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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Alas Blogger... 


This will be the last Dewey's House post on Blogger.

Now, fair reader, you might be wondering where Dewey's House will go. The answer, is the long-talked about move to Wordpress. Starting tomorrow, Dewey's House can be found here, http://www.deweyshouse.com.

Please update your links, and bookmark, for this is the new era of Deweys House.

Starting tomorrow, we will begin a series of capsules for each team as an outlook of their 2005 season. They will be done, by myself, and Sully from Dewey's House, Mike Fortuna, Chris Klemmer, and Ryan Toohil from various places on InterWeb. Hold your breathe...The Pittsburgh Pirates are tomorrow!

Anyway, we're still working out some of the kinks, like finding out an easy way to get the links up and organized how I want, but we're excited for the movie.

Good bye, Blogger.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Bellhorn and Those Killer K's 


Chris Snow offers up another insightful piece in today's Boston Globe as he sits down with Boston 2nd Baseman and Dewey's House favorite, Mark Bellhorn. One of the subjects Snow broaches is Bellhorn's propensity to strikeout. To his credit, Bellhorn seems unapologetic about it. He realizes that, all things being equal, he ought to cut down on his strikeouts but all things are not equal. His willingness to go deep into counts and to take close pitches means that the trade-off for his flashy on-base is an increase in strikeouts. The most telling quote of the whole piece comes from Terry Francona...

"Bellhorn, I understand he's not the prototype No. 2 hitter, but he did a great job getting on base..."

Sort of another one of those watershed moments where I am reminded that SABR has not infiltrated the mainstream by any stretch. If a "prototype No. 2 hitter" is not a 2nd Baseman that leads everyone in the league that plays his position in on-base percentage, what is? I've read that quote over to myself about 8 times now and each time I find it more and more unthinkable that a Big League Manager could utter it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What Rankles You More? 



Barry venting frustration with the media for its handling of the steroid situation or Jayson Stark's moronic, high-falutin' ass?



The Biggest Difference 


An aging team should take steps to insulate itself from the potential pitfalls an older team will tend to incur. Injury risks and regression candidates abound for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Red Sox are well prepared to withstand such potential problems while the Yankees, to say the least, are not. Without even going into the starting pitching side of things (WOTS is New York's 6th starter while the Sox go 6-8 with Wake, Kim and Halama), here are the career lines of the main bench components for both Boston and New York. Two caveats: one, listed below is Roberto Petagine's ZIPS projection (Dan Szymborski of BTF's creation) and not his career line as I thought that would be more appropriate. Two, the Red Sox have a far younger bench and all of these players are at different stages of their career. This is meant as an interesting, telling tidbit but simply listing career numbers does not, by any means, constitute any sort of conclusive study.

Doug Mirabelli: 242/331/426
John Flaherty: 255/293/382

Jay Payton: 285/335/443
Doug Glanville: 277/315/380

Ramon Vazquez: 262/334/344
Rey Sanchez: 271/308/334

Roberto Petagine: 282/397/450 (ZIPS projection - he's been in Japan)
Ruben Sierra: 269/317/452

Kevin Youkilis: 260/367/413
Damian Rolls: 248/291/337

It's as though the Yanks have decided that their bench does not matter. To paraphrase BP's Joe Sheehan, $200 million ought to get you more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

More Baseball Blogosphere Shake-Up 



Cliff's joining Alex.

The Baseball Analysts 


Two of the best out there on the web have teamed up to form The Baseball Analysts. Rich Lederer and Bryan Smith, both of all-baseball.com fame, should make a formidable duo.

Rich is great because he unapologetically writes about whatever he is interested in at the time and has a magical way of making you interested in the same topics. Rich has done fantastic work contextualizing where lesser known stars like Jim Edmonds and Bert Blyleven rank in baseball history. He also spends a good amount of time at Blair Field in Long Beach, CA watching the Dirtbags play. I mention this because the park happens to be about two-and-a-half long David Ortiz blasts from where my girlfriend, Johanna, grew up. I have found few experiences as satisfying as taking in a summertime ballgame at dusk in Southern California and Blair Field is one of the best spots to do just that.

Smith focuses more on the Minor Leagues and his annual Top 75 list is an absolute must-read.

Good luck, guys!

Monday, February 21, 2005

SoSH Trophy Bash 


I had a great time last night talking baseball with SoSH stalwarts Eric Van, Napkin, Portland Sox Fan, NotMannysFault, Paul M and many others. Great Bay was elegant, getting my picture taken with the trophy was a thrill and there were two ice sculptures - one that spelled out SoSH and one that was in the shape of the Red Sox logo (the socks, not the B).

It's funny because everyone was trying to be as tempered as possible but the feeling that the Red Sox may very well have just entered into a prolonged era of excellence emanated. The farm system is strengthening, revenues are growing and information and analyses are coming in from remarkably smart and open-minded individuals. It's the first point that makes the future for the Red Sox so compelling. If some of the Sox playing in Portland and Pawtucket this year continue to develop, it would seem possible that by 2007 Boston could be getting solid contributions for the minimum salary from 4 or 5 players. Between Lester, Papelbon, Lester, Ramirez, Pedroia, Bladergroen, Moss and West, the Sox have a real Farm system now. What's more, the Red Sox will have six of the first sixty picks in the 2005 Amateur Draft.

The byproduct of having the ability to count on cheap production year after year is that you can make a run at every off-season's star. Over-paying for truly great players won't kill you but over-paying for average to merely good players will because those are the players that can easily be replaced by a good youngster on the cheap. Ben Broussard is a much better player than Darrin Erstad, just as Mark Bellhorn is close to the player Jose Vidro is, despite discrepancies in the players' respective wallets. I would contend that the most essential part of compiling a Major League roster is the ability to conceptualize replacement level. There is no need to dole out cash to Tony Womack because nearly every organization could pluck a comparable player from their triple-A club. Same goes for Cristian Guzman and Juan Castro.

But getting such contributions is easier said than done. You must have a farm system producing players capable of being an asset on a Big League club. If you need a second baseman and there is nothing in your farm system to fill the hole, you must then go out on the market. But if there are no great players available or you do not have the resources to commit to a great player, you tend to end up competing with other teams for an unremarkable player. The competition or demand for the player will drive his price up and next thing you know you're sitting at a press conference trying to pretend you're thrilled to have agreed to hand out $33 million to Russ Ortiz. The Red Sox have been able to largely avoid these pitfalls by successfully identifying market inefficiencies, where certain players were not being valued in a manner that was commensurate with their ability to contribute to a winning baseball team. But now, player development will be as important as ever because as acceptance of SABR principles spreads, the Bill Muellers, Mark Bellhorns and David Ortiz's will no longer be available on the cheap. The values will have to come from within. The luxury of being able to steer clear of throwing a bunch of cash at a good player like Corey Koskie enables you to pursue a truly great player.

The Red Sox are on the verge of entering into a real sweet spot. A minor league system annually producing good players combined with a large payroll and an analytical front office able to find good values on both the trade and free agent markets make the prospect of a Red Sox dynasty not seem all that far-fetched.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Are We Lucky or What?!?! 


Another day, another edition of the Boston Globe, another manifestation of Shaughnessy's magnificently adroit, cunning wit.

No More Mr. Nice Guy. Put the World Series championship ring on Bronson Arroyo's hand Opening Day and let's see if A-Rod can slap it away.

Hey, at least the media is staying above the Yanks-Sox smack-talk fray.

Friday, February 18, 2005

From the Really Predictable Department 


Buster starts the Yanks out on top.

Has the Marlins fourth, the Dodgers sixteenth and the A's eighteenth too!

Three Words 


Pitchers and Catchers

check out the photo album.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The 2005 Pen - Mightier or Not? 


Chris Snow, who has acquitted himself nicely to the Globe's Sports section over the last couple of months, features a bit on the Red Sox bullpen today. This piece wasn't exactly of the same quality as his previous work. In it he has some quotes from both Keith Foulke and Terry Francona, who share each other's optimism for the 2005 bullpen. Apparently the conversations made Snow go all fanboy on us...
But, said Foulke yesterday, "I think we might have a better staff than we did last year."
As a rotation, that premise is debatable. Last year's rotation (Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Arroyo, and Wakefield) posted a 4.24 ERA. The six candidates for this year's rotation (Schilling, Wade Miller, David Wells, Matt Clement, Arroyo, and Wakefield) posted a 3.84 ERA.
As a bullpen, it's undebatable. Out went the 35-year-old Myers (4.40 career ERA) and 36-year-old Leskanic (4.36). In came Matt Mantei (3.86) and John Halama (4.52).


