Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Warning: Angry Post

As you know, it's game on, game off with Tejada. Right now, I guess we are in "game on" mode.

Since Johnny has left us, I no longer support a deal that involves Manny being traded. If these people think they can somehow balance the scales in terms of RBIs and homers with Manny out of the picture, they are dreaming. And as fans, we would be dreaming, too, if we thought this possible. If Theo were still our GM, I wouldn't be as quick to poo-poo the notion, but no one on board now is as creative and persuasive as Theo. I am already preparing myself for a mediocre year (mind you, I didn't say "suck town year" or "shitty season" - more like "so-so"). And while I'm excited about some of the new players, as of right now, I'm not feelin' a lot of consistent W's are in store. Hope I'm wrong.

In Milwood news (from

... However, the Sox' unwillingness to guarantee the fourth year, or offer Millwood a no-trade clause, appears to have cost them, as the Texas Rangers, the Sox' only known competitor for Millwood, reached a preliminary agreement with the righthander for four years plus an option year, pending a physical ...

Here's a question: Why even bother to tangle yourself up in a negotiation? Were they trying to make it look good for the fans? Here's what I think of the current front office situation:

Trust me, this stubbornness is going to cost them. You know, it's one thing to sit back in your leather office chair and point your finger at the offer and say "Nope, we're not gonna budge beyond what we've got written here. The dude simply isn't worth it." But, it's quite another to have this "we're not budging" mentality when your roster looks like swiss cheese. NEWS FLASH: No one is worth what they are getting paid. Okay, there are a couple of exceptions here and there, but overall, the best talent in the majors comes with an inflated price tag and a pushy agent. It stinks, but it's also the reality. And why Red Sox brass is acting like they've got a budget comparable to the Rockies or the Brewers is beyond me. I'm not saying that we ought to be reckless and irresponsible, but maybe a little more flexible.

We all know that tickets to the games at Fenway are way overpriced - as are many of the items at the concessions. How much would the franchise benefit if we all stood back as fans and said, "I like you, Red Sox, but I don't see how I'm getting my money's worth"? I'm sure that Larry and co. would respect us for having integrity and principles. They would be psyched that their fan base was able to reason that out.

On another angry note: It's been a week and my stomach still turns every time I see a picture of Johnny Damon in that ridiculous costume. I'm serious - I feel ill at the sight of it.


At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chill, dear. You got third place guaranteed.

The O's just sent me a card offering me the special day of Jan. 3 to buy tickets to the Red Sox and Yankees before they go on sale to the general public.

And the Inky is now predicting the Pats to repeat.


At 2:44 PM, Blogger 01245 said...

Third place = No playoffs. Thus, mediocre. Pretty good for the franchise with 2nd biggest bank account, huh?

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

I think there's a lot of overreacting going on in RSN right now, and we all need to take a deep breath. Damon was maybe the 5th or 6th most important player on this club. Valuable? Sure. Irreplaceable? Absolutely not. The additions we've made balance our losses to a wide degree, the pitching is VASTLY improved, and there are still 3 months left. Meanwhile, where people seem to see chaos in the FO, I see a pretty obvious plan; get younger, more flexible, and more pitching reliant fast. So far it's working. Yes, there are two (arguably one) holes to be addressed, but I have very little doubt that an FO that can engineer the three trades that have defined this offseason so far will be able to pull off finding a productive CF for this club. At worst, we lose a bit of offense (not nearly as much as many seem to think) and we've gained a ton of pitching. This club will be competitive in 06, and exceptional beyond that.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

Wow, optimism abounds in AndrewLand, and we all could use a dose. But something has to happen in terms of player placement and replacement for me to be more hopeful. Baseball is an always unpredictable series of events. So.........

At 3:52 PM, Blogger 01245 said...

It's so weird, Andrew. When you were all " the rest of this season's in the crapper," I was rallying. I think I even said something like "Hey, you can't celebrate a victory if you've run out of faith now." I totally paraphrased myself there. Anyhoo - you're retort during that pessimistic time of yours was "I hope I am wrong." Ok, I totally paraphrased YOU there. I guess that's my response to "you're overreacting." By the way, I don't think I would go as far as "vastly" when describing the level of improvement to the pitching staff. And certainly not all caps.

We are going to need a CF AND a reliable lead off hitter. Unless that LOH is Youk (who I think would make a fine one, but he'll probably be sharing 1st base with Rowlf the Dog).

Are they seriously going with Cora as full time SS? Defensively, I'm totally fine with that.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

WCSG - Let's look at this step by step for a second. First, who have we lost? Bill Mueller, with a 799 OPS at 3B, Johnny Damon, with an 805 OPS in CF, Kevin Millar, with a 730 (I think) OPS at 1B, Renteria with a 720 OPS at SS, and a collection of randomness with around a 720 OPS at 2B. That averages out to around a 755 OPS for all five positions, which appears to be a pretty replaceable number.

