe Roy wasn't available to the Sox. Maybe Bay said privately to Theo that there was no way he would come back to Boston. Maybe we'll never know exactly the reasoning behind all these things. But what we should know as Sox fans is that with these types of moves, you are getting less than you are led to believe.

I've heard the Boston spin that Lackey has post-season experience and that he has 500-less innings on his arm than Halladay. Let's face it, though. He ain't Halladay. I don't even think he's Sabathia or Beckett.

The Sox will reportedly be paying $17MM/year for a guy who will fit into the top 3 in your rotation, but isn't an ace. Will the Sox be formidable with Beckett, Lester, and Lackey? Absolutely. There will probably not be many extended losing streaks. And the Sox might be banking on the "just get to the playoffs" where pitching wins scenario. Would those three in the playoffs be difficult? Again, absolutely.

However, (and I am not falling back into the pre-2004 mind frame here, just reality), there is a team in the Bronx through which other teams must go. I hate to say it but Sabathia is better than any of the Sox top pitchers (Lackey included). Burnett proved he is a strong post-season guy. And Pettitte is ridiculous (and mostly untouchable) in the post-season. Add to this the Yankees lineup, and the Sox are up against it before they start.

This is compounded by their current roster. They've agreed to a contract with Cameron, which pretty much rules out Bay. In Cameron, they've acquired a veteran who is on the wrong side of 35. So here's the projected lineup:


While on paper it isn't bad, there are lots of questions marks and an astounding lack of run producers (especially for the last 4 names in the lineup). It is clear the Sox are focusing on strong pitching and defense, a philosophy that did not work out well for them in the past. In the AL you need pitching, defense, AND offense.

They, of course, might be moving Lowell (if he passes his physical). They aren't getting a guy that will help this year. My overall feeling is that they signed Lackey for beyond this year, not necessarily to make the big splash. By losing Bay and signing Lackey, I feel like the Sox will be as competitive as last year. They will be competitive against good pitching as they'll be able to matchup well up and down the rotation. However, they won't score (much like last year) against good pitching.

Most writers are saying "maybe this isn't a bridge year after all". I disagree.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Granderson to Yanks

It might be just me, but this one just makes me yawn? If Granderson takes Damon's place, frankly, that is a downgrade. Not to mention that Granderson can't hit lefties and has been in a steep two year decline. Okay, so he *might* bounce back playing in that tiny ball park. But he might not. We know what Damon could/did do. so for now, they have downgraded.

That being said, my gut tells me they aren't done. Melky, well, he kind of sucks. So they probably will sign Bay or Holliday and dump Melky for some middle reliever. And they will do it after one of Bay or Holliday has signed somewhere else, leaving the Sox no option and fueling the end of the world discussions in Boston, WEEI, etc.

Put another log on the hot stove Theo. Its about to get real chilly in Boston.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Scutaro. Done deal.

So it looks like I was dead wrong on this one. MLB.com is reporting its official. A two year deal, no financial terms reported yet. It will probably be out there by the time you East Coast guys are up, but nothing now. Two years is better than three. And they supposedly are really high on this 19 year old Dominican kid they signed (Iglesias) and think he could be ready in two years. So I guess it fits. Plus, he can play some other positions in case of injury or the emergence of Lowrie as a stud, Scutaro could then be a super sub. I'm surprised that this one happened so quickly.

I don't love signing a guy off a career year. That said, I don't think the difference between the Sox being good and the Sox being great next year, will come down to who is playing SS and batting 8th or 9th. They need offensive consistency. And need better production in the 3-4 spot in the rotation, whether its Dice-K, Bucholz or getting Halladay or maybe even a guy like Randy Wolf (if they move Clay to get a bat.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bay Rejects Offer

As could be expected, with the free agency market about to open, Bay rejected the first offer from the Sox. After the numbers he put up this year, how could he accept the first offer? This is his pay day.

The NY Mets, according to numerous web sites and reports, are ready to make Bay their number one off-season priority. It would be easy to say that this interest in agent driven (a la Boras) to get the Sox to up their offer. However, Bay may be the biggest bat available this off-season.

I know it sounds crazy, but I don't see the Sox getting into a bidding war with anyone over Bay. They will set a price for him and then see if he will accept. If not, then on to plan B.

In this case, I believe plan B will actually be plan A (which is getting Gonzalez from San Diego). Since missing on Texeira, and seeing his value (even at over what the Sox offered him), it would seem this is on player for whom the Sox would readily "overpay".

Either way, the free agency door opens at midnight tonight.

Friday, November 06, 2009

What Next for the Sox?

The very rich Yankees have won the World Series. A friend of mine, a Yankees fan, wrote "I wonder what Theo Epstein is thinking?". This, in turn, got me thinking. Theo is probably thinking that if he had $75-$80MM dollars more that he could have had Sabathia and Texeira...and another rolling rally through Boston.

However, he doesn't. What he does have is a team with aged veterans and lots of questions.

