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I Just Can't Quit You, Baby
2006-01-20 05:26
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Man, I just can't help but chuckle at this one. The once and future King, Theo Epstein, winner of the Hot Stove Sarah Bernhardt Award, will return to the Boston Red Sox next week according to the team. The Boston Globe reports:

Epstein's exact role and title had not been completely determined as of last night. Nor had it been decided exactly how co-GMs Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington would be recast. The club, in a release, indicated only that Epstein would be rejoining the Sox in a ''full-time baseball operations capacity, details of which will be announced next week." However, expectations within the organization point to Epstein returning as the lead decision-maker within baseball operations, with Hoyer and Cherington working under him.

Dan Shaughnessy, the polarizing columnist who is most closely identified with the Red Sox than any other writer (with all due respect to Peter Gammons), writes:

Here's an inside look at how it works over at Fenway these days. The Red Sox are afraid of what is written about them in the newspapers and what is said about them on WEEI. That's why we got this vague, preemptive strike just after the dinner hour last night. Nothing has changed since Theo left and no one knows how the new arrangement is going to work, but owner John W. Henry figured it was better to put out a press release saying ''all is well" than to read more speculation about weakness at the top.

Embarrassing. The people in baseball operations were working hard as usual late last night, trying to plug the team's holes in center field and shortstop, when Epstein called them and told them there was going to be an announcement that he's coming back next week. No one knew quite what to say to their former boss. There's been no discussion about who will report to whom. No one knows how this is going to work, and Theo has burned some bridges with his own people. But John W. Henry loves him. So he gets to come back. The only certainty is that Theo will report to CEO Larry Lucchino, according to Henry.

Tony Massarotti adds:

Just 15 months after arguably the most glorious sports celebration in Boston's history, the luster officially is off the ownership and management at fabled Fenway Park. In this soap opera, president Larry Lucchino first made the mistake of arrogance. Then, owner John Henry committed the blunder of passivity. And now, Theo Epstein is committing perhaps the most inexplicable transgression of all.

In the face of better judgment, he's coming back.

Time for group therapy at 4 Yawkey Way.

The Red Sox, like the Yankees in previous years, have become equally, if not more, entertaining off-the-field than they are between the white lines. David Pinto thinks that the Red Sox keep finding ways of turning themselves into the Yankees. "Boston's front office is a soap opera," writes Pinto. "New York's front office is the calmest and quietest I've seen it since George took over. Who'd have thunk it?" I don't know how or if any of this mishegoss will impact the Sox on the field (remember, the Yanks had some winning teams during the Bronx Zoo Era), but Pinto's right. Who, indeed, would have thunk it?

Comments (54)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-01-20 06:05:34
1.   Sliced Bread
The Sarah Bernhardt comparison is right on target, but despite her shared flair for the melodramatic with Boy Genius, I don't think Miz B ever donned a gorilla suit (at least not on her own volition, and certainly not for free).
2006-01-20 06:15:50
2.   Mike Carminati
Man, will these prima donnas save any drama for the field this year?
2006-01-20 06:36:18
3.   Sliced Bread
There's an even weirder development in the Yanksox soap opera today:
As A-Waffle ("leggo my fragile ego") tossed about in his tortured psyche, struggling to decide whether to accept a starring role in Bud Selig's "Intergalactic Baseball Extravaganza," and, if so, for which team (Sharks or Jets?), he sought the wise counsel of Manny "Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now" Ramirez.
"Manny, Manny, on the wall, for which team should I answer the call?"
We can laugh about these guys all day, as we pay them $20-million a year to play our favorite game.
2006-01-20 06:47:05
4.   KJC
Man, what're you reading that a-hole Shaughnessy for? He hates the Sox more than the NY Times hates the Yanks. (Wait, I just answered my own question...)
2006-01-20 06:48:57
5.   bp1
"Manny, Manny, on the wall ..."

Pfffttt ....

Now that was funny.

At this point in the year, any baseball news is welcome while we count down the days to P&C's.

