Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes check in every Thursday or Friday with his take on the Red Sox. Ask your question now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
You sat out yesterday's (Thursday) chat. The fans needed you, the Globe needed you, but you selfishly took yourself out of the chat lineup. You've disrespect the Boston Globe and chat rooms all around the league. Sure you've drove in a few hit stories this year, but you're not fooling anyone. We all know you've been mailing it in this season. I suspect the Boston Globe will deal you to the New York Post in the offseason.
Bo, Carrollton, Texas
A: Bo, Bo, Bo, you nailed me. I'm also guilty of walking extra slowly from the clubhouse in Kansas City to the press box, when a little more hustle might have allowed me to avoid missing yet another deadline. But for what the Globe pays me, you don't expect me to run out everything, do you? My agent (who is also my mom) tells me there are plenty of other papers that would be happy just to have my byline when I feel like writing, instead of having to follow some editor's schedule, which doesn't factor in those times I'm feeling really "beat up" from all my hours surfing on the Web. On to the real questions ...
It baffles me how a lot of Sox fans think that just by returning to the starting rotation, Schilling will be the Schilling of old. I understand that closing a game is a very different process than starting a game, particularly the margin of error, but it's not like his flaws will go away. His velocity is sporadic and his favorite punch out pitch, the splitter, has been awful. Are we to assume these issues won't plague him just because he's not closing? I really believe what you see is what you're going to get with him this year. Still a good pitcher but a shell of what he used to be. Do you agree?
KC, New Jersey
A: Well, KC, I think you started getting your answer Thursday in Kansas City, when Schilling struggled against the less-than-imposing Royals. There are obvious question marks which you highlight, and before we say there are definite answers, we need to let him get out there another two or three times. But as Schill himself noted, a stretch drive of a playoff race is no time to be searching. Schilling will be 39 on Nov. 14. Maybe he already reached the expiration dates on miracles.
What impact are the kids (Jon Papelbon, Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, maybe Jon Lester) going to have down the stretch for the Red Sox. Do you think they'll be bullpen saviors or scapegoats?
A: Randy, I'm going to have to borrow you crystal ball on that one; I've sent mine to the shop for repairs. Shoot, Johnny Damon said the other day that Papelbon might be the best starter the Sox have, though I suspect JD got a bit carried away in his enthusiasm for the kid. But like Curt Schilling, I like everything about Papelbon: his stuff, his command, his poise, his competitiveness. It's been some time since the Sox have had such a promising arm come up through the system. He is someone the Sox are counting on to make an impact. Delcarmen and Hansen both will be summoned for September, and while the Sox would love to see Hansen be as sensational as Francisco Rodriguez was for the Angels when he burst on the scene in 2002, the Sox aren't hanging their hopes on him, either. That would be unfair to do that to any kid in his first year of pro ball. Lester, although the Sox love him and he is left-handed, I consider more of a long shot to be called up this year. Check back with me next summer on him, though.
I would like your take on Jonathan Papelbon. The kid looks very good and I hear the Sox want to put him in the pen when Schilling comes back. To me it's a mistake. Let the kid pitch. Bronson Arroyo has been having problems, Schilling is a question mark judging on his not so good ERA from the pen. Let the Sox ride a god young arm.
Jay, Staten Island, NY
A: Jay, your scenario is by no means out of the question. It would be a bold move, but depending on how Arroyo fares in his next start or two, I would not be surprised to see that happen. The Sox have made it clear they think they'd best be served with Arroyo coming out of the pen.
What is your opinion on the chances of seeing this lineup for the red sox in 2006? CF- Damon, SS-Edgar Renteria, DH-Big Papi, LF-Manny Ramirez, 1B-Paul Konerko, C-Jason Varitek, RF-Trot Nixon, 3B-Bill Mueller, 2B-The Graf, Starting Pitching: Schil, Matt Clement, A.J. Burnett, David Wells, Wake, in the front end of the 'pen: Bronson, Papelbon, Hansen, Setup men: Mike Myers and Mike Timlin, Closer: Keith Foulke 'Hero' and the Bench: Ole, Kap, Adam Stern and Alex Cora. THAT would be my idea of a 120-win team and worth every penny to watch them play. Thank you for your reply. Go Sox
A: Marc, next time jot down where you're writing from in Germany. My grandfather lived in Landstuhl, where there's a big US military hospital, and my aunt lives in Remagen, near Cologne. I wouldn't write your lineup down in ink just yet. Damon could go to the highest bidder, I'm on record as saying Manny will be elsewhere, Bill Mueller is likely to be displaced by Kevin Youkilis, there will be plenty of other bidders for both Burnett and Konerko, Timlin is no lock to be back at age 40 and John Olerud probably won't stick around for some at-bats as a part-timer. I agree, though, it would be a formidable team.
After the Red Sox tried to trade for A.J. Burnett this year, are they likely to make an offseason pitch to sign him as a free agent? They're clearly interested in him, and he as much as said he was interested in them. In addition to creating an exciting one-two-three punch of Schilling, Burnett, and Papelbon, signing A.J. would deny him to the Yankees! What's not to like?
