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December 13, 2007

Red Sox Players Named in the Mitchell Report

George Mitchell released his long-awaited report today. Any player ever associated with the Red Sox with the page number he is mentioned on:

  • Manny Alexander, 49
  • Jose Canseco, 246
  • Roger Clemens, 167
  • Paxton Crawford, 111
  • Brendan Donnelly, 224
  • Eric Gagne, 217
  • Jeremy Giambi, 133
  • Mike Lansing, 196
  • Josias Manzanillo (minor leaguer), 161
  • Kent Mercker, 198
  • Mike Spinelli (minor leaguer), 76
  • Mike Stanton, 205
  • Mo Vaughn, 186
  • Steve Woodard, 257

In 2007 Donnelly contributed 20 and two-thirds innings and tallied two wins. Those two wins were the difference between the American League East Division Championship and the wild card. Then again, on the Yankees side Clemens went 99 innings and contributed six wins and Andy Pettitte was pivotal with his 215 and one-third innings and 15 victories.

November 28, 2007

Red Carpet

On Monday, November 26 the world premiere of the 2007 World Series Film was unveiled at Wang Theater. At this showing only, over the majestic refrains so typical of sports documentaries, narrator Matt Damon solemnly intoned, “And so, the 2007 Red Sox are World Champions. [pause] Suck on it, New York.” It accompanied a clip of Daisuke Matsuzaka striding to the mound.

Unfortunately, this version is not available for sale to the general public.

I ran into the fine folks responsible for A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory, Gibberish from the 02145, Red Sox Chick, and Sitting Still. We talked about our favorite parts of the film while looking for esteemed Red Sox alumni.

The scene in the lobby.

Better than any holiday decoration yet devised.

Manny Delcarmen makes his way to the stage.

Curt Schilling brings the 2004 trophy to the stage.

This little guy will soon be joined by his friend.

Dave Magadan gets the spotlight at last.

Delcarmen is proud to represent his team and his town.

Schilling wasn’t briefed on proper première attire.

Terry Francona said that winning championships is “like a drug.” Listen to Tito, kids! Drugs are good.

Larry Lucchino hefts the 2007 trophy.

A perfect pair.

Sam Horn departs the theater.

November 20, 2007

Sweet and Lowell

Theo Epstein did what fans gathered around home plate in Colorado and thronged along the Rolling Rally’s route clamored for: he resigned Mike Lowell so that the 2007 World Series MVP will remain at third base for the next three years.

The deal is a reported $37.5M, much less than the four-year, $50M deal proffered by the Phillies. Lowell truly proved he wanted to remain in Boston for the last years of his career as he turned down more money and a cozier park for the Red Sox. As inspiring as the Phillies’ run was this past season, Pat Gillick’s organization lags behind Boston’s both in major league success and minor league talent.

Could anyone have known that the so-called salary dump that accompanied Josh Beckett to Boston would become the cornerstone at the hot corner?

November 12, 2007

Peewee’s Big Award

He who is too short and has too big of a swing garnered AL Rookie of the Year honors, becoming the first Red Sox player to be so recognized since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.

Dustin Pedroia has been proving naysayers wrong his entire life and this most recent honor may at last quiet those doubters. Even if the skeptics continue to harp on his untraditional build and technique, the infielder will do the same he has done for the past 24 years: ignore them.

The Red Sox second baseman was first on 24 of the 28 ballots for a total of 132 points. He was tenth in the league for batting average with .317 and 21st for OBP at .380. Only Placido Polanco had comparable production at the same position.

Two of his teammates also got the sportswriters’ attention: Daisuke Matsuzaka came in fourth with 12 points and Hideki Okajima sixth with three points.

Congratulations to Rat Boy!

November 10, 2007

Chip Off the Young Jock

Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald revealed that Dustin Pedroia played the final two months of the season with a cracked hamate bone in his left hand. This is the same bone that David Ortiz and Wily Mo Peña have had removed and is commonly fractured by batters and golfers.