A-Rod asking Manny for advice. Jeter must be quietly laughing his *ss off (while getting a generous rubdown from a brunette hottie). Geez.

BP

2006-01-20 07:12:01
6.   Murray
Boooooring!
2006-01-20 07:32:30
7.   rbj
Tee Hee Tee Hee. Bwahahahahaha!
There's just going to be too much ego in the RS front office. Who's going to call the shots, who gets to make trades. I predict a tumultuos season for Boston, which is good news for the Yankees.
2006-01-20 07:41:54
8.   joe in boston
Great title (as always).

It's really comical to listen to WEEI and all the local fans saying this is a "great move". Can you just imagine ...
a) the power struggles that will happen ?
b) the "explaining" of the moves the Sox have/haven't made over the past 2 months ?

is it me or is this really laughable, especially in light of the moves the Yanks have made?

many fans here (Boston) believe that the Sox pitching (or potential pitching- barring injury) is VASTLY superior....I say no way !

2006-01-20 07:52:33
9.   wsporter
Theo's got his feet planted firmly in quicksand. I know his vacillation and ambivalence is news worthy but what I can't figure out is why or how anyone can muster enough energy or concern to get pissed-off over it. He isn't the first thirty-something year old single guy who can't decide what he wants to do with himself and he won't be the last. If you think about it he's acting pretty normally especially when you take his background into account. Well, other than the gorilla suit maybe. In a weird way I feel kind of sorry for him, his situation doesn't sound like a prescription for happiness. I guess you can say if he's going through hell its his own fault. But that's the thing about hell, when we're there its usually through our own doing.
2006-01-20 07:56:02
10.   joe in boston
You know what ? I don't feel sorry for him at all. He made his bed, now he can sleep in it. When I was confused as to career moves, etc at that age....I was making about 30K a year and AFRAID of a paycut !

Does he want to be a rock star ? Does he want to work with third world nations ? Does he want to be a GM ?

One thing about Cashman, you always knew what he wanted to do .... feet firmly planted on the ground .... even if getting knocked around by George or the Tampa crew.

2006-01-20 08:25:06
11.   Sliced Bread
I see the boy in the gorilla suit as Kid Kong. But in the implausible Boston version of the beauty and the beast tale, Kid Kong survives his suicidal leap from the John Hancock Tower, and now all the Fay Wray BoSox fans are nestled in his palm again. Convoluted happy ending to a mid-winter's nightmare in Boston.

I understand why Kid Kong is regarded as a hero in Boston, but if Cashman pulled a jerkoff stunt like that, I don't think Yankee fans would be celebrating his "triumphant return" to the Bronx stage, no matter how many championships he has on his resume. Clearly, Boston fans are bred to be more patient than Yankee fans (you know, like camels are better suited for drought conditions).

Joe in Boston, we have to admit the Sox pitching staff looks better built for the long haul (and a short playoff series) than the Yankee arsenal. Going into this season, I'd give the Old Towne starters a slight advantage over the Yanks, on paper anyway (based on age, and overall stats). The bullpens look similarly vulnerable or reliable (depending on your perspective) with the notable exception of Mariano Rivera, who thankfully remains a tremendous advantage for the Yanks. I expect the Yankee bats will be far more productive than the Boston bashers.
Watch out for the Toronto pitchers waiting in the wings, too. This is going to be fun.

2006-01-20 08:31:26
12.   Simone
Who knew the day would come when New York Yankees would be the one of the most stable front offices in MLB? Boy, how the worm turns.

wsporter, below you asked if I was surprised by Theo's return, the answer is "yes." Even though I try to play the cynic, I am constantly surprised by humanity in general. Either this was one major power play by Theo or he is one confused individual. Whatever the case, I won't the mistake of taking anything Epstein says at face value ever again.

"One thing about Cashman, you always knew what he wanted to do .... feet firmly planted on the ground .... even if getting knocked around by George or the Tampa crew."

Agreed. My appreciation for Cashman grows.

