Best we've seen so far

That’s how I would describe Daisuke Matsuzaka’s performance today. He’s been pinpoint with everything and none of the Pirates look comfortable at the plate.

The one run he gave up was sort of a fluke. A hit batter, a couple of grounders and an RBI single. After that, he was flawless.

When Matsuzaka is on, he’s a lot of fun to watch. He works quickly, moves the  ball in and out, and up and down. He sure seems to be getting in a nice groove with Varitek. More later. Just wanted to give you a running update. But for those who are comparing him to Keg Igawa, get a grip. There is absolutely no comparison. Igawa isn’t in this guy’s league.

Later,

Ian.

29 Comments

I’ll say. If he can pitch that good in the season, I’ll start by saying “hello AL East title.”

My guess stats for Dice-K:

17-8, 3.65 ERA, and, oh, 190-something Ks.

I wonder what everyone else thinks.

I’m right with you on the ERA and the K’s.

As for the W-L record, it’ll depend in part on the Mister X, that mysterious closer that we’re still searching.

Forgot to say : I’m very, very excited about the whole Dice-K thing. I can’t wait to see him pitch in a real game.

I got my tickets for an early July game against the Rays, and yesterday i caught myself thinking : Man ! He has to be the starter of that game.

Maybe i will give Tito a call.

Speaking of seeing Dice-K in a real game, I hope I see him in June when the Sox visit AZ.

I wonder who Mr. X will end up being. Personally, I’d like to see a trade for Chad Cordero or something, but if I had to choose a closer from who we had, I’d pick Devern Hansack. I bet he could do a fine job.

Off topic a bit, Tek’s situation. He aging, and its noticeable. The knee injury last year only proves my point. A catcher is the catalyst of a team. And in Varitek’s place, the captian. After his injury late last season the team crumbled. His hitting lately is also concerning. Kottaras is a top prospects, but it takes time to get comfortable with a pitching staff. Therefore, a closer is not the issue, Tek is.

So, trading for a closer is not the first prioity, finding a back-up vetrean catcher is.

Brilliant idea, we could trade for Cordero and try to grab the Nationals catcher Brian Shneider in the deal too.

Good point, but i don’t agree. The main issue is still the closer spot.

You can win a championship with an aging VTeck and Mirabelli. But with no fine tuned closer, you can’t. Not in AL East.

It’s that simple.

Yeah rsjones, let’s trade away our captain and one of the most brilliant catchers ever to sit behind behind the plate because he had an injury last year…give me a break! You underestimate tek’s ability to bounce back. You even said it yourself. The team literally crumbled after tek hit the dl. The Sox won’t even come close in the AL East without a quality closer, let alone without Varitek. Brilliant post by the way.

Ian get your own grip, never did I say Igawa was anywhere near the realm of Matsuzaka, the yankees don’t even agree, all I said was I found the ERA comparison funny.

Secondly, why so harsh on the man concerned with Varitek? I’m worried about Posada and he wasn’t even injured last season. And it’s not like knee injury is unrelated to being a catcher, the guy uses them every second of his game.

Trading him is a bad idea, but being concerned is not.

You’re not getting schneider and cordero in a deal without giving up hansen, and about 3 other top prospects minimum. And i’m not talking some guy with potential to be a top prospect, im talking ellsbury territory and that is for starters. The Nationals may not have much, but they know when they have something and both those guys are proven MLB players.

I do agree, the main issue is the closer’s role.

Ian, or anyone else that can answer this one. How does Matt
Clement look and what about his status as a starter?

Spring training is always a

great time for optimism, but the real deal starts in less

than two weeks. The Sox look

solid, but let’s not jump the gun just yet.

I’m watching the game on ESPN and they are reporting that the Sox are going to announce that Papelbon will be our closer. I like it. They will have restrictions on how he will be used not to wear him out like last season.

