At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Chaim Bloom Takes Action: Trading a Solid Catcher for 2 Cheap Players

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 2, 2022

Christian Vazquez has been traded for Emmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu.  In doing so, the Sox save money.  They avoid paying Vazquez more since he’s soon a free agent.  (See James McCann, 4 years, $40 million.) They also signal a no-confidence judgement on the 2022 Sox team.

Abreu is a 23-year-old outfielder presently batting .249 with a .399 OBP for Corpus Christi.  He has 15 to 20 HR potential in the bushes.

Valdez is a 23-year-old infielder/outfielder hitting .356 with a .463 OBP for Corpus Christi, but whose minor league career stats include a .259 BA and a .338 OBP overall.  He’s a 20+ HR potential guy in the minors.

Unless these two players quickly become a lot better and do so above Double-A, it looks like we gave up true value for two question marks.  Vazquez’s slash is .282, 8 HR and 42 RBI, nice production from a backstop who also is good at stopping bad pitches.

Solid defensive catchers with decent pop who play 130+ games per season are rare.

Vazquez had/has fewer errors in 2021 and 2022 than Sean Murphy, the A’s gold glove catcher.

The Red Sox defensively rank only above the White Sox in errors made. We are #14 in a 15 team field.

Christian is making $7 million this year. (Source: Spotrac.) His nominal replacement, Reese McGuire, is earning $468,000.  The former White Sox will share duties with Kevin Plawecki, who makes $2.25 million.

McGuire is batting .225 and seems quite defensively adroit.  He allowed just 10 passed balls in 182 career games so far.

Looks like the Sox will save $2.4 million dollars on catchers this year due to these moves.  They likely aren’t paying Valdez and Abreu much either.

So, what did Chaim Bloom accomplish?

He depressed many fans.  Me included.

He broke up the family.  Christian was on Greenville, Portland and Pawtucket with guys like Bogaerts and JBJ, plus a slew of players that have moved on.

I followed former UConn Coach Jim Calhoun at a recent (2019, maybe) Travelers PGA Celebrity event.  Every so often I would ask Calhoun a Red Sox question between shots, knowing he was a devoted Sox fan.  At one point on the back 9, I told him that Christian Vazquez was underrated.  He spun to look at me and with total sincerity said, “That is absolutely right.  He’s very underrated.  People don’t know how good he is.”

The praise stems from Vazquez’s defense, character, commitment, steady offense, and the occasional ability to hit in the clutch.  I feel it.  Jim Calhoun feels it.

Sorry to see him go.

As mentioned earlier, the trade of Vazquez signals a lack of faith by the GM in this team.

If that’s not the case, then why on Earth did they trade away a puzzle piece that any contender requires.

Congrats on making a big deal for us, Chaim.

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What Chaim Bloom really said about Trade Deadline moves

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 1, 2022

Heading into the trade deadline, Chaim Bloom submitted to 21 minutes of questions on WEEI’s Greg Hill Show.  Bloom was a little evasive, elusive, frank, and non-committal in answering Greg Hill, Courtney Cox, Jermaine Wiggins and Rob Bradford.  Here’s an attempt to cut through the spin by summarizing what I heard — not verbatim — but reduced and paraphrased by me.

Greg: Just what is the problem with this talented Red Sox team’s horrible July performance?

There’s a lot of reasons for the poor performance. Defense is a problem. We’re inconsistent. We have not played well for long stretches.  Injuries are not the excuse.

Greg: How did the Cora-Bloom Dislike Each Other narrative originate?

No idea.  Not feeling it.  So much fun to work with him. Everyday.

Wiggy: What direction is the team headed in for the rest of season, including whether to buy or sell at trade deadline?

We’re exploring all trade options and are not committed directionally.  We have to look. But we have to factor in the recent losing. 43W-33L on June 30.  51W-52L on July 31.

Greg: What is the point is of developing good players from their roots, and then letting them walk?

I understand people are worried about losing our talent.  Nothing I can say matters until there is a deal in place to talk about.  The point is to win championships.

