Getting antsy

For my entire baseball-watching life, the turn of a new year was always the time I started to get antsy for baseball season. Now is no different.

I remember when I was a kid — on those rare years when it was warm after Christmas — I would be happy if I could go outside and break in the new glove. This year, with the snow and the ice, was not fit for such an occasion.

So instead, we sit back and wonder what the 2009 Red Sox will look like when it all starts anew in Fort Myers next month.

No, the Red Sox didn’t spend $420 million on free agents like the Yankees did. Instead, they plunked down $5 million on Brad Penny, another $1.7 on Josh Bard and invested $40.5 million in Dustin Pedroia’s future.

I still like the look of this team, but I’ll feel better once I know who the catcher is going to be.

A big key to the success of the ’09 team will be how well Lowell, Ortiz and Beckett rebound from their injuries. If those three guys get anywhere close to ’07 form, this will be a dangerous, dangerous team.

102 Comments

Brownie – I agree. I’m really concerned that the Sox haven’t solved their pitching problem. And I’m disappointed that we didn’t make an offer to Lowe. I would have liked him over Penny. I also can’t wait for the season to start to see how it all comes together. Let’s go SOX!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

d lowe woulda been a 4th or 5th starter….taking up a spot for a young arm to mature….i woulda liked him too but i see the reasoning….im still hoping for teagarden to wind up in boston…pls pls pls……he could learn from tek for 2 yrs…..he resembles fisk in alot of ways….judge…i have the itch…..lets ff to spring trainin lol

Brownie:

Amazingly, great minds must think alike. If you look at my final comment on the last blog subject (the renewal of the 2003-2004 rivalry) I made almost the exact same comment concerning the likely Sox success in 2009 — which Papi, Mikey and Josh the Sox see, whether Jon L and Dice-K continue to progress or regress, and whether DP and Youk can have yet another set of career years. While they don’t need all of those things to break in their favor, they need a bunch to. If they do, I agree they will be dangerous…if not, who knows, maybe there will be gameday tickets available for a change.

In my line of thinking (fantasy baseball world) — I have a lot of interest in the Sox C as well :). Good luck and get a good one!

Hi, All. Hope everyone had a nice holiday week. I agree with Ian, and I have been vocal on Sox and Pinstripes about how the 2009 Red Sox (as the roster is currently composed) will still be a serious contender. I still think the team needs to sign Lowe, Sheets or Kawakami because Penny’s health is a question mark. Though Sheets has an injury history, he would be an ideal two-year signing.

Teixeira was a solid signing by the Yankees, but if you look at their lineup, they haven’t gained a whole lot on offense compared to what they lost in Abreu and Giambi. Sabathia will definitely help the rotation in the regular season, but he is like A-Rod in October – he doesn’t show up. Burnett will be sure to land on the DL at some point. The Yankees will be more competitive, but don’t be fooled into thinking they are the clear-cut best team in the AL East because they’re not.

I like the idea of Epstein pulling off a blockbuter involving someone like Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran or Hanley Ramirez, even if it means dealing away Buchholz, Ellsbury and/or someone like Daniel Bard or Lowrie. Masterson and Lars Anderson should be kept regardless. You gotta give up something to get something, and fortunately the Sox farm system is deep with talented players at the Single-A affiliates, so the cupboard will be restocked soon if the Sox do have to give up three top prospects to get a big bat.

I really like the ideal of acquiring Miguel Montero and Eric Byrnes from Arizona. Montero will be a solid starting catcher in the near future, and Byrnes would give the Sox a starting-caliber fourth outfielder who can play all three spots, and plays the game with passion. He has some pop in his bat, plays solid defense and has speed. What’s not to like?

As far as a blockbuster – and taking into consideration the other team’s needs – I would like to see Ellsbury, Buchholz and a third quality prospect (Daniel Bard or Josh Reddick) sent to the Mets for Beltran (who hits for average, power and has speed). If the Sox do this, they will need to sign another starting pitcher and use Penny as insurance., or add another reliever so they can use Masterson in the rotation, if needed.

Though the Celtics and Steelers are keeping my occupied in the off-season, I am anxious for spring training to begin. I am increasing my coverage of Red Sox prospects, so I am heading down to Ft. Myers to write some profiles at minor league camp. By the way, a note to Danny Ainge – please DO NOT pick up Stephon Marbury! What the Celtics need is another big man. Think Joe Smith, since his contract will likely be bought out by Oklahoma City.

Jeff
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

I’m no admirer of Omar Minaya, but Beltran or Reyes would likely command much more than a player with only one MLB season under his belt and two AA minor leaguers. The Mets asking price would start with Lester or Matsuzaka and Bay!

i would prefer beltran,,,reyes is awesome but his attitude waivers……d wright would be my 1st choice tho…..or han ran from florida…..judge

hey everyone!!!! I’m getting set to watch 2004 WS Highlights on MLB Network at 8 and at 9:30 a show called “RedSox Memories”… So far I REALLY like this network
Tune in I think that you’ll like it.

I would really like to see them get Salty. I think he would be a great young catcher who would do quite well in Fenway.
I think the Red Sox laid off of Tex and didn’t up the bid because they have Lars Anderson waiting in the wings. They will drop a huge dollar amount for Matt Holliday after this season when his contract ends. They can far more use the corner OF rather than a 1B. I see the Red Sox holding on to their young talent so when the A’s fall out of contention this year they will have young bargaining chips to perform a sign and trade with the A’s.
The only guy I would make a move for now would be Hanley Ramirez but he isn’t going anywhere until 2011 when he starts costing Florida big bucks LOL

moanin all……bruins best team in hockey….celts back on track…..sox gettin ready for S.T. soon…….im thinkin the catcher situation gets solved this week….im hopin for teagarden and tek but we will see…..dont count out a blockbuster for theo either….judge

Ahhhhhh!! I sure feel better now (or am I just more anxious for the season to start than before) after my “fix” of RedSox last night….. Its amazing that even though I watched the 2004 season live (and highlights galore) that watching that can STILL make me cry and have all those feelings again. I think that the MLB Network is just what the Dr. ordered for all of us suffering the pains of withdrawl. Their Hot Stove Report ( I think its on at 7) is pretty darned good. I hope that they can keep up quality baseball programming for a lomg time to come.

ps…. where are all of my guys????Arnie, Brian, Dave , Craig,?? I see DBenjamin… Come out, come out, whre ever you are!!!

can i join lol…..ps…..42 days till S.T…….JUDGE

I’ve been getting antsy since October. Haha.

