Tagged: Lowrie

I Think I Need An Intervention

I can’t sleep tonight for some reason (I think it’s because Lowell has to go through
surgery, although minor 😦 I’ll have a shot of whiskey for ya this week, hun), so I
decided it would be an ideal time to maybe wrap some Christmas gifts and/or work on
a paper regarding String Theory.

Needless to say, the confines of the inter-web were more appealing than either of
those options, so here I am!

Anyway, the point of all this. I realized just now that I must be in baseball withdrawal.
How did I realize this, you ask? I was listening to iTunes, skipping over songs I didn’t
feel like listening to, and I eventually realized that I have been subconsciously
selecting only songs that are heard regularly at Fenway,  for weeks! Turns out, my 25 most-played songs are all either walk-up / entrance songs of current or former
players, or songs played in between innings. Is there a rehab center for that?

Here’s the list (in no particular order):

  1. Let it Rock – Kevin Rudolf ft. Lil’ Wayne (Jacoby Ellsbury)
  2. **** With Dre Day – Dr. Dre (Dustin Pedroia)
  3. Somos De Calle – Daddy Yankee (David Ortiz)
  4. Man in the Box – Alice in Chains (Kevin Youkilis)
  5. Alive – Pearl Jam (Jason Bay)
  6. Bombtrack – Rage Against the Machine (Mike Lowell)
  7. Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down (Jason Varitek)
  8. Living Hard – Gary Allan (Josh Beckett)
  9. Wild Thing – The Troggs (Jonathan Papelbon)
  10. Rebirthing – Skillet (Justin Masterson)
  11. Stranglehold – Ted Nugent (Daniel Bard)
  12. Rockstar – Nickelback (Josh Beckett)
  13. Stand Here with Me – Creed (Manny Delcarman)
  14. Stronger – Kanye West (Daisuke Matsuzaka)
  15. This is Why I’m Hot – MIMS (David Ortiz)
  16. Shipping up to Boson – Dropkick Murhpys (Jonathan Papelbon)
  17. How Bad do You Want it? – Tim McGraw (Tim Wakefield)
  18. Push It – Rick Ross (Kevin Youkilis)
  19. Cherub Rock – The Smashing Pumpkins (Jacoby Ellsbury)
  20. The Kids Aren’t Alright – The Offspring (Jed Lowrie)
  21. I Use what I Got – Jason Aldean (Jon Lester)
  22. Black Betty – Ram Jam (Mike Timlin)
  23. Tessie – Dropkick Murphys
  24. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
  25. Dirty Water – The Standells

Personally, I can’t wait to add some new music to my playlist in April! Who has a time
machine?

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The Gonzalez Run Down

Adrian Gonzalez

Everyone’s been chatting about the possibility of Adrian Gonzalez playing
clean-up for the Red Sox in 2010 and for years to come. Theo Epstein has made it
clear over the last three years that he’s been a fan of Gonzalez’s skills, and has
highly envied San Diego for being the owners of his contract. However, is a trade for
Gonzalez really worth it? Does Boston really need him in the lineup? Let’s find
out.

Defensively:

First, the statistics:

Career: 654 G, 5740.2 Inn, 5985 Ch, 5419 PO, 533 A, 33 E, 516 DP, .994
Fld%, 2008/2009 Gold Glove

He broke into the majors in 2004 with the Texas Rangers. Traded to San Diego
before 2006, he’s been there ever since. In the last four years he has developed
into one of the best defensive first basemen in the National League, as proven by his
back to back gold gloves.

Signing Adrian Gonzalez would require moving Kevin Youkilis to third base. A Gold
Glove winner in his own right, there’s never been a doubt that Youk can handle the
third base responsibilities. In his career, Kevin has played 474 games at first base
with a .997 Fld% and 217 games at third base with a .966 Fld%, so moving to third is
hardly an issue.

Moving him to third would also resolve the worries of Mike Lowell potentially getting
injured again as the season drags on. In the event of a Lowell injury and no
Gonzalez deal, Youkilis would have to move to third and Martinez or Kotchman would
have to fill the duties at first, provided Epstein doesn’t promote a young gun like Lars
Anderson from within. While a situation like that could solve a temporary problem, a
hole becomes apparent in your defense, somewhere in the infield corners.

