Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Top Ten List, Part 2

As promised last week, the Sox are such a soap opera, they deserve their own top ten list. Plus since things are coming together pretty quickly and some of my questions are getting answered, I better get this up soon.

- Continued in Comments


  1. So without further ado, ten things I am looking forward to seeing how they play out with the Sox.

    Foulke – since this has the potential to be a major flare up and will hopefully be the only negative outlook I have on this list, I will put this at number 10. Keith’s delicate psyche got a bit exposed last year. Ending up on the DL was the best thing that happened to him. If he comes back and is merely ineffective and ends up in a setup/mop up role, he is going to go ballistic. He has an option on 2007 (at around $8MM) and it automatically vests based on games finished. If the Sox don’t like what they see, my guess is they could subtly (or not so subtly) put pressure on Francona to make sure Foulke does not reach that goal. My guess here – Foulke gets traded at some point in 2006.

    Youk – will he finally get more playing time. Terry said on Red Sox now that he doesn’t see Youk as an everyday guy. Its too bad, but at least this year he should get 400+ ABs.

    Manny – after yet another winter of “should I stay of should I go.” My guess is htat all will be forgotten, he will have a monster year, at some point trade “requests” will come up again, he won’t get traded, and we will all be subject to the phrase “Manny being Manny” about 294,293 times.

    Lowell – not the Spinners, our new third baseman. Can he bounce back, even half way, to the player he was pre-2005? I hope so. And if he can, the lineup could be pretty damn potent (i.e., still lead the AL in runs). Even if he is not much improved, his numbers last year were similar to Millar and that didn’t really slow the Sox down.

    Beckett – All signs point to this being a HUGE pick up for the Sox. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Sox uniform. He’s already proven the big stage does not bother him, hell it inspired him in 2003.

    Schilling – can he bounce back. If so, it could be the pair of aces.

    SS – Well the dreams of Tejada are over. And I’m glad they did not overpay for Lugo. I’m not a big fan of Gonzalez. How is this for a tidbit. If the Sox do sign Gonzalez to play SS, then on opening day (or day two if Curt gets the first start), the Sox will have as many members of the 2003 marlins WS champs (Beckett, Lowell and AGone) than Sox starters from Game 1 of the 2004 WS (Manny, Ortiz and Nixon). Okay so I monkeyed with the numbers a bit since Mirabelli started in place of Tek.

    Wells – with P&C just 3+ weeks away, this one could get more and more interesting as time passes. In fact in one week it went from being borderline on my list to all the way up to number three. Of course, some of the other holes got filled. Which is exactly the point as well – with apparent Gonzalez and Crisp deals, the Sox don’t have that many holes left. I guess they will need to gauge Wells’ attitude pronto and then make a decision. GR and I both think a left handed 15 game winner with only a modest financial commitment should bring a club a lot in return, but they may have to settle for a mid-level prospect or two. At this point, best case scenario would be to get him to agree to come to camp (I know he’s under contract and they shouldn’t have to convince him, but don’t get me started) and then deal him when the inevitable injury bug bites some west coast team.

    Bullpen improvement – this appears to be the most improved area of the club. Of course we thought they were pretty well set up last year, but then it all fell apart. Embree, Mantei, Remlinger, John Halama, Foulke, Cla (no Y) Meredith, Blaine Neal, Chad Harville, hell even Schilling - all these guys totaled about 300 innings (20% of the season!!!) and none had an ERA lower than 5.69!! as Earl pointed out, at one point they had something like 30 straight games where they were scored on. Atrocious. So the FO has brought in some reinforcements – Mota (for now), Seanez, Taverez, Van Buren, not to mention the next entry….

    The Kids – we got a glimpse of Papelbon and last year. And we all liked what we saw. And not far away are Hansen, Delcarmen and maybe an appearance by Lester at some point this year.

    So that is it. Not as interesting a list as it would have been last week when I still had Theo, CF and lead off on the list. But Theo is back and the Crisp deal looks like it is going to happen. The only honorable mentions I have are getting new looks at Loretta and JT Snow and hoping that Francona stays healthy.

  2. I also will add (in the Wells area) that I still see a possible Wells for Baez deal in LA, especially if Mota goes to Cleveland. Of course, we reportedly get Riske in return, but who knows?

    I agree on Gonzalez. I don't see the need to sign him. Cora, Graf, Pedroia, and Loretta could do the SS job. Hell, we had Mike Lansing at SS a few years ago...

    I think Foulke will make an attempt to be great again this year. Whether or not he will be???? I think he has too much of an ego...

    Same for Schilling. He looks like he dropped a lot of weight in recent pictures. He apparently is hell-bent on returning to the old Schill. Hope he is not the OLD Schill, hobbling about.

  3. Speaking of weight - did you see the sots of Bonds from this weekend? I only got a quick glimpse, but he looked like he might have eaten Omar Vizquel in the offseason. He's huge.

  4. I see why you put Foulke at #10 (even if there are no numbers listed). But if #10 (Foulke) and #6 (Schilling) revert to 2004 numbers -- huge "if" I know -- the others practically won't matter.

  5. Clearly the two most important "ifs' were just pointed out by Earl. If Foulke becomes '04 Foulke, and Schill '04 Schill, well than, happy days are to come. We'll know really soon with Foulke, probably before the season starts. The signs will be there for the newly trimmed Schill, too.

  6. I would actually say even if one of either Foulke or Schilling return to their 2004 form (All Star quality), then we are in pretty good shape.

    I forgot the damn numbers. when I was typing in word, it would not let me reverse the order or at least I did not know how. And we can't edit comments so be it.

  7. So why do you like posting in comments? GR and I tend to write long, rambling screeds in the main body. Plus, like you say, that way it can be edited...

    But yeah, Schilling or Foulke would be very nice. Schilling AND Foulke -- wow. Sox were a ~105-win team in 2005 if the 2004 versions of each had shown up.

  8. "So why do you like posting in comments?"

    You answered the question for me -

    "GR and I tend to write long, rambling screeds in the main body."

    If you have too many long rambling ones they fill up the screen and if you want to go back and find old posts its a bit more work.

  9. I think that I speak for Earl when I say long rambling post rule!!!!

    And to answer something from an earlier X post...Yes, I am psyched for the Super Bowl...The Steelers looked primed. I am hoping that the Seahawks looked great only because they were playing other NFC teams (kind of like the Cards in 04 versus the Sox)...

    It would be great if (now that I have seen the Sox win), that the Steelers could free me from my football pain (it has been many years)...

    And...the Bruins are now only 4 points out of the playoffs...

  10. I prefer really short comments in other people's posts that use the word "poop". For example, "It would be poopy if Schill and Foulke don't return to '04 numbers or at least 90% of '04".