Thursday, December 30, 2004

Yanks get Johnson

The Yankees have reportedly finally agreed on a trade with the Diamondbacks that will send the Big Unit to NY. I am not too suprised by this, as I had a feeling it was only a matter of time before Randy Johnson put on the hated pinstripes. This trade only makes the rivarly between the Sox and Yanks that much greater. I cannot imagine if Curt was healthy enough to pitch opening day in NY against his former teammate. If that happened, that game might even get more headlines than the Shaq vs. Kobe game we had on Christmas.

Yanks rotation is now Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, Wright, and Brown.

Sox rotation is Schilling, Clement, Wells, Miller, and Arroyo.

Our rotation is going to depend a lot on how healthy our starters are. Schilling is expected to miss the first month of the season. Miller is said to be ready by opening day, but that could change. Wells, even though he has started 30 games 4 of the past 5 seasons has had back problems. Health is a major concern in Red Sox Nation, but if the Sox are healthy, I expect them to make the playoffs again in 05 whether it is by the division (which would be awesome) or the wild card. The Sox, Marlins, and Angels the past 3 years have proven that it doesn't matter how you get to the playoffs, as long as you get there.

All that being said, blogging has been light for me over my winter break, and will be until I get back to school on the 24th. Have a safe and Happy New Year.


Matt


Check out this Yankees article on ESPN. Very funny stuff.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Theo Epstein was named "Bostonian of the Year" by the Globe

Theo Epstein is an awesome GM and deserves all the credit and awards he gets. Being the humble guy that he is, he always points to the players saying that they deserve the credit, because they are the ones actually playing the games. What Theo never wants to take credit for, is that he is the one who assembled the team together and therefore Red Sox fans should thank him for his efforts. Theo was named "Bostonian of the Year" by the Boston Globe today, and there is an excellent article on him in the Globe that I recommend to everybody, no matter which team you follow.

Congratulations Theo, and keep up the good work!!!


Matt

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Tek Signs with the Sox!!

"It's not often you find a player who embodies everything you want your franchise to be," said Epstein. "When you're lucky enough to have that player, you don't let him get away and you lock him up as long as you can and you make him the rock of your franchise."

That quote was taken from Nick Cafardo's article in the Boston Globe on the Jason Varitek signing. Varitek signed a four year deal worth 40 million dollars yesterday which will keep him in the red and white uniform through 2008. All Red Sox fans have to be extremely excited that Tek is finally signed and under contract with the Boston Red Sox.

The Sox had to deal with Scott Boras while negotiating Varitek's contract. Boras is known for asking for the sky when in negotiations. Boras is the agent who negotiated Alex Rodriguez's 10 year 252 million dollar salary. He is also the agent for Carlos Beltran, who is probably going to make the most money out of any FA available this off-season. Boras initially came out and said a few weeks ago, that he and Jason wanted a five year deal worth 55 million with a no trade clause. Many Red Sox fans balked at the idea of giving Varitek that many years, and that amount of money to Varitek. While Varitek eventually signed for less than that, it is obvious how Boras gets what he wants: start with a high figure and then work from there.

The Red Sox also named Jason Varitek the captain of the team at the press conference yesterday. Varitek is the first Red Sox captain since Jim Rice in 1989, and he is just the third captain since 1923. Varitek deserved the "C" on his uniform and I am glad he got it. Varitek embodies the perseverance, loyalty, toughness, and hard working mentality that everybody within the Red Sox organization share.

Saying all that, I think that the Sox gave in to Boras and his demands way too much. The Red Sox were bidding against themselves with Varitek, as no other team was pursuing him. I do not think any other club would have given Jason more than 3 years at 8 million per year, yet alone a 4 year deal worth 40 million dollars. It is not my money, so I am not too worried about it, but I strongly feel that by 2007 and 08 the Sox will be regretting paying 10 million a year to a catcher who will be 36 and 37 in those seasons.

Many Red Sox players were also excited about the news of Varitek's signing. Curt Schilling had his two cents to say on the subject.

"Christmas came early. I am so friggin' ecstatic about this and so happy for him. Proud that he earned the right to become a free agent and even prouder that he chose to stay where he was needed most. I felt all along that no matter what happened this winter losing 'Tek would cost us more than any player they brought in could make up. He and Doug are as good a tandem as I've ever been around. I'd heard about 'Tek in bits and pieces before coming here but I've never seen anyone put more time and effort into his job both physically and mentally than this guy. I kept getting very put off by the stat heads who argued that this is the age when he will start declining, they have no idea of his makeup, and 'Tek is pretty much worlds apart from other 32 year old catchers I have seen and played with. His value goes so far beyond his offensive numbers that he's worth whatever the number they ended up at IMO. I'm happy for him and for the club, this IMO, goes a long way in putting us on track to try and defend our world championship title."