First of all, both matters are debatable. But if one is undebatable, given the data that Snow presents, I am not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that the bullpen's improvement is undebatable - and that's before you consider just how shoddy his analysis is. The new starters outpitched the old ones by a greater margin than the new relievers outpitched the old relievers if I am reading Snow's evidence correctly. But that's beside the point and just how poor this analysis is demands a little breakdown. No mention of Williamson? Ramiro Mendoza? No mention of the fact that Mantei has pitched all of 99 innings over the last 4 seasons?

Here's what the Red Sox have to replace: 102 innings of 3.00 ERA pitching contributed between Scott Williamson, Ramiro Mendoza, Curtis Leskanic and Mike Myers. Further, Foulke, Embree and Timlin will all age another season beyond their theoretical peaks. Timlin will be 39, Embree is 35 and Foulke 32. In addition to trying to determine where those 102 innings will come from in 2005, simple age regression would have to be factored into any sober analysis of this bullpen. Now, if everyone on the starting staff is healthy and Wakefield or Arroyo end up in the pen and BK's arm is fresh and Mantei is somehow healthy again, yeah, maybe the Sox have a chance of outpitching last year's pen. Bus as I see it, the questions far outweigh the answers. The Red Sox lost four veteran arms that all contributed solid work in 2004. Let me present two scenarios, starting with the good.

The depth will be great with everyone healthy. They will have the sixth starter plus John Halama and BK to go long. Mantei (again, if healthy) Timlin, Embree and Foulke will share the high leverage duties. There won't be a bad pitcher in the lot and because of the durable arms at the back end of the pen, quality arms should be fresh all season long. The only matter that will cause any concern whatsoever will be whether to carry 11 or 12 pitchers, a nice concern to have given the quality of the starting staff and the aforementioned 7 relievers.

And now the bad...

Injury risks abound for this Red Sox pitching staff and it's hard to see how they are going to plug some of the inevitable holes. It looks doubtful that either Curt Schilling or Wade Miller will be able to start the year in the rotation, bumping both Arroyo and Wakefield up and also slotting John Halama in the rotation. Byung Hyun Kim and his 80 MPH fastball will be the long man in the pen. Matt Mantei will be lucky to pitch 15 innings this year. Have you seen Anastacio Martinez pitch lately? Our replacement level southpaw twins, Lenny Dinardo and Mark Malaska, will be heavily relied upon and who knows what you're getting out of the late-30's duo of Embree and Timlin. Foulke at the back end is nice but how are you going to get to him?

The only point that I wish to make is that whether or not the bullpen has improved is most certainly a debatable issue. To ignore the multitude of injury risks given both the age and medical histories of the players in question is at best ignorant and at worst disingenuous. I am not throwing in the towel on the guy because I really have enjoyed his work thus far so I guess Snow gets a mulligan on this one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Links 


- Thank the world famous Repoz for the link here as Mike Greenwell is miffed that he lost out on the 1988 MVP to Jose Canseco. This quote was the best:

Every time you renegotiate a contract, if you're an MVP, you have a different level of bargaining power," he said. "But in honesty, I don't care about the money."

Honestly, he doesn't. Well hopefully Mike can take solace in the fact that he wasn't even the best player on the Boston Red Sox that season. Mike, a left fielder, put up a line of .325/.416/.531 in 1988. The man that would be heading to Cooperstown seventeen years later that was playing directly in front of him at the hot corner posted a .366/.476/.490 line.

- You know, it's no wonder that so many morons buy into this "real Yankee" shit. As long as the opposition continues to trip and fall and slobber all over themselves to elevate the mere donning of pinstripes, the stigma will hang around. This story from the AP broke broke yesterday.

Boston's outfielder praised Rodriguez's playing ability but said New York's third baseman wasn't the "Yankee type." "I don't look at him as that. He might be in a lot of people's eyes," Nixon said. "He's done some great things on the field. He's one of the best baseball players in the game and probably will be when it's all said and done. "But when people ask me about the Yankees, I tell them about (Derek) Jeter and Bernie Williams and (Jorge) Posada. I don't tell them about Rodriguez. ... He can't stand up to Jeter in my book or Bernie Williams or Posada."

