Results tagged ‘ AJ Burnett ’

Aggravation to Rejuvenation

Aggravation[1].jpg

This past week was not the most fun week to be a Red Sox fan (and I know Indians and Orioles fans are having a tough time too). The Sox didn’t exactly look like a team that had just clinched playoff berth with the way that the pitching was coming apart. In fact, they didn’t even clinch the wildcard with a win, they were merely graced with a Texas loss to secure their spot. 

The Yankees clinched the division on their home turf, against the Sox, which partially fulfills their goal of the 2009 season. With the additions of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and AJ Burnett, many predicted that the Yankees would win the division, though everyone knew not to count the Red Sox out with what seemed like the best pitching staff in baseball at the start of the season–in fact, many predicted the Red Sox to win it. 
Clinching the division on their home turf would have been satisfying enough, but clinching against the Red Sox? That must have made it even better for them, and I turned off ESPN as soon as Jacoby Ellsbury’s soft grounder to Mariano Rivera ended the ninth. 
This final season series sweep by the Yankees made the season series even. After the Red Sox won the first eight of the season, they either got swept, or lost the rest of the series. In what very well could be the American League Championship Series matchup, all Red Sox fans are hoping that we can pull it together, and make every game in that series unforgettable–all fights to the finish. And with the Red Sox and Yankees, it always is. 
Rejuvenation.jpg
I was hoping for a bit of rejuvenation against the Blue Jays. I always like going into the playoffs with lots of momentum, and I wanted to secure a spot already! No such luck Monday night. Josh Beckett was scratched from his start with mild back spasms (but he is pitching tonight, so all is well). When I first heard the story, memories flooded back to me of Spring Training 2008. I was excited to finally see Beckett pitch, because I had never seen him live before (and I still have not). He was even warming up with Jason Varitek down in left field at City of Palms Park–but he didn’t make the start. Manny Delcarmen did, and Beckett started that season on the DL, and had a mediocre season according to his standards (as well as my high standards for him). Thankfully, these spasms are nothing to be concerned about. 
IMG_0485.JPG
I was very excited to see Michael Bowden take the mound, since he is my favorite pitching prospect. To say that he didn’t have the best night would be an understatement. He lasted only three innings and was tagged for seven runs. Bowden was obviously very disappointed in himself, but he made no excuses. He said that he could have been told five minutes before the game that he would be starting, and still this outcome would have remained inexcusable. I appreciate the fact that he didn’t make up excuses, and I won’t make up any for him either. 
The fact of the matter is though, that we can’t judge September call-ups simply by their one month of play, that would be unfair. Bowden was missing his spots, and he was getting behind in counts–something that can easily be fixed. Plus, he is not used to Victor Martinez, and practice makes perfect. I would like to see him follow a path similar to Clay Buchholz–because look how effective that extra time in the minors was for him: he is going to be a starting pitcher in our playoff rotation. 
In fact, if Bowden works really hard this winter (I am not sure if he will be pitching in the Arizona Fall League), I think that he could be a legitimate contender for a spot in the starting rotation for 2010. Dustin Richardson has impressed me, and I am very excited to see more of him next year in Spring Training. He is a legitimate contender to be a project next year, as is Fernando Cabrera. I think that what we have to remember is that it is a big transition from the minors to the majors, and it would be unfair to expect anyone to flawlessly make that transition. 
The last two games against the Blue Jays weren’t much better. The second game seemed like a recurring dream as Buchholz also gave up seven runs. And if it wasn’t for Joey Gathright in the third game, Halladay could have no-hit the Red Sox instead of just pitching a complete game shutout. 
capt.85ebc6ea7f4247eba7e1e813cb4cbaf9.rays_red_sox_baseball_mamd109.jpg
Speaking of Joey Gathright, I want to get to playoff rosters. We are less than a week way from what I like to consider the first day of “Soxtober”. While there are many “lock-ins” for the roster, there are still some spots that are up for grabs.
I would like the starting rotation to look like this:
1. Jon Lester
2. Clay Buchholz
3. Josh Beckett
4. Daisuke Matsuzaka
I am so proud of how far Clay Buchholz has come this season. I think that he has truly earned that spot. And who knew that Dice-K would come back and pitch as well as he has? Sometimes, it is worth giving people a second chance. 
As for the bullpen, Papelbon, Wagner, Okajima, Saito, Bard (whom I refer to as ‘Baby Bard’ on twitter), and Ramon Ramirez should be locks. With the way that Manny Delcarmen has been pitching as of late, his spot is no longer secure. 
The possibilities for that eleventh spot could range from guys like Byrd and Wakefield, to guys like Bowden, Cabrera and Richardson. I love Tim Wakefield, but I really don’t think that he is healthy enough to pitch in the playoffs. And even though the bird is the word, I don’t think that Paul Byrd has been consistent enough to earn a spot on the roster. And much as I like Bowden, I don’t think that he is ready for the postseason this season. Next season? I have no doubt. 
I know it may sound crazy, but I think it should be between Richardson, Cabrera and Delcarmen. 
As for position players, most of them are locked in. The main question marks are the utility infielder and the reserve outfielder. Alex Gonzalez was hit in the hand last night and he was forced to leave the game. Not good timing at all, and I think we’re all praying that he is not injured. I would like to see Gonzalez as the starting shortstop with Lowrie or Woodward as the  backup. 
So the question is: Lowrie or Woodwa
rd? This one is the toughest for me to figure out since we have seen so little of both of these guys this season. The second spot to fill is the reserve outfielder, and I think that Joey Gathright has the best shot because of his speed. Think Dave Roberts, 2004 and you’ll know why. 
I am working on playoff brackets this weekend, and what I think should be the roster, so I will do my best to get back to you guys by Tuesday as to who should make the roster. 