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

Boston needs to bring back Tek. He may not be as productive as he used to be but he is still the captain of that team. The Red Sox may not be spending tons of cash like New York but I think they are spending money wisely. The extension for Pedroia was perfect and Brad Penny is a good addition. I don’t know much about Josh Bard but hopefully it works out this time around.
http://hardballblog.mlblogs.com/

I think when everyone looks at the Sox lineup they are forgetting about the potential impact of Jason Bay. This guy is as much of a stud with the bat as any of the players being mentioned here for whom some want to give up the likes of Ellsbury/Buchholz and others. No freaking way do you get rid of those kids for the likes of Carlos Beltran or Jose Reyes. The Sox lineup has plenty of pop and huge potential to be better than last year. Papi and Lowell were hurt and the Sox still came within a game of the World Series. If they solve the catching issue, they will be solid from top to bottom without having spent $400M on superstars they don’t really need. Bay averages 31 HRs and 100+ RBIs a year. He may do better playing 82 games at Fenway.

I agree with Ian that the recoveries of Papi, Lowell and Beckett are certainly key issues. But they are all veterans and there is a certain expectation that they will perform so they aren’t really in my X-factor box. To me, the X-factors are Ellsbury and Lowrie. Will they grow and get better. Ellsbury hit .280, stole 50 bases and was nothing short of brilliant in the outfield. Lowrie was huge in clutch situations, hit .258 and was errorless at shortstop and showed versatility by playing a good third base as well. They weren’t rookies of the year, but they were both solid. Will they get better? I think yes!

well said….i wish tito would have carter as 4th outfielder also for when drew goes on dl….u notice i said when and not if….only problem is hes a lefty too….judge

Well said, indeed, Garry. The trio of Big Papi, Beckett, Lowell should indeed work themselves out for the best, and as Ian said very well, if they’re anywhere CLOSE to 2007 form (and I believe they’ll be at least closer to ’07 than ’08 form!), we’ll be very formidable. But if Lowrie, Ellsbury, and even Pedroia (who I think hasn’t tapped HIS full potential yet!)–any or all of these guys–build on their solid career numbers in ’09, we should be champioship caliber for a long time (w/o Tex!). I do hope that Tek is able to re-sign with us, ideally, as was suggested elsewhere (was it you, Judge?), on a year-to-year option, and acquire Salty or another catcher to take Tek’s place when he retires (whenever that may be). I’ve been antsy for ST (even with the Celtics, the Patriots, and the Bruins playing!) since the end of the WS–just something about watching baseball (any teams–I live in Braves country,and the Rockies (!) have an A-level team here–but esp. the Red Sox)! GO SOX!

yup was me…ive been watchin teagarden and salty closely since last summer…tea is alot like fisk….and tek could add the knowledge of the league they would need….judge…..also i think hairston jr is still out there as a free agent….would be a good fit if we can dump lugo….

Texas is often in the market for free agents, not so much on the trade wire. They ended the season at 79-83, even with that they showed flashes of exceptional play, they are on the cusp of winning. Catchers are vital to success (ha, even Navarro made the AS-Team). Their pitching staff was decimated a year ago, a glaring weakness, but, there was talent. They are building with young players, and after the Ray tremendous rebound to glory, Ranger winning is not out of the realm of possibility. If Teagarden and Salty have such high ceilings it will be difficult to pry them away.

Jerry Hairston Jr. is another one who has logged quite a bit of DL time… he is risky, if I’m not mistaken, I think he just about finished up the year on the DL and on the bench due to hammy injury(ies). He was on my fantasy team.

No way would I trade for Reyes or Beltran. Only player I would want is H. Ramriez from the Fish but that will not happen but I can dream can I???

Having Beckett, Lowell and Ortiz healthy in 2009 certainly will be a key for sure. Ortiz has had some injury issues the last couple of seasons. I am concerned about Ortiz. His window is open for the next couple of seasons…maybe….

Having Bay for a full season will be HUGE! I think Bay will lead the Sox in H.R.’S and R.B.I.’s in 2009. He came into Boston and produced right away. He had an immediate impact on the Red Sox and that is a type of player I want too watch in a Red Sox uniform.

I also think the Sox bullpen in 2009 will be one of their strengths not a weakness. No Timlin, Tavarez, Snyder and Corey among others. Lopez is back but against lefties I am o.k. with that. Ramirez, Masterson and Delcarmen are hard throwers that can get both righties and lefties out. No specialists! AMEN!!!

I also think Buchholz ( assuming he stays with the Sox ) will do well in 2009. Expectations in 2008 for him were a little high. I was one of them that was expecting him too do really well in 2008. I think we all got caught up because of his no hitter in Sept. of 2007.

N.F.L. Playoffs are starting and quite strange not too see the Pats involved. I’m guessing a yr. from now the Pats will be back in the post-season. Congrats to Jerrod Mayo for being named Rookie Defensive player the year!

I agree with Jeff about not getting Marbury. Please say no Danny Ainge. He is TROUBLE! Ask Garnett, they didn’t get along in Minnesota some years back.

I thought that was your comment, Judge (but so much for “itwasntme”;) hmmm…) , and it’s a good one that I’d like to see carry some weight in the FO! “Dump Lugo”–we can hope so!

By the way, it was an interesting time in this town when the Red Sox played the Rockies in the WS, since we host an A-level farm squad for the Rockies here (the Asheville Tourists), and we’ve seen some of their players play here and ascend the ranks. (I also am not the only Red Sox fan on our block!) Most of the time, the fans and the press are fairly tepid, but that during the Rockies’ 21-1 run, on through the WS, this place was buzzing! It gave a whole different meaning to “getting antsy”!

