Monthly Archives: October 2007

2008 Red Sox: What They Should/Could and Will Look Like in the Future

2007 is over. The Red Sox were the best team in baseball, best regular season record and a World Series ring. The best part about this is, 2008 is going to look largely the same. Here is a position by position analysis of what the 2008 Boston Red Sox will look like, and what they should and will likely do with any holes that may exist.

1st Base: Kevin Youkilis
Does anyone else realize that was his SECOND full major league season? Only his second season as a full time player and he was absolutely spectacular. Youkilis is going to put up another big season, and will be a spectacular on base machine again. I also expect his power numbers go up.

2nd Base: Dustin Pedroia
Look at this, another fantastic youth produced by the Red Sox organization. This guy was fantastic May through October. His sophomore year is going to be fun to watch. Still calling for ROTY ’07.

Short Stop: Julio Lugo
This guy has 3 more years on contract with the Sox, and I pretty much expect them to give Lugo another chance. He showed several signs of promise this year, and hopefully the Sox can stick to their guns and let Lugo get a second year in with a little less pressure on him. I think he can come through and be a great speed guy for us for the next three years.

3rd Base: EMPTY
There are a few options here.

Option #1: I vote Mike Lowell. Lowell is looking for a 3-4 year deal before he retires. GIVE IT TO HIM! Lowell is a great guy and offers so much to this team. With the youth movement the Sox are moving towards, Lowell could be a great veteran guy to have around for a few more years.

Option #2: Alex Rodriguez. I don’t see this happening at all. Mainly because I see the Sox agreeing with me on the resigning Lowell. There is one and only one situation in which Alex Rodriguez comes to Boston. Boston would have to TRADE Julio Lugo, and play A-Rod at short. I’m so confidant in the Sox signing Lowell that this is the only way A-Rod comes to Boston. The Red Sox are going to put a price tag on A-Rod, and they will not go above that. They will not overpay. My guess, is that they won’t pay more than 26 Mil a year for him, which is insane in the first place. Someone is going to bid higher, or Boras is gonig to demand more, and A-Rod will not wind up in Boston.

Option #3: Move Youkilis to third. I say not, an errorless season is good enough for me. Keep him over at first.

Left Field: Manny Rameriez
One more year on the contract, I see no reason why this changes.

Center Field: ?

Hard call here. Jacoby Ellsbury or Coco Crisp? I think it’s time for Ellsbury! Let Ellsbury start the season there and give him a real shot at the majors. I in no way think Crisp should be let go though. Let Crisp be a bench player for one year. Let him play every few days, do a 4 man outfield rotation to a certain degree. Coco can be a great player on the bench and can be used as a defensive replacement for Manny late in games, and can also be a great Dave Roberts type weapon. Manny has one more year on his contract, keep Coco for that year and start ’09 with an outfield of Coco, Ellsbury, and Drew.

Right Field: JD Drew
Everyone keeps referring to the JD Drew signing as a failure by the Sox. I say nay. Drew had a poor year in general, but he started fantastic, and ended fantastic. Drew could be an great bat in this lineup and I think, like Lugo, a second year in Boston would drastically help him.

Rotation:

Josh Beckett: Is there any question now that this guy is #1?
Daisuke Matsuzaka: Tagging this guy to start #2. He’s had a whole season of AL ball, I look to him to improve in year two just as Josh Beckett did.
Jon Lester: I want this guy in my 3 hole. Game 4 was great, he can perform, give him the chance to do it for a full season.
Tim Wakefield: Take this $4 million option once again! This is why I wrote about him being tremendously valueable. Let him take 30 or so starts, he will win a good number of them and take innings away from everyone else. This also means keeping Mirabelli around.
Clay Buccholz: Let the rookie regime begin.

Yes ladies and gents, Curt Schilling is not in my ’08 rotation. Curt, I want you to retire. I know you said one more year, but please, finish your career as a Sox and go down in the books with a ring. I don’t want to see you go anywhere else and I really think the Sox are going with youth here and are not going to resign you. Call it quits, I love you and I love your hall of fame career. Go out with some pride.

Closer: Papelbon
Quite possibly a few more postseasons from being considered one of the best closers of all time, right up there with Rivera. This guy is fantastic and he is going to keep being so. With the team the Sox have build, expect Papelbon to have plenty of chances to prove himself as a Rivera level closer.

Bullpen:

Okijima: Of course they keep him around. Big part of the team this year.
Delcarmen: This is your year little Manny, step up and be a fantastic 7th or 8th inning guy for us. You have the stuff to make it happen.

Bench: Alex Cora

Keep this guy around. Great utility infielder.

I’m not going to bother with the other bullpen or bench slots because there’s nearly no chance to get them right. Those are a few slots where Theo will chose what our best options are and I do not have enough information to really know what those last few players are.

2008 is going to be a fantastic year for the Red Sox in which I think they can easily put up another 95 wins, and a legitimate shot at 100 wins.

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Barry Bonds: I want one more year

2007 was big for Barry Bonds. Records were broken, set and talked about. Barry Bonds home run counters were everywhere, and most people hated it. I for one, didn’t want to be told by sports center how many minutes it had been since the last Barry Bonds home run.

In fact, 2 years ago I was hoping he would get injured, or he wouldn’t get a new contract. I wanted him to be DONE. I wanted him out and I wanted Aaron’s record in tact.

Well here we are, the Giants and Barry Bonds have cut ties. He has expressed interest in still playing but for the most part I think nobody will sign him. Hes old, his body is getting fragile, and I’m sure he will be demanding a good amount of money and most teams wont pay it with all the steroid talk.

This could easily mean the end of the Barry Bonds era, and most people are probably happy about that.

I’m going to be the first to say BARRY BONDS PLEASE PLAY ONE MORE YEAR!!! Take a pay cut and play for what a poor team can pay you!!!!

Okay, I realize the ridiculousness of that statement, but don’t kill me over it yet. I want the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign Barry Bonds. Think about it, he has already broken the record, all he can do now is put up a few more. One more year, he might spend some time on the DL, but for the most part it would be an eventless year without much attention on him.

I say this not because I actually want him to play again, or because I care what he does on the field. I say this because it would be huge for the Pirates. Barry Bonds is a marketing gem, and his ability to bring in money to a weak Pittsburgh team is huge. He would finish his career where he started and would be a huge boost to one of the weakest teams in the league.

No, I didn’t say that he would help the Pirates directly win anything. This signing would NOT improve their chances of making the playoffs at all. All it does is bring in income in which they would be use to better their club in the 2009-’10 seasons.

I would love to see this happen, there is no downside to this, other than dealing with one more year of seeing Barry Bonds on SPORTSCENTER.

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2007 Baseball Awards

It’s over ladies and gentlemen. 2007 was a great baseball season filled with records, magic, underdogs, and juggernauts. Now it’s time to take a look back and pick my Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and MVP awards. These are my picks, not the actual winners, though I’m hoping they closely align.

 AL Cy Young: Josh Beckett
This is a lock, I’ve been saying it since August. Nobody beat Beckett when it mattered this year. 4-0 in the postseason (which isn’t supposed to count in voting) and the only 20 game winner, which he did even while missing a few starts with that “evulsion” earlier in the game.

NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy
In my mind, this is another no brain-er. I know San Diego didn’t make the playoffs, but they were right there. He had more K’s than many of the strikeout kings of Beckett, Santana, Kazmir etc. His ERA was almost .5 runs lower than the second place guy, at an amazing 2.54 runs per 9. He finished with 19 wins, most in the NL and Beckett’s 20 was the only thing keeping him from a pitching triple crown. His one weak resume point was game 163 when that super hot Colorado team was in their fantastic run to make an amazing playoff appearance. I don’t think that one loss is enough to discount what he did the rest of the season.

AL Rookie of the Year: Dustin Pedroia
Do I need to explain this one? After this kid hit less than .200 to start the season, the media and fans around Boston were calling for his exit. Terry Francona stuck to his guns, backed by Theo Epstien, and this guy was amazing all year. He was able to lead off, hit second, get on base, and hit a surprise home run now and then. In 520 at bats, he only struck out 42 times.
NL Rookie of the Year: Troy Tulowitzki
.291 Average, 24 HR, 99 RBI
Those are the numbers you expect a grizzled veteran to put up. Combine that with his excellent defense and you have a guy who is destined for good things with Colorado.

