Monday, May 31, 2004
Most scouts have never been high on Youkilis and after his poor performance in RI last season, STAT/SABR evaluators were down on the GGofBB as well. Baseball Prospectus wrote the following:
In AAA, he was fed a steady stream of high fastballs that he usually took for strikes, resulting in a lot of pitcher's counts and weakly batted balls...A career resembling Ken Oberkfell's or Dave Magadan's, with less defense...
Hopefully, Youk's 317/442/488 line is starting to end the questions regarding his ability to hit at the MLB level. Chicken Cesar Crespo (thanks Steve) has witnessed a change to Youk's approach at the plate.
"He is much more aggressive. He knows he's going to get good pitches up here, and he's not taking the way he used to. He's able to wait for mistakes and then capitalize on them. And he hits fastballs, curveballs, and changeups."
Youk has until the All-Star break to convince scouts that he is ready to play everyday in the Show. A stat line of 280/380/450 would make him a valuable commodity for the Sox. If Mueller can return to form, the Sox will likely pick up his $2.1 million 2005 option at the conclusion of the season creating a log jam at the hot corner this season and next. Youk's salary makes him the most valuable trading chip in the organization. Youk is the likely centerpiece of a blockbuster deal, if one emerges, in July.
Friday, May 28, 2004
Richard Ceccarelli is my first interviewee who solely writes a blog. Pearly Gates focuses on the Anaheim Angels from the O.C. The self proclaimed “all knowing one”;) was kind enough to answer a few questions on the Sox upcoming opponent. (Yes, I jumped over the Mariners because they are going nowhere. If you are interested in the M’s, check out the excellent blog, U.S.S. Mariner.)
El Guapo's Ghost: After the winter addition of Vlad to anchor a lineup with sluggers - Glaus, Anderson, Salmon - and OBP guys - Eckstein and Kennedy, most thought that the Angles would have no difficulty putting runs on the board. Unfortunately, the three hold over sluggers are on the DL and the OBP guys have not performed up to expectations so how have the Angles continued to be one of the top run producing teams in the A.L. and will it continue? Why are the Angels still scoring runs?
Richard Ceccarelli: It is a puzzler. Going into the season the offence was built around average and power- this is not a team that's going to take a lot of walks. Three major power threats have been removed due to injury (Glaus, Anderson, and Salmon) but two names do remain- Vladimir Guererro and Jose Guillen. The pair have carried the Angels offence this season, sporting OPSs of 1.000 and .904 respectively. Those numbers are actually even better in the month of May as the injuries have piled up; Guerrero has been at 1.030 and Guillen is at 1.125 this month. Of course two men can't do it alone. A few role-players have stepped up- Jeff DaVanon, Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman have all been productive. The Molina brothers have also added a much-needed shot of power. And as much as I hate to say it, Mike Scioscia's "small-ball mentality" has also contributed. The team is third in the AL with 36 steals and near the top in sacrifice hits. I never condone giving up outs, but I suppose it is acceptable when your lineup features names like Shane Halter and Alfredo Amezaga.
Can they keep it up? Sadly, no. There's no way that Guillen can keep on his torrid pace, and guys like Figgins and Kotchman have already shown signs of coming back to earth. This lineup needs reinforcements- and quick. Unfortunately they seem to be a long way off.
EGG: A part of the above question is answered by the hot starts of Figgins and DaVanon, but which has been the bigger surprise?
RC: That's a very hard question to answer, as both have been very impressive. I would give the nod to DaVanon who has very quietly become a walking-machine. He's leading the club in walks (with 16 as of 5/26) despite only playing in 35 games. He also leads the club in OBP at .406. Along with his terrific eye he brings a fair amount of pop and excellent speed. I'm convinced that Jeff is the best 4th outfielder in baseball today.
EGG: Anaheim's team pitching stats were unexpectedly impressive. As of 5/25/04, they ranked fifth in runs and homers, sixth in free passes and second in strikeouts. The pen has been excellent. Shields, K-Rod, Gregg have a combine for 105K to only 27BB while giving up only two dingers in 88 innings. Even though the relief ace, Troy Percival, has twelve saves, he seems to be struggling with only nine strikeouts in sixteen innings and issuing ten walks. What is the problem with Percival?
RC: I don't agree that the pitching staff has been unexpectedly impressive- especially the bullpen. Francisco Rodriguez was one of the top-5 relievers in baseball last season and Scot Shields was also very impressive as both a reliever and starter (2.85 ERA in 148.1 IP). This is one of the top-5 bullpens in baseball right now, and that's with set-up man of the year Brendan Donnelly on the DL.
As for Percival, it finally appears that age and injuries have caught up with him. His velocity is down 2-3 mph. That hasn't been the biggest problem however- he was always better when he took a little off his fastball. His struggles appear to stem from his control. He looks to be overthrowing in an attempt to get his velocity back, and the ball is sailing on him. I don't think he's quite done though. Last season he suffered a hip injury that some feared would end his career. He returned from that injury with a new wind-up that supposedly limits the stress on his hip, and was quite effective with it. It was similar to his stretch-delivery of past seasons, and it reined his fastball back a bit, resulting in pinpoint control. He abandoned it this spring, going back to his old, high leg-kick wind-up. In my opinion he needs to return to last year's delivery.
EGG: The back four of the rotation are pitching to expectations, but Colon has had problems. From Colon's stats, it appears that the long ball has been his biggest issue but reports have stated that his loss of velocity is the reason for his ineffectiveness. What is the problem?
RC: I haven't seen a loss in velocity for Colon. He's still in that mid-90's range with the occasional heater reaching 98. His problem has been plain and simple- control. His control has been nothing short of atrocious this season. That may not show up in his walk totals, but anyone who has watched him can see it. He has consistently missed up-and-over the plate, which explains his high HR totals. The wildness appears to be due to inconsistent mechanics. He reportedly entered spring training nearly 30 pounds over-weight, (a condition which is as much to blame on poor work ethic as a nagging back injury) and that has contributed to the problem. I'm not too worried about Bartolo- this is his M.O. He always starts strong, goes into a short early-summer tailspin, and always finishes the season with solid numbers. Also, the Angels have a fine pitching coach in Bud Black who should be able to get him straightened out.
• One of the things I miss about living in Boston: Really. Standing on a corner, not in Winslow Arizona, but in Brighton Massachusetts this morning, the famed "57" bus comes by, and on the electronic bus number sign, in between flashes of "57," the old Garden-style flashing bulbs said "GO" then "RED" then "SOX"... It's May 27th. Buckle up.
• El Guapo’s Ghost would like to thank all of the new visitors that stopped by over the past couple of days. A traffic spike on Wednesday of over 200 and Thursday greater than 400 got us to exceed our goal of 10,000 visitors before June. Please continue; we post original content daily...well…mostly original and almost daily.
