Tag Archives: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Now Giving Lessons In Clutchitude: David Ortiz.

There wasn’t much to say about Friday night’s baseball game between the Red Sox and Tigers. Even Ortiz’ best attempt to play 2004 with a grand slam in the ninth wasn’t enough to recover from the bullpen, and the Sox lost 6-5. See, not much to say, because that’s it.

Yesterday looked to be more of the same, as the Sox kept stranding runners, over and over again. They had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, and Ortiz struck out. Then they had them loaded after scoring two runs in the seventh, and Ortiz struck out (anyone sensing a pattern here?). They couldn’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position and it looked like the slow death of the season was upon us.

That’s when Jim Leyland decided that he feared Youk with runners on second and third in the ninth more than he did Ortiz with the bases loaded. Apparently he didn’t watch the game the day before. Anyways, we get a double to the gap, three runs score and the Sox walk off in style 5-4. Take notes, managers, don’t pitch to David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the ninth.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Sox finally got Jarrod Saltallamacchia at the deadline so that he can spend the next few months absorbing everything that Jason Varitek has to tell him. It’s a good thing and having a real catcher with potential in the system makes me a lot more comfortable.

We’ve got one more with the Tigers this afternoon. Sweet.

Go Sox.

Done.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball

Brainfarts

Thoughts while I attempt to keep myself sane waiting the 12 days until truck day:

The Spring Training radio and TV schedule is out. Most games will be on the radio but the following games will be on NESN, with Remy, DO and Heidi in all of their glory. I don’t know what I’m more excited for, the games themselves (meaningless) or the great Hawaiian shirt that Jerry and Don will be wearing (incredible). 

Wednesday, Feb. 25 — vs. Twins at 7:05 p.m. 
Sunday, March 1 — vs. Twins at 1:05 p.m. 
Sunday, March 8 — vs. Rays at 1:05 p.m. 
Tuesday, March 17 — vs. Twins at 1:05 p.m. 
Saturday, March 21 — vs. Marlins at 1:05 p.m. 
Tuesday, March 24 — vs. Yankees at 7:05 p.m. 
Saturday, March 28 — vs. Twins at 1:05 p.m. 
Sunday, March 29 — vs. Phillies at 1:05 p.m. 
Friday, April 3 — at Mets at 6:10 p.m. 

Even Joe Torre hates the Yankees. Tom Verducci’s new book about Torre and his tenure as Yanks’ manager is apparently giving fans the truth about why the Yankees suck.Torre, the man who made the Yankees not completely hateable for a dozen years spills the beans on, among other things, Douche-Rod’s jealousy of Jeter, the fact that none of Rodriguez’ teammates like him, and Cashman actually being the weasel that he looks like. After these revelations I can’t wait to read Joe Girardi’s book about how A-Rod got so Jealous of Teixeira that he asked to play first base half way through 2010 Spring Training.  From ESPN.com:

Teammates frequently called Alex Rodriguez “A-Fraud,” and the third baseman was obsessed over his rivalry with shortstop Derek Jeter, “The Yankee Years” reveals, according to the New York Daily News and New York Post. 

In the book written by Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci and published by Doubleday, Torre also says Yankees general manager Brian Cashman “betrayed him on several fronts,” the Daily News reports. 

It’s in stark contrast to Torre’s former stance, in which he said Cashman supported him throughout 2007 negotiations, which ultimately failed. 

And it goes beyond the widely reported 2007 meeting in which Cashman met with the Steinbrenners to discuss Torre’s future with the team, a talk in which the GM was said to have remained neutral as the drawbacks to extending Torre’s tenure were discussed. 

In a later confrontation with Torre, Cashman confirmed he was quiet when the subject of offering Torre his desired two-year deal instead of one came up, the book says.

 Jason, if you come back, Kevin Millar will do whatever you want.

" Jason, if you come back, Kevin Millar will do whatever you want."

According to Extra Bases (the only thing keeping me going these days) the Jason Varitek talks are moving along. The Captain wants two years (Satan, his agent, wants his soul) and the team seems more and more willing to give that to him as long as he is willing to take a pay cut. This situation needs to be handled very carefully by all involved, because the team can’t appear to be throwing such an important figure to the franchise away, yet they can’t give in to nostalgia and over pay for a player who is reaching the end of his career. Listen to me closely Theo: Just sign the guy, bring Dusty Brown up to be his apprentice (or trade for Salty) and let all of us go into this season feeling good about the team you assembled. Without a catcher who we can trust, it’s all for naught. Of course, Schilling has his own view on the situation.

