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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Because the history of catchers' careers is so consistent, so clear, that even the most ignorant of baseball executives can't ignore what will probably happen to Rodriguez within the next two or three seasons.

Statistically, the three most similar players to Rodriguez through age 31 were Ted Simmons, Yogi Berra, and Gary Carter. Throw Johnny Bench and Bill Dickey into the mix, and the forecast is inescapable: great-hitting catchers generally don't remain great hitters once they're into their middle 30s.

Rob Neyer concludes that the nine greatest hitting catchers' performance dropped a cumulative 31% when comparing their numbers at age 28-31 and 32-35. Obviously, Rob Neyer is analyzing Pudge Rodriguez’s deal with the Tigers but it should be applied to Jason Varitek’s contract situation as well. V-Tek.com does not have the same track record as Pudge or his comparables in Neyer’s piece but the outcome is the same. Here is a list of Tek’s comparables with significant playing time and their AVG OPS+ from age 30-32 each year follows in brackets, then from 33-35:

Aaron Robinson – 135 (141/147/118) – 100 (95/119/87)
Sandy Alomar – 87 (74/127/59) – 86 (111/82/65)
Darrin Fletcher – 104 (115/91/107) – 76 (116/60/52)
Mike Macfarlane – 101 (107/86/111) – 77 (85/79/66)
Don Slaught – 114 (94/132/116) – 116 (146/112/90)
Roy Campanella – 117 (121/155/75) – 108 (153/89/81)

By just comparing the three year averages, two players did not decline, three dropped more than 25% and one, Roy Campanella, slipped at little. Campanella was included in Neyer’s article or the aforementioned 31%, so I’ll discontinue analyzing of the HOFer’s career. The three that dropped significantly are further of evidence of Neyer’s theory. The two others, Sandy Alomar and Don Slaught, need further discussion.

Slaught was never a full-time catcher. He was a backup with a good stick. Slaught’s lack of at-bats in both subsets eliminates him as a good comparable to Tek. As for Alomar, his age 33-35 seasons were cut short due to multi-injuries playing in only 207 games over the three years; not enough data. (Some of the comparables listed above did have fewer at-bats in the age 33-35 set. The lack of at-bats was, mostly, caused by their lack of production at the plate which is further proof of a big decline in performance for catcher as they age. Thus, the general small sample size issue should be ignored in this analysis.)

Jason Varitek can certainly buck the trend by putting up 100+ OPS+ seasons at age 33-35, but the Vegas odds are against him. Many media members report that Tek has tremendous value in the clubhouse and with the pitching staff. I do not doubt that, but it can’t be easily measured like homeruns and translated into dollars. Assuming Tek's intangibles do not diminish, it is still a big risk to sign him to a fair market extension - Javy Lopez's deal at $22.5 million and three years is likely the mark - with the history of catchers in their mid-30's.

Another year of data on Varitek will only assist in evaluating his future and more importantly, the potential of Kelly Shopach. Currently, it is too risky to investment $20+ million in a player hoping that he will be the outlier among his peers.

Thursday, February 26, 2004


After hitting the gym and grabbing a bite to eat at Ken’s Pizza, (BTW, Ken’s has two plasma sets and the dish network. It will be my new hangout if MLB Extra Innings is ordered.) I walked home and checked the mail. And to my surprise, the latest Sports Illustrated was in my box. I am not a big fan of SI or any paper periodicals for that matter. If I can read the article without having to wait for the mail, flip through pages and ads to get to the story, then all the better. I find paper periodicals annoying. But I had the mag in-hand, so in-between commercial breaks of West Wing, I flipped through my free SI and to my amazement Moneyball author Michael Lewis wrote an epilogue in response to all of the criticism his book has received from the old school baseball community. It is brilliant like Moneyball. I highly recommend reading both of Lewis’ work on baseball.

The links below have excerpts of Lewis’ article and commentary. The article is not on the net yet.
Bronx Banter
Dodger Thoughts
Futility Infielder

Lewis’ comments and opinion of Ringolsby and Morgan are tough but seem to be accurate. Early last summer, Ringolsby and I had an email exchange regarding the A's draft philosophy. I opted not to post Ringolsby’s reply on El Guapo’s Ghost. He did not understand the central theme of my note and his prose and grammar were less than professional. It was not worthy of being on my blog.

Have a good weekend. I hope for post on V-Tek.com over the weekend and update site links. The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy so do not anticipate many posts. I will have an opinion posted on Nomar and Pedro's contract situation prior to Opening Day along with other news of interest.


1. Dirty Damon - sees nearly an average of four pitches per plate appearance
2. Space Cadet - without a doubt the best hitter on the club and should be in a position make the biggest impact by maximizing his possible plate appearances
3. Nomah - second best hitter
4. Mo Light - third most productive at the plate
5. Want to be Texan from L.A. - see below
6. Trot the Tank - a better hitter than Millar but need a RHB to eliminate the effectiveness of the LOOGY in the late innings
7. V-Tek - projects as a better hitter than Ferris
8. Ferris B-Mueller
9. Pokey no-Power or Liberty Bell-horn

Over the past three seasons, the Red Sox number two hitters have had roughly an average of 20 more plate appearances than the number three guys. Even though Manny is a far superior hitter over the current consensus number two hitter, Mueller, it would only save the Sox about one out in the twenty PAs. It is not worth giving the talk shows and main stream media hacks additional ammo. If I were making out the lineup card, I would drop everyone down a spot after Damon and place Mueller in the two hole.

Mueller is also being considered for the leadoff spot after his fantastic 2003 season. Many folks point to Mueller 398 OBP in 2003 and his 383 OBP average over the last three season as justification for the leadoff spot. OBP is important, but not the first consideration for a leadoff hitter. It is the number of pitches seen per plate appearance, then OBP, then above average speed and power. As Damon stated in the Globe.

"We beat up on pitchers, and that's my job in the leadoff spot," he said. "I know I could hit for a higher average, but how the rest of the team would adjust, I don't know."

Damon sees more pitches than Mueller which tilts the scale over to the centerfielder. Damon also has an above average OBP, good wheels and doubles power. Mueller would be a good leadoff hitter; he just is not the best option for the Sox.

It is likely that the lineup will be different versus southpaw starters with at least one of the RHB (Burks and Kapler) in for Ortiz and/or Nixon. But do not be concerned, the Sox, at most, should only see 45 AL LHP in the first inning. Plus, a healthy Burks can rake!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


• Ian Brown of MLB.com reported on Fox New England Sports Tonight that Pedro has mentioned to David Ortiz that he has thrown in the high 90s this winter. It is on!

• Who’s afraid of Big Bad Bud? The Big Bad Bud…The Big Bad Bud…the Wisconsin tax payers. Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO explores the Brewers sketchy financial situation. One Wisconsin Government Official in the segment says, "Be prepared Bud is on the way." DC, Portland, Northern Virginia and other cities interested in the Expos should take his words to heart. Doug Pappas, how many more days in Big Bad Bud’s tenure as Commissioner?

Caple on Henry the Hypocrite.

• The MFY can not be confident in Giambi's health with Tony the former Tiger Clark and Travis Ordinary Lee signed to guaranteed contracts. Good times. Good times.

• The Sox have only knuckleballer Charlie Zink in BP's top 50 prospects with Youkilis and Shoppach listed as honorable mentions. The MFY do have a prospect to deal in July by the name of Dioner Navarro.

Jayson Starks covers the arrival of Nomar and Pedro and no one seems to be interested in the upcoming season. The talk is about 2005 and 2003. It is 2004, right? How about some media attention about the best Red Sox team in the past twenty years?

• I agree with Greg Dickerson and Papa Jack that "Somebody's Got to Pay" should be the team’s new motto.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Robert Kuttner has a great editorial on Howard Dean and his campaign. It is the first national accurate look at the Dr. Dean. I would also credit Dean, in part, with the record breaking primary turnout. If this occurs in November, the Democrats will make a bid for taking control of the House as well as the White House. Highlights of Kuttner’s article include:

He got into the race early -- and bravely -- when President Bush, waving the bloody shirt of 9/11, was deemed unbeatable…In a sense, he made it safe for the rest of the Democratic field to be a lot tougher on Bush and his rogue foreign policy.
• Despite the faltering of Dean's candidacy, every other candidate is now imitating the e-fund-raising that Dean pioneered, which still has the potential of allowing small money to level the playing field against big money.
• For starters, one always had the sense of an odd marriage -- the right movement yoked to the wrong guy. This was a progressive, grass-roots army in love with a rather tightly wound centrist candidate. As the governor of Vermont, after all, Dean had been a fiscal conservative to a fault. And despite his rebirth as a populist in the campaign, neither his policies nor his temperament suggested a man of the people.

