Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Best news I've gotten all week: Dante Bichette is on the 2007 Hall of Fame Ballot.
DANTE BICHETTE: 1st year on the ballot… Played 14 seasons… Led National League in hits, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and extra base hits in 1995; his .340 average was third in the NL… Finished second in the NL MVP voting that year, behind Barry Larkin… Named to The SportingThink anyone will vote for him? (If so, is that grounds for getting kicked out of the BBWAA?)
NewsSilver Slugger team in 1995…One season with 40-plus home runs, three seasons with 30-plus home runs and eight seasons with 20-plus home runs…Nine consecutive seasons of 30-plus doubles and five consecutive seasons of 100-plus RBI… Six seasons batting .300 or better, with a career average of .299… Named to four All-Star teams (1994-96, 1998)… One NL Division series (1995): batted .588 with 10 hits, including three doubles and a home run, in 17 LDS at-bats.
Update: as of now, 374 voters in ESPN's poll think he should get in. Hopefully most of them are smartasses like me. Man, I wish I had more time to keep voting until he gets the required 75%.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
This month’s entry. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis.
A football story that simultaneously focuses on two somewhat related stories. It is the story of Michael Oher a 6-5 350 pound African American form the inner city, with absolutely no family, no education, nothing. He gets “adopted” by a wealthy family who send him to an exclusive Christian school in Memphis and transform him into an elite athlete, passable student and caring human. The somewhat related story is the evolution of the Left Tackle position on football and its importance in the game (protecting the QBs “blind side.”)
Of course the publisher is going to sell this up as doing for Football what Moneyball did for Baseball. It won’t. But it is a good read. And Lewis is back to his much more entertaining style of writing that he seemed to have lost in his last book. Funny thing about Blind Side is that he stumbled on Oher when he was writing Coach – the adoptive parent was one of Lewis’ friends from High School that he contacted to write the story of their coach.
Plus, I always have thought it was pretty cool that he is married to Tabitha Soren from MTV fame. Overall a pretty good book.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I'm guessing Joe was not a math major at Rutgers. Joe must have been saying that every closer has better stuff than him. Either that, or he watched Todd Jones this season, he realizes that Armando Benitez still sucks or perhaps he was watching the Tribe during the week they tried the Fausto Carmino experiment, which means he really should have said "I think of the 30 closers in the league, 96.5 percent of them have better stuff than I do." But that probably does not make as good of copy.
Friday, November 17, 2006
1. Type C free agents eliminated in 2006This really might change the dynamics of free agency. I like the idea of compensation picks; I have no data to back this up but I think it's a much more effective way to achieve parity than revenue sharing or the luxury tax. These changes certainly benefits teams who love free agents (Yankees), but they seem to be pretty devastating for teams which rely on young players with relatively small salaries (A's). For the Sox it seems to be a pretty mixed bag - on one hand, they certainly rely on free agents...but on the other hand, as X has pointed out more than once, compensation picks seem to be a pretty important part of the FO's plan for building a strong farm system. Not sure I like this change...
2. Also in 2006, compensation for type B players becomes indirect (sandwich pick) as opposed to direct compensation from signing Club.
3. Effective 2007, Type A players limited to top 20 percent of each position (down from 30 percent) and Type B players become 21 percent - 40 percent at each position (rather than 31 percent - 50 percent).
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Two funny things on ESPN.com today:
1. this poll. Question 7 is a tough one. If the Red Sox are able to sign Matsuzaka, how will they fare in 2007?
Reach world series
AL East Champion
Hmmm. I'm having trouble deciding between the first two.
2. ESPN.com had a little link to a page where they proudly noted that their panel of Experts correctly predicted Webb would win Cy Young. Funny how we didn't see that for their post season picks.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I know the instinct might be to take the more sure thing. But if the goal is to win a WS, I think I might choose Drew. Sure one or two years he may leave us frustrated as hell, but if he puts it together in a few of those years, you have to like that 3-4-5.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
"It also has been widely speculated that Foulke has been unhappy playing in Boston over the last two seasons."
really? Speculated? I guess that is Tony covering his butt or something. I would say it would have been safe to say that Foulke hated playing in Boston, openly feuded with the media, and very frequently had contempt for the fans and the attention the team received. And I don't think anyone would have denied it. But tony apparently took a safer route.
Friday, November 10, 2006
That plus say,4 years/$40 MM bring the total to a whopping $80 million for 4 years. I bet Zito is licking his chops. Of course nothing is guaranteed until it is signed sealed delivered... Lets just hope he is more Nomo than Irabu.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
In my opinion, it can't. For a team looking to get better, I can see holding on to Wakefield, but Timlin? The guy was solid in years past, but his injury last year really took something out of him. Maybe he'll get it back, but more than likely he is headed the way of Embree. Bad signing.