Hindsight (Biases)

During my sophomore year, I tried to make connections between baseball with some of my classes to help myself understand it better. As my junior year starts up, I’ll try to do the same. I have a feeling that physics will relate a lot more to baseball than chemistry did (but then again, what does chemistry relate to that is of any importance at all?), and I already have a way that psychology can relate to our perspectives on the game. Though I’m sure Emily is a lot more qualified to talk about that than I am. 

As the season progresses, many of us have come to realize that many of our offseason acquisitions have not performed in the way that we expected them too. It may be easy to point fingers at our brilliant general manager, Theo Epstein, but before any of us do any such thing, I think it is important to experiment with empathy, travel back in time a bit, and use our imaginations. 
6a00d8341c630a53ef00e551c5ac038833-800wi.jpg
You are now sitting in Theo Epstein’s office, sipping some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and constantly making phone calls with agents. It’s late December, and you are reflecting over the 2008 season, and looking at areas where you can improve. Clay Buchholz was not quite ready for the 2008 season, so it is evident that the Red Sox need a fifth starter. It is certainly wise to consider the options of signing a high profile free agent such as CC Sabathia or AJ Burnett, but would such an acquisition truly be necessary with aces already in Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Dice-K (remember, we have no idea yet that Dice-K’s season would look nothing like 2008’s 18-3 record). 
Dice-K Matsuzaka.jpg
Let me go on a quick tangent on Dice-K before I make any significant phone calls. On paper, his 18-3 record looks stellar, a Cy Young contender if you didn’t look at how many innings he pitched per game. Dice-K got really lucky during the 2008 season. He had a knack for loading the bases with no outs, and getting out of it unscathed. In other words, he got really lucky. Sure the Red Sox may have won most of the time, but it is inefficient to have your starter go only five or six innings because he racks up his pitch count early on. Not to mention it puts a massive strain on the bullpen. I think that Dice-K’s case is very similar to the “downfall” that Brad Lidge is experiencing in Philadelphia. I’m not trying to take away any credibility from his perfect season, but I think that it is a valid comparison. 
Back to the phone calls. Considering the Red Sox have four quality starters, it is unnecessary to sign a high profile free agent. It would be more wise to sign a “low risk” acquisition in a veteran pitcher that could guarantee a lot of success. The problem with signing high profile free agents is their massive contracts. What if they don’t perform? What if AJ Burnett continues his injury woes, and he can’t pitch effectively? 
This is why I like incentive contracts so much. Too bad they are mainly used with these low risk acquisitions, and when I think of these, I tend to think of veteran players who are coming back from injuries or bad seasons who are looking for another chance. Obviously, signing them is a gamble, but it could turn out to be very beneficial. And regardless of their contributions on the field, I think that their contributions equate that or even surpass it. Having a veteran voice in the clubhouse for the younger players to talk to is always an advantage. 
In psychology, we learned a bit about ‘hindsight biases’, which basically means that when we look back on events, many of the consequences seem much more obvious than they actually were at the time. Think about who we signed. 
John Smoltz 2.jpg
John Smoltz is obviously a Hall of Fame pitcher, who had a great twenty year career with the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, his stint with the Red Sox did not work out, but was it really a bad signing? No. Would I have done it? Yes. Another thing to remember about this deal was that it was very similar to the deal that Curt Schilling signed for 2008. Neither of them worked out, but the incentives for signing them were valid. Plus, if Randy Johnson is still pitching, why can’t they? 
Another offseason acquisition that didn’t work out: Brad Penny. The same theory applied when signing him, but his history isn’t as convincing. However, it was only but 2007 that he came in second for the NL Cy Young. His 2008 season was anything but spectacular, but given an incentive laden contract, there is the opportunity for success. And if they incentives aren’t met? No big deal in the big picture. Penny was released, and both he and the Red Sox are moving on. 
