Tagged: Ramirez

This is Slowly Getting Ridiculous

Fenway Ticket Booth

I love the Red Sox with a fiery passion that will never cease. However, I despise the
Red Sox organization like an ice cream man driving around town honking his horn
when all the ice cream’s gone. The most recent issue? Random ticket drawing. I’ve
never agreed with the idea of putting tickets for high-demand games or seats up for
random drawing, but it’s really starting to get ridiculous.

I can respect the fact that the Red Sox are so highly adored to the point that a game
at Fenway is quite possibly the hardest ticket to get in all of professional sports
(aside from special events such as the playoffs and all-star games), but should that
give the team’s upper management the right to put high-demand games to the luck
of the draw?

We’re talking about a capacity of 37,400 (at night), and 36,984 (give or take, during
the day). That’s fewer seats than any other major league baseball stadium. With the
lowest seating capacity and (quite possibly) the largest fan base in the game, there’s
bound to be a demand for every game played at home, and there is. With a record
sellout streak getting bigger and bigger by the game, there’s no fear from the
management perspective of striking out monetarily. So, why have a random draw for
9, or in this case, 12 games a year? It’s pure lunacy.

Fenway Park

Personally, I have access to season tickets, so it’s not a huge problem for yours
truly. However, for the last two years, my family has tried to pick up tickets for
Sox/Yankees games at Fenway (Monster seats or otherwise), only to find out they
had to see the rivalry at Yankee Stadium, where their money was happily accepted.
I’ve got a pair of tickets on the line saying they’ll be sitting on their couches back
home in Toronto when Manny stares the Monster in the eye once again. Anyone
want to take me up on that offer? … No? Didn’t think so.

What’s going to happen in 2011? Random drawings for Sox/Rays games? Random
drawings for all inter-league matches? Random drawings for all AL East opponents?
How far are they going to go with this system in the future?

I understand that part of the reasoning behind this ploy is to help avoid long lineups
and thousands of people at the ticket booths rejected and sent home 5 seconds
after the tickets go on sale, but isn’t that just the way the world works? Aside from
the Michael Jackson funeral service, I can’t recall any other event outside of sports
where tickets were subject to this kind of system, so why do we have to suffer? Even
if we’re talking of sports, I’ve never seen tickets for an original six match go into a
giant spinning barrel. I’ve never seen Lakers tickets subject to this. NHL and NBA
tickets are much harder to come by in big markets (say for the LA Lakers, or Toronto
Maple Leafs), where the fan base is just as large as the Fenway Faithful, with only an
eighth of the seats Fenway contains to provide for that fan base.

Target Field

Now, we’re dealing with the Twins considering this approach for the Target Field
opener. What’s next? Is democracy going to fall this summer? Is the apocalypse
coming? Did the Mayans screw up and estimate the end of the world two years
late? With all due respect to Twins fans, is that necessary? Why is Twins
management doing this? Did the Red Sox brass get to them and say, “Hey guys,
we’re going to be there for your opener, and we’re bringing our fans … but they
don’t know how to buy tickets properly, so you’re going to have to provide a random
draw … it’s the only way they know.”, or do they just realize that if they sell the
tickets normally, there will be more Red Sox fans in the stands than Twins fans?

What I’m saying here is quite simple. Why not, as an organization, try to make a
profit off of those games? Instead of randomizing a draw and making all your die
hard fans hope reluctantly for the best, why not just raise your ticket prices for those
games? Personally, I’d rather deal with even a 10% hike in ticket prices for those
games than having to hope for Lady Luck to be on my side. It may not work for
events like the WBC, but it works for the all of the All-Star Games in major league
sports, and it certainly works in the playoffs. If you have fans, they’ll come to the
ballpark, even in a recession, and even with higher ticket prices. But these random
draws are getting ridiculous. Tickets should be first come, first serve, regardless of
the size of your venue, or the event you happen to be holding. I thought that’s how
Capitalism and fairness worked.