Hey! Ellenc:

I’m here, and have been firing off a few opinionated epistles recently. Tough for me to get my engines revved in this cleveburg weather, but get me near P’s & C’s, and you’ll see me participating regularly.

I gotta believe that Theo is trying to play the D-Backs off against the Rangers, to see which one moves more on the pitchers they will accept from the Sox, in order to turn a young catcher loose — either Salty or Miguel Montero. I can’t fathom whether the D-Backs will effectively just “throw in” Eric Byrnes in order to get their salary commitments in line. The Rangers have to be thinking that, with some pitching help, they should be able to get closer to the Angels, who have lost both Big Teix and K-Rod, not to mention Garret Anderson. I know they still have Torii Hunter and Vladdy, but Vladdy ain’t gettin’ any younger.

I don’t know that I would be willing to move Dice-K for Salty and Josh Hamilton. Granted, Hamilton had a great year last year, and is a great story, a seemingly Sox-type player. However, he’s only had one year, he slowed down in the 2nd half (when the Sox typically really need the production), and he does have that drug history in his background. I think you might be able to get this trade done, particularly if you added Ellsbury, or even one of the minor leaguers (Carter or Bailey). As frustrating as Dice-K can be, I think he’s a good fit with the Sox, and I think he will continue to improve his pitching.

With the D-Backs, they only finished 2 games behind the Dodgers and Zazu, and they have got to be thinking they don’t need to add much, especially if the Dodgers can’t get Zazu back. Their bullpen doesn’t seem particularly strong. I wonder if they would send the Sox Montero and Eric Byrnes for say, Daniel Bard and Josh Bard, or George Kottaras or Dusty Brown. That would allow the Sox the latitude to bring back Tek to share the duties with Montero (who is only 25) and might well scare Tek into believing that his Sox value had really become depressed. It would also allow the D-Backs to add an arm to their bullpen, while replacing their back-up catcher, shedding significant payroll exposure in the process. The D-Backs might demand Manny D, but I don’t think I’d make that trade. While Manny has been inconsistent, his fast ball does flame, and at times he has shown a lot of promise. Beyond that, he is from Greater Boston and is a “Sox character.” I might be more inclined to send Oki Doki, but again, I think the Sox would be giving up more actual value than they would be receiving.

Oh well, with the end to the holidays rapidly approaching, and the Sox trying to get their team together in advance of P’s & C’s, there have got to be some more moves coming. Let’s see what happens. I do have tix for the March 15th Spring tilt vs. the O’s, so I expect to be in your sunshine state for about 6 days.

Ian,
We don’t need to change anything in my opinion! The catching situation is stressing me out as well. Why would the Sox sign Bard if he couldn’t catch Wakefield in the first place? Has he changed? I want Varitek back!!
Happy New Year
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

I’m sure Bard has more confidence behind the plate now. Also if he was in fact brought in to catch Wake, he’ll not only do that but also give Tek (when, NOT IF, Theo and Co. and Tek come to terms) some more days off. Pretty freakin tough job to be in that squat position so many games per year… I’m sure that if you check the average games per year at the catchers position, Tek has more per year than most!!!!

Everyone seems to comment on whether Lowell, Papi and Drew will return to form after their injuries. No one seems to remember that that form for Papi was bad. Before his injury he had his worst start ever for a season. Papi could very well be done. Tek didn’t have bad stretches for the season. He had a bad season throughout. So, we have 2 spots with no offense and 2 more unknowns after injuries. Add Ellsbury’s long poor ending to his season and we are really, really in need of some players. What about it Epstein?

Frontier…

I don’t think Ortiz is done but in golf terms he is in the back nine of his career. I’ll say Ortiz hits 30 to 35 longballs. I would assume most on here would agree. Drew will miss a certain number of games. Drew is made of paper! I think Byrnes would be a nice move by the Sox. Certainly alot of $$$ too pay for a 4th outifielder but he’ll get playing time. Yanks and Sox are one of a few teams that could pay that much for a 4th outfielder. Crisp got alot of playing time last year as a 4th outfielder.

It seems like alot of folks on here are high on Lowrie. He makes the routine play at s.s. but has very limited range at s.s. I don’t believe he is the future s.s. of the Red Sox. Lowrie is a nice little player that can switch hit and play all infield positions. I think he would be a great fit for a team in the N.L. I don’t think he’ll hit more than .275 in 2009. I know I know he made no errors at s.s. but among short stops in the big leagues his range has too be at the bottom of the league. I hope I am dead wrong on Lowrie because I would love too see him do well. It would be another prospect that did well in the Sox system.

Brian, I think you’re right that Big Papi is on the “back nine” of his career, but I don’t think he’s in the bunker on the 17th, either. I think he still has some productive years ahead of him, but I think you’re right that 30-35 HRs (maybe 40) is about right. I think your skepticism of Lowrie is fair, but almost anything would be an upgrade compared to Lugo (I’d still rather have had Renteria compared to Lugo, and that is not saying much), and I do believe he has upside yet. So I would still like to see Lugo be traded and get Lowrie SS support, no matter who starts there. GO SOX!

Hi all! Just a quick note to say I’m still keeping an eye on the Sox, though my attention span is short right now, being that I’m soaking up the sun in Maui. The wife and I do the Islands every year in the 1st week of Jan. because she has a fitness competition she trains for (tomorrow). I’m training for the most-time-spent-flat-on-his-back-in-the-sun competition and should have my Texas tan complete by Monday. BTW, hi Ellen!

C’mon Theo, get the deal done with Tek! And don’t let go of Ellsbury! Byrnes might be a good backup and considering that the Sox have had good success with ex-A’s position players, why not? I really liked Kotsay and Kielty, but we’ll see….

Oops.. gotta go. Getting sand on the keyboard! See you soon, Nation!

Greg..

