Boston signed minor league free agent Jonathan Van Every today. He is not really the bench outfielder that they will be looking for when they trade Coco but he did put up some solid numbers in the minors this year. Scouts.com has an interesting article on him here. He is now on the Red Sox 40 man roster leaving them with 2 open spots.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
On this cold 1st day of December (its not even going to get out of the 50's here in Northern California) I thought I would post some info on spring training. As you know the Sox have a shorter time in Florida because of the Japan trip but still have a pretty full schedule. They play the Yankees once on St. Patrick's Day in Tampa so you may not see the green uniforms. The first game is Feb. 29 (that's right its leap year) against BC. The full schedule is here.
Nothing new on Santana other than the Star Tribune saying the Twins won't accept an offer with Coco instead of Jacoby. The Mets might be back in the sweepstakes by adding Reyes. Winter Meetings start Monday, we may know where Santana is going by then.
The Red Sox and Mike Timlin agreed to a one year deal for $3 million. By re-signing Timlin the Sox have most of their off-season work done. They still need a backup catcher, a bench corner infielder, and fourth outfielder if Coco gets traded. But the bullpen is mostly done. Mike has been a fairly solid reliever and one of the few players who was on both championship teams.
Friday, November 30, 2007
The Yankees know how important it is for them to get Santana from the Twins. Pettitte is looking to retire and Boston has offered a solid proposal to the Twinkies. Since the Yanks are tired of playing second fiddle to the BoSox they are going to do something they did not want to; add Phil Hughes(their best pitching prospect) in the offer for Santana. If the reports and are true the Yankees will be the front runner in the Santana sweepstakes. Boston may not want to go all-in with Jacoby and Buchholz leaving the Yankees to buy the pot. But its not over 'til Big Papi bats.
Theo held a conference call with reporters today to prepare for the Winter Meetings that start on Monday in the Music City. He did not say anything about Santana other than: "Just because we're focused on those two elements of the club (bullpen and bench) doesn't mean we're not going to look at other opportunities to get better...we'll see if anything presents itself and we'll be aggressive as we usually are." He said the team would continue to negotiate up until the winter meetings but he did not think any news would come out before Monday. Read into it what you want but he didn't give us any more to go on with Santana. It looks like the Sox and Yankees are still negotiating and Theo does not want to show his cards just yet, which is normal for a GM. I wouldn't want him to do it any other way but it would be nice to know what's going on.
Dec. 1 is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration for players and according to the Boston Herald the Red Sox are going to offer arbitration to relief pitchers Mike Timlin and Eric Gagne. This means it is likely the Sox will get Timlin next year at a slightly higher salary for what will most likely be his last year in baseball. With Eric Gagne the Sox are rolling the dice; if he accepts arbitration they are stuck with him next year but if another team signs him they get draft picks. Texas will likely sign Gagne so the Sox should be off the hook.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that Kevin Youkilis' name has been discussed in the Santana negotiations. Brandon Moss was also mentioned as a potential part of the trade in the article. If this is accurate it is the first time either name has come up. Trading Youk would not sit as well with Sox fans as the idea of trading Lester and Coco.
If the Santana deal does not work out the Red Sox still have needs to fill and dealing Crisp can help them fill the needs. Boston still needs a backup catcher and some bullpen help. When the Cubs re-signed Kerry Wood the Red Sox were forced to look elsewhere for a solid relief pitcher. The White Sox are in need of a center fielder and they have some pitchers they may be willing to part with. The name mentioned by Tom Singer at MLB.com is Mike MacDougal. The White Sox reliever was a solid closer for the Royals and made the All-Star team in 2003 before going on the DL. He has not been consistent in the last few years and had problems getting outs down the stretch. In his last game he gave up 3 hits and 2 earned runs in 0.1 innings. If Boston gets the MacDougal who pitched for the Royals it would be a decent deal but if they get the MacDougal of the last 2 years the White Sox will be getting a bargain. Boston will be better off re-signing Timlin and getting a backup catcher for Coco or going after a better reliever than MacDougal.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press the Sox have offered Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie(SS prospect) and Justin Masterson (pitcher) for Santana as long as a long term contract could be worked out. This is making the Yankees change their offer since the Twins don't think Hughes and Cabrera is enough.
UPDATE: Michael Bowden has been mentioned as the 4th player in the deal as well. ESPN's Buster Olney has reported that a framework has not been worked out by the Sox or Twins yet.
