Saturday, December 29, 2007
Bob Ryan and Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe talk about the expectations for the Red Sox in '08 and focus on Tek and J.D. Drew.
'07 Season: Dice-K was hyped up to be the second coming of Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, and Sandy Koufax. The Red Sox broke the bank to get him and fans expected excellence from him. The media room at Fenway had to be expanded to make room for the Japanese media. He was supposedly armed with an unhittable pitch called the Gyroball. Fans from around the world watched his first MLB game against the Royals on April 5. Dice-K had a solid first outing; he only gave up 6 hits and had 10 strikeouts getting his first win. Most Sox fans saw this as a good sign that he would be the player he was hyped up to be. However, in his second start he was out-classed by Seattle's Felix Hernandez. For the rest of the season he was inconsistent; masterful one game and ineffective the next. He had control problems at times and struggled when he had runners on base. He ended the season going 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA. He went 3-1 in the post-season getting the win in game 3 of the World Series.
'08 Outlook: The tremendous pressure Dice-K faced in '07 will be off him. He now knows what to expect from a long major league season with a baseball obsessed town. A 6 man rotation would be a great benefit to Matsuzaka who showed fatigue last season. He pitched in a 6 man rotation in Japan. Dice-K's season was similar to Beckett's first year with Boston. Once he adjusts to the hitters he should have a better second year with the Red Sox. He has "ace" stuff and with some increased control he could be the pitcher Boston paid big bucks for. With increased control and a lower pitch count he should have a better record and a lower ERA in '08. He will be a great #2 pitcher for the Sox next season and start to earn his hefty paycheck.
Friday, December 28, 2007
After a brilliant no-hitter against Baltimore on September 1, Sox rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz was shut down for the season on Sept. 28th following concerns about his right arm. Things seem to be going well on the rehab front for Buchholz this offseason.
Buchholz has been rehabbing in Pensacola. He plans to be in Boston in January to take part in the Sox rookie development program.
During the slow part of the off-season I will feature a preview of the '08 season for Red Sox players starting with the pitching staff.
'07 Season: Josh Beckett had a near Cy Young year leading the American League with 20 wins and was lights-out in the playoffs. He pitched over 200 innings for the second year in a row and had much better control with only giving up 40 walks vs. 74 in '06.
'08 Outlook: Beckett has become a true ace and will be the opening day starter. His shoulder problems seem to be a thing of the past and he has adjusted to American League batters. He should be able to win 20+ games and reach 200 K's unless the Sox go with a 6 man rotation. Beckett would benefit from the extra rest to limit the blister problems he can sometimes have. Look for a Cy Young Award winning season from the 27 year old pitcher who is entering his prime.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe thinks this is the year.
Rob Neyer of ESPN does not.
I think he is a borderline H.O.F. player but the release of the Mitchell Report has helped his chances. Most sports reporters outside of the Hub have been hesitant to vote for him so I tend to agree with Rob Neyer that he will not get in even though it would be great if he did. I posted earlier on Rice's numbers.
The Providence Journal has an article today on two of the prospects the Red Sox are offering for Johan Santana; Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson. Lowrie had a solid year at short last year for the Sea Dogs batting .300 and according to the Journal he is ready for "the show." With the deal Boston signed with Lugo last year it is unlikely he will be replaced in '08 with a rookie, but if he struggles again next season Lowrie could come to the rescue.
Justin Masterson finished last season with a 4-3 record and a 4.33 ERA for Portland. He has been developing quickly and has good control of his pitches. Boston has 6 quality starters going into the '08 season but they will lose Schilling and most likely Wakefield to retirement in '09. Everyone knows you can never have too much pitching.
When you look at what the Red Sox are offering you can understand why Theo is reluctant to add much. He is willing to part with 3 solid major league ready players; all whom have low salaries and one pitcher who should be ready in another year. Besides Coco Crisp, all of these players could fit nicely into Boston's long term plans. It was the young players that carried the Red Sox through the World Series this year, and some some new rookies may help the team in the next few seasons if they don't go to Minnesota.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune "Twins Insider" columnist LaVelle Neal reported on the latest Santana rumors today, but there wasn't a whole lot to report. He said that the Mets, Sox and Yankees are still vying for Santana. The only new name to be added to the Santana trade rumor mix is Yankee pitcher Kei Igawa.
Neal's sources said that ,"'dormant' definitely was a good word to describe dealings with the Red Sox."
2 months before pitchers and catchers report to spring training Duncan Stewart of The Daily News Journal has picked the Tigers to win the American League and beat the Mets in the World Series. Detroit did boost their team with the big trade in the off-season but I would not expect much of Dontrelle Willis once he faces American League hitters. The paper is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee so I would not put too much stock in its baseball predictions; they do not even have a minor league team. I hope everyone got the Christmas gifts they wanted and have watched all of the World Champion DVD's. When you finish watching send them to Duncan Stewart so he can think twice about his '08 pick.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The Red Sox owe a luxury tax of $6.06 million for the '07 season and must pay it before Jan. 31. This is a big increase from the $497,000 they paid last year but nowhere near the $23.88 million the Yankees owe. For more information on how the tax is calculated or where it goes click here.
Monday, December 24, 2007
David Ortiz was interviewed at the scene of number 15 for the Pats yesterday and talked about Johan Santana. The two are good friends and Big Papi has pictures of Johan's kids in his cell phone. He doubts the Twins will send their ace to the Sox because they had already given too much to the World Champs. This is just speculation by Ortiz with no real insight on the negotiations. It is great that Santana would fit in well with some of the players on the team; this could make him accept a lower salary to go to the Red Sox.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Prior to the kickoff in today's Patriots game (where they are currently stomping the Miami Dolphins), the Pats took time to honor the Red Sox.
On hand were Sox owner John Henry, along with Youk (wearing Tom Brady's jersey), Schilling (wearing Tedy Bruschi's jersey) and Big Papi (wearing Laurence Maroney's jersey).
The Sox entourage brought the World Series trophy on the field with them in Foxboro.
Roger Clemens wants you to feel sorry for him and denies using steroids again. I still do not believe him. Where's the slander lawsuit Roger? Check out the background of the video.... some shameless self promotion.
Rob Bradford had an interesting article in the Herald about Manny Ramirez this morning. After next season the Red Sox can pick up his option for a 9th season at $20 million. If Manny has his typical numbers next year there will be teams willing to pay more than the option for at least a 3 year deal. The Yankees will be looking for an outfielder, especially if they do not deal Matsui before the '08 season, and they will have the money to spend. For all the times Manny has been Manny and come up with new injuries or car shows to attend, he always puts up great numbers and has been a big part of two World Series championships. He was MVP in the '04 series and he had one of the best post season moments this year with his walk-off against the Angels. If Boston can get Manny for 3 more years at $20 million/year I say go for it. What's the worst that could happen? We might get a few new things to bid for on ebay and a couple more rings.