At the Plate:

Average Season (over the last 4 years): 160 G, 596 AB, 94 R, 170 H, 36 2B,
2 3B, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 78 BB, 126 K, .286 AVG, .369 OBP

Quickly looking at those stats, the first thing you notice is that he plays almost every
game each year. Being that durable is a huge asset on any team, especially when
you’re relying on his offensive numbers. Not only is he a 100 RBI man, but he scores
just as much as he produces. He also as an average of over 30 HR’s every year
since he’s joined the Padres.He hits for a decent average, and is perennially a force
at the plate. Keeping in mind that all this happens in a park that is widely considered
as the most pitcher-friendly park in the game, and you can only begin to imagine the
kind of numbers he could put up in a place like Fenway (even with it being less of a
hitter-friendly park thanks to the new grandstand).

The only real concern is whether or not he could hit every day against the powerful
pitchers in the American such as Halladay, Sabathia, Burnett, Hernandez, Lackey,
etc (not that I’m degrading the phenomenal pitchers in the National League,
specifically Lincecum and Webb who he faces numerous times every season).
Fortunately, he hasn’t seemed to slow down during inter-league play, and he hit
relatively well in the few games he played in the American League whilst with Texas,
so you assume it isn’t an issue.

Given a chance, one would assume that Adrian would only improve his offensive
numbers in the American League, provided he can handle the quality pitching of the
Yankees and Rays.

In the Clubhouse:

Awards: 2008/2009 Gold Glove, 2008/2009 All-Star Selection

To make a long story short, Adrian is a player that can become the face of an entire
team. This is exactly what he has done in San Diego, and this is exactly what he is
capable of doing in a star-studded clubhouse at Fenway Park. In a team full of
All-Stars capable of hitting .300 and 20+ HR, he’s a man who would be the team’s
clean-up hitter. He’s a viable spark to the offense, he can defend better than most,
and he’s a great general personality, as reported by his teammates. What more
could you want?

What’s It Going to Cost?

Okay, so it’s clear why Epstein is so smitten. But is he worth the cost that it’s going
to take to get him in a Sox uniform?

Jed Hoyer was once Epstein’s assistant in Boston, so there’s no doubt he
knows the prospects Epstein has at his disposal, and also what he is or is not willing
to give up. Anything related to this potential trade has been kept relatively silent, but
names such as Buchholz, Kelly, Papelbon, and others have been mentioned by
varying sources – some relatively credible, some … not so much. The reality here is
that Hoyer is happy with Gonzalez’s performance in San Diego and does not want to
deal him. As such, it will take a decent amount of good prospects to entice Hoyer to
consider the idea seriously. The Padres are looking for young talent as
opposed to aging veterans, so off-loading someone like Drew or Lowell is out of the
question, even if San Diego has a little extra money to spend this year.

If Epstein wants to get this deal done, expect it to be at the cost along the lines of
Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson, and quite possibly even someone like Casey Kelly as
well.

While Gonzalez is a young stud who can propel the Red Sox into a team that will be
the offensive force like they were back in 2004 for many years to come. That kind of
offense combined with the speed that the new resurgence of young players has
provided us with, and it could mean championships abound. Or it could mean giving
up two of the most highly toted pitching prospects in recent memory for a hitter on a
team with a potential absence of pitching (Provided Beckett leaves, and Wakefield
retires).

Is it worth it? If the deal can get done while giving up only one of the two pitchers,
then I say give it a chance. Otherwise, find a different answer. Anderson had a
rough year in the minors, but all scouts say he’ll be an offensive player in the future
at first base. But will the defense be there? Can Jed Lowrie make a
transition to third? Or is his health too much of an issue? Do we sign someone like
Hank Blalock to play first for 2010? Do we risk Lowell’s health? Now that
Figgins is off the market, there are less options for us in this off season, and some
things are a bigger concern at the moment, such as resigning Bay and finding quality
arms for the rotation and bullpen.