Now that Pedroia has followed in the footsteps of his teammate Ortiz, could the Silver Slugger award be close behind? Ortiz garnered his fourth Silver Slugger award yesterday. Ortiz also had surgery recently, but his procedure was on the torn meniscus in his right knee. Follow the link for actual images of arthroscopic procedures from Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics hosted by Duke University.


Image courtesy of the College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida via the University of California.

November 6, 2007

20 Karat Gold

Kevin Youkilis garnered the Gold Glove award today, making him the 16th Red Sox player and the only other first baseman than George “Boomer” Scott to seize the award. The Red Sox farm product boasts 135 errorless games and 1,094 flawless innings.

Coco Crisp was iced out of the same honor for his superb work in center. Instead the outfield was represented by perennial winners Torii Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki, both of whom snagged their seventh award, and Grady Sizemore, who won his first. That could have helped Crisp’s trade value.

Results Not Typical

The Red Sox and Curt Schilling agreed to a one-year contract for $8 million. He can earn $2 million more if he meets a weight clause and $3 million additional for performance-based incentives.

If this is his last year as a professional baseball player, he would retire as a Red Sox. He could have his number retired should he make it to Cooperstown. The Black and Gray Ink have him making it by a smidge. Although he never won a Cy Young, he has been the World Series Co-MVP and is a preeminent postseason pitcher. I think he makes it in eventually.

I’m certain Schilling is already in initial discussions with various weight-loss companies for endorsement deals. Other titles I considered for this piece:

  • Pounds, Schillings, and Sense
  • Heavy Consequences
  • Weighty Decision

November 2, 2007

2008 Takes Shape

Doug Mirabelli joined Kevin Cash (who declined an assignment to Pawtucket), Matt Clement, Eric Gagne, Eric Hinske, Bobby Kielty, and Curt Schilling in filing for free agency. See you guys next April on Opening Day.

Mike Lowell is eligible but has not yet filed.

In each post-championship interview I have seen, everyone from David Ortiz to Terry Francona have praised the World Series MVP third baseman to the skies. He may be aging, but he doesn’t have the ego issues of Alex Rodriguez or the weight and character concerns of Miguel Cabrera. According to Peter Gammons, the starting price for the man who minds the hot corner for the Marlins would probably start at Clay Buchholz. Hopefully the Yankees would top that offer with their emerging ace Phil Hughes, crippling their rotation.

Pitching coach John Farrell, who so adroitly managed the development of young and foreign arms, mentored Josh Beckett on his path to maturity, and eased Schilling’s transition from power to finesse pitcher, declined to join the Pirates as their field manager. Farrell seems destined for bigger and better things; an offer from any other franchise than the woebegone Bucs may have had him packing.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Tim Wakefield, the elder statesman, had his option exercised, as did Julian Tavarez. Perhaps the latter will cease his pouting, so evident as he was left off the postseason rosters.

Finally, Sean Danielson was sent from the Cardinals to complete the Joel Pineiro deal. The Pedroia-sized outfielder projects as bench player with both defensive and pinch-hitting possibilities.

August 16, 2007

Claymation, Stop Mo-tion

The Wily Mo Peña Experiment, Boston phase, draws to a close. The erratic, brawny outfielder will likely be designated for assignment tomorrow morning to free a spot for the Red Sox’s best pitching prospect, Clay Buchholz. The Old Towne Team requires a starter for the day-night doubleheader on Friday and Julian Tavarez pitched in the closing game of the Devil Rays series.

The Hardball Times opined that Buchholz could supplant Jon Lester as the fifth starter with a superlative showing. Sox Prospects dubbed him a right-handed version of Cole Hamels. Baseball Prospectus ranked the pitcher number one in the Red Sox organization and gave him the “excellent” rating, the only one in the system to attain the label. He slid in at number two, just under Jacoby Ellsbury, in Baseball America’s list.