Matt Clement also mentioned that Boston was an attractive place for him to come play for the next three years, because of the catcher situation in Boston.

"A huge thing for me was the catching situation, and hopefully that's the same as it's been for a while here. It's something that as a pitcher, when I watch games, I watch how the catcher performs and think to myself, "man, I'd love to throw to this guy" and I remember saying that many times about Varitek, both him and Mirabelli last year and that's something that I'm very excited about."

Overall, I am thrilled that Jason will be a Red Sox for the next four years. He is everything that a team wants in a catcher, and he is the backbone of the team. With that being said, I think the Red Sox did overpay for him, and gave him too much money and too many years. I guess when you are filthy rich, as John Henry is, a few million isn't going to make that much of a difference.


Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this blog!!

Matt

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Wade Miller Signs with the Sox

The Red Sox signed Wade Miller to a one year contract worth 1.5 million, in which he can earn up to 4.5 million in incentives. Miller was non-tendered by the Astros, which made him a free agent and allowed him to sign with any team. This is the same exact way the Red Sox signed David Ortiz in the winter of 2002. Ortiz was non-tendered by the Twins, and the Red Sox signed him to a one year 1.25 million deal. If that signing isn't the perfect example of getting, "the most bang for your buck" I don't know what is. In 2003, Ortiz hit .288, had 31 homers, and drove in 101 runs, all for the cost of 1.25 million. Red Sox fans can only hope Miller turns out to be half as good as that Ortiz deal was.

There were at least 8 clubs that were talking to Miller when he became a free agent. Bob Garber who is Miller's agent said in an espn article,
"The Red Sox were right on it from the beginning," Garber said. "They flew him to town and made him feel welcome. That's what Theo Epstein does. He makes players feel wanted, and they want to come here."

Theo was not the only person of the Red Sox organization who thought the deal was a good signing. Curt Schillng posted on SOSH his opinions of signing Miller before the Sox signed him,

"Wade Miller would be a good sign IMO. In addition to being a serious competitor he knows how to pitch. Given the dynamics of the staff that handles players here this would be a very different situation for him to be in. Alot less pressure and alot more attention. Look at what the training staff did for Pedro this past season. They got him to the post, along with his hard work for every start. I love the thought of this guy coming here and being able to come back as he can. He can pitch and he can win. Put him in front of this offense and it could be a steal. Bringing guys this good here in this kind of situation seems to me to be a win win given that he'll most likely sign a deal that's incentive laden. I think it's a great move. Considering the staff that's being assembled in NY this year is gonna be another huge challenge and pitching once again IMO will carry the day when it all comes down to it."

The only problem with Miller is that he was hurt last year and only started 15 games. He suffered a frayed rotator cuff in June, and he did not return after that. If Miller is healthy by opening day, and pitches they way he has in the past, this signing will be an absolute steal. There is a risk in signing a guy like Miller, because you never know how he is going to come back after his injury. The worst thing that can happen for the Sox, is that Miller comes back and cannot pitch they way he used to. The great thing about that is it only cost the Sox 1.5 million dollars if that happens. The reward is that he returns to his 2002 form when he went 15-4 with a 3.28 ERA. Red Sox fans around the world are hoping that Miller can repeat that 2002 performance. I'm very excited that the Sox signed Miller and I think he will be a great addition to the Red Sox staff.

Matt

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Thank You Pedro Martinez

This past week Pedro Martinez signed a four year deal with the Mets for over 50 million dollars. Martinez took some parting shots at management, Terry Francona and Curt Schilling in the days after he left. The last week on WEEI it seems like they seem content to question why Pedro said these certain things before he left. Some people say they will not root for Martinez when he pitches for the Mets because of some of the things he said before he left. I am going to root for Martinez over the next four years, because even though he took some parting shots, he was arguably the best pitcher the Sox ever had. So thank you Pedro Martinez for all of the following achievements that you had with the Boston Red Sox.

Thank you Pedro for going 117-37 in a Red Sox uniform.

Thank you Pedro for striking out 17 Yankee batters on Sept. 10 1999 and allowing only one hit. That game is shown on ESPN Classic every Sept. 10 and I always look forward to seeing you dominate.

Thank you Pedro for outdueling Clemens on May 28, 2000. What an excellent game.

