Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “June, 2009”

The Buzz is back

Every year about this time, with the major league baseball trade deadline approaching (the last day of July), the Boston.com sports section runs a feature called The Buzz, rumor central regarding potential Red Sox trades. I don’t know why this always elicits a sense of excitement in me. Most years the trades the Sox make are weak, disappointing or busts (e.g.Eric Gagne a couple years ago). But sometimes they bring an exciting new ballplayer (e.g. Jason Bay last year). When The Buzz starts, it means the long baseball season is about half way over. It means pennant races are ready to heat up. It means we will have several weeks of trade speculation as dense as the summer weather. Days are longer. The air warmer.

It is the season of great hopefulness. Because once the trade deadline comes and goes, the days will begin to be noticeably shorter, there will be a hint of autumn in the night breeze, and some teams dreams of the post season will have ended.

So I want to wallow in the month of July, engaging in the idle trade speculation, imaging the Sox bringing in a thumper for the lineup, or a thrilling short stop. July is the month of my birthday, and I am hoping that Theo Epstein will deliver a nice present.

Rolling the Dice

Now that John Smoltz is ready to command the mound for the Red Sox, the Boston brain trust has decided to put Daisuke Matsuzaka on ice, and Red Sox Nation breathes a sigh of relief. We all wanted to like this guy when he joined the Sox in 2007 — but it has been so hard. If he were your number four or five pitcher, and you were paying him $4 or $5 million a year, he’d be worth it. But for the nearly $20 million a year the Sox have invested in Dice-K… well, let’s face it, that money could have been better spent. Any number of nearly as effective pitchers could have been had for a third of the price and more effective pitchers could have been had for half the cost. But Theo Epstein rolled the dice, and got burned again (i.e. think Matt Clement, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, etc…)

But what happens if Dice-K is never better than he has been this year? With three years left on his contract at $28 million, plus the up-front posting fee of $50 million, this signing might go down as one of the worst ever.

Why this bothers me is that the Sox seem to be miserly with some players (see Derek Lowe), but free spending yahoos with others. This off season they dickered over dollars with Jason Bay, and now it would not surprise me to find Bay in Yankee pinstripes next season. That would be criminal after the season he is in the midst of.

That’s a relief

A few weeks ago I was on a kick suggesting the Red Sox trade Josh Beckett for other parts much needed.

Nevermind.

Not after last night’s performance. The Red Sox ace really delivered against the hated Bronx Skankees. And that was an important win. Until last night, I had the feeling the Sox and Yanks were on different trajectories, with the Yankees well on the rise and the Sox sort of stumbling along in neutral since there 11-game winning streak. Had A.J. Burnett pitched the Yankees to a win last night over Beckett and the Sox, it would not have been a disaster, perhaps, but I would have started to feel the season slipping away. (Of course, I need to add the usual caveat that the Sox still have 13 games left to play against the Yankees, so this one win doesn’t get us over any kind of hump. As Bob Ryan said recently, the Sox are NOT going to go 19 and 0 against the Yankees this year.)

In fairness, however, my suggestion to trade Beckett was not based on the fact that I thought he was washed up. On the contrary, I thought he would bring very high value, which is what the Sox need (i.e. at short stop, DH and “catcher of the future”). And since I don’t expect the Sox to be top bidders for Beckett after his contract runs out next year, I thought better to trade him than two or three of the young studs down on the farm, who can be flinging the rawhide for the Sox well into the ought 10s!

But I didn’t expect Beckett would be THIS good. We need him in Boston pitching at this level. He and Lester give the Sox a one-two punch that’s as close to unbeatable as it gets. I mean, who needs a short stop if the batters can’t hit the ball?

How long before…

he is pitching for the New York Yankees? My guess, six years. Unless he turns out to be a bust, that is.

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