After a weekend of feeling over matched in Upstate New York (I was on a business trip where the best eating option was the Quaker Steak and Lube, a restaurant named after a motor oil. Exactly. ), I came home yesterday to be pleasantly satisfied with everything Theo did on Friday at the trading deadline. Sure, I knew two days ago that our genius general manager had turned Justin Masterson and four guys nobody had ever heard of into Victor Martinez and Casey Kotchman, but it took a couple days to see exactly how good these moves were.
The last few years came with a lot more trepidation on my end at this time. Even last year, when we shipped a disgruntled douche out of town, the deal made me think that we gave up too much at the time, including the $7 million remaining on said douche’s contract. In the past year it has turned out that we did get the better of the deal (we gave up a 50 game suspension and two guys who really don’t have anything to provide for an All-Star starter who will end up with 30+ HR and 110+RBI), but when it happened I was legitimately worried about how it would effect the lineup. Of course, in 2007 we had the Gagne debacle (I even saw him pitch in the World Series that season, has anyone ever deserved a ring less?), and in 2004, when Theo made the ballsiest trade in the history of baseball, nobody knew how it was going to turn out. This year there is none of that nervousness.
The big trade, of course, was the one that turned Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price into Victor Martinez. Martinez is the perfect fit with this team and also comes with the type of contract flexibility that the guys in the front office love (signed through 2010 for $7.5). In his two games so far with the Sox, Victor is 6-11 (after a 5-6 day yesterday). He had been hitting an Ortiz-esque .196 for the two months prior to making his appearance in the Sox lineup Saturday night, but that was before he started hitting between Pedroia and Youkilis in the lineup, which should afford him a few more pitches to hit. The fact that he is in our control through the end of next season makes him the perfect option to become our starter next year, with Varitek catching Wake and being an assistant Pitching Coach. He will also hold the place nicely for one Joe Mauer and his blank check (no seriously, Theo needs to give this guy a contract and tell him to fill in the numbers he wants).
Alas, along with bringing in the bat that we needed, the Sox shipped out the former new guy, Adam LaRoche, after only about a week here in Boston. The trade produced Casey Kotchman (who spent about three innings yesterday with John Smoltz’ gum bubble sitting on top of his hat, I love hazing), another first baseman. Why would he do this, you ask. Well, the reasons are simple, though Kotchman is another first baseman (adding to Theo’s ever growing army of people who can play first base) he is younger than LaRoche, still has options to play in the minors and is under team control for two more years. He is also a guy who cost’s less and will likely spend more time on the bench because Martinez has been added to the first base rotation. Kotchman will likely be a bench player at best, and possibly spend some time in Pawtucket before the Sept 1 call ups.
The other debut, and possibly the one I am most excited about, was that of Josh Reddick. Not related to JJ, the kid is 22 and from Georgia and best of all, was a 17th round pick three years ago. He hasn’t been all that heralded, but he had two hits in his first start on Saturday, and his first Major League home run yesterday. He even hit the bomb while his face was bleeding profusely. With George Kottaras having been put on the DL with a severely fractured usefulness bone, and both Bay and Drew nursing nagging injuries, this kid could become an important part of the stretch run, after not having even played in Pawtucket before.
Today is a goddamn off day, and then we have a chance to continue to squeeze one out on both the Yanks and Rays (heyo) with two in Tampa and four in the whiffleball field once known as Yankee Stadium (anyone remember who was catching for the Indians when they beat the Pinstriped Assholes 22-0 a couple of years ago? I thought so).