Monday, October 10, 2005

Too Early for Hot Stove

It's weird not having the Sox playing right now, but it doesn't hurt. I guess winning it all last year really did do something...

Anyway, is it too early to start thinking about the hot stove? In years past, it would take weeks to get over the final Sox loss. Hell, it took a year to get over the 03 game 7 loss. But not this year. Which leads me to this statement, or maybe more of a question: Was this Sox team likeable???

I love the Red Sox. But does that mean that I loved this group of players that comprised this year's campaign? I liked Ortiz, Papelbon, Timlin, and Bill Mueller. Jason Varitek is a perenial favorite. Nixon always plays hard and you have to respect that. But, with a little distance, I am finding that I did not like this team despite them being my favorite sports francise...

Does anyone else feel this way?

I got mad often at Manny Ramirez. He's making millions to play a game, and he was lazy. Yes, amazing offensive stats once again, but lazy nonetheless. Damon couldn't keep his yap shut. I got sick of him being the team spokesman. Those were the main two dislikes. Oh, and Foulke...

Then came the indifferents...This was a huge band...Millar, Olerud (he may fall in to the "liked" category, but he seemed like a desperation move), Bellhorn, Cora, Mirabelli, most of the pen...

Then there were "others"...

Yet, I rooted them on. I wanted them to pull it together...

So looking to next year, we will be losing most of the aforementioned...At first, I looked at this as a sad occasion. Most of these guys brought us the salvation of finally winning it all. But, just like the movie "Major League II", they got caught up in the hype. Does anyone really care that Arroyo put out a record, or that he was playing concerts? Could we have had one less Damon commercial or one less Ford F50 with Curt and the family?

Why couldn't I see all these faults during the season...Well, I believe it is called rationalization. I wanted to win it all experience that joy of another Series win...It didn't happen...

Let's bring in some new blood. Let's discuss the Hot Stove.


  1. I actually found the off-the-field shenanigans to be terribly annoying all season. In addition to Arroyo and Schilling and Damon's sideshows, we had Clement moaning about the All-Star selection (which seems sort of silly now), all the complaining about who would close, and a bunch of players who didn't like each other (Schilling vs. _______).

    Not nearly as likeable a squad as 2004. I think a big part was having Pedro and O-Cab gone. But that's not all: the celebrity got to a lot of their heads -- really, was Damon that utterly annoying in previous seasons?

    I really have no problem with Manny. He often doesn't run out grounders, which I find infuriating; however neither did Damon, Nixon, Millar, even Tek at times. He was signed as a Known Quantity -- a weird dude who hits the hell out of the ball, and actually shows some defensive skills at times. And I *really* do not want to see him traded. Who'll replace him? Unless it's A-Rod or Pujols or Vlad (and none are even remotely possible), no one will provide any protection to Papi, and the offense will stink.

    So that's my first rule for the offseason: Don't Trade Manny.

  2. Amen, on all counts. I've felt that way all season, that these guys were just not all that likeable. It existed last year, I think, but was covered up by success and by the fun that thes guys started having in August, but I can vividly recall really disliking even the 2004 team by early summer. Part of Theo's plan has been to turn over an old team to youngsters. Well, now they're ready. I say let them take over. Don't compete for a year or two, get these guys up and producing, fill in around them, and win it all again. Trade some, don't re-sign others, and see what Pedroia and Papelbon and Youk and Lester and Delcarmen and all are capable of. In other words, let's blow it up and have some fun.

  3. Completely 100% agree about not trading Manny. Especially now that his contract is down to 3 years. And he is still producing at an amazing clip. Boston is one of the few teams that can afford to pay him a premium. and they should. In fact, it would not surprise me if in two years, the Sox actually consider excerising one of the club options at $20 million. Hell, assuming he is still producing, wouldn't you rather have him for one year at $20 million that__________ at 5 years $75 million. Fill in the blank with just about anyone.