Good bye and good luck to Alex Cora, who signed with the Mets last week. You were great in your time here, enjoy your ring, and you are welcome back any time. 

Yes, Ashley, there is a Santa Claus, and you can believe in Lane Kiffin too. He’ll be fine. 

Miller High Life is Great. 

jonathan-papelbon-dancing-in-his-spandexThe Papelbon signing was the right move.  Even with the success he has had over the past three years, the team still has control over him for two more seasons after ’09 and he has a history of shoulder troubles, not to mention the fact that closers are notoriously fickle. Sign him to the big five year deal after this season and get yourself three years of his free agent period instead of two, provided his shoulder continues to hold up. Insert a clause that forces him to remove his pants and dance after every save. 

And finally, video of a man crazy enough to ride a 450 LB snowmobile off of a jump, throw it over his head, twice, and attempt to land, and with the balls to survive. 

18 Days. 

Done.

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball, Things other than baseball

The Captain Question: Part Dos

 

No Seriously, it's better than Christmas and Hannukah combined.

No Seriously, it's better than Christmas and Hannukah combined.

With only 15 days remaining until truck day (yes, just 15 days. If you don’t know what truck day is, you should find out, it’s better than christmas, especially for Joos) the Red Sox roster is coming into focus. The rotation is solid, with seven guys ready to take the ball: Beckett, He Who Will Never Be Doubted, The Japanese Wiggler, Wake, Penny, Smoltz (after June 1) and Suchholz.The bullpen is solid with all of the new guys plus the crew that was strong at the end of last season. The lineup card should look like this:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury CFYeah, they're still pretty good

2. Dustin Pedroia, AL MVP 2B

3. David “fear me” Ortiz DH

4. The Beard that Should Not Be 1B

5. Jason “Buzzards” Bay LF

6. J.D. Drew RF

7. Mike Lowell 3B

8. Little Jeddy SS

9 Josh Bard C

Dear God, let me be good enough to play in Boston.

Dear God, let me be good enough to play in Boston.

Thats right, Josh Freaking bard is our only major league ready catcher. George Kottaras, no matter what kind of boner Dale Arnold has for him, is not the answer, either offensively or behind the plate. Dusty Brown is simply not ready (and is no sure thing either) and a trade for one of the guys in Texas or Arizona does not seem to be on the horizon in the near future. But what about the guy who held down the job last year? Where did he go to that multi year offer that his agent (Satan) told him was coming? Oh, yeah, he’s waiting for someone to come to him. 

Tek Paps HugJason Varitek is in a no win situation. His fate has been a big question since the days following the end of the 2008 season in October. He will not get an offer from anyone other than the Red Sox, because as a type 1 free agent, any team that signs him will have to give up a first round draft pick. The Sox don’t have to pay him big because they know this. Each time another catcher signs, Varitek’s options dwindle.  First Texas traded Gerald Laird to the Tigers and Ramon Hernandez went to Cincinnati, closing the door that many thought might be open in Detroit or Cinci. Then, when Satan turned down a one year deal in Boston for $10-12 Million in arbitration, he lost the only guaranteed money that was going to be out there. Now as teams start to sign backups (Brad Ausmus and the Dodgers, Henry Blanco and the Padres) the market begins to close down even more. 

The Red Sox are in a prime position of power over one of the most important players in recent team history. They can cut the cord now, move on and take the risk that comes with having another receiver behind the plate, bring back the Captain for another year as the starting catcher and deal with the future of the position later or bring him in as a mentor to a guy who they think is the catcher of the future. Out At First Of course, the issue isn’t what Varitek can do behind the plate, where he is one of the best in the game still, but what he does with his spot in the lineup. Last season was unquestionably the worst in the career of the one time Silver Slugger winner. He hit .220 with only 13 home runs and 43 RBI. He was a liability with his inability to create the all important productive out down the stretch and into the playoffs, striking out at many times when something as simple as a ground out would have advanced a runner or scored one. This failure was one of the factors that led to the Sox falling two runs short of the AL Pennant. The 2007 season was significantly better in most categories. He hit .255 (.035 better) reached base at a .367 clip (.o54 better) and had 25 more RBI. These may not be astounding offensive numbers, but for such a premium defensive position, and one which has such an impact on the pitching staff, Tek’s 2007 stats are enough to give him that spot in the lineup.

