Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pollywackas

Ok. Last post was a rather optimistic view of the future of the sox. The ones before that were generally optimistic views of the present. This one, I am sorry everyone, is exclusively pessimistic. Go ahead and tell me the sox are in first place and Schilling and Foulke look like their 2004 selves and Paps is holding down the bullpen raking in saves in record fashion. But, in doing my daily tour of sox blogs, I came across three, normally well written insightful blogs saying that we sucked on this road trip against two very good teams, but that is ok bc we are heading into a 3 game set against the devil rays who we will sweep like normal and have momentum going into the yankees series.

We lost the first game in Florida.

More blogs about the second game. We won in great fashion bc the sox were able to come back. THREE TIMES. Ok yes that is good that we swung the bat some. But we let up 6 runs to the devil rays. That hurts my pride that a come back win against the D-rays is the best news the sox had this week.

Dear coco. Get better

Dear Roger. Save me.

Dear Foulke. Take over the closer role

Dear Paps. Become a dominating Starter

Dear Mikey. Stop throwing the ball away

Dear Mark. You dont need coco to be good

Dear Gonzo. Sigh

Dear Manny. Hit more HRs

Dear center field. tear

Dear craig. Help us

Dear Jon. Help us

Dear Red Sox organization, have you seen my pride lately. Crying a lot lately,

Love chris

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Salary Games

So we are going to play a few compare and contrast games. Compare and contrast the following: Yankees, Red Sox and the Marlins

Payroll at last World Series Win: Marlins at $49 million in 2003; Red Sox $127.3 million in 2004; and the Yankees $114 million in 2000. Although the old chinese proverb, "the Yankees Buy Their Championships" forever will hole true. It doesn't. The Sox, as the evidence shows, spent much more on their championship team than the Yankees (not to mention the fish). Of course, since 2000, the New York payroll has nearly exploded, The Sox payroll has dipped slightly, and the Marlins, well, let's put it this way, I am a poor college student who eats pasta everyday and I think I make more than the Marlins. This year, the Marlins team payroll ($14mill) is less than Manny's $18mill annual check. Schilling at $13mill is close and Tek at $9is right there too. Shame on you Red Sox. With a total payroll of around $120mill for the year, we could buy several Marlins teams. But look. The Yanks (team payroll at over $198mill) have the following players and salaries which out-do or approach the the Marlins team (which has 13 of 23 players making MLB minimum wage) payroll: A-rod ($25.68mill), Jeter ($20.6mill), Giambi ($20.428mill), Mussina ($19mill), Randy Johnson ($15.66mill), Damon ($13mill), Matsui ($13mill), Posada ($12mill), Sheffield ($10.75mill), and Rivara ($10.5mill). Wow.

But why am I so unfairly comparing two top market high-roller teams to the floundering fish, who just traded everyone away for financial reasons? To look at the future (the Marlins was more just for perspective). After this season, the contracts of Nixon, Gonzalez, Foulke, and Wells are up. If Nixon goes to free-agency and Pena shows us a reason to take him over Trot, the Sox shed nearly $23million. After 2007, Schilling, Clement, Lowell and Tavarez are gone: shed another $35.35 million. After 2008, its Manny and Tek: say goodbye to another $30 million. Naturally, this is hypothetical, but in my humble opinion by 2008, Gonzales, Foulke, Wells, Schilling, Clement, Lowell, Tavarez and Manny are off the payroll. Question marks linger with Trot and Tek. If Pena starts playing good ball than Trot is gone, and if we re-sign Tek, it won't be to a long deal given his age. So, basically, by 2008, if Tek and Trot leave, 8 of the 10 top paid Red Sox are gone giving the sox $81 million dollars that they are paying to those 8 players today that will not be spent on them in 2008.

Ortiz will be here in 2008, Beckett will probably sign a big deal (if he can stay healthy) and be here. Wake could retire by then ($4 mill), but maybe not. Tavarez (his $3.35 mill not being included in the $81 mill) will be gone. Loretta could be gone after this year ($3.25 million) as could Timlin and his $3.5 million dollars. Crisp is here for a while, Gonzales will be gone, Snow ($2 mill) will be gone after this year (probably), Seanez and his $1.9 could be gone. So here is what I think our payroll will be reduced by each year.

After 2006: Nixon, Gonzales, Foulke, Wells, Loretta, Snow, Seanez, Riske leave. Total? Around $30.93 million
After 2007: Schilling, Clement, Lowell, Timlin amd Tavarez are gone. Total? Around $38.35 million
After 2008: Manny and Varitek go. Total? Around $30 million

Note: This assumes that Pena replaces Nixon next year - something not at all assured, the 2007 option for Foulke is not picked up and he signs elsewhere, Gonzales signs elsewhere, Wells retires, Snow retires, Seanez and Riske sign elsewhere. Schilling and Timlin retire after 2007, Clement, Lowell and Tavarez go elsewhere, Manny and Tek want too much money/longer contract and hit free agency and command a pretty penny. Other option is Tek signs a short extension,

That is almost $100 million dollars that we won't be paying in 3 years. We'll sign paps, youk, pena? cora, wake and beckett to contracts of various lengths, but will still have plenty on cash to shell out. By the time 2008 is in the books the sox will need a left fielder, 3rd baseman, shortstop, 2nd baseman, catcher, a couple of pitchers and bullpen help. Fill in some of them with some touted prospects (Lester, Hansen, Pedroia and Delcarmen) and we have a relatively small payroll with some big holes, but with money to spend.