I heard the same thing, Ellen, and made a post about it on Sox and Pinstripes. With Lester and Gabbard available as NO. 4 or No. 5 starters along with Wakefield, the rotation will still be strong and deep. I like this move, as long as Papelbon feels good about it.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Now I read where Julian Tavarez is slated to take the spot left by Papelbon. Tavarez did do a good job last September. I imagine he will start until Lester is ready.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

The Papelbon announcement
is a surprise! I like it. If the Sox can avoid over-using him, that is. But with all those guys, Donnelly, Timlin, etc, they can surely have a different person in to close out a game once in a while. And, hopefully with a more potent line-up the games won’t be so close.

Tek is a legit concern. The sox need a good back-up. Don’t they have Castillo in Pawtucket for that purpose? In case someone goes down?

Here we go again… use a great pitcher even less than we did last year because we want to avoid an injury and let a bum be our 5th starter? Or give a great pitcher 30+ starts and roll the dice on a closer? The Tigers rode Todd Jones 3.94 ERA from the closers position all the way to the World Series last year. This is really frustrating. We get on a little losing streak and Papelbon won’t even play. I thought this idea stunk last year and it still stinks this year.

Not sure how to respond to the Papelbon announcement. I guess it’s one I’ll go along with.

I mean, Tavarez was undefeated as a starter (even if it was only a record of 3-0), and Papelbon proved his dominance in the bullpen last year. The only concern was health, but I think with the additional experience Papelbon gained, it may not be a problem this year.

I would have solved the closer problem another way (ie, trade for Cordero, call up Hansack, etc.), but I think this move solves more problems than it creates.

To sum it up: our starters won’t win if we leave the door wide open after they leave. I saw that both Pap and Tavarez were happy with the moves. With our offense, I think they’ll be fine.

Rayman: Who do YOU propose we use for a closer….? TAVAREZ?? God help us! And I believe that when Tavarez is in HE’S the only one who CAN help us!! If the bats can produce 27 runs before he comes in, we might have a chance. He’s proven that he’s as scared a relief man as there is, and Pinero looks like he could damage us in the long run. His record last year wasn’t good. So who else??? The Sox have said that there will be stops in place to avoid an injury to Jonathan. But who do you want????

When I said “HE’S” I meant God or some higher power… I certainly didn’t mean Tavarez. Sorry for the Confusion this might have caused.

I’d prefer paps in a starters role, I figured we might have another Rocket on our hands. Apparently he wants to close so if thats what he wants then so be it. We still have a formidable staff and we also have Lester joining soon, or clement, or maybe even the Rocket himself! (I wish)!

Only 11 days before Opening Day and since Theo wasn’t able to trade for a stud closer out there, the options were narrowed to this :

1) Pap 4th starter and Tavarez closer.

2) Lester 4th starter and Pap closer.

I’ll take the latter. Tavarez will probably start until Lester is ready. Didn’t catch the annoncement, though.

Think about it, Tavarez has more of a starters mentality. So put him where he has a chance to succeed. And if he can’t do the job, Gabbard or Lester can.
Papelbon has shown he can start or close. So put him as closer this year and have him start next year.

Speaking of the Rocket, where he in the mix. With Pap as the closer a starter is in need. Lester is still getting himself back in form, and wouldn’t be back until mid season. Clemens has only expressed interest in a part of the season starting job anyways. Clemens has experience which is key in this years rotation with the youn guns like Dice-K and Beckett.
Tavarez is concerning, if he can’t handle 1 inning hows he supposed to handle 6 to 7.

Tavarez pitched in september, the easiest time to start seeing as it is mostly september callups. I read an interesting comment that the Sox announced this so it makes them seem less desperate and they can get a closer on the market at a lower cost. I don’t buy it, but it is an interesting theory.

Well, so much for Peter Gammons having the inside line on the closer spot. I guess I’d better stay away from Vegas, too. ;-)

Although I was really excited to see what Papelbon could do as a starter, it sounds to me like Francona & co. may have figured out the proper adjustments to make in using Papelbon so he doesn’t run into the same shoulder problems he had at the end of last season. And it also sounds like Papelbon got a real taste for the late inning adrenaline rush.

Maybe not the ideal situation, but it could be worse.

I heard the whole Papelbon/Tavarez swap on ESPNRadio going into work yesterday morning (wonder what Mike & Mike will have to say this morning) and I have to admit, I was a bit shocked.