El Guapo’s Ghost is not a Dean supporter even though I am a Vermont Democrat. I never voted for Dean. The Iraq War was Dean’s first real liberal position. Dean is a President Bill Clinton/DLC/conservative Democrat. Although I have voted for Senator John Kerry in his battle with Bill Weld back in my Mass-hole days, I am supporting Senator John Edwards because he can WIN.

Kerry has ridden a wave of primary wins on “electability” because he has the experience to confront President Bush on national security issues. But I would contend that is not the biggest issue for independents and swing voters in the battle ground states around the Great Lakes. As Clinton said, “It’s the economy stupid.” Making national security the focus of the Democrats campaign will be a mistake. The President’s foreign policy is the major issue dividing the country. It will not win independent votes in the swing states.

Like Clinton, Edwards can feel your economic pain. He can change an independents heart and mind and win their vote. Kerry can not. The Democrats need to focus on the economy and leveling the playing field for all Americans to win in November and Senator John Edwards is the best person to deliver that message.

Monday, February 23, 2004


Derek Lowe is a durable extreme ground ball pitcher. At age 30, Lowe should be able to continue to throw 200 innings without much trouble. He has logged fewer innings than other starters, although some say pitching 100+ relief innings is worst than 200+ as a starter, and has never had any arm problems (knock on wood). With Pokey Reese's gold glove and better command, Lowe could be a Cy Young candidate in 2004. If so, Lowe would command Colon type money or $10+ million per season. He deserves the big money and is likely to go after it. It is Lowe's only opportunity to cash in and his agent is the hard liner and wildly successful, Scott Boras. A hometown discount is not going to happen nor should it. DLowe will have no difficulty inking a deal worth around $50 million over four years with Texas, L.A., Baltimore, and the Mets all with money to spend and a need at the top of the rotation.

The Sox should not sign DLowe now because it will limit their flexibility for middle infielders beyond 2004. Lowe is a $10 million pitcher with a better defensive infield, most notably at second base. Thus, the Sox would have to sign good glove men at short stop and second to get the proper return on their Lowe investment. With instability beyond 2004 in the middle of the infield, waiting on Lowe is the proper move. Plus, the Sox have cheaper internal rotation alternatives with Bronson Arroyo and possibly Scott Williamson for 2005. Both have the potential to be productive starters at a fraction of the cost. Theo should wait on DLowe and probably should not be brought back after 2004. Lowe is right; it is HIS "last run".

Friday, February 20, 2004


``It's not a panic situation for the player and it's not a panic situation for the club,'' Epstein said. ``It's not always easy to reach an agreement on a contract, and if the sides are reasonable, it certainly can be done after the year. You have better information about the market, better information about the player's performance and you have better information about the makeup of the club and the roster.''

In Theo, we Trust. I'll be back on the who the Sox should lock up among the free agents soon. The big boys are remaining - Lowe, V-Tek, Pedro and Nomar.


The Sox are expected to take a close look during spring training at whether to alter their regular lineup. The possibilities could range from flip-flopping Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez in the third and fourth slots to experimenting with replacements for Johnny Damon as the leadoff hitter. Damon had one of the lowest on-base percentages (.345) last year among Sox regulars. By contrast, Bill Mueller ranked among the team's leaders with a .398 on-base percentage.

Batting order does not mean that much in terms of run production. This topic gets a lot of play in the press but unless an insane lineup goes down on the card, it should not have an impact in the standings. With that in mind, I have three rules for Managers regarding batting order:

1. Communicate with your players and find out where they, honestly, are most comfortable.
2. Other than the leadoff position*, have your best hitters bat first. The more at-bats going to your best hitters - the better.
3. If the hitters are essentially equal, flip-flop RHB and LHB for better late inning match ups.

Next week, I'll post my Red Sox lineup card. It may not affect the standings but it sure is fun.

*Hitting leadoff is the only exception because it is advantageous for the first hitter to see as many pitches as possible for his teammates to get a feel for the stuff the starter has on that particular day.


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Please feel free to add comments in the space provided. It is easier for me to respond to feed back in the comments section on the site instead of email and it is likely to be faster.

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Thursday, February 19, 2004


Gordon Edes beat me to the punch on this topic so I just want to add one more.

*Can ground ballers (2003 G/F AL average was 1.05), Brown (2.75)and Leiber (1.48) be as productive as in the past with the horrible MFY infield behind them if they stay healthy?