The Brain TrustFrom the Sox side, it is time for a decision. The cold, analytical part of Theo  is ready to move on, more so since the rejection of arbitration. These are the tough decisions that come with the success that the team has had in the past few years, and what will keep them competitive in the future. Yes, we need a new catcher who can take the job and run with it as Varitek did in 99. That is the cold hard facts of the situation. John Henry, on the other hand, is a more sentimental type, and met with Jason at his Atlanta area home last week. He wants to be loyal to one of the men who has done a tremendous amount for his organization. He wants Varitek to be able to return to the team and leave on his own terms, not simply be let go.

George Kottaras

George Kottaras

The main problem with taking Theo’s route and cutting the cord is that there is no viable replacement on the roster. The three catcher coming to spring training are Josh Bard, George Kottaras and Dusty Brown. The last two are too young and inexperienced to tackle the every day duties of handling a pitching staff, even though Dale Arnold has a man crush on Kottaras and Brown has a great ballplayer name (if you are going to name your kid dusty he can’t become an accountant). They are also not ready to produce offensively in the Major Leagues. Kottaras, in two seasons in Pawtucket, has failed to hit above .243, and though he has shown pop (22 HR last year) his RBI production is disappointing (only 65).  Brown, who many see as a better prospect, had 12 HR, 55 RBI and a .290 average last season, but was limited to 297 at bats (84 games) due to injuries. Neither one is ready to be an every day Major League hitter, and their inexperience behind the plate is too much to ignore. Over the Monster had a great rundown on the two of them at the end of December, where they said that using these two is worth a shot, but as Truck Day and Reporting Day get closer I still don’t think that they are ready.

Josh Bard Wears a goofy Hockey Helmet.

Bard, on the other hand, has plenty of Big League experience, though never in a starting role. The catcher, 31, has played parts of six seasons in the Majors. He has never started more than the 118 games he did in 2007, when he hit .285 with 5 hr and 51 RBI. He is a very viable back up catcher but due to his age, injury history, and relative (to Varitek) lack of experience handling a pitching staff, he is probably not ready to take over for a man as sturdy as the Captain. Yeah, Bard could start for most clubs, like he did for the Padres, but this is a different situation. The Red Sox are a club built to win now, and having a mediocre player filling such an important role just will not do. The fact that every member of the pitching staff has raved about all that Varitek does for them when he is behind the plate gives you a clue as to how important that experience is. 

Never Forget

Never Forget

It comes down to this: The best option in November is still the best option today. Sign Varitek and bring in a young catcher to apprentice to him for one or two years, whether that is by bringing Brown up to be the guy, or trading for someone like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, or Miguel Montero. Though it is a sellers market, especially since everyone knows that the Sox are getting desperate, catching is at as much of a premium as young pitching is these days and it may be a wise move to let some of the minor league arms go for the catcher of the next ten years. Varitek, like Lowell and Ortiz, is primed to have a bounce back year. Unlike last season, this year he will not be playing under the outside pressure of a failing marriage which has become fodder for the Inside Track, and his head will be focused squarely on his game. I would expect a return to his 2007 numbers at least. 

Now it’s up to Theo, Henry, Lucchino and their crew to decide. Will it be a return for the Captain, or a new dawn behind the plate for the Sox? 

Go Sox. 

21 Days. 

Done.

1 Comment

Filed under Baseball

No News is….. Boring.

The overall theme of this off season for the Boston Red Sox so far has been boredom. They have not solved their catcher problem, added another bat to protect Papi and Youk in the lineup or found a guy to be the fifth starter. The biggest pieces of news have both been minor and would have been almost overlooked in a town that is not a s Baseball obsessed as Boston: The Signing of Junichi Tazawa, and the change in the road uniforms. Every day we wait for news of Jason Varitek, Mark Teixeira and the other free agents floating around out there. Even if they would just pull the trigger on a Buchholz for Saltalamacchia deal it would be something.  People are freezing to death waiting for the Hot Stove to turn on. 

You'll get your High Fives when you make a goddamn decision.

You'll get your High Fives when you make a goddamn decision.

