Thursday, December 9, 2010
Hangin Out! Down the Street!
Well, the new season of Tom Werner's TV show is going to be a lot more entertaining and might bring laughter and joy into people's living rooms again. Had miles to run and a real paying job to attend to today, so my apologies for keeping this morning's post short. But the last week for the Red Sox has been the closest to earth-shattering as we've ever seen. Gunn compared it to Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke. I'd call it bigger than anything we've ever seen except for maybe Manny Ramirez, but only because Nomar and Pedro were already there. For once, it was actually the Red Sox spending some money, although Adrian Gonzalez is currently only signed through the 2011 season. Fact.
This deal means a whole score of things, more than one post's worth of stuff. I guess it's a good week for Pat to be buried in finals. I sure wouldn't want to have that kind of workload, like having a 5-hour exam on Saturday and a 30-hour project due on Monday. Oh, wait. But this week, barring a Lee deal tonight, has been all Red Sox anyway. I will keep it to the first five that come to mind.
1. John W. Henry Co. went up 20 percent in 2010, so they're actually doing quite well. So let's stop talking about the Red Sox' small market-ness. They were pretty bad in the first place, but some time around 12:15 this morning they became just as bad. You cannot expect this team to give out long contracts like this one again for a long time. Their roster is more or less 2/3 set for the next three seasons. The rotation minus Matsuzaka, Youkilis, Pedroia, Bard, and these two guys are all sticking around until 2013 or beyond. So they will not be spending big for a while. Not because they're poor. But because their roster spots are taken.
2. There is absolutely no plan. Theo Epstein was talking about no major acquisitions, but the ownership for some reason didn't expect Red Sox fans to turn on them after they bought the soccer team, said a bunch of dumb things, let Victor Martinez go, and give a really, really dumb interview. This was a series of panic moves. But the panic moves, although haphazard, made this team a lot better. We can now almost forget that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the catcher and there is no bullpen. (Feel free to read my regularly-scheduled bullpen post from last night!)
3. Ken Rosenthal said that the Yankees would "erupt in chaos" if Cliff Lee signs anywhere else. Would this be the case if the Red Sox hadn't signed their backup plan/Brett Gardner insurance last night? Of course not. Lee has all the leverage. I think the rational group of Yankees fans, my co-author included, think the Yankees will be fine without Cliff Lee. But those who think Doc Brown is electrically conductive enough and should be sent back to 1985 will absolutely flip out. The papers will flip out. Hal Steinbrenner would get crushed all over the place. People will wonder if he's buying a second-rate European soccer team instead of making good offers.
Perhaps most importantly, they'll say that his father, the winner, would have never let this happen.
4. How about on-the-field implications? A lot of this was addressed in today's (terrific) comments section. Pat's comment about how he's the highest-paid player to never hit 20 home runs is interesting. I think that he will hit 20 home runs this year, partially because the little league field is moving their right field wall in a little bit further as a big "thank you" for JD Drew's underwhelming production for the last four years. (Less room to run in right and warning track power turns into a home run or two.) But I read somewhere that the Red Sox have on their roster the league leader in steals for eight of the last nine years or something like that. The value of speed is debated, as it should be. The Giants were dead last in steals last year. Speed overrates borderline major leaguers like 46. Speed adds value in "what-if" situations. Moneyballers hated speed no more than a decade ago. But no matter the value, if the Red Sox now have a guy who can hit .300 with 20 home runs, 35-45 (doubles + triples), and only 100 strikeouts a year for the next four, that's a key cog in the lineup. Maybe not worth $20 million, especially considering how much they outbid the Angels by. But right now it's borderline irrelevant if their shortstop is mediocre, their catcher is below average, and their outfield has JD Drew. Unless Beckett and Lackey suck WORSE than last year, they'll be a good team. Even if they're AS BAD, they're a playoff team.
5. Who's the other outfielder? JD will be in right field four days a week, including Friday night, until he rides with a bow in his hand into the sunset. (Can't give it the 9/28 date anymore, as this team's a playoff team again.) Theo said Kalish is not ready yet, so the other outfielder is 46. But 46 is basically an inferior version of Crawford except he's two (and only two) years younger and still has sore ribs. I'd love to see 46 traded for a good reliever, if there is such a thing available on the trade market, as Kalish brings a more rounded skill set than 46's one tool game. This move makes 46 that much more expendible, and if the Red Sox can actually get something of value in return for this stiff, it would be worth exploring