This would not be an issue if the MFY had their usual depth in the rotation. They also do not have the prospects to make an impact deal mid-season; it would have to be a salary dump or a multiple team deal.


and calls in sick to take in a Cubs day game in the sunny bleachers and this season they get to watch the surgeon, Greg Maddux. As for us, Sox fans, the Cubs signing of Maddux ends the possibility of the HOF pitching the bottom of the first in the Bronx. The MFY will still have three question marks in the rotation. It also should significantly decrease the probability that Ray Durham would be coming back East. The financial flexibility of moving Durham’s contract would not allow them to field at better team now that Maddux is off the market. The Giants are in full win-now mode. This development leaves four possible candidates to man second in Japan next month – Roberts or Hairston from Baltimore and Spivey or Counsell from the Sh%t Beer Capital of the World.

It is unlikely that the O’s would ship either second baseman to their hated rival up I-95. The P.R. alone would be a nightmare. Second, the MFY do not have anything (lower level pitching prospects (LLPP) and cash) that the O’s need. Baltimore should have many suitors and better matches for Roberts or Hairston, most notably, L.A., Cleveland, the other sox, and the Twins. If Roberts is available, he could play shortstop for the hitting challenged, Adam Everett in Houston too. No need to fear, Hairston or Roberts are going anywhere near - the epicenter of evil.

As for the financially or just plain foolish Brewers, Spivey or Counsell are likely targets of Cash-man and company. One of the aforementioned LLPP should be all that it takes to get Counsell. Two LLPP and cash could score Spivey. Neither one would tip the scales significantly over to the dark side.

Jose Vidro continues to be batted around as a possible candidate. It would have to be a mid-season three-way deal for Vidro to end up in the Bronx. Bernie and lots of cash to an N.L. contender with offensive issues (LA, NYM, FL) and their prospects heading north to Montreal is the only way Vidro plays in the MFY infield in 2004.

I'll leave the Henry/Boy George commentary up to the semi-pro and

Monday, February 16, 2004


I can’t get the play out of my mind that the Texas shortstop makes in the field at Fenway last season going into the hole taking away a sure base hit then flipping the ball directly from his glove to second. It was brilliant and yet completed so nonchalantly to end the inning. As NESN was heading to a pay for Damian Jackson, I said to my buddy, “Texas doesn’t serve to watch him play everyday.” And now Texans do not have that luxury.

A lot has occurred since that game last spring. It has taken me about 48 hours to get over this A-Hole thing. I was still hoping that each person in N.E. minus CT, of course, would come up with $2 a piece totaling $20 mil to make up the difference between Henry and Hicks. I now have some clarity but no thoughts of grandeur.

I know that I will loose a month off my life this summer watching the 30 or so times Nomar opens up his hips too early on a slider resulting in a weak pop fly to right.

I know that each time Manny doesn’t run out a grounder or looks confused in left will add to my underdeveloped ulcer.

I know that I will loose sleep over the possibility that Henry, Theo and Lovely Larry will again have not the funds or guts to pull off the big one next winter.

But, who the hell cares. This is the best Sox team I can ever recall.

Baseball Prospectus' forecasting system has the Sox in a virtual tie with the MFY. The A-Hole deal allowed the MFY to match the Sox. Pre-A-Hole and less Boone the Sox were up by 29 runs. Without any other transactions, the AL BEast is going to come down to luck/one-run games and the head-to-head match ups.

The presumed Wilson and Cairo second base tandem are out machines so it is no use taking a deeper look at them. Since Boone played in the NL most of his career he does have enough PAs (15+) vs. Sox pitchers.

Wake - 281/324/375
Pedro - 133/235/267
Mend - 364/348/500
Foulk - 150/227/300
Lowe - 077/368/077

Pedro - 129/156/194
Lowe - 267/290/433
Wake - 316/333/684

If Mendoza pitches to A-Hole in nearly any situation, Tito should be canned. It appears that Pedro and Lowe have not had difficultly putting away either infielder. Historically, A-Hole can't touch Foulke. The only real difference between the hitters is against Wake. Soriano has pounded the knuckler and A-Hole has underperformed. The Sox get a more favorable match up when Wake takes the mound against the MFY - very small edge to the Sox.