Pap, Lester, and Beckett are starters. Choi or an free agent pick-up at first, Pedroia at short or second and a free agent at the other, Youk at 3rd, Coco in center, Pena or free-agent in right, with Hansen closing, and Delcarmen in the pen with possibly Edgar Martinez and some pick-ups. Point is. Expect the Sox to be active (and much younger) in the coming years. We will have money to spend on free agents, and, following the strategy of the Indians, we will lock up our young talent early.

With a strong minor league system (8th in baseball) we have the young depth to ocme up and help, or the trade bait and the money to bring in some big names. However, don't look for another Manny sized contract (amount and duration) because it aint happening.

(PS Willis rumors floating around about him becoming available around mid-year. Schilling, Wake, Beckett, Clemens (I dream) and Willis. Wow. We would have to give up Lester and another, but Willis is 24, you pull that string if you can. Lester Delcarmen and Moss for Willis. I could see it. But then again, this is based on dreams and rumors)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Quickly

Ok...so we won last night. Ortiz did his bunting impression while clement did his pitching impression. I was happy about Foulke. He seems to be in a good spot right now. Hopefully he can keep that going but let us not get over excited here. Paps is promoting a 17 year old movie (http://www.sawxblog.com/) and now, after an off-day we have Schilling. Going against a very very good Indians club. 12-8 is better than 11-9...well guys, 13-8 is better than 12-9. So...lets win this next one huh?

Ok...so we won last night. Ortiz did his bunting impression while clement did his pitching impression. I was happy about Foulke. He seems to be in a good spot right now. Hopefully he can keep that going but let us not get over excited here. Paps is promoting a 17 year old movie (http://www.sawxblog.com/) and now, after an off-day we have Schilling. Going against a very very good Indians club. 12-8 is better than 11-9...well guys, 13-8 is better than 12-9. So...lets win this next one huh?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sox-D-rays Tues 4-18

Just last year Kevin YoukYouk was a role player who, as an understudy to the Rock Meuller, knew the quickest way to Pawtucket better than than the back of his hand. Just last year is over and bring on the new year. Youk, now over at first has become a great little spark plug for this Sox team - this sox team without the likes of Coco. His hard work over the off-season has clearly paid pff as the man is just a plain old gamer. Once Billy Bean's poster child, Youk is hitting at a .318 clip with an on-base percentage of .426. Not bad for a replacement lead-off hitter. Not only did Youk win the game last night with a rocket double off the center field wall scoring two, he was pissed about it. A defensive miscue at 1st on a tough hop (which was in fact ruled a hit) and a base-running bouffe that turned a Loretta base-hit into a fielders choice was all tthat Youk wanted to talk about after the game. PLAYER! Other news, Stern flashing some leather at the end to save the soon to be president Jonathon Papadap and the end game with the bases loaded, while Papadap himself got his 7th save in 7 chances, recording 2 more Ks in the 9th. Matt Clement, the man I goaded just yesterday as being the wild card of out pitching staff went 7 very strong innings. One bad note of the game, if you could call it that, was TImlin letting in his first runs of the young season - though he did niftily escape a one out man on third situation.

This is indeed a whole new team. More pitching and more defense. But there is still that flare of the old sox. Meanwhile, Manny hit his first extra-base hit last night, which is a good thing and is showing strong signs of breaking out of his early season slump. A little more bang in our line-up is always nice to see.

What I have been most impressed with thusfar in the season has been our starters. I know yesterday I said I was worried about it. But they have been red-hot. Everyone knows of the Schilling/Becket show so far, but take away a bad outing by Wake in Texas and one by Clement and we have had tremendous starts in nearly every game (of course, take out Wells in this equation. We should pay him to fall down the stairs and end his season). In 14 games this season, our starters (Schill, Beckett, Wake, Clement, Wells and DiNardo) have pitched 88.2 out of 126 possible innings. And if you take away the game started by Wells (bc he shouldn't have started) you have the starters going 84.2 of 117 innings or 71.9%. For the record, thee yanks are sitting at (with Johnson, Mussina, Wang, Chacon and Wright at 78/111 or 70% - plus a lower era, less walks, less wild pitches - despite wakefield/bard its 8wp for the yanks and 5 for the sox, lower whip, lower oba, less hits per 9 innings and less walks per 9 innings)

Tonight, we have Schilling on the mound looking to stay perfect. I like his chances. Let's keep thee trend going.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gosh Batman!! I'm Back

Ok, Slight little break from the Blog. Sorry about that folks. I guess that is what a trip around Europe without a computer will do do your internet life. But I am back and back at it. Below is the rest of my around the horn previews, but in a much more condensed form. Enjoy and Play Ball!!!!