Courtney: Scott Boras said he’s going to talk directly to John Henry about Xander.  Have you been squeezed out of negotiations?

Don’t read too much into Scott’s comments about this.  Also, please know that I have no ego.

Wiggy: Do you look at long term contracts as justified if you get 5 good years in a 10-year scenario?

That depends. Each situation is complete. It’s about stats and character. You factor in the depth chart, the minors, the roster. I am not going to say what I think about long term contracts and if one often doesn’t get full value for the money.

Greg:  Are there any Red Sox players who are untradeable?

I can’t talk in those absolutes.  We aren’t planning on talking about Devers or Xander with any club.

Courtney: do you assign value to the stability & balance a player develops to the Boston environment after playing in it a while?

Yes, 100%

Rob: Can you guarantee Bogaerts will be a Red Sox on Aug. 3?

I think to make those guarantees is silly – but I can’t conceive of a set of circumstances that would see Bogaerts leave now.

Rob: Have you discussed Bogie and Boras giving up their 10/5 no-trade clause rights?

I wouldn’t tell you if I did.  But, no.

Wiggy: Is a player like Juan Soto being looked at?

We’d be silly not to do so.

Greg: Are you allowed to pay big money in pursuit of top players?

Yes, if it is the best move for us to make.

Greg: How do you relate to assigning a tag of Buyer or Seller to teams in the trade deadline context?

Viewing your self like that may cause you to miss an opportunity. In any deal players may both come and go.

Bloom’s comments left all doors open.  I won’t be surprised if J.D. and Xander are gone this week or if they are not.

My gut says that control is an important thing to Bloom.  A team can have superior control of a player, as with Kutter Crawford and Jarren Duran, potential free agents in 2028.  There is also reasonable control, as with Raffy Devers, who can go free agent in 2024. There is limited control, such as with Trevor Story, who will earn $134 million guaranteed for 2022 through 2027, but can be traded.

My gut also tells me if Bloom can engineer a talent improvement and lower the Sox $203 million payroll, he most certainly will do so.

To listen to the interview:

https://www.audacy.com/weei/authors/the-greg-hill-show

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Patience for baby Bello is appropriate

Posted by athomeatfenway on July 12, 2022

For my own secretive reason I decided that Brayan Bello’s MLB debut would be one I’d attend.

I struggle with the ballpark.  As much as I love Fenway, I would gladly give up going there for 5 years if they would just retrofit 25,000 wide & cushy seats into the old park, disposing of the rest, making it comfortable for humans over 150 pounds.

Screw it.  I would sacrifice comfort for history.  I would see the guy that Pedro Martinez says has a “super unique set of talent and heart.  And the most important one.  The brain”.[i]

Yeah. It’s not good English. But you know what Pedro was saying.

 I drove the Pike eastward recalling other Fenway debuts I’d attended.  Justin Masterson came to mind.  The son of missionaries, the 6’6” righty allowed just 1 run in 6 innings, striking out 4 Angels on April 24, 2008.  Justin went on to a very good 8 year career.  He led the league in starts (34 in 2012) and shutouts (3 in 2013) as an Indian.  Besides all of that, he was a very nice person.

On July 7, 2022, at 7:05 pm, Bello threw a 95 mph sinker for a strike to Josh Lowe of Tampa, his first chuck.  A scouting report (soxprospects.com)said that his sink is his best pitch.  He can throw it low in the zone, inducing swinging strikes and ground ball outs consistently.

Mr. Lowe briskly clocked the very next pitch 350 feet to center where Jarren Duran captured it for out #1.  Yandy Diaz then pelted the Green Monster with a double.  Wander Franco than singled Yandy home.

After an infield single by Slim Fast Choi, Bello ended the inning with a dandy 1-4-3 double play. 

With the exception of Slim Fast, all contact by Tampa hitters therein was s-o-l-i-d.  BB seemed so hittable.

The next 3 innings were up and down for Bello.  He faced just 4 batters in the scoreless second.  He exploded in the third – yielding 2 walks and 3 hits, but managing to look great while striking out Franco.  Bello finished with 4 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks and 4 earned runs.

