Tagged: Red Sox

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
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With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
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When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
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At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
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This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
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Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

A Cornucopia of Dumb Baseball Questions

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As writers, we have to realize when we make mistakes. That was one of the lessons in Mark’s J-Blog School. In my last post, I posted a MLBlog definition that you guys all helped me with. Even though it was a great definition, I think we were just defining the fan blogs that we read. Julia and Bigpapi72 recommended that I send it to Mark, and I did. It was within his response that I realized our mistake. “MLBlogs are whatever people want them to be… Do not try and define the indefinable”. 

The thing is, we weren’t looking outside our realm of fan blogs. We forgot about Alyssa Milano’s blog, we forgot about the baseball cleat advertisements that keep beating us out on the rankings list (I feel your pain COB), and so many more! Anyway, Jen was partially right in attempting to define MLBlogs as a community. At least there seems to be “one constant” (there are endless ways to use this pun) throughout any type of blog on here: baseball!
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I feel like this week I’ve been bombarded with stupid baseball questions. You guys will be appalled when you read some of the questions I heard this week. To these people’s credit, they do not know anything about baseball, but still… 
I was in my history class talking about the MLB Network and how I have the Red Sox 2007 post season run on DVD and how I’m always watching it when I hear the question:
Haven’t you seen these games already though?
Me: Well, yes but..
.
[We’ll use the alias Bob]: So what’s the point in watching them again if you already know what’s going to happen
Me: Well, first off I haven’t memorized the score so I don’t know EXACTLY what’s going to happen. And I can focus on certain players. I can see the look in JD Drew’s eyes when he’s about to slam a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first into dead center field. Something in his eyes that is different from the rest of the season.
Bob: Okay, okay… So on this MLB Network do they show the Bill Buckner play
Me: *shudders*. Yes, they play it quite often actually. Did you know that Dwight Evans has never watched the replays of that play? 
Bob: Wow. [This was actually a sincere wow, and yes, I explained to him who Dewey is].
Then, in my Life Skills class, we’re learning about setting goals, and we get this handout, and on the top of the sheet it says: Yogi Berra. Sure he played for the Yankees, but still, it’s baseball! We’ll use the alias Steve for this one.
Steve: Wait, who’s Yogi Bera?
Me: *slaps hand to forehead*. Steve– Yogi Berra played for the Yankees in the 1950’s. He caught Don Larsen’s perfect Game 5 of the 1956 World [I’m cut off]
Steve: OH! Is this where Yogi Bear came from? This sounds like something he would say
Me: NO! Yogi Bear and Yogi BerrA are two totally different people! 
Finally, today in math, my math teacher was telling me how he has been watching Ken Burns’ baseball series on the MLB Network. Bob once again asks why I’m watching baseball when it’s not even baseball season. 
Aside from these appalling baseball crimes, Jonathan Papelbon signed a one year, $6.25 million dollar deal! He is now the richest, first-year arbitration player ever. Papelbon brings more than just his pitching stats to the table. 
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He has this ridiculously intimidating stare. He takes a deep breath, and then faces Varitek, and narrows his eyes and puts his mouth in an ‘O’ shape. He’ll either nod or shake-off pitches. Then, he hurls the ball 90 something mph and blows it right by some of the best hitters in baseball! 
Then there’s the dancing. After winning Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, Jonathan Papelbon came out in his boxers and did this… Irish step dance to ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphys. 
He is also part of the notorious Bullpen Band (called the Black Pearl right?). He has an unparalleled intensity on the field, but is a humorous guy to hang around with in the clubhouse. 
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Papelbon also had some very nice words for the only catcher he has ever known. His captain, the one and only Jason Varitek. 
There’s certain players in Major League baseball . . . that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category. Whether it’s a money issue or whether it’s an age issue, there’s no question in my mind whatsoever. You make that gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”

So, it’s not just me, and JULIA and BIG PAPI who are willing Varitek to come back, he means A LOT to his players as well. 

I had an RSBS moment today! During my history quiz, on the bonus question (which I honestly cannot remember), among the choices were:
b. Jeffery
c. Allen
Too bad I was the only one LOLing at this. 

-Elizabeth

A Very Merry Christmas In NY Indeed- Mark Teixeira to the Yankees

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I found out this morning. I was at my friend Cara’s (a friend of mine from over the summer who is visiting) apartment when her father, a Red Sox fan, announced the news. You have to be kidding me, I said. Mark Teixeira, on the Yankees?? They were barely in the sweepstakes. They did it again! They were lurking in the darkness until the last minute, and then they pounced! The deal? 8 years, $180 million with a $5 million dollar signing bonus. $20 million in the first two seasons, 22.5 in each of the final six years. So how much have the “Bronx Bombers” spent this offseason? $423.5 million. Now that I can’t have Mark Teixeria, do I want him? Nope. 

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Am I mad at John Henry? Do I think he’s cheap? Nope
 So I started to have a conversation with Cara’s father about the whole situation, here’s how it went down, Jane Heller style. 

