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Showing posts from 2008

A Win-Win

With both C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett seemingly in the loving embrace of the Steinbrenners, one thing has become clear: the Yankees fear full names. I always knew J.D. Drew wasn't a Red Sox at heart.

The signing of these two marquee starters is really a rare moment in that it's both good for the Yankees and the Red Sox. We knew that the Yankees would spend enough money to retool their team and be right back in the thick of the pennant race next year. I never believed the idea that distaste for the Yankees organization or something evil in the Bronx air would truely keep marquee free agents from signing with the Empire. They are willing to over pay and, more relevent to this situation, over extend in terms of contract length. Who signs an oft-injured 31-year old righty power pitcher for 5 years? Burnett's arm may have to be stappled on by the time he throws his last pitch in the House that Ruth Had Nothing to Do With. He doesn't strike me as Mussina-esque, succ…

Oh Captain My Captain

I am concerned with the fact that the Sox are quite possibly going to play next year without Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, and Alex Cora. These three guys are the veteran leaders on and off the field. I'm not sure how vocal Cora is, but he's an obvious coach-in-waiting not to mention a great bench player.

Youk, Pedroia, Bay, Ellsbury, Drew... none of these guys are ready and able to be a on-the-field leader. I think for this reason alone, the Sox need to keep Lowell or 'Tek.

The Catcher Dilemna

Obviously, the biggest issue this off season is what to do about catcher with Varitek aging, not hitting, and Borasing his way to the biggest contract available. Here is a part of the equation that has been raised much: the greatest roadblock to the advancement of any young catcher in the Sox system is Tim Wakefield.

First, let's dispense with the pleasantries. Wake is a great pitcher and should join Pesky as the second non-Hall of Famer to have his number retired in Fenway.

Yet, as vividly and painfully displayed by the Josh Bard experiment, Wake can singleknuckledly derail an otherwise-promising Sox catching prospect when said prospect is forced into duty as Wake's personal catcher.

The Catch 22 for the Sox is that no catcher in the system is ready to take over for 'Tek because of a moderate talent pool and not enough high level - let alone major league - experience. So the Sox keep playing 'Tek and only try young guys as the back up (i.e. Wake's catcher). They …

The Decider

Here is some reporting on what I thought was the single most important play of the game, and thus the series, and thus the season. From the Hartford Courant:
J.D. Drew felt cheated. Batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning of a 3-1 game, Drew believed he had checked his swing on a 1-and-2 pitch from rookie David Price. But plate umpire Brian Gorman, without asking for help, said Drew did not hold up the swing and called him out, ending the Red Sox's last best chance to tie or take the lead. "I saw the ball pretty well," Drew said. "I didn't think I went around. That being said, it felt like the bat was taken away from me. I felt like a had a good chance in that at-bat. He got ahead of me quick, but if I check my swing, ask the third base umpire. The home plate umpire calls balls and strikes. Let the other guy make up his mind. That's the only thing that hurt me."From the Boston Globe: "I don't think I went around," …

Prediction

The Red Sox will only win this series if they win a game late, taking advantage of the fact that the Rays are without a clear closer since Troy Percival went down for the year.

Overall the teams are very even. The Sox have an advantage with Lester, Beckett and Dice-K over Sheilds, Kazmir and Garza; but it's very close and probably about even when you factor in Wake against Sorranstine.

The bullpens are both good. Both teams have five guys they have comfidence in. Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell are really nasty and very similar to Delcarman and Oki. Trever Miller is the Javy Lopez lefty specialist. We know Chad Bradford already. The wild card could be David Price - the number one overall pick a year ago is a dominant young lefty starter. I'd hate to see him get comfident out there in one inning bursts. The advantage the Sox have is that we have a dominant closer and they have a functional Dan Wheeler. We need to beat their late inning guys once. Tony Massarotti wrote thi…

Master... ful?

I just don't understand why Tito has decided seemingly arbitrarily that Masterson is his main squeeze. Masterson is a very good rookie and I am confident that he will succeed most of the time.