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Greatest Rex Sox Playoff Moments of the Decade

Yes, I know it’s the off-season. Yes, I know the Yankees won the World Series this
year. Yes, I know Papelbon blew up in the ninth and led us to an early exit in the
ALDS. Yes, I know we’re all depressed and hoping for a better result in 2010. But
why not celebrate a bit? Time to cheer up and look at the best playoff plays / games
involving the Red Sox over the past decade.

Jonathan Papelbon

Honorable Mentions:

Nixon Begins the Tradition – The Red Sox found themselves involved in a
pitcher’s duel in Game 3 of the 2003 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics after losing
the first two games in Oakland. Facing Rich Harden in the bottom of the 11th inning,
Trot Nixon came through with a two-run walk-off homer, setting off the Fenway
faithful and keeping the Sox alive to play another day, starting a tradition of
comeback wins the Red Sox became accustomed to for the remainder of the decade.

Ortiz Walks to New York – Everyone thought Anaheim was about to steal the
show in Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS following a Vladimir Guerrero grand slam in the
7th inning that tied the game 6-6. The game went to the bottom of the 10th, where
Mr. Clutch himself hit a two run series-ending home run over the monster to give the
Red Sox a chance to get their revenge against the Yankees.

David Ortiz

Beckett and Pedroia Lead the Way – After a huge comeback series win
against Cleveland, Beckett began the 2007 World Series by striking out the first four
batters he faced in Game 1, and Dustin Pedroia hit an 0-1 count over the Monster
for a lead-off home run. Beckett went on to shut down the Rockies with 9 K’s and
just 1 ER over 7 IP, while the Sox offense never gave up the lead, going on to win
13-1.

Dustin Pedroia

Lester Solidifies His Place as a Fan Favorite – After beating cancer, Jon
Lester came back to the Red Sox in 2007 and eventually went on to beat the
Colorado Rockies in the clinching game of the World Series. While not the most
dominant performance of his career and certainly not his most memorable outing, it
is without a doubt the most important game this young lefty has pitched thus far in
his career, making him a fan favorite in Boston long before he pitched his no-hitter.

And now, for the countdown:

10: Dice-K Hits the Jackpot

2008 ALCS Game 1 – Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched brilliantly on the road in
2008, going 9-0, and he continued that tradition in Tampa against the Rays. In a
pitching duel against James Shields, Dice-K carried a no-hitter through 6 innings,
ultimately striking out 9 over 7+ IP, while Papelbon sealed the deal in the 9th, leading
the Red Sox to a 2-0 shutout.  Unfortunately, the Red Sox were unable to hold
on to the series lead, and lost to the Rays in 7 games.

9: Beckett Keeps the Series Alive

2007 ALCS Game 5 – The Red Sox entered Game 5 at Jacob’s Field on the
brink of elimination. After ex-girlfriend Danielle Peck was invited to sing the national
anthem (supposedly to try to get Beckett off his game), Beckett took the mound
against the Cleveland Indians and their ace, C.C. Sabathia. After giving up an early
1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Beckett settled in to strike out 11 Cleveland batters
over 7 shutout innings. Jonathan Papelbon shut down the Indians in the 9th, and the
offense routed Sabathia to a 7-1 win, with Beckett at the helm, to keep the dream
alive and take the series back to Fenway.

Regarding Danielle Peck’s Anthem performance:

“She’s a friend of mine. It doesn’t bother me at all. Thanks for flying one of my
friends to the game so she can watch it for free.”


– Josh Beckett


8: Miracle Comeback

2008 ALCS Game 5 – Down 7-0 and facing elimination at home, Pedroia
knocked a single to RF on a 3-2 count with runners on the corners to put the Red
Sox on the board with 2 down in the 7th. The next batter, Ortiz, wrapped a 1-0 count
around Pesky’s Pole, scoring Pedroia and Coco Crisp alongside himself to bring the
Sox within 3 runs of the Rays. In the top of the 8th, Papelbon shut down the bottom
of the Rays lineup in order, and in the bottom half, Jason Bay worked a 4-0 walk
against Dan Wheeler, allowing J.D. Drew to blast a hanging curve over the short
porch in RF. Crisp continued the rally later in the inning with a lengthy at-bat,
blooping a single into RF to score Mark Kotsay from second. Justin Masterson came
in to pitch the 9th, giving up a single and a walk before cleaning up the mess with a
ground ball double play to get out of the jam and kill a Rays rally. J.P. Howell retired
the first two Red Sox hitters in the bottom of the 9th, but gave up an infield single to
Kevin Youkilis, and an intentional walk to Bay. Drew arrived at the plate, and for the
second time that game, came up big with an RBI single over Carlos Pena’s head to
complete one of the biggest post-season comeback victories in the history of the
game, sending the series back to Tampa for Game 6.

7: Nancy Drew Solves the Case of the
Slumping Bat

2007 ALCS Game 6 – Hot on the heels of a dominant Beckett performance in
Game 5 to keep the series alive, the Red Sox came back to the Fenway faithful for
Game 6, hoping for another big win with Curt Schilling on the mound. Facing
another dominant pitcher in Fausto Carmona in the bottom half of the first inning,
Pedroia, Youkilis, and Ortiz worked the bases loaded with none out off two singles
and a walk. Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell followed up with a strikeout and flyout,
respectively. With the disappointing bat of J.D. Drew coming to the plate, Red Sox
Nation assumed the early rally would be stifled by Carmona and company.
Suddenly, Drew went from being one of Boston’s most disappointing players to being
a fan favourite in a matter of seconds by bashing a high fly ball to deep center field,
giving Grady Sizemore the best seat in the house to watch the beginning of a 12-2
Red Sox rout. In a game that was so far out of hand that even Eric Gagne was
allowed to pitch, Drew drove in a total of 5 runs and the Sox won while facing
elimination once again, forcing a Game 7.

“And with one swing, he erased an entire season filled with frustration, both for
him and these fans here at Fenway.”


– Joe Buck

“[Boston] is not an easy place to not do well, especially when you’re coming in
with some of the fanfare that JD [Drew] came in with but, if he wants to drive in five
again tomorrow, I think he’ll leave on a good note this winter.”


– Terry Francona

JD Drew

6: Angelic Performance

2007 ALDS Game 1 – Everyone knew Beckett could pitch in the postseason.
His Game 6 performance against the Yankees in the 2003 World Series solidified him
as a legendary Yankee killer. However, no one could have expected him to solidify
his post-season dominance against the Angels in arguably the most exciting, and
best, outing of his career. Locked in a pitching duel against John Lackey, Beckett
faced just 31 batters in a complete game shutout, striking out 8 over 108 pitches. In
a battle between two aces, Beckett won the war, and the offense supplied him with 4
runs, although he only needed the 1.

“Man, let me tell ya, some of the innings I watched on T.V. on the screen we have
downstairs … Even on T.V. [Beckett] looked filthy … I mean, he was right on.”


– David Ortiz

Josh Beckett

5: Ramirez Pulls Off a First

2007 ALDS Game 2 – Mike Scioscia clearly preferred to see Manny at the
plate in Game 2 over Big Papi. I guess he felt Papi was Mr. Clutch, and Ramirez was
slumping.  To a degree, he was right. As a result, his pitching staff walked
Ortiz four times (twice intentionally), and took their chances with Ramirez. Prior to
the 9th inning, Ramirez went 0-2 with two walks and a K. However, after Francisco
Rodriguez gave up a lead-off single to Julio Lugo, and intentionally walked Ortiz one
last time, everyone knew something special was coming up. Manny hit the 1-0
pitch over the Monster and out of the park for his first ever walk-off hit in a Red Sox
uniform, giving the Red Sox a 6-3 win, and a 2-0 series lead.