The concern is who is next on the MFY shopping list. The talk is now of Maddux and I doubt Boy George allows his team to come up from Tampa with no names at second. Ray Durham and Junior Spivey are likely targets. Maddux or Durham would tip the scales a little too much for this to be a tie; thus increasing the importance of the season series. But both would not make the MFY a lock. The 2004 Boston Red Sox are that good. The 18 or so games against the MFY are going to be huge, likely deciding the AL BEast, and a ton of fun too. It's on! Well, almost.

Sunday, February 15, 2004


Monday, January 26, 2004


this new A-Rod rumor I read while eating lunch? I am sick to my stomach just thinking about A-Rod to the MF Yankees. Soriano to Texas for A-Rod makes sense. Hart and Hicks would jump at the chance to save close to $20 million his year. It would move Kerry Wood from the wish list to the 2004 winter shopping list. Boone would likely move to second and Jeter to third with A-Rod at SS. The PR spin would be: Jeter displays true leadership as the MFY Captain moves to third for the good of the team.

// posted by El Guapo's Ghost @ 11:50 AM

I can not rationally speak about the impact this has on the Red Sox, myself or the rest of the Nation.

But Ray Durham is next for the MFY. The Giants need extra cash to sign Maddux shipping Durham's salary back East solves that issue. Maddux will sign with the Giants for around $13-15 millIon over two seasons.

Friday, February 13, 2004


Bruce Markusen's column Cooperstown Confidential is overall a good read. Markusen gives his take on the Sox offseason and as I agree with most of his assessment, I must further comment on one:

Reese has missed significant time over the last two seasons, but if he can put in at least 130 games this summer, he might just win the Gold Glove while making Derek Lowe and several of the Red Sox relievers (in particular someone like Ramiro Mendoza) that much more grateful.

130 games? Pokey should primarily start games that Lowe and Kim, the ground ball pitchers, are schedule. Mark Bellhorn, the better hitter, should be playing when Pedro and Schilling take the ball since they strikeout more than a hitter an inning and both have basically a 1:1 G/F ratio. Wake is a toss up. Basically, Pokey's strength is not as valuable with Pedro and Schilling on the mound because he will not get as many chances in the field. Bellhorn's better bat is more valuable.

Stan Grossfeld has a great article on Red Auerbach. Still Smokin' is a must.

From Batter's Box,

Speaking by telephone from Florida, Carlos Tosca said, "Our number one goal, our priority this year, is to get into the playoffs." The skipper believes it will take between 94 and 96 wins, and seems confident that he has the talent. "

As I have been saying, the Jays are going to make this a three way race in the AL Beast.

From Sox Therapy poster, tfbg9,

The team has already sold 2.1 million tickets. How do the other Therapists view Spring Training? I hate it I've purchased my monster TV and will order Extra Innings. My plan is to ride my exercise bike when the Red Sox are batting, and rest when the defense is on the field, which means pace back and forth unless we have a 4-5 run lead. I'm gonna be a quivering mass of jelly by July.

I guess I am not so bad. I'll probably be a "quivering mass of jelly" come Labor Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Scott Williamson has over powering stuff. He has a career mark of K-ing 10.53 batters per nine innings. In only 342 innings over the past five years, Williamson could still develop into a dominate pitcher out of the pen or in the rotation. Below is Williamson’s career defense independent pitching stats (DIPS) along with Schilling and Lowe’s over the last three seasons (K per 9 / K-to-BB / HR per 9):

Williamson – 10.53/2.11/.71
Schilling – 10.56/7.72/1.09
Lowe – 5.58/2.14/.63

Williamson matches Schilling’s K/9, Lowe’s K/BB and nearly Derek’s HR/9. Williamson has the potential to be a good starter now and with better control become a top of the rotation pitcher.

Williamson has stated in the past that he wants to finish or start games. The acquisition of Foulke eliminates the possibility of becoming the relief ace in the near future; thus the only other option is for him to start in 2005 or head to another club via free agency. The Sox should take a similar approach to Williamson as they did with Kim, if they haven’t already, by saying that the club needs you in the pen this season and next year you are slated for the rotation.

