Manny is not being Manny. There are no trade demands, no bad headlines, no worries for Red Sox fans. Manny Ramirez usually injects some kind of downer for the Nation at the wrong time. He has demanded to be traded several times after getting unconditional love from the fans. His comment about the possibility of not winning the World Series this year made headlines across the Hub. But since that moment Manny has been a different person; he appeared on Leno, he talked to the press, he wants to stay in Boston. Yes he sold his car on Ebay but it was really a dealership taking care of it and it was not like selling a grill. Manny seems too content and as a Red Sox fan I need something to worry about. If Manny is not in the lineup Big Papi doesn't get good pitches to hit, the offense tanks, and the Yankees catch up. Alright, this may be a bit much but Manny's silence is not normal . The new reality for Boston fans may be that everything is ok: after all, we are world champs and that is something we can all learn to live with. On a side note, a friend of mine thought Manny would be a good name for a dog. That way if the dog chewed up something or pooped in the house you could just say, "that's just Manny being Manny."
Saturday, November 24, 2007
If the Red Sox get Santana from the Twins the Yankees are in big trouble. Pitching wins championships and Boston will have the best pitching in baseball. The Yankees will have Chien-Ming Wang and not much else. Pettitte is still a question mark and Rogah may have finally retired. But if the Yankees are able to land Santana they will be back in business. They will have the best pitcher and the best hitter in baseball. Boston does not need Santana to be good in '08 but they need him to not be on the Yankees. It is a weird position for the Red Sox to be in; the possibility of stealing the player the Yankees are most interested in. That's what makes this rivalry so great, it does not end when the season does.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The baseball gods that smiled on the Red Sox in October are now beginning to frown on the sport as a whole. The topic that was ignored from the McGuire/Sosa home run chase through the current season by most baseball executives and fans is about to rear its ugly head. Steroids will be the biggest story in baseball this off-season. The Mitchell report will be released any day now and could name names. Bonds is indicted and may be going to trail. A former Met's bat boy and clubhouse assistant has been helping prosecutors since April in the investigation of current and former MLB players on his steroid client list. His sentencing has been delayed again because he still has more info to tell. The line from "Full Metal Jacket" comes to mind when I think about the impact of all of this on baseball..."Its a big ol' sh*t sandwich and were all gonna have to take a bite." Attendance is up, the Sox are on top and set for a repeat, things are looking good. But the bubble is about to burst and this is not the news anyone wants. All teams are going to be affected, childhood heroes are going down in flames, and America's pastime is going to look like the WWF (or WWE whatever they call it these days.) Let the chips fall where they may, baseball has survived the Black Sox, Pete Rose, strike shortened seasons and it can survive this. Its just not going to be fun.
We have heard the Santana buzz for over a week now but today is the first time Nathan has been in the rumor mill in a potental deal. Joe Nathan is a top notch closer and could help Boston as a setup man but he is not a necessity for them. He is also in the last year of his contract as is Santana so the Red Sox can't give up too much for them and be in a situation where they could walk at the end of the season. The price for Santana is high, but for Santana and Nathan together it would take at least 2 of the Red Sox young stars including Jacoby Ellsbury. I expect Boston to go after Santana hard but I would doubt that they have that much interest in Nathan if it makes them put Jacoby in the mix instead of Coco. The Mets and Yankees are both looking to land Santana so look for negotiations to continue for a while.
When the Angel's signed Torii Hunter this week Coco Crisp's value increased. He was the second or third choice for many teams but is now at the top of their lists. Texas is taking a hard look at Coco and they have something the Red Sox need; a catcher. Gerald Laird has been offered up as trade bait to the Mets and Boston. Now that the Mets have their catcher the Twin's best chance of getting a good deal is from the Red Sox. Boston is in need of a backup catcher for Tek and even if they re-sign Mirabelli they will have no catcher for the '09 season. Laird only hit .242 this year, had some injury problems, and is 30 years old with only 5 seasons under his belt. The Twins now need a solid option at center field but their only player the Sox want is Santana. It would take more than Coco to get Santana and the Twins ace has made a counteroffer of $126 million for a 5 year deal so he may not be going anywhere. Theo has to play his cards right and get the most for Coco. If he deals now he might miss the blockbuster but if he waits teams might fill their center field needs with other options. There could be worse positions to be in but with most of the off season moves already completed by the Red Sox, the Coco deal will be scrutinized for a long time. In Theo we trust.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
As millions of people get up to buy the $15 DVD player at 5am on the busiest shopping day of the year the Red Sox will not be looking for bargains. Boston has most of the 2008 team taken care of. The infield is set; Youk at first, Padroia at second, Lugo as short, Lowell back at third. The outfield will only have one change; Jacoby will be in center joining Manny and JD. The battery is the only area still up in the air. All of the starters from '07 are signed but if they will go with a 6 man rotation or deal a youngster is still up in the air. Tek will be back in the last year of his contract but his backup is not signed yet. Many teams are out shopping for that bargain player to fill a big hole but the Red Sox are not among them. Boston will pull the trigger on a major deal this off season but it will come out of a position of strength. Theo can be patient and look for a player that will fit well on the Red Sox for a long time. It may be Santana or Haren or someone who has not been on the radar yet. Mike Lowell has already given Sox fans a Christmas present. Red Sox Nation is content with our current team so we don't need Theo to rush out with the other GM's to find that bargain player, but we would like a nice surprise for Christmas.