A: Steven, I couldn't have said it better: What's not to like? And how about a rotation in '07 of Burnett, Papelbon, Clement, Lester, and Wakefield (because Wake's going to pitch forever), with a bullpen anchored by the likes of Hansen and Delcarmen. Throw in Anibal Sanchez in '08, and we're potentially looking at Braves-like dominance, if everyone stays healthy.
With the Portland Sea Dogs going to the EL Playoffs, will it be until mid-September before we get Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and others to join the big club or will they leave Portland to join the Sox on Sept. 1?
A: I can assure you, Greg, that if the Sox believe that a player can help them in the moment, they will not let the Eastern League playoffs get in the way of their callups. That said, I suspect the only player who will be called up from Portland is Craig Hansen, though Hanley Ramirez admittedly is a possibility. A better possibility for the Sox if they want an extra infielder is Pawtucket infielder Alejandro Machado, who is a good gloveman who can play both middle infield positions and hit over .300 for the PawSox. The guys I expect called up: Kevin Youkilis, Kelly Shoppach, Manny Delcarmen, Lenny DiNardo, Hansen and possibly Machado.
Hi Gordo, I enjoy reading your stories. Keep up the great work! I've got a question regarding the last series of the year against the Yankees. If the Sox have the AL East wrapped up and the Yankees are still in the wild card hunt, can you envision the Sox putting their A team on the field in an attempt to stop the Yankees from gaining the wild card? That is of course if everything remains status quo. I can see resting the starters, but I can see why the Sox wouldn't want to face the Yankees in the ALCS, if it gets that far. What are your thoughts?
A: Man, Tom, that's a good question, and one I hadn't given thought to. Terry Francona mentioned before Thursday's game that he hoped Schilling would only need to make 7 starts, not 8, between now and the end of the regular season, which was his way of saying he hopes the Sox have the division wrapped by the final weekend. Obviously, the Sox would not make keeping the Yankees out of the playoffs a priority over setting up their pitching for the playoffs, and I'm sure Francona would use those games to rest his regulars, too, giving some guys a day off and playing other guys just a few innings.
I love Mark Bellhorn and hope he lands on his feet, but in terms of the Red Sox, what will his legacy be: a playoff hero, or the all-time Sox strikeout leader?
A: Nicholas, I'm guessing it'll be both: The Great Whiffer, and the guy who in the face of almost a universal clamor that Francona dump him from the lineup delivered some of the biggest hits of the Sox postseason run.
Do you think Manny should spend some time at DH on some of those days that his is "beat up"? In the postseason and interleague play, I thought Ortiz looked pretty good at first base -- certainly as good as Millar. In retrospect, this would have given Payton more ABs though Bradford has helped in the bullpen.
Kevin, Woodbridge, Va.
A: Kevin, if Manny says he's "beat up," Manny doesn't want to play, period. It doesn't matter if it's at DH or in left field. At this stage of the season, there's no point in risking Papi getting hurt playing defense.
Our family just wanted to say that Tim Wakefield is one of our favorite pitchers -- he's a hard worker and a leader by example. We hope his leg is all right and that he recovers soon. His knuckler is a secret weapon that Red Sox Nation should be proud to have.
Genevieve, White River Junction, Vt.
A: Genevieve, I think one of the pleasures of covering this team has been watching Wakefield evolve from a guy who often was on the bubble, in terms of his future with the team, into a universally respected and much-appreciated member of the team, a guy who has etched a permanent place in Boston. I can tell you I find him a pleasure to deal with. We only see these guys, for the most part, at their workplace, but I have as much respect for Wakefield the person as I do Wakefield the player.
Hi Gordon. All season I've heard talk about Arroyo going to the bullpen when/if Schilling returns to the rotation. I don't understand the lack of respect Arroyo gets as a starter. Last year in the AL he had a better ERA than over half the league's number one starters, was 9th best in BAA, and as of today (8/19/05) he has the best ERA of any Sox starter. With stats like that, how is he not viewed as an easy number 2 guy, and a lock to stay in the rotation?
A: Jeff, I think the answer may be two-fold: It's not entirely about the numbers, and it's about which guy is flexible enough to put in the pen and will be of the most use. You've got Schilling, Clement, Wells, Wakefield and Arroyo in the rotation right now. Wade Miller is a huge question mark, and unless I was convinced he could get the job done, I would start Arroyo ahead of him. But I am intrigued by the possibility of Papelbon sliding into the rotation, with Arroyo moving into the pen. Arroyo has relieved before, and could be extremely valuable in that role, getting games started by Schilling and Wells, especially, to the last-call guys. He can handle a heavy workload, and he's reliable. Papelbon has been impressive in his starts, and is more of a wild card out of the pen. My guess is that Arroyo will stay in the rotation and Papelbon will pitch out of the pen, but wouldn't you like to see what Papelbon would do with another start?
I have a question on David Ortiz. His one player who has proved time and time again that he is a clutch hitter. He certainly commands respect from his teammates and opponents alike. Is he a future Hall of Famer?
R. Nathan, Malden
A: He's a long way from that debate, RN. He'll have to put up a few more big years before we even start that discussion.