Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “December, 2010”

Two week turn around

A little over two weeks ago, the Red Sox looked like a dried up husk of a team that would be limping through next season while keeping an eye on 2012 and some promising prospects in the farm system. They’d lost their two best hitters from 2010, Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre. Their bullpen seemed spent. Their biggest signing to that point was keeping the rapidly declining David Ortiz. Fans and sports writers were wondering if the best move might be trading their best bullpen arm, Daniel Bard, for Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks.

Frankly, I was not looking forward to 2011.

But now! Holy Hannah! Theo Epstein has restocked this team faster than Charlie Sheen destroys a hotel suite. With Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford onboard, the Sox offense and defense looks to be better than 2010. But a recent flurry of signings has revitalized the bullpen, where Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler will be joining Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, who, in his walk year, should have plenty of incentive to improve on his lackluster 2010 season.

Of course, things may not go as planned. There may be injuries, guys may not perform as expected. But we won’t be able to blame that on Theo Epstein. This has been a great off-season for the still-young GM.

Now if he could only find a catcher!

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Hey, I didn’t say it!

Just saw this up on the Red Sox site at Boston.com. You’d think after signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez that Theo Epstein would get a little more respect! (FYI, the story is about the need for bullpen help.) No further comment.

Red Sox win December!

Well, after a busy week, the Red Sox have gotten their men. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will be donning Red Sox uniforms in Fenway Park next season and everyone in New England — at least those sensible enough to be Red Sox fans — are going to have a happy holiday season. Now all that needs to be done is translating that talent into winning.

The pundits seem to be anointing the Sox a trip to the World Series before a game is even played. But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. Gonzalez and Crawford are terrific players. Gonzalez may even be a great player. But neither has won a World Series. The Sox still need to get improved performances from Lackey and Beckett in the starting rotation and the bullpen needs a major lift. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury need to be fully recovered from their injuries. And the combo of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek need to adeptly handle the catching duties. All those things are possible, but will all of them happen?

Look, I’m not suggesting that this wasn’t a great week for the Red Sox. Let’s celebrate. Let’s get excited. But let’s not take a post season appearance — let alone a World Series berth — as a foregone conclusion.

We were all counting our chickens…

… and Adrian Gonzalez was counting his money.

I am an open critic of Theo Epstein, but I’m not yet ready to knock him for what went down today… i.e. the death of the deal that would have brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. For all we know, the “dead” deal could just be a bargaining ploy for either or both sides in the negotiations for Gonzalez’s contract extension. Or Gonzalez’s agent could have been asking for a ridiculous contract; that is, above and beyond the normal ridiculousness.

I say let’s wait and see. And, who knows, two seasons from now, after Anthony Rizzo puts up sick numbers in his remarkable rookie-of-the-year season, we may all look back on today and say, “Phew!”

Yo, Adrian!

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to trade three potential future stars for one current one in an effort to become relevant in the AL East again. Adrian Gonzalez is coming to Fenway. Maybe. All that stands in the way as I write this is figuring out if he’ll get $180 million or just $110 million over the next five to eight years (or something like that; I’m not privy to the negotiations).

This is exciting news. Gonzalez is a Gold Glove-winning first baseman tailor-made for hitting at Fenway. When Kevin Youkilis moves to third base, the Sox will have a very formidable infield with Dustin Pedroia at second base and the flavor of the day at short stop.

Nevertheless I can’t help but wonder at the wisdom — even the justice — of paying one player so much more than his teammates. How much lower down the skill ladder is Kevin Youkilis? Half a notch, maybe. And yet Gonzalez will, at a minimum, be making about 50 to 60 percent more money. Yes, it is the economics of the game. But is it fair? Is it even smart? Do players really not think about these inequities? Pedroia and Youkilis both came up through the Red Sox system, and seem to be paying a price for their own loyalty to the club. Not that I feel sorry for them with their sad little multi-million dollar contracts.

I also wonder how long it will take until we get pundits who start lamenting that we let one or more of these prospects get away. In the last year or two there’s been this undertone around the Boston sports media that maybe it wasn’t such a good deal, trading Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins for Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett. In four years, when Anthony Rizzo is a superstar, will we be hearing his name more often than Adrian Gonzalez. And imagine this, Rizzo may be a free agent just about the time Mark Texeira’s contract with the Yankees expires…

Okay, that’s all just normal Boston doom and gloom and now that I’ve gotten that out of the way let me just say, “Let the Adrian Gonzalez era begin.”

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