Honestly, this might be a good thing for at least this season if not the next few. If Papelbon wants to close and him and the team are good about watching his health, then this could be perfect.

This could lead to two things in bullpen area: our prospects (e.g. Hansack, Delcarmen, and in particular Hansen), get more time to prep at AAA while we have a closer. This leads to the possibility that either those prospects become long/middle relief guys while Papelbon closes or one of them (probably Hansen) can finally take over the closer role sending Papelbon back to the starting rotation. I know he loved to close, but seeing how his personality is, Papelbon would do whatever is best for his team to win (and at this moment, it’s closing games out).

As for the starting rotation, this may be a temporary solution for now due to the one of reasons I just stated; if Papelbon goes back to starting, then Tavarez will go back to long/middle relief. I agree with Arnie, Tavarez has a starter’s mentality in many ways so lets see how he works out. If not, well there’s Gabbard and eventually Lester (and even other starters down in AAA that are almost major-ready).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but in 2004 wasn’t Tavarez actually pretty good with the Cardinals? If so, then I see no reason why he can’t repeat that success. Plus, the team supports him (along with Big Papi and Manny, heh), so I expect him to be exactly what he’s going to be; a decent 5th starter.

With our closer situation solved (for now), I’ll take Tavarez as the 5th starter and run with it as long as it’ll net the Red Sox mostly positive results.

I’m not sold about the fact that Papelbon is moving back to the closer role. I am sure he will do a great job, but I thought that he had the possibility to be a great starter. And I value a great starter over a dominant closer. And you never know of what you gonna get from Tavarez (or Snyder and Gabbard for that matter).

I’m also concerned about how Francona is going to manage Papelbon (and the rest of the bullpen). Tito has a tendency to overuse his best relievers (Foulke, Papelbon, Timlin etc.) and I hate to see Papelbon landing on the DL once more.

I think Donnelly would have been a decent choice if we couldn’t make a deal. 2.87 career ERA, 295 strikeouts in 295 career innings. Donnelly’s ERA last year was exactly the same as World Series closer Todd Jones. Bottom line… we’re going to throw out a #5 starter for about 150 innings (30 starts, 5 innings per start if we’re lucky)… Papelbon will be lucky to get 75 innings. I just think the move is way too conservative.

We all keep forgetting the possibility that Papelbon may not be the permanent closer for our team. What Vince said about lowering the market value for getting a closer may make a little sense or they may be doing this out of some grand plan NOBODY knows about.

The move may be conservative, but it’s the beginning of the season (heck, it’s still technically spring training), so our beloved Sox can technically do this and get away with it without killing them. I also feel that Donnelly would have made a decent closer as well, but for now, lets see where this goes.

As for Snyder and Gabbard, Snyder’s set for long relief so I don’t expect him to start unless there’s a huge rash of injuries to the rotation (at that point we might as well just call the season a wash considering last year). Gabbard I have more faith in because he’s had a decent Spring. I expect him to polish up in AAA but don’t be surprised if gets called up (along with probably Lester sometime later in the season).

I do agree Tito has a tendency to overuse his relievers, but he said it himself: he felt he overused Papelbon last year, so I don’t think he’ll do the same thing again. You’d have to be a COMPLETE IDIOT to something like that over and over again (which I severely doubt Tito is anyway :-D ).

This is the best move…for now.

The dumb move was verbally stating Papelbon was going to start without an adequate repalcement. That’s laying your hand out before the bidding starts.

My guess, Pap closes in 2007 and does a great job. The Sox either acquire a closer-type arm as a setup man mid-2007 or in the off-season and Papelbon replaces Schilling in the rotation next year.

To the point of the 160-170 IP versus 75-IP, those 160-170 IP are literally wasted if many of those leads or close games are blown in the 8th or 9th. I’m sure Dice-K, Schilling and Beckett are gonna be glad that Paps is back there for their outings.

**** Rivera might make a good-great starter and with all the ?s in the Yanks rotation you don’t see them making Farnsworth their closer.

Dice-K looked great,true. But remember,he was pitching against the Pirates,who can make just about anyone look like Cy Young…

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