Saturday, January 12, 2008

'08 Outlook for Dustin Pedroia

'07 Season: The Red Sox finally found a long term solution at 2nd with Dustin Pedroia. The rookie started the season at a snails pace batting just .182 in April. The fans and the press started to get on Francona for sticking with Pedroia. The patience paid off as he hit .415 in may and became a dependable hitter near the top of the Red Sox order and became the American League's Rookie of the Year. He hit .283 in the post season with 2 HR's including the big homer against the Tribe in game 7 of the ALCS. He accomplished all of this with a broken bone in his hand.

'08 Outlook: Pedroia will have to avoid the sophomore slump in '08 but he has shown he is not afraid of anything and is not the typical MLB player. With surgery on his hand last season and a full recovery he should have good numbers in the upcoming season. He will benefit from having Jacoby Ellsbury bat in front of him instead of Lugo. Ellsbury will be a pitchers nightmare on the base paths causing distractions that will benefit Pedroia at the plate. He did hit 8 HR's which is amazing for his size but he does benefit from the dimensions of Fenway. Conventional wisdom says second year players will decline now that pitchers have found the holes in their swings but Pedroia has shown he can bounce back from a slump and does not get intimidated. He will hit over .300 and his RBI numbers will be up with Jacoby batting in front of him.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Dropkick Murphys Will Be On Letterman Tonight

The Fenway house band Dropkick Muphys will make their first appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight. There is sure to be some talk of the World Series victory and the band will perform "The State of Massachusetts."


'08 Outlook for Kevin Youkilis

'07 Season: Youk broke the American League record for consecutive games at first base without an error, he has proven to be on of the best defensive players on the Red Sox and won a Gold Glove. Youkilis hit .328 for the first half of the season and earned his nickname as "The Greek God of Walks" by getting 40 free passes before the All-Star break. His average dropped to .238 for the second half of the season; some of this can be blamed on injuries from being hit by Yankee pitchers in the head and wrist. (Don't forget the 2 thrown over his head by Joba) Youk had a great ALCS batting .500 with 3 home runs against the Tribe.

'08 Outlook: Kevin Youkilis does not have great power for a first basemen; last season he hit a career high 16. However he is a very versatile hitter and can be placed anywhere in the lineup. It will be interesting to see where he ends up in the order in '08 because the Sox will most likely go with Ellsbury and Pedroia before Manny and Papi. Youk could bring some production to the second half of the batting order where it was missing for a large part of '07. Now that his injuries have healed he should be able to bring his average up. He will go back to being a more patient hitter at the plate and bring his OBP back to over .400. Youkilis' value, like Tek's, is hard to show with stats be cause he is such a well rounded player and clubhouse contributor. Expect to hear a lot more Yoooooooouuuuuuuuukkkkk in '08.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doug Mirabelli Will Be Back

According to the Boston Herald the Red Sox are close to signing Doug Mirabelli for a one year contract. This will give Boston a backup catcher for next year and allows Wake to have someone who can catch the knuckle ball. Mirabelli is not a long term solution behind the dish but the Sox are doing the right thing by bringing him back. The deal is said to be for around $550,000 with incentive that could bring it up to $1 million for the year.


'08 Outlook for Jason Varitek

'07 Season: The Red Sox Captain continued to get it done behind the plate by managing his pitchers well and keeping balls in front of him. His batting average was up from '06 but behind his career average. He hit 17 HR's and drove in 68. It is almost impossible to show Varitek's value to the team through stats as he is the glue that holds the team together. He gets the most out of every pitcher (if Schilling did not shake him off in Oakland he would have had a no hitter.)

