I Was Wrong
Keith Allison - Flickr
Terry Francona - Done in Boston
I Was Wrong
Many times I stood by the Red Sox saying that they wouldn’t collapse.
It’s not that I didn’t see them sinking in the Titanic, I did, I just thought that they’d be Rose – hanging on to debris for dear life long enough to survive. However they decided to be Jack when he thought “Hey, I was at an all time high, and I could grab onto this debris with Rose but I might as well take a dive now. It’s all downhill from here anyway.” But let me say it, I was wrong, they did collapse.
I’ve written this article about 3 or 4 times in the last 24 hours. I’ve walked away, thought about it and tried again and again. My thoughts have been like a Jackson Pollock painting – thrown throw across a canvas without a semblance of a bigger picture. I’ll try one more time.
Now it seems that Francona is leaving and fans are left to think about the direction of the team. I personally I’d like Tito back – Not in every instance is someone at fault. This team was decimated by injuries – They lost their #2 & #4 starters for most of the season. What was Francona supposed to do? He had no choice but to throw out Wakefield, Weiland, & Miller for a good majority of the year. And how many starting pitchers was Epstein supposed to acquire? Before the year people were talking about the depth of starting pitching that Boston had. Who could have for-seen losing both Buchholz and Matsuzaka being lost for the year?
I hear a lot of people are worried about the future of the team.
Let me tell you, it’s not as bad as you think. First of all, if the Sox made the playoffs they were, much like Jack in Titanic - Dead in the water. So let’s move past that, it was hopeless either way. Let’s look at the future.
The team next year has Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Lackey. I’ll pause as you puke in your mouth when I say Lackey. Ok, so he’s the #5 starter. If the Sox really wanted, they could eat half his salary and trade him. I hate eating salary, but if it prevents you from being sick to your stomach, that’s an option. Let’s think about a couple starting options in free agency. The big fish (and I mean BIG) is C.C. Sabathia. He will opt out, but I doubt the Yankees will let him leave their sights. The next best pitcher is C.J. Wilson. The Sox could make a run at him, but I expect his price to be higher than the value. If they wanted to go a little cheaper they could target Buehrle, Kuroda, Francis, or Chen - Harden would be even cheaper. If they just wanted to add depth Wang and Webb would both be very cheap, and Webb would be a minor league contract and a longshot. No matter what they do, their top 4 starters are really good; let’s just hope they stay healthy.
The next is the bullpen.
Papelbon is a free agent (type A). I would personally let him walk and collect the draft picks. There are a lot of good closers in the free agent market - Heath Bell, K-Rod, Nathan, Valverde, Capps, and Broxton (eep!), are available. I wouldn’t sign Broxton, but he’s out there. There is also a cornucopia of middle relievers available, to improve the pen.
The next step is replacing Drew - Number-wise this won’t be too difficult, almost anyone is an improvement. The Sox can look internally with Reddick and Kalish, if that’s not enough they can turn to free agents. Beltran, Cuddyer, Fukudome, Kubel, & Sizemore are all likely available. I like Kubel a lot. The Sox could sign him for probably $8M-$9M a year, he makes $5.25M now. If they want to make a big splash, and this is completely a dream scenario, the rumor is that Jason Heyward is available. If it was up to me, I’d go H.A.M. at Heyward, find out what it will take. I also hear that Ethier isn’t long for the Dodgers. However, Ethier is arbitration eligible and he makes over $9M this year and you’d have to give up players in a trade.
When it comes to DH, Ortiz is also a free agent, and he is also Type A. I wouldn’t mind letting him walk either and collect two draft picks. Youkilis could be the DH in Boston or the team could sign someone, maybe Kubel who I mentioned earlier. If Ortiz goes out and sees how little of a market there is for DH, maybe he will come back to Boston cheap. If the Sox decided to have Youkilis be the DH, the best third-baseman is Aramis Ramirez. I don’t see him in Boston’s future. They also have Lowrie. They could even not sign a DH and have a rotation to give players a rest from the field.
Lastly we have the shortstop.
Scutaro has both a team option and a player option. At the all-star break, I would have been happy to see him leave, the last two months he raked. At $6M, it’s not a terrible contract for one more year. They do have the option to decline and Marco could trigger his option for $3M but that’s up to him. There are a few free agents, Furcal, Rollins, or even Alex Gonzalez (again) who could be a stopgap until Inglesias is ready. The Sox also have Lowrie who is an injury risk, and a better utility player.
Although fans think the team is a disaster, they are minor moves away, not major. If the Sox make a splash with Wilson & Heyward (Heyward is VERY unlikely) or Kubel - Hypothetically their lineup could be Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Youkilis, Ortiz, Kubel, Crawford, Saltalamacchia, and Scutaro. That’s a really good lineup. Their rotation could be Lester, Wilson, Buchholz, Beckett, & Matsuzaka. If that is actually how their pitching pans out, they’d have one of the top rotations in baseball.
There aren’t necessarily sexy moves, but sexy moves aren’t needed.
At the time did anyone see Mueller, Bellhorn, Ortiz, and Millar as sexy moves? No, but they were sturdy moves. Sometimes that’s all it takes. When that’s all done, remember the most important advice that Jack gives in Titanic, “Promise to never let go!”By Mike Lavery
Friday, 30 Sep 2011
- Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Andrew Miller, Aramis Ramirez, Bill Mueller, Boston Red Sox, Brandon Webb, Bruce Chen, C.C. Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, Carl Crawford, Carlos Beltran, Chien-Ming Wang, Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Francisco Rodriguez, Grady Sizemore, Heath Bell, Hideki Kuroda, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jason Heyward, Jason Kubel, Jed Lowrie, Jeff Francis, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Nathan, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Jonathan Broxton, Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Inglesias, Jose Valverde, Josh Beckett, Josh Reddick, Kevin Millar, Kevin Youkilis, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Weiland, Los Angeles Dodgers, Marco Scutaro, Mark Bellhorn, Mark Buehrle, Matt Capps, Rafael Furcal, Rich Harden, Ryan Kalish, Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield