The Red Sox Catching Situation and Brad Penny

This is for you levelboss! 
Josh Bard.jpg

Josh Bard is back on the Red Sox– yes back! He had a short stint with the Red Sox in 2006 when he had 10 passed balls in one month! He was then traded to San Diego in which the Red Sox acquired Doug Mirabelli. Originally, Bard came over from the Indians along with Coco Crisp. I’m sure Kaybee could tell you how “Bard-o” as she calls him, did in San Diego better than I could. And Bigpapi72 had some interesting things to say about the Penny and Bard situations as well. 

Interestingly enough, Bard caught Wakefield fine in Spring Training of ’06. He thinks that he outthought himself, which I noticed happened a couple of times this season with the Red Sox. Take for example, Clay Buchholz who was basically the Red Sox prodigy when he threw that no hitter against the O’s in ’07 but then fell “flat on his face” (like Bard did) this year. What happened? He outthought himself (and he was fine in Spring Training for the record as well, after all, he did earn the fifth spot). Luckily we still have him down in the minors! 
Another one, but this only happened during one game, was Jon Lester in Game 7 of the ALCS. He was outstanding in the ALDS, and in the first game he pitched of the ALCS, but I think that it all got to his head. Everyone chalked up a win for him, but it didn’t work out. He also outthought himself. The Red Sox have got to work on this! 
“I caught him fine in Spring Training and then we had those couple of off-days before the game in Texas, and I think that people were trying to help me and they were trying to help me be a better player,” Bard said, “but I think that it started to get into my head a little of, ‘Why don’t you watch some video of how Doug [Mirabelli] did it and maybe this will help you with some things.'”
Says Bard. So the Red Sox just need to let him be this time… don’t try and change his mechanics or anything. 
Even Theo Epstein himself admitted it was a “short-sighted mistake”. As soon as Bard left Boston, he hit .338 with San Diego. In 2007 he hit .285… not bad. However, in 2008 he was injured and only hit .202. 
On another good note about Bard, he also has experience catching a Cy Young pitcher, Jake Peavy (Kaybee and Hyun Young’s favorite!). 
The thing is, Bard won’t only be catching Wakefield, he’ll have a bit more playing time this time. Hopefully, the Red Sox do retain Varitek… and if they do, I guess he’ll be getting more rest. 
Here is what I would do: 
I would sign Varitek to a two year deal. Varitek wouldn’t have as much playing time as last year, but he would still have more playing time than Bard.
We all know that Varitek will not catch Wakefield, he just never will. Bard will probably be catching Wakefield, as well as others on occasion. 
This pretty much means we’re not getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Theo worked this out perfectly in my opinion because now we don’t have to give up any of our star pitchers. 
If we need a back-up back-up catcher (as always) I’d say George Kottaras is the best bet that we have. Teagarden is on the Rangers anyway so if he’s not a free agent than we probably don’t want to look into him.
Brad Penny.jpg
On another note, the Red Sox signed Type-B free agent Brad Penny to a one year $5 million dollar contract with potential $3 million dollar signing bonuses. Hopefully this will work out better than Bartolo Colon (because we all know how THAT ended). Unfortunately this probably means that we won’t be getting Derek Lowe. I’m guessing Lowe will go to the Mets now. Statistically, Brad Penny is better than AJ Burnett (not counting the 2008 season). Penny has a better career record (94-75) as well as more innings pitched, and Burnett has been playing one more year than Penny. Penny actually had back to back 16 win seasons, and I think that he’ll be able to bounce back this season. Plus it’s a low risk deal So Penny will probably be the number 4 or 5 starter, but we’ll see how he does in Spring Training.
Manny Ramirez 4.jpg
And another rumor that came out about our favorite person, Manny Ramirez? The Giants are interested in him and they reportedly offered him a four year contract. If Manny is looking for even a remotely long term contract, this is definitely the best he’s going to get. 
 -Elizabeth

12 Comments

Elizabeth, I blogged about Bard yesterday – and I’m willing to give him a second chance. The coverage here when he was shipped out and Dougie came back was non-stop. We all saw Mirabelli hop out of the State Police SUV, in his socks, and race into Fenway after changing into his uniform on the ride over from Logan. I think if we can get Tek locked up soon I’ll feel MUCH better. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Canada!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for the shout out. :-) I just love the Penny deal. If he gets hurt we can put Clay, Masterson, or someone in the forth or fifth spot.

