Sunday, April 04, 2010

Jusssst a bit outside: the Boston Red Sox

Duty calls to preview the MLB season, providing up to 30 things somewhat about each of the 30 teams. At bat: the Boston Red Sox.
  1. Waiting for lefty: Jon Lester Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey could all be signed through 2014, leaving one spot open for a left-hander to balance out the group. Paging Cliff Lee ...

  2. Winning with pitching and defence at Fenway? Runs scored across MLB have dropped for four consecutive seasons, so the Sox are following the curve by adding centrefielder Mike Cameron (right in photo) and building an Adrian Beltre-Marco Scutaro-Dustin Pedroia-Kevin Youkilis infield.

  3. Over-under: 94½ wins.

  4. Take the ... Over. It takes 95 wins to make the playoffs in the AL East, but more than that to win the whole shootin' match.

  5. Blatantly obvious: Blowing smoke about Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. They're good and glorified to death. We get it.

  6. So cute how: How far Boston diehards will go to avoid giving rightfielder J.D. Drew, who puts up a near .900 OPS each season, any credit for their success. Yankees fans have learned to abide that Alex Rodriguez doesn't play more than 140-145 games anymore.

  7. For the record: That line was written before Bill Simmons' better late than never "I like sabermetrics" column. Just look how long it took him to mention you-know-who. (Third paragraph.)

  8. One flaw in Theo's genius: GM Theo Epstein's regime has yet to draft and develop a power hitter (as the Boston Globe noted the other day), but other than Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx and Manny Ramirez, the Red Sox have never been known for that sort of thing.

  9. Designated scapegoat in case of struggle: Probably Cameron, on account of coming as a free agent, on account of his .748 on-base-plus-slugging vs. righty pitching last season and the fact it's Boston.

  10. Don't kid yourselves: They're still wicked talented, even if they're still lugging around Jason Varitek.

  11. Needless manufactured drama: Whether Daniel Bard is going to usurp the closer role from Jonathan Papelbon. Just let it happen organically, people.

  12. Trouble spot: Middle relief, but that's every team. It's like 12-man pitching staffs put a strain on every team's depth.

  13. Smoke screen: With respect to Jacoby Ellsbury, there have only been about three players in recent history who could hold down a left-field job without hitting for power. Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and Carl Crawford actually had power.

  14. Potential deal-breaker: Whether Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez provide sixth- and seventh-inning relief. Yea to the former and not sure on the latter.

  15. Prediction that may not come true: "With Scutaro batting ninth, he should be able to score at least 100 runs." Yeah, lots of players score 100 runs hitting last in the lineup.

  16. Carbo reload: Everyone has linked to it already, but a should-read is the story about former Sox outfielder Bernie Carbo's journey out of depression and drug abuse.

  17. Just stirring the pot: Manager Terry Francona just can't stop playing Jason Varitek, no matter how little he hits.

  18. FanGraphs notes Boston has gone over slot 16 times in signing draft choices, just in the last three years, proving teams which abide by the slotting system are a bunch of suckers.

  19. Milestone alert: Mike Cameron is 202 strikeouts away from a career 2,000.

  20. Fenway folk hero: With a name like his, Boof Bonser was born to play somewhere where fans still have a capacity for zaniness.

  21. Actual conversation on Toronto subway after Red Sox-Jays game in 2008: "How long has Toronto had a team?" ... "They've won as many World Series as the Sox have since 1920."

  22. How long has Tim Wakefield been pitching? He was on the Pittsburgh Pirates' last winning team.

  23. It is novel their top pitching prospect Casey Kelly (TINSTAAPP notwithstanding) dabbed at shortstop in the minors. It's like how the Jays gave Dave Stieb a chance to try centrefield before he realized where he belonged.

  24. Zing! Ellsbury's entry in Baseball Prospectus 2010 notes, "Jim Rice thinks Ellsbury has Hall of Fame potential, which is true if you work under the assumption that the standards will continue to erode, thanks to the induction of players like Jim Rice."

  25. .328 was also his blood-alcohol level: It has to be an urban legend that Wade Boggs once drank 64 beers on a cross-country flight.

  26. PECOTA says: 95-67, first AL East, 847 runs scored, 696 against.

  27. In English, please: What does contempt breed?

    (Why 27? Carlton's Fisk's number.)


Superfun happy slide said...

Nice column, I love taking shots at the Sox too. Your call on Varitek is right on the ball; something "The Captain" has not been since drug testing was mentioned with a degree of seriousness.

Anonymous said...

I must say I appreciate the depth and detail you put in to every report on each MLB team.
Sorry to say though, I just don't give a rat's ass about baseball anymore.
Maybe it's the 1994 strike that ruined the Expos shot at glory...maybe the whole steroids issue and
how records are rendered meaningless in many eyes.
It could be the general ineptitude of Blue Jays management ever since Pat Gillick left...I don't know, I just don't give a damn anymore.
I don't hate baseball per se...I love watching our national team perform at the Olympics, but the pro game just leaves me cold.
Sorry about that, but good work anyway, Neate.

sager said...

No need to say sorry when you are expressing heartfelt opinion.

Please do me a favour, though ... I am working on a post on how losing the balanced schedule, going to 3 div., adding interleague has affected the Jays. Please read it, OK?