Thank you for drilling Gary Sheffield this year. If somebody steps out of the batters box on you, drill them.

Thank you Pedro for having the best season ever by a pitcher in the history of MLB in 1999. The ERA+ of 285 for that season is better than anybody has ever had since 1880.

Thank you Pedro for your guts and heart to come out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS game against Cleveland. That game was amazing. Your fastball was not there, but you pitched with brilliance and did not allow a hit for the six relief innings. You made that one of the best games I have ever seen, and for that I thank you.

Thank you Pedro for your last game in a Red Sox uniform against the Cardinals. You dominated them, retiring 14 of the last 15 batters you faced. You truly were a joy to watch.

Thank you Pedro for beaming Kareem Garcia last year in game 3 of the ALCS. Part of a pitcher's duty on the mound is to intimidate, and you definitely accomplished that. Thank you for your awesome quote on ESPN, "Who is Kareem Garcia?" Absolutely Priceless!!

Thank you Pedro for giving the Sox fans something to look forward to every 5th day. Even non-baseball fans felt compelled to watch you pitch. You were an artist on the mound, and I feel honored to have been able to watch you the past 7 years.

Thank you for the 1999 All Star Game. Striking out 5 of the first 6 batters was amazing. To do that in Fenway was awesome. Even though you had to go on the DL after the All Star Game, it was worth it for that performance.

Thank you for the feeling, the atmosphere, the level of excitement on every day that you pitched at Fenway. Seeing Curt Schilling pitch at Fenway is awesome, but you truly created an atmosphere that was beyond what any other pitcher has ever brought to Fenway.

Thank you Pedro for making me feel proud to wear a #45 Red Sox shirt. No player should ever wear #45 ever again in honor of you.

Thank you Pedro for your fun and always entertaining personality.

There are many other things that Pedro has done over the past 7 years that I am thankful for, but unfortunately if I were to list all of them this post would be ten pages long. Pedro was the best pitcher in baseball from 1999-2003 hands down. He was simply amazing!! I am sad to see him go, but I chose to remember him for the pitcher he was, instead of the things he said while he was leaving. I encourage you to do the same thing!

Thank you Pedro Martinez!!!!


Matt
















Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sox trade Roberts and get Payton and others in return

All Red Sox fans will always remember where they were the second Dave Roberts stole second base in game 4 of the ALCS. For Red Sox fans, it is one of those moments that led to a life changing event when the Sox won the World Series. People will be telling there kids 30 years from now the story of Dave Roberts, and how he jump-started the greatest comeback in ALCS history. October 17th is one night among many, that I will never forget because of my beloved Red Sox and that stolen base.

I am not going to recount Game 4, because most of you watched it live, or have heard it about it since. If you are a person who lives a caveman like life and have never heard the story of Dave Roberts and his 9th inning stolen base, you can read it here. As great is that stolen base was, Dave Roberts was not going to fit into the 2005 Red Sox plans. He had told the front office that he wanted to start, and Theo Epstein agreed that he would not be able to give him more playing time than a 4th outfielder. Theo just traded Roberts yesterday to the Padres for Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez, and minor league right hander David Pauley.

At first hearing this news, I was horrified. Not because the Sox had traded Dave Roberts, which I knew was inevitable, but because we had taken Jay Payton back in return. I do not have anything against Jay Payton, but I do have something against his contract for 2005 of 3.5 million. After about a half hour, I found an article that said the Sox would be getting 2.65 million from the Padres in the deal. This completely changed the nature of the deal. I went from horrified to being satisfied. I went from wondering what in the world Theo was doing, to praising this move. Let me tell you why.

Last year, Gabe Kapler was our 4th outfielder and he did a great job in that role and made $750,000. I was hoping for another type of player like Kapler who could come and fill in and platoon with Trot Nixon against lefties. Payton over the past three years has hit .275/.346/.461 (average, OBP, and SLG.) against lefties. Trot Nixon over the same three years has hit .220/.293/.348 against lefties. Payton will fill the role perfectly that Kapler had last year. My only concern about Payton is that over the course of his career he has predominantly played center field, and left field, and hardly any right field. Adjusting to Fenway's right field will be an experience, and expect a few errors by Payton in the early going as part of the learning process of playing right field in Fenway Park.

So, since the Padres picked gave the Sox 2.65 million in the trade, Payton only winds up costing the Sox $850,000, which is $100,000 more than Kapler cost last year. Considering Kapler went to play in Japan and go 2 million dollars a year to play there this was obviously a better road for the Sox to take.