'08 Outlook: Tek will be 35 going into the season in his last year of his contract. When the Sox signed him for 4 years they believed they might be going a year too long for an aging catcher but Varitek has proven his worth. There have been some reports that Boston will meet with Scott Boras to talk about a contract extension during spring training. Varitek's numbers have dropped off slightly but not near what you would expect from someone who has caught so many games. The limited production at the plate is more than made up for by his catching ability. With young arms joining the rotation Tek becomes even more valuable. His average will be below .300 again in '08 and he won't hit 20 HR's but he will be responsible for many of the W's. When you look at the box scores next year for Tek don't just look at hits or RBI's, look at the ERA's of young pitchers who have never seen the batter before. If the Red Sox can find a backup to give him the occasional day off Varitek will put up another outstanding season as captain.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

House Delays Clemens Hearings

Roger* will have some more time to get his story figured out before he has to testify on Capitol Hill. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has moved the hearings from Jan. 16 until Feb. 13 so they have more time to prepare. There is still a hearing January for Donald Fehr and Bud Selig to get a grilling from some lawmakers about their lack of attention to performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Congress can take away MLB's legal monopoly but there is little chance of that. There will be some grandstanding by lawmakers and some defensive answers from Donald and Bud but not much more in the first hearings. The second hearings will be much more interesting because both McNamee and Clemens will be under oath. If both stick to their story someone will be committing perjury and Congress may take some punitive action.


Gabe Kapler Talks About the Issues

Gabe Kapler was on WEEI yesterday to give his thoughts on the Red Sox rotation, Roger Clemens, and his new job with the Brew Crew. It is funny how certain players never really leave the Red Sox; look at Bronson and the Hot Stove Cool Music Event or Mirabelli when he was in San Diego. Kapler will always have some kind of a relationship with Boston even when he plays in the National League.

Red Sox Baseball Coverage - Gabe Kapler, ex Red Sox, current Milwaukee Brewer


'08 Outlook for Jonathan Pabelbon

'07 Season: Papelbon entered Spring Training as a member of the Red Sox rotation but after the failure of Joel Pinero he returned to the closer role. Numero cinco ocho had a 1.85 ERA in 59 appearances for Boston last season. He had 84 K's while only walking 14 batters. He had a small period during the regular season where he became human and blew a couple of saves before rising back to the top. Some of his bad appearances can be blamed on lack of focus from the occasional migraine he suffers from. He did not give up an earned run during the playoffs and struck out the last batter of the World Series to seal the championship for the Red Sox.

'08 Outlook: Papelbon enters the 2008 season as the best closer in baseball, he has two complete major league seasons under his belt and a World Series title. Papelbon has the nerves to be a great closer with an intimating stare and a great fastball. The late season arm problems from '06 were not present in '07 thanks to Francona not over-pitching him. He will continue to be a major reason for the Red Sox to do well next season; as long as they can get to the 9th, Papelbon will deliver his part of the victory. Even with runners on base opposing batters could only hit .187 against him last season. Other than Josh Beckett, Papelbon is the best reason to be confident about the Sox chances in '08. He is the real deal and will continue to shine for year to come.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rem Dawg Reacts to Roger*

The President of Red Sox Nation does not believe the Rocket. Watch it.


Jim Rice does not make Hall of Fame

Breaking News: Goose is in....Rice is not. Jim Rice had 72% of the vote but not enough to get in.


The Sporting News Ranks Sox Rotation #2

The Sporting News said the Red Sox rotation for '08 was 2nd behind the Indians. The Red Sox proved they had the better rotation in the playoffs and they will have Lester and Buchholz in '08 so I don't see how Cleveland gets ranked ahead of them.


'08 Outlook for Hideki Okajima

'07 Season: Okajima played a large role in the success of the Red Sox last season. He was not expected to be a great player when he arrived from Japan but quickly became the setup man. He was selected to the American League All-Star Team and won the TYIB Setup Man of the Year Award. Okajima's strange release and mixing up of speeds confounded batters and made him nearly unhittable for a large part of the season. He became fatigued down the stretch and was given time off by Tito which allowed him to be ready for the playoffs. In the post-season he had a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings.

