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Peter Gammons Red Sox chat transcript

Thursday Jan. 4, 2006
chugcabHi Peter, Why does it appear the Red Sox have no interest in a future with Wily Mo Pena? This past season he ranked 3rd batting, 2nd slugging, 3rd OPS and within 2 points of Soriano in OBP. I understand his right field issues, but he certainly was serviceable in center and is $13 million less per year than Drew. What do you think about Coco in right and Wily Mo in center? I think its a mistake to trade away the future slugger of this team.
Peter_GammonsI don't think they'll trade Pena unless they get a closer for him. Right field issue is pretty serious. He's average in center, above average in left. He is younger than David Murphy. They will let him play some first and let Youk play third at times. And between the four positions, he may be able to get 400 at bats. If he were more polished as a hitter, they would plunk him down at the middle of order, still has a way to go in terms of plate discipline before he can hit behind Ortiz.
Jimmy_DPeter, I personally don't think the Sox need to worry about defining their closer role until after the All Star break. The first half of the season is for evaluation. Who do you currently think is the front runner to shine as closer? What do you think about Rocco DeLuce and the Burden? Colorful is a great tune!
Peter_GammonsI still think that by the All-Star break, Craig Hansen could be the closer. Since he's been in Boston, he's pitched opposite of his strength, which is dominating sinker, both sides of plate, and his slider. He got wrapped up in radar gun readings of high fastballs and pitched opposite of what made him such a great prospect. And I think John Farrell will have a very strong influence on him. But if he or Manny Delcarmen, or Bryce Cox ends up a dominant 7 or 8th inning guy, they may be able to use any one of a number of pitchers to come in with no one on base to work the ninth. I like the Pineiro signing, because he's thrown much better out the bullpen and comes with strong recommendation of Alex Cora. Wouldn't be shocked if Hansack could wind up with pretty good shot a role. More alternatives this year than last year with pitching depth. Hope that doesn't offend Jason Johnson fans.... Colorful is a great song and I want to know if you recommend that we bring them on to Hot Stove, Cool Music next year.
WMass_FanHi, Peter! It's great to see that you're back on stage again. Rock on. Here's my question: If Coco Crisp had had the year that everyone expected him to have, would Alex Gonzalez still be playing shortstop for the Sox. In other words, did Boston go out and spend a ton of money on Julio Lugo to play short and bat leadoff because they didn't feel comfortable with Crisp in that spot. I know they've had their eye on Lugo for some time, but it seems like a lot of money for a leadoff batter with only an average glove and better than average speed (a gift not likely to be used much given Francona's past practice and the 2-5 batters they have).
Peter_GammonsThat's a very valid question. But I think Gonzalez's inability to hit decent pitching and his unreliability made him someone that they were very unlikely to bring back. You have to play and being in only 110 games isn't good enough. I do think that Crisp is a much better player than we saw. once he broke his hand he was missing fastballs that for three years in Cleve. he hammered. One major factor with Lugo is that David Ortiz is his best friend. Joe Madden told me he thought Lugo is one of the most positive energy players that he's ever been around.
varitekmvp33Hey Peter, glad to hear you and see you again, you mean alot to alot of people. Life long Red Sox fan in Oregon. Do you think the Sox are really going to go into the season with Pedroia at second base or is there still a chance they come to their senses and re-sign Mark Loretta. He has not signed with anyone yet, it almost seems like he is waiting for the Sox to do something?
Peter_GammonsI don't think there's any question about Pedroia playing second. You'll see him in far better condition this year than last. He has the best hands of any middle infielder they've had in recent memory and while he doesn't run well, they think his range will be far superior to Loretta. Given what could be a need for a backup first baseman and third baseman, there's always a possibility that Loretta could come back if he continues to get no other offers.
soxaholicHappy New Year Peter! It appears that the building of this years bullpen centers on collecting as many aging pitchers we can sign, then throw them all against the wall and see what sticks. If this is in fact Theo's plan then why not try giving some of their young pitching a shot. It would seem to me that Delcarmen, Hansen, Martinez, Cox, Buchholz, etc would give them just as good a chance of succeeding.