5. June 7th- Curt Schilling's dominant near no-hitter in Oakland ending a 4 game losing streak.
4. May 13th- Mother's Day Miracle. Sox score 6th in the bottom of the 9th to beat the O's 6-5.
3. Sept. 2nd- Clay Buchholz's no-hitter after being called up from Pawtucket.
2. Oct. 5th- Manny's Walk-off HR to give the Sox a 2-0 series lead in the ALDS
1. April 20th- Manny, Lowell, J.D., and Tek back to back to back to back HR's against the Yankees.
Enjoy the turkey and the memories from this past season.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
ESPN has reported some pretty cool info on the Mike Lowell deal. "Although there were lots of reports that the Phillies made a four-year offer to Mike Lowell over the weekend, that isn't quite true. They were prepared to make that offer if Lowell had told them he wanted to be a Phillie. But instead, Lowell was so intent on going back to Boston, he called the Phillies and told them it wouldn't be right to even ask for an offer. Just one more example of how one of the classiest humans in baseball operates 24/7." Mike wanted to be back in Boston just as much as Red Sox fans wanted him back. You don't hear that much in baseball these days. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.
Dice-K has been in some of the country's newspapers today for a couple of reasons today. He arrived in Japan and answered some questions to reporters about his season saying it was "not up to my standards." Dice-K's marketing pull was also reported on because of some comments by Red Sox executive Sam Kennedy. Kennedy said the marketing dollars from Japan did not arrive in the way Scott Boras had outlined during the negotiations for Matsuzaka. The trip to Japan for the start of the season should help keep the Japan chapter of Red Sox Nation going and the marketing dollars should follow.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs are having trouble signing Kerry Wood and the Red Sox want him to be the setup man for Papelbon. Cubs GM Jim Hendry believes Wood will have a contract with a team before the Winter Meetings which start December 3rd. As I talked about in my post on Red Sox bullpen plans this is the arm Boston might be looking for. The only issue is Wood is likely to want a 3 year deal which is very risky considering his history of injuries. If Wood can stay healthy he would fit nicely into an already good bullpen. The Sox have also reportedly offered Timlin a one year deal. The Red Sox could be an even better team than the 2007 World Champion team.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This year Terry Francona was paid $1.75 million by the Red Sox, less than Joe Torre, Lou Pinella, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, Mike Sciocsia, Jim Leyland, and Bruce Bochy. In the 3 years he has managed Boston he has accumulated a record of 375-273. He is 8-0 in World Series games. The 2008 season is the last under Terry's current contract. Theo and the Red Sox ownership need to give Francona a long term deal where he is paid a similar amount to the top 3 managers in the major leagues. He has proven he is among the best now he needs to be rewarded for that. The Red Sox said it was one of their off season goals to take care of Francona. Schilling and Lowell are now taken care of, lets get to the next item on the to-do list.
The 2007 baseball awards continued today with another player from Northern California winning. Rollins (NL MVP), Sabathia (AL Cy Young), Melvin (NL Manager of the Year) and Boston Red Sox Dustin Pedroia (AL Rookie of the Year) are all from Northern California. Congrats to the winners. Good luck to everyone on this get away day. Remember, when your flight gets delayed you can always head to the airport bar for a Harpoon IPA (East Coasters) or a Lagunitas IPA if you are out here.
With the signing of Lowell the Red Sox now have to look at completing the next task of the off season: filling up the bullpen. Eric Gagne is most likely gone, Timlin should get his usual one year deal, Tavarez's option was picked up, Papelbon and Okajima and Delcarmen will be back. Boston needs one more guy who can pitch the 7th or 8th inning or close occasionally to give Papelbon and Okajima rest. There are some options out there including Kerry Wood, Octavio Dotel, Armando Benitez, and Francisco Cordero. Although Cordero will command more money than the Sox will want to pay for him with limited closers on the market. Benitez can be very inconsistent and does not seem like a good guy for the 7th inning. That leaves Wood and Dotel. Both of these pitchers seem to always get hurt but they have a great deal of upside. We'll see what kind of magic Theo can do to strengthen the bullpen for the upcoming season. The Hot Stove continues.