The Sox also received Ramon Vazquez in the deal. Ramon Vazquez is entering his fifth year in MLB, and he has mostly been a backup all his career. He has spent time playing third, shortstop, and second base every year he has been in the majors. He might not be Pokey Reese, but he is a capable backup that can give Edgar Renteria or Mark Bellhorn a chance to rest every so often. David Pauley was also acquired in the deal with the Padres. Pauley is a pitcher who has never spent time above single A. Briefly looking at his single A stats, he looks like a guy who is having some control problems, as he is allowing 3.5 walks per 9 innings. The good thing is that Pauley is only 21, so he still has some time to fix his control problems.

This was a great trade by the Sox. It's not a trade where every Sox fan is going to be jumping up and down in December. It is a trade that will be looked on favorably during the season, when Jay Payton is hitting well against the lefties, and Trot Nixon is performing as usual and mashing righties. When you add in that a capable backup and a minor league pitcher were included in the deal, there is nothing more than you can see but thank you Dave Roberts and great trade Theo.

Matt

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Delgado would look awesome in a Sox uniform

There is a rumor about Carlos Delgado possibly coming to the Sox. Would that be a dream come true or what? Close your eyes, and imagine the 3,4, and 5 hitters of our lineup. Ortiz. Ramirez. Delgado. A middle of the lineup does not get much nastier than that. St. Louis has a great middle of the lineup, but I would take Ortiz, Ramirez, and Delgado over Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds. There is only one bad thing about this rumor: it has a very small chance of actually happening.

First of all, the Sox already have two first basemen in Kevin Millar and Doug Mientkiewicz. Kevin Millar has already come out and said that he told Theo that he does not want to split time with Mientkiewicz. So we know that Theo is at least going to trade of these guys. The question is can and will he trade both of these guys and make a strong push at Delgado? Millar and Mientkiewicz combine to make over 7 million in 2005. Delgado figures to get about 12 to 13 mil, which is exactly what Richie Sexson got from the Mariners. Delgado is 32, while Sexson is 29, so Delgado might wind up with a 3 year deal instead of the 4 year deal that Sexson got. Unless of course a bidding war starts, similar to the Pedro situation in which 3 years is what everybody thought he would get until the Mets came in and topped everyone's offer.

According to the Post article the Mets have already offered him a contract,
"
The Mets have already offered a three-year contract to Delgado that is believed to be in the $10-12 million per year range. Delgado's agent, David Sloane, told The Post he plans to be in contact with the Mets again "soon" but reserved all other comment."

As for the Sox, they first have to get rid of the two players they have holding down that position right now. The Post says they may already have a suitor for
Mientkiewicz,
"
Boston is the wild card team for Delgado. The Mets don't feel they can get Delgado wrapped up by Christmas because the Red Sox are clearing their deck for a run at the former Toronto slugger, a source said. Boston was mulling trades of first basemen Kevin Millar (to parts unknown) and Doug Mientkiewicz (to Baltimore)."

If the Sox can get rid of Millar and
Mientkiewicz, then the dream of seeing Delgado come to Boston would almost be complete. I mean, seriously what Red Sox fan wouldn't want a player who has averaged .283, 36 homers, and a .559 slugging percentage the past three years? I get excited just thinking about the possibility of him swinging at Fenway. For all the records the 2003 team set in offense, with the addition of a player like Delgado they might just rebreak all those records again. Here is what the proposed lineup would look like:

1. Johnny Damon
2. Mark Bellhorn
3. David Ortiz
4. Manny Ramirez
5. Carlos Delgado
6. Edgar Renteria
7. Trot Nixon
8. Bill Mueller
9. Doug Mirabelli or Jason Varitek (maybe)

If that lineup doesn't put fear into opposing pitchers I do not know what will. Although fans are allowed dream during the off-season (and I certainly due) I do not see this deal getting done. I just do not think Theo will be able to get rid of Millar and
Mientkiewicz. If he can get some teams to take those two players who will cost the Sox a combined 7 mil in 2005, Delgado would only be about 5 million more per season. For the production Delgado brings I would think it would be a no brainer. Unfortunately, proposing trades on a blog are not as easy as making them in real life. Theo has done things though that nobody saw coming. We got Curt Schilling last year and basically all we gave up was Casey Fossum and a few minor leagurers. If I have learned anything as a Sox fan, its never to doubt Theo and the things that he can do in terms of trades.


Matt

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sox sign Clement!!!