Let's get the easiest area out of the way first:

Many will feel comfortable entering the season with Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, Matsuzaka and Wakefield as the 1-5. They have depth at Pawtucket. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing them add John Lackey (who is available). Their inconsistent offense would be carried by a front three of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey. I don't care about an overload of pitching. The Sox should not be comfortable rounding out their rotation with Buchholz (who may or may not develop), Wakefield (who misses longer periods of time each year), and Daisuke (no one can say for sure that he is going back to 18 wins).

The pen should good enough to start the season with Bard getting a full season's shot as the eighth-inning guy and Papelbon still closing games. The Sox should pick up the option on Wagner. He was very effective as a power lefty out of the pen, and can be used in many save opportunities giving Papelbon some rest.

At the catching position you have Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek. Tek did not play at all in the playoffs which means that the Sox are looking to Martinez as the primary catcher. But Martinez is not going to catch every game next year. Will Tek be happy with this as a backup? He'll get his time behind the plate, but probably 60 games at the most. However, behind the plate appearances for Varitek would increase if Lowell continues to be hampered by his injuries. Youk slides to third, Martinez plays first, Tek catches.

Bay entered the free agent pool today. That's a problem. Damon is probably not getting re-upped by the Yankees, and Bay could be wearing pinstripes in a month or two. Bay is probably the best bat available on the free agent market. The Yankees proved beyond a doubt last year that they will throw tons of money around (amounts with which no one could compete...by the way, the Yankees spent $97MM more than the Phillies on payroll this year. In their 2008 championship season, the Phillies spent just under $98MM. To demonstrate the gap in the two WS teams this year, that would be like the Rays spending $1.5MM for their total salary last year against the Phillies).

If Damon doesn't resign with the Yankees, is there a chance he returns to Fenway in LF? A two-year contract might get it done.

Gonzales is gone. The Sox love Lowrie, but he might be damaged goods at this point. He is too injury prone to count on as the everyday guy as SS. Marco Scutaro is available, and the Sox should target him.

Youk and Pedroia are fine at first and second. Drew and Ellsbury in RF and CF, respectively, should be ok. There lineup still lacks punch and consistency with Tek, Lowell, and Lowrie.


These are your everyday guys. Matt Holliday is available. If they aren't going after Bay, they better get Holliday. Abreu resigned today, so he is off the market.

Chone Figgins is also a free agent, and a multi-position guy. Primarily a 3b, but flexible. You start to get a NL feel to this team with Figgins and Ellsbury at the top. Is that a bad thing?

What I am hoping the Sox do NOT do is follow their current trend of retreads (see Penny, Smoltz, Baldelli). Texeira to the Yankees is a division changer for years to come. Without Bay, there isn't a difference maker on the Sox. And despite Bay's numbers, he didn't "feel" like a difference maker.

All the other teams in the East have holes. Tampa couldn't hold on to Kazmir, they have to try to get a deal done with Crawford (which means they probably won't be huge players in the FA market this offseason). Toronto isn't getting better. Baltimore is a mess. But this doesn't guarantee a post-season birth for the Sox. Out west, the Rangers will be very good again this year, and the Angels are poised for another strong season. The Sox cannot expect that 95 wins gets them in. Too many other teams will be in the Wild Card running. They need to change enough where they can make a run at the division.

So, what do they do? That is the question...

Finally a player whose name I won't mess up

Jeremy Hermedia joins the Sox.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Out classed

If I may indulge a brief tangent. Ok, I don't even need to ask, who am I kidding.

So Team USA almost completed the Cinderella story. A light touch from Dempsey on a great serve from Proctor put the world cup giants on their heals. Then, about 20 minutes later a wonderful orchestrated counter-attack was deftly and coolly finished off by Landon. It appeared for a moment that Team US was about to pull off the most unbelievable comeback in international tournament play.

But that is when the Brazilian gods woke up, disgusted by the potential embarrassment of losing to the filthy Americans, asked their lovely assistant (pictured here) to step aside and put on a soccer clinic in the second half. There is a word from the 80's that describes what happened to Team USA, "SCHOOLED".

In a way, I prefer these results. Let's hope this loss smarts enough to create a real fire in the belly for Team USA. Then we might stand a chance to get to the quarter finals of 2010 world cup.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

O Raul, Raul, wherefore art thou Raul?

Interesting blogpost on former GYS star Raul Ibanez. I miss his quiet production. Even in an AL-only-no-Yankees league Raul always seemed to be easy to over look. Yet, he has been incredibly consistent for the past 3 years and is currently bursting into flames. Which led to speculation he is on 'roids.

In my opinion, even if Raul started using Steroids in the off-season (which would help explain his current production), I really doubt that he would have had enough time to allow for such significant changes to his physicality. In other words, answering the question, how do steroids help you hit homers is vital to any speculative argument about a player using 'roids. In this case, I would argue that the only benefit that Raul might gain from 'roiding is the healing affect. It would allow him to recover more quickly than his 37 year old body would otherwise permit. Sure this would allow him to feel better and to react better to fastballs, but it's not going to mean he can hit the ball further. I think more evidence is coming to light that steroids actually don't benefit a player's performance all that much. So when does all the speculation end?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Manny less Dodgers slip from MLB lead

With or without Manny in the line up, I don't think anyone predicted that May 12th would mark the day that the Dodgers finally slipped from the MLB lead for best record. On top of that, no one would have predicted that the Toronto Blue Jays would be the team to take over the lead. This must be Bizzaro world.

