Saturday, February 23, 2008

Okajima Names New Pitch

Although he would not tell reporters what type of "secret" pitch he has developed, Hideki Okajima has named his new pitch the "Doki Doki." Lets hope it works as well as the "Oki Doki" did last season.


Will Sox Go Into Season With Coco, Ellsbury and Kielty?

If the Red Sox have 12 pitchers on the roster they will most likely not have 5 outfielders so something hast to give. If Coco is not traded by opening day there is a good chance that Kielty will start the season in AAA. He has a clause in his contract where he can become a free agent if he does not make the team in spring training. The Sox want to keep Kielty as insurance if they trade Coco but they can not guarantee he will be there if they go into the season with him in the minors. It is possible they go with 5 outfielders and platoon center and right field; especially if J.D. start off slow. As with pitching the Sox are in a good position of having too much talent, things could be much worse.


Pitching Battles Begin

The most hyped battle of spring training will be between Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury for the center field job, followed closely by the competition for the #5 spot between Buchholz, Tavarez, Snyder, Pauley and Masterson. There is also another big battle going on between relief pitchers for what is likely only one remaining spot in the bullpen. The Providence Journal broke down the scenario well in today's paper:
"Assuming that Clay Buchholz wins the No. 5 spot in the rotation vacated by Curt Schilling, Julian Tavarez will make the team as a long reliever and spot starter. Kyle Snyder, too, must be considered another roster inclusion.

That leaves a handful of pitchers — Javy Lopez, Dan Kolb, Craig Hansen and David Aardsma — to compete for the final spot. And their auditions are being sped up by the calendar."

It all begins on Thursday with the game against Boston College.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Sox Are Headed To Washington

No they do not have to testify about steroids like most of the Yankee lineup, the Red Sox will go to D.C. on Wednesday to meet with President Bush at the White House and visit wounded vets with the trophy at Walter Reed Medical Center. Last time the Sox visited the White House after the '04 World Series Manny did not make the trip....will the new Manny be there?


Manny Is Now a Boras Client

Manny Ramirez will now be represented by Scott Boras joining many of his fellow Red Sox players. inlcuding Jason Varitek, Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, Julian Tavarez, Alex Cora and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Red Sox can pick up Manny's $20 million option next season but he will be very expensive for a long term deal. The good news is that Manny will have to put up good numbers and be a team player this season if other clubs are going to sign him to a major long term deal. For the time being enjoy what Manny does at the plate and worry about the future later...Manny is not going to worry about anything.


Ortiz Says He's Almost 100%

David Ortiz spoke to WBZ Radio's Jon Miller in Ft. Myers. He said he is almost 100% healthy following off-season surgery. Listen to Ortiz's comments here.


Theo Talks About Coco

Theo Epstein spoke with and discussed the Coco Crisp situation. Much of what he said was similar to Tito's take on the situation. He tried to show Coco's value to the team by saying:

"We allowed the fewest runs in all of baseball. He was a huge part on a club that won 96 games so he's got an opportunity to keep his job and go out and make an impact for this club again as an everyday player. It's premature to speculate about the next step."

It seems like the team's plan is to start Coco in center unless he has an awful spring. If he starts out well he could be good trade value before the deadline. Pitcher Ben Sheets will be a free agent next year so he could be traded at the deadline and would be a good fit with Boston if they can get him for a few years.


WEEI Broadcasts From Spring Training

WEEI is broadcasting from Fort Myers all week, they have interviews with Buchholz, Lester, Francona, Manny and Coco. You can listen to all of the interviews here.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Manny Speaks About the Future

Not only did Manny show up early but he spoke to the media. He says he wants to stay in Boston but he also said he did not want them to pick up his option. It wouldn't be Manny if it all made sense.


Pitching Order For 1st Spring Games

The Boston Globe put up this list of pitchers from Tito's press conference yesterday:

  • Feb. 28 vs. Boston College (1:05 p.m. at City of Palms Park)
    Scheduled starter: Josh Beckett
    Also likely to pitch: Kyle Snyder

  • Feb. 28 vs. Northeastern (6:05 p.m. at City of Palms Park)
    Scheduled starter: Justin Masterson
    Also likely to pitch: Craig Hansen, Michael Bowden, and some other young pitchers

  • Feb. 29 vs. Twins (7:05 p.m. at Hammond Stadium)
    Scheduled starter: Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Also likely to pitch: Julian Tavarez, Hideki Okajima

  • March 1 vs. Twins (1:05 p.m. at Hammond Stadium)
    Scheduled starter: Jon Lester
    Also likely to pitch: Devern Hansack, David Pauley

  • March 2 vs. Twins (1:05 p.m. at City of Palms Park)
    Likely to pitch: Tim Wakefield, Clay Buchholz


Sox Games In Japan Sell Out

According to the Red Sox games against the A's to start the season in Japan have been sold out. If you were planning a trip to see them your price just got higher....although if you can afford to go to Japan to see the Red Sox you can afford the scalper price. The Tokyo Dome seats 55,000 and sold all of the tickets for March 25 and 26 in two weeks. (What's up with the Japanese fans? They would have sold out in 2 hours in Boston.)