Ok also, It is killing me being in Europe with no NESN...I don't know what to do here.

Wily Mo, Mohr and Stern

Wily Mo: Below average defensively, potential offensively. We have not really gotten a taste of the power (one monster shot...many monster Ks). You've heard it all. Could be terrible could be great. I dont know yet. Mohr: I love this guy. I have never seen him play, but I followed him a bit when he was with the Rockies and I love what he brings to the table. I am glad he decided to stay, a move that really surprised me. Some speed, some pop, and average defensively. A good 4th outfielder. Stern: Again, love this guy. I think, despite his success, he could profit form a year at AAA and become a force in years to come.

Grade B- right now
B+/A- (when Manny starts hitting/Coco comes back/ Wily Mo shows his potential)

Coco and Trot

Coco; will be a great lead off hitter. Better speed than Damon, better arm, still hard to say who is better. Personality to boot though. PLus we are paying him a lot less than Damon. And his name is Coco. Will score tons of runs, steal some bags and be great tempo setter when he returns. Defensively, will be better than average, particularly after learrning the crazy turns of Fenway. Trot: as much as I love Trot, I just have this feeling in me that he is going to go down this year, He already hurt himself, though not for very long, but I don't know how if he can hold up. But seeing as it is his free agent year, he could prove me wrong. He is an average fielder and ok offensively. Look for him to be gone next year (prove me wrong Trot).

Outfield - Manny, Coco, Trot, Wily Mo, Mohr and Stern

Ok so I am clearly doing this after Coco's injury, which will hurt the outfields grade. But quickly. Manny: Despite the terrible beginning of the season offensively, rf will once again be the offensive powerhouse that it has been for the sox. i have no doubts, particularly after last seasons start, that pretty soon the American league pitchers will feel the wrath of Manny's bat. Defensively he is better than people might think. He led the league (majors?) in outfield assists last year (mostly bc he plays so shallow and has the advantage of that wall behind him, but who cares about that) and he has already made some great plays so far this season.

Starters

Starters

Schilling looks like Schilling of old; Beckett seems to be everything they expected; Wake is himself and will be good for 15 wins and around 4 era; I never liked the Clement signing and I still don't. He could be great (so much potential just waiting to emerge they said.) Well I don't think it will emerge and if it wasn't for his over-generous contract he'd be gone. Wells should retire right now and save everyone the trouble. 100% this is his last season. How about 100% you already threw your last pitch? People talked before the season about the pitching depth we have. I'm worried, but Im a sox fan and thats what I do. We need more than a dominant Schill/Beckett combo...If Foulke regains control and goes 2004 style, Paps will come into the starting rotation for an ineffective Wells who will complain about how he should be the number one guy while on the DL and we will be fine. Wild Card on Clement.

B to B+ (probably more but I'm serious pessimist here)

Pen

Pen - DiNardo, Foulke, Papelbon, Seanez, Tavarez, Timlin, Van Buren

Ok, Here is the tricky part. We have Riske on the DL, and I'm hoping he can provide anything when he gets back. Foulke seems like he he maybe could might possibly turn into Foulkey of 2004, or not. Seanez is only impressing me in the fact that he is a beast. Van Buren will head to AAA soon. The Sox will regret they signed Tavarez due to one of the following possibilities : A) many suspensions; B) Injury due to punching a phone, water cooler, wall, somebody...; C) He kind of sucks; D) a little bit of everything. I like Dinardo, but I am not sure if he will be up in the bigs for much longer, unless everyone sucks. Timlin is a rock like always, off to a great start. Papelbon is the 2 week favorite for rookie of the year. Kids gots it going. But...BUT...I would hate to see him stuck out in the bullpen all season bc everyone else sucks when he could be starting. Fortunately, we have Delcarmen and Hansen waiting partiently to be called up when the others turn out to be complete busts. Expect some bullpen turn over throughout the year.

C- unless the game is 7 innings by the starter than Timlin and Pbomb...than it would be an A

A Different Approach

2nd Base - Mark Loretta

I loved this transaction when Theo pulled it off. Obviously I am going to miss Mirabelli, I thought the bare handed batting was awesome, not to mention his ability to catch the butterfly. But Loretta was coming kinda cheap. A backup catcher for an everyday player? Gotta do it. Coming off a bad year full of injuries, I think Loretta is prone to pick it up this year and have a great season. Particularly hitting in front of the mashers. Serious runs coming from this man. If he can stay healthy, I think he can, of course with the help of manny and papi, throw up a monster, possibly all star year.

B+

1st Base - Kevin YoukyYouk and Snowballer

Another transaction I liked was snow. Not much of a risk and a great defensive player. I think Youk will be much better than Millar, even though i loved that dude. Youk has already showed us so far this season that he is taking the position seriously, with some stellar defensive plays. While an on-base machine, Youk really is not your typical corner infielding power hitter. I am expecting, offensively a great on base percentage, which will help with his run total; a decent average and not much power. Snow I am not expecting much of as far as offense goes, but he will be a great late inning replacement with the occasional start at first.

B

grrr

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