Some have been disappointed with Rocco Baldelli also because he has spent a considerable amount of time on the Disabled List. Granted it’s a bit disappointing, but it’s not like we expected him to play every single day because we were well aware of his channelopathy disorder. The reason for acquiring him was so that he could be a valuable player coming off the bench. 
Wagner-Mets-07-full.jpg
In other words, I just think that these offseason acquisitions are very justifiable even if they didn’t work out. But now instead of looking at the offseason acquisitions, I’d like to look at our most recent acquisition: Billy Wagner. 
This trade reminded me a lot of the Eric Gagne one of 2007, a trade that I absolutely hated because I didn’t want to part with Kason Gabbard (luckily, we have him back now). However, I am much more open to this Billy Wagner acquisition because our bullpen band could really use an extra hand, the chorus is sounding a little shabby. 
Oh, and the bullpen could use some help too. After Justin Masterson left, it kind of threw off the bullpen in my opinion. We were calling a bunch of guys up from Pawtucket who simply weren’t ready yet. I think that this acquisition solidifies the bullpen and gives us a more definite notion of an eighth inning set up man. In a way, it will be redefining everyone’s role. 
I am very excited for September call ups–I am very anxious to see who will be up. I am really hoping that Michael Bowden gets another chance. I really don’t think that we can judge him on that poor outing against the Yankees. I am also very interested to see what is going to go on with who will be catching Tim Wakefield, because I think that Victor Martinez did a very solid job the other night. And if V-Mart can do the job, what use is George Kottaras? 

Quick Update

I know, it has been a while. I know I didn’t even provide my recounts/experiences watching the first Yankees vs Red Sox series of the year. The reason(s) behind all of this is that I am in the process of studying for my United States History exams. I just took the subject test earlier today, so I don’t feel too guilty about blowing off studying to write this. 

Red Sox vs Yankees. 
This series was pretty much the exhibition of how most series between these two are. Though the Red Sox did sweep the Yankees, each game was close, and provided an adrenaline rush of a different kind. 
My friend, Kathleen, came over for the first one. It was really nice to have our top three pitchers go out against the Yankees. Ortiz warned Joba not to throw at Youkilis’ head, because Joba seems to have something against Kevin Youkilis. He has thrown at his head four times. And though Chamberlain avoided Youkilis’ head, he did hit Jason Varitek, who may look similar to Youkilis because of the beard. 
Jason Bay is establishing himself as the clutch hitter of our lineup. To help Mariano Rivera blow his twelfth career save against the Red Sox, Jason Bay hit a home run that just hit the top of the monster to tie the game. 
Kathleen called Youkilis’ shot to win the game– yes, the walk-off shot that I was craving. The next game was even longer than the first, and it didn’t even go into extra innings. I’m pretty sure Joba told AJ Burnett to hit Kevin Youkilis, so that he would not have to get into any skirmishes with Big Papi. Anyway, Mike Lowell was the hero of that game. 
But the hero of the series? That, my friends, would be Jacoby Ellsbury. We all know that Andy Petite has a wicked pickoff move to first base, one of the best in the majors. But the left hander wasn’t really expecting Jacoby Ellsbury to steal home with the bases loaded and two outs, and neither was Jorge Posada. But he did, and Fenway went absolutely insane. 
It was the first time a Red Sox had done that in ten years, and it was all over the highlight reels for the next few days. 
The winning streak was broken up in Clevland, thanks to an error by Javier Lopez. Javier Lopez was the antagonist of the series against Clevland. First, an error in the second game of the series so that Mark DeRosa scored from second. I was threatening to pull him off of my fantasy team. And in the last game of the series? Javy did so poorly that the Red Sox had to pull a Nick Swisher. Jonathan Van Every, who what would become the game winning home run in the first game of the series, had to come in and pitch. I’m pretty sure that he is going to be a late addition to my projects. He didn’t really play much in spring training because he either had a sprained ankle, or surgery. 
I really am sorry for the lack of updates, and I promise that this one will be more coherent tomorrow. I’m going to the Red Sox vs Rays tonight (four hour drive, woohoo!), and I hope to see Rays Renegade there!
Lots of pictures next entry! 