• Have a good holiday. In the next week or so, topics addressed will be: ERA is a poor stat, Sox draft strategy, and Sox grades over the first third of the season.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Thanks to you, readers of El Guapo’s Ghost, we have been able to secure a sponsor (they would have been online earlier but El Guapo’s Ghost has been experiencing technical difficulties). Their financial support will allow for subsidized outings, t-shirts and other stuff in the works. Please visit and patronize them as they are supporting us.
BTW, other sponsors will be coming online shortly. They will all be of the links variety which is not obtrusive. In general, I hate most ads. This morning I was watching VH1 (yes, I am a little too old for MTV). First off, I am surprised that they still show videos; I was unaware of that. As long-time readers are aware, I am making an effort to become more knowledgeable in areas other than baseball, general pro-sports and politics/current events, in order to converse longer than two minutes with most members of the opposite sex. There doesn’t seem to be any women that want to explore how Mark Bellhorn can hit 225 with an OBP of 400. If you know where they are located, please let me know. Sh%t. I am rambling on again. “Back on to the lecture at hand,” in the middle of Beyonce’s “Naughty Girl” video, up popped an ad about the singer’s concert DVD. Well that just ruined my morning…because that type of advertising is going to be more a more prominent with more channels to flip to during a commercial break and the invention and better marketing of TiVo and other DVRs. This really pisses me off!
Your input is needed
Recent content has not been of the essay variety – mostly notes/rumblings and Q&A. Notes are done because the necessary time to flush out a topic is not available or the topic does not warrant an in-depth post. The greater number of Q&As have been posted of late as a means of introducing a Sox upcoming opponent. For good reason, we focus on the MFY but some of the teams out West are almost as important. In the future, more essays will be posted. Please leave a comment on your preferred post type. I’ll do my best to accommodate going forward. Thanks.
Just one; it ain’t askin’ too much
If you enjoy checking out El Guapo’s Ghost, then please pass on our URL to your family, friends, and acquaintances that you think might like it as well. Sox chat rooms would be a good spot too. Also, do not forget to signup with bloglet. A larger audience will translate into more support for us here at El Guapo’s Ghost.
News and Notes
• Sports Retort summarizes the last night’s game well but Redman getting squeezed on the ball four call to Damon allowed the flood gates to open. And thanks go out to Bobby Crosby for the three run error.
• Boston.com/The Boston Globe/The New York Times Company/The Boston Red Sox have acquired Boston Dirt Dogs web site. It will be incorporated into Boston.com’s sports section in a couple of weeks. Congratulations go out to the Big Dog and company whose reputation has come under fire with the mainstream media folks of lately. This news should totally validate their media credentials. Hopefully, the arrangement will not constrain content too much.
• Welcome to the family – Andy. "I got shivers," Francona said, of the fans standing and chanting, "Andy, Andy." "That was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen." Dominique, 28, who labored more than seven years in the minors before he made the bigs, said, "It was way unexpected and really appreciated, probably the best moment of my life."
• Jason Stark of espn.com is reporting that “Randy Johnson is going no where,” but Cherry Garica from Seattle not Vermont and Kris Benson are available.
• Jim Caple offers another reason to dislike the pitcher in Texas whose retirement plans are similar to George “Lean Mean Fat Reducing Machine” Foreman. Oh, and by the way -- according to Tom Verducci's nice Sports Illustrated cover story on Clemens, the Rocket has four Hummers. Four Hummers? He's singlehandedly driving up oil prices worldwide.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
• Medicine is not an exact science but Bill Morgan, MD has been in a terrible slump. First, it was Brandon Lyon which cost Dirty Sanchez. Second, it was missing Nixon’s back issue during an exam [I am assuming Morgan gave him a physical prior to signing the long-term deal], then Burks, Nomar, and now Mueller. When is the mainstream media going to connect the dots? Now, Morgan is not a poor MD – many players in the past went to bat for him and he is not affiliated with the Sox Medical Center - but his recent troubles need to be exposed.
• The Sox pen is well rested. All arms should be on deck for next couple of games which could prove to be an advantage. The A’s need a strong outing tonight from Redman after last night to give the pen a rest. Hammond and Rincon are likely not available tonight after each throwing more than 30 pitches.
• Joe Sheenan of BP came to a similar conclusion after checking out the Sox adjusted standings. With 228 runs scored and 180 runs allowed, their record of 27-17 is a match for their Pythag mark. But according to Clay Davenport's calculations, the Sox should have a 241-167 edge in runs. The offensive gap, which has cost them at least one win, is mostly explained by the team's early-season struggles with runners on base: 251/.342/.403, as opposed to a whopping .281/.364/.468 with the bases empty. There's no reason to believe that the Sox have some inability to hit with runners on--most teams hit a bit better in that situation--and their performance in May has been much better than what they did in April, so they should be find going forward…That the Red Sox are a game-and-a-half ahead of the Yankees, with underlying quality indicators that show them to be the better team, and with them having yet to get anything from about $14 million worth of hitters, is a great sign for Sox fans.
• Orsillo has gotten fatter and bronzed since the start of the season which puts an unpleasant picture in my head – Orsillo eating a huge cheese burger in a bathing suit poolside at some hotel or even worse in a tanning bed. My apologizes for that one.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
• I used to laugh out loud at work more than a few times when reading the AFKATBSG, now maybe once, but this is a good one…When Tommy John meets somebody and they say, "Hey, you're the surgery guy!", do you think he ever wants to grab them by the collar, push them against a wall and start screaming, "I won 288 f------ games! Two hundred and eighty-eight! I pitched in 3 World Series! You got that, moron?!?!?! Two hundred and eighty-eight wins!"
• From a Gordon Edes chat…Lee, El Guapo pitched in Venezuela last winter, but couldn't interest any big-league teams in his services. But his ghost hangs out on the blogsphere.
• “The Matrix” blew my mind and they have made two others. Good times will be had in HDTV.
• There is going to be a lot of anger and venom on the Boston streets that week. And not just as a result of road rage [from the DNC]. Just in case what is to be leveled upon Boston commuters wasn’t enough, the Yankees are also in town that previous weekend, creating what was going to be Bayer commercial waiting to happen anyhow into a "Calgon, take me away" situation. – Nice lines from Eric Wilbur.
• There is talk that Manny is setting up pitchers. It is usually the other way around. Has a hitter ever setup a pitcher?
• Speaking of Manny, Aflack should sell insurance when cars pull into the Lansdown parking garages.
• The length of Ortiz’s deal is fine. The dollars are a bit high for a DH considering the number of other glove-challenged players likely on the 2005 roster.
• Who the hell is Brian Seacrest? The guy was in the NY Times Magazine this past Sunday saying he is some kind of star.
• If the MFY acquire a CF in July, it will be Ken Griffey, Jr. not Beltran (everyone should hold off on the “look at the standings idiot” emails). The Reds are not a first place club; they are a .500 club since their runs scored and runs prevented are equal. Cincy is currently 5th in the NL in runs scored but 10th in OPS and 13th in runs prevented. Basically, the Reds have been lucky which is not likely to continue.
• Despite the injuries, Tito’s recent poor utilization of the pen, his desire to play two out machines - Crespo and Kapler, and Lowe’s struggles, the Sox have one of the best records and run differentials in baseball (Gammons like sentence - my apologizes).
• Raul Mondesi would not be a bad insurance policy or a platoon partner with Trot for the right price.
• It is no surprise that BK is hurt and heading back to Korea to get checked out. "He's been up front and honest," said Bailey. "He said he was having stiffness in his hip all along. During his last outing he had some stiffness in his hip and it migrated to his back. So something's going on there." If this was an issue, why didn’t BK say anything and why didn’t the medical team discover it?
• Without HBO, Comedy Central and FX, my television would project 90% sports related programming when now it is like 80%.
• “Super Size Me” looks great. Why isn’t being shown in Vermont? The freaking Sox movie is likely taking its spot because the multiplexes, even locally owned ones like here in the Green Mountain State, would not dare show more than one documentary at a time. (The commercials are driving me insane…most notably, the women with the stupid “Nomar is better” chant which is like saying my car stereo is better than the yours with your car being a Honda and his being a Jaguar…pathetic).
On a much more somber note, Doug Pappas pasted away last Friday much too young. Frequent visitors to El Guapo’s Ghost know that I referred to Pappas’ work often. Doug Pappas was always there to answer any of my questions more promptly than my own staff. Pappas was a beacon of the truth regarding baseball economics. Doug Pappas will be sorely missed; rest in peace.
Monday, May 24, 2004
John Gizzi writes for ESPN.com as the A’s Fantasy Correspondent. In 2000 and 2001, John won the distinguished Tobin Cup for literature. Over the years, he has provided El Guapo’s Ghost with intelligent analysis into the Sox major rival out West. Our latest email exchange was no exception.
El Guapo’s Ghost: If the A’s skip Redman, the Sox will face the “Big Three.” Hudson and Mulder have been pitching well, have the numbers to prove it and are scheduled to face the Sox regardless of any rotation changes. You mention that Zito’s velocity is down, but how is the tough curve that froze many Sox hitter last October? Does he really need those three mph to be effective?
John Gizzi: The funny thing about Zito's numbers last year was that his BA against (.219) was consistent with what it had been throughout his career, and he allowed an OPS of only .616, 10 points lower than the year before when Zito won 23 games and the AL Cy Young. (Quit crying about Pedro getting jobbed, Red Sox fans. It was two years ago.) Other than a reduced strikeout rate, he was the same pitcher he had been the year before: about the same peripherals, two more innings pitched -- but nine fewer wins. So much for pitchers "knowing how to win."
But that was last year. In 2004, Zito is working up high pitch counts, as he had done in 2003, but this time he's being hit -- and hit hard. Opposing hitters are plastering him at a .854 OPS clip, and he's already allowed nine home runs in 55 innings. Through it all, though, Zito's striking out over seven hitters per nine innings, on par with what he had done up until last year. The stuff is clearly still there, even if his velocity is down a little.
So what gives? Poor command and overall strategy. Nearly every home run Zito has allowed has been on his fastball. Either a lot of guys are guessing right, or Zito's lost velocity is hurting him, or both. What's happening more than anything else is that Zito is working in reverse: he absolutely must get the bender over to establish the fastball, but for some reason he's been doing it the other way around. If Zito effectively works his curve into the count early, he could give the Sox trouble. If not, I advise the fans in the Green Monster bleachers to please be aware of flying objects moving toward them at high speeds.
EGG: How is Rhodes’ velocity? Like Alan Embree, I think Rhodes has to establish his fastball to be effective. When he does not hit 93+ on the gun, Rhodes and Embree can hurt by good hitters.
J.G.: Rhodes has been working (apparently) on a cut fastball, which has (apparently) resulted in six straight scoreless outings, covering (apparently) seven innings. (No, wait, it really was seven innings. Ignore that last "apparently." The first two hold, though.) If that sounds like an excuse for how mediocre Rhodes had been before he "learned" this cutter, it probably is. Anecdotally, Rhodes looks about the same: decent but not great velocity, not much of an off-speed pitch, and little sign of the nastiness he showed in 2001 and 2002 pitching for the Mariners. This series is a big test for Rhodes, because the games should be close, and the Red Sox are a more patient, better hitting team than the Tigers and Royals, the teams Rhodes has been putting up all those zeroes against. He has the "make-up" to be an elite reliever, but if he's pitching through an injury, as he did last year, he's not helping anyone except the Angels, Yankees, and Red Sox, teams which, along with the A's, form four qualified squads fighting for three playoff spots.
EGG: Which new bat has been the biggest disappointment – Kielty, Karros, Kotsay? Without Hattie, Scutaro, Miller hitting above their heads, the A’s offense would be in crisis mode.
J.G.: Not much was expected of Karros, and Kielty, while the A's were very high on him, at least has been hitting well against left-handed pitchers, making Kotsay the easy "winner." It's not only the gruesome numbers (.229/.286/.264), but it's also Kotsay's salary: he's taking home $6.5 million this year. While a wealthy team like the Red Sox, who spend that much to deny all the Manny Ramirez trade rumors and perhaps to secure a few ivory back-scratchers (but none for poor Pedro), can burn money like that, the A's can not afford to make such lucrative mistakes. Kielty and Karros, while stiffish, at least are cheap; together they are signed for $897,000, ncentives not included.
But while on the one hand Kotsay has been terrible, on the other hand to obtain him the A's jettisoned Terrence Long, a move that has to be considered a good one no matter if the cost was untold millions of dollars, a few dozen Erubiel Durazo autographs, or the prospect of being forced to watch "American Idol" 100 straight days. On the other hand -- no, it seems we're out of hands, so let's turn to our legs -- it takes a special player to hit worse than Terrence Long, and, remarkably, Mark Kotsay has been that player.
EGG: Is Dye really back? In May, he is 228/297/333 [as of 5/19/04].
J.G.: Which brings us to the (so far) savior of the A's, Jermaine Dye. Dye crushed the ball early, but as Thomas points out, in May he has been T-Long (it never gets old bashing that stiff): .257/.321/.414, two home runs. It seems that for the first few weeks of the season teams were challenging Dye inside with hard fastballs: "You say you're healthy, then prove it." Prove it he did, by raking those fastballs out of the yard. Since then, it's been a lot of off-speed breaking balls and hard sliders away, and Dye has not adjusted. It's possible he's peaked already this season, but it's a contract year, so it would not be surprising if Dye somehow found his early-season stroke again. (But the prospect of millions of dollars from the Yankees in 2005 would have had nothing to do with it.) No matter what Dye does the rest of the year, he is NOT critical to the A's offense. They're going to struggle scoring runs no matter what, and if Dye doesn't play another game all year or if he hits 50 home runs, that would not change. This is a mediocre unit, especially since Kielty and Kotsay are not hitting like the A's wanted.
