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Showing posts from 2011

Filling Out the Line Up Card

Looking into the post season - past the drama of the manager search and media-fueled blame game - it's time to start speculating about the players we'll see on the field next year. Let's look at a few areas by position:
Not changing: first base, second base, leftfield, centerfield.Catcher - The Sox should be very happy with Jarrod Saltalamacchiabehind the plate. The man his 16 homers in 103 games and became a much better catcher by the end of the year. That, and he's 26 years old, massive, has tasted the bitterness of failure, and switch hits. That said, the Sox want to find a place for Ryan Lavarnway. There's a good shot they don't invite Tek back and they go with these two. My ideal is that they teach Lavarnway to play third in addition to catcher and first, but that seems unlikely. They could also keep all three catchers and not Papi. They then rotate Lavarnway, Gonzo, Youk and others through the DH spot. That said, I expect Salty and Tek to start th…

The Lost Decade

By nature I am an optomist. As the Sox season came careening to an end, I wasn't down on their prospects for next year. They had talent on the mound and all over the field. There was only one real threat to making a serious run in 2012: overreacting.

The Sox fell apart because they lost most of their starting pitching in early Sept. and then failed to stop that free fall in the last few weeks. From Aug. 31 to Sept. 16, Josh Beckett pitched 3.2 innings. When he came back, he struggled in 2 of his last 3 starts. That's normal and not alarming if it happens in June.

Jon Lester pitched during that time period but it was evident something wasn't right. He might have been in a slump or tired, but it didn't have to do with drinking with John Lackey. His four straight loses at the end of the season (against Tampa twice, the Yankees, and, of course, Baltimore (fie to thee Baltimore!)) were very disappointing but, again, would not have been alarming had it happened in M…

Trading Deadline

The Sox come away from the trading deadline with a new utility infielder who has a solid record with the bat especially against lefties (Mike Aviles) and a lefty starter with arguably one of the most dynamic arms in the game and likely one of the least reliable medical charts - or most reliable if you are relying on him to not pitch (Erik Bedard).

What do we think?

The Sox are the best team in baseball right now with only the Phillies as a legitimate rival - I repeat "right now". One of the common misconceptions during the trade deadline is that you can fix your problems if you want to. This is especially misguided when it comes to pitching - which happens to be the biggest question for the Sox as long as Buchholz sits on the sidelines.

Aside from selling the farm for Ubaldo Jimenez - who's not having a great year but has serious talent - there are few pitcher's out there that are actually guaranteed to be an improvement on the back three of the Sox rotation: Lackey…


J.D Drew is making $14 million this year to hit .230 with 4 homeruns. All the while his stoicism makes him seem like he would rather be anywhere else but playing a boys game for millions of dollars every summer.

This year's minimum wage for a major leaguer is $414,o00. So, when infielder Angel Sanchez - this year's #2 hitter for the Astros (sorry Millsy) - played one game for the Sox last year he earned something like $2,500 for a day's work.

Are they worth it?

This is a question that comes up often - especially in the person on J.D. "Nancy" Drew. He's carried the team at times, usually had a very high on-base percentage, decent power numbers, wonderful defense, and played about 130-140 games in 3 of his first 4 years here. But he also gets paid a massive sum while playing a joyless - if solid - brand of baseball. He has a reputation as being soft and underachieving.

But my question has always been: why do we the fans care what the rightfielder is paid?


The Bullpen Through May

The Sox are in good shape in the bullpen. Papelbon has been very solid - unspectacular perhaps but solid. He has a 2.91 ERA, 29 strikeouts in 21 innings with only 3 walks. Bard looks good as well. Similarly, he's not been untouchable but there's nothing there to be concerned about.

The next two in the bullpen pecking order - counting from closer to Dennis Lamp - were supposed to be Bobby Jenks and Hideki Okajima (arguably). Oki seems to be done. He'll make another appearance in Boston this year, but I think this is his last and it's very unlikely he'd be added to any postseason roster. He recently cleared waivers and returned to Pawtucket.

Jenks still has the power stuff but when he's been bad, he's been painfully bad. He's rehabbing in Pawtucket right now. He has a 9.35 ERA but he also only pitched 11 games including one where he gave up 4 runs in a third of an inning and the last three appearance before going onto the DL in which he gave up 5…

The Hot Corner

Last year, the Sox were in terrible organizational shape at 3B. Sure, at the top we had Adrian Beltre who turned out to be spectacular, having one of the better seasons for a Red Sox third baseman ever - good company with Boggs ('87, or almost any), Mike Lowell ('07, wow), Mueller ('03), Butch Hobson ('79), Carney Lansford ('81) - and Lowell was still on the roster. But below that we had Jorge Jimenez who might have some talent but the Sox didn't seem to broken up about his brief Rule V stay with the Marlins - and this year he might well lose even a starting spot in Pawtucket.

This year, the Sox are in a nearly ideal spot for the 2011 season and going forward. They got there through strong drafts and the AGon trade.

Kevin Youklis has, of course, moved across the diamond to third. I will say again that I have some doubts still that he'll excel there defensively, but I also think he won't be a liability. His range is fine, his arm is ok and he plays sma…