'08 Outlook: Oki found his control last year but was not as good in the second half of the season, some of that has to be attributed to fatigue but it was also a sign that American League batters were getting a second look at him. He has proven he can be a dominant setup man but also showed some signs of weakness. It will be very hard for him to repeat his accomplishments of last season and I would expect some rough outings from him in '08. If he can maintain his control he will still be a good setup man but he will come back to earth a little. Tito needs to use him a little less next season to avoid the fatigue, having Delcarmen in the pen will help. Overall he should continue to be a good option for Boston but fans need to be prepared for a few implosions in '08.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Clemens Holds News Conference.. Plays a Taped Conversation, Walks Out

Roger spoke with the media today and played a taped phone conversation with former trainer Brian McNamee. You can listen to the tape and watch the news conference below.

 Red Sox Baseball Coverage - Unedited Version of Roger and Mcnamee phone call

UPDATE: McNamee stands by his claims that Roger* juiced.

Full Video here


Jim Rice Learns His Fate Tomorrow

Tuesday is the day for the announcement of new Hall of Fame inductees. Here's what Rice has said about the process: "Things are not like they used to be; the players are not the same. You have to put guys in different categories and ask, 'What were those guys considered during their time? You can go back before the steroids; you can go back to Nautilus equipment, weights, more teams, smaller ballparks. There's a lot of things you can go back into. The question is, what kind of hitter was I? Did I do things for the team or more as an individual? I could have been more selfish, but when I played it was a team thing. If you tell a young guy now, you've got to hit 500 home runs to get to the Hall of Fame, he'd have to decide if he wants to do that."

It should be a close vote, maybe the 14th time will be a charm.


'08 Outlook for Manny Delcarmen

'07 Season: The Massachusetts native had no decisions last season but did pick up one save and had a 2.05 ERA in 44 appearances. He did not give up a hit during his last 4 regular season appearances and made the post-season roster where he saw action in each of the series. His post-season was not good; he had an ERA of 8.31 and he gave up a home run in game 4 of the World Series.

'08 Outlook: Delcarmen has a good fastball and an average changeup. He has earned himself a spot as a situational reliever in the pen and will be used for a late inning here and there an will occasionally fill in for Oki as the setup man. He needs to work on a better secondary pitch or he will have batters sitting on his fastball like they did during the post-season. He has good control and limits base runners making him a good candidate for late inning relief. He should build upon his successes from last year and become a reliable option for Tito out of the bullpen.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Roger* Says He Might Be Open to a Lie Detector Test

Clemens goes on 60 Minutes and tells Mike Wallace he is angry at his former trainer, shocked that Pettitte took HGH and was only injected with pain killers and B-12. He went on to say "I was eating Vioxx like it was Skittles," he said, adding that he has since been made aware of its dangers and will possibly discuss its effects with Congress next week." He also declared, "You will never see me pitch again." Just like Nixon I guess we won't have Clemens to kick around any more. What BS. He dodges the lie detector test by saying he "doen't know if they work" and still no lawsuit because it would cost too much, maybe we should take up a collection for Roger. The testimony under oath should be more interesting. With his constant statements of denial he may be able to get a job with the Clinton campaign.

UPDATE: Clemens files lawsuit against McNamee, maybe he is telling the truth.


Theo Says Santana Talks Not Holding Up Other Deals

Theo spoke with the media yesterday and said he has been back at work for a week but many of the GM's took this week off. The "Hot Stove" may heat up again Monday and we may see some new negotiations that have been moving at a snail's pace this off-season. Theo said that other deals are not being held up by the Santana negotiations even though he admitted it was a factor during the Winter Meetings. Theo is still in a bind; if he trades Coco now he is basically telling the Twins and Yankees that the Red Sox are out of the Santana sweepstakes. If he continues to wait on the Twins he may go into the regular season with 2 center fielders. Ellsbury will be the starter and Coco will platoon making it harder to trade him. At this point it would be good if a team like the Mets got Santana soon. This would allow the Sox make the necessary moves even though Theo says they are moving forward.



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