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
money.jpg
With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
Dustin Pedroia 5.jpg
When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
John Smoltz 2.jpg
At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
Clay Buchholz.jpg
This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
Takashi Saito 2.jpg
Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

I’m Back- Thoughts on the Latest News in Baseball

I know, I haven’t posted in a week, but that’s within good reason. I was trying to get through this horrible week alive, and now that I have, I’m free for two weeks. I got through five painful midterms, and now that I have, the daily posts will return. The hot stove is still pretty hot from the Winter Meetings. A couple of acquisitions went down, a few non-tenders, and plenty of rumors. 

Burnett.jpg
Perhaps the Yankees made the biggest acquisition this past week. We all know that they signed Sabathia, but Burnett as well? The two most eligible free agent pitchers are now on the Yankees. They have one hell of a pitching staff. They’re hoping they get lucky with Burnett’s history of injuries, he came off a great season with 18 wins and roughly 231 strikeouts. They’re really hoping he doesn’t become the next Carl Pavano; however, I’m sure a few other teams are.I’m actually hoping that he stays healthy, the Sox and Yankees are going to have some of the best match ups this upcoming year. 
Derek Lowe.jpg
The next both eligible free agent (I feel like I’m auctioning people off here) is Derek Lowe. It seems like the Yankees would still have some interest in him, but the Phillies, not so much seeing that they recently signed Jamie Moyer. Theo and the Sox have been laying low with all this talk about Teixeria so it’s unclear as to whether or not we’re interested in Lowe. For the Sox, Lowe would be more appealing if his price went down a little bit. Then again, it’d also be more appealing for the Mets as well, who are looking for another starter. So that would lead to another crazy offseason between the Mets and Red Sox (remember Johan Santana last year?). On another note involving the Yankees, Petite was offered a three year deal from an unnamed team. The Dodgers and Red Sox are supposedly interested in him (even though I haven’t heard ANYTHING about Petite and the Red Sox). 
Raul Ibanez.jpg
Not only did the Phillies sign Moyer, they also signed Chan Ho Park, and Raul Ibanez. With the signing of the right handed Ibanez, Pat Burrell will no longer be with the Phillies-after a nine year run with them. 

Pat Burrell.jpg

Kerry Wood of the Cubs, who had a rough, injury prone season last year, signed with the Indians (I originally thought of the Reds, but I got that resolved…) to a two year $18 million contract. I think that’s a bit much for a guy who didn’t have that great of a season last year. 
Both the Angels and the Cardinals have been looking into Brian Fuentes, and they are both in need of closers. 

Rafael Furcal.jpg

A more interesting story; however, is the one involving Rafael Furcal. Earlier this week, I heard a report that he was returning to the Braves, that Escobar would probably move to second base, etc. Then, yesterday, I heard a report that he signed with the Dodgers! As far as I know now, he received. the contract from the Braves, but did not return it, and ended up signing with the Dodgers. The Athletics were looking into him too so now they need a shortstop. 

