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Posts Tagged ‘Jermaine Dye’

This is going to be short because absolutely nothing happened this week.  Nothing.  I think this was the quietest week of the offseason.  Then again, it’s always quiet right before Truck Day.  That’s the big story right there; Truck Day is February 12! Right around the corner! Can’t wait.  Seriously.  Can not wait.  It’s been a long winter and I’m ready to see some eighteen-wheelers head south.

It’s basically settled: the Padres will deal Gonzalez, not sign him to a new deal.  I bet he’ll be out of San Diego by this season’s trade deadline.

Jermaine Dye is still unemployed.  I wouldn’t mind at all if he became a last-minute acquisition.  He’s not what he used to be, but he wouldn’t be starting and we could use the extra power.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s still true, so I’ll say it again: look for Theo to hammer out new deals for both V-Mart and Beckett this season.  V-Mart is probably the least complicated of the two.  .336 average, .405 on-base percentage, .507 slugging percentage, 41 RBIs in 56 games, and consistently brings it when batting third.  V-Mart has an OPS of .837; that’s tenth among catchers with more than twenty-five hundred plate appearances through their seasons at age thirty.  The nine guys ahead of him include five Hall of Famers and two who are headed there.  That’s pretty much everything you need to know.  Sign him.  I’m thinking forty million for four years, or something like that.  Maybe throw in some extra cash because of his added value as a first baseman/DH.  By the way, he wants to stay in Boston.

The Beckett situation is a little trickier.  I know what you’re thinking: just offer him a Lackey-type deal and be done with it.  But it’s not that simple.  He’ll probably get something more like Halladay’s deal with the Phillies because of his shoulder.  Lackey has an issue too, but it’s with his elbow, and recovering from Tommy John surgery is very different from recovering from rotator cuff surgery.  We built protection into Lackey’s contract and will look to do the same with Beckett’s.  If Beckett has a problem with that, make no mistake: he will be allowed to walk.  We will not take unnecessary risks with our investments; that much is certain.  And if he walks, there’s always someone like Cliff Lee.  That isn’t to say he won’t be missed.  He will most definitely be missed.  And measures should be taken to avoid a situation in which he will be missed.  Besides, I wouldn’t necessarily be so sure that Beckett won’t agree to the protection.  He loves playing in Boston.  Lackey and Drew wanted to play in Boston badly enough that they agreed to their protections, no problem.  We could reasonably expect Beckett to do the same.

Last but not least, Nomar Garciaparra’s announcement of his retirement is expected to be imminent.  He says he’s determined to play this season if the right solution comes up, but the problem is that it probably won’t come up.  When the announcement is made, I’ll be ready with a tribute.  For now, suffice it to say that, for better or for worse, he was a legend in Boston and would be missed.

If you thought I didn’t want to talk about the Bruins last week, you can imagine how I feel about talking about them this week.  We’re currently nursing a ten-game losing streak.  Ten games.  Four of those were overtime losses.  Quite frankly, it’s just disgusting.  At this rate, not only will we not make the playoffs, but we’ll finish the season in the dregs of the league.  At least the Olympics are coming up, which should cure some of New England’s Bruins-induced hockey ailments for a little while.

Super Bowl tonight at 6:00PM! As a Pats fan, please allow me to say one thing: Who dat? Here’s to hoping the Saints take care of business.  Get psyched.

Surviving Grady

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As usual in these situations, I’m going to cut to the completely unjustifiable chase.  We’re not getting the All-Star Game in 2012.  Kansas City is getting it.  I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock before I continue, because believe me, this was one seriously twisted shock.  Okay.  Apparently, Kauffman Stadium recently completed major renovations.  How nice for Kauffman Stadium.  It’s brand-new, nice and clean, and very fan-friendly.  Congratulations, Kansas City; now Kauffman Stadium is just like every other ballpark that completes major renovations.

