Playing nine innings while wondering when the Yankees will get around to signing Max Scherzer …
1. Loved reading Peter Gammons’s note that the Red Sox have told the Phillies that neither Mookie Betts nor Blake Swihart will be headed their way in any deal for Cole Hamels. Hope Ben Cherington sticks to that. I’d like to see Hamels here and the Red Sox are going to require another high-quality starter despite current proclamations to the contrary. But the Phillies must be realistic about the asking price. And the deeper we get into the offseason, the more I look forward to watching Betts lead off for the Red Sox come April. I don’t want to see him go anywhere, and that also includes to the Nats for Jordan Zimmermann. I can live with Wade Miley, No. 3-ish starter, if it means keeping Betts.
2. Curious to learn whether the backlog of players deserving of serious consideration if not outright enshrinement on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot leads to the elimination of the ah-he-was-a-good-guy end-of-the-ballot vote for a player who has no chance. J.T. Snow had a decent career, and he earned a memorable save in the ’02 World Series, but how in the world did he get two votes last year? And how did Jacque Jones get even one?
3. I mean, if I had ballot, there would be temptation to spend a nostalgic vote on Nomar, who was undeniably better than Derek Jeter in their youth and who truly was something to behold from 1997-2000. But I couldn’t do it, because there are at least 15 players who are more deserving of that checked box, and now more than ever every vote matters. This is my way of saying that the likes of Eddie Guardado, Aaron Boone, and Darin Erstad had fine careers — and they had better not receive a single vote among them.
4. The Red Sox have a few semi-risky, high-reward wild-cards in their lineup this season, starting with Rusney Castillo. But the more you hear about how his winter ball experiences have gone, the more it seems the Ron Gant comp has a chance of being fulfilled sooner rather than later.
5. Tell me I’m not alone in this: I still believe Jackie Bradley Jr. will have a long and successful major league career, with multiple Gold Gloves and decent-to-good seasons similar to Michael Brantley’s before his breakout.
6. It is fairly absurd that the Red Sox have never given out Roger Clemens’s No. 21 since he left following the ’96 season, but have given out actual Hall of Famer Wade Boggs’s No. 26 to the following players since his departure in ’92: Brock Holt, Scott Podsednik, Ramiro Mendoza, Freddy Sanchez, Lou Merloni, Sean Berry, Rob Stanifer, Orlando Merced, Chris Snopek, Aaron Sele, Alejandro Pena, Lee Tinsley and the great Wes Chamberlan.
7. I liked watching Jake Peavy pitch here for the most part. On his best days, he was something like Bret Saberhagen in ’98, or at least David Cone ’01. But I can’t imagine there was a lone, sane Red Sox fan who believed in, say, June that he’d be signing a two-year, $24 million contract in the offseason. Hell, I doubt even his agent believed it to be possible.
8. Two million bucks, plus another potential $700,000 in incentives, for A.J. Pierzynski? Guess the Braves figure that’s the going rate for 38-year-old pain-in-the-neck catchers with a .625 OPS and an 18-percent caught-stealing rate.
9. As for today’s Completely Random Baseball Card:
Awhile back on Twitter, I noted the .337/.401/.548 slash line Watson posed in 84 games for the ’79 Red Sox and wondered whether he was the best-performing veteran among those ever to spend just a partial season as a regular here. Many of you mentioned Cliff Floyd, who went .316/.374/.561 in 47 games for the ’02 Sox. But obviously the correct answer is Orlando Cabrera, 2004. Hard to believe he played just 72 games, postseason included, for the Red Sox.