Manny Ramirez.jpg

So a sad but possible rumor about Manny? He could be going to the Yankees. He’s asking for a lot of money and the Yankees could be one of the only teams willing to supply it. Personally, I don’t think he’s a good fit for the team. He’s way too much of a free spirit, and the Yankees are kind of uptight. Manny doesn’t like to shave, or cut his hair, he never really runs, he throws his glove up in the air in the outfield, he eats sandwiches during pitching changes, etc. Plus, I’m way too emotionally attached to Manny to have him go to the Yankees. I was absolutely devestated when Johnny Demon went to the Yankees in 2005, because he was my favorite player. Now, Manny, who used to be my favorite player, could be going to the Yankees as well? I don’t even know if I could handle that. 
On my french midterm, which was today, we had to write about our favorite memory, so I wrote about my first time at Fenway Park. I’m really hoping that it’s coherent. I’ll be around here during winter break, reading and analyzing every rumor that comes out of the Hot Stove season. 
-Elizabeth

Winter Meetings Updates-HOTTER HOT STOVE (finally)

Hot Stove.jpg

If any of you are subscribed to the Hot Stove news feed, you may have been as overwhelmed as I was when I went online and saw 45 new updates! 

Varitek 3.jpg
Varitek declined arbitration, but I think that deep down, we all knew it was going to happen. It seems as if Theo only offered Varitek arbitration so that he would decline, because since he declined, the Sox will get two compensation draft picks should he sign with another team. So if this is the case, is Theo anticipating him signing with another team? 
Gerald Laird.jpg
Saltalamacchia.jpg
The situation is further complicated now that young Rangers catcher Gerald Laird is headed to Detroit. It would be harder for the Sox to acquire catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, unless they decided to give up Clay Buchholz, which is probably not going to happen. I’m pretty sure “Salty” used to play for the Braves, and I’m pretty sure that he has the longest name in baseball. 
What confuses me is why Varitek would decline arbitration. Sure he wants a multi-year deal… and sure he wants more money I guess, but he is coming off the worst offensive season of his career. If Varitek had accepted arbitration, as some analysts put it, it probably would’ve been the best chance he had at making the $10 million he made in his last contract. Ideally, the Red Sox would want to retain Varitek and find a catcher who would be mentored by Varitek, or a successor if he was to sign with another team. Kevin Cash is definitely not ready to handle that yet. 
Burnett.jpg
The Red Sox also appear to be right in contention to acquire AJ Burnett. The biggest problems with that would be that he is seeking a five year deal, and the Red Sox would probably only offer him four (like what they did with Dice-K)… perhaps with a fifth year buy-out plan. Also the fact that he was (reportedly) very close to a deal with the Atlanta Braves, who were prepared to offer him a five-year deal. 
Texieria.jpg
The Red Sox are also stepping up their efforts to acquire the powerful switch hitter Mark Texieria, who is in the prime of his career. As we know, if we acquired him, Mike Lowell would be the most likely to be traded seeing that Youkilis is still under contractual control for the next two years, and Papi is basically the icon of the Red Sox. Then again, Mike Lowell has been a fan favorite since coming to Boston, seeing him go would be heart breaking for many of us. In my opinion, Tex would be great, but we don’t need him that badly, we got to Game 7 remember? Acquiring him would be like a mercantilist policy: there’s only so much wealth in the world (wealth is power in this case… hitting etc.) and you want to prevent others from getting wealth. 
There have been some rumors regarding Derek Lowe, as of now, his top suitors are the Yankees, and Phillies.

K-Rod.jpg

The biggest news in baseball today is the Mets’ acquisition of K-Rod. They needed him since Wagner will be out the next season because of Tommy John Surgery (ouchhhh), and K-Rod is pretty much a perfect fit. 
The Hot Stove went from zero-450 degrees and FAST, it’s flying with rumors, and hopefully more will appear as the Winter Meetings progress. 

Around the Hot Stove- Arbitration

The arbitration deadline was last night at midnight, and some premier free agents received the offer, others (somewhat surprisingly) did not. 

As far as the Red Sox go, only Jason Varitek and Paul Byrd were offered arbitration. It was expected that Varitek would receive the offer, but with Byrd it was not so obvious. If he accepts, it would put him and the club in an awkward position because there’s not necessarily room for him in Boston’s plans. There have been rumors that the Braves have interest in him though. 