A-Rod asking Manny for advice? Ummm, lots of therapy for you, Rodriguez.

2006-01-20 08:50:57
13.   Peter
Johnny Damon asked Manny for advice, too, before he signed with the Yanks. For a guy with a space cadet persona, he's been performing a lot of oracle work lately.
2006-01-20 08:53:11
14.   Alex Belth
Simone, I know the Yanks look relatively stable right now, but I think it might be a stretch to call them one of the most stable in the game. After all, just last winter, the various factions of the front office managed to mangle a golden opportunity, one that only a team of the Yankees' great resources were able to survive without being totally sunk. I mean, they dole out dumb money for Pavano, Wright, and, to a lesser extent, Womack, while passing up on Carlos Beltran, a guy who would have solved a gaping problem for them. (Damon is good but not as promising as Beltran.)

Relative is the right word. Right now, the Sox, who are most likely suffering the spoils of victory--in the form of huge, competing egos. Maybe it spells bad things for the team. Then again, maybe it won't.

2006-01-20 08:54:52
15.   wsporter
"No, it isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do." What's the rumpus? Did anyone out here materially change their position or suffer some sort of loss based on what Theo said? What's the big freaking deal? Either the kid changed his mind or leveraged his position. Either way there's nothing new there. Is there?

I do agree, this makes Cashman look even better. Its nice to be a paragon of stability in a crazy world.

2006-01-20 08:58:53
16.   Nick from Washington Heights
My general impression is that the only change that might occur as a result of Theo's return is Larry's departure, which was probably an inevitability anyway.

In terms of baseball personnel decisions, Hoyer and Cherrington (is that his name?) were conducting Theo-esque moves this off-season. It seems to me they'll chug along as usual with Theo back on.

2006-01-20 09:25:45
17.   pistolpete
"Johnny Damon asked Manny for advice, too, before he signed with the Yanks."

Did it go something like this?

"GET OUT!!! LEAVE WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!! IT'S A MAAAAAAAADHOUSEE!!!!!"

2006-01-20 09:50:36
18.   Beth
Pathalogical Sox fan that I am, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But please, PLEASE don't take Shaughnessy and Massarotti as representative of Sox fans. I realize it's true what you said, that Shaughnessy is more closely identified with the Red Sox than any other writer, but most Sox fans I know (myself included) would give anything to make that NOT the case.

2006-01-20 09:58:24
19.   Ben
The Treasury Dept decided to let Cuba play in the WBC. At least it's a full competition now. Look for the Americans to get waxed.
2006-01-20 10:06:21
20.   Rob Gee
What's most surprising about all of this is really how public it all got. Of course it's easy to see why Shaughnessy is such a putz - he stoked the flames by acting as the medium for the Larry leaks (remember right about when the extension was about signed) and now calls out the organization for being "embarassing".

Hey, entertaining to be sure. But I'd still take trades like Loretta and Beckett over some of our recent ones. For all the stability in Yankee land, Cash's decisions this off-season smell like OPP.

2006-01-20 10:31:30
21.   Alex Belth
Bob Klapisch has a piece on the Yankees' newfound stability over at ESPN. He makes some good points.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=klapisch_bob&id=2298669

2006-01-20 10:41:02
22.   Nick from Washington Heights
OK, this is just going to piss Rob Gee off to no end but I have to pull this line from the Klapisch piece:

"It was Cashman who single-handedly kept the Yankees from trading for Milton Bradley during the winter meetings."

I'm guessing this might lead to a Rob Gee-led petition.

2006-01-20 10:41:25
23.   rbj
If Shaugh. wants embarassing, he need only read his column from July(?) predicting the Red Sox to repeat.
2006-01-20 10:43:30
24.   sam2175
2

Mike, a rant from you is in order.

2006-01-20 10:47:10
25.   Zack
Old Bob is a bit too generous with his predictions of the Yankees runnning away with the division, not that I would mind.

Nick, you totally beat me to that, I saw that line and thought the same thing. Personally stepped in, huh? I guess it just was not fated to be Rob (thankfully). But if Cashman is found floating face down in the east river, i think we know who to look at...