Let’s hope Ortiz isn’t approaching the 17th green. His window is open but not many good years left. I think he is a type of player where he loses it quick! I would rather have Renteria over Lugo as well. I never understood the Lugo signing. Theo gave him 4 yrs, why 4 yrs.?? I think Theo has learned from his mistakes when it comes too handing out long term deals. Clement, Lugo, Renteria and Drew. All big $$$$ signings but not much too show for it. Drew has had some HUGE H.R.’s in October, his grandslam against the Tribe was his biggest. I’ll cut Drew some slack I guess because of his clutch longballs in the platyoffs. In 2 yrs. with the Red Sox, Drew has 128 R.B.I.’s. 28 million for 128 runs driven in, not money well spent! You can’t rely on him for the entire season. That is why Boston needs a 4th outfielder in the worst way! Byrnes come too Boston. I think Byrnes would feed off of the Fenway atmosphere. Byrnes would cost alot for a 4th outfielder but it is not my $$$$$. lol.

Jimmy…

Feeling sorry for you out there in Hawaii. NOT!!!

moanin all…..i wonder how long we will be held in suspense waiting on the tek deal ….or texas deal for a young stud….judge

George Kottaras has caught Charlie Zink past 2 years at Pawtucket, another knuckleball pitcher. He is out of options, he has to go to Boston or they have to release him. That is why Cash was not resigned.
Still no offers for Varitek on free agent front, no need to move fast on this. Price will come down.

Hey Brian, looks like you and jimmaynard3 need to trade notes on getting sand in your computers ;)–are you passing one another in the hotel lobby??
I never understood the Lugo or Renteria signings! We had Orlando Cabrera after ’04, and if we had signed him to anything close to what Drew or Lugo got, we’d have had that SS carousel stopped, and only after ’07 would we have been looking again for a new SS if we didn’t resign him after ’07 (and he certainly would not have cost us the playoffs or the WS the way I was afraid Lugo could have!). The one thing I wish the FO would reexamine is this tendency to pursue FA players from teams we’ve beaten the year before (witness, the Renteria and Tavarez signings–both played for the Cardinals in the ’04 WS!) I was not high on Brian Fuentes when he was rumored to be coming here this year–we’d just beaten the Rockies! Why do we need their pitchers??! Talk about things that make you go hmmm…! We’ll just wait and see what happens with Big Papi, I still think he’s got about 2 years of 30-40 homers and high avg. (if not as high slg. %) left in him. GO SOX!

Brian, I’m going to disagree with you on Lowrie. I think he is very deceptive and has better range than most want to give him credit for. He sees the ball well off the bat and makes plays to his right standing up that others might be diving for. He doesn’t just make the routine play, he makes every routine play. For those three or four spectacular plays that the shortstops with great range make every year, I’ll take the guy that has good range, and makes the routine play. Beyond that, he and Pedroia are one of the best DP combos in baseball. If he hits .275, that would be a real bonus. I’ll take .275 if he continues to hit in the clutch like he did last season. The kid isn’t spectacular, but he’s a good solid ballplayer to anchor the middle of the infield with Pedroia.

Garry…

Do you believe Lowrie is the s.s. of the future for the Red Sox?? I personally don’t think so. I hope I am dead wrong!

Hi Ellen,
I’m here. Just quietly checking out the posts and waiting for spring. Thanks for the Christmas card. Hope your Christmas and New Year holidays were good. I’m always so relieved when it’s over.

On the Lowrie front: I think it would be fair to give him a chance to play a full season before judging his performance. I liked what I saw from him, he played with a fractured wrist or broken hand, and did well. He didn’t wilt in the pressure of the pennant race or the playoffs, even came up clutch a couple times. If he proves to be durable, reliable, tough mentally and physically(we’ve seen that already) and can hit a little bit, then I say keep him. Shortstop under Theo has been a little schizophrenic, so it would be nice to have a solid, steady SS for a change. I say give him a chance.

By the time Tek signs he’ll be collecting Social Security. I think he did himself a disservice holding out for one last big contract. I’ll echo what others are saying here: his value appears to be dropping the longer he waits. C’mon Tek, sign a contract already!

I firmly believe Theo is hoping someone offers Varitek a contract, so he can get the draft picks. I think next signing for Sox is going to be Rocco Baldelli. Varitek issue not big on his mind now, knowing there are no suitors for him.

Varitek, Red Sox Working On Deal?- Ben Jones
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/01/varitek-red-sox.html

Since I always lean towards playing the kids, my choice is to give the SS job to Lowrie. As the Sox were reluctant to give CF to Ellsbury in 2008, the decision may be to get a veteran for at least a year (Brian: The same rational explains the Yankees interest in Cameron.) Besides signing an available FA, an excellent suggestion is to trade as follows:
Michael Young to Boston continues to make sense
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com/sox_and_pinstripes/2009/01/chances-are-that-theo-epstein-is-not-content-with-the-red-sox-lineup-as-it-is-currently-composed-he-reportedly-inquired-abou.html#comments

hey guys,

Sorry I’ve been so sporadic as of late but time is limited. Here are my thoughts.

1) Tired of the big bat syndrome. We have Ortiz, Youk, Bay (underrated), Lowell, Pedroia (medium sized bat), etc. Yes Texeira would have been nice but over eight years is a big risk.

2) Varitek is history. He did a Boras and most of the time Boras works because of the Yanks but this time Tek is through. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has NO team going for him. Right now the Sox will have to struggle to get a catcher of his work ethic.

3) Lowrie is our shortstop. The man played hurt. He’s a rookie. Come on guys…what more do you want from him? He’s great and will do well and when he gets tired we have Lugo coming in to make 18 errors per game to convince me Lowrie is there.

4) Don’t trade Buckhotz. There is a lot of talk about trading him but he is going to be a top pitcher and we’d be a fool to trade him. He’s not a power pitcher but more like a Pedro Martinez and I assure you we will regret it.

Brian, I think Lowrie is and should be the shortstop, at least for the immediate future. Compare him to the steep prices they paid for Renteria and Lugo, and you have a real bargain. Let’s just say the Sox haven’t been exactly brilliant when it comes to what is probably the most important defensive position. I do think either he, or someone else developed in the Sox system will be the future shortstop for the Sox. I think the last real good shortstop on the market was Orlando Cabrera. I’m sure there were others signed but I can’t think of any who were worth what they got paid, which would likely be the case if the Sox were to go shopping. I like Lowrie. He fits the Sox mold and he knows his job isn’t etched in stone so he’s going to give you 110 percent every day. He will be part of the best defensive infield in baseball and if as you predicted, he hits around .275, he’ll be worth his weight in gold.