Cora is a great backup infielder, no doubt about that. He shows patience at the plate, and can play both SS and 2B. However, how many light hitting (read :no power), middle infielders do the Sox need? Perhaps he is insurance for Pedroia. However, the Sox are looking to re-sign Gonzalez, and they are still speaking with Loretta. With Youk staying at first, this is an infield with no power (and this includes Lowell at third).
But what are the alternatives? The Sox seem to really like Youkilis at first. The guy is a gamer, no doubt. But the Sox need another huge bat on the infield. They are looking at a Japanese player with some power as a possible upgrade over Lowell. But take a look at Matsui. I'd love to have him in the Sox outfield, but the guy is not a "power" hitter. If they re-sign Gonzalez, have Pedroia play second, Youk and first and Lowell at third, how many homers do you see out of those guys combined? 55? 60? Let's not even speak of the combined averages of Gonzalez and Pedroia.
Varitek had a down year offensively, and looking at how far behind on fastballs his swing was, I can't see him getting much better this year. They have a very young backup (acquired in the trade for Wells), but how much time is he going to see? How much power from Tek and the new guy? 15-20 Hrs?
Now to the outfield. Manny will be back. Coco in CF. And there is a right-field position open. It is obvious that the Sox need not only someone with a good arm out there, but also a lot of power. This is, of course, the reason the Yankees exercised Sheffield's option. Not sure who else is available that could fit this bill, but this has to be a position on which the Sox focus.
Wow, that bottom of the order is not good. A solid hitting middle-infielder could do wonders down there. Also, and I know that his fielding is questionable, but wouldn't Soriano in the 2-spot or 5-spot make you feel much better about this lineup?
So, seeing that there are many, many holes to fill on this team, what is the one move that could really make them a contender? The answer there is a top starting pitcher. This means a legit #1. And you give up a lot to get it. If you get a horse that throws 7-innings of nearly lights-out ball 4 out of 5 starts, then go to Schilling, then Beckett, and have Papelbon and Wakefield at the back-end of your rotation, you can get away with a weaker pen. Delcarmen, Hansen, Tavarez, and Timlin don't look too bad at that point, and the weaker hitting infielders aren't so glaring.
So, what's the point of all this? Well, as the Sox sit right now, don't hold your breath for next year. There are a ton of questions, and not many available "exciting" players to fill them.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
But now, we are seeing a number of references to these two signings in the context of this year’s FA class. As in, getting these two guys at these prices was the result of foresight into the 2007 FA class (i.e., Riccardi knew this year was thin, so he made his moves last offseason. Please, stop. Giving 5 guaranteed years to a starter with a history of injury (only one season with no time missed due to injury) is not genius. It’s a gamble. And one Riccardi knew he had to take. And while Ryan may have been a better signing, he had only been a closer for one year. And we all know how closers can lose their effectiveness as quickly as the gain it. In fact, take a list of all teams and take a guess how many have had the same closer the last three years *(defined as one pitcher getting 90% of their saves in that period) and I’ll show you a list with only the Yankees, Minnesota and the Padres. That is it. Three teams.
So when the media start going nuts about Jeff Suppan getting 3 or 4 years or Soraino and Lee getting close to $100 Million, is it really surprising? Or even that new?
This is pretty good also.
"I don't know what we could've done differently," second-baseman Ronnie Belliard said. "We gave the Tigers every opportunity to win ballgames, but when their pitchers keep making errors on simple ground balls, what are we supposed to do, pretend we forgot the rules and start running to third base?"
Desperate for a Tigers win in Game 2, the Cardinals chose to overlook the fact that starter Kenny Rogers was pitching with the aid of a foreign substance on his left hand.
"Of course we all knew it was pine tar, but it seemed like they were finally finding their rhythm… We certainly didn't want to shake their confidence, so we decided to just let it go," La Russa said. "Frankly, if the umpires didn't bring it up, we probably would've let him pitch with it the whole game."
Monday, November 06, 2006
- Was the Sox front office really that interested in him?
- Why didn't the Yanks just pick up his option in May? By forcing him to wait all this time, allowing for the return of the old Sheffield we've all come to know and loathe, didn't they seriously reduce his trade value?
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Dino, October 2: "Which Detroit team will show up?"
X, October 2: "The Tigers."
New York Times, November 1: "An entry in the News Summary on Saturday misstated the name of the team that the St. Louis Cardinals defeated to win the World Series. It was the Detroit Tigers, not the Detroit Lions."