The News today is that the GM of one of the five teams in the hunt for the services of Mark Teixeira has admitted to the Sox being the current leaders. The non-news today is that John Henry has told the Herald that he is not going to give any player a ten year contract after seeing how 10 years turned out with the last power hitter to sign one here. It is just not a wise investment, but it is what Satan and his super client are waiting for. Tex is reportedly close to a decision, and wants to get it done before Christmas, But of course we told you that yesterday. It may take $200 Million to get him to take an eight year deal as opposed to ten, but they are seemingly waiting for one of the two major suitors (Sox & Angels) to step up. The Nationals were never really an option, the Orioles won’t up their offer from 7/$150 and the Yanks have resigned themselves to driving up the price and then going after the Old Left Fielder. Gordon Edes did suggest however that all this quality time for the Sox brass and Satan could lead to a deal for the Captain as well. (That’d be nice)

Dammit, I'll never win a title at anything because I'm a Doucebag.

Dammit, I'll never win a title at anything because I'm a Douchebag.

In other news, the World Baseball Classic is starting to get it’s hype machine warmed up. Dice-K has been named to the Japanese team, which I don’t like, Pedroia to the U.S. (Beckett will not participate) and Bay to the Canadian team, which I do like. Youk (the American Beard) will likely be tabbed to play for the U.S. as well. I’m against any of our pitchers taking part in the Quadrennial (vocab word) tournament simply because of the drop off we saw at the end of the 2006 season with Mike Timlin. It forces our pitchers to throw meaningful pitches earlier in the season, adds to their inning load, and causes them to become more worn out down the stretch of what we hope is a pennant race. For the batters it is a different story. It helps them get into their groove earlier in the season, and for a guy like AL MVP Dustin Pedroia (that is his name now) it should help to cut down on the April slump. That said, I’m happy that Madonna’s Girlfriend is not playing for the U.S. this year (he’s pretending to embrace his dominican roots) because that means we have an actual shot at the title. I just want to ask the Japanese team: why don’t you want Hideki “Marathon Man” Okajima?

57 Days. 

Done.

1 Comment

Filed under Baseball

Winter Meetings Day 2: This is What Going Mad Must Feel Like.

 
Overrated, Overrated, Overrated. 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.

boras_antichristLet’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:

oh, yeah. He plays Gold Glove first base as well.

oh, yeah. He plays Gold Glove first base as well.

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. 

It would just be a great kick in the Nuts to the Yankees fans for him to have a good season in a Red Sox uniform.

It would just be a great kick in the Nuts to the Yankees fans for him to have a good season in a Red Sox uniform.

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. 

Still the Captain

Still the Captain

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. 

Go Sox. 

64 Days.

Done.

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball

North American Sporting Media: Somehow Bored in Vegas

In a winter with a huge crop of first tier free agents, teams looking to spend money, and the Winter Meetings in Vegas, there couldn’t have been a more anticlimactic first day to the annual dealfest put on by Major League Baseball. 

p1_epstein_gettyTheo actually said “Prepare to be underwhelmed,” the Sox have nothing going, despite the massive amounts of cash and tradeable young pitching they have, and the Boston Globe contingent of writers seems downright bored.  Most of the posts on the ESPN and SI Hot Stove Blogs have been about who is meeting who, what GM is telling what lie to the media and how “sluggish” (according to Steve Phillips) the free agent market is. Even baseball tonight seemed like it was just a random episode in the middle of the winter because they didn’t have shit to report on.

In the interest of saving you the time and headache of wading through all of the crap that is being spread about, here are the five biggest Red Sox story lines from a day that Massaroti compared to an episode of Seinfeld (a show that I have never liked. It’s funny because it’s about nothing? No, that is what makes it a waste of time.):

Congratualtions.

Congratualtions.

5. The Veterans Committee voted to induct Joe Gordon into the Hall of Fame. Who? Exactly. This is a guy who is being posthumously elected more because of the guys he played with than what he did in his own 11 year career ( .268/253 hr/975 RBIs lifetime). He played with Gehrig, DiMaggio, Doby, Feller and others as he won five World Series with the Indians and Yanks. The most remarkable thing about him was an award he won in a year when even his teammates must have admitted that he got lucky, beating out Triple Crown winner Ted Williams in the 1942 AL MVP race. This guy has no business being in the Hall of Fame when Louis Tiant, Jim Rice, Ron Santo, and a few dozen other guys who never wore pinstripes don’t have plaques of their own. (Mikey Adams on WEEI was hilarious in his rant about this tonight)

Please, stay in Milwaukee, they will fry anything you want to eat if you stay.