Also in Red Sox news: Trot Nixon has signed with the D-backs.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yankees Become Accustomed to 2nd Class

"This is the first year since I've been here in five years that we're not the team to beat and I think it's a good position to be in."

Alex Rodriguez quoted by Sports Illustrated.


Tom Brady's Replacement?

Dice-K throws a football as part of a pitching drill
in Fort Myers today. (Boston Globe Photo)


Manny Shows Up Early

According to the Boston Herald, Manny Ramirez has arrived in Fort Myer. He dropped off his equipment and left. The only players not at camp yet are Bobby Kielty (who has an excused absence because his wife is about to give birth) and Alex Cora. Tito spoke with Cora and said he would be on time....that is if he does not get arrested on the way.


David Pauley Is In The Mix For The Rotation

Add David Pauley to the list of pitchers competing for the #5 spot in the rotation. Last season Pauley led the Paw Sox in starts and went 6-6 with 110 K's. Pauley will have an uphill battle to earn the spot because he will have to beat out Tavares, Snyder, Masterson, and Buchholz. Here is what has to say about David Pauley.
"Pauley mixes an excellent sinker with a low 90s fastball with good movement, a good changeup, and a top-notch curveball. Has 4th or 5th starter potential. Has been very consistent in recent seasons, with some flashes of brilliance. Seems to fade out late in August and September. Needs to improve his control somewhat. Gives up a lot of home runs. Good fielder with a strong pick-off move. "


Coco Arrives In Fort Myers...Says He Wants Start No Matter Where It Is

Coco Crisp arrived at spring training and spoke with reporters about the possibility of being traded and the center field job. Here is some of what he had to say:

“I know with Schill going through what he’s going through, they might want to fill another spot in the back of the bullpen and bring one of those guys to the front to fill a starting position. I don’t know it’s going to work out, but I could definitely see (a trade) happening.....I just want to play, I don’t care where."

I can understand his wanting to start and he can not say he is ok with riding pine before he even begins a competition with Jacoby. He did handle himself very well when he was taken out of the lineup last fall and did what he was asked to help the team win. I am fine with him getting the starting job if he can prove he can hit consistently which is something he has yet to do with the Red Sox.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Schilling Says He Will Earn the $8 Million

Curt Schilling posted an update on his blog to talk about his shoulder injury and plans for the season. He is going to go along with the Red Sox plan for treatment and discussed the money issue by writing the following:

"At the end of the day this really is and was a business decision on their behalf, and regardless of what you think that’s the way it is, and has been. At the moment they are out 8 million dollars for a guy that cannot pitch, that can’t be a good thing. I’d bet that I’ll figure out some way to validate this entire thing when it’s all said and done. If you don’t like that, or believe that, then feel free to bet against me, it won’t be the first time."

I hope he's right, the Sox might need his arm down the stretch.


Big Papi Arrives At Camp

David Ortiz arrived in Fort Myers today and said he was almost fully recovered from the knee surgery he had last fall. He took a few swings in the cage and said he felt good. The first team workout will take place on Friday. Time to start the Manny watch.


Castro Resigns...Theo Signs Him To a Minor League Deal

Fidel Castro resigned as head of the Cuban government today and was immediately signed by Theo Epstein for a minor league deal to pitch for the Sox with an invitation to camp. He has as good a chance as Dan Miceli to make the club. Castro was given a "weight clause" similar to Schillings' only he has to put on 20 pounds to get the bonus. When asked about the deal Theo said: "we missed out on Contreras to the Yankees but we were not going to let Castro get away."


Video of the Schilling Interview

Here is the video of yesterday's interview with Curt Schilling:


Monday, February 18, 2008

Gagne Issues An Apology For Causing A Distraction...Not For Using Roids

Eric Gagne issued an apology to his teammates on the Brewers (not the Sox) for the distraction he has created but he did not admit to taking steroids. This falls short on 2 levels....first of all, man up and admit what you did....second, apologize for the attempt at pitching you did with the Red Sox. If you are interested, here is some of what he said:
"I'm here to let you guys know that I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through, and all my friends and especially my teammates here in Milwaukee, I think that's just a distraction that shouldn't be taking place. I'm just here to help the Milwaukee Brewers get to the World Series and get to the playoffs, and that's all I really care about. "


Schilling Discusses Injury in Detail

Curt Schilling spoke with reporters about his injury today and tried to answer some of the questions that have been brought up in the past 2 weeks. You can read the entire interview here. Below are some of the answers he gave:

"If some people want to believe that this was me taking advantage of a situation financially, I wouldn’t have done it here. I would have done it for $14 million in at least two other places, if I was going to sit on my ass on the DL and collect a paycheck......I went out to throw in mid-December, and it felt like August again. It didn’t hurt, but it felt crappy. I said ok, I’ll give myself a couple more weeks, do some exercises, get stronger, give a little more rest. Went out early January again, felt the same. Not long after that, I had a throwing session where I couldn’t play catch. It was painful. Then when I went home, it was aching like a toothache. I knew that wasn’t a good thing, so I immediately reached out to them.....I reached out very early on to John Farrell and to Tito and told them I was concerned and I didn’t want that to mess up potential discussions between the Red Sox and Twins....I had three different doctors tell me three completely different things with three completely different courses of action....I signed a contract with this team and so I have to abide by the rules of the CBA. One of those rules is that from a medical standpoint, they get to dictate how and when things are supposed to happen.

Lots of new info here; Schilling and the Sox kept the injury quiet to protect their negotiating position in the Santana talks. Curt and the Sox did not know the extent of the injury when they signed the contract. The 2 sides had some problems over the treatment plan but Curt has to follow what the team wants, it did cause some strife but both sides are trying to get through it.


Can Wake Break All-Time Sox Win Record?

Tim Wakefield will be 42 before the season ends this year.

He currently sits 38 games behind Roger Clemens (we'll leave the * off for this record because he likely didn't start juicing until after he left the Sox) and Cy Young for the all-time Red Sox wins record.

Wake has 154 wins for Boston. He spoke to the Associated Press about his hopes to break the record, ""I'd like to get to 200 wins and I'd like to maybe tie or break Cy Young or Roger Clemens' record for all-time Red Sox (wins) but I don't know of that's possible," Wakefield said.

"If I win 20 games the next two years, it's possible," he said with a laugh. "It's probably within reach if I can play for four more years."

If you look at Phil Neikro, who played until he was almost 50, it's possible.

I remember watching Charlie Hough, another ancient knukleballer (I think he was 45 at the time), pitch for the Marlins in Miami back in '93 He got them their second-ever win during that game. I don't think he pitched a ball faster than 65 mph.

I think Wake can do it.


Yanks Stew in Turmoil While Sox Remain Tranquil

Sean McAdam in today's ProJo sums up the different atmospheres in the Red Sox and Yankees camps.

While the Yankees in Tampa are dealing with the fallout from Pettitte coming to camp amidst the HGH revelations and trying to deal with life after Joe Torre, the Red Sox are "Traquility Base."

“Anytime issues come up that don’t have anything to do with winning and losing games,” said general manager Theo Epstein, “it can become a distraction.

“It’s nice,” said manager Terry Francona, “that we don’t have our attention diverted by any of that stuff. We’re trying not to let anything get in the way of getting ready for the season. We kind of get caught up in what we’re doing.”


Timlin the Ageless One

Someday Timlin is going to age. Isn't he? The fans worry about it. Tito worries about it. Pitching coach John Farrell worries about it. But Timlin doesn't.

Timlin told the Boston Herald, “I’m still the same old guy, I’m just two years older"(than he was when the Sox worried that he was overdoing it by playing in the World Baseball Classic).

“But I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to approach the game, play the game, any game, like I’m supposed to play the game - as hard as I can, as long as I can. When I can’t do it any more,” he said, “I’ll stop."


Sunday, February 17, 2008

'Tek Hopes for New Deal Soon

Jason Varitek is in the last year of his 4-year deal with the Sox.

The Sox captain is looking to stay in Boston and hopes to get a deal signed before the start of the season.

Without a future catcher on the horizon, it makes sense for the Sox to offer Varitek a deal. He will be 36, and only hit .255 last year, but catchers historically produce well later in their careers than other position players.

While he won't be getting another $40 million 4-year deal, the Sox should offer him a quality deal and keep him in Boston to finish out his career.


Science Proves It: Jeter Sucks

University of Pennsylvania researcher Shane T. Jensen presented findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The conclusion: Derek Jeter is the worst defensive shortstop in the game.

By analyzing every ball put in play in major league baseball from 2002 through 2005, researchers developed a probability model for the average fielder in each position and compared that with the performance of individual players to see who was better or worse than average.

It took world class scientists to prove what Red Sox fans have known for years.

The researchers also rated Coco Crisp one of the best defensive outfielders.



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