Dr. Neel: Did you hear, the Yankees got Mark Teixeria
Me: You’ve got to be kidding me! The Yankees? They weren’t even in the sweepstakes for him
Dr. Neel: Well, they did it again
Me: Great, they have a monstrous starting rotation, and they’ve just bolstered their offense. But… I never wanted Teixeria
Dr. Nell: What? Why not??
Me: Well, we already have Youkilis at first, and I have faith that Lowell can return strongly, I mean, he was the 2007 World Series MVP.
Dr. Neel: Yeah, but that was a year ago.
Me: It’s only a year
Dr. Neel: But this year, Lowell had a torn hip labrum, that’s only a couple steps away from a hp replacement. Do we really want a third baseman who was so close to a hip replacement?
Me: Well, the rehab is going well
Dr. Neel: And he’s 37 (this just in from Julia: he’s 34 years old!!) years old! We maybe have another two or three years out of him, but after that? 
Me: We have two years left with him, the re-signing after 2007 was for three years. I think he’ll be fine.
Dr. Neel puts down a fine argument doesn’t he? Teixeria is 28 years old, Lowell is 37. Teixeria is a hitting machine, Mike Lowell was a hitting machine, “Mr. Double” right? But here’s the thing. I want two more years out of Mike Lowell, I know he tore his hip labrum, but he’s going through some rehabilitation. He’ll have his intense range of motion back, and I have faith that his bat will go back to being the offensive force it was in 2007. 
However, the Yankees needed him much more than the Sox did. They only had two real offensive forces: Jeter and Rodriguez. The Red Sox have: Pedroia, Youk, Papi, Lowell, Drew, and Bay. We know that Lowell is getting old. Future solution after Lowell either retires or leaves: Youk to third, bring up Lars Anderson, the future star. 
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It seems like me and Julia are the only Red Sox fans who have been opposed to Mark Teixeria since the beginning. I don’t know why I have so much faith in Mike Lowell, maybe because he’s always been one of my favorite players, and I’ve grown up watching him, but whatever the reason, I’m glad he’s going to stay. 
Now that we’re out of the Tex sweepstakes, I really hope that we sign Derek Lowe. We do actually need a strong fourth slot starter, and Derek Lowe would be perfect for that. Red Sox fans love him! He’s done so much for us, and he loves us too. Remember his no-no in 2002 against the Rays? That would make a great Christmas present. 
But an even better one? Four years ago, on this date, a certain someone re-signed with us. If he does it again, I think a lot of us at Red Sox Nation would be happy. 
Have a great Christmas Eve to those of you who celebrate Christmas. Thank you all for being so supportive. I love this family here (more on that tomorrow). 
-Elizabeth

Thank you MLBlogs, and Happy Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again, time to get together with family, eat, and be thankful for what we have. For those of you who live anywhere but Florida, the leaves are changing, and the weather is getting colder. Down here in Florida, although various cold fronts come through, it’s nothing spectacular. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope that you guys do too.

I am thankful for my family, they’re always there for me, and are supportive of my blog, which I just told them about. Plus, my dad’s side of the family is the reason why I’m a Red Sox fan, it’s a tradition, and that’s important. If it wasn’t for my dad, I wouldn’t even be a baseball fan. The greatest gift he will ever give me, is the gift of loving baseball. 
I am thankful for my friends, even though some of them don’t understand my love for the Red Sox, and make fun of me for blogging. They’re always there for me though, and the ones that do support my blog, like Christina, it really means a lot to me.
I am thankful for baseball. It brings people together in a way that nothing else can. The way people are, the way relationships that we have, would be totally different in some cases if baseball didn’t exist. You never know what’s going to happen, it changes every night. You could love someone because of baseball, or you could hate someone because of baseball, but at the end of the day, we’re all baseball fans. 
I am thankful for the Boston Red Sox. The emotions that I feel when I walk into Fenway Park, which is only about once a year, are indescribable. I would never be able to thank them enough for all that they do for me. There’s so much history to the team, painful history admittedly. And just watching every game, every night, is just the best thing in the world for me. I can forget about everything else that has ever happened, and only think about the game. I live with them, and I die with them, and I always will.
I am thankful for the people that read my blog. Words can’t describe how much it means to me that people are reading and sending me positive feedback on my blog. I’m so surprised that I’m the featured blog of the week, I never expected that when I came onto this site. This site is awesome, it doesn’t matter who you are, or even who you root for, we can all put our differences behind us (and by differences I mean different loyalties), come together, and just talk about baseball. Thank you guys SO much. 
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
-Elizabeth