Manager of the Year: Terry Francona
I say this not as a Red Sox fan, or because his team won the World Series. I say this because of what he has accomplished with this club. The environment he has created allows each and every player to continue to learn and develop, wether they be a veteran or a rookie. Sticking with Pedroia in April can be looked at as one of his best moves all year, right up there with his fantastic bullpen management. Papelbon and Okajima did very well through the postseason and were able to pitch multiple effective innings strictly because of the way Francona handled the team. These players are just a bunch of guys having fun out on the field, not worried about consequence or failure. They can go out there day in and day out and just have some fun, and it’s all to the credit of Terry Francona.

AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
Doesn’t even need to be discussed. Everyone already knows it.

NL MVP: Matt Holiday
I almost picked Ryan Howard for this one, it was very close. Holiday beats Howard in RBI by one, and average .340 to .268. Their OBP are about the same, but Howard has 11 more home runs finishing in at 47 dingers. At 26 more runs scored, 74 more hits, and almost twice as many doubles, I have to go with Holiday here. He was a better all around player.

Red Sox Gold Gloves:
Kevin Youkilis – Perfect. Enough Said. No regular season errors.
Jason Varitek – Not just his glove, but the way he handles pitchers and calls the game. I think that should be counted in gold glove discussions because it’s how he plays his position.
Dustin Pedroia – He might not actually win it, but he absolutely could have. He made amazing plays and highlight reels all year. Polonco had a fantastic year at second and very well may win it over Pedroia.
Coco Crisp – “Did you see that game where Crisp went horizontal and made that game saving catch?”   …   “Which one?”

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DH: Use it or Lose it

The Designated Hitter. It is the one huge element keeping the two Major League Baseball Leagues apart. We all know what “national league” ball is, the style of manufacturing runs, and more small ball than its AL counterpart. The AL is famous for the big guys, the David Ortiz’s of the world getting paid to focus on hitting. It causes higher scoring games and inflated ERA’s across the board. So which one is better? Is one set of rules better than the other?Is the National League at a disadvantage year after year having to face these teams whom are built to pound the ball? I say yes, and there needs to be a change. NL adopt it or AL lose it. Get these leagues on the same page.

I say the NL should adopt it. Why you ask? Because pitchers can’t hit. They don’t work on it, and they are just flat out bad. We are never going to see the next Babe Ruth. The game is different, pitchers will never be so well rounded to be an all start hitter and an all star pitcher. If players could still do that, I’m all for letting them hit. Show me a pitcher that instills fear into the other team and I’ll reconsider this point. It just won’t happen. Get those .152 averages out of the lineup and get on a level playing field with the AL.

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Boston Red Sox: 2007 World Series Champions

There are no questions now, the 2007 Red Sox are the best team in Major League Baseball. With the best record in the regular season, the Sox proved what they are made of, winning 7 straight postseason games to win the fall classic, one game less than their ’04 winning streak.

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, it was a fantastic ride.

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Red Sox 2 – Rockies 0: The Sox Can’t be Stopped

Ubaldo Jimenez? Really? As someone who generally follows the American League much closer than the National League, I was awfully surprised to hear Ubaldo Jimenez was pitching game 2. I’m just so used to seeing bigger names in postseason play. I didn’t know much about this guy, just that he threw hard.

 And throw hard he did. He kept the Sox from putting 10 runs up on the board. He got Pedroia out with one pitch to start the game, very unlike the disciplined Red Sox. The Sox could have given into this, they could have swung hard, and let him beat them. What happened instead? They made him work, they got men on base, he got out of jams, they got him into deep counts, and he would get them out.

But that’s the point! This guy had thrown 91 pitches when they took him out in the 5th inning. 91 PITCHES! Complete game performances usually fall in the 100-120 pitch range. This is what the Sox do! They knocked out yet another starter, made the bullpen pitch yet again.

