Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Buchholz Gamble

What will become of Clay Buchholz? The ProJo reports he is being used as trade bait by the Red Sox right now. Theo is in a difficult situation with Buchholz; scouts say he has the stuff to become a front line starter, his performance on the field last season did not live up to that. At what point do you start evaluating Buchholz for what he is and not what he could possibly be? Lester made the huge jump last season and Buchholz could do it this year. If Theo wants to trade Buchholz for a good offensive player or a guy like Peavy he may have to act fast. Buchholz could struggle in spring training or at the start of the season like last year and he will have no trade value for a mid-season trade. Buchholz's trade value is probably at the highest point it will be for the next 3 years, if Buchholz lives up to the hype it could go way up after a few years but if he can not make the jump the Red Sox will have missed a great opportunity to improve their team. Theo needs to strike while the iron is hot or the Sox could be stuck with a mediocre offense and a 5th starter with an ERA north of 5.00.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Youk Speaks to the Nation

A few weeks ago Rob at The Bottom Line took questions from readers for Kevin Youkilis to answer. Today we have the answers to all of those questions including the one submitted by Fenway West:

What pitcher on the Red Sox would you least like to face as a hitter?

"All the Red Sox pitchers fear me more than I fear them."

There's lots of good stuff in the interview from answering questions about his batting stance to his undies on EBAY. Check out the answers here.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Dead Sox NYE

There's not a whole lot of Sox content in this post, but it was a great night, nonetheless. A good friend (Tom, the Giants fan and band mate) gave me a ticket to see the Ratdog/Phil & Friends with Jackie Greene NYE show last night. We had a good crew together (including 5 of 7 in our band), got in line early, and got some choice (general admission) seats. Dead NYE shows are always marathons, so I made sure I was well rested and well prepped for what turned out to be an epic night.

There were a lot of Sox shirts and hats all over. One of the first (or so I thought) I saw was in Sox blue, but when I saw the front of the shirt, it said Grateful Dead in the same font as Sox unis. 'Good idea for a shirt', I thought

The most noticeable hat of the evening was sitting on the head of a true Dead icon. I don't know if this guy went on tour with the Dead, but at Bay Area (CA) Dead shows before Jerry died, he would don a heavy, full bear suit with flashing lights all over it while carrying a spinning ball also covered with flashing lights and walk all over the venue. These days, he wears just a vest with lights, and as he passed by our section, I noticed he had a Sox hat on! Cool, way cool! (I have see if anyone got a photo of him. Will post if found.)

Jackie Greene came on first at 6 pm and played a great 1 hour set. His Dylan influence is noticeable immediately. Phil & Friends with Jackie Greene came on and played a huge set. Barry Sless also played both sets. The 3rd set of the night was just Phil, Bobby, and John Molo on drums playing a mostly acoustic, but very tasty set. Next up was Ratdog. All bands were firing on all cylinders. The last set started just before midnight and went on past 2 am, featuring almost all of the members of both Bobby and Phil's bands.

Didn't get to sleep last night 'til the morning came around, slept 'til way past noon, and am still feeling quite Dead {grin}

You Tube:

The show is not up yet, but check here in the future:

(Sugar Mag starts about 2:00)


MLB Network Arrives Today...Do You Care?

I have mixed feelings about the MLB Network; while I can never get enough baseball, it seems that Bud Selig and Co. seem to find a way to screw things up whenever possible. In theory the MLB Network should be great; they could show spring training games from Florida and Arizona, complete coverage of the WBC and have great player interviews. However, I am worried they are going to become to "Fox Like" in their coverage and focus on show over substance. For example, is liveblogging the release of MLB network, look and some of the things they are blogging about today:

9:30 a.m.: Seal is on "Regis & Kelly" right now, singing his cover of Sam Cooke's classic "A Change Is Gonna Come." It is on Seal's new CD, and upon finishing the singer tells the show hosts: "I was listening to that song recently and realized that it is even more profound now than it was when Sam Cooke recorded it." Indeed. It's 2009. A Change Is Gonna Come. Just ask everyone around you today.....USC vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl. It starts at 2 p.m. ET, No. 5 against No. 6. That is what matters in the meantime while waiting for the MLB Network. It will be a New Year's Day to remember. The "Hot Stove" show will greet everyone at 6 p.m., and at 7 is Larsen. You have to be there by 5:59 p.m. because you don't want to miss the first pitch. In the meantime, my remote needs some new batteries; better get them now.

I think I'll watch football today.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Derek Lowe Is Not Coming Back Through That Door

Derek Lowe will not be returning to the Boston Red Sox. The Mets have offered him a 3-year deal and with the Red Sox signing of Brad Penny there is very little chance they would want another middle of the road starter. The Daily News had this additional information:

Lowe recently told a friend that the Red Sox, who signed Brad Penny to a one-year deal this week, have never showed serious interest in him, and indicated that he thinks he'll wind up as a Met, telling the friend the two sides had exchanged contract proposals before Christmas.

The Red Sox could still go after a front of the rotation type player like Peavy or try to get a bargain on a guy like Sheets but they are not going to spend big money on a middle to back of the rotation pitcher right now. With the recent rumors about going after Hanley Ramirez it looks like the Red Sox are willing to make a big trade to gain some power not pitching.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amalie Benjamin & Tim Kurkjian on Scouting

Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe wrote a nice piece on Blair Henry, the Northern California and Nevada scout for the Boston Red Sox. Blair Henry was the scout who found Lars Anderson. In her article, she describes not only the Henry's discovery of Anderson, but also gives us a glimpse into the life and travels of MLB scouts, seemingly a dying profession in the aftermath of Billy Beane's Moneyball approach to scouting. She describes the Red Sox's approach to homegrown scouting and it's relationship to filling out the roster with trades and free agents.