EGG: Is Joe Blanton really ready? He has unimpressive peripherals to date in Sacramento. Is he better trade bait than Zito or Harden given the media attention? Former Red Sox farm hand, Duchscherer could be more than adequate in the fifth spot (Duchscherer was traded to Texas for Doug ‘Bellies).
J.G.: Why does Blanton need to be ready? Even with Zito struggling, the A's rotation is top notch, and if Billy Beane wants to make a deal, he seldom trades his top prospects unless absolutely necessary. (All the White Sox could get for Ray Durham was Jon Adkins? Jon Adkins! They'd have been better off with that diet guru with the homonymic last name.) Nonetheless, Beane WILL have to cough up some Grade A talent this time around, because the A's need a second baseman, a power relief pitcher, and -- surprise, surprise -- an outfielder who can actually hit. The good news is that they've got the prospects to deal, and with six of the first 39 picks in this year's amateur draft, they'll have even more come June. So who goes? The suspicion here is that Blanton will be traded before Harden and Zito; unless Harden can fetch Carlos Beltran, he's not going anywhere, especially with the likely departure of one of the Big Three.
I have been very impressed with what I have seen from Duchscherer, but he probably has no future with the club (for one thing the A's signed Mark Redman to a baffling three-year deal), something that flies in the face of what the A's are supposed to be about. As readers of Moneyball know, the A's supposedly value performance over potential, especially when evaluating college and minor-league talent. In other words, if given the choice between A) a 5'10" reliever who strikes out 80 hitters in 60 innings, with low hit and walk rates to match, but who tops out at only 88 MPH or B) a 6'4" wunderkind who throws 99 MPH but who can't find home plate, the A's are going to choose option "A." Other teams can take their chances with a Bobby Jenks; the A's will take theirs on, well, a Duchscherer. Except, as I say, it's not going to work that way with Duchscherer. When he's traded in July, he's going to make a fine addition to somebody's staff. Think a younger Brad Radke, and you've got an accurate picture of what the Duke can be, given his minor-league numbers and how he actually looks on the mound.
EGG: Thanks a lot for providing great insight that you can’t get from checking out the box score. It is greatly appreciated. It should be a great series if the weather holds.
Friday, May 21, 2004
Scott Rosenthal believes…
The Red Sox, like the Yankees, aren't deep in upper-level prospects, but they appear poised to make a run at Beltran.
One way to do it, if Garciaparra makes a successful return, would be to trade Garciaparra to the Dodgers for Triple-A right-hander Edwin Jackson and other prospects, then ship that group to the Royals for Beltran.
DePo will not trade for Nomar unless he is ordered to by Bostonian, Frank McCourt. Nomar is not his ideal player.
Beltran will likely not be wearing BOSTON across his chest this season. Not because the Sox do not have upper-level prospects to deal – Baird should have interest in Youkilis, Shoppach, West, Lester, but the Sox return on investment (ROI) is little.
Beltran will cost the Red Sox over $5.5 million for three months of service - $4.5 million salary plus the luxury tax at 22.5%. The Sox are already spending more than they would like on payroll. Unlike most other clubs, the Sox will not generate additional revenue (tickets, concessions, etc.) from the acquisition. The Sox would have to move salary, Damon, to stay within budget.
Clubs with a need for Damon would also have a need for Beltran. They would not shot themselves in the foot by trading for Damon, unless the Sox offered prospects and/or cash too. The Red Sox do not have mass quantities of either.
A three month superstar rental would hurt the Sox balance sheet and farm without significantly increasing the likelihood of the club qualifying of the playoffs.
Sean McAdam hits a homer with this article for ESPN.com.
Epstein and his associates were mercilessly criticized for daring to upend tradition and try the committee approach. The idea -- in which the staff's best relievers would be utilized by situation rather than convention -- wasn't wrong, but the personnel was.
"I guess you can say we decided to take a compromise (between the conventional bullpen approach and the committee model),'' Epstein said. "And it's the most practical one possible -- using Foulke aggressively in the eighth inning and in some tie games.''
"As an industry, we're still far from optimum when it comes to bullpen usage,'' he said. "But there's no doubt that as an organization, we can learn from our mistakes and there's something to be said for the value of roles.''
• Red Sox front office pitching consultant, Voros McCracken, got his DIPS stat on ESPN.com.
• Since I am in last place in my fantasy league, I have decided to end fantasy Fridays. I can give bad advice via email.
• El Guapo’s Ghost will be undergoing some changes soon. Hopefully, you will like them. Hopefully, it won’t take up too much of my time so that I can continue to regularly post.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com: Page2. Caple’s regular OFF BASE column is a must read for baseball fans as well as his hilarious Yankee hating articles.
El Guapo’s Ghost: Who comes up with the idea that you are going to take a road trip across I-90, down the Mississippi, or visit the campuses of the Final Four teams?
Jim Caple: That's mostly me, though my editor, Kevin Jackson, thought of the Mississippi tour. Next month I'll drive the Lewis and Clark trail.
EGG: Which is your favorite location/experience that you have written about?
J.C.: There's too many to choose from, but among my favorites are the '94 winter Olympics, the 2000 Olympics, the 98 home run race, Cal Ripken's streak, the 1991 World Series, the 1995 Mariners playoffs. Memorable locations are inside the green monster, townball in stark Minnesota, high school football in the Mississippi delta and Lillehammer for the Olympics.
EGG: I can't seem to figure out which is your favorite MLB club – the Red Sox, Cubs, Mariners or Twins. What cap is in your closet?
J.C.: I grew up rooting for the Giants and Red Sox. I covered both the Twins and Mariners, so I have interest in them. I also root for the underdogs so I like the Cubs. I don't root so much for teams anymore, but for stories. But I guess the giants, mariners and twins are my favorites.
EGG: How did you become such a big Yankee hater?
J.C.: Isn't everyone? Seriously, they're a national punchline that everyone can understand. I could make jokes about the Mariners but no one outside of Seattle would get them. Joke about the Yankees and everyone understands.
EGG: Do you want to see a Cubs-Red Sox World Series? Personally, I want the Sox to beat the Astros. The notion of sticking it to Clemens and A.P. would be icing on the cake.
J.C.: Cubs/Red Sox series would be the ultimate. I would have to retire from sports.