After the World Series Mike Lowell was offered $36 million for a 3 year deal with Boston. Mike and his agents were seeking a 4 year deal with the Sox so the tried to see what was out there on the market. It has been reported that the Phillies offered Lowell a 4 year $50 million deal on Sunday. With that offer Mike's agents went back to the Sox to try to get an additional offer. Theo did not add the extra year but matched the Phillies pay per year upping the offer to $37.5 million Mike took the deal and he is back. It looked like Lowell aways wanted to return to Boston and was just negotiating for his best deal. I think both sides handled this very well and it seems as if everyone is happy. Curt Schilling summed up the general feeling about the deal on his blog yesterday with the title "Sweet!."
Monday, November 19, 2007
Don't forget to listen to WEEI this morning....I'll still be in bed on the West Coast but some of you East Coasters will have a chance to win an auction for a good cause. This is from Pearl Jam's website :
"Tomorrow morning, November 20th (between 6am - 10 am EDT), WEEI Boston, is doing a live on air auction for HDSA. They are auctioning only one exclusive package. To some, this may be the opportunity of a lifetime ... We are talking about the chance for you and a guest to hang out with Theo Epstein (young Red Sox GM extraordinaire) and Stone Gossard (need we say more). This experience with these two gents will include dinner, a tour of Fenway, and a Red Sox game watched from the manager's box.
For any Sox fan, this would be a very exciting night. Throw in a love of Pearl Jam and what more could you want? Well, actually a chance to hang with Red Sox management might be more of a boon to a Yankees fan, but we are pretty sure Theo can handle it."
The link to WEEI is on the right side of the page. Happy bidding.
The deadline for teams to offer arbitration to players is Dec. 1. The Sox have a dilemma with Eric Gagne; if they offer him arbitration and he signs with another team they get the first round draft pick that goes along with losing a Type B free agent. If they don't offer arbitration and he signs with another team they get nothing. This may seem like a no-brainer, offer arbitration and take the pick. The problem is he may accept arbitration and get as much as $9 million. If he does that the Sox are out the money and stuck with a pitcher who almost cost Boston the AL East and went 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA this year. I say offer arbitration and if he takes it use him in middle relief again. He may be able to pitch close to the way he did with the Dodgers and Rangers and be worth the money.
The biggest issue of the off season was solved today when the Red Sox and World Series MVP agreed to the outline of a 3 year deal. I along with everyone in Red Sox Nation will have even more to be thankful for this holiday season. Thank you Mike.
The Boston Globe is also reporting that Lowell signing with Boston is likely in the next few days.
I may have been way off on my last post. Here is what Buster Olney said on his blog at ESPN this morning: "Heard early this morning: Mike Lowell is close to re-signing with the Red Sox, for three years. Assuming that the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed without a final hangup, the heavy lifting of three major players in the AL East -- Boston, New York and Toronto -- is all but over." Let's hope he is right.
The Herald reported that Theo and Mike Lowell's agents talked over the weekend without making progress. It looks like the Red Sox are not going to add a 4th year to the deal. The two other main options for Lowell are the Dodgers and Angels however both teams are also interested in Cabrera at third. The Marlins are asking a pretty steep price for Miguel Cabrera which took the Sox out of the running and might have also scared the Dodgers away from the a potential deal. This is not likely to be resolved until the Winter Meetings. Once Cabrera is traded, Mike will have his best offers from other teams so he is likely to hold of taking any deal for a while. Looks like were just going to have to wait until December to know if he is coming back.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
According to the Denver Post, the Colorado Rockies have contacted Matt Clement's agent to try to work out a deal for the free agent pitcher. The Arizona Diamondbacks are also interested. In 2006 Clement went 6-6 with a 6.61 ERA, he did not make it to the show in 2007. For this great effort he was paid $9.5 million this season by the Red Sox. If the Rockies need starting pitching that bad their losing streak is likely to continue next year.
The worst stadium in baseball may be gone by as early as 2012. Think how many times you have looked at the schedule on NESN and dreaded the upcoming game at the Trop. Watching a game played in a stadium half full of fans and seeing balls hitting different parts of the roof causing umpires to huddle to determine if it is fair or foul is beyond painful. But all this may change with plans for a brand new ballpark in Tampa. The stadium will not have a roof but will have some type of moving "sail like material" to protect from the rain. The park will be on the water and could feature splash hits like AT&T park in San Francisco. This actually sounds pretty cool. That has to be the first time anyone has had anything positive to say about Tampa Bay baseball. The Rays are becoming a better team and with a new stadium they may no longer live in the dark basement of the American League East. It might even be worth a road trip.
Schilling won again this weekend, only this time it was on the race track. Apparently there is a horse named after the Red Sox pitcher in Australia. There has even been talk of Curt traveling down under to meet his namesake. The 3 year old colt won the Sandown Guineas yesterday. Here is the description form the horse's trainer: “He is a really good horse this bloke.” The owners of Schilling are big baseball fans and even want Curt to buy a share of the horse. You know Red Sox Nation is everywhere when it starts getting into Australian horse racing.