Ellen,
Only you could have woke me up from this hibernation! Just waiting for something to happen but I think it already did. This is not the Sox team we grew up watching as kids. The 3-run homer and offensive blowouts could be a thing of the past. I’m OK with that because it’s pitching and defense that takes you the farthest. The Sox’ pitching is pretty deep and I think if Mike Lowell can grind out 140 games or so the Sox’ defense will be great. As usual, it will be the ability of the bench to step in when needed and pick up the slack. That is how you survive a 162 game season. This Sox team will be a grinding team that survives and will compete. I think Lowrie is better than we think and that he was thrown to the wolves last year before he was ready and came out better than could have been expected in his situation. He did well enough for us to cringe at the thought of Lugo coming back. Not sure if he’s the franchise SS but he could be. Pedroia took a couple of months and i’m willing to give Lowrie the same shot because he gives you everything he’s got. With ZAZU gone, that’s what you have….25 guys ready to do whatrever it takes to win. That’s all you can ask for. Go Sox!!!!! There Ellen, don’t you wish I’d stayed asleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dbenjamin…just picked up some Cleveland CG Golds…still getting used to them but I like them!!!!!

moanin all…..39 days i believe till take off lol……time for some action theo….enuff suspense ok….sign tek and grab a kid from texas…or just sign tek…….grab a 4th outfielder too….short contract cause holiday will be ours next yr….go sooooooooooxxxxx……

Garry…

As of right now I also think Lowrie should be the s.s. but in no way do I see him as the s.s. for the Red Sox for years too come. Cabrera was great in the playoffs with the Sox back in 2004. Cabrera was flawless! Alex Gonzalez was outstanding as well. Lowrie is a nice little player ( very versatile ) but I believe his range is limited at s.s. Lowrie did play hurt in the last month or so and I give him props on that. We’ll see how it all works out.

RobertG,
I go on that sit all the time, I am not buying that or Derek Lowe back to Boston. They are rumors. Notice almost all the Sox fans on that site do not want Varitek back.

Josh Bard on NESN Hot Stove last night said one reason he came back to Boston, was because Dave Magadan was his hitting coach in SD, and his 2 best years hitting .338, .285, was with his help. Magadan was Boston’s coach last year, why did Varitek struggle all year?

just my observation but i think tek should go to batting just rt handed now…..hes lost bat speed left handed i think….judge

Kramer…

Michael Young is a good player but his contract is awfully high. 80 million coming his way for the next 5 yrs. Not good!

hardy is prob avail in a trade…but lowries defense is better…id rather have lowries defense and versatility and he lead the team in driving in runners with less than 2 outs…..no errors in reg season….he did very well for his 1st yr i think….judge….rocco would be a good 4th outfielder for when jd gets hurt…and u know he will….judge

2009 Bill James projections for Jason Varitek,
He does this on full time basis….Remember Theo Epstein hired him for the Red Sox as full time consultant.

122 Games
395 AB’S
94 Hits
13 HR’S
45 Runs
52 RBI’S
51 BB’S
113 K’S
.238 AVG.

Atricle on traderumors.com said catchers with these stats., are in the 2-5 million dollar range. Scott Boras hates this guy, when he was on 60 minutes. He has some of the best projections in Major League Baseball.

“Michael Young, SS, Rangers: There was some talk that after being rebuffed by the Marlins on Ramirez, the Red Sox might have interest in Young, but according to major league sources, that’s not the case. The five-time All-Star and eight-year veteran is a career .300 hitter, though last year he dipped to .284 with a .339 on base percentage. He did win the American League Gold Glove for the first time in his career.”- Nick Cafardo-Boston Globe

I see that Petite turned down the Yanks offer. I wonder if Theo might pursue him. The Yanks presumably offered 1 yr @ $10m. He had been earning $16m and did not want to accept that kind of pay cut. If Theo is interested he might offer him something in between with an incentive based upon performance. That would be interesting. Petite is certainly a comPETITor.

It’s a little surprising that Pettitte is being such a brat. He didn’t exactly have a great year in ’08 and he acts like he’s entitled. Kind of like Tek is doing. What kind of world do these guys live in that 10 million isn’t enough? Especially for a guy who is on the downhill slide of his career and had a sub par year. I think these guys need a reality check.

The Rays signed Pat Burrell to a 2 yr contract at a bargain price of $16M. Burrell made $14+M in 2008. Definitely a great sign for the Rays. The Indian signed Carl Pavano for 1 yr. I?ll love to see Pavano pitch against CC and beat the Yanks by one run. Haha?

Pangelotti, I hope Theo does not pursue Pettite, not because of his salary issues, but because he’s a YANKEE! Nothing against him personally, but Pettite coming to Boston is like the Evil Empire sending a mole over to rat on the other side. David Wells did adequately while he was here, so there was nothing against him personally or against his individual stats; but it never was a good move, because HE IS A YANKEE! He wasn’t simply blowing smoke when he said what he did about Fenway, and he never really fit in here–and that’s why. (The same can be said of Damon going the other way–it has never looked right; neither did Bellhorn, or Mike Myers, or Embree, or Mientkiewicz, etc., in Yankee uniforms). Aside from Pettite’s age and salary considerations, this reason alone should make this move a non-starter.

There are alot of good pitchers still out there that the Red Sox could nab. However I dont think they’ll get any of them. If you want to check out my free agent prediction and make your own in a really cool free agency guessing game on my blog them jus click the link: http://bigciti.mlblogs.com/

Hi to all!!! I feel the need to chime in on all this talk about Jed Lowrie. I think that he’s going to be our shortstop, and a damned fine one. Now all of you Doubting Thomas’, think back to a rookie that we had not too long ago.. Couldnt hit his way out of a WET paperbag, and we all had our doubts (I was really in doubt) about him being in our starting line up. All of a sudden after a month and a half of him flailing at the ball, he caught fire and his feilding is as close to flawless as it gets. The guy hasnt looked back since!!!!
Let’s see: Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove…
Dustin Pedroia….. His entire life he’s been told he is too small to play ( that’s why the media guide has him listed at 5’9″ that he just wouldnt be good enough…
Isnt that what the doubters here are telling Lowrie???
Give the guy a chance!!!!! You never know what a guy is made of until his backs against the wall, so to speak. He may just surprise the hell out of you!!!!