I don't know about anybody else, but the non-stop blabbering from Schilling, Millar, Nixon or God only knows who's next is starting to become a little irritating. "We won the World Series...weeeee!!!...A-Rod's not a real Yankee and he slaps pitchers and is a deadbeat Dad! Yeah." I know A-Rod made some disparaging remarks a while back but who cares? You won the World Series, now act like a champion for crissakes. I'm all for a little animosity in a rivalry but this off-season has devolved into a media catfight. It's petty and trite.

- Former ESPN writer John Sickels has a new blog that's aptly called minorleaguebaseball.com. As ESPN collaborated more and more with Baseball America, I think ESPN decided that they no longer needed Sickels's services. ESPN's loss is our gain, however, as we can expect more frequent commentary from the Minor League guru.

- Goldman has a bit up on the problematic Bernie Williams. His fielding makes him a liability at CF and his weakening bat precludes the possibility that he could be an effective player after a leftward move on the defensive spectrum.

- I hope Pedro kicks ass this year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Welcome Sight 


For the first time in over two months, Chris Kahrl's Transaction Analysis (subscription needed) appeared over at Baseball Prospectus yesterday. Kahrl is a skilled analyst and a brilliant wordsmith. Yesterday, she focused on the off-seasons for teams in both the American and National League East Divisions. I will excerpt some of the highlights from the American League East and offer some comments of my own.

Baltimore Orioles

Kahrl Says: Now, the problem with the third point (ed: that the outfield sucks and they needed to address it), as Joe Sheehan has already pointed out so well, is that they didn't acquire Sammy!, they got this Sosa character. They're expecting the former.

But are the Orioles really expecting the .700 slugger? Wouldn't something producing somewhere between poop and below average be an upgrade for the O's out there? Didn't they have cash to blow? Weren't they snubbed by free agent after free agent - in other words, didn't they try? Didn't they part with decidedly unspectacular wares? I still fail to recognize any downside here for Baltimore and I see them hanging around the East for a while this season.

Boston Red Sox

Kahrl says: In the great shortstop derby, the Sox were players, but for the expense, they may have merely placed and not won.

Well put. Renteria is pretty good and the Sox are rich and so it is not like there is a huge risk that Renteria will drain the franchise - certainly not this year or next at least. But as Kahrl goes on to note, there are serious questions about just how good his defense is, he's under-whelming at the plate against righties and there seems to be little doubt his 2003 was quite an outlier. Right team for Renteria though, as the Sox will not pay as dearly as some other teams would have had they tossed 15%-20% of their payroll at him.

Kahrl says: The really sweet move was the Roberts deal...

Agreed.

New York Yankees

Kahrl Says: ...If you had ever had a good season on this planet, the Yankees were going to get you and spit you out. Of course, they did get Dave Righetti from the Rangers during that same stretch, so it wasn't all bleak, but let's face it, Tanyon Sturtze is no Dave Righetti. Hell, he may not even be Doug Bird.

I think my feelings on the Yankees' off-season are pretty apparent. I think they laid an enormous egg. Not that they didn't collect any talent - they did. But if there was an approach, a methodical strategy, it was lost on me. Pavano and Wright are coming off outlier seasons, Beltran made more sense than the Unit, Tony Womack is, well, Tony Womack. And Tino?

I had to look up who Doug Bird was. His stats don't seem to warrant Kahrl's biting sarcasm but maybe there is something I don't know about him. If readers want to clue me in as to why Bird would make such a good punch line, let me know. I'd love to get a few of Kahrl's jokes from time to time.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Kahrl Says: Let's face it, anybody who feels 70 wins is something to brag about is somebody who hasn't really earned a brag yet, especially when there's no guarantee you can do it again.

Another dubious off-season for the Devil Rays. What's Kahrl supposed to say, "Roberto Alomar's the answer"?

Toronto Blue Jays

Kahrl Says: These are the moves of a team crafting what I'd call a contingent season, where you go into it knowing you won't win, so you spend the winter talking about "sending a message," when what you're really doing is assembling a team you can either build up from if you get lucky, or tear down quickly and chalk up as another hash mark in a lengthy rebuild.

