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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Papelbon’


With the 2014 Red Sox still under .500, the Boston sports media has a new hobby. They keep talking about who should get traded from these Red Sox since, they think, this team’s season is over.

I can understand some of the push to trade players come July. I am in favor of that if they aren’t in the race. It would potentially give some of the younger players time to get used to life in the Big Leagues.

My problem is the guys they think we should trade. I hear about Lester, Lackey and Uehara. These guys make the least sense when you are talking about trades. Why? There is no one in the system who can replace them.

Jon Lester is a home-grown guy. Apart from his battle with cancer years ago he has been healthy as the workhorse he is. He is a known commodity who gives you 200+ innings every year and most of the time has a sub-.400 ERA. He has proven post-season dominance. Proven in the harsh environment of Boston with the media and demanding fans. Unlike Kirk Minihane, no one knows if Lester is leaving our not after this season. He likes it here. The Red Sox did seem to make a tactical error with a low offer. They do want to continue discussions. I can understand why they didn’t open the money bags for Ellsbury, but he’s not Ellsbury. Jacoby was often hurt and Jon hasn’t been hurt. They had a comparable player in the minors ready to take his place, and the hitting should eventually get there as it has at every other level along the way. But while there are some MLB worthy pitchers in the system, it is doubtful they will be as dominant as Lester in the next 5 years. They should pay him. They can’t control if he chases the money, and would get a compensatory pick. But trading him, unless you get a similar pitcher is crazy. And that pitcher has to fit in Boston. Scherzer is available this off season. But he finally pitched a complete game, and while in a good baseball city hasn’t had to pitch in Boston for a whole season. In other words, he is far more of a gamble than Lester’s health!

Lackey is also a top of rotation pitcher. He has no immediate replacement in the system. You don’t need replacements for Ortiz, Napoli, Pedroia, Bogaerts or Bradley. Nava has regained his swing and should produce again (is producing again). So what do you get, and is that worth trading a 1/2 starter? Not in my book.

I can’t find the article advocating a trade for Koji, at the peak of his value. Who closes for you? That’s all I ask? Miller and Tazawa have not proven capable of closing when they have had the opportunity. Does anyone remember how hard it was to get a closer after Papelbon left? Yes, he’s at high value right now. So … you have to replace him.

These are players who make up your core moving forward. They are not your problem, and can’t fix your problem. Trading them creates a new problem. In other words, such a trade normally makes a “big splash” (which the media likes) but tends to keep a team non-competitive. You just have new problems.

Most projections I’ve read for guys like Owens, Webster, Ranaudo etc. have been 3/4 in the rotation. Not aces. Hopefully we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Trades at this point for the Red Sox seem to be more about enabling the future to happen than re-stocking. You want to get rid of guys who open the door for people young pitchers or catchers. The guys you trade are people like Peavy or AJ. They won’t get you a treasure trove of prospects or MLB players, but to a desperate contender you will get more than what they are worth. They allow you to bring up (or keep up) Workman, Vazquez etc. You also have time to wait for Betts and Cecchini (or Middlebrooks).

Media guys don’t have the best interest of the team in mind. Often fans don’t either. Let’s leave it to the professionals to figure all that out.

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I have a few free minutes, here are a few thoughts:

  • Some media members are wondering why the Cardinals have a new manager already and the Red Sox don’t. When you lose your GM in the middle of things, it slows down the process a wee bit.
  • You mean his mouth closes?

    Who should be the new manager of the Red Sox? They had each candidate do interviews. In a market like Boston, known for aggressive media, this is an important consideration. Mackanin came off like Robert California from the Office. His playing both sides approach sounded to me like smoke and mirrors. Lovullo came across as the most secure and relaxed of the bunch. I was greatly disappointed when he left for Toronto with Farrell.  I would welcome him back, but I don’t think it will go that way. Sandy Alomar Jr. will probably become a very good manager one day- I just don’t think it will be in Boston.  Reading about Sveum, I think he should be the choice.  I don’t hold the whole 3rd base coach thing against him. Send ’em In Kim would be a different story. But I appreciated his approach, including defensive positioning. I see that as one of the things Tampa does really well. Their defenders are seldom out of position.  The last 2 years the Red Sox have not seemed in position very often except for Pedroia. He understand what each coach should do, since he’s done it all. He coached guys well. I share the hunch that he’ll be the guy unless the Cubs strike first. If so, Lovullo would probably make a great choice.