Ellen, the folks on this blog have seen so many Shortstops over the last 4 years their heads are spinning and can’t tell good from bad. Can’t say I blame them, either. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: give the kid a chance and he’ll show what he’s made of. And if he’s made of mediocre stuff, well then, send in Lugo. That’ll teach us to complain!!!

Right on Ellen!!!!!!!

oh… and I forgot to mention his AL MVP….
I just want the ShortStop (not so) Merry-Go-Round to stop.

My view on Lowrie is I don’t believe he is the future s.s. of the Red Sox. That being said, I am not looking for the Red Sox too trade him. I think anyone that can play all infield positions and can switch hit is a player that needs too be kept around. Versatility is his strength!

Red Sox have alot of descions too make and in a short time. In a month’s time pitchers and catchers are reporting. As of right now the catching position is quite weak!

is everyone like me and tired of waiting lol…where is tek or our replacement?……some rumors flying about a blockuster trade but i cant put any seriuos thought into them…i would like to see what is gonna happen with the catcher position tho….i would also like to see yuke and paps signed for long term….i mean no aquisitions were made which is fine but….we should atleast lock up some of the guys who have contributed the last few yrs…pedroia was one…now lets address the others pls……judge

7777…

I am in agreement with you about locking about some guys too long term deals. Youkilis and Papelbon among others. According too reports the talks between Youkilis and the Red Sox are off but we all know how that goes at times. Papelbon is one of the best closers and he needs too get inked up as well.

A very strange off-season for the Red Sox so far. I thought the catching situation would have been cleared up by now. Theo and the Red Sox are burning up the phone lines but obviously nothing yet. I like the idea of getting Ramirez from K.C. The Red Sox bullpen is now a strength in 2009. We all know how that pen was last year before Masterson came in.

yup as of now on paper the BP looks good….im really happy with ramirez…littleton, and ofcourse the kid masterson…add in the stallworths and were good….ofcourse actual performance remains to be seen….2 things have me worried though….1 is jd drews health which is always a problem unless its a contract yr and the catcher position….addin penny will most likely add 10-12 wins and some depth if he stays healthy….a 4th outfielder is needed unless carter or another minor plr is in the wings…i wonder if the sox are sitting back waiting for next yr when big matt holiday is a free agent….hmmmm….judge

7777…

Dbenjamin will be very happy that you mentioned Matt Holliday on this blog.

J.D. Drew and his health are always a big question mark. I doubt Drew plays more than 135 games and that is pushing it. Probably less than that. A very fragile player is Drew. I like the idea of Penny in Boston. Low risk high reward and let’s face it if Penny is healthy he’ll help for sure. Also from Penny’s point of view. He is probably thinking if I can stay healthy in 2009, he’ll get rewarded with a big $$$ contract from someone. We all know players are motivated by $$$$$ and I don’t blame them.

You mention Carter, a little short with the glove but from what I have seen he can hit. A 4th outfielder, Brandon Moss would look good, oops he was traded.

It sounds like the Red Sox were used in the Texeria sweepstakes. Boston flew down too the Dallas area and met with Texeria and his wife. It sounds as if Texeria already made his choice. Things that make me go hmmmmmm. The Red Sox relationship with Boras has too be strained! It will be interesting too watch over the years too see how the Red Sox interact with Boras’ big name free agents. I’m guessing Boston will look long and hard next time! John Henry is not a happy camper towards Boras, you can take that one too the bank!

oakland might empty the bank on holiday if they do well this yr but im thinkin he will get traded after allstar break to a contender and then its time for sox to swoop in….id rather have holiday than texiera anyday…pujols is also free next yr but he has a kronic elbow and he strikes out 200 a yr….reminds me of rob deer lol…bash it or miss it lol…i really hope papi can get back to his heroic stature…he set the bar so hig in 04 its hard…his injury plagued yr was still great comparable to other plrs….and as for the protection behind him…..well yuke and bay had awesome numbers to provide that……im lookin for bay to have a breakout yr anyhoo…a full yr in boston with help all around him…not like pitt…..now sign a catcher…..its awefully quiet with texas ….im hopin thats a good sign…..judge

Brian, for whatever reason, Pedroia chose the security of a long term contract for less money now. I guess the key word there is security. There’s no question he probably would have done better if he went year to year with the threat of arbitration over the Sox head. I think Youk is more of a year to year guy and he will make more money that way. I think he really believes in himself and believes he will continue to play well, and when free agency comes along, he’ll likely get a boatload of money. I think it would cost the Sox $80M to tie him up for five years at this point, and they aren’t likely to do that. I might be inclined to go three years with Papelbon, but no more than that. A history of shoulder fatigue and the need for close management of his innings would make me hesitant on a long term deal for him. Still, he is putting up Mariano Rivera type numbers and deserves to get paid for them.

If Lowrie and Ellsbury have good years this year, I would work hard to tie them up next off season…..

Garry…

I think the Red Sox made out like bandits when it came too Pedroia. That being said if a team offers you 40 million guranteed, that would be very tough to turn down. Pedroia plays the game all out and hustles his tail off. Pedroia probably doesn’t have too pay for a drink in Boston again. I think as fans we are lucky too have him in a Red Sox uniform! He’ll have the “C” on his jersey sometime down the road. When one your best players is also the hardest worker, makes the manager’s job alot easier.

I agree with you about Papelbon. Remember according too reports Papelbon wasn’t available for game 7 against Tampa Bay. Papelbon’s history of shoulder fatigue concerns Boston and it should. I was very surprised when I read that Papelbon wasn’t available for game 7 vs T.B. That alarmed me.

With Youkilis he had his first full season of consisent play. The previous years he wore down in the second-half. Certainly not the case in 2008. I thought in 2008—Youkilis was the team’s M.V.P.

I also think if Lester has another solid season and why shouldn’t he, he’ll be signed too a long term deal.

I’m getting a little antsy with baseball right around the corner. I can here the gloves popping already.

