Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Turn at Armchair GM

Rest assured that Theo will be analyzing EVERY position player and EVERY pitcher with a fine tooth comb in regards to value to the team, as well as trade value.

WAKEFIELD & CASH~ Signing Wake for $4m gives the Sox a proven 5th or even 4th man in the rotation, while at the same time frees up umpteen bazillions for other needs. While Cash is no Papi at the plate, he does have adequate skills behind the dish. The experience he gains as Wake’s personal catcher will only serve to increase his trade value come the day Wake does retire. And if Charlie Zink stays hot in Pawtucket and shows up north, then the Sox in Beantown have a catcher who can handle the knuckleball.

LOWELL/TEXEIRA/PAPI/YOUK~ It’s tough to write about the players in this infield logjam separately as they are all so closely related in the evaluation of potential improvements.

Mike Lowell took a discount to stay in Boston when he could have easily left for more money elsewhere. He is the type of player you want in your clubhouse, in your line-up, and on your field. He’s another proven veteran. While he suffered some injuries in 2008, there is no reason to believe that he will not rebound after his surgery and have another good year. While he may not have a career year, expect him to earn every penny of his contract. He cares about the team, is well liked by teammates and fans alike, and gives everything he’s got. If Theo jettisons Lowell for Texeira, it will set a bad precedent. Exceptional players down the road would be less likely to sign with the Sox knowing that a heartless SOB GM will trade them anyhow. Texeira’s bat would of course be most welcomed in the line-up behind Papi, but at what cost? The bazillions he will most likely command? The ill will that could be fostered by trading quite capable and admirable players who happen to be over 32 years old?

Lowell being the professional that he is, I expect him to recuperate nicely and rehab himself into season ready condition come February. I expect Papi to rebound as well. While I don’t expect he’ll hit 54 HR’s again, a winter of rest for his wrist and knees will ready him for whacking 30-35 taters in 2009. While Youk is not Manny, he’s shown he is not to be taken lightly at the plate. Their Gold Glove work at 1B and 3B take away runs from other teams.

VARITEK~ I say keep him. Who would be his heir? Much has been made of his decline at the plate this year, but let’s not forget that as late as the end of May this past season, he was still hitting at a .295 average. It’s quite possible personal issues took its toll on his offense, and it’s quite possible he could rebound to hit .250 or better. His game calling skills make up for a BA less than stellar. Now when Boras demands an outrageous amount of money for the Captain (that would be anything more than $16m/2 years), then all bets are off. I hope ‘Tek realizes the monetary value and historical value to the game in his staying with Boston for the remainder of his career. Let’s not forget the deal Posada got and the year he had this past season at his age. Boras! Are you listening?

CORA~ I think it was Sparky Anderson who said he didn’t want guys on his bench who were happy to be role players. I disagree. There are guys out there who give 100% in that capacity, and Cora is one of them. He plays 3 positions well, hits .275, is a smart player, and is a bargain, taboot. I say keep him. Besides, he likes it in Boston.

CASEY & KOTSAY~ Who wouldn’t want Casey on his team? His clubhouse presence is a huge asset, he hits for average, and is quite adequate at first base. He could be a starter on many other teams, and may well pursue that route via free agency. He would be missed should he decide to find a full time job, but not irreplaceable. Much of the same could be said for Kotsay. He has proven his talent in the outfield and at first base and would make a fine candidate for a bench player, but I expect he will look for full time playing as well. Lars Anderson may not quite be ready for the big leagues this season (I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in a couple of spots along the way, though), but Theo will find a quality back-up player should Casey and Kotsay both bolt.

BAY/DREW/ELLSBURY/CRISP~ As it turned out, this 4 man outfield seemed to work well in 2008. Jason Bay is not the HR machine Manny is, but his defense and professionalism added to his above average offensive skills make up for the loss of HR’s that Manny would produce. And we know Bay will be there every day.

Three outfield starts per game times 162 games divided by 4 outfielders gives each an average of over 120 starts. Injuries and slumps happen, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Theo keep all 4, and then dangle Crisp next July, unless he’s needed to secure the elusive stud pitcher they should seek to offset the loss of Manny’s run production.

LOWRIE/LUGO~ Theo will find a way to unload Lugo, whether he has to eat some of his contract or not. Lowrie will be the starting SS, who can also spell 3B and 2B if needed. We now know the reason for Lowrie’s drop-off in the 2nd half, expect another rebound.

My projected starting day line-up:

CF- Ellsbury (L)
2B- Pedroia (R)
DH- Ortiz (L)
1B- Youkilis (R)
RF- Drew (L)
3B- Lowell (R)
LF- Bay (R)
C - Varitek (S)*
SS- Lowrie (S)

SP- Lester (L)

This is an elite defensive line-up. If they hit to the best of their abilities, offense will be no problem.
*If Boras doesn’t break the bank.

Lester, Dice-K, Beckett, Wakefield make up 4 of the 5 starters. Rather than stir up shit in the infield by adding Texeira, which looks good as it is, find that last stud pitcher. Lowe? (How many elbow curls is he up to these days?) Sabathia (Too fat?) Peavey? (How much?) Byrd? (Good, but not that good.) Another Japanese hurler? Theo will find the right one. And once the injuries start up, you’ve got Bowden, Bucholz, Pauley, Zink, and Hansack waiting down in Pawtucket. Many have recently discounted the notion, but Schilling as a mid-season pick-up if necessary is not all that bad of an idea, if he’s well and not retired.

