Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually on Thursdays or Fridays) to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
Hi Gordon---We all know what a great writer you are but can you do it in Japanese? How about trading columns with a Japanese newspaper once in a while. I'm sure they would be interested in what you have to say and we would be interested in what they are saying about Matsuzaka, Ortiz, Boston , etc.
Bill Keogh, Huntington, Vt.
A: Bill, we've done so! My friend and fellow sportswriter, Gaku Tashiro, wrote a column for the Globe before Daisuke's first start in Fenway Park, explaining how he came to be known as "Monster" in Japan. And I've written for Sankei, not to mention numerous appearances on Japanese television. But did you know that in Japan, they don't have sports talk radio? How do they survive without it?
What was the "real" reason behind Damons' exit? Seemed stupid to let him go to the Yankees and Matsui's $13 million deal must have been a sure clue that Damon would get the same deal. Was he too popular for Theo to deal with? Too much ego on both sides? Ditto Arroyo. He took the discount to stay but they dealt him anyways. Wily Mo better become Carlos Beltran real soon to make that work. Arroyo had Pedro stuff at a third of the price! Thanks, Ed.
Edward Hatch, Rye, N.Y.
A: Edward, Damon went for more money, and because Scott Boras told the Sox that he had a five-year deal on the table for Johnny, a deal that has never surfaced, BTW. Damon took the better offer, and no doubt smelled the commercial opportunities the Apple presented, too. As for Arroyo, I assure you no one in the Sox front office thinks Wily Mo will ever be Beltran, and Bronson would tell you thanks for the compliment, but his stuff and Pedro's aren't in the same universe. Only a handful of pitchers in history had Pedro's stuff. In retrospect, to be sure, the Sox could have used Arroyo much more last season than WMP, but his grand slam in Baltimore Thursday night showed why he's such a tease. Dave Kingman, anyone?
Gordon, thanks for your column -- I read it weekly to keep tabs on the latest Red Sox comings and goings. Want to get your opinion on 2B -- why not give Alex Cora the starting job? He's certainly looked impressive this year (much more so than Dustin), and I think he's done more than enough to prove he deserves a shot to be in the lineup daily. I really think sometimes managers stick w/ their starters too long when they aren't performing. I often hear that Francona is very loyal to his players, but in my opinion he owes just as much loyalty to Cora as he does to Pedroia. And I for one would feel the Sox have a better chance of winning w/ Cora in the field/batting order than w/ Pedrioa right now. Your thoughts? Also, I've been really impressed w/ Okajima -- what a pressure situation against the Yanks in the 9th and he handled it like a champ. Our bullpen might be in pretty good shape after all this year, especially considering the talent we have waiting in the wings at AAA. Take care, and thanks again for your work!
Mike Ashford, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
A: Hey Mike, thanks for the good word. I think the Sox need to find out what Dustin Pedroia can do, and it takes more than a handful of at-bats to show that. He got off to a slow start in Pawtucket, too, before taking off, and his defense, especially this week, has been a plus. Cora has been terrific early, with big hits in at least three Sox wins, but I still think his greatest value is as someone who can step in a couple of times a week for either Dustin or Julio Lugo, give the Sox superb defense, and do the things that help teams win over the long haul. Okajima has been a revelation, but as Craig Shipley said last week, the Sox never signed him just to give Daisuke some company in the clubhouse; they believed he would help, and he has.
Coco Crisp had one good season in the league, his last season in Cleveland. After playing just four games with the Red Sox they rewarded him with a nice contract extension. Why have the Red Sox not done the same with Papelbon? Is it the Red Sox who don't want to do it, or Papelbon?
Patrick Flynn, Hadley
A: There was some discussion during spring training, but there are a couple of things that held up an extension: the uncertainty over his role, and the uncertainty about his shoulder. Another strong season, and an injury-free one, will put Papelbon in a strong negotiating position this winter. The Sox, of course, don't have to do anything, because Paps will still be a year away from arbitration, but the industry trend is toward locking young players long term to avoid the salary escalation that can take place in arbitration, so I think a healthy Paps will get his.
Is there any chance Wily Mo Pena will be demoted to AAA? He has been horrible at the plate and I feel the Red Sox would be better off with a AAA prospect at the plate and in the field than with Wily Mo Pena, even with his current contract.
Adam Fink, Marblehead
A: Adam, Wily Mo, because he was signed to a major league contract as a teenager by the Yankees, long ago exhausted his options (three of them), so in order for the Sox to send him down, they'd have to place him on waivers, where other clubs would eagerly place a claim on him. We'll never know what kind of player Wily Mo could have been with a couple of seasons of playing every day; the Sox are hoping that he'll continue to advance with limited playing time, but that's very hard to do.