According to the Boston Herald the Red Sox are willing to trade Jon Lester, Clay Buccholz, or Jacoby Ellsbury to the Twins for Johan Santana but they will not include 2 of those players together in any deal. The Twins need a center fielder but don't love Coco(can you blame them?) Theo may have to work some magic to get Santana without giving away the farm. The Yankees are pushing hard for Santana and have even talked to the Phillies about getting Aaron Rowand if they deal Melky Cabrera and Phill Hughes. The Mets are also getting more serious by potentially offering Jose Reyes in a Santana deal. I think Theo is right in not including two of the great young players in any deal; he can still get Dan Haren if Santana does not work out. That being said it would be great for the Sox to have Santana and it would be really bad if the Yankees get him.
The rivalry became part of the GOP Debate last night Giuliani claiming the Yankees are going to beat the Red Sox next year and taking credit for World Series victories and with Mitt Romney getting the time between the 1918 and 2004 World Series wrong.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In 2004 being an idiot was amusing, in 2007 it is uncool. Johnny Damon was in Thailand this week visiting his mother's homeland. While on the trip he has given a few interviews to various news sources. Here are a few of the quotes from one of those interviews you may find interesting: "There's definitely a few more years in me, hopefully a few good ones and probably another championship...the Yankees can get back on track, everyone knows how great our offense is, we compare with the Red Sox, we may even be better than them...It's all about jokes, doing naked pull ups and putting on my shorts in front of the other guys." You can read the whole article here.
This will be Jim Rice's 14th Hall of Fame ballot vote. So far he is 0-13 and if he loses the next two times he will be removed and his only chance is with the Veteran's Committee. As a kid growing up I had the Jim Rice Stop & Shop poster on my wall. He was the power hitter of the Red Sox. If you look at his numbers compared to the power numbers of today's hitters they don't look that great but he hit 46 HR's in 1978, before the steroid era. He was the A.L. MVP in 1978 and he is the only player to go three consecutive years with 35 HR's and 200 hits. He is a long shot to get into the Hall but with a relatively weak class this year he may get in.
Jon Lester won the Tony Conigliaro Award today. The award recognizes one major league baseball player that overcomes adversity. Lester was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was 22 during the 2006 season. After undergoing chemotherapy he was declared cancer free before the start of the '07 season. The award was started by the Red Sox in 1990 to honor Tony C. when he passed away at age 45. Mike Lowell also won the award while he was on the Marlins for surviving cancer. Jon Lester showed how far he has come by his great performance in game 4 of the World Series.
The buzz around Santana keeps coming for both the Red Sox and Yankees. Boston is in a better position than New York to get Santana because they have a center fielder they are willing to part with. The way the negotiations are going I would expect the Red Sox to offer Coco, Buchholz and and another prospect to the Twins for Santana but there is still a possibility of sending Jacoby Ellsbury if Joe Nathan is also included in the deal. The Angels are said to be in the Santana sweepstakes but don't buy it. Santana is going to be traded to either the Red Sox or Yankees and with the winter meetings only a few days away look for it to happen sooner rather than later. You may have to add the Santana jersey to your Christmas list and put the Ellsbury jersey on Ebay.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
David Ortiz told the AP that his surgery went well and he should be up to full speed by January (I wouldn't count on him breaking any world records.) Big Papi also told the AP that the performance enhancing drug issue has been blown out of proportion . This is the second time he has publicly declared problems with the way baseball is going after steroid offenders. He was involved in a controversy in May when he said he may have unknowingly taken steroids in the Dominican Republic when he was younger and he has publicly defended Barry Bonds. "It's like they've placed that issue on the same level as (the war in) Iraq," Ortiz said. "It doesn't make sense to hear people talk more about whether Barry Bonds used steroids than about people dying in Iraq." Ortiz does make a point but it is still an important issue that has been ignored by MLB for too long.
With all of the talk about the sweepstakes for Johan Santana it is easy to overlook another All-Star pitcher that might get traded. Billy Beane may be looking to rebuild the Oakland A's with some young players so Dan Haren could be traded. The A's and Twins would require a young pitcher in return; either Buchholz or Lester and an additional player. Both teams are in need of a centerfielder so Coco could be part of either deal. When you compare the two pitchers their numbers are close but Santana gets the edge if you go by Baseball-Reference.com's 162 game average.
Haren 13-11 3.82 ERA 164 K's
Santana 14-7 3.22 ERA 220 K's
If the Red Sox can get either one of them by trading Lester and Coco they should make the deal but it is unlikely it will be that cheap।
Update: Twins want Ellsbury
The Red Sox will start Spring Training earlier this year due to the trip to Japan. Terry Francona told the Boston Globe that pitchers and catchers will be reporting on Feb. 14 with the first entire squad workout scheduled for Feb. 22. The Spring Training game schedule has not be announced yet and tickets are still not on sale. However, the Red Sox are offering package deals on their website.