2006-01-20 11:06:37
26.   wsporter
As I see it in Klapisch's article the key sentence is: "Steinbrenner vowed to transfer the team's day-to-day authority to Cashman, and has so far lived up to his word." The key phrase: "so far".

I think Klapisch must know Rob Gee. Why he wants to make him go nuts is another matter.

2006-01-20 11:32:44
27.   pistolpete
George is going to have relinquish overall control someday anyway - this is a good test of things to come...
2006-01-20 11:49:25
28.   Rob Gee
Glad ya'll are having so much fun at my expense. So many smiles in Yankeeland. Klapisch is a putz too. Why is it when guys move up the ladder and get access, they become sniveling little biatches? I think the better ones on this scale are Bill Simmons and Goldman to a degree. Please, please, please keep it real for us Alex.

Fact is:

a) I knew Cash wouldn't get MIL-ton
b) I also knew that MIL-ton damn well should be on the team, most certainly as a 4th OF.
c) MB could be had for .5 of a AA prospect and 3mil a year.
d) Cash is a mediocre GM
e) Cash is knee-deep in OPP
f) I'm going insane whenever Crazy Uncle MIL-ton is mentioned
g) MIL-ton will haunt me all season long
h) MB will post solid numbers and be a solid citizen
i) Our OF in 2009 will include Johnny Damon
j) next up in OPP land - Ichiro
k) I'll finally see MIL-ton in Pinstripes in 2008 as an OPP free agent

Thanks kids for bringing cheer on this Friday! Keep laughing at this sad sad clown...

2006-01-20 12:07:16
29.   wsporter
"Klapisch is a putz too." Man that's beautiful. I think we all obviously agree that a low key understated approach is best.
2006-01-20 12:16:16
30.   Alex Belth
Yo Rob, I sure will try my best. And expect you to call me on the carpet if you think I'm slipping.
2006-01-20 12:52:22
31.   brockdc
"I'm guessing this might lead to a Rob Gee-led petition."

Which I would gladly sign. The thought of Milton patrolling CF for the Yanks scares the crap out of me...but not as much as Damon doing the same during his twilight years.

2006-01-20 17:53:47
32.   debris
Personally, I don't see this as a big deal. Shaughnessy gets more tiring by the hour.

The Sox have had a fine winter. The defense is stronger all around. The pitching has been bolstered top to bottom. The batting order is only weaker in the 8 hole, with Cora replacing Mueller. (Can Stern be worse than Bellhorn? He can be Bellhorn's equal, but can hardly be worse.)

As for the leadoff spot, Damon was projected by Shandler to have an OPS of .787 before he signed with NY. Shandler now projects him at a rather pedestrian .761 with the Fenway bump removed. Shandler projects Youkilis at .850.

The Sox are still a work in progress, but they're a better team than the one that won 95 games last year.

2006-01-20 18:13:00
33.   jdsarduy
with the team the Red Sox have now I can't see them finishing higher then 3rd place
2006-01-20 18:18:36
34.   debris
jdsarduy,

Since the Sox finished in a tie for first last year, can you please explain where they're weaker this year.

Starting pitching? Which pitcher or pitchers who helped them finish where they did will not be returning.
Relief pitching? Which effective reliever or relievers will not be returning?
Defense? At what position are they weaker defensively?
Batting order? Other than the eight hole, where is the offense weaker?

2006-01-20 18:57:21
35.   brockdc
I don't see the Sox winning 95+ games with their current roster. I agree that they have upgraded their pitching staff, but so have Toronto and the Yankees (albeit ever-so-slightly). The AL East will be tougher, top-to-bottom this year. Also, maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how losing Damon in any way improves their offense. And I think most of RSN would agree with me on that point, considering all the shirt- burning-in-effigy that's going on.
2006-01-20 20:46:14
36.   jdsarduy
debris

The Red Sox # 3,4,5 starters are 500. or under, just like they were last yr. They didn't improve their bullpen, who will close games for them? Foulke? He's not the stopper he was in 2004 and will never be. This is a team that really struggled towards the end of the season last yr to blow a lead in the AL and finished in 2nd place, not in a tie.
Their line up is weaker and they have no CF and SS. But of course, all this goes without saying, if you know your baseball I wouldn't have to pint this out.

