December 2, 2007 | 04:24 PM
I get the sense that the Red Sox are only semi-serious about acquiring Johan Santana. I mean, in the art of negotiating, you don't show all your cards right away, because that gives you no wiggle room, or, at the very least, makes you look desperate. But in this instance, it seems Theo Epstein is only intent on giving up one of his three Major pieces, and in a deal for a Cy Young Award winner, it should take more.
How else do you interpret the latest rumor, that the Sox's have put Ellsbury on the table, but pulled Lester off? That means the deal for Santana appears to be Ellsbury/Lowrie/Masterson and maybe Bowden. To me, that doesn't trump the Hughes/Cabrera/prospect that the Yanks have offered.
Now Ellsbury is considered to be the guy Minnesota wants, but pick any of the other three and tell me they're better than Cabrera, who I think is the second piece in the Pinstripes offer. I say no, and I think, push come to shove, so will Twins GM Bill Smith. And I'm not sure that will bother Theo, who then can turn his attention to Oakland's Danny Haren, who's locked up for the next three seasons and a grand total of 16.25 mil. Santana will make that in a little over a half-a-season with his next deal, to go along with 120 to 135 more. Is Haren as good as Santana? Nah. But at that cost, it might be the wiser long-term decision.
November 29, 2007 | 06:44 PM
Red Sox fans love prospects. Hey, I'm right there with you. But we don't know what prospects will become. In many cases, they never become anything. We do know what Johan Santana is: one of the best pitchers of his generation. So do you do it? Do you part with Crisp/Lester/Lowrie/Bowden for a pitcher who will command between 20 and 25 million per season for 5 or 6 seasons? In a word...yes! I mean, are you kidding me? That foursome for an ace, a guy who will be 29 at the start of the season? Its not a no-brainer, but its fairly close.
Now...and this is big...if that package changes and includes Buchholz and Ellsbury, or Buchholz and Masterson, I tell the Twins to take a long walk of the proverbial short pier. We may not know have a "Prospect Crystal Ball," if you will, but if I had to bet, I bet on at least 2 of those 3 to last for a long time, and to be important pieces of the puzzle for a long time.
And here's the real catch to me: how the heck does Minny trade Santana without getting 2 of those 3 back? I mean, to me, there's no way. It makes no sense. Its bad General Managing. Its getting ripped off. It can't happen, can it?
November 19, 2007 | 01:40 PM
Took the night off to catch the Springsteen show at the Garden last night. I hadn't seen "The Boss" live before, and I'm glad I got the chance to go. The man has a ton of energy and didn't mess around. He played 2-plus hours, straight. Not fussing, no speeches, just music. That's my kinda show. Bruce is a pro...kinda like Mike Lowell (bear with me). Now Lowell doesn't carry the legendary status that Springsteen does, but he puts in an honest day's work every day. I'm guaranteeing there are a lot of happy faces in the Sox clubhouse knowing that the third baseman will be back next season and beyond. Lowell's a glue guy. He's important.
From the business side, the Sox didn't have to extend themselves beyond three years, and didn't give Lowell a bloated contract (as compared to others). I don't believe Mike will ever equal the production he gave Terry Francona this season, but this is a franchise, that if need be, could eat his salary in year three and not be phased by it.
October 28, 2007 | 08:57 PM
Tom Verducci had this tremendous nugget regarding the Red Sox's run here in the 2007 playoffs. It pretty much sums up why they are on the verge:
"Opposing starters are nothing but sandbags against the flood: 2-9 in the postseason against Boston with a 7.78 ERA. Nine of them could not hold up for more than five innings."
Its one thing to abuse Josh Fogg or Jered Weaver or even John Lackey, considering his lack of success against the Sox, but they've also mowed down Sabithia, Carmona, Escobar and Francis (although after seeing him, he's a number 4 or 5 in the A.L). Yes, it turns out that Theo did a nice job lengthening the lineup. A very nice job. It took nearly all year, but the Sox are now getting consistent performances out of the bottom half of that nine, from Tek to Drew (a 9-game playoff hitting streak) to Julio Lugo. With that, combined with the usual from Ortiz, Manny and Lowell, and you can see why we're probably all going to be hanging out at a parade sometime this week.
I laugh at this...the fickle nature of fans, but isn't it amazing that Drew and Lugo can change what they are by what they've done the last two/three weeks. Big game guys?!?! I guess. I mean, how can I argue? Theo's two big free agent hitters can point to how things have gone for them in October and that should shut everyone up, except for the angry caller on WEEI. You know the one, the guy who insists on misery and second and third-guessing and just being a jerk. Yeah, that guy. He should enjoy this time, because, heck, you never know when it will happen again.
October 6, 2007 | 08:41 PM
Hard to believe that a month or so ago, the "experts" were talking about the Angels being the best team in baseball. Sure, some of it is bad luck. Injuries to Matthews and Colon, Anderson's eye issue. But I can't get over a lineup that just has no pop. I mean, save for Vlad, and Matthews when he's in there, there is no power. Izturis batting 5th?!? Brutal Juice, brutal. Then again, the way Josh Beckett pitched in Game One, and the bullpen fired in Game Two, "Murderer's Row," would have had problems. And isn't that the point this time of year? Pitching, pitching and more pitching.
Now its Curt Schilling's turn. He has the best winning percentage at .800 (8-2) and third best ERA (2.06) in postseason history. I suppose he could spit the bit tomorrow. I mean, he's not the Schilling of 2001 or even 2004. But over his last six starts, Schill looked like he has a pretty good understanding of what he is as a pitcher now, only once allowing 4 earned runs over that time. I believe he'll be good tomorrow, and the only way this doesn't happen is if Jered Weaver flashes back to the way he started his rookie year in 2006.
September 30, 2007 | 05:57 PM
Okay, enough with the over-the-top celebrations (it was, and you know it), and crooning about winning the A.L. East. None of that matters now. Oh sure, home field is pretty key (check out SurvivingGrady.com for some interesting home/away batting splits for Sox regulars), but if you don't pitch well, you won't win. In their lull this month, the Sox struggled to get people out. This last few days, they have. So what are they? The tired and arm weary team that we saw the first three weeks of September, or the one we enjoyed prior? I know you picked the larger sample, not the knee-jerk reactionary stuff that goes on in Red Sox Nation all the time. I mean, I know people in this business who a week ago said the Sox wouldn't win the division or win a round in the playoffs now saying they'll win it all. Stupid.
I like the matchup with the Angels. Their ace, Lackey, has been brutal at Fenway this year, and has always been hittable. Escobar has been dead down the stretch, and does Jered Weaver actually intimidate or frighten you? I think, at their best, the Sox starting staff is better than the Halos. And if Okajima and Timlin and Delcarmen can hold down the fort in the seventh and eighth innings, round one belongs to the Sox.
September 25, 2007 | 01:27 PM
Since coming off the disabled list, Curt Schilling has been nothing more than a six inning pitcher. He went beyond that a couple of Sundays ago, and you still can't wipe the look off Derek Jeter's face when he knocked a hangin' split into the back row of the Monster seats. But - as we've pointed out repeatedly in recent weeks - Schill has been pretty effective. Can he step up that level come October? If I knew the answer, I'd be making a side trip to Vegas to lay a wager or two.
Schill's not the only one we've got to keep an eye on. Dice-K and Wakefield are currently under suspicion as well. Matsuzaka is obviously the priority because - theoretically - he's your second starter. The righty has been decent his last two times out, versus New York and Tampa, but he hasn't been aggressive enough. Trust your stuff!
Wake is the ultimate X-factor. When he gets hot, no one can touch him. But Wake's over 40 - like Schill - and he hasn't been the same since his back injury. But I thought Sunday, he gave us some reason for optimism. I know you hope I'm right on that front.
How about one J.D. Drew? Since September 7th, he's hitting .349 and has reached base via hit or walk in 25 of 53 plate appearance. He's also been driving the ball with more consistency, and that could play big as the leaves continue to turn.
September 25, 2007 | 08:49 AM
Here we go. The final stretch before the postseason. Six games to play, a two-game lead in the American League East. Time to start playing good ball, even if the Sox will likely shorten the starts of Schill, Dice-K, Beckett, et al.
I don't care what the players and brass have said in recent days and weeks, confidence is a fragile thing. You can't just flip the switch and find the type of intensity and performance that we saw in April and May. It just doesn't work that way. But a consistent week will go a long way toward accomplishing that. Plus, playing at Fenway will provide a jolt that you just can't get anywhere else. I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to this last push, finding out who the Sox will play in the opening round and just how good some of those arms can be once we hit October.
