Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’

Most Valuable Pedroia

A great day for the Red Sox, without a doubt. Two guys in the top three in the MVP voting? Two homegrown products of the organization?

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis duplicated what Roger Clemens and Jim Rice did way back in ’86, placing first and third in the MVP ballot. Hard to believe no Sox player had won an MVP since Mo Vaughn in 1995.

Not only did Pedroia win, but he won big. Even without Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News so much as listing Pedroia on his MVP ballot, meaning Grant didn’t deem him won of the 10 most valuable players in the AL.

I think Grant was classy with his apology. Nobody is perfect and Evan admitted he probably made a mistake.

Now that awards season is over, it’s time to get back on that burner known as the Hot Stove.

Time to see if the Sox will retain ‘Tek, or make a run at D-Lowe or A.J. Burnett or Ben Sheets.

Everything is so quiet around the Red Sox these days that you have to surmise Theo Epstein must be up to something. It is usual when the crazy rumors aren’t floating around that Epstein is in his bunker contemplating a big move. What will it be?

And The Envelopes, Please

I must admit, I’m a sucker for awards, be it the Oscars or whatever.

This is baseball awards season, beginning in less than an hour. Red Sox players are involved in some of these races.

Here is a quick look at the AL awards. I simply don’t have time to follow the NL enough to make worthy selections.

AL Rookie of the Year, to be announced Monday: My prediction: Evan Longoria. Imagine if this guy had played the full year? His production numbers were impressive and of course he got even more impressive in the postseason, but that doesn’t count.

Other worthy selections. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox; Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox. Ellsbury had an up and down year offensively but still stole 50 bases and just missed 100 runs.

AL Manager of the Year, to be announced Wednesday: Joe Maddon, Rays. I think jovial Joe wrapped this thing up somewhere around July 4. What a great job. Not enough can be said.

Other worthy selections: Though Maddon by far guided the most dramatic turnaround of any team, some other managers did a very nice job this season. Look at Ron Gardenhire, for instance. When Johan Santana was traded, everyone just assumed the Twins would be non-contenders. Think again. They lasted all the way to a one-game playoff. The guy here in Boston did a pretty nice job in his own right. Terry Francona had injuries to major players at virtually every point in the season. But he found a way to keep his team focused and into the playoffs for the fourth time in his five years as manager. Don’t forget Mike Scioscia. He got 100 wins out of the Angels and they were a juggernaut until the playoffs. But again, the playoffs don’t count in these votes.

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, Indians. This one is about as suspenseful as the Maddon choice for manager. Lee completely dominated from start to finish.

Other worthy selections: Roy Halladay. A complete-game machine! This guy is the definition of a throwback. Mike Mussina, Francisco Rodriguez and Jon Lester also belong in the conversation.

AL MVP: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox. Perhaps you have to be around this guy every day to see just how much he means to his team. Pedroia topped the league, or was near the top, in several major categories, including runs, hits, doubles and batting average. Oh, and he was also a Gold Glove second baseman who hit for power for a little guy — 18 homers — and stole 20 bases.

Other worthy selections: Justin Morneau, Twins. A .300 average and 129 RBIs should get you MVP consideration every year, particularly on a team that didn’t have a lot of other sluggers in the lineup. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. If not for Pedroia, he would have gotten a ton more discussion in this debate. Manny was traded, Ortiz wasn’t himself, Lowell was hurt and there was Youk, belting 29 homers and driving in 115. Oh, he also hit .312 and played tremendous defense. Josh Hamilton was the best player for a non-contender, but I just don’t think that can win you an MVP.

Looking Ahead

The World Series is over, and I think a lot of Red Sox fans are happy about this. Wasn’t it hard to watch that Fall Classic knowing that your team was so painfully close to being in there, and very well could have won it all?

Anyway, congratulations to the Phillies and to the Rays. They both had great seasons and should be extremely proud of what they accomplished.

I am still just blown away by the season that Brad Lidge had. There wasn’t one time all year he didn’t do his job. He converted every save opportunity from the beginning of April until the end of October. That is mighty impressive.

On to Red Sox matters. The end of the World Series means that we can start looking ahead to the winter, and what will soon be a simmering stove of player movement.

I’m not sure the Red Sox need to spend over $200 million on Mark Teixeira as great a hitter as he is. The Red Sox have a highly productive bat in Kevin Youkilis at first, and Mike Lowell — coming off hip surgery — at third. Let’s face it, because Lowell is rehabbing, you’re not going to be able to trade him. This is an uncommon injury so I don’t think many teams would take the risk. And if Lowell can get himself healthy, the Red Sox have a very productive bat in the middle of that lineup.