The Sox are keeping pace with the hot team from up North, despite having both Youkalis and now Pedroia out of the line up. Captain Tek came through last night in the clutch with a big double. I admire the fact that the Sox are built to win, regardless of who is in or out. It's a thing of beauty!

Monday, May 04, 2009

That was closer than it looked

It appears that the Rays have our number. In 7 games this year the Red Sox are 2-5 against the Rays. Yesterday's game was well within reach. Penny did as well as we could ask for and yet the stars did not align. Hopefully, we can turn things around next weekend and at least take the series. That would leave us at 4-6 or 5-5 with a sweep. Regardless, the best news is that we're more than half over with the Rays and it's only the first full week of May.

This of course, is ignoring the big news on everyone's calendar: Red Sox in the new Yankee Stadium. Did you hear that Terry had to pony up the $2,000+ to get his family seats. (Ok, I am just trying to spread a nasty rumor). It should make for good Monday night tv.

Finally, a word about Jerry. Buck Martinez was a pleasure to listen to all weekend. I am sure he makes as many mistakes as other announcers, but quite frankly I enjoyed his more serious approach when compared to Remy and his air-guitar (although that was frickin' hilarious). No news on Remy's return, yet. I am wondering what his illness was that took him out in Spring Training and this past weekend. Could it be, showing up drunk to the booth?! (Ok, more nasty rumors)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Javier Lopez is not good in RF

That's right. Things got so bad for the Sox last night that after giving up 2 2-run doubles, Lopez was moved to RF so Van Every could close out the 8th.

Enough said.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Van Every Day!

Well, that was fun. Nice to see another prospect contribute, albeit a little randomly. I was not thrilled to see Baily and Van Every in the line up so soon. But I do understand that we got to get the boys some rest now and again. All in all, it was still a pretty good game to watch and of course it doesn't hurt that we won the rubber match. Lester's performance wasn't stellar, but he seemed to settled down after the 4th (5 of the 7 hits were in the first 2 innings). Another good sign was 4 more scoreless innings from the bullpen. Our guys might not be as dominate as before (seem to walk a lot more guys) but we're not giving up runs.

Tonight should be interesting: Beckett v. Garza in the Tropicana Dome. It's a 4 game set against Garza, Sonnanstine (v. Masterson), Niemann (v. Wake), and Shields (v. Penny). Naturally, I'd love to kick the Rays while they're down, but we just don't seem to match up against them like we used to. I'll be happy splitting the series.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lugo's Revenge?

Last night, I couldn't help but think to myself the guys on WEEI are going to chew up Lugo tomorrow for dropping that play at second. They actually went pretty easy on him, but I think it is safe to say there is a small pit in RSN's stomach this morning ("This is our everyday SS?!")

In other news, how about Hunter Jones! I know it's only 4 IP, but 1 hit and no BBs against the mashing Orioles, Yankees and Indians.

Monday, April 20, 2009

That's more like it!

Nothing like a good dose of Orioles baseball to turn that frown upside down. It appears Grieves is still alive and well (still no word from the other GYSers).

Looking ahead, this week we have the Twins and Yankees. After the Yankees had to pull their Wang out early, I doubt they'll serve him up to the Sox on Friday. Still they have a pretty potent line up.

(Man this was a lame post), but I am committed to getting this blog back on track!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Slow start to the season

I am not talking about the Red Sox. I am talking about GYS chatter. Is it over? The guilded-age of blog-dome?

Post a comment if you're even checking the blog. I don't mind carrying some of the weight if you guys don't mind reading my crap.

Notables from the first week in 2009 baseball:

Jair Jurjens is 2-0!!!
J.D. Drew looks silly against lefties (oh wait that's old news)
Sabathia found his stride against the Royals (can you really say that?)
Blue Jays are cruising!
And finally, who the hell is Nick Green?!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Awakened from my slumber...

...by the newest member of the Red Sox organization, named "Randor Bierd". Randor! Man, his name sounds like a typo. Or one of our backwards-pronounced names. In any case, 12eight seems to be sadly out of commission, but I think our new friend Randor (dude's name is Randor!) is an immediate contender for the next Arquimedez Pozo Award.

...P.S. Randor!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is this thing on?

I fear that my colleagues-de-blog have all become distracted by such lowly priorities as family!

Left here by the hot stove all alone I carry on the torch. What I would do for a crazy comment from Peter or maybe an insightful comment from Andrew.

Now that I am done feeling sorry for myself, let's get to business. A lot has happened since my last post.

1. Eliza Dushku is coming to Boston... I mean Brad Penny is coming to Boston and hopefully Faith will attend some of her beau's games (seeing that it is her home town)
2. The return of the Bard, Josh Bard
3. Rocco is coming home - what a great way to cap a troubled career especially if his mitochondria are fully functioning
4. John Smoltz?! Now we're talking!!!