With Joel Hanrahan on the DL for the remainder of his Red Sox contract, is there anything preventing the Sox from releasing him? Granted the Sox would still have to pay him but would that at least allow the Sox to remove his salary from the luxury tax figures, giving them more flexibility? Do they gain any draft picks by keeping him on until the end of the year?
Tony, Warwick, R.I.
No benefit to releasing him.
I understand the logic of separating Lester and Buchholz in the rotation during the season, to short-circuit a losing string. However, I'm puzzled that lefthanders Lester and Doubront were put back to back. Second, Middlebrooks, Napoli, Salty, and Drew are among the AL leaders in strikeouts. It seems that when they are not raking, but rather struggling at the plate, their strikeout-proneness means fewer runs knocked in via the sac fly, the FC or through an error. Do you see this as a weakness in the Sox offense?
David, Aurora, Ohio
Iíll answer the second question first. Players see strikeouts as outs. They are, but like you said, a strikeout is the type of out that doesnít create a potentially positive result. A ground ball could score a run, there could be an error. There could be a fly ball thatís dropped. Youíre right. So the high strikeout totals do reduce the potential to score runs. As for the rotation, the only criteria I have is, pitch your best guys as often as possible. So if itís Lester, Buchholz, and Dempster, then go with it regardless of what arm they throw with.
I'm one of the few Sox fans who was a Lackey guy before they signed him, was happy when they did sign him, and still am happy he was kept. He shows passion and a will to win. He doesn't accept losing and gives 100 percent each time. I never got why fans were so against that. At least the guy cares about winning. But it does seem the fans are starting to come around on him. I still hear that he is vastly overpaid, but is he, really? He is signed through 2014 at $15 million per year with the Sox holding a team option for 2015 at only the league minimum, so when looked at it that way, his contract is a three-year, $30 million contract, $10 million per year. Sure, overpaid, but not vastly.
Itís become a better contract post-Tommy John for sure. If he continues to pitch this way, you gladly spend the money ($10 million on average) for a good fourth or fifth starter on a high-payroll team.
What's happening with Ryan Kalish. Is he playing somewhere?
Al, Pensacola, Fla.
Down in Fort Myers on rehab. Just trying to get healthy.
I know that character does not win games directly, that play does. However, it seems like this year the character of the players and manager has made a difference. Seems to me Ben has picked up players that fit well together, and there is no backstabbing or frowns. Do you agree?
Glenn, Dundee, Fla.
Yes. They are together. The players buy into the manager. It runs well that way. Whether that efficiency leads to wins, I donít know. They seem very prepared for games and they buy into the game plan that day. I think that can win games.
From WebMD: "A bone spur forms as the body tries to repair itself by building extra bone. It typically forms in response to pressure, rubbing, or stress that continues over a long period of time." One can only assume Hanrahan arrived as damaged goods. Preseason physicals find an asymptomatic condition in Napoli's hips but miss bone spurs in a pitcher's pitching elbow? How does this get missed?
Maybe it wasnít missed. Maybe they thought he could pitch with bone spurs. I donít know the answer. The Red Sox knew that Lackey had elbow issues. But in this case (Hanrahan), it was a one-year deal.
Many years ago, MLB created the sacrifice fly rule to help raise batting averages. To me, it is an artificial rule (the batter was trying to get a hit) and no longer necessary. Why does MLB keep it?
Jerry, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Not to be a wise guy, Jerry, but I think you might be the only person who has thought about this. Personally, itís not something that keeps me up at night.
Do you think the Red Sox are not giving Jose Iglesias the maximum opportunity to succeed because they think Xander Bogaerts will probably be ready for The Show at about the same time? After all, when Pedroia came up, he was floundering at the plate for a while but they stuck with him.
Anthony, Salado, Texas
Ah, maybe. Theyíve had chances to deal Iglesias and havenít done it. That leads me to believe they have a future plan for him.
I'm interested in when this agenda to have Jose Iglesias be the everyday shortstop for the Red Sox by you will ever stop? This is the third year in a row now that this kid hasn't hit in Triple A, never mind the majors, but here you are, Nick, still shouting from the rooftop to have him play. Just because he is a fine defender doesn't change the fact the guy can't hit his weight. Also, we have a proven shortstop that is hitting and fields just fine in Stephen Drew.
Brian, Indian Harbor Beach, Fla.
Is it my imagination or does Ellsbury more often than not swing at the first pitch? The Sox have always worked pitchers deep into the count.
David, New York
Yeah, he swings a lot at the first pitch Ė 26 times so far for a .346 average, an .885 OPS, so thatís pretty good.
At the beginning of the year, Rubby De La Rosa was somewhat written off because in his first three outings at Pawtucket, he gave up 10 runs in 6.2 innings. Since then, however, he has given up 0 runs in 14 innings, striking out 19. While Webster has shown he is not ready, isn't it time to try out De La Rosa, who has more major league experience and is a year older?
Christopher, Santa Fe
I think weíll see De La Rosa this season, but not sure itíll be anytime soon -- barring a swarm of injuries, that is. Heís coming off Tommy John surgery and theyíd like to take it slow and stretch him out at a comfortable pace.