And that’s only ONE dynamic of this Red Sox team! They have the ability to get the starter out of the game, they have the ability to put up 10 runs, they have the ability to pitch well, and have good to great defense pretty much everywhere on the field, Manny included. They have the ability to grind at bats, and take a clutch walk. They have the speed to steal the Dave Roberts base if need be. They have the power to get that 3 run home run, or the ability to lay down a bunt. The lineup is dangerous in different ways top to bottom. They will take the blowout if you hand it to them, but can fight to the death in a 1 run game better than any team I’ve seen this year.

The bullpen on this team is brilliantly constructed as well. Okajima is pitching like he did in April. Why? Because they gave him September time off, they rested him, controlled his usage, and didn’t over pitch him. Papelbon anyone? Why do you think he can go more than an inning right now? His first career 2 inning save happened in the Cleveland Series (despite the end score being a blowout.) That isn’t a coincidence! They didn’t let him do that this season so he COULD now! He didn’t over pitch, and he didn’t have an injury collapse like in 2006.

The Red Sox just have more ways to win than other teams. The Yankees this year could pretty much only win by slugging. San Diego had the best ERA in the majors and couldn’t make the postseason (at the hands of the Rockies in game 163 for those of you who forgot how Colorado got here.) San Diego finished in 20th or 30 in runs scored in the Majors, and 9th of 16 in the NL. That’s why the Sox are going to win, they are all around the best team.

Yes the Rockies can win some games in this series. (As I predicted Sox in 6)
Yes they could put up 10 runs and make Matsuzaka look silly.
Yes the Red Sox CAN lose games.

No I don’t see any way the Red Sox can lose a 7 game series already up 2-0.

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World Series: Red Sox – Rockies

The Red Sox have done it again. After spectacular pitching performances by Schilling, Beckett, and Matsuzaka, as well as the offence waking up a little, the Sox climbed out of a 3-1 hole against what I think is a lesser team in the Indians.

 Yes, I put Matsuzaka in that category. I know he only went 5 innings, but he pitched well and I hope people see that. His mistakes were all out of the strikezone, unhitable mistakes are better than meatballs over the plate. When he got guys on he worked hard, and had fantastic composure. He only let one run score on a hit, the other a sac fly. He pitched out of any “jams” he got into and finished his own business. The ONLY reason he didn’t pitch longer is because this was game 7 of the ALCS. No chances, why leave the guy in to blow up? He pitched well and I am looking forward to seeing how he does game 3 in Colorado.

Don’t get me wrong, the Indians are still a excellent team, getting up 3-1 was no fluke, but they just couldn’t close. With Sabathia and Carmona unable to beat us, and the Sox putting up 3 double digit scores, the Indians were hoping that we would fail, not that they would win.

On to the World Series. I did fairly well in my Playoff Predictions post, with the only upset being the Rockies, whom I greatly underestimated with their ridiculous 21 for 22 or whatever it’s at now. I still have to stick with my prediction of the Red Sox, and I’m going to say Red Sox in 6.

Why you ask? Josh Beckett.

If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about who should win the Cy Young, that doubt should be long gone by now. He beat Sabathia in 2 head to head matches, and even though post season isn’t supposed to count in Cy Young voting, it only solidifies his regular season numbers. Only guy with 20 wins, great era, many K’s.

The Rockies have been stifling hot, but look for Beckett to shut them down in game 1. Beckett isn’t messing around and with home field advantage, Beckett will be pumped. I firmly expect 2 wins from Beckett in this World Series, and quite possibly some sort of Postseason/World Series MVP award.

Rockies pitching, they’ve been amazing I’ll give them that. They have a team era less than 2 in this postseason, but I just don’t see them shutting down this lineup. We have the AL Rookie of the Year (Yes I’m calling him to win rookie of the year now too) leading off the game, and they have Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez as your 1-2 punch. (I am excited to have 2 potential ROTY’s in this WS). Pedrioa had a HUGE home run in game 7 and has proved that he is a threat. Youkilis, Ortiz, Manny, and Lowell are going to wear this staff out. Their starters haven’t had to face an offense like this, and certainly aren’t used to the DH. They are going to throw many pitches and I can’t really see either of them pitching into the 7th. Hope their bullpen is ready for some work.

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