Only time will tell.

The Shortstop Dilemma

Today comes the signing of a new player to join Red Sox Nation – Marco
Scutaro
. With Marco, comes a debate as to whether he’s good enough to
play in Boston, and whether or not he can succeed where others have failed
since 2004. Let’s look at this systematically, shall we?

Nomar Garciaparra

2004 – Nomar Garciaparra. Pokey Reese. Orlando Cabrera. Cesar Crespo.
Ricky Gutierrez. Mark Bellhorn.
When all was said and done, Nomar was traded
at the deadline, picking up a replacement in Orlando Cabrera, who helped lead us to
a World Series title the same year. All combined, a total of 20 errors that year
between the three players. However, all’s forgiven when Nomar’s heart wasn’t in it,
Pokey wasn’t exactly an All-Star, and Orlando didn’t play in that lineup for very long,
and we won our first ring in 86 years. At the end of the season, it became apparent
that Orlando wasn’t the best person in the clubhouse, and that the Red Sox were
interested in getting rid of him. And so, he left. Who would fill the gap
now?

Edgar Renteria

2005 – Edgar Renteria. Ramon Vazquez. Alex Cora. Mark Bellhorn. Hanley
Ramirez. Alejandro Machado.
Renteria seemed like a good option. Afterall, he
won a world series with Florida in 1997. He was tearing up the National League at
the time, and watched us win the World Series in 2004 from the opposite dugout. I
guess no one realized he played his entire career in the National League, because
he didn’t stand a chance against the elite pitchers of the American League, nor did
he ever feel comfortable in Fenway. Alex Cora was a relatively decent backup, and
Hanley Ramirez made his first appearance, giving all Red Sox fans a little bit of hope
for the future. But, alas, all dreams come to an end, including watching Hanley
Ramirez move his belongings to Florida, in exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike
Lowell. Once again, the Red Sox make the team as a whole better, while neglecting
the most important position on the diamond.

Alex Gonzalez

2006 – Alex Gonzalez. Alex Cora. Dustin Pedroia. Alex Gonzalez signs, and
everyone considers it a godsend. A great fielder, World Series victor in 2003
alongside Beckett and the Marlins, and who cares if he only hits .250 with no pop? In
the nine hole, we’ll take the good defense. Who knew that .250 with no pop would
turn into .255, 9 HRs, but sadly a hell of a lot of inning-killing outs. He made a great
defensive player, but ultimately one that the Red Sox felt they couldn’t rely on after
not making the playoffs, and had to find another option elsewhere.

Julio Lugo

2007 – Julio Lugo. Alex Cora. Royce Clayton. Then begins the Julio Lugo
debacle. $9 Million a year for a fielder that lacks in defensive ability as compared to
Gonzalez, but with considerably more pop at the plate. Why was Lugo signed when
Alex Cora could have easily taken the job, and Pedroia was ready to come up to the
majors, you ask? Well, Pedroia filled a hole at second base that was much needed
(Bellhorn, Graffanino, and Loretta were just as faulty from 2004-2006 as the
shortstops were). Alex Cora never got a chance after being labeled as a bench
player. $9 million for a “better” offensive player than Gonzalez, who in reality goes
on to hit at a .237 clip that year, with 19 errors in the field. Sounds a little out of
place, no?

Jed Lowrie

2008 – Julio Lugo. Alex Cora. Jed Lowrie. Gil Velazquez. I know what
you’re thinking – “Maybe Lugo just had a bad year?” Well, if you’re a Red Sox fan,
you know he went on to hit .268 with 1 HR. Not exactly a power hitter. Add to that
another 16 errors and a season-ending injury, and you’ve got yourself someone
who’s not worth $9 million. Jed Lowrie showed up as the kid of the future, according
to the Red Sox brass, and he did just that. He showed up with a bat and a glove to
the post-season and showed all of Red Sox Nation that he meant business. Could
this be our solution? Could the Lugo nightmare finally be over?