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I wanted to go to Baltimore for 2 reasons.  I have a friend with cancer.  I hadn’t seen him in a few years.  Our time in seminary overlapped, and we both served in Winter Haven at the same time.  We often commiserated.  I’ve been wanting to visit him.

Ellsbury hit a home run on the next pitch

I also wanted to catch a baseball game at Camden Yards.  A Red Sox game.  At the time I thought the Sox were a lock for the post-season (before the injuries piled up and so did their confidence).  I wasn’t sure if any regulars would be playing.  Well, the ones who could still walk would.  I enjoyed my time with my friend, including the game.  Here’s the story:

I thought it was a non-stop flight, but we made a quick stop in Albuquerque.  The recession is worse that I thought- gone are the you stewardesses.  I don’t think one of the stewards or stewardesses seemed to be younger than me, and I’m no spring chicken.  It was great to see all the green as I landed in Baltimore.  I was treated to crab cakes.  We enjoyed a trip to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy.  But the Red Sox game had reached great importance. I both anticipated and dreaded it.

Just another pitching change

We arrived just before the national anthem.  While Camden Yards is designed like the older parks, it really has an open feel to it.  The gates open into streets with concessions and souveniors.  It is not a huge enclosed stadium.  We decided to eat at Boog’s BBQ.  Boog Powell was a star for the Orioles when I was a kid.  The servings were huge, for a ball park, so I didn’t mind the high price.  While we were in the very efficient line (amazing for concessions!!) the national anthem began.  I guess the local custom is to stop the music and soloist so the crowd sings “Oooooh!”.  Very interesting.

We made our way through some light rain to the 3rd base line, the other side of the park, and our seats. The seats were covered by the upper grandstand, but the rain stopped.  In terms of the field, we could see everything very well.  The board that tracked the pitch counts was obscured until I ducked down far enough to see it.

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I didn’t watch all of the MLB All-Star Game.  CavWife wanted to watch In Plain Sight, one of the summer shows we watch.  We discovered, much to our dismay, that our new DVR didn’t record the show Sunday night.  The record light was on… so we are mystified.  So we went to the USA website and watched it on-line.  Our new, higher speed internet worked much better than our previous attempts to watch episodes of Burn Notice we missed.  We upgraded to digital cable and higher speed internet to get the digital phone service.  It was $1 more than with standard cable.  We save about $50 over our combined internet/cable & Verizon bill.  So it made sense to bundle it.

While we watched the show- interrupted periodically by a child with issues- I kept my eye on the never-ending pre-game festivities.  Since this was the final year of Yankee Stadium, they pulled out all the stops.  Lots of Yankee hall of famers.  Not to be outdone by the Red Sox extravaganza back in ’99, they trotted out a feeble King George.  It was touching to see the warmth Yogi had for him.  But I didn’t notice any of today’s players around the league embracing him like they did Ted Williams.  But, I wasn’t engrossed so it could have happened.

After the show, CavWife got ready for bed so I actually watched the game.  When I went to bed, it looked like Matt “Trade Bait” Holliday might be the MVP for his solo shot.  It was 2-0 and the AL was doing … nothing.  I figured it was over and went to bed much in need of rest.

As it turns out, the Papel-flap was a non-issue.  Mariano Rivera did not get a chance to close the game.  But his pitching was important as the AL came back to put the game into extra innings.  The NL blew 2 save opportunities.  And in a beautiful twist of fate, or irony, the oft-maligned J.D. Drew -in his first All-Star game- got the last laugh, belting a 2 run homerun and stealing a base to lead the AL to victory.  The Red Sox player won the MVP award.

The controversy erupted on ESPN, again.  The great part is they’ll give the Brett Favre story a rest.  A few years ago the controversy was “how in the world can they have a tie in the All-Star game”.  Now the controversy is “how could they make those guys who pitched Sunday pitch since the game went to 15 innnings.”  Zzzzzzz.  Didn’t their managers know they were going to the All-Star game?  Did it shock them to realize they might have to actually pitch?  Hello?!

But I’m glad I didn’t try to watch this thing.  I didn’t need to be up until 2 am.  I am glad the AL gets homefield advantage again (I like that the games count!), and that one of the Sox was a key player in the game.  Great to see Pedroia and Youk in their first All-Star games.  These guys are known for hustle and grit.  They face every game and at bat as if it will be their last.  They leave it all on the field.  They will probably be in a few more of these games.

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