September 20, 2007 | 09:47 PM
I love the logic that says all the Red Sox have to do is get in the playoffs. For starters, no kidding. But did you honestly expect they'd be in this position? Better yet, you could argue, they shouldn't be in this position. But I've brought this up repeatedly, to both cheers and jeers, that it is human nature not to keep the foot on the accelerator when you build up such a big cushion. I think we've seen that in the way the front office has maneuvered since Josh Beckett had an "avulsion" on his finger in May, the way Terry Francona has judiciously used his bench and the way he's handled the bullpen. Yes, its the long view, and fans hate that approach. They want to win every day, and do it at just about all costs. The Sox do that once they step in between the lines, but when the lineup card is written out, when arms are told they won't be used that night, what does that say? It says to me, as Francona/Epstein, I trust all my players, or at least, almost all my players (Delcarmen and Gagne and Timlin all get the raised eyebrow on a nightly basis), and that I can't run my stars into the ground. To me, its the right way to go about your business.
Contrast that with the Yanks, who have been playing to win every day for months because they had to win. While that looks good right now, where will that pitching staff be in October? How about the bad leg Derek Jeter's playing on? I say that catches up the Pinstripes when the lights are the brightest. Mark it down. Put it on the board. Whatever you want to say. The Sox may look like a dead team, but I'm not ready to call time of death, not by a long shot.,
September 20, 2007 | 09:02 AM
I don't know about you but I was excited for the Red Sox to win the division. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that since they instituted the wild card in 1995, four teams -- including the 2004 Sox -- have emerged from the card to become world champions. In no way does not winning the division affect your chances at winning the whole magilla.
But with that said, wouldn't it be nice to win? Yes, beat the Yankees in the regular season and then pound them in the postseason as well. The more I watch this team, the more their warts come to the forefront.
They can't hit, they can't, they cant hit -- and that is certainly magnified when guys who are regulars have become regulars on the bench due to injuries. The Sox are a dead team right now, and if they don't get well quickly they will be an easy out come the playoffs. It will be no postseason party, believe that.
September 19, 2007 | 08:34 AM
Brutal. That's the only printable word that comes to mind after the Sox blow a 2-1 lead in Toronto last night. Eric Gagne, where have you gone? Two quick outs, then the righty melted down faster than a popsicle on a blazing hot summer day. Just gross. Where the heck was Okajima? How about Papelbon, who was warming? Is Okie tired? Did Tito not want to go to Paps in the middle of an inning? Not sure if we got those answers in the postgame, but I'd love to hear them, and I'm not the only one.
Of course, the bigger picture says the Sox moved closer to clinching a playoff spot. Detroit's loss to red-hot Cleveland shrinks the Sox's magic number to 4. Let's face it, getting in to the playoffs is the most important thing, at least in the short term. But these guys had better wake up and start finishing games, or it won't matter that they get a chance to play meaningful games in October. It'll be one series and done, just like it was in 2005.
September 15, 2007 | 04:26 PM
I’m a huge Mike Lowell fan. How can you not be? Two years ago, this guy was suppose to be Josh Beckett’s caddy, a slow-footed, powerless corner infielder with a big salary who would be a drag on the lineup and have people arguing about the merits of Alex Cora at third versus Lowell. Instead, Lowell’s been the Sox’s MVP, hands down. No one’s been more consistent, come up with more big hits, and been as much of a leader in that clubhouse. Lowell’s a true triple threat (and yes, I’m mixing my sports metaphors. Call it creative license. Or the pressure of a deadline already missed).
That said, or written in this case, how do the Sox not pursue Alex Rodriguez should he opt out of his contract and test free agency? I mean, are you kidding me?!?! The premier middle of the order hitter in baseball coming to the lyric little bandbox, sandwiched between Big Papi and Manny, at least for one year? What’s that mortgage guy on WEEI say, “its the biggest no-brainer in the history of earth?”
Rodriguez is, in some many ways, the perfect player for this ball club, the man capable of bridging the gap between your two best hitters. He’s capable of giving you long-term pop, which as you look around baseball, is becoming a rarity. And it won’t cost you anything, except money. As of this morning, I don’t see anyone holding fundraisers for Sox owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. But, on a related note, if you see a haggard looking man who looks something like the picture at the top of this column, don’t be afraid to slip him some change. Or better yet, a 20-spot.
