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Cherington's hello, La Russa's goodbye

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  October 31, 2011 04:01 PM

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6. Five years after the fact, that 2006 draft stands as a fascinating one for the Red Sox beyond the near-miss with Freese. It had a lot of just about everything. There were big hits (Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson, Josh Reddick in the 17th round, Lars Anderson in the 18th, and Ryan Kalish in the ninth-round spot where they had targeted Freese), big misses (Jason Place, Kris Johnson, and Caleb Clay in the first round alone), future major leaguers who went unsigned (Brandon Belt, Matt LaPorta, and Logan Schafer), and even the random Papelbon (Josh, chosen in the 48th round). One last thing: The players the Sox chose in rounds 6-8, when they passed on Freese, were Zach Daeges, Kris Negron, and Rafael Cabreja. Only Negron, who was traded for Alex Gonzalez in 2009, gave the Red Sox any return on the selection.

7. Speaking of Masterson, it's cool to see him united with fellow sinkerballing former Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe in Cleveland. Lowe was sent to Cleveland today, with the Braves picking up a Single A pitcher and $5 million of the freight. That's what happens to pitchers coming off a miserable season (9-17, 5.05 ERA, and a 75 ERA-plus that was worse than that of Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Andrew Miller) who don't need Tommy John surgery. But he may not be a completely lost cause. He still gets groundballs at an extraordinary rate (59 percent, second in the majors). Masterson (55.1 percent) was seventh, and second in the AL to Oakland's Trevor Cahill. I'm not sure how that's going to play in Cleveland, though, considering that Asdrubal Cabrera had the worst UZR (minus-12.6) of any shortstop in baseball who played over 900 innings at the position. Derek Jeter was the second-worst (minus-8.8), which of course tells you that there are absolutely no flaws in UZR whatsoever.

8. Dallas-area sports fans who consider the Rangers more than just a sidebar to the Cowboys' perpetual soap opera enter the offseason with a similarly long list of what-ifs and would-be scapegoats to the one we had 25 years ago. I'm not sure the Rangers' agonizing Game 6 loss -- followed by a seemingly inevitable defeat in Game 7 -- will have the historical legs of what happened to the Sox in '86 because of the markets involved and the lack of a defining image with which the networks can bludgeon the fans. While I joked on Twitter that night I'm already looking forward to Nelson Cruz's self-deprecating turn on the 2036 equivalent to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," I suspect Cruz, Ron Washington, and the other Rangers who melted in the spotlight will not be tormented like Bill Buckner was, even though Buckner's error was far more excusable than Cruz's and would not have clinched the World Series had the play been made. The hunch here is that these Rangers will be remembered with more vagueness and less cruelty, much like Tony Fernandez, Jose Mesa, and the goats of the 1997 Indians' loss to the Marlins.

9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

finnvalentinefleer.jpg

Because he was an Expo. Because he had an arm to rival Dewey's. Because to a young baseball fan he epitomized late-'70s cool. Because that photo is mesmerizing in a dozen different ways. And because I couldn't find a guy whose last name was Halloween.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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