Monthly Archives: December 2007

Formatting Error

I apologize for the 1 paragraph style of my last post. I have tried to fix it but the software does not seem to want to accept my carriage returns. I think it has something to do with the length of the post. I will keep trying to fix it but know that it is not intentional. 

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Offseason Updates

I apologize to those who have been checking for updates and haven’t seen any in a while. I have been following everything in baseball, I just have not had time to write about it. In any event, I thought I’d do a little catching up. Mitchell Report I’d like to start by expressing my huge excitement that nothing in the Mitchell report tainted in any way the Red Sox World Series titles. For those who don’t know, the only connections that the Red Sox had to the report were Roger Clemens, Mo Vaughn, Brendan Donnelly, Eric Gagne, Jose Canseco, Paxton Crawford, Jeremy Giambi, Steve Woodward, Josias Manzanillo, Chris Donnels, Mike Lansing, Kent Merker, and Mike Stanton.Donnelly and Gagne were the only members of either World Series team. Donnelly was injured for the majority of the season, and clearly nobody can make the argument that the 2007 Red Sox won because Gagne allegedly juiced. In any event, both players were in the report when the players were elsewhere. Clemens is still fighting his name in the report, but regardless of how that turns out, he hasn’t been a Sox player in long enough, nor has he been since the years he was allegedly involved. On a side note, Curt Schilling really needs to keep his mouth shut on this one. I don’t need to hear that he is disappointed in Clemens. Unless Schill knows something that we don’t, leave it be, it’s not his place to speak publicly about it. With little to no major contributions from any other players, the Red Sox and the Mitchell report will likely never be closely related, and probably never talked about together. Thankfully the Sox are clean on this one, and I would like to believe they still run a clean organization. Offseason MovesAs I noted in my end of season post, the 2008 Red Sox will look much like they did in 2007, except improved. (I know, it’s great to think they are lined up to be BETTER.)The resigning of Curt Schilling and Mike Lowell to 1 and 3 year contracts respectively will help our club greatly. Curt brings veteran leadership and will help the young guys regardless of his on field performance. Without the status of the “ace” in 2008, I think Schillings pitching will be much more appreciated this year, and if he goes 15-8, I’ll be very happy with 15 wins, much like my year in, year out attitude with Wakefield. I expect him to miss a few starts this year, but I’m okay with that as it will allow someone to step up for a few spot starts.I view the Lowell signing as even more important. We don’t have any top prospects lined up for third base, and most of the Lowell alternatives involved moving Youkilis to third. I think that would have been a poor choice, as Youk has clearly found some comfort at first base. His defense was excellent this year (no errors in the regular season, as well as making some spectacular plays) and his on field play did not interfere with his offensive production at all. Keep him there because it was working. Very happy to know that Youk and Lowell will be our corners for a few years.One year extensions were exercised for Tavarez and Wakefield. I fully expected them to sign Wake, as the organization recognizes what a value he is. Tavarez surprised me a little bit, but I am really happy that they did. Tavarez has shown time and time again he can start with only a few hours notice, which can be very handy to have around. He will once again fall in that middle relief role but his flexibility will help us through the season in spot starts, extra inning games, and any games where a starter is knocked out early.Catcher Kevin Cash was outright sent to Pawtuckett, and declined the assignment and thus became a free agent. Don’t worry though, our catching prospect re-signed shortly after and has an invitation to spring training. He could be Wakefields catcher if Mirabelli doesn’t wind up in a Sox uniform again.Timlin has been signed to a 1 year deal as well, and I can’t say I’m disappointed about that. I love his composure on the mound and love the way he rebounded in 2007 after everyone (myself included) had given up on him. A healthy Timlin can only help us. The Team As Is Youkilis, Pedroia, Lugo, Manny, Drew, and Varitek are extremely likely to keep their spots on the field, pending some blockbuster trade. Ortiz is obviously the DH. Crisp and Ellsbury are both in the picture for a job in center field. My guess is that right now Crisp has the job. I do think Crisp is on the trade market, but like usual, Epstien will not pull the trigger just to pull it. He has to get something that is valuable to him.The rotation looks like you would expect. Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, Wakefield, and a # 5 starter. The five hole likely belongs to Lester right now, as it should, with Buchholz looming in the background. Unless Lester winds up in a trade for Johan Santana, I see him in the starting rotation and Buchholz starting the year in AAA.As for the Santana trade rumors, Lester, Buchholz, and Ellsbury have all been put into the trade rumors. Personally I think Buchholz and Ellsbury are untouchable, even for Santana. If that deal goes through I think we would see Lester and Crisp in that deal. I find it hard to believe Epstien would agree to something else.Papelbon will be the closer once again, and I only see him becoming more dominant as he gets stronger and develops his other pitches a little more.Okajima and Matsuzaka will be interesting to watch as they start their second seasons in the USA. I find it hard to believe Oki will be as dominant as he was, however, I still see him being very effective and a great 8th inning guy and an excellent back up for Papelbon. I expect Matsuzaka to improve greatly as I expect him to mature in his second American League season much like Beckett did in his second season with the Red Sox. I think we will see many more 7+ inning outings from him.  Get ready because the 2008 Red Sox are on their way, and they are looking stronger than ever. There is no way that this team doesn’t make the playoffs.     

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