David Ortiz is the most popular player on the Red Sox and with 2 World Series titles under his belt fans around the league are taking notice. David Ortiz is quickly becoming the face of baseball. Fans turned away from Barry Bonds due to steroid allegations and from A-Rod for his greed but Big Papi has everything the fans love about the game. Here is what Sports Illustrated has said about him: "No player in all of baseball is more universally respected and genuinely liked by his peers than Ortiz, a self-made hitter and born leader who is hitting coach, counselor, philosopher and confidant in two languages." Big Papi represents everything that is great about baseball and is deserving of this award, especially since he played most of the season with and injured knee.
Monday, November 26, 2007
CNN had an interview with the house band of Fenway Park the Dropkick Murphys this week. In the interview they claim that they were not asked to be linked with the Red Sox during the '05 and '06 seasons but once they were called up again Boston won another World Series. The band also performed as part of the World Series celebration after the Duck Boat Parade. Popmatters.com recently had an interview with the band and its link to the Red Sox as well. You can read the interview here.
Kerry Woods had been in the Red Sox radar for the past few weeks as a setup man for Papelbon. Theo is now going to have to look elsewhere for bullpen help also making the re-signing of Mike Timlin an important thing to get done ASAP.
One of the worst parts of watching Red Sox games on NESN is seeing the same commercials over and over again. You know what I am talking about; how many times have you caught yourself humming the Foxwoods or 1 800 54 GIANT jingles. For the 2008 season in between Dunkin Donut and Sox Appeal commericals you are going to see Dustin Pedroia in Sullivan Tire adds. I'm sure the first few times will be entertaining but by May you are going to have seen enough to last a lifetime, but they will keep coming, just like the Lincoln Mercury of Raynham adds.
Some new items of note were reported over the weekend concerning the Red Sox exhibition games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in March. The middle game of the three game series will be played at the Los Angeles Coliseum where the Dodgers played while Dodger Stadium was being constructed. Because the dimensions are so tight (shorter than left in Fenway) a screen was put in place that was 42' high. It has yet to be determined if the screen will return for the March 29th game. The game is part of the yearlong celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers moving to the West Coast. The game at the Coliseum will be a charity game with all of the net proceeds going to ThinkCure the Dodger's official charity.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Curt Schilling was in Foxborough tonight to cheer for the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots were trailing by 4 points until the blimp showed Fenway Park and then the cameras went on Schilling who was decked out in a Patriots jersey and hat. The mojo worked and the Pats went on a 69 yard scoring drive to take the lead for good. Maybe this will make Tom Brady throw away the Yankee hat he has been seen in twice and repay the favor.
The backup outfielder who filled in nicely when injuries hit late in the season may be back. The Red Sox need a backup outfielder, especially if they are planning on dealing Coco for a catcher or pitcher. Kielty had a good game in the ALCS and hit a big home run in game 4 of the World Series. Theo mentioned that Boston is still interested in Bobby Kielty during a conference call last week. He spent a portion of last year on the Oakland A's before coming to the Red Sox but was sidelined with knee problems. He is a switch hitter and is a solid option off of the bench.
The New York Times had an interesting article this morning explaining potential problems for foreign players included in the Michell Report. While the MLB Player's Union and the commissioner's office have developed a policy in dealing with players who test positive for performance enhancing drugs they do not have a say in visas issued by the U.S. Government to play baseball in the United States. The federal government may take action against foreign players on the report by not issuing them visas to work in the U.S. This could catch teams by surprise, especially if some of their key players are on the list. No one knows if the report will name names but it could have a major impact across the sport. As I posted earlier this story is going to explode soon.
Two must-haves for Red Sox fans hit the market this week including the first book recapping the season and the World Series DVD. The book Diary of a Red Sox Season is written by "Mr. Red Sox" Johnny Pesky with a forward by Peter Gammons. With these two guys you can't go wrong. As I posted earlier, I met Johnny Pesky last year and he couldn't have been nicer. He took the time to write out a nice note and autograph for my son. After the 2004 season several books came out just before Christmas including Stephen King's disappointing book Faithful. This book should be better. The World Series DVD comes out on Nov. 27 and should help you get through that awful time of the year until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. The DVD is $16.99 from Shout Factory. You can watch the trailer to the DVD below. Happy shopping!