2006-01-20 21:32:45
37.   sam2175
debris,

No matter how you spin it, I dont think the offense of the Red Sox is as good as it was last year. Replacing Johnny Damon would be tough, he had an .800 + OPS for a CFer. Renteria did not have a good year, but Graffanino had a very good year to basically cancel that. Mueller was his usual steady self, and my guess is Lowell is not really an improvement.Youkilis over Millar is definitely an improvement, I will grant you that. Loretta should also be pretty good, unless there are significant health issues there.

Red Sox still has David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez playing for them. However, I expect significant decline from Jason Varitek, given his age and his second half struggles last year. The bench is worse than last year, but it doesnt really matter much.

As for pitching, Sox bullpen is definitely improved, but a lot depends on potential contribution from Keith Foulke. The starting rotation, well, Schilling is as big a question mark as any in the Yankee rotation. Wells is a smart pitcher, if he is around, he will pitch effecively. Clement was otherworldly for the Sox for a significant period, and will have to replicate that. Beckett, if healthy, seems like a significant addition. Wakefield-Arroyo should do what number fives do, and maybe some more.

2006-01-21 01:00:34
38.   atc
Debris,
A few days ago, you gave the sox an "A" for not overspending on Damon. How in the world can you give out this grade when they're still without a CF? The lease on my apartment expired two months ago, and my landlord tried to charge me what in my opinion was $200 per month more than market value. Well, after not complying with his demand and patting myself on the back for not "overspending" on a dependable, perfectly located apartment, I realized that I was F***ing homeless! But you're right, I get an A for not overspending!!
2006-01-21 03:12:47
39.   debris
jdsarduy,

Specfics, my man, specifics - "The Red Sox # 3,4,5 starters are 500. or under, just like they were last yr." The only difference in the pitching staff between now and last year is that Schilling is healthy and they've added Beckett. Is Schilling a stud? Who knows. My point is that the only difference between now and last year is the upgrades.

"They didn't improve their bullpen, who will close games for them?" Again, the only difference between now and last year is that Foulke will possibly be healthy and the additions of Mota, Seanez, Hansen, DelCarmen, and Tavarez. They won 95 with Embree and Mantei.

"not in a tie" The Sox won 95 games. How many did the Yanks win?

"Their line up is weaker." Where is the lineup weaker? Youkilis projects to get on base at a much better clip than Damon, Loretta is a huge upgrade over Renteria, Lowell can't possibly be worse than Millar 2005, and Bellhorn hit ninth. I assume that Adam Stern, who won't be their CF by opening day, is no worse than Bellhorn 2005. They are weaker, yes, in the 8 slot.

And the defense has been upgraded hugely at every infield position.

2006-01-21 03:16:28
40.   debris
Sam,

Graffanino played 1/3 of the season, Bellhorn 2/3. Overall 2b production was pretty grim.

I grant you replacing Damon at the leadoff slot would be tough, if they didn't have Youkilis. If you look at the Sox position-by-position, the picture, because of SS and CF, isn't pretty. But if you look at it by viewing the lineup, because of the gaping holes last year at 1b and 2b, they look to be in fine shape.

They also appear to be closing in on Coco Crisp. My only concern with Crisp is that they might be tempted to lead him off and hit Youkilis down in the order, which would be quite a mistake.

2006-01-21 03:17:53
41.   debris
ATC,

I gave the Sox an overall grade of incomplete.

Your apartment analogy works quite well, providing you don't plan to sleep until April 1.

2006-01-21 03:23:39
42.   debris
Brock,

You are absolutely right about the difficulty in winning 95 games in a much tougher division. Even the DRays, as they mature should be a tougher team.