See here I think she is giving the Jays a little too much credit because for the life of me, I don't see any sort of plan in place - longterm or otherwise. Corey Koskie and Scott Schoeneweis are each something and combined they are even a little more but what they most definitely are not are cornerstones of an American League East championship baseball team's off-season. So what are the Jays trying to do? There are the type of low-risk moves hidden amongst JP's off-season that demonstrate the guy may still have it. Certainly Zaun is a nice guy to have around and prying Gaudin from the Rays was nifty as well. Heck I don't even mind giving Billy Koch a shot. But just when you think he is playing with the analytical big boys, JP goes and trades for Shea Hillenbrand. And to be his Designated Hitter, no less! Now, a league average DH hit .263/.344/.445 in 2004. Hillenbrand, in his four MLB seasons, has a line of .288/.322/.448 and has toiled in two of the darn run-happiest parks the Bigs have to offer. Flipping anything of value for a track record like that will go a long way stripping you of any analytical cred you may have earned on your way up. We'll see what the Jays will be able to do with more payroll in the coming years I guess but so far, Ricciardi has failed to impress.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hackety Hack Hack 


Mazz mails in a particularly hacktastic effort today in the Herald.

A year ago at this time, Mark Bellhorn [stats, news] was coming off a season in which he batted .236 (with two home runs) for the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs [stats, schedule].
Now Bellhorn is the starting second baseman on the reigning world champions and will earn a base salary of $2.75 million. Nice country, eh?

Even more incredibly, there appears no threat to challenge Bellhorn for his job.

And most incredibly, a well-known local writer with the privilige of covering the Boston Nine hasn't the faintest idea that they employed the American League's best 2nd Baseman in 2004.

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Christ.


Guilty Pleasure 


Mike Vaccaro has a piece in the New York Post today that calls the Yankees out for choking in the 2004 ALCS. While I think the notion that the Yanks choked is total crap - a good team can easily drop four straight to a superior team in the game of baseball - I must admit that I derive a little enjoyment from reading stuff like this.

It's funny: in a lot of ways, the Yankees got off easy last year. The world was so caught up in the absorbing saga of the Red Sox - and it's a far more human reaction among neutral parties to cheer the winners than to rag the losers that it's only been recently that the Yankee ramifications have become completely evident.

And it's hard to sugar coat the truth:

The Yankees suffered the greatest choke in the history of American sports.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Three Things 


1) Looks like Youk's spot on the 25-man ought to be safe.

2) I don't know what to feel about Jason Giambi, Jose Canseco or anything else related to steroids. I can't muster outrage though and I derive no enjoyment whatsoever from seeing another individual as down and out as Giambi. A large part of me is pulling for the guy, pinstripes and all.

3) The convoy of Red Sox equipment trucks leaves Fenway for Fort Myers today. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Delusional Derek 


Gordon Edes pens a piece in today's Globe about Derek Lowe, who for the life of him, can't seem to figure out why the Sox may have wanted to take a pass on guaranteeing him $36 million over the next four years. The piece is so rich with material screaming to be taken to task, I thought I may take a swipe. Here goes.


"I'm not one of those guys who leaves and roots against his old team, sits in front of the TV and hopes they fail," he said. "I still have a lot of friends over here, and I don't believe in bitterness when you leave a place."

Oh good. So the article, and this interview, will just focus on what you think of LA, how you are preparing this off-season and how you'll handle the nightlife transition from grimy bar to posh lounge. Cool.

Oh wait...


"From a player's standpoint, you have a team that went to Game 7 of the [American League Championship Series] in 2003, then won the World Series, you have the opportunity to bring back the same group of guys for four more years -- for me, that's something you'd want to do..."


Unless, of course, you could improve. So let's do a quick comparison of Sox departing players to the guys that will be replacing them. For pitchers, we'll use 2004 ERA+ and for position players, we'll use 2004 OPS+ (except for Petagine for obvious reasons).

Derek Lowe: 90
Wade Miller: 116

Pedro Martinez: 125
Matt Clement: 123

Gabe Kapler: 77
Jay Payton: 86

Pokey Reese: 46
Ramon Vazquez: 66

Doug Mientkiewicz: .676 2004 OPS
Roberto Petagine: .847 ZIPS projected 2005 OPS

Hopefully Derek stumbles across this bit and we here at Dewey's House can help him to understand why a team might pass up "the opportunity to bring back the same group of guys". No matter how much a team accomplishes, making zero changes ensures exactly one thing - that that team will get older.


"But you see what happened this winter -- three of us gone -- what do you think will happen next year, when you've got Johnny Damon and Billy Mueller and Mike Timlin and Alan Embree and Kevin Millar and Tim Wakefield in the last year of their contracts? How many more changes will they make?"

I don't know, as many as they deem necessary to improve? I imagine Damon will be a little pricey. Remember, 2004 was his best season since he was toiling in Kansas City. He is expensive and his reputation may very well outstrip his real value come next off-season. Bill Mueller? Boston already has a Major League ready third baseman making the minimum in the organization. No need to re-up Mueller unless he takes a discount. Timlin? For his forty-year-old season? No thanks. Embree? Yeah I'd re-sign him at the right price. Same with Millar and Wakefield.


"If you wanted to sign Pedro Martinez," he said, "you get it done last year. They knew what he wanted. If you really wanted a guy of his stature, you get it done. They wanted Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke last year, they got it done. They make it easy for the player to take the deal."

They offered Pedro an annual salary of more than $13 million over three years. That, to me, demonstrates quite a commitment. That all but one other team in MLB came in lower than Boston says to me that the Sox went as far as they decided they could.


"They wanted Varitek, and Jason wanted to come back. They weren't going to ham-and-egg Jason, do anything to tick him off."

...Other than offer him $15 million less than what he wanted. I think it's funny that he thinks the Sox low-balled Pedro and jumped through hoops for Varitek when the difference between Tek's asking price and what he got exceeded the difference between what Pedro got and the Sox's offer.


"This isn't Kansas City," he said, "where the team tells fans they don't have the money and the fans accept it. In Boston, finances aren't an issue, so they have to find other reasons. I wasn't here when [Roger] Clemens left, but at the end, they got on him about his record. I saw what happened with Mo Vaughn, they said a lot of negative things about him, and they did the same with Nomar and Pedro. In Boston, they have to come up with some reason why they're not signing you."

Wow. Forget the fact that he confuses the Duquette and Epstein eras. This is truly remarkable stuff. He really has no idea why the Sox didn't want to re-sign him. With all due respect, Derek, it isn't that difficult "to come up with some reasons" not to sign you. I think that discussion starts and ends with the -11.5 VORP you posted this season. In case you aren't familiar with VORP, let me spell it out for you. Theo could have randomly drawn a pitcher's name from either the Portland Sea Dogs or Pawtucket Red Sox respective rosters and, chances are, that pitcher would have been a good deal better than you in 2004. So when it came time to decide whether the Sox wanted to commit $36 million to you or not, you can understand why they may have decided to go roll the dice and entertain some other options.


"Me, I've acted the same way the last seven years, but in the last three weeks, you heard all this stuff about me going out, me doing this and that. The stuff could have been nipped in the bud -- the front office could have put a stop to it, because it wasn't true, but it was good for them."

Yup. Larry Lucchino was spreading rumors that you were going out too much. Forget that one could randomly poll 1,000 Bostonians between the ages of 23-30 and I bet 40% of them have seen you blacked out. I know I have.


"How do I want to be remembered in Boston? Two or three years from now, nobody will remember my numbers, but they will remember what I did in the playoffs. You want to be remembered as a guy who did good things in the playoffs. No one will remember Tom Brady's numbers, but they'll remember his three Super Bowls."


Wait. Did he just compare himself to Tom Brady?

That's it for me.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Roberto Petagine and Theo's Endless Quest for Depth 


The Red Sox signed Venezuelan Roberto Petagine, a first baseman that can play outfield in a pinch, to a minor league contract yesterday. Petagine has already played a bit in the Majors but has been doing his best work over the last 6 seasons in Japan for both the Yakkult Swallows and the Yomiuri Giants. When you look at his numbers over the last few seasons, it is hard to imagine there is any downside to this deal. In OBP/SLG format...

2001: .466/.633
2002: .438/.649
2003: .457/.683
2004: .409/.561

Reminiscent of another Japanese star that currently plays just to our southwest. I think all of us in Boston would be thrilled if he could continue to replicate Hideki Matsui's production, though he is a bit older and unhealthier than Godzilla was when he arrived in the Bronx. Boston is not getting a player at his peak but remember, what they are getting is a player just beyond a truly extraordinary peak. Whatever at-bats the Red Sox can get out of him on the short end of his decline phase will still almost certainly represent an upgrade over Mr. Stinky Swing, not to mention some of the other bench candidates. Further, with David Ortiz expected to be a little less than full throttle due to his shoulder and ongoing questions about Trot Nixon's health looming, Petagine also represents quality insurance for some of Boston's aging sluggers. I have heard that he plays a wonderful fist base, a pretty brutal outfield and lacks great instincts. Still, a 1.050 OPS is a 1.050 OPS and I would be surprised if the Red Sox didn't find a way to get at least 200 at-bats out of Petagine this season.

