Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually on Wednesdays or Thursdays) to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
I think you do a great job with your coverage. I am wondering why everybody and
their brother wants to jump on the Sox for their lack of movement at the trade
deadline. Does it hurt when you don't get a missing piece and others improve
themselves? Absolutely. But all those rumors had me cringing about who we would
give up and what we would get in return. These deadline moves DO NOT guarantee
success the rest of the way and I am sure we would love to have had Bagwell back
when we did not win that year not too long ago. It will be tough the rest of
the way, but I am grateful we still have our young talent. That is how the team
in NY built their championship teams. They started losing when the Boss started
Ralph Cole, Castle Rock, Colo.
Ralph, yours is a voice of reason in a chorus that tends to get shrill around here when the Sox don't match the Bombers move for move. Here's what Theo Epstein said when asked if he felt any pressure to respond directly to the Yankees' big move for Abreu and Cory Lidle: "Not for one second. I think our approach as an organization to the Yankees is to respect them and assume that they're going to win close to 100 games every year and then to forget about them until October." And perhaps the most important he made was this one: "We have a long-term plan and as much as we desperately wanted to do something to help our big league team it would have been shortsighted to sacrifice that long-term plan in order to incrementally increase our chances this year," said Epstein. Did the Sox want to make a move? Without a doubt. Did they aim high? Absolutely. They tried to swing something for Roy Oswalt, Mark Buehrle, and Roger Clemens. They asked about Andruw Jones. But they weren't going to let teams hold them up for a top prospect for a fringe guy. They'll make a waiver deal, I believe, to get a catcher and some bullpen relief, and perhaps a No. 5 starter if they can do it without sacrificing anyone they care to keep. They had the option of matching the Yanks dollar for dollar on the Abreu thing-the Yanks, after all, didn't give up big prospects to swing that deal-but decided that they didn't want to make that kind of financial commitment to Abreu. Could they come up short in October? Yes. It will be a fight again, to qualify for the tournament. If they flame out between now and October, there will be an awful lot of second guessing, because every summer, for the good teams, is a balancing act between how much of the future do you sacrifice to win now, because you never know if you'll get this close to winning again. Look at the Cubs. Epstein isn't done improving this club. Stay tuned.
Gordon ... Wasn't there a gentleman's agreement among teams years ago
on not blocking one another's waiver deals after the trade deadline? ... I think
I recall that after the Sox got Spike Owen and Dave Henderson late in 1986, with
the Yankees in second place, Steinbrenner erupted at his front office for
allowing the deals to go through, even though no one expected the Yankees would
get in the way. ... Is my memory mistaken on that or has the baseball business
become that much more cutthroat? ... Also, should we look for Theo to make a
significant waiver acquisition if (or when) Boston's record slips below New
York's or Chicago's?
Paul Duggan, Washington, D.C.
Paul, I ran that question past Lou Gorman, who began in 1964 as the Orioles' assistant farm director, was director of player development for the Royals in the '70s, later became GM of the Mariners, assistant GM of the Mets and was GM of the Sox from 1985-94. "No,'' Lou said, "there was never a gentleman's agreement. Your obligation was to your own ballclub, and there was no assisting the enemy. The thing about waiver claims that you had to worry about was, No. 1, could you afford the player, and No. 2, did you have the roster spot.''
As for Theo making a move, my answer, as you've read above, is in the affirmative. I think the Sox will make two or three moves.
Love your work! I was wondering if the Sox claimed Clemens off waivers. They ARE below the Yankees. Please notify Red Sox Nation if Clemens is or isn't claimed!
Vinny, teams are subject to big-time fines for talking about who or who isn't on waivers, so it's not just a matter of calling up the list on my laptop. Yes, information does get out, and we'll do our best to stay on top of it for you. But there are obstacles to Clemens being available for the Sox, even if they trail the Yankees in the standings. The Texas Rangers, for example, would get to submit a claim for Clemens; don't you think Tom Hicks would like another crack at the Rocket if Texas is still in it. Or what about Toronto? Do you think they wouldn't submit a claim, just to keep the Sox from doing so?
With the passing of the trading deadline, how can the Sox generate talks about getting another catcher to replace/assist with the loss of Jason Varitek?
Rick Pohle, Williamstown
Rick, they only have a couple of avenues available to them. One would be to approach a released player, like Chris Widger, who was designated, then released by the White Sox, to see if he had any interest in playing anymore. Another is to submit a waiver claim on any catcher that is put out there; that's the likely scenario, for example, in the case of Javy Lopez of the Orioles, and there are reports that the Sox have already initiated contact with Baltimore about a possible deal for Javy.
Watching Fausto Carmona blow two saves against the Red Sox this week reminds me of the pain we felt watching B.K. Kim pitch as a closer. You knew he was going to implode but you kept out hope. Time for this kid to get out of Walkoffville before he turns into a B.K.
Ron C., Fall River
Ron, your letter made me recall Game 1 of the 2003 playoffs against Oakland, when BK walked Billy McMillon, then hit Chris Singleton with a pitch with one out in the ninth and the Sox up a run. Grady Little left BK in to strike out the next batter, Mark Ellis, but pulled BK for Alan Embree, who gave up a game-tying hit to Durazo. That was the beginning of the end for BK in Boston; a couple of days later, he flipped off the fans when the team came back to Boston and he disappeared from the roster for the LCS. Carmona's meltdowns here this week, in the BK context, brought back his Arizona days in the 2001 Series vs. the Bombers; Carmona is a kid and in hindsight, you wonder if there might have been a better place than Boston for Eric Wedge to send him out for his first two save opportunities. I'm sure the kid is pretty traumatized right now.
