Not one of the Guys: Mike Lowell , Jason Bay , Craig Breslow
Posted by athomeatfenway on January 5, 2010
Jason Bay. Craig Breslow. Mike Lowell
What do these 3 have in common besides the fact that they have worn a Boston uniform ?
Not much, it might seem at first.
The 36-year-old Lowell is a .280/23/98 guy with 1 GG, 4 ASG’s, 1 WS MVP and two Championships. He beat cancer. He is loved & respected in the clubhouse. He attended Florida International.
Jason Bay, 31 years old, is a .280/33/107 guy with 1 ROY, 3 ASG’s, and no championships. He lends credence to the idea that Canadians are just plain nice people, especially to the fans and media. Jason went to Gonzaga.
Craig Breslow, 29, is a lefty reliever who projects to 68 relief appearances with a 2.79 ERA. He has had 4 good years playing for 5 different teams. He pitches with guile. He is loquacious. He graduated from Yale.
One thing that all 3 have in common is that they are not what you would call “one of the Red Sox boys”. They are not organization players.
Lowell was the millstone around Josh Beckett’s neck when he arrived in Boston in the Hanley Ramirez trade.
Jason Bay was the hard hitting stop-gap measure that filled leftfield when Manny Ramirez was sent packing to Los Angeles.
Craig Breslow was picked up as a spare part for a befuddled bullpen in 2006, a year in which the Sox missed the playoffs.
When the Sox let Breslow get away, they said goodbye to one smart kid. Mr. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry before turning pro.
Being a Connecticut native like Breslow, I rooted for him to catch on with Boston. He was good for a while, and less of a mystery the more he pitched. Still, he soon persevered and progressed in Cleveland, Minnesota & Oakland.
When I spoke with Breslow last month at the World Series Club of Hartford County hot stove dinner, I expressed my dashed hopes that he would catch on with the Sox. Breslow replied, “Well, I just wasn’t one of their guys. That makes it harder.”
He said a mouthful.
Clearly, Jason Bay isn’t one of their guys, either. The Sox didn’t give Bay and his agent a clear indication that it was time to accept their $60 Million or move on. They made that decision, kept it to themselves and moved onto to Mike Cameron, leaving Bay alone with the Mets on the dance floor.
There have been more than a few whispers around Boston this winter that Mike Lowell will surely be productive next season, wherever he is, but something is missing from Lowell’s relationship with the Sox, some favorable predisposition between front office and player, like the one Manny DelCarmen enjoys. It is the absence of good feelings that persuades the Sox that it is OK to eat $9 Million of Mike’s $12 Million salary just to be rid of him, as when they tried and failed to arrange in a deal with Texas for Max Ramirez.
(Max happens to project to .217, 19, 86 in a full season he would likely not get to play behind V-Mart & Tek, by the way.).
Mike Lowell just isn’t one of the Red Sox “guys”.
David Ortiz is, of course.
Mike Lowell would be more productive bat in the DH slot than Big Papi.
But that’s not the way you make out the lineup card if you have made Ortiz the face of the franchise and publicly given him a trophy anointing him as The Greatest Clutch Hitter in Red Sox History.
I project David at .249, 19, 75 next year if he stays healthy. He’ll strike out more than he ever has — on 27% or 28% of his official at bats — as he continues to slow down. If he does better than that, I’ll wonder what he’s been putting in his nutrition shakes.
Bay, Lowell and Breslow have not gotten the benefit of being one of the guys, like Mr. DelCarmen.
Manny D. has his supporters in Red Sox Nation. He’s big, he throws hard, and when he has a good inning he’ll get a ground ball and strike out two with a mid-90’s fastball.
But Manny has stretches when he allows 40% of inherited runners to score. His ERA for September was an ungodly16.20. He is 54% more likely to yield a hit or a walk than to K a batter. He’s had some very bad Sundays, which makes one wonder how he is spending his Saturday nights.
A lot of teams have been interested in the hard throwing DelCarmen, but he’s one of the guys, and as such is sticking w the Red Sox.
I only wish the front office valued Lowell & Bay as much as they esteem this kid.
It’s good to be one of the guys.