Peter_GammonsThe veteran pitchers they brought in are more safety nets than solutions. They hope Hansen, Delcarmen, or Cox is the closer come the end of the season. Much in the same way that Bobby Jenks and Adam Wainwright ended up closing the last two World Series.
seanpmcg_Will Manny be in a Sox uniform all season, and when he is in uniform will he play (at least as much as can be expected) to his full capability?
Peter_GammonsI cannot see Manny being traded. In fact, I believe the attempts to trade him this fall were more than a courtesy to his agents than a need to get rid of him. They need Manny, after all, they were 11th in the league in runs scored after the All-Star break and he was a major factor there. I also strongly believe that J.D. Drew will be fine as a compliment to Manny but not as his replacement.
E-RuffWho is a better guitar player Theo, Bronson, or you?
Peter_GammonsI would say Bronson. He works harder at it. Theo and I would be advised to keep our day jobs.
BobIs J.D. Drew going to play for the Sox? What is going on, it's been a month!
Peter_GammonsFirst, Scott Boras was otherwise occupied and then Theo was away. The disagreement is simply over language, and the Red Sox need to be protected, but I would be shocked if he were not there on Opening Day.
dan0725Peter, how much effort will the Yankees put into trying sign Roger Clemens now that it looks like Randy Johnson is on his way to Arizona? Do you think the Sox still have interest? How long have you played guitar?
Peter_GammonsI don't think the Red Sox interest is any more than simply to let him know that they would make a place for him at their price. I think the Yankees will do the same thing. Roger will have to make up his mind if he's willing to spend less time with his family for nearly half a season, but I think his strong feelings for Joe Torre will lead him to finish his career as a Yankee... I played guitar when I was a teenager, then in college, then retired for about 20 years before going back to playing five years ago. I will not be replacing Derek Trucks for the Allman Brothers. His great uncle was Virgil "Fire" Trucks who played for the Tigers...
Bosoxboy2004From Dan: Hi Peter, Health and happiness in 2007. After trading Hanley Ramirez and Annibal Sanchez for Beckett, are the Sox gonna be a little gun-shy about unloading top prospects?
Peter_GammonsI would say yes, and not just because of that trade. After all, Beckett was 25 at the time. But were seeing the Sox and Yankees trying to build for the future and present at the same time. The Yankees may have traded Sheffield, Wright, and Johnson for prospects to rebuild their future.
doodle_e_dooHandicap Dice-K for 2007
Peter_GammonsI think his two biggest adjustments will be a five man rotation and being allowed to throw any one of his six pitches at any time. Bobby Valentine told me that Matsuzaka should not "establish his fastball" in the traditional American way. Valentine also called him a genius. one thing you may see as season goes along, that in last three months, they could go to a six man rotation at times to give him extra time, which is what Jimy Williams did for Pedro Martinez.
DanHi Peter. Where do you stand on the McGwire Hall of Fame debate?
Peter_GammonsI voted for him reluctantly but I feel that he never failed a test and he played most of his career with a huge number of players using some form of performance enhancing drugs with the fear of incrimination. Joel Sherman of the NY Post made very good point when he rejected McGwire, he felt that his credentials were principally due to the steroids and that he bunched his statistics up in a very narrow window. My problem is that I don't know for sure who did, and just as important, who didn't use steroids in that 20 year period. Most people tell me they believe that in those 20 years anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 players did use them. Also, I still believe the percentage of pitchers using them was higher than position players.
soxgameDo you think Barry Zito will continue to improve to justify that salary?
Peter_GammonsGoing to the NL, and pitching in that ballpark will help him immensely, but Barry's ERA over the last three years is an entire run higher than what it was his first three years and numbers like strikeouts and hits-per-9 innings have declined. I don't think the AL East was a place he wanted to pitch.
watsonPeter do you think the Sox will really consider putting Papelbon back at closer? He's to valuable to risk injuring don't you think?
Peter_GammonsI think the risk will be determined in spring training both by Papelbon and the Red Sox medical team. I do not think that he'll go back to the bullpen, but it may end up a necessity.