The Red Sox signed Matt Clement to a 3 year deal yesterday worth 25 million dollars. It was a great surprise for me last night to learn that the Sox had signed him. I thought he was going to sign with Anaheim. Clement never did visit Boston, as Theo just spoke with Clement's agent over the phone and at the winter meetings. Many people seem to think that Clement was a second tier pitcher that was available this offseason. I think Clement is better than everybody thinks, and to see if my opinion is right, I am going to compare Clement to some other free agent starters that have signed this offseason.

We all know that Pedro Martinez was obviously the best starter available this offeason. No starting pitcher is going to get near the 13 million dollars a year deal that he got from the Mets. Pedro was the only ace that was really available this offseason, as most of the other starting pitchers that were available this offseason are typically a #2 or #3 pitcher. Of the starting pitchers that have signed so far, I think that Clement, as well as Carl Pavano, Brad Radke, Jaret Wright, and Jon Lieber can all be classified as potential #2 pitchers in a rotation. These numbers are the last four years averaged together. Carl Pavano would have had the best ERA if I was just to look at last year, but I think, as do most statistians such as Dan Szymborsk that you must average at least the past 3 years, if not the past 4 to prevent from a fluke from showing up. I chose to average the last four years.

Pavano
ERA K/9 BB/9
4.70 5.91 2.49


Radke
ERA K/9 BB/9
4.16 5.29 1.21

Clement
ERA K/9 BB/9
4.11 8.41 3.90

Looking at these numbers from the past four years a few things stand out. Matt Clement has the lowest ERA of the 3 pitchers. Why if he had the lowest ERA did he draw so little attention? Matt never got any run support last year which resulted in a 9-13 record, and he walks a ton of batters. As can been seen from his BB/9 rate, that is something that Dave Wallace is going to have to work with him on. Hopefully, Clement will be able to make up for it with his strikeouts. He averaged 9.45 strikeouts per 9 innings last year, and over the past 4 years he has averaged 8.41 strikeouts per 9 innings. If Clement can keep his walk rate down, and continue to have the same strikeout rate, the Red Sox will be thrilled.

Brad Radke is a perfect example of control. His walk rate per 9 innings is unbelievably low. If I were a GM, and had to sign one of these 3 starters the first one I would go after is Radke. The Red Sox almost had Radke signed to a 3 year deal, until the Twins came and stole him away. The reason for this is that he is already familiar with the AL, and those numbers that he has put up the past 4 years are from the AL. I expect Clement's and Pavano's ERA to jump from last year to this year. The reason for the ERA jump is the pitcher is no longer getting a free out once every three innings when the pitcher comes up. The DH in the AL makes a huge difference. Clement's ERA was 3.68 last year, while Pavano's was 3.00. Doing an extremely rough estimate, I would expect Clement and Pavano's ERA to jump anywhere between .30-.50 if they have the same kind of year they did last year. It is natural for a pitchers ERA to jump coming into the AL and for a pitchers ERA to lower going into the NL. Curt Schilling, Javier Vazquez, and Kevin Brown's ERA was higher in 2004 than in 2003 and I think a big part of the reason for the jump was the switch the AL and having to face the DH. A few more numbers and some food for thought.

Pavano
BAA WHIP OPS
.284 1.41 .751

Radke
BAA WHIP OPS
.275 1.20 .732

Clement
BAA WHIP OPS
.235 1.31 .696

Hitters have trouble batting against Clement as can been seen by the .235 batting average they hit against him. His OPS(on-base% + slug) is also the lowest of any of the pitchers. Radke's WHIP is the lowest and that can be expected since walks are included in the formula, and he has the least amount of walks of any of these pitchers.

Based on all this information, I would have gone after Radke, then Clement and then Pavano. The Sox almost had Radke, then they stopped pursuing Pavano last Saturday at the winter meetings when they thought that Pedro was going to sign. Pavano signs with the Yanks and the Sox quickly turned to Clement to try and fill the hole left by Pedro. The reason why I would have first pursued Radke as the Sox did is because he is the model of consistency. Year in, year out he gives his team the same exact performance. 30+ starts, ERA around 4.00, and 200+ innings. I am dumbfounded as to why everybody was so high on Pavano. Don't get me wrong, he had an awesome year last year, but that is the first year that he has every had like that. Anybody can have a great year in their last year before free agency. Just take a look around the players who become free agents this year and the type of year they had before it. Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Carlos Beltran along with Pavano had their best year by far this year. It is hard to tell if that last year was a fluke, or if the team signing these players can expect this type of performance for the next few years. The Yankees are banking on Pavano's last year being a breakout performance by him. The Sox almost fell into signing Clement and in my opinion got the more consistent and stable pitcher of the two, and they are paying him 2 million less a season and are only committed to 3 years, instead of the four that they Yankees committed to Pavano.