Just to review, the reason why we wanted the All-Star Game in 2012 is because Fenway Park will turn one hundred years old.  The oldest ballpark still in use in the United States of America will commemorate a century of baseball.  America’s Most Beloved Ballpark will celebrate its one hundredth birthday.  Think about what Fenway Park has seen in that time.  It’s seen the Royal Rooters, Tris Speaker, Duffy’s Cliff.  It’s seen Joe Cronin, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski.  It’s seen Nomar Garciaparra, David Ortiz, 2004, and 2007.  It’s seen a team of royalty followed by a team that committed cruel and unusual losses year after year after year, followed by royalty’s return.  If there is a structure in this country that embodies the history of the game of baseball within its very foundation, it’s Fenway Park.

And Fenway Park was denied.  Why? I have no idea.  What, they can give it to New York because it’s the last year of Yankee Stadium but they can’t recognize that America’s Most Beloved, and oldest, Ballpark will turn a century old? I mean, okay, so Kansas City hasn’t had the All-Star game in forty years and Fenway last had it thirteen years ago, in 1999 when none other than the Splendid Splinter threw out the first pitch.  But Fenway only turns one hundred years old once in a lifetime.  Kansas City could’ve gotten it in 2013.  In fact, it would’ve been okay by me if Kansas City had it every year for another forty years if only we could have it this one time.  Something just doesn’t seem right here.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we are extremely and profoundly disappointed and extremely and profoundly confused.

Zack Greinke won the AL Cy Young.  I’ll be very interested to see how he pitches next year.  I don’t think he’ll be as effective.  But I do think Josh Beckett is in line to have a break-out season so dominant that not even CC Sabathia can squeeze past him in the Cy Young voting.  Tim Lincecum won it for the NL, becoming its first repeat winner since Randy Johnson.  Andrew Bailey of Oakland and Chris Coghlan of Florida were the Rookies of the Year.  Mike Scoscia and Jim Tracy of Colorado were the Managers of the Year.  I don’t think I would’ve picked Mike Scoscia.  In my mind, there were three managers this year who faced significant uphill battles and who powered through them: Terry Francona, and then Ron Gardenhire and Ron Washington.  Terry Francona managed us through a lack of shortstop, the entry of a new starting catcher, a decline in the playing time of the team’s captain, a very public steroid scandal, and the worst slump in the career of the figure at the heard of said steroid scandal.  True, every manager deals with things behind closed doors, but what makes Tito’s job so difficult is that those doors are never closed completely.  It’s the nature of sports in Boston.  Gardenhire took the Twins from zero to one-game-playoff winners without Joe Mauer in the first month of the season, Justin Morneau in the last month, or a particularly effective bullpen.  And Washington almost made it to the playoffs this year without big-name talent.  All I’m saying is that, if the award goes to a Manager of the Year within the Angels organization, it should have gone to Torii Hunter, not Scoscia.  He was the real force in that clubhouse.  MVPs will be announced tomorrow.

Again, not much in the way of business yet.  Jason Bay rejected a four-year, sixty-million-dollar offer in favor of testing the free agent market for the first time in his career.  He’s Theo’s priority, though, and I still say he’ll end up back in Boston.  The Cards have already stated that they’re not interested, preferring Matt Holliday instead.  But I think this has the potential to be one of those long, drawn-out negotiations.  By the way, let’s not forget that Jermaine Dye is also a free agent.

We released George Kottaras, who has been claimed by the Brewers.  PawSox manager Ron Johnson will be our new bench coach.  We’re reportedly interested in Adrian Beltre, and we claimed reliever Robert Manuel off waivers.  Before the offseason is done, we’ll probably re-sign Alex Gonzalez and add a low-risk, high-potential starter.  Remember: in an economy like this, you do not need to, nor should you, empty your pockets to win a World Series, no matter what the Evil Empire might assume is the best practice.

Congratulations to John Henry on winning the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship.  Again, corporate social responsibility in this day and age is the way to go.  Unfortunately, though, ticket prices are up this year.  About half the seats were increased by two dollars, including the infield grandstand, right field boxes, and lower bleachers.  The field and loge boxes and Green Monster seats and standing room were increased by five dollars.  The outfield grandstand and upper bleachers weren’t increased.  Whenever you hear about price increases or decreases for tickets at Fenway, remember to always take them with a grain of salt.  Obviously we’d prefer a price freeze, but how many of us really purchase our Fenway tickets at face value anyway? I’m just saying.

So, as per usual this early in the offseason, we have more wait-and-seeing ahead.  Theo never reveals the tricks he has up his sleeve, so that’s really all we can do.

The Bruins suffered a particularly painful loss to the Islanders, 4-1.  I’d rather not talk about it.  We did best Atlanta in a shootout, though, and we eked out a win against the Sabres in sudden death.  That last one was particularly heartening, being that the Sabres are first in the division.  For now.  We’re only two points behind.  And now for the grand finale, let’s discuss Bill Belichick’s oh-so-positive judgment call on Sunday.  In the fourth quarter with a six-point lead, the Pats had the ball on their 28.  Tom Brady’s pass was incomplete.  With two minutes and eight seconds left on the clock, Belichick decided to go for it.  But Kevin Faulk fumbled the ball, and suddenly it was fourth and two.  Needless to say, we lost, 35-34, to the Colts, who are still undefeated.  I mean, it’s a tough call.  Belichick made the same decision against Atlanta and we won.  Then again, we had the lead, we had the time, and we had an opponent that wasn’t Indianapolis.  It was just bad.  It was just really, really bad.

Sawxblog/Derek Hixon

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All in all, that was a very strange game.  How we came out of it with only one error is completely beyond me, because we displayed just about every blooper you could possibly imagine.  It was a full nine innings of weirdness, let me tell you, but if we win I don’t care how weird it is.  It’s the third win in four days.  Keep ’em coming.

Basically, heading into the eighth inning, we were tied at three.  Jon Lester had exited with two outs in the seventh and gave up three runs on four hits with two walks, six K’s, and a long ball by Jayson Nix to lead off the third.  And he was just about to record that final out, with two men on and an 0-2 count on Alexei Ramirez, when his curveball bounced off Tek and one of the runners scored.  Then Nix struck again, literally and figuratively, as he hit a line drive that hit Lowell’s glove and that batted in their third run.  Even with those two runs, Lester delivered his eighteenth quality start of the season, putting him ahead of Josh Beckett and in the lead of the entire pitching staff.  So he may have gotten a no-decision, but at least he didn’t lose (Delcarmen got the win, and Paps got the save, which was completely clean.  Sixteen pitches in the inning, thirteen of them strikes, a hit but no walks and two K’s.).

It didn’t end there.  In the top of the eighth, Carlos Quentin popped up just behind the mound, and despite Okajima’s best efforts at a catch, the ball landed behind him.  Later in the frame, V-Mart botched the routine throw back to the mound, and the ball ended up in center field, moving Quentin to second.  Paul Konerko singled to put runners at the corners, Jermaine Dye popped to short, AJ Pierzynski struck out, and that was the end of the night for Okajima.  Delcarmen came in and got Alex Rios to pop to second to end the top half of the inning.

In the bottom of the inning, the game was pretty much over.  We scored three runs and basically won it, 6-3, right then and there.  Jason Bay hit a solo shot with one out.  His twenty-eighth of the season, and what a blast it was.  Probably one of his most important home runs of the year.  Definitely one of his farthest.  It didn’t even touch the Monster.  Huge.  And hit with two strikes, too.  After that the White Sox had no chance.  Period.  End of story.

Other RBIs came courtesy of Youk, Pedroia, Martinez (perfect at the plate, going two for two with a double and two RBIs), and Jacoby Ellsbury, who went three for five with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base, thereby officially leading the franchise in single-season stolen bases! Congratulations, kid.  Can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

Turns out that Billy Wagner will, in fact, be pitching in Boston.  He ended up waiving his no-trade clause to win a World Series.  And you hear something like that and it makes you marvel at how far we’ve come.  Until about five years ago we were a temporary stop, not a destination, for baseball’s best, because the expectation was obviously that a World Series wasn’t coming to Boston any time soon.  How the tables have turned.  We’ve come so far from that it’s ridiculous, and I have to say it feels pretty good.  Papelbon is psyched, by the way.  If you take his comments literally, what he said was simply that the bullpen has clearly defined roles and he just wasn’t sure how Wagner’s role would fit in from a purely organizational standpoint.  But he’s psyched.  And if Wagner works out, that would be one seriously formidable one-two punch.