“When you don’t feel good and you still get hits, that’s when you know – you are a
bad man.”


– Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/tfLNUWEv8fg&color1=0xcc0000&color2=0xcc1122&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1

4: Mr. Clutch Does it Again

2004 ALCS Game 4 – The Red Sox managed to manufacture a run in the 9th
inning to stay alive, but it was up to Papi to ensure there was a Game 5. In the 12th
inning, Paul Quantrill took the mound at Fenway. After a lead-off single by Manny,
Ortiz knocked a Quantrill pitch into the Yankee dugout, walking off for the second
time in just 9 days, and winning the game for the Red Sox, setting up a chance for
Pedro Martinez to relinquish his pride in Game 5.

David Ortiz

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/Iaq4ZA7JBMo&color1=0xcc0000&color2=0xcc1122&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1

3: Third Time’s the Charm

2004 ALCS Game 5 – Pedro Martinez was less than stellar, giving up 3 runs
in the 6th and giving up a 2-1 Red Sox lead. The Sox rallied in the bottom of the 8th,
starting with Mr. Clutch’s lead-off home run off Tom Gordon. Later in the inning,
Jason Varitek hit a sac fly to CF, locking the game in a 4-4 tie. Zeroes across the
board until the 14th inning, where after walks to Damon and Ramirez, Ortiz dropped
a 2-out single into CF off Esteban Loaiza, walking off with a win for the second time in
2 games, and the 3rd time in 10 days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/A9ZUK4Ci3cM&color1=0xcc0000&color2=0xcc1122&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1

2: God Helps Out His #1 Fan

2004 ALCS Game 6 – The miraculous comeback victories in games 4 and 5
were brilliant, but they meant nothing if the Red Sox couldn’t win the next two games.
Those two walk-offs by Ortiz meant nothing if the Yankees stole the momentum at
home. The Red Sox’s World Series dreams relied on Curt Schilling and a severely
injured right ankle. Was Terry Francona crazy to put Schilling on the mound for
Game 6? Apparently not, because with God on his side, Schilling gave up only a
solo home run to Bernie Williams in the 7th. When all was said and done, he struck
out 4 and gave up just 1 run over 7 innings. Ever since, there has been a debate
throughout baseball regarding whether or not his ankle pains were legitimate, or
whether the blood found on his sock was merely a ploy for a good story. However, in
the most important game of his illustrious career, there is no doubt from anyone on
either bench that night in the Bronx that what he had going on was not only real, but
nothing short of divine intervention.

“Tonight it was all God. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do this alone. And I
prayed as hard as I could. I didn’t pray to get a win or to make great pitches. I just
prayed for the strength to go out there tonight and compete, and he gave me that. I
can’t explain to you what a feeling it was to be out there and to feel what I felt.”


– Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/zDfNeajJ7WE&color1=0xcc0000&color2=0xcc1122&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1

1: The Beginning of the End

2004 ALCS Game 4 – Red Sox fans the world over were depressed. They
were ready to give up. Surely the Curse had won again, right? The Red Sox went
into the 2004 ALCS with something to prove. They were knocked out of the 2003
ALCS by Aaron Boone and the Yankees, and they were adamant that they weren’t
going to let the Bronx Bombers have their way once again. However, the Yankees
took the first two games of the series, putting the Sox in a serious hole, against one
of the best teams ever assembled. They returned to Fenway for Game 3 with hopes
that home turf would give them the spark they needed, but were ousted 19-8. In
Game 4, they fell behind early once again, thanks to an Alex Rodriguez 2-run shot in
the 3rd. 2-0 Yankees. After finally rallying to a 3-2 lead, the Red Sox defense gave
it up the following inning, when the Yankees scored two more. 4-3 Yankees.
Mariano Rivera came out of the ‘pen for the bottom of the 9th, which almost certainly
marked the end of another unfortunate Red Sox season. Mariano ended up giving
up a walk to lead-off batter Kevin Millar, who was replaced for a pinch runner – Dave
Roberts. There was only one reason for bringing in Roberts in this scenario – get to
second, and find a way to get home from there. Everyone in the ballpark knew he
was going to attempt to steal second base. However, that meant Rivera knew as
well. Rivera tried two pick-off attempts, nearly beating Roberts to the bag the second
time. On the first pitch to Bill Mueller, Roberts took the opportunity. Running for his
life, he narrowly beat Jeter’s tag. Mueller then shot the ball up the middle, driving in
Roberts to tie the game and the rest, as any baseball fan knows, is history. During
the short time Roberts was with Boston, he pulled off the greatest stolen base in Red
Sox history, and maybe the most significant stolen base in the history of the game.
Not only did that stolen base spark the Red Sox to win the World Series and end an
86-year drought, but it also effectively marked the end of the Babe’s Curse.


“When we called upon him to do something that maybe seems as minor as
maybe trying to steal a base, you end up seeing … we win a World Series. In my
opinion, that is the number one biggest play.”


– Terry Francona


“The greatest story ever told.”

– John Henry

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/5VOV26-nSUc&color1=0xcc0000&color2=0xcc1122&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1

Thanks for a great decade, Red Sox! Let’s start it all over again in 2010!

Lowell’s Thumb a Blessing in Disguise

Thumb Injury

Today’s physical in Arlington came up with a radial collateral ligament
tear
in Mike Lowell‘s right thumb. Some Red Sox fans feel this is a
bad situation, whereas others are jumping for joy now that Lowell is sticking around
in Boston. He is scheduled for surgery just after Christmas, and should be out for
6-8 weeks. In other words, he should be healthy for Spring Training, and while his
throwing programs may be halted, the rest of his training program should be able to
go on as per usual, preventing him from a long recovery. Personally, I see this as a
blessing in disguise, and this is my reasoning:

  1. Lowell comes back in Spring Training and gets traded some time into the
    year
    : If this happens, either we can make the trade for Max
    Ramirez
    again, as double jeopardy doesn’t apply in baseball, or Epstein
    could look to another team that needs a decent DH. His value should be higher if
    Boston will still front the bill and he has proven himself to be healthy. If Max
    Ramirez was indeed a potential trading piece for Adrian Gonzalez,
    Epstein will find another way to get the prospect, or he will rearrange his
    bargaining chips and find another way to Gonzalez.
  2. Mike Lowell

  3. Lowell comes back in Spring Training and stays with Boston for the entirety
    of the year, playing 3B
    : If this happens, Boston keeps the offensive
    power of Lowell, while sacrificing the speed he lost last year, and taking a risk with
    his rumored decrease in defensive ability (which could become increasingly more
    true if his hip gets any worse). With the increased defense on the left side thanks
    to Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron/Jacoby Ellsbury, it
    shouldn’t be TOO much of a problem for the team. Who knows, maybe he’ll pull
    the hidden ball trick out of his hat a couple times this season to make up for his
    lack of physical ability (he’s
    done it twice before
    , afterall).
  4. Lowell proves to be a liability in the field and sits on the bench: If
    this happens, either Casey Kotchman becomes an everyday starter at
    first and Lowell sits on the bench, or Epstein has to work out a trade for a decent
    corner infielder during the season. The best way to account for this is to find said
    corner infielder before the beginning of the season and make Lowell work for a
    starting spot. However, I’m happy with Kotchman as a defensive replacement if
    Lowell doesn’t work out, as his strong defense will solidify the infield.
  5. Lowell turns into a part-time player in the field: If this occurs,
    Lowell would play fewer games, meaning Kevin Youkilis would play 3B
    on occasion while either Kotchman or Victor Martinez would find more
    time at 1B, potentially meaning Jason Varitek could find more time behind
    the plate. While I don’t feel Varitek should be behind the plate any more than
    necessary, it’s not a terrible alternative if Lowell can’t play everyday anymore.
    Lowell could also be used off the bench as a pinch hitter in crucial situations,
    which we all know he tends to thrive in.
  6. Mike Lowell

  7. Lowell platoons with David Ortiz as the DH: It was proven
    last year that Ortiz sometimes has trouble with quality pitching nowadays, so why
    not sit Lowell on the bench and use him against certain starters, or LH pitchers?
    Platooning these two players gives you the most optimal DH situation every game,
    and leaves a power hitter on the bench in case you need that bat later on in a
    game. Also, with Lowell being a DH, you get the capability of platooning him at 3B
    whenever someone else needs a day off, while keeping him fresh as well.

In my mind, the only bad thing that can come from this is that you’re stick with a $12
Million man sitting on your bench and/or eating up a spot on your 25-Man Roster that
could be used for another arm in the bullpen or a more capable utility fielder.
Although, the 25-Man Roster can be altered throughout the season, and others will
almost definitely get injured, so it’s not really an issue.

As you can see, it’s win-win for everyone in Red Sox Nation.

Mike Lowell

Looking to 2011

With the signing of John Lackey and (potentially) Mike Cameron, I
can’t help but look to the future. Epstein always said he was building for the future,
and this is what it looks like for 2010:

With Adrian Gonzalez:

  1. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  3. C – Victor Martinez
  4. 1B – Adrian Gonzalez
  5. 3B – Kevin Youkilis
  6. DH – David Ortiz
  7. RF – J.D. Drew
  8. LF – Mike Cameron/Jeremy Hermida
  9. SS – Marco Scutaro

Without Adrian Gonzalez:

  1. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  3. C – Victor Martinez
  4. 1/3B – Kevin Youkilis
  5. DH – David Ortiz
  6. RF – J.D. Drew
  7. LF Mike Cameron/Jeremy Hermida
  8. 1/3B – Casey Kotchman (Adrian Beltre)
  9. SS – Marco Scutaro

That lineup looks significantly more powerful with Adrian Gonzalez in there. If
Adrian Beltre signs instead, you’re looking at something slightly different.
Either way, even if you keep it the way it is now, you’re looking at a team that can
support the superior pitching staff. World Series caliber? Maybe not. Our offense
probably can’t beat that of the Phillies or the Yankees, but when all is said and done,
adding Adrian Gonzalez means a Boston team that’s somewhat equal (on paper,
statistically, anyway) to the offensive numbers of the Yankee collective. Even if
Epstein deals Jacoby Ellsbury to San Diego with Clay Buchholz,
you’ve got a decent outfield of Drew/Hermida/Cameron, and if you add someone like
Xavier Nady to that mix, you’re looking at a great team with Adrian Gonzalez
spearheading it. Welcome to the playoffs.

Now, a look at the pitching staff.

With Adrian Gonzalez:

  1. SP – Josh Beckett
  2. SP – John Lackey
  3. SP – Jon Lester
  4. SP – Daisuke Matsuzaka
  5. SP – Tim Wakefield
  6. RP – Hideki Okajima
  7. RP – Ramon Ramirez
  8. RP – Ramon Ramirez (this is going to be a confusing year … )
  9. RP – Manny Delcarman
  10. RP – Boof Bonser (Or maybe Michael Bowden?)
  11. RP – Daniel Bard
  12. CL – Jonathan Papelbon

Without Adrian around you essentially have the same setup, except you see
Buchholz in the rotation and probably Wakefield in the ‘pen. Either way, arguably the
best staff in baseball. Where the bullpen lacks in depth, the starting rotation makes
up for in pure number of Aces. Three Number 1 guys and 2 interesting additions in
the back of the rotation equals quality starts more often than not, and a solid rotation
to help the relatively lacking offense.

Maybe 2010 is still the bridge year, though. It’s hard to imagine this when you add
over $30 Million in payroll, but hear me out.

Joe Mauer

The 2010 Free Agent market includes the likes of Joe Mauer, Carl
Crawford
, Cliff Lee (as he likely won’t sign an extension with Seattle),
and Brandon Webb. Epstein always preferred the 2010 market over the
2009 market, and he always said he was building up for it.

Brandon Webb

With Ortiz’s $13 Million coming off the books along with Victor Martinez’s $7.1 Million,
Beckett’s $12 Million and Varitek’s $3 Million, not to mention $19.5 Million owed to
Alex Gonzalez, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, and Billy Wagner, you’re looking at significant
money coming off the payroll.

In 2010, if you add Adrian Gonzalez, you’re
looking at a team payroll of about $150 Million. Upon the completion
of the season, it will drop to about $83 Million.

So what do you do in the 2010 offseason? You break the bank. You give contract
extensions to Beckett (who’s going to want a Lackey-like deal) and Martinez (who’s
going to want around $10 Million a year). After letting Ortiz and Varitek go, you go
out and sign Mauer (if you can pry him from Minnesota and the Yanks), Crawford (or
you trade for him during the 2010 season and sign him longterm), and either Lee
(who will want a Sabathia-like Contract) or Webb (who will want Lackey-like
terms).

Let’s run the figures again. 2011, pending all those moves, would bring the payroll
back up to between $160-$170 Million. Expensive, but look at that
potential Roster:

  1. SP – Cliff Lee (or Brandon Webb)
  2. SP – Josh Beckett
  3. SP – John Lackey
  4. SP – Jon Lester
  5. SP – Daisuke Matsuzaka
  6. CL – Jonathan Papelbon
  7. C – Joe Mauer
  8. 1B – Adrian Gonzalez
  9. 2B – Dustin Pedroia
  10. SS – Marco Scutaro
  11. 3B – Kevin Youkilis
  12. LF – Carl Crawford
  13. CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
  14. RF – J.D. Drew
  15. DH – Victor Martinez (keeps him fresh, but can give Mauer days off
    behind the plate without the team losing offense)
  16. RP – Daniel Bard
  17. RP – Tim Wakefield
  18. RP – Hideki Okajima
  19. RP – Manny Delcarman
  20. RP – Junichi Tazawa
  21. BC – Mark Wagner (Mostly a security policy in case the in-game
    catcher gets injured, so the DH doesn’t have to go behind the plate, making
    the pitcher have to hit)
  22. IF – Jose Iglesias (or Jed Lowrie if Iglesias isn’t ready for the
    bigs)
  23. IF – (Someone who can back up Youkilis at third)
  24. OF – Mike Cameron
  25. (Utility Fielder)

For $165 Million, if that can’t win a World Series, nothing can.

2007 World Series

Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate

Jason Bay

I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a decent slugger face-palm himself so many
times at Fenway Park. Oh wait – maybe I can! Jason Bay comes to mind.

As a fellow Canadian, I was one of few people in the know regarding Jason Bay
before he threw himself into All-Star status. When he was coming up through the
Padres and Pirates organizations he was the pride of Canada. With Larry
Walker
retiring, and people like Jeff Francis and Matt Stairs on
the decline, he found himself in the spotlight with every major media outlet in
Canada. And then, as quickly as he became a star, Russell Martin and
Joey Votto took his place.

Enter July 2008. he gets traded to Boston in a blockbuster for Manny
Ramirez
. He plays his first Major League game in Canada. He thrives in the
middle of the lineup for a big market club.

And then he balked. He pulls off 36 HR and 119 RBI, but combined with 162
strikeouts and a mediocre-at-best AVG of .267.

Looks like he slipped again. With the Red Sox signing Mike Cameron to fill a
spot in LF alongside Jeremy Hermida, and John Lackey as a way of
spending the money thought to be going to Bay, he’s almost guaranteed to be
leaving Beantown. I for one am totally okay with that, as much as I loved his time
here.