If the Sox act now, it is more likely that Williamson will sign for a reasonable salary ($3-4 million per). Even if he is marketed as a starter or closer, Williamson does not have long track record at either. Most clubs will be taken back by the lack of history which will limit the number of suitors and Williamson’s salary demands. The security of a two-year deal with the Sox and the opportunity to start should be attractive enough to Williamson. The Sox should try to get a deal done with him ASAP.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


• Big fan of Fresh Prince here, NOT Will Pinkett, the Fresh Prince.
• Yesterday it was 34 degrees out and the patrons before me at Dunkin’ ordered ice coffee. First, I didn’t think ice coffee was even available at Dunkin’ this time of the year. Second, the formula is NOT temperature > 1 degree + freezing = ice coffee. Third, I got to move out of this freaking tundra.
• El Guapo’s Ghost diet to loose weight is to burn more calories than you eat. Two other tips: take the stairs and drink water. The diet is not Atkins Approved but it works.
• If you are going to drink a low carb beer without any taste, then just drink the sh^t stuff like PBR, Old Style, Red White and Blue, Black Label or Hams. Why waste the cash?
• Football is over. The Celtics are terrible. Baseball does not begin for eight weeks and the Sopranos are only one hour on Sundays starting March 7th so I went to Blockbuster. I don’t really watch films; my life is a movie. So its been sometime since my last visit to mega-movie rental corp., but when did start being appropriate to NOT say “excuse me” when walking in front of someone while they are checking out the new releases?
• I watched four movies – two very good, one okay and one below par. Lost In Translation and American Splendor are fabulous. They are must sees. Out of Control is worth a rental. Drug parties are cool, right Chico? Punch Drunk Love was disappointing. All of the characters just annoyed the hell out of me. I long for the old Sandler. Please go back to your raunchy, sophomoric humor that I enjoyed so much. Haven’t you made enough money? And what is up with you liking the Knicks?
• A courtesy flush is not a signal to knock on the bathroom door to ask how long I’ll be. Period.
• If you need a Red Sox or baseball fix, go to www.baseballprospectus.com. They have an incredible interview with Don Theo. The first half is free and the second is for premium customers. The second half has all of the juicy stuff. If you are reading this site, you probably won’t be disappointed with a subscription to BP Premium.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


David Ortiz or Mo Light had a breakout season in 2003 at the age of 28 – one that I forecasted correctly I might add. The Sox should offer Ortiz a Nixon-type deal – three at this season’s arbitration number but no more in dollars or length. A three year deal would lock up Ortiz from the age 28 to 30. Like Nixon, Ortiz would gain financial and professional security in exchange for possibly less money on the open market.

Ortiz fits into the Red Sox hitting philosophy with long at-bats (career marks of 4.06 #P/PA and .111 BB/PA) and power (career slugging percentage of 491). Mo Light’s comparables in order of similarity, pre-1960 players were omitted, are:

(OPS+ at age 28/29/30 – league average is 100)

Brian Daubach – 90/122/116
Greg Walker – 90/77/12
Tino Martinez – 107/144/123
Brad Fullmer – N/A
Glen Davis – 142/143/113
Lee May – 144/137/116
Eric Karros – 114/111/123
Tony Clark – 122/125/50
Kevin Millar – 119/141/131
Willie Aikens – 149/83/85
Mo Vaughn – 148/152/155
Geoff Jenkins – N/A
Reggie Jefferson – 113/130/89

Ortiz’s comps are a mixed bag with the two worst performers after the age of 27 as his best comps. Mo Vaughn is the only player to average above Ortiz’s 2003 OPS+ of 144. The Hit Dog or Dirty Dog or Foxy Dog also had two great years (137 and 146) prior to his age 27 season, where Ortiz has not. Thus, it is unlikely for Mo Light to match the Hit Dog’s production through the age of 30. Ortiz is likely to perform similar to the other players in the above list hitting between 120-140 at 28 and 29 then a drop to league average at 30.

Those numbers are certainly worth $14 million over three years. If Mo Light refuses, the Sox will certainly have a number of above average hitting DHs to choose from each winter. Theo and company have not had a difficult time finding those inexpensive hidden gems. It is not imperative to sign Mo Light to a long-term deal. Ortiz should only be inked under the club’s terms.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Trot Nixon’s contract extension is a reasonable deal for both parties. Last season at age 29, Trot had his best season 306/396/578. Over the life of the contract, Nixon's average and with it on-base percentage may decline to his normal solid performance level of 270/360. His slugging percentage could easily drop back to the 470-490 range as well. But Nixon’s G/F ratio and Isolated Power numbers were outstanding in 2003, near the tops in all of MLB, indicating that his power surge was not a fluke. (Nixon was in the company of Giambi, Sexson, Sosa, Sheffield and Helton.) He has the potential to match last year’s numbers. If Nixon can continue to put up impressive G/F and IsP numbers, he could be a bargain that is usually found only at Filene’s Basement.

Basically, the Sox are paying Nixon $6.5 million over the next three summers for solid defense in tough right field, a 360 OBP while seeing close to four pitches per at-bats with a huge power upside. Well, make it $7.5 million because Nixon will likely need a platoon partner. The right field production over the next three years at worst will probably be 270/350/480.

The question now is who comes back next year of the Pedro, Nomar, Lowe, V-Tek, Mo Light, and Williamson crew. I’ll tackle each player’s future and then put an end the discussion beyond the 2004 season.

Rob Neyer takes a look at platoon productivity. And yes, Burks will be fine.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Tyler Kepner has an interesting piece about the Sox in The Times. Alex Belth of Bronx Banter asks some thought provoking questions about the article. But I want to highlight Lucky Larry's comments. When describing the difference between the Sox and MFY, he says

"Besides light and darkness, good and evil?" Lucchino said, laughing. "Sorry."

and comparing statistical analysts employed by other MLB clubs...

"We don't have a Bill James apostle. We have Bill James."

I am not a big fan of LL, but these one liners made me laugh out loud.

BTW, an excellent article on Paul DePodesta and the A's way of doing business - kind of a mini-Moneyball. Thanks to Clutch Hits of Baseball Primer.

McCourt should hire DePodesta. It would of course strengthen the Dodgers but for us, Sox fans, it weakens the A's. Billy Bean will have to find a replacement. As Bean said to J.P. Ricciardi after being hired as the Jays GM, "you need to find your Paul." J.P. did and hired Keith Law formerly of Baseball Prospectus (I highly recommend every baseball fan subscribe to BP Premium). Unfortunately, Beane may have an in-house replacement named David Forst. I guess we can hope for a bit of lost productivity in the time of transition. Okay, I am just throwing darts in the dark. The A's minor league baseball talent is just as deep as their front office talent. The Sox are starting to catch up on one front - In Theo, We Trust.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Peter DeMarco writes a nice story about how much the Red Sox still mean to New England even with the Patriots success. If anyone outside of Boston is wondering if this town is changing sports priorities, then just check out the quotes below:

"For one brief moment, it was the Patriots' day," said Regan while sipping a beer at The Fours sports bar near North Station the evening after the parade. "But you know what? Now we're back to the Red Sox. Today was crazy. Today was great. But it wasn't the Sox."

"What I think it comes down to is that nobody's grandfather went to their grave cursing the Patriots," said Michael Rutstein, publisher of Boston Baseball magazine. "The Patriots just don't go that deep into New England's psyche. No one has ever tried to write about football as a metaphor for life. You can pick up hundreds of books that do it for baseball."

"I said to him: `It's funny. The Patriots won, and everything is great. But when the Red Sox lose, it just doesn't go away, does it?' "

How many more days until Spring Training, Opening Day and the Red Sox parade?

Friday, February 06, 2004



Nixon – 296 in 2003
Kapler – 338 in 01-03

Ortiz – 260 in 2003
Burks – 384 in 01-03

Difference – 166

The Sox are going from three out machines, through most of 2003, versus southpaws to only one (Pokey no power). No more rally killers against lefties. The one slight weakness in the lineup has been addressed. If Bellhorn can produce, the Sox offense should be nearly as productive as last season’s record breaking campaign.

Digging a little deeper…

Burks vs.
Lilly – 4 of 11, a homer
Daal – 5 of 19, four walks
Mulder – 6 of 18, two homers
Redman – 3 of 12, 2 homers, 5 walks
Moyer – 3 of 18
Washburn – 11 of 23, 2 homers
Zito - insignificant

The only rival starter that Burks has had an issue with is Moyer (400+ OBP against Daal). Mo Light gets the start against the soft-tosser from Seattle. Acquiring Ellis Burks could be a difference maker in the playoffs with Oakland and K.C. likely to start three lefties in a series. E.B. eats up Mulder, Redman and Washburn. Oh yeah!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

With Brandon Claussen gone in the Boone deal, Joe Torre now could be faced with starting 110 games in New York, Boston and Baltimore with right-handers, taking away one advantage he had matching up with the Red Sox.

Gammon’s notion, as well as the rest of the mainstream media, is that Pettitte and Wells being left handed negated the advantage LHB have in the Bronx, Camden and Fenway. Recent numbers would not fully support the argument. From 2001-2003, Pettitte is 273/313/392 vs. RHB and 284/317/389 vs. LHB. He has absolutely no spilt. In 2003, LHB actually hit better (321/354/429) off of Pettitte than RHB (254/294/393). This should not be a surprise to most since Pettitte’s best pitch is his cut fastball that runs sharply on the hands of RHB. It is less effective against southpaws. As for the overweight loud mouth, he has been more effective versus LHB (236/283/390) than RHB (291/316/443) in 2001-2003, but in 2003 was 290/304/433 vs. RHB and 274/305/473 vs. LHB. In 2003, Wells was much less effective against southpaws than in 2001 and 2002. Is this a blip or the start of a trend for the old, fat, lefty from San Diego? Even if 2003 was just a one year outliner for Wells, it still does not appear that the MFY would have a significant advantage against LHB in 2004 if Wells and Pettitte were in pinstripes.

•Carlos J. Lugo for Baseball Prospectus on the Sox top prospect/head case – Hanley Ramirez in the Dominican

Red Sox' top-prospect SS-Hanley Ramirez hit just .182/.182/.227 in limited action (nine games and 22 at bats) with Licey. Ramirez defense was also inconsistent, as he committed 3 errors in 25 chances. Ramirez is still very young and inexperienced to be successful in the league, but he could enter in the picture next year, probably fighting the position with Erick Aybar (Angels).

•Glad to see that the Sox inked Burks since a few days ago the A’s got Karros.

Sean McAdam has a good piece comparing parity in the NFL and MLB.

Monday, February 02, 2004


With the team reeling at 22-21, Brady calmly marched them down the field, almost like it was an intra-squad scrimmage. When an athlete reaches a point where you expect them to come through, now you're getting somewhere. Against the Panthers, we reached that point with Brady. Officially.

AFKATBSG goes on...

During the timeout, Sully asked me, "Does he make this?"

I thought about it for a second.

Finally: "Yes. He makes this. He's Adam F------ Vinatieri."

As usual Simmons knows the pulse of the Boston sports fan better than anyone else. After Carolina scored with over a minute left, who didn't say to themselves - "they gave Brady too much time; start making plans for the parade." Then the Pats got lucky with the kickoff going out of bounds giving them about an extra 15 yards and most importantly, not taking any time off the clock. The unforced error by the Carolina kicker was huge; Lady Luck was on the side of the Pats once again like in 2001. The kick out of bounds is just the latest example. My point is that all teams need to be both good and lucky to win a championship.

By all accounts, the Red Sox are a very good club, but to win a World Series they also need to be lucky like the Pats. Patriots Nation is always positive (I am a fan, but not a card carrying member. El Guapo’s Ghost would not be sitting in sub-zero climate to watch a Pat’s game). P-Nation has so much faith in their trio – Belichick, Brady, Vinateri. We need to have the same faith in our new trio - Theo, Schilling, Foulke - as Patriot’s Nation has in theirs and maybe Lady Luck will look fondly on the Sox as she does on the Pats.

After an incredible football game last night, I come into work this morning to find this email. Below was in the preview panel:

|| MLB.com Shop || For All Things Baseball
Attention Football Fans! Get your championship merchandise
now with this special offer.

Purchase your championship gear here and instantly
receive $10 off any baseball licensed apparel at the same

Items must appear in cart simultaneously.

Shop Now >> http://lists.mlb.com/u/335320/11275892

How pathetic is MLB that they are hawking NFL apparel? More and more anti-marketing from Buddy Boy.

Other thoughts:
*Will someone please start bitch slapping the drug companies. I can't take anymore freaking T.V. ads, spam, popups from the folks who are the main reason for sky rocketing health care premiums.
*Maybe it is just me but I mistook Greg Gumbell's tie for a stripper's thong.
*Watching the Super Bowl with a bunch of non-fans is like going to a conference in New Orleans with folks from Bob Jones U.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald is going nuts like El Guapo's Ghost.

Now that the Dodgers sale is approved, and Boston real estate mogul Frank McCourt is at the helm, can the next round of Garciaparra-is-out-of-here rumors be far behind?

McCourt, who sat between John Henry and Larry Lucchino at last month's Boston Baseball Writers' dinner, is a friend to the Red Sox' brass and no stranger to Garciaparra's talent and California roots. And the Dodgers have pitching to deal.

It could happen.

BTW, Patriots Nation - I beat Carolina 56-14 using the Pats on Madden 2004 yesterday.

Thank you - Red Sox!

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