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Pierzynski: That Works

Yesterday's signing of A.J. Pierzynski (aka the other news from yesterday) to catch for the Sox next year is a very strong decision.  While I'm not really buying the "bridge" description, it was a very good move.

A.J. is nearly as good a hitter as Salty and a superior catcher at less money and fewer years.  Salty has more power - fewer homers last year but far more doubles and is on the upward slope of his career - but almost double the strikeouts.  I know we are not supposed to care about that anymore, but do you think that if Salty had been grounding and flying out in the playoffs, and had played better D, that he would have sat at the end?

I have always been a huge booster of Salty.  In fact, I thought his signing was the most important signing for the Sox this offseason.  That was in large part because I though he was the second best catcher on the market (after McCann) and the drop off after him was large and would require overpaying (see Carlos Ruiz).  But AJ fi…

Depth Is Off Season Priority

If no one ever got hurt, I'd actually be pretty fine with the Sox starting the season without signing or trading for anyone (with one exception to be explained a bit later).

Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebooks at short and third is pretty darn good.  Bogaerts might have his rookie ups and downs, but he's clearly going to be very good - not sure about the glove though.  Middlebrooks can hit 20 homers in his sleep and play decent defense, which isn't too bad.  He hit 17 homers in only 94 major league games this year and everyone can agree he was about as bad as he could be.

At first, I actually think Mike Carp is a better hitter than Mike Napoli, but a worse fielder.  Carp starting would mean another middle of the order lefty alongside Papi.  But with Bogaerts replacing Drew, that should offset that issue.  Carp is 27 years old to Napoli's 32 (and what's that in catcher years?).  He showed off power and a high on base percentage.  And that is not out of character fr…

The Perfect Trade

Granted, the perfect trade would be something along the lines of: "I have rotten apple, will you trade your Cessna for it?  Great." But that's not reality.

The Sox gave up young shortstop Jose Iglesias for Jake Peavy in a trade that also netted the White Sox a young slugger they wanted.  The Tigers received the defense-first shortstop they needed in a lineup with Fielder and Cabrera.

In this trade, the Sox improved themselves for this year and next, traded from a position of strength where there's redundancy up and down the organization, and didn't trade the undervalued young player in their lineup.

Iglesias had had a great first half.  He is clearly a major league glove, perhaps the best in baseball.  His hitting seems to be better than it was in the minors.  But there's a lot of reason to believe that he'll be more Rey Ordonez than Omar Vizquel.  By trading him away, you are giving up value and you might see him in the All Star game for years if he can b…

Diverging from the Gospel of an Ace as Skid Buster

For as long as I can remember, I have professed the baseball wisdom that a clear Ace of a starting pitching staff was an absolute necessity for any team with any hope of the playoffs.  This, at least in part, is because an Ace can be relied upon to break losing streaks.

The logic goes something like this: every team will get swept, lose 2, 3, 4 games in a row at some point during a 162 game season.  How do you stop that from becoming 10 in a row, or losing 16 of 20 and falling out of contention?  You have Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddox, even a James Sheilds or C.C. Sabathia.  You have a single pitcher who will win most of the games he starts and will almost always position you to win even if he's not at his best. Wes Gardiner may lose a game after Bruce Hurst, Oil Can Boyd and Mike Boddicker had also faltered, but the Rocket is 25 years old, has an ERA under 3.00, averages 7.5 innings per start, strikes out over 10 a game, and is absolutely expected to win every time ou…

Gilligan's Bullpen

We started out the season with two closers, two outstanding Japanese set up guys, two power lefties, a solid veteran lefty, a crazy but effective long man, a back up long man, and some possible rookie add ons.  The bullpen was talented, deep, and had a wide variety of skill sets.  My last post was mostly about if Joel Hanrahan works out, the rest of the pen is lights out.

Well, the months have passed and we've seen some changes.  The two closers, Hanrahan and Bailey both flopped and exited to the DL for the rest of the year.  The power lefties aren't around with Miller having half of a career year before his foot exploded and he went to the DL for the year; and Morales just hasn't been healthy all year.  Aceves has remained on the Paw-Fenway commute all year and has been helpful as a starter.  Clayton Mortenson proved 2012 was an aberration and was bad enough to be released and not picked up by anyone else, so he's in Pawtucket.

That leaves us with Koji Uehara, Junichi …

Hanrahan Hopefully Likes Pressure - Sox Pitching 2013

So, as I'm sure you remember, I promised to talk about the pitching with this post.  So let's start with first base. 

Really, a quick update about the lineup as my last post assumed Cody Ross in RF and knew nothing of Napoli at first.  Kudos to the front office team for putting together a major league line up.  If everything bounces right, they might be good.  There are conceivable avenues through which it could even be very good (e.g. Middlebooks doesn't slump, Napoli is 2011 Naps, Victorino loses a few years, and Stephen Drew hits like his brother while acting like Johnny Gomes - who hits like Kevin Millar and avoids any defensive comparisons to Wily Mo Pena).

The problem with this line up primarily is the lack of real depth.  Most teams lose at least one player from their expected every day lineup for a significant period of time.  Only with catcher and shortstop, and maybe left field, would that not result in a massive talent drop off for the 2013 Sox.  Most worrisome: …