    Andrew as far as your idea to blow it and start "rebuilding." I'm sure you are saying that tongue in cheek. Its just not possible in this market, as romantic as the idea is. If they really did do that, they would trade Manny, even Ortiz (who wouldn't want him at those prices). And would you really be happy shelling out $14,000 over the next two seasons for a pair of seats in 12/8 to watch a team go 81-81 and be out of it by September 1. I think not.

    I think you can compete like crazy and rebuild - when you have the young guys to work in. Pedroia, Hanley, Papelbon and Lester. You can move some guys that are just okay and/or don't fit in. Arroyo, Shoppach, maybe even a Nixon. Or trade Delcarmen? Lots of options. Resign Johnny? Maybe. Hanley to be prepped for an OF spot. Or 3B.

    All the while, you plug some of the bullpen holes. Add a bat by trading one of the above mentioned parts.

    The hardest piece to fill will be the true number 1 started. But it should be fun to watcht his winter. I'm sure at some point we will be scratching our heads at some move made by Theo and saying "wow I didn't see that coming."

  4. Earl, I certainly don't mean sell them all off. Manny, possibly, if it fills holes and nets us value. But basically what I mean is, spare no feelings, and don't necessarily go for a winner this year; go for a team that can compete for years. If it competes next year too, fantastic. But I'm expecting a third place team in 2006, and I'll be happy to watch it if it's because there are kids being worked in. FWIW, I think this is actually within Theo's plans, and that the AL East will be close enough next year between three clubs to make things interesting at 92 or so wins.

  5. I think what you are saying is don't go all Dan Duquette on us an mortgage the future for only a mild chance of improvement.

    I think the Sox can entirely have another 95 win season and, frankly, they can make an impact move without completely mortgaging the future.

    The key to this team is its enormous revenue base which will allow it to have some depth that other teams can simply not afford. Like keeping Alex Cora next year in case Pedroia is not ready. Plus signing a couple of really good bullpen arms. And having 6 or more startes in the spring - a lot of teams would not have (wanted to) afforded a $2 Million gamble on a Wade Miller.

    And if that big deal comes along, they can move some of the kids - Shoppach, Arroyo (another version of Casey Fossum if you ask me maybe slightly better), Little Manny, Little Ramirez. Don't move all of them Trust your scouting and development people. Keep the right ones and use the rest to get guys like Overbay.

    And Andrew I know how you feel about wanting to do it on a slightly smaller budget (to avoid the comparisons to the MFY), but it is what it is.

    Unless there is a complete aberration, this team should't see third place for while. Of course aberrations happen all the time, but they already showed that they can withstand major injuries (that is half the equation) and the have-nots (TOR, BAL) just can't stay healthy and don't have the depth.

  6. There is a major part of this equation still not mentioned. Theo is not under contract. He wants to report directly to John Henry, and wants a lot of money. I think they'll give it to him, but they may balk at the direct report aspect.

    Anyway, we don't have to replace Manny with one guy. We can do it with two...Or, put another way, take half of Manny's salary and get a 25 home run guy who can field (Torii Hunter) and the other half for a few good relievers...That solves your CF problem, and fills in the pen. Or add another LF for 10MM and work the pen out in another way.

    You are bringing up guys like Pedroia, Papelbon, and Hansen for very little $$. Keep a Graf or Cora around to bring along Hanley and Pedroia and use the money you save there to get an Adam Dunn or Konerko to protect Ortiz.

    There are no number 1's on the market...There is going to have to be a trade. So, who is really tradeable? Anyone but Ortiz, really (or the young guys). Shoppach could probably be very good somewhere else. I don't think anyone would touch Renteria with that contract and last year's performance, and I have a feeling he won't make 30 errors next year. Arroyo is gone unless they can't convince Wells to return. The focus might be on a number 2 with Schilling having another off season to prep. I would expect him to be better next year, too. The definitely have some prospects and major league talent to get something done.