It’s time to say goodbye to Mike Lowell; have fun in Texas. Let me say this: it’s been one seriously great ride. He was the 2007 World Series MVP for a reason, but unfortunately age happens. He was the epitome of professionalism. Talk about classy guys. Mikey Lowell, ladies and gentlemen, was just about the classiest guy you could find, and his presence in the clubhouse will surely be missed. Get ready for a standing ovation. But like I said, age happens, and Theo does have a job to do. It’s unfortunate that we have to send him off like this, but what other option do we have? The trade would give us catching prospect Max Ramirez, who’s leading the Venezuela Winter League in home runs. But he’s had some wrist problems, so we’ll have to wait for his medical records to clear. Then the question becomes, who will replace him? Or conversely, who’ll play first base, being that Youk can move over to third. And as a result, Youk could save us a lot of money; the market doubles for us because of that flexibility, so we have the freedom to pick and choose someone who’s right for us and who comes at the right price. I’ve heard we’re talking to Adrian Beltre, but believe me, I would be infinitely more enthusiastic about us talking to Adrian Gonzalez.
Remember Manny Delcarmen’s tragedy of a second half? Turns out he had shoulder fatigue for three months and didn’t say anything about it until September 30. That’s just infuriating. I mean, I don’t really know what to do with that. Theo had him receive a cortisone shot that same night, but after the car accident he was dropped from the postseason roster anyway. But that’s not the point. Either you want to help your team win, or you want to help your team win. If something’s going on, your team has a right to know, no matter how badly you want to play. As a fan, it’s hard not to play what-if in these situations; with a healthy Delcarmen down the stretch, who knows what would’ve happened.
In an attempt to cover the holes in our bullpen made by the Braves, we signed Scott Atchison to a one-year deal with two options. He spent the last two seasons in Japan and previous pitched for the Giants. He had an ERA above four that year. Whatever; he’s another option, and a bullpen built around options and flexibility is a bullpen poised to win a championship. Besides, we still have Paps, Bard, Ramirez, and a hopefully healthy Delcarmen. I think we’ll be okay.
We also acquired Boof Bonser from the Twins for pitching prospect Chris Province. Bonser isn’t great. He has a career ERA above five and missed all of last season due to labrum and rotator cuff tears. But he adds depth to the staff; he’ll have a chance to try for a depth spot in the rotation. But more likely, think of him as 2010’s Paul Byrd but with one conspicuous difference: the name. The Boston Red Sox now have a pitcher named “Boof.” Add this to Red Sox Nation’s to-do list for the offseason: preparing to take Boof Bonser seriously come April.
The Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson. Let’s remind ourselves that this was no feat of business managerial genius. The Tigers, affected by Detroit’s suffering economy, couldn’t carry his salary anymore. That’s the theme of this offseason for them; they lost Edwin Jackson, too. They got four players in return who aren’t as good as either and probably never will be. It’s a sad situation, but one the rest of the baseball world is taking note of. Point being that if you’re in need of some talent but want it on the cheap through trade, talk to Detroit. I’ll bet they’d be willing to listen.
And perhaps most importantly, the Jason Bay plot thickens. Our offer of four years worth sixty million dollars was rejected because he wants a fifth year. But we’ve publicly stated our commitment to not offering a fifth year; in fact, we’ve said that if someone else offers him a fifth year, we’re just going to assume that he’s leaving Boston and that’s it. So far, the Mets haven’t done so; their offer was comparable to ours. The Mariners are also unlikely to offer the fifth year; they’re more interested in keeping Beltre or signing Lackey. The Angels have more or less dropped out in order to focus on pitching. And the Yankees just acquired Granderson. So more waiting seems to be in line. Bay wanted to test the free agent market, and he’s testing it. He’s looking for something specific and good luck to him trying to find it. I’d rather watch him walk away than break the bank. In fact, if he doesn’t take a more flexible approach, he could find himself in a bind, because guess who’s also a free agent: Matt Holliday. And guess who the Red Sox are also interested in: Matt Holliday. Holliday played pretty well for Oakland. He struggled at the plate initially, which is to be expected from a guy coming over from not only the National League but Coors Field, with all that thin air. (Which is something you have to keep in mind when looking at Holliday’s career stats, by the way.) In the end, I agree with Curt Schilling: I’d go with Bay because he’s been tested and proven. All I’m saying is that the presence of Holliday, who unfortunately is represented by Boras, could soften Bay up a bit (in addition to jacking up his own paycheck because until Bay cuts teams some slack, Holliday would effectively be considered the only available elite left-fielder). So could our reported interest in Mike Cameron, who would be more than happy to switch from center to left for us. That’s not likely, but it’s a possibility. But we’d only seriously consider him after both Bay and Holliday become unavailable, and something tells me that may not be an issue.
Casey Kelly has made a decision: he’s going to pitch. No more shortstop for him. I completely agree. The mound will write his one-way ticket to the big leagues; if he decided to play short, we’d be talking a two-way.
Welcome to NESN, Peter Gammons! He signed a multiyear contract as a regular studio analyst and reporter. This is fantastic. Personally, I always thought it was funny that such a prominent representative of Red Sox Nation reported for ESPN, which doesn’t have a major presence in Boston. Well, the world rights itself eventually, I guess. And I’ll tell you one thing: Peter Gammons must be thrilled, because any television network is better than ESPN for baseball analysts. I mean, have you seen “Baseball Tonight?” (If you have, let me applaud you for somehow finding out when it’s on TV.) It’s over by the time it starts, so the analysts never have time to convey any real information. It really makes you appreciate NESN.
Congratulations to Bill James, who’ll receive the Judge Emil Fuchs Memorial Award for “long and meritorious service to the game.” He’ll be in good company; Hank Aaron and Jim Rice have also received it. And Bill James definitely deserves it after revolutionizing baseball with his sabermetric approach. I’m telling you: this game, let alone our team, wouldn’t be where it is today without him.
The Bruins beat the Leafs, 5-2, but lost to the Isles in sudden death. How we can score five goals against the Leafs and lose to the Isles is beyond me. The Leafs and Isles are comparable teams, with the Isles only two points ahead. (Can you believe that? The New York Islanders are third in their division. Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled that the Flyers are at the bottom of the barrel, but I never would’ve expected the Islanders to be anywhere but under the whole conference.) We’ve dropped to second, by the way. Two points behind the Sabres. We should get back up within the coming days. The Patriots lost to the Dolphins by a point. A point! The final score was 22-21! It was just awful. That’s our fourth loss this season and our second in a row. It pains me to say this, but the Pats are officially on a losing streak. That must be stopped.
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