Matt

















Thursday, December 16, 2004

Beltre signs with Mariners, Braves get Hudson and Clement rumors

Wow. What an awesome day in Major League Baseball. The hot shove is real hot right now, with rumors and signings happening very fast.

Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson have both signed with the Mariners. I think the Beltre deal is a good one, but I am much more skeptical about giving 50 million over 4 years to Sexson. Somewhere, Carlos Delgado is smiling.

Tim Hudson has just been dealt to the Braves for RHP Juan Cruz, LHP Dan Meyer and OF Charles Thomas. I like this deal for both teams. The Braves get a stud starter to put alongside Smoltz in the rotation. The A's meanwhile get two players with Major League experience and have a prospect on the cusp of being called up. The A's are deep with pitching with Rich Harden, and Joe Blanton (from the Moneyball draft). A quote from the ESPN article,

"One of our goals going into the offseason was to strengthen our pitching staff," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. "We have certainly made a major improvement."

Hudson joins a team that has won 13 straight division titles.

The 29-year-old Hudson posted 81 wins from 2000-04, tied for the most in the AL over that span. He is 92-39 with a 3.30 ERA lifetime."


Matt Clement is a guy who I would love have pitching on the Red Sox. A rotation of Schilling, Clement, Wells, Arroyo, and Wakefield would be great. There are up to 7 teams pursuing Clement according this article on angels.com. Rumors from the Sox side of things can be found at this article by Ian Browne on redsox.com, Jeff Horrigan at the Boston Herald, and Gordon Edes of the Globe. A quote from Edes' article,

"They have an offer on the table for Matt Clement, who is expected to choose from among seven teams in the next 24 hours."

Let's hope that within the next 24 hours, Clement decides to come here. If he does, I would be extremely happy, and for my second Christmas in a row, Theo would be buying me a present. Last year Theo bought me and Red Sox Nation this present.


THANKS THEO!!!


matt





Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Great Links to Articles

Thanks to all those who have commented on my past articles. Hope you are enjoying reading them, as much as I am writing them.

Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do the next few days, so I don't have an article of my own for you. I do have 4 great articles that you should read!!


Peter Gammons - has a great article on the Pedro signing. A must read

Bill Simmons A MUST READ ARTICLE for any sox fan. I have bookmarked this article and will read it again and again. A quote from the article, " The Red Sox won the World Series. Seven words that changed my life. Yes, I'm handling it fine."

Tom Verducci a great article. wrap up from the winter meetings with winners and losers. sox were winners, and yanks were losers. an interesting tidbit from the article,

"Matt Mantei
The reliever called the Cubs and offered to pitch for them for the minimum salary, $312,000. The Cubs inexplicably had to think about it. In the meantime, the Red Sox invited him to Boston, flew him in first class, decorated his hotel room with world championship Red Sox pennants and balloons and a bucket of locally brewed beer on ice. They also flew in manager Terry Francona to meet him. Mantei immediately signed for $750,000."

Finally and surely not least the Sox have signed Edgar Renteria to a 4 year 40 million dollar contract with a team option for a 5th year. Welcome aboard Edgar!!!

I am hoping to have a Edgar vs. OC article up sometime this weekend. It will be a very much stats oriented article. Look for that by the end of the weekend if not sooner. I'll try to be back tomorrow with a link oriented article like this.




enjoy the articles!!!!!!

matt

The New Walter

Tommy Heinson has always had a favorite player on the Celtics. Since joining the Celtics in the 97-98 season Tommy's favorite has been Walter McCarty. Walter is not that talented of a player at all. He basically can only shoot 3's and he has no rebounding or defensive skills even though he is 6-10. He was acquired by the Celtics in 97 because Rick Pitino was the coach and we all know how he loves to have former Kentucky Wildcats on the team. Along with McCarty, Antoine Walker, and Ron Mercer were also on the team. Those 3 players played for Pitino at Kentucky, and Pitino also wanted them to play for him in the pros, and drafted Mercer and got McCarty from the Knicks to make it possible.

Well, Tommy has a new favorite. It's been a nice long run for Walta. Even though he was played sparingly, he always seems to make clutch shots, and Tommy has sure made it known to Celtics fans that he loves him. His familiar line of, "I LOVE WALTA" became commonplace as soon as Walta hit a clutch shot or hustled for a ball. The difference between Walta, and his successor is that Tommy's new favorite actually has potential and will be a good pro for a long time. He has more athletic ability, and he has made his presence known on this past west coast trip. His name is Tony Allen.

Tony Allen is a rookie out of Oklahoma State. At OSU, he played under Eddie Sutton, the famous coach who preaches defense and has over 700 wins. Tony is athletic, fast, and strong. He can jump, shot, and DUNK. Right now I would compare him to a former OSU alum who is playing for the Bucks. Tony reminds me a lot of Desmond in that they have the same qualities, and are the same type of player. Desmond Mason averaged 12 points in his second year in the NBA, and the last three years he has averaged 14 points, and this year he is averaging over 18 points. I feel that Tony is on a similar track to success in his career.

As fun as it is to watch Tony play right now, he stills has a few things he needs to work on. His jump shot definitely needs to improve, as he is only shooting 41 percent from the floor. He also cannot shoot 3's which is essential if you are going to be playing the position he is. I am confident that over the course of the season, we will see improvements in both of these areas. When Tony plays right now, he is all hustle. He along with this guy have made the second unit of the C's exciting and fun to watch. It is almost as if I cannot wait until the second quarter of Celtics games, in order to see these two players take the floor. They play the game with such energy and life, that some older more experienced players do not show. Tony is a slasher, and when he comes in, he just changes the game by the way the plays defense and rebounds. He is truly a joy to watch.

If these are not enough reason to tune into the Celtics, then you have to watch the games to hear Tommy Heinson announce. Yes, he is biased towards the Celtics, complains about the refs every game, and thinks on every drive that Pierce got fouled. But these all just part of the reasons that we as fans love Tommy. He is a huge Celtics fan at heart, just like us watching the game. And when Tony Allen comes in, you will be sure to hear him go on a rampage about how much of an awesome player he is. Last night during the Clippers game which went 2OT, Tony Allen made a spectular dunk on putback from a missed shot. Tommy interrupts Mike Gorman to say, "TONY ALLEN COMES FROM THE WEAKSIDE FOR THE DUNK, CAPE AND ALL." If a reference to Superman for a player who is a rookie and averaging 5 points and 15 minutes a game isn't enough for you to tune in, I don't know what will. All I know is that at 7:00 Wednesday night I will be watching the Celtics, and looking forward to when the man who wears the Cape and calls himself Tony Allen comes in.


Matt



Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pedro Reportedly to the Mets

I was going to launch into an article detailing how Pedro is not worth the 4 years 50 million he is reportedly getting. Right before I was about to start, I read Jayson's Stark article on Pedro. He is an awesome writer and sums everything up perfectly. Here is a quote from the article:

"But everything that comes after this will be filed under Life Without Pedro. He made their world more interesting every moment he was around. But he might very well have made their life a lot more peaceful just by deciding he had hung around long enough."

I agree.

Matt Clement anyone?????



matt

Sunday, December 12, 2004

What is Omar Thinking?

It is time now for the daily dosage of What is Omar Minaya thinking? For those of you not familiar with Minaya, he is the new Mets GM, and was formerly the Expos GM. I am not intentionally going to pick on him today, its just that since he has taken over as GM for the Mets, I have strongly disagreed with every decision he has made. And since this is my blog, where I get to express my opinions, I am going to do just that. (So there).

Omar’s first signing as a GM for the Mets was Kris Benson. Benson was acquired in the middle of the 2004 season, and has always been a player that had “potential” written all over him, but he has never lived up to it. Whether Omar thinks he is going to eventually live up to his potentially or he really thinks Benson is worth 22.5 million, it is a bad signing either way. As a GM you cannot pay a player for what he MIGHT bring you in the future. You have to pay players that you think will give you a certain amount of production. With Benson, the question is what type of player are you going to get. Benson’s lowest ERA was in 2000 when he went 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA. His career ERA is 4.28. Yet this is a player who will be making 7.5 million for the next 3 years, and the club has an option for 2008 for another 7.5 million.

Let’s compare Benson with a former Met who just signed with the Marlins, Al Leiter. Al Leiter might be 39, but that does not mean he cannot be successful. Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and David Wells are all past 40 years of age, and doing just fine. Leiter just signed a one year deal with the Marlins for 8 million dollars. Who would you rather have Benson, or Leiter based on their numbers from last year?