After Buchholz’s major league debut, which I just got a last-minute ticket for, the twirler will be recalled to Pawtucket. The corresponding move will have either the recently inked Bobby Kielty or Ellsbury summoned to bolster the bench.

Will it be something like July 31, 2005? Or perhaps June 10, 2006? If I had my druthers I’d take April 5, 2006 but with a touch more run support.

Buchholzpaw1The lineup for Buchholz’s Pawtucket debut.

Buchholzpaw2Buchholz gearing up to hurl a strike.

July 31, 2007

You Gagne Some, You Perdu Some

The Jermaine Dye deal died on the vine, the two Sox teams seemingly too far apart on the players involved to even ask the South Side outfielder if he would approve a deal. Perhaps Ken Williams realized he let Tadahito Iguchi go for a song and expected the Red Sox to make up the talent differential.

Visions of Jerry Owens playing center proved too horrible for Williams, who probably held out for Jacoby Ellsbury. Thankfully Theo Epstein held his ground and the major deal accomplished was acquiring Eric Gagne from the Rangers for three minor league players. With Mike Timlin ailing, the power arm will prove valuable in the stretch run.

Kason Gabbard can be a middle to low end of the rotation starter for most clubs. Moving to Texas might actually help him, given that he performed so well at Fenway, which is actually more of a hitter’s park than Rangers Ballpark this season.

David Murphy was blocked by veterans on the big league club and eclipsed by Ellsbury. The move can only be good for the first rounder.

Engel Beltre was an international player signed last July at the age of 16. He’s so far away from contributing it hardly diminishes the system.

If Gagne walks at the end of this season, it is possible that Boston could get a first round pick and a sandwich pick.

And through it all, Brendan Donnelly’s need for Tommy John surgery was kept under wraps.

In a smaller deal, Joel Piñeiro was traded to the Cardinals for a player to be named later and cash considerations. The money aspect makes the returning player more intriguing as it could be someone of quality rather than roster fodder.

Meanwhile, the Yankees didn’t clear out their farm in a last-ditch attempt at contention, which would have been highly amusing. Instead they weakened what was already faulty by trading Scott Proctor for third baseman Wilson Betemit from the Dodgers.

I hope they gave Proctor a farewell bonfire.

July 22, 2007

Lester Returns

Terry Francona confirmed in his post-game press conference that Joel Piñeiro will be designated for assignment to make room for Jon Lester.

Lester has been somewhat shaky in his 14 Triple-A starts this season (3.89 ERA, 1.37 WHIP), but with the expiration date on Julian Tavarez’s career as a starer long past, this could be the time to see if the lefty is ready to contribute this season.

No one can deny his mettle, but to face the dynamic contenders from Cleveland on their home field will truly be a test. Godspeed, Jon Lester.

July 5, 2007

Six Tickets for Red Sox

お目出度うご座います。Omedettō gozaimasu means “congratulations” expressed in the polite form. One uses the polite form to those whom one respects, and Hideki Okajima’s 2007 statistics command such deference: 41 innings pitched, 2 wins, 4 saves, 0.88 ERA, 10 walks, 37 strikeouts, 4 earned runs.

The fans agreed and submitted 4.3 million votes for Okajima so that he could join Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, and Manny Ramirez in San Francisco for the All-Star Game.

Tom Caron on NESN thought that Kevin Youkilis might have a chance to join them since Alex Rodriguez has pulled up lame. Just one more plot line to follow to leading up to the Midsummer Classic.

July 4, 2007

Get the Man to San Fran

The signed behind home plate transliterated said, “Okajima-senshu ni tōhyōshiyō.” Translated to English it exhorted, “Let’s vote for Okajima!” Here’s the link to vote.

Senshu is the honorific applied to athletes, tōhyō means vote, and the verb ending shiyō is the volitional or hortative conjugation.

Or, as Jonathan Papelbon said, “Let’s get my man to San Fran, it’s closer to Japan.” By the time the game started Okajima pulled ahead of Jeremy Bonderman. This sign probably helped, along with my constant prodding.