EGG: Since Ben Affleck is becoming the poster boy for Red Sox Nation, I think he should have to donate the $12.5 million he made for "acting" in "Gigli" and start a Save Pedro and Nomar from the Evil Empire Foundation. My bet would be that SPNFEEF would have a budget of $20 million by the end of the season. Thoughts?
J.C.: An excellent idea. Better yet, people could make donations for him not to make another movie.
EGG: Thanks again.
J.C.: You're welcome.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The Red Sox acquired Henri Stanley from San Diego for cash considerations. Stanley was hitting 248/330/386 for S.D.’s AAA affiliate. Stanley has hit at every level minor league level. Last season at the anti-Coors field in New Orleans, he put up 292/368/445. The previous season in AA, Stanley hit 314/408/542. Clubs continue to give this guy away (Stanley was claimed off waivers by the Padres over the winter). He plays hard, has three and half of the traditional five tools, takes a walk and is cheap. Both Houston and San Diego could not find room on their 40-man for this guy. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
In Joe Sheenan’s [pay-per-view] column yesterday,
Quite frankly, the Sox could use Gonzalez (0.96 ERA, 33 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings for Nashville) back
Those are sick numbers but who is Gonzalez and when did the Sox have him? The Gonzalez is Mike. The Sox had him as part of the original Scott Sour-suck deal with the Pirates last July. At the time, I wrote…
…Mike Gonzalez with his reported high 90's sinker and slider coming from the left side offers much more potential. He has the stuff to be a dominant relief pitcher; a starter if he can develop an off-speed pitch.
Then after Gonzalez was dealt back to Pitt, I wrote…
…I am disappointed that the minor leaguers went back to their original clubs. Gonzalez has more upside than a [Anastacio] Martinez…
I bring this up because I wonder if the Sox medical staff suffered any “consequences and repercussions” from misdiagnosing Brandon Lyon. How about Trot Nixon? I am assuming Nixon went through an extensive physical before the club signed him to a three-year extension. Did the examination not find an ailing back or did Theo ignore a medical report?
On the same day that an Arizona columnist suggested that the D'Backs trade the Big Unit, he makes history by throwing a perfect game. It was nice to witness history live on TBS. Finally, TBS is useful for something other than holiday marathons of Lethal Weapon or Rocky I - XXII. Congratulations, Randy Johnson - maybe he rejoins his former teammate at Fenway later this summer.
Mel Duvall of Baseline Magazine has an interesting article on what some have called the “Red Sox Way.” Thanks to Baseball Primer or Think Factory for the link.
With all of the technology in use by the Red Sox, why do they not have one-way radios in batting helmets like quarterbacks? It seems crazy why a hitter would get a sign wrong or a runner would miss the third base coach when we have the technology to virtually eliminate that possibility. It doesn’t seem to happen often but why chance it. The use of batting helmet radios would also eliminate the opportunity that your opponent could steal signs.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Of course, errors are bad and the Sox defense has been sloppy of late but the error is very poor statistic. The error is inherently subjective. The official scorer has too much influence.
When analyzing defensive performance, the most important mental adjustment to make is to hold the defense accountable for every hit on balls that could have been fielded…Bill James suggested this approach in one of his Abstracts in the 1980s, calling the new metric "Defensive Efficiency (DE)." It is, quite simply, the percentage of balls in play fielded by the defense. The best teams are usually around .7300 with the worst around .6900.
The Red Sox Defensive Efficiency is currently at .7001 and it will get better.
Prior to the Toronto series, Tito’s use of Foulke was near flawless and somewhat unconventional. Some folks are wondering why he doesn’t have more saves…well because he is being used efficiently unlike a pure closer.
A pure closer is a reliever who only comes in to protect a one- to three-run lead, only in the ninth. The worst pitcher in baseball stands a great chance of pitching the ninth inning without giving up three runs. With no outs, a team with an average offense against an average pitcher can expect to score half a run.
The issue with Tito has been his willingness to use DiNardo in tight situations when better options are available and it seems like Tito forgot that Foulke can pitch two innings very effectively.
Please note that the above quotes are from articles available at Baseball Prospectus and I highly recommend reading them and their other material as well.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Neil Swidey interviews Nomah for the Globe's Sunday Magazine.
"I have feelings just like you," he says during our meal at Sonsie, with two-day stubble surrounding his goatee, his dark hair swept back except for a Superman curl descending onto his forehead. "People think I'm different. I'm not. I'm just like everyone else."
And that is why New England loves Nomah.
In a sports-obsessed and celebrity-deprived city, Nomar became the hot property. Women swooned, and men didn't seem to mind. No cause for envy. He wasn't one of those lucky specimens God blessed with a perfect face and chiseled physique. Ethnic without being foreign, every muscle and achievement earned through sweat and drive, a heartthrob with a handyman's nose. One of us.
And that is a reason why Nomah may leave us.
Nomar stresses that he doesn't want to dwell on the trade saga. But press hard enough, and it's clear the sting is still there. "It's like your wife says, 'I'm going to get rid of you for a new husband.'[Long pause] 'Damn it! I couldn't find anybody in time! I thought I had one, but you know what, on second thought, we couldn't come to terms. Darn it! [Another long pause] Um, I want you back now. I want you back now to take care of our kids. We're all right, right? OK, good. Everything's cool, right? I know I said you were a bad husband, but I didn't mean it.'"
It looks like this will be his last season in Boston, but not until he leads this club to victory in October. A feat that will forever cement a spot in our heart for Nomah and he can then take his place beside Larry Legend, Bobby Orr and Teddy Ballgame on New England’s Mount Rushmore.
Other news, notes and B.S.
• Nixon’s return may have a bigger impact than Nomar’s. The weighted average of Nixon’s subs (Kapler, McCarty, Dauber) in OBP and SLG are 294 and 368, respectfully. Nixon’s average over the last three seasons is 369 OBP and 514 SLG; an upgrade of 75 and 146. The improvement over Nomar’s temporary replacements (Bellhorn and Crespo) is 11 points of OBP and 172 of SLG. If Pokey is on the bench instead of Bellhorn, the difference becomes 96 of OBP and 210 of SLG. Tito needs to seriously consider giving Bellhorn the bulk of the playing time at second.
• Ben Sheets is becoming one of my favorite non-Sox players – now that Javy has turned to the dark side. What a performance yesterday!
• It is nice to see Junior getting his groove back - stay healthy.
• I can’t stand those freaking Red Sox movie commercials. They are driving me crazy. Anyone else?
Saturday, May 15, 2004
appears to be calling the Beltran/Garica/Damon rumor - just that a rumor and a foolish one.
“Yeah, I've been hearing about that,”Baird said. “I don't want to get in the position of confirming or denying every trade rumor. But I'll say this, we need Carlos Beltran to get back into this thing.
Don Theo had an even stronger tone,
``It's not true,'' Epstein said before last night's 9-3 Red Sox win over Toronto. ``I try to touch base with as many teams as possible, but there's nothing to that one.''
First off, Baird does not deny the report, which is a smart move. Anytime a club or player has a deal in the works with either the Sox or MFY, the non-superpower party should leak the story to bring the other AL East club to the table thereby increasing their leverage. Play the Sox and MFY off one another. If the Royals leaked the story to a Seattle paper instead of the local media, Baird deserves two gold stars. Secondly, Theo is certainly going to deny the rumor. The Sox gain nothing from confirming any discussion. Third, many folks have debunked the trade rumor due to its lopsided appearance, but the known quantities/major leaguers could only be the principals in the deal. Cash and minor leaguers would be worked out once the clubs agreed to the meat of the deal.
With that being said, my head tells me that this deal is not going to happen. It is to involved to get accomplished in the middle of the season and the leak will bring in the MFY or another club
in to trump any Sox-Beltran deal. My heart, Beltran is probably my favorite non-Red Sox player, wants this deal to go down so I can invest in a Sox home jersey with #51 on the back.
1. Sub-par defense again last night.
2. Dauber needs to get plate appearances while he is hot.
3. Foulke pitching with a six run lead in the ninth is defendable, since he has not gotten into a game in two straight days and Monday is an off day. Williamson's appearance is not. S.W. pitching three consecutive days makes him likely not available today and possibly for Sunday's finally. The eighth was a perfect time for Brown with Foulke as his backup. Tito, your club was up six runs; it was the best time for S.W.
4. The MFY have to be concerned with Mussina. He is only getting 5.21 K/9 with a 1.88 K/BB. Mussina's career numbers are 7.13 K/9 and 3.52 K/BB.
Jason Stark gets it right again.
Five months from now, when the regularly scheduled complaining begins about the baseball playoffs running past midnight in the east, can someone remember to bring up the NBA?
If baseball had a marquee series remotely resembling Lakers-Spurs -- and Game 6 was scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time -- we'd be reading columns from every TV critic in America about baseball turning its back on its fans. Not to mention 100 letters to the editor from fans saying they would never watch another baseball game.
But the NBA gets its usual pass. Just more proof of the double standard relentlessly applied to baseball, versus all those other sports. Got an explanation for that? We'd love to hear it.
Friday, May 14, 2004
JOHN HICKEY of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reports that
Bavasi said no deals are near, but rumors are circulating the Red Sox and Royals are trying to entice the Mariners into a three-way trade. Boston would trade pitcher Byung Hyun Kim and, possibly, outfielder Johnny Damon to the Mariners in exchange for pitcher Freddy Garcia and minor league starter Cha Seung Baek.
If the Red Sox could get the Mariners to bite, Garcia would then be shipped to Kansas City, with outfielder Carlos Beltran going to Boston.
I AM FOR REAL--------
About 20% of the season is completed. The following six players listed below are ranked in the top 75 and had a pre-season ranking greater than 200 according to Yahoo. Thus, they are surprises.
Miguel Cabrera (pre-230/9) is not a surprise. Basically, Yahoo is stupid. A 230 pre-season ranking is asinine. Cabrera is FOR REAL---; a real MVP candidate.
Craig Wilson (226/29) made my pre-season sleeper list and he is making me look wicked f@#$in’ smaht. It is unlikely that his batting average will be above 300 at the end of the season but 25 homers and 100 RBIs are almost a given at this point (knock on wood). If he is catcher eligible in your league and on your club, contrags; Wilson is FOR REAL--.
Danny Graves (234/52) is the Reds closer. He will continue to get saves but is not a lock to help in any other areas. As a groundball pitcher, Graves is not going to aid in strikeouts like other closers. Graves’ style also allows him to be susceptible to a high WHIP stat. Groundballs can find holes and Graves does not have Schilling or Wells like control. He is a possible high sell. If you are a believer in the notion that good teams yields more save opportunities, then Graves is a must sell. The Reds are ready for a free fall.
Jose Mesa (236/67) is reborn? I don’t know. Watch for reports on his control and velocity. If they start to go, sell.
A. Otsuka’s (448/69) high ranking is mostly due to his three wins. He won’t keep up that pace as a setup guy so for most fantasy players he has little value at this time.
R. Lopez (223/73) – see above. If Lopez continues to pitch well and is moved into the rotation, he is worth a look. A few years back he won 15 with a 3.57 ERA.
Sox Therapy Session – First of 2004
• Lowe is playing his frustration regarding his 11 days off in the paper; first his contract and now this. Would you like some cheese? Who the f%^&k does this guy think he is? Lowe is a number three starter. He had one very good season in the rotation. Lowe - shut up. I feel strongly about this one – Lowe is an above average starter. If you disagree, fine, but if you are going to leave a comment or email me about this subject, do your homework – show me numbers.
• Damon – how about practicing what you preached? Damon, Bellhorn, and DiNardo all with miscues in the field makes me sick. The game is 27 outs NOT 30.
• Speaking of DiNardo, why the hell is the Rule V pick the first choice to come into a one-run game in sixth, when the other SIX arms in the pen should have been available?
• BTW, WTF is up with SEVEN arms in the pen? The Sox have no need for both baked mAlskan and the rookie.
• Dirt Dogs is reporting that Nomar Tore His Achilles Sheath but should be back the beginning of June. If Nomar does make it back on that time table, will he be the same without surgery? I am no medical professional, by any means, but tears don’t heal on their own. Not good news.
From Dirt Dogs, longtime SoSH poster Rudy Pemberton sums things up nicely (points maybe redundant but WTF):
"1) Mental Errors. Forgetting the number of outs. Botched rundowns. Balls landing between defenders because of lack of communication. Balls falling out of gloves for lack of communication or some other reason.
2) Preparation by Starting Pitchers. The number of first inning runs given up is disconcerting given the talent of this team. What is the reason? Bad karma, or lack of preparation?
3) Not getting up for lousy teams. 14-14 in games that aren't vs. the Yankees. Inexplicable. Too much partying or Playstation playing? What the hell is going on? The Red Sox payroll is more than double that of the teams that are kicking our ass.
4) The bullpen. When its a one-run game in the 6th inning, you don't go to a tired Rule 5 draft pick simply because its "too early" for your veterans. Keep the game close. Theres also no reason for having a 12-man staff if guys like Malaska or Dinardo (no more talented than Man #12) are going to pitch 3 straight days.
5) The lineup. David Ortiz should not be batting third against lefties. Cesar Crespo should not be starting, ever. I'd also think that it might help the defense if players were playing in the same positions. Pick a 1B and go with it."
Other Notes, Links and Comments:
• Doug Pappas with a look at the Dodger’s ownership situation: Whenever you're frustrated about the 2004 Sox, remember that things could be a lot worse. Frank McCourt could have bought the team.