Wakfield returns to the mound tonight opposite Gavin Floyd, but this game is important for reasons other than Wakefield’s return and its status as a must-win (as is basically every game from this point on).  It’s important because Victor Martinez is catching.  He’s been practicing with a pitching machine rigged to throw knuckleballs and was even using in on our last road trip.  This game, with its relatively low-pressure opponent, will be a good introductory diagnostic of V-Mart’s abilities in that vein.  On the bright side, when it comes to catching knuckleballs, he couldn’t possibly be worse than Tek.

AP Photo

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We lost by a final score of 1-3.  This one took us five pitchers; Texas only took two.  Buchholz lasted only four innings and in a massive display of inefficiency threw ninety pitches in that time.  Three runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.  Ian Kinsler led off the third with a home run.  Delcarmen, Bard, Okajima, and Papelbon were, for all intents and purposes, spot-on.  Especially Papelbon.  Eight pitches in the eighth inning.  And it’s becoming more and more the norm.

Nick Green hit a home run of his own to lead off the third.  Other than that, we went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.  What a riveting performance.

So that was a little bit longer of a recap, but that was because we addressed the bullpen.  The point is that we’re on a streak, all right.  We’re on a fantastic streak.  We’re on a streak lasting five games already.  It’s a losing streak.  And we’re two games behind the Yankees.  I can not put into words how not good this is.  That wasn’t a great start for Buchholz, but that should have been a win anyway.  Since when do the Boston Red Sox fail to make contact with runners in scoring position or fail to score runs generally? Apparently, since now.   I’m not a fan.  I am most definitely not a fan.

JD Drew is currently on the second-longest hitless streak of his career.  He’s 0 for 22.  He’s on pace to surpass the longest, an 0-for-25 stretch to start his 2005 season with the Dodgers.  This is something you just love to find out when your team can’t even buy a hit.

We traded two prospects to the Pirates for Adam LaRoche.  He’s a first baseman by trade, so I see him coming off the bench every so often to give Lowell a day off; Youk would move to third.  Or he could DH and give Papi the day off.  But he’s a .269 hitter and batting only .247 on this season, and while he’s a career .486 slugger, he’s currently slugging .441, on top of being very inconsistent, so he’s not exactly the big bat many of us were hoping for.  Ready for the sad part? We can’t even technically complain about that because that average is higher than the averages of three of last night’s starters.  It’s just so painful.  And he’s a lefty, and any left-handed hitter is an asset.  One thing I will say: it’s unfortunate that, in leaving the Pirates, he leaves his younger brother, Andy LaRoche, their third baseman.  Two brothers on the same team is pretty neat.  I’ll tell you who it would be awesome to get: Jermaine Dye.  There’s a guy I’d love to see in a Red Sox uniform.  Flirting with .300 right now.

I would just like to say thank you to the Pirates, and also that you’ll be feeling it later.  The Pirates clearly have no front office to speak of.  They keep trading away their best players for mediocre prospects.  Everyone knows they’re desperate, so it’s not like they can command the pride of anyone’s farm system.  Soon they won’t have any players left to trade away, and by then they’ll have a farm system that’s second-rate.  And they’ll be right back where they started: not quite at the bottom of the National League, but with a losing record and falling fast.

We also traded Julio Lugo to the Cards for Chris Duncan, a left fielder who bats .257 career and .227 this season.  Only five home runs on the entire season.  Whatever; he’s at Pawtucket anyway.  We gave them cash considerations in return for either cash or a player to be named later.

This could be Theo positioning himself to make a move at the trade deadline.  Either he’s simply adding depth to the bench, or he’s adding more trade bait.  Either way, in Theo we trust, and we have to wait and see what happens.  But as the deadline approaches, the suspense is definitely growing.  You never know what he might have up his sleeve.