As a reliever, Masterson's numbers are very good. Yet, it seems that Tito is going with his gut on this guy and that he just doesn't trust my man mini-Manny. Delcarman, post-All Star break (which I think is a fair apples-to-apples comparison to Masterson as a reliever), had very good numbers, and that doesn't even account for some things that my traditional-baseball-loving mind values such as post season experience and bouncing back from defeat.
Masterson as reliever: 2.36 ERA, 27 games, 34 innings, 29 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers, .231 batting average against, and 1.18 walks and hits per innings pitched.Delcarman in second half: 1.82 ERA, 30 games, 34 innings, 33 strikeouts, 13 walks, 2 homers, .161 BAA, and 0.94 WHIP.I simply see no reason for this change aside from somethin…

Live Blog - Game 1

1st inning - I didn't like either half of it. It's a cardinal sin to lose an opportunity in the first inning to score when all it would have taken was Pedroia moving Jacoby over. By the way, can you have a worse call than the one on the ball Jacoby hit? "It's playable" Really? You don't say that unless you're sure. I also didn't like how tight the strike zone was with Lester and how he had trouble getting a strike with the curve. 2nd inning - Both pitchers looked great. I think the Sox can hit Lackey. Or, he's going to drive me batty cause they won't hit his non-dominant stuff. Lester looked very sharp in inning two.3rd top- Tek should bunt... oops... Jacoby should run, though I'm guessing from the announcers that Napoli can throw, then again it's TBS... a friend just asked me what i thought of the steal meter: I hate it. Reminds me of Fox's godforsaken dancing robot during football games... Papi should have hit that ba…

My Pick

The Red Sox will win this series if, and only if, Beckett has one healthy start. The Sawx match up well pitching wise with the Angels. I don't think Lackey and Saunders are great pitchers, especially because power pitching wins in the playoffs and neither is a big armed guy. Santana is a big arm, but he walks a lot of guys and the Sox should be able to keep him to no more than 6 innings.

The angels are presumed to have the better pen, but K-Rod and Shields are hitable. When mini-Manny and Paps are one, they are unhitable.

It's going to be very hard to win these series and, frankly, if I weren't biased, I'd probably call it 3-2 the other way. But, I am biased.

The Sox will win 3-2.


Small side note: I had hoped the Sox would bring Jeff Bailey onto the roster. At this point, if Lowell completely breaks down, they would have to play a lefty (Casey or Kotsay) at first, unless the Lowell's put on the DL, in which case we'd lose him for the rest of the current and a…

Quicky Handicapping

It seems the Sox biggest worry - aside from the un-baseball flukes that can doom a three game series - is the health of Beckett, Lowell, and Drew. I am very worried about Beckett. Every movement in this sport of ours is a extremely forceful twist; an oblique is the muscle that runs that motion. I also worry about Lowell attempting to handle a Chone Figgins bunt with that bum hip of his.

The Sox have some chance of winning without Lowell. Casey and Cora (and Kotsay) would be starting for a lot of other teams, and the Sox could win without Lowell if they had wonderful pitching.

However, the Sox can NOT win without Josh Beckett. Lester and Dice-K are pretty good, but the Sox need one more pitcher and that guy simply has to be Beckett.

I am not really worried about Drew. He probably won't play all that much, but frankly Kotsay gives you most everything Drew does, with the significant exception of power. The fact is though that the Sox will win or lose on pitching and their solid d…

The Starting Nine

Here are nine random thought about the Sox in the order in which I think of them:
I'm so glad I was wrong that the Sox would surely dump Coco Crisp this season. I know he's not much of a hitter - except when he's on fire like he is right now - but he's really been an important part of this team all year. He's a starter on almost any other team, and he's allowed the Sox to avoid completely throwing a still-maturing Jacoby out there in an absolute sink-or-swim situation. Coco's versitility, great defense, speed, and functional bat (he'll end up batting around .280 with 8 homers) make him invaluable. Maybe they'll trade him this off season, but this has worked out very well and there is no need to dump him until (if?) Jacoby really comes into his own.I hope the Sox retired Wakefield's jersey when he retires. That's probably not going to happen since all the retired numbers now were worn by HoF'ers. Wake will pitch his 500th game in a S…

Fine Dining Despite Setting the Table with Plastic Cutlery

I love Ellbury and I can't wait for he and Pedroia to become the dominant top of the order in the major leagues. Too bad that day is not today.

The Sox have struggled mightily at the top of the order. The leadoff spot is batting .238, with a .306 OBP and .310 slugging. Ouch. That is worse than their 9th spot hitters. It is worse in each of these categories than every other team in the A.L. except Oakland (with the exception of the Twins having a worse OBP). Ellsbury has had 399 at bats leading off, with a .307 OBP. Pedroia has had 72, with a .256 OBP. Lugo only 15 at bats. Drew only 29 (.172 BA, but 10 walks).

What's so odd about this is that the Sox are still second in the league in runs and leading the A.L. in OBP as a team. You wouldn't think that a team getting so little production from the leadoff spot, along with significant injuries to Papi and Lowell, a second half plung by J.D. Drew and the excommunication of Mad Manny would still score runs like that.

I st…

Sumoza? I hardly knew ya.

The Sox just picked up outfielder MarkKotsay, 32, from the Braves for young outfielder Luis Sumoza, 20. With J.D. Drew going on the 15-Day D.L. yesterday - retroactive to Aug. 18 which means he should be available again early next week - the Sox needed some insurance. Not coincidentally, J.D. will be off the D.L. just as the major league rosters expand, which means Bay, Ellsbury, Crisp, Drew, Kotsay (and Bailey?) can all remain on the team for the last month.

Given this move, it seems the Sox are genuinely concerned the Drew might be hampered by his back all year and didn't want to be caught flat-footed. Kotsay is a centerfielder by trade, but I expect he'll play rightfield as he has a very good arm. He is an effective hitter with a .289 BA, .340 OBP, and .418 slugging. He has limited power but he's definitely an improvement over Crisp (or Bailey). Fun fact: the lefthanded hitting Kotsay was once a lights-out righthanded closer, guiding Cal State-Fullerton to the 1995…

Instant Replay

The Associated Press is reporting that Major League Baseball will begin allowing instant replay to be used by umpires. It says:
For now, video will be used only on so-called "boundary calls," such as determining whether fly balls went over the fence or whether potential home runs were fair or foul. Video will be collected at the office of Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. If the crew chief at a game decides replay needs to be checked, umpires will leave the field, technicians at MLBAM will show umpires the video and the crew chief will make the call.
This is a good thing. There is no benefit to the sport, its fans, or players to not having a call made correctly. Given how few "boundary calls" are close, this will be an exceedingly rare occurrence. People who don't like baseball already think it's slow. Those who love it, want the calls to be made correctly.

The Casey-Lowrie Samba

This 'ill be a short post as I'm on vacation, but I'd love some insights from my many, many... many! readers about a question my dad and I can not seem to find an answer to: why are the Sox routinely pulling Sean Casey in the ninth inning in order to play Cora at short, Lowrie at third, and Youk at first? I'm am very much open to opinions.

I don't like this move. Obviously, Youk is a fantastic first baseman. But when they pull Casey to bring in someone else, they lose a player for the rest of that game. In doing so, they get a better firstbase man, but they put a rookie shortstop (Lowrie) at third. Casey is a solid firstbaseman (if anyone can tell me which of these three ways I'm supposed to spell that word, you win a caramel, a real caramel). Why do you lose a player on your bench for the benefit of Youk over Casey at first while exchanging Youk for Lowrie at third? Not worth it to me.

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Lowrie v. Lugo

I was reading an article yesterday (inexplicably archived now and unavailable after only one week) in the Boston Herald (diversity of sources folks) which contained a really interesting observation: Julio Lugo has the best on base percentage of any starting shortstop in the American League. Check it out here.

Lugo is batting .268 with a .355 OBP. Jed Lowrie is ahead of him, but he's officially (officially?) sitting for Julio - Lowrie's batting .310 with a .368 batting average. On the other hand, I don't think we can count on Lowrie to be a .310 major league 6th-spot hitter all year.

The obvious difference between the two is Lowrie's real-deal pop. Something happened to Lugo since he left Tampa Bay and he left his power in the dome. Lowrie's slugging percentage is .468 while Lugo's is a painful .330. Lowrie's 29 RBIs in less than half the plate appearances it took Lugo to get 22 is the statistical talk of the town. Lowrie hit a ball a few weeks ago ag…

Soft Toss

The Sox just traded for Paul Byrd from the Indians. The soft-tossing veteran righty never walks anyone, is only slightly less hitable them me, and does a stricking tribute to the likes of Grover Cleveland Alexander every time he winds up. Byrd might very well be the non-knuckleballer with the slowest fastball in the game today. But he's effective and I like this trade.

Byrd hardly walks anyone (only 24 so far this year) but does get hit hard, at .282 this year, with a .466 slugging and OBP of .316. That results in a respectable but not great 1.30 WHIP, about the same as Jon Lester's. Byrd will be a welcome edition to the back-end of the rotation. With Wake's health in question and Buchholz royally struggling, we need another arm who can give us a shot to win most games he starts. Byrd will do that.

As an aside, I get a kick out of how much different Byrd is than our beloved Dice-K. Byrd averages about 82 pitches in 6 innings every time he starts. Dice-K throws 99 pi…

The fall-out thus far

Jason Bay has started off strongly in Boston which is a great relief. I'd always heard he was one of the most under-the-radar stars in baseball, but I worried he'd implode under the pressure in Boston if he didn't immediately show to the skeptical fandom that he's a major talent in the prime of his career. I somehow doubt that he ever had hundreds of cameras focused on him anytime he's arrived at the ballpark before.

It's also worth noting that you'd never see Manny cover ground enough to make the sliding catch Bay made Friday and when did Manny last have a stand-up triple? This team just became far more athletic.

To be fair, I thought I'd post a few clips from feedback I've had from friends and stuff I've read elsewhere about the trade:

Nomaa in the L.A. Times: "There's a lot of truth to what he said. I can definitely understand and relate... Manny said he didn't want to leave there. I didn't want to leave there. . . . Were we…

To New Beginnings. Cheers

I am happy I was wrong about the Manny trade. Today the Sox traded Manny, Brandon Moss, and Craig Hansen for former Vermont Expo, outfielder Jason Bay. Since I was living in Burlington during the time he played there and did go to many Expos' games, I consider Jason Bay a close personal friend, despite never having "met" him.

This is a good trade for the Sox. They had to take a leap of faith within the next year or two to acquire a younger slugger. Such a trade will by it's nature be a risk. Nonetheless , I think this is about as low a risk trade as there is. The frustrating part will be potentially watch Moss turn into a strong corner outfielder in the mold of... Jason Bay. And given his stuff, there's still a chance that Hansen will be an elite closer in the not-too-distant future.

I look at the trade this way:
In order to get Bay, we gave up Manny(and have to pay the rest of his salary for the year, $7 million).
In order to get a power hitter 6 years younger…

Manny Fun Times Were Had

First let me present an idea: there should be a video game in which you play the management of a baseball team and you have to deal with Manny Ramirez. The Sims, move aside. It's Manny's world and we're all just laughing and groaning through it.

Now to business: Manny is a baby. Everything is a slight, nobody respects him, contrary to what a "rational" person might read into the huge contract, constant recognition as one of the best hitters of his generation, and, most of all, a generally bemused affection for his Manny-being-Manny antics which would have put a non-superstar player on the Jose Guillen, talented but not-in-my-back-yard category. The guy is given more leash than a Great Dane that just scarfed down some beano, but he nonetheless wants out.

The Sox will not trade Manny by noon tomorrow. They expect to make a serious run at another title this year. In that light, they will only trade Manny if they can get near-equal value. They cannot afford to p…

The Knuckler

As you may have noticed, I am fascinated by the knuckleball. Wake is having another great year. John Farrell recently said in this great article breaking down most of the pitchers about Wakefield: "He's 42, yet he continues to evolve and improve." How does that happen?

Meanwhile, PawSox righty Charlie Zink is dominating this year. His stats are out of this world: 11-3, 2.54 ERA, 1.07 WHIP. Zink is 28 years old and seems to be ready to be given a shot (see the NY Times article about him from June). But I don't know how they'd use him. He's too old to really trade for much and there's no room for him in the rotation, or in the pen. He used to throw 95 mph in college and, most interesting to me, uses a change up as his secondary pitch. I have no clue why that works?

Lastly, the Sox get a taste of their own medicine tonight when they face Seattle's righthanded knuckler R.A. Dickey. While Zink was undrafted and Wake was a (bad) minor league first bas…

Mid-Season Report

As the Sox head into the second "half" of the season, they are in pretty good shape. They've won rather consistently all year, are in first place, have Papi almost ready for a return, and have shown strong pitching, hitting, and fielding. That said, I'm a Red Sox fan, so, here are my concerns:
Papi's Health: I feel like he'll come back this year. But I'm starting to worry that he's Mo Vaughn all over: a great power hitter who just starts falling a part as he gets older. I hope I'm wrong.Bullpen: This seems to be the #1 concern for the fans. I'll go on the record here that I think they should stand pat come the trading deadline. Pap is a money closer (remind me to rant later about the Newsday cover). Mini Manny, Oki, Timlin, Hansen, Masterson, Lopez, and Aardsma are frankly as good as you are going to get on the market. No Larry Anderson, Gagne or Brian Fuentes is worth giving up a good prospect for. They are not great, but I truly bel…

Young Guns Flipped

My first reaction was decidedly negative regarding the Sox' decision today to send Justin Masterson down to Pawtucket to get him bullpen-ready in exchange for Clay Buchholz. That's my initial reaction. Now, I'm going to try to unpackage it for good and bad.

Masterson really has been about as good as you can ask of a end-of-the-rotation slinger. He has gone six innings in all but one of his nince starts - in which he went five. In only one of those starts has he given up more hits than innings pitched. Here's the game log for his nine starts. He had one more start than Clay who was drastically less effective with only three out of eight starts getting through six - and he only had three starts last year so it's not as if he's quite a known commodity in the majors quite yet.

I do believe that Buchholz will be the better starter long term. He has more pitches and most of them are plus. When he's going, he can locate them all and keep any batter very off …

What a mess

The game last night was ugly. The Sox pitching fell apart, losing their fifth straight game, all but one by one run (and that one by two) (and two by one by four by three, sorry, if you're going to be annoying, just go with it).

The obvious issue last night was the bullpen. Tito handed the ball over to Delcarman who looked desperate to give it back. Hansen then came in and was even worse. I think we can call see that we'd like last year's Oki and Timlin from four years ago back. Fact is, we're only going succeed this year with these two guys stepping up, Oki and Timlin being serviceable, maybe a trade if there is anyone out there worth it (doubtful), AND starting pitching that goes at least seven innings.

Dice-K has thrown better the last two games by 5 innings? Did you mom by you a Push Pop after the game for that Dice-K? Everyone gets a trophy!!! The starting pitcher can throw 5 nice innings but he has not done his job if that's all he throws. You're a…

Gagne Fall-Out

Let's go back for a second and look at the (sort of) end results of the Gagne trade late last year with the Rangers.

At the trading deadline last year, the Sox got Eric Gagne and eventually a "sandwich pick" in this year's draft for two mid-level, major league-ready prospects outfielder David Murphy and lefty pitcher Kason Gabbard, and far-from-ready outfielder prospect, 19-year old Engel Beltre. I'll use a five-to-minus-five scale.

Murphy is having a hell of a year and has some shot at the taking the R.O.Y. - though not if Jacoby has anything to say about it. He has 10 homers, 48 RBIs, 20 doubles, .463 slugging and .313 OBP. Ok, so maybe the Sox were not too high on him because he does not walk much and strikes out a lot. But, he's slugging the ball and can play all the outfield positions. Seems like he might be a keeper for the Rangers. -3

Gabbard seems to be on a shuttle between Arlington and Oklahoma, home of their Triple-A squad. He has started 10 ga…

Winning the 6th and 7th

This season we have seen many fine (used here loosely) examples of why the Sox have designed their offense around building up other teams' pitch counts while trying hard to get their pitchers deep into the game. The reason: very few teams ever have more than two pitchers they can rely on in the late innings to get more than one out. Last year, late in the year especially, the Sox were blessed to have Manny D. set up for Oki to give it to the indomitable Pabst.

This year, the math hasn't worked out quite so cleanly.

I'll talk about the why later. But the point I'm trying to make here is that in the major leagues, the way you win games is by winning the race to face the other team's bull pen.

With the exception of the old Reds with Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble, and Randy Myers, almost no team can consistently shut their opponent down for the last three innings of the game. So, you want two things:
Your starting pitcher must pitch to contact and go deep in the game. It …

Life Missing Papi

So Big Papi is down and out for a while, probably at least a month. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

There is no good news here. So, moving forward, the Sox called up youngster Chris Carter (first base and bad outfield) who we picked up indirectly for Wily Mo Pena. The Sox now have to figure out how to put the best B squad out there every day sans Papi.

The Sox should let Carter hit some DH and play some left field, especially if sinkerballer Justin Masterson is pitching. The reports on Carter is that he can really hit, but that he can't play defense and has a terrible arm. So, let him play left in the Fens some where the need for an arm is minimal. Outside of that, Tito should play Coco in center and Jacoby in left. Related to what I said above, this lineup is less needed with a starting pitcher that throws lots of grounders and in the not-too-spacious outfield of Fenway Park. You don't have much benefit to a speedy leftfielder infront of the monster.

Another possibility is …

Young Guns

The Sox are really showing that they have an incredible depth of young pitching. Two of their young starters, Lester and Buchholz, have thrown no-hitters already. Their young closer is maybe the best in the game. Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarman have shown that they might well be the Mariano Rivera to Paplebon's John Wetteland - though it's also clear that we are not there yet, a big disappointment to me regarding Mr. Delcarman

And tonight we get our second look at Justin Masterson. There's talk about his eventually being a reliever. My thoughts are very clear on this: is dumb. I don't like using sinker ballers as relievers unless they're just not good enough to start. The sinker is a pitch that you throw to contact, that you actually want people to make contact with so as to make them ground out and minimize a starter's pitch count. That is less than ideal for a short reliever.

Anyway, my point is that I'm in awe of the young arms. Clay has strugg…

More Kudos to "Little Fenway"

I've posted before about "Little Fenway", the whiffleball field made to look like Fenway park in Jericho, Vermont. I love this place - even though I haven't been there... yet. They even created a Little Wrigley now.

So, I just received an email from Pat O'Connor came up with this idea and built this monument to baseball, justice, peace, humanity, and wacky pitches. Here's the email:
Greetings,

I wanted you to be the first to know that a new book titled "Little Fenway: Bigger than a Baseball Fan's Imagination" is now available for purchase via paypal on www.littlefenway.com. During the past seven years the magic of Little Fenway has brought laughter and hope to children of all ages through Wiffle ball tournaments and community events. The book describes how the idea was conceived, the design and construction of the field, and the events on this acre of land that have warmed the hearts of this Vermont community.

This 160-page laminated hard-cover…

Vermont on Opening Day: A Mixed Bag

As the self-appointed spokesperson for Vermont's province of the Red Sox Nation, I would like to express my "sincerest" apologies to the rest of the world, nay, the rest of the galaxy for the recent transgression by a pilot in the Vt. National Guard. Apparently, a pilot for the Guard was running late because he was going too fast (what?) and had to end up doing a "legitimate maneuver" which made for a nice show but wasn't quite regulation. Basically, I think this guy just wanted to go all Topper Harley but got the old Camp Johnson grounding for his screwball antics. Regardless: our bad. See the youtube here.

On a different note, Sox fans in Burlington had at least two establishments which opened up for the 6am first pitch of the season. Nectars and Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse were rocking. The Burlington Free Press had this article about what it's like to have Japanese steak and eggs while watching the Red Sox play at 6am on a school day in Burlingto…

Be advised

"The word on Bartolo Colon is his right oblique (side) is still tender to touch," according to the Globe.

I note this so any resident tickle enthusiasts contain their insatiable urges. Also so that, in order to preempt any ill-advised assaults, let me point out that Colon does not giggle if you pock him in his belly, contrary to persistent rumors -take it from one who tried.

Game on...

I miss your long locks...

I stand (sit) corrected (mentally bitchslapped) by the fact that Kyle Snyder is the odd (because he's 6'8") man out in the bull(shit)pen. The Sox will have ten days to either trade that big, longhaired guy or waive him.

