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Deals and No Deals

The Sox have been pretty busy over the last few weeks. I thought I'd run through my thoughts on these acquisitions and non-acquisitions. However, I'm not going to get further into the morass of Texiera and other big name misses, much.

Rocco Baldelli Obviously, there's the sentimental, local-boy-made-good reason as to why I love having Rocco in the fold. There's also the rather irrational hope that he might be able to manage his illness in such a way that he can be the 5-tool force that he obviously has the talent to be. But in the end, this is a cheap deal for a guy who could be a very valuable right handed bat, pinch runner, defensive replacement, let alone inspiration. You can't help but love this signing. It's destiny.

Mark Kotsay He's the perfect complement to two fragile players: Baldelli and Mike Lowell. He can play centerfield and showed he can play first if Lowell breaks down and Youkilis needs to go back to first. What's interesting about Kotsay is that it always seems like he can hit, but he's really not much of a hitter. He has very limited power, speed, and on base ability. But, he makes inept hitting look good somehow. Regardless, you're not going to find a much better back up. If Lowell (or Youk) really went down, he'd also help allieviate pressure on a young guy like Lars Anderson if Theo decides to give him a cup o coffee this season.

Josh Bard This signing is almost as emotionally tinged as Rocco, but for the opposite reason. Bard looked so bad catching Wake years ago that it's the main reason Sox fans are convinced that no one but Miribelli... or Kevin Cash... can every catch the flutterball. Bard could not hit last year at all so the value in signing a 30 year old catcher who has questionable offensive and defensive skills and who your rabid fan base (mostly irrationally) hates seems to escape me. There must have been someone else who could fit this role. His deal is non-guaranteed so maybe that's why it works for him.

Ramon Ramirez
Don't know about you, but I keep forgetting about this guy. We traded Coco Crisp for him. Pitching coach John Farrell told Tony Massarotti "The guy who I think could really help us is Ramirez." This is the top candidate to take on the Mike Timlin role which was left vacant much of last year until Justin Masterson took over late in the season.

Alex Cora See post below. I'll miss the guy. He's a captain and a coach on the field, as reliable a hitter as you'll get in a backup middle infielder, and he can field two positions really well.

John Smoltz
I love this signing. You get a guy who's really never had a bad year (when healthy which is usually) and could either give you 10-20 strong starts, or even close if something happened to Pap. And he's a classy version of Schilling for the young guns to learn from.

Brad Penny
It's just like signing A.J. Burnett without having to rely on him for four years. They are both hugely talented power arms who have won championships (on the Marlins team in the same rotation as Beckett) and who might well give you only 3 healthy starts. I love the idea the Penny, Smoltz, Buchholz and Bowden are all fighting for the fifth starter roll. That's great depth. Penny could really surprise with a big year. He was appearantly throwing 97 mph by the end of last year, is only 30 years old, and had 16 wins both two and three years ago.

Takashi Saito
Saito is a veteran Japanese closer who will be 39 this year but has been a very good closer for the last few years for the Dodgers when healthy. His strike out numbers are great (245 strikeouts, 52 walks in 189 major league innings). Another great signing with little risk.

Young Catcher X
I am getting annoyed at the Globe's lack of analysis into Miguel Montero. He's the catcher the Sox are apparently thinking of trading someone like Bowden to the Diamondbacks for. What I've read says he might be able to hit, but there is no analysis of his throwing, let alone game calling. For all the talk of the young guys in our sites (Montero, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Taylor Teagarden) there isn't much analysis of what they might bring. Also, what kind of player would George Kottaras be if he ends up platooning with Bard as our only two catchers. He has some good power from the left side and, since he's a former Canadian fast pitch softballer, maybe he can weild the big Wakefield mit well.

Youk & Peddy
The Sox just resigned Youk to a 4 year, $40 million deal. They already signed Pedroia for 6 years, $40.5 million. Youk is 30 years old and "finished third in the MVP voting and won the Hank Aaron Award as the league's top offensive performer" (Boston Globe). It's great to have our two top young major league bats (and gloves) secured for the next few years. Oddly, it wouldn't be unlikely that Youk might not have too many more years after this contract. Odd when I feel like he's still a kid.


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