What team doesn’t need help in this department? Papelbon, Masterson (who could also start), Okajima, Delcarmen, and Lopez look to return. Timlin should retire. Aardsma? His performance fell after returning from the DL, he could be gone. Theo needs to find two good arms for the ‘pen.

Except for Baltimore, expect another dog-fight in the AL East again. My heart says Boston wins, but what do I know? I'm only playing armchair GM.


Hank Likes Manny, Manny Likes Money

Could it be a match made in heaven? Dumbass Hank told the AP:

“And personally, I like Manny. He’s one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He’s a free spirit for sure, but he knows how to win."

Manny said the following about becoming a free agent:

“I want to see who is the highest bidder, gas is up and so am I.”

Ramirez is the Yankees for the taking if they want to spend the cash. It will be interesting to see if Manny goes to New York after saying he wanted to get out of the spotlight in Boston. The New York media is not going to be much different but we all know it was all about the cash anyway.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Wake Will Be Back in '09

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Red Sox are going to pick up the $4 million option for Tim Wakefield for the 2009 season. Wake has not mentioned retirement so he should be back on the mound next season.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quick! I Need a Rays Shirt & a Mohawk Wig!

I thought I'd be a loser for Halloween.

No, really, though, a tip of the wig, er, hat to the Rays for their great run. Now, if it wasn't for a little problem of three missing runs in the 9th inning of game #7 of the ALCS, it might have, it just might have been Sox in 4 over the Phillies. Y'think?

Be safe Halloween night!


Tek, Cora, and Ross File For Free Agency

The clock is now ticking on some Red Sox players. The Red Sox now have 15 days to negotiate exclusively with their captain before he can go on the open market and see what others have to offer. Don't expect much in those days, Boras will want at least 1 other team to make a run a Varitek to make his negotiations have some more bite. The Red Sox will most likely want to get the deal resovolved before the winter meetings.


Red Sox Continue to Look to Japan for Pitching

The ProJo Sox Blog points out that Junichi Tazawa cleared a hurdle in his bid to play in the U.S. I posted earlier about the Red Sox and Mets scouting him.

Junichi Tazawa, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher who wants to play in the major leagues, was passed over by Japan's 12 professional teams in Thursday's amateur draft.

Tazawa, whose fastball reaches 97 mph, had asked Japanese teams not to select him so that he could pursue a career in the United States.

"I'm very relieved," Tazawa said. "I was very nervous right up until the end of the draft."
Several major league teams, including the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, scouted Tazawa while he led Nippon Oil to the corporate league championship this season.

The Red Sox have been scouting several Japanese players over the last season and there is a good likelyhood that Okajima and Dice-K will have another countryman on the roster with them. This is also part of an overall marketing scheme by Red Sox ownership to continue to make the team marketable in Japan. If the Red Sox are seen as the team to root for in Japan, there is a good chance for increased revenue.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Red Sox Hot Stove Update

Jon Heyman at SI has a few updates on the Red Sox in his column. He believes Coco will be on the trading block, most likely for a catcher after the Sox sign Tek to a 2 year deal. He also thinks Lowell will stay because of teams being afraid to take him without knowing how he will respond to the hip surgery. Heyman thinks the Yanks will end up getting Sabathia.

The hot stove is very similar to last season for the Red Sox, just substitue Santana with Sabathia.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This Bud's For You

Bud Selig f'd up the World Series by letting them play last night, and now he has postponed tonight's game and not told them what they are doing with the travel day. Fans had to sit in miserable conditions because Selig has no respect for the game, all he cares about is TV $. Here's more from

The game never should have been permitted to start, and everybody with access to weather radar - read, everybody - knew that. This big green blob was coming north and it wasn't stopping. That commissioner Bud Selig said that three different weather services gave him optimistic reports has made him and his sport look silly.

There are 45,000 wet, exhausted, frustrated people who sat outside in this mess and knew that it was a farce. They came in the hope of glory. What they got was abused. This should not have started - should not.


30 Years at Fenway South

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners votes today on the issue of keeping the Red Sox in Fort Myers for a 30 year lease on a new complex that includes a replica of Fenway Park. The new stadium would seat 12,000 and would open around 2011.


The Lee County board of commissioners approved a motion today 3-1 to move forward with an agreement to build a new Boston Red Sox spring-training stadium in south Lee County.


Monday, October 27, 2008

No More Joe Morgan on Sunday? We Can Only Hope

The New York Daily News is quoting sources as saying that Joe Morgan will be moved from Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. He will however continue to broadcast games for the network. Jon Miller could stay on Sundays and be possibly paired up with Rick Sutcliffe, not much of an upgrade, but and upgrade none the less.


Is Mike Lowell On The Way Out

Over at Baseball Prospectus they believe Theo wants to move Mike Lowell move to help bring in Mark Teixeira or Garret Atkins. The Article also speculates that the Sox will re-sign Tek for a 2 year $16 million deal and try to get a young catcher for the future.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Must be the off season

I think they're cuter than, say, the Idaho Vandals cheerleaders. Y'think?


Youk Wins Hank Aaron Award

Kevin Youkilis won the Hank Aaron Award from fan votes for the best offensive player in the league. Youk spoke with reporters after learning about the award:

"I heard I'd won the award and I was, 'Oh, that's great.' Then they said you have to go the World Series and I was, 'Oh, that's not great."


Red Sox Blogger Roundtable

This week's question: If you could make just one free agent acquisition this off-season, who would it be and why?

Check out my answer and others over at Fire Brand of the American League.



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