Please, stay in Milwaukee, they will fry anything you want to eat if you stay.

4. The Red Sox met with CC Sabathia today, hopefully to convince him of how happy he will be at home in California or back in Milwaukee. The team has expressed concerns in the past about his durability and weight, and are unlikely to be interested in signing him unless there is some kind of major deal involving one of the Sox current starters on the horizon, which is highly improbable. He is still weighing the $140 million offer from the Pinstriped Assholes and is on the radar of three California teams (LA, LA, SF) as well as Milwaukee which is still claiming that they will offer him more than the reported $100 million they already have. Though he has not made his intentions clear, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti claims that the hefty lefty told stopped him in the hall today to tell him that he’d like to be a fixture in Chavez Ravine. Once again, nothing has actually happened, and nobody except the fat guy himself knows what is going on. 

I Suck

I Suck

3. Adam Everett has signed with the Tigers, who were thought to be a possible landing place for Julio “I suck so bad that the Sox can’t even trade me if they offer to keep paying my salary” Lugo. That takes them out of the picture and leaves us with one less place to unload the dead weight sitting on top of Little Jeddy Lowrie getting a shot to play every day. Where does Lugo end up? Nobody knows, nobody cares, just get rid of him.

who farted?

2. AJ Burnett is known to have been in deep negotiations with the Braves for  time and could be nearing a deal. If he moves off the table, expect the Yanks, who are now apparently ready to “Sabathia” (make a ridiculous offer to) Burnett to blow Atlanta out of the water, to increase the pressure on CC and D-Lowe. The Sox are supposedly involved on the negotiations for Burnett, but they are always involved with pretty much everyone. I would not be surprised if both Burnett and Sabathia are gone before Chanukah (or Hanukah, or Chanuknah, or how ever people want to spell it). The rest of the free agent class will follow after them. 

gerald_laird1. Gerald Laird from Texas to Detroit for two minor league pitchers. This deal has a number of ramifications for the Sox. First, it lessens the amount of available catching in the Rangers stable, leaving Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez (not going to end up as a catcher apparently) still with the team. This will make it harder for Theo and company to pry Salty away from Texas, though dangling the now very movable Clay Buchholz might be a way to do that. Second, this also removes an outlet for Boras and Varitek, which might force their hands in returning to Boston for a two or three year deal. 

There is plenty else going on: the Mets are meeting with F-Rod and Brian Fuentes about their need for a closer, Ben “Fallapart” Sheets met with the Yanks, the Jake Peavey talks are still continuing (Gammons thinks he’ll be a Cub) and Boras is going anywhere that a team will offer his players way too much money or there is an all puppy buffet (are these evil jokes doing anything for you?). More to come as things develop and hopefully a couple of deals are done to entertain us. 

For updates all day, check Extra Bases

On a more personal note: This is Get Out of My Ballpark’s 100th post. Thanks for all of the support that you have shown us over the last ten weeks of this fledgling site. Keep reading and feel free to comment or make requests at MyBallpark@gmail.com. We appreciate your patronage, please come again. 

65 days. 

Done.

1 Comment

Filed under Baseball

Dominos Falling into Place

dominosThe Major League Baseball off season is a long and arduous process. It may be a more exhausting time for the front office teams than the season itself. During the off season, teams have to revamp their rosters to make them stronger while dealing with budget, projections (usually from Bill James’ Handbook) of how players will perform in the future, the minor league system, the loss of free agent players from the previous season, and figuring out what they can give up to trade for new talent without putting a hole in their own line up. It is a daunting task, and depending on your view of things, at least 22 teams fail (miserably) each year. The off season is like spending 110 days setting up a string of dominos. The effect that each move made by a front office will not be seen until April at the earliest, and each time a domino is moved, replaced, or removed there is the possibility of greatness or complete and utter failure. 