Meanwhile, soft tossing Corey Kluber fired cheese sticks and wet noodles at the baffled Red Sox batters.  85 mph cutter.  82 mph curve. 89 mph sinker.  80 mph curve.  (According to the scoreboard.)  They couldn’t touch the guy.

The final was Tampa 7, Boston 1.  Bello took the loss.

You may know that one Boston paper had touted BB as the most important pitching prospect in Beantown since Jon Lester, and that the youngster might be as good as Pedro Martinez.

Points of comparison:  In his 2006 debut, Lester went  5 innings and allowed 3 earned runs.  He rebounded in his next start:  1 run in 6 innings.  Pretty damn good.

Pedro Martinez’s debut as a starter (1992) was even better.  He gave up 2 runs in 6 innings, striking out 7.  His second start was a giant step backwards, but what the hey. Great things take time.

Mr. Bello was athletic, nimble and quite capable of “easy speed” in his debut, I say.  He also looked nervous.

The Red Sox have many reasons to believe that this game was a stress induced disaster and that he has the tools needed.

I’ll watch his second start this evening with great interest.


[i] https://985thesportshub.com/2022/07/06/mazz-what-pedro-martinez-is-saying-or-texting-about-bryan-bello/

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Sox Under Sun Today, Set to Sweep Astros on Weekend

Posted by athomeatfenway on April 21, 2016

Astros Three

(McHugh, Fiers and Feldman to face Boston this weekend.)

It’s Thursday, April 21.  Sunny morning skies warm New England in anticipation of a beautiful day game at Fenway with the Rays facing their old mate and new Sox starting stud, David Price.

This a getaway day in the Bigs.  Subscribers to MLBTV may cheat the boss while grazing on day games in Atlanta (v LAD), Miami (v WAS), San Fran (AZ), Cleveland (SEA), Chicago-AL (LAA) and the aforementioned Tampa at Boston game.

Braves fans get a special treat.  Kershaw brings his 1.64 ERA and bustin’ curveball to Turner Field.

Reds fans see another Cy-worthy hurler under the sun with the gutty Jake Arieta (1.23 ERA) seeking to extend his record to 4-0.

So boot up the I-Pad and MLB At Bat.  Get a slice of your $109 annual investment.  Think about how much money you are saving versus taking a day off and paying $60 to sit wedged into a Fenway seat sized for Robert Reich.

I’ll keep an eye on the games but it is the Sox at Houston series this weekend that I am wondering about.

Houston is 5 – 10 and has lost 7 of their last 10.  Why are these early results for this team,  a fashionable prediction to make it to the playoffs, so poor thus far?

Let’s take a look at this mixed bag.

3x AS Jose Altuve (1 GG, 1 BA Champ) is batting .310 and leads the AL in SB’s with 7.  True rookie (1B) Tyler White is batting .340 with 5 dingers.  (Project that to 54 for the year, giddy Astro fans.)  Colby Rasmus (OF) and Carlos Correa (SS) are nice players that continue to perform better than their numbers.  Dallas Keuchel is pitching great with a 2-1 record and a 2.11 ERA, going almost 7 IP’s in each of 3 starts.  Closer Luke Gregerson has yet to allow a run in 5 appearances.  (WHIP 0.600).  Set up man Will Harris has been great out of the Pen.  (1.29 ERA).

All that said…..the last-place Astros are scoring an average of 3 runs per game in their 10 losses — and allowing 10 to be scored against them.  Altuve, White, Rasmus and Correa aside, the offense is weak, particularly in 3 lineup spots:  Jason Castro, Luis Valbuena and Carlos Gomez.  These guys are batting .189 combined with 0 HR’s and 7 runs scored.  They are not supposed to be .300 hitters, but their track records show they can contribute and have occasional power, too.

The Sox will get a big break by not having to face Keuchel this weekend.  The likely match-ups will be Colin McHugh (6.39 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (2.13) on Friday; Mike Fiers (6.48) vs. Buchholz (5.74) on Saturday; and Scott Feldman (4.11) versus a mystery starter for the Bostons on Sunday.