Losing Damon, of course, doesn't help the Sox offense in 2006, though the acquisition, should it occur, of Coco Crisp, will more than mitigate that. Crisp was a better hitter than Damon in 2005 and is six years younger, not to mention many millions cheaper.

Signing Damon would have hurt the team in 2008 and 2009 and would have inhibited the Sox in the free agent market in 2007. It only hurts the Sox for one year and, with Youkilis up top and Crisp in center, they should be well covered.

They Yankees will have to deal with Damon in 2008 and 2009, which is fine, because they are quite used to having expensive players who used to be quite good.

2006-01-21 07:27:19
43.   Levy2020
Debris, the only other thing Boston needs to do to improve is to lose Manny Rodriguez and David Ortiz. There are guys in the minor leagues who can replace them for less money and use X-Ray Vision to steal signs.

In two years when all of Boston's roster has been replaced by feral cats, they are projected to win 170 regular season games by a reliable source.

2006-01-21 07:30:41
44.   sam2175
Debris,

Fair point, I think Youkilis should be allright. However, acuiring Crisp is going to be tougher. I do believe that the Indian FO knows what it is doing, unlike the Padre or the Braves FO. The Sox has to part with significant value. And even Jayson Stark thinks that getting Crisp is going to be difficult.

But, a major assumption is production stays same for Manny, Ortiz, Varitek and Nixon. At least in the latter case, it is unlikely to be. And this year, the backup is John Flaherty, although Red Sox could do the smart thing of actually giving Shoppach a chance. Nixon's numbers are in a steady decline from 2003: OPS+ of 149/123(167 ABs)/112(470 ABs). His SLG numbers show a serious declining trend as well. And Loretta will have a high OBP, but it is always a bad sign when a 34 year old is going into the season with his last season OBP higher than his SLG numbers. Fenway should help, because Loretta is a doubles hitter, but age is not on his side.

And I dont expect Lowell to produce as well as Bill Mueller either.

2006-01-21 08:06:04
45.   yankz
He's right, the defense has improved at every position. Having no shortstop is better than having Renteria.
2006-01-21 09:36:14
46.   jdsarduy
debris

I'm not exactly sure how more specific I can get unless I throw some statistics your way showing where the sox are weaker. But then you'll just find some statistics showing me the sox are better so that's a waste of time. Arroyo and Clement won't get the run support they received last yr so they're 500. Wells is old and had bad numbers last yr (inning to hits and BAA) Wakefield had great yr for him last season, I just don't think he can keep it up.
You said the only "difference in their pitching staff last yr and this is Schilling and Beckett."
You better hope not, b/c they had one of the worst pitching staff in the AL last yr.
I think both these guys can win 18-20 this yr, but you won't get much from your 3,4, and 5 starters.
Those additions to their bullpen don't scare me and are hittable. And none of them are stoppers. "Foulke will possibly be healthy"? So your closer could or could not be healthy next yr? That means he's another Sox question mark. And even if he is healthy I still don't think he'll be effective as he was in 2004.

Both the Yanks and Sox finished with 95 wins but the Yanks won the tiebreaker.
Thus, the Yanks came back from a big Sox AL East lead to win it.
That's a fact you can't deny debris. So it's not a tie. Don't blame me if the Sox lost 3 of 4 in Fenway Park to the Yanks. It will go down in the history books as the Yanks winning the division, and you can't change that.

Nobody knows what Youkilis will do in 06, when he puts up better numbers then Damon then you can talk. Projections don't mean a thing especially when you've only had 287 at bats in 2 yrs. You better hope you get the Loretta of 03, 04 and not of 05.

As far as their hitting goes as of right now I see them being weak at 3B, SS, CF and 1st base and I don't see Nixon doing any better.
That's more then one slot. Defensively they're better but the Twins and Orioles had good defenses last yr too.

I'm not comparing them to last yr I'm just seeing what they're brining to the table next yr.
And it doesn't look like 1st place to me.
If you can't see the truth about your own team, then your just being a fan and there's nothing wrong with that.