Bigpapi72, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

Hoping things work out for you guys and Penny … he’s always been a favorite of mine, dating back to when I had to “shadow” him for a week before he made his big league debut. (His grandmother makes the best chocolate pudding).

Hope you had a great time in Canada … I don’t ski, I am more the “sit by the fire and drink hot chocolate” (are you sending a trend here?)

Love your resolutions … one suggestion, have you thought about joining the Association for Women in Sports Media? Not sure if they have info on internships for high school students but they’d be a good place to start and to meet others like yourself (and where you see yourself in the future).

Good luck on APUSH and your upcoming year!!!

Lisa
http://gotmilb.mlblogs.com/

Well, Josh Bard is back for the Red Sox. I hope you’re happy about that! He was in the DL soo many times in ’08 so I didn’t get to see him play that often.. But he’s a good guy! And of course, he also has experience catching 2007 Cy Young pitcher, Jake Peavy :) (Thanks for mentioning me and Kaybee!) I’m glad for you and other Boston fans that Josh Bard is going to play with a great team like the Red Sox!
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

I think getting Josh Bard was a good move. I just hope the Red Sox can play some better ball than the Yankees. I’m excited about the news that the Giants are trying to get Manny, but I don’t think it will go through. Even though they should try hard just get their power hitter, and also keep him out of a Dodgers uniform.

-King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

Nice little tidbit on Penny and Burnett. Nobody is giving Penny any love because he hails from the NL west but I think he will be at least a ten win pitcher and thats all you really need in that part of the rotation.
tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

thx for answering my question, Elizabeth..
i was talking with a Red Sox fan at work who agreed with that Varitek’s defensive calls help pitchers and the Red Sox be a better team.. his pitch calls are right on target.. the problem of course is his hitting – he became about a .200 hitter last year
so, the problem becomes do the Red Sox want to improve their offense with a more potent hitter? or do they want to lose the solid catching skills of Varitek?
i think the Red Sox will resign Varitek, because 1) they’re stingy with their prospects as regards trading for a catcher, 2) they prioritize defense, and 3) maybe hope that Varitek’s batting was an anomaly last year
you may get your wish, Elizabeth

Thanks for the shout-outs! I really do know a lot about Bardo, so if anyone has any questions, be sure to stop by my blog! I think he will do well for you guys. He will learn from his mistakes, and I hope he has an injury-free year!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Interesting observation about the “over-thinking” on the part of the players you mentioned, Elizabeth. I always hear players say they need to “keep things simple.” I’m sure it’s easier said than done, especially with all the video they watch of themselves and the coaching they get. On the other hand, Mike Mussina thought everything to death and he won 20 games last year. I guess it depends on the person.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

If Penny can stay healthy, I think you guys got a great pickup. Because when he’s healthy, he’s goooooood. :) And that’s a great point on overthinking. I noticed it a little with a few of our pitchers, but I really noticed it this year outside of baseball with Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears with his kick returns. His first two seasons, he ran back sooooooooo many kick returns for touchdowns. This season? None. Thinking can be constructive, but when it starts affecting your game, then it’s gotta be fixed!
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Elizabeth
I like the Brad Penny deal. He gets the chance to prove himself after, and he doesn’t have to be the ace of the staff. Plus, the Sox got him cheap, they didn’t have to spend $246 million dollars on a pitcher who hasn’t proven himself in the postseason, and a overrated power pitcher.
-Thrilla

The Brad Penny signing was great for you guys! I wanted him here in Milwaukee but not a whisper!!
Oh well…he has a great track record and is a very nice pickup.

http://thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com/

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