I'm Not sure who to address this to. So please point me in the correct direction if you need to,ok? This is concerning the post game shows. It is most difficult to hear the questions from the floor. Is there any way to a mic to the people asking the questions so we (the viewers) can hear them?
Thank for you time. Signed, A Red Sox Fan For Life!!
Cheryl Holmes, Brewster
A: Cheryl, I can imagine a viewer's frustration, but there's a reason the questions aren't miked. The reporters are operating under very tight time constraints, and if they had waited for a microphone each time they had to ask a question, or step to a mike stand, that would cost them even more precious minutes.
With Jon Lester on his way back to the Red Sox, who gets moved to make room for him? Does anyone now on the staff have any options left (other than Papelbon)? If not, will they try to trade Tavarez or Pineiro?
Dave Yubruh, Belchertown
A: Dave, a trade is a plausible scenario, though after last season's experience, when the club went through 26 pitchers, I know Theo would like to hold onto his arms as long as possible. Don't be surprised if someone winds up on the DL in the next week or so, with an injury of uncertain origins.
I was wondering if you had any opnion yet on how Drew is fitting into the clubhouse. Wondering if myabe he could end up finding a home here in Boston much like Paul O'Neill did in NY? Both were considered talented players but with question marks, but O'Neill really put it together in NY. Is that too much of a stretch?
Rick Shaw, New York, N.Y.
A: Rick, It's hard not to like J.D. Drew. He's just a low-key country guy who comes to work, goes about his business in a professional manner, and pretty much keeps to himself. I hear where you're coming from on the O'Neill comparison, although O'Neill was incredibly intense -- Drew has about as even an emotional equilibrium as you'll ever find. Some people have said in the past they wished he played with more passion, but if you've noticed, he hustles down the line on every ground ball. I wonder if, in the end, the more apt comparison will be Paul Molitor, a talented player who like Drew was frequently hurt early in his career but blossomed into one of the game's true stars relatively late in his career.
As I write (Apr. 23rd), Barry Bonds is at 740, and the milestone tracker on MLB.com is predicting he will hit 755 on June 18th (which, needless to say, could change daily). Given that the Giants play at Fenway June 15-17th, there is a very real chance that Bonds could break the record at the Fens. Just for fun -- any speculation on which pitcher might give up the big one?
Ian Jackson, Cambridge
A: Ian, too many variables involved for me to make that kind of guess. Will it be a starter, a reliever? Will Barry get hurt before he gets to Boston, will he have a slump? Will one or more of the Sox pitchers go down? But believe me, I'm aware that the possibility is increasing that it could happen at the Fens.
From Red Sox Outpost South (otherwise known as Baltimore, the city in which home-town fans are outnumbered by the Nation faithful): Sunday's game against the Yanks, in which the Yankees' "emergency catcher" made an appearance had a few of us wondering -- who is the Sox emergency catcher? We'd love if you could shed some light on this burning question ...
Ann Robinson, Baltimore, Md.
A: Ann, the candidates are very few. Last season, when Doug Mirabelli was hurt, Terry Francona said Alex Cora was the emergency catcher. Believe me, I'm sure Alex wouldn't relish the assignment...he's never played there as a big leaguer, but professional that he is, he'd do it.
I have to report this. On the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show on WFAN, Mike F. says Yankees pitchers should brush back Red Sox batters. John Grenier reporting from the edges of the Nation.
John Grenier, Meriden Conn.
A: Yeah, John, I was on with them Friday morning, and Mike raised the same point, said the Yanks should pitch inside more, especially to Papi, and especially after Matsuzaka hit A-Rod and Jeter last Sunday. He insisted he didn't mean beanball/brushback stuff, but just to create some discomfort in the box. The Yanks haven't taken that tack with Ortiz to date; it's doubtful they'll start now.
Hi Gordo! You and Amalie are my two favorite sportswriters this season -- I especially appreciate your updates from "behind the scenes." This weekend's games against the Yankees were incredibly exciting. Although everyone on the team deserves a round of applause, I was very impressed with Hideki Okajima. From my perspective, he might be the perfect set up man for Jonathan Papelbon. Do you agree or do you think Terry Francona will split this responsibility with Mike Timlin?