I love the Friday matchup.  31 year old knuckleballer Wright has turned in two of the best starts of the year.

I love the Saturday match up, too.  Buch is coming off a sterling start.  McHugh looks shaky.   Buch, as you know, is a Texan, just like Nolan Ryan.  McHugh is from Mt. Berry, GA, a town named for a woman known as the Sunday Lady of Possum Trot.  Yeah…you read that right.  This game is Nolan Ryan versus Possum Trot.  Fuhgettaboudit.

I even like the Sunday match-up.  Right off the bat, we get the pleasure of facing a known suspect in shaky Scott Feldman.  Somewhere on the gestaltic periphery of my memory I recall seeing Feldman taking several beatings, like a snake trying to fight off a mongoose in his days with the O’s.  Bring him.

Choosing the Sunday mystery starter should be easy, but it won’t be.  It’s been reported there are three choices:  Elias, Owens or Johnson, all now in Pawtucket.

Roenis Elias arrived in Boston in the 12-7-15 trade that sent Wade Miley to Seattle.  The 27 year old Cuban lefty has made 51 MLB starts in the last 2 seasons for the M’s, registering a 3.97 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP.  In 2 starts versus Houston in 2015, he went a combined 11 and two-thirds innings and allowed 2 earned runs.

Henry Owens is option number 2.  The 23 year old Huntington Beach (CA) lefty made 11 starts for the Sox in 2015, sported a 4.57 ERA and made very good starts against Detroit, KC, NYM, Toronto, and twice against Baltimore.

Brian Johnson is option #3.  The 25 year old lefty from Cocoa Beach (FL) has appeared in only one MLB game, having started against the Astros in Houston on 7-21-15.  In that game, BJ walked 4, allowed 3 hits, 4 ER and failed to baffle few batters.

Owens and Johnson are pitching well in Pawtucket while Elias has looked ineffective.

I’m on the fence.  If I was Farrell, I’d be drawn to Elias due to his longer MLB track record but might go with Owens because he’s going better in R.I. and his 2015 pitching in the bigs was often very good.

So, here’s my prediction:  The Sox go with Owens.  The Sox get good starts from Wright, Buch and the mystery man.  The Sox sweep 3 games in the Space City.

Go Sox.

 

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Bristol Blues Need Host Families For Players

Posted by athomeatfenway on May 31, 2015

Host Families Needed for Incoming Players

By Joe Boyle

The Bristol Blues this year have players from all over the country coming in. The Blues are still looking for host families for the 2015 campaign to accommodate these players while they are here from June 7th to Mid-August. Host families are not responsible for driving the players. If players do not have access to their own cars, we will have a player from within the area to escort them to and from practice.

For being a host family, you will receive a family pass for you and your whole family to come to Muzzy Field for all 28 home games, a small cash stipend, and an invitation to our host family party, special on-field recognition, and a free gift.

Questions regarding host families you can contact Ellen Zoppo-Sassu (ellenzoppo@bristol.gov), Rick Muntean (rick@bristolbluesbaseball.com) or call 860.585.6696.

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Arms Race in the AL East

Posted by athomeatfenway on April 17, 2014

200 Inning & 254 K's ?

200 Inning & 254 K’s ?

If Baseball is 90% pitching and starting pitching represents about 70% of the hurling, then it must be so that the AL East, the best Division in MLB, will be won by the guys who take the mound in the first inning.

But which AL East team has the clear edge after the first 2 weeks of play? And which starters represent the best of the best?

Surely Cobb, Tillman, Tanaka, Kuroda, Pineda, Lester, Lackey and Peavey are presenting their teams with the most quality starts and/or dominating performances.

Those are the contenders for top AL East starter of 2014 so far.

If the season ended today and Boston & New York went to the postseason it is a certainty that Kuroda-Tanaka-Pineda and Lester-Lackey-Peavey would present formidable playoff rotations.