But would the Sox extend themselves, and pay Rodriguez more money per season than any player in history. Somehow, the great Scott Boras, Rodriguez’s uber agent, has set the bidding at 30 million per season. He’s done this even though his client is the only player in baseball making over 20 million a season, and that bill’s being footed by two teams (Rangers and Yanks). Do you bid against an unrealistic number, seemingly pulled out of the sky? The Yanks probably asked that question when they were involved in the bidding process for Daisuke Matsuzaka. They fell woefully short, and despite the Japanese import’s growing pains this season, I still think its been money well spent by the Sox. Isn’t that what we’re talking about with Rodriguez? Isn’t he as close to a sure thing as there is/has been in baseball history? He’ll be your property, chasing baseball’s home run record (and maybe the occasional exotic dancer) and hopefully, finally, coming through in October. As a player, he’s everything the Sox need, even if he’s not Mike Lowell.
September 12, 2007 | 08:29 PM
We know pitching wins championships, but I think if you watched the game against Tampa the other night you have an understanding that pitching certainly puts you in position to win, but on some level there has to be some offense. David Ortiz with his banged up knee was given the night off and of course Manny remained out of the line up, although Manny according to reports did hit live batting practice today maybe he will be ready for the Yankees over the weekend . But it's very obvious the men in the middle of the Sox lineup that made Boston one of the most feared lineups in baseball simply have to be healthy for the post season to be an extended visit. There are certain roles that guys must fill and when you move those roles around things don't often work.. The other night we saw a fanstatic pitching performance from Scott Kazmir, more times than not he seems to give the Red Sox trouble, but the trouble really came when the lineup card was made out... No Papi, no Manny most likely means no win.. Let's hope the dynamic duo go into the post season healthy because if they are not the Sox are trouble.
September 2, 2007 | 12:17 AM
I still haven't gotten to see a no-hitter in person, but I kinda felt like I was at Fenway tonight. The crowd so electric, just like Clay Buchholz's stuff. Simply outstanding. You can see why I've been talking/writing about this kid for over a year now, and - more importantly - why the Red Sox made him untouchable at the trade deadline.
At 23, in the middle of a pennant race, on a night when he was suppose to be pitching against freakin' Triple-A Scranton, Buchholz ended up owning Fenway Park, owning the Orioles. A low to mid-90's fastball, a consistent curve and a nasty changeup made Buchholz look a lot bigger than his lanky, 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame would suggest. And while the Orioles stink, that lineup is of good quality. Tejada, Markakis, Roberts, Millar and Payton...those guys aren't chumps. The way Buchholz controlled his emotions and kept his command late in the game, you can't teach that stuff. That's why he's prized as much for his guts and he is for that golden right arm. Let's not forget, the Sox NEEDED this game. They had lost 4 in a row. The Yankees had already won, pushing the deficit to 4 1/2 before the night started. And Buchholz not only pitched well enough to win, he pitched well enough to do something no Red Sox rookie had ever done. Awesome.
August 30, 2007 | 04:00 PM
I wish I could tell you what is happening to my previous post, but I have no idea. The web folks are going to get on it and see if we can make all right in the blogshere. Or is it blogoshere?
August 30, 2007 | 10:35 AM
If the Boston Globeâ€™s editorial staff asks me one more time if Iâ€™m getting worried about the Yankees, I may stop reading their website. I mean, its just gotta stop. The lead is 6. Iâ€™m not worried about the Pinstripes. When the lead was 4, I didnâ€™t have one foot hanging off the bridge either. And besides, the lesson here is simple: worry about your own team. Thatâ€™s what should concern you. I mean, if Mannyâ€™s going to be out for an extended period of time and come back at less than 100 percent, as less than the player who I believe has the second most RBIs since the All-Star break, then Iâ€™d be concerned. If J.D. Drew continues to hit the most unproductive .300-plus in his last 20 games, Iâ€™ll be concerned. Actually, check that. I donâ€™t worry about that guy one bit. I expect him to fail in every situation, so if/when he finally does succeed, Iâ€™ll have a freakinâ€™ parade for him. But hey, maybe thatâ€™s me exhibiting my glass half-empty approach.
As for last nightâ€™s game, I derive no joy in watching Roger Clemens pitch that well. To think, when I was a kid, Clem was a god. Now, I just view him as a fraud. Canâ€™t root for, or even respect, people like that. I realize, within the context of the game, weâ€™re talking about the greatest pitcher of my lifetime, arguably the greatest pitcher in the modern era, at least as far as the regular season is concerned. But to me, the Rocket is not a genuine character, and I think most with any sense would find it hard to disagree with me on that front.