Big day on Sunday for Jim Rice, when he’ll finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame! It’s about time.  Really.  And make some room on the right field roof deck beacause his Number 14 will be retired by the Red Sox.  Yes, sir.  Jim Rice finally gets his due.  It’ll be a great day.

We have a very-much-needed day off today, followed by a return home against the Orioles.  Brad Bergesen at Penny.  This is exactly what the doctor ordered.  We get swept by the Rangers, which again is just painful to acknowledge, but we’re coming back to our house against a weak division team.  The Penny part, I probably could do with out, but with Buchholz and Smoltz largely failing, I’ll take what I can get.  Which hopefully will be a win.  Because right now, every game is starting to feel like a must-win.

Getty Images

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Just when you start to feel good about August, just when you think we’re in a good place, just when you think we can hold on and eventually find our way back to first place, this happens.  Injuries.  The timing is incredible.  Youk and Wake both have shoulder problems.  Can we say disaster?

Youk’s injury actually isn’t so bad.  He just did a little damage lifting weights, and he’s likely to return to the lineup today.  And until he comes back we have Sean Casey and his outstandingly high batting average to fill the gap.  I’d say that’s as good of a substitute as you can get.  Wake’s injury is a bigger problem.  He’s on the DL with shoulder stiffness, and it’s such a shame because he’s been rolling lately.  Strong start after strong start, very consistent, getting better and better as the season goes on.  We need him in there, especially with Clay Buchholz’s lack of stuff.  Luckily, the pitching staff will be able to absorb this.  Barely.  Bartolo Colon’s been doing well in Pawtucket, and I’d be surprised if Masterson didn’t come out of the bullpen (as if an arm like that belonged there to begin with).  So we can do this, but it won’t be easy.  The bright side? We’re going to the postseason.  Whether we get there with the Wild Card or in first is unfortunately another story.  Don’t get me wrong, I still believe.  I also believe that a good, solid losing streak by the Rays would be very helpful right about now.

Going back to Buchholz’s lack of stuff, it’s getting a little pathetic.  In his last seven starts, he’s 0-6 with an 8.19 ERA.  At that rate, we’re lucky we only lost by one run.  Five runs on seven hits over only three innings.  Three of those hits were home runs: a solo shot for Dye in the second and two-run shots for Quentin and Thome in the third.  It was absolutely infuriating to watch.  Infuriating.  The dude pitched a no-no last year in his second Major League start, but that doesn’t mean he should be in the rotation.  Maybe the bullpen or Pawtucket.  But not in the rotation, not allowing three home runs in a single game in August.  No, sir.

I’m so glad Aardsma is back, even if he did allow the run that ultimately made the difference.  Every reliever allows a run now and then.  Now happened to be a bad time to allow a run, but it happens.  Masterson and Okajima were spot-on.

I have to say the offense rocked.  First inning.  Two on.  Two out.  And who but Mikey Lowell crushes the ball out of the park.  How’s that for coming out of a slump? He did make two errors (that’s a rare sight), but I’d rather have the homer with the errors than no homer and no errors.  And Jay Bay was back to his usual self, hitting and batting a run in.  Sean Casey had himself a productive night, going two for four and generally reminding us why we don’t have to worry too much about how long it takes for Youk to come back.

Ellsbury is back in lead-off, and Drew is batting clean-up.  If you ask me, it should be the other way around.  Drew continues to draw walk after walk after walk, and if Ellsbury keeps on hitting like he’s been, you’d rather have him in a position to score Drew rather than have Drew in a position to walk and move Ellsbury along.  And speaking of Ellsbury and Drew, they both stole second last night.  Dusty stole third.

Well, we’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’re pitching Beckett tomorrow, and we need a repeat performance of what he did in Kansas City.  And we need the offense to be on.  And if the Rays want to lose, I won’t complain.  But we need something, something to remind us that we’re good and that we can go to the World Series and win.  Because we can.  But first we have to get there.

AP Photo

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