Brian Fuentes.jpg

Brian Fuentes received arbitration from the Rockies, which may (or may not) influence the Mets’ interest in him, and as we know, they’re also interested in K-Rod. 
The Yankees did not offer arbitration to ANY of their eight eligible free agents. The Yankees have interest in holding on to Petite, but not at the same price, which could cause a conflict (perhaps even reuniting him with his former manager!).

Andy Petite.jpg

  Bobby Abreu did not receive arbitration because he is seeking a three year deal which the Yankees are not offering. Plus, the Yankees have a pretty deep outfield already: Deamon (sorry), Cabrera, Gardener, and Nady. The top pitching interests for the Yankees were all offered arbitration (Sabathia, Burnett, and Lowe)

Ivan Rodriguez.jpg

The Marlins did not offer arbitration to their Type B Free Agents Luis Gonzalez, Paul Lo Duca, or Arthur Rhodes. The Reds have reported interest in the reliever Arthur Rhodes. With the Mariners offering arbitration to Raul Ibanez, it is unlikely that the Marlins will continue seeking him because they don’t want to sacrifice a draft pick. Since the Yankees did not offer arbitration to Ivan Rodriguez (known to us as Pudge), he might be the perfect fit for the Marlins organization since they are seeking an experienced catcher to help their young pitching staff. The Marlins have also experienced interest in Carl Pavano
If the Braves want to continue pursuing Burnett, they would not have to give up their first round pick if they signed him because they have one of the first fifteen selections. Their compensation would be a “sandwich selection” between the first and second rounds, and their second round pick. 
The Phillies did not offer arbitration to Jamie Moyer or Pat Burrell. They could be interested in outfielders Juan Rivera or Rocco Baldelli seeing that those two were not offered arbitration by their teams, so Philly would not have to compensate by giving up draft picks. 
Players have until midnight of December 7 (so technically December 8) to accept or refuse these offers. 
In other Red Sox news… the Sox will officially announce their signing of the Japanese righty Junichi Tazawa sometime this week, after his physicals go through. The terms of the deal were three years at $3 million. The Red Sox also signed left handed reliever Billy Traber to a minor league contract, and an invitation to Spring Training. However, a spot on the major league roster might be difficult to attain seeing that the Sox already have two lefties in the bullpen: Okajima and Lopez. Last year with the Yankees, Traber had a 7.02 ERA in 19 outings, and in 95 career appearances (28 starts) he is 12-14 with a 5.54 ERA. The Red Sox have really gone after some pitching this offseason! 

Red Sox Awards, Burnett, Mussina.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to be pitching in the World Classic this year, with Japan of course. He was their MVP in 2006, and wants to help Japan defend its title. In ’06 he went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA, and a year later was signed to the Red Sox for six years. 

dustin_pedroia1.jpg
The Red Sox have announced some “team” awards that they are going to be giving at the Boston Baseball Writer’s Dinner. The Red Sox named Pedroia as their team MVP, which is not surprising at all. It was definitely a hard choice between Kevin Youkilis and Pedroia, just like it was for the AL MVP.  Kevin Youkilis will be presented the Jackie Jensen award, which is given for spirit and determination (this award was named after the Red Sox outfielder who played with them from 1954-1959, and 1961). 
youkilis.jpg
Youkilis also won this award two years ago, the only other player to win this award twice is Johnny Damon (’04-’05). Hopefully, Youk won’t follow the same path that he did. Jon Lester will be recognized as Boston’s pitcher of the year, 

8a97f25330_jacoby.jpg

Jacoby Ellsbury was named Red Sox Rookie of the Year, Jonathan Paplebon is the Red Sox Fireman of the Year, Sean Casey with the Good Guy Award, and Jeff Bailey with the Red Sox Minor Leaguer Award. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Bailey a lot in Spring Training. Jason McLeoad, the amateur Red Sox scouting director, will receive the Unsung Hero Award, seeing that Youkilis, Pedroia and Lester are all “homegrown products”. 
On another note, AJ Burnett’s agent wants to have Burnett signed to a five year contract, which apparently, might keep the Yankees out of contention for Burnett. Plus, they might be a little apprehensive about his injuries, I mean, look what happened with Carl Pavano. How many games did that guy pitch? 
Also, with Mike Mussina retiring, there is a lot of talk about him eventually being voted into the Hall of Fame. His numbers match up with some of the guys who are already in there… and he’s had some great seasons. I think that one day, he’ll be in there. 