After a full week of free agency in what promises to be a very busy off season for our Sox, not much has happened. The Yankees have thrown $140 Million at CC Sabathia (fat guy) and have also stated their interest in AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe, the other two big name free agent pitcher on the market. They also lost (the always infuriatingly effective against the Sox) Mike Mussina to retirement. mooseMussina was one of those guys who I hated to see take the mound against us, because even in the seasons when he wasn’t at his best (don’t forget, he was an Oriole before joining the empire) he was effective against the Red Sox. Losing out on signing him in 2000 was also the reason that we ended up with the Old Left Fielder, so in that case I’d say we got the better deal (for the first seven seasons at least).

Love the Powder Blue Jerseys

Theo and his disciples in the Boston front office have only made one move that directly affects the Major League club so far this off season, but it is the first movement of dominos that may lead to yet another World Championship (I still smile every time I write that) when the whole thing starts to move on April 6th. The long awaited trade of Covelli “Coco” Crisp changes the look of the bench and bullpen with the addition of Ramon Ramirez, a young, hard throwing right hander who can take the seventh inning duty that Justin Masterson filled so effectively at the end of the ’08 season.  A bullpen with Papelbon, Okajima, Manny, Ramirez (where have I heard of that combination before?) Aardsma and Lopez, along with whatever minor leaguer they throw in there to round out the group (David Pauley?) looks like it may be pretty good.

justin-masterson-red-sox This puts Masterson into a state of flux where he can join a starting rotation that already features Beckett, Lester (who some people still doubt can be an ace. Seriously, haven’t we gone through all of that already?) Daisuke, and The Elder Statesman. I’m pretty happy with that set up, and that is without any added guys like Lowe who wants to return to the city where he saw his greatest glory (and also can nail more college girls than most other places). You can never have too much starting pitching.

29millarThe bench can be shored up with the expected return of Alex Cora, and the much awaited return of Kevin Millar (who can back up at first base and both corner outfield spots and would just be entertaining to have around again, giving college girls STDs). Along with Salty and another outfielder, these two give the Sox a serviceable bench that can withstand the rigors of the 180+ games in a contender’s season.

Crisp’s departure also sets in motion the changes to a lineup that was diminished at the end of last year without Mike Lowell in the lineup due to a torn hip labrum. Ellsbury is now the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter. There is no more platoon and it is time for Jacoby to sink or swim in a position (leadoff) that has seen more change than the batteries in A-Rod’s buttplug since Johnny Damon’s mysterious disappearance at the end of the ’05 season. RANGERS ROCKIES BASEBALLThe next step is to throw money at Mark Teixeira like it is going out of style. Seriously, this guy is as sure a thing as you will find in these days. The big, switch hitting, first baseman is the ultimate prize of this free agent class (I don’t trust pitchers who get more than $100 million) because he will put up 35, 115 and .300 every year for the next 8 seasons at least, can do it from both sides of the plate, and plays a gold glove first base. Theo needs to show him (and his agent, Satan) what $200 million and 10 years in Boston would look like. The addition of Teixiera will move him into the three spot (behind Ellsbury and the 2008 AL MVP), bump Youkilis across the diamond to his natural position, place Ortiz into the fifth spot with Bay, Drew, Lowrie and The Captain (who will end up in a Red Sox Uniform for the next two seasons) rounding out the order. Ortiz should have a bounce back year with a healthy wrist and a whole season against Major League Pitching will make Lowrie the run producer that he showed the potential to be in the middle of last season. 

lowell-79953080324367EG046_Detroit_TigerThe odd men out in this situation are the beloved Mike Lowell and the barely acknowledgeable Julio Lugo. Lowell, as much as he has been a great “throw in” to the deal that brought Josh Beckett to the Sox, becomes a movable chip in this situation, and a valuable one at that. He is owed $25 million for the next two seasons and can still be a very productive member of a lineup. That lineup should hopefully be in Texas, where they can move Hank Blalock to first base and fill Lowell into an always potent lineup (anyone who saw Charlie Zink’s first major league start can attest to that) and send us back an important piece to the future of our ball club, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Give him two years to sit behind Tek and he will learn how to take his place properly (though Pedroia will be the captain by then). Lugo, they can give to Texas or anyone else for all I care. 

p1_epstein_getty

No matter what happens it will be a more interesting off season than the last one. Here’s to hoping that Schilling takes the honorable way out and retires, Lugo takes the honorable way out and goes away, and Teixeira holds winning championships in a place where he will be a god over 100 extra bucks to go to the Nationals. 

Believe in Theo, Go Sox.

88 Days. 

Done.

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball