An old favorite:
An old favorite:
Does anyone else find it hard to keep watching baseball this season? At the end of last year, I found myself completely engrossed in the World Series, even lacking a local presence. This season, however, I just can’t get interested. The games might as well be (non World Cup) soccer for all the energy and thought I have put into them. I have been keeping up with what is going on, but there is really no compelling story to keep me reeled in, especially after the Angels lost the first two games to the Yanks. Each of the teams has flaws, and something of a story, but there are no reasons to like any of them.
The Yankees – Wow, another Steinbrenner paid for quarter billion dollar juggernaut is racing towards a championship? Somebody alert the Pope, he may want to add another book to the Bible. These guys are not even likable in the least way. Their best players are a Boras-Bot whose wife clearly wears the pants in the relationship, a blue lipped billionaire who has to be on the roids again because his traditional October crapout is still to come, and a guy so fat that his jersey has more pinstripes on it than anyone’s in history. The $560 million or so devoted to these three guys has made them less fun, where as most of us, if given that kind of dollars, would be much more fun. Do you care about these guys? Do you hope that they get the title that will help validate their lives? I thought not.
The Angels – They are the team of destiny, the team that lost one of their own early in the season, and the team that tore the huge monkey off of their backs last week by taking down the team that had ousted them four straight times. On Saturday night, the bars in Boston were full of people rooting for them to crush the Yanks as they had the Sox. But there is something missing, most likely their ability to beat the Yanks at the stadium, any semblance of a reliable closer, and the East coast bias that refuses to let me care about them. Were they up 2-0 instead of down right now I’d probably be wearing my old Angels little league shirt (from the team coached by Jimmy Junk) and cheering about how they are going to cause a murder-suicide (Cashman-Steinbrenner) at the end of the season. As is, I could really care less. (Unless they win tonight and tomorrow).
The Phillies – They won last year and didn’t make many changes over the winter. The city of Philadelphia is too recently sated with a title to completely explode and burn it self down like they almost did last year when they won. They have no personality and even Pedro seems to have toned down the Soul Glo in his hair. Nobody except for Cliff Lee is on this ride for the first time and most of them are just too damn businesslike. In short, they are boring, and nobody likes a boring story. At least if it were Detroit we would be able to take bets on the over/under of arrests made in the celebration or how quickly the city would be abandoned after the fires.
The Dodgers – Have no shot. Who exactly is on their team? Oh, they do have the only really compelling character in either series, in Andre Ethier, but he’s not enough, and their pitching staff is weaker than Troy Duffy’s hopes to win an Oscar.
Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.
If I were Joe Girardi right now I would be considering taking a walk through my bullpen with an Armalite AR-10 carbine gas-powered semi-automatic weapon, pumping round after round into colleagues and co-workers. He has to be getting frustrated. Last night, just after the Sox bullpen had finally coughed one up (MDC on a rare off night), the Yanks ‘pen gave it right back, proving that no matter how much you spend on starters and hitters, you need to spend a little more on those last two innings.
For the third straight night, the Yanks had to rely on their bullpen, and for the third straight night, the bullpen acted like they were throwing BP. Last night it was the top of the order (and Nick Green) who got it going in the eighth, driving Chomping Cheeseburgers Sabathia (who gave up only one run while he was in the game, another bomb from The Rotting Corpse, but got hit for all four because his bullpen blows) from the game and placing themselves in the comfortable waiting arms of the Alfredo Aceves. Four singles, a 10 pitch walk by Dusty Pete, and a Mike Lowell sac fly gave us three more in the inning, (Rocco struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning, but he had saved the game the inning before with a truly Ellsbury-esque catch) just enough to let the Papelbeast come out snorting and dominate the last three feeble men that they sent to the plate.
If this series doesn’t demonstrate the chief advantage that this year’s Sox have over their opponents then I don’t know what will. As far back as Truck Day, I was lauding the fact that it was going to be the bullpen that made all the difference in the AL East this season. But even I didn’t know that they would be this good. There are no weaknesses, no soft spots, and, since the demotion of Javier Lopez, nobody who give you that Seanez like dread when he enters the game.
Need a power right hander to get a K in a big spot? O.K. we’ve got a rookie who throws 100. Need a lefty who can shut down righthanded batters as well? Oki-Doki. Need a second closer because your regular guy is tired? Here’s a closer who had 39 saves in 2007. Need to just make people look silly? Ram-Ram, it’s your turn. Even when one of the guys has a rough night, as Ram-Ram did two nights ago and MDC last night, there is someone who can come in and pick them up. Wednesday it was Oki, Saito last night.
It was nice knowing Brad Penny while he was here, but if he’s not a commodity after throwing six shutout innings, against the Yanks, in the rain, then he never will be. We’ll miss him for his quality starts, and for his wonderful ex-girlfriends. Plunking A-Rod in the first as retribution for them hitting Bay was just a beautiful thing. Good Job, Brad.
The Sox are now 8-0 against the Yankees this season. They won’t meet again until August 5 at the Yankee Wiffle Ball Field. I wonder if their fans can pull off this kind of ninth inning coordination magic:
The Boston.com headline this morning was “Red Sox Take Finale By Force.” Is that a rape joke?
Congratulations Red Sox fans, we’ve made it through the long ALCS hangover known as the off season and we are standing on the precipice of another brand spanking new baseball season. While not all of us will be able to get over to Fenway at 1:00 today to see off the gear and the flatbed that will lead it out with Wally, Fenway Ambassadors (I hope that means the new hooker service in the EMC club) and some people who paid to be called “official” members of Red Sox Nation, we can all bask in the fact that it is less than a week until the fields of Ft Myers will be teaming with pitchers and catchers.
This brings me to my main point of the day: The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East this season. The division features the three best teams in all of baseball (yes, all of baseball, Phuck you Phillies Phans), and the rules say that one of them has to be left out. It will be the Sox who rise to the top of the division this season, for these three reasons (among others):
1. Starting pitching. “You can never have too much pitching,” according to Theo Epstein (our resident genius), but the Sox come close. The starting rotation is led by Beckett, He Who Shall Not Be Doubted, and the Wiggler. Any of those guys can step in and be a stopper on any individual day, and if you add to that the fact that Beckett is cooler than the Fonz in odd numbered years (’03, ’05, ’07) you have three aces. The back end of the rotation is a fluid situation, with Timmmmmaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, and Mr. Dushku taking the lead and the physical freak (Smoltz, who’ll be available in June), Suchholz, Bowden and Masterson (who’s gonna start the season in the pen) all available to fill in.
The Yankees filled their previously struggling rotation out for around $243.5 Million this winter but didn’t get a single actual proven commodity in those two signings. Other than last season and, to a lesser extent, his previous walk year of 2005, AJ Burnett has not been impressive. Yes, he has nasty stuff, buit he also smells a lot more like Carl Pavano than Josh Beckett (all three of them won the Series with the ’03 Marlins). He broke down his first two years in Toronto and only showed up when there were dollars on the line. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, is a horse (and might weigh as much as one once the pressure of pitching in the AL East gets to him). He has thrown nearly 500 innings in the last two seasons and shat the bed in the playoffs both years (2-3 with a 7.92 ERA), not to mention the fact that he sucks against the Sox. Does not inspire a ton of confidence. The Rays had an entire rotation full of career years last year, except for Kazmir, and are adding the truly frightening David Price, so nobody has any clue what they are going to do, any anyone who tells you that they do is full of shit.
2. David Ortiz is a bad man. He is pissed at all of those people who said that he was done, and he knows how to make them hurt. He is healthy, jacked, and has Youkilis’ beard (already taking his cuts at City of Palms) and the Buzzard (it’s my new nickname for Jason Bay), both 30 HR guys protecting him in the lineup. Don’t sleep on this lineup or you’ll end up in worse shape than Squeak after the Beers won the Denslow Cup.
3. But the real reason that the Sox are the class of the division, and therefore the league is the bullpen. Who would you rather have: a fading Mariano Rivera (still the best closer ever but at the end of his time on top of the mountain), Dan Wheeler (no, seriously, they expect Dan Wheeler to be a shut down closer, ha), or the Papelbeast? I thought you’d say that. Not only do the Sox have the clear advantage in the closer department, but the rest of the guys playing the drums out in right field are a formidable force themselves. Since Masterson stepped into the seventh inning role last summer, Delcarmen (2.35 ERA in the last 35 games) became more reliable as a shutdown reliever and should be able to hold down the sixth and seventh, Oki got more comfortable and bounced back from his slow start, and Javier Lopez became one of the better lefty match up guys in the league. They will be joined by fireballing young righty Ramon Ramirez (2.64 ERA last season) and former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito. The group goes seven deep with two players who can effectively close on nights when the Papelbeast is unavailable (hungover). The Rays have problems at the back end of their bullpen, where Wheeler was exposed last fall and David Price stepped in. Price, who is still a rookie, is going to be moving into the rotation, leaving a hole in the late innings. JP Howell and former Sox righty specialist Chad Bradford, both had career years last season but are middle relief guys, and nobody really knows what Grant Balfour (who is still nuttier than elephant turds when he is on the mound) is going to be able to do. There are too many question marks here, as in their starting rotation, to be confident about much. The Yanks on the other hand, have Mariano Rivera at the back end of the pen to shorten games. He is coming off of a scope of his shoulder and is already starting to fade at age 39 even though he posted 39 saves last season with a WHIP of .665 and and ERA of 1.40. Beyond him there are a lot of empty spaces and question marks. Damaso Marte was great at the end of the season, but we have yet to see if he can duplicate that on the big stage and after AL hitters have gotten a better look at him. Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez are both middle relief guys and have had control problems in the past, so neither can be expected to step into the set up role. Brian Bruney, Phil Coke and some minor leaguers round out the group but none of them has a proven track record at anything and leave the Yankees depth in question. Of course, they’ll probably pick up somebody from a struggling club at mid season, but for now their bullpen is a real concern. The Sox go seven deep, and only have one real question mark out there in the form of Saito, who has been very successful in the past but is coming of an injury plagued season. The less uncertainty the better and the Boston bullpen ranks last in the number of question marks.
Be happy. The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East. They have a stronger pitching staff than their competitors and the lineup is going to be better than all of the worrywarts think. Of course, you don’t have to score many runs when your pitchers are this good. The long dark teatime of the soul is over. It’s Truck Day, the sun is shining and somewhere, on green fields, under blue skies and with B’s on their caps, people are going to be playing baseball really really soon. Anyone wanna have a catch?
Yeah, thats right. We may have missed some things while spending this week talking about how much Tebow sucks. But, as we close in on a month left to go until spring (yes, it will be spring on February 12. You can’t have spring training without it being spring), there are a few pieces to pick up.
The Sox added two more pieces to the puzzle that is the 2009 team. Rocco Baldelli is the fourth outfielder that I have hoped the Sox would pick up since he showed what he can still do at the end of the season with the Rays. He hit .263 with 4 home runs, 5 doubles and 13 RBI in just 80 at bats last season, after coming back from a mitochondrial disorder which caused him to fatigue easily and lose his legs. Those numbers translated over 400 at bats equal a pretty damn good season, and the mitochondrial disorder has been rediagnosed as Channelopathy, which is apparently much more treatable (I have no idea what any of this means. Perhaps Dr. Douchetits can explain?). He will also be a welcome departure from the recent slate of noodle armed Red Sox outfielders (he has a cannon). Won’t we miss the days of runners walking into third while Johnny “throws like Mary” Damon watches with the ball in his hand in center field? I guess not. The fact that he has reclaimed the number five (my favorite number) from the imagined greatness of Nomar, allowing plenty of people to pull their old home jerseys out of the closet, and is a local kid who grew up in a family of Red Sox fans just puts icing on the cake of a very good signing.
The addition of John Smoltz, who may not be available to pitch until late May or early June, is a good signing in that he provides the depth to the pitching rotation, much like Bartolo Colon did last year. He is coming off of shoulder surgery, and is 41 years old, but also happens to be the only man in Major League Baseball history who has 150 saves and 200 wins. He is a battle tested, playoff hardened success who is 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA in the postseason. This signing is good because should he come back strong he will provide a less blowhardly (I invented that word) version of Curt Schilling’s presence in the clubhouse and on the mound during the playoffs, and also allow the Sox to be more flexible with their young starters like Masterson, Bowden and Buccholz. I like it, supposing he does make the comeback as scheduled.
With these aquisitions, and the earlier signings of Bard and Penny, the Sox seem to be building up quietly to being a very good team this spring. The question marks, such as Lowell’s hip, Ortiz’ wrist, and Beckett’s, well, Beckett, are too many to ignore, but we’ve got to keep reminding ourselves that this is still the professional core of a team that won the freaking World Series two years ago, and was two runs short of an AL pennant last year. Yeah, the Old Left Fielder is gone, but we still have excellent pitching, a third season in the States will yield a more comfortable Matsuzaka, and the American League Most Valuable Player is still hitting in the two spot and playing second base (Dusty Pete will be gracing the cover of MLB 2009 and this is a good thing. Unlike the Madden curse, when Ortiz was on the cover in 2006, he had his best statistical season, with 54 HR, 137 RBi and 1 stolen base. Pedroia will do fine). I also want to pay a little respect to Youkilis, who came in third in the MVP voting, is a guy who can put up 30/100/.300 and plays gold glove first base. If he continues to improve on pace with how he has done in his three full Major League seasons, he will become the power hitter that can back up Big Papi in the lineup. The possible return of Mark Kotsay as a backup first baseman/fifth outfielder is just one more reason to be optimistic about the depth of this team, as he is a guy who could be playing everyday somewhere else if the circumstances were different.
But there are question marks every where, New York, Tampa Bay and Boston. Will almost half a billion dollars get the Yanks back into the World Series fold? Will the Ray’s young starting pitching and questionable bullpen be able to repeat the season that they had last year? Will CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira be able to thrive in the pressure filled environment of New York when they have never had this kind of expectations on them in the past? Will Josh Bard punch A-Rod in the face just to prove that he is the right guy for the job? Peter Gammons (the man) helped to process some of these issues last week when he spoke to WEEI (Thanks to Extra Bases for the transcript).
His thoughts on the Teixeira situation: “He wanted to go to the Yankees, his wife doesn’t like Boston — apparently she doesn’t like the stores on Newbury Street or something — and in the end that’s the way it goes…. As you probably remember, there was a lot of testiness between Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira when they played in Texas together . . . and I don’t think Alex really cares about communicating with other players, we know [that] from Derek Jeter. Also, we haven’t really seen Teixeira in a situation where the expectations are really that high, and he’s going to have to deal with them in New York. It will be very interesting to see how it goes with the Yankees.”
(A Big F@#$ you to Leigh Teixeira for that one. Now Boston doesn’t like you either.)
On the free agent market this winter and Scott Boras’ evil control: “This is one of the worst winters I can ever remember. What happened this winter is that, as the internet has expanded to become the media power, the flow of information is quickly controlled by agents. A lot of general managers and those of us in the business kid about a couple of sites referred to as ScottBoras.com, and Scott will float things out there and throw it out there and people will report it, you know, ‘The Brewers are jumping in on Derek Lowe.’ They’re not jumping in on Derek Lowe. I mean, please. ‘The Red Sox are really hot for Derek Lowe at $16 [million] . . . ‘ No, they’re not. But Scott floats this stuff out, and he’s able to get people to report it.”
On whether Varitek will return to Boston: “Well, if he calls and says, ‘I’ll sign at $2 million,’ they might do it. If someone would just sign Varitek, the Red Sox would say, ‘Thank you, we’ll take the draft choices.’ Now, I’m not sure anybody is going to sign him. One player said to me, ‘Well, the Marlins might sign Varitek for $5 million.’ No, they won’t . . . they Marlins aren’t giving up a first-round draft pick for Jason Varitek. Can’t happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen . . . I still think the Red Sox will trade for a catcher, whether it’s now or the 15th of March, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with Jason. It’s too bad. How Scott Boras looked him in the eye and said, ‘By the way, I turned down $10 million [in arbitration],’ is beyond me.”
How he thinks the AL East will turn out: “They actually asked me to do this last night on “SportsCenter.” I took Tampa third, and I really like Tampa. Buster Olney disagreed — he thinks Tampa is the team to beat with all of their young pitching . . . I don’t see their bullpen coming close to doing what they did last year. I picked the Red Sox second, just because we don’t know about the health of David Ortiz and Mike Lowell, and I think Josh Beckett will be fine. You never know about J.D. Drew’s health. And the Yankees, with the innings that [CC] Sabathia and [Chien-Ming] Wang can give them and all the offense they should have, they clearly have to be the favorites.”
Now, I don’t know if I agree with the great one on the last point. The pressure is going to balloon Sabathia until he looks more like Cartman on Weight Gain 4000, A-Rod and Teixeira will get into a purse fight at the mound and Wang broke down last season and is as big a question mark as anyone on the Sox. He does, however, give some interesting insight into the Varitek situation, and how Boras is seen by teams, his clients and the media.
Gammons also had this happy thought to share about the Red Sox pitching staff in his chat yesterday on EB:
“I think it could be the best. Obviously Josh Beckett has to be healthy and I think they really improved the setup crew in front of Papelbon with the addition of Ramirez, and Masterson and Okajima. Obviously they should have three really good starters, the alternatives with Wake, Smoltz, Penny, Buchholz, and Bowden could be potentially the deepest staff in the league. I love the Smoltz signing. Both John Farrell and Ben Cherington went to Atlanta to watch him throw and were very impressed. And Smoltz is one of those rare players who thrives on pressure and crowds. What’s interesting about Penny, is that if he had gone out on the market last winter, he would have gotten an A.J. Burnett contract b/c he was coming off finishing third in Cy Young race. He did break down the last three months, but Burnett has broken down 2-3 times himself. Over the last three years, Burnett and Penny have each won 38 games, and Burnett has only averaged 10 more innings a season. One of the reasons Penny wanted Boston was b/c of the way that Terry Francona and John Farrell handle pitchers, so there’s a good chance he can turn out to be a major contributor.”
As I was writing this the Sox announced that they have signed Takashi Saito to a one year deal so hold down the seventh and eighth innings along with Delcarmen, Masterson, Okajima, Ramirez and Masterson (yeah, our bullpen is awesome). It’s a good deal for a guy who was the Dodgers closer for three years, and can definitely do the job in the late innings for the Sox, and of course, gives them more flexibility with the pitching staff.
Also Jason Giambi has signed a contract to take his mustache, gold thong and steroid carrying trainer back to the Oakland A’s, where he made his name, before going to New York for $115 Million and seven Ringless years. Hey, at least he will fit in at many Bay Area events with the mustache and thong.
Tonight is the annual Hot Stove Cool Music Concert at the Paradise Rock Club. I was fortunate enough to be at the summer version of this concert a few years ago (where SMC and I bought a Jon Lester autographed cap) and it was amazing (even though SMC’s girlfriend has been threatening to leave him for John Legend ever since). I highly recommend getting to one of these shows in the future to see Theo, Gammons and all manner of local rockers display their wares. If you have tickets, enjoy tonight’s show.
From the ” I’m sorry and I take it all back” Department: I here by publicly recant all i said in my predictions for 2009. The Celtics clearly did not get the memo that it was a joke and a reverse cheer. I now know that they will go on another monumental winning streak, and there will be another June parade in Boston where SMC, ABA and I can get high fives for smoking cigars on a crowded city street. Thanks.
Three Days of travel, black out drunkenness, and Christmas (It actually is a jewish holiday where we eat Chinese food and go to the movies. It’s in the Talmud, feel free to go look it up) have brought me to this wonderful conclusion: We’re all gonna be fine. No need to go hide in a cave until the end of October, Massaroti. No need to make any rash decisions like giving up your season tickets. No need to give up on the Boston Red Sox for the 2009 season.
We didn’t need Mark Teixeira. We wanted him, but we didn’t need him. Yes he is a gold glove first baseman who will give us .300/30/100 for the next eight years.But he was a luxury which John Henry cheaped out on. It is the owner’s fault that we won’t have the big guy from Severna Park manning first base, and will be facing him 19 times this season instead. Remember the last time that Henry wasn’t willing to put up that extra few million to make a deal happen. That was Douche-Rod, the man who will never win a Title at anything other than most STD’s collected from Madonna. Now Teixeira is going to be the guy sitting in the corner with his sweater tied around his shoulders next to that asshole. He will regret this more than John Henry or any of us do.
The Boston Red Sox were two runs short of the goddamn World Series last season with their best pitcher hurt, third baseman out of the lineup and the Best Clutch Hitter in the History of the Club playing with only one arm. They have the AL MVP, and the guy who came in third in the balloting, and according to a whole bunch of people should have won. This is a team that is not going to fall apart because they didn’t get one guy. They don’t have a bunch of Boras robots, but rather a group of guys who play baseball because they love to, and making wheelbarrows full of money at it is a perk, not the whole point.
Our lineup will be fine without the big expensive bat to replace the Old Left Fielder (the Sox should offer him 2 years and $39 million, just for fun). Why? One reason: Yooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk. Take a look at these two stat lines from last season. Can you tell which one is which?
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
157 574 102 177 41 0 33 121 97 93 .308 .410 .552
145 538 91 168 43 4 29 115 62 108 .312 .390 .569
Is one worth, say, $130 million more than the other. Would one do that much better of a job of protecting Ortiz in the lineup than the other?
I’m here to tell you today that I’d rather have Youkilis hitting cleanup than Mark “Muffy” Teixeira. Youk was aptly described by Surviving Grady last week as a “Knockaround guy” and thats what this city and this club needs, not a robot created by Satan to collect as much money as possible. He has a beard that scares the Steinbrenner family and small children. He is the guy who will be standing behind his 5’7″ MVP teammate as he starts fights with bigger guys while Muffy and Douche-Rod sit in the corner afraid to fight because they might spill Shiraz on their sweaters.
The lineup is this: Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youkilis, Bay, Lowell, Drew (those last three can go in any order), Lowrie, Varitek (assuming he comes back). I’m pretty happy with that. Ortiz has had an off season to rest his wrist and his knee, Lowell is coming back strong after surgery and Youkilis is blossoming into a certified power hitter (and nobody noticed because of this whole Satan/Muffy thing). We also have great defense, and a rotation that you can throw out there with anyone else’s (and we didn’t have to pay for Counting Cheeseburgers Sabathia). Beckett (who is awesome in odd numbered years, 03, 05, 07, 09), Lester (who shall never be doubted), The Wiggler, and Wake are the kind of guys that you can throw out there against any lineup and shut them down on any given day. If we add a Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, or a John Smoltz there will be even more reason to fear the hanging Sox.
So relax people. This is no reason to go off all half cocked and ruin relationships, holidays or livers. Just because the Yankees have spent almost half a billion dollars this winter does not guarantee them anything (see Giambi, Jason; Rodriguez, Alex; Damon, Shithead; Brown, Kevin; Unit, The Big). The 2009 Boston Red Sox are just starting to get pissed off that people are writing them off. They are training for the WBC, laughing at the Yanks getting all of this attention and basking in the anonymity. They will be fine. You will too.
Happy Hanukah. Merry Christmas. Happy Boxing Day. Our best wishes to you and yours.