August 29, 2007 | 11:56 AM
I know this will cause some anger among diehard Red Sox fans, but in the grand scheme of things, I am happy for Johnny Damon. I know. I know. He's a traitor. He said he'd never go to New York, then took the money and ran. But the guy was/is genuine, no matter what comes out of his mouth.
See, one thing you learn when you cover these athletes on a day-to-day basis is sometimes there's no filter from brain to mouth, and stuff just comes out. Damon is as guilty of that as the next, but I enjoyed him for it. The man was brave, he was forthcoming, he was front and center when he was playing well and when he was playing poorly. Ditto for the team's performance. Not too many athletes do that, but JD always did. For that, he's got my respect, even if he's now toiling in the Bronx.
August 18, 2007 | 09:24 PM
David Ortiz's lack of clutch hitting has been well-documented in these parts. Heck, its been hammered into my head so often that I find myself waking up out of a deep sleep, reciting Big Papi's failures in clutch-and-late situations. Okay, not really, but you get my point (and if you don't, stop reading now).
I mean, the man once deemed the "Best Clutch" hitter ever to wear a Red Sox uniform by Sox ownership was hitting less than .200 in such situations this year, and it seems like every crack at being the hero has resulted in a feeble groundout or a pop-up. Until tonight. Oh sure, hitting a grand slam in the 5th inning is not considered clutch by any of the stat geeks (of which I have been known to call myself). But trailing 5-2, with a decided lack of energy at Fenway, Ortiz's game-changing blow (at least thru 6 innings) sent a charge through the ballpark and, more importantly, through the dugout. They needed it after such a long day on Friday.
I was looking up some numbers on Ortiz for the show, and what he's done this year, while no way measuring up to a year ago, is still damn impressive. The big DH is second in the A.L. in walks and OBP, third in slugging and OPS, 10th in HR's and 11th in batting average. There are about 620 Major Leaguers who would sign up for those numbers pronto, but Sox Nation has been spoiled by Papi. Perhaps his recent surge (he's been raking versus the Angels) will be a sign of thing to come the final 6 weeks of the regular season and for October. But if not, this version will still be a force. Of that, I have no doubt.
August 18, 2007 | 04:17 PM
I have been known, on occasion, to get emotional about the teams I cover. Perhaps its because I grew up as a fan. Or perhaps its just because I get into my job. With that preamble now taken care of, let me just say that I have absolutely, positively NO desire to see Eric Gagne pitch in a close game tonight, tomorrow afternoon or any time next week either. Sox skipper Terry Francona has said, repeatedly, that he wouldn't be doing justice to Gagne, or to his ballclub, by going away from the former Cy Young Award winner. But having watched Gagne cough up leads last Friday, Sunday and yesterday, I'd say its safe to say that the only damage Tito's doing to his team is by actually continuing to use the righty. Let Gagne get straight in mop-up roles for the next 7 to 10 days, hoping to get him right for September and beyond. Call me crazy, but I still believe Gagne can be a big help. Check that. He better, because a two-man pen of Okajima and Paps won't get it done in October. See the same month in 2004 to understand what I'm talking about (Embree, Timlin, Foulke).
August 15, 2007 | 08:47 PM
If you're looking for drama, try HBO on Sundays; that's your answer. The old Red Sox - say over the last few years or so - would have made Johnny Drama proud to bear the name, but the never-say-die Cardiac Kids - say of the years 2003 and 2004, and even last season - have mysteriously disappeared.
Sure, there is the Mothers' Day Miracle... I think everybody including myself believed that would be a nice kick start to a season full of comebacks and walkoff wins. But as it turned out, it would take another three months until the next one.
The feeling that used to be around fenway was that even if the team wasn't able to come back in the 9th, they were going to make it interesting. They were going to have great at-bats, not three strikeouts with the tying run standing on second.
Big Papi is hurt, no doubt, but just because he hasn't done it doesn't explain why no one else has picked up the slack in the clutch. With Lugo standing on second, let's face it: Today should have been their second straight comeback.
If not a win in the 9th, they should have at least evened things up. However, instead they got nothing but a loss against the D-Rays and they let an opportunity to pick up a game on the Yankees slip by. The Sox need to do better in the pinch, but will they? If the first 120 games are an indicator, they could be in trouble.