July 1, 2007

Oki Doki!

Kevin Youkilis isn’t in the running even though he deserves a spot on the All-Star roster, but you can still support another Red Sox player.

Vote for Hideki Okajima through this link. Once you enter your information, you can click on the “vote again” link and the form will be auto-filled.

Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, and Manny Ramirez would probably enjoy the company. Okajima’s head should only be allowed to hang during his follow-through. Vote early and often.


June 9, 2007

Bam Ba Lam

It should have been Joel Piñeiro, not J.C. Romero, in my opinion. I’ll just imagine that mobile phone distortion confounded Terry Francona and we’ll soon learn that it’s the former Seattle clearing out his locker. Piñeiro, Romero; a few dropped syllables make all the difference. After all, Fangraphs has Piñeiro with negative Win Probability Added (WPA of -0.60) while Romero’s is 0.48.

Oh, it’s totally official? Well, then. Mike Timlin is back on the Red Sox and Romero has been designated for assignment. As long as Francona remembers it’s 2007, not 2003, I’m not terribly worried.

March 22, 2007

Subluxation is for Suckers

Despite the previously cited reason of increased injury risk in the closing role, Jonathan Papelbon will resume his spot in the bullpen as the relief ace. None of the potential closers acquired in the offseason proved fit, and with Mike Timlin starting the season on the disabled list, Papelbon himself expressed his desire to once again close.

This thread on Sons of Sam Horn has Eric Van and Tangotiger extrapolating Papelbon’s relief numbers to starting statistics. Admittedly, the analysis doesn’t include how Papelbon may improve the starting pitchers he will bolster. With traffic cop Julian Tavarez currently being touted as the fifth starter and Jon Lester and Kyle Snyder also in the mix, any support that Papelbon can provide will be more than necessary.

February 11, 2007

What the Truck

One thousand, four hundred sixty-seven miles to happiness. The trucks leave for Fort Myers tomorrow.


January 30, 2007

Oldies But Oldies

Not So Hot Toddy
Talks between the Red Sox and Rockies for the services of one Todd Helton are dead. Helton was due for $16.6M a year until 2010 and $19.1M in 2011. The Rockies were going to pay a portion of that gargantuan salary, but the deal never coalesced. The humidor at Coors Field has severely hampered Helton’s power, but I suspect his advancing age has played a role as well. Helton will turn 34 this August.

I would just like to remind Theo Epstein that one of his former colleagues runs a baseball club in the state adjacent to Colorado and that they have a first base prospect named Chris Carter he may consider inquiring after.

Still Over the Plate in 2008
Forty-year old Curt Schilling doesn’t know when to quit, be it talking to the media, endorsing Republicans, or pitching. Schilling plans to return to the mound in 2008 and is seeking a deal close to the $13M he will earn this season.

This Time For Sure
J.D. Drew signed with the Red Sox fo real kine, as I would say when I lived in Hawai‘i, on January 26. Should Drew suffer a baseball-related injury to his right shoulder that forces him to be put on the disabled list for 15 to 40 days, there is an out clause in effect the third year of the deal. This would allow the Red Sox to void the remainder of the contract in either the third or fourth year. Not that he’ll need it, right? Right?

I can sense the office pools gearing up now. Who will visit the DL first, Trot Nixon (who signed a one-year, $3M deal with the Indians and let his son pick his number) or Drew?

January 3, 2007

Apropos of Pineiro

Joel Pineiro is on the verge of signing a one-year deal of approximately $4M. The deal is dependent upon the right-hander passing a physical, hopefully one more stringent than the one given to Matt Clement. Pineiro will likely audition for the role of closer and could make the occasional spot start should injuries arise.

Pineiro made nine starts against the Red Sox as a Mariner. I actually got to attend one of his starts this past season; Seattle left Tim Wakefield with a complete game loss that game. This outing wasn’t representative of his season, however. He notched a 6.36 ERA in 2007, the worst of his career. It explains the low price tag, a rarity in this off-season.

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