Don’t underestimate Tampa Bay’s 3 best starters, Cobb-Archer-Price,. They are clearly 3rd best but Price and Archer are capable of delivering more and probably will.

The tasty question is who is the top starter in the Division. Tasty, because the answer is Tanaka. He is distancing himself from the pack in a delightful way if you are a Yankee fan, and at an alarming rate if you are everyone else.

Tanaka leads the Division in K’s, IP, and fewest walks. His ERA is a sparkling 2.05. His strikeout rate per 9 innings is 11.45. That works out to 254 K’s if he throws 200 innings. If you have watched him pitch you know that of not for 1 or 2 mistakes he would have allowed no runs at all.

Pretty damn good start to a career, no?

Wait a second. There are 2 A-listers who have an even better ERA than Tanaka. Pineda sits at 1.00 this morning. And Chris Tillman is at a breathtaking 0.84.

What madness. They say that pitchers begin the season more ready than position players but these guys are hotter than hot.

Overall, the eight hurlers mentioned here are racking up innings, limiting hits, registering K’s and providing quality starts. They are definitely the best of the AL East so far.

Unless you consider Toronto’s Mark Buehrle, who is 3 – 0, 0.86 ERA and a WHIP of 0.90.

Wow.

Go Sox.

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WORKING THE PLATE with Eric Gregg

Posted by athomeatfenway on April 16, 2014

Eric Gregg

Here’s a great quick read by a man who conjured smiles.

Working The Plate by Eric Gregg with Marty Appel. 1990, Morrow.

Almost any Umpire autobiography is likely to be interesting. They have much in common with the ballplayers. Travel. Teammates. The uncanny ability to block out distraction. And they have daily exposure to rookies, journeymen, superstars, and — major league managers.

There is plenty of inside stuff to share, and Mr. Gregg does it well. Even better, this is Gregg’s story of success. Gregg made it to the top in spite of growing up in a West Philly family that lost 2 children to drugs and street crime, and a third who became a career criminal.

Now how could a guy as sweet as the 350 pound Gregg come from a dysfunctional cauldron like that?

Gregg had charisma, my friends. Gregg was magnetic. He charmed and scuffled his way into Barney Dreary’s Florida umpire school as a kid. He moved through the minors in record time and began his MLB run at age 24. His personality brought him more than his share of commercials and PR jobs. Gregg was a winner.

His on field resume of historic games including the first night game at Wrigley, 2 Perfectos, the 1986 All Star Game., the historic Reds-Mets brawl of the same year, and the 1989 World Series Earthquake game.

One of my favorite passages in this book is when Gregg pays homage to Jackie Robinson, writing that all black men in the Game, himself included, owe Jackie a debt of gratitude. Further, Gregg expands on how the NL was years ahead of the AL when it came to signing blacks. He observes that of the 16 black HOF’ers (as of 1990), only Satchel Paige was signed by an American League Club. “The others all began in the National League – Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Roberto Clemente, Monte Irvin, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Juan Marichal, Lou Brock, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Joe Morgan and Billy Williams.”

I would add that the American League’s failure to ink African Americans in the ‘50’s helped (at least in part) to make the National League the superior circuit in 18 of 19 All Star Games between ’63 and ’82.

In another favorite part of Mr. Gregg’s book he described Jose Canseco as a big guy, and so talented that he would likely dominate the next decade.

Might have happened had Jose’s muscles been as natural as Gregg’s girth.

Never intending to leave the Game, Gregg voluntarily resigned in ’99.

At the behest of his union, Gregg was one of 22 Umps that tendered their resignations to leverage a negotiation and were shocked when the MLB accepted. That occurred 9 years after Working The Plate was published.

Clearly, Eric Gregg loved the Game, was part of the Game, and could never really leave the Game.

Bud Selig refused to rehire Gregg even after 25 Members of Congress requested his reinstatement. That says something about MLB’s resolve to drop the unhealthy big man, whose weight approached 400 pounds frequently.

Oh yes, this book captures the moment when he umpired 3rd base and a hero sandwich had been anonymously left atop that sack for him.