After two days of wheeling and dealing in Las Vegas, the Winter Meetings finally got exciting yesterday. Well, for some that is. The Mets nailed down the back of their bullpen by signing the vastly overrated Frankie Rodriguez to a three year, $37 Million contract. The Yanks have reportedly gotten their man in the 7 year, $161 Million arm of CC Sabathia (too much, too long, too fat). The Dodgers have signed former Patriots Day hero Mark Loretta as well as retaining Casey Blake. The Orioles have traded Ramon Hernandez (who they were not going to trade in Division for all of you who think he could have replaced Varitek) to the Reds for Ryan Freel. The Indians are nearing a deal with oft injured former Cub Kerry Wood. Lots of deals and imminent deals are floating around, but something is missing, and it’s making me feel like these aren’t really the Winter Meetings.
Let’s see; all of the GMs are there, there are lots of buffets, Satan is wandering around collecting dollars, souls and robbing the occasional little old lady. What is missing? Oh, Yeah, the Boston Red Sox have not made a deal yet. The usually very active Theo and Company have been stagnant, though they have had their noses in pretty much everything. This is what’s been going on according to my numerous sources:
The Sox are the frontrunners in the race for Mark Teixeira, having met with Satan early this morning (Theo goes all night). Now that Sabathia is off the market, this negotiation should heat up. He is also known as the prime target of his current team, the LAAAngels, and to be in the plans of a few other teams. He should be getting somewhere in the range of The old left fielder’s deal (8 Yrs, $160 million), probably a few million a year more. The Yanks might not get involved now that they’ve got CC, instead aiming to lure D-Lowe and/or Burnett to join him. Hank “Dumber than dad with a bigger mouth” Steinbrenner has made it clear that he also wants to bring home the old left fielder (he grew up within view of the Stadium). Of course, they have more money than brains so an offer will probably be forthcoming.
Another market they are heavy into is the one for a moderately priced veteran starter. names kicked around have been Pettite, Smoltz, Pavano, Lowe and Burnett. Of course, the latter two have a heftier (like Sabathia, who’s fat) price in terms of both years and dollars, but the Sox are exploring all options. Lowe still has a boner for Northeastern girls, and has stated that he wants to come back, but I doubt the Sox would bring him back at the 4 year, $50-60 million range that he’s looking for. Burnett already supposedly has an offer from the Yanks on the table for 5 years and $66 Million, which the Sox will not go to. This wold be as bad a deal as the Sabathia one as both of them are primed to break down (though in different ways). One GM said of Sabathia, “As he gets older, he’s not gonna get skinnier,” and Burnett only had one really good season in Toronto and originally looked to be as bad a signing as Pavano (likely returning to the Marlins) in the first two years. Smoltz and Pettite are both better options as they could come in for only one year, if big money ($12-17 Million) and allow Masterson to continue in the setup role where he excelled this season.
The other Priority for the Sox is actually one where they are getting help from teams around the league. Yesterday’s trade of Ramon Hernandez to the Reds removes another possible landing place for Varitek, as he will not want to sit in Baltimore as the O’s introduce their big catching prospect. He is losing options by the day and in all likelyhood will be returning to Fenway. The trade market has rumors flying that the Rangers will be willing to give us Salty for Clay “I threw a no hitter in my second start and then shit the bed after” Buchholz. I like that deal on many levels, first it allows the Sox to shed the history and personal issues that comes with any failure by Buchholz in this uniform and second the Sox get the Catcher of the Future with time for him to train with the Captain.
Tomorrow the Sox will make one new announcement: New logo and Uniforms. I’m praying that they won’t touch the basic home jersey or hat, but changes to the road and alternate unis and hats could be a great way to increase revenues (you know you’ll want one,. I do). Either way, it’ll all shake out, but for now let’s just trust in Theo, laugh at the Yanks for giving a fat man an unlimited food budget in New York City, and Watch Baseball Tonight at 5 PM today on ESPN2.