Just wondering has Nolan Ryan called you yet???? If he hasn’t, he should. lol.

It is a disguised blessing that the Sox didn?t sign Tex after watching the Yanks press conference. It made me sick. Tex had already made his decision to play for the ?greatest sports organization? one week before the Sox top echelon flew to Texas to meet him. Tex was impressed by Cashman?s sales pitch of playing video of the Yankees stadium and his favorite music group, never mind the name of the group. lol
Tex is unquestionably a good player. But I wasn?t impressed when he was a Ranger, when he was a Brave and when he was an Angel. He didn?t win the championship for the Rangers and for the Braves. Despite his high BA, Tex had 1 RBI in ALDS. I wish Tex luck in NY dealing with Giraldi, the press, ownership, and the fans, not to mention interacting with the other super stars A-Rod and Jeter in the clubhouse.

007…

Texeria is Boras’ puppet like so many of his clients. If your not interested in Boston don’t let them fly down too Texas.A very sneaky individual is Boras….not too mention Texeria. I think Henry and the Red Sox will be very careful next time they deal with a big name free agent that has Boras as his agent! Boras lives in the moment and is looking for the most $$$$ he can get and doesn’t really care how he does it. Boras has no morals!

tex obviously used the sox to drive up ny askin price….he wanted to play there so be it….im sure managers do the same when dealing with free agents…..it is a business …..the plrs i love are the ones like mikey and pedroia who take less to play where they are loved and have decided that the differance between a few mill isnt worth the stress and hastle of puttin on those modern day stripes….when was the last time u saw the joy and undulation in ny that u see from the boston plrs….ny has a celebrated history with some heroic figures….present day tho is differant….they will be remembered for limp rod,giambi the juicer,clemens the **** and juicer,ghost tags,and huge payrolls that hasnt produced squat….im glad they went away from the crowd favorite type plrs of bernie and such…its even easier to hate them now…ty lord for birthin me a sox fan lol….judge

7777…

When a team flies down too see you and when they did, that player ( Texeria ) had already made up his mind. I think that is pretty low on Texeria/Boras. The Boston ownership/front office went down there to make a deal, not too be used. If your negotiating in person ( winter meetings ) or over the phone, that is one thing but for a team to go out of there way, hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Do get me wrong I ‘d like to have Tex in the lineup. The issue is whethet he is worthy of the $$$ and the long term contract. Tex is great but has not risen to the level of a franchise player. We shall see. Tex may become another high priced, A-Rod type choke artist in the playoffs or he may be another Reggie Jackson. Who knows?
Funny that Giraldi was talking about #27 before 2008 season started. And yet with the addition of CC, AJ, and Tex, he was mum and exceptionally silent. I am not envious of Giraldi’s poistion. Win or else…..

007…

I’m with you regarding Texeria. I don’t think he is worth more than 20 million per season over that many years. If I was paying a player that much $$$$$ he better be do it all. That is why I would love too see the Red Sox get a player like H. Ramirez from the Marlins but that is a pipedream!

7777,
I agree with you that baseball is a business, but there is something called ethics. What Boras and Tex apparently did was unethical and sooner or later those lapses of ethics come back to bite you in the backside. If Tex had already made up his mind he should not have played Henry for a fool. At some point we may see Boras getting himself into a scandal that he can’t worm his way out of. He may just push the ethical envelope too far and find himself on the outside with no more clients and a ruined reputation. As for Tex, if this is the way he runs his life, you can imagine he will find trouble down the road. If you conduct your business in a business-like fashion you will be better off than if you try to “sleaze” every last dime out of every situation. There comes a time to pay the piper, and we all pay eventually.

Hey, if anyone likes movies go see Slum Dog Millionare. It’s not pretty sometimes, but it’s very cleverly done.

Arnie….

A question for you. Let’s paint a picture here. If Boras and Mr. & Mrs. Mark Texeria walked into your fine establishment….What would you serve them??? I can’t wait too here your answer. LOL!!

i whole heartedly agree the way tex and borass handled it was unethical….myself i would hire an ex plr to be an agent ..someone respected and who commands respect….saying that i personally have used one offer to command a higher offer in my life….albeit it didnt involve flying coast to coast and misleading one party….im glad he isnt here …he should play where he thinks is best for him…he will learn he lost out on a great place to play for a cpl mill a yr…probably most lost in taxes…..judge

Brian, I used to own a fine dining restaurant and we had actors come in from time to time. Some big names, some not so big. Well, one time Dennis Weaver came in and my hostess asked his name so she could put him on our waiting list. He was angry because we didn’t recognize him. We all got a laugh out of that! Then one time Robert Redford was eating at the restaurant and he needed to use the phone(this was way back, before cell phones) so we brought him to the back bar next to the kitchen. It was a tense day, and we had a cook who did a pretty good monkey imitation and she was doing that to break the tension. She’s hopping up and down shrieking and screeching, and looks up to see Robert Redford staring at her in disbelief. Poor thing, she wanted to crawl under one of the prep tables, but she held her head up, looked at Robert and said,”I do this all the time.” and walked away. We almost peed our pants laughing.
If Boras, Tex and Mrs. Tex came in I wouldn’t know who they were. But if they introduced themselves, I’d surely tell them that the ribs are the best dish on the menu, but we just might be out of them. let me check……..ooops, I don’t know, they could be on their way to another table even as we speak. Oh, really, you want them that badly…….well I’ll see what I can do. …..Look!!! The last three orders of ribs! Just for you. All for a mere $10.95 each plus a $5,000 dollar service charge for my efforts to secure them for you. They’d be a steal for $10,000!! I’ve saved you $5,000 dollars. …..Or maybe I would ignore them altogether. Just let them eat and go their way. They are, after all, just like you or me. My regulars who come in to eat 4 or 5 times a week are far more important to me.

Arnie…

LOL!! Great story, especially with someone jumping up and down like a monkey. Gotta love your idea with Boras and the Texeria’s coming in. Something tells me Boras would try too negotiate everything.

Your 100 % with your regulars!