There's some small chance they could get something in a trade but I see very little chance of him clearing waivers and going to Pawtucket. My hope is that the rest of the league realizes how hard it is to find any reliever who can post a 3.81 ERA for a full season - as he did last year - and will be willing to trade something to not have to compete for his services on the open market. I think that the waiver system is progressive in that the worst teams get first crack at available players on the waiver wire; so, maybe a team with a good record last year might want to make a trade rather than allow Snyder to be picked up by the likes of the White Sox or Rays.

I think Snyder is a good pitcher and I was really thrown off the scent of this move by Mr. F…

The (bull)pending shakeup

It's logjam time after the game tomorrow. In order to start on Sunday, Josh Beckett will have to be activated, and Mike Timlin will also have to be activated shortly. That'll bump two pitchers off the 25-man roster.

In an under the (my) radar move, the Sox already had to just let go Craig Breslow who the Indians quickly snagged. Breslow, a 27 year old lefty from Yale, was "out of options" so the Sox just let him go, gaining nothing. The Sox elected to keep Javier Lopez and the non-Oki lefty in the pen. The smart move no doubt, but it's too bad the Sox lost Breslow from a selfish perspective.

Now the Sox have another decision: which two of pitchers to drop now. The Globe thinks this competition is between lefty Lopez, and righties David Aardsma and Bryan Corey. I think that Julian Tavarez and Kyle Snyder are also in the mix on this. Lopez is the safest; I don't see the Sox dumping him as the only lefty specialist.

Aardsma, 26, has the most talent; Corey i…

Blogging with Coffee

Here are some thoughts as I drink coffee watching game number one:
Dice-K is obviously all over the place. It doesn't particularly worry me; though, of course, I'd love to see him pitching better. His change looks good, his cutter is sharp, his fastball is decent and his breaking stuff is in the wrong 郡 (county).A's top prospect, 22 year old firstbaseman Daric Barton is hitting third this morning. In and of itself, impressive for a kid, even though he's on a team that thinks that Emil Brown is a middle-of-the-lineup bat. Ouch. But, the more important thing about Mr. Barton is that he was born in the home of Bart Simpson: Springfield, Vermont. He went to high school in California so I'm not sure about his relationship with the Green Mountains. But, I think it's safe to say that if he succeeds in his MLB career, Vermont can take most of the credit. It's only fair.Josh Beckett was placed on the 15-Day DL and will be available April 3 in Toronto. I may …

Cor(e)y Snyder

The pitching staff has not shaped up quite as I picked it a month ago. That's fine; it's spring. Beckett appears to be in shape to miss probably a start or maybe two, but not enough to warrant a 15-day DL stint to start the season. I just hope that they don't put his bad back on the plane to Japan for a PR stunt. With him out, and Schilling blogging and cashing checks, that moves everyone up. Right now, the rotation is Dice-K, Lester, Wake, Buchholz, _____. Right: not ideal.

With that spot in the rotation up for grabs and two bullpen spots open, there's a battle between four guys for two spots - two, not three, because Beckett will be on the active roster but not starting initially, I think. These long-man and spot-starter spots are between Bartolo Colon, Bryan Corey, Kyle Snyder, and Julian "the pointer" Tavarez.

In the Globe today, there were three interesting bits I picked up about this battle: Tito loves big Kyle, he's "stretching it out&quo…

End of an era

You may have heard: Dougie Mirabelli has left the building. I repeat: Dougie has left the building. The departure of the Sox backup catcher and his gargantuan and glacial stroke means that this will be the last time I can link to this. Sad.

As for the baseball ramifications, I think this is a very good move. He will be replaced by Kevin Cash, who, incidentally, also cannot hit. "Young" Mr. Cash, 30, replaces the elder Mirabelli as 'Tek's backup and Wake's personal slave. Oh, you didn't know that Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield wake up every morning with eggs and toast brought to their bed side by Dougie in a maid's outfit? Well, you didn't hear it here...

Personally, I would think that the Sox should try to give one of the actually young guys, Dusty Brown or George Kottaras a shot first and let Cash stay in Pawtuck-ville to start the season and wait for a Josh Bard-esque implosion. But, since Cash has shown he can catch Wake's whiffleball, he deserv…