Nick Green

2009 – Nick Green. Alex Gonzalez. Julio Lugo. Jed Lowrie. Chris Woodward.
Gil Velazquez.
Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie have a battle in spring training for the
starting spot at short, and Lowrie wins out after an injury to Lugo. However, Lowrie
gets injured desperately early in the season as well. Enter Nick Green. What a
pleasant surprise that kid became. He managed to bridge a gap to the returns of
Lugo and Lowrie. However, Lugo returned and underperformed, allowing Green to
keep his starting role, and eventually Lugo moves over to St. Louis while we pay his
$9 million for the next year and a half. Hopefully St. Louis can be tortured by him
while paying nothing. Green then gets a replacement in the return of Gonzalez, who
seems to start as a combination with Green, but later takes his position as the
starter. Lowrie comes back as well, keeping Green on the bench, although Lowrie
also sits on the bench with poor numbers at the plate and nagging injuries. Alex
thrives at the plate and in the field, and carries the team into the post season.

Marco Scutaro

Present – The Red Sox, weary about how Alex performed in 2006, drop his
contract option, and let him sign with the Blue Jays. In the end, the Sox swap
shortstops by signing Marco Scutaro. More to come on that later. Green is a free
agent and likely will sign elsewhere, and Lowrie has been proven to be unreliable
and injury prone. Now, hopes of a young 20 year-old in Iglesias running around the
minors with the title as Red Sox Saviour, come 2012. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t get
moved like Hanley and Pedroia.

So assuming that Iglesias really is Jesus (the verdict is still out on whether or not he
can walk across the Charles), is the new signing of Scutaro exactly what everyone’s
hoping for, or is it another Renteria, Gonzalez, or Lugo mistake by Epstein and
company. Let’s take a look.

Scutaro has for his entire career been a bench-ridden utility player. That being said,
he tore up the AL East in 2009 with the Blue Jays, playing 143 games at shortstop.
Can he hit .282 with 60 RBI, 100 Runs, and 12 HR once
again Only time will tell. Is he a stud? Possibly. Is he worth $5 million a year?
Probably. Can he play in the AL East? He’s proven he can, and that’s good enough
for me. I’m willing to take the chance. What were the other options we had this
off-season?

1) Placido Polanco – Could he play short? Sure, why not? He’s a second
baseman at heart, but if the Phillies can move him to third, why couldn’t we move him
to short? Why not sign him and move Pedroia to short? In the end, the Phillies
jumped too fast and we couldn’t catch them before they climbed over the fence.

2) Orlando Hudson – Could the O-Dog move from second to short?
Probably, yes. Is he worth the money he might demand? Probably not, at least not
anymore. Is he a better choice than Scutaro? Maybe, maybe not. He doesn’t
require draft compensation like Scutaro (the Dodgers denied him arbitration), but
he’s coming off a decent injury and has been declining the last couple years.

3) Miguel Tejada – Can anyone say overrated? Sure, he can hit for the
home run or for average, and he used to hit well at Fenway when he was with
Baltimore. But chances are the NL has slowed down his swing, and his defense was
never amazing to begin with. Next!

4) Orlando Cabrera – A player who was a sparkplug for Boston in 2004, and
has been tearing up the AL West and Central ever since. But he’s a player who
lacks in clubhouse demeanor, which is why the Red Sox said goodbye to him in the
first place, so no thank you.

5) Chone Figgins – A player who can play basically any position in the world.
He could easily move from third to short. Seattle looks like they’ll sign him, and for
only $9 mil a year. For $9 mil, they’re buying someone who can hit from the top of
the order, play almost any position, hit for average, steal bases, and is great to get
along with. That’s a lot more than Red Sox fans and players can say about Lugo
and his $9 mil. Whether or not Epstein ever actually looked into this option may
never be known.

6) Hanley Ramirez – Get real, he’s not being traded.

So in the end, we get to live with Scutaro for two, maybe three years. He’s a good
player, unproven in the majors due to playing as a bench player on sub-par teams,
but he’ll never prove himself until a quality team gives him a chance to shine. He
didn’t get into the top 17% at his position last year by chewing gum and cheering
from the bench. Here’s to hoping he can bridge the gap to our savior from Cuba.