Theo Epstein has built a wonderful bench and the byproduct is that there is going to be a serious dog fight for the 25th roster spot. Jay Payton is guaranteed a spot. He plays a great outfield and will face the tough lefties that all of us just need to admit Trot Nixon cannot hit. Ramon Vazquez will make the team. He is a dependable infielder than can play 2nd, shortstop or 3rd and has also hit a little bit in the past as well. Doug Mirabelli is a shoo-in and I don't see any way they keep Petagine off of the roster. That leaves Kevin Youkilis, Billy McMillon, Adam Hyzdu, Adam Stern (Rule Fiver) or a 12th pitcher dueling it out for the final spot.

Stay tuned, only 8 days until pitchers and catchers.





Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Another Parade 


Just got back from a decidedly subdued Patriots celebration. Whereas the other parades here have been raucous celebrations of a singular achievement, this one was more like a collective appreciation of what it is to witness and be amongst true mastery.

Here are some cool quotes from Red Sox personalities on the Pats.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Pinch Me 


It's all Patriots, all the time up here in Beantown and so Red Sox news is awfully slow (as it should be). Don't fret though, just thirteen days until pitchers and catchers report and then everyone will be able to get their baseball fix for the following - oh hell - 11 months. Since I don't have a whole lot to say at the moment, I thought I would just mention that I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be a 24 year-old sports fan living here in the midst of what is one of the truly great runs of sports success that any city has experienced. I don't think it hyperbolic to state that the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox are two of the very best-run organizations in all of sports. Two days before the Pats defend their Super Bowl title and with the World Series trophy still on its Red Sox Nation tour, I am reminded of something I wrote when the Sox were in the midst of their late-summer run. I am telling you, people are conspicuously happier here.

Something eminently wonderful is happening here in the hub. Everyone has a little extra hop in their step. Strangers in Sox gear smile at one another. Sure baseball is just a game and it is a bit trivial to pour so much into the Sox but when so many can feel such happiness, excitement and unity then it doesn't matter what is accounting for the emotions.

Oh and I almost forgot. Go Quakers. I'll be in attendance tonight to watch Penn's annual Crimson wiping in Cambridge.

Edit: A little Penn love over at the Worldwide Leader.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Stockpile 


The Red Sox, determined to do all they can to ensure that they don't have to call upon poop to try and win them ballgames, invited 16 non-roster players to Big-League camp yesterday. While surely there is quite a bit of poop on this list, there are also a couple of guys that could step in and not kill you. Chip Ambres, a 25 year-old former Marlins farmhand, posted an .801 OPS in the Carolina League. Former Indian and Twin, Jack Cressend, has posted a 107 ERA+ over his career. Some of the other familiar names were Shawn Wooten, Dave Berg, George Lombard and Jeremi Gonzalez. I always thought Gonzalez had a live arm when he was with the D-Rays. He was pretty good in 2003 but a smoldering disaster in 2004.

All in all these invitations will probably not have much of an affect for the coming season. They are indicative of a dogged commitment by the Red Sox brass, however, to foster organizational depth. For a look at an organization not quite as committed to the same cause, go check out Goldman's latest Pinstriped Bible entry.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Who Needs to Step it Up? 


Stumbled across this after stumbling across this yesterday.

2004 Playoffs:
Derek Jeter: 245/.339/.347
AROD: .320/.414/.600

But you know, Tom Brady likes Jeter - no wait - Tom Brady is Jeter and the Boss summoned AROD so he must have done something wrong and after all, he slapped Arroyo and ...Bah. It's no use.

Take a pay-cut, move positions, put up numbers, hit the shit out of the ball in the post-season and have your under-performing captain take a passive aggressive shot at you by declaring the team "different" and your boss embarrassingly summon you to his Florida lair (who summons, anyway?).

Wonder if A-Rod still wants to be a part of it.

Its' Super Bowl Week and I'm a Mass-Hole so Indulge Me 


Skip Bayless, come get your spanking.