• Jim Caple on former Sox farm hand, Lew Ford. As you may recall, DD traded Ford for Hector Carrasco and his seven innings of relief work in 2000. If DD did not make any in-season swaps, he would have had one of the best trading records of any GM.
• Eric Enders on taking in a game from inside the Green Monster.
• My goal is to have 10,000+ hits and 20+ email addresses signed up on bloglet by the end of the month. If both happen, I’ll reward a random reader. Past prizes have been two Sox tickets and a Baseball Reference sponsorship. Thanks to all for continuing to stop by on your world wide web odysseys.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
The issue with the club as it stands now is the lack of run production. The Red Sox are averaging 4.94 runs per game ranking them eighth in the American League. The interesting fact is that the club ranks fifth in OBP at 348 and fourth in SLG at 442. Those rankings would suggest that the Sox should be around fifth in runs scored (there is a high correlation between the components of OPS and runs scored). Obviously, the Sox have not been efficient at the plate. They rank first or last in runners left on base.
The natural response is that the Sox need to hit better in the “clutch” or with runners on base. Of course, base hits when ducks are on the pond would assist, but the real or long-term answer is for the Sox to rid their lineup of the automatic outs known as Kapler, Reese, and Crespo. The trio has collected over 17% of the team’s plate appearances combining for a weighted OBP of 254. The lack of production or OBP at the bottom of the lineup is preventing the Sox from increasing their run production. Two players in the lineup with an OBP<300 will kill the possibility of a big inning and significantly reduce the effectiveness of the on-base skills of Manny, Ortiz, Millar, and V-Tek.
Thankfully, the Sox have in-house answers - Nomar and Nixon – and to a lesser extent Ellis Burks. Nomar’s return will send Crespo packing. Nixon and Burks arrivals back to Fenway should end Kapler’s days with a bat (Burks as the DH with Millar in right and Ortiz at first). The only question is who’s on second – Pokey or Bellhorn.
Tito should implement a strict platoon based on the starting pitcher once Nomar is in mid-season form. Bellhorn plays when Pedro, Schilling and Wake start and Reese plays when Lowe is on the mound. Only Lowe and possibly Arroyo generate enough ground balls to warrant writing Pokey, as much fun as that may be, on the lineup card. If Bellhorn continues to get on and he will, the man has to get plate appearances. You’re my boy, Blue-Bellhorn!
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Just some really strong baseball writing recently and here is another by Ben McGrath for the New Yorker on the floater.
Knuckleball pitchers are not just a rare but also a close-knit breed—the Fraternal Order of Knuckleheads, bound by their shared experiences of alienation and finger cramps. “We always root for each other across the miles,” Bouton says. “We all understand we’re a little weird.”
The Sox are starting to dominate the market on these weirdos with Wake and...
Zink is leading Portland in innings pitched, and in the last week of April the Sox signed the left-handed pitcher Joe Rogers from the discard heap—forgettable news, if not for the fact that Epstein had told me that the club planned to convert him immediately to the Zink regimen.
“We’re trying to remind ourselves that there are lots of ways to get guys out,” Epstein said.
An interesting development from Gammons, apparently Sheets is off the market.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin thoroughly understands such dilemmas, which is why he says he will not trade Ben Sheets in the foreseeable future, if ever.
"We have him for three years after this, and he will be at the front of our rotation as we bring in young pitchers and players to give us stability," says Melvin.
It appears Sheets won’t be heading to the MFY or any contender in July. Good news.
More from Gammons, Royals GM Allard Baird on Carlos Beltran
“...he's smart. Every year when we've gone to arbitration, he's listened to the things he's been criticized on and improved on them. Not many players are like that."
Hitting coach Jeff Pentland continues...
"He's worked at it, and really he's the model for everything Ted Williams taught."
How can the Sox not put on the full court press for this guy?
and Jason Stark
have informative articles about pitch counts and when to pull your starting pitcher. Both are must reads.
Stephen Rodrick for Slate has an interesting take on backup catchers:
But these superior athletes can't match the feats of the ultimate sports freeloader: the backup catcher. Backup catchers are harder to kill than cockroaches and just as unsightly. The fraternity is the athletic equivalent of Skull and Bones: Once you're in, you've got membership until you're 40 or bat below .180. And sometimes even that won't get you bounced.
Rodrick writes a wonderful article. I wish I had a fraction of Rodrick’s writing talent.
The 33-year old legal phenom of the Red Sox's front office, Treat is at the epicenter of a dynamic and singular industry, one steeped in history, high emotion, and a labyrinthine regulatory system unlike any other business in America. Lucinda Treat, general counsel for the Boston Red Sox
Treat hasn’t gotten as much media attention as the Sox other law school graduate executive phenom, who name rhymes with B.O.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Due to my recent travels and other life sustaining stuff like eating, last night was the first game I’ve watched from beginning to end without prolonged interruption. Thus, I watched the ballgame by myself and here are my thoughts. Italicized print below is from ESPN’s game log of last evening’s game.
I am glad to see Coco Crisp in the lineup instead of Alex “I once was a can’t miss over-hyped NY prospect” Escobar. Is there a better family friendly name than Coco Crisp? I wonder if Coco wanted the nickname, T-Bone.
Watching the game in High Def could be better than in person depending on your seat.
-Top of the 1st inning
-M Lawton doubled to left.
-O Vizquel flied out to center.
-J Gerut grounded out to second, M Lawton to third.
-V Martinez doubled to left, M Lawton scored.
-T Hafner singled to left center, V Martinez scored, T Hafner out stretching at second.
It appears southpaws have a game plan against Kim - go the other way.
-Bottom of the 1st inning
-J Damon singled to center.
-M Bellhorn tripled to deep center, J Damon scored.
You're my boy, Bellhorn!
Ben Broussard with Cinny put on a great BP display a couple of years ago - five dingers at the Big O. Kim looks horrible. He only has command of his fastball; the breaking ball/slider is everywhere with poor velocity. He is killing my fantasy team.
-Bottom of the 2nd inning
-D McCarty singled to center.
The younger Omar gets McCarty's weak grounder up the middle. PokeyMan power makes that play look routine.
-Bottom of the 3rd inning
-D Ortiz flied out to left.
-K Millar singled to left.
-J Varitek doubled to right, K Millar to third.
-B Daubach doubled to left, K Millar and J Varitek scored.
-B Mueller grounded out to third, B Daubach to third.
-D McCarty walked.
-C Durbin relieved J D'Amico.
-P Reese lined out to center.
Jody Gerut saves a run for now with a nice sliding play on V-Tek's liner to right. The key words in that last sentence were "for now." Dauber takes a good fastball down and away for a Wall ball. The Sox rally again to tie the game at four.
-Top of the 4th inning
-T Hafner grounded out to shortstop.
-R Belliard doubled to right.