Gordon: I've been thinking for a couple of weeks the place for Kyle
Snyder would be the bullpen, and the other night he did great in that role. But
my other thought has been why not give Craig Hansen a shot at a start? Sorta switch
roles as it were. Gotta, gotta, gotta be better than Jason Johnson. What do you
Rich Freethey, Bowie, Md.
Rich, what Snyder did the other night against the Tribe (4 1/3 scoreless out of the pen), as much if not more than Papi's home run, was responsible for the Sox winning a game they probably had no business winning. The Sox haven't had a reliable long man all season, and if Jason Johnson, who pitched OK after a rough first, can give the Sox five good innings as a starter, that gives the Sox the bonus of using Snyder in the pen. You're not going to see Hansen as a starter this year. He hasn't been stretched out, and I don't think his secondary pitches are far enough along that he could succeed right now as a starter.
I've noticed a lot of players on the Sox, especially those in the bullpen, wearing camo t-shirts under their uniform. I remember Timlin wearing camo in the past, but now it seems like everyone is following suit. What's the deal with the camo?
Zach Angel, Springfield, Va.
Zach, it's all about Mike Timlin, and the fellas in the bullpen choosing to express their solidarity with their Old Man of the Pen.
You do a great job reporting the games and trade possibilities, etc., but
when are you going to say or write something about the umpires? They are
clearly slanted against the Red Sox lately as Hirschbeck only reinforced last
night by squeezing Jason Johnson in the first inning and calling Kevin Youkilis out on the play at the plate. If these transparent objectives were publicized it might
save the Sox season despite the injuries. Otherwise their fall will only
continue until the umpires ease up.
Clarence Pillans, St. Joseph, Mo.
Mr Pillans, with all due respect to an esteemed citizen of the Show-Me State, I suspect every team's fans go through cycles where they think the umps are conspiring against the home team. I'm hear to tell you it ain't so. The men in blue may miss a few calls, but one of the beauties of this game is that you can pay your money and know the outcome isn't rigged. Those guys making the calls are an honest bunch. This isn't Italian soccer.
Now that 'Tek is out for a while, who do you see as stepping up as a fill-in for his leadership on the field. From interviews, I think Mark Loretta as composure and the indefinable stuff it takes for leadership. What do you think?
Joan Barnes, Lincoln, Neb.
Joan, I think Loretta is one of the great solid citizens in the game, and a consummate professional, but this team is full of such guys -- Lowell, Alex Cora, Gabe Kapler, Wakefield, Timlin, Schilling, just to name a few -- guys who know how to go about their business, take it seriously and don't need anyone to remind them of what they're there to do. And the kids, the Youkilises and Papelbons, they came here focused on what it takes to succeed. This is a self-policing group, one that puts out the brush fires on its own for the most part, and while of course the club will miss Tek's presence, especially the pitching staff, there's sufficient cohesion here that they will get through this testing time.
Not to keep belaboring this story about Clemens...only for he is the best pitcher in modern day baseball for all intents and purposes but this deserves an answer if you know:
Tell us, what in the world did Roger Cemens think he saw that the rest of the
world didn't when deciding to go to the Astros instead of the Sox in June?
Yeah, sure, he says he wanted to be with his pals from last year and felt
some obligation there. But that just doesn't cut it for him or the rest of us.
He always has marched to the beat of what's best for Roger. Roger doesn't need
to play for the sake of playing anymore. He's playing for one reason only: A
World series ring. He must have seen or felt somehow, some way something about
the 'Stros that no one else saw. At best they were an good average team when he
decided to go join them and not the Sox (only because most of the NL is so
mediocre). Houston was never a really a true built World Series team (maybe
playoff only). Roger's not stupid. He knows the Sox (and even Yuckees) are far
more superiors/dominant team that both annihilated the National League teams and
were designed to win it all. The 'Stros? Pahleeease. He had to know that even
in the NL, the Mets were highly likely favored to reach the World Series long
before the 'Stros. I just don't get it. At that time he made his decision to
join the Astros at least 5-7 teams were legitimate World Series candidates (and
still are), and those are teams far ahead of Houston. All he had to do was go
online and simply read the stats and compare. If he
ultimately and only wanted to go to the World Series, did he really see
something no one else did with Houston going to late October? I can't imagine
he's not kicking himself now. Perhaps for just a few days only the Sox will dip 'briefly' below the Yuckees in the standings and pick him up on waivers (wishful thinking...I suppose). I thought perhaps Theo would have cultivated a Roger deal during the mid-summer trade madness season. What was No. 21 thinking and believing when he sized up the 'Stros against the Sox even in May/June when the Sox were in first? Are you kidding me? Sox vs. Astros? Now that's a 'legitimate' joke.
Mark Stephenson, Los Angeles
Mark, as I know you already know all too well, of the teams you're discussing, the Sox and Astros, twasn't the Sox who were playing in the World Series last season. I think Roger must have believed the Astros would stage a turnaround like the one they did last season, when they were 15 games under .500 in May and everyone had written them off. They're just a couple of games out of the wild card right now, so as poorly as they've played, they still could make a run at October, and Clemens will get to stay home while they do. Do I think there have been times he's second-guessed himself? Sure. But let's see who's still standing in October.
The trade deadline has come and gone and Theo talks about his plan and
not mortgaging the future for today. He does not want to trade prospects for
established players. All well and good, but then how do you explain the players
we had targeted (Abreu, Lidle, Shealy and Lugo) going for NOTHING!! I'm all for
hanging on to prospects, but if the Sox are going to be too cheap to grab the
players they need, worse yet, let the go to the Yankees, then I have a
Doug Berlin, Jamestown, NY
Doug, with the payroll hovering in the $120m and up range, Doug, I'm not sure you can really say the Sox have been cheap. You simply have to accept the premise that they will never be willing to match the Yankees dollar for dollar, because they can't.