Cathy Merlo, Wellesley
A: Cathy, as I mentioned earlier in the 'Bag, Okajima has been a revelation, and it is clear he's quickly becoming a reliever Terry Francona trusts a great deal. You saw Wednesday night, Francona giving the ball to Okaji in relief of Schill in the eighth, a situation in which Timlin ordinarily would have gotten the call, and I think we'll continue to see that happen, especially given the success he had last weekend against the Yankees' big guns.
Gordo, I am becoming as big of a fan of your columns, as I am the Sox themselves. Of course, there is going to be a lot of talk about the sweeping of the Yanks this past week (which was great). However, there are a few things that got me a little nervous this past weekend. One, am I the only one who cringes every time Wily Mo Pena takes a cut? I mean, I like the guys potential and see the pop in his bat, but he isn't showing much indication that he is going to be more than a .250 hitter. Two, Dice-K has shown very spotty command this season despite the fact he has been reasonably effective. It is still early, but I am hearing more and more he hasn't been the most accurate pitchers history. Plus, he hasn't shown the ability to throw the ball inside...make me feel better.
Timmy D, Scranton, Pa.
A: Timmy D, hope Wily Mo's slam Thursday made you feel a little better, but it's obviously going to be feast or famine with him. As for Daisuke, the operative word, as you mentioned, is early. John Farrell, the pitching coach, has noted that there have been situations in which Daisuke has overthrown, but that's all part of the adjustment. He'll be fine.
What is the future of 3B for the Red Sox? I'm a huge Mike Lowell fan and I know the guy will be a free agent after this season and is making around $9-$10 million per, in addition, he'll be 33 for the 2008 season. Is there any chance the Sox will re-sign him to a smaller deal? Will he take the so called "Hometown Discount" to stay here? He seems like such a great clubhouse guy, a natural, quiet leader for this team and helps our pitchers with his great defensive plays at third (I still have Tivo'd the dive he made last season on the bunt play). For an organization that had a strong historical record of excellent third baseman (Pesky, Petrocelli, Hobson, Boggs & Mueller), he'd be great to have for a few more years. If the Sox decide to go in another direction, who are the free-agents out there and who is down on the farm? How do these other options stand-up against Mr. Lowell's resume? Thanks and I love the chats! Keep up the great work!
Michael Berkley, Sharon
A: Michael, all the attributes you list for Mike Lowell are dead on, but I suspect that's a position the Sox may choose to go younger next season, probably calculating that Mike's production will decline in the next couple of years. What works in Mike's favor is there is not a great free-agent class at either first or third base this winter -- Melvin Mora is older than he is -- and unless the Sox jump in on A-Rod, he might be the most attractive option out there.
Gordo, great column, my lifeline to the BoSox for this displaced New Englander. One question, how do you give up a home run or even a hit on an 0-2 count??? The old rule of thumb was to waste the next pitch to see if you can get him to go fishing not lay it out over the plate. We're seeing more and more HR's/hits on 0-2 counts. What gives?
David LeDuc, Niceville Florida
A: David, I don't think it happens as much as you think. The league average on 0-2 counts so far this season is .158. In 1991, it was .161; in 1995, it was .166. Sox pitchers have held hitters to a .153 average and 1 home run on 0 and 2 counts this season; Sox hitters are batting .140 with no home runs on 0 and 2 counts. In 2006, the hitters were .137 and 4 HRs; pitchers held the opposition to a .188 average and 8 home runs (I was surprised at that number).
Dear Gordon, Was your mention today the first time that either one of the print or TV journalists has alluded to the number of hits Manny allows over his head and short of the Wall in order to protect his weak arm and lack of mobility moving forward? Somehow "over his head" isn't so blatant? Why the free pass all this time? When I went to games in 50's and 60's in Fenway a fly ball over left fielder's head falling safely which failed to reach Wall was a rare occurence indeed.
Jay Nelson, New York, N.Y.
A: Jay, I suspect it's been commented on before, that Manny plays a shallow left field. The Vernon Wells ball really caught my attention, because it fell so short of the wall, and you would have figured the Sox to be respecting his power more. Hey, by now we all know you're going to get what you get from Manny defensively. I don't think, BTW, that his arm is weak.
How long do you think until the Red Sox give up on Coco Crisp, and finally bring up Jacoby Ellsbury? He is hitting over .400 right now in Double-A. I know it's Double-A, but he has the talent.
Justin Whitworth, Kansas City, Mo.
A: Justin, everything in its season. Ellsbury is tearing it up right now for the Sea Dogs, and brings so much to the table at the plate, in the field and on the bases. But let him develop his game a little more so that when he does arrive, he's here to stay. And don't be so quick to give up on Coco.