-B Broussard hit by pitch.
It is so nice to watch a smooth guy in the field. It has been more than a few years since I could say that "he just makes it look so easy". Pokey can flash the leather. The ball that hit Broussard was a strike. Broussard's elbow was over the inside corner of the plate.
This is Kim's STATS scouting report:
Kim throws in the low 90s with a low-sidearm delivery sometimes described as submarine. Few, if any, pitchers throw as hard from that angle. His fastball also has unusual action, seeming to rise. He uses a wide-breaking slider to neutralize righthanded hitters, and also throws a changeup and sinker to lefties.
Where is this pitcher? What the F*&^ is going on? Is Kim still hurt? If Pedro pitches like crap tonight, my ulcer is going to flare up again.
It appears that Dinardo's delivery makes it difficult for southpaws to pick up his release point. A LOOGY and long man is perfect use of a roster spot.
Dauber takes the high heat into the Indians pen. Let’s hope this hot streak continues. He better be in the lineup tomorrow.
I've got noting to say about this inning beside that I switched from Grey Goose to Smutty Nose Shoals Pale Ale and Newman's Own Pretzels.
V-Tek hits a homer to dead center with a little help from members of Red Sox Nation.
Eighth and Ninth Innings
Someone needs to explain to me how Kapler is useful this season? Other than a backup for Damon, he provides nothing. A Rule V, minor league free agent, etc. can fill that role for the league minimum. When Nixon gets back, he is going to provide a huge lift for this club.
The High Def broadcast cameras were rolling on Remy and Donny O when they thought otherwise. Remy in a very sarcastic tone says "Hurry up. I want to make it home for Extra Innings Extra." Make of it what you will.
Monday, May 10, 2004
I got to see two rare occurrences in baseball on Saturday – an inside the park home run and a conventional home run hit by the same player (I witnessed Junior Felix hit one off the anti-Christ back in 1989) and a complete game – combined with a Red Sox win = Good Baseball. Good Baseball + Good Weather + Good Food and Drink + Good Friends = Very Good Times.
Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see any more displays of PokeyMan power and along with his fellow out machines – Kapler and Mueller – have, until recently stalled the Sox offense. (RSN also needs to thank Juan Gone for his lackadaisical play out in right aiding in Pokey’s first homer and Manny scoring the game winner on Friday night.) Any lineup with three hitters with OBPs less than 330 is going to fall into slumps. Last season, the Sox did not have one everyday player with an OBP less than 330. Three out machines kill big innings by decreasing the number of opportunities for a hit with runner(s) in scoring position.
Fortunately over the past week, Mueller’s OBP is 345 and Pokey is at 417 and the offense reminds RSN of last year’s historical lineup. Mueller will be fine but until Nixon and Nomar return to form, the offense is going to continue to have its ups and downs.
Vermont native and former Red Sox prospect makes Scott Rosenthal’s Inside Dish.
Tyler Pelland, 20, has an above-average curveball, and a scout who saw him recently says he has carved up the opposition.
RSN needs to pull for the Royals so that Carlos Beltran does not become a MFY in July. Do not be surprised when the Sox make a hard push for Beltran over the winter. He is a star.
Friday, May 07, 2004
After returning from Key West on Wednesday (BTW, my Key West name is Rookie thanks to Mike Eden), I went to see Lewis Black with a friend. It was a great show. Lewis Black gets El Guapo’s Ghost’s highest approval rating. Black’s show was funnier than Jon Stewart’s.
During the break of the show, EGG was debating whether or not to watch the last final “Friends” show. After too much thought, I decided that I should watch the freaking show so I don’t look like a complete social outcast this weekend. I am finding that most women don’t want to talk about the probability of Mark Bellhorn having an OBP > 400 at the end of this season. So I went with a Sox-Friends spilt screen.
I recall now why I stopped watching the show. The Artist Formerly Known As the Boston Sports Guy got it right:
“To everyone's eternal horror, "Friends" had evolved into a Chick Show (the dreaded cousin to the Chick Flick).”
What I did learn from the article is that I may have to start watching the “The OC.” I am a closet 90210 fan. I got hooked one summer. After working the morning shift in a hot warehouse, I would come home and veg-out from 3 until dinner like in elementary school. The only non-cartoon show on was 90210. Now I get my fix on the Saturday mornings when I am hung over on FX.
Sorry back to “The OC.” Once the AFKABSG, said
“…then falls for the next-door neighbor (Marissa), a rich chick who has a thing for brooding short guys with no money and no hope.”
Well, folks that's me. My oldest friend, Scott, thinks I am George Costanza. I guess it is a toss up or a combo. Anyway, I maybe able to relate to that character and hopefully my new neighbor will be like Marissa.
I'll be in Boston for the Sox game on Saturday as I venture with 20 or so friends to the Fenway bleachers. We will likely head to Dick’s after the game. EGG readers are welcome too. I'll have a El Guapo t-shirt on my back.
Boy George in an interview with SI’s Tom Verducci,
“Nomar is a great player and a great team leader. I love him. He can't feel good. You can't tell what he'll do next year. He married Mia Hamm. That's pretty smart, too."
Joe Sheenan of Baseball Prospectus makes a few keen observations on the Red Sox.
• With Nomar Garciaparra's return getting closer, the Red Sox are going to have an interesting decision to make. Mark Bellhorn is third on the team in OBP and out-hitting Pokey Reese by what would be about 50 runs over a full season. I think Reese has to be in the lineup behind Derek Lowe, but none of the other Red Sox starters gets enough ground balls to justify playing him over Bellhorn.
How Terry Francona handles this is the first real test for him as Red Sox manager.
• Nobody asked me, but I wouldn't sign Pedro Martinez to a three-year contract at gunpoint, and I wouldn't commit to more than $20MM over the life of a two-year deal. The Sox have better uses--Edgar Renteria, to name one--for that money.
And no, Lowe isn't one of them. Why people are lumping him in with Martinez, Garciaparra and Jason Varitek is beyond me. He's a No. 3 starter heavily dependent on his defense. Although I suppose if Sidney Ponson can turn one good half into $22 million, Lowe will do all right for himself.
I decided sometime ago not to post about the impending Sox free agents and I won’t. I will say that if Pedro does not return, the Sox will seriously consider moving to a four-man starting rotation like in Denver. Two of the Sox starters under contract have the ability to make the transition easily – Wakefield and Kim. My gut tells me that the workhorse named Curt Schilling will not have issue pitching on three days rest. Bronson Arroyo would be a nice swing/everything pitcher – spot starter, long and middle reliever. Acquiring one starting pitcher is certainly easier and cheaper than two but those are only the ancillary benefits. Rany Jazayerli explains the others here – Part I, Part II, Part III.
are preventing me from posting more original content. It should be resolved next week. I apologize and please stay tuned.