Off Season, Mid-winter Doldrums & Ramblings

Off Season, Mid-winter Doldrums & Ramblings

Red Sox

Off Season, Mid-winter Doldrums & Ramblings

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This is the quiet time of the year in baseball. No international competitions, no international exhibition games to worry about, most free agents have been signed, and most trades have taken place, but I’m sure there will still be some surprises in between now and Opening Night. Baseball continues its morph into more of a business as Opening Day has been changed to Opening Night so ESPN can air another game in prime time. The Super Bowl is now in February when it used to be in January. The World Series now reaches into the first week of November. Next they’ll extend the schedule to 180 games, and make the Division Series 7 games. (We want your money!)
Theo is still looking for low risk, high rewards bullpen help, but it’s looking like the roster is pretty much set for 2010. Barring any unforeseen injuries, the biggest problem the Sox have is one that the Royals and Pirates would love to have- too many starting pitchers, and too many 3rd basemen. We saw last year that you can never have too much pitching depth. In between now and the 6th game of the season, bloggers everywhere will be speculating who will be left out of the rotation. I don’t hear anyone mentioning a 6 man rotation, though. I’m no GM, but it would seem that a 6 man rotation would ease the burden on the bullpen, and reduce late season fatigue on the starters. There were whispers of a 6 man rotation in the past. Even if there were no injuries all season long, each man would still get 25 or more starts. We’ve seen a lot of that late season fatigue in the not too distant past, so why not go with the six?
As for 3rd basemen, this scribe still has faith in Mike Lowell. He hit damn near .300 last year, and while his defense slipped some, I think he still has a couple of more good years left before he hangs up his cleats. He’s a class act, someone you want in your clubhouse, and after a whole winter of rest, his defense will return, maybe not quite as good as in 2007, but definitely better than 2009. Theo will have to get him some decent playing time in order to prove to the rest of MLB that he has some trade value. Same goes for Jed Lowrie, as he will have to prove that he can stay healthy while playing. Can’t do that sitting on the bench. And what if Beltre goes down? That Rangers non-trade would be huge.
Boston makes its first appearance at ATnT Park in 6 years this June to play the Giants. Tickets for these games will sell out fast, but as for BOS @ OAK, you can’t give those tickets away. I had a couple of extras in 2005 when the Sox were the reigning world champions, and I was lucky to get $5 each for them. Go figure.
Johnny Damon, poor, poor pitiful Johnny Damon. He wanted money, and he got it 4 years ago, $52 million. He still wanted $13 million/year to stay with the Yankees, but they only wanted to pay him $7 million, only $7 million. Now he wants to play for the Tigers, but the Tigers haven’t said they want him. There have been some speculations of him signing with Oakland. Now wouldn’t that be interesting. Does anybody in Oakland still have a Johnny Damon shirt? Dan Shaughnessy is not the only one still in love with him, as this blogger and this blogger attempt to paint a scenario in which he would return. Yeah, I know what he did in 2004, but sorry guys, some relationships just never can be repaired. Go watch ‘The War of the Roses.’
Slowly we see owners and GM’s watching their wallets as never before. Top free agents remain unsigned well into the off season, only to sign 1 year bargain basement deals, (e.g. Bobby Abreu.) I hope this trend continues as long as FO salaries don’t skyrocket as player’s salaries did after the introduction of free agency.

Lou Merloni takes a look at how the Sox and the Yankees fared against the top 6 pitchers in the AL. Apparently good pitching does beat good hitting.

Jacoby Ellsbury is now patrolling left field at Fenway. Absolutely no dishonor there! He joins an elite roster of left fielders- Williams, Yaz, Rice, Ramirez, and Bay. While Bay’s stay in Boston was short, he certainly made folks forget about his predecessor fast. While Manny was a buffoon, he remains one of baseball’s all time greatest hitters.
I’ll leave our readers with a box score from the past. (This could become the first in an occasional series of box scores from the past.)

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