Pitching is always a place you can upgrade and there’s a lot to like in this year’s market. I’d start by making a furious run at Jake Peavy. This guy is a stopper, and pitching in an environment like Boston could get him to take his game to another level. The Red Sox have the chips to legitimately be in the race for a player like this, much like they were for Santana last year. And Theo Epstein and Padres GM Kevin Towers obviously have a great relationship.

I’m not big on Sabathia. He’s going to be overly expensive, so if I’m the Red Sox, I let the Yankees overspend on him.

Derek Lowe is an interesting one. We all know what he can do. We all know how much he thrives in Boston, especially in October. But what will the market be for the sinkerballer? Obviously he wants to come back  but it’s unclear how much the Red Sox would spend for a player in his mid 30s, albeit one who has been exceedingly durable throughout his career.

A.J. Burnett? I’d be a little leery there. He’s a tease. Sure, he finally had a great year and it was in a contract year. Not sure he could keep that up over the course of a long-term deal.

Catcher is the most intriguing part of this winter. It is hard to fathom that the Red Sox could be without Jason Varitek when pitchers and catchers report in February. As Kevin Youkilis said after Game 7,
“If I walk into Spring Training and don’t see Jason Varitek, it will be a day that will be very eye-opening and very sad.”

I’m with Youk on this one. I know Varitek was beyond terrible offensively this season. Could it be, however, that it was nothing more than a player putting too much pressure on himself in a contract year, not to mention the fact that he was going through a divorce? The guy is human. Both these things could have played an impact. If I’m the Red Sox, I try real hard to get Varitek signed for two years and hope that it’s enough. There’s just not a lot of catching out there.

I think the Boston offense doesn’t need a big shakeup. If you get Lowell healthy and David Ortiz close to back to what he was, those are two big additions to your lineup right there. Jacoby Ellsbury will probably get better and so, too, could Jed Lowrie.

What would all of you like to happen this offseason?

Enough about Fight Night

During ALCS media hour, the Red Sox were pretty patient with all the different lines of questioning. And believe me, this is an interesting time of year when it comes to questions. You have media people here from all over the place and many of these people haven’t covered much baseball all season.

But the one question that seemed to be getting on the nerves of the players is whether there is any lingering animosity from the fight that took place back in June. You know. The one where Coco Crisp charged James Shields and did his best Muhammad Ali moves. That was so long ago. The Celtics were playing Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Manny Ramirez was still a core member of the Red Sox. In fact, he took a swing at Kevin Youkilis that same night.

Anyway, David Ortiz had the best response to the fight questions.

“Bad blood? This isn’t the WWF. This is a baseball game
bro. Come on. I see them out there, they hug me, I’m hugging them back. It’s a
game. Sometimes you have things happen in the game. It stays on the field. It’s not like you’re going to walk in the parking lot and wait for someone and whup
his [butt]. This is a baseball game, everybody has fun, you play your best and
hope to win the game, that’s about it.”

While Ortiz thought the fight talk was kind of funny, Youkilis is downright tired of it.

“The intensity is always there in the playoffs. I think everyone in the media is trying to look for someone to charge the mound and throw at guys. I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s more of a media thing. It’s been blown out of proportion. To be honest with you, I think it’s getting kind of old.”

Not much in the way of real news today. Timlin is on the roster. Gil Velazquez — we hardly knew ye — is off.

Youkilis will start at third tomorrow. Mark Kotsay will get the nod at first. Where have you gone, Sean Casey?

Bay Watch — looking good so far

Jason Bay nervous in his first playoff game? Perhaps not. The left fielder absolutely obliterated an ill-placed heater by Lackey, launching it over the wall in left.

1-0 Angels is now 2-1 Sox. That was Bay and the Sox’s answer to Manny Ramirez‘s ridiculous golf shot at Wrigley earlier today.

Jon Lester competed his butt off tonight — 117 pitches worth. Anyone who thought this guy had the composure to pitch a Game 1 was absolutely right. If not for that Lowrie error, he’d have been unscored on.

And I loved the move by Tito of bringing in Masterson to start the eighth. As he’s done since coming up, Masterson came through. He got some help from Ellsbury (great catch) and Youkilis (nice throw).

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