2006-01-21 15:21:28
47.   debris
Sam,

No question getting Crisp will be difficult, but it sounds like that, with Marte, they are preparing an offer that will be too good to turn down. Getting Crisp should be difficult. He's a pretty fabulous, cheap young player.

jdsarduy,

I never said that the Sox pitching was good last year. I simply said that it is better than the pitching that participated in a 95 win season.

Do they have question marks, absolutely. The Yanks have a few question marks themselves. In fact, in Mariano Rivera the Yanks have exactly one pitcher who isn't a question mark.

2006-01-21 17:58:55
48.   sam2175
Debris,

I think the question boils down to whether Indians feel comfortable with the replacements available at LF. As is, Crisp does not hit like a LF, but perhaps adds some value with his defense. If they do not have a replacement in place who would be at least an .800+ OPS hitter, it does not make sense for them to get Andy Marte, who only makes Aaron Boone expendable.

And I dont think that Boston would like to trade their LFer for Crisp. I do not see a match there, unless Sox can sell it to the Indians FO that Marte is a good LFer.

2006-01-22 05:06:21
49.   debris
Sam,

The deal is more than Crisp for Marte. And among the differences between the two is that Marte is under Sox control for six years and is real cheap; Crisp, while cheap for what he is, is considerably more expensive and under Tribe control for only three years.

Marte did come out and say a couple of weeks ago that he is ready to move to LF. I don't believe that the Sox are prepared to move Manny for Crisp.

Despite all I've said above detailing the reasons why the 2006 Sox appear to be a better team, even incomplete as they are, there is one caveat, which I've often repeated. If they deal Manny, they blow themselves up. They can't get full value.

With all of this talk about the Sox having two holes, they do have strong defensive possibilities in SS and CF, though they'll get little offense in return. Never mentioned in these discussionss is that the Sox won last year with neither offense nor defense from 1b and 2b.

2006-01-22 06:22:37
50.   debris
Sam,

One other thing about the Crisp deal and why I think it will happen. The Sox are prepared to overpay for Crisp as is usually the case when one side is more anxious than is the other to make something happen. I've read that Guillermo Mota is also now part of the deal.

BTW, Crisp, I've learned, is under control for four more years. The Boston Globe this morning estimates that Crisp will cost $32 million less over the next four years than Johnny Damon. He will also continue to be six years younger.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-01-22 06:30:56
51.   debris
The Boston Herald is now reporting that the Crisp deal is complete.

They are also reporting that the Sox are signing Alex Gonzalez, which baffles me. Is he really a significant upgrade over Alex Cora? Yes, I understand that Florida is a pitcher's paradise, but a .270 obp in 2004?

2006-01-22 07:10:55
52.   Nick from Washington Heights
If true, I'm excited about the Alex Gonzalez signing. Talk about an anemic hitting left side of the infield...
2006-01-22 07:31:19
53.   debris
Nick,

What you say is true if, and only if, Mike Lowell is the player he was last year, rather than the player he was the five preceding years. And even if what you say is true, the left side is no more anemic than was the right side last year. The Sox now have the same player or an upgrade in every spot in the lineup, with the possible exception of the 8 hole.

In center field, they have upgraded and saved $32 million over the next four years. OK, only $20 million if you consider the money being paid to Renteria as part of the Marte deal in the cost of acquiring Coco Crisp.

2006-01-22 08:35:10
54.   Levy2020
The whole "The Sox are slightly improving" is pretty, pretty crazy. . .

I think everyone here would agree that they've been getting something for nothing (Marte, Loretta, Mota. . . .)

But the idea that the Red Sox can keep pace with the Yankees is completely contingent upon the Yankees blowing up for the first month and a half again.

If they had played only .500 baseball, there wouldn't have been a final game for the Yankees to throw after they'd already clinched the division to give New Englanders the illusion of a tie.

And something tells me that these guys have learned their lesson. Thanks, Donnie Baseball.

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