ERA K/9 K/BB WHIP OBA ERA+
4.50 6.75 3.00 1.21 .244 95

3.21 6.06 1.21 1.35 .218 133

Given those numbers, one would think Minaya would make the easy decision to choose Leiter, since they cost basically the same amount of money. Instead, Minaya spent over 22 million dollars on a pitcher that will become a big waste of money and a liability to the team. The stats clearly show that Leiter was the better pitcher last year, and if you look at the past five years, it is even clearer that Minaya should have chosen Leiter. Unfortunately he did not. Yesterday, I wrote about how Minaya, should have chosen Radke or even more favorable Matt Clement over Benson. I had forgotten about Leiter, but wanted to revisit this discussion, because I think it is important to show that Minaya clearly made the wrong decision.

After Omar was done making the wrong decision in the starting rotation, he decided to do the same to the bullpen. A reliever with a 3.16 ERA with an ERA+ of 135 is somebody you would figure would not get traded, right? Obviously, I was wrong. Apparently, Omar sees something in Felix Heredia whom he received from the Yankees, giving away Mike Stanton and his ERA of 3.16. If that is not bad enough, Minaya also sent the Yankees $975,000 in the deal. I just don’t get this. Heredia had an ERA of 6.28 last year with the Yanks, and he was barely put on the postseason roster. In the Yankees 11 postseason games, Heredia pitched a total of 1 2/3 innings. I would think that would tell a GM something when a pitcher does not get to pitch in playoff games, even though game 4 of the ALCS went 12 innings, and game 5 went 14 innings. Maybe Omar was busy trying to sell the Mets executives on why Benson is a good pitcher during those games. I’m not sure why he made this trade, and I do not know if anybody is.

Although rumors have quieted down about this deal, Omar had been in hot pursuit of Sammy Sosa and I expect him to still try and get him away from the Cubs. The rumored deal has been around for about 2 months with the Mets getting Sosa, and the Cubs taking Cliff Floyd from the Mets. I am not a huge Sammy Sosa fan at all, especially at the price that he is going to cost. Sammy is due 17 million in 2005, and he has a clause in his contract that says if he is traded an option for 2006 at 18 million is automatically picked up. Cliff Floyd is due 6.5 million in 2005 and 2006, according the great salary site, Dugout Dollars. Sammy last year with the Cubs hit 253./332./517 and had 35 homers. Cliff Floyd hit .260./352./462 with 18 homers. These stats are basically the same except that Sammy had 17 more homers. So the question that Minaya has to think about is 17 more homers a year worth 22 million over the next two years. According to this Mets web site, they would not take Sammy even if he was free. Obviously, they think that 17 million per year would be better spent on somebody like Carlos Beltran. If only Minaya was this smart.

Matt

Free Agent Frenzy

I have decided that I wanted to put all my thoughts on sports, and particularly baseball down on the computer, not just for me to read, but for you as well. I hope you come to enjoy the blog, and visit it often, and hopefully you will find my comments interesting and will want to come back for more.

Who would have thought Boomer would ever been in a Red Sox uniform? Who would have thought that Jaret Wright would get over 21 mil for 3 years. Who saw that Paul DePodesta, who used to work with Billy Beane in Oakland would make a trade for one of the best starters in the AL in Tim Hudson? All these moves have taken place at the winter meetings in Anaheim, where the slow pace to free agency has gone to a more rapid frenzy. There are many other signings that have happened in the past few days, but I do not have the space to go over them here.

There are many signings out there that teams have overpaid for. Christian Guzman is not worth 16 million over the next four years. For someone who has a career line of .266/.303/.382 I do not see the need to pay over 4 million a year for a player like this. Jim Bowden may be trying to generate interest in his club, but signing an overpaid shortshop is not the way to do this.

Kris Benson was signed by the Mets a few weeks ago to a 3 year 22.5 millon dollar contract. Is it just me or does Omar Minaya make some crazy signings? Benson has more losses in his career than wins (47-53), and his career ERA is 4.28. Another free agent starter that was out there like Brad Radke, or Matt Clement could have been had for reasonably the same amount of money, and produce much more than Benson will. Take a look.

ERA K/9 K/BB WHIP OBA
1. 4.31 6.02 2.20 1.31 .263

2. 3.48 5.86 5.50 1.16 .267

3. 3.68 9.45 2.47 1.28 .229

Looking at these numbers, and assuming that all of these pitchers are going to get paid within a millon or two of each other, who would you choose? I know these stats do not include IP, starts per year or age, but all of those would just furthur prove what choice is the right one. For all of the talk of No. 2 (Brad Radke), Matt Clement (No.3) is the best pitcher of the three that were available at the beginning of the offseason. Sorry Omar, that I did not have my blog up earlier so that you could have used this advice in order to determine who to sign.


Matt

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