And then there was the time that a player entertained the crowd at one of Eric’s games by stuffing pillows into his uniform and making out and safe calls at second base.

Good times.

Many fans will chuckle at the mention of Eric Gregg.

They are thinking of the big, fat guy who somehow umpired in the bigs for 22 seasons.

As is usually the case, if you know the man at all you have more respect than that.

He was a talented Umpire and a devoted family man.

He did not undervalue all the good things that life brought to him.

Mr. Gregg passed at age 55 after a stroke in 2006. He left behind a wife and 4 children.

Rest in Peace, Eric Gregg.

Thanks for representing Philly and adding some cheer to the Game.

Go Sox. And Happy Jackie Robinson Day to you.

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5 things to like about the Red Sox & this season, part 1.

Posted by athomeatfenway on March 19, 2014

Winning breeds much happiness, but it no longer sells all the tickets.

Winning breeds much happiness, but it no longer sells all the tickets.

TED AND PEDEY. Baseball fans know that Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 and no one has done it since. A less known fact is that Ted suffered a wrist injury in spring training that year. The injury may have caused Ted to dial down his plate aggressiveness, the result being improved selectivity and batting immortality.

Dustin Pedroia returns to Fenway this season after successful surgery to repair the thumb tendon he ripped when sliding into first base in Yankee Stadium on opening day. 2014 will be Pedey’s age 30 season. 1941 was Ted’s age 22 season, an incredible fact by itself.

The two men are dissimilar in many ways. Ted was from SoCal. Pedey is from NoCal. Pedey had 2 caring involved parents, one of them an amateur tennis champion, and Ted had a difficult upbringing by an absentee Mom. And so on.

But this may be the year Pedey dials it down like Ted. Like a great actor playing all of his scenes at the height of his intelligence, we may get Dustin’s best now. He is capable of a .350, 20, 120, with 100 runs and 30 SB’s, and that spells M-V-P #2.

Watch out for Pedey. This may be his big bounce back season.

THE SLIPPERY ONE ? Perhaps. I watched the NESN game cast on March 9 and saw a gentleman of Hispanic heritage picthing for the Sox, baffling Pittsburgh batters. His fastball came in on a slight drop, belt high, and then moved with a pronounced wiggle before it reached the batter. Could there have been a foreign substance on the ball? He repeated the pitch several times while trimming the Bucs. I only caught one inning and do not remember his name but after checking the box score I see it may have been Dionis/Daniel Hinojosa, or more likely, 38 year old Francisco Cordero. The same Codero with the 329 career saves. The Sox are wondering if Cordero can regain his old form, a la Grady Sizemore.

Big Ben is no doubt dreaming of the 49 Saves and a 2.13 ERA Mr. Cordero recorded for Texas in 2004.

Would a 38 year old has-been who hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2012 (with a 19.80 ERA) pull a Gaylord Perry?

In a heartbeat.

INCREASED AVAILABILITY OF TICKETS. Gone are the days when the Sox sold every ticket offered including all Sox Packs at Christmas At Fenway in December. Gone are the days when there was a waiting list for group tickets. Step right up if you need 20 ducats or more to a single game.

Want Green Monster tickets on Opening Day? No problem. Tickets on the Monsta are available for $100 standing room and $700 in the first row. And they are available for much less on non-premium game dates. The new dynamic pricing for Monster Seats is a genius idea….and simultaneously ugly. But the point is that there was a time when these GM ticks would have been snapped up.

The Sox are being increasingly creative to monetize tickets. They need to be creative.

I believe tickets will be available at reduced prices later this year because after many fans walked away in 2012, not all of them walked back last year.

And that is going to be good for you and I, my friends.

FENWAY FOR 30 MORE YEARS. Someday the love affair will end but John Henry says the grand old park can remain playable until about 2044. If that comes to pass, my children and my children’s children should thank Osborne Engineering, the original architect, and the Henry/Werner/Lucchino group. The former designed a cutting edge (for 1912) property that was conceived for a second deck expansion, making the base sturdy enough to take 100 years of use. The latter have invested upwards of $150 million to conserve our home away from home.