Hi Gordon, Mike Lowell is having a great streak with his bat, but has been having problems in the field. Although I feel that only 2 of the 6 errors should have been called errors, have you talked to him and asked him about why this is happening to him this year? I'm not worried, because he has more than proven himself in the field, as shown last season when he was robbed of a GG. Thanks for answering the questions that we fans have.
Steven Penser, New Bedford
A: Steven, no one is more upset than Mike when he makes an error. He takes great pride in what he has accomplished as a fielder. You have noted that a couple of the errors were borderline or worse; by the end of the season, we'll still be seeing Lowell playing Gold Glove caliber defense.
Why don't starting pitchers who know very early on that they aren't going to pitch well (that their stuff is off) asked to be pulled from a game? Because the longer they pitch the more they hurt the team.
Jay Ginsburg, Westmoreland, N.H.
A: Jay, because managers are paid to make those decisions. There are times when a manager needs more from his starter, even if he's getting rocked, because his bullpen has been overworked and he needs the innings. And think have all the times when a pitcher has gotten off to a rough start, only to get stronger as the game goes along. I have yet to meet a pitcher who would wave to the dugout and say, come and get me, unless he was hurt. There are times you may see a pitcher who is getting lit up look in the dugout, as if to say, what's taking you guys so long, but most pitchers have the mindset that the ball is theirs until the manager takes it away.
Hi Gordon! Not a question but a suggestion: a nickname for Jonathan Papelbon. I suggest: K-Jon. This is a play on Cajun since he is from Louisiana.
Ted Santiago, Princeton, New Jersey
A: Ted, clever suggestion, but as Charlie Pierce pointed out in his great magazine piece on Paps last spring, Papelbon isn't Cajun, he's of German descent.
Gordon, You wrote: "How do you suppose any ballplayer would react to a reporter, 99.9 percent of whom have never stood in a batter's box against someone throwing sliders, curves, splitties, changeups..." How many sportwriters do you think have stood in a batter's box before they hit puberty? Or been in a huddle? Or put a shot on net? In all seriousness, don't you think this is a problem coming from a group of people who profess to know so much about sports and say they give readers 'inside analysis?"
Ben Berzai, Boston
A: Ben, Glad we caught you in such a good mood. Shoot, man, most sportswriters at least played Little League, although I doubt any of them listed that on a job application. I would be the first to say, Ben, that my so-called "expertise" has its limits. If I could take apart a swing or break down Jake Peavy's slider, I would probably be working as a scout or coach today. And I am well aware that 99.9 percent of the general population, myself included, would be positively terrifed to stand in the box against Randy Johnson, and totally overmatched against a soft tosser like Jamie Moyer. When I made the comment you alluded to, I was responding to a 'Bagger who suggested I tell Wily Mo to stand closer to the plate. That's not something I would be qualified to do. What I can do, I believe, is talk to the people who know about these things, make judgments based on their opinions, and tell stories based on my ability to elicit them from the people I cover, namely the Boston Red Sox. I think that should be enough to qualify me for my job of informing people about the team they love so much.
Hi, Gordon -- Every week, I look forward to Ask Edes. As far as I'm concerned, you could keep it going in the offseason. I have a feeling that there would be no shortage of questions. Re: Johnny Damon, Pedro, et. al. departing for greener pastures, it seems to me that we'd all be much calmer and better off to recognize that no one can blame these guys for taking the best deal they can get. Both of those players left it on the field every game that they played for the Sox, and you can't ask for anything more than that. As for the fan's psyches, players have them, too. Does anyone think that the beatings Keith Foulke and Mark Bellhorn took from the Fenway Faithful were lost on Johnny Damon? An off year, an off *month,* and he'd have heard from them, too. Me, I think that not one of the players from the 2004 team should ever have to buy themselves another beer in New England. Your thoughts?
Paul Goode, Redmond, Wash.
A: Ben, meet Paul. Paul, meet Ben. Thanks for the kind words, P, and I agree with you, I imagine the 'Bag would remain filled even when there's snow on the ground. I couldn't agree more with your take on Pedro and Johnny D., or the fact that players are affected by what they see and hear, too. But as for never having a beer? If Petey wanted to buy a round some day for some of the folks who gave him so much love over the years, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
Editor's note: Join Gordon Edes of The Boston Globe, his special guests, as well as fellow members of Red Sox Nation at the 3d Gordon Edes and Friends NYC event on Saturday, April 28, from 9 p.m. to midnight at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant at 18 West 33d Street in New York City. Click here for more information.