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN
also told some great scout stories in his book, "Is This A Great Game, or What?" I'll leave you with a passage from that book:

Ellis Clary was an old-time scout for several teams. “He had a heart attack and was basically pronounced dead,” said Farmer. “He was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital when he came to. He asked, “Where the hell are we?” The ambulance guy said, ‘On the way to the hospital in an ambulance.’ Ellis asked, ‘Where is the ballpark?! Get the mileage from the ballpark to the hospital! I’m going to need that for my expense account!”

(Hey, I was a bookkeeper! It was funny to me!)


A-Rod Finds A New Way To Piss People Off

If you didn't have enough reason to dislike the Yankees prima donna third basemen, here's another story to add to the list. From the NY Daily News:

Onlookers say, the Yankees slugger blocked traffic with his black Maybach while waiting for a parking spot at the Bal Harbour Mall. “It was ridiculous,” one witness fumed. “He’s in a $400,000 car, chatting away on his cell phone, oblivious to everyone honking at him. He was holding up traffic in both directions. You’d think he could pay the $25 for ­valet!”

No word on whether the call was to Madonna, Scott Boras, a divorce lawyer, or one of his many stripper friends.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Roger* Gets Kicked to the Curb

Now Roger Clemens* can't get any love in his hometown....even after giving $3 million:

HOUSTON -- The Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine will no longer carry the former Astro's name.

The Institute opened in 2007 and Clemens had donated three million dollars to the hospital's pediatric wing.

But on January 1, it will now be called the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute. The hospital has not released a reason for the name change


I wonder what the reason for the name change could be....maybe the frequent phone calls from kids looking for steroids. With a name like "Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine," they might as well have be called BALCO.


Theo's To-Do List is Pretty Short

In any other off-season fans might be happy with what Theo has done; the team that came within one game of the World Series has been preserved, the MVP second baseman has been locked up for the future, and some good additions have been added while the payroll is down.

Has the Yankee spending spree made us all feel like we are lagging behind? I never thought the team really needed Teixeira but the idea of adding a little more thump to the lineup is very appealing. It is almost like we got practical gifts for Christmas and not the really fun toy that we had wished for.

If the Red Sox bring back Varitek they will be a very solid team, perhaps the favorite to win the division. If they trade for the catcher of the future the Red Sox will be without their captain who helped them win two World Series and will also be without atleast one of their most promising prospects. The Sox can add some power to the lineup by replacing Tek but it will be a bittersweet moment for the Nation.

Theo's last to-do item is to add a 4th outfielder; not a very exciting thing for Red Sox fans. The 4th outfielder however will play a very significant role on the team this season. Drew is bound to miss 1/4 of the season with injuries and Ellsbury showed some fatigue last season.

The Teixeira money may be burning a hole in fan's pockets but I don't think John Henry and company are looking to get a big name just to match the Yanks. As frustrating as it is, look for the offseason to continue in this manner and wait for the Red Sox to compete with the Yankees where it really matters: on the field.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Josh Bard is Back

In other news, GM's across the majors look through the Rolodex for Doug Mirabelli's agent's number. In a day of ho-hum additions to the Red Sox, the signing of Josh Bard gets a thumbs up, just not way up. Bard looked like a steal for the Padres in '07 but looked like a bust in '08; so what you really have with him is a solid backup. The major problem with Bard in Boston is his inability to catch the knuckle ball. If Tek comes back you may see him catching Wakefield and have Bard become Dice-K's personal catcher. So at the end of the day the Red Sox have picked up a solid spot starter and backup catcher, not bad news at all, now go get the big fish!


Red Sox Close to Signing Brad Penny

The Red Sox may have found their spot starter and his name is Brad Penny. This news is not going to have Red Sox Nation popping the New Years champagne corks early, but it does fill the need for a spot starter or 5th starter if he is healthy. There is a big "if" with Penny considering he was shut down early last year with shoulder problems. MLB Trade Rumors notes:

The Red Sox have a sophisticated system for dealing with pitching shoulders, so it's an interesting match.

Really? Didn't seem to work so well with Schilling last season. Penny could work out well for the Sox but right now it is not the big news I am waiting for. Maybe its time for Cowboy Up 2.0.


What it Will Take To Get Peavy

If Theo can work out a trade with the Padres for Jake Peavy the Red Sox would have the best rotation in the majors by far. The Pads have said they are listening to offers but the Sox would have to pony up some of their favorite prospects. The Peavy-to-Cubs deal fell through after the price became too high for Chicago:

five or six players, plus the remaining $63 million on the final four years of Peavy's contract.

"They were looking for a Herschel Walker-type deal," one Cubs official said.

The Red Sox have the money and the players in the farm system to land Jake Peavy. The Padres are having a fire sale and need cheap players. Boston could aford to put together a package of young players to land one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Red Sox could ship Bowden, Bard, and Kalish to San Diego and still have a solid farm system for the future. Theo and Lucchino have strong ties to the Padres so they should be able to work something out if they are willing to give up some prospects. Most Red Sox deals involve secrecy (think Coco) so maybe no news is good news on this one.



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