Bob_OliverHappy New Year, Peter. How do you gauge the reaction by J.P. Ricciardi in Toronto to the salary escalation that's going on, and how in the world can the Kansas City Royals of the world hope to keep up? (Especially by using George's $$$ to buy $11M worth of Gil Meche!). Thanks!
Peter_GammonsI think J.P. had to give Vernon Wells that huge contract because of the market and the fact that as a center fielder, Wells has become a franchise player. You're right, KC competes because of the money it gets from the Yankees and Red Sox and unless they can rebuild their farm system to the level of the Indians and Twins, they're going to have a hard time competing more than one out of every six years.
jimmyWhat will Jon Lester's role next season? Could he be considered for the closer role?
Peter_GammonsI think they'll take it slow with Jon and hope that come July he's ready to step back into the rotation. At this point, asking him to close will probably be too much, but your point is well taken in that he has been phenomenal with runners on base and has a track record of increasing his velocity by three-five mph working out of the stretch.
Jimmy_DPeter, whose staff is deeper the Yankees or the Sox?
Peter_GammonsThe Yankee bullpen is probably deeper. But the Red Sox rotation is deeper than New York's. One major unknown is how well Andy Pettitte and Clemens will pitch in the AL East. The other unknown is what Phillip Hughes, Lester, and Clay Buchholz add to their staffs in September.
mykeyHi, and good health to you. What is your estimation of the progress Beckett made last year. It seems to me the walks and HR's killed him all year, but he started to settle down right at the very end of the season a bit. Do you like him having a break out year? Is he going to add another pitch to his arsenal?
Peter_GammonsDuring the playoffs, I worked with Vernon Wells in the ESPN studio and I think most people remember all the HR's he hit off Beckett. Vernon's point was that if Josh would throw his two seam sinker down and away, and occasionally change speeds, that his high fastballs would then be far more effective. He had a great start in Sept. vs. twins when he buried them with that two-seamer and I think that game will be something he can build off this year. Most important, he finally got through a season without missing a start and throwing 200 innings. That's very important for him to build off.
CalPeter, you sound as if Clemens to the Yankees is a done deal?
Peter_GammonsI don't think it's a done deal, but I do believe it's a real possibility because of Pettitte, because of Torre, and because the Astros seem to have tired of the uncertainty. That said, it's hard for Roger to leave home and I do think that the Astros would take him back if he gave them an ETA and also was willing to fit into their salary structure.
SwankyModePeter, so good to have you back after last year's scare. You're still the best. is next offseason looking as crazy, money-wise as this year? who do gm's and owners blame the most for the crazy spending this year? Boras? Jim Hendry? Who?
Peter_GammonsI do think that Andrew Jones, Ichiro, and Torii Hunter will get less their relative value than Zito. What happened was a combination of a tremendous amount of cash through the industry. Teams like the Cubs needing to win back their audiences, and the very capable work of agents like Boras and Adam Katz. If someone had told me at this time last year that Carlos Lee would get $100 million to play in a league without the DH, I would have fallen over laughing.
jim_4Thanks for doing this... what about this kid Daniel Bard that was so tough to sign last year, will he be ready this year to make the club?
Peter_GammonsProbably not this year, but he could be ready in a year and a half. He has great stuff and a very good baseball pedigree. His father Paul played at Tufts and was one of the best throwing catchers ever to play in the Dodger organization. His grandfather Fran O'Brien was a great coach at MIT and a Cape League legend. It will be interesting to see if Daniel is a starter or reliever, he could move very quickly, much like Justin Verlander.
CBA82Peter, do you think David Murphy is the Sox fourth outfielder in 2007, back in AAA, or traded?
Peter_GammonsIf he isn't traded, he'll start the season in Pawtucket, but I do think it's most likely that he'll go in a deal if they need another reliever. Texas and Houston both like him a lot and he's at the point where it might be best for him to go somewhere else and play every day.... thanks for stopping by to chat, and all the good wishes, hope to see you at show!
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About Gammons
Peter GammonsHall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons serves as a studio analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and provides "Diamond Notes" and other reports for SportsCenter. Gammons also contributes to ESPN.com via his Insider blog.

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