You tried to get more money than you’re worth. You’ve seen how Epstein works in
the past, Jason. He always gets the job done when he needs to, and trying to steal
money from him that you don’t deserve won’t work. If someone else wants to pay you
that much, then good for them.  Maybe you could find a career as a true
Buccaneer.

Enjoy your life in Seattle or Queens. Between the coffee and great Broadway shows
(not to mention the great shopping in both cities! A great opportunity to spend all
that cash!), they’re two great choices for you to never win a World Series in. Enjoy
never seeing the post-season again. I hope the extra year and $15 million was worth
playing in a pitcher’s park on clubs that will always be “just not quite good enough”.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Wednesday Roundup @ the Winter Meetings

Jason Bay

  • 6:04pm EST: Theo Epstein doesn’t expect any kind of blockbuster move
    before the meetings end, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Epstein
    – “I don’t think we’ll make a blockbuster between now and (leaving) …
    Something small could come up.
    ”  Also, talks haven’t progressed with
    Jason Bay‘s representatives. Epstein – “Those guys are off doing their
    thing
    .”
  • According to Alex, Adrian Gonzalez will likely be a Padre in 2010 –
    Bud Black says “Do I anticipate him being with the club in 2010?
    Yes.

Matt Holliday

  • The Red Sox reportedly met with Scott Boras, with one item on the menu
    being Matt Holliday, however Jason Bay is still the club’s first choice.

Mike Lowell

Adrian Beltre

  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox are discussing a
    deal that would send Mike Lowell to Texas. Who would be coming to
    Beantown at this point is suggested to be catching prospect Max
    Ramirez
    . The deal is reported as “not close”, but is starting to heat up. As
    expected, Boston’s front office would have to front a bill for a significant majority
    of Lowell’s 2010 contract. Mike has also been rumored to be on the block to go
    to the Cubs for Milton Bradley, although that seems rather unlikely. So
    unlikely, in fact, that Ian Browne has called shenanigans on the idea.

Justin Duchscherer

  • Multiple sources report that the Red Sox have a significant interest in free agent
    Adrian Beltre. Because Mike Lowell will probably be traded to a team
    such as Texas, a deal for Beltre is not only a real possibility, but almost a
    requirement for Boston to keep a strong offense in 2010. However, Beltre’s agent
    is Scott Boras, so expect life to be a relative hell in the coming weeks. The Giants
    were originally thought of as being potential suitors of Beltre, but in reality they’re
    looking for a short-term fix at first base and a center fielder, allowing them to
    move Aaron Rowand to the corner infield.

Mike Cameron

  • Rob Bradford also reports that the Red Sox have not made any progress on a
    Justin Duchscherer deal.  They talked last on Sunday night. 11
    other teams are reportedly interested in the pitcher. Maybe if the Red Sox sign
    him, I’ll learn how to pronounce the Duke of Hurls’s real name properly.

Rich Harden

  • The Red Sox appear interested in Mike Cameron.
  • Red Sox were mentioned as forerunners for Rich Harden after he
    mentioned he was willing to take a one year incentive-driven deal, but the
    Rangers seemingly won the race.

Coco Crisp

  • The Red Sox are not likely interested in Rafael Soriano.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN says that the Red Sox have a couple teams they
    could trade Mike Lowell to.
  • Low level interest in bringing back Coco Crisp. If you could sign him with
    a clause in his contract stating that he has to get into a brawl every night with the
    starting pitcher, I say go for it!

Aroldis Chapman

  • Ramon A. Ramirez claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. Fabio
    Castro
    signed to a one-year non-guaranteed contract.
  • Expect the Red Sox brass to be in Houston next week to watch Aroldis
    Chapman
    ‘s bullpen session, alongside the Yankees and Angels, at the very
    least.

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.