Game 2 Homerun Derby

Yet again, an unhealthy Beckett took the mound in this disappointing Game 2 loss. Everytime the Red Sox got a run, the Rays would answer, and vice-versa. Every time someone got into a deficit, the other team would come right back along answering with a home run. 7 home runs in one game tied the record. Dustin Pedroia hit two out, and Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay went deep also. Once again, Beckett was not his normal postseason shut down. What happened? The middle relief did pretty well, we used our entire bullpen except for Paul Byrd. I don’t know why we used Timlin and not Byrd. The minute Timlin started walking to the mound, I (and probably the entity of Red Sox Nation) knew that the game was over. Timlin loaded up the bases and then gave up a sacrifice fly to end the game to BJ Upton. Byrd probably would’ve done better, but nobody knows. Papelbon was in for 30 pitches. I hope he’s okay to pitch Monday night. Can you believe the eruption of Evan Longoria after he was silenced in Game 1? The Rays were a bit more loose tonight. It was quite an exciting game to watch, but also frustrating for both sides. Quite honestly, I would’ve rather Wakefield in tonight with Beckett’s crap performance. And now the series goes back to Fenway. 

-Elizabeth

A Brief Overview on the Red Sox year and Game 1 ALDS Assessment

Well, coming off of last year, everyone expected the Red Sox to win again. Our roster was the exact same as the World Series roster. We were golden right? Too bad we were continually plagued with injuries or unfortunate mishaps. David Ortiz’s continuous slump throughout the year to produce his worse offensive year ever in a Red Sox uniform. This is pretty much blamable on his wrist which has always been a problem for him. Other injuries included JD Drew, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Julio Lugo and Clay Buchholz. JD Drew was on fire during the month of June only to be shut down with a back problem, but I am confident in a comeback. Mike Lowell hurt his hip and was out for an extended period of time. Josh Beckett, a candidate for the Cy Young award last year (and was virtually ROBBED of it) did not have a great followup season and was on the disabled list with various injuries (back spasms… etc.). Daisuke Matsuzaka went on for a while and had a great year, but he was really ******* lucky since he only went like five innings half the time -_-. I had so much faith in Clay Buchholz at the beginning of the season, and that faith has slowly dwindled away, to essentially nothing now. However, it is not ALL his fault. Remember back when he hurt that finger nail? Yeah, he went down to the Paw Sox and they changed his pitching mechanics which really threw him off which was why HE COULDNT WIN A ******* GAME (sorry). Manny Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers and was a total ******* about it. Seriously, in that last game against the Angles, the guy stopped trying. Sorry, but that just screams ****** right there. I had defended him COUNTLESS times against the ******** who never let me live it down for being a Red Sox fan, but now, he’s number 99 (wtf) on the Dodgers kickin it. Grr. But look at what we got out of it. Jason Bay. Jason Bay has been absolutely exceptional. He was so underrated merely because he played with the Pirates. But he’s phenomenal offensively and pretty damn solid defensively. I have no complaints. Justin Masterson came up from the Paw Sox upon Dice-K’s injury and proved quite successful and soon returned in the bullpen, which has helped to balance out the incoherentness of David Aardsma and Mike Timlin as well as the struggles of Okajima. Julio Lugo’s injury was ultimately a blessing in disguise since Jed Lowrie came up as a result of it (which I called at the beginning of the year, by the way). Jed has been great at short stop, errorless in the regular season (until last night that is) and is a pretty solid hitter. As for the other players: Jacoby Ellsbury (my future husband) had his ups and downs. He is undoubtedly one of the best fielders in the league because he makes catches that no human should make. However, his hitting was a bit inconsistent but he did make up for it with the American League leading 50 steals. Dustin Pedroia. Do I need to expand on that point? I think I will. Let’s just say: leads in batting average, leads in hits, pretty ******* good fielder. MVP! Gotta love him. Kevin Youkilis is quite literally, the rock of the Red Sox. He is so determined and has such a great mentality. His numbers were consistently great and he truly helped the Red Sox. 

Game 1 ALDS Assessment Time!:
So, the Red Sox entered the playoffs as a wild card team and the division, surprisingly enough, went to the Rays (who, in 2007, were in DEAD LAST). They took Game 1 against the Angels (the best team in baseball) in a very intense game. Jon Lester pitched a gem, he didn’t even have an earned run (the only run scored was due to an error by Jed Lowrie). So we’re trailing 1-0 right? And Kevin Youkilis is on first and Jason Bay is up. Jason Bay has never been in the post season. So I’m sitting there and I call it. I said: Jason, you’re gonna hit your first post season home run tonight and it’s gonna go right in between left and center field. And guess what? Well, you know the story. 2-1. In your face *******! In the top of the eighth inning, Jacoby Ellsbury bats in Jed Lowrie to make it 3-1 and scores to make it 4-1. He is arguably the hero of that game. Not only did he go 3-5, but he had two steals to get himself into scoring position, an RBI and made this absolutely incredible catch to stop the potential rally. Masterson pitched a great eighth inning and Papelbon shut down the ninth. I’ve said it once and I’ll sure as hell say it again: Jon Lester was incredible. Absolutely beautiful.
How’s Game 2 gonna turn out? Y’all will see (but unfortunately I will be unable to).