The oldest current ballpark is Fenway, built in 1912. The next oldest is Wrigley, built in 1914. Third in line is Dodger Stadium….1962.

Let’s count our blessings.

ARE THE YANKEES ARE SET UP TO FAIL? Have you noticed a chippy attitude from Yankee fans of late? I have. The followers of the twisted cross believe their team has reloaded and is ready for championship #28. And they have reloaded. They have improved at catcher, center field, right field, and starting pitcher. But two problems remain. First, the Yankees lack depth — on the bench and in the bush leagues. Second, they are following a first ballot HOF closer with a dude who has never closed as a professional. The Yankees may certainly jump to 95 wins this season. But if Dave Roberts cannot follow Mariano Rivera effectively, they may win 85, and finish out of the post season again.

How delicious that would be.

Go Sox.

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Marty Barrett is still a winner

Posted by athomeatfenway on March 13, 2014

Read the rest of this entry »

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Sorting out the Red Sox, vol. 1

Posted by athomeatfenway on March 9, 2014

Grady

The last time Brad Penny posted a 15.75 ERA he rebounded, becoming a World Champion with the Marlins.  Once again, 15.75 is his ERA, this time in Spring Training for the Royals, who released him today.  Brad was a subpar starter for Detroit in 2011.  He had a 6.11 ERA as a reliever in 2012 for San Fran, the same year he flamed out with the Fukuoka Hawks after one outing.  He got engaged to (another) dancer and got married in 2013, a year in which he did not pitch professionally.  He will be 36 in May and hasn’t delivered good value on a contract since 2010.   It might be time for the fun loving wide load to sit ringside at UFC bouts full time.  He made $50,000,000 in 13 MLB campaigns.  He can afford to retire.

For Sox fans, Brad was to 2009 what Paul Byrd was to 2008 and what John Burkett was to 2003.  He was a gift in the 5 hole. 

Farewell and bon voyage, big man.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia will make $21 million over the next 3 seasons.  He must be feeling giddy.  He donned Jose Fernandez’s purple pants and uniform jersey for team warm ups, just for laughs. 21 million is $13 million more than he made in total during his first 5 years in MLB.  Yes, winning a Championship was berry, berry good for Salty. 

Expect him to go .246, 18 & 60 while catching 120 games per season for the Marlins.  Hopefully, he will improve at stopping pitches that are truly wild, and pitches that are just a little bit wild.  His lack of range behind the plate is what put him on the bench and David Ross in the starting role for the post season. 

Best of luck, Salty.  You deserve the paycheck.  We’ll catch you on the highlight reels.

Leah Hextall.  Sarah Davis.  Can’t NESN get some intelligent, great looking female on air talent that was born before 1980?

I’ll get over Jacoby Ellsbury becoming a Yankee.  But could he look a little less happy as he poses in pinstripes for the camera?  God, Jacoby.

Jake Peavy cut his finger and can’t catch the ball.  Buchholz needs to prove he can stay healthy and start more than 15 games.  Jon Lester is auditioning for a 6 year, $100 million dollar contract elsewhere.  Ryan Dempster is with his family, as he should be.  Felix isn’t fat and Lackey is our best returning starter.  I’m glad the rotation is all set.  (Not.)

Bryce Brentz, the 26 year old outfielder, has 3 HR’s in 7 games this March.  He leads the Sox in hits, runs, rbi and slugging.  But when it comes to being the next Daniel Nava (spare outfielder), Mr. Brentz doesn’t stand a chance.  Not against the born again Grady Sizemore, a.k.a. the human lottery ticket.  Nick Carfado gave Sizemore passing grades on all the early tests and the Sox are drooling.  4 years ago Sizemore could drive in 90 runs, steal 25 bases and score 100 times a season.  He garnered MVP votes in 4 seasons and owns one Gold Glove.   Brentz is competing against what Sizemore used to be.  And the delicious possibility that he can become great again.

Go Sox.

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