Stepping in at first will be Youk; most projections seem to put him at an OBP in the very high 300's with an SLG around 400. both of those numbers, and the 790 OPS it would set him at, seem pretty reasonable to me. Cora offensively is likely not as bad as he's made out to be; I think a 720 OPS is not at all out of reach for him. Loretta at 2nd is an injury wildcard, but if healthy he's a guy who could easily put up a 780. Lowell is the real wild card here; my guess is that he'll come back reasonably strong, but not to previous levels. A 750 OPS sounds about right.

So, given that, what do we need from CF to equal at least the OPS output? a 735 OPS, which has to be pretty easy to locate (and improve upon). Keep in mind that that's a very simplistic way of looking at this, and that it doesn't take into account the decline of other players, but it does at least suggest that the pieces we've added (or promoted) would really fill the gap from the higher-priced talent that had been manning those spots.

Pitching... well, you don't add an ace-caliber pitcher in Beckett without vastly improving something. We gave up nothing that was going to help us in '06 for a 25 year old ace who stabilizes the rotation tremendously. In the pen, we've acquired some solid vets who will help us avoid last year's implosion, and Foulke will either recover or be on a very short leash with Timlin or Papelbon ready to step in. Bottom line for me is that once we fill those remaining offensive holes - which really looks a lot easier to do than you might think at first - this team will remain extremely good. Unless we trade Manny. Then we suck.

Will it be good enough for a division title or WS? Who knows. But it is way way way too early to start penciling the Jays in ahead of us. They'll be competitive, and at the moment I could make a decent case for any one of the three (Yanks, Sox, Jays) winning the division. But it's December, and I'm just not going to count out a front office that has accomplished what this one has so far: making the team younger, more flexible, and more reliant on solid pitching while maintaining roughly the same level of quality.

I think Sox fans are reeling from turnover, and it's understandable; as things stand, only 4 of the guys who took the field on Opening Day last year will be back. But give the new guys a shot; you'll realize, i think, that the real power of the Sox offense lay in Manny and Ortiz, and Varitek to a certain degree. The role players around them simply have to be solid-to-good for this to remain a potent offense.

As for leadoff, by the way, Youk would be fine with me. So would Loretta.

That was long. Sorry.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Andrew, sometimes numbers cannot be used solely when contemplating the future of the club. I know you're big on statistics, but those statistics can only be met or exceded by a happy and willing player, Do we have those? Not in full, not yet. I hope this comment is not typed in invisible ink, to be passed over like so many of mine here at WC.

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Peter, it's December. We have a lot of time to acquire players to fit the bill. I guess I just fail to see why people are in such an uproar. Wasn't it pretty painfully obvious last year that this club needed some serious turnover? Frankly, I fully expected the club not to compete, and was fine with that if it meant acquiring good younger guys. And yet... here we are, younger, and potentially as good or better (yes, as long as we fill those holes). These guys do have a plan, and so far I'd say it's working damned well.

Might I point out, by the way, that last offseason none of us knew who our starting catcher would be until right around Christmas? And that our rotation looked pretty empty still? It's real early.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger 01245 said...

Andrew - On the one hand, I agree with Peter. It's unrealistic to leave intangibles out of the picture. Things on paper aren't always how they pan out. Going into last season, Reneteria seemed like a slight upgrade at SS, Wells couldn't pitch at Fenway Park, and Carl Pavano was one of the most coveted young starters in the business. Oh, and don't forget Cla "this guy is lights out in the minors" Meredith. On the other hand, I understand that leaning on statistical and medical data is the most reliable approach to team-building. And, you are totally right about last season (being more riddled with holes). Jason, D-Lowe (his leaving was such a relief to me, by the way) and Pedro were all big question marks. Curt's health was also an unknown. We still had Theo, though. And Manny's leaving didn't seem as inevitable as it does to me now. I think Theo's shocking departure drew attention to a problem that runs deeper into the organization, thus chiseling away at a lot of thew confidence I felt with front office.

Personally, I think a team that is balanced with both young and older players is the most competitive. Veterans bring big game experience to younger guys and help them deal with pressures and stresses of the sport, on and off the field. Also, their records leave managers with fairly solid expectations. Pitchers, especially, improve their performances as they age despite their declining health. Young players are usually more speedy, but they can be sloppy, careless and easily rattled.

The jury is still out on Beckett, as far as I am concerned. The trade seemed a little too smooth ... then the questionable MRI business. I hope he's a strong and reliable starter for us. We totally need it. Would have been nice to add Milwood to the mix, just in case Curt's still struggling, or any major injuries ensue. Ah, well.

Manny trades are still being entertained. Could be just for appearances. We'd better hope.

Mark my words - Somehow, Francona is going to find a way to keep Youk in a utility role. He'll continue to get occasional play. I always get screwed on this one.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger 01245 said...

Peter! I am so hurt! I love your comments and I read and look forward to them all. Please, keep them coming!

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Awww, thanks. I must have been in a not that happy mood yesterday. Thank you for the kind words and I give you the ultimte made me smile! Health and happiness (and first place) in the coming year.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger 01245 said...

Pessimism and skepticism aside, i will be behind the Sox this season, not unlike every season.

Happy new year to you, too, Peter NStar.


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