Brian, In 12 years in the majors Jd Drew only averages 120.09 games per year and has only gone 135 or more 3 times.. But he has been hugely productive in PS play.. But lets hope he doesnt get a hangnail or an ingrown hair this year..lol

Water seeks its own level… meaning Texiera is just like the Yankees he signed with..
I was one who didnt want him here… I would have hated to see the shakeup, personnel wise, had he signed here..
i.e. Mikey> GONE, Youk> to 3rd (even though that (used to be) his natural position ) The infield (minus Lugo) needs no tweaking..
I wonder if Lowrie is working out in Arizona with Petey and youk and the boys.. Couldnt hurt if he is..

Absolutely right, Ellen, on Tex, and the impact (unnecessary) on the IF. I am optimistic on Lowrie being a sturdy, and perhaps even stellar, SS; but even if he isn’t the future of the franchise, and Brian is ulimately right, the SS carousel needs to stop somewhere, and Lugo ain’t it!
What all of you are saying about Tex, Zazu, and BornAss reinforces to me (especially in this economy) that “Beam Me Up Scotty” is the worst thing for MLB right now. I do believe that BornAss is “ethically challenged”, but I also think it will ultimately put him out of a job, esp. if GMs (esp. Theo) stop doing business with him (witness the A-Rod fiasco last year, which Tek might have to repeat if he wants to play somewhere!). It may take some years yet, but I do think MLB will wise up before BornAss does, and if they do, he will not be an agent for very long.

Greg,
Is the term “ethically challenged” the same as “scum sucking, money grubbing, lowlife, stab em all in the back and laugh all the way to bank” aka sports agent???

I think, and I’ve said it before, that Jasons best move at this point is to fire Bore-***, and approach the Sox on his own. I think that the Sox FO would have a lot of respect for the move and would be able to deal with him one on one. Or have Shill help him out, Schill works his own deals. What harm could that do??

Ellen, absolutely. “Ethically challenged” is euphemism for exactly that ;)! Good translation!

I also would like to see Tek fire “Beam Me Up Scotty” BornAss, or at least PUBLICLY distance himself from him, and negotiate his deal the on his own. I hope Judge’s idea of year-to-year options has legs with the FO; it certainly has merit!

Sorry.. I miscalculated before…. Drew hasnt averaged 120.09games per year…….. its 109.09 games per year. Thats 52 plus extra days off.. I wish I could take an extra 53 days off and still make 17 million a year!!

I think somebody mentioned it (rooster7 I think), but the possibility of Rocco Baldelli as a 4th outfielder will be happening.

ESPN reports the Red Sox will be doing so:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3817433

Looks like Theo is signing Smoltz and Baldeli. So I’ll have to learn to spell those names. I like the way Theo is handling the off season. Sign a bunch of guys, throw them out there and see what sticks. He’s not committing the gross domestic product of a small nation to 3 players. As we have seen, there is always a need for extra experienced players. We know JD will be hurt sometime during the season and pitchers are always hurting themselves. The only one outside looking in now is Tek. Cmon Tek, fire your sleazy agent, face reality and sign with the Sox.

Wow, I was just reading Baldelli’s injury history. He’ll need a traveling ER all to himself.

Let’s hope the new diagnosis of Baldelli’s health problem is as treatable as they predict and that he has a long and productive career. As far as Boras is concerned, if and when the Sox have interest in any player that he represents, they ought to set the tone that they will not talk to him unless he is ready to come to Boston with the best offer that he had recieved and let the Sox decide if they want to sign him at that time. They should not grant him any time or leeway in negotiations. All teams should learn of the type of individual that Boras is. All agents should have some reasonable degree of moral and ethical behavior which Boras seems to lack.

Happy New Year to one & all.

The addition of Baldelli & Smoltz, alongside Ramirez & Penny, all go towards making the Red Sox look an even tougher prospect for 2009 – these are signings which, imo, will make the Sox even harder to beat than they were last year. Our bull-pen looks stronger than it has for years, & our starting roster looks like it has genuine quality & depth. I share people’s concerns about the durability of Papi & Drew; & it would be good to get the catching situation finalised.
But I genuinely believe that Theo’s way of doing business is more likely to garner long-term, sustainable, success for the Sox than the big-name, big-bucks, madness of the Yankees. There’s simply no consistency in the Yankees approach to managing their playing side, & throwing money at problems rarely leads to sustainable success. On the other hand, the Sox have developed a management philosophy which they have consistently implemented for a number of years now, which is bringing year-on-year success to the Team, whilst simultaneously reinvigorating the team with new young players & quality additions to the line-up.
It’s going to be a great season!

If Smoltz and Baldelli can stay healthy, they will be very productive in 2009! I wonder if Smoltz or Baldelli can catch??? LOL. I assume that move is soon.

Buchholz will be on his way out for Salty or Teagarden now that the Sox are overloaded with starters.

Steve T
http://soxblog.mlblogs.com

The cliché ?low risk, high reward? signing has been exaggeratedly used. But Baldelli and Smoltz are truly a case of low risk (no risk) high reward signing. With the addition of Smoltz and Penny which makes Buchholz, Bowden, Elsbury et al expendable, does it signify that Theo is working on trading for a catcher or another bat or both? Interesting.

Penny and Smoltz might not be ready till June 1, and only one year deals. Sox will not get rid of young arms. Smoltz could be perfect mentor for them.
Next move Sox offer 2 million to Varitek, take it or leave it, if not they sign Zaun.
Peter Gammons article yesterday said Theo was hoping Varitek would be offered a contract so he could get the draft picks. He said Sox offer him 2 million or they move on.

If Smoltz is signed, no one knows better than him how good Salty is as catcher. His imput could be the difference in a trade, or not.

Rooster7, you’re right that Smoltz would have a good read on Salty; from everything I saw when Salty was a Brave, the two would work well together. From watching him for about 2 years, I think Salty has tremendous upside, which is why I like him. (But, see next blog entry, I think Buchholz AND Ellsbury is too high a price to pay for Salty!) Should be a good complement to Bard if Tek doesn’t sign.

Brownie – do you think the Red Sox are going to be resigning Varitek? It’s getting so close to Spring Training and I’m concerned that we really don’t have a starting catcher.
Thanks!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

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