I forgot how depressing the offseason is…

Now that baseball season is over, I’m pretty bored. I actually have to do my homework in my room now, not while watching a baseball game. Maybe that explains the sudden escalation in my geometry grade (except for Friday’s test). Ironically, I’m behind on my AP US History reading now. Forget outlining, I’ve just got to finish the antebellum period! 

So I just found out on the MLB Pro-Blog ‘Brownie Points’ that Jason Varitek has been going through a divorce throughout the year. Perhaps that explains his offensive numbers. Even though players shouldn’t let their personal life interfere with their professional life, it’s hard not to. Plus, perhaps he was trying too hard to have a stellar year since it is a contract year. Nevertheless, I think the Sox should re-sign him. Remember JD Drew in 2007 how is offensive numbers were disappointing? Well, I’m pretty sure that his son was ill throughout the entire year, and then in 2008, look at the year he’s had! Wasn’t he player of the month in June or something like that? Maybe Varitek can turn it around next year. You can’t just give up on a guy because he has a down year. 
I also think that Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie will do better next year. The problem with Jacoby was that everybody expected him to have an amazing year because of what he did September-October of ’07. But remember all of the amazing plays he made in the outfield? He didn’t have an error all season! It’d be a mistake to let him go. And as far as Jed Lowrie, even though his offensive numbers fell towards the end of the season to about .256, he was pretty solid at shortstop. And Julio Lugo didn’t do much better offensively, and don’t even get me started defensively. Lugo is a nice guy, don’t get me wrong. He threw me a ball after all (and then I started crying of course, I’m so pathetic), but I think we should develop Lowrie into a great player. 
Besides Varitek being a free agent, Curt Schilling also filed for free agency. I think he wants to pitch in the second half of the ’09 season. But, in my opinion, I don’t think anyone is going to sign him. He’s had a great career with the Red Sox, and I remember the look on his face as he walked off the field in ’07, perhaps the last time he pitched for the Red Sox. I think he should just retire, continue his blog, and punch anyone in the face who tries to say that his famous bloody sock is fake. Alex Cora and David Ross also filed for free agency. Alex Cora has been a somewhat important factor in the organization, seeing that he is a utility infielder. Maybe we can use him to get some bullpen depth though? And I’m sure some of you are asking yourself right now, who is this David Ross guy? He was Kevin Cash’s backup catcher (and Cash was Varitek’s back up catcher) so no wonder he didn’t get any action. 
As far as the AFL goes, Clay Buchholz is “regaining his confidence”, but he still has a lot to prove in spring training. He’ll probably be in competition (agian) for the fifth starting spot since Paul Byrd will soon be filing for free agency.
The Red Sox exercised their option on Tim Wakefield, as I expected. Perhaps they’ll use him in the bullpen as they did in 2003. He can go anywhere. Maybe they’ll use him like they did Mike Timlin. 
Zink is also doing well in the minor leagues, so expect to see him in spring training. Also expect Dave Pauley and Chris Smith (at least, I think it’s Chris). Maybe we can use them for bullpen depth. 
Bartolo Colon is basically gone, the Red Sox suspended him when he basically left the team. Whatever, that was probably more of a gain than it was a loss. 
Some good news: The Red Sox are going to remain in Fort Myers for a little while at City of Palms Park, but a new stadium is going to be built by 2012 (the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park!!! I’m so excited). It’ll probably have a mock green monster, and other similarities to the antiquated, but beautiful park in the great city of Boston. 
As far as free agent pitchers go, I love the idea of Jake Peavy, but the problem is, who do we give up for him? He’s basically the face of the Padres organization. There’s also Derek Lowe, who I’m sure would love to come back to Boston. And I still love that guy, so why not? There’s also AJ Burnett, who appears to be a great pitcher, and I think that he is, but with all of his injuries, it’s hard to know weather or not he is reliable. 
I wish I could debate about this instead of felon disenfranchisement. Why must I listen to the NFL (no, not football, National Forensics League). I might as well drop debate. 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.